This is the Soul Garden presented by me, Georgina Langdale for the Centre for Nature Connection. And it's where we get to explore nature, compassion, and soul through the inner and outer workings of living in a connected world. Hi there, I hope that you're feeling well today and at one with the world, I want to spend some time today talking about somebody who I adjust.
I have to say I adore, and his name is Marsilio Ficino, and he lived from 1433 to 1499 in Florence. Now I'm really interested in, in digging through ancient wisdom and history and the writings of philosophers and mystics and, and healers and sages and alchemists, because I think that within their writings, there is a lot of really, really valuable stuff to help us with life today.
And Ficino is absolutely for me, one of the guys at the top of that tree, he lived in Florence and he was under the patronage of the Medici family initially and down through handed down the family to the grandson, Lorenzo, the great Medici. And this was a time in Florence where the Renaissance was really being born if you'll excuse the pun.
And I do think that Ficino played a big part in that Florence was becoming this kind of cultural hub. And Ficino, he had been studying to be a physician, but in those days, when you were studying to be a physician, you, you looked at the humanities, you studied the humanities and you studied astrology in fact, way, way,
way back Hippocrates said, you know, you cannot be a physician if you do not know the stars. So Ficino really wrote a lot about working with the stars, working with the idea of cosmos, but also he fell in love with Plato and he became a foremost scholar translating Plato's works from ancient Greek, into Latin. And with that came all of these Neoplatonic ideas,
which really fed the Renaissance, interestingly as well at that time in the late 1400s, plague was still swirling around Europe. And at the end of the 15th century, there was really a time of plague, great social unrest, widening gap between rich and poor. Also there had been a kind of flourishing entered democratization in a way of the written word,
thanks to Herr Gutenberg, inventing the printing press. And so you started to see people like Martin Luther and stuff using this new communication technology. Erasmus was another great thinker of the time to, to get their, their points of view across in many ways, it was a kind of cultural communication revolution that like we have seen in our lifetimes with the internet.
So within this Marsiliowas translating Plato's text. He was a physician and later he became a priest. He started to be known. In fact, I think he even called himself a physician of the soul, such a beautiful term, the soul doctor. He really captured the idea of our health and wellbeing being seen in the context of our relationship with nature and cosmos.
So cosmos was this idea of a well-ordered universe and the universe has everything we need within it for life Ficino would also say that we are Stardust. So for, Ficino, he would see you and your relationship in nature and cosmos. So he looked at your astrological, affinities or tensions. He looked at the Herb's and the flowers and the trees and the fruits that can support you or create balance within your physical and emotional needs.
And he would also look at what gemstones could help with your healing and wellbeing and also music. So he was, he was a kind of eco therapist, art therapist, music therapist. So if you went to go and see Marsilio Ficino as your physician, he would do your astrological chart. And then he would be looking at what are the astral influences that are influencing your physical constitution and your soul,
and how can we balance things out or augment the things that are really positive and kind of ameliorate things influences that may be, could be creating tensions for you. He would also then look at what are the Herb's and the plants and, and what is the medicine we're going to work with for you from nature, from plants and trees and things. And again,
some of that medicinal picture would be related to those plants, own astrological, alignments. And then he would look at what is the music? What is the cosmic, or what are the cosmic notes, the notes of the cosmos that will bring healing and balance into your body and soul. So he would compose music on his liar for you. And he would pluck those cosmic notes,
the notes on the lyre related and the strings related to each of the planets, just a beautiful, beautiful way of working. He would tell you, then you need to spend time at night in a scented garden to feed your soul and spirit with this elixir of these aromas from nature, he would work with an ambulance. So he would look at what are the gemstones that will draw down the astral influences that are going to help you.
He would also say, what are the images? What is the art that you have around you? Because what you, what you're looking at, the colors of your walls, your clothes, all of these things, what affect your sense of wellbeing? So he would be encouraging you to think really carefully about what it is, what are the images and things that you're looking at?
I think that's really interesting in today's world. I'm sure he'd have a fit if he saw the video games and the TV shows and everything has so much violence and crime, and just so many really negative images that were being fed the whole time. He would see that that would be contributing to a lack of balance or a lack of wellbeing, really, quite sensible.
I think he would say, you know, go and look at a beautiful sunset, go and walk in nature, put a beautiful work by Leonardo DaVinci on the wall or something. He would, he had a very holistic view of how you treat your body, how you treat your soul, how you treat yourself and how you treat and curate in a way the lived environment.
So I first came across Marsilio Ficino, oh, quite a few years ago. Now I was very interested in Paracelsus. He was born at the end of the 15th century and, and lived to 1535 or something. Anyway, I talk about him in another episode, but he, his writings led me back towards Marsilio Ficino and a really classic work of,
of Marsilio Ficino's is the three books on life. And this is just a fantastic read. You can get it. I got my copy of it. That is in Latin and in English. And it's just wonderful. I took a really deep dive into that. I also read a book by the wonderful Thomas Moore, who is, was a monk and is a Jungian and just the most gorgeous person really.
And he wrote a book called The Planets Within which he wrote about Marsilio Ficino in, I don't know, the late seventies, maybe early eighties. Wonderful. Another wonderful book that he delves into Marsilio as a man. And also as this physician of the soul, Since discovering Ficino, I've worked with his ideas and in a, in a myriad of ways,
he really weaves his way into so much of the things I do. So I do these Renaissance readings. So I kind of think of it as being Ficino. A client will come to me, I'll do their chart just like he would have done. And then I'm looking at what are those? Where are those? And then I look at what astral influences can you can work with to help you get soul aligned.
I dunno, in purpose in work and in life. And I then take it another step further. And I look at, at how he would have applied that in a constitutional way to which you look at somebody. And then I look at the plants that may become part of that soul medicine for them. So I'm looking at their astrological influences as well.
And I make plant essences flower essences, and I will make them with according to different planetary and Luna transits. And I will, can put things together for a person that can really pluck those cosmic chords for them to help support them in these really crazy times. So I love doing that. It is a really beautiful, deep dive that helps somebody see themselves as part of nature and cosmos and work with the strengths and the opportunities that that view of themselves enables We're in the age of what the 'great resignation' at the moment.
So a lot of people are thinking about what is I really want to do now, you know, I'm not happy or I've had this amazing career, but I don't feel like my soul is being fed well, this work I do with Ficino can often help people get unstuck around that and start to really identify a very soul aligned path for them. This idea of,
Ficino's about looking at his relationship with nature and cosmos or a patient of his, his relationship with nature and cosmos, I absolutely love. And in his work, the Three Books on Life, he, he really digs into the, the astral qualities of different plants and gemstones and the impacts of, of different planetary influences on somebody. And I just absolutely love it.
So what I decided to do was kind of reflect that back at him in a way, and I have a range of creations that I call the Atelier Signatum Naturalis, the, the studio of the natural signatures. I have made a range of things arranged dedicated to Marsilio Ficino, one to Paracelsus. I want to Hildegard of Bingen, oh my God,
I love those people. So what I've done is I've looked at Ficino, and then I have looked at what are the plants and the aromatics that will capture the idea of Ficino's own soul and own character. What if I make them as a, as a, an amulet of Ficino for somebody? So I make natural perfume and make a plant essence,
blend a cream and a face serum, so lovely and decadent and for the skin, but, you know, the skin is our largest organ in the body. So I imagine just soaking in that picture of Ficino and then finding inspiration from that, I've taken note of his writings on nature as part of his therapy. And I just go crazy.
So for example, the skin serum I've included borage oil because Pliny, the Elder wrote about borage as being a treatment for melancholia. Ficino had a very melancholic temperament, Saturn weighed heavily in his chart. And it, it was his kind of bete noire in a way. And so I looked at what are the plants that help balance things like melancholia,
the plant essence blend I've made for him. I call it Tranquillitas Animi Flower elixir. And I thought about it as an elixir for the poetics and pain of creativity. I thought this really hit a spot with Ficino. He was a man who was both weighed down and inspired by melancholy. So he saw both its pain and its beauty. And he also recognized melancholy as being key to deepening his quest of the exploration of wisdom and spirit.
So I thought about, as I was making this essence, I thought about things like music, you know, and his love of music that exquisite pain of being held in that melancholic ache of a minor chord. You know, it has the power to open our soul to dreaming. It can bring us to tears and revelations and really move spirit within us.
So Tranquillitas Animi flower elixir, I created to support an augment, this energetic connection to melancholy and inspiration. I, I had this picture of, Ficino taking a drop of this elixir upon his tongue before taking up his Quill capturing thought and placing it on the page. I worked with the emotive lunar transits through Gemini, that to capture that pain of,
and also the peace of mind that comes with following one's guiding star or dancing to our own cosmic song. I also at that same transit that lunar transit through Gemini, I harvested some leaves from a Willow tree growing by a stream at a place that has really profound meaning for me. And it's a place I returned to for grief and healing Willow is under the rulership of the moon and Venus,
and it's this watery emotive tree of protection. And I also see it as a tree of release because it gives us courage to let our thoughts and hopes and fears float on the waters and be carried downstream. So I used Willow plant essence within this elixir to help us find beauty, even in painful times, and to help us hear the music of the cosmos around us and within us,
it was really beautiful working in this way and thinking of Ficino, I made a perfume for him. So I just love doing this. And it's called Lunae Signa et Stellas, the light of the stars. I really wanted to create an aromatic portrait of, Ficino and the plants, planets and places that were medicine for a soul. So I, I thought about those nights scented gardens,
you know, the, and then the opening and closing of heliotropic plants as they follow the sun, the resinous tears of trees, that fleeting beauty of spirit and dazzle of gemstone in, in this perfume, you get these hints of like golden saffron and heady rose and narcotic kind of voluptuous of the night centered garden, like honeysuckle and Jasmine, and really deep Woody mysterious base that drew on those Saturnian influences.
And I hope that this really reflects Ficino's thoughts on how aromatics feed the soul and that it, it gives an aromatic portrait of, Ficino's own internal landscape Ficino. For me, I feel him as a, as a minor chord, you know, a beautiful, A minor going to something diminished and gorgeous. I there's something there's something really,
really tender about him, beautiful and, and troubled and conflicted. He had these passionate platonic relationships. When I read his works and his letters, it can women don't feature that strongly, but there are these intense, platonic love affairs that he has with various men. And it's fascinating when you read the stories of, sorry, when you read his letters,
just beautiful and, and extreme exquisitely, intense, a lot of self doubt and wishing for worthiness Ficino later in life, he nearly got done for heresy. And when you read the three books on life, he talks a lot about astrology and astral influences and things like that. And then later on, suddenly start saying, well, of course, I'm just reporting what others say,
these aren't my views at all. And I think he was doing that. I suspect to stop being put on trial for heresy. He was a deeply soulful and compassionate man. I think this idea again, of his, of how we work with our natural environment, for our wellbeing and how we think about the, the aesthetics of our lived environment, our home,
our office, you know, our hospital, our hospice, these things I think are incredibly valuable in today's world. There is so much negativity coming at us at the moment from everywhere. So in effect, what I hear him saying down through the ages is do what you can to make your environment as beautiful as, aesthetically, as sensually pleasing, as you can,
to help balance out or accentuate the positive rather than feed on the negative. I think that is really, really valuable for today. Anything that we can do to find beauty, peace, calm healing, if we can find the things that really give us soul pleasure that really speak to the soul. I think that this can really help allay anxieties and fear.
It can help us find a piece of calm and in turbulent times, oh, I want, there's this lovely quote of his here to give you an idea of how he thought he here's a quote from the front of his three books on life as the power of our soul is always applied through the spirit. So the power of the world soul is diffused in all things through the quintessence,
which flourishes everywhere as spirit within the world body, we can absorb it through more frequent use of things rich in it things exceptionally pure like choice, wine and vinegar, Balsam, and gold, precious stones, myorabalan, things which smell sweet and glitter, especially things with a subtle essence things, warm, moist, and clear, not only wine,
but especially gold or the fragrance of cinnamon and roses. So for him, that is how he would help call and draw in the power of world soul and help it flourish within us as well. So gorgeous. When I think about working with, Ficino, I just feel that he just helps imbue the world with soul. He helps us connect to our own soul.
He, he opens up the landscape of our interior world. He would talk about us being a microcosm of the macrocosm. So what he's encouraging us to do is work with the beauty of the world, outside us, to feed the, the state of the, the beauty of the world within. And then you can then see how this kind of reflects back on each other.
If you are feeling at peace, a kind of beauty way within your soul is being nourished and supported and cared for, then it really helps you be able to be better able to bring care and compassion and soul to the work you do out in the world. Really just beautiful wisdom for today's world. I think Interestingly also on, on Ficino one last note: a year or so ago,
I think it was a year ago, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus were all in the same space place in the sky as they had been at the time of the end of the 15th century. So all that unrest and plague and stuff, and, and this passion was repeated in the heavens at the time of the last us election of COVID coming along. Very,
very interesting. So for me, Ficino has, because of that, that kind of shamanic time traveling. He, he has this immediacy for the world we live in right now. I hope you enjoyed that. And I look forward to talking to you again, soon if you're interested in finding out more about any of the offerings I talked about in this episode,
take a look at my website, Georgina L nature.com and you'll find things like the soul alignment work I do in the Renaissance readings. And if you head to the shop tab, you'll find theAtelier Signatum, and there you'll find the Ficino perfumes, and elixirs and things that I've I've mentioned. And every purchase helps support ecological restoration projects. Bye for now.