Richard Kennedy speculates: Was Southhampton disposed toward the occult?

Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southhampton, 1602, imprisoned in the Tower of London after the Essex uprising

Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southhampton, 1602, imprisoned in the Tower of London after the Essex uprising

A red string wound about the left wrist is a Cabalistic talisman, a supplication to Rachel, matriarch of all humanity. By wearing this thread, Henry may be suggesting a fellowship with the Christian Cabalists, who took freely from the secrets and mysteries of the Cabala and the Torah. Notice also the crosses on the cuffs of his gloves, which is a signature used in Cabalistic mysticism.

This is a sign that has been used in Cabbalistic mysticism to represent a holy name.”  (Symbols.com)

Perhaps Henry is merely dressing out his taste in bracelets and gloves, but it looks to me like a display of an occult disposition, noticed by Frances Yates in The Rosicrucian Enlightenment: 

The argument, in over-simplified form, is that ‘the occult philosophy of the Elizabethan age’ was a Christian Cabalist philosophy, with its peculiar Rosicrucian blend of magic and science.  This approach has been based on two main lines of enquiry.  First, on the history of Christian Cabala leading up to its expression in the philosophy of John Dee.  Second, on the iconographical (my emphasis, RK) approach, that is to say on the study of the imagery of this movement in its Elizabethan and Jacobean form.                                                                  

Richard J. Kennedy, 2009

Bibliography:

Yates, Frances A. The Rosicrucian Enlightenment. Routeledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1972
Yates, Frances A. The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1979
Hackett, Helen. Virgin Mother, Maiden Queen. Elizabeth 1 and the Cult of the Virgin Mary. St. Martins, New York,1995

 

  

 

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