102Ms. lat. 9336, fol. 4r (gloss), for example.103E.S. Ames, “Mystic Knowledge,” The American Journal of Theology, XIX (number I), 1915, 250-267. 104Ms. lat. 9336, fol. 17r, gloss: “[…] et nolit alicui visionem illam revellare […].” The case of the Benedictine monk John ofMorigny is revealing in this regard: in his Liber visionum he takes note of numerous visions given him from his adolescencethrough the time when he practiced the ars notoria; but he did not decide to describe his experience until the virgin Mary gavehim formal authorisation, at the end of a long process of repentance. Cf. the edition of the Liber visionumprologue with Englishtranslation by C. Fanger and N. Watson, published in Esoterica: The Journal of Esoteric Studies, 3 (2001): 108-217, esp. § 8, 9et 31.105E.R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959), 293; F. Graf, Magic in theAncient World, trans. Franklin Philip (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997) pp*** [French ed 117-118]; R.22
that this rule of secrecy has “a philosophical justification inherited from Plotinus and his disciplePorphyry” which has to do with “the loathing of exteriority and otherness symbolised by the crowd, theenemy of the sage”106There is no wisdom possible but in contemplation. On this point again the arsnotoriais faithful to a very old tradition. Finally, the secret must be maintained for obvious reasons ofsecurity.If the practitioner is normally supposed to be alone, certain arrangements contravene this law inspite of everything. An illiterate operator can resort to the help of a master who teaches him theprinciples of the art.107But note that the transmission from master to disciple has nothing obligatoryabout it, and there is no rite of initiation. Contrary for example to prescriptions of a theurge like thehermit Pelagius,108a master in the case of the notory art does not have to assure himself that the operatoris apt for the discipline. The selection is made in another way through the preparatory vision. Themission of the master of the ars notoriais much more modest. He transmits his knowledge of the ritual toone who cannot read the treatise correctly and teaches the neophyte to utter the prayers in a suitablemanner.109He may be present at the ceremony undertaken by the neophyte in order to prevent any errorof procedure in the operation, but he does not participate in the ritual properly speaking. Only the onewho wants the benefit of the vision (the person who is designated by the term operatus, operator) shouldrecite the prayers. There is only one exception to this rule: if the practitioner is illiterate, the master canread the prayers once and the operator may repeat the words after him.110But it is the responsibility of theneophyte to assure himself of the moral rectitude of his mentor.111His attitude toward his master shouldnot be anything like blind submission: to the extent that he risks serious danger on account of poorpreparation, he has the duty and the right to control every exterior aspect of the operation.