Fedeli d'Amore

The Fedeli d'Amore (The Faithful of Love) were a group of poets practicing an erotic spirituality, similar to the courtly love of the Troubadours during the Middle Ages. Some knights during the same period of time developed spiritual ideas and formed a closed brotherhood devoted to achieving a harmony between the sexual and emotional sides of their natures and their intellectual and mystical aspirations. The Fedeli were expected to write only about their own mystical experiences, and they apparently had a system of degrees to ascend to the divine.

Their system was based on psychological and spiritual doctrines, including a divine ascent through Love based on the several stages. Their practice also included training the imagination to hold the image of the Beloved in the form of one's Lady, since the pure light of the One would be too much to bear. Some of the group's doctrine was set forth by their leader, Guido Cavalcanti (1250-1300). Later, Ficino and other members of the Platonic Academy considered it to be “a supreme Neoplatonic statement of love.” As Bruce MacLennan stated: “Valli regarded Donna me prega as the manifesto of a secret group devoted to Sapientia (Wisdom). Dante's perspective on Love was in fact more Platonic than Guido's.”

This tradition can be traced through the French troubadours of the 11th century. Their poetic traditions mainly came across the Pyrenees from Spanish lands, where scholars had acquired them from the Arabs in Andalusia. William (1071-1127), sixth Count of Poitiers and ninth Duke of Aquitaine, was a descendant of William the Great and Agnes of Burgundy, who established connections with the Neoplatonic academy at Chartres in the early eleventh century. Among other Platonic ideas, this school viewed the World Soul of Plato as a force pervading the universe, a source of inspiration and wisdom. Several poets were influenced by these Neoplatonic ideas. 


Various parts of the books written by Osborne Phillips tried to highlight the role played by the Knights Templar in the history of the Aurum Solis and specifically the Fedeli d’Amore. It is worth noting that the Knights Templar had almost no presence in Florence at this time. We know that Dante Alighieri used the figure of Bernard de Clairvaux in the Divine Comedy, as well as other symbols commons during this time. Beside these references, nothing related to this military Order was present in his other works directly linked to the “Faithful of Love.” The same was true for the writings of the other members of this group, such as Cavalcanti, and later Marsilio Ficino. 


If we consider now the main doctrine of the Fedeli d’Amore, we immediately realize that it has nothing to do with the Knights Templar. The lineage is crystal clear and can be identified as double: 1- The tradition of the banquet founded by Plato and 2- The tradition of poetry and erotic spirituality formalized in Europe by the Troubadours.


Both of these lineages are coherent and clearly identifiable in a tradition of writings we can find in the members' work. The ascent to the divine using Love and Beauty is the main teaching of the Symposium written by Plato. Later, Dante and Ficino aim for the same ideal in their writings.  These books in particular comprise the basic teachings and constitute the core of this rich tradition: Plato' Symposium, Dante Alighieri's Convivio, and Marsilio Ficino's Commentary on Plato-Symposium.

The work of the Aurum Solis is aligned with the theurgic and Neoplatonic traditions as they were formulated in the Platonic Academy of Florence. The heritage of the Fedeli d’Amore is still practiced as it was in the Academy. Several important ceremonies are celebrated regularly like they were during the Renaissance. Those companions of the Order interested in going further can also work on the other aspects of this tradition which are based on meditation, visualization, and contemplation.  


People who are not initiated in the Aurum Solis can also join, if they are attracted by this important part of the Western Tradition. 

 

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