Mostly for my own notes, but I figured whoever reads this might be interested, too. This originally came from a publication that my partner was studying for one of his classes. He posted the quote into his private LiveJournal, and I’m reposting here to share.
“In Neoplatonism, the bond of love forms a correspondence among all things, a “common relationship“ that allows the equation of love with magic. As Ioan Couliano states, the relation between love and magic depended on the analogous relation between microcosm and macrocosm, the “structure of cooperation” between “the world’s parts.” Marsilio Ficino writes in his Commentary on Plato’s Symposium on Love that “from this common relationship is born a common love; from love, a common attraction. And this is the true magic.” Extending Couliano’s discussion of the relation between love and magic in Italian Neoplatonism to include its implicit political dimension makes it possible to envison the manipulation of the cosmic hierarchy from the middle of the social ladder. In other words, the Neoplatonism of both Castiglione and Ficino suggests that the courtier may control the prince through “love,” the representation of their interconnection that he hopes to turn to his advantage.
Representations of Elizabeth’s sovereign Chastity contained the magical assertion (with its distinctly religious overtones) that the queen occupied an intermediary position between God and her subjects as well as between nature and mortals, as the means to assert her divine power. And on occasion, she was not simply an intermediary, but pictured as God himself.”
(Susan Frye: Elizabeth I. The Competition for Representation. New York, Oxford 1993, p. 110f.)