Heaven Retains Within Its Sphere Half of All Bodies and Maladies [Paracelsus] Very clear on literalism.
I love this paragraph, with its interesting word epistrophé:
Each time an astrological consultation can return a characteristic to its divine character, polish a problem so it shines in a different light, reveal the God in the disease, let the client see clearly for a moment that other heavenly half, the astrologer is performing an epistrophé, returning a mess in the human to a myth in the Gods.
I get this from dictionary.com:
\E*pis”tro*phe\, n. [L., from Gr. ? a turning toward, return, fr. ? to turn toward; ‘epi` upon, to + ? to turn.] (Rhet.) A figure in which successive clauses end with the same word or affirmation; e. g., “Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I.” –2 Cor. xi. 22.
Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
But it is much more than a rhetorical device. Hillman links this process to Neoplatonism and ta’wil in Persian mysticism. See also: Epistrophe