Jacob Böhme was born in eastern Germany, near Görlitz. He grew up as a Lutheran, and worked as a shoemaker in Görlitz.
Böhme had mystical experiences throughout his youth, culminating in a vision in 1600 that he received through observing the exquisite beauty of a beam of sunlight reflected in a pewter dish.
He believed this vision revealed to him the spiritual structure of the world, as well as the relationship between God and man, and good and evil. At the time he chose not to speak of this experience openly, preferring instead to continue his work and raise a family.