Testi magici: Of Occult Philosophy – Book I. (part 1) – Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
London: Printed by R.W. for Gregory Moule, and are to be sold at the Sign of the three Bibles neer the West-end of Pauls. 1651.
- Introduction – Agrippa to the reader.
Agrippa to Trithemius.
Trithemius to Agrippa.
- Chap. 1. – How Magicians Collect vertues from the Three-fold World, is Declared in these Three Books.
- Chap. 2. – What Magic is, What are the Parts thereof, and How the Professors thereof must be Qualified.
- Chap. 3. – Of the Four Elements, their Qualities, and Mutual Mixtions.
- Chap. 4. – Of a Three-fold Consideration of the Elements.
- Chap. 5. – Of the Wonderful Natures of Fire and Earth.
- Chap. 6. – Of the Wonderful Natures of Water, Air and Winds.
- Chap. 7. – Of the Kinds of Compounds, what Relation they stand in to the Elements, and what Relation there is betwixt the Elements themselves and the Soul, Senses and Dispositions of Men.
- Chap. 8. – How the Elements are in the Heavens, in Stars, in Devils, in Angels, and lastly in God himself.
- Chap. 9. – Of the vertues of things Natural, depending immediately upon Elements.
- Chap. 10. – Of the Occult vertues of Things
- Chap. 11. – How Occult vertues are Infused into the several kinds of Things by Ideas, thrugh the Help of the Soul of the World, and Rays of the Stars; and what Things abound most with this vertue.
- Chap. 12. – How it is that Particular vertues are Infused into Particular Individuals, even of the same Species.
- Chap. 13. – Whence the Occult vertues of Things Proceed.
- Chap. 14. – Of the Spirit of the World, What It Is, and how by way of medium It Unites occult vertues to their Subjects.
- Chap. 15. – How we must Find Out and Examine the vertues of Things by way of Similitude.
- Chap. 16. – How the Operations of several vertues Pass from one thing into another, and are Communicated one to the other.
- Chap. 17. – How by Enmity and Friendship the vertues of things are to be Tried and Found Out.
- Chap. 18. – Of the Inclinations of Enmities.
- Chap. 19. – How the vertues of Things are to be Tried and Found Out, which are in them Specifically, or in any one Individual by way of Special gift.
- Chap. 20. – The Natural vertues are in some Things throughout their Whole Substance, and in other Things in certain Parts and Members.
- Chap. 21. – Of the vertues of Things which are in them only in their Life Time, and Such as Remain in them even After their Death.
- Chap. 22. – How Inferior Things are Subjected to Superior Bodies, and how the Bodies, the Actions, and Dispositions of Men are Ascribed to Stars and Signs.
- Chap. 23. – How we shall Know what Stars natural Things are Under, and what Things are under the Sun, which are called Solary.
- Chap. 24. – What Things are Lunary, or Under the Power of the Moon.
- Chap. 25. – What Things are Saturnine, or Under the Power of Saturn.
- Chap. 26. – What Things are Under the Power of Jupiter, and are called Jovial.
- Chap. 27. – What Things are Under the Power of Mars, and are called Martial.
- Chap. 28. – What things are Under the Power of Venus, and are called Venereal.
- Chap. 29. – Things are Under the Power of Mercury, and are called Mercurial.
- Chap. 30. – That the Whole Sublunary World, and those Things which are in It, are Distributed to Planets.
- Chap. 31. – How Provinces and Kingdoms are Distributed to Planets.
- Chap. 32. – What Things are Under the Signs, the Fixed Stars, and their Images.
- Chap. 33. – Of the Seals and Characters of Natural Things.
- Chap. 34. – How, by Natural Things and their vertues, We may Draw Forth and Attract the Influences and vertues of Celestial Bodies.
- Chap. 35. – Of the Mixtions of Natural Things, one with another, and their Benefits.
- Chap. 36. – Of the Union of Mixt Things, and the Introduction of a More Noble Form, and the Senses of Life.
- Chap. 37. – How, by some certain Natural and Artificial Preparations, We may Attract certain Celestial and Vital Gifts.
- Chap. 38. – Chapter xxxviii. How we may Draw not only Celestial and Vital but also certain Intellectual and Divine Gifts from Above.
- Chap. 39. – That we may, by some certain Matters of the World, Stir Up the Gods of the World and their Ministering Spirits.
- Chap. 40. – Of Bindings; what Sort they are of, and in what Ways they are wont to be Done.
- Chap. 41. – Of Sorceries, and their Power.
- Chap. 42. – Of the Wonderful vertues of some kinds of Sorceries.
- Chap. 43. – Of Perfumes or Suffumigations; their Manner and Power.
Chap. 44. – The Composition of some Fumes appropriated to the Planets.
- Chap. 45. – Chapter xlv. Of Collyries, Unctions, Love-Medicines, and their vertues.
- Chap. 46. – Of natural Alligations and Suspensions.
- Chap. 47. – Of Magical Rings and their Composition.
- Chap. 48. – Of the vertue of Places, and what Places are Suitable to every Star.
- Chap. 49. – Of Light, Colors, Candles and Lamps, and to what Stars, Houses and Elements several Colors are Ascribed.
- Chap. 50. – Of Fascination, and the Art thereof.
- Chap. 51. – Of certain Observations, Producing wonderful vertues.
- Chap. 52. – Of the Countenance and Gesture, the Habit and the Figure of the Body, and to what Stars any of these do Answer — whence Physiognomy, and Metoposcopy, and Chiromancy, Arts of Divination, have their Grounds.
- Chap. 53. – Of Divination, and the Kinds thereof.
- Chap. 54. – Of divers certain Animals, and other things, which have a Signification in Auguries.
- Chap. 55. – How Auspicas are Verified by the Light of Natural Instinct, and of some Rules of Finding of It Out.
- Chap. 56. – Of the Soothsayings of Flashes and Lightnings, and how Monstrous and Prodigious Things are to be Interpreted.
- Chap. 57. – Of Geomancy, Hydromancy, Aeromancy, and Pyromancy, Four Divinations of Elements.
- Chap. 58. – Of the Reviving of the Dead, and of Sleeping or Hibernating (wanting victuals) Many Years together.
- Chap. 59. – Of Divination by Dreams.
- Chap. 60. – Of Madness, and Divinations which are made when men are awake, and of the power of a Melancholy Humor, by which Spirits are sometimes induced into Men’s Bodies.
- Chap. 61. – Of the Forming of Man, of the External Senses, also those Inward, and the Mind; and of the Threefold Appetite of the Soul, and Passions of the Will.
- Chap. 62. – Of the Passions of the Mind, their Original Source, Differences, and Kinds.
- Chap. 63. – How the Passions of the Mind change the proper Body by changing its Accidents and moving the Spirit.
- Chap. 64. – How the Passions of the Mind change the Body by way of Imitation from some Resemblance; of the Transforming and Translating of Men, and what Force the Imaginative Power hath, not only over the Body but the Soul.
- Chap. 65. – How the Passions of the Mind can Work of themselves upon Another’s Body.
- Chap. 66. – That the Passions of the Mind are Helped by a Celestial Season, and how Necessary the Constancy of the Mind is in every Work.
- Chap. 67. – How the Mind of Man may be Joined with the Mind of the Stars, and Intelligences of the Celestials, and, together with them, Impress certain wonderful vertues upon inferior Things.
- Chap. 68. – How our Mind can Change and Bind inferior Things to the Ends which we Desire.
- Chap. 69. – Of Speech, and the Occult vertue of Words.
- Chap. 70. – Of the vertue of Proper Names.
- Chap. 71. – Of many Words joined together, as in Sentences and Verses, and of the vertues and Astrictions of Charms.
- Chap. 72. – Of the wonderful Power of Enchantments.
- Chap. 73. – Of the vertue of Writing, and of Making Imprecations, and Inscriptions.
- Chap. 74. – Of the Proportion, Correspondency, and Reduction of Letters to the Celestial Signs and Planets, According to various Tongue, and a Table thereof.
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, or of Magick; Written by that Famous Man Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Knight, And Doctor of both Laws, Counsellor toCæsars Sacred Majesty, and Judge of the Prerogative Court.
Chap.1 How Magicians Collect vertues from the three-fold World, is declared in these three Books.
Seeing there is a three-fold World, Elementary, Celestiall, and Intellectual, and every inferior is governed by its superior, and receiveth the influence of the vertues thereof, so that the very original, and chief Worker of all doth by Angels, the Heavens, Stars, Elements, Animals, Plants, Metals, and Stones convey from himself the vertues of his Omnipotency upon us, for whose service he made, and created all these things: Wise men conceive it no way irrationall that it should be possible for us to ascend by the same degrees through each World, to the same very originall World it self, the Maker of all things, and first Cause, from whence all things are, and proceed; and also to enjoy not only these vertues, which are already in the more excellent kind of things, but also besides these, to draw new vertues from above. Hence it is that they seek after the vertues of the Elementary world, through the help of Physick [=medicine], and Naturall Philosophy in the various mixtions of Naturall things, then of the Celestiall world in the Rayes, and influences thereof, according to the rules of Astrologers, and the doctrines of Mathematicians, joyning the Celestiall vertues to the former: Moreover, they ratifie and confirm all these with the powers of divers Intelligencies, through the sacred Ceremonies of Religions. The order and process of all these I shall endeavor to deliver in these three Books: Whereof the forst contains naturall Magick, the second Celestiall, and the third Ceremoniall. But I know not whether it be an unpardonable presumption in me, that I, a man of so little judgement and learning, should in my very youth so confidently set upon a business so difficult, so hard, and intricate as this is. Wherefore, whatsoever things have here already, and shall afterward be said by me, I would not have any one assent to them, nor shall I my self, any further then they shall be approved of by the Universall Church, and the Congregation of the Faithfull.
Chap. 2 What Magick is, What are the Parts thereof, and how the Professors thereof must be Qualified.
Magick is a faculty of wonderfull vertue, full of most high mysteries, containing the most profound Contemplation of most secret things, together with the nature, power, quality, substance, and vertues thereof, as also the knowledge of whole nature, and it doth instruct us concerning the differing, and agreement of things amongst themselves, whence it produceth its wonderfull effects, by uniting the vertues of things through the application of them one to the other, and to their inferior sutable subjects, joyning and knitting them together thoroughly by the powers, and vertues of the superior Bodies. This is the most perfect and chief Science, that sacred and sublimer kind of Phylosophy [philosophy], and lastly the most absolute perfection of all most excellent Philosophy. For seeing that all regulative Philosophy is divided into Naturall, Mathematicall, and Theologicall: (Naturall Philosophy teacheth the nature of those things which are in the world, searching and enquiring into their Causes, Effects, Times, Places, Fashions, Events, their Whole, and Parts, also The Number and the Nature of those things, Cal’d Elements, what Fire, Earth, Aire forth brings:From whence the Heavens their beginnings had; Whence Tide, whence Rainbow, in gay colours clad.
What makes the Clouds that gathered are, and black, To send forth Lightnings, and a Thundring crack; What doth the Nightly Flames, and Comets make; What makes the Earth to swell, and then to quake: What is the seed of Metals, and of Gold What Vertues, Wealth, doth Nature’s Coffer hold.
All these things doth naturall Philosophy, the viewer of nature contain, teaching us according to Virgil’s Muse.
———-Whence all things flow, Whence Mankind, Beast; whence Fire, whence Rain, and Snow, Whence Earth-quakes are; why the whole Ocean beats Over his Banks, and then again retreats; Whence strength of Hearbs [herbs], whence Courage, rage of Bruits [brutes], All kinds of Stone, of Creeping things, and Fruits.
But Mathematicall Philosophy teacheth us to know the quantity of naturall Bodies, as extended into three dimensions, as also to conceive of the motion, and course of Celestiall Bodies.
—– As in great hast [haste], What makes the golden Stars to march so fast; What makes the Moon sometimes to mask her face, The Sun also, as if in some disgrace.
And as Virgil sings, How th’ Sun doth rule with twelve Zodiack Signs, The Orb thats measur’d round about with Lines, It doth the Heavens Starry way make known, And strange Eclipses of the Sun, and Moon.
Arcturus also, and the Stars of Rain, The Seaven Stars likewise, and Charles his Wain, Why Winter Suns make tow’rds the West so fast; What makes the Nights so long ere they be past? All which is understood by Mathematicall Philosophy.
—– Hence by the Heavens we may foreknow The seasons all; times for to reap and sow, And when ’tis fit to launch into the deep, And when to War, and when in peace to sleep, And when to dig up Trees, and them again To set; that so they may bring forth amain.
Now Theologicall Philosophy, or Divinity, teacheth what God is, what the Mind, what an Intelligence, what an Angel, what a Divell [devil], what the Soul, what Religion, what sacred Institutions, Rites, Temples, Observations, and sacred Mysteries are: It instructs us also concerning Faith, Miracles, the vertues of Words and Figures, the secret operations and mysteries of Seals, and as Apuleius saith, it teacheth us rightly to understand, and to be skilled in the Ceremoniall Laws, the equity of Holy things and rule of Religions. But to recollect my self) these three principall faculties Magick comprehends, unites, and actuates; deservedly therefore was it by the Ancients esteemed as the highest, and most sacred Philosophy. It was, as we find, brought to light by most sage Authours [authors], and most famous Writers; amongst which principally Zamolxis and Zoroaster were so famous, that many believed they were the inventors of this Science. Their track [footsteps] Abbaris the Hyperborean, Charmondas, Damigeron, Eudoxus, Hermippus followed: there were also other eminent, choice men, as Mercurius Tresmegistus [Trismegistus], Porphyrius [Porphyry], Iamblicus [Iamblichus], Plotinus, Proclus, Dardanus, Orpheus the Thracian, Gog the Grecian, Germa the Babilonian [Babylonian], Apollonius of Tyana, Osthanes also wrote excellently in this Art; whose Books being as it were lost, Democritus of Abdera recovered, and set forth with his own Commentaries. Besides Pythagoras, Empedocles, Democritus, Plato, and many other renowned Philosophers travelled far by Sea to learn this Art: and being returned, published it with wonderfull devoutness, esteeming of it as a great secret. Also it is well known that Pythagoras, and Plato went to the Prophets of Memphis to learn it, and travelled through almost all Syria, Egypt, Judea, and the Schools of the Caldeans [Chaldaeans], that they might not be ignorant of the most sacred Memorials, and Records of Magick, as also that they might be furnished with Divine things. Whosoever therefore is desirous to study in this Faculty, if he be not skilled in naturall Philosophy, wherein are discovered the qualities of things, and in which are found the occult properties of every Being, and if he be not skilful in the Mathematicks, and in the Aspects, and Figures of the Stars, upon which depends the sublime vertue, and property of every thing; and if he be not learned in Theologie [theology], wherein are manifested those immateriall substances, which dispence [dispense], and minister all things, he cannot be possibly able to understand the rationality of Magick. For there is no work that is done by meer Magick, nor any work that is meerly Magicall, that doth not comprehend these three Faculties.
Chap. 3 Of the four Elements, their qualities, and mutuall mixtions.
There are four Elements, and originall grounds of all corporeall things, Fire, Earth, Water, Aire, of which all elementated inferiour bodies are compounded; not by way of heaping them up together, but by transmutation, and union; and when they are destroyed, they are resolved into Elements. For there is none of the sensible Elements that is pure, but they are more or less mixed, and apt to be changed one into the other: Even as Earth becoming dirty, and being dissolved, becomes Water, and the same being made thick and hard, becometh Earth again; but being evaporated through heat, passeth into Aire, and that being kindled, passeth into Fire, and this being extinguished, returns back again into Aire, but being cooled again after its burning, becometh Earth, or Stone, or Sulphur, and this is manifested by Lightening [lightning]: Plato also was of that opinion, that Earth was wholly changeable, and that the rest of the Elements are changed, as into this, so into one another successively. But it is the opinion of the subtiller sort of Philosophers, that Earth is not changed, but relented and mixed with other Elements, which do dissolve it, and that it returns back into it self again. Now, every one of the Elements hath two specificall qualities, the former whereof it retains as proper to it self, in the other, as a mean, it agrees with that which comes next after it. For Fire is hot and dry, the Earth dry and cold, the Water cold and moist, the Aire moist and ot. And so after this manner the Elements, according to two contrary qualities, are contrary one to the other, as Fire to Water, and Earth to Aire. Moreover, the Elements are upon another account opposite one to the other: For some are heavy, as Earth and Water, and others are light, as Aire and Fire. Wherefore the Stoicks called the former passives, but the latter actives. And yet once again Plato distinguished them after another manner, and assigns to every one of them three qualities, viz. to the Fire brightness, thinness and motion, but to the Earth darkness, thickness and quietness. And according to these qualities the Elements of Fire and Earth are contrary. But the other Elements borrow their qualities from these, so that the Aire receives two qualities of the Fire, thinness and motion; and one of the Earth, viz. darkness. In like manner Water receives two qualities of the Earth, darkness and thickness, and one of Fire, viz. motion. But Fire is twice more thin then Aire, thrice more movable, and four times more bright: and the Aire is twice more bright, thrice more thin, and four times more moveable then Water. Wherefore Water is twice more bright then Earth, thrice more thin, and four times more movable. As therefore the Fire is to the Aire, so Aire is to the Water, and Water to the Earth; and again, as the Earth is to the Water, so is the Water to the Aire, and the Aire to the Fire. And this is the root and foundation of all bodies, natures, vertues, and wonderfull works; and he which shall know these qualities of the Elements, and their mixtions, shall easily bring to pass such things that are wonderfull, and astonishing, and shall be perfect in Magick.
Chap. 4 Of a three-fold consideration of the Elements.
There are then, as we have said, four Elements, without the perfect knowledge whereof we can effect nothing in Magick. Now each of them is three-fold, that so the number of four may make up the number of twelve; and by passing by the number of seven into the number of ten, there may be a progress to the supream Unity, upon which all vertue and wonderfull operation depends.
Of the first Order are the pure Elements, which are neither compounded nor changed, nor admit of mixtion, but are incorruptible, and not of which, but through which the vertues of all naturall things are brought forth into act. No man is able to declare their vertues, because they can do all things upon all things. He which is ignorant of these, shall never be able to bring to pass any wonderfull matter. Of the second Order are Elements that are compounded, changeable, and impure, yet such as may by art be reduced to their pure simplicity, whose vertue, when they are thus reduced to their simplicity, doth above all things perfect all occult, and common operations of nature: and these are the foundation of the whole naturall Magick. Of the third Order are those Elements, which originally and of themselves are not Elements, but are twice compounded, various, and changeable one into the other. They are the infallible Medium, and therefore are called the middle nature, or Soul of the middle nature: Very few there are that understand the deep mysteries thereof. In them is, by means of certain numbers, degrees, and orders, the perfection of every effect in what thing soever, whether Naturall, Celestiall, or Supercelestiall; they are full of wonders, and mysteries, and are operative, as in Magick Naturall, so Divine: For from these, through them, proceed the bindings, loosings, and transmutations of all things, the knowing and foretelling of things to come, also the driving forth of evill, and the gaining of good spirits. Let no man, therefore, without these three sorts of Elements, and the knowledge thereof, be confident that he is able to work any thing in the occult Sciences of Magick, and Nature. But whosoever shall know how to reduce those of one Order, into those of another, impure into pure, compounded into simple, and shall know how to understand distinctly the nature, vertue, and power of them in number, degrees, and order, without dividing the substance, he shall easily attain to the knowledge, and perfect operation of all Naturall things, and Celestiall secrets.
Chap. 5 Of the wonderfull Natures of Fire, and Earth.
There are two things (saith Hermes) viz. Fire and Earth, which are sufficient for the operation of all wonderfull things: the former is active, the latter passive. Fire (as saith Dionysius) in all things, and through all things, comes and goes away bright, it is in all things bright, and at the same time occult, and unknown; When it is by it self (no other matter coming to it, in which it should manifest its proper action) it is boundless, and invisible, of it self sufficient for every action that is proper to it, moveable, yielding it self after a maner to all things that come next to it, renewing, guarding nature, enlightening, not comprehended by lights that are vailed [veiled] over, clear, parted, leaping back, bending upwards, quick in motion, high, alwayes raising motions, comprehending another, not Comprehended it self, not standing in need of another, secretly increasing of it self, and manifesting its greatness to things that receive it; Active, Powerfull, Invisibly present in all things at once; it will not be affronted or opposed, but as it were in a way of revenge, it will reduce on a sudden things into obedience to it self; incomprehensible, impalpable, not lessened, most rich in all disensations of it self. Fire (as saith Pliny) is the boundless, and mischievous part of the nature of things, it being a question whether it destroys, or produceth most things. Fire it self is one, and penetrates through all things (as say the Pythagorians) also spread abroad in the Heavens, and shining: but in the infernall place streightened, dark, and tormenting, in the mid way it partakes of both. Fire therefore in it self is one, but in that which receives it, manifold, and in differing subjects it is distributed in a different manner, as Cleanthes witnesseth in Cicero. That fire then, which we use is fetched out of other things. It is in stones, and is fetched out by the stroke of the steele; it is in Earth, and makes that, after digging up, to smoake [smoke]: it is in Water, and heats springs, and wells: it is in the depth of the Sea, and makes that, being tossed with winds, warm: it is in the Aire, and makes it (as we oftentimes see) to burn. And all Animals, and living things whatsoever, as also all Vegetables are preserved by heat: and every thing that lives, lives by reason of the inclosed heat. The properties of the Fire that is above, are heat, making all things Fruitfull, and light, giving life to all things. The properties of the infernall Fire are a parching heat, consuming all things, and darkness, making all things barren. The Celestiall, and bright Fire drives away spirits of darkness; also this our Fire made with Wood drives away the same, in as much as it hath an Analogy with, and is the vehiculum of that Superior light; as also of him, who saith, I am the Light of the World, which is true Fire, the Father of lights, from whom every good thing that is given, Comes; sending forth the light of his Fire, and communicating it first to the Sun, and the rest of the Celestiall bodies, and by these, as by mediating instruments, conveying that light into our Fire. As, therefore the spirits of darkness are stronger in the dark: so good spirits, which are Angels of Light, are augmented, not only by that light, which is Divine, of the Sun, and Celestiall, but also by the light of our common Fire. Hence it was that the first, and most wise institutors of Religions, and Ceremonies ordained, that Prayers, Singings, and all manner of Divine Worships whatsoever should not be performed without lighted Candles, or Torches. (Hence also was that significant saying of Pythagoras, Do not speak of God without a Light) and they commanded that for the driving away of wicked spirits, Lights and Fires should be kindled by the Corpses of the dead, and that they should not be removed untill the expiations were after a Holy manner performed, and they buried. And the great Jehovah himself in the old Law Commanded that all his Sacrifices should be offered with Fire, and that Fire should always be burning upon the Altar, which Custome the Priests of the Altar did always observe, and keep amongst the Romanes. Now the Basis, and foundation of all the Elements, is the Earth, for that is the object, subject, and receptacle of all Celestiall rayes, and influencies; in it are contained the seeds, and Seminall vertues of all things; and therefore it is said to be Animall, Vegetable, and Minerall. It being made fruitfull by the other Elements, and the Heavens, brings forth all things of it self; It receives the abundance of all things, and is, as it were the first fountain, from whence all things spring, it is the Center, foundation, and mother of all things. Take as much of it as you please, seperated, washed, depurated, subtilized, if you let it lye [lie] in the open Aire a little while, it will, being full, and abounding with Heavenly vertues, of it self bring forth Plants, Worms, and other living things, also Stones, and bright sparks of Metals. In it are great secrets, if at any time it shall be purified by the help of Fire, and reduced unto its simplicity by a convenient washing. It is the first matter of our Creation, and the truest Medicine that can restore, and preserve us.
Chap. 6 Of the wonderfull Natures of Water, Aire, and Winds.
The other two Elements, viz. Water, and Aire, are not less efficacious then the former; neither is nature wanting to work wonderfull things in them. There is so great a necessity of Water, that without it no living thing can live. No Hearb [herb], nor Plant whatsoever, without the moistening of Water can branch forth. In it is the Seminary vertue of all things, especially of Animals, whose seed is manifestly waterish. The seeds also of Trees, and Plants, although they are earthy, must notwithstanding of necessity be rotted in Water, before they can be fruitfull; whether they be imbibed with the moisture of the Earth, or with Dew, or Rain, or any other Water that is on purpose put to them. For Moses writes, that only Earth, and Water bring forth a living soul. But he ascribes a twofold production of things to Water, viz. of things swimming in the Waters, and of things flying in the Aire above the Earth. And that those productions that are made in, and upon the Earth, are partly attributed to the very Water, the same Scripture testifies, where it saith that the Plants, and the Hearbs [herbs] did not grow, because God had not caused it to rain upon the Earth. Such is the efficacy of this Element of Water, that Spirituall regeneration cannot be done without it, as Christ himself testified to Nicodemus. Very great also is the vertue of it in the Religious Worship of God, in expiations, and purifications; yea, the necessity of it is no less then that of Fire. Infinite are the benefits, and divers are the uses thereof, as being that by vertue of which all things subsist, are generated, nourished and increased. Thence it was that Thales of Miletus, and Hesiod concluded that Water was the beginning of all things, and said it was the first of all the Elements, and the most potent, and that because it hath the mastery over all the rest. For, as Pliny saith, Waters swallow up the Earth, extinguish flames, ascend on high, and by the stretching forth of the clouds, challenge the Heaven for their own: the same falling become the Cause of all things that grow in the Earth. Very many are the wonders that are done by Waters, according to the Writings of Pliny, Solinus, and many other Historians, of the wonderfull vertue whereof, Ovid also makes mention in these Verses.
—– Hornd Hammons Waters at high noon Are cold; hot at Sun-rise and setting Sun. Wood, put in bub’ling Athemas is Fir’d, The Moon then farthest from the Sun retir’d; Circonian streams congeal his guts to Stone That thereof drinks, and what therein is thrown.
Crathis and Sybaris (from the Mountains rol’d) Color the hair like Amber or pure Gold. Some fountains, of a more prodigious kinde, Not only change the body but the minde.
Who hath not heard of obscene Salmacis? Of th’ Æthiopian lake? for, who of this But only tast [taste], their wits no longer keep, Or forthwith fall into a deadly sleep.
Who at Clitorius fountain thirst remove, Loath Wine, and abstinent, meer Water love.
With streams oppos’d to these Lincestus flowes: They reel, as drunk, who drink too much of those.
A Lake in fair Arcadia stands, of old Call’d Pheneus; suspected, as twofold:
Fear, and forbear to drink thereof by night:
By night unwholesome, wholesome by day-light.
Josephus also makes relation of the wonderfull nature of a certain river betwixt Arcea, and Raphanea, Cities of Syria: which runs with a full Channell all the Sabboth [Sabbath] Day, and then on a sudden ceaseth, as if the springs were stopped, and all the six dayes you may pass over it dry-shod: but again, on the seaventh day (no man knowing the reason of it) the Waters return again in abundance, as before. Wherefore the inhabitants thereabout called it the Sabboth-day river, because of the Seaventh day, which was holy to the Jews. The Gospel also testifies to a sheep-pool, into which whosoever stepped first, after the Water was troubled by the Angel, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. The same vertue, and efficacy we read was in a spring of the Ionian Nymphs, which was in the territories belonging to the Town of Elis, at a Village called Heraclea, neer the river Citheron: which whosoever stepped into, being diseased, came forth whole, and cured of all his diseases. Pausanias also reports, that in Lyceus, a mountain of Arcadia, there was a spring called Agria, to which, as often as the dryness of the Region threatned [threatened] the destruction of fruits, Jupiters Priest of Lyceus went, and after the offering of Sacrifices, devoutly praying to the Waters of the Spring, holding a Bough of an Oke [oak] in his hand, put it down to the bottome of the hallowed Spring; Then the waters being troubled, a Vapour ascending from thence into the Air was blown into Clouds, with which being joyned together, the whole Heaven was overspread: which being a little after dissolved into rain, watered all the Country most wholsomly [wholesomely]. Moreover Ruffus a Physitian [physician] of Ephesus, besides many other Authours, wrote strange things concerning the wonders of Waters, which, for ought I know, are found in no other Authour.
It remains that I speak of the Aire. This is a vitall spirit, passing through all Beings, giving life, and subsistence to all things, binding, moving, and filling all things. Hence it is that the Hebrew Doctors reckon it not amongst the Elements, but count it as a Medium or glew [glue], joyning things together, and as the resounding spirit of the worlds instrument. It immediately receives into it self the influences of all Celestiall bodies, and then communicates them to the other Elements, as also to all mixt [mixed] bodies: Also it receives into it self, as it were a divine Looking-glass, the species of all things, as well naturall, as artificiall, as also of all manner of speeches, and retains them; And carrying them with it, and entering into the bodies of Men, and other Animals, through their pores, makes an Impression upon them, as well when they sleep, as when they be awake, and affords matter for divers strange Dreams and Divinations. Hence they say it is, that a man passing by a place where a man was slain, or the Carkase [carcass] newly hid, is moved with fear and dread; because the Aire in that place being full of the dreadfull species of Man-slaughter [manslaughter], doth, being breathed in, move and trouble the spirit of the man with the like species, whence it is that be comes to be afraid. For every thing that makes a sudden impression, astonisheth nature. Whence it is, that many Philosophers were of opinion that Aire is the cause of dreams, and of many other impressions of the mind, through the prolonging of Images, or similitudes, or species (which are fallen from things and speeches, multiplyed in the very Aire) untill they come to the senses, and then to the phantasy, and soul of him that receives them, which being freed from cares, and no way hindred, expecting to meet such kind of species, is informed by them. For the species of things, although of their own proper nature they are carryed to the senses of men, and other animals in generall, may notwithstanding get some impression from the Heaven, whilest they be in the Aire, by reason of which, together with the aptness and disposition of him that receives them, they may be carryed to the sence [sense] of one rather then of another. And hence it is possible naturally, and far from all manner of superstition, no other spirit coming between, that a man should be able in a very time to signifie his mind unto another man, abiding at a very long and unknown distance from him; although he cannot precisely give an estimate of the time when it is, yet of necessity it must be within 24 hours; and I my self know how to do it, and have often done it. The same also in time past did the Abbot Tritemius [Trithemius] both know and do. Also, when certain appearances, not only spirituall, but also naturall do flow forth from things, that is to say, by a certain kind of flowings forth of bodies from bodies, and do gather strength in the Air, they offer, and shew themselves to us as well through light as motion, as well to the sight as to other senses, and sometimes work wonderfull things upon us, as Plotinus proves and teacheth. And we see how by the South wind the Air is condensed into thin clouds, in which, as in a Looking-glass are reflected representations at a great distance of Castles, Mountains, Horses, and Men, and other things, which when the clouds are gone, presently vanish. And Aristotle in his Meteors shews, that a Rainbow is conceived in a cloud of the Aire, as in a Looking-glass. And Albertus saith, that the effigies of bodies may by the strength of nature, in a moist Aire be easily represented, in the same manner as the representations of things are in things. And Aristotle tels of a man, to whom it happened by reason of the weakness of his sight, that the Aire that was near to him, became as it were a Looking-glass to him, and the optick beam did relect back upon himself, and could not penetrate the Aire, so that whithersoever he went, he thought he saw his own image, with his face towards him, go before him. In like manner, by the artificialnes of some certain Looking-glasses, may be produced at a distance in the Aire, beside the Looking-glasses, what images we please; which when ignorant men see, they think they see the appearances of spirits, or souls; when indeed they are nothing else but semblances kin to themselves, and without life. And it is well known, if in a dark place where there is no light but by the coming in of a beam of the sun somewhere through a litle hole, a white paper, or plain Looking-glass be set up against that light, that there may be seen upon them, whatsoever things are done without, being shined upon by the Sun. And there is another sleight, or trick yet more wonderfull. If any one shall take images artificially painted, or written letters, and in a clear night set them against the beams of the full Moon, whose resemblances being multiplyed in the Aire, and caught upward, and reflected back together with the beams of the Moon, any other man that is privy to the thing, at a long distance sees, reads, and knows them in the very compass, and Circle of the Moon, which Art of declaring secrets is indeed very profitable for Towns, and Cities that are besieged, being a thing which Pythagoras long since did often do, and which is not unknown to some in these dayes, I will not except my self. And all these, and many more, and greater then these, are grounded in the very nature of the Aire, and have their reasons, and causes declared in Mathematicks, and Opticks. And as these resemblances are reflected back to the sight, so also sometimes to the hearing, as is manifest in the Echo. But there are more secret arts then these, and such whereby any one may at a very remote distance hear, and understand what another speaks, or whispers softly.
There are also from the airy Element Winds. For they are nothing else, but Air moved and stirred up. Of these there are four that are principall, blowing from the four corners of the Heaven, viz. Notus from the South, Boreas from the North, Zephyrus from the West, Eurus from the East, which Pontanus comprehending in these verses, saith, Cold Boreas from the top of ‘lympus [Olympus] blows, And from the bottom cloudy Notus flows.
From setting Phoebus fruitfull Zeph’rus flies, And barren Eurus from the Suns up-rise.
Notus is the Southern Wind, cloudy, moist, warm, and sickly, which Hieronimus cals the butler of the rains. Ovid describes it thus, Out flies South-wind, with dropping wings, who shrowds His fearful aspect in the pitchie clouds, His white Haire stream’s, his Beard big-swoln with showres [showers];
Mists binde his Brows, rain from his Bosome powres [pours].
But Boreas is contrary to Notus, and is the Northern Wind, fierce, and roaring, and discussing clouds, makes the Aire serene, and binds the Water with Frost. Him doth Ovid thus bring in speaking of himself.
Force me befits: with this thick cloud I drive; Toss the blew Billows, knotty Okes [oaks] up-rive; Congeal soft Snow, and beat the Earth with haile; When I my brethren in the Aire assaile, (For thats our Field) we meet with such a shock, That thundring Skies with our encounters rock And cloud-struck lightning flashes from on high, When through the Crannies of the Earth I flie, And force her in her hollow Caves, I make The Ghosts to tremble, and the ground to quake.
And Zephyrus, which is the Western Wind, is most soft, blowing from the West with a pleasant gale, it is cold and moist, removing the effects of Winter, bringing forth Branches, and Flowers. To this Eurus is contrary, which is the Eastern wind, and is called Apeliotes; it is waterish, cloudy, and ravenous. Of these two Ovid sings thus:
To Persis and Sabea, Eurus flies; Whose gums perfume the blushing Mornes up-rise: Next to the Evening, and the Coast that glows With setting Phoebus, flowry Zeph’rus blows: In Scythia horrid Boreas holds his rain, Beneath Boites, and the frozen Wain: The land to this oppos’d doth Auster steep With fruitfull showres, and clouds which ever weep.
Chap. 7 Of the kinds of Compounds, what relation they stand in to the Elements, and what relation there is betwixt the Elements themselves, and the soul, senses, and dispositions of men.
Next after the four simple Elements follow the four kinds of perfect Bodies compounded of them, and they are Stones, Metals, Plants, and Animals: and although unto the generation of each of these all the Elements meet together in the composition, yet every one of them follows, and resembles one of the Elements, which is most predominant. For all Stones are earthy, for they are naturally heavy, and descend, and so hardened with dryness, that they cannot be melted. But Metals are waterish, and may be melted, which Naturalists confess, and Chymists [chemists] finde to be true, viz. that they are generated of a viscous Water, or waterish argent vive. Plants have such an affinity with the Aire, that unless they be abroad in the open Aire, they do neither bud, nor increase. So also all Animals Have in their Natures a most fiery force, And also spring from a Celestiall source.
And Fire is so naturall to them, that that being extinguished they presently dye [die]. And again every one of those kinds is distinguished within it self by reason of degrees of the Elements. For amongst the Stones they especially are called earthy that are dark, and more heavy; and those waterish, which are transparent, and are compacted of water, as Crystall, Beryll, and Pearls in the shels [shells] of Fishes: and they are called airy, which swim upon the Water, and are spongious [spongeous], as the Stones of a Sponge, the pumice Stone, and the Stone Sophus: and they are called fiery, out of which fire is extracted, or which are resolved into Fire, or which are produced of Fire: as Thunderbolts, Fire-stones, and the Stone Asbestus [asbestos]. Also amongst Metals, Lead, and Silver are earthy; Quicksilver is waterish: Copper, and Tin are airy: and Gold, and Iron are fiery. In Plants also, the roots resemble the Earth, by reason of their thickness: and the leaves, Water, because of their juice: Flowers, the Aire, because of their subtility, and the Seeds the Fire, by reason of their multiplying spirit. Besides, they are called some hot, wine cold, sonic moist, some dry, borrowing their names from the qualifies of the Elements. Amongst Animals also, some are in comparison of others earthy, and dwell in the bowels of the Earth, as Worms and Moles, and many other small creeping Vermine; others are watery, as Fishes; others airy, which cannot live out of the Aire: others also are fiery, living in the Fire, as Salamanders, and Crickets, such as are of a fiery heat, as Pigeons, Estriches [ostriches], Lions, and such as the wise man cals beasts breathing Fire. Besides, in Animals the Bones resemble the Earth, Flesh the Aire, the vital spirit the Fire, and the humors the Water. And these humors also partake of the Elements, for yellow choller [choler] is instead of Fire, blood instead of Aire, Flegme [phlegm] instead of Water, and black choller [choler], or melancholy instead of Earth. And lastly, in the Soul it self, according to Austin [Augustine], the understanding resembles Fire, reason the Aire, imagination the Water, and the senses the Earth. And these senses also are divided amongst themselves by reason of the Elements, for the sight is fiery, neither can it perceive without Fire, and Light: the hearing is airy, for a sound is made by the striking of the Aire; The smell, and tast [taste] resemble the Water, without the moisture of which there is neither smell, nor tast [taste]; and lastly the feeling is wholly earthy, and taketh gross bodies for its object. The actions also, and the operations of man are governed by the Elements. The Earth signifies a slow, and firm motion; The water signifies fearfulness, & sluggishness, and remisseness in working: Aire signifies chearfulness [cheerfulness], and an amiable disposition: but Fire a fierce, quick and angry disposition. The Elements therefore are the first of all things, and all things are of, and according to them, and they are in all things, and diffuse their vertues through all things.
Chap.8 How the Elements are in the Heavens, in Stars, in Divels [devils], in Angels, and lastly in God himself.
It is the unanimous consent of all Platonists, that as in the originall, and exemplary World, all things are in all; so also in this corporeal world, all things are in all; so also the Elements are not only in these inferior bodies, but also in the Heavens, in Stars, in Divels [devils], in Angels, and lastly in God, the maker and originall example of all things. Now in these inferiour bodies the Elements are accompanied with much gross matter; but in the Heavens the Elements are with their natures, and vertues, viz. after a Celestiall, and more excellent manner, then in sublunary things. For the firmness of the Celestiall Earth is there without the grossness of Water: and the agility of the Aire without running over its bounds; the heat of Fire without burning, only shining, and giving life to all things by its heat. Amongst the Stars, also, some are fiery, as Mars, and Sol; airy, as Jupiter, and Venus: watery, as Saturn, and Mercury: and earthy, such as inhabit the eighth Orbe, and the Moon (which notwithstanding by many is accounted watery) seeing, as if it were Earth, it attracts to it self the Celestiall waters, with which being imbibed, it doth by reason of its neerness [nearness] to us power [pour] out, and communicate to us. There are also amongst the signes, some fiery, some earthy, some airy, some watery: the Elements rule them also in the Heavens, distributing to them these four threefold considerations Of every Element, viz. the beginning, middle, and end: so Aries possesseth the beginning of Fire, Leo the progress, and increase, and Sagittarius the end. Taurus the beginning of the Earth, Virgo the progress, Capricorn the end. Gemini the beginning of the Aire, Libra the progress, Aquarius the end. Cancer the beginning of Water, Scorpius [Scorpio] the middle, and Pisces the end. Of the mixtions therefore of these Planets and Signes, together with the Elements are all bodies made. Moreover Divels [devils] also are upon this account distinguished the one from the other, so that some are called fiery, some earthy, some airy, and some watery. Hence also those four Infernall Rivers, fiery Phlegethon, airy Cocytus, watery Styx, earthy Acheron. Also in the Gospel we read of Hell Fire, and eternall Fire, into which the Cursed shall be commanded to go: and in the Revelation we read of a Lake of Fire, and Isaiah speaks of the damned, that the Lord will smite them with corrupt Aire. And in Job, They shall skip from the Waters of the Snow to extremity of heat, and in the same we read, That the Earth is dark, and covered with the darkness of death, and miserable darkness. Moreover also these Elements are placed in the Angels in Heaven, and the blessed Intelligencies; there is in them a stability of their essence, which is an earthly vertue, in which is the stedfast seat of God; also their mercy, and piety is a watery cleansing vertue. Hence by the Psalmist they are called Waters, where he speaking of the Heavens, saith, Who rulest the Waters that are higher then the Heavens [Ps148.4;] also in them their subtill [subtle] breath is Aire, and their love is shining Fire. Hence they are called in Scripture the Wings of the Wind; and in another place the Psalmist speaks of them, Who makest Angels thy Spirits, and thy Ministers a flaming fire. Also according to orders of Angels, some are fiery, as Seraphin [Seraphim], and authorities, and powers; earthy as Cherubin [Cherubim]; watery as Thrones, and Archangels: airy as Dominions, and Principalities. Do we not also read of the original maker of all things, that the earth shall he opened and bring forth a Saviour? Is it not spoken of the same, that he shall be a fountain of living Water, cleansing and regenerating? Is not the same Spirit breathing the breath of life; and the same according to Moses, and Pauls testimony, A consuming Fire? That Elements therefore are to be found every where, and in all things after their manner, no man can deny: First in these inferiour bodies feculent and gross, and in Celestials more pure, and clear; but in supercelestials living, and in all respects blessed. Elements therefore in the exemplary world are Idea’s of things to be produced, in Intelligencies are distributed powers, in Heavens are vertues, and in inferiour bodies gross forms.
Chap. 9 Of the vertues of things Naturall, depending immediatly upon Elements.
Of the naturall vertues of things, some are Elementary, as to heat, to cool, to moisten, to dry; and they are called operations, or first qualities, and the second act: for these qualities only do wholly change the whole substance, which none of the other qualities can do.
And some are in things compounded of Elements, and these are more then first qualities, and such are those that are maturating, digesting, resolving, mollifying, hardening, restringing, absterging, corroding, burning, opening, evaporating, strengthening, mitigating, conglutinating, obstructing, expelling, retaining, attracting, repercussing, stupifying [stupefying], bestowing, lubrifying, and many more. Elementary qualities do many things in a mixt [mixed] body, which they cannot do in the Elements themselves. And these operations are called secondary qualities, because they follow the nature, and proportion of the mixtion of the first vertues, as largely it is treated of in Physick [Medical] Books. As maturation, which is the operation of naturall heat, according to a certain proportion in the substance of the matter. Induration is the operation of cold; so also is congelation, and so of the rest. And these operations sometimes act upon a certain member, as such which provoke Urine, Milk, the Menstrua, and they are called third qualities, which follow the second, as the second do the first. According therefore to these first, second, and third qualities many diseases are both cured, and caused. Many things also there are artificially made, which men much wonder at; as is Fire, which burns Water, which they call the Greek Fire, of which Aristotle teacheth many compositions in his particular Treatise of this subject. In like manner there is made a Fire that is extinguished with Oyl [oil], and is kindled with cold Water, when it is sprinkled upon it; and a Fire which is kindled either with Rain, Wind, or the Sun; and there is made a Fire, which is called burning Water, the Confection whereof is well known, and it consumes nothing but it self: and also there are made Fires that cannot be quenched, and incombustible Oyles [oils], and perpetuall Lamps, which can be extinguished neither with Wind, nor Water, nor any other way; which seems utterly incredible, but that there had been such a most famous Lamp, which once did shine in the Temple of Venus, in which the stone Asbestos did burn, which being once fired can never be extinguished. Also on the contrary, Wood, or any other combustible matter may be so ordered, that it can receive no harm from the Fire; and there are made certain Confections, with which the hands being anointed, we may carry red hot Iron in them, or put them into melted Metall, or go with our whole bodies, being first anointed therewith, into the Fire without any manner of harm, and such like things as these may be done. There is also a kind of flax, which Pliny calls Asbestum, the Greeks call Asbezon, which is not consumed by Fire, of which Anaxilaus saith, that a Tree compassed about with it, may be cut down with insensible blows, that cannot be heard.
Chap. 10 Of the Occult Vertues of things.
There are also other vertues in things, which are not from any Element, as to expell poyson [poison], to drive away the noxious vapours of Minerals, to attract Iron, or any thing else; and these vertues are a sequell of the species, and form of this or that thing; whence also they being little in quantity, are of great efficacy; which is not granted to any Elementary quality. For these vertues having much form, and litle matter, can do very much; but an Elementary vertue, because it hath more materiality, requires much matter for its acting. And they are called occult qualities, because their Causes lie hid, and mans intellect cannot in any way reach, and find them out. Wherefore Philosophers have attained to the greatest part of them by long experience, rather then by the search of reason: for as in the Stomack [stomach] the meat is digested by heat, which we know; so it is changed by a certain hidden vertue which we know not: for truly it is not changed by heat, because then it should rather be changed by the Fire side, then in the Stomack [stomach]. So there are in things, besides the Elementary qualities which we know, other certain imbred vertues created by nature, which we admire, and are amazed at, being such as we know not, and indeed seldom or never have seen. As we read in Ovid of the Phoenix, one only Bird, which renews her self.
All Birds from others do derive their birth, But yet one Fowle there is in all the Earth, Call’d by th’ Assyrians Phoenix, who the wain Of age, repairs, and sows her self again.
And in another place, Ægyptus came to see this wondrous sight: And this rare Bird is welcom’d with delight.
Long since Metreas [Matreas] brought a very great wonderment upon the Greeks, and Romans concerning himself. He said that he nourished, and bred a beast that did devour it self. Hence many to this day are solicitous, what this beast of Matreas should be. Who would not wonder that Fishes should be digged out of the Earth, of which Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Polybius the Historian makes mention? And those things which Pausanius wrote concerning the singing Stones? All these are effects of occult vertues. So the Estrich [ostrich] concocts cold, and most hard Iron, and digests it into nourishment for his body; whose Stomack [stomach] they also report, cannot be hurt with red hot Iron. So that little Fish called Echeneis doth so curb the violence of the Winds, and appease the rage of the Sea, that, let the Tempests be never so imperious, and raging, the Sails also bearing a full Gale, it doth notwithstanding by its meer touch stay the Ships, and makes them stand still, that by no means they can be moved. So Salamanders, and Crickets live in the Fire; although they seem sometimes to burn, yet they are not hurt. The like is said of a kind of Bitumen, with which the weapons of the Amazons were said to be smeared over, by which means they could be spoiled neither with Sword nor Fire; with which also the Gates of Caspia, made of Brass, are reported to be smeared over by Alexander the great. We read also that Noah’s Ark was joyned together with this Bitumen, and that it endured some thousands of years upon the Mountains of Armenia. There are many such kind of wonderfull things, scarce credible, which notwithstanding are known by experience. Amongst which Antiquity makes mention of Satyrs, which were Animals, in shape half men, and half bruits [brutes], yet capable of speech, and reason; one whereof S. Hierome reporteth, spake once unto holy Antonius the Hermite, and condemned the errour of the Gentiles, in worshipping such poor creatures as they were, and desired him that he would pray unto the true God for him; also he affirms that there was one of them shewed openly alive, and afterwards sent to Constantine the Emperour.
Chap. 11 How Occult Vertues are infused into the severall kinds of things by Idea’s, through the help of the Soul of the World, and rayes of the Stars: and what things abound most with this Vertue.
Platonists say that all inferiour bodies are exemplified by the superiour Ideas. Now they define an Idea to be a form, above bodies, souls, minds, and to be one, simple, pure, immutable, indivisible, incorporeal, and eternall: and that the nature of all Idea’s is the same. Now they place Idea’s in the first place in very goodness it self (i.e.) God, by way of cause; and that they are distinguished amongst themselves by some relative considerations only, least whatsoever is in the world, should be but one thing without any variety, and that they agree in essence, least God should be a compound substance. In the second place, they place them in the very intelligible it self (i.e.) in the Soul of the world, differing the one from the other by absolute forms, so that all the Idea’s in God indeed are but one form: but in the Soul of the world they are many. They are placed in the minds of all other things, whether they be joyned to the body, or separated from the body, by a certain participation, and now by degrees are distinguished more, and more. They place them in nature, as certain small seed of forms infused by the Idea’s, and lastly they place them in matter, as Shadows. Hereunto may be added, that in the Soul of the world there be as many Seminal Forms of things, as Idea’s in the mind of God, by which forms she did in the Heavens above the Stars frame to her self shapes also, and stamped upon all these some properties; on these Stars therefore, shapes, and properties, all vertues of inferiour species, as also their properties do depend; so that every species hath its Celestiall shape, or figure that is sutable [suitable] to it from which also proceeds a wonderfull power of operating, which proper gift it receives from its own Idea, through the Seminal forms of the Soul of the world. For Idea’s are not only essential causes of every species, but are also the causes of every vertue, which is in the species: and this is that which many Philosophers say, that the properties which are in the nature of things (which vertues indeed are the operations of the Idea’s) are moved by certain vertues, viz. such as have a certain, and sure foundation, not fortuitous, nor casuall, but efficacious, powerfull, and sufficient, doing nothing in vain. Now these Vertues do not err in their actings, but by accident, viz. by reason of the impurity, or inequality of the matter: For upon this account there are found things of the same species, more, or less powerful, according to the purity, or indisposition of the matter; for all Celestial Influences may be hindred by the indisposition, and insufficiency of the matter. Whence it was a Proverb amongst the Platonists, That Celestial Vertues were infused according to the desert of the matter: Which also Virgil makes mention of, when he sings, Their natures fiery are, and from above, And from gross bodies freed, divinely move.
Wherefore those things in which there is less of the Idea of the matter (i.e.) such things which have a greater resemblance of things separated, have more powerfull vertues in operation, being like to the operation of a separated Idea. We see then that the situation, and figure of Celestials is the cause of all those excellent Vertues, that are in inferiour species.
Chap. 12 How it is that particular Vertues are infused into particular Individuals, even of the same Species.
There are also in many Individuals, or particular things, peculiar gifts, as wonderfull, as in the species, and these also are from the figure, and situation of Celestiall Stars. For every Individuall, when it begins to be under a determined Horoscope, and Celestiall Constellation, Contracts together with its essence a certain wonderfull vertue both of doing, and suffering something that is remarkable, even besides that which it receives from its species, and this it doth partly by the influence of the Heaven, and partly through that obedientialness of the matter of things to be generated, to the Soul of the World, which obedientialness indeed is such as that of our bodies to our souls. For we perceive that there is this in us, that according to our conceptions of things, our bodies are moved, and that cheerfully, as when we are afraid of, or fly from any thing. So many times when the Celestiall souls conceive several things, then the matter is moved obedientially to it: Also in Nature there appear divers prodigies, by reason of the imagination of superiour motions. So also they conceive, & imagine divers vertues, not only things naturall, but also sometimes things artificial, and this especially if the Soul of the operator be inclined towards the same. Whence Avicen saith, that whatsoever things are done here, must have been before in the motions, and conceptions of the Stars, and Orbes. So in things, various effects, inclinations, and dispositions are occasioned not only from the matter variously disposed, as many suppose, but from a various influence, and diverse form; not truly with a specifical difference, but peculiar, and proper. And the degrees of these are variously distributed by the first Cause of all things, God himself, who being unchangeable, distributes to every one as he pleaseth, with whom notwithstanding second Causes, Angelical and Celestial, cooperate, disposing of the Corporeal matter, and other things that are committed to them. All vertues therefore are infused by God, through the Soul of the World, yet by a particular power of resemblances, and intelligences over-ruling them, and concourse of the rayes, and aspects of the Stars in a certain peculiar harmonious consent.
Chap. 13 Whence the Occult Vertues of things proceed.
It is well known to all, that there is a Certain vertue in the Loadstone, by which it attracts Iron, and that the Diamond doth by its presence take away that vertue of the Loadstone: so also Amber, and jeat [jet] rubbed, and warmed draw a straw to them, and the Stone Asbestus [asbestos] being once fired is never, or scarce extinguished: a Carbuncle shines in the dark, the Stone Aetites put above the young fruit of Women, or Plants, strengthens them, but being put under, causeth abortion; the Jasper stencheth [stauncheth] blood; the litle fish Echeneis stops the ships: Rhubarb expels choller [choler]; the liver of the Camelion [Chameleon] burnt, raiseth showers, and thunders. The Stone Heliotrope dazles [dazzles] the sight, and makes him that wears it to be invisible, the Stone Lyucurius takes away delusions from before the eyes, the perfume of the Stone Lypparis cals forth all the beasts, the Stone Synochitis brings up infernal Ghosts, the Stone Anachitis makes the images of the Gods appear. The Ennecis put under them that dream, causeth Oracles. There is an Hearb [herb] in Æthiopia [Ethiopia], with which they report ponds, and lakes are dryed [dried] up, and all things that are shut, to be opened; and we read of an Hearb [herb] called Latace which the Persian Kings give to their Embassadours, that whithersoever they shall come, they shall abound with plenty of all things. There is also a Scythian Hearb [herb], with which being tasted, or at least held in the mouth, they report the Scythians will endure twelve dayes hunger, and thirst; and Apuleius saith, that he was taught by an Oracle that there were many kinds of Hearbs [herbs], and Stones, with which men might prolong their lives for ever, but that it was not lawfull for men to understand the knowledge of those things, because, whereas they have but a short time to live, they study mischief with all their might, and attempt all manner of wickedness; if they should be sure of a very long time, they would not spare the Gods themselves. But from whence these vertues are, none of all these have shewed, who have set forth huge Volumes of the properties of things, not Hermes, not Bochus, not Aaron, not Orpheus, not Theophrastus, not Thebith, not Zenothemis, not Zoroaster, not Evax, not Dioscorides, not Isaaick the Jew, not Zacharias the Babilonian [Babylonian], not Albertus, not Arnoldus; and yet all these have confessed the same, that Zacharias writes to Mithridites, that great power, and humane destinies are couched in the vertues of Stones and Hearbs [herbs]. But to know from whence these come, a higher speculation is required. Alexander the peripateticke not going any further then his senses, and qualities, is of the opinion that these proceed from Elements, and their qualities, which haply might be supposed to be true, if those were of the same species; but many of the operations of the Stones agree neither in genere, nor specie. Therefore Plato, and his Schollers [scholars] attribute these vertues to Idea’s, the formers of things. But Avicen reduceth these kinds of operations to Intelligencies, Hermes to the Stars, Albertus to the specificall forms of things. And although these Authors seem to thwart one the other, yet none of them, if they be rightly understood, goes beside the truth: since all their sayings are the same in effect in most things. For God in the first place is the end, and begining of all Vertues, he gives the seal of the Idea’s to his servants the Intelligencies; who as faithfull officers sign all things intrusted [entrusted] to them with an Ideall Vertue, the Heavens, and Stars, as instruments, disposing the matter in the mean while for the receiving of those forms which reside in Divine Majesty (as saith Plato in Timeus) and to be conveyed by Stars; and the Giver of forms distributes them by the Ministry of his Intelligencies, which he hath set as Rulers, and Controllers over his Works, to whom such a power is intrusted in things committed to them, that so all Vertues of Stones, Hearbs [herbs], Metals, and all other things may come from the Intelligencies, the Governours. The Form therefore, and Vertue of things comes first from the Idea’s, then from the ruling, and governing Intelligencies, then from the aspects of the Heavens disposing, and lastly from the tempers of the Elements disposed, answering the influencies of the Heavens, by which the Elements themselves are ordered, or disposed. These kinds of operations therefore are performed in these inferiour things by express forms, and in the Heavens by disposing vertues, in Intelligencies by mediating rules, in the original Cause by Idea’s, and exemplary forms, all which must of necessity agree in the execution of the effect, and vertue of every thing.
There is therefore a wonderfull vertue, and operation in every Hearb [herb] and Stone, but greater in a Star, beyond which, even from the governing Intelligencies every thing receiveth, and obtains many things for it self, especially from the Supream Cause, with whom all things do mutually, and exactly correspond, agreeing in an harmonious consent, as it were in Hymnes, alwaies praising the highest Maker of all things, as by the three Children in the fiery furnace were all things called upon to praise God with singings. Bless ye the Lord all things that grow upon the Earth, and all things which move in the Waters, all fowls of the Heavens, Beasts, and Cattle, together with the sons of men. There is therefore no other cause of the necessity of effects, then the connexion [connection] of all things with the first Cause, and their correspondency with those Divine patterns, and eternall Idea’s, whence every thing hath its determinate, and particular place in the exemplary world, from whence it lives, and receives its originall being; And every vertue of Hearbs [herbs], Stones, Metals, Animals, Words, and Speeches, and all things that are of God, is placed there. Now the first Cause, which is God, although he doth by Intelligencies, and the Heavens work upon these inferiour things, doth sometimes (these Mediums being laid aside, or their officiating being suspended) works those things immediatly by himself, which works then are called Miracles: But whereas secondary causes, which Plato, and others call handmaids, do by the Command, and appointment of the first Cause, necessarily act, and are necessitated to produce their effects, if God shall notwithstanding according to his pleasure so discharge, and suspend them, that they shall wholly desist from the necessity of that Command, and appointment; then they are called the greatest Miracles of God. So the fire in the Chaldeans furnace did not burn the Children: So also the Sun at the Command of Joshua went back from its course the space of one whole day; so also at the prayer of Hezekiah it went back ten degrees, or hours. So when Christ was Crucified the Sun was darkened, though at full Moon: And the reasons these operations can by no rationall discourse, no Magick, or occult, or profound Science whatsoever be found out, or understood, but are to be learned, and inquired into by Divine Oracles only.
Chap. 14 Of the Spirit of the World, what it is, and how by way of medium it unites occult Vertues to their subjects.
Democritus and Orpheus, and many Pythagorians having most diligently searched into the vertues of Celestiall things, and natures of inferior things, said, That all things are full of God, and not without cause: For there is nothing of such transcending vertues, which being destitute of Divine assistance, is content with the nature of it self. Also they called those Divine Powers which are diffused in things, Gods: which Zoroaster called Divine allurements, Synesius Symbolicall inticements, others called them Lives, and some also Souls, saying, that the vertues of things did depend upon these; because it is the property of the Soul to be from one matter extended into divers things, about which it operates: So is a man, who extends his intellect unto intelligible things, and his imagination unto imaginable things; and this is that which they understood, when they said, viz. That the Soul of one thing went out, and went into another thing, altering it, and hindering the operations of it: As the Diamond hinders the operation of the Loadstone, that it cannot attract Iron. Now seeing the Soul is the first thing that is moveable, and as they say, is moved of it self; but the body, or the matter is of it self unable, and unfit for motion, and doth much degenerate from the Soul, therefore they say there is need of a more excellent Medium, viz. Such a one that may be as it were no body, but as it were a Soul, or as it were no Soul, but as it were a body, viz. by which the soul may be joyned to the body. Now they conceive such a medium to be the spirit of the World, viz. that which we call the quintessence: because it is not from the four Elements, but a certain first thing, having its being above, and besides them. There is therefore such a kind of spirit required to be, as it were the medium, whereby Celestiall Souls are joyned to gross bodies, and bestow upon them wonderfull gifts. This spirit is after the same manner in the body of the world, as ours is in the body of man. For as the powers of our soul are communicated to the members of the body by the spirit, so also the Vertue of the Soul of the World is diffused through all things by the quintessence: For there is nothing found in the whole world, that hath not a spark of the Vertue thereof. Yet it is more, nay most of all infused into those things which have received, or taken in most of this spirit: Now this spirit is received or taken in by the rayes of the Stars, so far forth as things render themselves conformable to them. By this spirit therefore every occult property is conveyed into Hearbs [herbs], Stones, Metals, and Animals, through the Sun, Moon, Planets, and through Stars higher then the Planets. Now this spirit may be more advantageous to us, if any one knew how to separate it from the Elements: or at least to use those things chiefly, which do most abound with this spirit. For these things, in which this spirit is less drowned in a body, and less checked by matter, do more powerfully, and perfectly act, and also more readily generate their like: for in it are all generative, & seminary Vertues. For which cause the Alchymists [alchemists] endeavour to separate this spirit from Gold, and Silver; which being rightly separated, and extracted, if thou shalt afterward project upon any matter of the same kind (i.e.) any Metall, presently will turn it into Gold, or Silver. And we know how to do that, and have seen it done: but we could make no more Gold, then the weight of that was, out of which we extracted the spirit. For seeing that is an extense form, and not intense, it cannot beyond its own bounds change and imperfect body into a perfect: which I deny not, but may be done by another way.
Chap. 15 How we must find out, and examine the Vertues of things by way of similitude.
It is now manifest that the occult properties in things are not from the nature of the Elements, but infused from above, hid from our senses, and scarce at last known by our reason, which indeed come from the Life, and the Spirit of the World, through the rayes of the Stars: and can no otherwise but by experience, and conjecture be enquired into by us. Wherefore, he that desires to enter upon this study must consider, that every thing moves, and turns it self to its like, and inclines that to it self with all its might, as well in property, viz. Occult vertue, as in quality, viz. Elementary vertue. Sometimes also in substance it self, as we see in Salt, for whatsoever hath long stood with Salt, becomes Salt: for every agent, when it hath begun to act, doth not attempt to make a thing inferiour to it self, but as much as may be, like, and sutable [suitable] to it self. Which also we manifestly see in sensible Animals, in which the nutritive Vertue doth not change the meat into an Hearb [herb], or a Plant, but turns it into sensible flesh. In what things therefore there is an excess of any quality, or property, as heat, cold, boldness, fear, sadness, anger, love, hatred, or any other passion, or Vertue; whether it be in them by nature, or sometimes also by art, or chance, as boldness in a harlot; these things do very much move, and provoke to such a quality, passion, or Vertue. So Fire moves to Fire, and Water moves to Water, and be that is bold moves to boldness. And it is well known amongst Physitians [physicians], that brain helps the brain, and lungs, the lungs. So also it is said, that the right eye of a Frog helps the soreness of a mans right eye, and the left eye thereof helps the soreness of his left eye, if they be hanged about his neck in a Cloth of its naturall Colour: The like is reported of the eyes of a Crab. So the foot of a Tortoise helps them that have the Gout in their being applyed thus, as foot to foot, hand to hand, right to right, left to left.
After this manner they say, that any Animall that is barren causeth another to be barren; and of the Animall, especially the Testicles, Matrix [womb], or Urin [urine]. So they report that a woman shall not conceive, if she drink every moneth of the Urin [urine] of a Mule, or any thing steeped in it. If therefore we would obtain any property or Vertue, let us seek for such Animals, or such other things whatsoever, in which such a property is in a more eminent manner then in any other thing, and in these let us take that part in which such a property, or Vertue is most vigorous: as if at any time we would promote love, let us seek some Animall which is most loving, of which kind are Pigeons, Turtles, Sparrows, Swallows, Wagtailes: and in these take those members, or parts, in which the Venerall [venereal, i.e. sexual] appetite is most vigorous, such as the heart, testicles, matrix [womb], yard [penis], sperme, and menstrues. And it must be done at that time when these Animals have this affection most intense: for then they do provoke, and draw love. In like manner to increase boldness, let us look for a Lyon [lion], or a Cock, and of these let us take the heart, eyes, or forehead. And so we must understand that which Psellus the Platonist saith, viz. that Dogs, Crows, and Cocks conduce much to watchfulness: also the Nightingale, and Bat, and horn Owle [horned owl], and in these the heart, head, and eyes especially. Therefore it is said, if any shall carry the heart of a Crow, or a Bat about him, he shall not sleep till he cast it away from him. The same doth the head of a Bat dryed [dried], and bound to the right arme of him that is awake, for if it be put upon him when he is asleep, it is said, that he shall not be awaked till it be taken off from him. After the same manner doth a Frog, and an Owle make one talkative and of these specially the tongue, and heart; So the tongue also of a Water-frog laid under the head, makes a man speak in his sleep, and the heart of a scrich-Owle [screech-owl] laid upon the left breast of a woman that is asleep is said to make her utter all her secrets. The same also the heart of the horn Owle [horned owl] is said to do, also the sewet [suet] of a Hare laid upon the breast of one that is asleep. Upon the same account do Animals that are long lived, conduce to long life; and whatsoever things have a power in themselves, to renew themselves, conduce to the renovation of our body, and restoring of youth, which Physitians [physicians] have often professed they know to be true; as is manifest of the Viper, and Snake. And it is known that Harts renew their old age by the eating of Snakes. After the same manner the Phoenix is renewed by a fire which she makes for her self; and the like vertue there is in a Pellican [pelican], whose right foot being put under warm dung, after three moneths [months] there is of that generated a Pellican [pelican]. Therefore some Physitians [physicians] by some certain confections made of Vipers, and Hellebor [hellebore], and the flesh of some such kind of Animals do restore youth, and indeed do sometimes restore it so, as Medea restored old Pileas. It is also believed that the blood of a Bear, if it be sucked out of her wound, doth increase strength of body, because that Animall is the strongest creature.
Chap. 16 How the operations of several Vertues pass from one thing into another, and are communicated one to the other.
Thou must know, that so great is the power of naturall things, that they not only work upon all things that are neer them, by their Vertue, but also besides this, they infuse into them a like power, through which by the same Vertue they also work upon other things, as we see in the Loadstone, which Stone indeed doth not only draw Iron Rings, but also infuseth a Vertue into the Rings themselves, whereby they can do the same, which Austin [Augustine] and Albertus [Magnus] say they saw. After this manner it is, as they say, that a common harlot, grounded in boldness, and impudence doth infect all that are neer her, by this property, whereby they are made like her self. Therefore they say that if any one shall put on the inward garment of an Harlot, or shall have about him that looking glass, which she daily looks into, he shall thereby become bold, confident, impudent, and wanton. In like manner they say, that a cloth that was about a dead Corpse hath received from thence the property of sadness, and melancholy; and that the halter wherewith a man was hanged hath certain wonderfull properties. The like story tels Pliny, if any shall put a green Lizard made blind, together with Iron, or Gold Rings into a glass-vessel, putting under them some earth, and then shutting the vessel, and when it appears that the Lizard hath received his sight, shall put him out of the glass, that those Rings shall help sore eyes. The same may be done with Rings, and a Weesel [weasel], whose eyes after they are with any kind of prick put out, it is certain are restored to sight again. Upon the same account Rings are put for a certain time in the nest of Sparrows, or Swallows, which afterwards are used to procure love, and favor.
Chap. 17 How by enmity and friendship the vertues of things are to be tryed, and found out.
In the next place it is requisite that we consider that all things have a friendliness, and enmity amongst themselves, and every thing hath something that it fears & dreads, that is an enemy, and destructive to it; and on the contrary something that it rejoyceth, and delighteth in, and is strengthened by. So in the Elements, Fire is an enemy to Water, and Aire to Earth, but yet they agree amongst themselves. And again, in Celestiall bodies, Mercury, Jupiter, the Sun, and Moon are friends to Saturn; Mars, and Venus enemies to him, all the Planets besides Mars are friends to Jupiter, also all besides Venus hate Mars; Jupiter, and Venus love the Sun, Mars, Mercury, and the Moon are enemies to him, all besides Saturne love Venus; Jupiter, Venus, and Saturne are friends to Mercury, the Sun, Moon, and Mars his enemies. Jupiter, Venus, Saturne are friends to the Moon, Mars, and Mercury her enemies. There is another kind of enmity amongst the Stars, viz. when they have opposite houses; as Saturne to the Sun and Moon, Jupiter to Mercury, Mars to Venus. And their enmity is stronger, whose exaltations are opposite: as of Saturne, and the Sun; of Jupiter, and Mars; of Venus, and Mercury. But their friendship is the strongest, who agree in nature, quality, substance, and power; as Mars with the Sun, as Venus with the Moon, as Jupiter with Venus, as also their friendship whose exaltation is in the house of another, as that of Saturne with Venus, of Jupiter with the Moon, of Mars with Saturn, of the Sun with Mars, of Venus with Jupiter, of the Moon with Venus. And of what sort the friendships, and enmities of the superiours be, such are the inclinations of things subjected to them in these inferiour. These dispositions therefore of friendship, and enmity are nothing else but certain inclinations of things of the one to another, desiring such, and such a thing if it be absent, and to move towards it, unless it be hindered, and to acquiess [acquiesce] in it when it is obtained, shunning the contrary, and dreading the approach of it, and not resting in, or being contented with it. Heraclitus therefore being guided by this opinion, professed that all things were made by enmity & friendship. Now the inclinations of Friendship are such in Vegetables and Minerals, as is that attractive inclination, which the Loadstone hath upon Iron, and the Emrald [emerald] upon riches, and favour; the Jasper upon the birth of any thing, and the Stone Achates upon Eloquence; In like manner there is a kind of Bituminous Clay that draws Fire, and leaps into it, wheresoever it sees it: Even so doth the root of the Hearb [herb] Aproxis draw Fire from afar off. Also the same inclination there is betwixt the male palme, and female: whereof when the bough of one shall touch the bough of the other, they fold themselves into mutual embraces, neither doth the female bring forth fruit without the male. And the Almond tree, when she is alone is less fruitfull. The Vines love the Elme, and the Olive-tree, and myrtle love one the other: also the Olive-tree, and Fig tree. Now in Animals there is amity betwixt the Blackbird, and Thrush, betwixt the Crow, and Heron, betwixt Peacocks, and Pigeons, Turtles, and Parrats [parrots]. Whence Sappho writes to Phaon.
To Birds unlike oftimes joyned are white Doves; Also the Bird that’s green, black Turtle loves.
Again, the Whale, and the little Fish his guide are friendly. Neither is this amity in Animals amongst themselves, but also with other things, as with Metals, Stones, and Vegetables, so the Cat delights in the Hearb [herb] Nip [catnip], by rubbing her self upon which she is said to conceive without a male; and there be Mares in Cappadocia, that expose themselves to the blast of the wind, and by the attraction thereof conceive. So Frogs, Toads, Snakes, and all manner of creeping poisonous things delight in the Plant called Pas-flower, of whom, as the Physitians [physicians] say, if any one eat, he shall dye [die] with laughing. The Tortoise also when he is hunted by the Adder, eats Origanum [origano], and is thereby strengthened: and the Stork, when he hath eat Snakes, seeks for a remedy in Origanum [origano]: and the Weesell [weasel], when he goes to fight with the Basilisk, eats Rue, whence we come to know that Origanum [origano], and Rue are effectuall against poison. So in some Animals there is an imbred skil, and medicinall art; for when the Toad is wounded with a bite or poison of another Animall, he is wont to go to Rue, or Sage, and Rub the place wounded, and so escapes the danger of the poison. So men have learned many excellent remedies of diseases, & vertues of things from bruits [brutes]; So Swallows have shewed us that Sallendine is very medicinable for the sight, with which they cure the eyes of their young, and the pye when she is sick, puts a Bay-leafe into her nest, and is recovered. In like maner, Cranes, Dawes [jackdaws], Partriges [partridges], Blackbirds purge their nauseous stomacks [stomachs] with the same, with which also Crows allay the poison of the Chameleon; and the Lyon [lion], if he be feavorish [feverish], is recovered by eating of an Ape. The Lapwing being surfetted [surfeited] with eating of Grapes, cures himself with Southernwood; so the Harts have taught us that the Hearb [herb] Ditany is very good to draw out Darts; for they being wounded with an Arrow, cast it out by eating of this Hearb [herb]: the same do Goats in Candy. So Hinds, a little before they bring forth, purge themselves with a certain Hearb [herb] called Mountain Osier. Also they that are hurt with Spiders, seek a remedy by eating of Crabs: Swine also being hurt by Snakes cure themselves by eating of them; and Crows when they perceive they are poisoned with a kinde of French poison, seek for cure in the Oake; Elephants, when they have swallowed a Chameleon help themselves with the wild olive. Bears being hurt with Mandrakes, escape the danger by eating of Pismires [ants]. Geese, Ducks, and such like watery fowle, cure themselves with the Hearb [herb] called will-sage. Pigeons, Turtles, Hens, with the Hearb [herb] called Pellitory of the wall. Cranes with Bull-rushes [bulrushes]. Leopards cure themselves, being hurt, with the HEarb [herb] called Wolfes-bane, by mans dung: Boars with Ivy, Hinds with the Hearb [herb] called Cinnara.
The life of Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Knight.
This introduction is not found in the 1533 edition.
Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Descended from a noble Family of Netteshim in Belgia, Doctor of the Laws and Physick [medicine], Master of the Rols, and Judge of the spirituall Court, from his youth he applyed his minde to learning, and by his happy wit obtained great knowledge in all Arts and Sciences; afterwards also he followed the Army of the Princes, and for his valor was created Knight in the Field; when je was by these means famous for learning and Arms about 1530. He gave his minde to writing, and composed three Books Of Occult Philosophy; afterward an Invective or Cynicall declamation of the uncertainty and vanity of all things, in which he teacheth that there is no certainty in any thing, but in the solid words of God, and that, to lie hid in the eminency of Gods word; he also wrote an History of the double Coronation of the Emperor Charls, and also of the excellency of the feminine sexe, and of the apparitions of spirits; but seeing that he published commentaries on the Ars Brevis of Raymundus Lully [Ramon Llull], and was very much addicted to Occult Philosophy and Astrology, there were those who thought that he enjoyed commerce with devils, whom notwithstanding he confuted in his published Apology, and shewed, that he kept himself within the bounds of Art, 1538, He wrote many learned orations, which manifest to all the excellency of his wit; but especially ten; the first on Platoes Benquet, uttered in the Academy of Tricina containing the praise of Love; the second on Hermes Trismegistus, and of the power and wisdom of God; the third for one who was to receive his degree of Doctor; the fourth for the Lords of Metz, when he was chosen their Advocate, Syndice and Orator; the fifth to the Senate of Luxenburg, for the Lords of Metz; The sixth to salute the Prince and Bishop thereof, written for the Lords of Metz; the seventh to salute as noble man, written likewise for the Lords of Metz; the eighth for a certain kinsman of his, a Carmelite, made Bachelor of Divinity, when he received his regency at Paris; the ninth for the son of Cristiern King Sof Denmary, Norway, and Sweden, delivered at the coming of the Emperor; the tenth at the Funerall of the Lady Margret, Princess of Austria and Burgundy; he wrote also a Dialogue concerning man, and a Declamation of a disputable opinion concerning originall sin to the Bishop of Cyrene; an Epistle to Michael de Arando Bishop of Saint Paul; a complaint upon a calumny not proved, Printed at Strasburg 1539. and therefore by these monuments published, the name of cornelius for his variety of Learning was famous, not only amongst the Germanes, but also other Nations; for Momus himself carpeth at all amongst the gods; amongst the Heroes, Hercules hunteth after Monsters; amongst divels [devils] Pluto the king of hell is angry with all the ghosts; amongst Philosophers Democritus laugheth at all things, on the contrary Heraclitus weepeth at all things; Pirrhias is ignorant of all things, and Aristotle thinketh he knoweth all things; Diogenes contemneth all things; this Agrippa spareth none, he contemneth, knows, is ignorant, weeps, laught, is angry, pursueth, carps at all things, being himself a Philosopher, a Demon, an Heroes [hero], a god, and all things.
To my most honorable, and no less learned Friend, Robert Childe, Doctor of Physick. IR! Great men decline, mighty men may fall, but an honest Philosopher keeps his station for ever. To your self therefore I crave leave to present, what I know you are able to protect; not with sword, but by reason; & not that only, but what by your acceptance you are able to give a lustre to. I see it is not in vain that you have compassed Sea and Land, for thereby you have made a Proselyte, not of another, but of your self, by being converted from vulgar, and irrational incredulities to the rational embracing of the sublime, Hermeticall, and Theomagicall truths. You are skilled in the one as if Hermes had been your Tutor; have insight in the other, as if Agrippa your Master. Many transmarine Philosophers, which we only read, you have conversed with: many Countries, rarities, and antiquities, which we have only heard of, and admire, you have seen. Nay you have not only heard of, but seen, not in Maps, but in Rome it self the manners of Rome. there you have seen much Ceremony, and little Religion; and in the wilderness of New England, you have seen amongst some, much Religion, and little Ceremony; and amongst others, I mean the Natives thereof, neither Ceremony, nor Religion, but what nature dictates to them. In this there is no small variety, and your observation not little. In your passage thither by Sea, you have seen the wonders of God in the Deep; and by Land, you have seen the astonishing works of God in the unaccessible Mountains. You have left no stone unturned, that the turning thereof might conduce to the discovery of what was Occult, and worthy to be known. It is part of my ambition to let the world know that I honor such as your self, & my learned friend, & your experienced fellow-traveller, Doctor Charlet, who have, like true Philosophers neglected your worldly advantages to become masters of that which hath now rendred you both truly honorable. If I had as many languages as your selves, the rhetoricall and patheticall expressions thereof would fail to signifie my estimation of, and affections towards you both. Now Sir! as in reference to this my translatoin, if your judgement shall finde a deficiency therein, let your candor make a supply thereof. Let this Treatise of Occult Philosophy coming as a stranger amongst the English, be patronized by you, remembring that you your self was once a stranger in the Country of its Nativity. This stranger I have dressed in an English garb; but if it be not according to the fashion, and therefore ungrateful to any, let your approbation make it the mode; you know strangers most commonly induce a fashion, especially if any once begin to approve of their habit. Your approbation is that which will stand in need of, and which will render me,
Most obligedly yours,
Pragmatick Schoolmen, men made up of pride,
And rayling Arguments, who truth deride,
And scorn all else but what your selves devise,
And think these high-learned Tracts to be but lies,
Do not presume, unless with hallowed hand
To touch these books who with the world shall stand;
The are indeed mysterious, rare and rich,
And far transcend the ordinary pitch.
[Agrippa] To the Reader.
I do not doubt but the Title of our book of Occult Philosophy, or of Magick, may by the rarity of it allure many to read it, amongst which, some of a crasie [languid, feeble] judgement, and some that are perverse will come to hear what I can say, who, by their rash ignorance may take the name of Magick in the worse sense, and though scarce having seen the title, cry out that I teach forbidden Arts, sow the seed of Heresies, offend pious ears, and scandalize excellent wits; that I am a sorcerer, and superstitious and divellish [devilish], who indeed am a Magician: to whom I answer, that a Magician doth not amongst learned men signifie a sorcerer, or one that is superstitious or divellish [devilish]; but a wise man, a priest, a prophet; and that the Sybils were Magicianesses, & therefore prophecyed most cleerly of Christ; and that Magicians, as wise men, by the wonderful secrets of the world, knew Christ, the author of the world, to be born, and came first of all to worship him; and that the name of Magicke was received by Phylosophers [philosophers], commended by Divines, and not unacceptable to the Gospel. I believe that the supercilious censors will object against the Sybils, holy Magicians and the Gospel it self sooner then receive the name of Magick into favor; so conscientious are they, that neither Apollo, nor all the Muses, nor an Angel from Heaven can redeem me from their curse. Whom therefore I advise, that they read not our Writings, nor understand them, nor remember them. For they are pernicious, and full of poyson [poison]; the gate of Acheron is in this book; it speaks stones, let them take heed that it beat not out their brains. But you that come without prejudice to read it, if you have so much discretion of prudence, as Bees have in gathering honey, read securely, and believe that you shall receive no little profit, and much pleasure; but if you shall find any things that may not please you, let them alone and make no use of them, for I do not approve of them, but declare them to you; but do not refuse other things, for they that look into the books of Physicians, do together with antidotes and medicines, read also poysons [poisons]. I confess that Magick it self teacheth many superfluous things, and curious prodigies for ostentation; leave them as empty things, yet be not ignorant of their causes. But those things which are for the profit of man, for the turning away of evil events, for the destroying of sorceries, for the curing of diseases, for the exterminating of phantasmes, for the preserving of life, honor, or fortune, may be done without offense to God, or injury to Religion, because they are, as profitable, so necessary. But I have admonished you, that I have writ many things, rather narratively then affirmatively; for so it seemed needful that we should pass over fewer things following the judgments of Platonists, and other Gentile Philosophers when they did suggest an argument of writing to our purpose; therefore if any error have been committed, or any thing hath been spoken more freely, pardon my youth; for I wrote this being scarce a yong [young] man, that I may excuse my self, and say, “whilest I was a child, I spake as a childe, and I understood as a child, but being become a man, I retracted those things which I did being a boy, and in my book of the vanity and uncertainty of Sciences I did for the most part retract this book.” But here haply you may blame me again, saying, “Behold thou being a youth didst write, and now being old hast retracted it; what therefore hast thou set forth?” I confess whilst I was very yong [young], I set upon the writing of these books, but, hoping that I should set them forth with corrections and enlargements, and for that cause I gave them to Tritemius [Trithemius] a Neapolitanian Abbot, formerly a Spanhemensian, a man very industrious after secret things. But it happened afterwards, that the work being intercepted, before I finished it, it was carryed about imperfect, and impolished, and did fly abroad in Italy, in France, in Germany through many mens hands, and some men, whether more impatiently, or imprudently, I know not, would have put it thus imperfect to the press, with which mischeif [mischief], I being affected, determined to set it forth my self, thinking that there might be less danger if these books came out of my hands with some amendments, thwn to come forth torn, and in fragments out of other mens hands. Moreover, I thought it no crime if I should not suffer the testimony of my youth to perish. Also we have added some Chapters, and we inserted many things, which did seem unfit to pass by, which the curious Reader shall be able to understand by the inequality of the very phrase; for we were unwilling to begin the work anew, and to unravell all that we had done, but to correct it, and put some flourish upon it. Wherefore now I pray thee, Curteous [courteous] Reader, again, weigh not these things according to the present time of setting them forth, but pardon my curious youth, if thou shalt findd any thing in them that may displease thee.
When Agrippa first wrote his Occult Philosophy he sent it to his friend Trithemius, an Abbot of Wurtzburg, with the ensuing letter. Trithemius detained the messenger until he had read the manuscript and then answered Agrippa’s letter with such sound advice as mystics would do well to follow for all time to come. Trithemius is known as a mystic author and scholar.
To R. P. D. Iohn Trithemius, an Abbot of Saint James in the Suburbs of Herbipolis, Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheym sendeth greeting.
When I was of late (most reverend Father) for a while conversant with you in your Monastery of Herbipolis, we conferred together of divers things concerning Chymistry [chemistry], Magick, and Cabalie [Kabbalah], and of other things, which as yet lye [lie] hid in Secret Sciences, and Arts; and then there was one great question amongst the rest, why Magick, whereas it was accounted by all ancient Philosophers the chiefest Science, & by the ancient wise men, & Priests was always held an great veneration, came at last after the beginning of the Catholike [Catholic] Church to be alwaies odious to, and suspected by the holy Fathers, and then exploded by Divines, and condemned by sacred Canons, and moreover by all laws, and ordinances forbidden. Now the cause, as I conceive is no other then this, viz. because by a certain fatall depravation of times, and men, many false Philosophers crept in, and these under the name of Magicians, heaping together through various sorts of errors and factions of false Religions, many cursed superstitions and dangerous Rites, and many wicked Sacrileges, out of Orthodox Religion, even to the perfection of nature, and destruction of men, and injury of God, set forth very many wicked, and unlawfull books, such as we see carryed about in these dayes, to which they have by stealth prefixed the most honest name, and title of Magick. They therefore by this sacred title of Magick, hoped to gain credit to their cursed and detestable fooleries. Hence it is that this name of Magick, formerly honorable, is now in these dayes become most odious to good and honest men, and accounted a Capital crime, if any one dare profess himself to be a Magician, either in Doctrine or works, unless haply some certain old doting woman, dwelling in the Country, would be believed to be skilful, and have a Divine power, that (as saith Apuleius) she can throw down the Heaven, lift up the earth, harden fountains, wash away mountains, raise up Ghosts, cast down the Gods, extinguish the Stars, illuminate hel [hell], or as Virgil sings,
She’l promise by her charms to cast great cares,
Or ease the minds of men, and make the Stars
For to go back, and rivers to stand still,
And raise the nightly ghosts even at her will,
To make the earth to groan, and trees to fall
From the mountains —–
Hence those things, which Lucan relates of Thessala the Magicianess, and Homer of the omnipotency of Circe, whereof many I confess are as well of a fallacious opinion, as a superstitious diligence, &d pernicious labor, as when they cannot come under a wicked Art, yet they presume they may be able to cloak themselves under that venerable title of Magick. Since then these things are so, I wondered much, and was not less angry, that as yet there hath been no man, who did challenge this sublime and sacred discipline with the crime of impiety, or had delivered it purely and sincerely to us, since I have seen of our modern writers Roger Bacon, Robert [of York,] an English man, Peter Apponus [i.e. Peter de Abano], Albertus [Magnus] the Teutonich, Arnoldas de villa Nova, Anselme the Parmensian, Picatrix the Spaniard, Cicclus Asculus of Florence, and many others, but writers of an obscure name, when they promised to treat of Magick, do nothing but irrationall toies [toys], and superstitions unworthy of honest men. Hence my spirit was moved, and by reason partly of admiration, and partly of indignation, I was willing to play the Philosopher, supposing that I should do no discommendable work, who have been always from my youth a curious, and undaunted searcher for wonderfull effects, and operations full of mysteries; if I should recover that ancient Magick the discipline of all wise men from the errors of impiety, purifie [purify] and adorn it with its proper lustre, and vindicate it from the injuries of calumniators; which thing, though I long deliberated of it in my mind, yet never durst as yet undertake, but after some conference betwixt us of these things at Herbipolis, your transcending knowledge, and learning, and your ardent adhortation put courage, and boldness into me. There selecting the opinions of Philosophers of known credit, and purging the introduction of the wicked (who dissemblingly, with a counterfeited knowledge did teach, that traditions of Magicians must be learned from very reprobate books of darkness, as from institutions of wonderfull operations) and removing all darkness, have at last composed three compendious books of Magick, and titled them Of Occult Philosophy, being a title less offensive, which books I submit (you excelling in the knowledge of these things) to your correction and censure, that if I have wrote any thing which may tend either to the contumely of nature, offending God, or injury of Religion, you may condemn the error; but if the scandal of impiety be dissolved and purged, you may defend the tradition of truth; and that you would do so with these books, and Magick it self, that nothing may be concealed which may be profitable, and nothing approved of which cannot but do hurt, by which means these three books having passed your examination with approbation, may at length be thought worthy to come forth with good success in publike [public], and may not be afraid to come under the censure of posterity.
Farewell, and pardon these my bold undertakings.
John Trithemius, Abbot of Saint James of Herbipolis, formerly of Spanhemia, to his Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim, health and love.
Your work (most renowned Agrippa) Entituled Of Occult Phylosophy, which you have sent by this bearer, to me to be examined, with how much pleasure I received it, no mortall tongue can express, nor the pen of any write; I woundred [wondered] at your more then vulgar learning, That you being so yong should penetrate into such secrets as have been hide from most learned men, and not only cleerly, and truly, but also properly, and elegantly set them forth. Whence first I give you thanks for your good will to me, and if I shall ever be able, I shall return you thanks to the utmost of my power; Your work, which no learned man can sufficiently commend, I approve of. Now that you may proceed toward higher things, an you have begun, and not suffer such excellent parts of wit to be idle, I do with as much earnestness as I can advise, intreat, and beseech you, that you would exercise your self in laboring after better things, and demonstrate the light of true wisdom to the ignorant, according as you your self are divinely enlightened; neither let the consideration of idle vain fellows withdraw you from your purpose; I say of them, of whom it said, The wearyed Ox treads hard, Whereas no man, to the judgement of the wise, can be truly learned, who is sworn to the rudiments of one only faculty; But you hath God gifted with a large, and sublime wit, not that you should imitate Oxen, but birds; neither think it sufficient that you stay about particulars, but bend your minde confidently to universals; for by so much the more learned any one is thought, by how much fewer things he is ignorant of. Moreover your wit is fully apt to all things, and to be rationally employed, not in a few, or low things, but many, and sublimer. Yet this one rule I advise you to observe, that you communicate vulgar secrets to vulgar friends, but higher and secret to higher, and secret friends only. Give Hey [hay] to an Ox, Sugar to a Parret [parrot] only; understand my meaning, least you be trod under the Oxens feet, as oftentimes it fals out. Farewell my happy friend, and if it lye in my power to serve you, command me, and according to your pleasure it shall without delay be done; also, let our friendship increase daily; write often to me, and send me some of your labors I earnestly pray you. Again farewell.
From our Monastery of Peapolis,
the 8. day of April, An. M.D.X
In January, 1581, Agrippa wrote from Mechlin to Kermann of Wied, Archbishop of Cologne, to whom he dedicated his Occult Philosophy. In this letter he says: “Behold! amongst such things as were closely laid up — the books Of Occult Philosophy, or of Magic” “a new work of most ancient and abstruse learning;” “a doctrine of antiquity, by none, I dare say, hitherto attempted to be restored.” “I shall be devotedly yours if these studies of my youth shall by the authority of your greatness come into knowledge,” “seeing many things in them seemed to me, being older, as most profitable, so most necessary to be known. You have therefore the work, not only of my youth but of my present age,” “having added many things.”
To the Reverend Father in Christ, and most Illustrious Prince, Hermannus, Earl of Wyda, by the Grace of God Archbishop of the holy Church of Colonia, Prince Elector of the holy Romane Empire, and Chief Chancellor through Italy, Duke of Westphalia, and Angaria, and descended of the Legate of the holy Church of Rome, one of the Vicar Generals Court, Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettes-heym, sendeth greeting.
Uch is the greatness of your renowned fame (most reverend, and Illustriuos Prince) such is the greatness of your vertues, and splendor of learning, and frequent exercise of the best learning, and grave oration, with solid prudence, and elegant readines of speaking, knowledge of many things, constant Religion, and commendable conditions, with which you are endowed beyond the common custom of others; I say nothing of those ancient monuments of your eminent nobility, the treasures of your riches, both old, and new, the largness of your dominion, the ornaments of the sacred dignities, with the excellency whereof you excel, together with the comely form, and strength of the body. Through all these things be very great, yet I esteem you far greater then all these, for those your Heroick, and super-illustrious vertues, by which you truly have caused that by how much the more any one is learned, & loves vertue, so much the more he may desire to insinuate himself into your favor, whence I also am resolved that your favor shall be obtained by me, but after the manner of the people of Parthia, i.e. not without a present, which custom of saluting Princes, is indeed derived from the Ages of the Ancients, unto these very times, and still we see it observed. And when I see certain other very learned men to furnish you with fair, and great presents of their learning, least I only should be a neglecter of your worship and reverence, I durst not apply my self with empty hands to your greatness. Now being thoughtfull, and looking about in my study to see what present I should bestow upon such an Illustrious Prince, behold! amongst such things are were closely laid up, the books Of Occult Philosophy, or of Magick, presently offered themselves, such as I attempted to write whilest I was very yong, and now many yeers being past, as it were forgetting them, have neglected to perfect them; I presently made hast as it were to pay my vows, to present them to your honor to compleat them. Truly I was perswaded that I could give nothing more acceptable to you, then a new work of most ancient and abstruse learning; I say a work of my curious youth, but a doctrine of antiquity, by none I dare say hitherto attempted to be restored. Yet my works are not wrote to you, because they are worthy of you, but that they might make a way open for me to gain your favor. I beseech you, if it may be, let them be excused by you. I shall be devotedly yours, if these studies of my youth shall by the authority of your greatness come into knowledge, envy being chased away by the power of your worthiness, there remain the memory of them to me, as the fruit of a good conscience, seeing many things in them seemed to me, being older, as most profitable, so most necessary to be known. You have therefore the work, not only of my youth, but of my present Age, for I have corrected many Errataes of the work of my yuth, I have inserted many things in many places, and have added many things to many Chapters, which may easily be perceived by the inequality of the stile [style]; and so shall you know that I shall all my life be devoted to your pleasure. Farewell most happy Prince of happy Colonia.
From Mechlinia, Anno M.D.XXXI. In the moneth of January.
Here is the outside, and the inside of Philosophy; but the former without the latter is but an empty flourish; yet with this alone most are satisfied. To have a bare notion of a Diety, to apprehend some motions of the Celestials, together with the common operations thereof, and to conceive of some Terrestial productions, is but what is superficiall, and vulgar; But this is true, this is sublime, but Occult Philosophy; to understand the mysterious influences of the intellectuall world upon the Celestial, and of both upon the Terrestiall; and to know how to dispose, and fit our selves so, as to be capable of receiving those superiour operations, whereby we may be enabled to operate wonderfull things, which indeed seem impossible, or at least unlawfull, when as indeed they may be effected by a naturall power, and without either offence to God, or violation of Religion. To defend Kingdoms, to discover the secret counsels of men, to overcome enemies, to redeem captives, to increase riches, to procure the favor of men, to expell diseases, to preserve health, to prolong life, to renew youth, to foretell future events, to see and know things done many miles off, and such like as these, by vertue of superior influences, may seem things incredible; Yet read but the ensuing Treatise, and thou shalt see the possibility thereof confirmed both by reason, and example. I speak now to the judicious, for as for others, they neither know, nor believe, nor will know any thing, but what is vulgar, nay they think, that beyond this there is scarse any thing knowable; when as indeed there are profound mysteries in all beings, even from God in the highest heavens, to the divels [devils] in the lowest hell; Yea in very numbers, names, letters, characters, gestures, time. place, and such like, all which are by this learned Author profoundly discussed. I cannot deny but in this his work there is much superstition, and vanity. But remember that the best Gold must have the greatest allowance; consider the time of darkness, and of his youth, when, the place where, and the things which he harh discovered and wrote, and thou wilt rather admire his solidity, then condemn his vanity. Gold hath much blackness adgearing to it assoon as it is taken out of the earth. Mysterious truths do not presently shine like rayes of the Sun assoon as they are recovered from a long darkness, but are clouded with some obscurity. Nay I will say but this Agrippa might obscure these mysteries like an Hermeticall Philosopher, on purpose, that only the sons of Art might understand them. He perhaps might mix chaffe with his wheat, that quick-sighted birds only might find it out, and not swine trample it underfoot.
From saying much as touching the excusing, or commending this Author, I am already prevented; For at the beginning and ending of this book there are several Epistles of his own to others, wherein he excuseth what may be excepted against him; and of others to him sufficiently commending what is praise worthy in him; to which may be added that honorable testimony given to him by the author of that most witty, & sublime The-anthroposophia Theo-magica, [Anthroposophia Theomagica by Thomas Vaughan] lately set forth. All that I shall say to perswade thee to read this book, is but to desire thee to cast thine eye upon the Index of the Chapters contained therein, which is at the end thereof: [Book 1, Book 2, Book 3] and thou shalt therein see such variety of wonderful subjects, that at the sight thereof thou wilt be impatient till thou hast read them. I shall crave leave now to speak one word for my self. If this my translation shall neither answer the worth of the Author, or expectation of the reader; consider that the uncuothness of the Authors stile [style] in many places, the manifold Errata’s, as well literall, as those in respect of Grammatical construction, may happily occasion some mistakes in this my translation. Yet notwithstanding, I hope I have, though without much elegancy (which indeed the matter would not bear) put it into as intelligible an English phrase as the original would afford. As for the terms of art, which are many, divers of them would not bear any English expression, therefore I have expressed them in Latinisms or Grecisms, according as I have found them. I hope an Artist will be able to understand them; as for Errata’s, as I cursorily read over the book, I observed these as you see mentioned. If thou shalt meet with any more, as it is possible thou mayst, be thou candid, and impute them to the Printers mistake; for which, as also for taking in the best sense, what here I present thee withall, thou shalt for ever oblige thy friend,
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