Testi magici: Of Occult Philosophy – Book III. (part 5) – Johannes Trithemius
Chapter LIX Of sacrifices and oblations, and their kinds and manners.
A sacrifice is an oblation which is both holy by offering, and sanctifieth and maketh Holy the offerer, unless either Irreverence or some other sin be an impediment to him; therefore these sacrifices and oblations do yeld [yield] us much hope, and make us of the family of God, and do repel from us many evils hanging over our heads, which the doctors of the Hebrews do especially confirm, saying by this that we kill our living creatures, and dissipate our wealth by sacrifice, we turn away mischiefs which do hang over us: for as this mortall priest sacrificeth in this inferior world the soul of irrational creatures to God, by the separating of the body from the soul: so Michael the Archangel the priest of the higher world, sacrificeth the souls of men, and this by the separation of the soul from the body, and not of the body from the soul, unless perchance, as it happeneth in fury, Rapture, Extasie [ecstasy] and sleep, and such like vacations of the soul, which the Hebrews call the death of the body. But sacrifices & oblations are first of all and principally to be offered up to the most high God; but when they are to be directed to the secondary divine powers, this ought to be done even as we have spoken concerning prayers and vows: but there are many kinds of sacrifices: one kind is called a burnt offering, when the thing sacrificed was consumed by fire; another, is an offering for the effusion of blood; moreover there are salutiferous sacrifices which are made for the obtaining of health, others pacifying for obtaining peace, others praising for the freeing from some evill, and for the bestowing of some good thing; others Gratulatory, for divine worship and thanksgiving; but some sacrifices are made neither for the honor of God, nor out of good will, of which sort was that amongst the Hebrews, called the sacrifice of Jealousie [jealousy], which was made only for the detecting of occult adultery. There was in times past amongst the Gentiles the sacrifice of expiation, by the which cities were purged from famine, pestilence, or some horrible calamity; whose rites were to search out the most wicked man in that city, and to lead him to the place appointed carrying in his hands a cheese and wafers and dry figs; afterwards to whip him seven times with Rods, and then to burn him to ashes with the same rods, and to cast the ashes into the sea; of these Lycophron and Hipponax make mention; neither doth Philostratus relate things much different from these, concerning Apollonius of Tiana [Tyana] while he chased away the Pestilence from Ephesus. Moreover there were many kind of sacrifices and offerings, as Agonalia, Dapsa, Farreationes, Hecatombe, Hostia, Hyacinthia, Armilustra, Janualia, Lucalia, Lupercalia, Munychia, Novendinalia, Nyctiluca, Palatialia, Pastillaria, Popularia, Protervia, Scenopegia, Solitaurilia, Stata, Rubigalia, Fontanalia, Ormia, Parentalia, Inferiae, Consualia, Lampteria, Amburbia, Ambarvalia, Vivalia, Thyia, Holocaustomata, Orgia, Latialia, Dianetaurica, Bacchanalia, Trieterica, Liberalia, Cocytia, Cerealia, Thesmophoria, Adonia, Teonia, Laurentalia , Opalia, Palilia, Quirinalia, Vertumnalia, Gynaecia, Panathenea, Quinquatria, Diapalia, Diasia, Horma, Hormea, Nemea, Mytriaca, Palogygia. And the offerings of these were proper and divers; for a Goat and an Ass were sacrificed to Bacchus, a Sow to Ceres, an horse to the Sun, an hart and dogs to Diana, an Ass to Priapus, a Goose to Isis, a dunghil-cock to the Night, a she-Goate to Faunus, a Bull to Neptune, a she-Goate to Minerva, a Bull to Hercules, a child to Saturn, a Sow with piggs to Maja, a Cock to Aesculapius: moreover they did sacrifice to Hercules Gnidius with scouldings and railings; there were also divers orders of Priests, as high priests, Flamines, Archiflamines, Phylades, Saelians, Hierophantes, & diverse names of religions, and superstitions, and sacrifices, ceremonies, feasts, consecrations, dedications, vowes, devotions, expiations, oathes, offerings, satisfactory works; by the which the seduced gentiles did sacrifice to false Gods and devils; but the true sacrifice, which purgeth any man, and uniteth him to God, is twofold; one which the high priest Christ offered for the remission of sins, purifying all things by the blood of his cross; the other, by the which a man offereth up himself clean, unspotted, for a living sacrifice to God, as Christ the high priest offered himself, and taught us to be offered together with him, as he was offered, saying of the sacrament of his body, and blood, Do this in remembrance of me; viz. that we should offer our selves together, being mortified by the passion of his mortal body, and quickned in spirit; of the which Porphyry saith, Let us labor to offer up holines of life for a sacrifice; for no man can be a good priest of God, but he which bringeth forth himself for a sacrifice, and buildeth up his own soul, as it were for an Image, and doth constitute both his mind, and understanding for a Temple in the which he may receive the divine light; but eternal sacrifices (as Heraclitus saith) are certain cures of the soul, instituted by the most High Physician; for the evill spirit possesseth a man (as Proclus saith) even untill he be expiated by sacrifices; therefore sacrifices are required to pacifie [pacify] God and the Heavenly powers, and to expiate a man, who beareth the Image both of God and the world; But our Lord Iesus [Jesus] Christ the true high priest concluded all sacrifices in bread and wine only, as in the primary substance of mans meat, needing further the offering up of no animals, nor other things, or the effusion of blood, in which we may be cleansed, being perfectly cleansed in his blood. There were also amongst the Aegyptians six hundred sixty six  kinds of sacrifices; for they did appoynt [appoint] divine honors, and holy sacrifices to each star, and planet, because they were divine animals partaking of an intellectual soul and a divine mind; whence they say that the stars being humbly prayed unto, do hear our prayer, and bestow celestial gifts, not so much by any natural agreement, as by their own free will. And this is that which Iamblicus saith, that celestial bodies, and the dieties [deities] of the world have certain divine and superior powers in themselves, as also natural and inferior, which Orpheus calls the keyes to open and shut; and that by those we are bound to the fatall influences, but by these to loose us from fate. Whence if any misfortune hang over any one from Saturn, or from Mars, the Magicians command that he must not forthwith fly to Jupiter, or Venus, but to Saturn or Mars themselves. So that Apuleian Psyche who was persecuted by Venus for equalling her in beauty, was forced to importune for favor, not from Ceres, or Juno, but from Venus her self. Now they did sacrifice to each star with the things belonging to them; to the Sun with solary things, and its animals, as a Laurel tree, a Cock, a Swan, a Bull; to Venus with her animals, as a Dove, or turtle, and by her plants, as Vervain; as Virgil sings,
—– Water bring out
With garlars soft, the altar round about
Compass, and burn fat boughs and frankincense
Thats strong and pure —–
Moreover the Magicians when they made any confection either natural, or artificial, belonging to any star, this did they afterward religiously offer, and sacrifice to the same star, receiving not so much a natural vertue from the influence thereof being opportunely received, as by that religious oblation receiving it divinely confirmed and stronger. For the oblation of any thing, when it is offered to God after a right manner, that thing is sanctified by God by the oblation as is a sacrifice, and is made part thereof. Moreover to the celestial and etherial Gods white sacifices were offered; but to the terestial [terrestrial] or infernal, black: but to the terrestial [terrestrial] upon the altars, but to the infernal in ditches; to the aerial and watery, flying things: But to these white, to those black. Finally, to all the Gods and Demons besides terrestrial and infernal, flying things were offered, but to those only four-footed animals, for like rejoyceth in like. Of these only which were offered to the celestial, and etherial, it is lawfull to eat, the extream [extreme] parts being reserved for God, but of the other not. Now all these the Oracle of Apollo hath expressed in these verses,
A threefold sacrifice to th’ Gods above.
White must be slain for them; for them below
Threefold also, but black for them; withall
With open altars Gods celestiall
Are taken, when th’ infernal Gods require
Pits embru’d with black blood, and fill’d with mire;
And are not pleas’d but with a sacrifice
That’s buried; but of th’ aire the deities
Delight in honey, and in wines most clear,
And that on altars kindled be the fire,
Require, with flying sacrifice, and white:
But of the earth the dieties [deities] delight
That earthly bodies should with frankincense
And wafers offered be in reverence.
But for the Gods that rule the sea thou must
Thy sacrifices lay on the sea coasts,
And on the waves cast the whole animal.
But to the dieties [deities] celestial
Give th’ extream [extreme] parts, and them consume with fire;
What then remains thou maiest if thou desire
Eat up, and let the air with vapors thick
And sweet smelling drop —–
These doth Porphyry make mention of in his book of answers, to whom the rest assent. For they say that these sacrifices are certain natural Mediums betwixt the Gods and men; which Aristotle affirming saith, that to sacrifice to God is in a man naturally. They are therefore they say, Mediums, which favor of the nature of both, and represent divine things analogically, and have with the diety [deity] to whom they are offered, certain convenient analogies, but so occult that a mans understanding can scarce conceive of them, which God, and the Dieties [deities] require in particular for our expiation with which the celestial vertues are pleased, and withhold themselves from execution of the punishment which our sins deserve. And these are (as Orpheus calls them) keys which open the gate of the elements and the heavens, that by them a man may ascend to the supercelestials; and the intelligences of the heavens, and the demons of the elements may descend to him. Now men that are perfect, and truly Religious need them not, but only they, who (saith Trismegistus) being fallen into disorder, are made the servants of the heavens and creatures; who because they are subjected to the heavens, therefore think they may be corroborated by the favour of the celestiall vertue, untill they flying higher be acquitted from their presidency, and become more sublime then they.
Chapter LX What imprecations, and rites the ancients were wont to use in sacrifices, and oblations.
Now let us see what imprecations they did joyn to oblations and sacrifices; for he that did offer any sacrifice to God, did say these, or the like things: I thy servant do offer and sacrifice these things to thee; I confesse that thou art the author of all sanctity, and I call upon thee to sanctifie this oblation, that thou wouldst pour upon it the vertue of thy high and excellent spirit, that by it we may oblain what we ask for. Moreover also as this thing present by any oblations is made thine, as to live, or die to thee, so also let me be made thine who by this oblation, and communion, by this thing which I come to offer, and sacrifice to thee, profess to be one of thy family, and worshippers. Besides in offerings it was said, As that animal is in my power to be slain, if I pleased, or to be saved: so it is in thy power to take away in wrath, or to give in love that which we desire. Lastly, when for expiation, or the avoyding of any evil, any sacrifice was to be made, it was said, As that animall dies in my hand, so die all vice in me, also all uncleanness, or so let die and be annihilated such or such an evil, or discommodity. Also, As the blood of this animal is poured forth out of its body, so let all vice and uncleanness flow out from me. In sacrifices laid on the altar to be burnt, it was said, as this oblation is consumed by this present fire, so that nothing remains of it; so let all evel be consumed in me, or let such or such an evil which we would repell and avoyd be consumed. It was also a custom when imprecation was made, to touch the altar with the hands of all those for whom such a sacrifice was made, or of them who did desire to be partakers of it, because prayer only cannot prevail, unless he thai prays toucheth the altar with his hands; whence in Virgil,
Those that in these words pray, and altar touch
Th’ omnipotent doth hear ———-
I touch the altars, and the middle fires,
And the Dieties [deities] beseech.
Chapter LXI How these things must be performed, as to God, so as to inferiour dieties [deities].
Every Adoration therefore, oblation, or sacrifice, deprecation, invocation, are differenced thus, viz. either because they are made to God only, or to inferiour dieties [deities], as angels, Stars, Heroes. In these therefore such rules are to be observed, that when any prayer is to be offered to God alone for the obtaining of any effect, it must be done with the commemoration of some work, miracle, sacrament, or promise, taken somewhere out of Scripture; as if there be a deprecation made for the destruction of enemies, let it be commemorated that God destroyed the Giants in the deluge of waters, and the builders of Babel in the confusion of tongues, Sodom, and Gomorrha in raining of fire, the host of Pharaoh in the Red-sea, and the like; adding to those some malediction out of the Psalms, or such as may be gathered out of other places of scripture. In like manner when we are to deprecate against dangers of waters, let us commemorate the saving of Noah in the flood; the passing of the children of Israel through the Red-sea, and Christ walking dryshod upon the waters, and saving a ship from shipwrack [shipwreck], commanding the winds and waves, and lifting up Peter sinking in the waves of the sea, and such like. But if a prayer be necessary for obtaining Oracles, or dreames, whether it be to God, Angels, or Heros, there are many places offer themselves out of the old testament, where God is said to talk with men, promising in very many places Presages, and Revelations, besides the propheticall dreams of Jacob, Joseph, Pharaoh, Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, in the old Testament, and the Revelation of John, Paul, in the new; also of holy Magicians, as Helen, Constantine and Charles; also of later Prophets, as Methedius, Cyrillus, Joachim, Merlin, Brigitta, Mechtindis, Hildegardis, the dieties [deities] of whom being piously invocated, render us oftentimes partakers of divine Revelations. Moreover we must invocate the sacred names of God, but those especially, which are significative of the thing desired, or any way applicable to it; as for the destruction of enemies we must invocate the name of Gods wrath, of the revenge of God, fear of God, justice of God, fortitude of God: but for the avoiding of any danger we most invocate the names of pity, defence, salvation, goodness, and the like. Moreover we must petition for and to the effecters of the thing desired, viz. such an Angel, Star or Heroe on whom that office lies, but observing that our invocation on them must be made with due number, weight, and measure, and according to the rules delivered concerning inchantments [enchantments]. For betwixt these there is no difference, but that inchantments are such as affect our mind, disposing the Passions thereof into a conformity to certain dieties [deities]; but prayers are such as are exhibited to any diety [deity] by way of worship, and veneration; and from the same root also may the manner of consecrations be taken, of which we shall in the next place speak.
Chapter LXII Of Consecrations, and their manner.
Consecration is a lifting up of experiments, by which a spiritual soul, being drawn by proportion and conformity, is infused into the matter of our works according to the tradition of Magicall art rightly and lawfully prepared, and our work is vivified by the spirit of understanding. The efficacy of consecrations is perfected by two things especially, viz. the vertue of the person himself consecrating, and the vertue of the prayer it self. In the person himself is required holinesse of life, and a power to consecrate; the former, nature and desert perform; the latter is acquired by imitation, and dignification, of which we have spoken elsewhere. Then it is necessary that he that sacrificeth must know this vertue and power in himself, with a firm and undoubted faith. Now what things are required in prayer, are these. There is also a certain power of sanctifying placed in it by God, as if it be so ordained of God for this or that very thing (of which sort we read of many in the holy writ) or instituted to this or that thing, by the vertue of the holy ghost, according to the ordination of the Church, of which sort are many every where extant: or this holiness is in the prayer it selfe, not by vertue of institution, but of the commemoration of sacred things, as of sacred letters, histories, nriracles, works, effects, favours, promises, sacraments and such sacramentall things, which shall seem to cohere with the thing to be consecrated, either properly, or improperly, or analogically. And of these we shall now give some examples, by which a way easily may be laid open to the whole consideration of it. So in the consecrating of water there is this comemoration made, viz. because God placed the firmament in the middle of waters; because in the middle of the earthly paradise he made a holy fountain, from which through four rivers the whole Earth is watered: because he made the waters an instrument of his justice, in the destruction of the Giants, by the generall deluge over the whole earth: and in the destruction of the Army of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, and because he led the people dry-shod through the middle of the Red sea, and through the middle of Jordan, and because he brought water miraculously out of a rock of the wilderness; and brought forth a fountain of living water out of the jaw bone of an asse at the prayers of Sampson, and because he appointed the waters as an instrument of his pity, and of salvation for remission of sins: and because Christ being baptized in Jordan, purified and sanctified the waters; and the like also by invocating divine names sutable [suitable] to these things, as when God is called a living fountain, living water, a living river. In like manner in consecration of fire, let there be a commemoration that God created the fire to be an instrument of his justice for punishment, revenge, purgation of sins, and when he comes to judge the world he will command burning to go before; and he appeared to Moses in a burning bush, went before the children of Israel in a pillar of fire, and commanded that inextinguishable fire should be kept in the tabernacle of the Covenant, & kept fire unextinguished under the water. Also we must use such divine names as offer themselves, as because God is a consuming fire, and a melting fire: and such as are proper to these, as the shining of God, the light of God, the brightness of God, and such like. So in the consecration of oil such solemnities must be commemorated as belong to these, as in Exodus the oil of unction & sweet perfumes, and sacred names sutable [suitable] to these, such as is the name Christ, which signifies annointed, and such as this, and that in the Apocalypse concening the two olive trees distilling sanctified oil into lamps burning in the presence of God. So in the consecration of places let there be commemoration made of mount Sinai, of the Tabernacle of the Covenant, of the sanctum sanctorum, the temple of Solomon, and of the sanctification of the hill Golgotha through the mystery of the passion of Christ, and of the field which was bought with the price of Christs blood; also of mount Tabor, where the transfiguration and ascent into heaven was. Sacred names also being used as of the place of God, the throne of God, the chair of God, the tabernacle of God, the altar of God, the seat of God, and the habitation of God, and of such like. After the same manner we must proceed in the benediction of other things, by enquiring [inquiring] into holy writ by divine names, and profession of Religion for such things which may seem to be after a manner sutable [suitable] to this or that thing. As for example, if there be a paper, or a book having some of the mysteries which we should commemorate, as the tables of the ten commandments given to Moses on mount Sinai, and the sanctification of the law, and of the Prophets, and Scriptures promulgated by the holy spirit: and let the divine names of the testament of God, the book of God, the book of life, the knowledge of God, the wisdom of God, and of such like be commemorated. So if a sword be to be consecrated, we may remember out of the second of Maccabees there was a sword sent from God to Judas Macchabeus, that he should destroy the children of Israels enemies: also that in the prophets, Take unto you two edged swords; also in the Gospel, coats being sold, swords must he bought; and in the History of David an Angel was seen hiding a bloody sword; and many such like we shall find in the Prophets, and Apocalyps [Apocalypse], as also the sacred names of the sword of God, the rod of God, the staff of God, the vengeance of God, and such like. And now let these things which have been exemplified concerning real consecrations, and benedictions suffice: by which personall consecrations, and benedictions may easily be understood. But there is yet another powerfull and efficacious rite of consecrating, and expiating, which is of the kinds of superstitious, viz: when the rite of any sacrament is transsumed to another thing, which is intended to be consecrated, or expiated, as the rite of baptisme, confirmation, funerall, and such like. Moreover we must know, that a vow, oblation, and sacrifice, have a certain power of consecration, as well reall as personall, as the things or persons are vowed or offered.
Chapter LXIII What things may be called holy, what consecrated, and how these become so betwixt us and the Dieties [deities]; and of sacred times.
Now those things are called sacred, which are made holy by the gods themselves, or their Demons, being (as I may say) dedicated to us by the gods themselves. By this account we call Demons holy, because in them God dwells, whose name they are often said to hear. Whence it is read in Exodus: I will send my Angel who shall go before thee; observe him, neither think that he is to be despised, because my name is in him. So also mysteries are called sacred. For a mystery is that which hath a holy and an occult vertue, and favour given by the gods or Demons, or dispensed by the most high God himself; such as are those sacred names and Characters, which have been spoken of. So the crosse is called holy and mysterious, being made so by the passion of Jesus Christ. Hence also certain prayers are called holy, and mysticall, which are not instituted by the devotion of man, but by divine Revelation, as we read in the Gospel that Christ instituted the Lords prayer. In like manner certain confections are called holy, into which God hath put the especiall beam of his vertue, as we read in Exodus of the sweet perfume, and oil of anointing, and as with us there is a sacred fountain, and a sacred ointment; There is also another kind of holiness, whereby we call those things holy which are dedicated and consecrated by man to God, as vows, and sacrifices, of which we have spoken already: Whence Virgil,
But Cesar [Caesar] with a tripple [triple] triumph brought
Into the City Rome, as most devout,
Did dedicate unto the Italian gods
An immortall vow —–
And Ovid in his Metamorphosis sings thus,
A feast was kept, wherein Aeacides
For Cicnus death with heifers blood did please
Propitious Pallas, when the entralls laid
On burning altars, to the Gods convaid
An acceptable smell; a part addrest
To sacred use, the board receiv’d the rest.
In like manner the representations, resemblances, Idols, Statues, Images, Pictures, made after the similitudes of the Gods, or dedicated to them, are called sacred, even as Orpheus singeth in his hymn to Lycian Venus,
The chieftains that the sacred things protect
Of our country, did for our town erect
A Sacred Statue —–
O father, take the household gods, and hold
Them in thy sacred hands —–
Hence divine Plato in his eleventh book of Lawes, commanded that the sacred Images and Statues of the Gods should be honoured, not for themselves, but because they represent the Gods to us, even as the ancients did worship that Image of Jupiter, thus interpreting it: for in that he bares the resemblance of a man, was signified that he is a mind which produceth all things by his seminary power; he is feigned to sit, that his immutable and constant power might he expressed; he hath the upper parts bare and naked, because he is manifest to the intelligences and the superiors; but the lower parts are covered, because he is hid ftom the inferior creatures: he holdeth a scepter in his left hand, because in these parts of the body the most spiritual habitation of life is found. For the Creator of the intellect is the King and the vivifying spirit of the world; but in his right hand he holdeth forth both an Eagle and victory; the one, because he is Lord of all the Gods, as the Eagle is of other birds; the other, because all things are subject to him; in like manner we also reverence the Image of a Lamb, because it representeth Christ, and the picture of a Dove, because it signifieth the holy Ghost, and the forms of a Lion, Oxe, Eagle, and a man, signifying the Evangelists, and such like things, which we find expressed in the Revelations of the Prophets, and in divers places of the holy Scripture: moreover those things confer to the like revelations and dreams, and therefore are called sacred pictures; there are also sacred rites and holy observations, which are made for the reverencing of the Gods, and religion, viz. devout gestures, genuflexions, uncoverings of the head, washings, sprinklings of Holy water, perfumes, exterior expiations, humble processions, and exterior Ornaments for divine praises, as musical Harmony, burning of wax candles and lights, ringing of bells, the adorning of Temples, Altars and Images, in all which there is required a supream and special reverence and comeliness; wherefore there are used for these things, the most excellent, most beautifull and pretious [precious] things, as gold, silver, pretious stores, and such like: which reverences and exterior rites are as it were lessons and invitations to spiritual sacred things, for the obtaining the bounty of the Gods; concerning which Proserpina beareth witness in these verses,
Who ever did the brazen statues slight,
The yellow gifts of gold, or silver white,
Who would not wonder, and not say that these
Are of the Gods? —–
The priests also are called sacred, and the ministers of the divine powers, and Gods, and they themselves being consecrated do both administer all the holy things, and also consecrate them, whence Lucan.
The consecrated priests, to whom great power
Is granted —–
And Virgil saith of Helenus the priest of Apollo,
He praies [prays] for peace of th’ Gods, and doth unloose
The Garlands of his sacred head —–
Those holy rites are as it were certain agreements betwixt the Gods and us, exhibited with praise, reverence or obedience, by the means of which we very oft obtain some wonderfull vertue from that divine power, on whom such reverence is bestowed; so there are sacred Hymns, Sermons, Exorcismes, Incantations, and words, which are compounded and dedicated for the praises and divine services of the Gods, whence, Orpheus in a verse composed for the stars, saith.
With Holy words, now on the Gods I call.
And the primitive Church did use certain holy incantations against diseases and snf tempests, which we either pronounce praying to some divine powers, or also sometimes carrying them along with us, written and hanging on our neck, or bound to us, we obtain very oft some power from such a Saint, which men very much admire; by this means also there are sacred names, figures, Characters, and seals, which contemplative men, in purity of mind, for their secret vows, have devoted, dedicated and consecrated to the worship of God; which things truly, if any man afterwards shall pronounce with the same purity of mind, with the which they were first instituted, he shall in like manner do miracles; further also, the manner and rules delivered by the first institutor must be observed, for they who are ignorant of these things, loose their labour, and work in vain; Thus not only by barbarous words, but also by Hebrew, Aegyptian [Egyptian], Greek, Latine, and the names of other languages, being devoted to God, and attributed and dedicated to his essence, power or operation, we sometimes do wonders; such names there are in Iamblicus, viz. Osyris, Icton, Emeph, Ptha, Epies, Amun; so in Plato, and amongst the Greeks, [Greek text omitted], so the Greeks call Jupiter [Greek text omitted] which signifieth to live, because he giveth life to all things; in like manner [Greek text omitted (Dia)] which signifieth through, because through him are all things made, so [Greek text omitted (Athanaton)], which signifieth Immortall; so amongst the Latines he is called Jupiter, as it were an adjuvant father, and such like, and also certain names are devoted to men, as Eutychis, Sophia, Theophilus, that is, prosperous, servant, dear to God. In like manner certain materiall things receive no little sanctity and vertue by consecration, especially if done by a priest, as we see those waxen seals, in which are imprinted the figure of Lambs, to receive vertue by the benediction of the Romane High priest, against lightnings and tempests, that they cannot hurt those who carry them, for a divine vertue is inspired into Images thus consecrated, and is contained in them, as it were in a certain sacred Letter, which hath the Image of God; the like vertue those holy waxed lights receive at Easter, and at the feast of the purification of the virgins; in like manner bells by consecration and benediction receive vertue, that they drive away and restrain lightnings, and tempests, that they hurt not in those places where their sounds are heard; in like manner salt and water, by their benedictions and exorcismes receive power to chase and drive away evil spirits; and thus in things of this kind, there are also sacred times alwaies observed by the nations of every religion with very great reverence, which are either commanded that we should sanctify by the Gods themselves, or are dedicated to them by our fore-fathers and Elders, for the commemoration of some benefit received of the Gods, and for a perpetual Thanksgiving. Thus the Hebrews have received their Sabbaths, and the Heathens their holy daies, and we the solemn dayes of our holy rites, alwaies to be reverenced with the Highest solemnity; there are also times contrary to these, which they call penitential, and we black dayes, because that in those daies the commomwealth hath suffered some notable blow, and calamity, of which sort amongst the Romans was the day before the fourth nones of August, because that on that day they suffered that extraordinary blow at the Battle of Canna. In like manner all Postriduan daies are called black dayes, because that most commonly battles succeeded ill on these dayes: So amongst the Jews the black dayes are the seventeenth day of June, because on that day Moses brake the Tables, Manasses erected an Idol in the Sanctum Sanctorum, & the walls of Jerusalem are supposed to have been pulled down by their Enemies; likewise the ninth of July is a black day with them, because on that day the destructions of both the Temples happened, by this neason they are called Ægyptian [Egyptian] dayes, in the old time observed by the Ægyptians, and every Nation by this way may easily make a like calculation of days fortunate or unfortunate to them, and the Magicians command that these holy and religious daies be observed no less then the planetary daies [days], and the celestial dispositions; for they affirm that they are far more efficacious, especially to obtain spiritual and divine vertues, because that their vertue is not from the Elements and celestial bodies, but descendeth from the intelligible and supercelestial world, and being helped by the common suffrages of the Saints, is not infringed by any adverse disposition of the heavenly bodies, nor frustrated by the corruptible contagion of the Elements, if so be that firm belief and religious worship be not wanting, that is, joyned with fear and trembling, for religion properly holdeth forth thus much; Hence those daies are called religious, which to violate is a sin, which if we carefully observe, we fear not any great mischief, which we may do, if we do otherwise.
Chapter LXIV Of certain Religious observations, ceremonies, and rites of perfumings, unctions, and such like.
Whosoever therefore thou art, who disirest [desirest] to operate in this faculty, in the first place implore God the Father, being one, that thou also maiest he one worthy of his favour, be clean, within and without, in a clean place, because it is written in Leviticus, Every man who shall approach those thing which are consecrated, in whom there is uncleanness, shall perish before the Lord; Therefore wash your selves oft, and at the daies appointed, according to the mysteries of number, put on clean clothes, and abstain from all uncleanness, pollution, and lust; for the Gods will not hear that man (as Porphyry saith) who hath not abstained many dayes from venereous Acts; Be not thou coupled to a polluted or menstruous woman, neither to her who hath the Hemorhoides [hemorrhoids], touch not an unclean thing; nor a Carkass [carcass], whence Porphyry saith, whosoever shall touch a dead man, may not approach the Oracles, perhaps, because that by a certain affinity of the funeral ill odour, the mind is corrupted and made unfit to receive divine influences; Thou shalt wash, and anoynt [anoint], and perfume thy self, and shalt offer sacrifices: for God accepteth for a most sweet odour those things which are offered to him by a man purified and well disposed, and together with that perfume condescendeth to your prayer and oblation, as the Psalmist singeth; Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed to thee, as incense in thy sight; Moreover, the soul being the offspring and Image of God himself, is delighted in these perfumes and odours, receiving them by those nostrils, by the which it self also entred into this corporeal man, and by the which (as Job testifieth) the most lively spirits are sometimes sent forth, which cannot be retained in mans heart, boyling [boiling] either through choler, or labor; whence some think that the faculty of smelling is the most lively and spiritual of all the senses. Further, perfumes, sacrifice, and unction penetrate all things, and open the gates of the Elements and of the Heavens, that through them a man can see the secrets of God, Heavenly things, and those things which are above the Heavens, and also those which descend from the Heavens, as Angels, and spirits of deep pits, and profound places, apparations of desart [desert] places, and doth make them to come to you, to appear visibly, and obey you; and they pacify all spirits, and attract them as the Loadstone Iron, and joyn them with the elements, and cause the spirits to assume bodies: for truly the spiritual body is very much incrassated by them, and made more gross: for it liveth by vapours, perfumes and the odours of sacrifices: moreover whatsoever thou operatest, do it with an earnest affection and hearty desire; that the goodness of the Heavens and heavenly bodies may favour thee, whose favour, that thou maiest more easily obtain, the fitness of the place, time, profession, custome, diet, habite, exercise and name also do wonderfully conduce: for by these the power of nature is not only changed, but also overcome, for a fortunate place conduceth much to favour: neither without cause did the Lord speak to Abraham that he should come into the land which he would shew him; and Abraham arose and journeyed towards the south: in like manner, Isaac went to Gerarath, where he sowed & gathered an hundred fold, and waxed very rich: but what place is congruous to each one, must he found out by his nativity, which thing he that knoweth not, let him observe where his spirits are especially recreated, where his senses are more lively, where the health of his body and his strength is most vigorous, where his businesses succeed best, where most favour him, where his enemies are overthrown, let him know that this region, this place is preordained by God and his Angels for him; and is also well disposed, and prepared by the Heavens. Therefore reverence this place, and change it according to your time and business, but alwayes flie an unfortunate place: fortunate names also make things more fortunate: but unfortunate, unhappy; Hence the Romans in lifting their souldiers [soldiers] were wary, least that the first souldiers names should be in any measure unfortunate; and for paying tributaries, and mustrings of their Armies and Colonies, they did chuse Censours with good names. Moreover they believed, that if unfortunate names were changed into fortunate, that the fortune of things would also be changed into better; So Epidamnus, least that sea men going that way should suffer damage, they commanded to be called Dyrachius; for the same cause they called Maleoton, least he should cause some mischief, Beneventus; but they thought good to call Lacus, Lucrinus, for the goodness of the name being the most happy place of all: make election also of hours and dayes for thy operations, for not without cause our Saviour spake, Are there not twelve hours in the day, and so forth? for the Astrologers teach that times can give a certain fortune to our businesses; the Magicians likewise have observed, and to conclude, all the ancient wise men consent in this, that it is of very great concernment; that in what moment of time, and disposition of the heavens, every thing, whether naturall or Artificiall hath received its being in this world; for they have delivered, that the first moment hath so great power, that all the course of fortune dependeth thereon, and may be foretold thereby, and in like manner, by the successes of the fortune of every thing, they both firmly believed, and experience also testifleth, that the beginning of any thing may thereby be found out; even as Sulla the Astrologian foretold, that a most certain destruction approached Caligula, who asked him advice concerning his nature; Metheon the Astrologer foresaw the calamity of the wars which happened afterward to the Athenians, making an expedition against the Syracusans: to the same about to sail to Sicilia, Meson the Astrologer foretold a great tempest. Anaxagoras by the knowledge of the times, forewarned on what dayes a great stone should fall from the Sun; as afterward it happened at Aegos, a river of Thracia; on the contrary, L. Tarnucius Firmianus by the acts and fortune of Romulus, found both the time of his conception and nativity; the same man found out also the nativity of the City of Rome, by making the successes and fortunes of that City: so Maternus reporteth, that the beginning and Creation even of this world was found out by the events of things: For that times can do very much in naturall things, may be manifested by many examples; for there are trees, which after the Solstice do invert their leaves, as the Poplar, Elm, Olive, Linetree, whitewillow; and shelfishes, Crabs and Oisters [oysters] do increase, the Moon increasing, and when the Moon decreaseth, do grow lean; & the Seas in ebbing and flowing do observe the motions and times of the Moon; and Euripus in Euboea, doth it not seven times with wonderfull swiftness ebbe and flow? and three dayes in every moneth, viz. the 7. 8. and 9. day of the Moon it standeth still; and amongst the Troglotides there is a lake, which thrice in a day is made bitter and salt, and again sweet; moreover in the winter time, when all things wither and dry, Penyroyall [pennyroyal] flourisheth: on the same day, they say, that blown bladders do break, and that the leaves of Sallows and Pomegranats are turned and forced about; and its known to all, that which I have seen both in France and Italy, and I know also the sowing thereof, viz. that a nut-tree, which seemeth dry all the year, on the Even of Saint Johns day doth produce both leaves, and flowres [flowers], and ripe fruits: and this miracle doth wholly consist in the observation of the time of its sowing: moreover that times can yield some wonderfull power to artificiall things, the Astrologers in their books of Elections and Images do constantly affirm; and by this means, we read in Plutarch, That there was an image amongst the Peleneans made with such art, that what way soever it did look, it did strike all things with terrour and very great perturbation, so that no man durst through fear behold it; and we read in the life of Apollonius, that the Magicians of Babylon had tied to the roof of their house, four golden fowls, which they called the tongues of the gods; and that they had power to reconcile the minds of the multitude to the love and obedience of the King. In the Iland [island] Chios there was the face of Diana placed on high, whose countenance appeared sad to those which caine in, but to those that went out, it appeared chearfull [cheerful]: In Troas, the sacrifices which were left about the Image of Minerva did not putrifie; In the temple of Venus at Paphos, it never rained in the court: If any thing was taken forth from the Tomb of Antheus, showers were powred down from heaven till that which was digged up, was restored into its place: In the tomb of King Bibria of Pontus, did arise a Laurell, from which if any one did break a branch and carry it on shipboard, quarrells would never cease untill it was thrown over. In the Iland [island] Boristhenes, no bird did haunt the house of Achilles: at Rome, neither flie [fly], nor dog did enter into the Palace of Hercules, in the oxe market. In Olynthus of Thracia there was a place, into the which if a Beetle had fallen, it could not get forth, but writhing it self every way it died; I could bring even innumerable examples, and far more wonderfull then these, which Antiquity reporteth to have been done by the Art of images, and by the observation of times: but least any one should think them long since, obsolete, and repute them for fables, I will bring more new things, and such as remain even to this time in some places, and I will joyn to these some artificiall wonders; for they say, that by the Art of images it cometh to passe, that at Byzantine Serpents hurt not, and that Jackdaws flie [fly] not over within the wals [walls]; that in Crete there are no night Owls, that about Naples Grasshoppers are never heard; that at Venice, no kind of flie [fly] doth enter the publike [public] houses of Barbers, that in Toledo in the publike shambles, one only flie is seen all the year long, of a notable whiteness: and we in the foregoing book have declared already both the fashions and times, by the observation of which, these things and such like may be done; moreover you ought especially to observe the vertue of speeches and words, for by these the soul is spread forth into inferiour substances, into stones, metals, plants, animals, and all naturall things, imprinting divers figures and passions on them, inforcing all creatures, or leading and drawing them by a certain affection: So Cato testifieth, that weary Oxen are refreshed by words, and also that by prayers and words, you may obtain of Tellus, that it produce unusuall trees; trees also may by this means be entreated to pass over to another place, and to grow in another ground: Rapes grow the greater, if they be entreated when they are sown, to be beneficiall to them, their family, and neighbours; the Peacock also being commended, presently extends his feathers: but on the contrary, it is found by experience that the hearb [herb] Basill, being sown with cursings and railings, is more flourishing; also a kind of Lobster doth cure burnings and scaldings, if so be that in the mean time his name be not named: further, they which use witchcraft, kill trees by praising them, & thus do hurt sown Corn and children: moreover they say that there is so great power in mans execrations, that they chase and banish even wicked spirits: Eusebius declareth that by this means Serapis amongst the Ægyptians [Egyptians], did publish short sentences, by the which devils were expelled, and he taught also, how devils having assumed the forms of brute beasts, do ensnare men: To conclude, in all businesses, put God before your eyes, for it is written in Deuteronomie [Deuteronomy], When you shall seek the Lord your God, you shall find him. Whence we read in Mark, That whatsoever ye shall desire and pray for, believing that you shall receive it, it shal come to pass for you; and in Matthew, If you shall have faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible for you; also the fervent prayer of a righteous man prevaileth much, for Elias (as James saith) was a man like unto us, subject unto passions, and he prayed earnestly, that it might not rain upon the earth, and it rained not in three yeers [years] and six moneths [months]; and again he prayed, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit: but take heed in your prayers, least that you should desire some vain thing, or that which is against the will of God; for God would have all things good: neither shalt thou use the name of thy God in vain, for he shall not go unpunished, who taketh his name for a vain thing: be abstemious and give alms, for the Angel saith to Tobiah, prayer is good with fasting and alms; and we read in the book of Judith: Know ye, that the Lord will hear your prayers, if ye shall persevere in fastings and prayers in his sight.
Chapter LXV The Conclusion of the whole Work.
These are the things, which for an introduction into Magick we have collected out of the tradition of the ancients, and diversly compiled in this book, in short words, yet sufficient for those who are intelligent; some of these things are written in order, some without order, some things are delivered by fragments, some things are even hid, and left for the search of the intelligent, who more acutely contemplating these things which are written, and diligently searching, may obtain the compleat rudiments of the magicall Art, and also infallible experiments: for we have delivered this Art in such a manner, that it may not be hid from the prudent and intelligent, and yet may not admit wicked and incredulous men to the mysteries of these secrets, but leave them destitute and astonished, in the shade of ignorance and desperation: You therefore sons of wisdom and learning, search diligently in this book, gathering together our dispersed intentions, which in divers places we have propounded, and what is hid in one place, we make manifest in another, that it may appear to you wise men; for, for you only have we written, whose mind is not corrupted, but regulated according to the right order of living, who in chastity, and honesty, and in sound faith fear and reverence God: whose hands are free from sin and wickedness, whose manners are gentle, sober, and modest, you only shall find out this knowledge which is preserved for you, and the secrets which are hid by many Enigmaes cannot be perceived but by a profound intellect, which when you shall obtain, the whole science of the invincible magicall discipline will insinuate it self into you: and those vertues will appear to you, which in times past Hermes, Zoroastes [Zoroaster], Apollonius, and the others, who wrought miracles, obtained. But ye, envious, caluminators, sons of base ignorance, and foolish lewdnest, come not nigh our writings, for they are your enemies, and stand on a precipice, that ye may erre and fall head-long into misery: if any therefore through his incredulity or dulness of intellect, doth not obtain his desire, let him not impute the fault of his igorance to me, or say that I have erred, or purposely written falsly and lied, but let him accuse himself, who understandeth not our writings; for they are obscure, and covered with divers mysteries, by the which it will easily happen, that many my erre and lose their sense; therefore let no man be angry with me, if we have folded up the truth of this science with many Enigmaes, and dispersed it in divers places, for we have not hidden it from the wise, but from the wicked and ungodly, and have delivered it in such words which necessarily blind the foolish, and easily may admit the wise to the understanding of them.
The Censure, or Retraction of Henry Cornelius Agrippa, concerning Magick, after his declamation of the vanity of Sciences, and the excellency of the word of God.
Of Magick in generall.
This place doth require that we speak of Magick; for it is so neer joyned to, and of affinity with Astrologie [astrology], in so much that be that professeth Magick without Astrologie, doth nothing, but altogether is in an errour. Suidas is of the opinion that Magick had its name, and originall from the Maguseans [Magi]. It is the common opinion, that it is a Persian name, to which Porphyry, and Apuleius assent, and that in that tongue it signifies a priest, wise man, or Philosopher. Magick therefore comprehending all Philosophy, naturall, and Mathematicall, joyns the powers of Religions to them. Hence also they contain in them Goetia, and Theurgia, for which cause many divide Magick into two parts, viz. Naturall, and Ceremoniall.
Of Naturall Magick.
It is thought that naturall Magic is nothing else but the highest power of naturall Sciences, which therefore is called the height of naturall Philosophy, and the most absolute consummation thereof, and that which is the active part of naturall Philosophy, which by the help of naturall vertues, from a mutuall, and opportune application of them, brings forth operations even to Admiration: which Magick the Aethiopians, and Indians especially did use, where the vertue of herbs, and stones, and other things looking towards it was sufficient. It is said that Hierome made mention of it to Paulinus, where he saith that Apollonius the Tyanean was a Magician, or Philosopher, as also the Pythagorians; of this kind were those wise men which came to worship Christ with gifts when he was born, which the interpreters of the Chaldeans [Chaldaeans] expound the Philosophers of the Chaldeans, such as were Hiarchas amongst the Bragmanne [Brahmans], Tespion amongst the Gymnosophists, Budda [Buddhists] amongst the Babylonians, Numa Pompilius amongst the Romans, Zamolxides amongst the Thracians, Abbaris amongst the Hyperboreans, Hermes amongst the Ægyptians [Egyptians], Zoroastes [Zoroaster] the son of Oromasus [Ohrmazd = Ahura Mazda] amongst the Persians. For the Indians, Æthiopians [Ethiopians], Chaldeans [Chaldaeans], and Persians chiefly did excell in this Magick. With which therefore (as Plato relates in Alcibiades) the sons of the Persian Kings were instructed, that they might learn to administer, and distribute their image to the common wealth of the world, and the common wealth to it: and Cicero saith in his books of divination, that there was none amongst the Persians did enjoy the Kingdom, but he that first had learned Magick. Naturall Magick therefore is that which contemplates the powers of all naturall and celestiall things, and searching curiously into their Sympathy, doth produce occult powers in nature into publique [public] view, so coupling inferior things as allurements to the gifts of superiour things, that by their mutuall application, that from thence arise wonderfull miracles, not so much by art as by nature, to which art becomes an assistant whilest it works these things. For Magicians, as the most curious searchers of nature, making use of those things which are prepared by nature, by applying active things to passive, produce oftentimes effects before the time ordained by nature, which the vulgar think are miracles, which indeed are naturall works, the prevention of the time only coming betwixt: as if any one should produce Roses in the moneth [month] of March, and ripe Grapes, or sowed Beans, or make Parsly [parsley] to grow into a perfect plant within few hours, nay, and cause greater things, as clouds, rains, thunders, and animals of divers kinds, and very many taansmutions of things, many of which sort Roger Racon boasted that he did do by meer [mere] naturall Magick. Of the works thereof wrote Zoroastes [Zoroaster], Hermes, Eranthes King of Arabia, Zacharias the Babylonian, Joseph the Hebrew, Bocus, Aaron, Zenotenus, Kiramides, Almadal, Thetel, Alchindus, Abel, Ptolomy, Geber, Zahel, Nazabarub, Thebith, Berith, Solomon, Astaphon, Hipparchus, Alcmeon, Apollonius, Triphon, and many others, many of whose works are yet entire, and many fragments are yet extant, and have come into my hands. Some modern men have also wrote of naturall Magick, but they but a few things, as Albertus, Arnoldus de villa nova, Raimundus Lullie, Bacon, and Apponus, [i.e. Peter de Abano] and the Author of the book to Alfonsus, set forth under the name of Picatrix, who also together with naturall Magick, mixeth much superstition, which indeed the rest have done.
Of Mathematicall Magick.
There are moreover other most witty emulators of nature and most bold inquisitors, which promise they can by the influences of the heavens, obtained without naturall vertues, but only by Mathematicall learming, produce works like to those of nature, as walking, or talking bodies, which have not animall vertues: such was the wooden dove of Archita, which did flie [fly], and the statue of Mercury which did speak; and the brazen head made by Albertus Magnus, which they say did speak. Boetius a man of a great wit and much learning, excelled in these things, to whom Cassiodorus writing concerning such like things, saith, to thee it is appointed to know hard things, and shew miracles: by the ingenuity of thy art metals speak, Diomedes in brass trumpets, the brazen Serpent hisseth, birds are feigned, and those which know no proper sound, are heard sending forth sweet melody, we relate small things of him, who hath power to imitate the heavens; concerning these arts I think that is spoken which we read in Plato in the eleventh book of Laws. There is an art given to mortall men, by which they should generate certain latter things, not partaking of truth or divinity, but should deduce certain representations of affinity with them: and thus far have Magicians gone, being men most bold to do all things, especially that old strong Serpent, the promiser of all Sciences favoring them, that they like apes endeavour to emulate God, and nature.
Of Enchanting Magick.
There is moreover a kind of naturall Magick, which they call bewitching, medicinary, which is done by cups, love-potions, and divers medicaments of Sorcerers: Of which sort Democritus is said to make some, whereby good, happy, and fortunate sons may be begotten: and another whereby we may rightly understand the voyces [voices] of birds, as Philostratus and Porphyrie [Porphyry] relate of Apollonius. Virgil also speaking of certain Pontick herbs, saith,
I many times, with these have Moeris spide [spied],
Chang’d to a wolf, and in the woods to bide:
From sepulchres would souls departed charm,
And corn bear standing fom anothers farm.
And Pliny relates that a certain man, Demarchus Parrhasitus, in a sacrifice which the Arcades made by a humane sacrifice to Jupiter Lyceus, tasted of the entrals [entrails] of a boy that was sacrificed, and turned himself into a wolfe, by reason of which changing of men into a wolf [werewolf, lycanthropy], Austin [Augustine] thinks that the name was put upon Pan Lyceus, and Jupiter Lyceus. The same Austin relates, that whilest he was in Italy, there were certain women Magicians like Circe, who by giving cheese to travellers turned them into cattle; and when they had carried what burdens they pleased, restored them into men again; and that the same happened to a certain Father called Prestantine. But least any one should think these things to be but foolish toyes, and things impossible, let him call to mind what Scripture mentions concerning Nebuchadnezar [Nebuchadnezzar] the King, how he was turned into an ox, and lived seven yeers with hay, and at length returned through the mercy of God into a man again, whose body after his death, his son Evilmerodac gave as a prey to the Vulters [vultures], least he should again rise from the dead, who returned from a beast into a man: and more of this kind doth Exodus relate of the Magicians of Pharaoh. But Solomon speaks of the same, whether Magicians, or Sorcerers, when he saith, Thou hast terrified them O God! because they have done horrible deeds by inchantments [enchantments]. Moreover, this I would have you know, that these Magicians do not search into naturall things only, but also those things which do accompany nature, and after a manner put it off, as motions, numbers, figures, sounds, voyces [voices], concents, lights, affections of the mind, & words. So the Psylli, and Marsi called together serpents, and others by other things depressing them, put them to flight. So Orpheus repressed the tempest of the Argonaute with a hymn; and Homer relates of Ulysses that his blood was restrained with words. And in the law of the twelve tables punishment was ordained for them who enchanted the corn: that without all doubt the Magicians did produce wonderfull effects by words only, affections, and such like, not upon themselves, but also upon extraneous things; all which things are thought to put forth their innate vertue upon other things, draw them to them, or expell them from them, or any otherwise affecting of them, no otherwise then the Loadstone draws Iron, or Jeat Chaff, or a Diamond or Garlick bind them, so that by this graduall, and concatenated Sympathy of things, not only naturall, and celestiall gifts, but also intellectuall, and divine may, as Iamblicus [Iamblichus], Proclus, and Synesius confirm by the opinion of Magicians, be received from above, which Proclus in his book of sacrifice, and Magick confesseth, viz: That by the consent of these kinds of things, the Magicians were wont to call up the dieties [deities] themselves. To such a height of madness some of them are grown, that from divers constellations of the Stars, through intervals of times, and a certain rule of proportions being observed, think that an image of the gods can with a beck receive the spirit of life, and intellect, and so give an answer to them that ask counsell of it, and reveal the secrets of occult truth. Hence it is manifest that this naturall Magick is sometimes inclining to Goetia, and Theurgia, entangled in the wyles and errours of evill Spirits.
Of Goetia Necromancy.
Now the parts of Ceremonial Magick are Goetia and Theurgia, Goetia is unfortunate, by the commerces of unclean spirits made up of the rites of wicked curiosities, unlawfull charms, and deprecations, and is abandoned and execrated by all laws. Of this kinde are those which we now adayes call Necromancers, and Witches.
A people envy’d by the Gods, have skill,
Begot by th’ evill one, even at their will
The heavens for to blemish, and the things
Which are in heaven, and on earth to bring
Out of order, and the poles for to force,
And of the rivers for to turn the course,
The mountains level, and the skie to drive
Under the earth —–
These therefore are they which call upon the souls of the dead, and those which the Ancients called Epodi, who enchant boys, and bring them out into the speech of the Oracle, and which carry about them familiar spirits, as we read of Socrates and such, as it is said, they fed in glasses, by which they feign themselves to prophesy. And all these proceed two waies. For some endeavour to call and compell evill spirits, adjuring by a certain power, especially of divine names, for seeing every creature fears, and reverenceth the name of him who made it, no marvel, if Goetians, Infidels, Pagans, Jews, Saracens, and men of every prophane sect and society do bind Divels [devils] by invocating the divine name. Now there are some that are most impiously wicked indeed, that submit themselves to Divels [devils], sacrifice to, and adore them, and thereby become guilty of Idolatry, and the basest abasement: to which crimes if the former are not obnoxious, yet they expose themselves to manifest dangers. For even compelled divels [devils] alwaies deceive us whithersoever we go. Now from the sect of the Goetians have proceeded all those books of darkness, which Vulpianus the Lawyer calls books disallowed to be read, and forthwith appointed them to be destroyed, of which sort the first is Zabulus reported to invent, who was given to unlawfull arts, then Barnabas a certain Cyprian; and now in these dayes there are carryed about books with feigned titles, under the names of Adam, Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Solomon, also Paul, Honorius, Cyprianus, Albertus, Thomas, Hierome, and of a certain man of Yorke, whose toies [toys] Alphonsus King of Castile, Robert an English man, Bacon, and Apponus [i.e. Peter de Abano], and many other men of a deplored wit have foolishly followed. Moreover they have not made men only and Saints, and Patriarkes [Patriarchs], and the angels of God, the authors of such execrable opinions, but they boast also that those books were dilivered by Raziel, and Raphael the Angels of Adam and Tobias; Which books openly betray themselves to him that looks narrowly [i.e. closely] into them, to be a rule, rite, and custome of their precepts, and a kind of words, and characters, an order of extruction, an empty phrase, and to contain nothing but meer toyes, and impostures, and to be made in latter times by men ignorant of all ancient Magick, and forlorn artists of pernitious [pernicious] art, of prophane observations mixed with the ceremonies of our religion, with many unknown names, and seals intermixed, that thereby they may terrifie and astonish the simple, and ignorant. Moreover it doth not yet appear that these arts are fables: for unless there were such indeed, and by them many wonderfull and hurtfull things done, there would not be such strict divine, and humane lawes made concerning them, for the utter exterminating of them. And why do the Goetians use those evill spirits only, but because good Angels will hardly appear, expecting the command of God, and come not but to men pure in heart, and holy in life: but the evill are easily called up, favouring him that is false, and counterfeiting holiness are alwaies ready to deceive with their craft, that they may be worshipped, and adored: and because women are rnost desirous of secrets, and less cautious, and prone to superstition, they are the more easily deceived, and therefore give up themselves the more readily to them, and do great prodigies. The poets sing of Circe, Medea, and others of this sort; Cicero, Pliny, Seneca, Austin, and many others as well Philosophers as Catholike [Catholic] Doctors, and Historians, also the Scriptures, testifie the like. For in the books of the Kings we read, that a woman who lived at Endor, called up the soul of Samuel the Prophet, although many interpret it not to be the soul of the Prophet, but an evil spirit, which took upon him his shape. Yet the Hebrew masters say that Austin to Simplicianus doth not deny but it might be the true spirit of Samuel, which might easily be called up fom its body before a compleat year after his departure, as also the Goetians teach. Also Magician Necromancers suppose that might be done by certain natural powers and bonds, as we have said in our books of Occult Philosophy. Therefore the ancient Fathers, skilfull of spiritual things, did not without cause ordain that the bodies of the dead should he buried in a holy place, and be accompanied with lights, and sprinkled with holy water, and be perfumed with fiankincense, and incense, and be expiated by prayers as long as they continued above ground. For as the Masters of the Hebrews say, All our body and carnal Animal, and whatsoever in us depends upon the matter of the flesh, being ill disposed, is left for meat to the Serpent, and as they called it, to Azazel, who is the Lord of the flesh and blood, and the Prince of this world, and is called in Leviticus the Prince of deserts, to whom it is said in Genesis, Thou shalt eat dust all the daies of thy life. And in Isaiah, Dust thy bread, i.e. our body created of the dust of the earth, so long as it shall not be sanctified, and turned into better, that it be no longer an effect of the serpent, but of God, viz. a spiritual made of carnal, according to the word of Paul, saying, that which is sowed a carnal, shall arise a spiritual; and els where, All indeed shall rise up, but shall not be changed, because many shall remain forever as meat of the Serpent. This filthy and horrid matter of the flesh and meat of the Serpent we therefore cast off by death, changing it for a better and spirituall, which shall be in the resurrection of the dead; and is already done in those, who have tasted of the first fruits of the resurrection, and many have already attained to, by the vertue of the divine spirit, in this life, as Enoch, Eliah and Moses, whose bodies were changed into a spirituall nature, and have not seen corrupted; neither are their carkasses [carcasses] left to the power of the Serpent. And this was that dispute of the devill with Michael the Archangel, concerning the body of Moses, of which Jude makes mention in his Epistle. But of Goetia, and Necromancy let this suffice.
Now many think that Theurgia is not unlawfull, as if this be governed by good Angels, and a divine diety [deity], when as yet oftentimes it is under the names of God, and the fallacies of evil Angels obstringed by the wicked fallacies of the devils. For we do procure, and attract not by naturall powers only, but also by certaln rites, and ceremonies, celestials, and by them divine vertues to our selves; Of which together with many rules the ancient Magicians did treat in many volumes. But the greatest part of all ceremonies consists in observing cleanness, and purity, first of the mind, then of the body, and of those things which are about the body, as in the skin, in garments, in habitations, in vessels, utensils, oblations, sacrifices, the purity of which disposeth to the acquaintance with and beholding of divine things, and is very much required in sacred things, according to the word of Isaiah, Be ye washed, and made clean, and take away the evil of your thoughts. Now impurity, because it oftentimes infects the air, and man, disturbes that most pure influence of Celestiall and divine things, and chaseth away the pure spirits of God. But sometimes impure spirits, and deceiving powers, that they be worshipped, and adored for gods, require also this purity. Therefore here is great need of caution, as we have lately discoursed at large in our books of Occult Philosophy. But of this Theurgia, or Magick of divine things Porphyrie [Porphyry] disputing at large, at length concludes that by Theurgicall consecrations the soul of man may be fitted to receive spirits, and Angels, and to see God; but he altogether denies that we can by this art return to God. Of his School therefore is the Art Almadel, the Notary art, the Pauline Art, the art of Revelations, and many such like superstitions, which are so much the more pernicious, by how much they seem the more divine to the ignorant.
Here the words of Pliny come into my mind, who saith the faction of Magick depends upon Moses and Lutopea, being Jews; which words put me in mind of the Cabalie of the Jews, which the Hebrews are of opinion was delivered to Moses by God himself on mount Sinai, and then by degrees of succession without the monuments of letters was untill the times of Esdra delivered to others by word of mouth only: as the Pythagorian opinions were formerly delivered by Archippus, and Lysiaus, who had Schools at Thebes in Greece, in which the Scholers [scholars] keeping the precepts of their masters in their memorie [memory], did use their wit, and memorie instead of books: So certain Jews despising literature, placed this in memorie, and observations, and vocall traditions, whence Cabalie was by the Hebrews called as it were the reception of any thing from another only by hearing. That art (as it is reported) is very ancient, but the name was known but of late times amongst Christians: They deliver a double science therefore, the one of Bresith, which they call Cosmologie, viz: explaining the powers of things created, naturall, and Celestiall, and expounding the secrets of the Law and Bible by Philosophicall reasons: which truly upon this account differs nothing at all from naturall Magick, in which we believe K. Solomon excelled. For it is read in the sacred Histories of the Hebrews, that he was skilled in all things, even from the Cedar of Lebanon, to the Hyssop that grows upon the wal [wall]: also in cattle, birds, creeping things, and fishes; all which shew that he knew the Magicall vertues of nature. Moses the AElig;gyptian [Egyptian], amongst the later writers followed after this in his exposition upon the Pentacles; also many more Talmudists. They call the other Science thereof of Mercara, which is concerning the more sublime contemplations of divine & Angelick vertues, & of sacred names, and seals, being a certain Symbolical divinity, in which letters, numbers, figures, things, & names, and tops of elements, and lines, points, and accents, are all significative of most profound things, & great secrets. This again they divide into Arithmancy, viz. that which is called Notariacon, treating of Angelical vertues, names, & seals, also of the conditions of spirits, and souls; and into Theomancy, which searcheth into the mysteries of divine majesty, as the emanations thereof, & sacred names, and Pentacles, which he that knows may excell with wonderful vertues; as that when he pleaseth, he may fore-know all future things, & command whole nature, have power over devils, and Angels, and do miracles. By this they suppose, that Moses did shew so many signs, and turned the rod into a Serpent, and the waters into blood, and that he sent Frogs, Flies, Lice, Locusts, Caterpillars, fire with hail, botches and boyls [boils] on the Egyptians; and slew every first born of man and beast; and that he opened the Seas, and carryed his thorow, and brought forth fountains out of the rock, and quails from Heaven, that he sent before his, clouds and lightnings by day, a pillar of fire by night, and called down from Heaven the voice of the living God to the people, and did strike the haughty with fire, and those that murmured with the Leprosie; and on the ill deserving brought suddain destruction; the earth gaping and swallowing them up; further he fed the people with heavenly food; pacified Serpents, cured the envenomed, preserved the numerous multitude from infirmity, & their garments from wearing out, & made them victors over their enemies. To conclude, by this art of miracles Joshua commanded the Sun to stand still, Eliah called down fire from Heaven upon his enemies, restored a dead childe to life; Daniel stopt the mouths of the Lyons [lions]; The three children sang songs in the fiery Oven; moreover by this art the incredulous Jews affirm, that even Christ did do so many miracles; Solomon also very well knew this art, and delivered charms against devils, and their bonds, and the manner of conjurations, and against diseases, as Joseph reporteth, but as I doubt not but that God revealed to Moses many secrets, contained under the bark of the words of the Law, which were not to be revealed to the prophane vulgar. So I acknowledge that this Cabalisticall art, which the Hebrews brag of, and I sometimes diligently and laboriously sought after, is nothing else then a meer rhapsody of superstition, and a certain Theurgicall Magick: but if it proceeded from God (as the Jews boast) and conduceth to the perfection of life, health of men, to the worship of God, and to the truth of understanding; truly that spirit of truth, which hath left this Synagogue, and come to teach us all truth, would not have concealed it from his Church even untill these last times, which indeed knoweth all things that are of God, whose benediction, baptism, and other mysteries of salvation are revealed and perfected in every tongue, for every tongue hath the same equall power, if so be that there be the same equall piety, neither is there any name, either in heaven or earth, by the which we must be saved, and by which we work miracles, besides this one name Jesus, in which all things are recapitulated and contained. Hence it is, that the Jews, who are most skilful in using the names of God, can operate little or nothing after Christ, as their ancient fathers did; but that we by experience find, and see, that by the revolution of this art (as they call them) oftentimes wonderful sentences, full of great mysteries, are wrested from the holy Scriptures, this is nothing else then a certain playing upon Allegories, which idle men busymg themselves with all the points, letters, and numbers, which this tongue and the custome of writing do easily suffer, do fain and disguise at their pleasures; which although sometimes they hold forth great mysteries, yet they can neither prove nor evince any thing; but we may (according to the words of Gregory) with the same facility contemn them, as they are affirmed. Rabanus the Monk, by the same artifice hath feigned many things, but in Latin Characters and verses, with certain pictures inserted, which being read any way by the delineations of the superficies and pictures, do declare some sacred mysterie [mystery], representing the histories of the things painted; which also may without doubt be wrested from prophane writings, as every one may know, who hath read the Cantones of Valena Proba, composed out of the verses of Virgil, concerning Christ; All things of this kind are the speculations of idle brains, but what belongeth to the working of miracles, there is none of you, I suppose, of so foolish an understanding, who believeth that they have any art or science of them; therefore this Cabala of the Jews is nothing else then a most pernicious superstition, by the which they gather at their pleasure, divide, transfer words, names and letters, scatteringly put in the holy Scriptures, and by making one thing out of another, they dissolve the connections of the truth, the speeches, inductions and parables, and here and there construing them by their own fictions, would bring the words of God to their follies, defaming the Scriptures, and saying that their fictions have foundation on them. They calumniate the Law of God, and by the supputations of words, syllables, letters, numbers impudently extorted, they assay to bring violent and blasphemous proofs for their unbelief. Besides, they being puft up by these trifles, do boast that they finde and search out the unspeakable mysteries of God, and secrets, which are ahove the Scriptures, by the which also they irnpudently affirm, and without blushing, that they can even prophecy, and do miracles and wonders; but it happeneth to them, as to Aesops Dog, who leaving his bread, and gaping after the shadow, lost his food; so this perfidious and stiff necked people, being always busied in the shadows of the Scriptures, and about their own vanities, and doing violence by their artificiall, but superstitious Cabala, do loose the bread of eternall life, and being fed with vain words, do destroy the word of truth; from this Judaicall ferment of Cabalisticall superstition proceeded (as I suppose) the Ophitane, Gnostican, and Valentinian Hereticks, who together with their disciples, feigned a certain Greek Cabala, perverting all the mysteries of the Christian faith, and by their heretical corruption wresting them to the Greek letters and numbers, by the which they constituted a body of truth (as they call it) and taught, that without these mysteries of letters & numbers the truth could not be found in the Gospel, because that the writings thereof are various, and sometimes repugnant to themselves, and full of parables; that they who see, might not see, and that they who hear, might not hear, and that they who understand, might not understand, and that they are propounded to the blind and erroneous, according to the capacity of their blindness and error; But that the sincere truth lying hid under these things, is committed to the perfect only, not by writings, but by word of mouth, and that this is that Alphabetary and Arithmatical Theology which Christ in private manifested to his Apostles; and which Paul speaketh to the perfect only; for seeing that these are the highest mysteries, therefore they are not written, nor ought so to be, but to be kept in secret amongst wise men; but no man is a wise man amongst them, who knoweth not to refrain the greatest monsters of Heresie.
Of Juggling or Legerdemain.
But let us return to that Magick, part of which is an art of jugglings (i.e.) delusions, which are made according to appearance only, by which Magicians shew phantasmes, and play many miracles by circulatory frauds, and cause dreams, which they do not so much by Geotick inchantments, and imprecations, and deceits of devils, as by certain vapors, perfumes, lights, love-medicines, collyries, alligations, and suspensions, also by rings, images, glasses, and such like drugs, and instruments of Magicall art, and a naturall and Celestiall power. Also many things are done daily by sleight [slight] of hand, of which sort we see some are done daily by stage players, and sporters which we call Chirosophers (i.e.) skilful in sleight of hand. There are extant concerning this art, books of the Legerdemain of Hermes, and some others. We read also of a certain man called Paseton, a most notable juglar [juggler], that was wont to shew a banquet to guests, and when he pleased, to make it vanish away again, all rising with hunger, and thirst, being deluded. We read that Numa Pompilius did use these kinds of jugglings, and also that most learned Pythagoras did sometimes do this toy, that what things he pleased, he would write in a glass, which being set against the full Moon, he would shew to any one that stood behind it, those things represented in the Globe of the Moon; Hither belongs whatooever Poets sing of the transmutations of men, which also is delivered by Historians, and by some Christian Divines, and also is recorded in the Scripture. So men may appear like Asses, or horses, or other Animals with fascinated eyes, or a troubled medium, and that by a naturall art. Sometimes these are done by good and evil spirits, or by God himself at the request of some good men, as in the Scripture we read of Elisha the Prophet beset by an Army of the King fortifying Dotham. But to pure eyes, and such as be opened by God, those cannot deceive; so that woman which was judged to be a kind of cattle, did seem to Hilario to be not any such thing, but a woman. These things therefore which are done according to appearance only, are called jugglers.
But those things which are done by the Art of transmuting, or translating, as of Nebuchadnezar, or of Corn carryed to another field, we have spoke of before; but of this art of juggling, thus saith Iamblicus, These things which are supposed to be juggled or bewitched, besides imagination, have no truth of action or essence. The end of these is but to hold forth things to the imagination according to appearance, of which there presently remains no footsteps or signs. Now by what hath been said, it is manifest that Magick is nothing else but a collection of Idolatry, Astrology, and superstitious medicines; And now there is by Magicians raised a great company of hereticks in the Church, who as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, do in the like manner resist the Apostolicall truth. The chief of these was Simon the Samaritan, on whom by reason of this art was bestowed at Rome in Claudius Caesars time, a Statue, with this Inscription, To Simon the holy God. Of his blasphemies Clemens Eusebius, and Irenaeus make mention. From this Simon, as from a Seminary of all Heresies proceeded by successions the monstrous Ophites, the filthy Gnosticks, the impious Valentinians, Cerdonians, Marcionists, Montanians, and many other Hereticks, lying against God for gain and vain glory, doing no good to men, but deceiving them, and drawing them into destruction and error, to whom they that give credit shall be confounded in the judgement of God. But of Magick I wrote whilest I was very yong [young] three large books, which I called Of Occult Philosophy, in which what was then through the curiosity of my youth erroneous, I now being more advised, am willing to have retracted, by this recantation; I formerly spent much time and costs in these vanities. At last I grew so wise as to be able to disswade others from this destruction; For whosoever do not in the truth, nor in the power of God, but in the deceits of divels [devils], according to the operation of wicked spirits presume to divine and prophesy, and practising through Magicall vanities, exorcismss, incantions and other demoniacall works and deceits of Idolatry, boasting of delusions, and phantasmes presently ceasing, brag that they can do miracles, I say all these shall with Jannes, and Jambres, and Simon Magus, be destinated to the torments of eternall Fire.
Of the Occult Philosophy of Henry Cornelius Agrippa,
Anno M.D.XXXIII. In the Moneth of Iuly.