The Agrippa-Of Celestial Magic


angel-8Chapter i. Of the necessity of Mathematicall learning, and of the many wonderfull works which are done by Mathematicall Arts only.

The Doctrines of Mathematicks are so necessary to, and have such an affinity with Magick, that they that do profess it without them, are quite out of the way, and labour in vain, and shall in no wise obtain their desired effect. For whatsoever things are, and are done in these inferior naturall vertues, are all done, and governed by number, weight, measure, harmony, motion, and light. And all things which we see in these inferiours, have root, and foundation in them: yet nevertheless without naturall vertues, of Mathematicall Doctrines only works like to naturals can be produced, as Plato saith, a thing not paataking of truth or divinity, but certain Images kin to them, as bodies going, or speaking, which yet want the Animall faculty, such as were those which amongst the Ancients were called Dedalus his Images, and automata, of which Aristotle makes mention, viz. the threefooted Images of Vulcan, and Dedalus, moving themselves, which Homer saith came out of their own accord to exercise, and which we read, moved themselves at the feast of Hiarba the Philosophicall Exerciser: As also that golden Statues performed the offices of Cup bearers, and Carvers to the guests. Also we read of the Statues of Mercury, which did speak, and the wooden Dove of Arthita, which did fly, and the miracles of Boethius, which Cassiodorus made mention of, viz. Diomedes in Brass, sounding a Trumpet, and a brazen Snake hissing, and pictures of birds singing most sweetly. Of this kind are those miracles of Images which proceed from Geometry, and Opticks, of which we made some mention in the first book, where we spoke of the Element of Aire, So there are made glasses, some Concave, others of the form of a Columne, making the representations of things in the Aire seem like shadows at a distance: of which sort Apollonius, and Vitellius in their Books De Perspectiva, and Speculis, taught the making, and the use. And we read that Magnus Pompeius brought a certain glass amongst the spoils from the East, to Rome, in which were seen Armies of Armed men. And there are made certain transparent glasses, which being dipped in some certain juices of Hearbs [herbs], and irradiated with an artificiall light, fill the whole Aire round about with visions. And I know how to make reciprocall glasses, in which the Sun shining, all things which were illustrated by the raies [rays] thereof are apparently seen many miles off.Hence a Magician, expert in naturall Philosophy, and Mathematicks, and knowing the middle sciences consisting of both these, Arithmatick, Musick, Geometry, Opticks, Astronomie [astronomy], and such sciences that are of weights, measures, propertions, articles, and joynts, knowing also Mechanicall Arts resulting from these, may without any wonder, if he excell other men in Art, and wit, do many wonderfull things, which the most prudent, and wise men may much admire. Are there not some reliques extant of the Ancients works, viz. Hercules, and Alexanders pillars, the gate of Caspia made of brass, and shut with Iron beams, that it could by no Wit or Art, be broken? And the Pyramis of Julius Caesar erected at Rome neer the hill Vaticanus, and Mountains built by Art in the middle of the Sea, and Towers, and heaps of Stones, such as I saw in England put together by an incredible Art. And we read in faithfull Historians, that in former times Rocks have been cut off, and Vallies [valleys] made, and Mountains made into a Plain, Rocks have been digged through, Promontories have been opened in the Sea, the bowels of the Earth made hollow, Rivers divided, Seas joyned to Seas, the Seas restrained, the bottome of the Sea been searched, Pools exhausted, Fens dryed up, new Islands made, and again restored to the continent, all which, although they my seem to be against nature, yet we read have been done, and we see some reliques of them remaining till this day, which the vulgar say were the works of the divell [Devil], seeing the Arts, and Artificers thereof have been dead out of all memory, neither are there any that care to understand, or search into them. Therefore they seeing any wonderfull sight, do impute it to the divell, as his work, or think it is a miracle, which indeed is a work of naturall, or Mathematicall Philosophy. As if anyone should be ignorant of the vertue of the Loadstone, and should see heavy Iron drawn upwards, or hanged in the Aire (as we read the Iron Image of Mercury did long since at Treveris hang up in the middle of the Temple by Loadstones, this verse attesting the same.
The Iron white rod-bearer flies i’th’ Aire.

The like to which we read was done concerning the image of the Sun at Rome, in the Temple of Serapis) would not such an ignorant man, I say, presently say it is the work of the divell? But if he shall know the vertue of the Loadstone to the Iron, and shall make triall of it, he presently ceaseth to wonder, and doth no more scruple it to be the work of nature. But here it is convenient that you know, that as by naturall vertues we collect naturall vertues, so by abstracted, mathematicall, and celestiall, we receive celestiall vertues, as motion, life, sense, speech, southsaying [soothsaying], and divination, even in matter less disposed, as that which is not made by nature, but only by art. And so images that speak, and foretell things to come, are said to be made, as William of Paris relates of a brazen head made under the rising of Saturn, which they say spake with a mans voice. But he that will choose a disposed matter, and most fit to receive, and a most powerfull agent, shall undoubtedly produce more powerfull effects. For it is a generall opinion of the Pythagoreans, that as Mathematicall things are more formall then Naturall, so also they are more efficacious: as they have less dependence in their being, so also in their operation. But amongst all Mathematicall things, numbers, as they have more of form in them, so also are more efficacious, to which not only Heathen Philosophers, but also Hebrew, and Christian Divines do attribute vertue, and efficacy, as well to effect what is good, as what is bad.

Chapter ii. Of Numbers, and of their power, and vertue.

Severinus Boethius saith, that all things which were first made by the nature of things in its first Age, seem to be formed by the proportion of numbers, for this was the principall pattern in the mind of the Creator. Hence is borrowed the number of the Elements, hence the courses of times, hence the motion of the Stars, and the revolution of the heaven, and the state of all things subsist by the uniting together of numbers. Numbers therefore are endowed with great and sublime vertues. For it is no wonder, seeing there are so many, and so great occult vertues in naturall things, although of manifest openations, that there should be in numbers much greater, and more occult, and also more wonderfull, and efficacious, for as much as they are more formall, more perfect, and naturally in the celestialls, not mixt with separated substances; and lastly, having the greatest, and most simple commixtion with the Idea’s in the mind of God, from which they receive their proper, and most efficacious vertues: wherefore also they are of more force, and conduce most to the obtaining of spirituall, and divine gifts, as in naturall things, elementary qualities are powerfull in the transmuting of any elementary thing. Again, all things that are, and are made, subsist by, and receive their vertue from numbers. For time consists of number, and all motion, and action, and all things which are subject to time, and motion.

Harmony also, and voices have their power by, and consist of numbers, and their proportions, and the proportions arising from numbers, do by lines, and points make Characters, and figures: And these are proper to Magicall operations, the middle which is betwixt both being appropriated by declining to the extreams, as in the use of letters. And lastly, all species of naturall things, and of those things which are above nature, are joyned together by certain numbers: which Pythagoras seeing, saith, that number is that by which all things consist, and distributes each vertue to each number. And Proclus saith, Number hath alwaies a being: Yet there is one in voyce, another in the proportion of them, another in the soul, and reason, and another in divine things. But Themistius, and Boethius, and Averrois the Babilonian [Babylonian], together with Plato, do so extoll numbers, that they think no man can be a true Philosopher without them. Now they speak of a rationall, and formall number, not of a materiall, sensible, or vocall, the number of Merchants buying, and selling, of which the Pythagoreans, and Platonists, and our Austin [Augustine] make no reckoning, but apply it to the proportion resulting from it, which number they call naturall, rationall, and formall, from which great mysteries flow, as well in naturall, as divine, and heavenly things. By it is there a way made for the searching out, and understanding of all things knowable. By it the next access to naturall prophesying is had: and the Abbot Joachim proceeded no other way in his Prophecies, but by formall numbers.

Chapter iii. How great vertues Numbers have, as well in Naturall things, as in Supernaturall.

That there lyes [lies] wonderfull efficacy, and vertue in numbers, as well to good as to bad, not only most eminent Philosophers do unanimously teach, but also Catholike [Catholic] Doctors, and especially Hierom, Austin [Augustine], Origen, Ambrose, Gregory of Nazianzen, Athanasius, Basilius, Hilarius, Rubanus, Bede, and many more confirm. Hence Hilarius in his Commentaries upon the Psalms, testifies that the seventy Elders, according to the efficacy of numbers, brought the Psalms into order. Rabanus also, a famous Doctor, composed an excellent book of the vertues of numbers: But now how great vertues numbers have in nature, is manifest in the hearb [herb] which is called Cinquefoil, i.e. five leaved Grass; for this resists poysons [poisons] by vertue of the number of five; also drives away divells [devils], conduceth to expiation; and one leafe of it taken twice in a day in wine, cures the Feaver [fever] of one day: three the tertian Feaver: foure the quartane. In like manner four grains of the seed of Turnisole being drunk, cures the quartane, but three the tertian. In like manner Vervin is said to cure Feavers, being drunk in wine, if in tertians it be cut from the third joynt [joint], in quartans from the fourth. A Serpent, if he be once struck with a Spear, dieth, if twice, recovers strength. These and many such as these are read, and testified in divers Authors. We must know now whence these are done, which certainly have a cause, which is a various proportion of various numbers amongst themselves. There is also a wonderfull experiment of the number of seven, that every seventh male, born without a female coming betwixt, hath power to cure the Kings evil by his touch alone, or word.Also every seventh daughter that is born, is said wonderfully to help forward the birth of children: neither is the naturall number here considered, but the formall consideration that is in the number. And let that which we spake before, be alwaies kept in mind, viz. that these powers are not in vocall, or numbers of merchants buying, and selling, but in rationall, formall, and naturall; These are distinct mysteries of God, and nature. But he that knows how to joyn [join] together the vocall numbers, and naturall with divine, and order them into the same harmony, shall be able to work and know wonderfull things by numbers; the Pythagorians profess that they can prognosticate many things by the numbers of names, in which truly, unless there did ly [lie] a great mysterie [mystery], John had not said in the Revelation, He which hath understanding, let him compute the number of the name of the beast, which is the number of a man, and this is the most famous manner of computing amongst the Hebrews, and Cabalists, as we shall shew afterwards. But this you must know, that simple numbers signifie Divine things: numbers of ten; Celestiall numbers of an hundred; terrestriall numbers of a thousand; those things that shall be in a future age. Besides, seeing the parts of the mind are according to an Arithmeticall Mediocrity, by reason of the identity, or equality of excess, coupled together. But the body, whose parts differ in their greatness, is according to a Geometricall mediocrity, compounded: But an animall consists of both, viz. soul and body, according to that mediocrity, which is sutable [suitable] to harmony: Hence it is that numbers do work very much upon the soul, figures upon the body, and harmony upon the whole animall.

Chapter iv. Of unity, and the Scale thereof.

Now let us treat particularly of numbers themselves: and because number is nothing els [else] but a repetition of Unity, let us first consider Unity it self. For Unity doth most simply go through every number, and is the common measure, fountain, and originall of all numbers, contains every number joyned [joined] together in it self intirely, the beginner of every multitude, alwayes the same, and unchangable: whence also being multiplyed into it self, produceth nothing but it self: it is indivisible, void of all parts: But if it seem at any time to be divided, it is not cut, but indeed Multiplied into Unities: yet none of these Unities is greater or lesser then the whole Unity, as a part is less than the whole: It is not therefore Multiplyed into parts, but into it self: Therefore some called it concord, some piety, and some friendship, which is so knit, that it cannot be cut into parts. But Martianus, according to the opinion of Aristotle saith, it is named Cupid, because it is made one alone, and will alwaies bewail it self, and beyond it self it hath nothing, but being void of all haughtiness, or coupling, turns its proper heats into it self. It is therefore the one beginning, and end of all things, neither hath it any beginning, or end it self: Nothing is before one, nothing is after one, and beyond it is nothing, and all things which are, desire that one, because all things proceeded from one, and that all things may be the same, it is necessary that they partake of that one: And as all things proceeded of one into many things, so all things endeavour to return to that one, from which they proceeded; it is necessary that they should put off multitude. One therefore is referred to the high God, who seeing he is one, and innumerable, yet creates innumerable things of himself, and contains them within himself.There is therefore one God, one world of the one God, one Sun of the one world, also one Phoenix in the World, one King [queen] amongst Bees, one Leader amongst Flocks of Catel [cattle], one Ruler amongst heards [herds] of Beasts, & Cranes follow one, and many other Animalls honour Unity; Amongst the Members of the body there is one Principal by which all the rest are guided, whether it be the head, or (as some will) the heart. There is one Element overcoming, and penetrating all things, viz. Fire. There is one thing created of God, the subject of all wondring [wondering], which is on Earth, or in Heaven, it is actually Animal, Vegetable, and Minerall, every where found, known by few, called by none by its proper name, but covered with figures, and Riddles, without which neither Alchymie [alchemy], nor Naturall Magick, can attain to their compleat end, or perfection. From one man, Adam, all men proceed, from that one all become mortall, from that one Jesus Christ they are regenerated: and as saith Paul, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God, and Father of all, one mediator betwixt God and man, one most high Creator, who is over all, by all, and in us all. For there is one Father, God, from whence all, and we in him: one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom all, and we by him: one God Holy Ghost, into whom all, and we into him.

Author: Henry Cornelius Agrippa

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