Book: The Philosophy of Natural Magic
Author: Henry Cornelius Agrippa





The Philosophy of Natural Magic By Henry Cornelius Agrippa

Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 285
Publication Date: This edition, 1913

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Summary:

Originally published in 1531-3, De occulta philosophia libri tres, (Three books of Occult Philosophy) proposed that magic existed, and it could be studied and used by devout Christians, as it was derived from God, not the Devil. Agrippa had a huge influence on Renaissance esoteric philosophers, particularly Giordano Bruno. This edition is a pastiche of a portion of a translation of Agrippas' libri tres by an unidentified translator; excerpts from a book on Agrippa by Henry Morley with extensive background; and some self-promotional material by the publisher, L. W. de Lawrence. The Latin version (in scanned PDF format) can be found here.



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Excerpt:

Magic is a faculty of wonderful virtue, full of most high mysteries, containing the most profound contemplation of most secret things, together with the nature, power, quality, substance and virtues thereof, as also the knowledge of whole Nature, and it doth instruct us concerning the differing and agreement of things amongst themselves, whence it produceth its wonderful effects, by uniting the virtues of things through the application of them one to the other, and to their inferior suitable subjects, joining and knitting them together thoroughly by the powers and virtues of the superior Bodies. This is the most perfect and chief Science, that sacred and sublimer kind of Philosophy, and lastly the most absolute perfection of all most excellent Philosophy. For seeing that all regulative Philosophy is divided into Natural, Mathematical and Theological: (Natural Philosophy teacheth the nature of those things which are in the world, searching and inquiring into their causes, effects, times, places, fashions, events, their whole and parts, also

The Number and the Nature of those things,
Called Elements—what Fire, Earth, Aire forth brings;
From whence the Heavens their beginnings had;
Whence Tide, whence Rainbow, in gay colors clad.
What makes the Clouds that gathered are, and black,
To send forth Lightnings, and a Thund’ring crack;
What doth the Nightly Flames, and Comets make;
What makes the Earth to swell, and then to quake;
What is the Seed of Metals, and of Gold;
What Virtues, Wealth, Both Nature's Coffer hold.

All these things doth Natural Philosophy, the viewer of Nature, contain, teaching us, according to Virgil's Muse:

Whence all things flow—
Whence Mankind, Beast; whence Fire, whence Rain and Snow;
Whence Earthquakes are; why the whole Ocean beats
Over its banks and then again retreats;
Whence strength of Herbs, whence Courage, rage of Brutes
All kinds of Stone, of creeping Things, and Fruits.

But Mathematical Philosophy teacheth us to know the quantity of natural bodies, as extended into three dimensions, as also to conceive of the motion and course of celestial bodies.
As in great haste,
What makes the golden Stars to march so fast?
What makes the Moon sometimes to mask her face,
The Sun also, as if in some disgrace?

And, as Virgil sings:

How th’ Sun doth rule with twelve Zodiac Signs,
The Orb that's measur’d round about with Lines—
It doth the Heavens' Starry Way make known,
And strange Eclipses of the Sun and Moon;
Arcturus also, and the Stars of Rain,
The Seven Stars likewise, and Charles, his wain;
Why Winter Suns make tow’rds the West so fast;
What makes the Nights so long ere they be past?
All which are understood by Mathematical Philosophy.
Hence, by the Heavens we may foreknow
The Seasons all; times for to reap and sow,
And when 'tis fit to launch into the deep,
And when to war, and when in peace to sleep;
And when to dig up trees, and them again
To set, that they may bring forth amain.

Now Theological Philosophy, or Divinity, teacheth what God is, what the Mind, what an Intelligence, what an Angel, what a Devil, what the Soul, what Religion, what sacred Institutions, Rites, Temples, Observations, and sacred Mysteries are. It instructs us also concerning Faith, Miracles, the virtues of Words and Figures, the secret operations and mysteries of Seals; and, as Apuleius saith, it teacheth us rightly to understand and to be skilled in the Ceremonial Laws, the equity of Holy things and rule of Religions. But to recollect myself.)

These three principal faculties Magic comprehends, unites and actuates; deservedly, therefore, was it by the Ancients esteemed as the highest and most sacred Philosophy. It was, as we find, brought to light by most sage authors and most famous writers, amongst which principally Zamolxis and Zoroaster were so famous that many believed they were the inventors of this Science. Their track Abbaris the Hyperborean, Charmondas, Danigeron, Eudoxus, Hermippus followed. There were also other eminent, choice men, as Mercurius Tresmegistus, Porphyrius, Iamblicus, Plotinus, Proclus, Dardanus, Orpheus the Thracian, Gog the Grecian, Germa the Babylonian, Apollonius of Tyana. Osthanes also wrote excellently of this Art, whose books being as it were lost, Democritus of Abdera recovered, and set them forth with his own Commentaries. Besides, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Democritus, Plato, and many other renowned Philosophers travelled far by sea to learn this Art; and being returned, published it with wonderful devoutness, esteeming of it as a great secret.