Three Books of Occult Philosophy/Book 1/Chapter 14

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Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, translated by John French
Book 1, Chapter 14

the Soul, therefore they say there is need of a more excellent Medium, viz. Such a one that may be as it were no body, but as it were a Soul, or as it were no Soul, but as it were a body, viz. by which the soul may be joyned to the body. Now they conceive such a medium to be the spirit of the World, viz. that which we call the quintessence: because it is not from the four Elements, but a certain first thing, having its being above, and besides them. There is therefore such a kind of spirit required to be, as it were the medium, whereby Celestiall Souls are joyned to gross bodies, and bestow upon them wonderfull gifts. This spirit is after the same manner in the body of the world, as ours is in the body of man. For as the powers of our soul are communicated to the members of the body by the spirit, so also the Vertue of the Soul of the World is diffused through all things by the quintessence: For there is nothing found in the whole world, that hath not a spark of the Vertue thereof. Yet it is more, nay most of all infused into those things which have received, or taken in most of this spirit: Now this spirit is received or taken in by the rayes of the Stars, so far forth as things render themselves conformable to them. By this spirit therefore every occult property is conveyed into Hearbs, Stones, Metals, and Animals, through the Sun, Moon, Planets, and through Stars higher then the Planets. Now this spirit may be more advantageous to us, if any one knew how to separate it from the Elements: or at least to use those things chiefly, which do most abound with this spirit. For these things, in which this spirit is less drowned in a body, and less checked by matter, do more powerfully, and perfectly act, and also more readily generate their like: for in it are all generative, & seminary Vertues. For which cause the Alchymists endeavour to separate this spirit from Gold, and Silver; which being rightly separated, and extracted, if thou shalt afterward project upon any matter of the same kind (i.e.) any Metall, presently will turn it into Gold, or Silver. And we know how to do that, and have seen it done: but we could make no more Gold, then the weight of that was, out of which we extracted the spirit. For seeing that is an extense form, and not intense, it cannot beyond its own bounds change and imperfect body into a perfect: which I deny not, but may be done by another way.

It is now manifest that the occult properties in things are not from the nature of the Elements, but infused from above, hid from our senses, and scarce at last known by our reason, which indeed come from the Life, and the Spirit of the World, through the rayes of the Stars: and can no otherwise but by experience, and conjecture be enquired into by us. Wherefore, he that desires to enter upon this study must consider, that every thing moves, and turns it self to its like, and inclines that to it self with all its might, as well in property, viz. Occult vertue, as in quality, viz. Elementary vertue. Sometimes also in substance it self, as we see in Salt, for whatsoever hath long stood with Salt, becomes Salt: for every agent, when it hath begun to act, doth not attempt to make a thing inferiour to it self, but as much as may be, like, and sutable to it self. Which also we manifestly see in sensible Animals, in which the nutritive Vertue doth not change the meat into an Hearb, or a Plant, but turns it into sensible flesh. In what things therefore there is an excess of any quality, or property, as heat, cold, boldness, fear, sadness, anger, love, hatred, or any other passion, or Vertue; whether it be in them by nature, or sometimes also by art, or chance, as boldness in a harlot; these things do very much move, and provoke to such a quality, passion, or Vertue. So Fire moves to Fire, and Water moves to Water, and be that is bold moves to boldness. And it is well known amongst Physitians, that brain helps the brain, and lungs, the lungs. So also it is said, that the right eye of a Frog helps the soreness of a mans right eye, and the left