Three Books of Occult Philosophy/Book 1/Chapter 57

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Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, translated by John French
Book 1, Chapter 57


Chapter lvii. Of Geomancy, Hydromancy, Aeromancy, Pyromancy, four Divinations of Elements.[edit]

Moreover the Elements themselves teach us fatall events; whence those four famous kinds of Divinations, Geomancy, Hydromancy, Aeromancy, and Pyromancy, have got their names, of which the Sorceress in Lucan seems to boast her self, when she saith,

The Earth, the Aire, the Chaos, and the Skie,
The Seas, the Fields, the Rocks, and Mountains high
Foretell the truth
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The first therefore is Geomancy, whicb foresheweth future things by the motions of the earth, as also the noise, the swelling, the trembling, the chops, the pits, and exhalation, and other impressions, the art of which Almadel the Arabian sets forth. But there is another kind of Geomancy, which Divines by points written upon the earth, by a certain power in the fall of it, which is not of present speculation; but of that we shall speak hereafter.

Now Hydromancy doth perform its presages by the impressions of water, their ebbing and flowing, their increases, and depressions, their tempests, and colours, and the like; to which also are added visions, which are made in the waters. A kind of Divination found by the Persians, as Varro reports, a boy saw in the water the effigies of Mercury, which foretold in an hundred and fifty verses all the events of Mithridates his War. We read also that Numa Pompilius practiced Hydromancy; for in the water he called up the gods, and learned of them things to come. Which art also Pythagoras, a long time after Numa practised. There was of old a kind of Hydromancy, had in great esteem amongst the Assyrians, and it was called Lecanomancy, from a skin full of water, upon which they put plates of Gold, and Silver, and pretious Stones, written upon with certain images, names, and characters. To this may be referred that art, by which Lead, and Wax being melted, and cast into the water, do express manifest marks of images, what we desire to know. There were also in former years Fountains that did foretell things to come, as the Fathers-Fountain at Achaia, and that which was called the water of Juno in Epidaurus; but of these more in the following Chapters, where we shall speak of Oracles.

Hither also may be referred the divination of Fishes, of which kind there was use made by the Lycians in a certain place, which was called Dina, neer the Sea, in a Wood dedicated to Apollo, made hollow in the dry sand, into which, he that went to consult of future things, let down roasted meat, and presently that place was filled with waters, and a great multitude of Fish, and of strange shapes, unknown to men, did appear, by the forms of which the Prophet foretold what should come to pass. These things doth Atheneus more at large relate out of Polycharmus, in the History of the Lycians.

After the same maner doth Aeromancy divine by airy impressions, by the blowing of the Winds, by Rainbows, by Circles about the Moon and Stars, by Mists, and Clouds, and by imaginations in Clouds, and visions in the Aire.

So also Pyromancy divines by fiery impressions, and by Stars with long Tailes, by fiery Colours, by visions, and imaginations in the fire. So the wife of Cicero foretold that he would be Consul the next year, because when a certain man after the Sacrifice was ended, would look in the ashes, there suddenly broke forth a flame. Of this kind are those that Pliny speaks of, that terrene, pale, and buzzing fires presage tempests, Circles about the snuffs of Candles betoken rain; if the flame fly turning, and winding, it portends wind. Also Torches when they strike the fire before them, and are not kindled. Also when a Coal sticks to Pots taken off from the fire, and when the fire casts off the ashes, and sparkles, or when ashes are hard grown together on the hearth, and when a Coal is very bright.

To these is added Capnomancy, so called from smoak, because it searcheth into the flame, and smoak, and thin colours, sounds, and motions, when they are carryed upright, or on one side, or round, which we read in these Verses in Statius.

Let Piety be bound, and on th' Altar laid,
Let us implore the Gods for divine aid.
She makes acute, red, towring flames, and bright,
Increas'd by th' aire, the middle being white;
And then she makes the flames without all bound,
For to wind in and out, and to run round
Like to a Serpent
-----

Also in the Aethnean Caves, and Fields of the Nymphs in Apollonia, Auguries were taken from fires, and flames; joyful, if they did receive what was cast into them, and sad, if they did reject them. But of these things we shall speak in the following Chapters, amongst the answers of the Oracles.

Chapter lviii. Of the reviving of the dead, and of sleeping, and wanting victuals many years together.[edit]

The Arabian Philosophers agree, that some men may elevate themselves above the powers of their body, and above their sensitive powers; and those being surmounted, receive into themselves by the perfection of the Heavens, and Intelligencies, a divine vigour. Seeing therefore all the souls of men are perpetuall, and also all the spirits obey the perfect souls; Magicians think that perfect men may by the powers of their soul repair their dying bodies with other inferiour souls newly separated, and inspire them again; As a Weesell that is killed, is made alive again by the breath, and cry of his Dam; And Lions make alive their dead Whelps by breathing upon them.