Three Books of Occult Philosophy/Book 1/Chapter 7

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, translated by John French
Book 1, Chapter 7

CHAP. VII.

Of the kinds of Compounds, what relation they stand in to the Elements, and what relation there is betwixt the Elements themselves, and the soul, senses, and dispositions of men.

NExt after the four simple Elements follow the four kinds of perfect Bodies compounded of them, and they are Stones, Metals, Plants, and Animals : and although unto the generation of each of these all the Elements meet together in the composition, yet every one of them follows, and resembles one of the Elements, which is most predominant. For all Stones are earthy, for they are naturally heavy, and descend, and so hardened with dryness, that they cannot be melted. But Metals are waterish, and may be melted, which Naturalists confess, and Chymists finde to be true, viz. that they are generated of a viscous Water, or waterish argent vive. Plants have such an affinity with the Aire, that unless they be abroad in the open Aire, they do neither bud, nor increase. So also all Animals


Have in their Natures a most fiery force,
And also spring from a Celestiall source.

And Fire is so naturall to them, that that being extinguished they presently dye. And again every one of those kinds is distinguished within it self by reason of degrees of the Elements. For amongst the Stones they especially are called earthy that are dark, and more heavy; and those waterish, which are transparent, and are compacted of water, as Crystall, Beryll, and Pearls in the Shels of Fishes : and they are called airy, which swim upon the Water, and are spongious, as the Stones of a Sponge, the pumish Stone, and the Stone Sophus: and they are called fiery, out of which fire is extracted, or which are resolved into Fire, or which are produced of Fire : as Thunderbolts, Fire-stones, and the Stone Asbestus. Also amongst Metals, Lead, and Silver are earthy; Quicksilver is waterish: Copper, and Tin are airy : and Gold, and Iron are fiery. In Plants also, the roots resemble the Earth, by reason of their thickness: and the leaves, Water, because of their juice: Flowers, the Aire, because of their subtility, and the Seeds the Fire, by reason of their multiplying spirit. Besides, they are called some hot, some cold, some moist, some dry, borrowing their names from the qualifies of the Elements. Amongst Animals also, some are in comparison of others earthy, and dwell in the bowels of the Earth, as Worms and Moles, and many other small creeping Vermine : others are watery, as Fishes; others airy, which cannot live out of the Aire : others also are fiery, living in the Fire, as Salamanders, and Crickets, such as are of a fiery heat, as Pigeons, Estriches, Lions, and such as the wise man cals beasts breathing Fire. Besides, in Animals the Bones resemble the Earth, Flesh the Aire, the vital spirit the Fire, and the humors the Water. And these humors also partake of the Elements, for yellow choller is instead of Fire, blood instead of Aire, Flegme instead of Water, and black choller, or melancholy instead of Earth. And lastly, in the Soul it self, according to Austin, the understanding resembles Fire, reason the Aire, imagination the Water, and the senses the Earth. And these senses also are divided amongst themselves by reason of the Elements, for the sight is fiery, neither can it perceive without Fire, and Light : the hearing is airy, for a sound is made by the striking of the Aire; The smell, and tast resemble the Water, without the moisture of which there is neither smell, nor tast; and lastly the feeling is wholly earthy, and taketh gross bodies for its object. The actions also, and the operations of man are governed by the Elements. The Earth signifies a slow, and firm motion; The water signifies fearfulness, & sluggishness, and remisseness in working : Aire signifies chearfulness, and an amiable disposition : but Fire a fierce, quick and angry disposition. The Elements therefore are the first of all things, and all things are of, and according to them, and they are in all things, and diffuse their vertues through all things.