On the Will in Nature/Animal Magnetism and Magic
In 1818, when my chief work first appeared, Animal Magnetism had only begun to struggle into existence. But, as to its explanation, although, to be sure, some light had been thrown upon the passive side of it, that is, upon what goes on within the patient, by the contrast between the cerebral and the ganglionic systems, to which Reil had drawn attention, having been taken for the principle of explanation, the active side, the agent proper by means of which the magnetiser evokes all these phenomena, was still completely shrouded in darkness. People groped about among all sorts of material principles of explanation, such as Mesmer's all-permeating cosmic ether, or the exhalations from the magnetiser's skin, assumed by [Thomas] Stieglitz to be the cause, &c. &c. At the utmost a nerve-spirit had been recognised and, after all, this was but a word for an unknown thing. The truth had scarcely begun to dawn upon a few persons, whom practice had more deeply initiated. But I was still far from hoping for any direct corroboration of my doctrine from Magnetism.
Dies diem docet [one day teaches another] however, and the great teacher, experience, has since brought to light an important fact concerning this deep-reaching agent which, proceeding from the magnetiser, produces effects apparently so contrary to the regular course of Nature that the long lasting doubt as to their existence, the stiff-necked incredulity, the condemnation of a Committee of which Lavoisier and Franklin were members, in short, the whole opposition that Magnetism encountered both in its first and second period (with the sole exception of the coarse, unintelligent condemnation without inquiry, which till very lately, prevailed in England) is quite excusable. The fact I allude to is, that this agent is nothing but the will of the magnetiser. To-day not a doubt exists on this point, I believe, among those who combine practice with insight; therefore I think it superfluous to quote the numerous assertions of magnetisers in corroboration of it. 1 Time has thus not only verified [Marie Jacques de Chastenet de] Puységur's watchword and that of the older French magnetisers: "Veuillez et croyez!" [will and believe] i.e. " Will with belief!" but this very watchword has even developed into a correct insight of the process itself. 2 From Kieser's Tellurismus, still probably the most thorough and detailed text book of Animal Magnetism we have, it clearly results, that no act of Magnetism can take effect without the will; on the other hand the bare will, with out any outward action, is able to produce every magnetic effect. Manipulation seems to be only a means of fixing, and so to say incorporating, the will and its direction. In this sense Kieser says: "Inasmuch as the human hand, being the organ by which Man's outward activity is most visibly expressed, is the efficient organ in magnetising, manipulation arises." De Lausanne, a French magnetiser, pronounces himself with still greater precision on this point in the Fourth Book of his Annales du Magnetisme Animal (1814-1816), where he says: "L'action du magnétisme dépend de la seule volonté, il est vrai; mais l'homme ayant une forme extérieure et sensible, tout ce qui est à son usage, tout ce qui doit agir sur lui, doit nécessairement en avoir une
1 I only mention one work which has recently appeared, the explicit object of which is to show that the magnetiser's will is the real agent: Qu' est ce que le Magnétisme? par E. Gromier. (Lyon, 1850.)
2 Puységur himself says in the year 1784: "Lorsque vous avez magnétisé le malade, votre but était de l'endormir, et vous y avez réussi par le seul acte de votre volonté; c'est de même par un autre acte de volonté que vous le réveillez." [When you magnetized the patient, your object was to send him to sleep, and you succeeded simply through the act of your will; and it is likewise by another act of will that you wake him up.] (Puységur, Magnétisme Animal, 2me edit. 1820. Catéchisme Magnétique, p. 150-171) [Add. to 3rd ed.]
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et pour que la volonté agisse,il faut qu'elle employe un mode d action." [The activity od magnetizing, it is true, depends only on the will; but as man possesses an external and perceptible form, everything that is of use to him and should act on him, must necessarily have such a form; and in order that the will may act, it must make use of a method of action.] As, according to my doctrine, the organism is but the mere phenomenon, the visibility, the objectivity of the will; nay, as it is properly speaking only the will itself, viewed as representation in the brain; so also does the outward act of manipulation coincide with the inward act of the will. But where magnetic effects are produced without manipulation, they take place as it were artificially, in a roundabout way, the imagination taking the place of the outer act and even occasionally that of personal presence: wherefore it is much more difficult and succeeds less frequently. Kieser accordingly alleges that the word "Sleep!" or "You must!" said aloud, has a more powerful effect upon a somnabulist than the mere inward willing of the magnetiser. On the other hand manipulation, and in general outward action, is really an infallible means of fixing the magnetiser's will and promoting its activity; precisely because outward acts are quite impossible apart from all will, the body and its organs being nothing but the visibility of the will itself. This explains the fact, that magnetisers at times magnetise without any conscious effort of volition and almost without thinking, and yet produce the desired effect. On the whole, it is not the consciousness of volition, reflection upon it, that acts magnetically, but pure volition itself, as detached as possible from all representation. In Kieser's directions to magnetisers therefore, 1 we find all thinking and reflecting upon their respective doing and suffering, all conversation between them, forbidden both to physician and patient; also all outward impressions which arouse representations, the presence of strangers, and even daylight. He advises that everything should proceed as unconsciously as possible, as is likewise recommended in charm-cures. The true reason of all this is, that
1 Kieser, Tellurismus, vol. i. p. 400 seqq.
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here the will operates in its primariness, as thing in itself; and this demands the exclusion, as far as possible, of representation, as a different sphere, as secondary to the will. Facts to prove that the real agent in magnetising is the will and each outward act only its vehicle, may be found in all the more recent and more trustworthy writings upon Magnetism, and it would be needless prolixity to repeat them here. Nevertheless I will quote one case, not as being especially striking, but as furnished by a remarkable person and having a peculiar interest as his testimony. Jean Paul [Johann Paul Friedrich Richter] says in a letter: "Twice in a large company I have made Frau von K. nearly go to sleep by merely looking at her with a firm will, no one else knowing anything about it, and before that, I had brought on palpitation of the heart and pallor to such a degree that Dr. S. had to be summoned to her assistance." 1 Nowadays too, merely laying and keeping hold of the patient's hands while fixing
1 See Wahrheit aus Jean Pauls Leben, vol. viii. p. 120.
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the eye steadily upon him, is frequently substituted with complete success for the customary manipulation; precisely because even this outward act is suited to fix the will in a determined direction. But this immediate power which the will can exercise over other persons, is brought to light best of all by the admirable experiments made, even in public, by M. Dupotet and his pupils in Paris, in which a stranger is guided and determined at pleasure by the magnetiser's mere will, aided by a few gestures, and is even forced into the most extraordinary contortions. An apparently quite honestly written pamphlet, entitled First glance into the wonder-world of Magnetism, by Karl Scholl (1853), contains a brief account of this. 1
In the Communications concerning the somnambulist Auguste K. in Dresden (1843), we find the truth in question confirmed in another way by what the somnambulist herself says, p. 53: "I was half asleep and my brother
1 I had the good fortune in the year 1854 myself to witness some extraordinary feats of this kind, performed here by Signor Regazzoni from Bergamo, in which the immediate, i.e. magical, power of his will over other persons was unmistakable, and of which no one, excepting perhaps those to whom Nature has denied all capacity for apprehending pathological conditions, could doubt the genuineness. There are nevertheless such persons: they ought to become lawyers, clergymen, merchants or soldiers, but in heaven's name not doctors; for the result would be homicidal, diagnosis being the principal thing in medicine. Regazzoni was able at will to throw the somnambulist who was under his influence into a state of complete catalepsy, nay, he could make her fall down backwards, when he stood behind her and she was walking before him, by his mere will, without any gestures. He could paralyze her, give her tetanus [stiff muscles or cataleptic trance], with dilated pupils, complete insensibility, and in short, all the unmistakeable symptoms of complete catalepsy. He made one of the lady spectators first play the piano; then standing fifteen paces behind her, he so completely paralyzed her by his will and gestures, that she was unable to continue playing. He next placed her against a column and charmed her to the spot, so that she was unable to move in spite of the strongest efforts. According to my own observation, nearly all his feats are to be explained by his isolating the brain from the spinal marrow, either completely, in which case the sensible and motor nerves become paralyzed, and total catalepsy ensues; or partially, by the paralysis only affecting the motor nerves while sensibility remains, in other words, the head keeps its consciousness, while the body is apparently lifeless. This is precisely the effect of strychnine: it paralyzes the motor nerves only, even to complete tetanus, which induces death by asphyxia; but it leaves the sensible nerves, and with them consciousness, intact. Regazzoni does this same thing by the magic influence of his will. The moment at which this isolation takes place is distinctly visible in a peculiar trembling of the patient. I recommend a small French publication entitled Antoine Regazzoni de Bergame à Francfort sur Main, by L. A. V. Dubourg (Frankfurt, November 1854, 31 pages in 8vo.) on Regazzoni's feats and the unmistakably genuine character they bear for everyone who is not entirely devoid of all sense for organic Nature.
In the Journal du Magnétisme, edit. Dupotet, of the 15th August, 1856, in criticizing a treatise: De la Catalepsie, mémoire couronné, 1856, in 4to, the reviewer, Morin, says: "La plupart des caractères, qui distinguent la catalepsie, peuvent être obtenus artificiellement et sans danger sur les sujets magnétiques, et c'est même là un des exercices les plus ordinaires des séances magnétiques." [Most of the characteristics that constitute catalepsy can be obtained artificially and without danger in magnetized subjects; and this is even one of the most usual exercises in magnetic séances.] [Add. to 3rd ed,}
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wished to play a piece he knew. As I did not like it, I requested him not to play it; nevertheless he tried to do so and then, by means of my firm will that he should not, I succeeded in making him unable to remember the piece, in spite of all his endeavours." The thing is however brought to a climax when this immediate power of the will is extended even to inanimate bodies. However incredible this may appear, we have nevertheless two accounts of it coming from entirely different quarters. In the book just mentioned, 1 it is related and testified by witnesses, that Auguste K. caused the needle of the compass to deviate at one time 7 degrees and at another 4, this experiment moreover being repeated four times. She did this moreover without any use of her hands, through her mere will, by looking steadily at it. The Parisian somnambulist, Prudence Bernard, again in a public seance in London, at which Mr. Brewster, the physicist's son and two other gentlemen from among the spectators acted as jurors, made the compass needle deviate and follow her movements by simply turning her head round. 2
Now, if we thus see the will stated by me to be the thing–in–itself, the only real thing in all existence, the kernel of Nature, accomplish through the human individual, in Animal Magnetism and even beyond it, things which cannot be explained according to the causal nexus, i.e. in the regular course of Nature; if we find it in a sense even annulling Nature's laws and actually performing actio in distans [action at a distance], consequently manifesting a supernatural, that is, metaphysical, mastery over Nature, what corroboration better founded on fact could I desire for my doctrine ? Was not even Count Szápáry, a magnetiser
1 Mittheilungen über die Somnambule Auguste K. in Dresden. 1845, pp. 115, 116, and 318.
2 See extract from the English periodical Britannia, in Galignani's Messenger, of the 23rd October, 1851.
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who certainly did not know my philosophy, led by the results of his own experience, after writing the title of his book: A word about Animal Magnetism, soul-bodies and vital essence, 1 to add the following remarkable explanatory words: "or physical proofs that the current of Animal Magnetism is the element, and the will, the principle of all spiritual and corporeal life"? 2 According to this, Animal Magnetism presents itself directly as practical Metaphysic, which was the term used by [Francis] Bacon of Verulam 3 to define Magic in his classification of the sciences: it is empirical or experimental Metaphysic. Further, because the will manifests itself in Animal Magnetism downright as the thing–in–itself, we see the principium individuationis [principle of individuation] (Space and Time), which belongs to mere phenomenon, at once annulled: its limits which separate individuals from one another, are destroyed; Space no longer separates magnetiser and somnambulist; community of thoughts and of motions of the will appears; the state of clairvoyance overleaps the relations belonging to mere phenomenon and conditioned by Time and Space, such as proximity and distance, the present and the future.
In consequence of these facts, notwithstanding many reasons and prejudices to the contrary, the opinion has gradually gained ground, nay almost raised itself to certainty, that Animal Magnetism and its phenomena are identical with part of the Magic of former times, of that ill-famed occult art, of whose reality not only the Christian ages by which it was so cruelly persecuted, but all, not excepting even savage, nations on the whole of the earth,
1 Szápáry, Ein Wort über Animalischen Magnetismus, Seelenkörper und Lebensessenz (1840).
2 "Oder physische Beweise, daß der Animalisch-magnetische Strom das Element und der Wille das Prinzip alles geistigen und Körperlichen Lebens sei."
3 Bacon, Instauratio Magna [Great Renewal], Book 3, Part 5, "On the dignity and enlargement of science."
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have been equally convinced throughout all ages. The Twelve Tables of the Romans, 1 the Books of Moses, and even Plato's Eleventh Book on Laws, already made its practice punishable by death, and Apuleius' beautiful speech 2 before the court of justice, when defending himself against the charge of practising magic by which his life was menaced, proves how seriously this matter was taken even in the most enlightened Roman period, under the Antonines; since he merely tries to clear himself personally from the charge in question, but by no means contests the possibility of witchcraft and even enters into a host of absurd details such as are wont to figure in all the mediaeval trials for witchcraft. The eighteenth century makes an exception as regards this belief in Magic, and this is mainly because Balthasar Bekker, Thomasius and some others, with the good intention of putting an end once for all to the cruel trials for witchcraft, declared all magic to be impossible. Favoured by the philosophy of the age, this opinion soon gained the upper hand, although only among the learned and educated classes. The common people have never ceased to believe in witchcraft, even in England; though here the educated classes contrive to unite a degrading religious bigotry with the firm incredulity of a Saint Thomas (or of a Thomasius) as to all facts transcending the laws of impact and counter-impact, acids and alkalis, and refuse to lend an ear to their great countryman, when he tells them that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy. (Shakespeare, Hamlet, I, 5) One branch of Magic is still notoriously preserved and practised among the lower orders, being tolerated on account of its beneficent purpose. This is curing by charms (sympathetische Kuren, as they are called in German), the reality of which can hardly be doubted. Charming away warts 3 ,
1 Pliny, Historiae Naturalis, L. 30, c. 3. [Add. to 3rd ed.]
2 Apuleius, Oratio de Magia [Speech on magic], p. 104. Biponti ed.
3 The English newspapers (toward the end of August 1845) tell, with great scorn as being an outrageous superstition, that a young man, who suffered for a long time from a recurrent cold [ague] fever and had been treated by physicians in vain, used, on the advice of a wise woman, the following sympathetic means and had recovered. A spider, was locked up in an empty nutshell. These were tied up and worn at the neck: as the spider wastes away, dies and decays, the fever yields. This was mentioned in Most's Sympathy [The sympathetic means and methods of cure, Rostock, 1842]. The following (see Kieser's Archives [for animal magnetism], vol. 5, part 3, p. 106; vol. 8, part 3, pp. 145-148; and vol. 9) sympathetic cure was told to me by Dr. Neef as being implemented and successfully accomplished under his eyes. It concerned a ganglion in the hand. The hand was rubbed with an egg for a long time until the place became somewhat damp. Then this egg was buried in a red–ant hill (of half–inch, large, reddish ants). Directly, in the first night, the female patient felt an intolerable tickling and itching, as of ants, in the ganglion's place on her hand. The ganglion shrank until it wholly disappeared after some time and also did not come back.
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is one of the commonest forms of this practice, and of this Bacon of Verulam, cautious and empirical though he was, attests the efficacy from personal experience. 1 The charming away of erisypelas [bacterial skin infection] in the face by a spell, is another instance, and so often succeeds, that it is easy to convince oneself of its existence. Fever, too, is often successfully combated by spells, &c. &c. 2 That, in all this, the real agents are not the meaningless words and ceremonies, but that it is the will of the operator which acts, as in Animal Magnetism, needs no further explanation after what has been said above. For such as are still unacquainted with charm-cures, instances may be found in Kieser. 3 These two facts therefore, Animal Magnetism and Charm-curing, bear empirical evidence to the possibility of magical, as opposed to physical, influence, which possibility had been so peremptorily rejected by the past century; since it refused to recognise as possible any other
1 Bacon, Silva Silvarum, § 997.
2 In the Times of June the 12th, 1855, we find, p. 10, the following :
" A Horse-charmer.
" On the voyage to England the ship Simla experienced some heavy weather in the Bay of Biscay, in which the horses suffered severely, and some, including a charger of General Scarlett, became unmanageable. A valuable mare was so very bad, that a pistol was got ready to shoot her and to end her misery; when a Russian officer recommended a Cossak prisoner to be sent for, as he was a juggler and could, by charms, cure any malady in a horse. He was sent for, and immediately said he could cure it at once. He was closely watched, but the only thing they could observe him do was to take his sash off and tie a knot in it three several times. However the mare, in a few minutes, got on her feet and began to eat heartily, and rapidly recovered." [Add. to 3rd ed.]
2 Kieser, Archiv für den thierischen Magnetismus, vol. v. heft 3, p. 106 ; vol. viii. heft 3, p. 145 ; vol. ix. heft 2, p. 172 ; and vol. ix. heft 1, p. 128; Dr. Most's book likewise: Über Sympathetische Mittel und Kuren, 1842, may be used as an introduction to this matter. (And even Pliny indicates a number of charm-cures in the 28th Book, chaps. 6 to 17. [Add. to 3rd ed.])
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than physical influences brought about in the way of the intelligible nexus of causality.
It is a fortunate circumstance, that the rectification of this view in our time should have come from medical science; because it ensures us at the same time against the danger of the pendulum of opinion receiving too strong an impulse in the contrary direction, and thus carrying us back to the superstition of ruder ages. Besides, as I have said, Animal Magnetism and Charm-curing only save the reality of a part of Magic, which included a good deal more, a considerable portion of which must, for the present at least, remain under the old sentence of condemnation or be left in uncertainty; whereas another portion will at any rate have to be conceived as possible, through its analogy to Animal Magnetism. For Animal Magnetism and Charm-cures are but salutary influences exercised for curative purposes, like those recorded in the History of Magic as practised by the so-called (Spanish) Saludadores, 1 who nevertheless were also condemned by the Church; whereas Magic was far oftener practised with an evil intent. Nevertheless, to judge by analogy, it is more than probable, that the same inherent force which, by acting directly upon another individuality, can exercise a salutary influence, will be at least as powerful to exercise a prejudicial and pernicious one. If therefore there was reality in any part of ancient Magic beyond what may be referred to Animal Magnetism and curing by charms, it must assuredly have been in that which is called maleficium [witchcraft] and fascinatio [sorcery], the very thing that gave rise to most of the trials for witchcraft. In Most's book, too, already mentioned, 2 a few facts are related which must
1 Delrio, Disquisitionum Magicarum, Book III, Part 2, Question 4, Scholium 7; and Bodinus, De magorum daemonomania, Book iii, Part 2.
2 See note 2, p. 334, especially pp. 40, 41, and Nos. 89, 91, and 97 of Most's book.
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undoubtedly be ascribed to maleficium; in Kieser 1 also we find instances of diseases which had been transmitted, especially to dogs, who died of them. In Plutarch 2 we find that fascinatio was already known to Democritus, who tried to explain it as a fact. Now admitting these stories to be true, they give us the key to the crime of witchcraft, the zealous persecution of which would therefore not have been quite without reason. For even if in most cases it may have been founded upon error and abuse, we are still not authorized to look upon our forefathers as having been so utterly benighted, as to persecute with the utmost vigour and cruelty for so many ages an absolutely impossible crime. From this point of view moreover, we can also understand that the common people should still even to the present day persist in attributing certain cases of illness to a maleficium, and are not to be dissuaded from this conviction. Now if we are thus induced by the progress of the age to modify the extreme view adopted by the last century concerning the absolute nullity of this ill-famed art, at any rate with respect to some part of it, still nowhere is caution more necessary than here, in order to fish out from the chaos of fraud, falsehood and absurdity contained in the writings of Agrippa von Nettesheim, Wierus, Bodinus, Delrio, Bindsfeldt, &c. &c., the few isolated truths that may lie in them. For, frequent though they may be throughout the world, nowhere have lies and deceit freer play than where Nature's laws are avowedly set aside, nay declared invalid. Here there are, we find, the wildest fictions, the strangest freaks of the imagination worked up into an edifice, lofty as the sky, on the narrow foundation of the slight particle of truth there may have been in Magic, and in consequence of this, the
1 Kieser, Archiv für den thierischen Magnetismus. See the account of Bende Bendsen's illness, vol. ix. to vol. xii.
2 Plutarch, Symposiacae quaestiones, qu. v. 7. 6.
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most sanguinary atrocities perpetrated age after age. In contemplating such things, the psychological reflection on the unlimited capability of the human intellect for accepting the most incredible absurdities and the readiness of the human heart to set its seal to them by cruelty, prevails over every other.
Yet the modification which has taken place of late in the views of German savants respecting magic, is not due exclusively to Animal Magnetism. The deep foundations of it had already been laid by the change in philosophy wrought by Kant, which makes German culture differ fundamentally from that of the rest of Europe, with respect to philosophy as well as to other branches of knowledge. For a man to be able to smile beforehand at all occult sympathies, let alone magical influences, he must find the world very, nay completely, intelligible. But this is only possible if he looks at it with the utterly superficial glance which puts away from it all suspicion that we human beings are immersed in a sea of riddles and mysteries and have no exhaustive knowledge or understanding either of things or of ourselves in any direct way. Nearly all great men have been of the opposite frame of mind and therefore, whatever age or nation they belonged to, have always betrayed a slight tinge of superstition. If our natural mode of knowing were one that handed over to us things–in–themselves immediately and consequently gave us the absolutely true relations and connections of things, we might then, no doubt, be justified in rejecting a priori, therefore unconditionally, all prescience of future events, all apparitions of absent, of dying, let alone of deceased persons, and all magical influence. But if all that we know is, as Kant teaches, mere phenomenon, the forms and laws of which do not extend to things–in–themselves, it must be obviously premature to reject all foreknowledge, all apparitions and all magic; since that
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rejection is based upon laws, whose a priori character precisely restricts them to phenomena; whereas things–in–themselves, to which even our own inner self must belong, remain untouched by them. But it is quite possible for these very things–in–themselves to have relations with us from which the above-mentioned occurrences may have arisen, concerning which accordingly we have to wait for the decision a posteriori, and must not forestall it. That the English and French should persist in denying a priori all such occurrences, comes at the bottom from the influence of Locke's philosophy, under which these nations still stand as to all essential points, and by which we are taught that, after merely subtracting sensation, we know things–in–themselves. According to this view therefore, the laws of the material world are held to be ultimate, and no other influence than influxus physicus [physical influence] is admitted. Consequently these nations believe, it is true, in a physical, but not in a metaphysical, science, and therefore reject all other than so-called "Natural Magic:" a term which contains the same contradictio in adjecto [contradiction between the adjective and its noun] as "Supernatural Physics," but is nevertheless constantly used quite seriously, while the latter was used but once, and then in joke, by Lichtenberg. On the other hand, the common people, with their universal readiness to give credit to supernatural influences, express by it in their own way the conviction, that all things which we perceive and comprehend are mere phenomena, not things–in–themselves; although, with them, conviction is only felt. I quote the following passage from Kant's Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten, [Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, A450 f., "Of the Interest Attaching to the Ideas of Morality"] as a proof that this is not saying too much: "There is an observation requiring no great subtlety of reflection, which we may, on the contrary, suppose the most ordinary understanding capable of making, albeit in its own way and by an obscure distinction of the faculty of judgment, which it calls feeling. It is this, that all our
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involuntary representations (such as those of the senses) give us no further knowledge of objects than as they affect us, whereby we are left in ignorance as to what those objects may be in themselves; that, as far as this sort of representation is concerned therefore, we are still only able by this means to attain knowledge of phenomena, but never of things–in–themselves, even by dint of the utmost clearness and the most strenuous attention the understanding is able to give to this point. When once this distinction is made, however, it stands to reason, that the existence of something else behind these phenomena, something which is not phenomenon, i.e. the thing–in–itself, has still to be admitted and assumed." 1
When we read Dietrich Tiedemann's History of Magic, 2 we are astonished at the persistency with which mankind have clung to the thought of Magic in all places and at all times, notwithstanding frequent failure; and we come to the conclusion, that this thought must, to say the least, be deeply rooted in human nature, if not in things in general, and cannot be a mere arbitrary creation of the fancy. Although Magic is differently defined by the various authors who have treated of it, the fundamental thought which predominates in all its definitions is nevertheless unmistakable. For the opinion, that there must be another quite different way of producing changes in the world besides the regular one through the causal nexus between bodies, and one moreover which is not founded at all upon that nexus, has found favour in all ages and countries. There fore also the means belonging to this second way appeared absurd, when they were viewed in the same light as the first; since the cause applied was obviously not suited
1 Kant, First Principles of Ethical Metaphysic, 3rd edition, p. 105.
8 Dietrich Tiedemann, Disputatio de quaestione, quae fuerit artium magicarum origo, Marburg 1787. A prize-essay written for the Göttingen Society.
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to the effect intended and a causal nexus between them was impossible. But here it was assumed, that apart from the outer connection between the phenomena of this world on which the nexus physicus [physical connection] is founded, there must exist another besides, passing through the very essence in itself of all things: a subterranean connection, as it were, by means of which immediate action was possible from one point of the phenomenon on to every other point, through a nexus metaphysicus [metaphysical conection];
that accordingly, it must be possible to act upon things from inside, instead of from outside, as is usual;
that it must be possible for phenomenon to act upon phenomenon by means of that being–in–itself, which is one and the same in all phenomena;
that, just as we act causally as natura naturata [created nature], we might probably be able to act also as natura naturans [creating nature, a term used by Baruch Spinoza], and momentarily to enable the microcosm to play the part of the macrocosm;
that, however firm the partition walls of individuation and separation might be, they might nevertheless occasionally permit a communication to take place, as it were, behind the scenes, or like a secret game under the table; and
that, just as a neutralisation of individual isolation takes place in somnambulistic clairvoyance, so likewise might a neutralisation of the will in the individual be possible. Such a thought as this cannot have arisen empirically, nor can it have been confirmation through experience that has preserved it throughout all ages and in all countries: for in the majority of cases experience must result downright unfavourably to it. I opine therefore, that the origin of this thought, which has universally held its ground with the whole of mankind and, in spite of so much conflicting experience, in defiance of common sense, has never been eradicated, must be sought at great depth: namely in the inward feeling of the omnipotence of the will–in–itself
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— of that will, which constitutes at once the inner essence of Man and of the whole of Nature and in the assumption connected with it that, somehow or other, this omnipotence might possibly for once make itself felt, even when proceeding from the individual. People were unable to investigate and distinguish the difference between the capabilities of the will as thing–in–itself and the same will in its individual manifestation; but they assumed without further ado, that under certain circumstances, the will might be enabled to break through the barriers of individuation. For the above-mentioned feeling rebelled obstinately against the knowledge forced upon it by experience, that
"Der Gott der mir im Busen wohnt,
Kann tief mein Innerstes erregen,
Der über allen meinen Kraften thront,
Er kann nach Aussen nichts bewegen."
[The god that lives within my breast can deeply excite that which is within me, but he who is enthroned over all of my powers can move nothing outside of me. (Goethe, Faust, I, 1566–1569)]
According to the fundamental thought just expounded, we find that the physical medium used in all attempts at magic, never was regarded in any other light than in that of a vehicle for a thing metaphysical; otherwise it could evidently stand in no relation whatever to the effect contemplated. These media consisted in cabalistic words, symbolical actions, traced figures, wax images, &c. &c. We see too that, according to the original feeling, what this vehicle conveyed was in the last resort always an act of volition that had been connected with it. The very natural inducement to do this was the observation that every moment men became aware of a completely unaccountable, that is, evidently metaphysical, agency of the will, in the movements or their own bodies. Might not this agency, they thought, be extended to other bodies also? To find out a way to annul the isolation in which the will finds itself in each individual, and to extend the immediate sphere of the will's action beyond the organism of the person willing, was the task of Magic.
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A great deal was nevertheless still wanting ere this fundamental thought, from which Magic seems properly to have sprung, could pass over at once into distinct consciousness and be recognised in abstracto [in the abstract], and ere Magic could at once understand itself. Only a few thoughtful and learned writers of former ages, as I mean soon to prove by quotations, express the distinct thought, that it is in the will itself that the magic power lies, and that the strange signs and acts together with the senseless words that accompanied them, which passed for the means of exorcising and the connecting link with demons, are in fact merely vehicles and means for fixing the will, by which the act of volition, which is to act magically, ceases to be mere wish and becomes deed, or, to use the language of Paracelsus, "receives a corpus [body]" and the individual will in a sense distinctly proclaims that it is now acting as general will, as will–in–itself. For in every act of Magic charm-cure, or whatever else it may be, the outward action (the connecting link) is exactly what the passes are in magnetising: i.e. not what is really essential, but the mere vehicle, that by which the will, the only real agent, is directed and fixed in the material world and enters into reality. As a rule therefore, it is indispensable. From the rest of the writers of those times we gather that, in conformity with that fundamental thought of Magic, their only aim was to obtain absolute, arbitrary power over Nature. But they were unable to elevate themselves to the thought that this power must be a direct one; they conceived it, on the contrary, absolutely as an indirect one. For all religions in all countries had placed Nature under the dominion of gods and of demons. Now, it was the magician's endeavour to subject these gods and demons to his will, to induce, nay, to force them to serve him; and he attributed all that he succeeded in achieving to their agency, just as Mesmer attributed the success of his Magnetism to the magnetic
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rods he held in his hands, instead of to his will which was the real agent. It was in this sense that all polytheistic nations took the matter, and even Plotinus, 1 but more especially Iamblichus, understood Magic; that is, as Theurgy [sorcery], an expression which Porphyry was the first to use. That divine aristocracy, Pantheism, was favourable to this interpretation, since it distributed the dominion over the different forces of Nature among as many gods and demons, mostly mere personifications of natural forces, and the magician, by persuasion or by force, subjected now one, now the other of these divinities to his power and made them do his bidding. But in a Divine Monarchy, where all Nature obeys a single ruler, the thought of contracting a private alliance with the Almighty, let alone of exercising sovereignty over him, would have been too audacious. Therefore where Judaism, Christianity or Islam prevailed, the omnipotence of the one God stood in the way of this interpretation of Magic: an omnipotence which the magician could not venture to attack. He had no alternative therefore, but to take refuge with the Devil, and with this rebellious spirit perhaps even direct descendant of Ahriman to whom some power over Nature was still attributed, he now entered into a compact, by which he ensured to himself his assistance. This was "necromancy" (the black art ). Its antithesis, white Magic, was opposed to it by the circumstance that, in it, the magician did not make friends with the Devil, but rather solicited the permission, not to say co-operation, of the Almighty himself, to intercede with the angels; oftener still, he invoked devils by pronouncing the rarer Hebrew names and titles of the One God, such as Adon-Ai, &c. &c., and compelled them to obey him, without promising
344 THE WILL IN NATURE.
them anything in return for their services, in a hell-compulsion 1 (Höllenzwang). But all these mere interpretions and outward trappings of the thing were received so entirely as its essence and as objective processes, that writers like Bodinus, Delrio, Bindsfeldt, &c., whose knowledge of magic was second-hand and not derived from personal experience, all assert the essential characteristic of Magic to be, that it does not act either through forces of Nature or in a natural way, but through the assistance of the Devil. This view was, and long remained, current everywhere, locally modified according to the religions which prevailed in different countries. The laws against sorcery and the trials for witchcraft were based upon it; likewise, wherever the possibility of Magic was contested, the attacks were generally directed against this opinion. An objective view, such as this, was an inevitable consequence of the decided Realism which prevailed throughout ancient and mediaeval Europe and which Descartes was the first to disturb. Till then, Man had not learnt to direct the light of speculative thought towards the mysterious depths of his own inner self, but, on the contrary, had sought everything outside himself. Above all the thought of making the will he found within him rule over Nature, was so bold, that people would have been alarmed by it: therefore it was made to rule over fictitious beings, supposed by the prevailing superstition to have command over Nature, in order through them to obtain at least indirect mastery over Nature. Every sort of god or demon more over, is always a hypostasis, by which believers of all sects and colours bring to their own comprehension the Metaphysical, that which lies behind Nature, that which gives her existence and consistence and consequently rules over her. Thus, when it is said, that Magic acts by the help of demons,
1 Delrio, Disquisitionum magicarum, Lib. ii. quaestio 2. — Agrippa a Nettesheim, De [incertitudine et] Vanitate Scientiarum, c. 45.
ANIMAL MAGNETISM AND MAGIC. 345
the meaning which lies at the bottom of this thought still is, that it is an agency which is not physically, but metaphysically exercised: that it is not a natural, but a supernatural, agency. Now if, in the small amount of fact which speaks in favour of the reality of Magic: that is, in Animal Magnetism and charm-cures, we still do not recognise anything but an immediate action of the will which here manifests its direct power outside, instead of inside, the individual; if moreover, as I am about to show and to substantiate by decisive, unequivocal citations, those who are more deeply initiated into ancient Magic, derive all its effects from the magician's will alone: this is surely strong empirical evidence in support of my doctrine, that the Metaphysical in general, that which alone exists apart from representation, the thing–in–itself of the universe is nothing but what is known to us within ourselves as the will.
Now, if the direct power which may occasionally be exercised over Nature by the will, was conceived by those magicians as a merely indirect one, acquired by the help of demons, this still could not prevent its efficiency wherever and whenever it may have taken place. For, precisely because, in things of this kind, the will acts in itself, in its primariness, therefore apart from representation, its efficiency cannot be frustrated by erroneous conceptions of the intellect; on the contrary, the distance here is a wide one between theory and practice: the errors of the former do not stand in the way of the latter, nor does a correct theory qualify for practice. Mesmer, in the beginning, attributed his agency to the magnetic rods he held in his hands and later on explained the wonders of Animal Magnetism by a materialistic theory of a subtle, all-permeating fluid; nevertheless he produced wonderfully powerful effects. I once myself knew the proprietor of an estate, whose peasants were wont by tradition to have their feverish attacks dispelled by their master's spell. Now,
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although he believed he had convinced himself of the impossibility of all such things, yet he continued good- naturedly to comply with their wish as usual, and indeed often succeeded in relieving them. This success he ascribed to his peasants firm belief, forgetting that a similar faith ought also to bring success to the medical treatment which is so often applied with complete inefficacy to believing patients.
Now, if Theurgy and Demonomagic, as described above, were but the mere interpretation and outward trappings of the thing, the mere husk, at which the majority were content to stop short; there were nevertheless some, who went below the surface and quite recognised that the agent in influences supposed to proceed from magic, was absolutely nothing but the will. We must not however look for such deeper observers as these among the discountenancers and antagonists of Magic, and the majority of the writers on this subject belong precisely to these: they derived their knowledge exclusively from Courts of Justice and from the examination of witnesses, so that they merely describe the outside of the matter; and, if at any time they chanced, through confessions, to gain an insight into the inner processes, they took good care not to betray that knowledge, lest, by doing so, they should contribute to diffuse the terrible vice of sorcery. To this class belong Bodinus, Delrio, Bindsfeldt, and others. For information as to the real nature of the thing, we must on the contrary go to philosophers and investigators of Nature, who wrote in those times of prevailing superstition. Now, from what they say, it clearly follows, that the real agent in Magic, just as in Animal Magnetism, is nothing but the will. Here I must quote some passages in support of this assertion. 1 Paracelsus especially discloses
1 Roger Bacon already in the thirteenth century said: "Quod si ulterius aliqua anima maligna cogitat fortiter de infectione altcrius, atque ardenter desideret et certitudinaliter intendat, atque vehementer consideret, se posse nocere, non est dubium, quin natura obediet cogitationibus animae." [When an evil–minded man resolutely thinks of injuring another, when he passionately desires this and intends to do so with determination, and is firmly convinced that he can injure him, then there is no doubt that nature will obey the intentions of his will] (See Rogeri Bacon, Opus Majus, Londini, 1733, p. 252.)
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perhaps more concerning the inner nature of Magic than any other writer, and does not even hesitate to give a minute description of the processes used in it. 1 He says: "To be observed concerning wax images: if I bear malice in my will against anyone, that malice must be carried out by some medium or corpus [body]. Thus it is possible for my spirit to stab or wound another person without help from my body in using a sword, merely by my fervent desire. Therefore it is also possible for me to convey my opponent's spirit into the image by my will and then to deform or paralyze it at pleasure. You must know, that the influence of the will is a great point in medicine. For if a man hate another and begrudge him anything good, it is possible that if he curse him, that curse may take effect. This occurs also with animals and more easily than with men; for the spirit of man has far greater power of resistance than that of animals." 2
And p. 375: "It follows from this, that one image has magic power over another, not by virtue of the characters or anything of that kind impressed on the virgin wax; but the imagination overcomes its own constellation, so as to become a means for fulfilling the will of its heaven, i.e. of its man."
p. 334: "All the imagining of man comes from his heart. The heart is the sun of the microcosm. And all the imagining of man passes from the small sun of the microcosm into the sun of the great Universe, into the heart of the macrocosm. Thus the imaginatio of the microcosm is a seed which becomes material," &c.
1 Theophrastus Paracelsus, Strassburg edition in two folio vols., 1603; vol. i. pp. 91, 353, et segq. and p. 789; vol. ii. pp. 362, 496.
2 Vol. i. p. 19.
348 THE WILL IN NATURE.
p. 364: "It suffices for you to know what rigorous imagination does, which is the beginning of all magical works."
p. 789: "Even my thought therefore is a looking at a goal. Now I must not turn my eye with my hands in this or that direction; but my imagination turns it as I wish. And this is also to be understood of walking: I desire, I propose to myself, therefore my body moves, and the firmer my thoughts, the more sure it is that I shall run. Thus imaginatio alone is an impulse for my running."
p. 837: "Imaginatio used against me may be employed with such rigour, that I may be killed by the imaginatio of another person."
Vol. ii. p. 274: " Imagination comes from longing and desire: envy, hatred, proceed from longing, for they do not arise unless you long for them. As soon as you wish, the act of the imagination follows. This longing must be quick, ardent, lively, as that of a pregnant woman, &c. &c. A general curse is commonly verified. Why ? It comes from the heart, and the seed lies and is born in that coming from the heart. Thus parents' curses also come from the heart. The curse of the poor is likewise imaginatio. The prisoner's curse, also mere imaginatio, comes from the heart…. Thus too, when one man wishes to stab or paralyze, &c., another by means of his imaginatio, he must first attract the thing and instrument to himself and then he can impress it (with his wish): for whatever enters into it, may also go out of it again by the medium of thought as well as by that of the hands. In such imagining, women outdo men ... for they are more ardent in revenge."
p. 298: "Magica is a great occult wisdom; just as Reason is a great, open folly …. No armour avails against magic, for it wounds the inner man, the vital spirit …. Some magicians make an image in the shape
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of a man they have in mind, knock a nail into the sole of its foot, and the man is invisibly struck with lameness, until the nail is removed."
p. 307: "We ought to know, that we may convey the spirit of any man into an image, solely by faith and by our strong imagination …. No incantation is needed, and the ceremonies, drawing of circles, fumigations, seals, &c. &c. are mere humbug to mislead. — Homunculi and images are made, &c. &c … by which all the operations, powers and will of man are carried out …. The human heart is indeed so great a thing, that no one can express it: as God is eternal and imperishable, so also is the heart of man. If we men thoroughly recognised our heart, nothing would be impossible for us on earth. … Perfect imagination, coming from the stars (astris) arises from the heart."
p. 513: "Imaginatio is confirmed and rendered perfect by the belief that it really takes place: for every doubt injures the effect. Faith must confirm the imagination, for faith decides the will. … But just the fact that man does not always perfectly imagine, perfectly believe, causes acts to be called uncertain, which nevertheless may certainly and quite well exist." A passage from Campanella's book, De sensu rerum et magia, may serve to elucidate this last sentence. "Efficiunt alii ne homo possit futuere, si tantum credat: non enim potest facere, quod non credit posse facere." [The influence of another can result in a man's inability to perform the act of procreation, if only he believes he is unable to carry it out.] (Lib. iv. c. 18).
Agrippa von Nettesheim 1 speaks in the same sense. Chapter 65: "Non minus subicitur corpus alieno animo quam alieno corpori." [The body is as much subject to the influence of another's spirit as to that of another's body.] and: 2 Chapter 67: "Quidquid dictat animus fortissime odientis, habet efficaciam nocendi et destruendi; similiter et in ceteris, quae affectat animus forti desiderio. Omnia enim, quae tunc agit et dictat ex characteribus, figuris, verbis, sermonibus, gestibus et eiusmodi, omnia sunt adiuvantia appetitum animae et acquirunt mirabiles quasdam virtutes, tum ab anima operantis
1 De occulta philosophia, lib. 1, c. 65.
2 Ibid. c. 67.
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in illa hora, quando ipsam appetitus eiusmodi maxime invadit, tum ab opportunitate et influxu caelesti animum tunc taliter movente." [All that is dictated by the spirit of one who feels intense hatred has the effect of damaging and destroying; and it is much the same with everything that the spirit does and dictates by means of written characters, figures, words, conversations, gestures, and the like, all this supports the desire of the soul and obtains certain extraordinary powers, whether on the part of him who acts at this hour when an ardent desire of this kind especially fills his soul, or on the part of a celestial occasion and influence that then raises the spirit to such excitement.] 1 Chapter 68: "Inest hominum animis virtus quaedam immutandi et ligandi res et homines ad id, quod desiderat, et omnes res oboediunt illi, quando fertur in magnum excessum alicuius passionis vel virtutis in tantum, ut superet eos, quos ligat. Radix eiusmodi ligationis ipsa est affectio animae vehemens et exterminata" [There dwells within the spirit of humans a certain power to determine things and persons, and to bind them to what it desires, and all things obey it when it is deeply stirred by some passion or energy to such an extent that it overcomes those whom it binds. The cause of such a binding is the violent and immoderate excitement of the soul itself.]
And likewise Julius Caesar Vanini, De admirandis naturae arcanis, Lib. iv. dialogue 5, p. 434: "Vehementem imaginationem, cui spiritus et sanguis oboediunt, rem mente conceptam realiter efficere non solum intra, sed et extra" 2 [That a vivid imagination, obeyed by blood and spirit, can really affect a thing that is conceived in the mind not only inwardly but also outwardly.]
1 De occulta philosophia, lib. 1, cc. 66, 67 et 68.
2 Ibid. p. 440: Addunt Avicenna dictum: "Ad validam alicuius imaginationem cadit camelus." [By vigorous thought a camel can be brought down.] Ibid. p. 478, speaking of a charm that prevents a married couple from begetting children: "fascinatio ne quis cum muliere coeat" [The charm or spell so that no one can cohabit with a woman], he says: "Equidem in Germania complures allocutus sum vulgari cognomento Necromantistas, qui ingenue confessi sunt se firme satis credere meras fabulas esse opiniones, quae de daemonibus vulgo circumferuntur, aliquid tamen ipsos operari vel vi herbarum commovendo phantasiam vel vi imaginationis et fidei vehementissimae, quam ipsorum nugacissimis confictis excantationibus adhibent ignarae mulieres, quibus persuadent, recitatis magna cum devotione aliquibus preculis statim effici fascinum, quare credulae ex intimo cordis effundunt excantationes atque ita, non vi verborum, neque caracterum, ut ipsae existimant, sed spiritibus *), fascini inferendi percupidis exsufflatis proximos effascinant. Hinc fit, ut ipsi Necromantici, in causa propria vel aliena, si soli sint operarii, nihil unquam mirabile praestiterint: carent enim fide, quae cuncta operatur." [In Germany I have spoken to many so–called necromancers who openly confessed their firm conviction that the opinions were mere idle talk that was current among the people regarding demons. They themselves, however, confessed that they could have some success either by their exciting the imagination through certain herbs, or even only by the power of the imagination and of a very firm belief in the extremely absurd magic formulas devised by them, if they inflict these on ignorant women. They make such women believe that, by repeating certain prayers with great devotion, the magician will at once act. Then if in their credulity they express the exorcisms from the bottom of their hearts, it happens that those in their vicinity are charmed or bewitched not so much by the power of words or written characters as the women believe, but by the [vital and animal — A.S.] exhalations that they breathe out with the ardent desire to bewitch. It therefore happens that, when the necromancers themselves go to work alone in their own affairs or other people's, they never produce anything wonderful because they lack the faith that is capable of doing everything.] [Add. to 3rd ed.j
- Schopenhauer has added to spiritibus in parenthesis (sc. vitalibus et
animalibus [vital and animal]).
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Just so Johann Baptist Van Helmont, who takes great pains to explain away as much as possible of the Devil's influence, in order to attribute it to the will. I quote a few passages from the voluminous collection of his works, Ortus Medicinae [The Origin of Medicine], ("Tractatus de Morbis" [Treatise of Diseases]):
Recepta injecta [Things received that are injected] § 12. Quum hostis naturae (diabolus) ipsam applicationem complere ex se nequeat, suscitat ideam fortis desiderii et odii in saga, ut mutuatis istis mentalibus et liberis mediis transferat suum velle per quod, quodque afficere intendit. 1 Quorsum imprimis etiam execrationes cum idea desiderii et terroris odiosissimis suis scrofis praescribit. [As the enemy of nature (the devil) is unable by himself to effect the application itself, he awakens in the sorceress the notion of a strong desire and hatred so that, by borrowing those mental and arbitrary media, he may transfer his will. Through this he strives to influence everything, and for this purpose he prescribes curses with the idea of provoking desire and terror in these, his extremely repulsive sows.]
§ 13. Quippe desiderium istud, ut est passio imaginantis, ita quoque creat ideam non quidem inanem, sed executivam atque incantamenti motivam. [For just as that desire is a passion in the imagination, so does it also create a notion that is not merely empty, but acts and causes enchantment.]
§ 19. prout iam demonstravi, quod vis incantamenti potissima pendeat ab idea naturali sagae. [As I have already shown, the main power of enchantment depends on the natural notion of the sorceress,]
De injectis materialibus [Of material things injected]
§ 15. Saga per ens naturale imaginative format ideam liberam, naturalem et nocuam. [By virtue of her natural being, the sorceress forms in the imagination an arbitrary, natural, and harmful notion] … Sagae operantur virtute naturali. [Sorceresses work through their natural power] … … Homo etiam dimittit medium aliud executivum, emanativum et mandativum ad incantandum hominem; quod medium est Idea fortis desiderii. Est nempe desiderio inseparabile ferri circa optata. [Human beings release from themselves a strange, emissive, imperious medium that has the effect of bewitching a person. This medium is the notion of a strong desire. Thus it is inseparable from a longing to move toward the thing desired.]
De sympatheticis mediis [Of sympathetic media] § 2. Ideae scilicet desiderii per modum influentiarum caelestium, iaciuntur in proprium objectum, utcunque localiter remotum. Diriguntur nempe a desiderio objectum sibi specificante. [Thus the notions of desire are cast on the path of celestial influences into their object, however far off it may be situated; for they are guided by the desire that sets itself a special object.]
De magnetica vulnerum curatione [Of the magnetic curing of wounds]
§ 76. Igitur in sanguine est quaedam potestas exstatica, quae, si quando ardenti desiderio excitata fuerit, etiam ad absens aliquod obiectum exterioris hominis spiritu deducenda sit: ea autem potestas in exteriori homine latet velut in potentia nec ducitur ad actum, nisi excitetur accensa imaginatione ferventi desiderio vel arte aliqua pari. [Therefore there is to be found in the blood a certain ecstatic power. Whence once this has been excited by a burning desire, it is carried across even to an absent object through the spirit of the outer person. This power is latent and exists, so to speak, potentially. It does not become active unless it is excited through the kindling of the imagination by a burning desire or similar means.]
§ 98. Anima, prorsum spiritus nequaquam posset spiritum vitalem (corporeum equidem) multo minus carnem et ossa movere aut concitare, nisi vis illi quaepiam naturalis magica tamen et spiritualis ex anima in spiritum et corpus descenderet. Cedo, quo pacto oboediret spiritus corporeus iussui animae, nisi iussus spiritum,
1 Goethe, Faust, I, Lines 2376 – 2377,
"Der Teufel hat sie's zwar gelehrt;
Allein der Teufel kann's nicht machen."
[It's true that the Devil taught it to them; However, the Devil can't make it.]
[Add. to 3rd ed.]
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et deinceps corpus movendo foret? At extemplo contra hanc magicam motricem obicies istam esse intra concretum sibi suumque hospitium naturale, idcirco hanc, etsi magicam vocitemus, tantum erit nominis detorsio et abusus, siquidem vera et superstitiosa magica non ex anima basin desumit; cum eadem haec nil quidquam valeat, extra corpus suum movere altera re aut ciere. Respondeo vim et magicam illam naturalem animae, quae extra se agat virtute imaginis Dei latere iam obscuram in homine velut obdormire (post praevaricationem) excitationisque indigam: quae eadem, utut somnolenta, ac velut ebria, alioqui sit in nobis cottidie: sufficit tamen ad obeunda munia in corpore suo: dormit itaque scientia et potestas magica et solo nutu actrix in homine. [The soul, which is absolutely and entirely spirit, would never be able to move or excite the breath of life (which is thus physical and material) and still less flesh and bones, unless a certain power, naturally inherent in it, yet magical and spiritual, descended from the soul into the spirit and body. Just tell me, in what way could the bodily spirit obey the command of the soul, unless such a command existed to move the spirit, and thereafter the body? But you will at once object to this magic power of movement that it must remain within that which is peculiar to it and within its natural domain. Therefore you will say that, although we call it magical, this is only a misrepresentation and misuse of the name. For true and superstitious magic cannot derive its basis from the soul, since this very soul would not in any way be able to move, change, or excite something outside its body. My reply is that that power and magic, natural to the soul, which operate outward, lie already hidden and obscured in humans by virtue of God's image. They slumber (after the Fall) and require stimulation; but although they are always present within us in a drowsy and, as it were, intoxicated form, they are always sufficient to carry out the functions. Consequently, magic knowledge and power are asleep, and only on stimulation do they become effective in humans.]
§ 102. Satan itaque vim magicam hanc excitat (secus dormientem et scientia exterioris hominis impeditam) in suis mancipiis et inservit eadem illis ensis vice in manu potentis, id est sagae. Nec aliud prorsus Satan ad homicidium affert praeter excitationem dictae potestatis somnolentae. [Therefore it is Satan who excites this magic power (which usually slumbers and is impeded by the outer person's consciousness) in those who have sold themselves to him; and it is at their command as is a sword in a strong and powerful hand, in other words, of the sorceress. And actually Satan contributes nothing further to homicide except to stimulate that slumbering force.]
§ 106. Saga in stabulo absente occidit equum: virtus quaedam naturalis a spiritu sagae, et non a Satana derivatur, quae opprimat vel strangulet spiritum vitalem equi. [The sorceress can kill a horse in a distant stable; a certain natural effective force comes from the spirit of the sorceress and not from Satan. Such a force is capable of smothering and strangling the horse.]
§ 139. Spiritus voco magnetismi patronos non, qui ex caelo demittuntur multoque minus de infernalibus sermo est, sed de iis, qui fiunt in ipso homine sicut ex silice ignis: ex voluntate hominis nempe aliquantillum spiritus vitalis influentis desumitur et id ipsum assumit idealem entitatem, tanquam formam ad complementum. Qua nacta perfectione spiritus mediam sortem inter corpora et non corpora assumit. Mittitur autem eo, quo voluntas ipsum dirigit: idealis igitur entias . . . nullis stringitur locorum, temporum aut dimensionum imperiis, ea nec daemon est nec eius ullus effectus, sed spiritualis quaedam est actio illius, nobis plane naturalis et vernacula. [I describe as the guardian spirits of magnetism not those arising who descend from heaven, and eve less do I speak here of those from infernal regions. On the contrary, I speak of those arising in humans themselves, just as fire originates in a flintstone. Thus from the will of the human a little of the influential vital spirit is drawn, and it is just this which assumes an ideal entity or essentially, a form, as it were, in order to complete itself. After the spirit has attained this completion, it assumes a kind of middle state between the corporeal and the incorporeal. But it can be sent whither the will directs it; and so that ideal entity is not … stopped by any barrier of place, time, or distance; it is not a demon or the effect of such, but a spiritual effect of the thing in question, and to us this is quite natural and familiar.]
§ 168. Ingens mysterium propalare hactenus distuli, ostendere videlicet ad manum in homine sitam esse energiam, qua solo nutu et phantasia sua, queat agere extra se et imprimere virtutem aliquam influentiam deinceps perseverantem et agentem in obiectum longissime absens.
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[Hitherto I have refrained from proclaiming the immense mystery, thus from showing clearly that there resides in man an energy in virtue of which he is able by his mere will and imagination to act outside himself and to express force, as also an influence, which persists and can reach an object however remote.]
P. Pomponatius also says: Sic contigit tales esse homines, qui habeant eiusmodi vires in potentia, et per vim imaginativam et desiderativam cum actu operantur, talis virtus exit ad actum, et afficit sanguinem et spiritum, quae per evaporationem petunt ad extra et producunt tales effectus. 1 [And so it happens that there are humans who have in their power such forces; and when they actually become evident through imagination and appetitive power, such virtue comes into action and influences blood and spirit. By exhalation such forces press outward, and produce effects like this.]
Jane Leade, an English mystic visionary of Cromwell's time and pupil of Pordage, has given us some very curious disclosures of this kind. She is led to Magic in a very singular way. For, as the doctrine of their becoming one with the God of their religion is a fundamental characteristic of all Mystics, so is it with Jane Leade also. Now, with her however, the human will has its share in the omnipotence of the Divine will as a consequence of the two having become one, and accordingly acquires magic power. What other magicians therefore believe to be due to a compact with the Devil, she attributes to her becoming one with her God. Her Magic is therefore in the highest sense white Magic. Besides, this alters nothing as to the practice and results. She is reserved and mysterious, as people had to be in those times; still it is easy to see that the thing is not a mere theoretical corollary, but that it has sprung from knowledge and experience obtained in another way.
It is in her Revelation of Revelations 2 that we find the chief passage; but the following one, which is rather an abridgment than a literal quotation and is contained in [M. Gregor Conrad] Horst's Zauberbibliothek, 3 comes from the same book: "Magic power enables its possessor to rule over
1 De incantationibus, Opera Basiliensa. 1567, p. 44.
2 Offenbarung der Offenbarung, German translation, Amsterdam, 1695, pp. 126 to 151, especially the pages headed "the power of calm will."
3 Horst, Zauberbibliothek [Library of Magic], 1820–1821, vol. i. p. 325.
354 THE WILL IN NATURE.
and to renew the creation, i.e., the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, so that, were many to co-operate in one magical power, Nature might be created anew as a paradise. . . . How is this magic power to be acquired? By renascence through faith: that is, by our will harmonizing with the divine will. For faith subjects the world to us, inasmuch as our own will, when it is in harmony with the divine will, results, as St. Paul tells us, in making everything submit to and obey us." Thus far Horst. p. 131 of the Revelation, &c., Jane Leade shows that it was by the force of his will that Christ worked miracles, as, for instance, when he said to the leper: " 'I will; be thou clean.' Sometimes however he left it to the will of those who, he saw, believed in him, saying to them: 'What will ye that I shall do unto you?' In which cases no less was done for them than they had desired in their will that the Lord should do. These words of our Saviour's are well deserving of notice, since the highest Magia lies in the will, so far as it is in union with the will of the Almighty: when these two wheels fit into each other, becoming in a sense one, they are, &c." Again, p. 132, she says: "For what could resist that which is united with the will of God? The power of such a will is so great, that it always achieves its end. It is no naked will deprived of its clothing, or power; on the contrary, it brings with it an irresistible omnipotence, which enables it to uproot, to plant, to put to death and to bring to life, to bind and to loose, to heal and to injure, which power will be collected and concentrated in its entirety in the royal, free-born will. Of this power we shall attain knowledge, when we shall have been made one with the Holy Ghost, or when we shall be united in one spirit and being." Again, p. 133 "We must quench or drown altogether the many multifarious wills which arise out of the mixed essence of souls, and they must lose themselves in the
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abysmal depth from which there will then arise and present itself the virgin will, which was never the slave of anything belonging to degenerate man; on the contrary, it stands in connection with the Almighty Power, quite free and pure, and will infallibly produce fruits and results quite similar to those of the divine will . . . wherefrom the burning oil of the Holy Ghost flows up in Magic, as it emits its fiery sparks."
Jacob Böhme too 1 speaks of Magic precisely in the sense here described. Among other things he says: "Magic is the mother of the essence of all beings: for it creates itself and is understood in desire … True Magic is not a being, but the desiring spirit of the being … In fine: Magic is action in the will's spirit."
In corroboration, or at any rate in explanation, of the above view of the will as the real agent in magic, a curious and interesting anecdote, related by Campanella, from Avicenna, may here find its place. 2 "Mulieres quaedam condixerunt, ut irent animi gratia in viridarium. Una earum non ivit. Ceterae colludentes arangium acceperunt et perforabant eum stilis acutis, dicentes: ita perforamus mulierem talem, quae nobiscum venire detrectavit, et, projecto arangio intra fontem, abierunt. Postmodum mulierem illam dolentem invenerunt, quod se transfigi quasi clavis acutis sentiret, ab ea hora, qua arangium ceterae perforarunt: et cruciata est valde donec arangii, elavos extraxerunt imprecantes bona et salutem." [Some women had arranged to go to a pleasure garden for a change. One of them did not come. The others in jest took an orange and pierced it with sharp needles and said: "Thus we pierce the woman who has refused to come with us"; whereupon they threw the orange into a well and went off. They then found the woman in pain, because she had the feeling as if she were being pierced by sharp nails from the very hour when the others had pierced the orange. She was in great pain until the others had extracted the needles from the orange, wishing her good health and all good things.]
Krusenstern 3 gives a very curious and minute description of maleficent sorcery as practised,
1 J. Böhme, Erklärung von sechs Punkten [Explanation of six points], under Punkt v.
2 Campanella, De sensu rerum et magia, Lib. iv. c. 18.
3 Krusenstern's words are: "A universal belief in witchcraft, which is held to be very important by all islanders, seems to me to be connected with their religion; for they assert that the priests alone possess magic power, although some of the common people also, it is said, profess to have the secret, probably in order to make themselves feared, and to exact gifts. This sorcery, which they call Kaha, consists in inflicting a lingering death upon those to whom they bear a grudge, twenty days being however fixed as the term for this. They go to work as follows. Whoever wishes to practise revenge by means of sorcery, seeks to procure either saliva or urine or excrements of his enemy in some way or other. These he mixes with a powder, lays the compound in a bag which is woven in a special manner, and buries it. The most important secret is in the art of weaving the bag in the right way and of preparing the powder. As soon as it is buried, the effects show themselves in the person who is the object of this witchcraft. He sickens, becomes daily weaker, loses at last all his strength, and in twenty days is sure to die. If, on the other hand, he attempts to divert his enemy's revenge from himself by offering up a pig, or making some other valuable present in order to save his life, he may yet be saved, even on the nineteenth day, and no sooner is the bag unburied, than the attacks of illness cease. He recovers gradually, and after a few days is quite restored to health." Reise um die Welt. Ed. in 12mo, 1812, Part i., p. 249 et seq. [Add. to 3rd ed.]
356 THE WILL IN NATURE.
it is said successfully, by the priests of the savage tribes on the island of Nukahiva, the procedure in which is exactly similar to that of our cures by charms. This fact is especially remarkable on account of the identity of the thing, notwithstanding the distance from all European tradition. With it ought to be compared Bende Bendsen's account of a headache he caused in another person by sorcery, through the medium of some of that person's hair which had been cut off. He concludes with the following words: "As far as I can learn, what is called witchcraft consists simply in preparing and applying noxious magnetic charms combined with a maleficent influence of the will: this is the detestable league with Satan." l
The agreement of all these writers, not only among themselves, but with the convictions to which Animal Magnetism has led in latter years, and finally even with what might be concluded from my speculative doctrine on this point, is surely a most remarkable phenomenon. This
1 Kieser, Archiv für thierischen Magnetismus, vol. ix. s. i. in the note, pp. 128-132.
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much is at any rate certain, that at the bottom of all the experiments, successful or unsuccessful, which have ever been made in Magic, there lies an anticipation of my Meta- physic. For in them is expressed the consciousness, that the causal law only connects phenomena, while the inner nature of things remains independent of it; and also, that if any direct influence on Nature be possible from within, it can only take place through the will itself. But even if Magic were to be ranked as practical Metaphysic, according to Bacon's classification, it is certain that no other theoretical Metaphysic would stand in the right relation to it but mine, by which the world is resolved into Will and Representation.
The zealous cruelty with which Magic has always been persecuted by the Church and to which the papal malleus maleficarum bears terrible evidence, seems not to have for its sole basis the criminal purposes often associated with the practice of Magic or the part assumed to be played by the Devil, but rather to proceed partly from a vague foreboding and fear lest Magic should trace back its original power to its true source; whereas the Church has assigned to it a place outside Nature. 1 The detestation shown by the cautious clergy of England towards Animal Magnetism 2 tends to confirm this supposition, and also the active zeal with which they oppose table-turning, which at any rate is harmless, yet which, for the same
1 They scent something of the Nos habitat, non tartara sed nec sidera caeli: Spiritus in nobis qui viget, illa facit. [Not in the heavens it lives, nor yet in hell; The spirit that does it all, doth in us dwell. (Agrippa von Nettesheim, Epistles, 5, 14)]
Compare Johann Beaumont, Historisch-Physiologisch-und Theologischer Tractat von Geistern, Erscheinungen, Hexereyen und andern Zauber-Händeln, [Historical–Physiological–and Theological Treatise on Ghosts, Apparitions, Witchery and other Magical Affairs], Halle im Magdeburgischen, 1721, p. 257. [Add. to 3rd ed.]
2 Compare Parerga, vol. i. p. 257 "Essay on Spirit–seeing," (2nd ed. vol. i. p. 286).
358 THE WILL IN NATURE.
reason, has been violently assailed by the anathemas of the French, and even of the German, clergy. 1
1 On the 4th of August, 1856, the Roman Inquisition issued a circular to all the bishops, in which it called upon them in the name of the Church to use their utmost influence against the practice of Animal Magnetism. The reasons for this are given with striking want of lucidity and great vagueness, and even here and there are not unmixed with falsehood; and it is easy to see that the Sanctum Officium [Holy Office] is reluctant to own the real reason. This circular is published in the Turin Journal of December, 1856, and again in the French Univers, and reprinted from this in the Journal des Débats of January 3rd, 1857. [Add. to 3rd ed,]