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The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. [1913], at


Of the Wonderful Natures of Water, Air and Winds.

The other two Elements, viz., Water and Air, are not less efficacious than the former; neither is Nature wanting to work wonderful things in them. There is so great a necessity of Water, that without it no living thing can live. No herb nor plant whatsoever, without the moistening of Water can branch forth. In it is the seminary virtue of all things, especially of animals. The seeds also of trees and plants, although they are earthy, must notwithstanding of necessity be rotted in Water before they can be fruitful; whether they be imbibed with the moisture of the Earth, or with dew or rain or any other Water that is on purpose put to them. For Moses writes, that only Earth

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and Water bring forth a living soul. But he ascribes a twofold production of things to Water, viz., of things swimming in the Waters, and of things flying in the Air above the Earth. And that those productions that are made in and upon the Earth are partly attributes to the very Water, the same Scripture testifies, where it saith that the plants and the herbs did not grow, because God had not caused it to rain upon the Earth. Such is the efficacy of this Element of Water that spiritual regeneration cannot be done without it, as Christ himself testified to Nicodemus. Very great, also, is the virtue of it in the religious worship of God, in expiations and purifications; yea, the necessity of it is no less than that of Fire. Infinite are the benefits, and divers are the uses thereof, as being that by virtue of which all things subsist, are generated, nourished and increased. Thence it was that Thales, of Miletus, and Hesiod concluded that Water was the beginning of all things, and said it was the first of all the Elements, and the most potent, and that because it hath the mastery over all the rest. For, as Pliny saith, Waters swallow up the Earth, extinguish flames, ascend on high, and by the stretching forth of the clouds, challenge the Heaven for their own; the same falling become the cause of all things that grow in the Earth. Very many are the wonders that are done by Waters, according to the writings of Pliny, Solinus, and many other historians of the wonderful virtue whereof. Ovid also makes mention in these verses:

Horn’d Hammon’s Waters at high noon
Are cold; hot at Sun-rise and setting Sun.
Wood, put in bub’ling Athemas is Fir’d,
The Moon then farthest from the Sun retir’d;
Ciconian streams congeal his guts to Stone
That thereof drinks, and what therein is thrown
Crathis and Sybaris (from the Mountains rol’d)
Color the hair like Amber or pure Gold.
Some fountains, of a more prodigious kinde,
Not only change the body but the minde. p. 50
Who hath not heard of obscene Salmacis?
Of th’ Æthiopian lake? for, who of this
But only taste, their wits no longer keep,
Or forthwith fall into a deadly sleep.
Who at Clitorius fountain thirst remove
Loath Wine and, abstinent, meer Water love.
With streams oppos’d to these Lincestus flowes—
They reel, as drunk, who drink too much of those.
A Lake in fair Arcadia stands, of old
Call’d Pheneus, suspected as twofold—
Fear and forbear to drink thereof by night—
By night unwholesome, wholesome by day-light.

Josephus also makes relation of the wonderful nature of a certain river betwixt Arcea and Raphanea, cities of Syria, which runs with a full channel all the Sabbath day and then on a sudden ceaseth, as if the springs were stopped, and all the six days you may pass over it dry shod; but again, on the seventh day (no man knowing the reason of it), the Waters return again in abundance as before. Wherefore the inhabitants thereabout called it the Sabbath-day river, because of the Seventh day, which was holy to the Jews. The Gospel also testifies to a sheep-pool, into which whosoever stepped first, after the Water was troubled by the Angel, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. The same virtue and efficacy we read was in a spring of the Jonian Nymphs, which was in the territories belonging to the town of Elis, at a village called Heraclea, near the river Citheron which whosoever stepped into, being diseased, came forth whole and cured of all his diseases. Pausanias also reports that in Lyceus, a mountain of Arcadia, there was a spring called Agria, to which, as often as the dryness of the region threatened the destruction of fruits, Jupiter's priest of Lyceus went, and after the offering of sacrifices, devoutly praying to the Waters of the Spring, holding a Bough of an Oak in his hand, put it down to the bottom of the hallowed Spring. Then the Waters, being troubled, Vapor ascending from thence into the Air was blown into

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clouds with which, being joined together, the whole Heaven was overspread; which being a little after dissolved into rain, watered all the country most wholesomely. Moreover, Ruffus, a physician of Ephesus, besides many other authors, wrote strange things concerning the wonders of Waters, which for ought I know, are found in no other author.

It remains that I speak of the Air. This is a vital spirit, passing through all beings, giving life and subsistence to all things, binding, moving and filling all things. Hence it is that the Hebrew doctors reckon it not amongst the Elements, but count it as a Medium or glue, joining things together, and as the resounding spirit of the World's instrument. It immediately receives into itself the influences of all celestial bodies and then communicates them to the other Elements, as also to all mixed bodies. Also it receives into itself, as it were a divine looking-glass, the species of all things, as well natural as artificial, as also of all manner of speeches, and retains them; and carrying them with it, and entering into the bodies of men, and other animals, through their pores, makes an impression upon them, as well when they sleep as when they be awake, and affords matter for divers strange Dreams and Divinations. Hence they say it is, that a man passing by a place where a man was slain, or the carcass newly hid, is moved with fear and dread; because the Air in that place, being full of the dreadful species of manslaughter, doth being breathed in, move and trouble the spirit of the man with the like species, whence it is that he comes to be afraid. For everything that makes a sudden impression, astonisheth nature. Whence it is, that many philosophers were of opinion that Air is the cause of dreams, and of many other impressions of the mind, through the prolonging of Images, or similitudes, or species (which are fallen from things and speeches, multiplied in the very Air) until they

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come to the senses, and then to the phantasy, and soul of him that receives them, which being freed from cares and no way hindered, expecting to meet such kind of species, is informed by them. For the species of things, although of their own proper nature they are carried to the senses of men, and other animals in general, may notwithstanding get some impression from the Heaven whilst they be in the Air, by reason of which, together with the aptness and disposition of him that receives them, they may be carried to the sense of one rather than of another. And hence it is possible naturally, and far from all manner of superstition, no other spirit coming between, that a man should be able in a very little time to signify his mind unto another man abiding at a very long and unknown distance from him; although he cannot precisely give an estimate of the time when it is, yet of necessity it must be within twenty-four hours; and I myself know how to do it, and have often done it. * The same also in time past did the Abbot Trithemius both know and do. Also, when certain appearances, not only spiritual but also natural, do flow forth from

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things (that is to say, by a certain kind of flowing forth of bodies from bodies  and do gather strength in the Air), they offer and show themselves to us as well through light as motion, as well to the sight as to other senses, and sometimes work wonderful things upon us, as Plotinus proves and teacheth. And we see how by the south wind the Air is condensed into thin clouds, in which, as in a looking-glass, are reflected representations at a great distance of castles, mountains, horses and men and other things which, when the clouds are gone, presently vanish. And Aristotle, in his Meteors, shows that a rainbow is conceived in a cloud of the Air, as in a looking-glass. And Albertus saith that the effigies of bodies may, by the strength of nature, in a moist Air be easily represented, in the same manner as the representations of things are in things. And Aristotle tells of a man to whom it happened, by reason of the weakness of his sight, that the Air that was near to him became, as it were, a looking-glass to him, and the optic beam did reflect back upon himself, and could not penetrate the Air, so that whithersoever he went he thought he saw his own image, with his face towards him, go before him. In like manner, by the artificialness of some certain looking-glasses, may be produced at a distance in the Air, beside the looking-glasses, what images

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we please; which when ignorant men see, they think they see the appearances of spirits, or souls; when, indeed, they are nothing else but semblances kin to themselves, and without life. And it is well known, if in a dark place where there is no light but by the coming in of a beam of the sun somewhere through a little hole, a white paper or plain looking-glass be set up against that light, that there may be seen upon them whatsoever things are done without, being shined upon by the sun. And there is another sleight or trick yet more wonderful: If any one shall take images artificially painted, or written letters, and in a clear night set them against the beams of the full moon, whose resemblances, being multiplied in the Air, and caught upward, and reflected back together with the beams of the moon, any other man that is privy to the thing, at a long distance sees, reads and knows them in the very compass and circle of the moon; which Art of declaring secrets is indeed very profitable for towns and cities that are besieged, being a thing which Pythagoras long since did often do, and which is not unknown to some in these days; I will not except myself. And all these and many more, and greater than these, are grounded in the very nature of the Air, and have their reasons and causes declared in mathematics and optics. And as these resemblances are reflected back to the sight, so also sometimes to the hearing, as is manifest in the Echo. But there are more secret arts than these, and such whereby any one may at a very remote distance hear and understand what another speaks or whispers softly.

There are also, from the airy element, Winds; for they are nothing else but Air moved and stirred up. Of these there are four that are principal, blowing from the four corners of the Heaven, viz.: Notus from the South, Boreas from the North, Zephyrus 

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from the West, Eurus from the East, * which Pontanus comprehending in these verses, saith:

Cold Boreas from the top of ’lympus blows,
And from the bottom cloudy Notus flows.
From setting Phœbus fruitful Zeph’rus flies,
And barren Eurus from the Sun's up-rise.

Notus is the Southern Wind, cloudy, moist, warm and sickly, which Hieronymus calls the butler of the rains. Ovid describes it thus:

Out flies South-wind with dropping wings, who shrowds
His fearful aspect in the pitchie clouds,
His white Haire streams, his Beard big-swol’n with showers;
Mists binde his Brows, rain from his Bosome powres.

But Boreas is contrary to Notus, and is the Northern Wind, fierce and roaring, and discussing clouds; makes the Air serene, and binds the Water with frost. Him doth Ovid thus bring in speaking of himself:

Force me befits: with this thick clouds I drive;
Toss the blew Billows, knotty Okes up-rive;
Congeal soft snow, and beat the Earth with hallo:
When I my brethren in the Aire assaile,
(For that's our Field) we meet with such a shock,
That thundering Skies with our encounters rock
And cloud-struck lightning flashes from on high,
When through the Crannies of the Earth I flie
And force her in her hollow Caves; I make
The Ghosts to tremble, and the ground to quake.

And Zephyrus, which is the Western Wind, is most soft, blowing from the West with a pleasant

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gale; it is cold and moist, removing the effects of Winter, bringing forth branches and flowers. To this Eurus is contrary, which is the Eastern Wind, and is called Apeliotes; it is waterish, cloudy and ravenous. Of these two Ovid sings thus:

To Persis and Sabea, Eurus flies;
Whose gums perfume the blushing Morne’s up-rise:
Next to the Evening, and the Coast that glows
With setting Phœbus, flow’ry Zeph’rus blows;
In Scythia horrid Boreas holds his rain,
Beneath Boites, and the frozen Wain;
The land to this oppos'd doth Auster steep
With fruitful showres and clouds which ever weep.


52:* This is conclusive evidence that telepathy or mind transference has been known and practiced for hundreds of years. The method of mind transference is frequently carried out unawares, and may be performed in various ways. When two persons are in natural sympathy with each other it is a comparatively easy matter if they are of a nervous or sensitive temperament. Writing a letter, and then burning it, the while fixing the mind firmly upon the person addressed and willing that the letter be answered is one method. Mentally addressing a crystal vessel of water with the palms of the bands extended over the glass, the while picturing the absent person clearly in the mind's eye, and then pouring the water into a stream or the ocean, will carry a message to one at sea. Burying a stone, slate or piece of metal in the earth, at the time of the new moon, on which a message is inscribed, will influence those who labor in the earth or work in like metals, especially if Saturn or Uranus be in strong aspect to the earth through the sun. The air method is the best of all, and was that undoubtedly used by Agrippa as he makes mention of the matter in this place: Go out into the open air, or to an open window, and face the quarter wherein the person is; or, if the quarter be unknown, face in turn each of the four cardinal points, and audibly call the name of the person with whom communication is desired, the same as though the party was in an adjoining room, three times, earnestly, and p. 53 each time with added force. While doing this extend the arms and hands, as in appeal, the while clearly picturing the person's features in the mind, and will, determinedly and persistently, that your call and message be heard. Then speak, as though the person stood before you, shortly, firmly and decidedly. Having done this listen for a reply, which will come as though one were speaking to the mind without the aid of the ear. Do not imagine a reply as that will not help but rather hinder communication. Of course, in most cases, it is necessary that there should exist a sympathetic bond or tie of some kind between the parties. This art may be developed by practice, by lovers especially, to an astonishing degree. It will be found very helpful to set certain times for such development. With practice, after mind communication has been accomplished, spoken messages and other noted conditions may be dispensed with, and it will be merely necessary to will and think—projecting the message astrally.

53:† The astral body from the material body.

55:* Marcus Manilius, of Rome, time of Augustus, and author of the poem entitled "Astronomica," thus writes of the Cardinal Winds (Five Books of Manilius, London, 1697):

East, West, and North, and South, on either side,
These Quarters lie oppos’d, the World divide:
As many Winds from these four Quarters file,
And fight and rattle, thro’ the empty Sky;
Rough Boreas from the North, bears Frost and Snows,
And from the East, the gentle Eurus blows,
Wet Auster from the torrid South is thrown,
And pleasing Zephyrus cools the setting Sun.

Next: Chapter 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