The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. , at sacred-texts.com
Moreover, we must know, that by how much the more noble the form of anything is, by so much the more prone and apt it is to receive, and powerful to act. Then the virtues of things do then become wonderful, viz., when they are put to matters that are mixed, and prepared in fit seasons, to make them alive, by procuring life for them from the Stars, as also a sensible Soul as a more noble form. For there is so great a power in prepared matters, which, we see, do then receive life when a perfect mixtion of qualities seems to break the former contrariety. For so much the more perfect life things receive, shews by how much their temper is more remote from contrariety.
Now, the Heaven, as a prevalent cause, doth (from the beginning of every thing to be generated by the due concoction and perfect digestion of the matter), together with life, bestow celestial influences and wonderful gifts, according to the Capacity that is in that Life and sensible Soul to receive more noble and sublime virtues. For the Celestial Virtue doth otherwise lie asleep, as sulphur kept from the flame,
but in Living Bodies it doth always burn, as kindled sulphur; and then by its vapor, like the lighted sulphur, it fills all the places that are next to it.
So certain wonderful works are wrought, such as are read of in the book of Nemith, which is titled a Book of the Laws of Pluto, because such kind of monstrous generations are not produced according to the Laws of Nature. For we know that of worms are generated gnats; of a horse, wasps; of a calf or ox, bees; of a crab, his legs being taken off and he buried in the ground, a scorpion; of a duck, dried into powder and put into hot water, are generated frogs; but if the duck be baked in a pie, and cut into pieces, and then put into a moist place under the ground, toads are generated of it. Of the herb garden basil, bruised betwixt two stones, are generated scorpions; and of the hairs of a catameniel person, buried under compost, are bred serpents; and the hair of a horse's tail, put into water, receiveth life and is turned into a pernicious worm. And there is an art wherewith, by a hen sitting upon eggs, may be generated a form like to a man (which I have seen and know how to make), which magicians say hath in it wonderful virtues; and this they call the true mandrake. You must, therefore, know which and what kind of matters are either of Nature or Art, begun or perfected, or compounded of more things, and what celestial influences they are able to receive. For a congruity of natural things is sufficient for the receiving of influence from those celestial; because when nothing doth hinder the Celestials to send forth their lights upon Inferiors, they suffer no matter to be destitute of their virtue. Wherefore, as much matter as is perfect and pure, is not unfit to receive the celestial influence. For that is the binding and continuity of the matter to the Soul of the World, which doth so daily flow in upon things natural, and all things which Nature
hath prepared, that it is impossible that a prepared matter should not receive life, or a more noble form.