The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. , at sacred-texts.com
Light also is a quality that partakes much of form, and is a simple act, and also a representation of the understanding. It is first diffused from the Mind of God into all things; but in God the Father, the Father of Light, it is the first true light; then in the Son a beautiful, overflowing brightness, and in the Holy Ghost a burning brightness, exceeding all Intelligences; yea, as Dyonisius saith of Seraphims, in angels it is a shining intelligence diffused, an abundant joy beyond all bounds of reason, yet received in divers degrees, according to the nature of the Intelligence that receives it. Then it descends into the celestial bodies, where it becomes a store of life and an effectual propagation; even a visible splendor. In the fire it is a certain natural liveliness, infused into it by the heavens. And, lastly, in men, it is a clear course of reason, an innate knowledge of divine things, and the whole rational faculty; but this is manifold, either by reason of the disposition of the body or by reason of him who bestows it, who gives it to every one as he pleaseth. From thence it passeth to the fancy, yet above the senses, but only imaginable; and thence to the senses, especially to the sense of the eyes. In them light is a visible clearness; and is extended to other perspicuous bodies, in which it becomes a color and a shining beauty; but in dark bodies it is a certain beneficial and generative virtue, and penetrates to the very center where its beams, being collected into a small place, become a dark heat, tormenting and scorching, so that all things perceive the vigor of the light according to their capacity—and all light, joining to itself an enlivening
heat, and, passing through all things, doth convey its qualities and virtues to all things. Great is the power of light to mar or make enchantments. So a sick man, uncovered against the Sun or the Moon, their rays become charged with the noxious qualities of the sickness and, penetrating, convey them into the body of another, and affect that with a quality of the same kind. So that from the sick should be covered deep from the light, lest its occult quality doth infect the well. This is the reason why Enchanters have a care to cover their enchantments with their shadow. So the civet cat makes all dogs dumb with the very touch of her shadow.
Also, there are made, artificially, some Lights, by lamps, torches, candles, and such like, of some certain thing and fluids, opportunely chosen, according to the rule of the Stars, and composed amongst themselves according to their congruity, which, when they be lighted, and shine alone, are wont to produce some wonderful and celestial effects, which men many times wonder at. So Pliny reports, out of Anaxilaus, of a poison of mares which, being lighted in torches, doth monstrously represent a sight of horses’ heads. The like may be done with flies, which being duly tempered with wax, and lighted, make a strange sight of flies; and the skin of a serpent, lighted in a proper lamp, maketh serpents appear. They say that when grapes are in their flower, if any one shall bind a vial full of oil to them, and shall let it alone until they be ripe, and then the oil be put in a lamp and lighted, it makes grapes to be seen; and so with other fruits. If centaury be mixed with honey, and the blood of a lapwing, and be put in a lamp, they that stand about will look much larger than they are wont; and if it be lit in a clear night the Stars will seem to scatter one from another. Such force, also, is in the ink of the cuttle-fish that it, being put into a lamp, makes blackamoors appear. It is also reported that a candle,
made of some Saturnine things, being lighted, if it be extinguished in the mouth of a man newly dead, will afterwards, as oft as it shines alone, bring a feeling of sadness and great fear upon them that stand about it. Of such like torches and lamps doth Hermes speak more of, also Plato and Chyrannides, and of the latter writers, Albertus, in a certain treatise of this particular thing.
Colors, also, are a class of lights, which, being duly mixed with things, are wont to expose such things to the influence of those Stars to which the colors are agreeable. And we shall afterwards speak of some colors which are the Lights of the Planets, by which even the natures of Fixed Stars themselves are understood, which also may be applied to the flames of lamps and candles. But in this place we shall relate how the colors of inferior mixed things are distributed to divers planets. All colors as black, lucid, earthy, leaden, or brown, have relation to Saturn. Sapphire and airy colors, and those which are always green, clear, purple, darkish, golden, or mixed with silver, belong to Jupiter. Red colors, and burning, fiery, flaming, violet, purple, bloody, and iron colors, resemble Mars. Golden, saffron, purple, and bright colors, resemble the Sun. But all white, fair, curious, green, ruddy, betwixt saffron and purple, resemble Venus, Mercury and the Moon. Moreover, amongst the Signs of the Zodiac, known as the Houses of the Heaven, the first and seventh hath the color white; the second and twelfth, green; the third and eleventh, saffron; the fourth and the tenth, red; the fifth and ninth, a honey color; and the sixth and eighth, black.
The Elements, also, have their colors, by which natural philosophers judge of the complexion and property of their nature. For an earthy color, caused of coldness and dryness, is brown, and black, and manifests black choler and a Saturnine nature. Blue, tending towards whiteness, doth denote phlegm.
[paragraph continues] For cold makes white; moisture and dryness makes black. Reddish color shews blood; but fiery, flaming, burning hot, shews choler, which, by reason of its subtilty and aptness to mix with others, doth cause divers colors more; for if it be mixed with blood, and blood be most predominant, it makes a florid red; if choler predominate, it makes a reddish color: if there be an equal mixtion, it makes a sad red. But if adust choler be mixed with blood it makes a hempen color; and red, if blood predominate; and somewhat red if choler prevail; but if it be mixed with a melancholy humor it makes a black color; but with melancholy and phlegm together, in an equal proportion, it makes a hempen color. If phlegm abound, a mud color; if melancholy, a bluish; but if it be mixed with phlegm alone, in an equal proportion, it makes a citron color; if unequally, a pale or palish. Now, all colors are more prevalent when they be in silk, or in metals, or in perspicuous substances, or in precious stones, and in those things which resemble celestial bodies in color, especially in living things.