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Basilisk: Aurora Consurgens [early 16th c.] (Public Domain Image)
Basilisk: Aurora Consurgens [early 16th c.] (Public Domain Image)

The Philosophy of Natural Magic

by Henry Cornelius Agrippa

ed. L. W. de Laurence


Contents    Start Reading    Page Index    Text [Zipped]

They say, also, that the blood of a basilisk, which they call the blood of Saturn, hath such great force in sorcery that it procures for him that carries it about him good success of his petitions from great men in power, and of his prayers from God, and also remedies of diseases, and grant of any privilege.

This is an early 20th century edition of Agrippa's Philosophy of Natural Magic, along with a wealth of background material. Originally published in 1531-3, De occulta philosophia libri tres, (Three books of Occult Philosophy) proposed that magic existed, and it could be studied and used by devout Christians, as it was derived from God, not the Devil. Agrippa had a huge influence on Renaissance esoteric philosophers, particularly Giordano Bruno.

While this is not a specialist edition, it will suffice for the casual reader who doesn't want to wade through Elizabethan typography and spelling, just enough of which is preserved here for flavor. A more comprehensive transcription is located here. This edition is a pastiche of a portion of a translation of Agrippas' libri tres by an unidentified translator, excerpts from a book on Agrippa by Henry Morley with extensive background, and some self-promotional material by the publisher, de Lawrence, who was a notorious pirate publisher. This end material is of interest because it is a good example of early 20th century American occult publishing.

Title Page



Table of Contents

Sublime Occult Philosophy


Early Life of Cornelius Agrippa

Cornelius Agrippa to the Reader

Agrippa to Trithemius

Trithemius to Agrippa


Chapter I. How Magicians Collect Virtues from the Three-Fold World is Declared in these Three Books

Chapter II. What Magic Is, What Are the Parts Thereof, and How the Professors Thereof Must Be Qualified

Chapter III. Of the Four Elements, Their Qualities, and Mutual Mixtions

Chapter IV. Of a Three-Fold Consideration of the Elements

Chapter V. Of the Wonderful Natures of Fire and Earth

Chapter VI. Of the Wonderful Natures of Water, Air and Winds

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

Chapter VIII. How the Elements Are in the Heavens, in Stars, in Devils, in Angels, and lastly in God Himself

Chapter IX. Of the Virtues of Things Natural, Depending Immediately upon Elements

Chapter X. Of the Occult Virtues of Things

Chapter XI. How Occult Virtues are Infused into the Several Kinds of Things by Ideas Through the Help of the Soul of the World, And Rays of the Stars; and what Things Abound Most with this Virtue

Chapter XII. How It Is That Particular Virtues Are Infused into Particular Individuals, even of the Same Species

Chapter XIII. Whence the Occult Virtues of Things Proceed

Chapter XIV. Of the Spirit of the World, What It Is, and How by Way of Medium It Unites Occult Virtues to Their Subjects

Chapter XV. How We Must Find Out and Examine the Virtues of Things by Way of Similitude

Chapter XVI. How the Operations of Several Virtues Pass from One Thing Into Another, and Are Communicated One to the Other

Chapter XVII. How by Enmity and Friendship the Virtues of Things Are to be Tried and Found Out

Chapter XVIII. Of the Inclinations of Enmities

Chapter XIX. How the Virtues of Things Are to Be Tried and Found Out, Which Are in Them Specially, or in Any One Individual by Way of Special Gift

Chapter XX. The Natural Virtues Are in Some Things Throughout Their Whole Substance, and in Other Things in Certain Parts and Members

Chapter XXI. Of the Virtues of Things Which Are in Them Only in Their Life Time, and Such as Remain in Them Even After Their Death

Chapter XXII. How Inferior Things Are Subjected to Superior Bodies, and How the Bodies, the Actions, and Dispositions of Men Are Ascribed to Stars and Signs

Chapter XXIII. How We Shall Know What Stars Natural Things Are Under, and What Things Are Under the Sun, Which Are Called Solary

What Things Are Lunary, or Under the Power of the Moon

Chapter XXV. What Things Are Saturnine, or Under the Power of Saturn

Chapter XXVI. What Things Are Under the Power of Jupiter, and Are Called Jovial

Chapter XXVII. What Things Are Under the Power of Mars, and Are Called Martial

Chapter XXVIII. What Things Are Under the Power of Venus, and Are Called Venereal

Chapter XXIX. What Things Are Under the Power of Mercury, and Are Called Mercurial

Chapter XXX. That the Whole Sublunary World, and Those Things Which Are in It, Are Distributed to Planets

Chapter XXXI. How Provinces and Kingdoms Are Distributed to Planets

Chapter XXXII. What Things Are Under the Signs, the Fixed Stars, and Their Images

Chapter XXXIII. Of the Seals and Characters of Natural Things

Chapter XXXIX. How, by Natural Things and Their Virtues, We May Draw Forth and Attract the Influences and Virtues of Celestial Bodies

Chapter XXXV. Of the Mixtions of Natural Things, One With Another, and Their Benefit

Chapter XXXVI. Of the Union of Mixed Things, and the Introduction of a More Noble Form and the Senses of Life

Chapter XXXVII. How, By Some Certain Natural and Artificial Preparations, We May Attract Certain Celestial and Vital Gifts

Chapter XXXVIII. How We May Draw Not Only Celestial and Vital, but Also Certain Intellectual and Divine Gifts From Above

Chapter XXXIX. That We May, By Some Certain Matters of the World, Stir Up the Gods of the World and Their Ministering Spirits

Chapter XL. Of Bindings; What Sort They Are Of, and in What Ways They Are Wont to Be Done

XLI. Of Sorceries, and Their Power

Chapter XLII. Of the Wonderful Virtues of Some Kinds of Sorceries

Chapter XLIII. Of Perfumes or Suffumigations; Their Manner and Power

Chapter XLIV. The Composition of Some Fumes Appropriated to the Planets

Chapter XLV. Of Collyries, Unctions, Love-Medicines, and Their Virtues

Chapter XLVI. Of Natural Alligations and Suspensions

Chapter XLVII. Of Magical Rings and Their Compositions

Chapter XLVIII. Of the Virtue of Places, and What Places Are Suitable to Every Star

Chapter XLIX. Of Light, Colors, Candles and Lamps, and to What Stars, Houses and Elements Several Colors Are Ascribed

Chapter L. Of Fascination, and the Art Thereof

Chapter LI. Of Certain Observations, Producing Wonderful Virtues

Chapter LII. Of the Countenance and Gesture, the Habit and the Figure Of The Body, and to What Stars Any of These Do Answer—Whence Physiognomy, and Metoposcopy, and Chiromancy, Arts of Divination, Have Their Grounds

Chapter LIII. Of Divinations, and the Kinds Thereof

Chapter LIV. Of Divers Certain Animals, and Other Things, Which Have a Signification in Auguries

Chapter LV. How Auspicias Are Verified by the Light of Natural Instinct, and of Some Rules of Finding It Out

Chapter LVI. Of the Soothsayings of Flashes and Lightnings, and how Monstrous and Prodigious Things are to be Interpreted

Chapter LVII. Of Geomancy, Hydromancy, Aeromancy, and Pyromancy, Four Divinations of Elements

Chapter LVIII. Of the Reviving of the Dead, and of Sleeping or Hibernating (Wanting Victuals) Many Years Together

Chapter LIX. Of Divination by Dreams

Chapter LX. Of Madness, and Divinations which are made when men are awake, and of the Power of a Melancholy Humor, by which Spirits are sometimes induced into Men's Bodies

Chapter LXI. Of the Forming of Man, of the External Senses, also those Inward, and the Mind; and of the Three-Fold Appetite of the Soul, and Passions of the Will

Chapter LXII. Of the Passions of the Mind, their Original Source, Differences, and Kinds

Chapter LXIII. How the Passions of the Mind Change the Proper Body by Changing Its Accidents and Moving the Spirit

Chapter LXIV. How the Passions of the Mind Change the Body by Way of Imitation From Some Resemblance; of the Transforming and Translating of Men, and What Force the Imaginative Power Hath, Not Only Over the Body But the Soul

Chapter LXV. How the Passions of the Mind can Work of Themselves Upon Another's Body

Chapter LXVI. That The Passions Of The Mind Are Helped By A Celestial Season, And How Necessary The Constancy Of The Mind Is In Every Work

Chapter LXVII. How the Mind of Man May Be Joined With the Mind of the Stars, and Intelligences of the Celestials, and, Together With Them, Impress Certain Wonderful Virtues Upon Inferior Things

Chapter LXVIII. How Our Mind Can Change and Bind Inferior Things to the Ends Which We Desire

Chapter LXIX. Of Speech, and the Occult Virtue of Words

Chapter LXX. Of the Virtue of Proper Names

Chapter LXXI. Of Many Words Joined Together, as in Sentences and Verses; and of the Virtues and Astrictions of Charms

Chapter LXXII. Of the Wonderful Power of Enchantments

Chapter LXXIII. Of the Virtue of Writing, and of Making Imprecations, and Inscriptions

Chapter LXXIV. Of the Proportion, Correspondency, and Reduction of Letters to the Celestial Signs and Planets, According to Various Tongues, and a Table Thereof

End Matter by Morley

Henry Morley's Criticism

Agrippa and the Rosicrucians

Exposition of the Cabala

The Mirific Word

Reuchlin The Mystic

Agrippa Expounds Reuchlin

The Nobility of Woman

Order of the Empyrean Heaven

Symbols of the Alchemists

End Matter by Lawrence

A Message From the Stars

The Eternal Principle

A Message to All Mystics

The Hindu Magic Mirror