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Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy 00


Magic is a faculty of wonderful virtue, full of most high mysteries, containing the most profound contemplation of most secret things, together with the nature, power, quality, substance and virtues thereof, as also the knowledge of whole Nature, and it doth instruct us concerning the differing and agreement of things amongst themselves, whence it produceth its wonderful effects, by uniting the virtues of things through the application of them one to the other, and to their inferior suitable subjects, joining and knitting them together thoroughly by the powers and virtues of the superior Bodies. This is the most perfect and chief Science, that sacred and sublimer kind of Philosophy, and lastly the most absolute perfection of all most excellent Philosophy.
Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim

I know of no better life purpose than to perish in attempting the great and the impossible.
– Friedrich Nietzsche


AGC – Aristotle’s On Generation and Corruption
AOP – Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Occult Philosophy
BSR – Jacob Boehme’s Signatura Rerum
EB11 – Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition
FGB – Sir James George Frazer’s Golden Bough
HMF – Alfred Court Haddon’s Magic and Fetishism
PNM – John Baptist Porta’s Natural Magick

PNM The Name of Magic

What is meant by the name of Magick
Porta, Book 1, Chapter 1

Porphyry and Apuleius, great Platonicks, in an oration made in the defense of Magick, do witness, that Magick took her name and original form from Persia. Tully, in his book of Divination, says, that in the Persian language, a Magician is nothing else but one that expounds and studies divine things; and it is the general name of wise-men in that country. St. Jerome writing to Paulinus, says, that Apollonius Tyaneus was a Magician, as the people thought; or a Philosopher, as the Pythagoreans esteemed him. Pliny, says, that it is received for certainty among most authors, that Magick was begun in Persia by Zoroastres the son of Orimafius; or, as more curious writers hold, by another Zoroastres, surnamed Proconnefius, who lived a little before.

The first author that ever wrote of Magick, Osthanes, who going with Xerxes king of Persia in war which he made against Greece, did scatter by the way, as it were, the seeds and the first beginnings of this wonderful art, infecting the world with it wherever he came; Inasmuch that the Grecians did not only greedily desire this knowledge, but they were even mad after it.

So then Magick is taken amongst all men for wisdom, and the perfect knowledge of natural things: and those are called Magicians, whom the Latins call Wisemen, the Greeks call Philosophers, of Pythagoras only, the first of that name, as Diogenes writes; “the Indians call them Brahmans, in their own tongue; but in Greek they call them Gymnosophists, as much to say as naked Philosophers;” The Babylonians and Assyrians call them Chaldeans, of Chaldea a country in Asia; The Celts in France call them Druids, Bards, and Semnothites; The Egyptians call them priests; and the Cabalists call them prophets. And so in diverse countries Magick has diverse names.

But we find that the greatest part of those who were best seen into the nature of things, were excellent Magicians: as, amongst the Persians, Zoroastres the son of Orimafius, whom we spoke of before, amongst the Romans, Numa Pompilius; Thespion, amongst the Gymnosophists; Zamolxis, amongst the Thracians: Abbarais, amongst the Hyperboreans; Hermes, amongst the Egyptians and Budda among the Babylonians. Besides these, Apuleius reckons up Carinondas, Damigeron, Hifmoses, Apollonius, and Dardanus, who all followed Zoroastres and Osthanes.

Definitions of Magic

Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.
– Aleister Crowley

The true practice of magic depends on the legitimacy of the individual human will. The magician wills something to occur which under ordinary circumstances would not occur, and thereby demonstrates the reality of his or her own individuality. Magicians make the world dance according to their tunes, religionists seek to find the tune of the world and have it teach them how to dance.
– Crystal Dawn and Stephen Flowers, Carnal Alchemy

Magic is a set of techniques and approaches which can be used to extend the limits of Achievable Reality. Our sense of Achievable Reality is the limitations which we believe bind us into a narrow range of actions and successes – what we believe to be possible for us at any one time. In this context, the purpose of magic is to simultaneously explore those boundaries and attempt to push them back – to widen the ‘sphere’ of possible action.
– Phil Hine, Condensed Chaos

A magical act may be defined as causing reality to conform to will.
– Phil Hine, “Undoing Yourself with Chaos Magic,” Rebels and Devils

Magic is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.
– Mathers/Crowley edition of The Goetia

Magic is […] dealing with the sympathetic effects of stones, drugs, herbs, and living substances upon the imaginative and reflective faculties – and leading to ever new glimpses of the world of wonders around us, ranking it in due order of phenomena and illustrating the beneficence of The Great Architect of the Universe.
– Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie

The change in situations or events in accordance with one’s will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable.
– Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible

Magic is a set of techniques (skills which you can develop) which allow you to create a change in the world around you and yourself by means that are not understood by scientists, religionists, or psychologists.
– Nicholas Graham, The Four Powers

Everything works by magick; science represents a small domain of magick where coincidences have a relatively high probability of occurrence. Half of the skills in magick consist of identifying probabilities worth enhancing …
– Peter Carroll, PsyberMagick: Advanced Ideas in Chaos Magick

Magic is the socially unauthorized use of the will and imagination to partake in the powers of the universe.
– S. Jason Black & Christopher S. Hyatt, Pacts With the Devil

Magic is a science that differs from the so-called positive sciences due to the psychic and spiritual factors, which it implies just as well for the object as for the subject of the operative act. Magic is never either white or black; but it can be benefic or malefic, according to the purpose for which one makes use of it. Magic is a weapon, and like all weapons, one can make use of It for the good or ill of oneself or another – but because it is powerful, it is obviously dangerous in unskillful hands.
– Maria de Naglowska, Preface to Paschal Beverly Randolph’s Magia Sexualis

Weaker definitions

Magic or sorcery is the use of rituals, symbols, actions, gestures, and language with the aim of exploiting supernatural forces. The belief in and practice of magic has been present since the earliest human cultures and continues to have an important spiritual, religious, and medicinal role in many cultures today. The belief that one can influence supernatural powers, by prayer, sacrifice, or invocation dates back to prehistoric religions and it can be found in early records such as the Egyptian pyramid texts and the Indian Vedas.
– Wikipedia, Magic (paranormal), 11–21–16

Mag"ic, n. Etym: [OE. magique, L. magice, Gr. Magic, a., and Magi.] Defn: A comprehensive name for all of the pretended arts which claim to produce effects by the assistance of supernatural beings, or departed spirits, or by a mastery of secret forces in nature attained by a study of occult science, including enchantment, conjuration, witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, incantation, etc.
– Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

Magic is the most useful tool for bending the odds to our favour in an given circumstance, but does not go beyond the scope of being a tool concurrently aiding your mundane efforts.
– Joshua Wetzel, The Paradigmal Pirate

Psychological definitions

Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with the Will
– Dion Fortune

We will confine ourselves to an extension of a well-known definition by Aleister Crowley and state that, “Magic is the Science and Art of causing Change, on a material as well as a spiritual level, to occur in conformity with Will by altered states of consciousness.”
– Frater U.: D.:, Secrets of Western Sex Magic

Magick is just the art of changing the focus of consciousness at will.
– Robert Anton Wilson, The Earth Will Shake

Sorcery: the systematic cultivation of enhanced consciousness or non-ordinary awareness & its deployment in the world of deeds & objects to bring about desired results.
– Hakim Bey, T.A.Z.

Real magick is not merely an assortment of skills and techniques. It’s more like an open minded attitude, a blend of interest and dedication, which allows each honest mage to observe, to learn, to adapt, and to invent unique ways of changing identity and reality from within.
– Jan Fries, Visual Magick

Courage is the criterion of belief. To back one horse and fancy another means willing one thing and believing another. Magic (faith) is simply a means of unifying Desire and Belief. The subconscious mind is employed to create your belief and unite it to a real desire.
– Austin Osman Spare, Two Tracts on Cartomancy

Magick is the practice of imposing one’s will upon reality in order to create change. The changes created by magick can take place in the outside world, but the most potent changes occur inside the self – changing attitudes, expanding abilities, pushing accepted limits – all through the exercise of willpower.
– Michelle Belanger, Psychic Dreamwalking

Magick […] may be defined as the process of projecting psychic energy into physical reality where it can then take shape as a spirit. The higher spirits, such as angels, derive from superconsciousness, the oversoul in which the mind exists as a part, whereas the lower spirits, such as demons, derive from subconsciousness, the repressed fears and traumatic experiences of the practitioner.
– Frater W.I.T., Enochian Initiation

Magic is a psychological art form not a belief system (unless, of course you consider the concept of ‘cause and effect’ to be a belief system).
– Lon Milo DuQuette, The Key to Solomon’s Key

Magick provides the tools to accomplish two things: First is to “know thyself” – to use techniques like journaling, meditation, ritual, and invocation to identify your personal strengths and successes – and thereby discover your true Will. The second is to use the same tools to accomplish your Will.
– Richard Kaczynski, The Weiser Concise Guide to Aleister Crowley

Magick may be described as a system of communication, a language used exclusively between the conscious (the logical mind) and the subconscious (the thinking mind). During the dialogue, the magician’s objective is to use his logical mind to convince the thinking mind to reveal a method by which to directly access the superconsciousness, the higher mind … the Holy Guardian Angel.
– Gerald del Campo, The Heretic’s Guide to Thelema

Henostic definitions

[R]eal magic is attuning your spirit and intention with the holon of the universe by gaining a deeper awareness of its parts.
– Clea Danaan, Sacred Land

My definition of magic is that it’s a ritual or meditation that enables individuals to move along their spiritual path towards God. It’s the goal of all humans to find God and to be present with him. Magic is a gradual process and a development of one’s spiritual nature to become attuned to God. This movement toward God will continue to build in strength until the goal of reaching cosmic consciousness and oneness with God is finally attained in its fullest expression.
– John DeSalvo, The Lost Art of Enochian Magic

Energetic definitions

Causing change by directing energy with one’s will.
– Kerr Cuhulain, Full Contact Magick

PNM Nature of Magic

What is the Nature of Magick
Porta, Book 1, Chapter 2

There are two sorts of Magick;

the one is infamous, and unhappy, because it has to do with foul Spirits, and consists of incantations and wicked curiosity; and this is called Sorcery; an art which all learned and good men detest; neither is it able to yield an truth of reason or nature, but stands merely upon fancies and imaginations, such as vanish presently away, and leave nothing behind them; as Jamblicus writes in his book concerning the mysteries of the Egyptians.

The other Magick is natural; which all excellent wise men do admit and embrace, and worship with great applause; neither is there any thing more highly esteemed, or better thought of, by men of learning.

The most noble Philosophers that ever were, Pythagorus, Empedocles, Democritus, and Plato, forsook their own countries, and lived abroad as exiles and banished men, rather than as strangers; and all to search out and to attain this knowledge; and when they came home again, this was the Science which they professed, and this they esteemed a profound mystery.

They that have been most skillful in dark and hidden points of learning, do call this knowledge the very highest point, and the perfection’s of Natural Sciences; inasmuch that if they could find out or devise amongst all Natural Sciences, any one thing more excellent or more wonderful than another, that they would still call it by the name of Magick.

Others have named it the practical part of natural Philosophy, which produces her effects by the mutual and fit application of one natural thing unto another. The Platonicks, as Plotinus imitating Mercurim, writes in his book of Sacrifice and Magick, makes it to be a Science whereby inferior things are made subject to superiors, earthly and subdued to heavenly; and by certain pretty attractions, it fetches forth the properties of the whole frame of the world, hence the Egyptians termed Nature herself a Magician, because she has the alluring power to draw like things by their likes; and this power, say they, consists in love; and the things that were so drawn and brought together by the affinity of Nature, these they said, were drawn by Magick.

But I think Magick is nothing else but the survey of the whole course of Nature. For, while we consider heavens, the stars, the Elements, how they are moved, and how they are changed, by this means we find out the hidden secrets of living creatures, of plants, of metals, and of their generation and corruption; so that this whole Science seems merely to depend upon the view of Nature, as later we will see more at large.

This does Plato seem to signify in his Aleibiades, where he said, That the Magick of Zoraflres, was nothing else, in his opinion, but the knowledge and study of divine things, wherewith the King’s sons of Persia, among other princely qualities, were endued; that by the example of the commonwealth of the whole world, they also might learn to govern their own commonwealth.

And, Tully, in his book of Divinations, said, “that among the Persians, no man might be a King, unless he had first learned the art of Magick”: for as Nature governs the world by the mutual agreement and disagreement of the creatures; after the same sort they also might learn to govern the commonwealth committed to them. This art, I say, is full of much Virtues.

PNM Instruction of a Magician

The Instruction of a Magician, and what manner of man a Magician ought to be
Porta, Book 1, Chapter 3

This is what is required to instruct a Magician, both what he must know, and what he must observe; that being sufficiently instructed in every way, he may bring very strange and wonderful things to us. Seeing Magick, as we showed before, as a practical part of natural Philosophy, it behooves a Magician, and one that aspires to the dignity of the profession, to be an exact and very perfect Philosopher. For Philosophy teaches, what are the effects of fire, earth, air, and water, the principal matter of the heavens; and what is the cause of the flowing of the sea, and of the diverse colored rainbow; and the of the loud thunder, and of comets, and fiery lights that appear by night, and of Earthquakes; and what are the beginnings of Gold and of Iron; and what is the whole force of hidden nature.

Then also he must be a skillful Physician; for both these Sciences are very like and near together; and Physic, by creeping under color of Magick, has purchased favor among men. And surely it is a great help unto us in the kind; for it teaches mixtures and temperatures, and so shows us how to Compound and lay things together for such purposes.

Moreover, it is required of him, that he be a Herbalist, not only able to discern common Simples, but very skillful and sharp-sighted in the nature of all plants; for the uncertain names of plants, and their near likeness of one to another, so that they can hardly be discerned, has put us to much trouble in some of our works and experiments. And as there is no greater inconvenience to any artificer, than not to know his tools that he must work with; so the knowledge of plants is so necessary to this profession, that indeed it is all in all.

He must be as well, very knowing in the nature of metals, minerals, gems and stones.

Furthermore, what cunning he must have in the art of Distillation, which follows and resembles the showers and dew of Heaven, as the daughter the mother; I think no man will doubt of it; for it yields daily very strange inventions, and most witty devices, and shows how to find out many things profitable for the use of man. As for example, to draw out of things dewy vapors, unsavory and gross scents or Spirits, clots, and gummy or filmy Humors; and that intimate Essence which lurks in the inmost bowels of things, to fetch it forth, and Sublimate it, that it may be of the greater strength. And this he must learn to do, not after a rude and homely manner, but with knowledge of the causes and reasons thereof.

He must also know the Mathematical Sciences, and especially Astrology; for that shows how the stars are moved in the heavens, and what is the cause of the darkening of the Moon; and how the Sun, that golden planet, measures out the parts of the world, and governs it by twelve signs; for by the sundry motions and aspects of the heavens, the celestial bodies are beneficial to the Earth; and from thence many things receive both active and passive powers, and their manifold properties; the difficulty of which point long troubled the Platonic minds’, how these inferior things should receive influence from Heaven.

Moreover, he must be skillful in the Optics, that he may know how the sight may be deceived, and how the likeness of a vision that is seen in the water, may be seen hanging without in the air, by the help of certain glasses of diverse fashions; and how to make one see that plainly which is a great way off, and how to throw fire very far from us; upon which sights, the greatest part of the secrecies of Magick does depend.

These are the Sciences which Magick takes to her self for servants and helpers; and he that knows not this, is unworthy to be named a Magician. He must be a skillful workman, both by natural gifts, and also by the practice of his own hands; for knowledge without practice and workmanship, and practice without knowledge, are worth nothing; these are so linked together, that the one without the other is but vain and to no purpose. Some there are so apt for these enterprises, even by the gifts of Nature, that God may seem to have made them hereunto. Neither yet do I speak this, as if Art could not perfect anything; for I know that good things may be made better, and there are means to remedy and help forward that which lacks perfection.

First, let a man consider and prepare things providently and skillfully, and then let him fall to work, and do nothing unadvisedly. This I thought good to speak of, that if at any time the ignorant be deceived herein, he may not lay the fault upon us, but upon his own unskillfulness; for this is the infirmity of the scholar, and not of the teacher; for if rude and ignorant men shall deal in these matters, this Science will be much discredited, and those strange effects will be accounted haphazard, which are most certain, and follow their necessary causes.

If you would have your works appear more wonderful, you must not let the cause be known; for that is a wonder to us, which we see to be done, and yet know not the cause of it; for he that knows the causes of a thing done, does not so admire the doing of it; and nothing is counted unusual and rare, but only so far forth as the causes thereof are not known. Aristotle in his books of handy-trades, says, that master-builders frame and make their tools to work with; but the principles thereof, which move admiration, those they conceal. A certain man put out a candle; and putting it to a stone or a wall, lighted it again; and this seemed a great wonder; but when once they perceived that he touched it with brimstone, then said Galen, it ceased to be a wonder.

Lastly, the professor of this Science must also be rich; for if we lack money, we shall hardly work in these cases; for it is not Philosophy that can make us rich; we must first be rich, that we may play the Philosophers. He must spare for no charges, but be prodigal in seeking things out; and while he is busy and careful in seeking, he must be patient also, and think it not much to recall many things; neither must he spare for any pains; for the secrets of Nature are not revealed to lazy and idle persons. Wherefore Epicarmus said very well, that men purchase all things at God’s hands by the price of their labor.

And if the effect of they work be not answerable to my description, thou must know that you have failed in some one point or another; for I have set down these things briefly, as being made for witty and skillful workmen, and not for rude and young beginners.

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