Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Phillosopy 02

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The Duad

The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Palmer Hall

The following symbolic names were given to the duad–2–because it has been divided, and is two rather than one; and when there are two, each is opposed to the other: genius, evil, darkness, inequality, instability, movability, boldness, fortitude, contention, matter, dissimilarity, partition between multitude and monad, defect, shapelessness, indefiniteness, indeterminate ness, harmony, tolerance, root, feet of fountain-abounding idea, top, Phanes, opinion, fallacy, alterity, diffidence, impulse, death, motion, generation, mutation, division, longitude, augmentation, composition, communion, misfortune, sustentation, imposition, marriage, soul, and science.

In his book, Numbers, W. Wynn Westcott says of the duad: “it was called ‘Audacity,’ from its being the earliest number to separate itself from the Divine One; from the ‘Adytum of God-nourished Silence,’ as the Chaldean oracles say.”

As the monad is the father, so the duad is the mother; therefore, the duad has certain points in common with the goddesses Isis, Rhea (Jove’s mother), Phrygia, Lydia, Dindymene (Cybele), and Ceres; Erato (one of the Muses); Diana, because the moon is forked; Dictynna, Venus, Dione, Cytherea; Juno, because she is both wife and sister of Jupiter; and Maia, the mother of Mercury.

While the monad is the symbol of wisdom, the duad is the symbol of ignorance, for in it exists the sense of separateness–which sense is the beginning of ignorance. The duad, however, is also the mother of wisdom, for ignorance–out of the nature of itself–invariably gives birth to wisdom.

The Pythagoreans revered the monad but despised the duad, because it was the symbol of polarity. By the power of the duad the deep was created in contradistinction to the heavens. The deep mirrored the heavens and became the symbol of illusion, for the below was merely a reflection of the above. The below was called maya, the illusion, the sea, the Great Void, and to symbolize it the Magi of Persia carried mirrors. From the duad arose disputes and contentions, until by bringing the monad between the duad, equilibrium was reestablished by the Savior-God, who took upon Himself the form of a number and was crucified between two thieves for the sins of men.

Of the Number Two, and the Scale thereof

Agrippa, Book 2, Chapter 5

The first Number is of two, because it is the first Multitude, it can be measured by no number besides unity alone, the common measure of all Numbers: It is not compounded of Numbers, but of one unity only;

neither is it called a number uncompounded, but more properly not compounded: The Number of three is called the first Number uncompounded: But the Number of two is the first branch of unity, and the first procreation:

Hence it is called generation, and Juno, and an imaginable Corporation, the proof of the first motion, the first form of parity: the number of the first equality, extremity, and distance betwixt, and therefore of peculiar equity, and the proper act thereof, because it consists of two equally poised:

and it is called the Number of Science, and Memory, and of light, and the number of man, who is called another, and the lesser World:

it is also called the number of charity, and mutual love, of marriage, and society, as it is said by the Lord, Two shall be one flesh. And Solomon saith: It is better that two be together then one, for they have a benefit by their mutual society: If one shall fall, he shall be supported by the other. Woe to him that is alone, because when he falls he hath not another to help him: and if two sleep together, they shall warm one the other; how shall one be hot alone? and if any prevail against him, two resist him.

And it is called the number of Wedlock and Sex; for there are two sexes, Masculine, and Feminine: and two Doves bring forth two Eggs, out of the first of which is hatched the Male, out of the second the Female.

It is also called the middle, that is capable, that is good, and bad, partaking, and the beginning of division, of Multitude, and distinction, and signifies matter.

This is also sometimes the number of discord, and confusion, of misfortune, and uncleanness, whence Saint Hierom against Jovianus saith, that therefore it was not spoken in the second day of the creation of the world, and God said, That it was good, because the number of two is evil.

Hence also it was that God commanded that all unclean Animals should go into the Ark by couples: because as I said, the number of two, is a number of uncleanness, and it is most unhappy in their Soothsayings, especially if those things, from whence the Soothsaying is taken, be Saturnal, or Martial, for these two are accounted by the Astrologers unfortunate.

It is also reported, that the number of two doth cause apparitions of Ghosts, and fearful Goblins, and bring mischiefs of evil spirits to them that travel by night.

Pythagoras (as Eusebius reports) said, that Unity was God, and a good intellect; and that Duality was a Devil, and an evil intellect, in which is a material multitude: wherefore the Pythagorians say, that two is not a number, but a certain confusion of unities. And Plutarke writes, that the Pythagorians called unity Apollo, and two, strife, and boldness; and three, Justice, which is the highest perfection, and is not without many mysteries.

Hence there were two Tables of the Law in Sinai, two Cherubins looking to the Propitiatory in Moses, two Olives dropping oil, in Zachariah, two natures in Christ, Divine, and Humane; Hence Moses saw two appearances of God, viz. his face, and back-parts, also two Testaments, two commands of Love, two first dignities, two first people, two kinds of Spirits, good, and bad, two intellectual creatures, an Angel, and soul, two great lights, two Solstices, two equinoxes, two poles, two Elements producing a living soul, viz. Earth, and Water.

BSR Opposition in the Essence of All Essences

This was intended as Boehme’s explanation of the theological origins of Sympathy and Antipathy seen, at much lower level, in all of nature. Besides many words which have somewhat different meanings to us today, very specific and often otherwise even more unusual terminology is used which can make this a pain to read (especially when not reading it in order). Here are some things to look out for:

“Sulphur” of the Paracelsian Tria Prima (Sulphur or spirit, Mercury or soul, and Salt or matter) was separated into its phonetic components of “Sul” and “Phur”, defining them in his ‘De Tribus Principiis’:

Now to speak in a creaturely way, Sulphur, Mercurius, and Sal, are understood to be thus.

“lubet” is probably a peculiar spelling of Latin “libet”, which is something like “pleasing” or “desire”, and possibly related to “libo” which is “to taste”.

“dark world” can be read as God the Father or the First Principle.

“light world” can be read as God the Holy Spirit or the Second Principle.

“liberty” is here “the desire of the spirit”.

Upon reading we can also see a similarity to Yin and Yang of the Tao or Dao:

The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things. All things leave behind them the Obscurity, and go forward to embrace the Brightness, while they are harmonised by the Breath of Vacancy.
Laozi, Dao De Jing, Chapter 42

Or more generally a similarity to Dualistic Monism as essentially he’s saying “strife makes life”; without action driven by some desire naught could have been created regardless of whether the desire and action is considered to come from an anthropomorphised figure or simply from an inevitability of existence originating in the void left otherwise.

Of the Opposition and Combat in the Essence of All Essences, whereby the Ground of the Antipathy and Sympathy in Nature May be Seen, and also the Corruption and Cure of Each Thing
Jacob Boehem, The Signature of All Things, Chapter 2

  1. Seeing then there are so many and divers forms, that the one always produces and affords out of its property a will different in one from another, we herein understand the contrariety and combat in the Being of all beings, how that one does oppose, poison, and kill another, that is, overcome its essence, and the spirit of the essence, and introduces it into another form, whence sickness and pains arise, when one essence destroys another.

  2. And then we understand herein the cure, how the one heals another, and brings it to health; and if this were not, there were no nature, but an eternal stillness, and no will; for the contrary will makes the motion, and the original of the seeking, that the opposite sound seeks the rest, and yet in the seeking it only elevates and more enkindles itself.

  3. And we are to understand how the cure of each thing consists in the assimulate; for in the assimulate arises the satisfaction of the will, viz. its highest joy; for each thing desires a will of its likeness, and by the contrary will it is discomfited; but if it obtains a will of its likeness, it rejoices in the assimulate, and therein falls into rest, and the enmity is turned into joy.

  4. For the eternal nature has produced nothing in its desire, except a likeness out of itself; and if there were not an everlasting mixing, there would be an eternal peace in nature, but so nature would not be revealed and made manifest, in the combat it becomes manifest; so that each thing elevates itself, and would get out of the combat into the still rest, and so it runs to and fro, and thereby only awakens and stirs up the combat.

  5. And we find clearly in the light of nature, that there is no better help and remedy for this opposition, and that it has no higher cure than the liberty, that is, the light of nature, which is the desire of the spirit.

  6. And then we find, that the essence cannot be better remedied than with the assimulate; for the essence is a being, and its desire is after being: Now every taste desires only its like, and if it obtains it, then its hunger is satisfied, appeased and eased, and it ceases to hunger, and rejoices in itself, whereby the sickness falls into a rest in itself; for the hunger of the contrariety ceases to work.

  7. Seeing now that man’s life consists in three principles, viz. in a threefold essence, and has also a threefold spirit out of the property of each essence, viz. first, according to the eternal nature, according to the fire’s property; and secondly, according to the property of the eternal light and divine essentiality; and thirdly, according to the property of the outward world: Thereupon we are to consider the property of this threefold spirit, and also of this threefold essence and will; how each spirit with its essence introduces itself into strife and sickness, and what its cure and remedy is.

  8. We understand that without nature there is an eternal stillness and rest, viz. the Nothing; and then we understand that an eternal will arises in the nothing, to introduce the nothing into something, that the will might find, feel, and behold itself.

  9. For in the nothing the will would not be manifest to itself, wherefore we know that the will seeks itself, and finds itself in itself, and its seeking is a desire, and its finding is the essence of the desire, wherein the will finds itself.

  10. It finds nothing except only the property of the hunger, which is itself, which it draws into itself, that is, draws itself into itself, and finds itself in itself; and its attraction into itself makes an overshadowing or darkness in it, which is not in the liberty, viz. in the nothing; for the will of the liberty overshadows itself with the essence of the desire, for the desire makes essence and not the will.

  11. Now that the will must be in darkness is its contrariety, and it conceives in itself another will to go out from the darkness again into the liberty, viz. into the nothing, and yet it cannot reach the liberty from without itself, for the desire goes outwards, and causes source and darkness; therefore the will (understand the reconceived will) must enter inwards, and yet there is no separation.

  12. For in itself before the desire is the liberty, viz. the nothing, and the will may not be a nothing, for it desires to manifest in the nothing; and yet no manifestation can be effected, except only through the essence of the desire; and the more the reconceived will desires manifestation, the more strongly and eagerly the desire draws into itself, and makes in itself three forms, viz. the desire, which is astringent, and makes hardness, for it is an enclosing, when coldness arises, and the attraction causes compunction, and stirring in the hardness, an enmity against the attracted hardness; the attraction is the second form, and a cause of motion and life, and stirs itself in the astringency and hardness, which the hardness, viz. the enclosing, cannot endure, and therefore it attracts more eagerly to hold the compunction, and yet the compunction is thereby only the stronger.

  13. Thus the compunction willeth upwards, and whirls crossways, and yet cannot effect it, for the hardness, viz. the desire stays and detains it, and therefore it stands like a triangle, and transverted orb, which (seeing it cannot remove from the place) becomes wheeling, whence arises the mixture in the desire, viz. the essence, or multiplicity of the desire; for the turning makes a continual confusion and contrition, whence the anguish, viz. the pain, the third form (or sting of sense) arises.

  14. But seeing the desire, viz. the astringency becomes only the more strong thereby (for from the stirring arises the wrath and nature, viz. the motion), the first will to the desire is made wholly austere and a hunger, for it is in a hard compunctive dry essence, and also cannot get rid and quit of it, for itself makes the essence, and likewise possesses it, for thus it finds itself now out of nothing in the something, and the something is yet its contrary will, for it is an unquietness, and the free-will is a stillness.

  15. This is now the original of enmity, that nature opposes the free-will, and a thing is at enmity in itself; and here we understand the centre of nature with three forms, in the original, viz. in the first principle, it is Spirit; in the second it is Love, and in the third principle Essence; and these three forms are called in the third principle Sulphur, Mercury, and Sal.

  16. Understand it thus: Sul is in the first principle the freewill, or the lubet in the nothing to something, it is in the liberty without nature; Phur is the desire of the free lubet, and makes in itself, in the Phur, viz. in the desire, an essence, and this essence is austere by reason of the attraction, and introduces itself into three forms (as is above mentioned) and so forward into the fourth form, viz. into the fire; in the Phur the original of the eternal and also external nature is understood, for the hardness is a mother of the sharpness of all essences, and a preserver of all essences; out of the Sul, viz. out of the lubet of the liberty, the dark anguish becomes a shining light; and in the third principle, viz. in the outward kingdom, Sul is the oil of nature, wherein the life burns, and everything grows.

  17. But now the Phur, viz. the desire, is not divided from Sul; it is one word, one original also, and one essence, but it severs itself into two properties, viz. into joy and sorrow, light and darkness; for it makes two worlds, viz. a dark fire-world in the austereness, and a light fire-world in the lubet of the liberty; for the lubet of the liberty is the only cause that the fire shines, for the original fire is dark and black, for in the shining of the fire in the original the Deity is understood, and in the dark fire, viz. in the anguish-source, the original of nature is understood, and herein we do further understand the cure.

  18. The source is the cure of the free lubet, viz. of the still eternity; for the stillness finds itself alive therein, it brings itself through the anguish-source into life, viz. into the kingdom of joy, namely that the nothing is become an eternal life, and has found itself, which cannot be in the stillness.

  19. Secondly, we find that the Sul, viz. the lubet of the liberty, is the curer of the desire, viz. of the anxious nature: for the lustre of the liberty does again (from the enkindled fire out of nature) shine in the dark anguish, and fills or satiates the anguish with the liberty, whereby the wrath extinguishes, and the turning orb stands still, and instead of the turning a sound is caused in the essence.

  20. This is now the form of the spiritual life, and of the essential life; Sul is the original of the joyful life, and Phur is the original of the essential life; the lubet is before and without nature, which is the true Sul; and the spirit is made manifest in nature, viz. through the source, and that in a twofold form, viz. according to the lubet of the liberty in a source of joy, and according to the anxious desire’s lubet; according to the astringency, compunctive, bitter, and envious from the compunction, and according to the anguish of the wheel wholly murderous and hateful; and each property dwells in itself, and yet they are in one another; herein God’s love and anger are understood, they dwell in each other; and the one apprehends not the other, and yet the one is the curer of the other; understand through imagination, for the eternal is magical.

  21. The second form in nature, in eternity is the Orb with the compunctive bitter essences: for there arises the essence, understand with the perturbation; for the nothing is still without motion, but the perturbation makes the nothing active: but in the third principle, viz. in the dominion in the essence, and source of the outward world, the form is called Mercury, which is opposite, odious, and poisonful, and the cause of life and stirring, also the cause of the senses: Where one glance may conceive itself in the infinity, and then also immerse itself into it, where out of one only the abyssal, unsearchable, and infinite multiplicity may arise.

  22. This form is the unquietness, and yet the seeker of rest; and with its seeking it causes unquietness, it makes itself its own enemy; its cure is twofold, for its desire is also twofold, viz. according to the lubet of the liberty, according to the stillness and meekness; and then also in the hunger according to the rising of unquietness, and the finding of itself; the root desires only joy with the first will, and yet it cannot obtain it, except through the opposite source, for no joy can arise in the still nothing; it must arise only through motion and elevation that the nothing finds itself.

  23. Now that which is found desires to enter again into the will of the still nothing, that it may have peace and rest therein; and the nothing is its cure; and the wrath and poison is the remedy of the seeker and finder, that is their life which they find, an example whereof we have in the poisonous gall, whence in the life arises joy and sorrow, wherein we also understand a twofold will, viz. one to the wrathful fire and anxious painful life to the original of nature, and one to the light-life, viz. to the joy of nature; this takes its original out of the eternal nothing.

  24. The first will’s cure is the lubet of the liberty, if it obtains that, then it makes triumphant joy in itself; and the wrath in the hungry desire is the curer and helper of the other will, viz. the will of nature; and herein God’s love and anger are understood, and also how evil and good are in the centre of each life, and how no joy could arise without sorrow, and how one is the curer of the other.

  25. And here we understand the third will (which takes its original out of both these, viz. out of such an essence, viz. out of the mother), viz. the spirit, which has both these properties in it, and is a son of the properties and also a lord of the same; for in him consists the power, he may awaken which he pleases; the properties lie in the essence, and are as a well-constituted life, or as an instrument with many strings, which stand still; and the spirit, viz. the egress is the real life, he may play upon the instrument as he pleases, in evil or good, according to love or anger; and as he plays, and as the instrument sounds, so is it received of its contra-tenor, viz. of the assimulate.

  26. If the tune of love be played, viz. the liberty’s desire, then is the sound received of the same liberty and love-lubet; for it is its pleasing relish, and agreeable to its will’s desire; one similar lubet takes another.

  27. And thus likewise is it to be understood of the enmity and contrary will; if the instrument be struck according to the desire to nature, viz. in the wrath, anger, and bitter falsehood, then the same contrary sound and wrathful desire receives it; for it is of its property, and a satiating of its hunger, wherein we understand the desire of the light, and also of the dark world; a twofold source and property.

  28. The desire of the liberty is meek, easy, and pleasant, and it is called good; and the desire to nature makes itself in itself dark, dry, hungry, and wrathful, which is called God’s anger, and the dark world, viz. the first principle; and the light world is the second principle.

  29. And we are to understand, that it is no divided essence, but one holds the other hidden or closed up in it, and the one is the beginning and cause of the other, also its healing and cure; that which is awaked and stirred up, that gets dominion, and manifests itself externally with its character, and makes a form and signature according to its will in the external after itself. A similitude whereof we see in an enraged man or beast; though the outward man and beast are not in the inward world, yet the outward nature has even the same forms; for it arises originally from the inward, and stands upon the inward root.

  30. The third form is the anxiousness which arises in nature from the first and second form, and is the upholder or preserver of the first and second; it is in itself the sharp fiat; and the second form has the Verbum, viz. the property to the word, and it consists in three properties, and makes out of herself with the three the fourth, viz. the fire; in the external birth, viz. in the third principle, it is called Sal, or salt, according to its matter; but in its spirit it has many forms; for it is the fire-root, the great anguish, it arises betwixt and out of the astringency and bitterness in the austere attraction; it is the essentiality of that which is attracted, viz. the corporality, or comprehensibility; from Sulphur it is of a brimstone nature, and from Mercury a blaze or flash; it is in itself painful, viz. a sharpness of dying, and that from the sharp attraction of the astringency: It has a twofold fire, one cold, another hot; the cold arises from the astringency, from the sharp attraction, and is a dark black fire; and the hot arises from the driving forth the compunction in the anguish in the desire after the liberty, and the liberty is its enkindler, and the raging compunction is the cold’s fire’s awakener.

  31. These three forms are in one another as one, and yet they are but one; but they sever themselves through the original into many forms, and yet they have but one mother, viz. the desiring will to manifestation, which is called the father of nature, and of the Being of all beings.

  32. Now we are to consider the hunger of the anxiety, or the salt-spirit, and then also its satiating or fulfilling: The anguish has in it two wills, from the original of the first will out of the liberty to the manifestation of itself; viz. the first will is to nature, and the other reconceived will is the son of the first, which goes out of the manifestation again into itself into the liberty; for it is become an eternal life in nature, and yet possesses not nature essentially, but dwells in itself, and penetrates nature as a transparent shining, and the first will goes outwards, for it is the desire of manifestation; it seeks itself out of itself, and yet amasses the desire in itself; it desires to educe the internal out of itself.

  33. Thus it has two properties; with the seeking in itself it makes the centre of nature: For it is like a poison, a will of dreadful aspiring, like a lightning and thunder-clap; for this desire desires only anguish, and to be horrible, to find itself in itself, out of the nothing in the something; and the second form proceeds forth as a flagrat, or produces sound out of itself; for it is not the desire of the first will to continue in the horrible death, but only thus to educe itself out of the nothing, and to find itself.

  34. And we understand by the centre in itself, with the aspiring wrathfulness, with the wrathful will to nature, the dark world, and with the egress out of itself to manifestation, the outward world; and with the second will out of the first, which enters again into the liberty, we understand the light world, or the kingdom of joy, or the true Deity.

  35. The desire of the dark world is after the manifestation, viz. after the outward world, to attract and draw the same essentiality into it, and thereby to satisfy its wrathful hunger; and the desire of the outward world is after the essence or life, which arises from the pain and anguish.

  36. Its desire in itself is the wonder of eternity, a mystery, or mirror, or what is comprehended of the first will to nature.

  37. The outward world’s desire is Sulphur, Mercury, and Sal; for such an essence it is in itself, viz. a hunger after itself, and is also its own satisfying; for Sul desires Phur, and Phur desires Mercury, and both these desire Sal; for Sal is their son, which they hatch in their desire, and afterwards becomes their habitation, and also food.

  38. Each desire desires only the essentiality of salt according to its property; for salt is diverse; one part is sharpness of cold, and one part sharpness of heat; also one part brimstone; and one part salniter from Mercury.

  39. These properties are in one another as one, but they sever themselves, each dwelling in itself; for they are of a different essence, and when one enters into another, then there is enmity, and a flagrat. A similitude whereof we may apprehend in thunder and lightning, which comes to pass when the great Anguish, viz. the mother of all salts, understand the third form of nature, impresses itself; which comes to pass from the aspect of the sun, which stirs up the hot fire’s form, so that it is penetrative, as the property of the fire is; and when it reaches the salniter, then it enkindles itself; and the salniter is in itself the great flagrat in Mercury, viz. the flash, or compunction, which enters into the coldness, so also into the cold sharpness of the salt-spirit; this coldness is exceedingly dismayed at the flash of the fire, and in a trice wraps or folds up itself in itself, whence arises the thunder-clap (or the tempestuous flash, which gives a stroke in the flagrat) and the flagrat goes downwards, for it is heavy by reason of the coldness, and the sal-nitrous spirit is light by reason of the fire, which [spirit] carries the thunder or sound sideways, as is to be heard in tempests and thunder; presently thereupon comes the wind or spirit out of all the four forms one against another, for they are all four enkindled in the penetrating flagrat; whereupon follows hail and rain; the hail folds itself together in the coldness, in the property of the cold salt-spirit; for the wrath attracts to itself, and turns the water to ice, and the water arises from the meekness, viz. from the desire of the light, for it is the essentiality of the meekness; this the cold salt-spirit congeals into drops, and distils it upon the earth, for before the congelation it is only as a mist, or steam, or as a vapour, or damp.

  40. Thus we see this ground very exactly and properly in thunder and lightning; for the flash, or lightning, or ethereal blaze, goes always before, for it is the enkindled salniter; thereupon follows the stroke in the flagrat of the coldness; as you see, as soon as the stroke is given the astringent chamber is opened, and a cool wind follows, and oftentimes whirling and wheeling; for the forms of nature are awakened, and are as a turning wheel, and so they carry their spirit the wind.


‘Cause’ means

  1. that from which, as immanent material, a thing comes into being, e.g. the bronze is the cause of the statue and the silver of the saucer, and so are the classes which include these.
  2. The form or pattern, i.e. the definition of the essence, and the classes which include this (e.g. the ratio 2:1 and number in general are causes of the octave), and the parts included in the definition.
  3. That from which the change or the resting from change first begins; e.g. the adviser is a cause of the action, and the father a cause of the child, and in general the maker a cause of the thing made and the change-producing of the changing.
  4. The end, i.e. that for the sake of which a thing is; e.g. health is the cause of walking. For ‘Why does one walk?’ we say; ‘that one may be healthy’; and in speaking thus we think we have given the cause.

Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book 5, Part 2, W. D. Ross translation

See for more.

This would be a good point to also review,, and as the Monad or God was seen as the origin of Cause.

EB11 Cause

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition

CAUSATION or CAUSALITY (Lat. causa, derived perhaps from the root cm-, as in caveo, and meaning something taken care of; corresponding to Gr. curia), a philosophical term for the operation of causes and for the mental conception of cause as operative throughout the universe. The word “cause” is correlative to “effect.” Thus when one thing B is regarded as taking place in consequence of the action of another thing A, then A is said to be the cause of B, and B the effect of A.

The philosophical problems connected with causation are both metaphysical and psychological. The metaphysical problem is part of the whole theory of existence. If everything is to be regarded as causally related with simultaneous and prior things or actions, it follows logically that the investigation of existence must, by hypothesis, be a regress to infinity, i.e. that we cannot conceive a beginning to existence. This explanation has led to the postulate of a First Cause, the nature of which is variously explained.

The empirical school sees no difficulty in assuming a single event; but such a theory seems to deny the validity of the original hypothesis. Theologians assert a divine origin in the form of a personal self-existent creator, while some metaphysical schools, preferring an impersonal First Cause, substitute the doctrine of the Absolute (q.v.). All the explanations are alike in this respect, that at a certain point they pass from the sphere of the senses, the physical world, to a metaphysical sphere in which the data and the intellectual operation of cognizing them are of a totally different quality. For example, the causal connection between drunkenness and alcohol is not of the same observable character as that which is inferred between the infinite First Cause and the whole domain of sense-given phenomena.


The following is a list of the various technical terms connected with causation which have been distinguished by logicians and psychologists.

The four Aristotelian causes are: (1) Material cause, the material out of which a thing is made; the material cause of a house is the bricks and mortar of which it is composed. (2) Formal cause, the general external appearance, shape, form of a thing; the formal cause of a triangle is its triangularity. (3) Efficient cause, the alcohol which makes a man drunk, the pistol-bullet which kills. This is the cause as generally understood in modern usage. (4) Final cause, the object for which an action is done or a thing produced; the final cause of a commercial man’s enterprise is to make his livelihood (see TELEOLOGY). This last cause was rejected by Bacon, Descartes and Spinoza, and indeed in ordinary usage the cause of an action in relation to its effect is the desire for, and expectation of, that effect on the part of the agent, not the effect itself.

The Proximate cause of a phenomenon is the immediate or superficial as opposed to the Remote or Primary cause. Plurality of Causes is the much criticized doctrine of J. S. Mill that a fact may be the uniform consequent of several different antecedents. Causa essendi means the cause whereby a change is what it is, as opposed to the causa cognoscendi, the cause of our knowledge of the event; the two causes evidently need not be the same. An object is called causa immanens when it produces its changes by its own activity; a causa transiens produces changes in some other object. Causa sui is a term applied to God by Spinoza to denote that he is dependent on nothing and has no need of any external thing for his existence. Vera causa is a term used by Newton in his Principia, where he says, “No more causes of natural things are to be admitted than such as are both true and sufficient to explain the phenomena of those things”; verae causae must be such as we have good inductive grounds to believe do exist in nature, and do perform a part in phenomena analogous to those we would render an account of.


But he who knows forms, grasps the unity of nature beneath the surface of materials which are very unlike. Thus is he able to identify and bring about things that have never been done before, things of the kind which neither the vicissitudes of nature, nor hard experimenting, nor pure accident could ever have actualised, or human thought dreamed of. And thus from the discovery of the forms flows true speculation and unrestricted operation.
Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, Book 2, Aphorism 3

Much of Baconian Science was to de-emphasize the Formal and Final causes and instead to focus on the Material and Active causes (oft to discover Form, heat being the classic example); as he states here, Magic is more concerned with the former set than the latter.

From the two kinds of axioms which have been spoken of arises a just division of philosophy and the sciences, taking the received terms (which come nearest to express the thing) in a sense agreeable to my own views. Thus, let the investigation of forms, which are (in the eye of reason at least, and in their essential law) eternal and immutable, constitute Metaphysics; and let the investigation of the efficient cause, and of matter, and of the latent process, and the latent configuration (all of which have reference to the common and ordinary course of nature, not to her eternal and fundamental laws) constitute Physics. And to these let there be subordinate two practical divisions: to Physics, Mechanics; to Metaphysics, what (in a purer sense of the word) I call Magic, on account of the broadness of the ways it moves in, and its greater command over nature.
Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, Book 2, Aphorism 9

It would also be good to have a familiarity with Platonic and neo-Platonic philosophy. For a really short introduction on Form and the Allegory of the Cave see More along these lines can also be found at and

EB11 Form

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition

FORM (Lat. forma), in general, the external shape, appearance, configuration of an object, in contradistinction to the matter of which it is composed; thus a speech may contain excellent arguments, the mailer may be good, while the style, grammar, arrangement, the form is bad. The term, with its adjective “formal” and the derived nouns “formality” and “formalism,” is hence contemptuously used for that which is superficial, unessential, hypocritical: chap, xxiii. of Matthew’s gospel is a classical instance of the distinction between the formalism of the Pharisaic code and genuine religion. With this may be compared the popular phrases “good form” and “bad form” applied to behaviour in society: so “format” (from the French) is technically used of the shape and size, e.g. of a book (octavo, quarto, &c.) or of a cigarette.

The word “form” is also applied to certain definite objects: in printing a body of type secured in a chase for printing at one impression (“form” or “forme”); a bench without a back, such as is used in schools (perhaps to be compared with O. Fr. s’asseoir en forme, to sit in a row); a mould or shape on or in which an object is manufactured; the lair or nest of a hare.

The word has been used technically in philosophy with various shades of meaning. Thus it is used to translate the Platonic idea, eldos, the permanent reality which makes a thing what it is, in contrast with the particulars which are finite and subject to change. Whether Plato understood these forms as actually existent apart from all the particular examples, or as being of the nature of immutable physical laws, is matter of discussion.

For practical purposes Aristotle was the first to distinguish between matter and form. To Aristotle matter is the undifferentiated primal element: it is rather that from which things develop than a thing in itself. The development of particular things from this germinal matter consists in differentiation, the acquiring of particular forms of which the knowable universe consists (cf. CAUSATION for the Aristotelian “formal cause”) . The perfection of the form of a thing is its entelechy - thus the entelechy of the body is the soul. The origin of the differentiation process is to be sought in a “prime mover”, i.e. pure form entirely separate from all matter, eternal, unchangeable, operating not by its own activity but by the impulse which its own absolute existence excites in matter.

The Aristotelian conception of form was nominally, though perhaps in most cases unintelligently, adopted by the Scholastics, to whom, however, its origin in the observation of the physical universe was an entirely foreign idea.

The most remarkable adaptation is probably that of Aquinas, who distinguished the spiritual world with its “subsistent forms” (formae separalae) from the material with its “inherent forms” which exist only in combination with matter.

Bacon, returning to the physical standpoint, maintained that all true research must be devoted to the discovery of the real nature or essence of things. His induction searches for the true “form” of light, heat and so forth, analysing the external “form” given in perception into simpler “forms” and their “differences.” Thus he would collect all possible instances of hot things, and discover that which is present in all, excluding all those qualities which belong accidentally to lone or more of the examples investigated: the “form” of heat is the residuum common to all.

Kant transferred the term from the objective to the subjective sphere. All perception is necessarily conditioned by pure “forms of sensibility,” i.e. space and time: whatever is perceived is perceived as having special and temporal relations (see SPACE AND TIME; KANT). These forms are not obtained by abstraction from sensible data, nor are they strictly speaking innate: they are obtained “by the very action of the mind from the co-ordination of its sensation.”

AOP Necessity of Mathematics

Of the necessity of Mathematicall learning, and of the many wonderful works which are done by Mathematical Arts only
Agrippa, Book 2, Chapter 1

The Doctrines of Mathematics are so necessary to, and have such an affinity with Magick, that they that do profess it without them, are quite out of the way, and labor in vain and shall in no wise obtain their desired effect. For whatsoever things are, and are done in these inferior natural virtues, are all done, and governed by number, weight, measure, harmony, motion, and light. And all things which we see in these inferiors, have root, and foundation in them: yet nevertheless without natural virtues, of Mathematical Doctrines only works like to naturals can be produced, as Plato saith, a thing not partaking of truth or divinity, but certain Images kin to them, as bodies going, or speaking, which yet want the Animal faculty, such as were those which among the Ancients were called Daedalus his Images, and automata, of which Aristotle makes mention, viz. the three-footed Images of Vulcan, and Daedalus, moving themselves, which Homer saith came out of their own accord to the exercise, and which we read, moved themselves at the feast of Hiarba the Philosophical Exerciser: As also that golden Statues performed the offices of Cup bearers, and Carvers to the guests.

Also we read of the Statues of Mercury, which did speak, and the wooden Dove of Arthita, which did fly, and the miracles of Boethius, which Cassiodorus made mention of, viz Diomedes in Brass, sounding a Trumpet, and a brazen Snake hissing and pictures of birds singing most sweetly. Of this kind are those miracles of Images which proceed from Geometry, and Optics, of which we made some mention in the first book, where we spoke of the Element of Air.

So there are made glasses, some Concave, others of the form of a Column, making the representations of things in the Air seem like shadows at a distance: of which sort Apollonius, and Vitellius in their Books De Perspectiva, and Speculis, taught the making, and the use. And we read that Magnus Pompeius brought a certain glass among the spoils from the East, to Rome, in which were seen Armies of Armed men. And there are made certain transparent glasses, which being dipped in some certain juices of Herbs, and irradiated with an artificial light, fill the whole Air round about with visions. And I know how to make reciprocal glasses, in which the Sun shining, all things which were illustrated by the rays thereof are apparently seen many miles off.

Hence a Magician, expert in natural Philosophy, and Mathematics, and knowing the middle sciences consisting of both these, Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, Optics, Astronomy, and such sciences that are of weights, measures, proportions, articles, and joints, knowing also Mechanical Arts resulting from these, may without any wonder, if he excel other men in Art, and wit, do many wonderful things, which the most prudent, and wise men may much admire.

Are there not some relics extant of the Ancients works, viz. Hercules, and Alexanders pillars, the gate of Caspia made of brass, and shut with Iron beams, that it could by no Wit or Art, be broken? And the Pyramis of Julius Caesar erected at Rome near the hill Vaticanus, and Mountains built by Art in the middle of the Sea, and Towers, and heaps of Stones, such as I saw in England put together by an incredible Art. And we read in faithful Historians, that in former times Rocks have been cut off, and Valleys made, and Mountains made into a Plain. Rocks have been dug through, Promontories have been opened in the Sea, the bowels of the Earth made hollow, Rivers divided, Seas joined to Seas, the Seas restrained, the bottom of the Sea been searched, Pools exhausted, Fens dried up, new Islands made, and again restored to the continent, all which, although they may seem to be against nature, yet we read have been done, and we see some relics of them remaining till this day, which the vulgar say were the works of the devil, seeing the Arts, and Artificers thereof have been dead out of all memory, neither are there any that care to understand, or search into them.

Therefore they seeing any wonderful sight, do impute it to the devil, as his work, or think it is a miracle, which ind

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