Sunday, March 27, 2011

Agrippa on Natural Magic in De Vanitate

Natural magic then is that which, having intently beheld the forces of all natural and celestial things, and with curious searching found out their order, doth in such sort publish abroad the hidden and secret powers of nature: coupling the inferior things with the qualities of the superior, as it were by certain enticements, to cause a natural joining of them together, and thereof oftentimes do arise marvelous wonders: not so much by art as by nature, whereunto this art doth offer herself as a servant when she works these things. For the magicians, as very diligent searchers of nature, bringing the things which are prepared by nature, applying and setting active things to passive ones, very often bring forth effects before the time appointed by nature, and these [effects] are by the common sort accounted miracles; whereas despite this they are but natural works, nothing else coming between them but the foretaking of time: as if a man in the month of March would cause roses to bloom....
De vanitate 42, 90-91/124-25

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