Obelisk Art History
The Magus, Book 1

Of The Occult Virtues Of Things

Francis Barrett, 1801

It is expedient for us to know that there are some things which retain virtue only while they are living, others even after death. So in the cholic, if a live duck be applied to the belly, it takes away the pain, and the duck dies. If you take the heart out of any animal, and, while it is warm, bind it to one that has a quartan fever, it drives it away. So if any one shall swallow the heart of a lapwing, swallow, weasel, or a mole, while it is yet living and warm with natural heat, it improves his intellect, and helps him to remember, understand, and foretel things to come. Hence this general rule,—that whatever things are taken for magical uses from animals, whether they are stones, members, hair, excrements, nails, or any thing else, they must be taken from those animals while they are yet alive, and, if it is possible, that they may live afterwards. If you take the tongue of a frog, you put the frog into water again;—and Democritus writes, that if any one shall take out the tongue of a water-frog, no other part of the animal sticking to it, and lay it upon the place where the heart beats of a woman, she is compelled, against her will, to answer whatsoever you shall ask of her. Also, take the eyes of a frog, which must be extracted before sun-rise, and bound to the sick party, and the frog to be let go again blind into the water, the party shall be cured of a tertian ague; also, the same will, being bound with the flesh of a nightingale in the skin of a hart, keep a person always wakeful without sleeping. Also, the roe of the fork fish being bound to the navel, is said to cause women an easy child-birth, if it be taken from it alive, and the fish put into the sea again. So the right eye of a serpent being applied to the soreness of the eyes, cures the same, if the serpent be let go alive. So, likewise, the tooth of a mole, being taken out alive, and afterwards let go, cures the tooth-ache; and dogs will never bark at those who have the tail of a weasel that has escaped. Democritus says, that if the tongue of the cameleon be taken alive, it conduces to good success in trials, and likewise to women in labour; but it must be hung up on some part of the outside of the house, otherwise, if brought into the house, it might be most dangerous.

There are very many properties that remain after death; and these are things in which the idea of the matter is less swallowed up, according. to Plato, in them: even after death, that which is immortal in them will work some wonderful things:--as in the skins we have mentioned of several wild beasts, which will corrode and eat one another after death; also, a drum made of the rocket-fish drives away all creeping things at what distance soever the sound of it is heard; and the strings of an instrument made of the guts of a wolf, and being strained upon a harp or lute, with strings made of sheep-guts, will make no harmony.

Next chapter

It is a common opinion of magicians, that stones inherit great virtues, which they receive through the spheres and activity of the celestial influences

Of The Wonderful Virtues Of Some Kind Of Precious Stones

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Western Esoteric Art, Age of Exploration

Western Esoteric Art

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