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A Complete System of Occult Philosophy
By Francis Barrett
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2000 Red Wheel/Weiser
All rights reserved.
THE FIRST PRINCIPLES of NATURAL MAGIC.
BOOK THE FIRST
NATURAL MAGIC DEFINED----OF MAN----HIS CREAETION----DIVINE IMAGE-----AND OF THE SPIRITUAL AND MAGICAL VIRTUE OF THE SOUL.
Natural magic is, as we have said, a comprehensive knowledge of all Nature, by which we search out her secret and occult operations throughout her vast and spacious elaboratory; whereby we come to a knowledge of the component parts, qualities, virtues, and secrets of metals, stones, plants, and animals; but seeing, in the regular order of the creation, man was the work of the sixth day, every thing being prepared for his vicegerency here on earth, and that it pleased the omnipotent God, after he had formed the great world, or macrocosm, and pronounced it good, so he created man the express image of himself; and in man, likewise, an exact model of the great world. We shall describe the wonderful properties of man, in which we may trace in miniature the exact resemblance or copy of the universe; by which means we shall come to the more easy understanding of whatever we may have to declare concerning the knowledge of the inferior nature, such as animals, plants, metals, and stones; for, by our first declaring the occult qualities and properties that are hid in the little world, it will serve as a key to the opening of all the treasures and secrets of the macrocosm, or great world: therefore, we shall hasten to speak of the creation of man, and his divine image; likewise of his fall, in consequence of his disobedience; by which all the train of evils, plagues, diseases, and miseries, were entailed upon his posterity, through the curse of our Creator, but deprecated by the mediation of our blessed Lord, Christ.
THE CREATION, DISOBEDIENCE, AND FALL OF MAN.
ACCORDING to the word of God, which we take in all things for our guide, in the last chapter of Genesis, and the 26th verse, it is said—"God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fifth of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."—Here is the origin and beginning of our frail human nature; hence every soul was created by the very light itself, and Fountain of Life, after his own express image, likewise immortal, in a beautiful and well-formed body, endued with a most excellent mind, and dominion or unlimited monarchy-over all Nature, every thing being subjected to his rule, or command; one creature only being excepted, which was to remain untouched and consecrated, as it were, to the divine mandate: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat;" "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest of it, thou shalt surely die." Gen. ii. ver. 16. Therefore Adam was formed by the finger of God, which is the Holy Spirit; whose figure or outward form was beautiful and proportionate as an angel; in whose voice (before he finned) every found was the sweetness of harmony and music: had he remained in the state of innocency in which he was formed, the weakness of mortal man, in his depraved state, would not have been able to bear the virtue and celestial shrillness of his voice. But when the deceiver found that man, from the inspiration of God, had began to sing so shrilly, and to repeat the celestial harmony of the heavenly country, he counterfeited the engines of craft: seeing his wrath against him was in vain, he was much tormented thereby, and began to think how he might entangle him into disobedience of the command of his Creator, whereby he might, as it were, laugh him to scorn, in derision of his new creature, man.
Van Helmont, in his Oriatrike, chap. xcii. speaking of the entrance of death into human nature, &c., finely touches the subject of the creation, and man's disobedience: indeed, his ideas so perfectly coincide with my own, that I have thought fit here to transcribe his philosophy, which so clearly explains the text of Scripture, with so much of the light of truth on his side, that it carries along with it the surest and most positive conviction.
"Man being essentially created after the image of God, after that, he rashly presumed to generate the image of God out of himself; not, indeed, by a certain monster, but by something which was shadowly like himself. With the ravishment of Eve, he, indeed, generated not the image God like unto that which God would have inimitable, as being divine; but in the vital air of the seed he generated dispositions; careful at some time to receive a sensitive, discursive, and motive soul from the Father of Light, yet mortal, and to perish; yet, nevertheless, he ordinarily inspires, and of his own goodness, the substantial spirit of a mind shewing forth his own image: so that man, in this respect, endeavoured to generate his own image; not after the manner of brute beasts, but by the copulation of seeds, which at length should obtain, by request, a soulified light from the Creator; and the which they call a sensitive soul.
"For, from thence hath proceeded another generation, conceived after a beast-like manner, mortal, and uncapable of eternal life, after the manner of beasts; and bringing forth with pains, and subject to diseases, and death; so much the more sorrowful, and full of misery, by how much that very propagation in our first parents dared to invert the intent of God.
"Therefore the unutterable goodness forewarned them that they should not taste of that tree; and otherwise he foretold, that the same day they should die the death, and should feel all the root of calamities which accompanies death."
Deservedly, therefore, hath the Lord deprived both our parents of the benefit of immortality; namely, death succeeded from a conjugal and brutal copulation: neither remained the spirit of the Lord with man, after that he began to be flesh.
Further; because that defilement of Eve shall thenceforth be continued in the propagation of posterity, even unto the end of the world, from hence the sin of the despised fatherly admonition, and natural deviation from the right way, is now among other sins for an impurity, from an inverted, carnal, and well nigh brutish generation, and is truly called original sin; that is, man being sowed in the pleasure of the concupiscence of the flesh, shall therefore always reap a necessary death in the flesh of sin; but, the knowledge of good and evil, which God placed in the dissuaded apple, did contain in it a seminary virtue of the concupiscence of the flesh, that is, an occult forbidden conjunction, diametrically opposite to the state of innocence, which state was not a state of stupidity; because He was he unto whom, before the corruption of Nature, the essences of all living creatures whatsoever were made known, according to which they were to be named from their property, and at their first fight to be essentially distinguished: man, therefore, though eating of the apple, attained a knowledge that he had lost his radical innocency; for, neither before the eating of the apple was he so dull or stupified that he knew not, or did not perceive himself naked; but, with the effect of shame and brutal concupiscence, he then first declared he was naked.
For that the knowledge of good and evil signifies nothing but the concupiscence of the flesh, the Apostle testifies; calling it the law, and desire of sin. For it pleased the Lord of heaven and earth to insert in the apple an incentive to concupiscence; by which he was able safely to abstain, by not eating of the apple, therefore dissuaded therefrom; for otherwise he had never at any time been tempted, or stirred up by his genital members. Therefore the apple being eaten, man, from an occult and natural property ingrafted in the fruit, conceived a lust, and sin became luxurious to him, and from thence was made an animal seed, which, hastening into the previous or foregoing dispositions of a sensitive soul, and undergoing the law of other causes, reflected itself into the vital spirit of Adam; and, like an ignis-fatuus, presently receiving an archeus or ruling spirit, and animal idea, it presently conceived a power of propagating an animal and mortal seed, ending into life.
Furthermore, the sacred text hath in many places compelled me unto a perfect position, it making Eve an helper like unto Adam; not, indeed, that she should supply the name, and room of a wife, even as she is called, straightway after sin, for the was a virgin in the intent of the Creator, and afterwards filled with misery: but not, as long as the state of purity presided over innocency, did the will of man overcome her; for the translation of man into Paradise did foreshew another condition of living than that of a beast; and therefore the eating of the apple doth by a most chaste name cover the concupiscence of the flesh, while it contains the "knowledge of good and evil" in this name, and calls the ignorance thereof the state of innocence: for, surely, the attainment of that aforesaid knowledge did nourish a most hurtful death; and an irrevocable deprivation of eternal life: for if man had not tasted the apple, he had lived void of concupiscence, and offsprings had appeared out of Eve (a virgin) from the Holy Spirit.
But the apple being eaten, "presently their eyes were opened," and Adam began lustfully to covet copulation with the naked virgin, and defiled her, the which God had appointed for a naked help unto him. But man prevented the intention of God by a strange generation in the flesh of sin; whereupon there followed the corruption of the former nature, or the flesh of sin, accompanied by concupiscence: neither doth the text insinuate any other mark of "the knowledge of good and evil" than that they "knew themselves to be naked," or, speaking properly, of their virginity being corrupted, polluted with bestial lust, and defiled. Indeed, their whole "knowledge of good and evil" is included in their shame within their privy parts alone; and therefore in the 8th of Leviticus, and many places else in the Holy Scriptures, the privy parts themselves are called by no other etymology than that of shame; for from the copulation of the flesh their eyes were opened, because they then knew that the good being lost, had brought on them a degenerate nature, shamefulness, an intestine and inevitable obligation of death; sent also into their posterity.
Alas! too late, indeed they understood, by the unwonted novelty and shamefulness of their concupiscence, why God had so lovingly forbade the eating of the apple. Indeed, the truth being agreeable unto itself, doth attest the filthiness of impure Adamical generation; for the impurity which had received a contagion from any natural issues whatsoever of menstrues or seed, and that by its touching alone is reckoned equal to that which should by degrees creep on a person from a co-touching of dead carcases, and to be expiated by the same ceremonious rite that the text might agreeably denote, that death began by the concupiscence of the flesh lying hid in the fruit forbidden; therefore, also, the one only healing medicine, of so great an impurity contracted by touching, consisted in washing: under the similitude or likeness thereof, faith and hope, which in baptism are poured on us, are strengthened.
For as soon as Adam knew that by fratricide the first born of mortals, whom he had begotten in the concupiscence of the flesh, had killed his brother, guiltless and righteous as he was; and foreseeing the wicked errors of mortals that would come from thence, he likewise perceived his own miseries in himself; certainly knowing that all these calamities had happened unto him from the sin of concupiscence drawn from the apple, which were unavoidably issuing on his posterity, he thought within himself that the most discreet thing he could do, was hereafter wholly to abstain from his wife, whom he had violated; and therefore he mourned, in chastity and sorrow, a full hundred years; hoping that by the merit of that abstinence, and by an opposition to the concupiscence of the flesh, he should not only appease the wrath of the incensed Deity, but that he should again return into the former splendour and majesty of his primitive innocence and purity. But the repentance of one age being finished, it is most probable the mystery of Christ's incarnation was revealed unto him; neither that man ever could hope to return to the brightness of his ancient purity by his own strength, and much less that himself could reprieve his posterity from death; and that, therefore, marriage was well pleasing, and was after the fall indulged unto him by God because he had determined thus to satisfy his justice at the fulness of times, which should, to the glory of his own name, and the confusion of Satan, elevate mankind to a more sublime and eminent Hate of blessedness.
From that time Adam began to know his wife, viz. after he was an hundred years old, and to fill the earth, by multiplying according to the blessing once given him, and the law enjoined him---"Be fruitful and multiply."---Yet so, nevertheless, that although matrimony, by reason of the great want of propagation, and otherwise impossible coursary succession of the primitive divine generation, be admitted as a sacrament of the faithful.
If, therefore, both our first parents, after the eating of the apple, were ashamed, they covered only their privy parts; therefore that shame doth pre-suppose, and accuse of something committed against justice---against the intent of the Creator---and against their own proper nature: by consequence, therefore, that Adamical generation was not of the primitive constitution of their nature, as neither of the original intent of the Creator; therefore, when God foretels that the earth shall bring forth thistles and thorns, and that man shall gain his bread by the sweat of his brow, they were not execrations, but admonitions, that those sort of things should be obvious in the earth: and, because that beasts should bring forth in pain---should plow in sweat---should eat their food with labour and sear, that the earth should likewise bring forth very many things besides the intention of the husbandman; therefore, also, that they ought to be nourished like unto brute beasts, who had begun to generate after the manner of brute beasts.
It is likewise told Eve, after her transgression, that she should bring forth in pain. Therefore, what hath the pain of bringing forth common with the eating of the apple, unless the apple had operated about the concupiscence of the flesh, and by consequence stirred up copulation; and the Creator had intended to dissuade it, by dehorting from the eating of the apple. For, why are the genital members of women punished with pains at child-birth, if the eye in seeing the apple, the hands in cropping it, and the mouth in eating of it, have offended? for was it not sufficient to have chastised the life with death, and the health with very many diseases?---Moreover, why is the womb afflicted, as in brutes, with the manner of bringing forth, if the conception granted to beasts were not forbidden to man?
After their fall, therefore, their eyes were opened, and they were ashamed: it denotes and signifies that, from the filthiness of concupiscence, they knew that the copulation of the flesh was forbidden in the most pure innocent chastity of nature; and that they were overspread with shame, when, their eyes being opened, their understandings saw that they had committed filthiness most detestable.
But on the serpent and evil spirit alone was the top and summit of the whole curse, even as the privilege of the woman, and the mysterious prerogative of the blessing upon the earth, viz. That the woman's seed should bruise the head of the serpent. So that it is not possible that to bring forth in pain should be a curse; for truly with the same voice of the Lord is pronounced the blessing of the woman, and victory over the infernal spirit.
Therefore Adam was created in the possession of immortality. God intended not that man should be an animal or sensitive creature, nor be born, conceived, or live as an animal; for of truth he was created unto a living soul, and that after the true image of God; therefore he as far differed from the nature of an animal, as an immortal being from a mortal, and as a God-like creature from a brute.
I am sorry that our school-men, many of them, wish, by their arguments of noise and pride, to draw man into a total animal nature, (nothing more) drawing (by their logic) the essence of a man essentially from an animal nature: because, although man afterwards procured death to himself and posterity, and therefore may seem to be made nearer the nature of animal creatures, yet it stood not in his power to be able to pervert the species of the divine image: even so as neither was the evil spirit, of a spirit, made an animal, although he became nearer unto the nature of an animal, by hatred and brutal vices. Therefore man remained in his own species wherein he was created; far as often as man is called an animal, or sensitive living creature, and is in earnest thought to be such, so many times the text is falsified which says, "But the serpent was more crafty than all the living creatures of the earth, which the Lord God had made;" because he speaks of the natural craft and subtilty of that living and creeping animal. Again, if the position be true, man was not directed into the propagation of seed or flesh, neither did he aspire unto a sensitive soul; and therefore the sensible soul of Adamical generation is not of a brutal species, because it was raised up by a seed which wanted the original ordination and limitation of any species; and so that, as the sensitive soul in man arose, besides the intent of the Creator and Nature; so it is of no brutal species, neither can it subsist, unless it be continually tied to the mind, from whence it is supported in its life.
Excerpted from The Magus by Francis Barrett. Copyright © 2000 Red Wheel/Weiser. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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