Sacred Texts  Esoteric  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. [1913], at


How Inferior Things Are Subjected to Superior Bodies, and How the Bodies, the Actions, and Dispositions of Men Are Ascribed to Stars and Signs.

It is manifest that all things inferior are subject to the superior, and after a manner (as saith Proclus) they are one in the other, viz., in inferiors are superior and in superiors are inferior: So in the Heaven are things terrestrial, but as in their cause, and in a celestial manner; and in the Earth are things celestial, but after a terrestrial manner, as in an effect. So we say that there be here certain things which are Solary and certain which are Lunary, in which the Sun and Moon make a strong impression of their virtues. Whence it is that these kind of things receive more operations and properties, like to those of the Stars and Signs which they are under. So we know that Solary things respect the heart and

p. 92

head by reason that Leo is the house of the Sun, and Aries the exaltation of the Sun. So things under Mars are good for the head and secrets by reason of Aries and Scorpio. Hence they whose senses fail and heads ache by reason of drunkenness, find cold water and vinegar good to bathe the head and secrets. But in reference to these it is necessary to know how man's body is distributed to Planets and Signs. Know, therefore, that according to the doctrine of the Arabians, the Sun rules over the brain, heart, the thigh, the marrow, the right eye, and the spirit; also the tongue, the mouth, and the rest of the organs of the senses, as well internal as external; also the hands, feet, legs, nerves, and the power of imagination. That Mercury rules over the spleen, stomach, bladder, womb, and right ear, as also the faculty of the common sense. That Saturn rules over the liver and fleshy part of the stomach. That Jupiter rules over the abdomen and navel, whence it is written by the Ancients, that the effigy of a navel was laid up in the temple of Jupiter Hammon. Also some attribute to him the ribs, breasts, bowels, blood, arms, and the right hand and left ear, and the powers natural. And some set Mars over the blood, the veins, the kidneys, the bag of the gall, the buttocks, the back, motion of the sperm, and the irascible power. Again they set Venus over the kidneys, the secrets, the womb, the seed, and concupiscible power; as also the flesh, fat, belly, breast, navel, and the venereal parts and such as serve thereto; as also the os sacrum, the back-bone, and loins; as also the head, and the mouth, with which they give a kiss as a token of love. Now the Moon, although she may challenge the whole body, and every member thereof according to the variety of the Signs, yet more particularly they ascribe to her the brain, lungs, marrow of the backbone, the stomach, the menstrual and excretory parts, and the left eye, as also the power of increasing. But

p. 93

[paragraph continues] Hermes saith: That there are seven holes in the head of an animal, distributed to the seven Planets, viz.: The right ear to Saturn, the left to Jupiter, the right nostril to Mars, the left to Venus, the right eye to the Sun, the left to the Moon, and the mouth to Mercury.

The several Signs, also, of the Zodiac take care of their members: So Aries governs the head and face; Taurus, the neck; Gemini, the arms and shoulders; Cancer, the breast, lungs, stomach and arms; Leo, the heart, stomach, liver and back; Virgo, the bowels and bottom of the stomach; Libra, the kidneys, thighs and buttocks; Scorpius, the secrets; Sagittarius, the thighs and groins; Capricornus, the knees; Aquarius, the legs and shins; Pisces, the feet. * And as the triplicities of these Signs answer one the other, and agree in celestials, so also they agree in the members; which is sufficiently manifest by experience, because with the coldness of the feet the belly and breast are affected, which members answer the same triplicity; whence it is, if a medicine be applied to the one it helps the other, as by the warming of the feet the pain of the belly ceaseth. Remember, therefore, this order, and know that things which are under any one of the Planets have a certain particular aspect or inclination to those members that are attributed to that planet, and especially to the Houses and exaltation's thereof. For the rest of the dignities, as those triplicities and marks and face, are of little account in this. Upon this account, therefore, peony, balm, clove-gilly-flowers, citron-peel, sweet-marjoram, cinnamon, saffron, lignum aloes, frankincense, amber, musk, and myrrh help the head and heart, by reason of the Sun and Aries and Leo. So

p. 94

doth ribwort, the herb of Mars, help the head and secrets by reason of Aries and Scorpio; and so of the rest. * Also all things under Saturn conduce to sadness and melancholy; those under Jupiter to mirth and honor; those under Mars to boldness, contention and anger; those under the Sun to glory, victory and courage; those under Venus to love, lust and concupiscence; those under Mercury to eloquence; those under the Moon to a common life. Also all the actions and dispositions of men are distributed according to the Planets; for Saturn governs old men, monks, melancholy men, and hidden treasures and those things which are obtained with long journeys and difficulty; but Jupiter governs those that are religious, prelates, kings and dukes, and such kind of gains that are got lawfully; Mars rules over barbers, chirurgeons, physicians, sergeants, butchers executioners,

p. 95

all that make fires, bakers, and soldiers, who are every where called martial men. Also do the other Stars signify their office, as they are described in the books of Astrologers.


93:* The several parts of the physical body, it will be seen, run in order from the head to the feet in their correspondence with the twelve Signs or Houses of the Zodiac, from Aries, the first house, to Pisces, the twelfth and last. The Zodiac, as a whole, in symbolizing all parts of a complete man, typifies a perfect celestial being known as the Grand Solar Man.

94:* Note on Punctuation: We find all semicolons used in this sentence in the English edition of 1651. Mr. Henry Morley, in his "Life of Cornelius Agrippa" (London, 1856), Vol. I., page 140, in a note referring to a quotation be makes there from the Latin edition of Agrippa of 1531, says: "I have preserved the punctuation in this passage to show the use of the colon before semicolons were invented." The passage Mr. Morley quotes from the Latin edition of 1531 ("De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres," Antwerp, Belgium, one book only of which was published of the three) contains six colons, whereas the English edition of 1651 (see etching for title page), also used by Mr. Morley, and published complete one hundred and twenty years later, contains none. This indicates, apparently, the general period when semicolons were invented and came into use. The characters of punctuation are supposed to have been generally invented and introduced near the close of the fifteenth century by Aldus Manutus, a noted printer and publisher of Venice. The semicolon, as above, originated later on, between 1531 and 1651. Further, the m-dash, "—," as now used, is of comparatively modern introduction. I fail to find a single m-dash in the English edition of Agrippa of 1651, though 3-m-dashes, "——," were occasionally used before quotations from the poets. Eight years later, in 1659, I find the 2-m-dash used, in the second edition of Lilly's "Christian Astrology," page 60, thus: "His least——30." As this was an ordinary paragraph, of itself, it shows that they did not at that time use the m-dash but were evolving towards it. The truth regarding punctuation is that it has slowly and steadily evolved, especially since the art of printing, to its present status. The object of punctuation, primarily, is to present a writer's thought clearly, concisely, and correctly, by pointing out his salient words, using the "marks" like all artist does his "hues," to give prominence and pith thereto.

Next: Chapter XXIII. How We Shall Know What Stars Natural Things Are Under, and What Things Are Under the Sun, Which Are Called Solary