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


Of Perfumes or Suffumigations; Their Manner and Power.

Some suffumigations, also, or perfumings, that are proper to the Stars, are of great force for the opportune receiving of celestial gifts under the rays of the Stars, in as much as they do strongly work upon the air and breath. For our breath is very much changed by such kind of vapors, if both vapors be of another like. The air, also, being through the said vapors easily moved, or affected with the qualities of inferiors or those celestial, daily; and, quickly penetrating our breast and vitals, doth wonderfully reduce us to the like qualities. Wherefore, suffumigations are wont to be used by them that

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are about to soothsay or predict for to affect their fancy or conception; which suffumigations, indeed, being duly appropriated to any certain deities, do fit us to receive divine inspiration. So they say that fumes made with linseed, flea-bane seed, roots of violets, and parsley, doth make one to foresee things to come and doth conduce to prophesying. Let no man wonder how great things suffumigations can do in the air, especially when he shall with Porphyrius consider that by certain vapors, exhaling from proper suffumigations, airy spirits are presently raised, as also thunderings and lightnings, and such like things. As the liver of a chameleon, being burnt on top of the house, doth, as is manifest, raise showers and lightnings. In like manner the head and throat of the chameleon, if they be burnt with oaken wood, cause storms and lightnings. There are also suffumigations under opportune influences of the Stars that make the images of spirits forthwith appear in the air or elsewhere. So, they say, that if of coriander, smallage, henbane, and hemlock, be made a fume, that spirits will presently come together; hence they are called spirit's herbs. Also, it is said, that fume made of the root of the reedy herb sagapen, with the juice of hemlock and henbane, and the herb tapsus barbatus, red sanders, and black poppy, makes spirits and strange shapes appear; and if smallage be added to them, the fume chaseth away spirits from any place and destroys their visions. In like manner, a fume made of calamint, peony, mints, and palma christi, drives away all evil spirits and vain imaginations.

Moreover, it is said, that by certain fumes certain animals are gathered together and also put to flight, as Pliny mentions concerning the stone liparis, that with the fume thereof all beasts are called out. So the bones in the upper part of the throat of a hart, being burnt, gather all the serpents together; but

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the horn of the hart, being burnt, doth with its fume chase them all away. The same doth a fume of the feathers of peacocks. Also, the lungs of an ass, being burnt, puts all poisonous things to flight; the fume of the burnt hoof of a horse drives away mice; the same doth the hoof of a mule; with which, also, if it be the hoof of the left foot, flies are driven away. And, they say, if a house or any place be smoked with the gall of a cuttle-fish, made into a confection with red storax, roses, and lignum-aloes, or lignaloes, and if then there be some sea-water, or blood, cast into that place, the whole house will seem to be full of water or blood; and if some earth of plowed ground be cast there, the earth will seem to quake. Now, such kinds of vapors, we must conceive, do infect any body and infuse virtue into it, which Both continue long, even as any contagious or poisonous vapor of the pestilence, being kept for two years in the wall of a house infects the inhabitants, and as the contagion of pestilence, or leprosy, lying hid in a garment, doth long after infect him that wears it. Therefore, were certain suffumigations used to affect images, rings, and such like instruments of magic and hidden treasures, and, as Porphyrius saith, very effectually. So, they say, if any one shall hide gold or silver, or any other precious thing, the Moon being in conjunction with the Sun, and shall fume the hiding place with coriander, saffron, henbane, smallage, and black poppy, of each alike quantity, bruised together, and tempered with the juice of hemlock, that which is so hid shall never be found or taken away; and that spirits shall continually keep it, and if any one shall endeavor to take it away he shall be hurt by them and shall fall into a frenzy.

And Hermes saith that there is nothing like the fume of spermaceti for the raising of spirits. Wherefore, if a fume be made of that and lignum-aloes,

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red storax, pepper-wort, musk, and saffron, all tempered together, with the blood of a lapwing, it will quickly gather airy spirits together, and if it be used about the graves of the dead, it gathers together spirits and the ghosts of the dead.

So, as often as we direct any work to the Sun, we must make suffumigations with Solary things, and if to the Moon, with Lunary things, and so of the rest. And we must know that as there is a contrariety and enmity in stars and spirits, so also in suffumigations unto the same. So there is also a contrariety betwixt lignum aloes and sulphur, frankincense, and quicksilver; therefore, spirits that are raised by the fume of lignum aloes are allayed by the burning of sulphur. As Proclus gives an example of a spirit, which was wont to appear in the form of a lion, but, by the setting of a cock before it, vanished away because there is a contrariety betwixt a cock and a lion, and so the like consideration and practice is to be observed concerning such like things.

Next: Chapter XLIV. The Composition of Some Fumes Appropriated to the Planets