The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. , at sacred-texts.com
The Arabian philosophers agree that some men may elevate themselves above the powers of their body and above their sensitive powers; and, those being surmounted, they receive into themselves—by the perfection of the Heavens and the Celestial intelligences—A Divine Vigor. Seeing, therefore, that
all the Souls of men are perpetual, and, also, that all the Spirits obey the perfect Souls, Magicians think that perfect men may, by the powers of their soul, repair their dying bodies (with other inferior souls, newly separated) and inspire them again: As a weasel, that is killed, is made alive again by the breath and cry of his dam; and as lions make alive their dead whelps by breathing upon them. And because, as they say, all like things, being applied to their like, are made of the same natures; and, also, every patient, subject, and thing that receives into itself the act of any agent is endowed with the nature of that agent and made conatural with it. Hence they think that to this vivification, or making alive, certain herbs, and Magical confections (such as, they say, are made of the ashes of the Phœnix and the cast skin of a Snake) do much conduce; which, indeed, to many may seem fabulous, and to some impossible, unless it could be accounted approved by an historical faith. For we read of some that have been drowned in water, others cast into the fire or put upon the fire, others slain in war, and others otherwise tried, and all these, after a few days were alive again, as Pliny testifies of Aviola, a man pertaining to the consul, of L. Lamia, Cælinus, Tubero, Corfidius, Gabienus, and many others. We read that Æsop, the tale-maker, Tindoreus, Hercules and Palicy, the sons of Jupiter, and Thalia, being dead, were raised to life again; also that many were, by physicians and magicians, raised from death again, as the historians relate of Æsculapius; and we have above mentioned, out of Juba, and Xanthus and Philostratus, concerning Tillo, and a certain Arabian, and Apollonius the Tyanean. Also we read that Glaucus, a certain man that was dead, the herb dragon-wort restored to life. Some say that he revived by the putting into his body a medicine made of honey, whence the proverb, Glaucus was raised
from death by taking honey into his body. Apuleius, also, relating the manner of these kinds of restoring to life, saith of Zachla, the Egyptian prophet, that the prophet, being favorable, laid a certain herb upon the mouth of the body of a young man, being dead, and another upon his breast; then, turning toward the East, or rising of the propitious Sun, he prayed silently (a great assembly of people striving to see it), when, in the first place, the breast of the dead man did heave, then a beating in his veins, then his body filled with breath, after which the body rose and the young man spoke. If these accounts are true, the dying souls must, sometimes lying hid in their bodies, be oppressed with vehement extasies and be freed from all bodily action; so that the life, sense, and motion forsake the body, and also that the man is not yet truly dead, but lies astonied, and dead, as it were, for a certain time. And this is often found, that in times of pestilence many that are carried for dead to the graves to be buried, revive again. The same also hath often befell women by reason of fits of the mother. And Rabbit Moises, out of the book of Galen, which Patriarcha translated, makes mention of a man who was suffocated for six days, and did neither eat nor drink, and his arteries became hard. And it is said, in the same book, that a certain man, being filled with water, lost the pulse of his whole body, so that the heart was not perceived to move, and he lay like a dead man. It is also said that a man, by reason of a fall from a high place, or great noise, or long staying under the water, may fall into a swoon, which may continue forty-eight hours, and so may lay as if he were dead, his face being very green. And in the same place there is mention made of a man that buried a man, who seemed to be dead, seventy-two hours after his seeming decease, and so killed him because he buried him alive; and there are given signs whereby it may
be known who are alive, although they seem to be dead, and, indeed, will die, unless there be some means to recover them, as phlebotomy, or some other cure. And these are such as very seldom happen. This is the manner by which we understand magicians and physicians do raise dead men to life, as they that were tried by the stinging of serpents, were, by the nation of the Marsi and the Psilli, restored to life. We may conceive that such kind of extasies may continue a long time, although a man be not truly dead, as it is in dormice and crocodiles and many other serpents, which sleep all winter, and are in such a dead sleep that they can scarce be awakened with fire. And I have often seen a dormouse dissected and continue immovable, as if she were dead, until she was boiled, and when put into boiling water the dissected members did show life. And, although it be hard to be believed, we read in some approved historians, that some men have slept for many years together; and, in the time of sleep until they awaked, there was no alteration in them so as to make them seem older. The same doth Pliny testify of a certain boy, whom, he saith, being wearied with heat and his journey, slept fifty-seven years in a cave. We read, also, that Epimenides Gnosius slept fifty-seven years in a cave. Hence the proverb arose—to outsleep Epimenides. M. Damascenus tells that in his time a certain countryman in Germany, being wearied, slept for the space of a whole autumn and the winter following, under a heap of hay, until the summer, when the hay began to be eaten up; then he was found awakened as a man half dead and out of his wits. Ecclesiastical histories confirm this opinion concerning the seven sleepers, whom they say slept 196 years. There was in Norvegia a cave in a high sea shore, where, as Paulus Diaconus and Methodius, the martyr, write, seven men lay sleeping a long time without corruption, and
the people that went in to disturb them were contracted or drawn together, so that after a while, being forewarned by that punishment, they dared not disturb them. Xenocrates, a man of no mean repute amongst philosophers, was of the opinion that this long sleeping was appointed by God as a punishment for some certain sins. But Marcus Damascenus proves it, by many reasons, to be possible and natural, neither doth he think it irrational that some should, without meat and drink, avoiding excitements, and without consuming or corruption, sleep many months. And this may befall a man by reason of some poisonous potion, or sleepy disease, or such like causes, for certain days, months or years, according to the intention or remission of the power of the medicine, or of the passions of their mind. Physicians say that there are some antidotes, of which they that take too great a potion shall be able to endure hunger a long time; as Elias, in former time, being fed with a certain food by an angel, walked and fasted in the strength of that meat forty days. And John Bocatius makes mention of a man in his time, in Venice, who would every year fast four days without any meat; also, a greater wonder, that there was a woman in lower Germany, at the same time, who took no food till the thirteenth year of her age, which, to us, may seem incredible, but that he confirmed it. He also tells of a miracle of our age, that his brother, Nicolaus Stone, an Helvetian by nation, who lived over twenty years in the wilderness without meat till he died. That also is wonderful which Theoprastus mentions concerning a certain man, called Philinus, who used no meat or drink besides milk. And there are also grave authors who describe a certain herb of Sparta, with which, they say, the Scythians can endure twelve days’ hunger, without meat or drink, if they do but taste it, or hold it in their mouth.