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Agrippa's Theories of Astrological Magic

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Three Books of Occult Philosophy
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  1. The Three Worlds
  2. Magic
  3. Astrology
  4. Talismans
  5. Talisman Material & Images
  6. Conclusion

The Three Worlds


Agrippa divides his magnum opus, Three Books of Occult Philosophy into three sections,
"Seeing there is a threefold world, elementary, celestial and intellectual, and every inferior is governed by its superior, and receiveth the influence of the virtues thereof, so that the very original and chief Worker of all doth by angels, the heavens, stars, elements, animals, plants, metals and stones convey from himself the virtues of his omnipotency upon us..."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. I, Chap. 1, page 3. Thus the first book deals with the world composed of the four elements: fire, air, water and earth, the material world. The second book deals with the celestial world: the Zodiac and the heavenly bodies. The third book with the spiritual world of angels, intelligences and ideas.

Each of these worlds is connected, says Agrippa, because the spiritual world gave rise to the celestial and the celestial to the material. Having created the lower realms the more perfect worlds continue to influence and control them. Because of this descent, says Agrippa,
"...wise men conceive it no way irrational that it should be possible for us to ascend by the very same degrees through each world, to the same very original world itself, the Maker of all things and First Cause..."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. I, Chap. 1, page 3.

Definition of Magic


Magic, says Agrippa,
"..produceth its wonderful effects, by uniting the virtues of things through the application of them one to the other, and to their inferior suitable subjects, joining and knitting them together thoroughly by the powers and virtues of the superior bodies."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. I, Chap. 2, page 5.



One of the most important links between
the higher and lower worlds is that of astrology. Agrippa says,
"Every natural virtue doth work things far more wonderful when it is not only compounded of a natural proportion, but also is informed by a choice observation of the celestials opportune to this (viz. when the celestial power is most strong to that effect which we desire, and also helped by many celestials) by subjecting inferiors to the celestials as proper females to be made fruitful by their males."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. I, Chap. 29, page 357.
Thus everything that exists in the material world is under the rule of a particular celestial as each inferior thing had its origin through a superior. By identifying the ruler we may influence the ruled.



Agrippa says,
"So the magicians affirm that not only by the mixture and application of natural things, but also in images, seals, rings, glasses and some other instruments, being opportunely framed under a certain constellation, some celestial illustration may be taken, and some wonderful thing may be received..."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. I, Chap. 35, page 373.
The mechanism of this astrological magic, says Agrippa, are,
"...the beams of the celestial bodies being animated, living, sensual, and bringing along with them admirable gifts and a most violent power, do, even in a moment, and at the first touch, imprint wonderful power in the images..."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. I, Chap. 35, page 373.

Talisman Material & Images


Thus by choosing an astrologically appropriate moment to make a talisman or other magical object we greatly increase its magical effect. But timing is not the only important factor,
"Yet they bestow more powerful virtues on the images, if they be framed not of any, but of certain matter, namely whose natural and also special virtue is agreeable with the work, and the figure of the image is like to the celestial for such an best prepared to receive the operations and powers of the celestial bodies and figures...Hence saith Ptolemy in Centiloquio, that inferior things do obey the celestial, and not only them, but also their images; even as earthly scorpions obey not only the celestial Scorpion, but also his image, if if shall be opportunely figured under his ascent and dominion."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. I, Chap. 35, page 373.



For Agrippa the essential tripartite structure of the worlds was paramount even when performing astrological magic,
But know this, that such images work nothing unless they be so vivified that either a natural or celestial or heroical or animatical or demoniacal or angelical virtue be in them or assistant to them...Nobody hath them but he who doth...transcend the progress of the angels and comes to the very Archetype itself of which being then made a cooperator may do all things..."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. I, Chap. 50, page 404.



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Specializing in Horary Astrology, Electional Astrology Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans.

Copyright 2000, Christopher Warnock, All Rights Reserved.