Quirky Books: Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Agrippa

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Agrippa

Written by Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim and translated by James Freake, "Three Books of Occult Philosophy" provides insight into history. Agrippa, born in 1486 BC, compiled and translated ancient texts classifies as occult into understandable language. Freake, an Englishman, translated Agrippa's work to unlock secrets of ancient times.

Occasionally, Agrippa is profoundly adequate in unlocking ancient secrets. As a physician, he was able to decipher the concept of evaporation forming into clouds to rain. He also managed to unlock the threefold consideration of alchemists. An element like stone is in the first order and unaltered. It is in the second order when elements are altered once by being combined with something else to make a tool and is return to the first order. It is in the third order when being altered with fire to melt the stone and formed into a sword. The sword does not return to being a stone. Currently we know manufactured items eventually return to original elements.

Between Agripp's writing and Freake's endnotes, two separate studies are hosted. Agrippa had a reputation of being a wizard. His writing does not imply ability to perform magic; however, he began to understand occult concepts are based on something factual. Meanwhile, Freake notes threefold consideration as mutable signs of astrology. Freake's negligence dismisses anything he wrote, though some notes identify animals and landmarks. Frequently footnotes are more confusing than what is being cited.

Donald Tyson, who edited and annotated the book, did an excellent job. Haphazardly, by bringing attention to the occult books Agrippa studied, other concepts become clear in the appendix. Agrippa decided magic squares and Sephiroth were a type of philosophy or events to practice religious rites. Looking at the appendix Magic Squares are matrixes. Matrixes are a method of coding information. It appears Asians were intercepted or attempted to explain architectural layouts of even proportions. Other magic squares are a method of ciphering codes. When someone has the cipher they may translate squiggles into meaningful messages. Different from modern matrixes, Asians use a pictorial language. Concepts related to Kabala are clearly coordinates. Celestial bodies are referenced to find landmarks.

Oddly, Tyson does not acknowledge this. The concept of evaporation becomes allusive when referring to Aristotle's philosophy. However, it does create a fun metaphor for the whole book. Everything is complicated when assuming the character of the person offering information.

An excellent book: mathematicians, historians, philosophers, theologians and anyone interested in esoteric knowledge will love this book. Clarifying an image of people living in the fifteenth century, it does not seem like it was that long ago, everything was so different. I feel happy when Agrippa figured something out and then disappointed when neighboring cultures were more advanced. Then there is Pliny. Beware of Pliny who recommends putting fat in your eyes to see the world the way it is. You will see something, bacteria. Now I understand why wise men only trusted seers who were blind.

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