Of Sympathetic Medicines

IN the year 1639, a little book came forth, whose title was, 'The Sympathetical Powder of Edricius Mohynus, of Eburo,' whereby wounds are cured without application of the medicine unto the part afflicted, and without superstition; it being sifted by the sieve of the reasons of Galen and Aristotle; wherein it is Aristotetically, sufficiently, proved, whatsoever the title of it promises; but it hath neglected the directive faculty, or virtue, which may bring the virtues of the sympathetical powder, received in the bloody towel or napkin, unto the distant wound.

Truly, from a wound, the venal blood, or corrupt pus, or sanies, from an ulcer, being received in the towel, do receive, indeed, a balsam from a sanative or healing being; I say, from the power of the vitriol, a medicinal power connected and limited in the aforesaid mean; but the virtues of the balsam received are directed unto the wounded object, not indeed by an influential virtue of the stars, and much less do they fly forth of their own accord unto the object at a distance: therefore the ideas of him that applieth the sympathetical remedy are connected in the mean, and are made directresses of the balsam unto the object of his desire: even as we have above also minded by injections concerning ideas of the desire. Mohyns supposed that the power of sympathy depends upon the stars, because it is an imitator of influences: but I draw it out of a much nearer subject: to wit, out of directing ideas, begotten by their mother Charity, or a desire of goodwill: for, from hence does that sympathetic powder operate more successfully, being applied by the hand of one than another: therefore I have always observed the best process where the remedy is instituted by a desire of charity; but, that it doth succeed, with small success, if the operator be a careless or drunken person; and, from hence, I have more esteemed the stars of the mind, in sympathetical remedies, than the stars of heaven: but that images, being conceived, are brought unto an object at a distance, a pregnant woman is an example of, because she is she who presently transfers all the ideas of her conception on her young, which dependeth no otherwise on the mother than from a communion of universal nourishment. Truly, seeing such a direction of desire is plainly natural, it is no wonder that the evil spirit doth require the ideas of the desires of his imps to be annexed unto a mean offered by him. Indeed, the ideas of the desire are after the manner of the influences of heaven cast into a proper object how locally remote soever; that is, they are directed by the desire, especially pointing out an object for itself, even as the sight of the basilisk, or touch of the torpedo, is reflected on their willed object; for I have already shewn in its place, that the devil doth not attribute so much as any thing in the directions of things injected; but that he hath need of a free, directing, and operative power or faculty. But I will not disgrace sympathetical remedies because the devil operates something about things injected into the body: for what have sympathetical remedies in common? Although Satan doth co-operate in injections by wicked natural means required from his bond slaves; for every thing shall be judged guilty, or good, from its ends and intents: and it is sufficient that sympathetical remedies do agree with things injected in natural means, or medicines.


WE shall now show some remarkable operations that are effected by magnetism, and founded upon natural sympathy and antipathy, likewise how by these means some extraordinary cures may be performed.

The goodness of the Creator every where extended, created every thing for the use of ungrateful man; neither did he admit any of the theologists, or divines, as assistants in council, how many or how great virtues he sh ould infuse into things natural. But there are those who venture to measure the wonderful works of God by their own sharpened and refined wit, whereby they deny God to have given such virtue to things; as though man (a worm) was able, by his narrow and limited capacity, to comprehend Omniscience; he therefore measures the minds of all men by his own, who think that cannot be done, which they cannot understand. They therefore can only develope the mysteries of nature, who being versed in the art of Cabala, Fire, and Magic, examined the properties of things, and draw, from darkness into light, the lurking powers of Man, Animals, Vegetables, Minerals, and Stones, and, separating the crud. ities, dregs, poisons, heterogenities, that are the thorns implanted in virgin nature from the curse. For an observer of nature sees daily she doth distil, sublime, calcine, ferment, dissolve, coagulate, fix, &c. therefore we who are the ministers of nature do separate, &c. finding out the causes and effects of every phenomena she produces. .

Now, as magnetism is ordained for the use of. man, and for the curing of the various disorders incident to human nature, we shall first touch upon the grand subject of magnetism, known to possess wonderful prop) erties, and which are not only evident to every eye, but shew us sufficient grounds for our admitting the possibility and reality of magnetism in general.

The loadstone possesses an eminent medicinal faculty, against many violent and implacable disorders. Helmont says, that the back of the loadstone, as it repulses iron, so also it removes gout, swellings, rheum, &c. that is of the nature or quality of iron. The iron attracting faculty, if it be joined to the mummy of a woman, and the back of the loadstone be put within her thigh, and the bel.ly of the loadstone on her loins, it safely prevents a miscarriage, already threatened; but the belly of the loadstone applied within the thigh and the back to her loins, it doth wonderfully facilitate her delivery.

Likewise the wearing the loadstone cases and prevents the cramp, and such like disorders and pains. .

Uldericus Balk, a dominican friar, published a book at Frankfort in the year 1611, concerning the lamp of life; in which we shal.l find (taken from Paracelsus) the true magnetical cure of many diseases, viz. the dropsy, gout, jaundice, &c. For if thou shalt enclose the warm blood of the sick in the shell and white of an egg, which is exposed to a nourishing warmth, and this blood, being mix ed with a piece of flesh, thou shalt give to a hungry dog, the disorder departs from thee into the dog; no otherwise than the leprosy of Naaman passed over into Gehazi through the execration of the prophet.

If women, weaning their infants, shall milk out their milk upon hot burning coals, the breast soon dries.

If any one happens to commit nuisance at thy door, and thou wilt prevent that beastly trick in future, take the poker red-hot, and put it into the excrement, and, by magnetism, his posteriors shall become much scorched and inflamed.

Make a small table of the lightest, whitest, and basest kind of lead; and at one end put a piece of amber, and, three spans from it, lay a piece of green vitriol; this vitriol will soon lose its colour and acid: both which effects are found in the preparation of amber. The root of the Caroline thistle being plucked up when full of juice and virtue, and tempered with the mummy of a man, will exhaust the powers and natural strength out of a man, on whose shadow thou shalt stand, into thyself.


THE principal ingredient in this confection, is the moss of a dead man's skull, which Van Helmont calls the excrescencies or superfluiti es of the stars. Now the moss growing on the skull of a dead man, seeing it has received its seed from the heavens, but its increase from the mummial marrow of the skull of man, or tower of the microcosm, has obtained excellent astral and magnetic powers beyond the common condition of vegetables, although herbs, as they are herbs, want not their own magnetism.

Now, the magnetism of this unguent draws out that strange disposition from the wound (which otherwise, by a disunion of the parts that held together, and by which, I say, strange disposition and foreign quality is produced) from whence it slips, not being overburdened or oppressed by any accident, suddenly grow together; and this is effected by the armary unguent, or weapon salve. From this it appears that the unguent, or weapon salve, its property is to heal suddenly and perfectly without pain, costs, peril, or loss of strength; hence it is manifest that the magnetical virtue is from God.

It is now seasonable to discover the immediate cause of magnetism in the unguent.

First of all, by the consent of mystical divines, we divide man into the external and internal man, assigning to both the powers of a certain mind, or intelligence: for so there doth a will belong to flesh and blood, which m ay not be either the will of man or the will of God; and the heavenly Father also reveals some things unto the more inward man, and some things flesh and blood reveals, that is, the outward and sensitive, or animal man. For, how could the service of idols, envy, &c. be rightly numbered among the works of the flesh, seeing they consist only in the imagination, if the flesh had not also its own imagination and elective will?

Furthermore, that there are miraculous ecstasies belonging to the more inward man, is beyond dispute. That there are also ecstasies i n the animal man, by reason of an intense, or heightend imagination, is, without doubt. Martin del Ris, an elder of the society of Jesus, in his Magical Disquisitions or Enquiries, makes mention of a certain young man in the city Insulis that was transported with so violent a desire of seeing his mother, that through the same intense desire, as if being rapt up by an ecstasy, he saw her perfectly, although many miles absent from thence; and, returning again to himself, being mindful of all that he had seen, gave many true signs of his true presence with his mother.

Now that desire arose from the more outward man, viz. from blood and sense, or flesh, is certain; for, otherwise, the soul being once dislodged, or loosened from the bonds of the body, cannot, except by miracle, be reunited to it; there is therefore in the blood a certain ecstatical or transporting power, which, if at any time shall be excited or stirred up by an ardent desire and most strong imagination, it is able to conduct the spirit of the more outward man even to some absent and far distant object, but then that power lies hid in the more outward man, as it were, inpotentia, or by way of possibility; neither is it brought into act, unless it be roused up by the imagination, inflamed and agitated by a most fervent and violent desire.


MOREOVER, when as the blood is after som e sort corrupted, then indeed all the powers thereof which, without a foregoing excitation of the imagination, were before in possibility, are of their own accord, drawn forth into action; for, through corruption of the grain, the seminal virtue, otherwise drowsy, and barren, breaks forth into act; because, that seeing the essences of things, and their vital spirits, know not how to putrify by the dissolution of the inferior harmony, they sprung up as surviving afresh. For, from thence it is that every occult property, the compact of their bodies being by foregoing digestion, (which we call putrifaction) now dissolved, c.omes forth free to hand, dispatched, and manifest for action.

Therefore when a wound, through the entranc e of air, hath admitted of an adverse quality, from whence the blood forthwith swells with heat or rage in its lips, and otherwise becomes mattery, it happens, that the blood in the wound just made, by reason of the said foreign quality, doth now enter into the beginning of some kind of corruption (which blood being also then received on the weapon. or splinter thereof, is besmeared with the magnetic unguent) the which entrance of corruption, mediating the ecstatical power lurking potentially in the blood, is brought fo.rth into action; which power, because it is an exiled returner unto its own body, by reason o. f the hidden ecstasy; hence that blood bears an individual respect unto the blood of its whole body. Then indeed the magnetic or attractive faculty is busied in operating in the. unguent, and through the mediation of the ecstatical power (for so I call it for want of an etymology) sucks out the hurtful quality from the lips of the wound, and at length, through the mummial, balsamical, and attractive virtue, attained in the unguent, the m agnetism is perfected.

So thou hast now the positive reason of the natural magnetism in the unguent, drawn from natural magic, whereunto the light of truth assents; saying, "where the treasure is there is the heart also."

For if the treasure be in heaven, then the heart, that is, the spirit of the internal man, is in God, who is the paradise, who alone is eternal life.

But if the treasure be fixed or laid up in frail and mortal things, then also the heart and spirit of the external man is in fading things; .neither is there any cause of bringing in a mystical sense, by taking not the spirit, but th.. e cogitation and naked desire, for the heart; for that would contain a frivolous thing, that w. heresoever a man should place his treasure in his thought or cogitation, there his cogitati.on would be.

Also truth itself doth not interpret the present. text mystically, and also by an example adjoined, shews a local and real presence of the eagles with the dead carcass, so also that the spirit of the inward man is locally in the kingdom of God in us, which is God himself;

and that the heart or spirit of the animal or outward sensitive man is locally about its treasure.

What wonder is it, that the astral spirits of carnal or animal men should, as yet, after their funerals, shew themselves as in a bravery, wandering about their buried treasure, whereunto the whole of Necromancy (or art of divination by the calling of spirits) of the antients hath enslaved itself?

I say, therefore, that the internal man is an animal or living creature, making use of the reason and will of blood: but, in the mean time, not barely an animal, but moreover the image of God.

Logicians therefore may see how defectively they define a man from the power of rational discourse. But of these things more elsewhere.

I will therefore adjoin the magnetism of eagles to carcasses; for neither are flying fowls endowed with such an acute smelling, that they can, with a mutual consent, go from Italy into Africa unto carcasses.

For neither is an odour so largely and widely spread; for the ample latitude of the interposed sea hinders it, and also a certain elementary property of consuming it nor is there any ground that thou shouldest think these birds do perceive the dead carcasses at so far a distance, with their sight, especially if those birds shall lie southwards behind a mountain.

But what need is there to enforce the magnetism of fowls by many arguments, since God himself, who is the becoming and end of philosophy, doth expressly determine the same process to be of the heart and treasure, with these birds and the carcass, and so interchangeably between these and them?

For if the eagles were led to their food, the carcasses, with the same appetite whereby four-footed beasts are brought on to their pastures, certainly he had said, in one word, that living creatures flock to their food even as the heart of man to his treasure; which would contain a falsehood: for neither doth the heart of man proceed unto its treasure, that he may be filled therewith as living creatures do to their meat; and therefore the comparison of the heart of man and of the eagle lies not in the end for which they tend or incline to a desire, but in the manner of tendency; namely that they are allured and carried on by magnetism, really and locally.

Therefore the spirit and will of the blood fetched out of the wound, having intruded itself into the ointment by the weapon being anointed therewith, do tend towards their treasure, that is, the rest of the blood as yet enjoying the life of the more inward man: but he saith by a peculiar testimony, that the eagle is drawn to the carcass, because she is called thereunto by an implanted and mummial spirit of the carcass, but not by the odour of the putrifying body: for indeed that animal, in assimilating, appropriates to himself only this mummial spirit: for from thence it is said of the eagle, in a peculiar manner, "my youth shall be renewed as the eagle's."

For truly the renewing of her youth proceeds from an essential extraction of the mummial spirit being well refined by a certain singular digestion proper to that fowl, and not from a bare eating of the flesh of the carcass; otherwise dogs also and pies would be renewed, which is false.

Thou wilt say, that it is a reason far-fetched in behalf of magnetism; but what wilt thou then infer hereupon? If that which thou confesseth to be far remote for thy capacity of understanding, that shall also with thee be acc. ounted to be fetched from far. Truly the book of Genesis avoucheth, that in the blood of all living creatures doth their soul exist.

For there are in the blood certain vital powers; 1, the which, as if they were soulified or enlivened, do demand revenge from Heaven, yea, and judicial punishment from earthly judges on the murderer; which powers, seeing. they cannot be denied to inhabit naturally in the blood, I see not why they can reject the. magnetism of the blood, as accounting it among the ridiculous works of Satan.

This I will say more, to wit, that those who walk in their sleep, do, by no other guide than the spirit of the blood, that is, of the outward .man, walk up and down, perform business, climb walls, and manage things that are otherwise impossible to those that are awake. I say, by a magical virtue, natural to the more o. utward man; that Saint Ambrose, although he was for distant in his body, yet was visibly present at the funeral solemnities of Saint Martin; yet was he spiritually present at those solemnities, in the visible spirit of the external man, and no otherwise: for inasmuch. as in that ecstasy which is of the more internal man, many of the saints have seen many and absent things. This is done without time and place, through the superior powers of the soul being collected in unity, and by an intellectual vision, but not by a visible pre..sence; otherwise the soul is not separated from the body, but in good earnest, or for alto. gether; neither is it re-connected thereunto, which re-connexion, notwithstanding, is otherwise natural or familiar to the spirit of the more outward man. .

It is not sufficient in so great a paradox, to ha..ve once, or by one single reason, touched at the matter; it is to be further propagated, and .we must explain how a magnetical attraction happens also between inanimate things, by a .certain perceivance or feeling; not indeed animal or sensitive, but natural.

Which thing, that it may be the more seriously done, it behoves us first to shew what Satan can, of his own power, contribute to, an d after what manner he can co-operate in the merely wicked and impious actions of wit ches: for, from thence it will appear unto what cause every effect may be attributed.

In the next place, what that spiritual power may be which tends to a far remote object; or what may be the action, passion, and skirmishing between. natural spirits, or what may be the superiority of man as to other inferior creatures; and, by consequence, why indeed our unguent, being compounded of human mummies, do thoroughly cure horses also. We will explain the matter in the following chapter.


16:1 This singular property of the blood, which Helmont calls Vital Powers, is no less wonderful than true, having been myself a witness of this experiment while in South Wales. It was tried upon a body that was maliciously murdered, through occasion of a quarrel over-night at an alehouse. The fellow who was suspected of the murder appeared the next day in public seemingly unconcerned. The Coroner's jury sat upon the body within twenty-four hours after this notable murder was committed; when the suspected was suddenly taken into custody, and conveyed away to the same public-house where the inquisition was taken. After some debate, one Dr. Jones desired the suspected to be brought into the room; which done, he desired the villain to lay his left hand under the wound, which was a deep gash on the neck, and another on the breast; the villain plainly confessed his guilt by his trepidation; but as soon as he lightly laid his finger on the body, the blood immediately ran, about six or seven drops, to the admiration of all present. If any one doubts the truth of this narrative, however learned and profound he may think himself, let him call personally upon me, and I will give him such reference, and that truly respectable and fair, as shall convince him of the fact. FRANCIS BARRETT.

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