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Rant #422
(published February 19, 2009)
The Third Book of Occult Philosophy
by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa

Chapter XIX. Of the Bodies of the Devils.

Concerning the bodies of Angels, there is a great dissension betwixt the late Divines, and Philosophers; for Thomas affirms that all angels are incorporeal, yea evil angels, yet that they do assume bodies sometimes, which after awhile they put off again; Dionysius in Divine Names strongly affirms that Angels are incorporeal. Yet Austin [Augustine] upon Genesis delivers his opinion, that Angels are said to be Aery, and Fiery Animals: because they have the nature of Aerial bodies, neither can they be dissolved by death, because the element which is more active than passive is predominant in them; the same seem to affirm, that all Angels in the beginning of their creation had Aerial bodies, being formed of the more pure, and superior part of the air, being more fit to act, then to suffer; and that those bodies were after the confirmation preserved in good Angels, but changed in the evil in their fall, into the quality of more thick air, that they might be tormented in the fire: Moreover Magnus Basilius doth attribute bodies not only to Devils, but also to pure angels, as certain thin, Aerial, pure spirits; to which Gregory Nazianzen doth agree. Apuleius was of opinion, that all angels had not bodies; for in the book of the Demon of Socrates, he saith, that there is a more propitious kind of spirits, which being always free from corporeal bonds, are procured by certain prayers. But Psellus the Platonist, and Christianus do think that the nature of spirits is not without a body; but yet not that the body of angels, & devils are the same; for that is without matter; but the bodies of devils are in a manner material, as shadows, and subject to passion, that they being struck are pained, and may be burnt in the fire, into conspicuous ashes, which as is recorded, was done in Tuscia. And although it be a spiritual body, yet it is most sensible, and being touched, suffers; and although it be cut asunder, yet comes together again, as air and water, but yet in the mean time is much pained. Hence it is that they fear the edge of the sword, and any weapon. Hence in Virgil the Sybill saith to Aeneas, "Do thou go on thy way and draw thy sword."

Upon which Servius saith that she would have Aeneas have his sword consecrated. Orpheus also describes the kinds of Demoniacal bodies; there is indeed one body, which only abides the fire, but being seen, doth not suffer, which Orpheus calls fiery, and Celestial Demons: the other is contemperated with the mixtion of fire, and air, whence they are called Ethereal, and Aerial; to which if any waterish thing was added, there arose a third kind, whence they are Called watery, which sometimes are seen: to which if any earthiness be added, this is not very thick; they are called Terrene Demons, and they are more conspicuous, and sensible. Now the bodies of sublime Demons are nourished of the most pure Ethereal element, and are not rashly to be seen of any, unless they be sent from God; being weaved of such bright threads, and so small, that they transmit all the rays of our sight by their finess, and reverberate them with splendor, and deceive by their subtlety; of which Calcidius saith, Ethereal, and Aerial Demons, because their bodies have not so much fire as that they are conspicuous, nor yet so much earth that the solidity of them resists the touch, and their whole composure being made up of the clearness of the sky [sky], and moisture of the air, hath joined [joined] together an indissoluble superficies. The other Demons are neither so appearable, nor invisible, being sometimes conspicuous are turned into divers figures, and put upon themselves bodies like shadows, of blood-less images, drawing the filthiness of a gross body, and they have too much communion with the Wood (which the Ancients did call the wicked soul) and by reason of their affinity with earth, and water, are also taken with Terrene pleasures, and lust; of which sort are hobgoblins, and Incubi, and Succubi, of which number it is no absurd conjecture to think that Melusina [or Melusine] was: yet there is none of the Demons (as Marcus supposeth) is to be supposed male or female, seeing this difference of sex belongs to compounds, but the bodies of Demons are simple, neither can any of the Demons turn themselves into all shapes at their pleasure; but to the fiery, and aiery it is easy so to do, viz: to change themselves into what shapes their imagination conceives: now subterraneal and dark Demons, because their nature being concluded in the straights of a thick and unactive body, cannot make the diversity of shapes, as others can. But the waterie, and such as dwell upon the moist superficies of the earth, are by reason of the moistness of the element, for the most part like to women; of such kind are the fairies of the Rivers, and Nymphs of the Woods: but those which inhabit dry places, being of dryer bodies, shew themselves in form of men, as Satyrs, or Onosceli, with Asses legs, or Fauni, and Incubi, of which he [Augustine1] saith, he learned by experience there were many, and that some of them oftentimes did desire, and made compacts with women to lie with them: and that there were some Demons, which the French call Dusii, that did continually attempt this way of lust.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa is most noted for perpetuating the use of the pentagram in European occultism.

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