Life of Paracelsus
Franz Hartmann MD

Paracelsus (1493-1541)


THE power that was active in the formation of the world was God; the Supreme Cause and Essence of all things, being not only the Father of the Son, but of all created things that ever were, that are, or will be; the Yliaster,[1] the primordial and original Cause of all existence. This Power is, was, and will be the eternal Constructor of the world, the "Carpenter" of the universe, the Sculptor of forms. Creation took place through the inherent Will of that Creative Power being expressed in the "Word" [2] or Fiat (active and efficient thought), in the same manner as if a house would come into existence by a breath.[3] The cause of the beginning of creation was in the eternal inherent activity of the immaterial Essence, and all things were invisibly or potentially contained in the First Cause, or God.

[1. From , forest, and astra, stars or worlds.]

[2. The .]

[3. By the breath (out-breathing) of Brahma.]

When creation took place the Yliaster divided itself; it, so to say, melted and dissolved, and developed out of itself the Ideos or Chaos (Mysterium magnum, Iliados, Limbus major, or Primordial Matter). This Primordial Essence is of a monistic nature, and manifests itself not only as vital activity, a spiritual force, an invisible, incomprehensible, and indescribable power; but also as vital matter, of which the substance of living beings consists.[4]

[4. This means that Life is the cause of matter and force. Force and matter are originally identical; they are only two different modes of one and the same cause or substance which is called Life, and which is itself an attribute or function of the supreme cause of all existence. Modern discoveries go to prove the unity or identity of matter and energy. Recent researches in chemistry, and comparisons made between the chemical, musical, and colour scales seem to indicate that the cause of the difference between the heterogeneous single bodies is not caused by an essential difference of the substances of which they are composed, but only a difference in the number of their atomic vibrations.]

In the Limbus or Ideos of primordial matter, invested with the original power of life, without form, and without any conceivable qualities -- in this, the only matrix of all created things, the substance of all things is contained. It is described by the ancients as the Chaos, and has been compared to a receptacle of germs, out of which the Macrocosmos, and afterwards by division and evolution in Hysteria specialia,[5] each separate being came into existence.

[5. "Mysterium" is everything out of which something may be developed, which is only germinally contained in it. A seed is the "mysterium" of a plant, an egg the mysterium of a living bird, etc. If Eastern mythology says that the universe came out of an egg put into the water by Brahma (Neuter) or Ideation, it implies the same meaning as the Mysterium magnum of Paracelsus; because the egg represents the mysterium, the water the life, and the spirit hatches out of it the Creative God, Brahma (Masculine).]

All things and all elementary substances were contained in it, in potentia,[6] but not in actu, in the same sense as in a piece of wood a figure is contained, which may be cut out by an artist, or as heat is contained in a pebble, that may manifest its essence as a spark if struck with a piece of steel.[7]

[6. It seems that Paracelsus anticipated the modern discovery of the "potency of matter" three hundred years ago.]

[7. The Yliaster of Paracelsus corresponds to the Ev of Pythagoras and Empedocles, and it was Aristotle who spoke first of the form in potentia before it could appear in actu -- the former being called by him "the privation of matter." (Note by H. P. Blavatsky.) ]

The Magnus Limbus is the nursery out of which all creatures have grown, in the same sense as a tree may grow out of a small seed; with the difference, however, that the great Limbus takes its origin from the Word of God, while the Limbus minor (the terrestrial seed or sperm) takes it from the earth. The great Limbus is the seed out of which all beings have come, and the little Limbus is each ultimate being that reproduces its form, and that has itself been produced by the great. The little Limbus has all the qualifications of the great one, in the same sense as a son has an organisation similar to that of his father. "As it is above, so it is below."

As creation took place and the Yliaster dissolved, Ares, the dividing, differentiating, and individualising power of the Supreme Cause, began to act. All production took place in consequence of separation. There were produced out of the Ideos the elements of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, whose birth, however, did not take place in a material mode or by simple separation, but spiritually and dynamically, just as fire may come out of a pebble or a tree come out of a seed, although there is originally no fire in the pebble nor a tree in the seed.

"Spirit is living and Life is Spirit, and Life and Spirit produce all things, but they are essentially one and not two. The tongue talks, and yet it does not talk, for it is the Spirit that talks by means of the tongue, and without the Spirit the tongue would be silent, because the flesh alone cannot talk."

The elements, too, have each one its own Yliaster, because all the activity of matter in every form is only an effluvium of the same fountain. But as from the seed grow the roots with their fibres, afterwards the stalk with its branches and leaves, and lastly the flowers and seeds; likewise all beings were born from the elements, and consist of elementary substances out of which other forms may come into existence, bearing the characteristics of their parents.[8]

[8. This doctrine, preached 300 years ago, is identical with the one that has revolutionised modern thought after having been put into a new shape and elaborated by Darwin; and is still more elaborated by the Indian Kapila, in the Sankhya philosophy. (Note by H. P. Blavatsky.) ]

The elements, as the mothers of all creatures, are of an invisible spiritual nature, and have souls.[9] They all spring from the Mysterium magnum, which is eternal life, and therefore the spiritual elements, and all the beings that have been formed of such elements, must be eternal; just as a flower consists of elements similar to those of the plant on which it grows.

[9. Everything, whether it may manifest itself as matter or as force, is essentially a trinity.]

"Nature being the Universe, is one, and its origin can only be one eternal Unity. It is an organism in which all natural things harmonise and sympathise with each other. It is the Macrocosm. Everything is the product of one universal creative effort; the Macrocosm and man (the Microcosm) are one. They are one constellation, one influence, one breath, one harmony, one time, one metal, one fruit." [10] (Philosophia ad Athenienses)

[10. This description of the sympathy existing between Man and Eternal Nature recalls to memory the old and the of Hippocrates, and it especially reminds us of the "Timaeus" of Plato and the "Emerides" of Plotin, [Enneads?] in which works the whole of Nature is represented as a living and rational being , having come into existence by the will of the Supreme Cause. The head of man is there pictured as being an imitation of the peripheric constitution of the world. The basis of the natural philosophy of Paracelsus is the evidently existing correspondence, correlation, and harmony between the human constitution and the constitution of the starry world, including all terrestrial things, and this philosophy is almost identical with that of Plato, which speaks of the formation of all things in the inner world according to eternal patterns existing in the realm of the pure Ideal.]

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There is nothing dead in Nature. Everything is organic and living, and consequently the whole world appears to be a living organism. "There is nothing corporeal which does not possess a soul hidden in it. There exists nothing in which is not a hidden principle of life. Not only the things that move, such as men and animals, the worms of the earth, and the birds of the air and the fishes in the water, but all corporeal and essential things have life."

There is no death in Nature, and the dying of the beings consists in their return into the body of their mother; that is to say, in an extinction and suppression of one form of existence and activity, and in a re-birth of the same thing into another and more interior world, in a new form, possessed of new faculties that are adapted to its new surroundings.

"Two factors are discernible in each thing -- its body (form) and its Activity (qualities). The latter is nothing else but an effluence of the Supreme Cause because everything exists from the beginning in God, into whose unmanifested state all things will return in the end, and from whose power they all receive their qualities, or whatever they deserve on account of their capacity to receive or attract it.

Life is an universal omnipresent principle, and nothing is without life: "It cannot be denied that the air gives life to all corporeal things, such as grow from the earth and are born of it; but the special life of each thing is a spiritual being, an invisible and intangible spirit. There is nothing corporeal which has not within itself a spiritual essence, and there is nothing which does not contain a life hidden within. Life is something spiritual. Life is not only in that which moves, such as men and animals, but in all things; for what would be a corporeal form without a spirit?"

"The form may be destroyed; but the spirit remains and is living, for it is the subjective life. There are as many spirits and lives as there are bodily forms. Therefore there are celestial, infernal, and terrestrial spirits, spirits of human beings, of metals, stones, plants, c. The spirit is the life and the balsam within all corporeal things." (Vita Rerum, iv.)

In some forms life acts slowly -- for instance, in stones; in others (organised beings) it acts quickly. Each element has its own peculiar living existences, belonging to it exclusively.[11] Such existences or beings, living in the invisible elements, are the elemental spirits of Nature. They are beings of the Mysteria specialia, soul-forms, which will return into their chaos, and who are not capable of manifesting any higher spiritual activity because they do not possess the necessary kind of constitution in which an activity of a spiritual character can manifest itself. Otherwise they live like animals, or even like human beings, and they propagate their species. By the knowledge of ether (A'kasa) we may come into contact with such beings, and there are some of them that know all the mysteries of the elements.[12]

[11. For instance, fishes in the water, blood-corpuscles in the blood, animalcule in putrid fluids, bacteria in impure air, &c. &c.]

[12. Each Elemental may know the mysteries of that element to which it belongs.]

"Matter is, so to say, coagulated smoke, and is connected with spirit by an intermediate principle which it receives from the Spirit. This intermediate link between matter and spirit belongs to all three kingdoms of Nature. In the mineral kingdom it is called Stannar or Trughat,[13] in the vegetable kingdom Leffas;[14] and it forms, in connection with the vital force of the vegetable kingdom, the Primum Ens, which possesses the highest medicinal properties.[15]

[13. The Astral body (Linga-sharira) of minerals, plants, and animals.]

[14. Astral protoplasm.]

[15. Perhaps this may serve as a clue to explain the action of homoeopathic medicines.]

This invisible ethereal body may be resurrected and made visible from the ashes of plants and animals by alchemical manipulations. The form of the original body may thus be made to appear and disappear.[16] In the animal kingdom this semi-material body is called Evestrum, and in human beings it is called the Sidereal Man. Each living being is connected with the Macrocosmos and Microcosmos by means of this intermediate element or Soul, belonging to the Mysterium magnum, from whence it has been received, and whose form and qualities are determined by the quality and quantity of the spiritual and material elements."

[16. See Appendix: "Palangenesis of Plants.”]

As all things come from the same source, containing the primordial substance of all things, they are all intimately related to each other and connected with each other, and are essentially and fundamentally a unity. Any difference existing between two dissimilar things arises only from a difference in the forms in which the primordial essence manifests its activity. Such a difference is caused by the different grades through which such forms have passed in the progress of their evolution and development.

[NOTE. -- If we compare the teachings of the Eastern sages with the cosmology taught by Paracelsus, and substitute the Sanscrit or the Tibetan terms used by the former for those invented by the latter, we find the two systems almost, if not wholly, identical.

According to the Eastern sages, there is a ceaseless activity going on during the state of Pralaya (the night of Brahm), in that incomprehensible eternal First Cause that may be looked upon in one of its many aspects as being Matter, Motion, and Space, in an absolute sense, which is beyond the grasp of our relative conception. Its motion is the unconscious latent life inherent in it.

This is the Yliaster of Paracelsus, the "root of Matter," or Mulaprakriti of the Vedantins, out of which Prakriti (Matter) and Purusha (Space) become manifest as body and form. In this, The Absolute, Infinite, and Unconditioned, being the endless aggregation of everything conditioned and finite, the germs or potentialities of all things are contained. It is the Limbus Chaos of Paracelsus, and the germs contained in it are developed by the action of the Universal Mind, Dyan-Chohans, and the power of Wisdom, Fo-hat -- to use the Tibetan words.

Thus the Universe may be said to be a product of Cosmic Ideation and Cosmic Energy, acting, not at random or in an arbitrary manner, but according to a certain order produced by previous causes, which are themselves the effects of other causes, and which constitute the Law. The existence of this inevitable and unchangeable law is frequently alluded to by Paracelsus. He says, for instance, in his book, "De Origine Morborum Invisibilium": "Does not holy writ say that God spoke: Am I not the God who made the dumb and the deaf, the blind and the seeing? What else does this mean, but that he is the creator of all things, of good and of evil?"

The writings of the Buddhists teach the same doctrine, saying that there is only One Power, Swabhavat. It cannot act otherwise than according to the law of cause and effect, and that makes a useful tree grow as well as a useless stone in the bladder, according to the causes that have been produced by previous effects. Each act and each thought has a cause, and the cause of the cause is the Law.]

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Man, as such, is the highest being in existence, because in him Nature has reached the culmination of her evolutionary efforts. In him are contained all the powers and all the substances that exist in the world, and he constitutes a world of his own. In him wisdom may become manifest, and the powers of his soul -- good as well as evil -- may be developed to an extent little dreamed of by our speculative philosophers.

"In him are contained all the Coelestia, Terrestria, Undosa, and Aeria" -- that is to say, all the forces and beings and forms that may be found in the four elements out of which the Universe is constructed. Man is the Microcosm containing in himself the types of all the creatures that exist in the world, "and it is a great truth, which you should seriously consider, that there is nothing in heaven or upon the earth which does not also exist in Man, and God who is in heaven exists also in man, and the two are but One."

Each man in his capacity as a member of the great organism of the world can be truly known only if looked upon in his connection with universal Nature, and not as a separate being isolated from Nature. Man is dependent for his existence on Nature, and the state of Nature depends on the condition of mankind as a whole. If we know Nature we know Man, and if we know Man we know Nature.

"Whoever desires to be a practical philosopher ought to be able to indicate heaven and hell in the Microcosm, and to find everything in Man that exists in heaven or upon the earth; so that the corresponding things of the one and the other appear to him as one, separated by nothing else but the form. He must be able to turn the exterior into the interior, but this is an art which he can only acquire by experience and by the light of Nature, which is shining before the eyes of every man,[17] but which is seen by few mortals."

[17. Thus a man in whom Supreme Wisdom or God has become fully manifest is a god to the extent of his wisdom, and the power which he can exercise will extend as far as the power manifested through him will reach. A man will become an incarnation of good or evil according to the degree in which the good or evil existing in the Universe becomes manifested through him. But as no one can become a Christ by merely speculating upon the doctrines of Christ without practicing them, so nobody can come into possession of practical knowledge by merely accepting a creed or a belief in the scientific opinions of others without any experience of his own.]

The science which deals with the comparison of the Microcosm and Macrocosm for the purpose of elucidating the nature of the two (which are in reality one), and to bring to an understanding the rational principle governing their activity, is called by Paracelsus, Astronomia, and this term is not to be confounded with modern physical Astronomy, or the science of the revolutions of the suns and planets in cosmic space, neither does it refer to the mathematical astrological science of the sixteenth century.

The Astronomy of Paracelsus means wisdom, or a direct recognition of the truth, caused by a just appreciation and comprehension of the relationship existing between the Macrocosmos and the Microcosmos, "whereby the nature of man becomes known through an understanding of the upper sphere of the great world, as well as by investigating the lower sphere of his little world, as if they were apparently (what they are essentially) one Firmament,[18] one Star, one Being, although appearing temporarily in a divided form and shape." [19]

[18. One mind.]

[19. "Liber Paramirum," cap. 2. This is the fundamental doctrine of the teachings of Paracelsus. The Macrocosm and the Microcosm may not only be "compared together," but they are one in reality, divided only by form, which is an essentially Vedantic doctrine.]

The sphere of the Universal Mind is the upper firmament and the sphere of the individual mind the lower firmament, but the two are intimately connected together and are essentially one. "It is the knowledge of the upper (outer) firmament that enables us to know the lower (inner) firmament in Man, and which teaches in what manner the former continually acts upon and interrelates with the latter." Upon this knowledge the true science of Astrology is based.

Each, however -- the Microcosmos as well as the Macrocosmos --  are to be looked upon as having each a separate and independent existence, and as being independent of each other, each one by reason of the individuality of its own inherent power, notwithstanding the fact that both have the same origin and the same life; for the one primordial power has become differentiated in each separate form, and its originally homogeneous action has become modified by the special qualities that have been acquired by the forms in which it manifests itself.

"As the sky with its stars and constellations is nothing separate from the All but includes the All, so is the 'firmament' of Man not separate from Man; and as the Universal Mind is not ruled by any external being, likewise the firmament in Man (his individual sphere of mind) is not subject to the rule of any creature, but is an independent and powerful whole." [20]

[20. This fundamental truth of occultism is allegorically represented in the interlaced double triangles. He who has succeeded in bringing his individual mind in exact harmony with the Universal Mind has succeeded in reuniting the inner sphere with the outer one, from which he has only become separated by mistaking illusions for truths. He who has succeeded in carrying out practically the meaning of this symbol has become one with the father; he is virtually an adept, because he has succeeded in squaring the circle and circling the square. All of this proves that Paracelsus has brought the root of his occult ideas from the East.]

The practical application of Astronomia (mental science) is called Magic, a science which by investigating the parts of the whole leads to a comparison of their ideal relations and connections, and consequently to a recognition of their inner nature. "Hidden things (of the soul) which cannot be perceived by the physical senses, may be found through the sidereal body, through whose organism we may look into Nature in the same way as the sun shines through a glass. The inner nature of everything may therefore be known through Magic in general, and through the powers of the inner (or second) sight." [21]

[21. If the individual mind is one with the Universal Mind, and if the possessor of the individual mind wishes to find out some secret of Nature, he does not require to seek for it outside of the sphere of his mind, but he looks for it in himself, because everything that exists in Nature (which is a manifestation of the Universal Mind) exists in and is reflected by himself, and the idea of there being two minds is only an illusion; the two are one.]

"These are the powers by which all secrets of Nature may be discovered, and it is necessary that a physician should be instructed and become well versed in this art, and that he should be able to find out a great deal more about the patient's disease by his own inner perception than by questioning the patient. For this inner sight is the Astronomy of Medicine, and as physical Anatomy shows all the inner parts of the body, such as cannot be seen through the skin, so this magic perception shows not only all the causes of disease, but it furthermore discovers the elements in medicinal substances in which the healing powers reside." [22]

[22. It would be difficult to find many practitioners of medicine possessed of genuine powers of true spiritual perception; but it is a universally recognized fact that a physician without intuition (common sense) will not be very successful, even if he knew all medical books by heart. We should be guided by wisdom but not by opinions. The opinions of others may serve us, but we should not be subservient to them.]

"That which gives healing power to a medicine is its 'Spiritus' (an ethereal essence or principle), and it is only perceptible by the senses of the sidereal man. It therefore follows that Magic is a teacher of medicine far preferable to all written books. Magic power alone (that can neither be conferred by the universities nor created by the awarding of diplomas, but which comes from God) is the true teacher, preceptor, and pedagogue, to teach the art of curing the sick. As the physical forms and colours of objects, or as the letters of a book, can be seen with the physical eye, thus the essence and the character of all things may be recognised and become known by the inner sense of the soul." [23]

[23. Von Eckartshausen [Wikipedia] describes this inner sense as follows: "It is the centre of all senses, or the inner faculty of man, whereby he is able to feel the impressions produced by the exterior senses. It is the formative imagination of man, whereby the various impressions that have been received through the outer senses are identified, and brought into the inner field of consciousness. It is the faculty through which the spirit interprets the language of Nature to the soul. It changes bodily sensations into spiritual perceptions, and passing impressions into lasting images. All the senses of man originate in one sense, which is sensation."]

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"I have reflected a great deal upon the magical powers of the soul of man, and I have discovered a great many secrets in Nature, and I will tell you that he only can be a true physician who has acquired this power. If our physicians did possess it, their books might be burnt and their medicines be thrown into the ocean, and the world would be all the more benefited by it. Magic inventrix finds everywhere what is needed, and more than will be required. The soul does not perceive the external or internal physical construction of herbs and roots, but it intuitively perceives their powers and virtues, and recognises at once their signatum.

"This signatum (or signature) is a certain organic vital activity, giving to each natural object (in contradistinction to artificially made objects) a certain similarity with a certain condition produced by disease, and through which health may be restored in specific diseases in the diseased part. This signatum is often expressed even in the exterior form of things, and by observing that form we may learn something in regard to their interior qualities, even without using our interior sight."

"We see that the internal character of a man is often expressed in his exterior appearance, even in the manner of his walking and in the sound of his voice. Likewise the hidden character of things is to a certain extent expressed in their outward forms. As long as man remained in a natural state, he recognised the signatures of things and knew their true character; but the more he diverged from the path of Nature, and the more his mind became captivated by illusive external appearances, the more this power became lost."

"A man who wholly belongs to himself cannot belong to anything else. Man has the power of self-control, and no external influences can control him if he exercises this power. The influences of the Macrocosm cannot so easily impress their action upon a rational, wise, and passionless man as they do upon animals, vegetables, and minerals, which they impregnate to such an extent that their characters may be seen in the forms, colours, and shapes, and be perceived by the odour and taste of such objects. Some of these external signs are universally known; for instance, the age of an elk is indicated by the number of the ends and the shape of its horns; other symbols may require a special study for their true interpretation." [24] (De Natura Rerum)

[24. In Babbitt's "Principles of Light and Colour," [Scribd] it is demonstrated that each ray of colour has a certain therapeutic influence on the human system; Blue acting soothingly on the circulation of the blood; Red stimulating; Yellow acting as a purgative, &c. He gives some interesting examples of correspondences between the colours and medicinal qualities of certain flowers, plants, drugs, &c., with the action of the above-named colour-rays.]

This science, resulting from a comparison of the external appearance of a thing and its true character, is called by Paracelsus their Anatomy. There are even to this day a great many vegetable medicines used in the prevailing system of Medicine whose mode of action is not known, and for whose employment no other reason has been given but that the exterior shapes of such plants correspond to a certain extent to the form of the organs upon which they are supposed to be acting beneficially, and because experience has supported such a belief.

"Each plant is in a sympathetic relation with the Macrocosm, and consequently also with the Microcosm, or, in other words, with Constellation and Organism (for the activity of the organism of man is the result of the actions of the interior constellation of stars existing in his interior world), and each plant may be considered to be a terrestrial star. Each star in the great firmament, and in the firmament of man, has its specific influence, and each plant likewise, and the two correspond together. If we knew exactly the relations between plants and stars, we might say: This star is 'Stella Rorismarini,' that plant is 'Stella Absynthii,' and so forth. In this way a herbarium spirituale sidereum might be collected, such as every intelligent physician, who understands the relationship existing between matter and mind, should possess,[25] because no man can rationally employ remedies without knowing their qualities, and he cannot know the qualities of plants without being able to read their signatures."

[25. Eckartshausen has made such a herbarium: he gives the names of medical plants and the names of the planets with which they are sympathetically connected.]

"It is useless for a physician to read the books of Dioscorides and Macar, and to learn from hearsay the opinion of others who may be his inferiors in wisdom. He ought to look with his own eyes into the book of Nature and become able to understand it; but to do this requires more than mere speculation and to ransack one's brain; and yet without that art nothing useful can be accomplished."

Perhaps this might be made clearer by expressing the same idea in modern language, and saying: Each thing is a state of mind, because the whole world is mind. Each thing is a materialised thought (a "star"), and represents the character of the thought expressed in it; and as one thought acts upon another, so the mental state represented by a certain plant may act favourably upon a certain state of the patient's mind, and thus react upon the body. The peculiar qualities of a plant are those which are symbolised by its form; all that is required to know it, is the faculty of recognising its character. As there is a state and influence which is called "love," "hate," &c., so there are states of mind represented in outward forms of plants, such as Hypericon perforatum, Sambucus, Juniperus, &c. &c.

Each form is only the materialised part and external expression of the character of the "spirit" or the "aura" which it represents, in the same way as each star in the sky is only the visible part or the materialised kernel of the "spirit" which it represents, and whose sphere extends as far as its influence, just as the sphere of a rose extends as far as its odour. The character builds the form, and the form expresses the character.

But this harmony existing between the form and the character is furthermore remarkable in certain other conditions and qualities, which are often of more importance to a physician than the external shapes:

"If the physician understands the anatomy of medicines and the anatomy of diseases, he will find that a concordance exists between the two. There is not only a general relationship existing between the Macrocosm and the Microcosm, but a separate and intimate interrelation and interaction exist between their separate parts, each part of the great organism acting upon the corresponding part of the small organism in the same sense as the various organs of the human body are intimately connected and influencing each other, and manifesting a sympathy with each other that may continue to exist even after such organs have been separated from the trunk."

There is a great sympathy existing between the stomach and the brain, between the mammae and the uterus, between the lungs and the heart.[26] There is, furthermore, a great sympathy existing between the mind and the thoughts and the organs of the human body. Such a sympathy exists between the thoughts and the plants, between stars and stars, between plants and plants, and between the plants and the organs of the human body, in consequence of which relationship each body can produce certain changes in the activity of life in another body that is in sympathy with the former. Thus may the action of certain specific medicines in certain diseases be explained.

[26. Dr. J. R. Buchanan, in his "Therapeutic Sarcognomy," [Archive.Org] makes practical use of this sympathetic relationship existing between the various parts of the human body.]

As a bar of magnetised iron induces magnetism in another bar of iron, but leaves copper and brass unaffected, likewise a certain plant, possessing certain powers, will induce certain similar vital ethers to become active in certain organs if the plant and the organ are related to the same "star". Certain plants, therefore, act as antidotes in certain diseases, in the same manner as fire will destroy all things that have not the power to resist it.

The neutralisation, destruction, or removal of any specific elements producing disease, the change of an unhealthy and abnormal action of the vital currents into a normal and healthy state, constitutes the basis of the therapeutic system of Paracelsus. His object was to re-establish in the diseased organism the necessary equilibrium, and to restore the lost vitality, by attracting the vital principles from living objects and powers. Remedies containing the required quality of that principle in the greatest quantity were most apt to replace such lost powers and to restore health.[27]

[27. Thus Paracelsus employed not only the vital magnetism (mesmerism) of human beings, but also that of animals and plants, for the cure of disease.]

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The organisms -- that is to say, the material forms of invisible principles -- take their origin from the soul of the world, symbolised as "water".[28] This doctrine of Paracelsus is therefore the same as the ancient doctrine of Thales, and as the old Brahminical doctrine according to which the world came into existence from an egg (allegorically speaking) laid in water (the soul) by Brahm (Wisdom). He says that by the decomposition of that essence a "mucilage" is formed, containing the germs of life, out of which, by generatio aequivoca, first the lower and afterwards the higher organisms are formed.

[28. "The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
(Gen. i. 2) ]

We see, therefore, that the doctrine of Paracelsus bears a great resemblance to the one advocated by the greatest modern philosophers, such as Haeckel and Darwin; with this difference, however, that Paracelsus looks upon the continually evoluting forms as necessary vehicles of a continually progressing living spiritual principle, seeking higher modes for its manifestation, while many of our modern speculative philosophers look upon the intelligent principle of life as non-existing, and upon life as being merely a manifestation of chemical and physical activity of dead matter in an incomprehensible and causeless state of development.[29] They see only one half of the truth.

[29. The true doctrine has also been taught by Jacob Boehme, [Wikipedia] an uneducated shoemaker but illuminated seer, from whom all of our great philosophers have borrowed ideas. He says: "The constellation is the outspoken Word. It is the instrument through which the holy, eternally speaking Word speaks and produces objective forms. It is like a great harmony of many voices and musical instruments. They are interacting powers, wherein the essence of sound (Akasha) is the substance, and this is taken up by the Fiat and causes corporeity. This substance is the astral spirit. In it the elements become coagulated (corporified), and thus forms are born, comparable to the hatching of an egg brooded over by a hen." (Myster. Magn., xi. 26) ]

No animal ever grew to be a man, but the divine man, becoming incarnated in human-like animal forms, caused these forms to become the human beings, such as we know them at present upon our earth.

"According to the biblical account, God created the animals before He created man. The animal elements, instincts, and desires existed before the Divine Spirit illuminated them and made them into man. The animal soul of man is derived from the cosmic animal elements, and the animal kingdom is therefore the father of the animal man."

"If man is like his animal father, he resembles an animal; if he is like the Divine Spirit that lives within his animal elements, he is like a god. If his reason is absorbed by his animal instincts, it becomes animal reason; if it rises above his animal desires, it becomes angelic. If a man eats the flesh of an animal, the animal flesh becomes human flesh; if an animal eats human flesh, the latter becomes animal flesh. A man whose human reason is absorbed by his animal desires is an animal, and if his animal reason becomes enlightened by wisdom he becomes an angel."

"Animal man is the son of the animal elements out of which his soul was born, and animals are the mirrors of man. Whatever animal elements exist in the world exist in the soul of man, and therefore the character of one man may resemble that of a fox, a dog, a snake, a parrot, &c. Man need not, therefore, be surprised that animals have animal instincts that are so much like his own; it might rather be surprising for the animals to see that their son (animal man) resembles them so closely."

"Animals follow their animal instincts, and in doing so they act as nobly and stand as high in Nature as their position in it permits them, and they do not sink thereby below that position; it is only animal man who sinks below the brute. Animals love and hate each other according to the attraction or repulsion of their animal elements: the dog loves the dog and hates the cat, and men and women are attracted to each other by their animal instincts, and love their young ones for the same reason as the animals love theirs; but such a love is animal love -- it has its purposes and its rewards, but it dies when the animal elements die."

"Man is derived from the dog, and not the dog from the man. Therefore a man may act like a dog, but a dog cannot act like a man. Man may learn from the animals, for they are his parents; but the animals can learn nothing useful to them from man. The spider makes a better web than man, and the bee builds a more artistic house. He may learn how to run, from the horse; to swim, from the fish; and to fly, from the eagle."

"The animal world is taught by Nature, and it is divided into many classes and species, so that it may learn all the natural arts. Each species has forms that differ from those of another species, so that it may learn that art for which it is adapted by Nature; but man, as a whole, has only one kind of form, and is not divided, and therefore the animal soul of man is not divided, but all the animal elements are combined in it, the reason of man selecting what it likes."

"A man who loves to lead an animal life is an animal ruled by his interior animal heaven.[30] The same stars (qualities) that cause a wolf to murder, a dog to steal, a cat to kill, a bird to sing, &c., make a man a singer, an eater, a talker, a lover, a murderer, a robber, or a thief. These are animal attributes, and they die with the animal elements to which they belong; but the divine principle in man, which constitutes him a human being, and by which he is eminently distinguished from the animals, is not a product of the earth, nor is it generated by the animal kingdom, but it comes from God, it is God, and is immortal, because, coming from a divine source, it cannot be otherwise than divine."

[30. "Heaven " -- the interior kingdom, the mind.]

"Man should therefore live in harmony with his divine parent, and not in the animal elements of his soul. Man has an Eternal Father who sent him to reside and gain experience within the animal elements, but not for the purpose of being absorbed by them, because in the latter case man would become an animal, while the animal principle would have nothing to gain," and would thus be led individually to speedy annihilation. (De Fundamento Sapientiae)

What, then, can be the true object of human life, except to attain the consciousness of one's own true and divine state, and to realise that one is not an animal, but a godlike being inhabiting a human animal form. All the divine powers are latent in man's divine nature. If he once realises what he actually is, he will be able to use them and be himself a creator of forms.

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