De Medicina Magnetica

The Sympathetic Medicine of Wm. Maxwell

De Medicina Magnetica

Maxwell compiled here three small libri [books] on sympathetic or energetic medicine which draws on the vital spirit in individuals and the universe. He wrote in Latin, as was standard in his day. Irvine apparently translated his work. The present offering synopsizes the matter while endeavoring to make 17th-century English both more readable and more understandable. If the reader can gather the essence of the teachings presented here, s/he will have much fruit to chew on for long times.

by William Maxwell, Edinburgh, 1656.

Medicina magnetica: or, The rare and wonderful art of curing by sympathy: laid open in aphorisms; proved in conclusions; and digested into an easy method drawn from both: wherein the connection of the causes and effects of these strange operations, are more fully discovered than heretofore. All cleared and confirmed, by pithy reasons, true experiments, and pleasant relations. 

Preserved and published, as a master-piece in this skill. By Christopher de Irvine, surgeon-physician in the Army.




1. The whole World is animated by the supreme, knowing Soul, which possesses the reason and meaning behind all things. These proceed into form as the Ideas (or Thoughts) of the first Intellect, which governs this great manifesting Body. The Soul is thus the mediating link within the Golden Chain of Providence.
2. The operations of the Soul are created and bounded in the Body. Diversity of forms results from the wonder of the Imagination of the Soul. Bodies are wholly dependent upon the Soul.
3. The production of the Body by the Soul requires a third thing. The Vital spirit joins the two and provides for the natural operation of the Body.
4. This operation occurs through Organs, properly disposed.
5. The disposition of the Organ depends, first upon distinctive Mind; Secondly, upon the soul of the World; Thirdly upon the spirit of the Universe.

6. No bodily thing has energy or action of itself: it is ever passive and dependent.
7. To accomplish great works of magic and medicine, one must diminish the material aspect of things; or add spirit to the body – awaken the sleeping spirit. He can also join his own imagination to the imagination of the World Soul.
8. It is impossible to take away all spirit from any thing: for the spirit substands all matter and keeps it from returning to original, dispersed matter.
9. This spirit is found everywhere – embodied as well as free from the bodies. He who knows to conduct it into a body agreeably, possesses an inestimable treasure.
10. This spirit is restored as far as possible, by means of inspiration from above, or from a brother who has an abundance.

11. The Organs, by which the spirit works, signify the very qualities of things; which act to modify matter or body.
12. All things operate to make things upon which they work, like themselves.
13. The subject of the vital spirit is the body; its works are never pure, because it collaborates with the humor of Mercury (Mind).
14. Humors do not indicate the spirit specifically because they are the common substance of  things, which may be generated by any thing: they are pure and unseen until manifested in material bodies.
15. Neither souls, nor pure spirits, nor intelligences can work upon bodies, except by means of the vital spirit: extremes cannot be joined together, without an intermediary.

16. When Spirits or Intelligences work with vital spirits which are either dissipated or changed into another thing, they cease to have effect. 
17. The Stars are linked so as to be infused into specific bodies by the vital spirits.
18. During generation the spirit is joined with the body, and directs the intention of nature.
19. The seeds of things contain a greater abundance of these spirits, than any thing else.
20. The seeds do not contain such plenty, as is required for the perfect production of a thing. But the internal spirit draws the external down from Heaven and unites it to itself. Thus fortified, it begets its like.

21. Before the seed germinates, it is fermented (etherealized), and by fermentation disposed to manifestation.
22. Under certain conditions, seeds can be so inspired to be brought to full flower in a moment.
23. The more universal the greater the attraction, and more the seed is drawn to manifest.
24. Every family of things has some thing universal associated to it, by which the seed can be attracted and made fruitful.
25. He who knows how to join the universal artificially to the seed of the animal family, may produce, even living wights [spirits].

26. He who can join light with darkness, may multiply things in their own kind, and change the nature of them.
27. The universal vital spirit coming down from Heaven, pure, clear, and uncontaminated, is the father of the particular vital spirit, which is in every thing. It procreates and multiplies in it the body from which bodies borrow the power of multiplying themselves.
28. As the first vital spirit is hid in the mercurial [mental] humor, so also the vital spirit of  particular things lies in that mercurial humor, imbued with the virtue or astral moisture of that body.
29. He who can join a spirit impregnated with the virtue of one body with another may produce miracles or monsters.
30. The first kind of bodily dispositions proceeds from the various concoction of astral waters.

31. The second kind proceeds from the various mixtures of the three principles of Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury [Substance, Fire and Mind].
32. These dispositions flow from the Stars, but especially from the Sun.
33. Every thing has as much vitality as is required to produce the natural Actions of that species.
34. Every thing that is made must receive some vitality from Heaven, by which it can work.
35. He who knows how to infuse the powers of the Heavens and the Sun into things may perform magical operations and other wonders.

36. The disposition determines the purity and force of this life they receive. The more life accepted, the more powerfully they do work.
37. The operations of the eyes are more noble than in the foot, although proceeding from the same soul. Through the purity of this Organ, it receives a greater proportion of life and produces nobler actions.
38. The spirit flows continually from Heaven, and back again to Heaven, and in the flowing is found pure and unmixed. Thus the skillful workman, by wonderful means may be joined to any thing, and increase the virtues of it according to the disposition of the subject.
39. The heart of Heaven is the Sun, and by light it distributes all things, as well to the Stars [Planets], as to the Earth.
40. The opacity of matter is only a Body either wanting light, or having the light asleep in it.

41. He who can by light attract light out of things, or multiply light with light, knows how to add the universal spirit of life to the individual spirit of life. By this addition he can do wonders or magic.
42. The more light that is added, the more life; and the more that is lost of one, the more is lost of the other.
43. This spirit, after the first period of human growth, begins little by little to vanish.
44. Growth is nothing else but, the operation of the attractive moisture (energy) to the perfection of the Individual in accord with the reasons purposed by Nature or the Soul. Said differently, it is the manifestation of the internal spirit as far as it may be materialized. All told, it has the potential of the greatest Illumination of matter.
45. The spirit is dissipated in Crisis when it acts upon rebellious matter. Or when the natural mixture of a thing is altered by the Stars. Sometimes too much excited, it breaks forth. Or it may be drawn away by its brother spirit.

46. Matter is rebellious, when by reason of a Crisis, it cannot be overcome and altered by the spirit. Or when in its latter days, matter can continue no further. For only so much spirit is given to serve every thing according to its perfection.
47. The temperature of a thing is altered by the Stars, when the Horoscope comes to the degree of conjunction of the Planets contrary to the beginning of the life.
48. The spirit is too much excited by fermentation, or immoderate agitation. While moderate agitation is necessary for vital operation.
49. The spirit is called out by its brother spirit, when it is strongly exposed to it.
50. In certain things it cannot be called out by its brother spirit, because of undue cohesion with the body. Otherwise, it draws his brother to him, and is then strongly fortified.

51. Fermentation is the action of heat upon moisture, by which the astral waters are heated [by mind] and made subject to the spirit, which must be circulated in the body.
52. He who by means of the universal spirit, can excite the particular spirit of any being to its own natural fermentation and quell Nature’s tumults by repeating the operation. Such may miraculously increase things in power, the highest secrets of Philosophy [Magic].
53. Every man knows that by means of fermentation the spirit is as pure as it possibly may be drawn. Joining one brother to another can lead to the multiplication of its fruits as desired.
54. Every thing fermented works more strongly; because in things fermented the spirits are more free.
55. Things may abide in the same state of nature, as long as they possess as much spirit as is sufficient to act.

56. Thus is manifest the cause of natural death and destruction of things. Every thing tends to maturation, toward its perfection. When it is ripe, the spirit begins to show its forces more, and so by acting it is dissipated and the body is destroyed and vanishes.
57. But, he who can lay hold on the vanishing spirit, and apply it to the body from whence it has parted, or to another of the same species, may do wonders.
58. From this fountain all natural Philosophy [Magic] does flow. The spirit imbued with the qualities of another body, may procreate a likeness in bodies of the same species, which is the violent cause of love.
59. Those things are most apt to intercept this particular spirit, which have natural similarity with the parts. Being applied to a living body, they are likely to cause it to flourish. This may be understood of the bodies of wights [spirits], especially of man, where Philosophers [Magicians] have more power.
60. This spirit, where it finds like matter, produces and seats the compound.

61. Where the spirit of one body, being married to the qualities of that body, is communicated to another body, there is generated a certain compassion; because of the natural ebb and flow of the spirits to their proper bodies. This sympathy can be very potent like that produced by imagination.
62. Neither love nor compassion can be generated without the commixture of spirits.
63. This commixture is sometimes done by natural or material application. Sometimes by imagination. And sometimes by the disposition of the stars.
64. Natural application is done when the spirit of one body is implanted or grafted in another. They are known by their signature and by the Ancients being called Amatoria.
65. By imagination love is produced; when the exalted imagination of one predominates over the imagination of another, it is fashioned and sealed. In a similar manner, Incantations get their efficacy. 

66. From the stars, love takes its beginning, either when the disposition of the heavens is compatible with the time of nativity. Or when the beneficial beams of the stars are at a fit time to act upon ccas Natural Magick teaches.
67. He who can coordinate these methods with the universal spirit, may do wonders.
68. One may call the universal spirit to his help, if he uses instruments impregnated with this spirit. This is the great secret of Magicians.
69. He who knows how to attract a particular vital spirit, may cure the particular body whose  spirit is at any distance, while always imploring the help of the universal spirit.
70. He who can fortify the particular spirit with the universal, may prolong his life very long, unless the stars are against it. Still, he may by these means lengthen his life and enhance his health, and even abate the malice of the stars.

71. Nothing decomposes unless it is first fermented. It also must have come naturally to a state of declination.
72. Decay is the symptom of a declining nature – or of the spirits flying away.
73. Decay itself is evidence of the presence of the lively spirit.
74. All heat proceeds from the vital spirit, and is a product of motion. The spirit cannot exist in bodies without heat.
75. Every thing that is in decay loses heat in it and is dissipated.
76. The more spirit, the greater the heat; and the more the spirit departs, the greater the heat loss.
77. Heat can neither be stirred up by nature, nor the medical art, but only by the means of light,  either external or internal.
78. He who can call in light, the spirit of the universe, shall attract truth. For truth has its habitation in the light.
79. He who can destroy bodies without the process of decay, and in that process join spirit to spirit by the means of heat, possesses the principal secret in natural Magick.
80. Heat can be increased by attracting external heat or by stimulating internal heat, either by individual or universal light.

81. Terminating light produces a destroying heat which may burn all things. Thus light passes into heat and then fire.
82. Universal light produces no harm of itself.
83. He who knows how to terminate light in a common medium, is able to purge minerals, and hard bodies, without the loss of a radical moisture.
84. Non-terminating light has the life of things in it, as it is the carrier of the universal soul. Such is hidden in the darkness; it is only seen by Philosophy [Magic],  by which the center of things is discerned.
85. The internal heat is raised by reason of the agitation of the internal spirit.

86. The spirit is agitated by fermentation, or motion: sometimes they join together in agitation.
87. There is a secret means of agitation, known to Philosophers in regeneration and generation.
88. When fermentation is distinguished from motion, we understand local progressive motion, which comes from imagination directing the vital spirit.
89. Fermentation finished before due time is a sign of impending decomposition.
90. He who knows how to hasten fermentation and hinder decay by attracting the spirit of the universe, understand the contrition of Philosophers and can do wonders.

91. Decay does not originate from the body, but from the spirit. Thus the two may act then at odds.
92. He who knows the spirit of the universe, and its use thereof, may hinder all corruption. He then can give the particular spirit dominion over the body. Let Physicians consider how much this would assist the cure of diseases.
93. It is now agreed that a universal medicine may be given. If the particular spirit gathers strength, it can of itself cure all diseases. This is known by common experience. There is no disease that has not at some time been cured by the vital spirit and without the the help of Physicians.
94. The universal Medicine is nothing but the spirit magnified and focused upon the needy subject.
95. He who seeks this Medicine elsewhere, than in the highest place, shall only have sorrow and loss as reward of his pains.

96. Philosophers who say it is to be sought in the corners of the earth, mean the earth of the living spirit.
97. They who hope to find it in the furnaces of the Chemists deceive themselves, for they know not the true fire.
98. Nothing has from the first intention of nature more spirit than is sufficient for the conservation of its proper species. Yet out of every thing, with Nature as midwife, can the Philosopher produce a son nobler than the father.
99. The first and the last color of things are yellow because the Sun and the Stars are yellow.  Those things that are of a looser temperament, as Plants appear green after they have touched the air. The air being by nature and especially blue, working upon them, makes yellow things green. Being made harder in resisting the impression of the air, they put on again their first and native color. Great mysteries may be gathered from study of these things.
100. The air is blue, and the horizon appears blue to us in a clear day. The air, because of its thinness, is not apt to terminate strong, vital beams of plants, until they grow weak by distance. Then the terminated beams show the native color of the air.

Much is said by way of Aphorism, let it be enough.

The Second Book.

CONCLUSIONS proved and explained to support the Noble frame of Magical-Medicine.

I. The soul is not only in its proper visible body, but also beyond it and not circumscribed in an Organic body.

II. The Soul works beyond its proper body, as commonly understood.

III. From every body flow Corporal beams, by which the soul gives off energy and power. These beams explain the foundation of sympathy between humans as well as the transmission of infectious disease among them.

IV. The beams sent out of the bodies of living beings have a vital spirit by which the operations of the soul are dispensed.

V. Even the Excrements of the bodies of living Creatures retain a portion of vital spirits. 

VI. Between the Body and the Excrements proceeding from it, there is a certain Connection of spirits or beams. There is a similar rapport between the blood or any other part of the body when separated from the Body to any distance.

VII. The vitality between the body and the excrements, blood, or separated parts lasts until the latter be transformed into another thing.

VIII. If one part of the body is affected or injured by hurting the spirits, all the other parts suffer with it. There no disease of body, since the spirit is resident in every part of the body, which occurs without experiencing ill spirit.

IX. If the vital spirit is fortified in any one part, it is also fortified in the whole body. Thus it matters not what part of the body is attended. Real Medicine will aid the whole.

X. The spirit is most quickly affected when entirely naked.

XI. In Excrements, Blood, and separated parts, the Spirit is not so deeply immersed as in the Body. Thus they are sooner infected and may draw ills away from the Body.

XII. Mixture of Spirits makes for Compassion and Love takes its Original. One may find Magnets for every particular operation by means of this general rule.

The Third BOOK.

CONTAINING The Method of Curing by SYMPATHY.

[We make no synopsis of this book.]


Suum cuique ordini vulgus est, & semper optima paucissimis placuerunt.

To each his own people, but alway the best pleases the fewest.


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