Among such patients were not less than eighteen princes, on whom the best physicians had tried their arts and failed. In his thirty-third year he was already an object of admiration for the laity, and an object of professional jealousy for the physicians. He also incurred the wrath of the latter by treating many of the poorer classes without pay, while the other physicians unrelentingly claimed their fees.
The Life and the Doctrines of Paracelsus
The most common reward for his labour was ingratitude, and this he earned everywhere, not only in the houses of the moderately wealthy, but also among the rich; for instance, in the house of the Count Philippus of Baden, whose case had been given up as hopeless by his physicians. Paracelsus cured the count in a short time, who in return showed great penuriousness towards him.
Moreover, the ingratitude of that prince caused great joy to the enemies of Paracelsus, and gave them a welcome opportunity to ridicule and slander him more than ever. Accusations of a different order are brought against him, referring to the bluntness of his style of writing, which was not always refined or polite.
It should, however, be remembered that such a style of speaking and writing was universally used in those times, and objectionable expressions were adopted by all, not excluding Luther, the great Reformer, who, in spite of his genius, was a mortal man. Paracelsus was a great admirer of Luther, and even surpassed him in enthusiasm for religious and intellectual freedom.
Luther seemed to him to be still too conservative.
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He believed that such a gigantic revolution in the world of mind could not be accomplished with meekness and condescension, but that it required firmness, tenacity, and an unbending will. I know my ways, and I do not wish to change them; neither could I change my nature. I am a rough man, born in a rough country; I have been brought up in pine woods and I may have inherited some knots. That which seems to me polite and amiable may appear unpolished to another, and what seems silk in my eyes may be but homespun to you.
Great abuse has been heaped upon Paracelsus by his enemies on account of his restless and roaming way of living. He acquired his knowledge, not in the comfortable manner in which the great majority of scientists acquire theirs, but he travelled all over the country on foot, and went wherever he expected to find something that might be useful to know. I have not been ashamed to learn that which seemed useful to me even from vagabonds, executioners, and barbers. We know that a lover will go a long way to meet the woman he adores: how much more will the lover of wisdom be tempted to go in search of his divine mistress!
No one becomes a master of practical experience in his own house, neither will he find a teacher of the secrets of Nature in the corners of his room. We must seek for knowledge where we may expect to find it, and why should the man be despised who goes in search of it? Those who remain at home may live more comfortably, and grow richer than those who wander about; but I neither desire to live comfortably, nor do I wish to become rich.
Happiness is better than riches, and happy is he who wanders about, possessing nothing that requires his care. He who wants to study the book of Nature must wander with his feet over its leaves. Books are studied by looking at the letters which they contain; Nature is studied by examining the contents of her treasure-vaults in every country. Every part of the world represents a page in the book of Nature, and all the pages together form the book that contains her great revelations.
So little has Paracelsus been understood by the profane, that even to this day he is supposed to have advocated the very superstitions which he tried to destroy. If there had never been any moon on the sky, there would be nevertheless people inclined to lunacy. The stars force us to nothing, they incline us to nothing; they are free for themselves, and we are free for ourselves. It is said that a wise man rules over the stars; but this does not mean that he rules over the stars in the sky, but over the powers that are active in his own mental constitution, and which are symbolised by the visible stars in the sky.
Paracelsus did not read or write much. He says that for ten years he never read a book, and his disciples testify that he dictated his works to them without using any memoranda or manuscripts. On taking an inventory of his goods after his death, a Bible, a Biblical Concordance, a Commentary to the Bible, and a written book on Medicine were all the books that could be found in his possession.
Even earlier than Luther, he had publicly burned a Papal bull, and with it the writings of Galen and Avicenna. Medicine is an art, and requires practice. If it were sufficient to learn to talk Latin, Greek, and Hebrew to become a good physician, it would also be sufficient for one to read Livius to become a great commander-in-chief.
I began to study my art by imagining that there was not a single teacher in the world capable to teach it to me, but that I had to acquire it myself. It was the book of Nature, written by the finger of God, which I studied—not those of the scribblers, for each scribbler writes down the rubbish that may be found in his head; and who can sift the true from the false? But which one is the truly legitimate door? Galenus and Avicenna or Nature?
Great stress was laid by his accusers upon the fact that he wrote the greater part of his books and taught his doctrines in the German language, and not, as was then customary, in Latin. But this was one of his most important acts; because in so doing he produced a reformation in science similar to the one that Luther produced in the Church. He rejected the time-honoured use of the Latin language, because he believed that the truth could as well be expressed in the language of the country in which he lived.
This daring act was the beginning of free thought in science, and the old belief in authorities began to weaken.
It is probable that Paracelsus would never have attained his knowledge if he had permitted his mind to be fettered and imprisoned by the idle formalities that were connected with a scientific education at that time. Here it may not be improper to add a few opinions concerning Theophrastus Paracelsus from persons of repute:. He was sent by God, and endowed with divine knowledge. He was an ornament for his country, and all that has been said against him is not worthy to be listened to.
Very recently one medical authority, while acknowledging publicly the high merits of Paracelsus, said that the consequence of the promulgation of his doctrines was the growth of a sickly mysticism. This may be true, but Paracelsus cannot be blamed for the inability of those who do not understand him; we may just as well make Jesus Christ responsible for the introduction of the Inquisition and other follies that arose from a misinterpretation of what He taught.
It is true that it is very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to understand the writings of Paracelsus without possessing a certain amount of spiritual insight and intuition. The writings of Paracelsus deal especially with metaphysical and not with corporeal things. To the sulphur belongs a good worker and artist, well experienced and capable to think profoundly; not a mere talker and theorist, who is only great in preaching but does not act. He who knows how to use the sulphur his own power will be able to produce more miracles than I can describe. He who does not know the sulphur knows nothing, and can accomplish nothing, neither of medicine nor of philosophy, nor about any of the secrets of Nature.
This is merely to show that the language of Paracelsus has to be taken in an allegorical and mystical sense, which was well understood by the Alchemists of his time, but for which modern erudition has no comprehension; because with the knowledge of spiritual mysteries and secret powers of Nature, the meaning of the symbols representing those things has also been lost.
It is therefore not surprising to see that Paracelsus is very little understood even by his admirers, and that the majority of his researchers seem to be far more concerned about his person than about his philosophy. Moreover, Paracelsus uses a terminology of his own.
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He deals in his writings with many subjects, for which his language had no appropriate terms. To facilitate the study of the works of Paracelsus, his disciples, Gerhard Dorn, Bernhard Thurneyssen, and Martin Ruland, composed dictionaries to explain the meaning of such curious terms. Mangets Geneva, But as all these books have become very rare, and can only be obtained with difficulty and at a great expense, we therefore add below a complete list of his favourite terms, for the benefit of those who may wish to read his complete works.
Paracelsus wrote personally not a great deal. He usually dictated that which he desired to be put into writing to his disciples. The greatest part of his works is therefore in the handwriting of his disciples.
Few of the works of Paracelsus were printed during his lifetime. The rest of his writings did not become known publicly until after his death, and it is to be regretted that his disciples and followers—such as Adam von Bodenstein, Alexander von Suchten, Gerhard Dorn, Leonhard Thurneyssen, Peter Severinus, Oswald Crall, Melchior Schennemann, and others—delivered them in such a state of confusion to the printer, that frequently entire pages were missing, and it was very difficult to put those that were to be had into some order.
Simultaneously a great many spurious prints and writings, falsely attributed to Paracelsus, were put into circulation, as appears from a note by Antiprassus Siloranus, who says that Paracelsus wrote 35 books on Medicine, on Philosophy, 12 on Politics, 7 on Mathematics, and 66 on Necromancy. If we remember that Paracelsus was engaged in literary labours for only fifteen years, it appears self-evident that Siloranus referred in his note to all the books and papers that were put into circulation, and attributed to Paracelsus by the public.
John Huser, doctor of medicine at Grossglogau, undertook a critical examination of such works, on the request of the Archbishop Prince Ernst of Cologne. He collected with great labour all the autographs of Paracelsus and the original manuscripts of his disciples, such as could be found; he put them into order, and revised and published them at Cologne in a general edition during the years and That collection contains the following works:.
Including some other Terms frequently used by Writers on Occultism. And these few have never as a rule written for the public, but only for those of their own and succeeding times who possessed the key to their jargon. The multitude, not understanding them or their doctrines, have been accustomed to look upon them as either charlatans or dreamers.
Blavatsky: Isis Unveiled , vol.
Either of the two acts according to his nature, the invisible in an invisible, and the visible one in a visible manner, but both act correspondingly. The outer man may act what the inner man thinks, but thinking is acting in the sphere of thought, and the products of thought are transcendentally substantial, even if they are not thrown into objectivity on the material plane.
The inner man is and does what he desires and thinks. Whether or not his good or evil thoughts and intentions find expression on the material plane is of less importance to his own spiritual development than to others who may be affected by his acts, but less by his thoughts. They may appear in various shapes, as fiery tongues, balls of fire, etc. Living primordial substance, corresponding to the conception of some form of cosmic ether pervading the solar system. This tendency rests in the character of the form preserved in the Astral Light.
It is a power which acts upon the Astral forms or souls of all things, capable of changing the polarity of their molecules, and thereby to dissolve them. The power of Will is the highest aspect of the true Alcahest.
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In its lowest aspect it is a visible fluid able to dissolve all things, not yet known to modern chemistry. Chemistry deals with dead matter alone, but Alchemy uses life as a factor. Everything is of a threefold nature, of which its material and objective form is its lowest manifestation. There is, for instance, immaterial spiritual gold, ethereal fluid and invisible astral gold, and the solid visible, material and earthly gold.
The two former are, so to say, the spirit and soul of the latter, and by employing the spiritual powers of the soul we may induce changes in them that may become visible in the objective state.
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