H. C. Agrippa von Nettesheim – Divination


Agrippa v.Nettesheim





Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim

There are some other kinds of divinations, depending upon naturall causes, which are known to every one in his art, and experience, to be in divers things; by which Physitians, husbandmen, shepheard, Mariners, and every one of these out of probable signes do Prognosticate. Many of these kinds Aristotle made mention of in his Book of Times. Amongst which Auguria, and Auspicia are the chiefest, which were in former time in such esteem amongst the Romanes, that they would do nothing that did belong to private or publique business without the counsell of the Augures: Cicero also in his Book of Divinations largely declares, that the people of Tuscia would do nothing without this art.

Now there are divers kinds of Auspicia’s: for some are called Pedestria (i.e.) which are taken from four-footed beasts: Some are called Auguria, which are taken from birds: Some are Celestiall, which are taken from thundrings, and lightnings; some are called Caduca (i.e.) when any fell in the temple, or elsewhere; Some were sacred, which were taken from sacrifices. Some of these were called Piacula, and sad Auspicia, as when a sacrifice escaped from the Altar, or being smitten made a bellowing, or fell upon another part of his body then he should. To these is added Exauguration, viz., when the rod fell out of the hand of the Augure, with which it was the custome to view, and take notice of the Aupicium. Michael Scotus makes mention of twelve kinds of Auguria’s, viz. Six on the right hand, the names of which he saith are Fernova, Fervetus, Confert, Emponenthem, Sonnasarnova, Sonnasarvetus: and the other six on the left hand, the names of which are, Confernova, Confervetus, Viaram, Herrenam, Scassarnova, and Scassarvetus.

Then expounding their names, he saith, Fernova is an Augurium; when thou goest out of thy house to do any business, and in going thou seest a man, or a bird going, or flying, so that either of them set himself before thee upon thy left hand, that is a good signification, in reference to thy business. Fervetus is an Augurium; when thou shalt go out of thy house for to do any business, and in going thou findest or seest a bird, or a man resting himself before thee on the left side of thee, that is an ill sign in reference to thy business:

Viaram is an Augurium; when a man or a bird in his journey, or flying passeth before thee, coming from the right side of thee, and bending toward the left, goeth out of thy sight, that is a good sign concerning thy business. Confernova is an Augurium; when thou dost first find a man, or a bird going, or flying, and then he rest himself before thee on thy right side, thou seeing of it, that is a good sign concerning thy business; Confervetus is an Augurium; when first thou findest, or seest a man, or a bird bending from thy right side, it is an ill sign concerning thy business.
Scimasarnova is an Augurium; when a man, or a bird comes behind thee, and outgoeth thee, but before he comes at thee, he rests, thou seeing of him on thy right side, it is to thee a good sign.

Scimasarvetus is an Augurium; when thou seest a man, or bird behind thee, but before he comes to thee he rests in that place, thou seeing of it, is a good sign. Scassarvetus is when thou seest a man, or a bird passing by thee, and resting in a place on thy left side, it is an evill sign to thee. Emponenthem is when a man, or a bird, coming from thy left side, and passing to thy right, goeth out of thy sight without resting, it is a good sign. Hartena is an Augurium; if a man or a bird coming from thy right hand, passing behind thy back to thy left, and thou shall see him resting any where, this is an evill sign.

Thus much Scotus. The Ancients did also prognosticate from sneesings, of which Homer in the seventeenth book of his Odyssey makes mention, because they thought they proceeded from a sacred place, viz. the head, in which the intellect is vigourous, and operative. Whence also whatsoever speech came into the breast, or mind of a man rising in the morning unawares, is said to be some presage, and an Augurium.