The “Natural Magic” of Giambattista della Porta

Anyone heard of Giambattista della Porta? He was an alchemist! Read below for more information 🙂

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This is a famous book, but an odd one to modern eyes. Wikipedia calls it “… a fine example of pre-Baconian science.”, which might be correct but doesn’t mean much to most people. What it most obviously is is a recipes book, like the then popular books of secrets, on topics such as poisons, magnetism, metallurgy etc. But what it seems to do is align ‘natural magic’ with simply how the world works in and of itself, i.e. it isn’t occult i.e. hidden, in the old sense of the word. How important this was at the time I don’t really know yet.

However, on closer inspection, the term “natural magic” is clearly used as meaning not sorcery, which uses “foul spirits”, but rather knowing how nature works.

I pass over other men of the same temper, who affirm that I am a witch and a Conjurer whereas I never…

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