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  1. #1
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    Tim Cooper's Avatar
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    Default Agrippa on Aromatics as relates to the magic of the time (1400's)

    Looking through an old text I found the following description of
    the use of aromatics as relates to the magic of the time and the Zodiac.
    My favourite part is the middle paragraph.
    Hope you enjoy...

    Of Perfumes or Suffumigations; their manner and power.
    by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim.
    [born 1486 (a bad year for witches!)]

    Besides, to Saturn are appropriated for fumes all
    odoriferous roots, as pepper-wort root, etc., and the
    frankincense tree; to Jupiter, odoriferous fruits, as
    nutmegs and cloves; to Mars, all odoriferous wood, as
    Sanders, cypress, lignum balsam and lignum aloes; to
    the Sun, all gums, frankincense, mastic, benjamin,
    storax, labdanum, ambergris and musk; to Venus, sweet
    flowers as roses, violets, saffron, and such like; to
    Mercury, all the peels of wood and fruit, as cinnamon,
    lignum cassia, mace, citron or lemon peel, and bay-
    berries, and whatsoever seeds are odoriferous; to the
    Moon, the leaves of all vegetables, as the leaf indum,
    and the leaves of the myrtle and bay -tree.

    Know, also, that according to the opinion of the
    magicians, in every good matter, as love, good will,
    and the like, there must be a good fume, odoriferous
    and precious; and in every evil matter, as hatred,
    anger, misery, and the like, there must be a stinking
    fume, that is of no worth.

    The twelve Signs, also, of the Zodiac have their
    proper fumes, as Aries hath myrrh; Taurus, pepper-
    wort; Gemini, mastic; Cancer, camphor; Leo, frank-
    incense; Virgo, Sanders; Libra, galbanum; Scorpio,
    opopanax; Sagittarius, lignum aloes; Capricornus,
    benjamin; Aquarius, euphorbium; Pisces, red storax.
    But Hermes describes the most powerful fume to be
    that which is compounded of the Seven Aromatics,
    according- to the powers of the Seven Planets for it
    receives from Saturn, pepper-wort; from Jupiter, nut-
    meg; from Mars, lignum aloes; from the Sun, mastic;
    from Venus, saffron; from Mercury, cinnamon; and
    from the Moon, the myrtle.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Agrippa on Aromatics as relates to the magic of the time (1400's)

    Thanks for sharing! I love reading such as this, just for fun.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Agrippa on Aromatics as relates to the magic of the time (1400's)

    Thanks for the link. Quite funny. How does pepperwort smell? Not sure I've smelled it. I dislike pepper as a perfume note, so I think I'd disapprove of the pairing.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Agrippa on Aromatics as relates to the magic of the time (1400's)

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Thanks for the link. Quite funny. How does pepperwort smell? Not sure I've smelled it. I dislike pepper as a perfume note, so I think I'd disapprove of the pairing.
    I believe "wort" was used in names of things used in food - so perhaps this is just an old term for black pepper...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Agrippa on Aromatics as relates to the magic of the time (1400's)

    As a grain brewer in the past I know of wort as being the liquid from the mashing of the grains. Grains are mixed with water at a certain temperature and the enzymes convert starch to sugar producing a sweet liquor (the wort) so maybe some kind of extraction of the pepper corns?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Agrippa on Aromatics as relates to the magic of the time (1400's)

    I just Googled it. Google says: a wild cress, particularly one with pungent leaves. Wikipedia: Pepperwort is a common name for two different plants: Plants in the species Lepidium. Marsilea minuta.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Agrippa on Aromatics as relates to the magic of the time (1400's)

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Thanks for the link. Quite funny. How does pepperwort smell?
    Tim's right, it's Lepidium sativum aka ordinary garden cress like you would put in a sandwich. Based on this its main volatiles are benzyl cyanide (GSC: bitter almond spicy floral) and benzyl isothiocyanate (GSC: watercress dusty medicinal horseradish oily). I imagine a sort of 'white flowers+ horseradish' effect!

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Agrippa on Aromatics as relates to the magic of the time (1400's)

    Thanks for the info.
    So clearly not a match for this particular Taurus. Although, given how everything smelled bad back then, pepper was certainly better than the natural smells.

  9. #9
    Basenotes Junkie mattmeleg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Agrippa on Aromatics as relates to the magic of the time (1400's)

    Poor fools were grasping at straws.
    Most dying from gum disease, infections, venerial disease.

    90% of the population slaving away on farms they would never ever own.
    The church burnt people at the steak, tortured people in unbelievable ways.
    The middle ages sucked.

    But...I suppose if we did`t make it through the Alchemy Times...
    We would never have had modern medicine (thank God!)

    Unknowingly, they sacrificed themselves so we could live better today.
    Long, dark Vancouver winters




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