Swiss physician, philosopher, theologian, and alchemist (c. 1493–1541)

Paracelsus (11 November or 17 December 1493 - 24 September 1541) was an alchemist, physician, astrologer, and general occultist. Born Phillip von Hohenheim, he later took up the name Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, and still later used the name Paracelsus.

Practice humility at first with man and only then before God. He who despises man, has also no respect for God.


  • Destruction perfects that which is good; for the good cannot appear on account of that which conceals it. The good is least good whilst it is thus concealed. The concealment must be removed so that the good may be able freely to appear in its own brightness. For example, the mountain, the sand, the earth, or the stone in which a metal has grown is such a concealment. Each one of the visible metals is a concealment of the other six metals.
  • All is interrelated. Heaven and earth, air and water. All are but one thing; not four, not two and not three, but one. Where they are not together, there is only an incomplete piece.
    • Paracelsus - Collected Writings Vol. I (1926) edited by Bernhard Aschner, p. 110

Paracelsus - Doctor of our Time (1992)

The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.
Paracelsus - Arzt unserer Zeit (1992) by Frank Geerk
  • As you talk, so is your heart.
  • All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; but the dose makes it clear that a thing is not a poison.

[Die dritte Defension wegen des Schreibens der neuen Rezepte. In: Septem Defensiones 1538. Werke Bd. 2, Darmstadt 1965, S. 510.]

  • Belief and work, knowledge and action are one and the same thing.
  • Consider that we shouldn’t call our brother a fool, since we don’t know ourselves what we are.
  • God has given to all things their course and decided how high and how far they may go, not higher, not lower.
  • God, our Father, has given us the life and the art of healing to protect and maintain it.
  • He who conquers his enemy with meekness, wins fame.
  • He who wants to govern must have insight into the hearts of men and act accordingly.
  • If you have been given a talent, exercise it freely and happily like the sun: give everyone from your splendour.
  • In us there is the Light of Nature, and that Light is God.
  • Nothing is hidden so much that it wouldn’t be revealed through its fruit.
  • Practice humility at first with man and only then before God. He who despises man, has also no respect for God.
  • The art of medicine has its roots in the heart. If your heart is false, then also the doctor in you is false. If it is fair, then also the doctor is fair.
  • We have Divine Wisdom in the mortal body.Whatever does harm to the body, ruins the House of the Eternal.
  • We should become angels and not devils, that’s why we have been created and born into the world. Therefore be and stick to what God has chosen you for.
  • What else is the help of medicine than love?
  • What maintains the marriage and what is it? Only the knowledge of the hearts, that is its beginning and end.
  • What we should be after death, we have to attain in life, i.e. holiness and bliss. Here on earth the Kingdom of God begins.
  • Who else is the enemy of Nature but he who mistakes himself for more intelligent than Nature, though it is the highest school for all of us?

Quotes about Paracelsus

  • Let us not link ourselves with the vilifiers of Plato and the persecutors of Confucius. They were oppressed by citizens who were considered the pride of the country. Thus has the world raised its hand against the great Servitors. Be assured that the Brotherhood formed by Pythagoras appeared dangerous in the eyes of the city guard. Paracelsus was a target for mockery and malignance. Thomas Vaughan seemed to be an outcast, and few wished to meet with him. Thus was the reign of darkness manifested.
  • Paracelsus. The symbolical name adopted by the greatest Occultist of the middle ages—Philip Bombastes Aureolus Theophrastus von Hohenheim—born in the canton of Zurich in 1493. He was the cleverest physician of his age, and the most renowned for curing almost any illness by the power of talismans prepared by himself. He never had a friend, but was surrounded by enemies, the most bitter of whom were the Churchmen and their party. That he was accused of being in league with the devil stands to reason, nor is it to be wondered at that finally he was murdered by some unknown foe, at the early age of forty-eight. He died at Salzburg, leaving a number of works behind him, which are to this day greatly valued by the Kabbalists and Occultists. Many of his utterances have proved prophetic. He was a clairvoyant of great powers, one of the most learned and erudite philosophers and mystics, and a distinguished Alchemist. Physics is indebted to him for the discovery of nitrogen gas, or Azote.
  • Few men have elicited from critics, biographers, and historians more conflicting judgments than Paracelsus. By some, perhaps by most, he is denounced as a quack of the first order; by others, he is regarded as a genius, as a great reformer of medicine; and between the extremes of good and bad are to be found the intermediate estimates of less enthusiastic critics.
    • John Ferguson, Bibliographia Paracelsica. An Examination of Dr. Friedrich Mook's "Theophrastus Paracelsus eine Kritische" (1877) p. 6.
  • New diseases like syphilis seemed to call for new and "stronger" medicines; and this became one of the stock arguments for resort to the Paracelsian chemical pharmacopeia and mystical medical philosophy. With every fundamental of medicine thus called into question, the only logical recourse was to observe results of cures administered in accordance with the old Galenic as against the new Paracelsian theories, and then to choose whichever worked better. The swift development of European medical practice to levels of skill exceeding all other civilized traditions resulted.
  • Paracelsus, as much as he magnified himself for his great store of Arcana, and despised others for want of the same Pretensions, yet if we state things a little calmly, we shall find, that he did not so really promote the Honour and Glory of Chymistry, as he vainly boasted, or would have had the World believe... He set upon Reforming Physick, with all the Malice, and Ill-will, with all the hatred and Contempt, that a Beast and a Sot could possibly conceive against Sober men, whose Seriousness and Sobriety was the greatest Reproach, and declaration of Enmity to his dissolute and profligate Life. ...But know bold Wretch [i.e., Paracelsus], their Names [i.e., Galen's, Avicenna's, Rhasis', Montagnana's, Mesue's, &c.] will be Consecrated to after-ages, and had in good Reputation by Wise, and Sober men, when thy Bombastick Names shall perish and be despised, when thy frantick folly, and miserable vanity, and ill-nature, shall with thy Dust be trampled upon by all men.
    • Walter Harris, M.D., Pharmacologia Anti-Emipirica: or a Rational Discourse of Remedies both Chymical and Galenical (1683) London.
  • The vagaries of Paracelsus are notorious, and yet he was far more than a mere quack.

Isis Unveiled (1877)

by H. P. Blavatsky, Part One, Science, Ch. 1. A source.
  • More than one pathologist, chemist, homeopathist, and magnetist has quenched his thirst for knowledge in the books of Paracelsus. Frederick Hufeland got his theoretical doctrines on infection from this mediaeval “quack,” as Sprengel delights in calling one who was immeasurably higher than himself. Hemman, who endeavors to vindicate this great philosopher, and nobly tries to redress his slandered memory, speaks of him as the “greatest chemist of his time." So do Professor Molitor, J and Dr. Ennernoser, the eminent German psychologist. According to their criticisms on the labors of this Hermetist, Paracelsus is the most wondrous intellect of his age,” a “ noble genius.” But our modern lights assume to know better, and the ideas of the Rosicrucians about the elementary spirits, the goblins and the elves, have sunk into the “limbo of magic” and fairy tales for early childhood. (p. 52)
  • Kemshead says in his “ Inorganic Chemistry” that “the element hydrogen was first mentioned in the sixteenth century by Paracelsus, but very little was known of it in any way.” (P. 66.) And why not be fair and confess at once that Paracelsus was the re-discoverer of hydrogen as he was the re-discoverer of the hidden properties of the magnet and animal magnetism ? It is easy to show that according to the strict vows of secrecy taken and faithfully observed by every Rosicrucian (and especially by the alchemist) he kept his knowledge secret. Perhaps it would not prove a very difficult task for Any chemist well versed in the works of Paracelsus to demonstrate that oxygent the discovery of which is credited to Priestley, was known to the Rosicrucian alchemists as well as hydrogen. (footnote p. 52)
  • Theophrastus Paracelsus rediscovered the occult properties of the magnet—“the bone of Horus” which, twelve centuries before his time, had played such an important part in the theurgic mysteries—and he very naturally became the founder of the school of magnetism and of mediaeval magico-theurgy. But Mesmer, who lived nearly three hundred years after him, and as a disciple of his school brought the magnetic wonders before the public, reaped the glory that was due to the fire-philosopher, while the great master died in a hospital! So goes the world : new discoveries, evolving from old sciences ; new men—the same old nature! (pp. 71-72)
  • The church of Rome has never been either credulous or cowardly, as is abundantly proved by the Machiavellism which marks her policy. Moreover, she has never troubled herself much about the clever prestidigitateurs whom she knew to be simply adepts in juggling. Robert Houdin, Comte, Hamilton and Bosco, slept secure in their beds, while she persecuted such men as Paracelsus, Cagliostro, and Mesmer, the Hermetic philosophers and mystics—and effectually stopped every genuine manifestation of an occult nature by killing the mediums. (p. 100)
  • Electro-magnetism, the so-called discovery of Professor Oersted, had been used by Paracelsus three centuries before. This may be demonstrated by examining critically his mode of curing disease. Upon his achievements in chemistry there is no need to enlarge, for it is admitted by fair and unprejudiced writers that he was one of the greatest chemists of his time. (Hemmann: "Medico-Surgical Essays," Berl, 1778) Brierre de Boifcmont terms him a "genius" and agrees with Deleuze that he created a new epoch in the history of medicine. The secret of his successful and, as they were called, magic cures lies in his sovereign contempt for the so-called learned “ authorities ” of his age. "Seeking for truth," says Paracelsus, "I considered with myself that if there were no teachers of medicine in this world, how would I set to learn the art? No otherwise than in the great open book of nature, written with the finger of God. ... I am accused and denounced for not having entered in at the right door of art. But which is the right one? Galen, Avicenna, Mesue, Rhasis, or honest nature ? I believe, the last! Through this door I entered, and the light of nature, and no apothecary’s lamp directed me on my way." (p. 164)
  • This utter scorn for established laws and scientific formulas, this aspiration of mortal clay to commingle with the spirit of nature, and look to it alone for health, and help, and the light of truth, was the cause of the inveterate hatred shown by the contemporary pigmies to the fire-philosopher and alchemist. No wonder that he was accused of charlatanry and even drunkenness. Of the latter charge, Hemmann boldly and fearlessly exonerates him, and proves that the foul accusation proceeded from "Oporinus, who lived with him some time in order to learn his secrets, but his object was defeated; hence, the evil reports of his disciples and apothecaries." (Hemmann: “Medico-Surgical Essays,” Berl, 1778) He was the founder of the School of Animal Magnetism and the discoverer of the occult properties of the magnet. (p. 164)
  • He was branded by his age as a sorcerer, because the cures he made were marvellous. Three centuries later, Baron Du Potet was also accused of sorcery and demonolatry by the Church of Rome, and of charlatanry by the academicians of Europe. As the fire-philosophers say, it is not the chemist who will condescend to look upon the “living fire" otherwise than his colleagues do. "Thou hast forgotten what thy fathers taught thee about it—or rather, thou hast never known... it is too loud for thee!" (Robert Fludd: "Treatise III.") A work upon magico-spiritual philosophy and occult science would be incomplete without a particular notice of the history of animal magnetism, as it stands since Paracelsus staggered with it the schoolmen of the latter half of the sixteenth century. (p. 165)

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