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Harry Potter's World: Immortality

Renaissance, Science, Magic & Medicine

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“It is choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J. K. Rowling 

immortality

heinrich cornelius agrippa von Nettesheim

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535) is the most influential writer of renaissance esoterica. His de occulta philosophia appeared in three books. Written from 1509 to 1510 (he would have been 23 at the time), it circulated widely in manuscript form, and was eventually printed in 1533. It is a "systematic exposition of ... Ficinian spiritual magic and Trithemian demonic magic (and) ... treatised in practical magic" (I. P. Couliano in Hidden Truths 1987, p. 114).

harry potter and a phoenix

Harry Potter's World

Throughout the seven-book series, Harry Potter makes crucial decisions about the fate of all living things as he attempts to thwart the villainous Lord Voldemort's unending quest for a racially-pure wizard state, ultimate power, and eternal life. Although he struggles with fear of becoming an evil wizard like Voldemort, Harry is reminded by friends and mentors that his compassionate and unselfish use of magic sets the two apart. Time and again, the young wizard appreciates all the natural world has to offer, develops friendships with ostracized creatures and racially “impure” wizards, and uses his power to help others, even at the risk of his own life. Harry's desire to do what is right helps him to defeat Lord Voldemort, keeping all the young wizard loves safe from harm.

 

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, De Occulta Philosphia 1533

“Magic comprises the most profound contemplation of the most secret things,
their nature, power, quality, substance, and virtues,
as well as the knowledge of their whole nature.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, De Occulta Philosophia, 1533

The History of Science

Like Harry, many Renaissance alchemists, naturalists, and physicians struggled with the responsibilities that came with their attempts to understand the world. Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, a noted 16th-century occultist, alchemist, lawyer, physician, and, in Harry Potter, a wizard trading card, wrote one of the most famous works on magic, De Occulta Philosophia. Agrippa often criticized the politics, culture, and religion of his time and felt that the ancient magic included in his writings could benefit humanity. The scholar hoped that De Occulta Philosophia would show that ancient magic could be manipulated like a practical science, though he cautioned that any use should be sacred. Agrippa believed that only those with respect for nature could successfully control it and that those who used magic for selfish or immoral reasons would risk their very souls.

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