Occultist Éliphas Lévi, in his book Transcendental Magic
(1896), defines insufflation as follows
‘‘[It]’’ is one of the most important practices of occult medicine,
because it is a perfect sign of the transmission of life. To
inspire, as a fact, means to breath upon some person or thing,
and we know already, by the one doctrine of Hermes, that the
virtue of things has created words, that there is an exact proportion
between ideas and speech, which is the first form and
verbal realisation of ideas. The breath attracts or repels, according,
as it is warm or cold. The warm breathing corresponds
to positive and the cold breathing to negative electricity.
‘‘Electrical and nervous animals fear cold breathing, and the
experiment may be made upon a cat, whose familiarities are
importunate. By fixedly regarding a lion or tiger and blowing
in their face, they would be so stupefied as to be forced to retreat
before us.
‘‘Warm and prolonged insufflation recruits the circulation
of the blood, cures rheumatic and gouty pains, restores the balance
of the humours, and dispels lassitude. When the operator
is sympathetic and good, it acts as a universal sedative.
Institut Métapsychique International Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
‘‘Cold insufflation soothes pains occasioned by congestions
and fluidic accumulations. The two breathings must therefore
be used alternately, observing the polarity of the human organism
and acting in a contrary manner upon the poles, which
must be treated successively to an opposite magnetism. Thus,
to cure an inflamed eye, the one which is not affected must be
subjected to a warm and gentle insufflation, cold insufflation
being practised upon the suffering member at the same distance
and in the same proportion.
‘‘Magnetic passes [moving the hands over something, e.g.,
an afflicted part of the body] have a similar effect to insufflations,
and are a real breathing by transpiration and radiation
of the interior air, which is phosphorescent with vital light. Slow
passes constitute a warm breathing which fortifies and raises
the spirits; swift passes are a cold breathing of dispersive nature,
neutralising tendencies to congestion. The warm insufflation
should be performed transversely, or from below upward,
the cold insufflation is more effective when directed downward
from above.’’(See also mesmerism)
Lévi, Éliphas. Transcendental Magic. N.p., 1896. Reprint,
New York Samuel Weiser, 1972.