The Alchemy web site on Levity.comAdept Alchemy by Robert A. Nelson.
Part I. Chapter 1. Caveat.
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(1) Anonymous ~ (2) H. Lintaut ~ (3) Geber ~ (4) E. Philalethes ~ (5) J. Grashof ~ (6) K. Bohemia ~ (7) Cyliani
This anthology was extracted from the corpus of Alchemy's literature so as to illustrate key aspects of the Great Work ¾ in particular, the Dry Path and the Prima Materia. This book will guide you directly to the gate of the Philosophers' Garden, and will give you the key and the password. May God forgive your trespasses and grace your labor.
(1) Anonymous: The Secret Fire Of The Philosophers
Yet my dear friend, the things which I have said, do greatly conduce to your desired end, for whosoever is well furnished in other things, and hitherto instructed, is well adapted for the finding out of this secret fire, which he will probably obtain, if only he continues his inquisition, and God Vouchsafe to bless him...
It is worthy to be noted that sentence of a Chief Father of the Church: God, in Mercy, denies many things which he grants in his Anger; for very many gifts of God, are made rather punishments than benefits...
(2) Henri Lintaut: Friend Of The Dawn
No one can bring this work to fruition, or harvest who is not established in proper mental and psychic balance within, which is required in order for the astral and mental Guardians of this Great Secret to allow one to proceed with this Great Work. This statement is given only as a warning. One may try, but never succeed, without the proper authorization by Divine sources of inner and outer guidance given to the alchemist. Hundreds of obstacles must be conquered. And one who conquers all of the obstacles of the "Way of the Crucible" is one who has been chosen and approved, for various Divine and karmic reasons, to so achieve. Each one knows only in his inner heart if he or she has been given permission to achieve this Great Work for the benefit of mankind.
(3) Geber: Sum Of Perfection
For the Lord might feel inclined to withhold this Art in punishment of your sophistic work and throw you into a devious error, and from error into lucklessness and everlasting misery. For he is very miserable and luckless whom God does not show the truth after the completion of his work and labor, and he must end his life in sadness.
(4) Eirenaeus Philalethes: An Open Entrance To The Closed Palace Of The King
So long as the secret is possessed by a comparatively small number of philosophers, their lot is anything but a bright and happy one; surrounded as we are on every side by the cruel greed and the prying suspicion of the multitude, we are doomed, like Cain, to wander over the earth homeless and friendless. Not for us are the soothing influences of domestic happiness; not for us the delightful confidences of friendship. Men who covet our golden secret pursue us from place to place, and fear closes our lips, when love tempts us at times to open ourselves freely to a brother. Thus we feel prompted at times to burst forth into the desolate exclamation of Cain: "Whoever finds me will slay me." Yet we are not the murderers of our brethren; we are anxious only to do good to our fellow men. But even our kindness and charitable compassion are rewarded with black ingratitude ¾ ingratitude that cries to heaven for vengeance. It was only a short time ago that, after visiting the plague-stricken haunts of a certain city, and restoring the sick to perfect health by means of my miraculous medicine, I found myself surrounded by a yelling mob, who demanded that I should give to them my Elixir of the Sages; and it was only by changing my dress and my name, by shaving off my beard and putting on a wig, that I was enabled to save my life, and escape from the hands of those wicked men. And even when our lives are not threatened, it is not pleasant to find ourselves, wherever we go, the central object of human greed... I know of several persons who were strangled in their beds, simply because they were suspected of possessing this secret, though, in reality, they knew no more about it than their murderers; it was enough for some desperate ruffians, that a mere whisper of suspicion had been breathed against their victims. Men are so eager to have this Medicine that your very caution will arouse their suspicions, and endanger your safety. Again, if you desire to sell any large quantity of your gold and silver, you will be unable to do so without imminent risk of discovery. The very fact that someone has a great mass of bullion for sale would in most places excite suspicion. This feeling will be strengthened when people test the quality of our gold; for it is much finer and purer than any of the gold which is brought from Barbary, or from the Guinea Coast; and our silver is better even than that which is conveyed home by the Spanish silver fleet... I remember once going, in the disguise of a foreign merchant, to a goldsmith's shop, and offering him 600 pounds worth of our pure silver for sale. He subjected it to the usual tests, and then said: "This silver is artificially prepared." When I asked why he thought so, his answer was: "I am not a novice in my profession, and know very well the exact quality of the silver which is brought from the different mines." When I heard these words I took myself away with great secrecy and dispatch, leaving the silver in the hands of the goldsmith. On this account, and by reason of the many and great difficulties which beset us, the possessors of this Stone, on every side, we do elect to remain hidden, and will communicate the Art to those who are worthily covetous of our secrets, and then mark what public good will befall...
I possess wealth sufficient to buy the whole world ¾ but as yet I may not use it on account of the craft and cruelty of wicked men. It is not from jealousy that I conceal as much as I do: God knows I am weary of this lonely, wandering life, shut out from the bonds of friendship, and almost from the face of God. I do not worship the golden calf, before which our Israelites bow low to the ground; let it be ground into powder like the brazen serpent. I hope that in a few years gold (not as given by God, but as abused by man) will be so common that those who are now so mad after it, shall contemptuously spurn aside this bulwark of the Antichrist. Then will the day of our deliverance be at hand when the streets of the new Jerusalem are paved with gold, and its gates are made of great diamonds. The day is at hand when, by means of this my book, gold will have become as common as dirt; when we Sages shall find rest for the soles of our feet, and render fervent thanks to God. My heart conceives unspeakable things, and is enlarged for the good of the Israel of God. These words I utter forth with a herald's clarion tones. My book is the precursor of Elias, designed to prepare the Royal way of the master; and would to God that by its means all men might become adepts in our Art ¾ for then gold, the great idol of mankind, would lose its value, and we would prize it only for its scientific teaching. Virtue would be loved for its own sake. I am familiar with many possessors of this Art who regard silence as the great point of honor. But I have been enabled by God to take a different view of the matter; and I firmly believe that I can best serve the Israel of God, and put my talent out at usury, by making this secret knowledge the common property of the whole world. Hence I have not conferred with flesh and blood, nor attempted to obtain the consent of my brother Sages. If the matter succeeds according to my desire and prayer, they will all rejoice that I have published this book.
(5) Johan Grashof: The Greater and Lesser Edifyer
...That is, our Art and Science is so divine and supernatural (understand, after the Composition) that it has never been possible to understand through which means it could or might be able to exist, even by those who have been or still are the wisest of the wise, unless they have been previously enlightened by God. For in this point all of our sense and natural reason shatters. However, in order that you may be further introduced to and instructed in this, as I have promised, I will teach you thoroughly and inform you as much as is granted and permitted me now to disclose and reveal. You may then appeal further in accord with my guidance, most diligently to the Almighty and Most High with fervent prayer, for from him come all treasures of wisdom. At that time, without doubt, you will be enlightened... However, such an exalted gift is not given to everyone, and accordingly each man must make his own reckoning and test himself well, before injury overtakes him and harms him: let him heed who can.
(6) Komotau Bohemia: Arcana Divina
For this reason we report to you and tell you that it should be understood from the beginning, under circumstances where you will be considered an expert in this matter, that even a learned philosopher or practitioner on the subject of fire, will find that working with a combustible material is quite dangerous and, even more, during the preparation of such materials in the natural course of events of things, the danger is added to and even compounded. It could be demonstrated to you just where we might want to discontinue such precautions in an effort to save time; such error will now be pointed out to you as inadvisable.
(7) Cyliani: Hermes Unveiled
Heaven having granted me success in making the Philosophers' Stone, after having spent 37 years seeking it, stayed awake at least fifteen hundred nights without sleep, suffering innumerable miseries and irreparable losses. I have decided to offer to youth, the hope of the future, the heart-rending picture of my life. This may serve both as a lesson and at the same time help the young turn away from an art that at first sight may offer the most delightful white and red roses that, however, are surrounded by thorns and of which the path that leads to the place where one can pick them is full of pitfalls.
The universal medicine being a far greater blessing than the gift of riches, to know it naturally attracts studious men who believe themselves to be happier than the multitudes. This reason has influenced me to transmit to posterity the processes to be undergone in the greatest details, without leaving out anything at all, in order to let it be known and to prevent the ruin of honest people and to render a service to suffering humanity...
Be very careful that it does not happen to you, as it did to me, to be wounded. As a result of these varied labors I find myself with the most essential organ of life affected, by which means that I shall be denied, considering the seriousness of the illness, enjoying a long life, the virtue of the medicine not being surgical, but only medicinal.