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Samuel Norton - The Key of Alchemy

The Animal Stone

This transcription was originally made by W.A. Ayton in the latter decades of the 19th century, from the original manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Ashmole 1421. Samuel Norton was the great-grandson of the famous 15th century English alchemist Thomas Norton, author of the Ordinall of alchemy.
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Here Beginneth the Third Treatise of the Key of Alchimie
Containing the Animal Stone

Time now aprocheth that according to the predemonstrated division in the preamble of my booke I shew forth the manner of the animal Stone, rite as I have seen, part as I have found written, and although it might seem a thing incredible unto them; which have fallen hetherto into small consideration of the worke of Nature, and unto myself also at the first verie difficult; when I waied it according to common sense, or after the common first face; for who or what is hee that seeking to physick or amend the metallick sickness of metalls thereby convert them into perfect bodies would ever imagine to deale with bloud, whose substance is of a farre other composition and in shew contrarie to metallicall or minerall kinde.

Wherefore I answer that as at the first it seemeth a matter very unapt and unfit, So if it be thoroughly laid down and wiselie pondered after the sound ground principles of our philosophers; it will shew itself otherwise; for like as the diamond taken from the mine is to the ignorant of little vallew and estimation and being polished is greatly esteemed of the Lapidaries; So the animal stone proceeding from the bloud of man, afore it be polished that is, afore the cause be laid open and known for the secret worcking thereof, may appear at the first shew to be a thing darck and obscure by vew of the dissemblable likeness in kind of mettallicall substance; And because I will as shortly as I can come to the touch of the matter I heere demand these questions, which being thoroughlie and diligently serched out, will not only give great delight, but also yeeld perfect proof thereof, to come therefore to the demand, I aske two questions, whereon mettalls consist, and by what is the first matter of mettalls; Which answered trulie, the troth shall appeare.

To the first, I say that whatsoever doth consist of even and equal substance may be made and brought by course of Nature to the selfe same matters, when bloud therefore with mettalls having the communitie of substance may be brought to the selfe same matter wherein the communitie of their substance lieth, namely Sal, Sulphur and Mercurie, which, seeing it falleth out so in mettalls, that without it there can be neither in his proper mine increase of grow, nor above earth wither suffer the benefit of healpe by art, except it be brought and divided into the salt, sulphur and Mercurie, wherefore if the generation and alteration of mettalls be in salt, sulphur and Mercurie then must salt, sulphur and Mercurie serve for generation of mettalls; And being therefore that in bloud there is salt, sulphur and Mercurie no doubt but the salt, sulphur and Mercurie being perfect, may serve, supply and fullfill the dutie and part of salt, sulphur and Mercurie; so to the first question I conclude that bloud may serve for matter of the Stone if it be by art brought to the perfection of Nature required in that behalfe.

For the second demand I aske whether ought else is to be required in this art for transmutation; Save only pure water and pure earth; Wherefore saith Raimond, our gold and our silver are but our two mines etc; that is our pure water and our pure earth; Wherefore seeing that pure water and pure earth are the materialls of the mettallicall kind, To the second I determine that the pure water and the pure earth which is and are found bloud, may serve for materiall of the Stone: for so witnesseth Ripley in his concordance upon the words of Hermes and Aristotle; Who writeth thus, Although many have imagined that this worcke may be done of heares and bloud etc; which have imagined falsely and true perhaps if the elements should therefrom be separated, for heares and bloud inasmuch as it is heares and inasmuch as it is bloud, may it be made; but yet of elements; So that if elements be separated, it appeareth in this that it may serve for the Stone: Indeede of any good to be done with his Mercurie; I think little if it be separated but if bloud may be brought into sulphur of nature then no question that Sulphur is as good an earth as may be possible; and therefore writeth Guido; of the earth there is no more matter nor care to be had; So it be fixed, neither can I deny but that the elements be separated from man's bloud are verie medicinable and comfortable for nature; for so writeth Raimond in his booke of quintessence; and Ruprecissus in his canon and Arnold in the booke he wrote to James of Toledo intreating of the bloud of man, concerning the creation of sulphur to be had out of man's bloud.

The manner is plaine and easie to be found out by Ripley both in the 12 gates, as also in his Medulla in the treatise of the animal stone; whereas touching the matter he noteth to be in man; and tearmeth him the little world, and shewing the choice of the matter he willeth it to bee hadd out of a man of Mars, that is, out of a chollerick complexion, and for the state of man's bodie had from a healthy and sound man, for the regard of the time and season of the yeare, in March, for the proofe of the worcke in the sort. (Nota) The worcke man's bloud. Take (saith hee) the bloud of a sound vaine (man) and emptying or taking the superflous waterishness therefrom put it in a Gripes egge sealed to putrifie in the fire of the first degree where let it stand a long season untill it become black. That done, take it out and set it in ashes, where driying it up it will bubble, in which bubble there will shew and appear colours innumerable until it become white. Then in a strong fire for 30 daies make him redd; if for the redd worcke and then it is Sulphur of Nature: and that excelling all other things or Sulphurs: and Thereupon breaking out into a great wondering; hee saith, O Marvaile more marvailous than any marvailes; for it hath the nature of perfect Sulphur; which to make Elixir imbibe this sulphur with the redd Mercury vegetable till it be fixed and flowing and give him his ferment of (Sol) in the 4th proportion; fixe them under fire which may be multiplied as the vegetable or minerall, And is then the great Elixir, for this manner of worcking until the white Sulphur heare, heare what Ripley saith: Take this one thing, this hidden stone, him putrifie. Wash him in his own broth till white hee become; That done, see thou ferment him wittilie. Of all they worcke soe heere is whole and Some. On this way therefore it appeareth that the stone may be made of man's bloud; which for that it cometh of man; tis said to be animall; Thus far I have proved that I have seene it black and further am not yet able to say for that this quarter of a year I have not seen it with this manner of worcking, I end the animal as touching the bloud of man.

To come therefore to the other part which Ripley speaketh of from the words of Marie the Prophetess; Whereby it falleth out that Marie by the animal stone understood a fixed earth which earth was the calcined earth of egge shells; What will some then say; how can this be true; seeing that kinde ought to be joined with kinde; which cannot be for that egge shells are not of a mettallicall kinde I answer that in this respect they are of kind for that one fixed thing or matter hath affinitie to another fixed matter; so that in the unitie of their fixedness they are of kind and are not therefore contrarie effect; That earth assuredly is most best for our intent, that is most void and exempt of humiditie superfluous namelie in which there is least Mercury; which is in the egge shell; for all that which is moist hath nature turned into the white and into the yeolke and that which is most drie hath it turned into the schell which is of colour white; for that, that heate worcking in drie bodies hath ingendered whiteness, for otherwise the schell should have been blacke and tender; for that heat worcking in moist bodies causeth blackness; and that other earths are more meet for us than our owne earth: Heare what Raimond saith, his own earth is seldom or never naturall for him: Guido likewise writing to the Bishop sheweth that that is no force what earth it bee, so that it be fixed; Therefore hee commandeth the first earth to be cast away; which place Ripley proveth to bee meant: when that the Artist will make the Stone of other fixed earth besdies his owne; which at this time is the philosopher's intent; that shorter worcke may be had by planting our Mercury) in a more fixed bodie that his owne; And therefore writeth Alphidius (Nota -- Not mentioned by L'aime du Fresnoy); The foeces from which the water was drawne are to be throwne away and cast away for that they are all of no vallew; and his Mercury) must be planted in another subtell earth; out of what bodie his earth fixed must be hadd, and what that bodie is Ripley sheweth it to be egge shells; expounding the words of Marie which she speaketh of the mountaines to be meant egge shells; which are little hills or mountaines; There Marie saith that the bodie is taken for the hittle hills or mountaines which bodie is white and cleere not suffering motion or curruption and is ingendered between male and female; Out of which of Marie's works Ripley found this I know not; But in that treatise of Marie which passed between her and Aros the philosopher as I did find it reported in Posinus ad episcopum savatantum; are these words; Recipe herbam: and take, saith hee, the herbe that is white, cleere, honorable and growing up on the little hills, which Ripley affirmeth to be egges shells and of that herbe shee afterwarde saith that it is a true bodie not flying the fire: for the process of the worcke she agreeth somewhat with Ripley.

But to remove all doubts what earth it should bee that our Eagle ?! our Mercury should rest on: Aristotle teacheth us naming it as indeede it is by his owne name; Saying: I will name it thee by his owne name; Wherewith the common people name it, and that is the end of the egge; which being calcined and his skins removed saith Ripley, is the whitest earth and will longest abide fire; As I have seene; And it cannot be Mercury sublimat whom some would, the sublimatories to be little hills; Marie's words are plaine in two sorts: for that she saith it groweth upon the hills which sublimate doth not but within the hills; And further (saithe shee) is a bodie which will abide the fire which sublimate will not doe; but flie the fire and vanish away in smoake. To come to an end of this animal stone let us set forth his practise: Wherein hee saith the little hills or the eggs of hennes whose shells separated from their skins and dried up after their washing ought to be calcined untill they have the whitenings of the snow (NOTA: worcke) and the utmost subtilitie; The ablution of which is after this sort, seeth the egges until they be verie hard then let them be subtillie barked or pulled off so that they may be parted from their skins as much as possible, then put the fragments of these shells in the strong lie of brine and ashes; so made with much salt: and let them there stand for eight daies every day rubbing them with your hands that their slime may be hadd away: Afterward let them be washed in water and their skins which flote above be taken away and let the shells which remaine ponderously in the bottom bee dried on a table in the Sunn; Afterward let them bee calcined in a furnace of reverberation even as much as they may possible, until they become of white colour and in manner of a subtill matter and them keep for thy use, because that earth exceedeth all earths of the world, for that it shall be more meete for thy worcke than any other; Seeing that gold nor silver can abide so great fire and dailie examination as can this earth, let therefore our mundified Mercury be planted in the earth after they are rectified. That is the white worcke, white Mercury.

Yet to the redd worcke, redd Mercury that is the oile of the stone; which must be put upon the earth and so in a circulatorie circulated upon him untill it be fusible which could verie well bee done in the Krachell or Gemmissarie and when it will so pierce and flow then ferment it as in the other Elixir; and by solution and coalgulation increase it; And in this manner of worcking accordeth with the words of Marie: saying vitrifica super illud Kybrick or Zybrych and that is, vitrificate or harden upon it Kybrick and Zubech, Kybrick (NOTA Kybrick = Sol of Mercury or ferment) is gold brought unto ferment and Zebede is that two Mercuries for so Ripley interpreted it; where hee said from the works of Marie; Maketh thy water like the runninge water; of the two Zaybeth and Zybwech; that is the two Mercuries: which Marie biddeth to be vitrificated upon the fixed bodie; and to be made liquid by the secret fire of Nature in a vessaile of philosophie; By vitrificiation she meaneth to have it dried up: which must bee done in ashes; for so did Ripley it in his first worcke; which was as he affirmeth upon the calx of the little hills with the water of the menstrue, that is with the ardent water for the white, for so he did it for the white and his accurtations upon Raimond he set it to circulate in drie ash fire; Thus therefore in this sort have wee brought the Animal stone to be Elixir. FINIS.