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The Alchemy web site on Levity.comEirenaeus Philalethes
A Short Manuduction to the Coelestial Ruby
Transcribed by Robert Nelson from:
Philalethes, Eirenaeus: Three Tracts of the Great Medicine of Philosophers for humane and metalline bodies. I. Intituled, Ars metallorum metamorphoseos. II. Brevis manuductio ad rubinum coelestem. III. Fons chymicæ philosophicæ. All written in Latine by Eirenæus Philalethes, Cosmopolita. Translated into English for the benefit of the studious, by a lover of art and them. Printed and sold by T. Sowle, at the Crooked-Billet in Holy-well-Lane Shoreditch, (London), 1694.
A Short Manuduction to the Coelestial Ruby
Of the Philosophical Stone, and the Secret thereof.
The Stone of Philosophers is a certain Coelestial Substance, Spiritual, fixt, Perfecting all Metals into true Gold and Silver, (according to the quality of the Medicine) exposed to all Tryals and that according to the Imitation of Nature and its Operations, as near as it can be done.
About this Substance the Art of Chymistry is conversant, which handleth and teacheth the means and way of doing it, but not by diverse things, but by one thing alone it is done, to which nothing is to be added; nothing taken away but only the superfluities removed.
But that which appertains to the Authority of this Art, Experience in this thing would be of much value to Convince men: For if it could be proved, that true Gold was made thereby, then indeed it would not be doubted both concerning the truth and benefit thereof. But it is plain that imperfect Metals are Transmutable after this manner, because all in general have been Destinated to perfection, but some have remained Imperfect for want of Digestion. Therefore if they can be duly Cocted would also be perfect, and seeing nothing hinders in the Marvel, but this may be done, because out of one Fountain all Metals have proceeded, to wit, Crude Mercury, Cold and Moist, in which there hath been no difference between Sol and Saturn, but only what Nature works afterwards in this Matter, to wit, Decocting it more or less, this alone hath made the Diversity. Therefore all other Metals may be perfected into Sol to wit, by the help of our Divine and most perfect Magistery, which being projected upon imperfect Metals, is able so far to perfect them, by Decocting, as it is of a more then due perfection required in Gold. Here therefore we may observe of how great Virtue and spiritual a Nature this our Divine Stone is, which can perfect that in one hour above the Earth, by a bare Projection, which Nature could not have Perfected by Subterranean Operations. Therefore it is manifest here, what Nature helped by Art can do. For that our Stone as it was perfected by Nature without the help of Art, was only of Unary Virtue, but the Virtue which is acquired by Art, Nature Co-operating and assisting is Denary, in every Regimen, that is, after a manner infinite, for it cannot be computed, for that first by dissolving it, and again Coagulating and Decocting it, one part of the Medicine falls upon a Thousand of imperfect Metals, penetrating and perfectly Tinging it: But id the Dissolution and Coagulation, being Iterated, thou shalt try to promote this Medicine further, behold it is Extended in infinitum: For you shall sooner want wit to compute, then the Elixir Virtue to penetrate and tinge: Not that immediately by its Corporeal Touch, it tinges the whole, but by its Virtue and Influence, passes through the whole, since the least particle of the Imperfect Body is touched and tinged immediately by the Medicine. But the Matter is so, every part is tinged by the contiguous part, like Leaven. Therefore the Elixir tinges that which it touches more immediately, with a Tincture a little more feeble then it was it self, this again ferments that which is nearest it, by Communicating the Tincture, and that so long until the whole Mass be brought to the Perfection of true Gold. But this is done in a short space of time, because of the Spirituality of our Agent, which being a true Metallick Fire, like that Elementary one, does Imperceptibly warm and penetrate the hardest Bodies, even those parts which were not touched by the Coals; and so this doth penetrate with its virtue Metals, being resolved by that Fire and fused, in a moment: So it hath often times been observed , that Dough is fermented by the ferment, even that outward part, which the Corporeal part of the Ferment never touched: just so it is done in this Work; observe therefore how Natural this Progress is in this Work. For we do not Profess to Create Gold and Silver (as some Reproachers falsely Object) by our Art, but out of those things we say only in which these are by Nature, to wit, out of Metals, which are of the same Matter with Gold and Silver, but of an inequal Digestion, and therefore remain imperfect, which by the Projection of our Arcanum upon them, we Digest and Perfect after this manner, since nothing else is required to Perfect them, besides this simple Decoction of their Crudity, which our Medicine can abundantly perform.
Ho therefore you Sons of Learning! Attend to me! Because I will make known to you the whole Secret of our Stone, which is not a Stone, and it is in every Man, and may be found in its own Place at all times. If you have this you have the most precious thing in the whole World. But it is Divine, and therefore not to be Communicated to all. But to you Sons of Learning, I will manifest the whole thing, neither will I conceal any thing necessary to this magistery. But be present with attentive Minds and perceive my words, and lay them up in your secret Breasts.
You have heard before, The possibility of Transmutation, to wit, that a thing destined to Perfection, but being lefts Imperfect, through defect of Decoction, may by the Application of an Agent, of the same Essence and Nature with the Perfect, but of greater Digestion, be perfected (to which these Imperfect were Destinated) and matured, in as much as the Agent is of a more Exuberant maturity, and more then perfect virtue. But our Stone is such to all other imperfect Metals, whence we conclude without Controversie, that these are Transmutable, thereby into Gold and Silver.
Consider therefore you Lovers of Wisdom, what and of what kind, that ought to be, which can perform this, which by the Philosophers is called a Stone, but it is in every Man, and in every thing, and at every time of the Year to be found in its place.
Observe my words! Note the Mystery! Because it will most certainly Consist of the Elements, then which nothing is more Universal, and those not simply, but Compounded and Anatized, that is, every Element being to be known by its Quality: Therefore in every thing is our Stone, or everything, or rather out of every thing, that is, Element, for any one of them, being destroyed, the Aureity perisheth. Be not therefore Solicitous concerning any thing Combustible by the Fire, for certainly that which is made out of everything, that is, Contains the virtue or Qualities of every Element Anatized, resisteth the Violence of the Fire without danger.
Hearken therefore you Sons of Learning! Behold I make known to you, the greatest Mystery! And God help you to conceal this Arcanum from all unworthy Persons. Our Stone does not draw its Original elsewhere then from Metals, and those most perfect: But ye shall suffer Common Operators in this Art, to seek it all things Extraneous; but as many of you are Lovers of Truth, don’t attempt to find it out elsewhere then in Metals: For this is our one, nay only true Principle. But what that is, it will be your part to Observe; neither to induce any Heterogeneous thing into this Work, but to leave that to others, which seek our Stone in such things, but they shall always Labour, as long as they shall be Ignorant, what our only true Principle is.
But I do make known this to you, remember therefore, that a Lyon is Generated of a Lyon, a Man of a Man, but to expect the Generation of these from other things, it would be absurd and Ridiculous: Combustibles are produced even as Combustibles, Incorruptibles as Incorruptibles. Do you expect to gather Grapes from Thistles, or Roses from Thorns: It would be so absurd, if any should do about to make our Stone out of Animals, Herbs or such like things, as though the Principle of Gold making were elsewhere to be sought then in Gold: Therefore our stone is not to be sought in such things, which ought to have the Natural Proprieties of true Gold, which are not in such like things, neither to be found in them, except we be able to Create Sperms, which is in the Power of no Man, but is proper to God alone; and if any one should premise himself to enact this, he would be false and a Lyar. Therefore let it suffice us, to dispose and administer Sperms which are ready to our Hands, but it is not to the Matter, that new ones should be Created from Heterogeneous things, which is both impossible to be done, and if it should be done, these Artificial Sperms would be of no more virtue then those Natural Ones, which Nature has fitted to our Work; therefore we must in no wise believe him that professes to produce the Seed of Metals, out of Vegetables, &c. For although he take to himself the Title of a Wonderful Philosopher and a skillful Artist, with the ignorant sort, yet whilst he knows not to use Created things, it is much less probable that he can Create Sperms.
Whosoever therefore will be a Son of Art, let him learn and acknowledge that our Stone, the Transmutor of Metals into a perfect Species, is nearly included, and contained in the most perfect Metals: Out of these therefore let him be admonished to Learn its Production and not elsewhere.
Now therefore, if I be not deceived, you have heard plainly enough, whence the Matter of this Secret Stone is to be sought: And if you have well observed, it will not happen that you should err in this thing: Now let us say something of its Name, for it is explained how it is in every Man and Place. Now I will teach how, and why it is called a Stone and not a Stone: Lastly I will adumbrate how it is to be Found. For the Philosophers say that it is a Stone, and not a Stone, which some understand ill; but the Vulgar for the most part, but it is Interpreted according to the letter, to be something, but what they are Ignorant, to be like a Stone, tinging everything, even by the very touch, into pure Gold, whether it shall be Wood or Stone, which they repute for false (and deservedly) therefore they judge it impossible to every Art (except Diabolical:) Therefore the name of a Chymist being heard, they presently abhor and detest him, nor look upon him any other than a Foolish Waster of his Estate, being incited to this, by the false and confused Understanding of our most secret Stone; therefore, the more Ignorant Men do superstitiously believe, that such Men are to be Punished by the Civil Law: But under the Name of Ignorant Men, I do not only mean those that are Plebeians, or Illiterate, and unlearned, but also I mean some, nay many men otherwise Learned, and perhaps Pious, whom I therefore name Ignorant and unskillful in this Art; and also that they indued with such Rude Manners, to bark at everything unknown, like Dogs, and speak Evil of those things, which they neither, either have or could conceive in their minds, my reproof Extends to them most, because they being both Learned and Pious, do what is contrary to Piety and Learning, to wit, Judge such things which they neither do nor can discern. For when Learning admonishes, Piety Perswades that every one should Consider and Examine those things which he judges; these on the other hand condemn it undoubtedly, which yet after they have Condemned, they know not, and are ignorant what it is, which is very unworthy every wise Man.
Moreover, others studious in the Art of Chymistry, although they understand the thing a little more Natural, yet in this they err, because they would make some Stony Congealation, to wit, they would make something to bear the form of a Stone, for this alledging the words of Philosophers which affirm it to be a stone. But I would have you to Understand, that it is not called a Stone because it is like a stone, but for this Cause alone; that it flyes not from the Fire, but remain fixed in it, like as it were a stone, and for this it is called a stone, for the sake of hiding this secret, but it is like a stone no otherways, and therefore it is not a stone; but in species is Gold more pure than the purest, in fixity or incombustibility, a stone, in Figure of most subtile Powder, to sight a grave Body, to touch impalpable, to taste sweet, of good smell, in virtue a most penetrating spirit, being dry and yet unctuous, easily flowing upon a Plate of Metal and tinging: Therefore it is deservedly called the Father of all wonderful things, since it hath all the Elements in it, yet so anatized, that none Predominates, yet all four make one fifth Essence or Nature, which is none of the four, but partakes of all, and is a most temperate Complexion, tho it be pure Metallick Fire, and this is our stone, which is not a stone, nor has any Name proper to its self, and yet there is nothing in all the World whose Name it may not have, under some Consideration, For that it is of so wonderful a Nature, as if we call it spiritual, it is true, if Corporeal we speak properly: For it is Gold, and that not Vulgar but Spiritual, that is subtile, penetrative and Noble: wherefore it is a spirit or fifth Essence, the most Noble of all Creatures, after the Rational Soul, and bringing all Distempers, and all Imperfections both in Animals and Metals (according to the Quality of the Medicine) to a most exact and perfect temperature: And that is truly our Microcosme, which we esteem so much. Having this Stone or Powder or fifth Essence, neither Riches nor Health will be wanting, God giving, to whom be glory for Ever.
But that I may come to the last part of my undertaken Task, to wit, that I may show by what Means this our Stone may be obtained, for it is not Fabricated by Nature, but it is to be sought, and to be Composed by the Art and Ingenuity of the Work-man; yet nature helping and seconding his Endeavor, for as it is abundantly enough Declared, that the Matter of this Stone is not to be fetched elsewhere then from Metals; Yet nevertheless these Metals are not our stone, for they have Another form Different from our stone. Notwithstanding, I do not deny that our Medicine, is to be drawn from them, but the former form of the Metal must necessarily be taken away, that it may be drawn out, and that under the Conservation of the Species, tho under the Distruction of that particular and Individual Metal. But the Species of Metals dwells, and is Conserved in the spirit, which spirit resides not in any other thing, but in Water Homogeneous of its own kind: For water is the Habitation of the Spirit, which is especially to be retained in the Conservation of its species. Therefore Gold is to be Changed from its Form, and that into Water Homogenous of its own kind, in which Water the Spirit of the Gold is preserved, which afterwards, Re-inspissates its Water, and Induces a new Form, after Putrifaction, a thousand times more perfect then the form of Gold, which lost by being re-incrudated.
Therefore Metallick Bodies are to be reduced into Homogeneal Water, not wetting the Hands, that out of this Water a new Metallick Species may result, for more Noble than any Metal. This is our most precious Medicine and Coelestial Ruby.
But all this Work, very well Answers to the Subterraneal Operation of Nature, from whence the Work is deservedly called Natural. For Nature doth produce Metals, according to their species, out of Mercury alone, Cold and moist, by a daily Digestion & Coction in the Veins of the Earth. But Art to shorten the Work, hath found out a far more subtile Operation, yet like to this: For it Conjoyns with Crude Mercury, Cold and moist, ripe Gold, and both of these by Commixtion, and secret Conjunction, makes one Mercury, which they name Aqua Vitae, which Mercury at last they Decoct into Gold, not Vulgar, but far more Noble: which falls upon all Imperfect Metals, and tinges them into tryed Gold, exposed to all Tryals.
You understand, therefore, as I believe, that tho our Stone be of Gold alone, yet it is not Vulgar Gold. That therefore our Gold may be fetched from Vulgar Gold, it is to be Dissolved into Water, not Elementary, but not wetting the Hands, that it Mineral: which Water is Mercury, which from a Red Servant, hath means in its self, to perfect the whole Work, without any Imposition of Hands, and this at last is that only, true and Natural Principle, to which nothing is to be added, nothing taken away, unless some Superfluities, which without any humane help, its self will perfect, by its own Virtue and Natural Instinct. Therefore thou having this Mercury mind nothing else. With good Reason therefore, the Philosopher said, Imply thy whole study in Decocting Mercury, but I say to thee, let thy whole Study be Imployed in getting this Mercury, that is in Dealbating our Red Laton, which being done, thou hast done thy Part, what remains is the work of Women and the Play of Boys: For Nature will be present to dispatch the rest, but in the mean while, a desired rest is given to thee, which indeed, as the Philosopher said, Is more desirable than any Labour.
For know, that our Albification is no Light Work, being Radical, for this will be the Indicium of an Altered and reduced Body. Neither will Gold so Albificated, ever return to its Pristine form; for from a Body is made a Spirit, and from fixt, Volatile, by this Operation. Therefore be wholly intent on Dealbating Laton, for it is easier to make Gold, then so to destroy it, for he that dissolves so, Congeals it rather, for the Solution of the Body, and the Coagulation of the Spirit, are Coincident in it.
But Consider you Sons of Wisdom, and Note these Mysteries: That which Dissolves is a Spirit, but that which Coagulates is a Body. Therefore if you would Dissolve your Body, first of all, you have need of a Spiritual Substance, because a Body cannot dissolutively enter a body, But a Spirit entreth it, Attenuating and Rarifying, and because you require Water, therefore you have need of Water to manifest this: for every Agent Exercising any Act upon any thing, Assimilates that on which it Acts to its self (as far as it can be done) and every Natural Effect is conformed to the Nature of the Efficient, therefore to draw Water out of the Earth you have need of Water.
I don’t mean (as some badly think) by Water, Aquafortis, Aqua Regis, and other Corrosives, which Common Alchymistes, Artificially Compound to themselves, and put them to dissolve these Metallick Species which yet they don’t Dissolve, but Corrode, foul and Corrupt: for who would believe that those Waters, can Destroy the old form of the Metal, under Conservation of a Metallick Species, which yet themselves are Aliens from a Metallick Nature? For they are not sufficient Enough to destroy thoroughly the Species! Else they would Convert them into their own Nature? But as far as they can, they do Transform them into some sordid thing: for the more Bodies are Corroded, the more they are Estranged from a Metallick Nature.
But our Water is Water of Mercury, and dissolves Bodies into Mercury, and inseparably is joined with them, being Dissolved, Cohabitates and is Concocted, that from them may be made that one All-Spiritual thing which is sought. For every thing that any thing Naturally dissolves, (that so the Species of the thing Dissolved may be preserved) remains with the thing Dissovled, Materially and formally, and does Coalesce, and is Inspissated by it, and nourishes it, as a Body may see in a Grain of Wheat, which being Dissolved by a terrene Humid Vapour, this Vapour remains with this Grain after dissolution for its Radical Humidity, and Coalesces with it into a Plant. Another thing also will be to be Observed in every Natural Dissolution, is the enlivening of a Dead thing, can be done by nothing else then that Living thing which was of the Essence of the Dead thing before it was Dead: As in a Grain the Life is dead as (I may say) which we would have vivified; this can be done therefore by nothing else but the vapour of the Earth, the Humidity and Calidity of the Air, for that the Grain its self was Extracted out of the Earth, and formerly was nothing else but such like vapour which afterwards became dead by Decoction, therefore, by this alone naturally to be Vivified, under the Conservation of its Species. Therefore I write this, because so many and so learned Men are so much Deceived with that Vulgar Mercury, for although it is a Mineral Water, yet not of a like Nature or Essence with Gold. For who will not confess, that if a Grain of Wheat, be cast into a Pool of Water, it will not Germinate nor Increase (yet Bull-Rushes are wont to Vegetate there) whence is this I pray? Except that the Aquacus humour was not essential to it, neither, of a like Nature with the Wheat; wherefore it doth not Naturally Dissolve it, but Destroys it: Not otherways Gold if it be mixed to be Decocted with Common thing: for the more Bodies are Corroded, the more they are Estranged from a Metallick Nature.
But our Water is Water of Mercury, and dissolves Bodies into Mercury, and inseparably is joined with them, being Dissolved, Cohabitates and is Concocted, that from them may be made that one All-Spiritual thing which is sought. For every thing that any thing Naturally dissolves, (that so the Species of the thing Dissolved may be preserved) remains with the thing Dissolved, Materially and formally, and does Coalesce, and is Inspissated by it, and nourishes it, as a Body may see in a Grain of Wheat, which being Dissolved by a terrene Humid Vapour, this Vapour remains with this Grain after dissolution for its Radical Humidity, and Coalesces with it into a Plant. Another thing also will be to be Observed in every Natural dissolution, which since such like Dissolution, is the enlivening of a Dead thing, can be done by nothing else then that Living thing which was of the Essence of the Dead thing before it was Dead; As in a Grain of Life is dead as (I may say) which we would have vivified; this can be done therefore by nothing else but the vapour of the Earth, the Humidity and Calidity of the Air, for that the Grain its self was Extracted out of the Earth, and formerly was nothing else but such like vapour which afterwards became dead by Decoction, therefore, by this alone naturally to be Vivified, under the Conservation of its Species. Therefore I write this, because so many an so learned Men are so much Deceived with that Vulgar Mercury, for although it is a Mineral Water, yet not of a like Nature or Essence with Gold. For who will not confess, that if a grain of Wheat, be cast into a Pool of Water, it will not Germinate nor Increase (yet Bull-Rushes are wont to Vegetate there) whence is this I pray? Except that the Aquacus humour was not essential to it, neither of a like Nature with the Wheat; wherefore it doth not Naturally Dissolve it, but Destroys it: Not otherways Gold if it be mixed to be Decocted with Common Quicksilver, or any other Mercury, Except alone of its own Humidity, it doth not receive a Dissolution in them, to wit, because these Waters being too Crude, Cold and unclean, are of a far unlike nature with Gold: wherefore in these it is not amended, neither retained, neither with these Matured into a far more Noble Perfection, then its Nature. Therefore at Length our Mercury is not vulgar Mercury, for it a pure Water, Clean, Clear, Bright and Resplendent, and worthy of much Admiration: It is red with Sol, but in Respect of Common Mercury Digested, warm and Mature, which has no qualitys like to this, except alone in whiteness of Colour, and of its form of Flux in which notwithstanding there is a great Difference.
But lastly that you may well understand what our Water is, by Circumstances, I tell thee (and that moved with Charity) that it is Living, Running, Clear, Shining, White like Snow, Hot and Moist, Airy, Vaporous and Digesting, in which Gold is melted like Ice in warm Water, in this is Contained the while Regimen of Fire and Sulphur which Exist but Predominates not. This is indeed the keeper of our Gates, the Bath of the King and his Queen, dayly Warming and that Incessantly, and yet is taken elsewhere then from the Matter, and is distinguished from the whitening Substance of the Water, yet joined and appearing, under the same form of Flux, amd the same Colour. This is that heat of the Lamp, which if it be Temperate, every day will Circumact the Matter, (until by Calcination the Humidity being dryed a second Fire of Ashes is produced, in which the Vessel or Water is Hermetically shut and Sealed, according to the Saying of the Philosopher, take a Vessel strick it with a Sword, take its Life, this is the Closure. Therefore this our Water is our Vessel, and in that our Furnace dwells secretly, whose Fire ought to be moderate, least the whole Work be destroyed, yet strong enough least the Life Dispond for want of Heat. Therefore in this Water the whole Secret of our Vessel consists, also the Structure of the hidden Furnace is founded in the Composition of this Water, in the Knowledge whereof, all our Fires, all our Weights, all our Regimens lie hid. This Water is the Clear Bright Fountain in which our King is to be washed, that he may overcome all his enemies, of this Water and its Preparation be Careful, because surely without any other help except the Apposition of a perfect purged and Cleansed Body, Nature will make from hence our most Secret Stone.
And I say to thee in truth, that this Water is Mineral, pure and Clean, neither can it be Extracted elsewhere, but out of these things alone in which it is by Nature. And the things out of which it is immediately Drawn, are most secret above all others. Also the means of Extracting it is most wonderful; also its Virtues Stupendous. For it doth Dissolve Sol without violence, and is made friendly to it, and it washeth him from all his Foulness: It is White, warm and Clear; therefore praised be the most High, who hath Created this Mercury and given it a Nature overcoming all others. For certainly the Work of Alchymy would be in vain and useless, without this Water. But consider thou what this Water is, and Learn from the Work as I have done. For having this Mercury thou hast the Key of the whole Art, with which thou mayest unlock all the most secret things of Philosophers. Therefore our Water is of a like Nature with Gold, of an unlike Substance, in the making of which there is a great Stink. Consider therefore and deeply weigh the possibility of nature, and do not mix any Heterogenous thing: For Nature is only amended by its own Nature, and by no other. But if you do not yet understand do not blame me, for I have sincerely (as far as it is Lawful for a Man to speak) Expounded to you the whole matter: That therefore you may understand the Conclusion of the Matter, be very attentive. Our Stone is made out of one thing, and four Mercurial Substances (whereof one is mature, the rest Crude, but pure, of which two are drawn out of a Mineral by the third, but wonderfully) joined with a Temperate, not Violent Fire, and so Cocted every day, until all be made one by a Natural Conjunction, most secret, not Manual.
Afterwards the Fire being changed, let it be Digested with a Fire daily increasing, at first more Moderate, and so every day increased until these Volatiles are fixed by a Sulphur of their own kind, fixt and incombustible, until the whole Compound possess the same Nature, Fixity and Colour. For then it securely Resists the Fire, and this is the most powerful Power of Power, overcoming every subtil and penetrating every solid thing; the virtue of which being turned into earth appears compleat.
But there are, that I may describe the thing particularly, manifold Degrees of this our Process, in Number Twelve, all which I will briefly run over, the first whereof is called Calcination.
And Calcination is the first Purgation of the Stone, the Exsiccation, of the Humidity, by the virtue of the Natural Heat of our Water, stirred up by the External Heat, from whence the Composition is turned into Calx or Powder of a black colour, yet unctuous, and retaining the Radical Humidity.
The final Cause of this Calcination is, that the Solution may be the better induced to the Stone, which without this cannot be had: For Gold is a very fixt Body, neither can it be immediately Dissolved by our Water, except only in part, that is, be made soft, Incrudated and Albificated: In which Albification two natures appear, volatile and fixt: which we like to two Dragons, or Serpents. Wherefore that a full Dissolution may be made, there is need of Contrition, that the Body by Calcination may be made spongious and viscous, because then at last it is fit for Dissolution.
The Second final Cause is this, that we Reconcile contrary Qualities, for whilst they fight, they are unprofitable unto us: For in the first Conjunction our Water distinguishes between Sulphur and Mercury, volatile and fixt, and these are Enemies to one another, and Different things, but it is our part to bring them to a Union, but contrary qualities are not reconciled, but by a Medium; there are therefore in our first Operation, four contrary qualities, Heat, Cold, Dryness, and Humidity, of which two, Hot and Dry, are Attributed to Sulphur, Cold and Humid to Mercury, therefore they are opposed Diametrically, the heat of Sulphur and the Cold of Mercury, also the Humidity of Mercury, and Siccity of Sulphur: To reduce these Contraries to friendship cannot be done without a Medium, but the medium must be partaker of both, also suited to both. Would we therefore reconcile Cold and Heat, the Medium will be by Siccity, which may be joined to both heat and Cold; by turning therefore the Composition into earth, heat and Cold agree in this third thing, that they may dwell together, to wit the Degree being abated: But afterwards being dissolved into water, also two other Enemies are Reconciled, Siccity and Humidity, by the Frigidity of Water, so that now one is made of two by the Conjunction, made after a Natural Separation.
But the Efficient of this Calcination is, the operation of heat upon Moisture, turning everything that resists it into most subtile Powder, but the moving Instrument is the Fire contrary to nature, which is hid in our dissolving Water, stirring up heat in the body, and digesting the Humidity into a viscous and unctuous Powder.
But that this Operation is prior to dissolution take these Reasons; it is prior, because a certain Solution is made (as I may so say) by our Divine water, therefore the congealation of our Spirit, will be expected in the next place, because Spirits are always congealed after the dissolution of the body: For they have the same Operation, such therefore as the Solution is, such the Congealation is to be expected after it.
Then the Order of Nature requires this, for a Woman Exerciseth her Dominion first, then it is necessary to be overcome by her Husband, but the Woman retains her whole Domination in the Water; this therefore will be the first Work; this therefore will be the first Work, of the Man Exerting his Power to overcome that, in which the Woman possesseth both her Qualities, which being done, he will easily Subject to himself that, in which she hath only one quality.
Lastly, Heat is not Consequentially joined necessarily to any Quality, but Siccity will always be the end of heat: from whence it appears, that the man ought first to exert his power, therefore Calcination is rightly called the beginning of the Work.
Therefore Calcination is the head of the Work, for without this, will neither be Commixtion or Union, this therefore is to be done in the first days of thy Stone, for in the first Dealbation, the Body is Reduced into its first Principles, Sulphur and Mercury, of which the first is fixt, the other volatile, therefore are compared to two Serpents, or Dragons, the one Winged, shewing its Volatile Nature, the other without Wings, denoting fixity, both these coming from one Fountain, tends to one thing, therefore is likened to a Serpent taking his Tail in his Mouth, to shew that Sulphur is nothing without the substance of Mercury, nor Mercury without the substance of Sulphur, but that this Mercurial Sulphur, and Sulphureous Mercury, perfect the whole Art. Therefore it is deservedly called one Composition, that although it appears twofold in the beginning of the Work, whence it is called Rebis, yet by Conjunction they may be made one and the same, and this is called one Elixir, which never would be possible unless they were quite of the same Nature. Therefore the nature of Sulphur and Mercury are always congealed after the dissolution of the Body: For they have the same Operation, such therefore as the Solution, such the Congelation is to be expected after it.
Then the Order of Nature requires this, for a Woman Exerciseth her Dominion first, then it is necessary to be overcome by her Husband, but the woman retains her whole Domination in the Water; this therefore will be the first Work, of the Man exerting his Power to overcome that, in which the Woman possesseth both her Qualities, which being done, he will easily Subject to himself that, in which she hath only one quality.
Lastly, heat is not Consequentially joined necessarily to any Quality, but Siccity will always be the end of Heat: from whence it appears, that the man ought first to exert his power, therefore Calcination is rightly called the beginning of the Work.
Therefore Calcination is the head of the Work, for without this, will neither be Commixtion or Union, this therefore is to be done in the first days of thy Stone, for in the first Dealbation, the Body is Reduced into its first Principles, Sulphur and Mercury, of which the first is fixt, the other volatile, therefore are compared to two Serpents, or Dragons, the one Winged, shewing its Volatile Nature, the other without Wings, denoting fixity, both these coming from one Fountain, tends to one thing, therefore is likened to a Serpent taking his Tail in his Mouth, to shew that Sulphur is nothing without the substance of Sulphur, but that this Mercurial Sulphur and Sulphureous Mercury, perfect the whole Art. Therefore it is deservedly called one Composition, that although it appears twofold in the beginning of the Work, whence it is called Rebis, yet by Conjunction they may be made one and the same, and this is called one Elixir, which never would be possible unless they were quite of the same Nature. Therefore the Nature of Sulphur and Mercury is diligently to be Observed, and we must take care o Errours, for these two are not contrary things, but one and the same Sulphureal Mercury, Mature and digested, and Mercurial Sulphur, crude and Imature.
Therefore that Divine kind of Generation, will be necessary to be observed, to wit, how Nature has Operated in Procreating Metallick Bodies in the Mines under the earth, because we do all things in our Work in Imitation thereof, as near as can be, therefore we use the same Matter which she hath made use of, although Art has found out a far more subtile way to the Abreviation of the Work, and the more then perfect Exaltation of the Stone. For in Metallick Veins, one thing alone is found, viz. Mercury, which is very crude and frigid, and in which the sulpureal quality altogether is unactive, also no Digestive heat is found there, but by an imperceptible Motion after a long time, by little and little this Metallick Principle is changed, until at last it be converted into fixt Sulphur: for that whilst it remained Frigid and Humid, it was called Mercury, in this Eleration or Excitation, it is named Sulphur.
But the matter is otherways in this our Work: For besides Mercury Crude and Cold we have another thing, to wit, Mature Gold, in which Act, more active qualities Exist, this therefore we joyn to our Mercury, in which passive qualities are found, that the one may relieve the other, and that which nature, helpt by no Heat hath digested in the Mines, we having a double Fire Digest, whence it comes to pass that we don’t make simply Gold, but some other thing much more Noble and excellent then Gold.
You see therefore what Sulphur is, what Mercury; how also we have a double Sulphur and a double Mercury in our Art, which yet are not distinct in Essence, but in maturity and perfection; also you understand, as I think, after what manner they are worked, since the Perfect Body of Gold is Incrudated by our Divine water not wetting the hands, and it is reduced to its first Principles, to wit Mercury, which is not without Sulphur, participating of the Natures of the Luminaries, therefore in this Operation the Woman Ascends upon the man, and predominates over him for a Time, which indeed is unnatural, till the man begins to exert his Power, and then first of all by his siccity-bringing heat, does Exsiccate the Humidity of the Woman, by converting all into a most subtile and viscous Powder, from which Powder by solution, water is afterwards dissolved, in which Water is the spirit of the Dissolvent and dissolved, the Man and the Woman are joyned together, But the excited Heat doth not here find a Bound, but as yet Works every day by separation, by distinguishing between the subtile and the gross, that the first may swim at the Top, the latter may subside so long till all are of the same quality, and then at length in the hour of their Nativity, they are inseparably Conjoined, and the Man ascends upon the Woman and Impregnates her: at length she brings forth the Cloud which she hath Conceived, in which she Putrifies and is Corrupted, and afterwards both of them ascend or arise again Glorious; not now divided, but made one and the same by Conjunction, and are so Coagulated, Sublimed, Cibated and Exalted, into a most perfect nature and Multiplyed in weight and goodness of Quality, according to your Discretion; whose excellent Use will be provided, as well in Projection as in Medicine.
Therefore these black and stinking Ashes, are not to be despised, since in them the Diadem of our King is contained, and I tell you in all truth, that whiteness will never be had unless you make it black, for unless the Body putrifies it will remain without fruit, but if it be Corrupted then indeed thou shalt see them arising from thence, where it seemed they had lost their Bodies which they had, and they will appear that which they never were before. Honour you therefore the Sepulchre of our King, for unless you do this, you shall never admire him coming from the East.
Therefore you must take Care that you don’t err in this first Entrance, for the Work is spoiled unless you be wary here. The common Errors in this Operation are many and various; Firstly, of them who know not what is to be Calcined, but seek the Principle of Goldmaking in Extraneous things. Some bring in for their Material Principle, those things which are not of the same Imposition with Metals, such are Borax, Alloms, Atrament, Vitriol, Arsnick, Seeds of Plants, Wine, Vinegar, Urine, Hair, Blood, Gums, and the Rosins of the Earth; some do endeavor, (such is their Blockishness) to Generate Salts of every kind, out of the Flame, I pass by these understanding nothing at all in this Art. Others, although they work in Metals, yet desire to perfect Calcination, either with Corrosive Waters, Spirit of Salt, Sulphur or Fire, and so indeed Corrode the Bodies, not Calcine them. For this Calcination is not made by a Native Calidity, of the Body, helpt by a Friendly heat, but by a Corrosive Force of Waters, without any propensity of the Metal to it; therefore Metals are fouled and Dissipated, and so Estranged from a Metallick Nature, but not Naturally Calcined. Therefore every Calcination, which is made elsewhere then in the perfect Body of Gold is vain and unuseful to our work.
Also every Calcination of Sol, in which a Dissolution, without laying on of Hands, does not follow, is false and vain.
Therefore this our Calcination, is necessarily to be made by Mercury, which being joined to Gold (a due weight and proportion both of Quantity and Quality being observed) softens it and takes away the Solidity and Incrudates it; and by its internal heat, joined with the outward Heat of Vulcan, stirs up that Native heat of the Gold, which being stirred up, acts upon the Humidity and Exsiccates it into a subtile Powder Viscous and Black: And this is the true Key of the Work, to Incrudate the Mature, by the Conjunction of an Immature, being incrudated, to Calcine it, being Calcined to Dissolve it, Philosophically not Vulgarly.
The figures of this our Calcination are these, first, after the Body shall be satiated with Water, as soon as the Keeper of the Gates shall stir up the Heat of the Bath, the Water begins to be Obscured, or that which was a splendid Composition before, then it visibly grows Turgid, and swells, ascending and descending continually, until the whole at last become a viscous and fatt Powder; in which it appears that the Humidity is conserved in this Operation, otherwise the Labour would be in vain. From thence therefore, it is easily resolved into Mineral Water, which is the last and most certain Signe, that our Calcination has been true and Philosophical. For as soon as the heat begins to Operate, the Frigid and Humid, being Impatient thereof, goes to the top, from thence it melts and descends, and so reduceth it, as much as may be, to its own Similitude: Doing this daily until at last the whole be resolved into Fat, and as it were Glutinous Water: For so our Operations are Concatinated, that one is the Cause and beginning of another, neither can one be had or understood without another. But we, that we may instruct the Sons of Art more fully, and drive away the unworthy, as far as may be from this Art, do handle, as it were, divers Operations, when there is but one Recipe, one thing, one Regimen and successive Disposition to black, white and red, neither are we to be understood otherwise. Wherefore every one that will truly be a Philosopher, should regard the Sence, not the Letter of Writers in this Art.
But that we may come to our true Calcination, these things are to be considered that follow.
Firstly, that thou should get our Mercury, without which, nothing is done in this Art: See then that thou be not deceived in that Common Mercury, which is altogether unuseful to our Work, for if thou Work in it to thy Dying day, thou wil find nothing in it.
Secondly, thou must take Care, that the Fire of the Furnace be not too Intense, but let it be clibanically measured, which that thou maist fully understand, know, that the Sulphur which Predominated not in the Mercury or Water digests the Matter, which together with Azoth is abundantly sufficient for thee. Let not therefore, its Internal quality, confound the external form, then be not solicitous about the manner of making the Fire, only have a care that it be not too Gentle, for then thou wilt easily dispond for want of Heat, nor yet let it be over Violent, but of a Moderate degree, according to the Nature of the Bodies, and exclusive of Cold: Take these things on the other Hand, concerning the Internal and Natural Fire, I call that Internal which increaseth the Work in the End.
Thirdly, be careful of the quantity, that thou dost not put so much to be drunk by Laton, that he cannot afterwards Eate, for if thou shall put on too much, there will be a Sea of trouble, if too little, it will be burnt into Smoak; be not therefore Covetous or Prodigal, between the Extreams, keep a Mean. Therefore, in joining the Male with his Female, remember that it behoves the Activity of Sulphur, to Exsiccate the superfluous Humidity of Mercury, therefore do not drown the active with too much Crude Sperm, the Woman will also desire to Rule, therefore do not Choak the Humidity of thy Stone, with too much Earth, but with Discretion mix it sweetly, and according to the Exigence of Nature, lest the Virtue of the Stone be diminished; make therefore an Amalgama, not as the Goldsmith does, with four or five Parts of Water, but as the Philosophers do, with a double or treble to the last, but it is better, to take three to four, then one to two, since the solution will be better, because the Calcination, will be more Natural. Ripley Witnesseth with me, ‘That by how much the more Earth (says he) and less Water thou take, so much the better Solution shalt thou make'. In the first place therefore, beware that your Land be not overwhelmed with waters, because the Fire is hidden in the Earth, which will not Operate if there be too much Humid Superfluity: whence the Error will be Incorrigible, and the work vain.
Fourthly, Be careful of the closure of the Vessel, left the Spirits should fly out and the Work be destroyed. Keep therefore the Vessel and its Ligature, nor look upon this to be of little moment. Consider therefore Man, who as he is Generated by Nature, so also our Gold is Matured by Art helped by Nature: Therefore consider with how great care, Nature has shut the Womb of a pregnant woman, lest anything should either get in, or pass out; otherwise the Foetus would perish. With no less Industry be thou cautious in perfecting this Philosophical work, lest thy Labour be in vain. Hear therefore the Philosopher, saying, 'Take a vessel and Fire, strike it with a Sword, take the Life, this is the Closure': Hermes also says, ‘The Vessel of the Philosophers is their water, and know for certain, that the vessel of nature is only fit for us in this Art, which diligently is to be shut'. For in forming the Embrio, there are very great winds, which if they should vanish, we are undone; for the error is irreparable, whence the Damage is most certain.
The Work in the Fifth place is Patience, that thou don’t dispond or study to make the Solution too speedy, but firmly believe, that too much bast is the greatest Enemy to Conjunction, and hinders it: For the Body to be dissolved, Impertinently Rubifies, stirring up a Feaver, that is, a Fire against Nature, whence being struck as it were with the Hammer of Death, it becomes impertinently passive from active, and instead of black, it appears citrine, like a wild Poppy. But our true Calcination, conserves the Radical Humidity in the Body to be dissolved, and it is finished in no other colour but black, and becomes a discontinuous Calx, unctuous, fatt, and fit for fusion. Be therefore Patient, that thou maist obtain thy Desire, because you will have very much cause to Dispair. When therefore we speak of our Operations, do not think that we perfect them in one or two days, or see the colours or signes in the first hour, No verily; but we have expected much and long, till there was made an Agreement betwixt contrary qualities, wherefore Trevisan Teaches in his Practice, who was a Learned and good man in this Art, that he staid in Prison, that is, suspense of mind and Doubt, fourty days, but that he returned afterwards, and saw Clouds and Mists. Moreover if thou should put Grain into Good Land, thou shalt not look into the Earth, by moving it every hour, that you may see, whether, and how much it begins to increase, if you should do this, you could not expect a sweet vegetation, much less Fruit from thence. So foolsh and Insipid are they who as soon as ever they have joined the Dissolvent with the Dissolvend presently seek some signes of the Operation, nor can satisfie themselves, but they either move or open, or add, or detract something, or at least increase the Fire to accelerate the work, and so by this means hinder the work of Nature; and therefore do not attain the wished for Ends. Therefore attend to my Doctrine, as soon as thou hast prepared the Matter, that is, mature Sulphur yellow, with his Crude white Sulphur, and hast duely espoused them, shut them up in a vessel and let them stand without trouble: if thou rightly proceed, within twenty four Hours, thou shalt see thy Compound swelling, and perhaps sending forth some Bubbles, by reason of the Heat of thy Sea water, striving to excite the heat of the Included Matter; but in the first Entrance, thou shalt behold the variation of the colours slowly, (as at least it will seem to thee) because then the keeper of the Gate, necessarily sustains many Labours, because whatever is done, he alone then does it, because the Bath is not yet prepared, that is, the Natural heat of the King, is not yet stirred up. But when the Bath is made hot, our Housekeeper shall sustain but few Labours, and the operations will be easily to be distinguished. Therefore let the Sons of this Art know for certain, that the first colour that will appear, after the silver colour of the Amalgama of the Body will not be perfect black, for this colour does not come in a moment, but every day the more whiteness is diminished, the more blackness will supervene, until at last it be compleated. For blackness is a sign of a dissolved Body, which is not made in one hour, but by little and little, but Uncessantly: for the Tincture proceeding from the Reins of Sol and Luna, shews itself black to the Eyes, but is Extracted insensibly, and imperceptibly. Therefore, the coming of Blackness and the departure of the Tincture, out of the Bowels of the Dissolvend Body, is the same measure and term of time, because as soon as the Tincture is wholly gone out, so soon the blackness will be perfect and absolute. Concerning this, hear what Ludus Puerorum sayes, ‘First, by how much the more thou Decocts, so much the more thou subtilizeth the Gross, and blackens the Compound'. And Bernard Trevesan saith, ‘The Earth of the rest beginning to predominate, the blackness of the Element appears, but does not obtain his dominion but by little and little’. To finish in a word, there are only four Principle Colours, the first whereof is Blackness, and that most slow in coming, and longest in duration, which if it were made perfect by a momentary Ingress, the work would be most expeditious, for it should not perish more slowly then it came, and remain in the top of blackness for an hour: For there is no Interstitium in these Operations, but it Increaseth to the height of one Degree, at which it no sooner arrives, but Decreases again, therefore it ascends slowly to blackness, and descends slowly from it but there is not a Moment in which it doth not ascend or descend, for nothing resteth but in its End, but blackness is not the end of our Stone, ergo, etc. How then shall blackness appear? To wit even as night comes, for first the Twilight, at last Dark Night, and that by insensible Degrees, every moment there being less Light in the Air then another, until at last there be no Light at all, then it is deep Night, but all this is wont to be within an hour, yet the Motion is insensible: But our work because it requires a longer time, the motion must needs be more Imperceptible. Thou therefore that seekest this, consider the Example produced, and thou shalt have thy Answer.
Objection, But after the first Excitation of the Matter, the Tincture goes out every hour and moment, but the colour of the Tincture going out, is blackest blackness, therefore after the first stirring up of the Matter, blackest blackness will appear in an hour.
We Answer, the blackest blackness, is of the Tincture gone out, but not of the going out, or if so, yet it goes out Insensibly, but insensible blackness, although most black, when it goes into much white, will not manifest the blackest blackness in the whole Compound, but a whitish colour, but if to be the Subject of Whiteness, be not subtile and well depurated, even as this white is now, then its Tincture in its first Egress, is not compleatly Black, but it obtains this by a Putrefaction, which is not a bare Egress of the Tincture, but a Repugnance and Resistance from it, which ariseth between the outgoing Tincture, and the extracting Water, that is, between the Sulphur and Mercury. Concerning this thing hear the saying of Morienus, ‘Our operation is nothing else, but an Extracting of Water out of its Earth, nor that only, but a returning of the Water upon the Earth, unless the Earth putrefie'. Therefore the Tincture is not altogether black of it self, but most white, because by how much the more the Tincture goes out, which is the Soul, by so much the more the Earth which is the Body, is dispirited, and so it putrefies and Blackens.
How long time then, must we expect, before it be perfectly black? In this thing attend to what Flammel sayes, ‘The colour which thou ought first to see is blackness and that not every, but most black, and that within the space of Fourty dayes’: Also Ripley sayes, ‘Suffer the Commixt, and Coequated Natures, to lye together six Weeks, which time expect with a slow Fire’. When the Colours dye they will show it, for at that time they will Boyl like Liquid Pitch and will putrifie. And Bernard in his Parable says, ‘The King putting off his splendid Robes, gives the Silken ones to Saturn, being Cloathed in black, which he retains fourty dayes’. All this understand of blackness in its height, which is plain from the above-repeated words of Flammel, but a more remiss blackness, will appear sooner; so the Scala Philosophorum sayes, ‘Within sixteen dayes in the degree of Putrefaction, an easie Fire being kept, the matter will be continually Covered with blackness’. And this either later or sooner, according to the Ingenuity of the Operator, in Adapting the Matters.
But whether will intermedial Colours appear, in a Progress from white to black, as in the Progress from black to white? It seems so, because there is no transition from one extream to another, unless by Mediums: And we answer that they so appear, although indeed confusedly, and some in some Works will appear in a Progress to the height of blackness, which perhaps they are only accidental Colours: but not altogether the same, betwixt the first Whiteness and Blackness, which are between this, and ultimate Whiteness, because there is not the same Reason of Matter; in the former the thick Terrestrial Matter was to be burned and purified, but in this work the Matter is more spiritual and pure; therefore in a pure or Depurated Subject, in a Progress from the extremity of Whiteness, the Intermedial Colours will be much more clear and admirable, then those which appeared in an Earthly Subject. But in both progresses they will appear, in the former transition, between the Extreams, Obscurer, fewer and fouler; in the Latter, more, more shining and splendid, witness the Philosopher, ‘After the heighth of Blackness, before Whiteness, in the hour of Conjunction great Miracles will appear: For whatever Colours could be thought on in the whole World then will be conspicuous’. And Ripley sayes, ‘In our work colours will appear, then which never more fair appeared’. Also before perfect Blackness the intermedial Colours will show themselves, witness the Philosopher, who Painting the Colours will show themselves, witness the Philosophers, who Painting the Colours of the Dragons, saith ‘They are black, Yellow and Azure’, and these intermedial Colours says he, denote that thy Confections are not yet perfectly putrefied. In a Word, the various Colours in Dying, will appear more obscure, but thin and dew, and this before black Night obnubilate the whole Horizon. Put in rising again, very many and very Splendid ones will arise, because the Body now begins to be glorified, and the Light to predominate over the Darkness and this in a depurated, and spiritual Subject.
But in what order will these aforesaid Colours appear? This truly cannot be determined, because they are varied many ways, but the better the juice of the Water of Life shall be, the better the Signs shall appear. The order of the four Principle Colours is described by all, but no one can determine the order of the accidental ones, let it suffice thee if within fourty dayes, thou hast a compleat blackness, don’t mind other things much, but it is good to attend, for blackness is first Especially desirable, and tho others appear, unless thou seest this without doubt thou has ered. But as I said, other Colours are not to be Dispised, except the Venerial, or imperfect Red, which if it appear before blackness, is to be suspected, especially when the siccity of the Copound, and Discontinuity of the parts accompany it, I say this Precipitation is a fatal Index to the Operator of his lost time.
This same thing the Philosopher witnesses, saying, ‘A vehement Fire hinders Conjunction, and tinges white, with the color of the wild Poppy'. And Flammel in his Hieroglyphical Figures, sayes, ‘Unless thou behold, the blackest black of black whatever colour thou seest, thou art in the way of Error: But especially a reddish colour is to be suspected, for if thou seest that, thou has burned, or art burning the lively virtue of the Stone’.
But I must stay no longer in these things, since one Water does all this, so that the Internal Compound, continually be ruled, with External heat; neither is there any thing, in the whole Work more Wonderful, then this our Water, which I have fully Described above, to which place I send thee back.
And the Dissolution of our Stone, is the Reduction of it into its first matter, the Manifestation of the Humid, and the Extraction of Natures from their Profundity, which is finished by bringing them into a Mineral Water.
This Operation is of no Light Work or Moment, for how hard it is, those that have toiled in it can attest.
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Works of Nicolas Flamel
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Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum
Emerald tablet of Hermes
Texts from Musaeum Hermeticum
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