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A Treatise of Florianus Raudorff

Transcribed by Gleb Butuzov from Five Treatises of the Philosophers Stone, London, 1652.

A Treatise of Florianus Raudorff
Of the Stone, or Mercury of the Philosophers.

In the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
A short Declaration of the Great Matter.

Chap. 1. Know you, that our Medicine is made of three things, viz. of a body, soul and spirit. There are two bodies, viz. Luna and Sol. Sol is a tincture, wherewith imperfect bodies are tinged into Sol, and Luna tinges Luna: for Nature produces or brings forth only its like: as a man a man, a horse begets a horse, etc. Proved by Examples.
We told and named it with names, namely the bodies that serve to our work, which of some are called Ferment: for as a little leaven leaves the whole mass, so Luna and Sol turn Mercury as their meal, into their nature and virtue.

Chap. 2. You may say, if Luna and Sol have a prefixed tincture, why do they not tinge imperfect metals? Answer: A babe though born a man, does not man’s actions: it must first be nourished and bred to an age: so it is with metals also; they cannot show their operation, unless they be first reduced from their grossness to a spirituality, nourished and fed in their tinctures, through heat and moistness. For the spirit is of the same matter and nature with our medicine; for we say, our medicine is of fire, Nature, and much subtler, but of themselves they cannot be subtle nor simple, for they must be helped with subtle penetrating things.
Note, earth of itself may not be subtle, but must be made subtle, through moist water, which is dissolving, and makes an ingress for Sol, that thee may penetrate the earth, and with her heat she makes the earth subtle, and in that way the earth must be made subtle, so long till it be as subtle as spirit, which then is the Mercury, more dissolving than common water, to dissolve the said metals, and that through he heat of fire, to penetrate and subtilate the metals.

Chap. 3. If you ask, why is Mercury called a better spirit than others, as they are sulphur, orpiment, arsenici, sal armeniac, all these are called spirits also: for being set into the fire, they are carried away, and we know not what is become of them; but this Mercury is much subtler and clearer or penetrative, than the other, and metals are turned in it, but the others burn them, and destroy them, make metals grosser than they were.

Chap. 4. But Mercury is of so much a subtle nature, that he turns metals into simples, as himself is, and draws them unto him.
Note, no metal may be turned by any of the other four spirits, for if you put any of them to our mettle, it turns to ashes or earth; but if you do it to Mercury, it will be impalpable, therefore it is called argent vive.

Chap. 5. We take nothing else to subtilise metals, or make them penetrative, nor to tinge other metals; some call it argent vive, or a water, an acetum, a poison, because it destroys imperfect bodies, and divides into several members or forms, as you shall hear, and is called by several names.

Chap. 6. You may say, we do not speak true, that our medicine is made of two things, of body and of spirit; it is right said, that all metals have one root and original.

Chap. 7. Why can it not be made of two compounded together? Answer, 1) They may be made all these together. 2) They must be reduced into a Mercury, which would fall difficult by reason of mans life; therefore we take the next matter, which are the two above said things, viz. the body and spirit: Some Philosophers say in their Books, our medicine is made out of four things, and it is so, for in metals and their spirits are the four Elements; and others say true also, saying, metals must be turned into argent vive: Herein many learned and wise men do err, and lose themselves in this path.

Chap. 8. Having spoken of the matter, of which our medicine is made or joined, or generated; now we will speak of the form of the Vessels, in which it is made.

Chap. 9. Form of the Vessel. It is requisite that the Vessel be likened to the firmament, which encloses and encompasses all. For our medicine is nothing else but a change of Elements one into another, which is done by the motion of the firmament; and so it must needs be round and circular.

Chap. 10. We must speak also of the other or second Vessel, and that also must be round; and must be less than outward Vessel; two hand-breadth high, called Cucurbite containing; on the Cucurbite you set an Alimbeck, through which the vapours ascend to the nose of the Alimbeck, which must be well luted: The Lute is made with meal, sifted ashes, white of an Egg, etc., or one part of meal, one part of calx vive, tempered with the white of the Eggs, which you must lute with a will quickly; lute is well, that no spirits may get away; which if you lose any of them, will prejudice your Work mainly; therefore be cautious.

Chap. 11. Form of the Oven. This Oven must be round four hands high, and two broad, and one in thickness, to keep in the heat the better. Having spoken of the form of the Vessel and Oven: now we will declare how our medicine is generated and nourished.

Chap. 12. How the matter is extracted, and cherished. We say that our matter is generated through the heat of fire, and through the vapour of the water, and also of Mercury, and is nourished in this manner: and to bring this matter into a just comparison, it is requisite to prick up your ears, and to open your reason and understanding, that we may be better understand the following Chapters.

Chap. 13. First we will show the order of the work in the following Chapters.
1. The first is called Dissolution. 2. Separation. 3. Sublimation. 4. Fixation, or Congelation. 5. Calcination. 6. Ingression.

Chap. 14. What is Dissolution? Is the turning of a dry thing into a wet one; and you must know, that dissolution belongs only unto bodies, as to Sol and Luna, which serve for our Art: for a spirit needs not to be dissolved, being a liquid thing of itself, but metals are gross and dry, and of a gross nature; therefore they must be made more subtle; the reasons why they must be subtilised.

Chap. 15. The first is, our medicine must need be subtle, and metals cannot be made subtle unless through dissolution, being reduced into a water, and ascend through the Alimbeck, to be turned to water and spirit, as you shall hear. When it is come to that, that all is ascended, and nothing stayed behind: and the feces are reserved for a further use, as you shall hear hereafter.

Chap. 16. The second reaction: the body and spirit must be made indivisible, and be one; for no gross thing mingles with the spirit, unless the gross matter be reduced to a subtlety, as into Argent vive; then the one embraces the other inseparably. For if Argent vive perceives a thing like to itself, then it rejoices, and the dissolved body embraces the spirit, and suffers him not to fly away, and makes it durable for the fire, and the spirit rejoices, because he has found his fellow: therefore the one must be like the other, and are of one nature.

Chap. 17. Of Dissolution, how to make it. We take leave of Sol and Luna, thinly beaten, very pure, which we put into a good deal of Mercury, which is made pure also: then we put one after the other into Mercury, in a pot, in a heat not too hot, that the Mercury fume not; when we see that no gross thing is in it, and is melted or streams together, then you wrought well: but if there be any feces, or settlement, then you must add more Mercury to it, and do as you did formerly: and this is the first sign of dissolution, that all be streamy.

Chap. 18. The Prosecution of this Matter. We take all the matter thus dissolved, and set in Balneo Mariae; continue the fire for a overnight, then let it cool: take the matter, press it through a cloth, or skin; if all goes through, then it is well; if not, begin again in the vessel with more Mercury, so long till it be dissolved: the dissolution in Summer is better, than in Winter, yet it matters not much.

Chap. 19. Separation, is a dividing of a thing into its members, and a separation of the pure from the impure: we take our dissolved matter, and put it into the smaller vessel, which stands in the crucible, set the Alimbecke upon, well luted, and set it in ashes; we make a continued fire for a overnight, one part of the spirit sublimes, which we call the spirit of water, and is the subtlest part; on the other part which is not yet subtle, sticks about the cucurbite, and some of it is fallen to the bottom, which we call the air, and this part we take warm and moist, and the third part remaining in the inner vessel, is yet a grosser matter, which stays in the bottom; each of these parts we put into a vessel apart, but the third matter we put more Mercury to, and proceed as formerly, and always each reserved apart, and thus you must proceed: in the inner vessel nothing remains but a black powder, which we call the black earth, which is dregs of the metals, which are an obstruction, why metals cannot be united with the spirit; this powder is of no use.

Chap. 20. Allegation, or Proof. You may, whereas you have separated the four Elements, from the metals, or divided them, and what is the fire then, which is the one of the four Elements also?

Chap. 21. Answer: We say, that fire and air is one nature, which are come open together, and mixed together, and the one is turned to the other: but it were hard to be understood, if you should not be instructed, that the dividing of the Elements is brought to that, that they have their natural operation, as in the whole, so in the parts.

Chap. 22. We call that air, which remained in the bigger vessel, because it is more hot than moist, cold, or dry: the same you must understand also of the other Elements: if they be not sought in particular, they cannot properly be understood, but are left thus.
Hence Plato says, we turned the moist into a dryness, and the dry thing we made moist, and turned the body into water and air.

Chap. 23. We say, that sublimation is arising from below upward, as we see the vapours which fall on the ground and in the water, are exhaled again by heat of the sun, and the gross matter lies still below, as we have said at the changing of the Elements: thus the matter must be subtiliated, which is not subtle enough, all which must be done through heat and moistness, namely through fire and water.

Chap. 24. Prosecution of the matter. Know that we must take the thing, which remained in the greater vessel, and put the same to other fresh Mercury, that it be well dissolved and subtilised; then we left it in Balneum Mariae for three days, as formerly: but we mention not the quantity of Mercury, only we leave it to your discretion, as much as you have need, that you make it fusible, and it be clear like a spirit: and note, that you take not too much of the Mercury, that it be not a sea: than we set it again into subliming, as you did formerly, do it so often, till you have brought it all through the Alimbecke, then it is very subtle, and one thing, clear, pure and fusible: then we put it again into the inner vessel, and let it go once more through the Alimbeck, and see whether any thing be left behind, to the same more Mercury must be added, till it become all one thing, and yields no more sediment, and be separated from all its impurity and superfluity.

Chap. 25. Declaration. I tell you, that we have made out of two, viz. of body and spirit, one only thing, as a spirit, which is light, and the body is heavy, the spirit quickly and easily flies upwards; but our work is, that the body, which was fixed is now become volatile, and rises upward, the which is against his nature: Thus we have made a spirit out of the body, and a body our of the spirit, one only thing.

Chap. 26. Of Fixation, and Congelation. Having made a spirit out of the body, which is a thing volatile: now is it requisite to be made fix, holding in the fire: for we turned the spirit into a body, viz. we turned the dry into a moistness, and the moistness into a dryness: now we must make it a thing fixed: and again to turn the spirit into a body, and that which formerly rose up, to stay below: and thus have we done according to the sayings of Philosophers, reducing each Element into its contrary, then you will find what you seek after: namely, make the liquid thing dry, and the dry thing to be liquid, out of a fix a volatile, and the volatile to be fix: and this can be done only through Congelation; therefore we will turn the spirit into a body.

Chap. 27. Coagulation, and Fixation. How is it done? We take a little of the ferment, which is made of our medicine, be it either Luna or Sol: and take but a little: as if you have 100 {Fb} of the medicine, take but 10 {Fb} of the ferment, which must be foliated; and this ferment we amalgamise with the matter which you had before pepared, the same we put into a glass Violl with a long neck, and set it in a pot of ashes: all which being set in the fit place: then to the above said ferment 2 or 3 fingers, of the spirit, which is gone through the Alimbeck, then we put a good fire to it for three days, then the dissolved body finds its like, then they embrace each other, each keeps to its like: then the gross ferment holds with the subtle ferment, attracts the same, will not let it go, and the dissolved body, which is now subtle, keeps the spirit, for they are of an equal subtlety, like one to another, are become one thing, and the fire never may separate them; therefore is it requisite through this means to make the one like the other, and thus the firmament, a biding place of the subtle body, and the subtle body a staying place for the spirit, that it may not fly away: then we make fire for a overnight, more or less, yet so long till we see that our matter is congealed. The time of this congelation is either prolonged or shortened, according to the vessels or Ovens condition, and of the fires either continuance, or discontinuing.

Chap. 28. A further proceeding in this matter. When you see that this matter is coagulated, then put of the above said matter so much to it, that it be two or three fingers high over it, as you know how it must be done, and put the fire to it as you did formerly, till it be congealed also, and proceed so long in it till all the matter be congealed. And know that Philosophers for the generality have concealed the Congelation in their books, and none of them (as far as we can find) have disclosed it, only Laricalix, who has composed it into so many Chapters, and produced it in the German tongue, without any alteration, which he revealed unto me without any reservation or deceit.

Chap. 29. Calcination. Having treated of Congelation, and Fixation, now we come to the Calcination. We take the known matter, and put it into a Urinall, and set a head upon it, luting it well, set it in the Oven of ashes, make a continued great fire for a overnight, then that which is not fix rises into the Alimbeck, which we call Hermes his bird, and that which remains in the bottom of the glass, is like ashes, or sifted earth, called the Philosophers’ Earth, out of which they make their foundation, and out of it they make their increase or augmentation, through heat and moistness: this earth is composed of four Elements, but are not contrary one to another, for their contrariety is changed or reduced to an agreement unto an uniform nature: then we take the moist part, reserve it apart for a further use, which afterwards must be put to it, as you shall hear. We take this earth of ashes, which is a very fixed thing, and put it into a strong earthen pot, unto which we lute its lid, and set it in a calcining Oven, that the fire may beat on it above and below, and that fire we continue for three days, so that the pot is always red hot, we make of a stone a white calx, and the things which are of water and earth-nature, are of fire’s nature; for every calx is of a fire’s nature, which is hot and dry.

Chap. 30. Sublimation of the four Elements into the fifth essence. We have spoken of Calcination, in which we have brought things to the highest subtlety, namely, to fire’s nature: now we must further subtilate the four Elements: we take a little quantity of this Calx, viz. if we have 100 pounds, we keep no more than the fourth part, the other we set into dissolution, with a good deal of fresh mercury, even as we had done formerly, and so follow from Chapter to Chapter; from time to time, as formerly has been proceeded in.

Chap. 31. Changing Fire into Water. Now my dearest, that you may change the fix into a volatile thing, that is Fire into Water; know that that which was of fire’s nature, is now become the nature of water, and that which was fix now become volatile, and being made very subtle; then we take 1 p. of this water, and put it into the reserved Calx, and we add as much of the water unto, that it go over it two or three fingers breadth over the Calx, then we put fire under for three days long, thus it congeals sooner than at first; for Calx is hot and dry, and sucks in the humidity greedily; this Congelation must be continued till it be quite congealed: afterward we calcine it as formerly; being quite calcined, it is called the quintessence, because it is of a more subtle nature than Fire, and because of the transmutation formerly made.

Chap. 32. The Philosophers’ Examples. All this being done, then our medicine is finished, and nothing but the ingression is wanting, that the matter may have an ingress into imperfect metals.
Plato, and many other Philosophers, begun this work again with dissolving, subliming, or subtiliating, congealing, calcining, as at first, and that medicine which we call a ferment, transmutes Mercury into its nature, in which it is dissolved and sublimed; Philosophers say, our medicine transmutes infinitely imperfect metals; and say that he which attains once to the perfection of it, has no more need of it, to make any more; but they speak it mystically in their expressions.

Chap. 33. How our medicine transmutes metals into Sol and Luna. Knowing that our medicine converts imperfect metals into Sol and Luna, according to the nature and form of the matter, out of which it is made; therefore know, that we now at second time say, that this our medicine is of that nature, that it transmutes, converts, divides asunder like fire, and is of a more subtle nature than fire, for it is of a nature the quitessences, as we said before, therefore it converts Mercury into its nature, seeing our medicine is of a converting nature, as our body converts Mercury into its nature, which is an imperfect body or metal, and the grossness of metal it turns into ashes or powder; therefore our medicine is of a dividing, separating nature, as you see the fire does not turn all the world into its nature, but only that which is of his nature, and the rest it turns to ashes.

Chap. 34. Reason why a Spirit is made of a Body. We showed by real reason, how a body is turned into a spirit, and again a spirit is turned into a body, viz. out of a fixed this is made a volatile, and of a volatile and fixed thing; the earth is turned to water and air, and the air into fire, and the fire to an earth, the earth into fire, and the fire is turned to air, and the air is turned into water, and the water is become an earth. Now the earth which was of fire’s nature, is brought to the nature of quintessence. Thus we have spoken of all the ways of transmuting, performed through heat and moistness, and have made out of dry, a moist thing, and out of the moist a dry one; otherwise natures, which are of several motions, and of several mansions, could not be brought to one uniform thing, if one should be turned in the other’s nature.

Chap. 35. Accomplishment of Philosophers’ sayings. We having brought the matter to the abovesaid points, then have we done, and wrought according to the Philosophers’ sayings, when they say in their Books: Rising from the Earth into Heaven, and coming down from Heaven into the Earth; to that sense, to make the body which is of earth, into a spirit, which is a subtle thing in its nature, ad then to reduce the spirit into a body, which is a gross low thing, changing one Element into another, as earth into water, water into air, air into fire; then fire is turned into water, and water into fire, and that into a more subtle nature and quintessence. Having thus done, then are you come to the glory of the world: be dutiful to God, remember the poor.

Chap. 36. Ingression. Take quick Sulphur, melt it in an earthen vessel, well glazed, being melted, pour it forth into a Lie made of Calx vive, and willow ashes: let all these boil in a kettle gently, an oil swims on the top, which take and keep, having enough of it, we mingle it with sand; distill it through the Alimbeck, so long till it become incombustible: with this oil we imbibe our medicine, which will be like soap, than we distill by the Alimbeck, and receive the fumes, which come over, and put it on again three or four times, if it has not enough, then put more of this Oil to it, being thus imbibed, then put fire under, that the humors may come away, and the medicine be firm and subtle on the body of the glass. Then we take Avis Hermetis, which we reserved formerly, and put it to it by degrees, till all be made fix.

Chap. 37. Laus Deo. According to Avicen, it is impossible to convert metals, unless they be reduced to their first matter. But by Arts help they are converted into other metal: we know, that Artists do like Physicians, purging first the corrupted matter, which is obstructive to man’s health, then Cordials are ministered, which restore health: so good Artists must proceed in like manner by converting of metals: first Mercury and Sulphur in metals are purged, whereby they frighten the heavenly elemental parts in them, according to their desired preparation of metals: then nature works further and not Art, but instrumentally helps, and then is seen that she really makes Sol and Luna. For as the heavenly elemental virtues work in natural vessels, even so do the Artificial, being made uniform, and as nature works through the heat of fire and stars, the same Art effects by fire, if temperate and not excessive, for the moving virtue in the matter; for the heavenly virtue in it, mingled at first, inclinable to this or that, is furthered by Art; heavenly virtues are communicative to their subjects, as is seen in natural created things, chiefly in things generated by putrefaction, where the astral influences are apparent, according to matter’s capacity. Artists do imitate herein, destroying one form or another; and this proceeding are best, when they are according unto nature: as by purging the Sulphur by digesting, subliming, and purging Mercury vive, by an exact mixture with the mineral matter, and thus out of their virtues every metal form is produced.
The virtue of the converting Element must be predominant, and the parts of it must appear in the Element converted: and being thus mingled with the Elementated thing, then that Element will have that matter, which made it an Element, and has the virtue of the other vert Element. This is the great mystery in this Art.

Scito quod ejus principium est, sicut finis.

F I N I S.