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John Reid's Course on Practical Alchemy - I. Chapter 4.

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Chapter 4.
The Firmament

"And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night: and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." Genesis 1:14 I am not going to try to teach astro-cyclic pulsations here (a.k.a. astrology). What will be attempted in as short a form as possible is to give the salient points about this subject, so that one can use the information in the production of alchemical products. Anyone not familiar with the production of a horoscope will have to teach themselves this subject. There are many fine books out from which to learn. Astro-cyclic pulsations is a term coined by the late Frater Albertus. He contended that the universe and all things within it moved, grew, and evolved in a cyclic fashion. The energies that helped to shape human history--be they material, immaterial, or a combination of the two--repeat or manifest themselves in regular cyclic fashion. I am not saying, nor do I think Albertus meant, that you can tell a person's exact future. There are too many variables that come into play for this to be done, the greatest of which is the free will of the individual(s) in question. What can be done, though, is a correlation of past events to the energies emitted by the star groups and planets at the time, while considering their positions and angles to one another. By comparing the energy patterns and events of the past to the energy patterns of present and future times, one can extrapolate that similar events in human history will manifest themselves. It is strongly suggested to the reader unfamiliar with Albertus's work to read the titles listed in the suggested readings section. Albertus used cyclic charts to show the energy patterns that ranged over thousands of years down to days, hours, and minutes. For our purposes, we will look at daily and hourly cycles. All astro-cyclic pulsation charts can be expressed in two manners. The seven or twelve phase cycles. The seven phase cycle deals with the spiritual/mental influences upon terrestrial organisms as revealed by the seven planetary intelligence's of the ancients. It of course is a well-known fact there are more than just seven planets in our solar system. Astronomers say there are nine of them, while Albertus claims there are three more planets yet to be discovered. For the sake of simplicity, we will confine our presentation to the seven planets of the ancients. It takes very little math to establish which planetary intelligence(s) is operative in any given hour of any day of the week. This is because each day of our week is ruled by one of the seven planets of the ancients. Moreover, each day can be subdivided into seven separate periods. So that each period of the day is ruled by the planet ruling that day with a little tingeing influence placed upon it by its co-ruler for that period. The following sequence of planets, days and numbers is the one agreed upon and used by most of the alchemists that I know. Table1 shows the planet, weekday, and quabbalistic number. Table 2 shows the seven time intervals, the seven period letters, and quabbalistic number. Table 3 shows the primary relationships of the planets.
                    Table 1

PLANET              WEEKDAY                 Q.B.L No. 
Sun                 Sunday                  6
Moon                Monday                  9
Mars                Tuesday                 5
Mercury             Wednesday               8
Jupiter             Thursday                4
Venus               Friday                  7
Saturn              Saturday                3

                              Table 2

TIME INTERVAL               PERIOD        Q.B.L No.
Midnight-3:26 a.m.          F             -1
3:26 a.m.- 6:51 a.m.        G             0
6:51 a.m.- 10:17 a.m.       A             1
10:17 a.m. - 1:43 p.m.      B             2
1:43 p.m. - 5:09 p.m.       C             3
5:09 p.m. - 8:34 p.m.       D             4
8:34 p.m. - Midnight        E             5

                   Table 3

                       SIN          VIRTUE 

Sun        Gold        Pride        Humility            Heart
Moon       Silver      Lust         Substantiality      Brain
Mars       Iron        Anger        Meekness            Gall
Mercury    Mercury     Envy         Benevolence         Lungs
Jupiter    Tin         Cunning      Wisdom              Liver
Venus      Copper      Lewdness     Chastity            Generative organs
Saturn     Lead        Avarice      Charity             Spleen

Let us now look at a few examples of how to use these charts. Suppose it is Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and you want to know what planetary influence prevails. The answer is arrived at by adding the Q.B.L.number of Sunday (6) in table 1 to the Q.B.L. number of the time period we are concerned with found in table 2. Eight a.m. is in time period A, and its Q.B.L. number is 1, and 6 + 1 = 7. This tells us that during this time on Sunday, the qualities of the Venetian intelligence is tingeing those of the solar intelligence. Suppose we were to look at our watch at 9:00 p.m. on a Tuesday and we wanted to know the planetary influence for that time. We would first go to table 1 and see that the Q.B.L number for Tuesday is 5. Table 2 would tell us that 9:00 p.m. is in period E and its Q.B.L. number is that of 5, and 5 + 5 = 10. There is a problem here because to arrive at a planetary influence we have to end up with a number between 3 and 9. This problem is solved by subtracting 7 whenever the sum is higher than 9. Therefore, 5 + 5 = 10 and 10 - 7 = 3; so Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. is under the tingeing influence of Saturn. Now suppose that we wanted to make a solar tincture out of the herb rosemary. The effects that rosemary has on the physical body are: (1) rise in the blood pressure, with better circulation resulting: ( 2) a stimulation and promotion of liver functions. Table 3 tells us that these physical functions, with their corresponding spiritual ones, come under the domain of the Sun and Jupiter respectively. Therefore, we would want to start our tincture on a Sunday while the tingeing influence of Jupiter was present. More specifically on Sunday between 10:17 a.m. and 1:43 p.m. One also should keep in mind there are two poles to every cycle. Therefore, the first half of the time period in question would represent the negative pole or cardinal sins of pride and cunning. While the second half would represent the positive polarity or cardinal virtues of humility and wisdom. One should be careful, though, of imposing labels onto things, as there is no good or evil in the universe only the lawful actions of creation. Some pride and cunning are as important in the human condition as are humility and wisdom. It is only going to the extreme of either pole that is unlawful and morbid. Balance in all things is the key. The key to being able to tell what is lacking or in excess of one or another's spiritual constitution is in astrology. Now let us move onto the twelve phase cycle. The twelve phase cycle has its manifestation in the material realm of all terrestrial organisms, as revealed by the influences of the twelve signs of the zodiac. For the purpose of this book we will confine ourselves to the investigation and use of the daily twelve phase cycle. Everyone who has studied a little astrology knows that every twenty seven to twenty eight days the moon passes through the twelve constellations. The moon acts as a reflector of the energy of the sun, planets, and constellations to our earth. By following certain laws as the moon passes through her phases and by taking into consideration the relation of those phases to the seven cycle, the alchemist can do some pretty amazing things in the manipulation of matter. The following is a review of some basic correspondences of astrological signs to alchemical elements, material manifestations, ruling planets, polarities etc. Table 4 Shows the correspondence to the seven ruling planets of the ancients to zodiacal signs and associated alchemical work when the moon is in that particular sign.
                             Table 4

POLARITY     SIGN            ELEMENT                          WORK             PHASE

Mars +       Aries           Fire            Cardinal         Digestion        NM
Venus -      Taurus          Earth           Fixed            Fixation         1QTR
Mercury +    Gemini          Air             Mutable          Distillation     FULL
Moon +/-     Cancer          Water           Cardinal         Separation       3QTR
Sun +/-      Leo             Fire            Fixed            Calcination      NM
Mercury -    Virgo           Earth           Mutable          Congelation      1QTR
Venus +      Libra           Air             Cardinal         Sublimation      FULL
Mars -       Scorpio         Water           Fixed            Dissolution      3QTR
Jupiter +    Sagittarius     Fire            Mutable          Incineration     NM
Saturn -     Capricorn       Earth           Cardinal         Fermentation     1QTR
Saturn +     Aquarius        Air             Fixed            Multiplying      FULL
Jupiter -    Pisces          Water           Mutable          Projection       3QTR

Table 5 shows the correlation of one 30 degree sign to its 3 subdivisions of 10 degrees each known as decans and the decans to their 4 subdivisions of 2.5 degrees each known as dwadashamsas.
                                  Table 5


1-10 degrees                     11-20 degrees                    21-30 degrees

Aries                             Leo                             Sagittarius


Aries   0.0 - 2.5dg               Leo     10.1 - 12.5              Sagittarius  20.1 - 22.5
Taurus  2.6 - 5.0dg               Virgo   12.6 - 15.0              Capricorn    22.6 - 25.0
Gemini  5.1 - 7.5dg               Libra   15.1 - 17.5              Aquarius     25.1 - 27.5
Cancer  7.6 - 10 dg               Scorpio 17.6 - 20.0              Pisces       27.6 - 30.0

This setup works for any of the signs of the zodiac. Table 4 gives us the key to work with. First each decan of ten degrees always belongs to the same elemental triplicity wherein it is found. The first decan of a sign always begins with the sign itself. Therefore, the first decan of the sign Aries is Aries. The first decan for Virgo would of course be Virgo. Second the order of placement for the decans always follows the natural progression of the same element in the zodiac starting from the sign ruling the 30 degrees in question. Therefore with Aries, Leo, the second fire sign follows it and Leo is in turn followed by Sagittarius. If we were dealing with the 30 degrees of the zodiac ruled by Leo the progression would be: Leo, Sagittarius, and Aries. If Virgo, an earth sign, were the ruler the progression would be Virgo, Capricorn, and Taurus. Finally, there are twelve dwadashamsas in each 30-degree sign of the zodiac. The first dwadashamsa always begins with the same sign found in its decan. Thus, the first dwadashamsa of the first decan of Aries is Aries. The first dwadashamsa of the second decan of Aries is Leo. The third dwadashamsa of the third decan of Aries is Sagittarius. The placement of the remaining three dwadashamsaa after the first dwadashamsa of each decan follows the natural progression of the zodiac as laid out in table 4.

When using these tables one need not necessarily correlate their actions with that of a traditional horoscope. For our purposes here we are concerned more with the

seven-phase cycle as it applies to the day and hours and the twelve-phase cycle as it applies to the moon. The basic guidelines I use for these tables are as follows.

1) The hour that an operation takes place has precedence over all things. This is because every action, deed, etc., carried out on the material plane must first be preceded by a thought. To phrase it better an active engaging of willpower is necessary to mold and shape the subtle etheric energy of the universe. Hence, you should strive to start any of your operations on the day and hour when the planet ruling your matter has total supremacy.

1a) If this cannot be done because the moon has not entered her proper sign or phase at the hour you have chosen, or for some other astrological reason, then chose either another hour of the day in which your planet rules. An hour of another day in which your planet is a co-ruler. Keeping in mind the polarity of the planets to one another, as well as whether or not you are in a positive or negative phase of that time period.

2) The moon is the reflector of cosmic energies from our sun and the other planets to our earth. Hence, she must be in the proper phase so taht her form corresponds to the type of energy she is transmitting.

3) The moon's position in the sky is important. Ideally, she should be in the sign that corresponds with the alchemical work you are trying to accomplish: for digestion the moon should be in Aries, for sublimation, in Libra, etc. One should also avoid elevation operations such as sublimation and distillation when the dragons tail is shown, i.e., when the moon is in the south node.

3a) If the moon is not be in the appropriate sign for the work, then she should be in one of its decans, i.e., in a zodiacal sign that has the same alchemical element as the work to be undertaken. You will then have to compute when the moon enters the ten degrees of the particular sign that corresponds to the decan ruled by the work. For example, you want to begin a digestion and the moon is in its first quarter but she resides in Leo. To begin a digestion you would have to wait until the moon traveled to the third decan of Leo, ruled by Aries. This would correspond to any degree between twentyone degrees and thirty degrees Leo.

4) If you wish to use an exact horoscope for the work, then the time used for the chart's construction should come from rule 1 or 1a. The following rules should be used in this order:

a) The sign ruled by the planet should be in the first house. The planet ruling the sign should be on the cusp of the ascendant.

b) If (4a) is not possible then the planet and sign ruling the matter should be in the tenth house and as close as possible to the midheaven.

c) If (4b) is not possible then the planet ruling the matter should be in the tenth house as close as possible to the midheaven, with the sign that it rules in the first house.

d) If (4c) is not possible then the planet ruling the matter should be placed in the sign of its exaltation. This sign should occupy the first house with the planet as close to the ascendant as possible. The planet ruling the sign of exaltation should occupy the tenth house. With the planet as close to the midheaven as possible, avoiding any bad aspects to the ascendant.

e) If (4d) is not possible then the planet ruling the matter should be placed in a sign that has the same alchemical element as the sign ruled by the planet ruling the matter. The planet and sign should be placed in the first or tenth houses, with the planet as close to the ascendant or midheaven as possible. In the latter case always avoid bad aspects between the midheaven and ascendant.

f) If (4e) is not possible then your planet should be located in a sign which occupies a house that is favorable to it. It should have no bad aspects to the ascending degree or the midheaven. It should also have no bad aspects to the planets ruling the ascendant and midheaven.

g) Avoid any bad aspects especially those to Saturn.

h) Favorable aspects to the sun and moon are to be cultivated.

i) Worry only about those aspects that affect the work, i.e., between the planet ruling the matter; the sign ruled by the planet that rules the matter. Aspects between these two to the ascendant, midheaven, sun, and moon.