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Ripley's Third Gate

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SEPARATION - THE THIRD GATE

Separation does each part from the other divide,
The subtle from the gross, the thick from the thin,
But look you set aside manual Separation,
For that pertains to fools that little good do win,
But in our Separation Nature does not cease,
Making division of qualities elemental,
Into a fifth degree till they be turned all.

Earth is turned into water black and blue,
And water after into air under very white,
Then air into fire, elements there be no more,
Of these is made our stone of great delight,
But of this Separation much more must we write,
And Separation is called by Philosophers definition,
Tetraptative dispersion of the said four elements.

Of this Separation I find a like figure,
Spoken by the prophet in the psalmody,
God brought out of a stone a flood of water pure,
And out of the hardest rock oil abundantly,
So out of our precious stone if you be wise,
Oil incombustible and water you shall draw,
And thereabouts you need not at the coals to blow.

Do this with heat easy and nourishing,
First with moist fire and after that with dry,
Drawing out the phlegm with patience,
And after that the other Natures wisely,
Dry up thine earth till it be thirsty,
By Calcination, else you labour in vain,
And then make it drink up the moisture again.

Thus you must oftentimes make Separation,
Dividing your waters into two parts,
So that the subtle from the gross you take,
Till the earth remain below in colour blue,
That earth is fixed to abide all woe,
The other part is spiritual and flying,
But you must turn them all into one thing.

Then oil and water with water shall distil,
And through its help receive moving,
Keep well these two that you not spoil,
Your work for lack of due closing,
And make your stopple of glass,
Melting the top of your vessel together with it,
Then Philosopher-like it is shut up.

The water wherewith you may revive the stone,
Look you distil before you work with it,
Oftentimes by itself alone,
And by this sight you shall well know,
When it is quit from feculent faeces,
For some men can it with Saturn multiply,
And other substances which we defy.

Distil it therefore till it be clean,
And thin like water as it should be,
As heaven in colour bright and shine,
Keeping both figure and ponderosity,
Therewith did Hermes moisten his tree,
Within his glass he made it grow upright,
With flowers coloured beautiful to sight.

This water is like to the venomous Tyre,
Wherewith the mighty miracle is wrought,
For it is a poison most strong of ire,
A stronger poison cannot be thought,
At apothecaries therefore it is often sought,
But no man shall be intoxicated by it,
From the time it is elixerated into medicine.

For then it is the miracle true,
It is of poison most expulsive,
And in its workings does marvels show,
Preserving many from death to life,
But look you meddle it with no corrosive,
But choose it pure and quick running,
If thou thereby will have winning.

It is a marvellous thing in kind,
And without it nothing can be done,
Therefore did Hermes call it his wind,
For it flies up from Sun and Moon,
And makes our stone to fly with it soon,
Reviving the dead and giving life,
To Sun and Moon, husband and wife.

Which if they were not by craft made quick,
And their fatness with water drawn out,
So the thin was severed from the thick,
You should never bring this work about,
If you will speed therefore without doubt,
Raise up the birds out of their nest,
And after again bring them to rest.

Water with water will accord and ascend,
And spirit with spirit, for they be of one kind,
Which after they be exalted make to descend,
So shall you divide that which Nature formerly did bind,
Mercury essential turning into wind,
Without which natural and subtle Separation,
May never complete profitable generation.

Now to help you in at this gate,
The last secret I will tell to you,
Your water must be sublimated seven times,
Else no kindly Dissolution shall be,
And you shall not see putrefying,
Like liquid pitch, nor colours appearing,
For lack of fire working within your glass.

There are four fires which you must understand,
Natural, unnatural, against Nature also,
And elemental which does burn the brand.
These four fires we use and no more,
Fire against nature must do your bodily woe,
This is our Dragon as I you tell,
Fiercely burning as the fire of hell.

Fire of nature is the third menstrual,
That fire is natural in each thing,
But fire occasional, we call unnatural,
As heat of ashes, and baths for putrefying,
Without these fires you may nought bring to Putrefaction,
For to be separate,
Your matters together proportionate.

Therefore make fire within your glass,
Which burns the body more than fire Elemental,
If you will win our secrets,
According to your desire.
Then shall your seeds both rot and spire,
By help of fire occasional,
That kindly after they may be separated.

Of Separation the Gate must thus be won,
That furthermore yet you may proceed,
Towards the Gate of secret Conjunction,
Into the inner Castle which will you lead,
Do after my counsel if you will speed,
With two strong locks this Gate is shut,
As consequently you shall well know.

The end of the Third Gate.

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