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Letters 41-55 of SendivogiusLetters 1-10 . Letters 11 - 20 . Letters 21-30 . Letters 31-40.
Our intention was, that having given you in these Epistles such an easy and clear Method as possibly could be given, of the true Principles, as well as the alchymical Theory, as its Practice, you might now apply yourself to the reading of Authors and do endeavor to explain and to apply their writings and sentiments to these our Principles being they do not at all differ from theirs; except perhaps in some Expressions and Cunnings of communicating of our Hypothesis. But since you are as you say so deeply engaged, as well in public as private affairs, and since this study requires a mind free from all cares, [Note in the margin reads: True.] we will not think much to give you according to your Desire such short and perspicuous Rules for conferring and confronting the Doctrine of our Epistles, with the best of the best Authors, as with the Sense and meaning of our Nouvum Lumen Chymicum, also and we have thought fit to [unrecognizable word] advise you also of some things without which Knowledge there cannot be a natural and Genuine Interpretation of me and authors though the some may be right, true and conformable to the Intention of the wise. First then it is to be taken Notice of, that all and so many Authors are faithful, though they have written and lived in divers ages, yet they have all with One and the same Contrivance and Artifice, as if conspired, endeavoured that while they would leave to Posterity the Monuments of Alchymical Truth which they really had found themselves by their work, they have performed it in such a Manner that those which were thereinto born and by God destinated to get this sacred Knowledge, and excited by the Testimony of those Brethren, might upon those grounds first ask that some knowledge from God, with zealous Prayer (For without his special Grace and Assistance the same cannot be acquired, neither being acquired can be exercised, of Men though otherwise witty and ready, as well in speculation aas Operation) and hope to attain to it. But those which being unworthy of so precious and not less pernicious Art coming into wicked hands, or which by God were destinated to other Affairs, might by their enigmatical writings and Difficulty of Labour be terrified there with and averted from their intended Purpose.
Therefore the ancient Writers have purposely many things left out, and left them to be said by their followers and to be added. Yet so as not you repeat again what had been said already by their Predecessors.
Besides this they have everywhere invented Fables and thrown many stones in the way, as if by those singular Ways, they had proposed to themselves All, but One and the Same Object and End viz: to hide the Mysteries. And thus they all have used the same general ways to effect it which I now shall reduce to three heads and declare hereafter.
Brussels, 1st October, 1646.
The first way is that to cause greater Obscurity. They have in several Places in their Writings divided One thing in itself, and have not only distributed the same one Thing in several Parts, but have also thrown in the Way with it exquisite Appositions, nay (that I may say so) formal Contradictions, so that what One Place doth affirm, the other denies. However they do not altogether suppress to find out the way, to reconcile it and to distinguish their meaning, yet nevertheless it is all sounded in a vast and profound sea of confusion.
The second way is that in One Place and the same Context they do make Expression of two or more different things or if they do of them handle seperately in divers Places and contexts, they do confound them and make it as one thing, expressing it with almost the same words in appearance the same thing signifying and that especially when they come to touch the Preparation of our Mercury or also the Mastery and its Fermentation or specific Determination, to a Metalline Nature. For those things though they be altogether different, yet they make them so alike the joined Propositions, which seem to have a joined Sense have altogether for seperated Intentions, only cohering because of the affinity, analogimus, or Onionymia of matter.
The third way is that they study to propose things in a preposterous order, especially when they come to treat of the Subject and Disposition of their Operations. For things being treated of in right Order, though in an obscure style may at length be found out, by sharp wits, remaining only hid to Fools. Therefore they thought it congrous to their Design, now to begin in their writings from the End, now from the Beginning, now to leave off the lastly to invert all.
These things are of us like to the other Authors, religiously and with great Industry observed in our Nouvum Lumen Chymicum, with its depending Treatises, the Dialogues namely of Sulphur and Mercury, some operations we have contracted under generical Acceptions of Terms, for Fear of Interception, which however we have largely here explicated in our theoretical Epistles.
Neither is there any Thing left out, or that I should have dealt preposterously or deceitfully. And therefore if you will fully apprehend, as well our, as the meaning meaning of other authors, according to the Doctrine of our Epistles and desire to be able to explain rightly the obsure Places and so to avoid [Rocks] and to reconcile contrary Doctrines and lastly to be able to distinguish what is confusedest, then it becomes you to have deeply infixed in your mind the most necessary foresaid Distinction, hitherto never so openly expressed and perhaps never hereafter so perspicuously set forth viz: the Distinction between the universal and the two partial Lapides, or the Exaltation of the Philosophical Mercurius or the Magestry, and then its mineral Fermentation or Specification. For this Distinction is the Key to the temple of philosophical wisdom and is also the mystery of our Art. Besides this you must remember to infer, confer and refer Places to Places, subjects to subjects and sentences to sentences.
Brussels, 8th December, 1646.
After the general advice how to read and understand authors, it will be usefull to come to a particular Explanation and conciliation not of all and every single Place and Expositions about the last Part of Chrysopeia (of such chiefly you do not consult us) but only of the chiefest Places to which all other Places and seeming contradictions can be referred, as well in our as in other Authors writings here and there occurring.
All seeming Contradictions then in all Authors and also in our Writings do concern either the things signified by certain words or Terms, or the Term itself signifying the Thing. Those which concern the Thing can be reffered in general to two Heads namely, to the Matter, and to the manner of handling the Operation.
The first Head is to be divided again into two Articles suitable to the two last Doubts where it was questioned [Quotaxtes] the Matter of the Lapis be and what she is.
What concerns the first Article where it is asked of the Matter of the Lapis be of various sort, there are some that obstinately do hold and affirm and that under an obligation of a sacred Oath that there is but one Thing for the Lapis or if there be more than one, that they are ought to be considered as a mixtum and in ye constitution of a mixtum and those Parts are three viz: Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury making up but one physical Totum one thing by itself in any mixed Body and not many. The ground of which sentence seems is taken from what somewhere else I with divers other Authors have delivered in our writings viz: that one only Thing be sufficient for to make the Lapis.
However there may two Things be used but they must be of one Radix and that [unrecognizable symbol] for Brevity's sake which abreviation some think to be a new invention above the experience of the ancients and not necessary for the confection of the Lapis.
Others contrary do admit two divers substances and partial Matters for the Lapis which the Philosophers under the name of Sulphur-vive and living Mercury and with divers other two membered nomenclatures do decypher as when they call it living Gold, living Silver, Man and Wife, Gabricius and Bera, and such like, which Diversity of Names, sounds as if there were also comprehended diversity of Nature's together with a difference of affections, and that it were distinct Supposita and consequently that there was involved Plurality of things consisting in two numbers. To which Number modern Philosophers add a third Substance and name, viz: Salt.
Others lastly are not contended with the number neither but will have seven Substances for the Materia viz: of seven Metals. For say they the Lapis is to be an universal Agens. But the universal Nature is such that it is made up by all its subjected species. Add to this that we ourselves seem to favour this opinion, when we have in our Nouvum Lumen Chymicum expressed some things like to it in our Discourse of the Seven Planets and Harmony of Metals.
To this Opinion comes near that which to the Lapis requires three substances or three divers things, instead of seven Metals, to which may be added that the Lapis being befriended with the three Families with the three Families of the lower mixture conserve them herein equally being he serves for their Production, Conservation, and Reparation always.[Note in the margin reads: Their species Individuum.]
All which seems could not be if the Lapis were and must not be composed of things of a threefold Purpose of Nature.
These Things are opposed against the first article all which the following Epistles shall elucidate.
Brussels, 4th October, 1646.
Both sentences of the precedent Epistles are true, but you must take them in the proper sense and under certain limitation or distinction.
The first is true in Respect of the primordial Production viz: the Fermentation of our living Mercury and his conversion into the Seed of primordial Nature by action of Primordial Seed, in Manners, the ways largely exposed which Production may happen not only in the Bowels of the Earth but also in artifical Vessels. Neither is there unto necessarily required anything else besides the foresaid Spiritus Universalis or our living Mercury. For it cannot happen otherwise but that this our mercurius through so many assertions, descertions, by which he is agitated and moved driven by the Archeus from the lowest to the uppermost Parts of this Sublunary World and contrary, but that by so many as it were Distillations, Rectifications, and Sublimations the being thus prepared hath also by his magnetical Virtue attracted out of most profound lurking holes of primordial Seeds, many seeds of Gold and Silver, by means of which he can be assimilated and consequently can be made mineral and Metallick.
For the Lapis metallicus is nothing else than the multiplied Seed of Gold or Silver or the Mercury specified and assimilated into the Seed of Gold or Silver.
But this is in the Earth effected in a very long Time partly because of the Debility of the Archeus, partly because of the weakness of the fermentative Faculty of primordial Seeds.
But if we have Respect unto the Production which belongs to Art and to which is done by Virtue of Particular Seeds and with far more Efficacy and Celerity than the former, then I say in that Respect this first Opinion is altogether false, because that the particular Seeds of Gold or Silver necessarily must be had from Gold or Silver vulgar and are not to be applied to the said Mercury as we have proved abundantly elsewhere.
Therefore we must for the confection of the Lapis admit two Things, namely Sperma, or the Vitriol of Gold which contains the particular Seed of Gold and our Spirit Universal which is to be assimilated and converted into particular Seed of Gold, or if you please, of Silver, namely to make up the Lapis metallicus, or a metallick specification and that according to the first Intention and Term of Multiplication elsewhere explained.
However, take notice that these two things notwithstanding are but of one Radix and are not to be looked upon as incomplete Substances which Respect have all natural Parts of physical mixture in Respect of their physical Whole one by itself (as those men ridiculously hold and defend, which affirm that all of the Plurality of things here to be defended, must consist in the Separation of Mercury, Sulphur and Salt from one complete Substance, viz: Gold or Silver. For this State of Habit (Habitus) signifies and argues a State of a divided and maimed Body, but not of divers Things of one Radix, but they are to be taken as compleat Substances, distinct and not depending one upon the other, yet agreeing according to the homogeneity of Principles therefore explained, which Homogeneity doth include an identity and unity of offspring or Radix of both Substances, but not an Unity, or Identity of the Trunk or Stipes. And this Distinction is very well to be noted and observed. For there is a very vast Difference between the Unity or identity of the Radix (as for example the Tree and the fruit of the Tree, which have their own complete Beings, distinct and altogether different, are said to be of the same Root and offspring that is of the same as well active as passive seminal and constitutive Principles of the Species.) And the identity of the whole Trunk or Stipes. For the Bark and Heart of any Tree having their distinct Being from the Tree, but an incomplete one, are said to be Parts by themselves, of one and the same Body.
All which that it may be no longer obscure to you I will more plainly explain, for the sake of the alleged Sentences.
The first Sentence, then can be understood either of the first Lapis, or Magistery or of second, that is, its Specification. If it be understood of the Magistry the sentence is not True.
1. Because that thereunto is required, nothing else but our Universal Spirit. For here this Magistry is nothing else than a due Coition or Coagulation of the sole substance of the said universal Spirit according to the three divers degrees of his Temperation, viz: Mercurial, Sulpfurous, and Saline; In which Saltishness, the Exaltation of the universal Mercurius and the Perfection of the magistry is terminated by Imitation of natural coction of the same Mercurius done in the Bowels of the Earth, before he is specified through primordial Seeds.
But if the said Sentence be understood of the specification or the Specific Magistry's Determination to the Nature of Gold or Silver it must be two ways distinguished. For if the Meaning be of that Specification which (though seldom and in a very long Time) doth happen without any intrinsical Accession by the Power of the primordial Seeds, viz: whereof the said universal spirit, hath in himself but a very small Quantity which doth constitute his hermaphroditical Nature so that the very Seeds take Place of the masculine Seeds and the substance of the Spirit that of the feminine: Or if we aim at that same specification which happens by extrinsical Accession and copulation of Seeds, either primordial in the Bowels of the Earth or particular in an artificial vessel, then in that same sense the said sentence is False.
For the specifying Seed and the Matter specifically are really two distinct substances, yea two complete but homogeneous substances by homogeneity of principiating Principles and therefore one and the same Radix which is all one with true Philosophers.
But perhaps you will argue thus; All mixed Bodies though of diverse Species and Nature are according to this sort of Homogeneity of Principles, homogeneous. For according to our aforesaid Doctrine all Matters subjected to any of those mixed Bodies Form is homogeneous with the universal Spirit and therefore they are also one of the Same Radix: so that any of these bodies can be taken for all Sorts of Multiplication to be the proper Matter which if it doth hold in things which are of divers Species and Number, certainly it will hold in natural Parts of a mixture, as it is a mixture viz: in Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt, because that these have the same natural Principles, with the whole.
And certainly this Objection doth mightily pinch and leave it without it's due Resolve anywhere in Authors to be found directly expressed. Take it then here I pray you.
And to answer to this objection decisively it is to be observed that there are three conditions required according to the Philosophers before anything can be called homogeneous with another by Homogeneity of Principles.
Of the first condition is that both Substances have a compete Being so that one towards the other must not bear the Relation of being Part of the Whole.
The second is that One of these complete substances being considered as a Mixture, be more simple than the other and be but one degree higher in the sense of mixture which we have given in our theoretical Epistles.
The third is that the simpler substance be equally indifferent to all Forms and be naturally capable and apt to receive a new and another above his own Form, another Thing, which is of greater Composition.
Further it is to be noticed, that the Word Radix be equivocal and is taken three ways:
1. Properly for a material Principle of all things, not for that chymerical Materia prima without any Form as the false schools do hold, but for our universal Spirit not yet contracted to a certain Species, of any lower mixture and having the Propriety of a complete Substance or if you rather will it is to be taken for principiated Principles. Yet more simple such as gradually ascending you can reckon till you come to the most simple Elements or to the very primordial chaotic Water.This being agreed to the answers and solution of the former Objection will be easy.
For all mixtures of the three Families of each Species being compaired amongst themselves, have indeed the first conditions viz: to be complete substances, but they do want all the other.
For they are in the Scale of the mixture, of the same Degree of the last Genesis. That is, they are individuals under each species of One, or other Genus of the three Families. And therefore as we have said before, though they amongst themselves, can be transmutted, one into another, by Virtue of Odour of substantial Form, yet with all they cannot acquire a new Form, superior in degree. But Salt, Sulphur and Mercurius if (which however we do deny) they could be separated from any Mixture, they could not be complete substances having always the Relation as Parts to the Whole.
The above said mixtures then are not adverse to the Species of the same Radix, which as they have amongst them being they are not homogeneous by homogeneity of Principle, since the necessary thereunto belonging conditions are wanting, and so neither are Salt, Sulphur and Mercury homogeneous for the self same Reason, yet they are of the same Trunk, which the Philosophers as yet have not minded.
The second Sentence how far she is true and by what Distinction is more than Evident by the Elucidation of the foregoing.
Lastly the third Sentence if it be referred to the passive Power of our universal Spirit, viz: to a disposition to receive all forms and the very nearest which he hath, this, theirs, or any of theirs, then this Sentence is most true but if the same be referred to the Effects it is false. But the argument whereupon the said Sentence is grounded, in respect of to materials is traded or taken from metaphysic and mental composition and applied to physical Productions. Neither is our Meaning that when we speak of the seven metals analogically being taken for the seven Planets from whom they have these their cabalistical names, or contrary speaking of Planets and meaning thereby the Metals, that those seven Planets or Metals substantially do enter the Matter of the Lapis. But only that we would therewith express that all the Virtues of those Planets and Influences are agreeing and highly exalted in the universal Spirit. Sometimes we do signify therewith the divers Degrees of the Contemperative successfully intervening in the Coction of the philosophical Egg (manifesting itself by the Colours) and answering in Order the Qualities and Temperaments as well of the seven Metals and the seven Planets.
Brussels, 20th October, 1646.
The second Article is concerned about the Qualities of the Matter and is according to the Division of the precedent Article, divided into two Sections, distributing the whole Matter of the Lapis into particular Matters.
In the first Section is treated of the Doubts made to the first Matter, namely active and assimilating Matter.
In the second is treated of the Oppositions reffering to the second Matter, namely the passive Matter, or which is to be assimilated.
Either of these Sections is subdivided again into two Particles. Of which the first shall consider the Essence and Nature of the Matter. The second its properties. Concerning then the Nature and essence of materia prima some do say that it is common Gold or Silver. I mean simple and vulgar Gold, as it brought out of the mines and no other Substance. And truly many a Passage in Philosophical books seem to confirm this position.
Others grant the same to be something else besides common Gold or Silver, yea it to be of their Nature and only Virtually so, or having some affinity or analogy with their that is to say whose Nature is partly the same with Gold and Silver, partly different, such as is Antimony, Vitriol, Sulphur common or any other inferior Metal, which is proved by the authority of many Writers. Others lastly inclining to a middle opinion say that not anological neither virtual Gold or Silver, be the materia Lapis but true mineral and genuine Gold or Silver yet under some artificial Form given by a physical Preparation but not common and in this Respect it is called living Gold or Silver not common neither vulgar but under the form of Mercury or Salt or Sulphur drawn out of Gold or Silver or any other Subject or both the former. And truly neither of them which hold this Proposition want any plausible Arguments to confirm it, nay as it were decrees of the Wise, which the next Epistle shall declare.
Brussels, 25th Obctober, 1646.
The first and the last Sentence are true. For as we have somewhere else proved, that the Ferment or prima Materia Lapis can be nothing else than the Vitriol (which is the Sperma) of Gold or Silver but the particular Seeds of Gold and Silver are truly and physically Gold and Silver, though now considered under some other Form and artificial Preparation not common, yet friendly to their Nature. In which Preparation Gold and Silver is dissolved with the like natured Dissolvent as in Ice in Water which is the Nature with Ice. In which sense the Gold or Silver are said to be reduced to their Principles: that is to say to be resolved into water and into the same Water from whence they had their Beginning, by means of which Water they being dissolved their Vitriol or Sperma is drawn out and cannot again be brought into a metallick Body till after the confliction of the Lapis by Perfection.
It is therefore true what other sentence maintains: and therefore have no need of any other Distinction or Exposition of any Decrees of the Author about this Matter. For in this said sentence all do proclaim the naked Truth without Veil.
But the second Sentence is absolutely false, if it be understood of the prima Materia, namely of the Ferment notwithstanding the Authorities which commonly are alledged for it, all which Testimony are to be understood of the second Matter, namely our Universal Spirit, or our living Mercurius, which because of his Homogeneity of Principle which it hath with Gold and Silver it is not unaptly called Gold or Silver being so virtually and analogally. And though the Philosophers here do not express fully their meaning which they have of the second matter, yet for that Reason our Solution cannot be reprehended; because as I have remarked heretofore such is the council and artifice of all Philosophers, that they divide and distribute the Truth, in several disjoined and here and there dispersed Propositions. And truly such Speeches of the analogical Matter, scarce one doth utter but that he hath also somewhere else let fall and or given more express and scarce obscure Prescriptions and Descriptions of the Gold mineral, the first Matter.
Brussels, 1st December, 1646.
About the Properties of the first Matter there are amongst the Authors, scarce any or but small Dissentions and therefore those whatever they may be can easily be reconciled by the Doctrine of our precedent Epistle.
Therefore we will go presently to the second Matter, about this then there are no small Oppositions. For some will have that the same be vulgar Mercury. To which assertion now adays almost the whole Troop of pretended Philosophers give their consent being supported by probable arguments, and the short sentences and apophthegms of the Wise.
Others prove the vulgar not to be it, but a metallic One, or of the same substance out of which came forth the prima Materia of Gold or Silver or which is drawn out of any other metallic substance as Lead, Iron, etc.
Other less scrupulous do affirm that the Mercurial Part of anything, be it mineral, vegetable or animal and that either collectively or distributively may with equal Right serve for the second Matter, being that it is said that the Mercurius of the Philosophers be in all places and in all things. Lastly because the philosophical Fathers do describe the second Matter, that she be vile, known of all Men everywhere to be found, of common use to all Men and before the Eyes of all Men; and there are which give their Suffrage, for Excrements, Filth and Dirt not well smelling for the most Part.
All these Oppositions we shall reconcile. And to do this I must in this Place reveal a Secret, which hitherto above all Things hath been kept secret by the Philosophers. And that is that the Philosophers have considered and described three Things about the second Matter.
1. The second Matter itself viz: That substance which is the true second Matter of the Lapis and that is our spiritus universalis or our living Mercury.Which nature of the subject of this second Matter and its Manner of Existency is verified by this: that (and it is worthy to take notice of) after the separation, the Caput Mortum hath a deep black colour, and a consummate Insipidity, and natural Siccity of Earth, and that no Salts remain in it, which is a sign, it is not to be a mixture out of the three Families: For there is no Mixture, but it leaves leaves in the Caput Mortum Salt after a distillatory Separation.
The Ignorance or Incogitancy of the Secret hath caused chimerus and Phantasms in Philosophers Brains confounding these three things and conceiving that the Descriptions given and referring to all these Three do belong only to one and the same Thing, and on the otherside the Knowledge of this Arcanum its consideration and Application are able to clear all, though never so pregnant or foolish Oppositions and to demonstrate the Truth in its splendor as will appear in the next.
Brussels, 7th December, 1646.
The Arcanum of the precedent Epistle being exposed the Oppositions against the second Matter are easily cleared.
The first sentence then must be distinguished two ways.
1. By distinguishing the Term, or the word common. For if we speak of the very substance of the second Matter, namely that of our universal Spirit, and this word is taken improperly, signifying vulgar, and this the second Matter to be a vulgar Thing and Not something rare; than the sentence is altogether false.
But if the same word is taken in its proper and natural sense, as it signifies a Habit and Relation to many Things, and thus referred to the very substance of the Second Matter then this sentence is most true. For our Mercurius or universal Spirit is common and a common Principle of all Things, neither can be given any mixture of the three Families to which it hath not this Relation to other Things, as to be to them a necessary Principle.
But if the foresaid Term of common be taken and understood of the Subjcet wherein the Second Matter lodges of the Manner of his Inexistency in the same, let the Word be taken properly or improperly without controversy that Proposition is false.
For Mercury vulgar hath not precisely that Nature and essence of Earth which the said Subject must have: Neither hath common Mercury anything in itself which is not an essential Part of it. For the Mercury, Sulphur and Salt of his (if there be any such Things in him) have lost in him their complete Being and their own Totality, which they had before in themselves, neither can they be restored to that again which we have sufficiently proved somewhere else viz; where we did treat of [Actro] simplification (as Bread cannot be bought again to Corn) the Reason of which is the same as is that concerning the Restitution of Parts of a physical Compound, to its former Totality and completion of his Being. The second Way of distinguishing the same said sentence is by distinguishing the passive Power and the act of which Distinction we have made use above in precedent Articles in another Matter.
For if you speak of the very Substance of the second Matter and the Term or Word be understood of Mercury vulgar [positive] that is to say, for a Matter which hath Dispositions not far remote to receive the Forms and acts of vulgar Mercury then that sentence is true.
And this manner of expounding is not unusual, for in this sense, corn is called the Food of Men, though immediately the Man doth not feed upon the raw Corn as it is yet in the Herb, but upon Bread which is made of the Seed of the same in Relation to the subject or the Body out of which our Mercury is drawn and of the manner of its Existancy in it, then the Sentence can neither be taken for true and veritable for the same Reasons we have alledged above.
Brussels, 12th December, 1646.
The second Opinion being understood either of the second Matter herself, or of her Subject or of the Manner of the Inexistency in it, the same is certainly false.
But the Authority upon which it is grounded must be understood, not of the second, but of the first Materia Lapis which is the Vitriol of Gold and Silver which Vitriol indeed really is the metallic Mercury but in the state of metallic Coction, hence it cannot be brought back again to its former and primogeneal Simplicity as we have often said this.
And this Manner of speaking is not unusual neither. For wheaten Bread is called wheat and it is really Wheat but under a new Form and Coction, from which Form it cannot be recalled again to serve for the same Effect and Purpose as it could have done and been useful before it was made into Bread. For being once made so, let it afterwards be altered, changed and prepared, as you will yet it can never be restored again to its former habit of wheat or Meal, out of which the Bread was made in such a Manner, that out of the same such like Bread all together could be made again, as was the former. But if wheat not yet fully made into Bread but only into a Paste and being in a fermentation can other Wheat not yet fermented but only with the other impasted bring to the same Fermentation also.
The very same Thing happens in Metals for the same Reason and Cause though some Things in another Manner as to the Act of Fermentation.
The third Opinion which holds that any mixed Bodies Mercurial Part may be our second Matter is most notoriously false, either if you refer it to the main substance of our second Matter or to its Subject or the Manner of its Existency in it.
But the Reason of such an Opinion is to be considered and distinguished.
For as to the Place it is granted that our Mercurius or universal Spirit exists everywhere, because he is joined with all the Elements and chiefly with the Air not only filling all spaces of the World hindering everywhere vacuity, but also penetrating all other Elements and all other Bodies, taking Possesion of their Pores.
And this is so far that it contradicts us not but rather, that it, by an inexpugnable Argument doth confirm our Doctrine. For this Condition and as it were Immensity can assertain to nothing else in the world besides our Mercurius or universal Spirit.
But as to its proper and substantial Inexistency in all and every one mixed Body, that is in a manner of a part substantial, it is again to be distinguished.
For if the meaning be that of Mercurius be in all things actuated and contracted unto a new Degree of Composition or of Form substantial above that Degree he had before, then it is granted; But then in such a state he cannot profit at all, or be useful, as to the making of the Lapis neither can it be subjected for the second Matter, as we have proved sufficiently except you would have it back simplified, which is impossible and against Nature, as we have already demonstrated. But that the same Mercury should be in all those singular Things in the Degrees of that Simplicity and Power which is Necessary for this Purpose, that he may be used as the second Matter to the Lapis that is absolutely false and contradictory to itself. For the Part would then be greater than its whole, and though the Authors might seem in express words, such to insinuate, yet their Meaning is not to be taken according to the Latter in the foresaid sentence. For they will by no means teach that the second Matter of the Lapis, thus diversified in all things should be taken for it out of all things, but that the same thing which is in all things actuated, and by it all things are coagulated should be searched for and found in that state which it had before it was actuated by every Mixture, such as is daily actuated and coagulated to produce new Mixtures and that by action as well of primordial as particular Seeds.
Brussels, 18th December, 1646.
These are not a few Oppositions about the Proprieties and Qualities of the second Matter, them that follow its Essence.
For some do say, that the Matter be of a liquid consistency, not altogether solid, neither fluid.
Others will have it [diaphanous].
Others of colestial Colours.
Others as to the Taste will have it tart and so as to the Scent also.
Others to be pleasant and sweet.
Others will have its Constitution moist.
Others grant a goldish or internal red Tincture.
Others deny the same.
Others do choose it old, others new and fresh.
All those different opinions are easily reconciled according to what hath been said before.
For if the Question be about the main substance of the second Matter she is fluid and liquid. [Note in the margin reads: 2 matter fluid and liquid.]
When she first begins to be condensed and grows thickish she is diaphanous and of a colestial but not a blue colour, only pellucid and afterwards appearing with intermixed infinite colour, like unto a rainbow.
She is moist in summo Gradu because she abounds of congealed Air. Hence you understand the sayings that she doth not modify the hands namely, as long as it remains in its Density or Coagulation.
It hath an internal exuberant Tincture which it shews within a few days, after being separated from its Subject viz: a citrine Colour like unto dissolved Gold. But this [Retrograde] comes to be exalted and then it becomes high red and many other colors intervening.
The effect must be choosen to wit that Mecurial substance or universal Spirit which by any natural Distillations and Cohobations hath changed it's cold and moist into hot and moist Qualities. In which state it is no where to be found, but in our subject which being once separated he becomes very bitter an infallible sign of his quality. But if the Question be of the subject of our second Matter then as assertain to her the contrary Quality and Propriety. For the said subject is condensed and thickish, opaque and of a hardish solidity, sweet and of an agreeable smell and of extreme Dryness. For it is really and essentially Earth and the new or fresh is to be chosen. [Not in the margin reads: 2 matter here, thick, opaque and Solid.] For this Matter in Process of Time easily loses its universal Spirit. There are some more pregnant or contrary Qualities attributed to our famed Matter by Authors, but they shall find a more compendious Place to be treated of amongst the Terms where the descriptions are explained.
Brussels, 22nd December, 1646.
Follows now the second Chapter, concerning the modus agendi or manner of working, about which there are also many oppositions and are to be referred either to the useful or useless Parts of the Matter, or to the Direction of the Work for to attain the End wished for.
Of which Matter though we have given sufficient Distinctions in our Epistles, yet they are here to be repeated again with some other expressions, Order and more plainly. Now about the useful Parts, some contend that only the Mercurial Part of our Matter is beneficial.
Others only Sulphuric.
Others also Saline.
Others lastly will have them both together, but being first separated from their Body or Substance and afterwards reunited again into the same Body and total substance, the Phlegm only and Caput Mortum being taken away.
Now to reconcile these contradictions, we must know that there are two sorts of Parts, belonging to a complete corporeal Substance or Physical Totum (such as our Matter must be) and those Parts are distinguished in natural and excrementitious Parts.
The excrementitous are threefold.
1. Phlegma or rather the Mercurial Aquosity which in the first Production of it hath abounded and exceeded Nature's Weight or a due Proportion as to the strength of primordial or particular Seeds, which superfluous Portion and that because of Nature's Weakness that it is the expelling Faculty of Seeds or because of Archeus Weakness that moves the Seeds remains confused with the rest yet but locally not as a substantial Part of the Mixture, but as an Alien and accidentally aggregated and congested into it, till at last the Archeus could expell them.But these excrementitious Parts do not exist universally in all Mixed Bodies. For the mixture of the first Classis have them not, described somewhere else, I mean the principiating Principles; and so our universal Spirit being considered by himself. The Reason of it, because that their material Principles are most simple and pure, which of themselves obey and follow the Motions of their Architect and Mover of Archeus, so that nothing in the first Mixture either exceeds or is deficient. For the Archeus easily can drive out what could exceed in the Matter and contrary, can take to him again what is wanting; But in the mixed Bodies of the second Classis that is in the three Families there it happens otherwise. For their material Principles are of greater composition and heavier to be moved and that more efficaciously resisting the actions and Motions of the same Archeus. From thence comes ill Temperament in the Mixture namely either in Excess, or Defect in one or the other Quality. Therefore what Moistness so ever be in the said Principles all is Mercurial and useful, yea, necessary for any Production for in this Aquosity resides the Root of Fermentability and of corporificable Faculty. [Note in the margin reads: Mind this, page 131.]
And the infima mixture do admit likewise such excrementitious Parts, though not all, neither do all of mixture equally, or always; in some there are Faces without Phlegma as in imperfect Gold in a Diamond. Hence it is that sometimes our Dissolvent doth dissolve the entire substance of Gold though this happens but rarely. But that is not our concern here. For it is needless to enquire for such pure Gold, because our Spirit doth dissolve nothing and is incorperated with Nothing but what is pure in the Metal. For this solution happens not by the Power of extraneous corrosive Salts, but by common, of homogeneous Things by Homogeneity of Principles wherefore Heterogeneous Things will not be dissolved neither united. [Note in the margin reads: Mind.]
Natural Parts of the Matter are twofold, necessary Ones and contigent.
The necessary Ones are they which essentially do concur to constitute the necessary or physical [Totum], and separation of which necessarily must destroy the mixtum neither being once separated, can be composed or brought together again as to make up the same numerical and specifical Body, as we have proved some where else, and have exemplifies it. But these essential Parts are Matter and Form, with their pre-ordinate or subordinate [connatural] and emminently comprehended Parts social, or comparts, such as to all the Degrees of the Form, are them which the Scholastics call essential which do conditionate the form substantial, as for Example in each Animal, there is Animality, Capacity, Substantiality and so on until the highest Degree of transcendental Entity.
But as to the principiated Principles of our Matter the same are contracted and determined into a certain species of the Mixtum, which are called Salt, Sulphur, and Mercurius, and properly are Parts of the Mixtum as we have insinuated somewhere else.
The contingent Parts are them which being separated do diminish the substance of the Mixtum but do not destroy it, and are again of twofold Order, namely homogeneous and heterogeneous. But here you must understand Homogeneity in the vulgar Sense of Schools. The homogeneous or simply quantitative Parts are these whose Essence is the same with the Totum and whose separation doth only diminish the Quantity of the substance, as fo Example are some Ounces taken out of a Pound of Gold.
The heterogeneous or Integrals (which makes up the whole, are such Substances which are of different Nature, Rationis) as well in Respect of themselves as their Totum, whose total Separation doth destroy the total Substance which never by any Means can be repaired or restored again. An Abstraction of some of those Parts doth break the Totum in Pieces, but doth not altogether destroy it.
All three kinds of Parts do (though not equally) belong to all mixta, as well as the infima of the three Families as to those of the middle and also upper Region, namely to principiated Principles not yet contracted to a certain Species. I said not egually for in some doth exist a greater Quantity of Sulphur which therefore have given them the Name of Sulphur by the Philosophers and that in a large Signification, for the Denomination is always taken from the major Part. Hence Gold in our Books is for the most Part called Sulphur and is frequently by that Appellation of Sulphur signified. In others abounds Mercury, and them have the Nomenclature of Mercury. [Note in the margin reads: Mind this, Gold called Sulphur in the Books.]
In others exceeds Salt and they are so called.
However in solid things and them which are very well concocted Salt and Sulphur are all One and the same thing, or at least they are joined so closely that they scarce or not at all can be separated. Hence the Ancients (and so neither I in my Novum Lumen Chymicum) seldom or never speak of the principle of Salt.
But when things are reduced into Vitriol, then indeed becomes them the Name and Faculty of Salt, yet then also because of the Diversity of Effects they have, now they are called Salts now Sulphurs.
Brussels, 26th December, 1646.
In foresaid Oppositions the Authors Aim either at the Substance itself, of both partial Matters, viz: the Vitriol of Gold and our universal Spirit: or at the Subject in which either Matter is comprehended and is drawn out viz: the simple Mineral Gold and our Magnesia. If the Business concerns the Substance itself, then we must consider either the excrementitious or the natural Parts. If we regard the excrementitious, there are none to be drawn of, because none are here excrementitious, the One being of perfect Contemporation viz: the Vitriol of Gold, and the other of perfect Simplicity viz: our universal Spirit.
But if we regard the natural Parts, their Separation is not to be attempted, because you cannot do it, without the Destruction of the Mixtum. And though it were possible otherwise to be done, yet that Operation would signify nothing to the purpose and be superfluous. For as it is said and proved, it is against Nature, that such Parts can be brought again together to make up the same numerical or specifical Body.
But if we regard either Subject and make Reflections upon either Parts excrementitious, then there is somethings indeed to be taken from them, namely from the Gold, the Terrestreity or the superfluous Earth, which in the Production of it was confusedly mixt with its Substance: and from the Magnesia also, in whose generation, the universal Spirit meets such Earth as a Receiver and Conservator, or as a vessel for the same, his Reception to the Use of Philosophers knowing which Earth, because it is not, neither can be a natural Part, of the said universal Spirit, it can in that Respect be called its Excrement.
But if you would Reflect on the natural Parts, then in vain (as is said before) their separation is attempted.
Now after the Disquisition and Election of the useful Parts the Direction and Regimen of the Work by Art doth follow to obtain the wished End, where the signs, viz: the changes or Diversity of Colours happen.
In which Business, as in the rest, the Authors do seem vehemently to be in opposition one to the Other.
Some, they will have but one Regimen.
Others four, viz: Solution, Ablution, Reduction, Fixation.
Others require but one continual Fire.
Others use several Degrees of Fire and manner of Heat.
Others will have but one Vessel.
Others make divers Distillations, Imbibitions.
Others will have but one Coction.
Others assign but two Colours principle White and Red.
Others three, Black, White and Red.
Others four, Black, Green, White and Red with divers intervening Colours.
Others will have the first colour to be Red, others the same to be Black.
All of these Differences we easily could reconcile and verify everyone according to foregoing Discourses and upon the account only of diversity of Respects being had, by these Men, but that we should not be too [prolix], more than becomes our epistolar Brevity, and besides that the Expositions and Explanations here unto serving are obvious and to be found almost in all philosophical Books, let it suffice then to delineate to you the course of the whole Practice out of the first Chapter of Genesis, which for a Directory I have given already.
Contemplate then, how the said Text of the first Chapter of Genesis heving but touched in few proenual Lines the general Parts of the corporeal World, namely Heaven and Earth, doth also teach, how that the Beginning, Parts, Preparations for the Mageistry are herein occupied and busy; that out of the Chaos (not the primordial which only belong to the Creation and the Creator, but of the second, but as to us the first natural Chaos, that is our water, or universal Spirit which is involved in Darkness and tenebricious Confusion in our Magnesia upon which doth hover the azothic Spirit the created and corporeal Image of the uncreated Spirit) Heaven be made and also the philosophical Earth, which is empty and vacuous, congelating or growing together like Time and in a quell and Salt in the Sea, which Earth at last is to be impregnated and made fertile with Seed by action of the Azotic Spirit artificially mix'd by help of external Fire. Further though the same Holy Spirit descending from generals to specials doth admirably teach the number, order and manner of all and each Arts Operations comprehended in the Number, Order and Quantity of Works done in the creation Work and first let the Light be divided from Darkness which are upon the Face of the Philosophical Deep; and that the Day should be separated from Night, for this Purpose that afterwards Darkness and Light should follow one the other alternately in all succeeding Operations. For in the whole Work Light and Darkness have interchangeably their turn.
2. How in the firmament is made in the midst of the waters and waters are divided from waters, namely those which are under the Firmament from these which are above it that is the thick from the Subtil; and that those should be gathered into one Place that the dry Land might appear.
3. How the said Earth should bud and bring forth green Herbs making Seeds after its Kind, viz: not seeds now for the three Families (for that doth not now concern us) but that proper Seed of the same three Families wherewith this Earth was to be sown and so made fruitful which frequent Irrigations of Homogeneous Dew.
4. How two great Luminaries were to be made the lesser viz: the Elixir to the White, and the greater viz: the Elixir to the Red and they should shine in the philosophical Heavens and illuminate the Earth, be it metallic, vegetable, or animal: and that they should be for Signs, Days, and Seasons, and Years, i.e. may they work such Temperaments Perfection as that there may come out, the external Signs and Marks according to the Diversity of Seasons and Age. And lastly let them make an Incompatibility suiting to the Capacity of a corporeal substance or Mobile.
5. How the said Elixirs are to be multiplied by the same water (out of which they grew at first together, or did coagulate and that they should be multiplied as well in virtue as bulk, by operations in the same Order; and with the same Regimen they had before when they were made fermented and specified, by the specific Seeds of each Family of the inferior Mixta according to each Family's Nature.
6. Let the said multiplied Elixirs within animal Bodies be converted to comfort them, by skillful exhibitions, the vegetable propagated by conjunction and union of their Salts and lastly the Metals and Minerals be transmuted by projection of Sulphurous Copulation.
And so much of the Matter and the modus agendis.
In the following Epistle we will treat of the terms.
Brussels, 31st December, 1646.
All what belongs to the Terms is reduced to two Heads.
The first handles of Terms compound.
The second of the single Ones.
The compound Terms, are Descriptions whereby the Philosophers do indicate as well the Matter as the modus agendi but chiefly to demonstrate the Matter which are reducible to two Articles.
The first of these which concern the first Matter.
The second which the second Matter concerns.
The Descriptions belonging to the first Matter are divided in univocal and analogical.
Analogical are by which the Gold is described in that State and Condition as it serves and is subjected to philosophical Operations and as it is in materia prima Lapis and hath given him several Names taken from divers Bodies, which partly have the like Nature with Gold, partly are of nature different.
Thus the living Sulphur of Gold is called Vitriolum in which sense you must understand that famous saying of Vitriol, visitabis interiora terra, rectificando, invenies occultum lapidem, veram Medicinam. [Note in the margin reads: Here is the proper description of Vitriol (symbol of Vitriol) so often spoken by the Philosophers.] And truly our dissolved Gold or the solar Earth is a metallic Vitriol, by some analogy and Proportion agreeing with all kind of Vitriols. Of which sort of Descriptions there are innumerable in Authors, frammed now by the similitude of Causes, now because of some Identity of some Proprieties, now because of Conformity of Effects and Actions; now because of some equality in Accidents.
The Authors call both Substances Gold. Item Coagulum, the Ferment, the yellow of the Egg, philosophical Man and Univocal Descriptions are which describe Gold by Name, or by such Qualities and Attributes which are proper to him, and principally belong to him and which do declare it whole Essence and only and precisely the same, such are obvious in our and all other philosophers books. [Note in the margin reads: Acting the part of the Mate.] The Meaning of such Descriptions is easily found out, neither need such here to be referred.
Brussels, 7th January, 1647.
The second Article of the Descriptions of the second Matter is subdivided into three Particles.
The first contains the Descriptions belonging [to] the Matter itself.
The second considers the Descriptions of the Subject, in which the Matter lodges and from whence the same must be had.
The third hath Descriptions which are common to both viz: the Substance of the Matter and to its subject.
The Descriptions of the first Particle are as the former Ones, univocal or Analogical.
Analogical are many and are, per se, well enough understood to be such being taken Notice of: if the same larger or more contract there should be described the nature of our Matter, some of such Descriptions are referred to the Traction of simple Terms, which we leave here out for Brevity's sake. Univocal also are various, such e.g. is that which doth affirm, that our Matter be every where; that she exists in every corporeal Being; that she is before all Men's eyes openly, yet cannot be seen; that she is vile and always to be found upon the very Dunghill, yet is to be esteemed for the hidden Food of Life.
All which how they should be understood and how they belong only to the universal Spirit, hath been sufficiently insinuated in the precedent Epistles.
The Descriptions of the second Particle are likewise analogical or universal.
Analogical are by which the subject of materia Secunda is called Talem, terrafoliata, mel, Ros Mercury Philosophorum minera, Forea and many such others.
Universal are very rare and in two Volumes we do find but 3 or 4 which are so clear and perspicuous that clearer ones cannot be given though it might not appear so at first. The first is by which it is asserted, that the Name of our Subject in all the Parts of the known world, and most Languages as well now in use, as absolute hath the same sound, or very little Difference. For at least the first syllable is everywhere alike to sound also in Effect of the Letter.
The other is by which it is said, that the Name of my Subject is absolved with these letters and five characters. For the Name really as well in Latin as Greek and Hebrew Tounge, is written only with their Letters of divers species, and with two of the same species with the Two of the precedent Ones.
The third is which says that the subject is prefigurated only with one mystical character unto which five letters can be referred, expressing the Word, be it, that either the Character Totaly be divided and distributed into parts which are like unto the said Characters or be made up and compounded out of the partial Characters that are like to those five foresaid you can verify these Descriptions according to your Pleasure, since you know the true Name.
But the Quality of the Subject and the Liquor drawn from it ought rather to be considered, that the Opinion which in this Affair we have given you might be confirmed in you and laid deep in your Head. [Note in the margin reads: Read Epistle 51 attentively.]
The third Particle could give you many such like Descriptions, as the others were, mix'd Ones and completing both viz: the Substance of the Matter, and in it's subject, by which many Philosophers do testify, that their Matter be neither vegetable, animal or Mineral, neither that it is drawn out of vegetables, animals or minerals; or that they should come from them. But this Discourse would exceed the Term of an Epistle. Add to this that our Counsel and Intention is not to scrape together all kind of Descriptions and to take Pains to refer them to their proper Places but only that we might give Lights to distinguish them of the Descriptions of the manner of proceeding, we add nothing though our Division might require it, because we have hereof sufficiently treated in the latter Part of the Chapter and in that of the modus agendi.
Brussels, 12th January, 1647.
There remains now to treat of the simple Terms.
The whole Ambiguity then of simple Terms concerns Homonymy with divers other Things and Operations, that is in the various application of the same Word unto divers Things.
Or it concerns Polyonymy of the same Thing diversely affected and considered.
According to Homonymia, Spirit universal before he is received into our Magnesia which we call its Subject hath the Nature of Mercurius Philosophorum, not absolutely but only by analogy and Proportion which it hath with the Planet Mercurius as far namely as the same Planet being joined to all an every one of the rest of the Planets takes upon him their Qualities and Nature. Even so doth our Mercurius with inferior Planets namely the Metals and all other mixt Bodies which cannot be said of the vulgar Mercurius that he can do so. Which Mercury though he can join himself to the Metals by amalgamations, yet he cannot take on him their Qualities by any Kind of Artifice at least not so far as concerns the Multiplication of the Seeds. [Note in the margin reads: Mind common Mercury.]
In like manner the same our Spirit, is called by the same name of Mercury while he yet resides in the Magnesia; [Note in the margin reads: Take notice.] Item as soon as he is drawn out of the same, or when reviving in the Philosophical Egg after corruption, he is intimately incorporated and infused into Gold and identified with the same. But what at present and how affected should be understood since that Term is so various in many Passages, that you can judge when you consider, what Part of our Art you have before you, theoretical or Practical and accordingly you must pass your Judgement. The same thing happens to Gold which is called a Ferment as well in the Philosophical Egg as in the State of the perfect Lapis and likewise in the act of Projection.
According to the Polyonymia the foresaid Mercurius is according to the Diversity of his State he is in, and according to its operations now called Antimony, namely then when he in the foresaid Solution doth purge the Gold and maked it more subtil, in a manner as common Antimony doth do it, in common Way though this our Purgation is much nobler and powerfull.
Then he is called Lead and that in the philosophical Egg according to the Degree of the metallic Form, he hath assumed or rather according to the symbolical Temperament which he hath now with Lead.
Then he is called the Wife, because it receives the Seed of the Gold. [Note in the margin reads: Mind this much.] Then Magnesia from Magic, because he draws to him the specific Seed of Gold like as with a magnetical Virtue. Then Chalybus, because like the Magnet doth draw the Steel, so the said Gold Seed doth draw the said Mercury.
Item it hath the Name of Sulphur, Salt and Ferment namely in the confection of the Magistry, or in its Multiplication. And at divers other Times and in divers other Operations. He is called Sulphur namely when it changes its cold temper in its central Fire and Heat takes Dominion. It is called also Salt when the Dyness of the Fire and Earth do stave and stand in Balance with Humidity, one subject to the others Victory and when the Substance is come to such a Consistency that without any Detriment the same can be dissolved in Water or Fire, but in a serene Air can be hardened, like Earth or Salt.
Lastly the said Spirit is called Ferment, in that State when he himself being coagulated, can also coagulate another Substance and make the same like himself and this as well in the confection of the magistery as in the multiplication of the same.
The same is with the Gold which after it is dissolved, is by Proportion called Vitriol and in the Corruption of it is called the Ravens Head.
Let this suffice for you, and do not desire more, except that when perhaps God and Time and your Business will give you leave to lay hand on the Work, I as I have done now might lead you; that you may prosperously finish it, and that notwithstanding you many Invocations.
Brussels, 18th January, 1647.
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