Urina Puerorum and The Fountain of Youth: From Soma to the Philosopher’s Stone

Excerpted from Living Waters: The Mystical, Alchemical and Medical Folklore of Urine, by Frederick R. Dannaway

“As to what concerned Urine, I will make no large description of it, for all men know what Urine is, yea boys and girls know how to discourse of it.” Grummet, 1696

Women’s Work and Child’s Play “They are also called children when we say: children play with the stone, when they make it greater in weight and virtue. Whence also we in other works know the urine of children of four years old to be the water of the four inferior bodies; which since it is called the aqua fortis of the Philosophers, is said to dissolve gold: out of which things we do not deny but that a certain stone is made.” Marsilio Finco Ubiquitous in certain styles of painting and statuary is the image of the pissing boy, often urinating into fountains, or even onto a goddess. The urine of children is a much-coveted alchemical catalyst from ancient China to Greece, Arabia and Europe. Alchemical texts from all over the ancient world call for urine as the prima materia, or first matter, urine of boys, girls and infants (thung nan thung nu) to the lotium infantis or Urine d’Enfants. The alchemical imagery and artistic motifs fall under the term of what Martininus Rulandus recalled as Urina Puerum or “little boy’s urine” that extends from ancient metallurgy and alchemy and iatro-chemistry and even into French avant-garde art (Moffitt 2003).* This is the standard sign of the Alchemists’ Mercurius philosophorum either symbolically or literally in the case of producing certain solvents, menstrums and alkahests. The “women’s work” of watching the stove (distillation, etc.) and cleaning with simple joy of “child’s play” are how the processes of alchemy are described. The household chores, like when humanity first left the forest for shelter and urinated in gourds and vessels, are the sources of the humble philosopher’s knowledge. It must be *  Duchamp’s  famous  urinal  is  alchemically  linked  by  many  scholars,  who  also  note   that  Duchamp  stated  the  urinal  had  been  set  low  “so  that  little  boys  could  use  it”   (Moffitt  2003).  

noted that it seems hiding urine under the bed must be put into the context of other Puritan repressions, whereas in most cultures and in history urine was considered “a valuable commodity” (Smith 1954). The Latin word for urine, lotium has a meaning of to wash, from its ancient use in women’s work: washing clothes, and cosmetic use for women’s hair. As the famous adept Ripley wrote, “And when ther sherts be fylyd wyth pysse, then lat the Woman be bound” and scholars have suggested that Robert Herrick’s poem “Upon Sudds, a Laundresse” and its pisse references conceal the alchemical process (Abraham 2001). Human Piss and Bovine Urine: A Synthesis of Soma theories Urine of an uncorrupted boy dates to magical practices in African and Egyptian traditions, and a young pure boy was thought to be a purer vessel, and an important place in antique magic, particularly in love charms (von Franz 1980).† The earliest interest in the alchemy of urine might have emerged out of Vedic soma rites of urine drinking, if Wasson’s deductions of the recycling of a fungal entheogen through the human hold any water. Certainly the ancient Chinese recorded Daoist adepts drinking urine as part of their longevity practices (Needham 1983). Even if the cult of soma disappeared, evolved or went underground in Tantric circles (Hajiceck-Dobberstein 1995; Dannaway 2009), the Chinese were equally interested in urine, both drinking and subjecting it to alchemical processes. The continuous transmission of religion, folklore and alchemical knowledge from India back and forth to China might have sparked the Daoist search for the herb or fruit of immortality. The drinking of urine by Vedic soma drinkers may be behind the continued use, and medical claims, of urine therapy (Shimbavu, amroli) by mystics from Yogis to Daoist immortals. Indian yogis, followers of ayurveda and those seeking miracle cures still drink urine daily in India, and all over Asia, reflecting ancient traditions esteeming urine as a power substance, containing immortal soma and potent chemical and volatile properties. “Man as microcosmic” theories and the ancient associations of visionary/immortality and urine would focus alchemists trying to find powerful medicines and elixirs from living sources. But perhaps, as many Indian scholars believe, that the soma of Veda was an alchemical-metallurgical operation to form a mystical alloy. The fixation of volatile substances, like mercury, is indeed still highly revered as parad in India and the subject of the “volatile and the fixt” has dominated all chymical speculations of alchemy right up into the times of Boyle and Newton. But Indian scholars tend to view that the urine references in the Rig Veda, and Nagarjuna in his alchemical tantric recipes, refers to the urine of cows, and in many cases this is undoubtedly correct. This is how Kalyanaraman (2000) explains the processing of silver and gold pyrites with urine, which are found in regions connected with the Kiratas and Chinese (interesting in considering the purchase of soma in the Rig Veda), even though he writes, “… cow's urine may explain ma_nus.i_r a_pah (piss on it) in RV 9.63.7, 'putting into movement the human waters'.” I submit that if Rig Vedic soma rites were some metallurgical process using ingredients †  Manuscripts often note the use of infant’s urine in making alchemical homunculi (Figuier 1856).  

from tribes associated with China, then human urine was used as the text itself indicates. It is interesting to note that cow’s urine certainly did replace human urine, as other plants replaced the original soma, but that even later recipes for preparing Tantric alchemical amalgams call for the urine of a virgin calf (Dash 1997), but also human urine (Mudranalaya 1984). This reconciles Wasson’s insistence of human piss and the Indian scholars who speculate that the soma plant was a metaphor for processing electrum. Soma, the “terrifying bull” is always connected to gold, hides, cattle, winged birds and urine. SomaRudra’s urine is connected in the Atharva-Veda Samhita with amrita, and urine (possibly refined to volatile components or “our sal ammoniac”) would amalgamate to metals of immortality, rust-defying gold and silver. These continue to be made today in India as parad amrit cups. This corresponds to Needham (1974) indicating that alchemy emerged in China in the form of making magical vessels, which harken back to the drona or soma cup, that were thought to impart immortality to the drinker. It was only later that ingesting the metals evolved from the tradition of “magical vessels” of alchemical alloys, and myths of magic vessels explain the cups, kraters and grails of Indo-Iranians. Perhaps visionary plants were ingested in alchemically prepared vessels, and the urine consumed, as it was symbolically used in the forging and preparations, linking the inner and outer rituals with symbolic elegance. Rudra’s (red) urine could also be a symbol of liquefied mercury, as later it was Shiva’s semen in Tantra, that would connect with the stabilization of mercury, which is central to Tantra.‡ The Way of Urine The search for a “plant of immortality”, which could have been a metallurgicalbotanical metaphor from India, was feverishly conducted by Daoist adepts and emperors. As Needham notes, this gave way to Chinese alchemy that sought to manufacture magical dishes and cups to ingesting the metals with visionary plants. These associations combine in China, where urine drinking, metallurgy and magical plants are already apparently ancient, and it is likely in that it is in China that the urine of children is focused upon as being the most powerful. Daoist philosophy and longevity techniques seek to return to a primordial nature of purity, innocence and simplicity. Youth is kinetic potentiality, flexible, resilient, fresh and full of heavenly life force or qi. The return to youth-like state of uncontrived mind and unfolding vital life-energy was the goal of all Daoists, alchemical or philosophical. The alchemical speculations for “virgin’s urine” may have arisen from the near universal uroscopic observation that a woman’s urine changed after losing virginity and both sexes urine changed after puberty.§ The inner alchemy speaks of the unification of the ying erh, or “baby boy,” and
‡ Cinnabar has been found at Mohenjo-daro (SanUllah 1931)

§  Though Chinese were not particularly concerned with the appearance of urine, though there are traditions of uroscopy in India, and uroscopy likely originated in Persia and maintained scientific bona fides until condemned as quackery in the late middle ages, for a example of inspecting urine for chastity see De Secretis Mulierum Ch. X, PseudoAlbertus.    

the chha nu, or the “lovely girl,” as the enchymoma, (Needham’s term for the product of) the combining of the qi of the Five Elements, and Yin and Yang as the pre-natal energies to induce ascension and immortality. The “lovely girl” was seen as representing the “fluid of the heart”, and the “baby boy” as inhabiting the “reins” which is an ancient term for the complex urino-genital organs and structures, and products of the kidneys. There is even an interior golden fluid associated with the mystical inner-child. This, as Needham notes, contributed “to the later iatro-chemists (who) devoted such efforts to working up urine…and other secretions and products” from the human body (1983). The Chinese, and Arabs and Europeans who seemed to have inherited much of this urine lore intact (there are a smattering of Egyptian and Greek allusions in proto-alchemy) viewed digestion and energy as culminating in and dispersing through the organs and blood and qi. The derivation of urine from the “virtues” of blood can be seen in Daoist writings from as early as the 10th century, and this becomes common in most Arabic and European iatro-chemical and proto-medical writings. To the alchemist, this made urine into living, microcosmic waters. Daoists requisitioned “unpolluted lads and maidens” to search for the drug of immortality on behalf of the emperor (Ch’iao-p’ing 1948). This was due to their qi, not for some puritan repulsion against the sex act as it might have been in Christian contexts. The urine of a child, ascending in a period of maximum growth, development and energy would naturally be seen as containing vital Yang or Yin energies depending on the donor’s sex. {The urine of children is particularly potent and infants can actually form urate crystals if dehydrated, and children bioaccumulate things much more readily in their urine as studies on carcinogens, drugs and environmental toxins unfortunately prove.} The child is a storehouse of subtle power that is in generative growth phase that will begin to peak at puberty and decline slowly and steadily to death. Through the processes, the Chinese alchemists sought to find some rejuvenating tonic in the urine of babes, and maybe it was the precursor to some other operation, or secret ingredients were left out, or perhaps to prepare a sex-hormone saturated product. Although the latter theory of Needham is controversial and disproven as speculation (Yi-lin 2005), surely something powerful was created that was esteemed for some two thousand years. Urine was collected on an almost industrial scale, collecting some 400 gallons to evaporate, distill and sublime. Daoist adepts systematically investigated the urine of specific donors based on age, sex, and other conditions, paying attention to the patient's health, diet and times of collection. The use of sediment from human urine (Hominis Urinae Sedmentum) or Renzhongbai, renzhonghuang (white and yellow products respectively) is indicated in modern TCM for clearing heat, removing toxins and for liver complaints. These recipes, in some form or another, date back to the beginning of the Common Era and earlier. Daoists of the Han period, from around 125 BCE, appear to have been sublimating urine, producing seethed crystals (like a philosophical Sal ammoniac) in a process that evolved into greater complexity until at least the 16th century. Like “abstention from grains” (bigu), Daoist stretching and massage (daoyin), or countless other arts of the immortals, the knowledge of urine seems to have been a hallmark of an immortal’s knowledge. Masters were considered imminent at court for this knowledge, such as Yen Sung who “knew how to use the urine of boys and girls to make chhiu shih for the prolongation of youth and life” (Needham 1983). The folk-use of drinking little boys' urine has been used for courage in battle, for headaches, blood

diseases and render the diligent drinker “exempt from disease” (de Groot 2003). These associations clearly exist in modern China, where certain regions esteem Virgin boy eggs (tong zi dan) as an inner-heat, detoxifying spring tonic that rejuvenates and invigorates the many that swear to their efficacy. The urine is collected from local schools, and just from boys, and where eggs are boiled in the urine, cracked and further cooked allowing the urine and egg to mix, and then consumed. "It can treat yin deficiency, decrease internal body heat, promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis.”** The existent recipes, even if not for the sex-hormones, are interesting from an alchemical perspective as they feature some common processes, ingredients and nomenclature that is found anywhere that alchemy was practiced. Some recipes called for the collected sediment (niao pai yin) “from the urine of boys and girls” (thung nan thung nu) and evaporated in fires of mulberry wood. Some stipulate the season for collection of urine, indicating that certain energies (celestial and earthly) in the donor, would increase or affect the quality of urine. Needham (1983) writes, “The age implied here would be, in the most natural acceptation of the text, under about 15, for the Nei Ching defines the marriageable age as 16 for boys and 14 for girls. But it may mean unmarried or virgin boys and girls in the sense of the usages of the writer’s own time, i.e. up to about 18 or so.” Another method calls for the adept to narrow his search in matters that pertain to hygiene and diet: “select boys and girls free from any illness (as the donors of the urine). They should be bathed and their clothes changed. They should be provided with innocuous food and soup, but one should avoid giving them foods with rank and pungent smells, such as leeks, onions, garlic, ginger, etc. or other things which have an acrid property” (Needham 1983). Yet another method for the autumn mineral involved urine of boys and girls that was collected and put into vats and exposed to summer sunshine for three ten-day periods (Needham 1983). Needham records in the same volume a Jesuit description of the process, as mentioned in the relevant section, that involves the evaporation of a large amount of urine from a healthy young male donor, to which is added rape-seed oil as an apparent anti-frothing agent. This is sublimed in a box (with steam-holes) of tiles, and the sublimate fractioned by boiling water, in a process of basically distilling urine towards medicinal, aphrodisiacal or immortal-tonic ends that saturated the laboratories of Arab, Jewish and Christian alchemists even into modern times. Needham (1983) cites six methods total, the first of which appears to actually produce a product with some sex hormones, though less than would have been found in the urine (though it doesn’t seem to indicate the mass volumes that were boiled and concentrated in the “simulated tests” addressed in its section), in his speculation that Daoists were anticipating modern endrocrinological methods. Needham posits alternatives from the use of the products, such as the famous microcosmic salt, which was alchemically named and exploited as the crystallization of the universal powers manifested in the inner world of man. There are interesting recipes that used calcined human bone and the urine of boys for dynamic restorative properties (de Groot 2003) that contained other ingredients and calcium phosphate from the bone and volatile salts from the urine. It would have been interesting if those who dismissed his speculations had
** http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/29/10922289-urine-soaked-virgin-boy-eggs-are-aspringtime-taste-treat-in-china?lite

investigated the medico-alchemical preparations known as a manufactured Chrysocolla, “formed of the infants of urine,” that exits in a context of medicated natural products as “gluten of gold”; both are prescribed for many of the same ailments as the Chinese “autumn mineral.” The combination of human secretions and alchemically prepared medicines is a common occurrence in many Daoist elixirs. The famous Red Pill of Li, proving metallurgical links beyond the recipes of Confucian doctors, consisted of: “autumn mineral” (Qiu shi), the urine of a young boy; “red lead” (Hong qian), the menses of a young woman; and human breast milk—i.e. the “primary vitalities,” which is the combined vital essences of secretions of a young boy, a young woman, and an adult woman with alchemical cinnabar. These could all be code words for laboratory process, as might Needham’s citations of having young boys and girls urinate over alchemical alloys. In Tibetan Tantric texts, where urine is a power substance used in initiations and Nectar medicine, the urine of a child born to a lama and his consort is used. There are eight types of urine listed in related Tibetan contexts (Garrett 2010), some of volatile natural products “classified as urines.” The express use of human urine is found in the Tibetan Four Medical Tantras to protect against contagious disease (Garett 2010), as it was used in the Middle Ages during the plague. “An eight-year-old child’s urine may be especially helpful for contagious diseases or spirit possession” (Garrett 2010). One can find vague references to ancient uses of urine in metallurgy, such as in Indonesia, where blacksmiths dipped their red-hot metals in buckets of urine, specifically the urine of boys. These become ridiculously specific, such as specifying a redheaded virgin boy or girl, (prepubescent) that indicated simple superstitions or, again, precise technological codewords for some as yet not understood process. Given the supreme initiatory secrecy of metallurgical guilds from antiquity (Eliade 1979; Girardot 1984), it is possible that while still using urine of children for various operations, there may be other alchemical methods or ingredients implied.

The Parting of Ways Urine’s power, such as was exploited universally by the ancients in tanning and cleaning (the word lotium derives). Ancient Egpytians used human and camel urine (thioureas) in gilding and parting processes for gold. The mystical alloys asem and electrum, have been argued as soma by Indian scholars (Kalyanaraman 1998) though failing to re-contextualize urine in a metallurgical context. Ancient alloys were parted and cemented using urine as discussed below, and also in processes that are confused in

the historical and (al-)chemical records as a product called sal ammoniac. There is a natural form of this product collected near temples of Ammon (the Sal or salt of Ammon), and one that for centuries in Europe was thought to be a composite of camel’s urine, dung, and sea-salt. What is crucial is that various animal urines, or the urine of children in alchemical contexts, were used to produce a volatile salt that acted on metals, and one that alchemists insisted upon as “our sal ammoniac” in contrast to the mundane products of industrial or artisanal uses. Texts mentioning quicksilver, cadmia, “with the urine of a not yet corrupted boy” promise alchemical benefits as in the The Prophetess Isis to her Son from the Codex Marcianus, from about the 1st century A.D. (von Franz 1980). The proto-alchemical and mystical sayings of pseudo-Democritus are based on the so-called Leyden papyrus found in Thebes and dating to 3rd century A.D., which contains this recipe for the Coloring of Gold: “Roasted misy, 3 parts; lamellose alum, (and) celandine, about 1 part; grind to the consistency of honey with the urine of a small child and color the object; heat and immerse in cold water (Caley 1926).” These specifications of child urine are repeated in mystical aphorisms and other Greek magical and medical papyri. Greek alchemists also indicated a prepubescent boy’s urine for an “incombustible fire,” the same nomenclature that will show up in Arabic texts like the Turba Philosophorum. The Leyden Papyrus also indicated the urine of a child in the invention of the alchemically significant “sulfur water” (Caley 1926). The aphorisms, apparently wrongly attributed to either Democritus, on things natural and mystical, mention a gold cementation processes involving the “urine of a young girl” as well as in arsenical. Pliny the Elder mentions “the urine of children” in a process of soldering gold (Bostock 1898). The use of children’s urine is in mercurial contexts with Democritus, explicitly as (mercury Hg) and perhaps in code, as Jove (tin) and Venus (copper, or Greek, orichalium - an alloy) indicate coded substances. Dioscorides, and he is quoted by many European alchemists, mentions a type of nitre (chrysocolla), for extracting gold that is made from the “urine of infants” (Waite 1893.) Syrian manuscripts also cite Zosimus in the use of urine of virgin and children (Berthelot et al 1893). The Streams Combine In addition to the inherited philosophies and sciences from Egyptian and GrecoRoman sources, the Arabs and Jews inherited a substantial amount of alchemical lore from the Chinese, as Needham and Madhihassan have demonstrated. The concept of an elixir, physical immortality, and even transmutation may well have derived from the evolving concepts in China. Imam Ali stated, “Alchemy is the sister of Prophecy,” and a well-known hadith of the Prophet Muhammad says that one must constantly search for knowledge, “Even unto China.” Henry Corbin (Corbin 1998) also relates of esoteric Eucharistic cup/grail rituals, as do Littleton and Malcor (2000) connect such rites to Persia through Islamc sources into Europe. I submit they were likely made of alchemical alloys. But there are some other fountains from which these particular streams of alchemical waters may have flown. Arabic texts quote Greek writers on Divine Water, Divine Vinegar or Living Waters (Arabic maul hayat) was variously named by Philosophers as “Divine water…virgin’s urine, mercury, sea water, virginal milk.” These

are obviously, at least in some cases, coded terms such as “virginal milk.” But the sea water, urine and mercury, even though ammonium carbonate and sodium chloride wouldn’t yield “vulgar sal ammoniac,” might have produced something of special interest to alchemists and metallurgists enough to consistently insist upon on them as ingredients. For instance, in Egyptian proto-alchemical papyri, such the Sweden and Leyden, on the manufacturing of pearls and “gold” call for “urine of young boys” as well (Ead 2012). Patai (1994) quotes many Semitic texts of interest, such as the famous Arabic Book of Alum and Salts that were necessary for the alchemical arts. Modern scholars accept it as a work of the famous alchemist Muhammad ibn Zakariyya Al-Razi (864-925) though the translator felt it to be an anonymous 11th century Arab from Spain. But it is a crucial text, and if dated early it shows a remarkably early orientation towards this specific use of urine, and it may well be a cryptic code to some other process ingredient, just as the above quote from Imam Ali situates alchemical knowledge into the bosom of esoteric Shia Islam and contemporary with the Prophet. Patai (1994) gives three versions, one in Hebrew (from an older Arabic version possibly from the time of Al-Razi), the Arabic one Ruska used, and a Latin version. The older Hebrew text and Ruska’s Arabic text, mention especially the “old urine of boys” in operations involving copper, mercury, sal ammoniac as well as salt and vinegar, dissolving and coagulating (mentioning the method of the Shia alchemist Jabir) apparently discussing the “nature of the atramento (L. atramentum, vitriol). The Latin text, which clarifies the process as making “A Medicine which converts copper into silver,” states that the urine simply be puerile. Most alchemical recipes present the ingredient of urine in the making of ammoniac salts, alchemical “sal ammoniac” and saltpeter (are discussed in book). Sal ammoniac, like Hermes (the god of thieves and a cattle-rustler), is the “thief of metals.” In recipes such as is found in the Hebrew text found in the Vatican Library entitled “Water more precious than gold”, these salts are all used in combination with 15 ounces “urine of boys of twelve years” (Patai 1994). This produces, with sundry other ingredients involved from milk to honey and mercury, an elissier, or elixir, that can powerfully enter and dissolve and refine the salty (elements) of metals, and is “good for gold and silver” (Patai 1994). There is also cited the Oxford Manuscript, dated from somewhere between the 11th and 16th century in style and content and context, on the “Gate of reddening gold, the gate of purifying the gold, and the gate of reddening the gold well, the latter and final stage involving colocynth, hemp and verdigris, vitriol, burnt copper, salt, Yemenite alum, one part and half, with “the urine of small boys” (Patai 1994) the with alum and boy’s urine being, perhaps, some philosophical “sal armoniac.” Some intriguing texts known as the Gaster manuscripts, dated to 1690 but were based on older texts, were named for the famous Rabbi who came to acquire them. They present, in Hebrew, a study of the alchemical paths first in the Greek-Arab period, then in the Latin world, and on the subject of transmutation. Interestingly, the fifth book, the Book of Aristotle, “discusses the “use of vitriol, tutty, alum, Saturn (lead), the urine of boys under twelve years of age, red water, white water, and the “white philosopher’s oil” (Patai 1994). Saturn’s urine is a common term, dating back to at least 1673 in the Triplex Phasis Sophicus of Johannis Tackii, back to Sendivogius (1566-1636) of Poland and into English where it became a common term in the 18th century, which might have meant lead acetate, or salt or sugar of lead, Sal Saturn.

One the earliest Arabic alchemical manuscripts that were translated into Latin (in the 12th century) was the Turba Philosophorum or Assembly of Philosophers (Arabic title Mu.shafal aljama’a) which the Arabs believed was written by Archelaos. Needham (1980) dates its Arabic origins to at least the 9th century in his exhaustive study of Chinese alchemy and in the context of finding Chinese words, ingredients, techniques and recipes in Islamic laboratories. He notes that especially the concept of elixir alchemy, almost absent in Hellenic alchemy other than metaphorically, even linking it (with Madhihassan) to a Chinese term. One crucial and lengthy digression traces the history of natural and manufactured sal ammoniac (Chinese nao sha) (made from human products such as hair, urine and ash) “which affects men’s minds like strong drink” into Persian, Sogdian and to Arabic alchemy where it is phonetically linked as nushadur (Needham 1980). Returning to the Turba, it records recipes for alchemical waters, calling for sea salt and “the urine of boys” in associations that are common in Europe for philosophical “volatile salts” in the “washing” (women’s work) of mercury code for the “mercurial waters” Sal ammoniac is often reintroduced back into urine. The Turba also discusses the urine of boys in the context of “the Tincture” and animal urine and human urine in creating catalysts. The Turba, and related alchemical Arabic manuscripts that were translated into Latin and European languages, are likely the source of the nomenclature that Arab’s inherited from Chinese and Greco-Roman-Egyptian sources. There is a multiplicity of names for the Divine Waters that act upon metals, and Virgin’s urine or milk, or other designations of it as a urine or vinegar have persisted with remarkable consistency. These associations persist into the alchemists of Europe that were searching for their alkahests and menstrums. These substances were used in the parting and cementing of metals in ancient technology. The fixation and alloying of metals was thought to impart all the qualities of the metals, like electrum (gold and silver and possibly mercury from Dardistan and Swat valley that birthed Tantra, and in Tantric Rasha Shastra it is silver and mercury, primarily) soma cup or the magical Daoist gold-mercury or multiple metal composites. Needham reports that these alloy cups are described in Chinese alchemy into 16th century and beyond. Maria the Jewess discusses magical alloys, that begin with the alloy of four metals (“our lead”) and alloys feature prominent in tincture recipes of Islamic alchemists. The Palestinian alchemist Hayyim Vital was writing in the 16th century about tinctures, “freezing of quicksilver” in a process linked to the Rebis below of uniting the gold (shams, sun) and the silver (qamar, moon). This is combined other metals and mercury and urine derived salts (nishadir sal ammoniac and ammoniaq salts) to make amalgams (m’luguma). This same language is found in the Turba to North African alchemical recipes for “coagulating mercury” as found in 19th century Sephardi manuscript claiming a older tradition, for preparing the “seven metals” (Patai 1994). As seen below this is the exact same process and nomenclature as the Paracelsian electrum. These are made into magical vessels that were used to project the planetary correspondences and infuse the liquids, making them “potable gold.” There are also famous realgar cups from China to Europe to the famous antimonial cups of Europe.

La Fontaine Indécente The urine of boys is mentioned in various European metallurgical and alchemical manuscripts from the 12th century and Latinized Arab and Jewish authors like Artephius refer to Urine as a symbol for the Mercury of the Philosophers. The Turba Philosophorum, either specifically or symbolically, discusses fermented urine, particularly of boys, in a primary position for European alchemists to investigate as a starting point. Europe and the ancient Greco-Roman world had similar systems of medicine that involved uroscopy, magic and prognostications associated with urine, sexuality and health. Thomas of Cantimpre (early 13th century) cites Aristotle in the Lumen luminum as saying “the best gold is made from yellow copper ore and the urine of boys” (Thorndike 1923). Likewise, Constatine of Pise, in the “Book of Secrets of Alchemy” (Obrist 1990), mentions 13th century recipes to make copper azure from sheets of silver: “take salammoniac and grind it carefully, mix it with boy’s urine, out in a glass vessel…” which may have derived from translations of ancient authors like Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica found in Arabic manuscripts in 13th century Spain. In the important 13th alchemical treatise falsely attributed to Raymond Lull, the Expermentia: “Here it was said that the urine of boys between eight and twelve years of age should be allowed to putrefy, and then distilled. The distillation should be repeated many times on the first fractions of each distillate. Finally, a salt was said to be obtained which is very volatile— it was called mercurius animalis or spiritus animalism. This same sal volatile was mentioned by many of the succeeding alchemists. The 14th century was actually when the word “urine” came into use, and urine terminology, cryptic or explicit by design, saturates alchemical and medical manuscripts. The Testament of Cremer (an abbot from Westminster, London, called for the urine of an unpolluted youth under age 18 with the loss of virginity rendering the urine useless for “living water” in the Hermetic Museum. Ficino, towards the end of the 14th century and published posthumously (or later attributed to him), wrote of Philosophers, “They are also called children when we say: children play with the stone, when they make it greater in weight and virtue. Whence also we in other works know the urine of children of four

years old to be the water of the four inferior bodies; which since it is called the aqua fortis of the Philosophers, is said to dissolve gold: out of which things we do not deny but that a certain stone is made. Spanning these traditions in works associated with adepts of centuries past are works by the pseudo-Lull of 15th century, writing under the name of the 13th century Raymond Lull. The 15th century manuscript by that name mentions the urine of twelve virgin boys as producing an elixir of which one drop will change any baser metal to gold (Thorndyke 1922). There is also the explicitly illustrated Cabala Mineralis of Rabbi Simon ben Cantara that shows a peeing boy inside the distillation vessel, with another older youth urinating into a urinal, and it carefully identifies the link with urine with “our salamoniac” versus the vulgar of chemists. Charmingly Hermetic, alchemical or otherwise enigmatic motifs in art begin to occur in these periods, such as the female putto peeing in a shoe on the ceiling of the Hotel Lallemant (completed 1518) or the Manneken Piss of Brussels, the former of which is discussed at length by modern alchemist and interpreter of the “Language of Birds,” Fulcanelli. Scrutinized by scholars and French Hermeticists, the curious engraving partakes of a wider symbolism such as found in the Rape of Ganymede, where the pissing infant is swooped upwards by the spread eagle (sal ammoniac symbol) where he is lifted up to heaven to be the cup-bearer offering the “heavenly drink” or nectar of immortality. The associations arose of the late Middle Ages, and are found in various settings as a putto with the death’s head, or the (caput mortem), sometimes even urinating on the skull. The juxtaposition of the exuberant youth and the cold reality of death is surely one interpretation, but its appearance in alchemical contexts, and the contemporary nomenclature in esoteric and alchemical circles suggests the associations run deeper. Associated with the French tradition discussed by Fulcanelli are those discussed by Canseliet (2006) in his curious Deux Logis Alchimques first published in 1945 on two enigmatic houses of Old France that are steeped in urinary alchemical motifs. Here alchemical folklore and folkart combine in paintings of urinating youths and recipes for “nitre” from the urine of virgin’s. The book eloquently links Fontaine Indécente of Plessis-Bourré house, as well as contextualizes it with pertinent alchemical manuscripts, such as the urinary significant Speculum Veritatis.†† Another example is the Le Putto Pissatore, which shows the baby Cupid urinating through a myrtle wreath and incense brazier onto the genitalia of the goddess Venus, while a serpent slithers to the subduing rod, which symbolizes volatile mercury. The alchemical symbolism, at least of Rembrandt’s treatment of Ganymede, has been noticed by scholars like Abraham (2001) and Greenburg (2007). Another example is Guido Reni’s Drinking Bacchus of 1623, showing a young peeing putti drinking wine, combines the “urine of an infant” and tartar-rich “Urine of wine-drinker” an exactitude invoked by adepts from Paracelsus (1493-1591) to John French (1616-1657) and countless other alchemists. The “urine of a wine-drinking boy” urina peuri(ann. 12)vinum bibentis was ††  In  several  texts,  ancient  and  Middle  ages,  one  reads  of  blacksmiths  quenching   metals  in  the  “urine  of  a  red-­‐headed  youth.  One  metallurgist,  who  lived  in  Africa,   recorded  this  same  tradition  and  informed  me  that  being  red  headed  is  considered   there  a  sign  of  malnourishment.  This  is  interesting  as  many  manuscripts  insist  on   the  urine  of  “choleric  youths,  such  as  mentioned  by  Canseliet,  and  youths  are   depicted  on  stretchers  with  intestinal  ailments.      

used medicinally since ancient times (Bourke 2003). Finally one might investigate the alchemical imagery of the Hynperotomachia Poliphili cupid streaming on Polophili while a lone head is right in the line of urine. While the examples of alchemical connections with children's or virgin’s urine seem nearly infinite, it is hoped the following primary examples in practical literature will demonstrate that the symbolism in paintings and sculpture partakes of the ancient traditions of alchemy. Alchemists and painters alike were interested in urine, the artists especially for the pigments that could be obtained from recipes requiring urine.‡‡ Contemporary texts published in the 1620’s in Latin and German like the Glory of the World, in the Musaeum Hermeticum deal directly with the subject, in a widely read manuscript that would have far reaching influence on the arts: “What is the Urine of Children? I will now truly inform you concerning the Urine of Children, and of the Sages. The spirit which is extracted from the metals is the urine of children: for it is the seed and the first principle of metals. Without this seed there is no consummation of our Art, and no Tincture, either red or white. For the sulphur and mercury of gold are the red, the sulphur and mercury of silver are the white Tincture: the Mercury of the Sun and Moon fixes all Mercury in imperfect metals, and imparts excellence and durability even to common Mercury. Dioscorides has written an elegant treatise concerning this Urine of Children, which he calls the first Matter of metals.” Paracelsus (Waite 2005) writes of the use of boy’s urine for the purification of sulfur, in extracting vitriol from sol (gold) for the Tincture of Sol, for the Elixir of Luna, and for the preservation of gold. George Ripley (1415-1590) liberally employed urine metaphors while elsewhere denying its worth, but either way used the term Urina peurorum for the bottom of his alchemical Vessels in making the Water, in a process described as Child’s Play. The elixir recipes for urinarum Magistri of Michael Scot, the 16th century alchemist had ingredients of sal armoniacum, digested urina peurorum (Brown 1897). Hermes himself indicates the Sharpest Vinegar or Urine of Boys, in the 1617 alchemical classic by Michael Maier, in manuscript lending itself to spiritual and practical laboratory interpretations. The urine of alchemy reached its most overt symbolism in the works of Isaac Hollandus and his Stone of Urine, from the Opus Alchymiae, and urine figures into his “philosophical” saltpetre and his sal ammoniac. He writes, “Before our Stone comes into existence, it is alive; when it is found, it is dead; everyone sees it and hold his nose before it. It had lain on top of the casks or vessels in which it was kept, for a long time, and one and all hold their noses before the Materi or stinking air from which our Stone is drawn. The poor have it as well as the rich; little children as well as older people. It is indeed a child’s play and a woman’s work, and the ignorant people have diligently searched for it, long and hard, in excrements and have not found it. For when you are alive, the Stone ‡‡ Verdigris for instance, from copper suspended in urine, ancient dyes like Tyrian purple from “urine of boys.” Blue “blau sein” is to be drunk, and from the ancient use of urine (provoked by drink) in dying cloth blue with indigo or woad (Isatis tinctoria)

lives with you. That is the reason why one cannot draw our Stone out of excrements, since our Stone possesses the four elements perfectly; yes, it is more wonderful than anything on earth. For man is the very best, which God has created in this world in his image.” Of course Henni Brandt, studying Paracelsian methods, discovered “phosphorous” from fermenting, evaporating and distilling massive amounts of urine. Paracelsus wrote extensively, in his oft-contradictory manuscripts both for and against the use of urine, but the recipes demand it, or the coded substance it designates. Paracelsus also writes of alchemical “electrum” of ancients, and coagulated mercury with the same reverence and medical zeal as Siddha and Rasa Shastra writers claim of fixed parad, or mercury. Throughout his writings (Waite 2005), but especially in the Composition of Metals, he writes of the alchemically fixed amalgam of seven metals as electrum, which ancients fashioned into vessels of incredible medicine, which echoes the soma cups and magic dinner-ware of Daoists. Elsewhere Paracelsus writes that “electrum is turned into the whiteness of the exalted eagle” suggesting the “sal ammoniac” symbolism. Martin Rulandus, writing in the 16th century in his Lexicon of Alchemy, writes that the “Rebis” is “Man and Wife, body and Soul, the first stage of the operation, clean Sand which adheres to mercury.” He writes of the “Rebisola” as the “Arcanum of Urine, when Urine is cooked and simmered, allow it stand three days. Then the Arcanum will be found in the pebbles.” Here are two examples of many that speak of “hermaphrodite” alloys combining mercury, noble metals, urine and similarly coded substances for creating pure spiritual amalgams said to drive away disease. Paracelsus writes on this electrum in the Composition of Metals of the metals purging of poisons to food and drink, and its force against disease in the body concluding, “for this reason our ancestors used to have their drinking-cups, dishes and other utensils made from said material” (Waite 2005) echoing the above descriptions of magical cups and dishes. Paracelsus’ path of antimony and alchemical alloys, and the associated star regulus, persisted into 17th century alchemy and later. Moving to 1685, Weidenfield’s wonderful experiment: “Take the Urine of Boys, which must be from the eighth to the twelfth Year, and no more; which Urine gather from those Boys in the Morning, rising out of Bed, a great quantity of which 'tis convenient tor you to have, which must be very well putrefied in a Glass Vessel.” For mixing with “philosophical aqua ardens” he writes, “Take the Urine of Children, between eight and twelve Years of Age, of good disposition and health, get that which is good, and a good quantity, and put it in many Glass Vessels.” The use of the “urine of children” as a code word, at least perhaps evolving into one, continued to exert itself up the time of the modern alchemist Fulcanelli, just as the actual use of urine and urine codes, existed into the times of Boyle, Newton and Starkey. Newman (2003) discusses the star regulus with the cherub like figure known as the “son of Saturn” (for crude antimony) in the context of “old Saturn’s pisse” and the “urine of children.” He explains that the urine refers to the washing of the blackness in the amalgamation of silver and quicksilver, or the “great stink” that occurs when silver, quicksilver and metallic antimony are combined. Newman (2003) also demonstrates that the star regulus is represented by a urinating child, shown holding a bird in the introitus, or amalgamation. But clearly urine is not just a code, as Starkey “generously” insists in the Liquor Alchahest that it is “the product of Urine” and essentially human urine. He

rectifies human urine, or aqueous ammonia and ammonium carbonate and produces “anomalous coagulum”… “in a vious Spirit is intimate, and centrally ones with the Spirit of Mans Urine…” which is the same off alba created of urine from Van Helmont (Newman 2003). The “regulus of antimony” combined easily with the gold as king of metals, and other metals were added to separate regulus from the remaining stibnite such as copper (Venus), tin (Jupiter), lead (Saturn) and iron (Mars) incorporating planetary correspondences as in the Paracelsian gamahey (Dascal and Boantza 2011). There is of course, in tying this back to alchemical vessels, the 1635 product of John Evans The Universall Medicinc or the Virtues of My Magneticall Or Antimoniall Cup, some 60 years after the internal use of antimony is forbidden by the Faculty of Medicine in Paris.

Tentative  Conclusion   The above research, ending somewhat abruptly, is extracted from the forthcoming book Living Waters: The Mystical, Alchemical and Medical Folklore of Urine. Living Waters is an attempt to contextualize the alchemical use or symbolism of urine in the ancient and nearly universal references in sacred metallurgy. These will focus on the products produced by urine, with some reference to the mundane or vulgar industrial or chemical equivalents, building on related discussions of uroscopy, folklore and medicinal sources on the study of urine from India, China and into Arabia and Europe. “There are two fountains, each spouting a clear, strong stream. One of them, the Little Boys Fountain (Fonte Pueri), has a hot water; the other having cold water, is called the Stream of the Virgin (Virginis Unda). Unite the one with the other, so that the two waters may be one: This (conjoined) stream will possess the forces of each of them, mixed together, just as the found of Jupiter Hammon is hot and cold at the same time” Michael Maier
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