The Secret Book of Artephius This has been transcribed from 'In Pursuit of Gold' by 'Lapidus'.

This treatise describes the entire process of preparing the philosopher's stone. There are three separate operations described here: the preparation of the 'secret fire' (the catalyst or solvent which is used throughout the whole work, without which nothing can be achieved, but which is seldom if ever mentioned in any alchemical treatise), the preparation of 'mercury' (a metallic vapor made from antimony and iron, said to resemble vulgar mercury (Hg) in appearance, necessary in the preparation of the stone) and the preparation of the stone itself. These operations are not presented in sequence. The reader will note that the language is allusive and recondite, that several names are used to refer to the same thing and that one name is used to refer to several things. This is, however, an exceptionally clear alchemical text. Artephius is said to have written this in the 12th century. Lapidus doesn't say who translated it (presumably from the Latin). Comments in [square brackets] are by the transcriber. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Secret Book Artephius (1) Antimony is a mineral participating of saturnine parts, and has in all respects the nature thereof. This saturnine antimony agrees with sol, and contains in itself argent vive, in which no metal is swallowed up, except gold, and gold is truly swallowed up by this antimonial argent vive. Without this argent vive no metal whatsoever can be whitened; it whitens laton, i.e. gold; reduceth a perfect body into its prima materia, or first matter, viz. into sulphur and argent vive, of a white color, and outshining a looking glass. It dissolves, I say the perfect body, which is so in its own nature; for this water is friendly and agreeable with the metals, whitening sol, because it contains in itself white or pure argent vive. (2) And from both these you may draw a great arcanum, viz. a water of saturnine antimony, mercurial and white; to the end that it may whiten sol, not burning, but dissolving, and afterwards congealing to the consistence or likeness of white cream. Therefore, saith the philosopher, this water makes the body to be volatile; because after it has dissolved in it, and infrigidated, it ascends above and swims upon the surface of the water. Take, saith he, crude leaf gold, or calcined with mercury, and put it into our vinegre, made of saturnine antimony, mercurial, and sal ammoniac, in a broad glass vessel, and four inches high or more; put it into a gentle heat, and in a short time you will see elevated a liquor, as it were oil swimming atop, much like a scum. Gather this with a spoon or feather dipping it in; and in doing so often times a day until nothing more arises; evaporate the water with a gentle heat, i.e., the superfluous humidity of the vinegre, and there will remain the quintessence, potestates or powers of gold in the form of a white oil incombustible. In this oil the philosophers have placed their greatest secrets; it is exceeding sweet, and of great virtue for easing the pains of wounds.

viz. out of the body of Magnesia. the one from antimony. filings. And this white gold is called by the philosophers "luna alba philosophorum. and after gives them spirit and life. that the body compounded of two bodies. may easily by the same white gold change all imperfect metals into the best or finest silver. viz. But first this sol by putrefaction and resolution in this water.(3) The whole. (5) Our dissolving water therefore carries with it a great tincture. i. and then congeal. of this antimonial secret is. is raised up. and fumus albus" [white philosophical silver. resumeth life in this water. substance and tincture thereof. weight. or change the body into a medicinal white gold. and sticks close to them perpetually. earth and a viscous powder. And because in our vinegar there is a double substance of argentum vivum. and by little and little will swim upon it. you must extract a living and incombustible water. it is a water ponderous. not burning. viz. that is into sulphur. it is revived. or vinegar aforesaid. and a great melting or dissolving. and a mercurial sublimate.e. . weight. and augmenting the weight and color. and shines with inestimable brightness. or calx of any metal. sol and luna. or first matter. aurum alchymiae. and converted into a viscous water. and tincture. and set it in a gentle heat for a time. melting. and does increase by the receiving from the vegetable and animated nature and substance. of sol and luna. And it dissolves all things with an admirable solution. yea. viscous. the aurum album of the philosophers cannot be made. and prepares for liquefaction. or white oil as aforesaid. it makes all things fusible. precious. white fixed mercury. it so happens. and this is antimony. is puffed up. if there be in it the pure and fine bodies of sol or luna. stones and metals. That is. fine gold. argentum vivum album fixum. Who so knows how to convert. i. and also augments therein the native color. is the vinegar of the mountains. because that when it feels the vulgar fire. and into a fixed argent vive. and will grow dark and black. leaves. and made thoroughly white. (4) Our water also. and the body receiveth from this water a white tincture. into a white incombustible sulphur. For in this water. If therefore you put into this water. or liquefying. it does give a double weight and substance of fixed argent vive. and therefore it is mixed with gold and silver. Thus it mollifies the body. in a substance of a white color. grows. and to reduce it into its first matter. In it also is a power of liquefying or melting all things that can be melted or dissolved. or coagulate it with the perfect body of sol. loseth all its light and brightness. resolving all crude bodies into their prima materia. moreover fixing. viz. and worthy to be esteemed. as all other things are. then.e. and converts them into its white substance such as itself is. inspired. Thus the perfect body of sol. and argentum vivum. that we know how by it to extract or draw forth argent vive. the whole will be dissolved. swells. And this is the whitening of red laton to sublimate it philosophically. alchemical gold and white (something)]: and therefore without this our antimonial vinegar. and is multiplied in its kind. and gives to the body color. which is done by dissolving it into a nature [sic? mature?] white substance of the consistency of cream. without alloy. it immediately melts them. transmuting the perfect body into a fusible medicine. putrefies. afterwards it will ascend above the water. and the other from mercury sublimated.

be assured that thy knowledge. concerning which an ancient philosopher saith. altering. soft and fluid. I besought the Lord. And it turns them into a humid substance. which I knew to be the pure vinegar. with the conservation of the species. the moist fire. But if this solution is also their coagulation. by which we ought to resolve the perfect bodies of sol and luna. which is soft and fluid. and to mix with them in their smallest parts. (7) Now this water is a certain middle substance. penetrating. for which cause sake they must be brought back into their first matter. and changed into a white and living earth. And it is the only agent in the universe. For this water needs the perfect bodies. It is also the most acrid vinegar. it may be congealed. It is a vegetable. and without any destruction. whereby they could have no entrance into other things. It is therefore the only apt and natural medium. unless it be to a new. because that which is . It appears therefore that the moisture must be reverted that the hidden treasure may be revealed. without which nothing has to be done in this art. and digesting. the Balneum Mariae. so to tinge and make perfect. which were dry and hard. and to tinge and make them perfect. which water is called the medium of the soul. the dissolving water. fixed. and coagulated into a white earth. and that you have done rightly according to art. the secret. nor is there any other water which can dissolve the bodies. making them to be no bodies but a fixed spirit. which ought to receive the tinctures of sol and luna. Therefore the transmutation of imperfect metals is impossible to be done by perfect bodies. and the work itself are true and philosophic. till they lose their hard and dry substance or form. the praeternatural fire. what was before imperfect. It cannot be permanent unless it be of the nature of other bodies. so as they may be congealed. than when it is in a dry one. it is the oil. which hath ingression and power to enter into other imperfect bodies. hidden and invisible fire. mineral and animal fire. (8) Thus you see that nature has to be amended by its own like nature. I say a penetrating vinegar. which in this art is able to reincrudate metallic bodies with the conservation of their species. which is the decocting and softening them. gold and silver are to be exalted in our water. the fountain. When therefore you see the water coagulate itself with the bodies that be dissolved therein. and better form or generation. as our water also with these bodies. as is plainly apparent in saffron. that is. viz. But this they could not do while they remained in their metallic forms or bodies.(6) Work therefore with it. by a wonderful and solemn dissolution. which is their wonderful secret or arcanum. way of working. for they have one and the same operation. that they may be made one. for it destroys. while they are dry and hard. (9) It is necessary therefore to convert the bodies of metals into a fluid substance. for it is the spirit and soul of sol and luna. overturns. more noble. but the other is congealed. resolving and reducing gold or silver into their prima materia or first matter. and changes bodies and metallic forms. and he showed me a pure clear water. because one is not dissolved. And this is called the reincrudation of bodies. into the perfect philosopher's stone. but that which abideth with them in the matter and the form. and you shall obtain from it what you desire. which conserves the fixed spirits of sol and luna. but destroys and conquers their bodies. for that every tincture will tinge a thousand times more in a soft and liquid substance. and the moving instrument for putrefying. that with them after the dissolution. clear as fine silver.

it brings back bodies to their original of sulphur and mercury. and its generation and perfection. to make bodies volatile. a thick dry earthy matter does not penetrate nor tinge. subtile. and our fire. penetrating. it converts them into a permanent or fixed water. That is to say it is a matter or substance of sol and luna. And this our water immediately dissolves bodies (as sol and luna) and makes them into an incombustible oil. being animated and pregnant. than that it rendered bodies soft. melting and dissolving. because it reduces hard and dry bodies. which is a work almost miraculous. nor sulphur without the fixedness of sol and luna. or highest secret is. quicksilver of quicksilver. It also converts other bodies into the nature of a fusible salt which the philosophers call "sal alebrot philosophorum".dry doth not enter into. and our quicksilver. but sulphur. and a wonderful soul. altered from vileness to nobility. sinking through and entering into other bodies. our white water. and the living body. (11) And therefore our ultimate. that is. also the soul. which is not without its sulphur. that of them we may afterwards in a little time. it would be sufficient. it can make no alteration in the matter to be altered. and reduced to a stone of great price. for it makes bodies to be merely spirit. according to its own nature. . And so it makes of bodies a most precious and desirable oil. and make it homogene with other perfect bodies. for that is nothing but fire. nor tinge anything except its own body. and fluid. that so they may be mixed other perfect bodies. a white vapor. the mineral virtue. For this reason it is. And this argent vive is called our esteemed and valuable salt. and the permanent fixed white water. sulphur of sulphur. and afterwards how go commix it. because it cannot enter or penetrate. and that it may be made altogether a spiritual substance. It is an oil indeed by nature hot. and prepares them for fusion. by nature hot and moist. more subtile. as I said before. and the hidden secret of the wise searchers of nature. fusible as wax. by this our water. or rather temperate. and mercury of mercury. he in truth knows one of the greatest secrets of nature. and the only way that leads to perfection. and the mineral of gold. and a tincture. and the ferment. sink. nor can it be tinged except it be tinged. From whence. which is the true tincture. to wit sol and luna. a white spirit. which then may be mixed with other imperfect bodies. alter and soften the perfect bodies. being in its own nature fixed and not subject to vanish in fire. (12) These bodies thus dissolved by our water are called argent vive. until its internal or hidden spirit is drawn forth out of its bowels by this. which may have ingress or entrance into bodies. Now you must note that this white sulphur is the father and mother of the metals. better and more noble than any other salt. our sulphur. if we had no other benefit by this our antimonial water. But more than that. which does penetrate. (10) It behoves us therefore by this our water to attenuate. yea. or tinging water. it is called the perfect or great elixir. and make perfect the work. or silver and gold. but also quicksilver drawn from sol and luna by our water. in less than an hour's time do that above ground which nature was a thousand years doing underground. and therefore. and not sulphur only. yet not fire. it is our mercury. in the mines of the earth. spiritual. that is. He therefore that knows this salt of sol and luna. because. or medium in the form through which nature passes in the perfecting or completing thereof. subtile. that gold coloreth not. tinge. because sol and luna are the particular means.

the dry with the moist. and there. it is also called the "vase naturae". For it changes their bodies from being corporeal. and open its unfoldings. because they come from one and the same root. and converts or changes it into its white color. for this water is a white vapor. It is also called the medium of conjoining the tinctures of sol and luna with the inferior or imperfect metals. which you are to take special notice of. which reciprocally. This water also called the tinging or blood-color-making stone. and are conjoined together. being the virtue of the spiritual tincture. the concord. the earth. that is between the body and the water. also it is the water that whiteneth.fore the body is whitened with it. hot and full of fire. and the mother must be put into and sealed up within the belly of her infant. and increases their native tincture or color. between the body and the spirit. because of the propinquity and likeness of their natures. The earth therefore springeth not forth without watering and moisture. to wit. the work could never be done or perfected. or mutually change their natures which they receive. it whitens it. it is the water proceeding from May dew that cleanseth the body. and is the subject of all things that can be melted. (14) For it is a living water which comes to moisten the earth. increase and spring forth. and the hard with the soft. the receptacle of the tincture. subtile. For it joined [joins?] in affinity to the gold and silver. It behoves you therefore to whiten the body. and whom she brought forth. as it is a soul. and that is sol himself. there is . for without it. and therefore they have loved one another as mother and son. so that that which is hot is mixed with that which is cold. are endued through dew and moisture. and are of the same substance and nature. which souls we have even now tied together. as it is whiteness itself. which agrees perfectly and unites closely with sol and luna from which it can never be separated. it causes the dead body to vegetate. and therefore as the philosopher saith. How precious then. being rightly ordered and disposed with the body. for it turns the bodies into the true tincture. or corporeal substance into a white vapor. And in doing this the body is converted into a spirit. And because this water is the water of the vegetable life. and communicate one to another through their most minute parts. that it melts or dissolves gold and silver. It is the royal fountain in which the king and queen bathe themselves. there is desire and friendship. without which nothing can be done. and the spirit afterwards into a body. and makes one body of two bodies. by which means. and how great a thing is this water. the nurse. and of liquefaction itself. the peace. and it is in this water which turns the bodies. to tinge the said imperfect metals. and then is made the amity. that it may spring out. the water washing the laton viz. quickly entereth into its body. which is a soul which is whiteness itself. by being dissolved first and then sublimed. for between these two. and like rain it penetrates them. the body compounded of sol and luna by our first water. for all things springing from the earth. it is also called the soul of the dissolved bodies. which quickeneth. but more immediately to the gold than to the silver. the belly. and the union of contraries. This aqua vite or water of life. the womb. and in its due season bring forth much fruit. (15) Now this our second and living water is called "Azoth". like as between male and female. and to rise from death to life. for the use of the wise philosopher.(13) The property therefore of our water is. into a spirituality. who proceeded from her.

the white sulphur. they have passed over into one another. the sol and luna. but by the conjunction or help of that which is volatile. to dissolve and liquefy these bodies by our water. a pure. And in this subliming. that the things fixed cannot be lifted up. (16) Our dissolution then of bodies. which close well. viz. For in this operation. This sublimation. and communicates to them the living tincture. doth thou change a body into a spirit: which could not be done. but if in . corjufle. and by the influence of wisdom. the white gold made by art. but a destroying or overcoming of the moist with the dry. and be changed into air and spirit. because it flies not in the fire. soul and spirit altogether. duenech. ascends on high to the superior part. incombustible and most fixed. is nothing else. and giving to them its wonderful fixity. of cold and hot. then may they be called a new body. but properly it is called the permanent or fixed water only. running through and penetrating bodies. the good. but by the help or conjunction of our dissolving water. the paradisical stone. not inflammable. terminated with. volatile. and which are in their own nature sulphureous and viscous. the fire ought to be gentle. for the moist is coagulated with the dry. which dissolves bodies and makes them to ascend. a certain part of our said first water ascends with the bodies. and ascend to the top. a soul. that they cannot be extracted from the perfect bodies. joining itself with them. the nature of the two bodies and the water. earthy. viz. or made to ascend. with the bodies. the body is made a spirit of a most subtile nature. spiritual. golden water leaving in the bottom the gross. Let therefore the hard and the dry bodies be put into our first water in a vessel. to wit. But it perpetually adheres to the commixed or compound bodies. and the body is thereby made spiritual. of which spirit and soul it is said. Because from henceforth this tincture runs like oil. and this tincture is the spirit. For this cause sake. and afterwards permanent and fixed. the white stone. is drawn forth from the bodies themselves. if the spirit were not incorporated with the bodies. and again. whereby our stone consists of a body. with the soul of the bodies. is made by things acid. the spirit is corporified and changed into the nature of the body. Then we have also the body. the stone transmuting imperfect metals into white silver.a mixture made of contrary natures. and the spirit is the soul. viz. that is. O Wisdom: how thou makest the most fixed gold to be volatile and fugitive. how through nature. even most admirable unity between enemies. are converted into one another. the spirit. which is the perfection of the stone and is called sublimation. and let them there abide till they be dissolved. making thin and pure. ethelia. ascending and subliming into one neutral and complex substance. in that which is earthy. cambar. which contains the nature of the two. superfluous and dry matter. It is necessary therefore. much more noble and precious than the former which these bodies had. which is made such in this first water. Because it is certain. (18) O God. and moist with dry. For the moisture is contained under. therefore. (17) The spirit. and a spirit. And in this sublimation. for that at the same instant of time. by help of the water and the soul. yeah. zandarith. though by nature it is the most fixed of all things in the world. and coagulated in the dry body. and to make them a permanent or fixed water. and the bodies made volatile with the spirit. and the soul is the body. and therefore it is called the corporeal and spiritual compositum.

the bodies be not purified. [the first 20 chapters of this treatise were presented under the heading 'the secret book' (chapter 3 of 'in pursuit of gold'). That is to say that nothing must be removed or taken away. there is a loosening or untying of the elements. which whiteness is life. These feces were separated partly by the water. vulgar mercury. which by dissolving and subliming that which is pure and white. that this separation. not in the impure. even to the surface of the dissolving water. is by natural compact infused into. which it has taken from its monstrous womb. So that the pure and white substance ascends upwards and the impure and earthy remains fixed in the bottom of the water and the vessel. our bodies also ascend to the top. being indeed the true quintessence and life. For thou needest nothing but the thin and subtile part of the dissolved bodies. which desires or hungers to be born again. dashed together in pieces. by separating the things heterogene from the things homogene. the ship of knowledge. which has no qualities or properties like to those. division. without a master. and sublimation. because the philosophers for the most part speak by the contraries. which is of no value. and a cleansing and separating of the pure from the impure. would ravish away the golden fleece. the mineral virtue. taking only the middle white substance. Now in this whiteness is the soul infused into the body. This must be taken away and removed. as it happened also to me sometimes. and joined with the spirits of sol and luna. which is the blackness. which is wholly and only to be taken and made use of. except the moisture. to wit. or humble supplications to God Almighty. and are the dross and terra damnata. is without a doubt the key to the whole work. (19) This compositum then has its mundification or cleaning. (20) And against this capharean rock. 'the wisdom of artephius'. if thou proceedest with a slow or gentle fire. nor can do any such service as the clear. flowing and melted or dissolved. it cast forth its feces or filth like a voluntary vomit. and corrupt place of its original. and the gross and earthy parts thereof (note this well) be not separated from the impurities of the dead. then. the thin and the pure part of the body. It is therefore to be observed. in a whiteness of color. indefatigable reading. who. white. from the feces and impurity. But let us return to our sublimation.this subliming with soft fire. at this point is begun chapter 4. That is. I feel the division is significant. rejecting the feculent earth. though I couldn't quite say why] (21) After the putrefaction. which separate the thin from the thick. . which is more subtile than fire. and dissolution of these bodies. And in this our philosophical sublimation. with which our mercury. for in such a dissolution and natural sublimation or lifting up. And in this whiteness. drawn from its vitriolic caverns is adorned. because it is of no value. by little and little. by our moist fire. which notwithstanding they speak and write only to the unwary. And in this work is out natural and philosophical sublimation work completed. by lifting up. or destroyed. which contains the balance of the treatise. corrupt. until all the pure parts are separated and ascended. you shall not be able to perfect the work. which our water will give thee. pure and clear matter. the antimonial and mercurial soul. and the pure from the impure. and to put off the defilements and be spoiled of its gross and earthy feces. or art of the young philosopher is often. which remains below in the bottom.

The soul is the tincture of sol and luna. made subtile and fine. and diligently managed. which has in itself the tincture. incorporeal. From these three bodies united together is our stone made: to wit. the solution thereof is completed. Now the body is the fixed solar earth. and be changed into a subtile spirit. because it is impossible to draw out of the bodies all that most thin and subtile spirit. which like a man does contain. tinges and whitens. but by adding to it a volatile matter. this white gold. which is of its own kind. there is no rule of art yet found out to work by. (25) Put therefore the perfect bodies of metals. and diffused in and through the cloth. And by this means they are unbodied. subtilizing and subliming themselves. till after a long time. as it were for the hatching of chickens. And so the terrene or earthy parts remain below. to wit. and the solar body is that body which contains the spirit and soul. having the power of fixing in itself. that this soul extracted from the bodies. or communication of these two. then know that the bodies are melted. till they are abstracted from. and a quintessence of the nature of a spirit. The spirit therefore penetrates. is called also the compound magnesia. sol. or made no bodies. in a white color and a white oil. but it is drawn out by little and little. contrary to their own proper nature. (23) And this white vapor. and so. this quintessence. or rather the grosser parts of the bodies. exceeding the most subtile matter. And this mercurial spirit is the chain or band of the solar soul. a natural substance is extracted. hermetically sealed. thriftily. (24) Therefore with this our golden water. to wit. upon a gentle fire. to wit. cannot be made to ascend. which can by no industry or ingenuity of man be brought to a perfect dissolution. and their perfectly conjoined tincture is extracted. "avis hermetis". sol and luna. till the dark. the body fixes. and "mercurius extractus". and hour by hour. or lose their grossness or solid substance. except it first be resolved in our water. digest with a gentle fire. Saith Adfar. except the bodies be broken and destroyed. drawn from a red subject or matter. the bodies of sol and luna. and boil them until all the tincture is brought forth by the water. being joined with luna. that is converted into the philosophers mercury. The reason is. luna and mercury. lifting themselves up. and white cloud is brought forth. and our water. in color first black. till the bodies are dissolved into a viscous and most subtile water. exceeding all natural substances. which is corporeal. and digest continually. or virtue of the bodies. liquified or dissolved. and that which is dissolved always swims atop. black. But it is not extracted all at once.(22) It is most certain therefore in this art. all our labor will be in vain. day by day. and also out of the bodies like as the tinctures or colors in dying cloth are by the water put upon. and the soul joins together. . imbibed. and when you see this whiteness upon the water. heavy and ponderous. or like a man is composed of a body. which is the sign of a true dissolution. soul and spirit. so long till the bodies are dissolved. which is called. which by the help of our divine water is with difficulty lifted up or separated. and the whole tincture be educed. till they are perfectly resolved into a most precious oil. and the spirit is the mineral power. And while this dissolution is in hand. mark this well. proceeding from the conjunction. to wit. And unless the bodies be made no bodies or incorporeal. let the fire be gentle and continual. which they have conceived. Continue then this boiling. Dissolve then the bodies in this our golden water. By which the bodies will be made volatile and spiritual. into our water in a vessel.

and made life with life. as do all other things. unless the bodies be attenuated. I tell thee. saying. for is not this "ars cabalistica" or a secret and a hidden art? Is it not an art full of secrets? And believest thou O fool that we plainly teach this secret of secrets. until a true separation is made. and the red brought forth from the white. made of the male and female. one order of working. yet we understand. and the soul is separated from the dead body. he even already. with a part of our water. and that this our work requires no great charges. till it become a white fixed water. till they ascend in a spirit. putrefaction. taketh life. When there you see bodies dissolved in the first viscous water. and to close the vessel well. and shut it up well. then know. all are joined one with another. work. but he that takes the words of the other philosophers according to their common signification. Whence both of them. (29) Now the whole magistery may be perfected. and is made spiritual by its own humidity. and one successive disposition to the white and to the red. turned into the order of spirits. and put it once into the vessel. And although we say in many places. but are as water mixed with water. and increases in its own kind. I speak the truth and lie not. by the fire and water. cleansed by sublimation. In such an ascention therefore. and into the water once and for all. that as for myself. the citrine son of the red. so as they can never be separated. it is wisely said. or envious as others are. And therefore. assation. Thus you may see that you need not many things. But these things are so set down by obscure philosophers to deceive the unwary. taking our words according to their literal signification? Truly. because it is altogether spiritual. as in the generation of man. viz. are made spirits flying up in the air. and of every vegetable. ligation. (28) It sufficeth thee then to put the bodies in the vessel. or made thin. it will afterwards become clear. or made living by the spirit. . ascending by the spirit above the first water. generation. and by sublimation. and of that most subtile nature. and in the same they are changed. that it behoves us to take but one thing. multiplies errors. take this. But when they arise or ascend. For the vulture himself flying without wings cries upon the top of the mountain. having lost Ariadne's clue of thread. and take that. I am no ways self seeking. desponsation. that they are turned into a vapor. one vessel. for that there is but one stone. sublimation. as we have before spoken. put the seed once into the womb. I am the white brought forth from the black. This the obscure artist calls conjunction. of sol and luna. miraculously liveth or springs like a vegetable. etc. that the stone is born of the spirit. (27) Wherefore. and casts away his money for naught. for being digested in balneo. wanders in the midst of the labyrinth. subtilization. whereby from thenceforth it is multiplied. extraction. they are born or brought forth in the air or spirit. and philosophical sublimation. and there the compounded body. and are made or do become like water and vapor or mercury. That is by its own water. like as a man is sustained by the air.(26) Then continue the digestion. you labor wholly in vain. and the new body subtilized. and in the end become like common argent vive. there is but one medicine. until the work be perfected.

was sometimes obscure also as others were. because of the obscurity of the philosophers words. Artephius. may easily learn in this book. and avoid all things which vanish in or will not endure the fire. (33) Now let us speak of the fire. congeals. through the alone goodness of God Almighty. and had attained to the true and complete wisdom. and truly love all mankind together.(30) And I. even an almost infinite number of years. by studying the books of the most faithful Hermes. in which. because it is either revealed or made known by God himself. . When I say for so very long a time. the speaker of truth. For by this water. and the integrity of a good man. yet so that every good and wise man may happily have those desirable apples of the Hesperides from this our philosophers tree. and impurities. think and meditate of these things profoundly.. or after an artificial manner. perishing or consuming things. by the use of this wonderful quintessence. taking wholly from them their blackness. But to return to out business. I have determined in these latter days of my life. because from these adjustible. be diligent in searching the books of the learned in this science. who has poured into our soul of his goodness. participates of sulphur. and is to be found out by art. cherish. and is taken from other things than from the matter. Truly our work is perfectly performed. got without cost or charge. or thereabouts. color. and this water is a white vapor. which notwithstanding he that can bend himself to the search thereof. or at least without any great purchase. our fiery and sulphureous water. has truly filled our hearts with his love. it overturns all things. their natural color. which like a soul flows through the perfect bodies. digestive. equal. Go to it then. continuous. to declare all things truly and sincerely. after I became an adept. which is not lawful for me to discover to any. that it may well be called woman's work. nor is the matter so dear. doth as I have often seen in a very short time. considering?] how small a quantity does suffice. and calcines. and increasing their water. for that which the heat of sun is a hundred years in doing. (32) Now this operation or work is a thing of no great labor to him who knows and understands it. are infinitely given to the matter. It is indeed. It is a compendious thing. But when I had for the space of a thousand years. it fumes not. for one book openeth another. dissolves. since the time I was born to this day. I found no man had found out or obtained this hermetic secret. and ponderosity or weight. this our water. that you may not want anything for the perfecting of this stone of the philosophers. making the red body white. though clothed or disguised with few colors. which is called Balneum Mariae. I embrace. which has now passed over my head. by the help of a little experience. that it may cause any man to withdraw his hand from it. or taught by some master. you can never attain to the perfect matter. Being moved with a generous mind. put up thy supplications to God almighty. my son. which can take from the perfect bodies of sol and luna. unless it be too much stirred up. and through a good old age. Wherefore praises be given to the most high God. it is humid. our secret fire. Excepting one certain thing. which is only found in the digesting of your water. consideration [sic. vaporous. methinks. and the play of children. Nor is there any other thing than Azoth. a work so short and easy. (31) In this book I have therefore written the naked truth. for the generation of one metal in the bowels of the earth. uniting the two bodies in one. Our fire is mineral. to wit. that is. extracted from sol and luna. according to the disposition thereof.

never as yet written in any book. which is yet against nature. (34) We have properly three fires. humid. dry. or duly proportioned or fitted to the furnace. or rather it is that most sweet and gentle heat. wherein the king and queen bathe themselves. not natural and which burns not. and a body ennobled to . For if this fire of the lamp be not measured. moist. and is the fountain of living water. middle. it will be. through the beginning. lastly. This fire is mineral. circumspective. except it be too much excited or stirred up. this fire is hot. This fire is not violent or forcing. From the putrefaction therefore in this water.e. that which does not make black cannot make white. you will burn the "flores auri". it is a fire digestive. which circumvolveth and contains the place. and a sign of putrefaction and alteration. it is penetrating. equal. and in this only whiteness. give ear to what I have yet to say. If you understand not these fires. conjoin these three fires in your judgement. which is also called the fire against nature. subtile. it makes a mere spirit of gold. vaporous. spiritous. and one only thing. and yet nevertheless. being but one only. continent. because in it. through the whole work this moist fire is sufficient. the golden flowers. (36) The third fire. congeals. whereby you will lose your hopes and expectation by a too long delay. and its leaves unfolded. and so foolishly bewail your lost expense. lest we labor in vain. (35) The second fire is ignis cinerum. meditate on these things and proceed directly without anything of a foreign nature. does equally surround your vessel. its body broken or opened. because it is water. The first fire is that of the lamp. spiritous. you will understand whatever they have written of them. or else. not violent. in which the king and queen bathe themselves. like white cream. but he that can bend to the search thereof. alterative. there first appears blackness. for this whiteness is the perfect stone for the white work. (37) Now as to the colors. and taken from another body than the matter. and that the body is now penetrated and mortified.. wherein you must use great judgement. we have not always occasion for. without which our art cannot be perfected. middle and end. and calcines. in which the vessel hermetically sealed is recluded. because the soul of the two bodies swims above upon the water. and end. in the beginning. dissolves. all the spirits are so united. cold. that either for the want of heat you will not see the expected signs. and whosoever works without them takes a great deal of labor in vain. But the other two above mentioned. which none can attain to. penetrating. which is continuous. or buried. it overturns or destroys. is the natural fire of water.altering. which proceeding from the temperate vapors of the lamp. which common fire is not able to do. the whole of the art does consist. like unto broth wherein some bloody thing is boiled. And therefore the laton must be whitened. Secondly. and found out by art. and participates of sulphur. by reason of too much heat. incombustible and not burning. but drawn from the more abstruse and occult riddles of the ancients. and not natural. This lamp ought to be proportioned to the enclosure. because blackness is the beginning of whiteness. that they can never fly one from another. incombustible. subtile. but only at sometimes. and without doubt. In reading therefore the books of the philosophers. an ash heat. in their limited times. i. It is also a fountain of living water. whose help we stand in need of through the whole work. the black earth by continual digestion is whitened. This is the natural fire. moist also.

(41) Let therefore the spirit of our living water be. it is necessary therefore that they enter into it again. so the new body rises again clear. its blackness goes away from it. to wit. then it is putrefied in lifting up or separation. lovely. even that which is nearest. and they abide therein for two or three days. being joined the one to the other. they bring forth fruit of a hundred fold. and clear fountain. vanishes away. even . which is familiar and friendly. and appear like to the dead. And as heat working upon that which is moist. (38) For our earth putrefies and becomes black. and from that very place in which they seem to perish. and the feminine dominion of the darkness and humidity perisheth. and is also sweet and pleasant to them. whereby they are made young again and beautiful. obtaining the victory over all its enemies. and as it were a womb. even a tincture of a most exuberant glory. for they being converted into the nature of water become dead. by which these natures. they increase and multiply.that end. and the spirits are bound up or fixed in the dryness. fixed with sol and luna. more noble and more strong. or sameness of kind. and its eyes beforehand black. to wit. raised again from the dead. and is more vehemently to be desired. And that which is corrupting. Thus it behoves you to join consanguinity. afterwards being dried. and they it. that the spirits are not fixed but in the white color. and then it is whitened. for that as it were the complement or perfection of the whole work. white and immortal. For it attracts them to itself. they remain alone or as they were and without fruit. two or three months. prepared only for the king. for that like nature now is disposed by like nature. and most friendly to it. rejoices in like nature. (40) Our water then is the most beautiful. deformed and black through the moisture. and like nature retains like nature. and made more healthy. Therefore you must note here. which is the prime or first color. And because sol and luna have their original from this water their mother. (39) Dissolve then sol and luna in our dissolving water. from thence shall they appear to be that which they were not before. that this thing. that they may be regenerated and born again. I say. the beginning and the end of their life. in a true marriage. If therefore these do not die and be converted to water. so always by decoction more and more heat working upon that which is dry begets whiteness. will meet and follow one another. but its feet white and afterwards red. with all care and industry. WE must know therefore. an original. purify themselves and generate. and next in nature to them. and then working upon that which is purely and perfectly dry. which never departs from the body it is once joined with. one new body. thus much for colors. and queen whom it knows very well. from thence afterwards being revived. but if they die. and are resolved in our water. which is more noble than the other colors. a mother. pure. and shining brightness. by which they are made one nature. which is the second color. that thing which has its head red and white. is the only matter of our magistery. to wash themselves therewith. into their mothers womb. and make one another rejoice. causeth or generates blackness. and immortal. then also the white vapor penetrates through the new body. because like nature. That is the reason why they are meliorated or amended in this water. it produces citrinity and redness.

and still digested till it become to a true red and fixed color. and a much better order than it is possible for any man to invent or think of. in new and fresh dissolving water. by the degrees of fire. or become red as blood. the whiteness is changed. removed. and reiterate the closing up. fire. she will not overpass her own certain motion. in the beginning of the work. without any moisture. you must continually decoct it in a dry fire till it be rubified. lest it hurt the operator. And consequently by how much more it is heightened in color. and multiplied both in quantity and quality. and then rubify it again. It is needful therefore to know this corruption and generation. From these things which have been spoken. And by pursuing your work. in the making or generating of metals. For it has in itself a certain and inherent motion. . to wit. and are brought to a fixity in a slow and gentle fire. and made a true tincture of perfect redness. Wherefore with a dry fire. you have both color. Thus also is the virtue thereof increased. as we have formerly said. and then by decoctions first whiten. And so by a continual dry fire. (44) Now if afterwards you would multiply your tincture. for like natures do find out and join with their like natures. that he can never know the necessary course of nature. and weight. and how they retain one another and are converted into a white consistency. till it be invested with a most perfect red color. and mix together and mortify themselves. vexation. (43) This white substance. neither in conceiving or generating. by which we dissolve and congeal. and induce many informities. this axiom is manifest. who is ignorant of the way of destroying them. For this cause it is that you need only prepare the matter. and fixing the greatest quantity how much soever. you must again resolve that red. and the natures themselves do embrace one another. tinging truly and perfectly. and by the third. you must decoct this compositum. You must therefore join them together that are of one consanguinity or kindred. take heed lest the spirit should exhale. made citrine. by the second fold you will have a thousand fold. lest it destroy the work. because that within. so that if after the first course of the operation you obtain a hundred fold. perfected. sadness. and by putrifying themselves. by solution and coagulation. it sufficiently disposes itself for the perfection of its work. your projection will come to infinity. to wit. and a dry calcination. by the help of our dissolving water. it suffices then to dispose the matter sufficiently without. and true tincture. which is nothing but water. goodness. if you will make it red. nor in bringing forth. ten thousand fold increase. For by a new corruption and generation. as trouble. secondly. there is introduced a new motion. the opening and multiplying in quantity and quality at your own pleasure. viz. (42) Wherefore. and if she be not hindered by some contrary thing. Dissolve. beware only lest by too much heat or fire. Thus we can never find an end if we do always work by reiterating the same thing over and over again. coagulate. after the preparation of the matter. reiterating the first method of operating in this do all sorts of vegetable substances. and discontent. according to the true way and method. and then it will be the true and perfect elixir. you inflame the bath. how like natures rejoiceth with like natures. or make it too hot. Thus by a thing of small and easy price. nature herself will perfect it.

because nature dissolves and joins itself. lest the air get in or the enclosed humidity get out. (46) It ought to be. and put it into our water in a glass vesica or body well closed. ascends in the air to the top of the water in the substance of a white vapor. Continue yet still. and be drawn up and sublimed by the water. till the decoction and digestion is perfect. Afterwards. except . decoct. that it may be white and subtile. Then will the argent vive fall down from our air and spirit. freely. until your medicine is made fusible as wax. This then is the compleating of the whole work of our second stone (observe it well) that you take the perfect body. which quintessence is more white than the driven snow. but a change of the natures. which is called argent vive sublimed by the air or spirit. and live. of the vessel and the water. This separation of the pure from the impure is not done with hands. Which white color is not obtained but by decoction and coagulation of the water. white-pure and spiritual. that the matter may be filled with spirit from the air. the vessel being cooled. but with the stone. that whatsoever is clear. that this composition is not a work of hands. not with your hands. the gross and thick remaining in the bottom. or our second mercurial water which is the true tincture. which the philosophers call their virgin milk. or the fire. scorched and burnt. cries out that it might get up upon the mountain. sublimes and lifts itself up. and utmost volatility. (48) Our brass or latten then. and towards the end. and so also our magistery receives in the vapor or spirit. pure and white. wash away the blackness from the latten. and is thereby cleaned from all blackness and impurity. This water is the true tincture separated from all its black feces. multiplying it as you think good. therefore. upon the new earth. purified and brought to a white color. is to be made to ascend by the degrees of fire. and of the mercury will ascend upon the top of the water. and grows white. you will find in the bottom the black feces. And keep it in this digestion of a gentle heat. Keep it in digestion in a gentle heat. with which you sublime. as it were of a balneum. And in such a sublimation the more subtile. whereof is made a viscous water. and essential parts are conjoined. and our brass or latten is prepared with our water. and that the white quintessence after its rising out of the dead earth. but nature herself does it. For naturally all things take life from the inbreathing of the air. Wherefore your fire ought to be gentle and a continual vapor. leaving the grosser at the bottom. and assiduously continue the operation or work upon the fire. but of its own accord. be raised up towards heaven. according as you please. as one of the Sybills said. upon which the "spiritus albus" or spirit of whiteness is born. Until it comes to the ultimate or highest purity of sublimation. that the son of the virgin be exalted from the earth. which is the subtile being of the body. Continue still a fitting fire. reiterate. increase the fire. being separated from the feces. And know well. which separate from the spirit and quintessence of whiteness. till the whole spiritual substance ascend to the top. dissolve. and cast them away. and that spirit. congeal. and be made white both within and without: for the vulture flying in the air without wings. and brings it to perfection by a circular operation.(45) Our fire then and azoth are sufficient for you: decoct. pure. therefore. (47) It appears then. until it be purified and re-solved into blackness. and continue this course. that is upon the waters. for that with the fiery nature or property lifts up the subtile parts. by the sublimation of the water. and has attained the quantity and goodness or fixity and color you desire. continually. and without violence. it separates always the more pure.

whereby they will both be reduced to an equality of properties. and by me she herself is begotten. and attenuated. and is changed into spirit. because it is like to it in the nearness of the first pure and simple nature. of a subtile nature. as to the earth. and made one with it. being only spiritual and incorruptible. and is perfectly comixed with it in its smallest atoms. and by sublimation diluted or brought into a spirit. And this is the sublimation and coagulation. as it were into heaven. let the white property with the more subtile part of the body. Wherefore. now after I have taken from her. and raising up. are the emblems of our magistery. because the body coagulates the moisture into dryness. saith the body. and that in the lower place. nothing is or can be done. My mother. . conjunction. and be assured the art is true. and the impure may descend. both body and spirit are made white. which is not ascended and exalted to the higher part. then that which is pure will separate itself from the earth. (51) Hear now this secret: keep the body in our mercurial water. From these things it is necessary. Then you shall see the water coagulate itself with the body. the nature of an earthy body. than in the separation of these parts. which it naturally holds. and draw to itself the white mercurial soul. (49) This philosophical and natural sublimation therefore is necessary which makes peace between. or be left at the bottom. that it may be brought to a subtile property. till it ascends with the white soul. in the perplexity of a troubled sea. separated from the body. and the toad creeping upon the ground. or climbs like argent vive. and suffers not to be separated from it. made to ascend leaving the feces behind. and the body draws to itself his moisture. For the soul is aided by her associate and fellow. When therefore gently and with much care. until it ascends as a spirit. and ascend to the upper part. which retaineth every volatile thing. like as the loadstone draws iron. and the earthy part descends to the bottom. and the impure will descend beneath. to make a separation by decoction. you separate the earth from the water. and the spirit is incorporated with the body. and the body may assume. and perfected by it. (50) The vulture flying through the air. it is born in the air or spirit. And the more subtile part in the superior place will take upon it the nature of a spirit. which is done in a short time. because of the nearness and likeness of its nature. to wit. And for this reason it must be continually decocted. which is called the residing earth. and cherishing the son whom she has begotten till he come to a ripe or perfect age. till no more remains of the purity of the soul. that the pure may ascend. like as the rennet of a lamb or calf turns milk into cheese. has begotten me. or rather as the white soul. and then one contains the other. Therefore it behoves you to sublime both. And by such an operation it is that the body is made spirit. and becomes life with life. making it fixed for ever. that is from the fire.the body therefore be by the fire and water broken. be by this operation. and by such a sublimation. her flying she after an admirable manner becomes kind and nourishing. or dissolved. or fixes the body and spirit. In the same manner the spirit penetrates the body. which is impossible to be done otherwise. But when it ascends on high. and a simple pure whiteness. the whole. and the thin from the thick. its white soul.

and a most beautiful redness. to quicken the species. saturn. a discontinuity of parts. the lead of the philosophers the disguised powder. viz. and the white black. let it be deprived of the same blackness. render praises and thanksgiving to the most great and good God. till it be elevated above in a white color. and the moist with the dry. three signs appear. which is called a conversion of contrary spirits and natures. and revives the dead. Which when you see. but only digest it to the end. will be unified with the body. and the dry with the moist: By this means is made the mixture and conjunction of body and spirit. to impregnate. till it is dissolved into blackness. to cleanse the culture from its blackness and darkness. And then the one will be mixed with the other. or direct the work. and reduced into one. and the body so dissolved. And in this putrefaction and resolution of the body. but as I said. or a work of the hands. (55) And when you see the true whiteness appear. in them is the royal diadem. And this is the solution of the body. Therefore make the black white. (54) Wherefore. decoct the body in our white water. but the spirit. and a stinking smell.. to generate. and the bird of Hermes. because by such a dissolution and sublimation. and then renders it white. which ought to be cleansed from its blackness. has obtained the magistery. a black color. So that the natures being mixed together. which is called the black ashes. and then by continual decoction. which is called the gander. "Saturnus plumbum philosophorum". the hot is mixed with the cold. to make white. will at length ascend or rise with a white soul. the spirit is converted into a body and body in a spirit. who gives wisdom and riches to whomsoever He pleases. These ashes then are those of which the philosophers have spoken so much which remained in the lower part of the vessel. and the black and unclean argent vive. and so embrace one another that it shall not be possible any more to separate them. not much unlike to the smell of a vault where dead bodies are buried. But then beware that you take not that whiteness out of the vessel. and make one permanent or fixed substance. and pulvis discontinuatus. with a real agreement. or polished silver. a changing of natures. this is the corruption of the body which is called by the philosophers or wise men. viz. viz. Who therefore knows how to conjoin the principles. (53) Wherefore as the last time I say. to mortify. latten or brass. by a continual digestion in our water. and coagulation of the spirit which have one and the same operation. and purified from all his spots. do change one another: and as the body corporifies the spirit. so also does the spirit convert the body into a tinging and white spirit. He therefore that maketh the red earth black. and you perfect the work. know that in that whiteness there is redness hidden. So also he who kills the living. or changes it into a body. let our body remain in the water till it is dissolved into a subtile powder in the bottom of the vessel and the water. and takes them away according to the wickedness . that with heat and dryness. shall be the possessor of a treasure so great that even kings themselves shall venerate him. it may assume a citron color. till he is purged by the fire and tinged. mercury.(52) This compositum then is not a mechanical thing. to putrefy. which shineth like a bright sword. and a wonderful connection of their cold with hot. which we ought not to undervalue or despise.

I say.of a person. be glory for ages and ages. AMEN. . the most wise and almighty God. To Him.

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