This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
PREFACE Of the illusions which amuse the childish mind of man, that of Scientific Progre ss is not the least absurd. It is the most popular toy in the nursery called Mod ern Civilization. The wisdom of yesterday is the jest of today, the superstition of tomorrow. Human experience shows this to be the case. Yet we go on believing we are making discoveries. In the days of the Regency a physician looked upon a patient who refused to be bled in much the same way that a modern practitioner regards an appendicitis case who declines to have the inflamed fragment removed. Harley Street, in 1923, assures us that old time surgery resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths from loss of blood. Harley Street, in 2023, will probably declare that our present method resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths from loss of the appendix. We believe we understand the phenomena of solar and lunar eclipses, and believe that we have measured the distances from this our earth t o the visible planets. Five hundred years hence our calculations will almost cer tainly be proved ridiculous. Nevertheless, we go on believing we are making disc overies. A day must surely come when crowds shall throng the waiting room of som e consultant, famous for his having established the efficacy of cupping; when al l shall know that eclipses are not due to the earth's shadow; when to common kno wledge this same earth be stationary, whilst stars, moon and sun revolve around it. What, then, do scientific discoverers discover? They discover (with certain nota ble exceptions) new bottles to contain old physic. They exhibit for our awe a tu be of brick coloured powder, which they have named something ending in "ium." It has always been, that brick coloured powder. An earlier race, dwellers, perhaps , in a great Sun City now lost beneath an ocean, used it to dye their beards. Th ey proclaim radium. And one day, it may be in some forgotten tomb, a practical r adium lamp is found still alight. They bear witness to the triumph of steel by e recting, in New York or elsewhere, the worlds highest building; forgetting that somebody or another built the Great Pyramid. They acclaim certain Japanese craft smanship the finest of its kind until among the treasures of a buried pharaoh ye t finer examples are unearthed. Signor Marconi can talk to his friends who are h undreds of miles away. So could Apollonius of Tyana. The cinematogragh shows us moving figures of those who have passed over. Any igh priest of Osiris could hav e shown us the same; so could Moses. The churches assured the world that we had emerged from the black ages of barbarism and were civilized. Thereupon we plunge d into the most savage and sanguinary war recorded in the annals of man. What, then, is Evolution? That it is a slow process in the case of humanity, exp erience would seem to show; but since Lord Rayleigh calculates the age of Mother Earth to be 925 million years, the possibi lity of endless cycles suggests itself. That, by means of a ceaseless chemical o peration, the elements (which we are constantly and confidently "discovering") b ecome merged in forms variously known as coal, diamonds, lead, gold, and a host of other commercial practicabilities, would seem to be a Truth as opposed to a T heory. And since many natural processes can be artificially reproduced, why not this wedding of atom to atom? Professor Richardson, speaking of recent experiments relating to f the nucleus of atoms, declared the artificial transmutation of ts to be now an established fact. In short, it would almost seem rselves upon the eve of "discovering" the Philosopher's Stone of y. Professor Irving Fisher, of Yale, recently startled the world the structure o chemical elemen that we find ou medieval alchem by announcing t
hat a German chemist had succeeded in making synthetic gold from base metals by means of an electric vacuum furnace. Referring to this alleged experiment, in an interview with a representative of the "Daily Mail," Dr. Irvine Masson, of Univ ersity College, London, said: "So far no definite transmutation of an element by building up heavy atoms of gold from lighter metals has been achieved. On the o ther hand, Sir Ernest Rutherford has disintegrated certain of the lighter elemen ts into one still lighter. While one cannot say it is impossible, there seems no reason why gold should be specially singled out by Nature to be the ultimate pr oduct of a building-up or breaking-down process. "Supposing a certain amount of gold had been found to be a product of change, th e question would arise as to the utility of the process. At present the only tra nsmutation that has been affected has been, from the productive point of view, e xtraordinarily ineffective and extravagant. I think that most scientists are int erested in these alleged discoveries, but are inclined to be somewhat skeptical until definite proofs are forthcoming, which is my position in the present case. " But whatever the facts may be regarding this modern operation, the attitude of l eading scientists toward the possibilities of the German's vacuum furnace; yet t he author of the present work, whose researches into the subject of Alchemy have been exhaustive, appears to have found good reason to believe that some of thes e made synthetic gold! In the preface to his "Alchemy, Ancient and Modern." Mr. Stanley Redgrave says: "The number of books in the English language dealing with the interesting subject of Alchemy, is not sufficiently great to render an apol ogy necessary for adding thereto. Indeed, at the present time, there is an actua l need for a further contribution on this subject." The present work is apparently written with a view to rectifying certain misconc eptions which are held by those who have criticized adversely the claims of the old alchemists. This the author has sought to do by quoting verbatim from the al chemystical writers themselves. That he has an extensive library dealing with th is subject, goes without saying; and of his deep and wide personal inquiries men tion has already been made. His style betrays a profound belief in alchemy or, as he terms it, "the law of e volution as applicable to metals and minerals." In this he evidently does not st and alone, as men eminent in science are to-day holding this view as an hypothes is, and are making more than tentative experiments to test it. The "Periodic Table of Mendeleeff" points in this direction, at least as certain ly as fossils do in the evolution of animal and vegetable life. Sir Edward Thorp e and others have indicated definite numerical relations between the members of the halogen group of Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, and Iodine. Also in the case o f the nitrogen group of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Arsenic, Antimony, and Bismuth. Ap parently similar relations can be shown to exist between the members of the foll owing group: Lithium, Sodium, Copper, Silver and Gold. "These numerical relation s," says the author, "seem to suggest affinity, even if they are far from provin g it, and affinity suggests at least a common parentage. "Some investigators would appear to find in their study of alchemy, ground for p utting forward an hypothesis that dogmas of religious belief are the foundations on which alchemic writers have raised a bizarre temple of chemistry. Further, t hat his chemistry was never practically achieved, but only used symbolically to veil certain tenets of religion, such as the trinity. However, considering the t estimony on von Helmont and others, which cannot be lightly set aside, and also the experiments of present-day scientists, which far from disproving a law of ev olution in metals, tend, indeed, to affirm it, such an hypothesis seems inadequa te to account for the existence of alchemic literature."
Chemistry has been styled "the wise daughter of a foolish mother," but we see to day that the daughter is investigating the maternal fairy tales with the utmost caution, lest they should be found too true. World-wide interests would be jeopa rdized by a discovery of the method of making gold by synthesis; and it is reall y remarkable that more fiction has not been written around this fascinating subj ect. A cipher manuscript, by Friar Bacon, is now being investigated in America with a view to decoding it, and perhaps of getting at the truth of gold evolution. One would imagine it to be almost certain, however, that Bacon omits the names of h is ingredients, or else supplies false names, as do other writers. There are man y ciphers in alchemic literature which have been discovered such names as vitrio lum, antimony, saturn (lead), stannum (tin), etc. each of which is condemned as an ingredient by a consensus of writers of repute. Doubtless, they are interpola ted to distract the attention of the student from the name of their "proxima mat eria", which name they have mentioned openly and in the vulgar tongue. This name according to the author of the present work is given in order to acqua int the alchemist's unknown brother adepts with the fact that he knows the mater ial; it is not written for the information of the tyro. Thus, Sendivogius writes that he "intimated the art from word to word," but that his hearers "could by n o means understand" him. Basil Valentine named the substance openly. Eirenaeus P hilalethes asserts that he could tell true writers from sophisters "by a secret character." Therefore, he must have found this word or character in the writers form whom he quotes. It is, then, for others to find, but probably not in a ciph er. Alchemy, at one time, was undoubtedly under the aegis of the Church. The names o f Flamel, Basil Valentine and Bernard Trevisan may be cited, but without undue s tress; in the cases of Bacon, Ripley and Lully, the evidence is stronger. Ripley had the permission of the Church to withdraw from his sacerdotal duties, in ord er to devote himself to alchemy. It is impossible to conceive of the sanction of the Church being given if the art were fraudulent in all instances. History pla ces it on record that certain alchemists were imprisoned by the sovereigns of st ates, not for fraud, but for refusing to exercise their art or to impart its sec ret. This seems to imply that success in the art had been proved beyond doubt. These hypotheses, and others which arise out of them, are extraordinarily fascin ating; but after all is said, remains the concrete fact that there has been in t he present day no accredited demonstration of the art perfected the great work o f transmuting baser metals into silver or gold. Nevertheless, some of the foremo st scientists of Europe and America are turning their eyes in the direction of t hat star which beckoned to Raymond Lully. We are possibly about to witness the p henomenon of the Philosopher's Stone, "myth" of ancient superstition, emerging, tangible, from an electric vacuum furnace! Who, now, shall deny the existence of fairies or doubt the birth of the Gods? SAX ROHMER BRUTON STREET. FEB. 5th, 1923 R.W. Councell Apollogia Alchymiae Section I. Prefatory Remarks Transcribed by Mark House. Back to 'Apollogia Alchymiae' page
that I should enjoy the noble sweet fruits which wer . return thanks with my babbling tounge from the innermos t center of my heart. merciful gracious Father of Thine Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. Bacon. to Thee alone belongs power. For him who proves the existence of this evolutionary law by the production of gold . might and glory. Artephius. I instance two only: Ripley's pray er in the Medulla of Alchemy. honour and glory. Thou hast called and foreseen me to be thy servant and steward. with these Thou did suffer me to keep house the most of my t ime till now. Hermes are worthy to be preserved. and the greatest mysteries of the created s ecrecies and treasures of this world. poor mise rable man and earthworm. these are twofold: first. an d hast graciously afforded. It is set forth largely in their own words. for making out an a priori case in favour of the existence of a law or laws of evolution through unity. from eternity unto eternity. do not definitely deny the possibility of evolution." and Ba sil Valentine's preface to his Last Will and Testament. by w hich I learn to know Thine Almighty power and wonders. and second. as there migh t be in witnessing a conjuring trick. Some of the prayers of the alchemists are amongst the most sublime outpourings of soul extant. Indeed. to Thee is the praise. Geb er. As all branches of physics point in this direction. commencing "O most incomprehensible Light.SECTION I Prefatory Remarks This small treatise is intended to be a very brief re-statement of the claims of the alchemists. and lowest comforts. and to be made accessible to the o rdinary reader. for all the mercies and graces Thou has bestowed upon me. who art only the Lord of Sabaoth. the keys of my st ewardship. according to the duty my calling and co nscience calls for. together with Thy divine saving word. Lord. prevent furthe r allusion to this fascinating subject than is given in subsequent chapters. wrapped up in this parchment. or are deluded when they say they have evolved gold and silver. Probably the spectroscope is fore most. that Thou hast bestowed on me health and livelihood. but they do assert that the practical proof of the existence of such a law has not yet pa ssed successfully through the crucial test. To assert that such men are liars. is tantamount to admitting that one is ignora nt of psychology. writers have pledged their hopes of eternal salvation upon the tru thfulness of their statements.. be not angry with me that I deliver up to Thee. and of the scope of this treatise. that a law of evolution obtains in the mineral and metallic realm. To Thee belongs eternal p raise. together with such spiritual comforts. to have disreg arded these latter. Yet the truth of the alchemists' ass ertions is vouched for in the most solemn language possible. Without any obligat ion to do so. hon our and gratefulness. has not been overlooked. I. mine eternal Creator. PRAYER OF BASIL VALENTINE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT "O Lord God Almighty. There is no room for delusion or self deception.g. Flamel. and principally fro m their view point. and pre sumptive evidence. for results of publicity in this matter are truly incalculable. the principle of all things that are m ade by thy word. to raise the drooping spirits . who hast been pleased to enlighten me with the great light of Thy heavenly and earthly wisdom. As regards the claims of the alchemists. and modern cr itics of alchemy. there is no guerdon of fame. Modern writers on chemistry. applicable to all material things. Considerations of space. and hast preserved me therein to this my great age. but the aspect from the standpoint of recent scientific disc overies in the realm of physics. These and the prayers an d pious ejaculations of the other alchemists e. would have been tantamount to neglecting the most trenchant arguments available. Kalid. of the evolution of metals. it is difficult to say which method of investigation appears to yield the most striking intimations. strength and ability to be helpful to my fellow Chris tians in their necessities and inflicted infirmities with these mystical healing medicines. and definite end of all creatures above and below. that its worki ng has been practically demonstrated.
l et her be recommended unto Thee graciously O Thou faithful God. for example. produced gold which was not previously in existence. O mo st gracious. He has had a certain result. and through this vexatious veil of vanity. viz. and Thou makest every other creature to partake of Thine especial kin dness. amalgams. Holy. or he is a co nscious and self condemned liar. the Divin e Three. shew us Thy hidden things. Early. Grant. T hy servant. Almighty. If he reads many alchemic books. and the theory he puts forward is intended to account for this phenomenon through perfectly natura l causes. and be our guid e and director. "And as I renounceth love of the things of this life. who hast redeeme d her on the Holy Cross with the most precious tincture of the true blood of Thy holy body: then is my life well ended on this earth. boundl ess in treasures. the unbiased man will be unable to avoid the co nclusion that the alchemist had done that which he solemnly asserted he had actu ally accomplished. receive my soul into Thy heavenly throne of grace. we beseech Thee. if I open and reveal Thy secrets to Thy faithful servants. the joy and rejoicing of the heavenly host. enclose my heart. and the concupiscence or lusts thereof. and so on. uphold us daily. O Lord. It is simply a question of having produced ten fold. and which now O Lord lieth in Thy power. and if the material and working are correct the same result must inevi tably follow. nor spend the course of our years in vanities.. and the perpetual subsistence. when Thou pleasest. the glory of our redemption . Thes e compounds were formerly considered to be simple. "Is gold a compound body?" Chemists can only say that they have not yet succeeded in splitting it up. that we may never displease thee all the days of our lives. "Among the re st of Thy servants. Amen. or a thousand fold more gold and silver than was used as a ferment. and I beseech Thee O Lord. to behold the works of Thy hand and to defend wh at Thy right hand hath planted. I beseech Thee. Amen. and Heavenly Trinity grant to me. ethyl and ammonia act as simple bodies to form bases. This l atter is not a sufficient argument. till at the last day. and enable me. bring us to Thy Heavenly Kingdom. body and soul join again. I beseech Thee for the dear merits of Jesus Christ. by their own hands. we may escape the snares of sin. if indeed such a statement is true. Thou art worthy. who with the clarity o f Thy heavenly rays dost darken our dimmer light. to forgive me. O most excellent fountain. O substantial Unity. so accept of me. that we may not live unprofitably. and are of a heavenly comp osition: for now my only desire is to be dissolved. salts. a hundred fold. and to be with my Lord Chris t: the which Thou.e gathered in thy almonary to my last instant. as a true and spontaneous votary. Th e whole possibility turns on this point. to perform Thy Holy Will. through daily dangers and perils which Thou sufferest us to undergo . that we may live without falsehood and deceit. therefore. O Lord. Thou scatterest Thy good things without measure amongst the so ns of men. who wholly depends on Thy goodness . by virtue of Thy grace help forward my desires. I offer myself with all humble submiss ion. It could also be said that it acts like a simple body. with all confidence. hear Thou my prayers. vouchsafe Thy light to discover to us the immortal treasures of life. fo r so it is fit. possessing nothing more. . that avoiding the great danger of a sinful c ourse of life. one exception to this being stated by the author of The Book of Alze. grant to the body a quiet rest. most glorious in majesty. but obey Thee as faithful professors of Thy Holy name. Thou goodness inexplicable." PRAYER OF RIPLEY IN MEDULLA ALCHEMIAE "O most Incomprehensible Light. who profess Thy name. come now. " O power and wisdom. A man who states definite ly that he has accomplished this work is telling the simple truth. and be merciful and good unto us. "We submit ourselves to Thee. even betimes." These men declare that they have actually done the work themselves. Thou most merciful. and all goo d Christian believers. for many compounds take. the purifier of souls.
cyanide. The conve rse is true. or amalgamating with the gold. If Nature is still producing gold on the earth. The spectroscope fails to detect gold in nebulae. but not impure. "Many authors have written that the vitriolic gur be th e first matter of metals. the t ailings as a rule are worked over by Chinamen using only the cradle and pan. this means that these detract ors have not accomplished the work. comet emanations. unripe. salt. The author of A urea Catena Homeri writes: "A medium of union is wanting. Several books have been written suggesting. including mercur y. by their position. filthy. imperfect. including ours. I find no running mercury in the mines near the metals. the possibility of synthesis has to be considered. One metal does not and cannot enter into a radical union with another without their medium of union. especially in "lifeless" th ings. and spiritual body. mercury and salt." There must. John Pontanus quoted with approval by o thers says: "He which separates anything from the subject or matter. and know of no one who has. in Chapter II of his Last Will and Testament. and antimony. she probably does so in the form of minute specks. fixed." . There are few exceptions to this general rule. be a medium. The alchemists teach that the ordinary metals are not imperfect but also impure. either as fluid. green. this medium they have lost at the melting furnace. These tailings are left by companies who have efficient plant. Loc k. solid. also mentions the matter. Viz. The Periodic Law . soda. points in the direction of evolution. The evide nce of the spectroscope shows that the older a heavenly body is. metallurgists and miners agree that the occurrence of gold is mainly a surface phenomenon. Sir Roderick Murchison geologist and metallurgist said that gold was "the latest formed metal. Surface workings are the richest. the gold would be more abundant towards the interior. have been enriched gold sand descending to them by gravity. it appears. hitherto considered to be a simple element has been split up into helium and hydrogen. and even the reefs themselves get poorer as they get deeper. unclean. or in any of the suns. The earth co ntains more elements than the sun. and actually stating. he writes the following. Go there and look for it. or take its like. or altereth not another . They (the students) sh ould look for such a medium. The diamond has been proved to consist of something more than crystallized carbon. The substance which they indicate as the ma terial or subject. they say." Also: "That metals are reducible into sulp hur. Where analysis has been accomplished . but w ill in cinnabar ore". or by water streams. and it is said "One body entereth not. so here comes in a double work. Our sun contains more elements than younger suns. if it points in any direction. the longer they are left. and in a word. of the great philosophic experiment is. others say that antimony is the root and mother of the metals. removing impurities an arduous task and t hen grading up to the gold standard. a fluid medium of union. I cannot find. Gold has not apparently ascended from t he interior of the earth. writes: "Many of the tailin gs cannot.It has been stated that nitrogen. but that they should immediately proceed therefr om. or as volatilized into vapour. the more "eleme nts" it contains. feculent. etc. although the former were thrown off from the sun. when one comes to think it over. which latter fact is not strange. " For those who work with common sulphur. which the wise men never revealed. if not all. It is unlikely that these atoms of gold are formed by one dry metal a cting on another. this has caused much error. by the he lp of our fire. on page 787 of his monumental work entitled Gold. The nuggets are probably aggregations of these specks deposit ed out of fluid in which they were suspended or carried or in which they were in solution. thinking it to be necessary (so to do) wholly errs in his philosophy: That which is superfl uous." Nearly all." Basil Valentine. near the mines. and probably contained at that time precisely the same number as its parent orb. mercury. Reduced to its simplest terms. immature. the whole substance of the subje ct is transmuted or changed into a perfect. for dissolving out. vitriol. There is also the current bel ief that the: "tailings" of gold mines show more gold. In either case. I allow... that the art is impossible.
marchasite. amalgams. as Eirenaeus remarks in his preface to Ripley Revived. sulphates. petre. In order that the statements of modern critics may be assessed at their proper v alue. litharge. iron scales. Neither is it useful to advise as t o which books are the best to study. copper rust. So also. and to all manuscripts and edited books. sandiver. Yardley. through the medium of comments. Antimony (not worth a mite). and biassed interpretations. should be carefully weighed. mercury (quicksil ver). as should be attached to t he text commented on. such as tho se of Flamel." He does not quote any authority for so i mportant a statement.W. endorsed by Eirenaeus. glosses. It d oes not apply to the comments of adepts upon adepts.). and these salts : ammoniac. Backstrom. a list is here given of things which Ripley. Paul & Co. warn students against using these and many other ingredients. rubified imperfect bodies. Back to 'Apollogia Alchymiae' page SECTION II. of course. vitiols (i. gem. some say " there is no God " because they have not found Him. Every ancient faith or philosophy has been emasculated by friend and foe alike. common salt. these may suffice. Other eminent alchemists. egg-shells. oils from calces. I n these brief sections is presented a consensus of opinions extracted from ancie nt alchemic writings. that he does not believe that any of them did wha t they claimed to have done. but even these criticisms. Modern Criticism Transcribed by Mark House. R. copper vitriol. mercury precipitated. the writer's own conclusions are not pertinent to the scope of this treatise . Dee is said to have received im mense sums of money from dupes for imparting the coveted secret. The author of the Mystery and Romance of Alchemy and Pharma cy writes: " Men of undoubted ability and genius wasted both their lives and the ir fortunes over the search for this illusive chimera.. nor explain even the nature of the ingenious trick. Pictorial presentations of the theory and practice of the art are invaluable. acids. says a re useless. Samuel Norton. the same importance. or explanations. alkali. in which the author gives his interpretation of alchemic writers. Councell Apollogia Alchymiae Section II. This applies to this treatise. sulphur. and to correct certai n glaring misrepresentations. Salmon. in their c andid moments. spirits. Again: "Bacon states that sulphur and mercury are the mineral roots and natural . The following are samples: Figulus. in order to establish certain facts. etc. which have arrogantly assumed the authority which is inherent only in the original text. wine.In concluding the prefatory remarks. Kelly. Modern Criticism. and even injurious in the work. He also says: "The notorious Dr. tinctures white and red. eggs. crocifer. As to the identity of the proxima and prima materiae. orpiment blood. alembroth. for all do not gain knowledge from the same point of view. and other crystallized salts). though the list could be extended considerably. steel. strictures.e. soda. from which to draw. Arthur Dee. ferments. hai r. will be known to those who are aware that an enormous mass of li terature is available. mercury sublimed. iron. Maier. I should like to urge the necessity of not according to comments the value. That the tract might easily have swollen to an unm anageable size. they are. W. De Winter." The use of the word "chimera" implies. ardent and corrosive waters. arsen ic. which he demons trated by means of an ingenious trick. attincker. soul of lead. tartar. oil of lime. vermillion. and the volumes of Collectanea Her metica . Basil Valentine and Splendor Solis (this last recently issu ed by Kegan. Petrus Bon us. He prejudges the whole question from the standpoint of his own attainments. therefore omitted.
into a clear water ." "The sec ond principle of our Stone is called Mercury. Just as their sulphur was not brimstone. called by them Mercury. since they agree that common sulphur is not meant. But he discredits Basil Valentine's as sertion that he has made gold. is the Virtue and Power of this our Magistery: and it so re solves every (Metalline) Body. He makes the same misinterpretation of the a lchemic writers. but that they had accomplished the work with their own hands. and says: "Sometimes the patient rebelled. . the one experiment which seems to us to be the crucial experim ent of the system." But surely he cannot expect." These men asserted not merely a theory. is only generated out of the mercury of the wise. (See Ripley's "Erroneous Experiments. can give ris e to such an interpretation. Extracts from authors on this point will be given later. because from this Mercury alone. "Of what wilt thou make the Philosop her's Stone?" Alchemist: "Of Mercury . and not of the work. Eirenaeus on Ripley: "The next secret is to know our Mercury. and the igno rant negative of such. by judges who are ignorant of its laws as well as the facts. which necessitates somewhat ext ended notice here. was a substance compou nded by art. As regards the Story of Alchemy. . piety and virtue. that is into Mercury. therefore. This modern author also says: ". but artificial. . It is necessar y to lodge an emphatic protest against the unfairness. etc. and Basil Valentine. the author of that highly esteemed tract. not mercury. for it was incombustible (see Geber. believed it to be an amalgam of gold and mercury. I will instance Flamel. He mentions that where gold is. there is no amalgam. and it is the importance of these errors. . The au thor says: ". drawn from three heads b y the mediation of one thing. he believes it cannot be made. yet Sendivogious mentions the reaso n. the latter metal he believed to be the true elixir of the philosopher 's stone. because it has not come within his own knowledge or experience." It is difficult to understand how ma ny reading of alchemic treatises save of the most superficial kind. amongst many other things." Notice the Body is not dissolved in Mercury. for his positive assertion of a negative. But why? It was from hints less evi dent than this that Wallace and Darwin developed the theory of evolution. And only on those grounds. This central fact could not be missed by the most careless reader. The latter. It is because hydrargyrum is the wrong "mercury" altogether. Bacon did not beli eve and did not write that the metal mercury was an ingredient." And: "Our t incture then. is by no means sufficient to set aside the affirmative kn owledge of so many men of unquestionable credit." etc. Sendivogius. but resolved. The author of the Story of Alchemy cites the parable of Mercury and the Alchemis t out of Sendivogious. and could not ac complish the things the pseudo-alchemist required of it. supported by arguments and circumstances of incontestable force.principles upon which Nature herself acts and works in the mines and caverns of the earth.") True." Our author do es not say why this common mercury rebelled. others." Senex: "Oh what Mercury?" Alchemist . nor commendable to reprobate a n art. Indeed. . the modern chemist believes. for he cannot affirm that it is scientifically impossible or incredible. entitled The Hermetic Art. "The Story of Alchemy " embodies several errors which are perpetuated by other authors. the Red Man is gold but the Mercury. that it may be augmented or multiplied." This is not a true presentment of Bacon's sayings. . the scarcely veiled conte mpt. which is the White Wife. and had done so more than once. sir. The criticism professes to be an impartial and scientific investigation of the theory of the e xistence of a law of evolution. himself writes: "It is not lawful. a credence he himself denies to others who st ate the contrary. discovered fulminating gold: this. He says: "The fi rst work is the reducing the Body into Water. including Rhazes and Merlin. because he know s it exists. as others say. the impression left on the m ind by reading it is that the author thinks there may be something in it after a ll.). was never accomplished. fantastica lly called the Red man and his White wife. that pervades the criticism of the claims of the alchemists. so their mercury was neither hydr argyrum nor any of its salts. silver is found (and he might have added iro n). It is neither impartial nor scientific. and not used . also that all lead contains some silver. which is not common. and knows how to prepare it. Ei ranaeus Philalethes.
to quote t he following pregnant sentence by the same author. no r common mercury. the Yellow is a more matured state of "our Unripe Gold. sinful man (in answer to my prayer)." Senex: "I tell thee this is not the true purifying of it ." I cannot find it so in my reading. or might have. which fools do call the Green Lion." On page 96 : Op." This alters the standpoint to that of an honest man who is indignant with those who defraud others by false methods. this most precious knowledge. similar remarks nearly 500 years ago.. Whom it hath pleased to reveal to me. "Wh . both alone and when mixed with other substances. others thought of mercury as a substance which could be obtained. the author writes: "The story quoted in chap. done the work . but there is another. and sometimes crows. it also begs the whole question." The author of the Story Of Alchemy also says: "The yellow lion was the alchemica l symbol of yellow sulphides. III. by repeatedly distilling ordina ry mercury. kno wing them to be false and futile. and another manner of purifying it." Alchemist: O. nor any of their derivatives." Here. wretched. "To the Most High and Almight y God. the results of this literal inter pretation were disastrous. sir. therefore." the Red Lio n is the perfect state." Ripley. omitting. S urely this is written by his commentator Theodore Kerckringius. according to the variety of places. Alchemist: "Do tell me if thou art the true Mercury. neither is this. Some of them evidently took it to me an the substance then. The modern author says: "Those who pretended to know. thus purified. and now called mercury. which binds all the masters of the Art." Ripley must have heard. and those wh o were groping after the hidden meaning of these adepts. an d not of Vitriol. be eternal pr aise. and who. and the green lion meant salts of iron and of copper. illustrates the difficulty which the alchemists themselves had in understanding what they meant by the term "Mercury". glory. he makes no distinction between alchemists who had. sometimes applied to the philosopher's red stone. one is purer than another . Neither of these lions contained common sulphur. Furthermore.: "There is but one Mercury. cit." Senex: "It is true. as used in his address "to the Reader" and in the comments throughout t he work. I know how to purify it very well with vinegar and salt." Mercury: "I am Mercury. in his Medulla Alchimiae. or read. w ith nitre and vitriol. but mo re usually to ordinary gold. the Green is a very immature or un ripe thing. He quotes Madathanas in support of his statement. as is shown later on. for I am silenced by the vow. or the brewi ng of beer. etc. from M ichael Sendivogious. but altered variously. In the same partial manner he quotes The Only True Way and omits this sentence: "I myself may not speak out as plainly as I wo uld. knew perfectly well what "their mercury" was. contrasts these two Green Lions." And so on. Neither Hg nor S entered into th e composition of the Great Stone. All these lio ns are one in nature though two in substance." Also in Ripley's "Sixth Gate": "The said Menstrua is (I say to thee in counsel) The blood of our Green Lion." One does not need to be an expert in economics to visualize what would happen if a r ecipe were given "making this art as common as the baking of bread. all through the p arable. for he says in his Erroneous Experiments: "Also I wrought in Sulphur and in Vitriol." The word "pretended" abuses and vilifies those who solemnly swore that they had done the work. might be obtained. the Creator of this Art. He mentions that Basil Valentine wrote the "Dedicatory Epistle" to the Triumphal Chariot of Antimony. it is exactly hi s style. or. honour. at any rate. the red lion was synonymous with cinnabar. these words occur in the Dedicatory Epistle: "Since in the words of Basilius." Again. the true Mercury: wise men have another Mercur y. yet there is perhaps no word more often used by them than that. Again: "Black sulphides were called eagles. however. or if there be anoth er. again. and thanksgiving. there is but one Mercury. I have already gained a place in a higher class. abused and vilifie d those who differed from them.
or swan. to suggest to inqui rers the wrong material. Stanley Redgrove. blue. be rubified by a higher degree of heat into the Red Stone. are the following brief and pregnant sentences: "What would be the result if gold could be cheaply produ ced?" ". so. surpasses the ordinary imagination. as of hair that is passing over the head. and should be studied. a red sublimate is obtained. In the latter case. "else the strongly heated. for they are found to be pure gold. it is "fermented" with an "oily calx of silver" to produce the el ixir which transmutes metals (chiefly copper and iron) into pure silver. they used no sulphur." The application of the production of these sulphides of mercury to the process o f the sages is hopelessly wrong. or he has. This is th e White Stone. but first into a dove. There ar e two ways of viewing The Story Of Alchemy . So in the account of the Noachian deluge. but little of the ted to urge the fire. . they used no mercury and could. embracing the subject of alchemy. And later we get the account of the red wine of Noah's vineyard. then white. and that he had a laboratory for this purpose at Westminster. iridescent. Thirdly. without opening the glass. The attentive student also knows that the crow never evolute d into a scarlet bird direct." P. and are still in advance of ours. the ess ential colours were not black then red: the black itself was soft. if it were to be cheaply ob tained. also. the alchemist is direc black crows will go back to the nest. but analysis of the coins of that king does no t bear out the tale. bubbling. First. Scala Philosophorum says: "The sign of the first perfect whiteness is the manife station of a certain little circle. . the dove comes into the story after the raven had disapp eared. the financial chaos which would follow. when we read that Paracelsus said that he possessed a portion of this mystic substance. All their would-be imitat ors have been far too subtle and elaborate. therefor e.138: "Of course. second. The unbiased student must. not gold of the philoso phers.en black sulphide of mercury is ich has the same composition as pt very high." This ends in perfect silvery whiteness. from a view. produce no sulphide of mercury. simple. either the author has not succeeded in deciphering the code which the alchemists used to notify their discovery to each other. by H. he writes (p. The Whi te Stone can. that their materials were co mmon and cheap. and their method. Speaking of Raymond Lully. pla stic substance. or in the alternative. we feel sure that he was simply telling a lie. is necessarily merely posing as a mystigogue. conclude that these men discovered this evolutionary law: that they were ages i n advance of their times. In Alchemy. of England to make gold for minting. for the reasons I have stated. azure. So much has been discovered lately in the realm of physics. Campbell Brown. it may have seemed good to him to dis courage belief in metallic evolution. The nearer an investigator approaches the heart of the mystery. Or when we read that Raymund . it being ab sent. or because his innate and inordinate vanity fears exposure. and he actually transmuted base metals into g old. issued origin ally in 1911. wh ich will appear on the sides of the vessels round about the matter in a kind of citrine or yellowish colour. requires rather an extended review. by the late J. When we consider the paucity of their resources we must conclude. that we are justifie d in presuming that not every writer on this tremendous subject. and who employs an obscure style. A History of Chemistry.97): "The story goes that he was employe d by Edward I. A few extracts given before enterin g on the review may assist the reader to judge whether this author's opinion is biased. the more cautiou s he becomes in his public utterances. I think. or scientifically critical. could not combine with the mercury which was not present. if the temperature is not ke red sulphide is produced. is written in the spirit of investigation. The colours are black. Ancient and Modern. wh the black compound. in order that the foundations of society might not be u pheaved." The above named book.
of England and Char les VII. of England." I had once gi ven me the fourth part of a grain I call a grain that which takes 600 to make an o unce. and Charles VII. . on Van Helmont: "He asserted that he had actually witnessed the transmuta tion of a base metal into gold. of France. . of Guildford.201. here is the account according to Helmont. but evidently it was an ordinary commercial issue. also asserts that with a fragment of the philosopher's stone about th e size of half a turnip seed. His statement concerning Van Helmont is distorted." Helvetius. for the necessity of a debased coinage for in ternal circulation." Of Edward Kelly. of France coined a quantity of gold made by the Philosopher's Stone. writes : "The professors of that art (alchemy). Price. presumably. and the adept who gave him the elixir was not present. and on the same page to discredit. With regard to the episode of Henry VI. a remarkable statement from a man of his lofty c haracter and shrewd powers of observation. but t hat gold was undoubtedly spurious. Neither does he record the demonstrations of Dr. therefor e. and conversely. of England and Charles VII. 17 82. I found within eleven grains of eight ounces of most pure gold. truly. stopped and congealed into a yellow mass. It is difficult to imagine that the learned author of The History of Che mistry had not read the accounts of Helvetius and Dr. having made a little noise. he transmuted half an ounce of lead (and some silv er) into six drams and two scruples of most pure gold. State paper money at 100 per cent. They are gi ven in full detail in The Annual Register for the year 1782. by the abbot of Westminster. In a later century. This episode is not mentioned apparently in The History of Chemistry. the latter did not merely "wi tness" a transmutation.156 grains of quicksilver. which has led some to think that the adepts may have approached nearer to the Magnum Opus than is usually supposed. . with all the precautions the latter could devise. where p ure gold results. are go od gold. " The author seems to assume that this was a chemical experiment. I made projection therewith. and therefore not produced by alchemic art. engaged themselves in a search for what was by them unattainable. the gold co inage of Henry VI. and this quite apart from alchemy : the critic is therefore hard pr essed for his argument and illustration to drag in Henry VI. in May. on lead cut off by him self. at home. 1783. the author cited. alchemy may have had a hand in producing it. Price. published in London . so that a grain of this powder would have transmuted into very g ood gold. wrapped in paper. h e only handed over gold to the king's coiners.Lully was presented to Edward I.. 19. . profit was not then known . and that he made gold for the king from base metals which gold was used for making coins: and whe n by assays we discover that surviving specimens of these coins are composed of genuine gold. he writes: "He seems to have been an accomplished liar. he asserts that gold coins of Edward I. there is no evidence as to the kind of gold handed to the official minters. ". but there is abundant reason supplied by th e disastrous events of that reign. by a sudden volte-face th e account of Edward I. These eight or nine consecutive transmutations were done in the presence of several witnesses. and everyone is perfectly satisfied. Lully did not strike the coins. On page 2. the gold wo uld have been purposely debased to make it so. was debased. of France. A happy deception." Touching on these points briefly." Here the acce . we assume tha t either King Edward or Raymund Lully was deceived at some point of the process. Hav ing melted it in a strong fire. upon eight ounces of quicks ilver. and had it not been profitable. we assume that either King Edward or Raymund Lully was deceived at some point of the process. This transmutation was do ne by himself and his wife. in his own crucible." P. The debasing of coin was known and practiced in every state at some period of its history. Henry VI.
so long as the necessary apparatus was obtainable. As in the case of mercury and other metals so also is it in the case of sulphur. the art of alchemy could be practiced in countries deficient in metals. Page 9. but was not consumed. Nebo may have been ascribed to the planet Mercu ry. the search for the philosopher's stone. and so this knowledge and skill must have been slowly acquired by some other nation dom iciled in a metalliferous and fuel-growing country. The true "sulphur" which was incombustible in the fire. Egypt." a nd therefore the distillate is called "sulphur-water. the author does not attempt to explain. It s mine is found on the summit of the mountains." And on page 12: 'From the Chaldeans alchemy passed to the Egyptians.16 op."The Chaldean Nebo corresponds with the metal mercury and the planet mer cury. including crucibles.C.). It is a stone which is engendered every year. or for collecting an y sulphur gases. on page 24. it will be found that such ascription was made about the fifth century. the a uthor.nt seems necessarily to fall upon the words "by them".The alchemist required the absence by all the tests known to him of every kind of metal." (In other words." Page 10. in the sea. but he thereby proves that his sulphur was not "unchanged by fire. including gold and silver and mercury. bismuth. "theiou apyrou" is translated as "unburnt sulphur.. On page 5.nor had the smell of fire passed o n them.) . in waters. ." The alchemists assert posit ively that no metal is an ingredient of the work (with the exception of gold or silver with which to "ferment" the elaborated "white stone"). . "sulphur incombustible. This. and salts are in alchemy a nalogous to the false gods set up in the Egyptian temples. and other substances such as arsenic.two philosophical follies of the schoolm an. in trees. The modern critic h olding or pretending to hold that the sophistication and adulteration of gold and si lver constituted the art of alchemy. we also may assume that they could and did make the laboratory apparatus they required. Greece." On page 33 he quotes : "This is the definition of the stone which is not a stone . the ancient Egyptia ns were not acquainted with it. As we know that the ancient Chaldeans and Egyptians were proficient in making ve ssels of glass and earthenware. but also corresponds to that which the alchemists have named. etc. ." has its analogy in the bush which Moses saw. which burned in the fire. presuma bly. . it is found also in colouring matters." and . identifies the deleterious gas which issues as sulphuretted h ydrogen. being theoretically built upon a nonexistent foundati on. in plants. the entire superstructu re of criticism collapses. therefore. In Chapter V. over whom "the fire had no power." Following logically on the assumption of manipulation of sulphur.. As soon as you have recognised it. It is a mineral contained in san d and in rocks of all hills." The correct translation o f "a-pyrous" is "unchanged by fire". "Although quicksilver played an important part in alchemy. calcine it and reduce it to an oxide. Therefore. and elsewhere. but how it could correspond to a metal of which there is no mention until ab out 300 B. nor of the nature of a stone. this not only totally negatives ordinary su lphur. he does not commit himsel f here to the statement that the art is impossible per se. in the tong ues of Chaldea. " In ancient Chaldean astronomy." The ap paratus depicted is also unsuitable for distilling sulphur. and in the Hebrew youths who were cast in the fiery furnace. On page 21. the following occurs : ". where in very ancient times an apparently pure monotheism existed. as it was not discovered till a much later date. requires the presence of metalliferous load s. and Rome. "and valued not its mart yrdom at all. he remarks that "there were no mines and little fuel in Chaldea. take it and make a calx of it. cit. and for the elixir of life. (P. Arabia.
which in each and every grade of your work is changed into another nature." the "magnesia . where ent er the moist and the dry. and spirit. On pages 86. body. etc. also in the sulphurets. the warm and the cold. it becom es gold. and then its redness is restored to it. and it will whiten the copper.. therefore. sulphites. sulphide of l ead. the volatile "mercury" which has been distilled from th e body. Mix the colours. A nd if ye cook still more it becomes red. " i." (Note : the ore magnetite menti oned by our author happens to be singularly free of sulphur. and about to be reunited. Argyropoeia and the Turba. yellow and red.." and the dark "copper" are but separated parts of the One thing. in kuhul or in the sulphur which does not burn . This is emphasized by man y Masters. white. the soft and the hard. and as doctors do in their mixtures. it will become gold. m ake the same nature white. fulfills. there is no need for extraneous things. pages 33. sulphide of antimony) or unburnt sulphur. separate each of these things. or can fulfill the conditions here set out." This well-known extract is endorsed by other alchemists.. and it is this latter work whic h is here intended. If you render the mercury red." "Take quicksilver. by two very elaborate procedu res with some one or two. sulphide of tin. At the risk of irksome reiteration it is necessary to affirm that competent alch emists were aware of the presence of "combustible feculent sulphur" in sulphide ores such as sulphide of antimony. and place it in the special vase which is set apart for it. manifold and superfluous things. or with kuhul (i.e.e. sulphide of antimony. etc. in the evolutionary . for their cop per is not red after the "mercury" and the "magnesia" have been separated from i t. But with the philos ophic base which they call Venus or copper. the contents of the brackets being our author's interpretation or interpolation: "Take quicksilver. as painters do for black. or more of the things he mentions. "Coagulate in the body of magnesia.." i. In both works the dark body is whitened. or black lead).e.) Taking the points seriatim : "Leave. not merely as useless. the statement is made that copper is the basis of much of the work detailed in Chrysopoeia. or pyrites). or any one of the ingredien ts they mention. sulphide of lead. 87 and elsewhere. the philos ophic sal ammoniac which has also come up and separated itself from the dark bod y (kuhul or philosophic antimony. and even in the Turba it is said by Lucas (page 41) : "For ye need no t a number of things. 1896). but our modern critics do not attempt to explain how either common sulphur.e. "And if ye cook still more it becomes red. they would not be alchemic treatises. and place it upon our copper when it becomes white." to the modern author this must seem curious. in the white salt. This done by th e aid of determined weights. In the History of Chemistry version t he translation ran thus : "If you render the mercury red. but particularly in the sealed glass. Then are united in one their diverse qualities. for first the red copper is m ade white. when if ye proceed to coction. and take quicksilver. but as prejudicial to the art. and condemned them on that account. This extract is given from Parmenides in the Turba (Lond. in such a way as to obtain a well-balanced mixture. and the sulphate salts."Extract its soul." In the History of Chemistry it is given thus.. coagu late in the body of magnesia. and pyrite s. If this were litera lly true. it is not incongruous. sulphide of tin. 34 : "Leave. therefore. favorable to bodies. the copper will redden. manifold and superfluous things. now purified. and not three alien things. coagulate it w ith the body of magnesia (meaning magnetite. but one thing only. render its nature white and put it in upon our copper. etc. but dark or obscure. the copper will redden . for the "mercury. a nd if one then heats. They app arently regarded sulphur or brimstone as a waste by-product."i.
and no reference at all to any stateme nts by their authors or others." Here. and have no authoritative value. on page 186. pottery. As mentioned elsewhere. p.the alchemists seem to have employed an oil lamp with a wick composed of a mianth or flexible asbestos. . which was hermetica lly sealed by fusion of the neck. by means of an oil lamp. as is very well known to several co-adepts our friends ." "Let no prattling sophister lead you into error with many furnaces. They both commit the fundamenta l and very elementary mistake of taking alchemic names of materials literally. and in the mixing of metals in fusion. to obtain gold in a final state of division. and none touches the hem of the mystery.] "What more simple than to conclude that the iron has been tra nsformed into copper?" Also. depositing one metal on another.process. si lver and mercury constitute the material of the stone.." ". we have in the History of Chemistry men acute and c lever. according t o Roscoe. the very simple alchemist. It is one of these latter a nd not the trichloride which they used in preparing the ferment. or the Aztecs. Very few extracts are given fro m the writings of men held by consent to be adepts . t hough protesting that they do not. W atts & Co. ir idescent. glass. we may assume that when the knife blade was dipped in a saturated solution of salt. or. . which qualify the surface meaning of such extrac ts." Nothing could be further from the truth. and was removed with a deposit of s alt upon it. 1921. etc. 188 are the following: "To speak plainly." Urbigerus in Aphorism 72 says: ". and lastly a permanent red. The same suggestion of bias is shown in varying proportions in the other critica l books reviewed in this section. suggests that the idea of alchemy and transmutation may have arisen in a man ner something like this :--A steel knife blade is immersed in a solution of sulp hate of copper. As regards the si ." Vol. I.34.. who could not but admire and approve our industry. and the attempted interpretation of any quotation is unconvincing." The following lines. would be overjoyed at the discovery of an ins tance of evolutionary law transmuting iron into an alkaline salt. [See also Sir Edward Thorpe's "History of Chemistry. and mercury bichloride. i t is not apparently possible that such a mixture could become by turns black. The alchemist prepared gold chloride in order to get gold oxide. the Story of Alchemy in Chapter VI. the know ledge of copper salts began. being by unknown authors. and our furnace is a common furnac e. prove that these names are cons tructed literally. prec ious stones. According to R oscoe a knowledge of the properties of iron vitriol can be traced at least as fa r back as Geber . and page 187. On pages 187. For instance. Most of the extracts quoted in the History of Chemistry. are of little importanc e. . the alchemi sts especially and specifically condemn a mixture of gold and silver "lest a mon strous lineage be begotten. after they have been prep ared by art. op. it is found to be coated with a deposit o f copper. and these few are quoted wi th insufficient reference to the context. white. so is our fire common. ." Apart from these statement s is the fact that a sufficiently fierce heat could not be obtained for the fina l stage.: "Gold. As our f urnace is common. See Sendivogius' Treatise on Sulphur. then. This mixture w as enclosed in a glass matrass called the Philosopher's egg. gilding.. silver nitrate. The modern critics are vitally at variance wit h each other. apparently. moreover. the materials for the wo rk were gold trichloride. and his Parable. For example. and on withdrawing it. who was an expert worker in metals. there is no sulphur . in silvering. These two eminent authors do not agree as to whether the alchemists were most no ted for skilled cunning or credulous simplicity.w e have our self alone without the help of any creature living prepared them all on a common kitchen fire. cit. Basil Val entine has said : "Our fire is a common fire. but in what dim ages antedating Egypt.
for the aqua fortis being extracted. is the same "Mercury" mentioned by all alchemists. Yet thus they think they dissolve (mistaking Nature) but dissolve not. . neither gold n or mercury is in the sealed glass with the red stone.W. through the Arabs and Moors. I append this pertinent extract from Hydropyrographum Hermeticum: "Moreover. as it was not discovered till a much later date. The acid. ." He adds that another sophistic solution is th at of melting by the force of fire. and it produceth no f ruit. it must suffice to draw a ttention to the fact the very suggestive fact that none of these modern critics. but limits of space prevent. For they think that they are therefore dissolved w ith a natural solution. and others: "For example. consequently." writes Eirenaeus. attempts to prove that metallic evolution is even probably impossible. fool s draw corrosive water out of inferior minerals. . therefore. The History of Chemistry states a well-known fact that this art came to Western Europe from Egypt. into which they cast the specie s of metals and corrode them. the ancient Egyptians were not ac quainted with it. and not according to the letter. the philosophers do say that there is no coming to a good end until gold and silver be joined together in one body. fortis (or nitric acid). had be en previously separated) so that these two purified and re-conjoined parts might corrupt and putrefy together-as in the analogy of a grain of corn in the earth an d producing a living. was used (as aq. and that water abides not with nor subsists in the body as its radical moisture. For the fi rst matter of metals is not mercury vive. the body becometh meltable as before. The modern author's remarks tempt one to diverge very widely fro m the scope of this book..by Luna is understood mercury or t he prime matter. are not the foundation of the Art of Transmutation but the impostures rather of sophistical alchymists who think tha t this sacred Art is hid in them.. thou must understand Luna metapho rically. I tell thee. As regards corrosive sublimate. Here. Back to 'Apollogia Alchymiae' page." This being s o. The third and philosophical solution is by t he mixture of their mercury with the sulphur (from which it. it follows that the "Mercury" used in Egypt before hydrargyrum and its salts were known. . the alchemists definitely and by name condemn the dissolving of s ilver in aq. As is stated above: "Although qu icksilver played an important part in alchemy. the mercury. or more condescendingly pitiful than angry. It deals with metalline sa lts. they are so much more estranged from a metallic kind. The Speech of the Philosophers Transcribed by Mark House. or silver in a fine state of division.lver nitrate . chloride of gold. as the sophisters suppose. unless the body o f Sol be sowed in its proper soil. both previous to and subsequent to the period of Egyptian alchemy. These solutions. such as nitrate of silver. R. but rather a process which destroys the "radical humidity. that a new species might result from both the mascul ine and feminine seed. alleging that this is not a true philosoph ic solution. your labour is in vain. be he humorous. . no mercury. or salt of mercury went into the phi losopher's egg. A quotation from Bernard Trevisan's Epistle to Tho mas of Bononia "in which. "let me seriously profess I receive d the main light in this hidden secret" here follows.and not mercury vive." This agrees with the sayings of the Masters. Councell Apollogia Alchymiae Section III. which solution truly requires a permanency of the dissol ver and dissolved together. sarcastic. growing thing. The bodies indeed are corroded. regia was employed for gold) to enable them to get th e silver oxide. if use d at all. my son." and is comparable rather to melting by fire than to a natural process. having regard to chem ical laws as now stated or accepted. using these names of mater ials in their everyday sense. my son.
But he displays ignorance of the true explanation of th e phenomena of nature. though convincing. would not have proved the art true. and Lives of the Alchemystical Philosophers. therefore. But he did his best according to his ability . and these later men were able. they also were wrong. The discovery of evolution as applied to plants and animals. was not mere diff iculty. worms. was of the last gen . by the intervention of printing. For years chemists explained the behavior of oxygen by the phlogiston theory. and as presumed parallelism. who have als o done the work. to mak e known in their books. The attempted proof . The alchemists who. For ages men tried to account fo r the apparent motion of the sun. it was sheer impossibility. what he does with t hem. it should not lead us to conc lude that the whole art is as untrue as the attempted proof. But the earth still revolved on its axis. On this aspect. But. and travel. Also. t heir art. These important points he apparently hinted at in a very circuitous way i n his theory or philosophy. and even higher form s of life. read the 13th C hapter of An Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King. for the work was easy. and even as proof of.E. desired yet to leave on record their testimony that the art was true. and also the account of the persecution and death of the adept who was the master of Send ivogius. by A. for he is a Master. But such a revelation would inevitably result in national and international chaos. he may hav e remedied the omission for those who have patience and intuition. as proofs. very difficult to be explained. Thomas Norton 's account of Thomas Daulton's experiences." The ancient manuscripts w ere rare. that is as to why it happens. that sea currents flowed up to the north pole by the magnetic attraction of the arctic p ole. entered there. planets and stars. already had a safe and chosen ret reats in their monasteries. The alchemist wishes to make himself known to the unknown brethren.SECTION III. Many a modern man would make a hash of trying to prove the right angled triangle theorem. These he is using as figures of speech. and to describe. In order to understand the alchemic writer. The alchemist had been taught by the scientific dicta of his day to believe in t he spontaneous generation of insects. The alchemic writer has a very difficult task: he wishes to testify to a process . by Eirenaeus Philal ethes. their explanation was wrong . It would be an easy task for him to name his two ingredients. without a continual restraint upon his words and actions. and many of us do less. traversed the "Axle-tree of the world. The speech of the philosopher is not ignorant in the matter of which he is treat ing. The Speech of the Philosophers. as analogies. oxygen still continued its manifestations. He craves the society of those with whom he can converse freely of these wonderful things. neither does its failur e prove the art false. like Ripley and Valentine. snakes. to enter into the same mental view. vital excerpts from these unobtainable manuscripts. To explain the lab oratory work was easy. and where for all I know to the contrary. those with whom he can reside. none can do more." and emerged at the s outh pole. but his failure does not disprove it. and in the evolution of barnacle geese from bi-valves. step by step. flies. however impatient this may make us. according to t he then accepted topsy-turvy explanation of natural phenomena. but to explain why. They used these supposed facts to illustrate. and travelled in its path around the sun. it is necessary to follow his mental processes. in the Ordinal of Alchemy. and not "a cunningly devised fable. It i s obvious that the alchemist dared not openly name his materials in the practica l part of his book: neither did he describe in detail his handling of these mate rials. Waite.
In th eir presentment of the method of Practice. though in dicated. because they are not in the true evolutionary path to silver and gold. 6. cognizable by our senses. Much less do these wrong explanations of phenomenon x. if blank spaces. indeed. and disc overed elements and compounds. were substituted for most of the names given. merely on the grounds of the falsity of the supposed analogic illustrations advanced as proofs. being only used as analogies. these blunders would be less frequent. by alchemic writers. analyzed. action.eration. The same type of error is observed wh en an aboriginal native or an inexperienced kitten. it be not already as well known as it is suspected. As the ancient chemists were ignorant of natural law outside their laboratory. I think. .The place where the substance is f ound. re -action and composition. could not possibly accomplish the w ork. a nd means on the wrongly named materials be compelled to guide himself by the prope rties of the things. Does it evaporate? 8. The following points should be considered. 5. sees its reflection in a mir ror for the first time. or produce cold? 13. We do not. or sink in other fluids? These and other signs will aid in determining whether or not the w orker has succeeded in "spotting" the materials used by the alchemist. sulphur. Any change when heated. s o to-day a botanist of world-wide fame may be ignorant of mathematics. They are discussed elsewh ere. they have been investigated. As regards the three "principles. If much more thought were used. It is. when children give most weird explanations of things which have come under their notice. or even named. I g ather that they are definite entities. But the wrong explanation does not make us pooh-pooh the occurrence. but also unscientific to dismiss as an "illusive chimera" this art. time." It would. Its scent or taste. The History of Chemistry is crammed full of blunders in nomenclature. air. abundantly obvious that a wrong explanation of an occurrence does not affect the occurrence. It does not appear to be necessary to discuss the intangible "elements.--1. and salt. All this is very elementary. If a fluid. and that they had proved it practically. Similarly. but the substances have not been "scrapped" or condemne d on that account. therefore. Whether liquid or solid. we should hold it not only as unfair. Its ordi nary outward appearance. and great heat? 9. 10. they are exhaustively treated of in ancient and modern book s on alchemy. We have daily evidence of this. but apparently students usually rush at the thing which the writer has called antimony for instance and try to force from it the signs and react ions described. mix with. So it is in the speech of the philosophers. or numerals. Its action in contact with other bodies. in the next generation it may be found to apply to minerals and metals. and re-named. 11. be easier to follow their methods. 3. before the actual practice began . As matters are he probably works on things which. of medicine. Is it acid or alkaline? 12. and capable of being investigated by the process of modern chemistry. On mixture does it evol ve heat. fire and water. and so on. Quite the c ontrary. and many have discovered this. Is it easily d istilled or with difficulty. In nature it often happens that the obvious is false and the concealed is true. Here also are men who lived and worked. therefor e. indeed. Here the verbal surface which conceal s their "snowy splendour" is "blacker than black. in some respects. does it swim on." earth. a theolog ian. 4. The student would then instead of wasting his thought. the very earnestness of the child convinces us that something h as happened. affect th e truth of phenomenon y. indeed. How treated. or mere letters of the alphabet. if. but it is impossible to avoid frequent mention of them in any section of a treatise on alchemy. 2." mercury. or parallel illustrations . deride them as inefficient in their own special life's work. who testified centuries before Darwin that a law of e volution exists in the mineral realm.
" which saying should be indelibly written in the student's mind. have the attributes of Sol. and the astr onomical signs of the heavenly bodies are also used for the metals. active agent. the metal. Silver. and blackness. do laugh at it as a fable. or else be sure that something is suppressed which thou w ilt hardly find of thyself. cold. and mercury. viz. multiplies Errors. he even already (having lost Ariadne's clue of Thread) wanders in the midst of the Labyr inth. copper being acted on by acids or alkalies is often spoken of as the hermaphr odite. the word Sol means: positive. for it is not this Ars Cabalist ica. but things compac t. and all would-be critics. the Dispenser of it." According to these words. dryness. Eirena eus expresses himself thus: "I do verily admiringly adore the Wisdom of God here in. another writer calls the same substance "our vermillion or cinnabar" and straightaway. who is. it is therefore most certainly the Gift of God. to the critic. and ever will be. so has Antimony. when elaborated. all metals being "masculine. Others term it lead. In the process the name "Saturn" is not used to indicate lead. feminine. should yet be so rarely found. so natural. so much desired and sought after.The metals are named after the sun and planets. passivity. I tell the (that as for my Self I am in no ways self-seeking or envious as others are." Out . there be most circumspect (for we do not go about to betray that Secrets of Nature) especiall y in those places which seem to give Receipts so plain as you would desire. and Argent Vive. is ascribed to the moon. moisture. The sage called a certain product of his work red lead. we have wr itten that which never heretofore was by any revealed. For unless you g et this obscuration of your matter. or Lune. yet to a Son of Art.: negative . that we plainly teach this Secret of Secrets. that an Art so true. it would have been common property long ago. The alchemists have taken advantage of this to call their secret substanc e which is hermaphroditic also copper and Venus. and casts away his Money for nought. to deceive the unwary as we have before spoken. litharge and many other names. is variously considere d." The philosophic "mercury" and the philosophic "salt" are both feminine. seeing they take the words of the philosophers literally. or a secret and hidden Art? Is it not an Art full of secrets? And believest thou. taking our words ac cording to their literal signification? Truly. and the work so easy. susp ect either a Metaphor. or copper. most students. the former. that the generality of men. you accomplish nothing. Venus. and frequently called Luna. Besides bein g assigned to gold. masculine: Luna. earthy. indicates the opposite attributes. Artephius writes: :But these things are so set down by the Obscure Philosophers. or their combination or even out of the then known seven metals. O fool. and particularly it alludes to cold. to the critic. according to his good pleasure. where we speak most plainly. our earth excepted. The philosophic "sulphur' is masculine. without Inspiration. antimony. or Lune. but). that which before was oxide of lea d has become sulphide of mercury! Eirenaeus Philalethes writes in Ripley Revived: "Take this from one that knows b est the sense of what he has written." And so say the other philosophers. according to their common Signification. he that takes the Wo rds of the other Philosophers. learned and unlearned . that ingenious minds cannot stoop to the simplicity of it." If this art could be accomplished out of any one of twenty different things. wander hopele ssly in the Labyrinth. and it is red lead acco rdingly. so easy. Eudoxus says in the Hermetical Triumph : "The philosophers speak the truth negat ively. moist darkness. heat. The word copper is used throughout the Turba Philosophorum to indicate their elaborated base. But the materials of the Rebis are so common. f ire. the metal .
feeding its brood with its own blood. Basil Valentine gives the following seriatim illustration of the work. and by another metaphor in Valentine's eleventh key. if this be kept constantly in mind. Where. they are of the process. the making of wine." is in dicated by many writers. and in their ritua ls. This substance the philosophers called immature or unripe gold. etc. it would require about ten pounds weight of the vit riol of gold to do so. instead of substituting some other type or allegory. marriage.Sal Ammoniac. at different stages of the work. The multiplication in quality and quantity is symbolized by the pelican. it is quite possible to alight on th e association of ideas which led the writers to select these obscure but permiss ibly relevant terms. a nd adheres to the sides of the vessel. The Red Stone is symbolized by the Phoenix. unite with it. like snow. or actions. a peacoc k. brewing of beer. The entire volatile spirit has passed on into the receiver. Sea sa lt. or sire. Sal Alembroth. and also assists in the transmutation. that similes are used such as the baking of br ead. swan. a pelican. in the sacred writings of various religions. a crow ned serpent without wings. and the Rosicrucian cult. birth. life. Th is is their Eagle. as also in the rituals of freemasonry." having previously spoken of a Wood in whi ch were Bulls (Taurus). a swan. and used fairly. viz. that authors copy each other. gold also. an uncrowned flying dragon. Th ese three are the body. But as gold is the ultimate product or offspring. not tin. peacock and swan symboli ze respectively the black. Basil Valentine describ ed his process. Sendivogius writes: "This is th e Wood and Garden of our Nymph Venus. On uniting these an d placing them in an hermetically sealed glass. or the "Green" Lion. and also the manner in which spirit and soul return to the altered body. ergo Aphrodite or Venus. the parable of the "sower of the seed. may they not be found? So multitudinous are the sources from which analogies may be brought. viz. the latter being the W hite Stone. a crow or raven. by names of all sorts of birds. In the second stage of the work the analysis of the green lion a white salt ascends.: a crowned lion. . beas ts. Its importance cann ot be exaggerated. death. "much like sublimate. These similitudes are so apt. The crowned lion. The curious names used since the writers cannot use the real names indicate." In his Short Way and Repetition.' The art is typified. creeping things." and unites with the "spirit.: that hermaphrodit ic copper called also the prostitute of metals suggested the name Venus-Venus is all otted to the zodiacal sign of Taurus. Sulphur of Nature. Nitre." Exoteric analogies to this esoteric art exist in all other arts. the iridescent. Arsenic. It is non-volatile. and resurrect it in purity. soul. "and the spirit of God moved upon th e face of the waters. it may be that the correct name(or names) will fit into the proper place. as he says. therefore. it is permissible to call the parent. inde ed. and spirit of the Lion. and at the Resurrection of my body. in the teaching s of philosophy. Sublimate.of this darkness comes light. resurrec tion. It was so in t he creation: "waste and void and darkness". as Basil Valentine has written. The "serpent that creeps in and out of stony places" is wingless and remains bel ow. they pass through the stages of the crow. fishes. An instance has already been given. and plastic. The crow. that went forth to sow. "For I have written nothi ng but what I shall bear witness unto after my death. ea gle and serpent are transmuted." as Ripley says. habi tations. therefo re. but this metal he did not use a s his base. and the white. and reptiles. peacock. and the empire of Jupiter. if one is being used. The wonderful manner in wh ich the "soul" leaves the corrupting "body. thus. Icarus. on account of their appearances. They also write. By the association of ideas in the student. as befo re remarked. for. properties cognisable by the senses. as if done out of ordinary gold. a crowned eagle. And God said 'Let there be light' and light was.
The other authors who condemn a ntimony are too numerous to mention. however. complete in manners. Eugenius in Euphrates calls it "Water and Earth. who dwells in the house of Aries. noting their agreements and apparent differences." Thre e pages further on." "common." According to Eugenious (in Euphrates. In this wood are at las t found two Doves. but this riddle is too easy. and collated the writings of many men. if two of these are mounted on two signs of Ven us we get a mercury sign duplicated: the substance is indeed the Mercury Duplex of the Philosophers. Each writer elucida tes one or more points. inflame d with the study of philosophy." etc. mix it up with the prima materia. constant mind." This applied perhaps . and the obvio us solution should be suspect. . enter into the highway of Nature and peruse the books of the best philosophers. a substance they call Ferrum Philosophorum. the proxima materia of the alchemists? According to Norto n. which comes out of the loins of our Hermaphroditical Body. himself included. Jean d'Espagnet writes : "A studious tyro of a quick wit. the cleverest Sphinx of them all : "Know. let him seek out an ingenious and sedulous compa nion for himself. m ercury and sulphur".: Cinnabar Antimony and Iron (commonly called the Martial Stellate Regulus) . Copper. The ens ign of Diana is a crescent moon. Treasure is usually buried. so far as the limits of language allow. or Iron. Pars. 26. being inactive. and ult imately grasped the truth. viz.Similarly. but the beginners cannot find any point more elucidated than another. Gold. and also of the ensigns of Diana. not quite white. if they speak of it at all. we here have suggested the following metallic substances. There is. and without result. This is Mars. iron. which is the signal note of the great world. Thus we naturally fall eas y victims to an apparent simplicity and candor (the critics call it ignorance). with this Salt actuate thy water as thou best know est. In the present day we are seriously handicapped by our scientific training in ou r attempts to probe these tergiversations. innocent of. and on i t a Sable Cross on a Black Field. which. and his Mother a Mineral. though ignorant of practical c hemistry. We strive to get the "curren cy of thought" as pure and unadulterated as possible. We should remind ourselves that the man w ho composed this riddle was no "child in these matters. The alchemists. notice the word "more. In the Lives of the Alchemystical Philosophers are given instances of men w ho toiled for years unsuccessfully until at last they sat down. or not derived from. and is not a combination of common silver and copper. the refore. these are infolded in the everlasti ng Arms of Venus. e spouse her to the most warlike God. whose Father is a Metal." "thrown away. they speak of "the warlike god that dwells in the house of Aries" (Ri pley Revived). with confidence. and consequently might not find the point or points of the secret art. Here is an example from Eirenaeus. that Mercury hath in itself a Sulphur. he says: "Our Diana hath a wood. our Art is to multiply in it a living active Sulphur. Salt. or. to speak more obscurely. when dissolved it is apparently re d." The writers say that it is not likely that a st udent can find in one book all that is necessary to the art. 27 and Appendix) men. "Other descriptions are that it is " cheap. What then is the substance. very skilful in natural philosophy of a pure hea rt. We find mention of two doves of Venus. . which is in reality a deliberately designed subtlety. may. for at about the end of three weeks the Soul of the Mercury a scends. not scattered in full view. We are taught to attach one meaning t o one word. A further reference to Arie s occurs in the section on the Mercury of the Philosophers. and thou s halt find the Salt of Nature. its colour is sub-albide. with the Soul of the dissolved Gold. and thou shalt have the Lunary bath in which the Sun will be amended. Take t hen the most beloved Daughter of Saturn whose arms are a Circle Argent. which is a white salt. have worked for years with these materials. and not despair of obtaining his desire. mightily devoted to God. Taking these seriatim. Diana or Silver.
many of which a re of as much force and appropriateness now as then: it is also with the names o f chemicals." And so other writers. or Venus. when at the first they made projection of the medicine. it is said: "Thou. they are black. let thy first projection be made upon the sun. and s o consecutively to the 20th century. which indeed is mystical. This cannot. Also books on mining and metallurgy from Basil Valentine. say they saw t hese colours. that in the sun it may be specificated. it is necessary to ferment the white stone with si lver. and work up through Ure and other men to the present day. it will change it into dust answerable to the nature of the body on whic h thou didst project it. he must know. then white. therefore. for they must. on account of his sulphide of mercury theory . "Wha t! Is Nature Retrograde? Some few candid writers have definitely given instructi ons to project thus on melted silver or gold. and shall be an elixir acco rding to the nature of the body upon which it is projected. even to-day. and thi rdly.to the student at the commencement of the 17th century." Not quite so. within the vessels. will not transmute base metals into silver and gold. Maquer. As regards the colours observed in the work. and the red stone with gold. th erefore. how I have done it three ti mes. which shows that the Stone is now perfect and will transmute 'base' met als into gold. It is of assistance to get the most ancient books o n chemistry such as Boerhaave. . and the difficulty of estimating exactly what substances they new. in seeing and contemplating the admirable works of Nat ure. The trouble is not entirely with the parables and the analogies. but also reduceth perfec t bodies (to wit. or Venus. after having been "fermented" and matured. be projected upon melted silver or gold respectively. according to the natu re of the body upon which the medicine shall first be projected : which caused t he most learned Raymond (struck with admiration) to cry out in these words. Again. men of sci entific attainments do not repeat correctly that which the alchemists have said plainly enough. otherwise the process has to be continued for some time. For on whatsoever body thou first of all projectest thy med icine." Also in item 15 of Things to be Observed : "Many men through ignorance have dest royed their work. Th erefore. the white and red stones. that upon whatsoever body thou shalt first project the me dicine. others have passed it by in silenc e. be an a priori bit of r easoning. the sun and moon) into imperfect bodies. So. thou must thence proceed as hath been manifested clearly enough from the authority of most approved philosophers. but a statement of an obsrerved and accomplished fact. The alchemists who give accounts of their own working. thou desirest to bring thy elixir to the sun. that same is converted into a frangible mass. must with all care and providence. Again. Flamel writes : "I have done the Mastery t hree times". it may not apply so apt ly at the beginning of the 20th. in the very firs t instance. And so with the mo on to the moon. It is curious that. then. upon t he imperfect metals. and to be wondered at: If. it shall be a medicine which not only converteth the imperfect bodies into Jupiter. and degree above perfection) should be destroyed. this passes through orange into (iii) a red colour. One author writes: "A white colour indicating that the Stone is now capable of c onverting 'base' metals into silver. take heed lest t hrough ignorance of the right form of projection the Divine work (when it is now brought to its complement. it is certainly that they handled things which were then unnamed. To signify unto thee. things which to-day are well known. red. The author of the Story of Alchemy. but I found exceeding great pleasure. . Basil Valentine says he did the work more than once. as that if the p rojection be made upon Jupiter. and also "I had indeed enough when I had once done it. and in this order. In Fasciculus Chemicus.
He said his art was founded on universal law. In reality. for these are tokens that you have burnt the radical humour and vivacity of the stone.or half red wit hin some small time after you have begun your work. and the brief comments on them. Reverting for a moment to the theory of spontaneous generati on. thorns. Hi s work. though it is e vident that the correct interpretation of their words and phrases is the only ke y which avails to unlock the mystery. These few examples of the dark sayings o f the philosophers. by this theory. for all we know to the contrary. the law governing his art was more universal than he imagined if the s olecism may be allowed. Our freedom from this false theory only dates from the d iscoveries of Pasteur.or rather of four elements. The same definition applies to-da y. When dryness doth predominate. Orange colou r then doth show that the body hath not yet sufficient digestion. it would make no difference for if the working were the same method as used by the alchemist we should get the same results. nettle s. The Mercury of the Philosophers Transcribed by Mark House. in searching f or parallel illustrations. as is abundantly evident. no see d. Councell Apollogia Alchymiae Section IV." Thus." for so it was. We now know this dictum of the alchemist to be true : "No thing is generated but in its like. the confection must be black in forty days. and co ntinue some time. had no use for the white. apparently. and here he was confronted by an u naccountable lapse on the part of Nature." Having said this.etc. SECTION IV. required two parents for his noble offspring. But it might make a difference mentally. azure and blue are mentioned then citrin e turning to white. thistles. and that the h umidity (whereof the colours of black. etc. then all will be white powder . ants. snakes. Such a substance he styled as belonging to the fossil kingdom. . sprang up where none were before. Back to 'Apollogia Alchymiae' page. and in the animal kingdom. in other words . Not only are the three colours. was handicapped. A "simple" thing to an ancient chemist's mind was one he could not de-compound o r split up into two ore more dissimilar parts. but t his order of sequence is a sine qua non. he called the first substance "green lion" and "unripe gol d. if operating on the same subjects .. were produced without parental influence. When the sage speaks of a single simple mercury. black. R. a "stone. Laton must be blanched and made white. He had to apologize for these things. of the same species." No useful purpose would be served by multiplying extracts from the sages' writin gs upon this point. Decoction with increased heat produces red. he could not fit it in. and therefore. it ought in all fairness to be conceded that the philosopher. scorpions. worms.W.. without doubt your fire is t oo hot. beca use he had proved it. salts and also alcohol were considered in Boerhaave's time to belong to the class of simple fossils. and not assisted. The Mercury of the Philosophers. But every student knows if he knows nothing else that the writers never contrad ict each other on this point. blue and azure do come) is but half overc ome by the dryness. white and red absolutely essential. and required only black and red. flies. the substances may have been compounds . then other colours green. In the vegetable world. This blackness doth manife st a conjunction of the male and female. when trying to discover what these"si mple" things might be. it is necessary to remind onese lf that. must suffice. "If it be orange colour.
Those who destroy the natural composition of mercury. "Now whilst the sperm is yet in the center. etc. The mercu ry of the sages is apparently undifferentiated or undetermined. of course." Hermetic A rcanum". into a metal. . not a compound substance. in speaking of the philosophic mercury. even if altered and combin ed. but in the distillation of a Menstruum it is made Mi lky. as a recipe. Kelly writes :"Those persons make a great mistake who suppose that that vi scous substance which is extracted from sublimed mercury can in any case be the first substance of metals. or is acted upon by. The hypothesis of the sages is that everybody in the mineral. The two things a re exactly opposite." Secrets of the Adepts"." "The name of mercury doth only properly agree with that which is volatile. there may as easily be brought forth a tree as a metal fr om the sperm." They say: "Take antimony. Eug enius Philalethes says : "For this thing is not water otherwise than to sight." "Their. . it is as a water by reason of the homogeneity which it possesses with vegetables and animals and it receives the virtues of those things which adhere to it in decoction. identical with that in si lver and gold. Philosophical Vinegar is by reason of the Spirit of Philosophical Wine Diaphan ous. . in the latter. and is a simple. . is already out of the way. etc. Eugenius i n his remarkable Euphrates. because the Acidity of the said Vinegar is debilitated by the Aridity of th e Body dissolved (in it). :as clear as the tears of the eye" (Bernard Trevisan. writes : "Whosoever seeks the philosopher's mercury in metals. It is vital to notice the dissimilarity in the manner in which each acts on. or compounded. as soon an herb as a stone. but also the sulphur and salt. It is necessary. to judge by reactions and other properties of the subject under discussion. the refore. Common Mercury is silvery and opaque." C oelum Terrae. that of the philosophers is clear at first . ." "the mercury of metals" -but a large number of writers make no distinction." Euphrates. . The philosopher's mercury is an unctuous vapour." "The. They concur in stating that there is a despised a nd common substance. nor dew. It is." New Light of Alchemy. Bernard Trevisan says: "Mercury is the substance of all metals. sulphur and salt. oth er bodies. not of a Milky Colour. not named in their practical workin g. vegetable and animal realms contains mercury. This sperm or mercury is therefore in common mercury.may be obtaine d not only the mercury. This substance is." This dictum he further emphasis when speaking of antimony and vulgar mercury. The stricture of Eugenius quoted above as regards metals. or determined. . Again : "They (the sages) mean not water of the well. . define it as "Our. does not apply to the use of gold or silver as a "ferment" or determining principle. of what kind soever they be. but when its salt is dissolved in it. from their point of view. quite the cont rary. But as the philosophic mercury is built up into the substanc e of all metals it is evident that it is still there. Other alchemists agree with Eugenius so far as to say that the extraction of philosophic mercury from metals is very difficult. Common mercury on ly becomes clear and transparent by being dissolved in an acid.in metal. "The Clear and Diaphanous Menstruum . from which.The identification of the Philosophic Mercury is of prime importance. Weidenfeld. water there is none." Hydra rgyrum (and its salts) has no affinity to vegetables and animals.. Neither can we imagine water to be in the solid metals. necessary to get a definite idea of the difference existing between the common mercury (hydrargyrum) and that of the Philosophers. "Some writers. the vehicle of the essential seed. Paracelsus says : "Whatever is volatile is of the nature of mercury. but the latter is a compou nd body differentiated. The alleged universal diffu sion of their mercury makes one at first think of water. or cinnabar. . with little trouble and expense.). it is milky and opaque. and specificated. as fluid or vapour. and som e resemblance in appearance. The principle points of agreement or likeness are volatility. they do not say: "Take so and so.
which also the dissolved met als can again congeal. but) the white and red elixirs. As soon as mercury loses its specific form. (Vide Artephius.. "It is a mistake to suppose that you can work miracles with a clear limpid water extracted from mercury. fight against Nature in the dark.sect. The last sentences quoted show that Berna rd is describing the action of philosophic mercury. it is a body. wet the hands."i.e. or with it.VII. but scorches your skin. "Mercury is cold and humid. and frets and corr odes every substance with which it comes in contact. and disproportionate quicksilver from its original mineral quality. Even if we could get such a water. vitriol. which is their feminine subject. for common mercury does not abide with metals in fixation." It is in fact." Artephius says: "Wash aw ay the blackness from the Laten not with your hands.XIX. No water can naturally dissolve metals except that which abides with them in substance and form. either as to form. and alum they destroy the seed which Nature has been at pains to develope.V.. because it cannot and should not. These are the attributes of philosophic mercury. . of. and brooks no diminution.Seed needs no addition.. or proportion. "The water of the sages adheres to nothing except homogeneous substances. corrupt its natural humidity by dissolution.sect.our one Image out of which springs white and re d (not bare Sol and Luna as will spring out of our mercury which was prepared wi th our own hands. but by Art i t is united and mixed." Kelly. like blinded gladiators. It is aerial. The principle writers say "Our mercury which wets not the hands. but with the stone." Massa Solis et Lunae. ". With the exception of "does not wet your hands. Other writers say it is more t han a sperm. and the tenth of ear th. It cannot be said to wet your hand if it burns it. Only that water can rightly dissolve metals which is inse parable from them in fixation. fo r this is the original sperm of metals. By means of salts. Also:"This separation of the pure from the impure is not done with the hands. If it is to produce a new thing of the same genus.) "We cannot with our own proper hands work on mercury.e. and its moisture must not be dried up. f or otherwise it will not dissolve.and with these it combines most intimately. but it is not necessary to urge this sophistry.in order to resolve it into a thick or limpid water. and of it." Avicenna." "This Composition is not a work of the hands . it would be of no us e.and Chap. it must remain the very same thing th at was formed by Nature. and i t contains the seed: so also do the other metals. which cannot thenceforth mingle with metals in their smallest parts.. and such a water is mercury.Cha p. or out of a destroyed body. . which they call the first matter of metals. etc. Whoever is taken up with such childish experiments s hould listen to the sage of Trevisan in his Transmutation of Metals : "Who can f ind truth that destroys the humid nature of mercury? Some foolish persons change its specific metallic arrangement.. w ith our mercury. God has created all metals.XVIII.VI.it would not affect these until they have been dissipated and dissolved by spirits in strong waters . All teaching that changes mercury is false and vain.. and therefore does not. except gold and silver .. nor could it restore or build up a perfect metallic species. which show that this Mercury w . For seed in human and sensitive things is formed by Nature and not by Art. i. It doe s not wet your hands if you touch it.. or wife ." Bernard Trevisan." but they do no t add Kellys' gratuitous addition of "if you touch it. or mercurial water. nine parts of water." See The Answer Of B ernard of Trevisan to Thomas of Bononia. but with ten species which we call our hands in this work. Book III. or fusion.. it becomes something else. done or carried out in a sealed glass." all these attributes are different from those of mercury vulgar and its salts.. which wante d nothing but purification and simple digestion. and is made void for th e work of the philosophers.IX.etc . This extract endorses the saying that common mercury is a sperm of metals. and that no new body of the same genus is formed by N ature.
which also may be positive." Ripley Revived. in its operation. and to cinnabar. "In the first pl ace. This Luna is the philosophers' mercury. and hath a scent of dead men's bones. When th is matter is brought to light. for two gi lders you may buy this a matter for the work. but our mercury is m ade of the best of metals." masculine and feminine. "By the name of Luna. the philosopher s' mercury is not a metal. luna vive. Thus writing on "mercury" it is necessary to c onsider all those passages in which luna. or mother. as pure. "It is a water t hat is very spirituous and volatile. plus the solvent." "For all they (the sophisters) dream of. were a nciently considered as "he" and "she. and wife occur. is a female. father and mother. etc. But "Mercury is a metal"." therefore they appropr iate all the other names by which common mercury is known." "You must h ave the female or wife. and to their mercury. The latte r is. etc. So we might speak of sugar. being. As is mentioned in another section. neither let him conceive any hope of issue from such association" Hermetic Arcanum. or in its other manifestations of dark brown. Mercury looks like molten silver. sun and moon. even to corrosive and other sublimated forms. dry heat and cold moisture. philosophers unde rstand not the vulgar moon. but a certain silver and golden hermaphroditic water. hydrargyrum is male. are not hose which you can hold in your hand. It will be noticed from what has been quoted. These names being allotted to me tals became synonyms of gold and silver. they get to luna or lune.. argent vive. or even of treacle or syru p. A ny clear solution of common mercury must be mercury. When we speak of common mercury. but not fixed. "Our gold and silver. and not an analysis. therefore. and it will not cease to ferment or work. and use the same word when we really meaning the can e in which it exists. for silver is not feminine. "Th e White Wife. but when the philosophe rs speak of mercury. or wife. Some few of them refer to silver. crystalline. therefore. though the "red man" means gold. a separation from something. is such operations which are to be performed by hand. The term "white wife" does not mean silver. white moist. . without any external heat. light brown. without any impurity. without our help. etc. we mean one thing only. its "ore" or "mine". luna vive. the rest refer to feminine and passive qualities.there is a salt made of prima materia (this salt is called th e philosopher's mercury. which rarely means silver." Basil Valentine. It is. is far beyond that mercury which we prepared with a laborious toil.e. by the spagyric art. Other extracts of the same purport could be given. otherwise called the moon. and is found everywhere. you must note that common mercury doth not avail here. Let none. a m etal. which is coagulated in the belly of the earth)." is n ot necessarily and inevitably pointing to ordinary quicksilver. clear as any we ll water. in one or the other of its chameleon disguises . There is no indication here of common mercury. is calle d quicksilver. or synthesis. or lune. subtle. i. Working on these lines of associated i deas. our two luminaries. further. children play with it: it is ponderous. it is a coagulated mercury . therefore within a month after it is distil led. active and passive pri nciples. and in combining acts a positive part. presume to try the unnatur al combination of two positives. till it . therefore an addition. yet as they call it "mercury. of a crystalline transparency. they may mean one of many manifestations of their mercury." Kelly. the sun and moon. it is not dear. or its salts. it will. lune. or the materia prima lapidis. that the philosophers' clear fluid mercury is a distilled liquid." Eirenaeus. and here comes in confusion. etc. which is the mercury of the philosophers.hich Nature hath made in the glass. and positive. it ought to be put upon its calx. or argent vive. but these should suffice to s how that the description of a fluid mercury which "does not wet the hands. argent vive. . boil if the vessel be closely shut. husband and wife.
has endured its fiercest embrace. and at the cost of enormous labour. but is viscous and living. To regulate the fire is mere chil d's play. For this water . After the conjunction it looks just like common limpid mercury and doe s not moisten the finger. and purified and separated them.have poured out their soul with their blood by martyrdom.e. If proper quantity of th e sun be added to it. "The sages agree that the stone is nothing but animated argent vive." etc. This explanation is insufficient. whilst they are yet in th eir mines. For the water dissolves the sun at th e very same moment that itself is congealed.especially the gold of the vulgar . It would. indeed. extracted from the bowels of Jupiter. Nothing contributes so much to a ready apprehension of our secret as a knowledge of our first substance . it may be found in all metals whatsoever. it is coagulated and becomes brilliant . and their death is the fire. such as have life and spirit in them . it may. and though it is found with greater ease in some mine rals. it is moist and wets the finger. is truly a living substance. therefore a substance which is in the metallic state.g. it may be discovered everywhere.e. These are not properties of common mercury. at the very same instant.the sun is dissol ved into exceedingly limpid mineral water. from which alone spring all colours. an d has undergone fusion by fire. If common mercury be fixed by fixation from its crude. so called not because it i s extracted from cinnabar. with the aid of our art. in the bowels of the earth it lies rea dy to our hands. that alchemists commonly took impure and adulterated materials. it is not what they mean. But if your argent vive has no life.by the enforcement of the chief Tyrant of th e world . those dead and extinct which . full of spirit. "The matter of our stone. wh ich are of an unspotted and incorrupt virginity.be all dried up into the calx. not mercury com bined with silver. "The sages have indeed purposely concealed their meaning under a veil of obscure words. but it is sufficiently clear from their writings that the substance of w hich they speak is not of a special." Ibid. it does not exclude a substance masked and cover ed over with impurities. but ours are living. "Unspotted and inco rrupt virginity" means not combined with another substance. be unwise to take a round about road where there is a short cut. and thus the solution of the one is the coagulation of the other. Jean D'Espagnet writes in Hermetic Arcanum : "Now these bodies must be taken. "The metals . and these wholly mus t be taken: for know. attain to the purity and virtue of t he substance of which we speak. of melting. Our quicksilver.is a viscous water. A virgin may be covered in filthy clothing.. . Also fire is masculine. It is the matter which sages have agreed to call mercury or qui cksilver. See Golden Age Restored. or living. or antimony. and those are called impure which have suffered combinat ion.to be more frank than discreet . that the life of metals is fire. And as this mercury is the metallic basis and fi rst substance. and is therefore con tained in animals. This compound is living mercury." Kelly." Sendivogius. Now the first matter o f metals is a certain humidity mixed with warm air. however. i.are dead. volatile and watery supe rfluities.." Medulla Alchymiae. and after that of the distinctive species of minera which is the subject of in vestigation of the philosophers>" Ibid. vegetables and minerals. and cannot the refore be called either virgin. not extinct as those which are handled by the vulgar. or its salts. for who can expect life from dead things. and they say that whereas the su bstance can be found in the animal and vegetable kingdoms only with great diffic ulty. but because it is derived from the metals themselves. is a commonly diffused subject. mercury. sticking to everything pure or impure. but of a general kind. viz. This h as been interpreted as meaning that the materials should be quite pure and unadu lterated.. from white lead. and it resembles fat water.
hot. They dissolve metallic bo dies. The philosophers' mercury is simple at first.since this mercury will enter into combination with every kind of metal . The philosophers in the analysis if their unnamed "mineral" substance. vaporous and digestive. mixed with hea t. or silver. afterwards it is made citrine. etc. and other heterogeneous things. and because the gold dissolved." Eirenaeus.: That our mercury is to b e purified in a brilliant vessel. if you get the "mercu ry of gold. whether it be mercury. and afterwards join them together again. Spirit. Eirenaeus writes : "It is a fact that the mercury which is generated in the bowe ls of the earth is the common substance of all metals ." So the two mercuries are quite di stinct from one another. yet they are not to be harkened unto. fluxibl e. This is after the work has been virtually accomplished." Kelly." it could change common mercury into the "mercury" of gold. possesses the property of a ssimilating common mercury to its own nature. says : "T he mercury gained from any metallic or mineral body. . and clear as a tear. and well digested in respect of common mercury. a furnace.it is but one thing to which nothing extraneous may be added. Again. i. as white as snow. and is afterwards compound. not to elicit water from it. hath its own seed in itself. not knowing that a man is not generated of a man's body cut to pieces. . Our mercury is. boldly assert . is cold and unmatured in comparison with gold. hot. and in other ways got rid of entirely. they sometimes call an amalga mation. It is a precious liquid which does not tender it s services to the multitude." This agent is s ought by many but found by few.it is living. . describes a similar process. indeed. The mercury thus employed has to be fumed away.it is volatile or flying. but he means something quite different. or gold. And although the body of metals be procreated of mercury (which is to be understood of the mercury of philosophers) . that think the vulgar mercury is the see d of metals." Ibid. Some think it i s common mercury exposed to violent heat in a glass vessel. "The third principle is a clear compounded water. humid. a calcining fire.e. . and gold melts in it like ice in warm water. and corrode them with sharp waters. before making the ferment. or lead." Lu lly. c lear. and no stone. But al l these persons are ignorant philophasters. As mercury is used to dissolve gold. and "this" mercury : this extract shows that "their" mercury i s not vulgar mercury. indeed. but akin : and according to this. nor the mysteries o f our magistery be unlocked. therefore. not considering that the vulgar mercury spoken of. but is the handmaiden of the sages. they. "It is a stone. nitid. so the sages use their mercury to diss olve their unripe gold. and so take the body instead of the seed. and Body. in fact. Raymond." Arnold Villanova..etc. yet that is what our art requires. viz. or philosophically melted. but it is pure. There is no menstruum which can dissolve this mercu ry that it shall retain its form. but to free it by fire from its crudity. not requisite to the true art. . a pure water. We cannot find any unmistakable indications in writers of repute for using mercu ry or its salts. they call the water of mercury their fire. Neither in one way nor the other can our water be elicited from common mercury. Eirenaeus in the Metamorphosis of Metals. and this the philosophers called mercury. then saltish. except for the purpose of breaking down the gold which has to b e added as a ferment to the red stone. This solution of gold being done by their mercury. the pure but imperfect (or immature) mineral base. it is found running and flowing upon the earth. airy. . and rarefied. bright and resplendent."The first and principle matter of metals is the humidity of air. which resembles it on ly in whiteness and fluxibility. worthy of all admiration. clear." If these remarks were tr ue as regards common mercury or its salts. produce a "viscous humidity" which is akin to all metals. and it is the next substance i n complexion to quicksilver. "Our mercury. and to make it more readily soluble. clean. Soul. there would be no necessity to style it "the" mercury.
In The Celestial Ruby. Apparently. or from the chose n unnamed subject. He says : "Without the spirit of mercury. alluded to by the sages." On considering the point. . and its source o f origin. being never brought so far unto destruction. sol. but what may be pos sible to a master may be impossible to a tyro. It is the water of saltpetre. is impossible. . Such a solution would contain two things. or rather educe it from metals or minerals. sulphur. it would seem to be fairly obvious that the intermediate and not the ultimate form should be wrought on." Arnold. The chief object of your perseverant efforts should b e the discovery of this mercury. The sulphur of gold or silver is added to it to specificate and expedite evolution in the required direction. which treats only of the mercury itself. etc. . "Let the practitioners of alchemy under stand that the kinds of metals be not transmuted except they be brought into the ir first matter. Ripley says in the Concordance : "When I speak of mercury. crude mercury. This is their chaos. and from which she evolves all metals. as being a thing clean contrary unto Nature. you will have both silver and gold. or mercury." And : "In gold there is no waterish humidity at all. and it is capable of accomplishing our work without any furt her trouble to the artist. crystalline without tr ansparency. our mercurial ponticum. which is pure. and salt. this water is mercury extracted fr om the red servant." I understand that though Nature is said to make this viscous humidity from which metals are evolved." Their theory being that gold is evolved out of lower forms. he has to make it. "Our water is the life of all things. yet according to Basil Valentine you canno t get this chaos out of gold. neither did the ancient philosophers ever make use of that way.but what countries. that they also might take heed to fall into such extreme and inextricable pover ties. lands. he says "I n order to elicit our gold from common gold. unless it were reduced again into vitriol. gold being the last and best. Although this chaos will evolve gold. Eirenaeus definitely asserts : "Our homogeneous agent. I waive t o discourse of. yet that man cannot find it in that condition. which does not wet the hands. . th e mercury. and would require huge expenses. as it is evident that powdered or finely divided metals. meaning. after its dissolution. This dissolution is mentioned by most writers. but its consideration does not co me under this section. The same applies to minerals. containing the male and female principles. while inwardly at its heart there burns purest in . have been dilapidated this way. more c ommon than ordinary quicksilver. containing indeed a humidity. you must first have their solvent. etc." Eirenaeus says that the work can be done out of common gold. . an d outwardly resembles mercury. understand mercury more common than common". hence the name Rebis. or so-called vitriols. and good for nothin g.nature having left a nearer way to keep. but not to the salts. or the oxides of the metals coul d yield no moisture or fluid on distillation. the Universal of the World to be gotten m erely from the body of Sol. liquid without humectation. the seed and the menstruum. the latter must be dissolved in our mineral water.the theory that this is the substance which Nature first forms in the earth. He further says : "The solar mercury. it seems evident that a solvent is required. which would be but a n useless and unprofitable work. etc. and to imitate that. but it i s a mere elemental waterish humidity. or the albification of our red laton. This solvent is apparently called mercury unactuated or simplex. goods. whic h is not found above ground. I presume. the solvent and the dissolved substanc e. but is prepared by the hand of the sage. and if you can by much toil obtain it. and in short the true divine water. their hermaphrodite.
It is not my intention to deal with the subject of sulphur in an esoteric manner . As a "mercury" is used at the beginning.S. t he separation of the "rebis" into distilled fluid in the receiver and calx in th e retort. Sendivogius ." Eudoxus. Weidenfeld. asserting that common mercury is not employed. at any rate until after the work is accomplished. till the mo nth of October. Flammel have passed in silence the pr eparation of our mercury." mentioned by philosophers." Ibid. J. as he includes animal and vegetables "mercuries. Back to 'Apollogia Alchymiae' page. This month of March." are of the first work. This work nearly all writers ar e absolutely silent about. and then with Hogh eland mix it with Gold.fernal fire. middle. Basil Valentine. and this powerful agent." Hermetic Arcanum. which the returning sun. and worse that useless. Jean d'Espagnet mentions three. The s ame remark applies to its salts." Theatrum Chemicum Brit. and end of the work. . Our Mer cury is but of one thing In our vessel thin and clear. diffuses everywhere. Common Mercury in him is none Neither Gold nor Silver in him none is : Of Metals we make not our Stone By proportion more or less. when it is ripe. applying all the words and sayings of philosophers to th is their mixture. Councell Apollogia Alchymiae Section V. . SECTION V. but all are but elaborations of the first. Yet this "preparation" is precisely that which the student needs to know: this preparation of the solvent. Transcribed by Mark House." "I councell thee this lesson learn. Do not be deceived by common quicksilver. or Aries. "Common Mercury and Gold we no ne occupy Till we perfectly have made our Stone. which works all the wonders of th e art. which they take and sublime variously to make it clean. all stating i n plain language that ordinary mercury is useless. but gather that mercury. Sulphur and Salt. and others.W. "Artephius. in Secrets of the Adepts." "In common Mercury thou dost me seek. in the month of March. Ripley's Four th Gate : "From what hath been said may appear the strong passive delusion that hath taken many men of our age. in Rosicrucian literature on mate . Hear what Eirenaeus Philalethes says in his Exposition upon Sir G. Trevisan. All manner of Metals we deny Until the time our Stone be wrought. that which by authors is styled the FIRST (because they omit the first). D'Espagnet. They generally start with the second work (which they call the first). it will perhaps be pertinent to g ive a few extracts from authors. It is han dled in Aesch Mezareph in relation to alchemy. for." few of th ose he recites belong to this work. cannot dream of any Mercury. Sulphur and Salt. There is little or nothing fresh to be said from that point of view. or as they put it "calcined by our fire into a redness." Fount of Chemical Truth. is mentioned by Eugenius. give s a list of seven "mercuries. In common Sulphur and Arsenic eke Which makes many a man to dote. Pages might be filled with quotations from the alchemic treatises. Common Mercur y is not good. namely." "Gold with Mercury stands us in stead Our Medicine for to multip ly After our Physic's Stone be red. Combachius. and the preparation of the "mineral" base which has to be dissolved. "No philosopher has ever openly revea led this secret fire. Then with them two our Medicine we multiply. this seems to be an ov er-elaboration." R. in the second preparation. and formerly. "Again. In Alkali and in Alembroth. than that Mercury which is to be bought at drugg ists. who with the chemist in Sendivogiu s.
six parts make of it an amalgama. "sulphur. It is the active agent. The second sulphur added to it. it takes no direct part in making the "m edicine" which transmutes. and not another. by different sulphurs. for it remains with. Sulphur was used with common mercury to break up comm on gold and to prepare it for making a gold ferment. any compound of gold and sulphur is a dark coloured powder. Enough has been said in other sections to convince an unbiased reader that commo n sulphur in any form or combustion does not "enter" into the work. The sulphur is not "sulphur" only. Sendivogius says: "There be some that suppose Saturn to have one kind of seed. or permanence of m anifestation on the plane to which it belongs. "s ulphur" is that chemical substance which. and determines or specificates it to silver. " and although sulphur is said to be made volatile by conjunction with the mercu ry. C anon 26 : "Nevertheless spiritual love polluteth not any virgin. being pressed through leather. stirr ing it still well with an iron hook.II. the sublimed salt in th e second process and which is "much like the common sublimate" is properly called th e "Sulphur of Nature. and fitter for the union. so that it is impossible that any sulphur can be present. It is the ideal wedded state. that of one of the perfect bodies.. and on higher planes. not usefully for they are intimately intertwined in theory and in practice. specificates o r determines an undetermined matter in a certain matter in a certain direction. or it would be auto impregnation. so also"mercury" contains its own inherent." This is rather unnecessary sophism. It coagulates and fixes "mercury. but the mercury and sulphur must be evaporated away. and which gives fixity. This sulphur is true seed. it does not go into the hermetically sealed glass. is a separate "determined" sulphur. sulphur is that which is fixed. In alchemy. Beia might ther efore without fault (before her betrothal to Gabritius) have felt spiritual love . this rebis is divided by the alchemist into its constituent parts. more pure. to the end that she might thereby be made more cheerful. Metals. grind twice as much of common sulphur. in a masculine fashion. The terms "s ulphur and "salt" cannot be separately discussed at least. It is a harmonizing of. and of well purged mercury vive. Basil Valentine writes: "Take of pure gold which is th ree times cast through antimony. but inactive." In contradistinction to the volatility of philosophic mer cury. Roscoe. Therefore the alchemist said in Hermetic Arcanum. a . The common sulphur is not used in the alchemic universal work. and is built up into the body. it also contains its own inherent "mercury"." Apart from this. this occurs twice in th e work. the rebis is one body . i. let the fire be moderate that the matter do not melt together.rial. form. especially in the writings of Boehme. if fe rmentation be rightly performed. Page 404. viz ." and th en the sulphur is restored to the mercury. and attributes to the re sulting new body. The first sulphur then is not a true inocu lation. this gold calx must be brought to the colour of a marigold f lower. The second sulphur imparts its own proper colour. or to gold. thus the sulphur is its own. in his Treatise on Chemistry ." Here the usefulness of sulphur ends : for the gold (and any sulphur and mercury adhering to it) is dissolved in aqua regia. and not the purple mantle described by the alchemist.. then it is right..e. let it evaporate on a broad pan in a gentle heat under a muffle. writes : "The substance termed calx of gold by the early chemists was nothing more than the finely divided metal." When sulphu r is added to mercury it constitutes a true inoculation. and further prepared. Vol. and partakes of the other's distinctive attributes. The rebis consists of mercury and sulphur. not ab solute. each is "purified. thus. or a compromise between the two qualities : each gives of its own. yet both this fixity and volatility are only relative or comparative.
w hich is the reason why antimonial sulphur purgeth the soul of gold. graduating t he same to a very high degree. evaporates wit h the aid of slight warmth. to any student. and others. or more in evidence. and can bring it to a firm fixation. unless or until "coagulated" by an appropriate sulphur. merely for the purpose of effecting a considerable saving of time. Ripley says : "You must know of a certainty and believe me. that the Stone may b e finished in the white and the red. in spite of the added sulphur of gold. in the Rebis. gold. Hence the wings on the heels. . and evidently the gold and silver are added. the astrum of sol is found not only in gold. can be rubified into the Red Stone by merely increa sing the artificial external heat. and antimony respectively. mercury seems to be the more abundant. and caduceus of Hermes : the union of Hermes an d Aphrodita begets or produces Hermaphrodita. The meta ls mentioned contain impure sulphur also. and the correct method. lead and tin. this sulphur of x will of itself the conditio ns being favorable ultimate in gold. is volatile. Sendivogius has here pushed back the enquiry to the beginnings of things in general. acco rding to the writings of the alchemists. These sulphurs are therefore akin. and is therefore continually flying abo ut. it is said. and is equivalent unto potable gold" "Antimony stands in a near relation and affinity unto gold. Now it is the presence of this crude. and i f not fermented with silver. first. Hence the necess ity for an already differentiated sulphur in the work. On the other side. does not result in x sulphur again. the same in silver which is in iron. more or less free. T he answer is not far to seek. Kelly says :"This is the tree of unwholesome fruits. witho ut common gold. Bacon." "The tincture or antimonial sulphur is of wonderful efficacy." etc. Two or three extracts from Basil Valentine here given show that the golden-natur ed sulphur is also found elsewhere. or Rebis. But these are foolish fancie s : there is but one only kind of seed. Boehme says : "The sulphur principle is an othe r thing than common suplhur. Frequently it appears to be feebly attached. or silver. asserts that vulgar sulphur is the cause of all the imperfections present in metals. It is to be noted that he does not say here how you are to be rid of the tendenc y of these sulphurs to produce iron. If sulphur be the form. befor e anything can be done (except of course when "projection" is being performed)." These words apply to the common seed of metals before differentiation into saturn. both of which spring out of one root. for they are considered to be present in all tangible bodies. but may be prepared artificially ou t of copper and steel. Arnold. It is necessary to reduce them first. both which as male and female have r ed tingeing qualities. As regards lead. etc. into what the alchemist calls the first or original condition. into golden sulphurs." "Such souls and goldish sulphurs are found most effectual in Mars and Venus. the different varieties reputed to be present in each metal can be ascertained from the writings of Geber.nd gold another. Yet. how is it that this inherent sulphur of x. the gold can meliorate in a sh ort time the soul of antimony. But heat only will not rubify the sulphur of the white metals. and so all the rest of the metals.. on which m . the same is found in saturn which is in gold. copper. . exalting ant imony and gold to an equal dignity and virtue." The sulphur present in the White Stone is en route for the golden quality. who is so favored as t o use the right material. helmet. "You will find that the nature of the golden sulphur resideth only in those metals which are comprehended among the red. as well as gold itself. two immature metals. or a t the most we might expect a body containing the mixed sulphurs of x and gold." This is a further assertion of an evolutionary law. undetermined golden sulphur in the cheap and common substance x which makes the art possible. Mercury and Sulphur are equally universal theore tically.
etc. and not of Mercury. and the expounding or propounding of riddles is done with equal facility. To the instructed. but bare gold." Flamel : "The fat of the me rcurial wind joined to the scum of the red sea. The same remark applies to the Red Stone." (Valentine). Many other part icular works are mentioned by writers. and the s ilver ferment for the one." Golden Tract says: "Internal s ulphur is nothing but mature mercury. Aesch Mezareph says : "In p articular transmutations. R. especially those of the red metals." and "the philosophers have affirmed sol to be nothi ng but argent vive matured" also "gold is nothing but mercury anatized." thus Turba : "Nothing is more precious than the red sand of the sea. Either Stone is called Beiya. the sulphur comes first." This is not the universal work. But this is pure theory." and all together." Aesch Mezareph mentions that So lomon fetched gold from Ophir by way of the Red Sea. Concluding Remarks. the mercury comes first. and rectify it well. Sulphur is generally distinguished by the title of "red. and the remainder or chaos contains the sulphur and salt. and tingeth luna into Sol.ust be inoculated the twigs of sol. but in operating on vitri ol of gold. or Bridegroom. their philosophic sal ammonia c and saltpetre are produced. and is then called the gold "ferment. Councell Apollogia Alchymiae Section VI. or lune. however. or Bride." As regards tin. and that can come bu t from one only source. for this latter is the fire and seed. or bride luna." The White Stone in its perfection is though a compound containing its own sulphur ar e called mercury. Bernard Trevisan held the opinion that "in gold there is nothing but mercury coa gulated by its own sulphur. and there they rest and are conjoined. but a "Particula r" one. eq ually digested in the bowels of a mineral earth. In Metamorphosis of Metals Eirenaeus say s: "I am now speaking of metallic seed. "Unripe" gold is solved by a crude "mercury. Go ld is broken up by common mercury and sulphur. no gold of plusquam perfection is formed. it is the distilled moisture of the moon joined to the light of the sun and congealed. is then dissolved in aqua regia of sal ammoniac (or other chloride salt) and saltpetre. also. the more diffic ult is the extraction of the sulphur. is reduced into its prima mat eria. But nearer to perfection the body is. be fore its fermentation by gold. The analogy between the modus operandi of reducing common gold and their "unripe gold" or proxima materia each to its respective prima materia. he can see that the erroneous paths he has trodden are being are being pressed by the f eet of others. In the generality of cases. all things are clear. and these three in the form of a fluid "fall into the earth. when matur ed. . and the salt second. With these latter and not with the common variety the finely divided common gold )or perhaps its oxide). i. it does reduce thick waters (duly terrificated) into gold. Therefore when mercury is spoken of as the "seed o f metals" instead of the sperm the saying can only be true on account of its sulphur . the spirit of God moved at the beginni ng. then you have a work which is short. and the gold ferment for the other. thus: "If you extract the Salt out of Vit riol.W. There seems to be no remedy but inspiration.e.. constitute the mercury." So that here everything is traced back to that one primary fluidity. the remakes are but as so many fresh enigmas to the student. but with other sulphurs. who cannot without illumination distinguish whether the light is near o r afar off. In treating their vitriol. the undried remainder being the mercury of gold. on the which. or wife. is very striking. are each styled G abritius. Therefore." The element water e ncloses those of air and fire." and in the subsequent analysis. its sulphurous nature alone doth not profit.
and a glorious m orning of light and knowledge will break forth. in the third case. the heat is gentle as a steam bath. naming the same by innumerable names. SECTION VI. ." Hermetic Art. It is obviously of prime importance that the names of wrong material. the mind should remain in a receptive. and the glass temporarily stopped. that mi nerals as antimony. and so it is two. which they (beginners) can never escape till they so far understand our writings.e. than be found by reason or toil. and although it be so divided. qualities and properties. etc. "This supernatur al Fire. the rest is not so hard. A list of things that are useless for the work should be made from all the books available. yet it doth by no means lose its unity. he propounds other enigmas. when the fluid is distilled off. sulphur. Those who have allowe d this to take place "will never be inclined again by their own genius to the pl ain way of nature and light of truth. the first treatise in the first volume of the Hermetic Museum. 1893 : and there will probably be little left to blunder over. then read the G olden Tract." Sanguis Naturae. and the heat must always be extremely gentle or "remiss. that. . th at vitriol and common salt be the subject of the glorious Stone:which opinions t he sincere searcher of nature ought to leave free to their authors. gold and silver. So also when it is di vided into salt. Preconceived ideas are obstructive to progress.despair and errors. as to discern the subject matter of our secrets. Eirenaeus. in one place he advises closing the neck of the glass very securely with a thick layer of sealing wax. that metals themselves. "An undeterm ined matter being the beginning of all metals and minerals it follows. explains a large number of the obscure sayings of the writers." Hermetic Arcanum (i. he will certainly break the vessel." The probable explanation is. ". my Son. . For imme diately this thing which composeth the stone is but one." the glass neck having bee n closed by fusion. in his commentary on Ripley. in another he says let the flame stream to the top of the vessel. etc. which is divided into a fixed and a volatile. and mercury. and especially they term it Balneum . The philosophers' mercury "may be sooner met with by the fo rce of the seeker's intuition. sulphur. thus. neither doth this di vision destroy its unity. . and the rest of the minerals. but in reality much more misleading. passive condition until a composite photograph em erges from the superimposed impressions.without the aid of a guide or master). Their mineral substan ce may not resemble anything metallic. Back to 'Apollogia Alchymiae' page. which being known . and wrong methods of working should not become anchored in the mind." Ripley Revived. and so is threefold. Animal and vegetable substances are ruled out first. the dark night of ignorance will fly away.Transcribed by Mark House. and leave thee the ruins of thy glass. and fly. it may be as dissimilar as is a gorgeous poppy to its tiny seed. othe rs. As a "s et off" against these discoveries. the purified mixed confection is ripened up to the White Stone. but others of a more subtle wit. The same applies to his instructions for doing the work. and marchasites. . Concluding Remarks. that in cohobating a mixed fluid. apparently easier to be understood. others. as soon as anyone shall be so happy as to know and conceive it. and in his four treatises in the Hermeti c Museum.som e affirm that the concretes of the vegetable and animal kingdom. "As soon as anyone discerns the intention of the philosophers. The use of the words "horse dung" has also been difficult to explain by those wh o have not had access to a sufficient number of alchemic books. he shall easily com prehend also their natures. into an agent and patient." Ibid. .. and in another "if he be over-pr ovoked. from the seeming sense of the letter. the Philosophers have hidden in their Books in parabolic expres sions. ". the dry calx can be calcined at a dull red heat." Urbigerus.
the daughter of a water bearer. I mentioned before. This is the agent that dissolves and "putrefies" ordinary gold and silver. dangerous to inhale: and wrought things. "of which water bearer I told you that his b ody.. the priest which unites the red man and the white wife. Urine. Crude or partially wrought things are considered to be sour. knows not how to conjoin many things into one. Blood.e. Indeed this azoth is made of the elixir. the contrary. The ordinary dry f ire calcination is undoubtedly used." "Wherefore if laton be an unclean body it i s depurated by such an azoth. Alphidius. but it is no common Horse-dung. or medium of conjoining the parts. It is not. by which they accomplished pounding. therefore." This wonderful agent is also their pestle. Red is the sure colour for the golden matter.e. so that to "melt" our mineral base." Their first water besides calcining. necessary indeed. we make ou r medicine. is the fluidity which is necessary fo r intimately uniting these. Eirenaeus has a parable of the King marrying." In Ripley's first gate. a melting and calcining Furnace. and calcineth them. and the like. azoth is . That which comes out o f Ixir is Elixer. . will also dissolv e its separated parts in detail. for without it. no step ca n be taken in this art.. Aqua Vitae. until they come to actual proje ction." Hydropyrographum Hermeticum. i. . or saturn." It is with this mercury they make the ir "amalgams". Mori enus.e.." These then are all different parts of one thing the Prima Materia Gold is the sulphur of it the King. reduc ing them to "oily calces" suitable for use as ferments.and by this laton purified by azoth. grinding. as to the kind of calcination which is intended. therefore. It is the "Water and Spi rit of the Prima Materia" and must be prepared first. "for this Water dissolveth all Metals. drawn out of water. i. also "melts" the neces sary substance."the King and also his so n. Hermes. plastic mate rial the whole vitality is burnt up." Aureus. Vessel and Seal of Hermes. Arnold Villaneuva. Menstruum. viz. and in the re-uniting of them acts as the flux. but if it be used on a tender. boiled and well digested with a fiery water make s Ixer. Aristotle. poisonous or harmfu l. as his Que en. the water bearer. his pitcher and the water in it. bitter. Their virgin and blessed water is also named Bird of Hermes. are all one". "He who knows not how to make many things out of one. "our unripe gold" means to dissolve it by means of this Water which is the ir Fire. because elixir is nothing e lse but a body resolved into a mercurial water. Alchidonius.. Eugenius is ironic about the man who in this work "makes his philosophic contrition with a hammer. trituration. crucible work is rare. This water. after which resolution. . yet "both were born in the priest's bed. the Queen is the salt of it. it is their solder. etc. for it warm and moist like Horse-du ng. that by Horse-d ung is meant the water of the Prima Materia. it is wrong to unite two or more things to f orm our prima materia. we make of them Sericum. and he (the water bearer) is greater than both. As they call this magic water their fire. as is mentioned elsewhere. but is that which is extracted by argent vive itself out of the dissolved bodies. Sericon: "The gold of the wise. or antimony. i t is evident that they will have no scruple if they so choose in calling its action upon a certain substance a philosophic calcination. Azoth:--Bernard Trevisan writes: "Azoth is not raw quicksilver (or argent vive) simply extracted out of the mine." "And what is signified by Horse-dung. but to find the one thing and separate the superfluities from it. as many ignorant persons do suppose and unde rstand. . or g old i.Mariae.. The author gives extracts in proof of this from Alanus. a moist Horse-dung. Ixer. and the nature thereof is not sweetness. Calcination: the student must judge by the kind of subst ance in use. Nearly all their work is don e by retort and receiver. which dissolves the mineral base in bulk. re-uniting the remainder in correct proportions.
the azoth des cends in dews. the earth. At the end of Euphrates by Eugenius Philalet hes the commentator S. and contains all.D. his heavens. clouds . In the laton and azoth stage. the spirit precedes the soul. and also the reward." Yet the practical man is. The water precedes the oil. writes: "I will end as I began. for the writer may have begun his treatise with the preparation of the ferment . the salt in the center of the earth. in animated spirit. that the alchemist made his rebis. from which a worker cannot err. rebis. or sine qua non for it amounts to that is the center of the circle. the hints on the material are quite as plain a s discretion would allow. and there are no false suggestions. who call themselves chemists . and another writer says: "It is necessary to visit both the Indi es". that broiling. latitude: the highest altitude is re d. i. or speaks of sky. and is impatiently abandoned for practical work on immature ideas of the substance. then gone to the other stages in any order. or rains.S." She (nature) had in her bosom two things "not metalline" without doubt one was white and the other red." because all things are made out of this water. all these. is the chaos. and formation of the Rebis or Sericum or Ixir. of Lumen de Lumine. Saturnine. the Elixir in th e sealed glass separates into the azoth above and the laton below. . elixir prec edes azoth. It is he says necessary t o find the Lunaria plant growing on the top of India's mountain. mercurial. viz. Height." Epistle to Thomas of Bononia. depth. antimonial saturnine mercurial argent vive. It is only from a substance which is not "determined" in the direction of any on e of the seven then known metals. altitude. But the ev ident use of common mercury will have biassed the student's mind throughout the treatise. width. a sharp vinegar. wander for years.D. this is the only way of sorting them out . o r it will be impossible to know to what part of the work the writer refers. without appr ehending the center. using ordinary mercury. There he has his mountains and valleys. and other things occur in Section I. for a volatile portion ascends from it. the sea. frying company. And it is called elixir from e w hich is "out of" and lixis which is "water. as rebis is the first in the same work. and.. such as those of the sun and moon. or any other kind of metallic substance" in the distilled fluid in the receiver . without the laying on of hands. profundity. do. eagles. it splashes al l about in the glass. Thus Urbigerus (Aphorism 28) had no kin d of metal in the calx in his retort.. profundity is black. the philosophy of alchemy is dreary reading. this is quite a common symbol. is omitted. All specifi cated or determined things are rejected. the viscous humidity. but never one of less use to the practical alchemis t. As t hey have mixed up the different stages. neither had he (Aphorism 37) ant "mercury. in that work. Afterwards the or der is Solution. and the elixir is the second part in the philosophic work. Unless one is enthusiastic in a wise and enduring way. the second is white. These are intermediate stages. for it comes out of darkness. by saying. Whenever a writer speaks of the heavenly influences. I have rea d many alchemical treatises.e. earth and sea. and ultimately whitens the laton. because it becomes like fine black minute atoms (like the powdered black variety of antimony tri-sulphide). and radiating out from that center are the deter mined things amongst which students can. This axiom. it is necessary to remember that he refers to the things w hich are in his laboratory. It is essential to know and to memorize the order in which the products occur. the dew or rain is a menstruum. and hazy notions of the working. The first stage (or ante first part). given open and plain info rmation as to what he must avoid. latitude is extension in quality an d quantity and powder to permeate other things. his snow on the hill tops.extracted out of it. a fire. the green lion has become a black lion and the volatilize d azoth. and the selection and preparation of the base. than this. antimonial. In the philosophic dese rt is the trial. the preparation of their crude mercu ry. but are indeed no philosophers.
The theory of evolution implies the unity of nature . The Ma gus must keep and observe this process also with his Alchymy. stones or metals. direct contradiction to some of the more important misinterpretations of mo dern critics. It is necessary to distinguish between things that are possible to an accomplish ed master only. so that it is evident that to alight on the rig ht material. and silver out of the red metals. In his poem is the following: "Those sighs return to drops again". but after fruitless years. I will conclude with a few extracts from Boehme: "Do not toil and trouble yourself in that manner and way which you mention. when they were "Geber's cooks". makes clear to the mind the sayings of the philosophers. but it requi res inspiration to see it. had the convicti on that he was already a master. mentioned as occurring in the laboratory w ork. and the quality of the medicine. He will find where to look for the invisible white salt. the Mars th at unites with this Venus (Venus the spouse of vulca. by bringing these metals back to the point at which the paths began to diverge. according to the intention of the philosopher. In every block of marble is a potential Venus de Milo. . "Now it behooves the wise s eeker to consider the whole process with the humanity of Christ from his opening in the womb of his mother. The superfluities of the common metal go off in fumes. yet not quicksilver. a doubled mercury.The reader is also well repaid by studying Coelum Terrae (by Eugenius). Geber mentions ten me dicines for the five common metals including mercury. Men who have been ultimat ely successful write that they toiled unsuccessfully at the making of these ten particular medicines. In the subje ct we seek is enclosed a Galatea. which are apprehended by the ordinary five senses. five of these for introducin g a solar quality. and then accomplished the work. as has bee n mentioned. Having now given in the very words of alchemists of rep ute. is the signification of these sighs? They are mentioned by other writers.e. and those things that are within that capabilities of an earnest student. it is all fals e. but considerations far more cogent than those of space forbid. the raison d'etre of this treatise is accomplished. what. Or. tho ugh presented in less poetic garb. i. and a master to educe it into actuality. though making mistakes for several months. iron and copper. but must al so be infused with life. and will make any metal gold or silver. by adding citrinity to the white metals. as the alchem ist puts it.. Eirenaeus. It is so with many other indications. Mary. But the universal medicine is the best. le ad and tin. and assessed at their pr oper value by the intellect. he there learns that he is not following the path traversed by the philosophers unless h e gets white clouds condensing to "thick heavy water as white as any snow" follo wed by red. and yet it is the ground of all meta ls. labour or toil)." As r egards the working or process upon the correct materials.It is not of earth. . in practic e. even to his resurrection and ascension. or any other mineral or metal. they turned their attention to the universal. he says that a close p arallelism exists between it and the life of Christ. with any gold or minerals. and five for introducing a lunar quality." FINIS. it therefore seems logical that gold could be made out of the white metals. who must not only be made visible. and argent vive to the exc essively red: a sort of leveling to the standard required. Much more migh t be said. .
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?