You are on page 1of 11

Cabala Mineralis

by Pseudo-Simeon ben Cantara

__________

as interpreted by
J. Erik LaPort
&
Dr Roger Gabrielsson PhD

Acknowledgments ............................................................................. i
Foreword .......................................................................................... iii
Authors Preface ............................................................................... v
Editors Note .................................................................................... xi
Introduction .................................................................................... xiii
I Prima Materia ........................................................................... 2
2 Living Mercury of the Wise ....................................................... 4
3 Calcination of Sophic Gold ........................................................ 6
4 Decomposition & Germination ................................................ 10
5 White Sulfur& Liquid ............................................................... 12
6 Dry Earth & Red Sulfur ............................................................. 14
7 Multiplication by Fermentation .............................................. 16
8 Temperature Regimen ............................................................ 20
9 Nigredo & Transition ............................................................... 22
10 Albedo & Rubedo .................................................................... 24
11 Exaltation by Fire .................................................................... 26
12 Stone of the Wise, Medicine of the 3rd Order .......................... 28
Appendix A Living Mercury Distillation in Pictures ...................... 31
Appendix B Sophic Gold Calx in Pictures ...................................... 33
Afterword ........................................................................................ 35

While working on the Morienus chapter of Cracking the Philosophers


Stone, a pattern began to emerge between the operative instructions of
Morienus and the synthesis encrypted in the Cabala Mineralis. Both
works present a sulphur-mercury theory for the Philosophers Stone, they
both do not make much ado about the seven planetry colors, both refer
to the finishing step as fermentation, both suggest the use of quicksilver
to process gold and both parallel the process for creating the
Philosophers Stone as a model for the spiritual journey towards
perfection. What I found most interesting however, is just how accurate
the work was as regards operative details for confecting the
Philosophers Stone according to a late-Alexandrian template of the type
adopted by early Islamic alchemists during the 7th and 8th centuries.
I was introduced to the work by a well-kown modern alchemist friend,
who at the time was working with his alchemy community to decipher
Our Ammonia, or more specifically, the role urine and refined urine
products may have played in the recipe. I was immediately fascinated by
the work primarily because it appeared as though the author was
attempting to actually portray the chemical reaction in a realistic rather
than figurative or symbolic manner in most of his images. In other words,
the text was an instruction manual for an exact recipe to confect the
Philosophers Stone realistically portraying the observable reaction in the
digestion vessel. I hoped to decode and reproduce the reaction in order
to share with other earnest researchers of alchemy. Although the work
was created toward the end of the 17th or beginning of the 18th century,
it appeared to be representative of a much more ancient form of
alchemical expression.

Comparing the Cabala Mineralis to The Composition of AlKmy by


Morienus, convinced me that the works were related in a number of
ways, which become clear in this treatment. Morienus work is
considered one of the first alchemy texts to be Latinized and his methods
were considered canonical by many European alchemists. The notion
that the Cabal Mineralis could have been inspired by one of the earlier
alchemical currents to enter Europe, now seemed plausible.
The title insinuates cabalistic or occult knowledge, yet I take the author
literally that it is of the mineral kingdom, which is to say the secret of the
Philosophers Stone. Other researchers have attempted to draw parallels
between the Cabala Mineralis and Christian mysticism, especially as it
may pertain to the Stone as a model of the biblical creation story in
Genesis or specifically the creation of Adam. While this perpective and
approach is certainly understandable and valid, it remains outside my
field of expertise and I leave those types interpretation to others more
knowledgeable in that field. The interpretation presented in this
treatment addresses chemical identities for the substances and a
discussion of alchemical processes encrypted therein.
I drew up the initial draft one lazy Sunday afternoon and immediately
shared it with two friends via e-mail correspondence and was informed
that the original text was uncolored. Nothing really transpired from those
communications other than mild interest, both expressing a desire to see
photo-documentation of reproducibility. Our laboratory was still under
construction at the time and photo-documenatary would have to wait.
Upon completing construction and performing the chemistry for Cracking
the Philosophers Stone, the subject of sulfur content in glass of antimony
became an al/chemistry riddle that needed to be solved before I could
progress any further.
I let the Cabal Mineralis rest temporarily until our latest research on the
role of sulfur and sulfur dioxide in the archetypal recipe for the

Philosophers Stone reignited a spark of interest in finishing the


interpretation. Armed with a more comprehensive understanding of the
finer points of the reaction, I began to look at the Cabala Mineralis from
a new perspective. It is a beautiful and wonderfully composed work of
the type which always makes me wish I knew more about the person
behind the work, his life, ideas and world-views and a peek at his lab.
The traditional book layout in the following treatment has been altered
for more efficient reading. The text is a pictoral laboratory manual of
operations and is best read as such. It still contains a few mysteries,
primarily as to the role urine may have played in the synthesis, which is
addressed in some detail in the appendix. The temperature for fixation
also remains a mystery, as various teperatures result in thermal
decomposition to entirely different products. Without supporting
documents or knowing more about the author, research must necessarily
be limited to interpretation. An educated guess was made as to the
chemistry, and the hypothesized reaction then tested to see if the results
matched the images and descriptions in the text. Even a perfect match
does not constitute proof, only proof of concept. Any number of
interpretations may produce similar results. As is the case with most
interpretive works, the Cabala Mineralis will certainly yield alternate
interpretations by qualified scholars and independent researchers with
chemistry to support the hypothesis. Differing views supported by
chemistry broaden our understanding of alchemy and move the subject
forward, as is the case in modern science and indeed other subjucts. To
future interpreters of the Cabala Mineralis, I express gratitude in advance
for continuing this work and remain intrigued at the prospect of new
findings.
J. Erik LaPort
Qera-Tech Research
Thailand
vii

Baptized for a month, the King arises,


all-powerful, or our Stone, a perfect Medicine of the 3rd order,
mighty in its ways of projection, able to transmute all metals.

Sometime around the end of the 17th or beginning of the 18th century, an
illustrated alchemical text unusual in its elegant clarity, was drawn up
purportedly containing within its few simple images the recipe to confect
the Philosophers Stone of the 3rd Order. Unlike many other European
emblematic alchemical texts, the Cabala Mineralis is completely devoid
of images of nobility, wolves, lions, wedding scenes, baths, graves or most
other imagery that typifies emblematic sequences of the 17th century.
The book is divided into two distinct parts; the first includes images of
semi-realistic step-by-step visual indicators for the reaction occuring in a
sealed glass reaction vessel. In this respect, the Cabala Mineralis was
composed in a style similar to Donum Dei, parts of Splendor Solis or the
closest relative to the Cabala Mineralis, the Crowning of Nature. The
second part features landscape images that loosely follow biblical
Genesis in a style similar to the All Wise Doorkeeper series.
The Prime Material to begin work is closely associated with a product
from a mine, Earth, flowers and fumes or vapors. Sophic Mercury is
associated with roasting the Prime Material, urine, eagles and distillation.
The initial emblem appears to be an ingredient list with the three
emblems that follow easily identified as preparation of chemical reagents
or compounds. The remainder of the images in Book 1 illustrate distinct
stages in confecting the Philosophers Stone. Book 2 begins with an image
that appears to be a loose portrayal of a non-specific religious creator, a
theme that makes sense upon realizing that the sequence appears to
correspond with scenes from the biblical six days of creation from

LAPORT & GABRIELSSON

Genesis. These images serve a double-entendre in that they also correlate


perfectly to the standard temperature regimen for confecting the
Philosophers Stone. The final two images represent an ordeal by fire and
spiritual perfection. There is nothing in the work even remotely
resembling Jewish Kabbalistic themes such as the Tree of Life, the 10
sephirot, Star of David or the like. If a religious mystic theme is concealed
within the imagery, it is of the Creator, Nature and the creation of Adam.
Use of the word Cabala in the title is most likely in keeping with other
17th century alchemical texts that incorporated the term such as Cabala
chymica, 1606, Cabal sive speculum artis, 1615 and Cabala Chymica,
1658.
The subject of a cherub or angelic young boy urinating has never ceased
to fascinate researchers and there are a great number of interpretations
possible for this iconic image. It can indicate an urinaceous liquid product,
suggests that the chloride donor required to distil butter of antimony is
derived from urine directly or indirectly from processed urine salts, or
may simply indicate the use of sal ammoniac. As a potential chloridedonating chemical reagent, human urine collected over a 24 hour period
typically contains 9-16 grams of chlorides. Aside from interpreting urine
as a reagent, it can just as easily represent the product, Sophic Mercury:
The philosophers have called this maid and blessed water by many
thousands of different names in their books. They call it heaven, a
heavenly water, a heavenly rain, a heavenly thaw, a May thaw, water
of Paradise They also call it urine and horse piss They have used all
these names and written of it figuratively in their books. They have
suggested that such a water is made of these things, with the result that
all ignorant people who have searched for it in these things, have not
found the desired water.
Anonymous, A Magnificent and Select Tract on Philosophical Water

Regardless of the interpretation, the text is explicitly clear that Prime


Material is distilled with something associated with water or urine to
xiv

INTRODUCTION

achieve Sophic Mercury. Antimony is the prime material and any number
of chloride donors have been employed throughout alchemical history
such as salt-saturated urine, sal ammoniac, corrosive sublimate and spirit
of salt, to distil Living Sophic Mercury.
The interpretation presented in this treatment results in a chemical
reaction that closely follows the images in the book. The greatest
difficulty in reproducing the chemistry is the need for creating a good
artisanal glass of antimony. For those without access to a kiln or furnace,
an analog can be created via a reaction of antimony trioxide and sulphuric
acid to achieve antimony oxysulfate, the chemical identity for optimized
glass of antimony. Aside from this operative detail, a modern analog can
be achieved by the use of commercial counterparts such as fine gold calx
and antimony trichloride.
As is the case with any Philosophers Stone recipe, artisanally preparing
ones reagents is the most demanding aspect of the work. Reproducing
the entire work in an artisanal manner strictly according to the
instructions in the text can be very rewarding. In the interest of modern
research however, the experiment can be performed by bypassing
redundant, outmoded or inefficient processes with good results. The
interpretation presented herein is just one of many possible chemical
interpretations of the riddle encrypted in the Cabala Mineralis.
Explanations for the chemistry in this treatment are presented as
theoretical possibilities for the reactions and are offered as hypotheses
only.

xv