O Luna, by means of my embracing and sweet kisses,
Thou art made beautiful, strong and mighty like as I am.
O Sol, thou art to be preferred before all light,
But yet thou needest me, as the cock does the hen.
Arisleus in a Vision:
Join therefore thy son Gabrick, best beloved of thee among all thy sons, with his sister Beya, who is a fair, sweet and tender damsel. Gabrick is the man and Beya the woman, who gives him all that is hers.
O blessed Nature, and blessed is thy operation, because out of an imperfect thing thou makest a perfect thing. Therefore, thou must not take that nature unless pure, clean, raw, pleasant, earthy and right and if thou do otherwise it will not bring forth anything, so that no contrary thing enter in with our Stone and put nothing but that only. Join therefore our ferment with his sweet sister and they will beget a son between them, who shall not be like his parents. And although Gabrick is made more dear to Beya, yet there is no generation made without Gabrick, for the coupling of Gabrick with Beya is presently dead. For Beya ascendeth above Gabrick and includes him in her womb because nothing at all can be seen of him. And she embraceth Gabrick with so great a love that she hath conceived him wholly in his nature and divided him into inseperable parts.
Conception changeth the blood, which before was as it were milk.
The pale things wax black, the red diffused things shine.
The white woman, if she be married to the red man,
Presently they embrace, and embracing are coupled.
By themselves they are dissolved and by themselves they are brought together,
That they which were two, may be made as it were one body.
Mary the sister of Moses:
Join Gum with Gum in true matrimony and make them like running water.
Spirits are not joined unto bodies until they be perfectly purified, and great miracles appear in the hour of conjunction, for then the imperfect body is coloured with a firm colour with the help of the ferment. This ferment is the soul of the imperfect body, and the spirit by the help of the soul, is conjoined and knit to the body and is turned together with it into the colour of ferment, and is made one with them.
In a perfect magistery, stones do not receive themselves by course, unless either of them be first purified. For the body does not receive the spirit, nor the spirit the body, so that spiritual may be made corporeal, or corporeal spiritual, unless they be first perfectly purged from all filthiness.
0 Sol, thou hast need of me, as the hen hath need of the cock, and I have need of thy work.
Alexander in the Secrets of Nature: Know that no son is born but of man and woman.
Hermes in his Second Treatise:
Know this, my Son, that unless a man know how to marry and to make pregnant and to engender forms, there can be nothing done. But if he shall do this, he shall be of great dignity.
The secret of the art of gold consists of the man and woman, because the woman receiving the strength of the man rejoiceth because the woman is strengthened by the man.
Son, by the faith of the glorious God, complexion is of Complexion, between two lights, male and female, and then they embrace themselves and couple together, and a perfect light is begotten between them, which there is no light like through the whole world.
Of two waters make one water, if you understand these two words, all the Regimen will be under your feet.
It behoveth thee to have two waters, the one is white but the other is red. This is that water in which the powers of the whiteness and redness are gathered together.
Take a whelp dog, and a whelp bitch of Armenia, join them both together, and both these will bring forth to thee a dog whelp of an heavenly colour, and that son will preserve thee in thy house from the beginning in this world, and in another world.
The red ferment hath married a white wife, and in their conjunction the wife being great with child, hath brought forth a son which in all things hath preserved his Parents, and is more bright and glorious.
This Stone is a Key, for without it nothing is done. Our Stone is a most strong spirit to which bodies are not mingled, until it be dissolved, and if I should call it by its true name, the ignorant would not believe it were so.
Thou that desireth to search out the secret of this Art, must of necessity know the first matter of metals, for otherwise thou shalt but spend thy labour in vain.
We use true nature because nature does not amend nature, unless it be into his own nature. There are three principal Stones of Philosophers. That is mineral, animal, and vegetable. A mineral Stone, a vegetable Stone, and an animal Stone, three in name but one in essence. The Spirit is double, that is tincturing and preparing.
The spirit preparing, dissolveth copper and extracteth it out of the body of Magnesia, and reduceth it again to its body.
It is the preparer and extractor of the Soul from its body, and bringeth it again to its body. The tincting spirit is called the Fifth Essence, which is strength and a soul standing and penetrating.
Liber Trium Verborum:
It behoveth thee to extract the fifth essence, otherwise thou labourest in vain, and this without doubt cannot be done without water. But the second Spirit is without the body and it is of a watery nature and it is a tincturing body in Elixir.
But this man is the body and this woman is the spirit.
The spirit is not altered of the body so that it may lose its spiritual virtue, but every body is altered and tinctured of the spirits.
Note therefore the words and mark the mysteries, because the spirit which dissolves the white foliated earth, doth not hold any of them fixed, unless you possess it with that body of which it was prepared in the beginning. Permanent or Perpetual Water, or the spirit of Wine, is called the water of the body, that is when the body is reduced into Mercury. Likewise without permanent water nothing is done. It is also called Water of Life.
I protest by the God of Heaven, that the Art is nothing else than to dissolve a Stone, and always to coagulate it, and again with the spirit of wine only, you may make perfect Elixir.
The Water of the Philosophers is called the Vessel of Hermes of which the Philosophers have written, “All means are made in our water – that is; Sublimation, Distillation, Solution, Calcination, Fixation, are done in this foresaid water, as it were in an artificial vessel, which is the greatest Secret”. And water is the weight of wisemen, therefore, water and fire suffice thee for the whole work. Our water is stronger than fire because it makes a mere spirit of a body of gold, which fire cannot do, and fire is in respect to it as it were water in respect to our common fire. Therefore, the Philosopher says, ‘ Burn our copper in a most strong fire.’
Aristotle in the Regimen of Princes says unto Alexander concerning the four elements:
When you have water, that is Mercury of the Air, that is of the Stone and Air of Fire, that is Spirit of Mercury and fire that is Mercury of the Earth, that is of Luna, then you shall have the Art fully.
Our Stone passeth into the earth, the earth into the water, the water into the air, the air into the fire, and there is its standing. The white work is compiled of three elements, in which fire is not, that is three weights of earth, two of water and one of air. But for Elixir of Sol – put two parts of earth, three of water, and one and a half of air and of fire, and that is red ferment.
Rasis in his Great Book of Precepts:
Whosoever is ignorant in the weight let him not labour in our books, because the Philosophers have concealed nothing but these things.
Our contrition or grinding is not done with the hands, but with most strong decoction.
A lesser fire grindeth all things.
Note, there is a difference between the element and that which is Elementated, and the Fifth Essence. The Element is the first thing of compoundable matters, from whence neither earth, nor water, nor air, nor fire is a pure element and simple with us, because they are mingled between themselves by course and especially – in that part where they conjoin. But the Fifth Essence is a body standing by itself and differing from all Elements and from things Elementated, as well in matter as in form, and as well in nature as in virtue, not having the cause of corruption in itself. And it is called the Fifth Essence, therefore, because it is extracted out of all Elementated things, wherefore there is no elemental motion in it as in other Elemental Bodies. The Stone therefore is called everything because it hath in itself and of itself every necessary thing of its own perfection. It is found in every place by reason of the participation of the Elements. It is called by all names because of the worthy and miraculous variety of colours of its nature. Most base and cheap by putrefaction, and most dear by virtue. This is the hidden and Secret Magistery of the Philosophers. Our Stone is called one thing when the substances of the body and water are prepared inseparably, so that one of them cannot be separated from another. Our Stone is said to be of a combustible matter and Mercury is only a Spirit incombustible and coppery, and therefore it is meet that it be in the magistery. Likewise, the Stone which the Philosophers seek, in which the first elements of minerals are, tincture and calx, soul and spirit with the body fixed and volatile. And it is not every Mercury, but it is that above which nature hath determined her first operations into a metallic nature, and hath left it imperfect. But if you extract this Stone from that thing in which it is found, and shall begin to work about it to perfection, by beginning in that place where nature hath left it imperfect, you shall find perfection in it and shall rejoice.
Argent vive of itself is of no force, but when it is mortified with its hidden body, then it is of force and liveth with an incorruptible life. This body is of the nature of Sol, therefore of necessity it must convert all Argent vive into the nature of Sol, as leaven converts the whole lump of dough into the nature of leaven, but not on the contrary, because always that which is ruled is transported to that which is ruling.
Our Stone is named of all the Philosophers — Mercury, which is not born as many think but extracted out of a body. The Stone of Philosophers is of three things, that is of Sol, Luna and Mercury, that is make Mercury of Sol and Luna in his essence without common Mercury, but by the philosophical way.
This Stone is but one stone in the whole world, and he that in the beginning of his work shall err from this one, doth altogether lose his labour. In the whole world there is not any other thing necessary in our work but only this Stone.
Arnoldus says Sol and Luna are in our Stone in virtue and power and in all nature, if this were not so neither Sol nor Luna would be made thereof, because the Sol and Luna in our Stone are better than the common in the nature of them, and because Sol and Luna are alone in Our Stone, and the vulgar are dead in respect of Sol and Luna. Therefore the Philosophers have named that Stone, Sol and Luna by course, because they are in it potentially and not visibly, but in virtue and essence.
Wherefore Hermes says, “Our Stone crieth saying, ‘Son, help me and I will help thee.'”
Here lie the King and Queen dead.
The Soul is separated with great grief.
Aristotle the King and Philosopher:
I never saw any thing that had life to grow and increase without putrefaction, and vain would be the work of Alchemy be, unless it were putrefied.
This earth is purified and cleansed with his water, which when it shall be cleansed, by the help of God the whole work shall be effected.
Parmenides the Philosopher:
Unless the body be spoiled and putrefied and be converted into a substantial substance, then cannot that hidden virtue be extracted nor mingled with the body.
Bacchus the Philosopher:
When natures are corrupted and putrefied then they engender. Plato the Philosopher: We have an example in an egg, which first putrefies and then a chicken is engendered, which after it is wholly corrupted, it becomes a living creature.
Note, that without corruption there can no generation be made. Study therefore in putrefaction, for the corruption of the one is the generation of the other.
The second degree is to putrefy and grind, therefore the disposition thereof is first to make it black and to putrefy it.
The first regimen of Saturn is to putrefy and to put it to Sol, but the composition is of four nights.
Be neither too quick or too slow in putrefying the gravel and the bodies plated and joined together, attend in your work and you shall profit in it. Rosinus to Euthiaca: Take a living creature of the Sea, dry it and putrefy it.
No enervating nor engendering is done but after putrefaction, but if putrefaction be not, it cannot be dissolved, and if it be not dissolved it will be brought to nothing.
Our Stone is a confection of the magistery itself and is likened in order to the creation of man, for the first thing is Coupling, the second Conception, the third Pregnation, the fourth Rising, and the fifth Nourishment.
Dear brother, understand these words of Morienus and thou shalt not err in the truth. Therefore open thy eyes and behold the sperm of the Philosophers is quick water, but the earth is the imperfect body. This earth is worthily called mother because it is the mother of all the elements, therefore when the sperm is conjoined with the earth of the imperfect body, then it is called Coupling. For then the earth of the body is dissolved into the water of sperm, and it is made one water without division.
Solution and Coagulation of the body are two things but they have one operation, because the spirit is not coagulated, but with the solution of the body; neither is the body dissolved, but with the coagulation of the spirit; and the body and soul, when they are conjoined, each of them goes unto his like. An example – when water is joined to earth, the water with his moisture and virtue endeavoureth to dissolve the earth, for it makes it more subtle than it was before, and likewise makes it like unto itself, because water is more subtle than earth. So the soul doeth the like in the body, and in the same way the water is thickened with the earth, and becometh like thickened earth, because the earth is thicker than the water, therefore there is no difference between the solution of the body and the coagulation of the spirit nor any contrary work in either if them; so that the one may be done without the other, as there is no contrary part of time between the water and the earth in their conjunction, that the one may be known or separated from the other in their conjunctions and operations. As the sperm of the man is not separated from the sperm of the woman in the hour of their coupling, and so there is one form of them, one deed, one and the self same operation at once of them both.
He calleth the mixture of things
Coupling and engendering.
The seeds are mingled
As it were milk which seems to be mixed.
The second is Conception, when the earth is dissolved into black powder and begins a little to retain Mercury with him, for there the male works in the female, that is Azoth in Earth.
Males engender not by course, neither do females conceive, for the generation is of males and females and especially of the compound.
For nature rejoices and true generation is made by the males marrying the females, but nature being joined to a foreign foolish nature, does engender no truth of sperm.
Conception, changes the blood Which was as it were milk
The pale things wax black
And the red diffuse things shine.
Every colour will appear after blackness, and where thou see thy matter to wax black, then rejoice because it is the beginning of the work.
Burn our Copper in a soft fire like the hatching of eggs, until the body be made and the tincture extracted, but you must not extract it out altogether, but let it come forth all the day by little and little, until in a long time it be filled.
I am black of white, and red of white, and yellow of red, and certainly I speak the truth, and lie not. And know this, that a Crow is head of this Art, which in the darkness of the night, and in the brightness of the day flies without wings. For the colouration is taken of a bitterness which is in her throat, and redness is taken of her body, and pure water is taken of her back. Understand therefore, the gift of God and receive it and conceal it from the simple and ignorant, for it hath been concealed.
Concerning the dens and caverns of the metals, the Stone whereof is miraculous and animal, a bright colour on high mountain and and open sea. And we must confess that in the philosophical Stone after true mundification the greatest part is Argent vive and for this cause it is not burnt but by accident. But all this is done by nature, and it is not to be believed that this is possible to be done by workmanship, as diverse ignorant persons have taught. And do think for the philosophical stone is found created by Nature, and through the highest God it wants nothing more, than that may be removed which is superfluous in it. Therefore let that matter be prepared and let that which is pure be chosen out of it, and let that which is earthly be removed from it.
Know that our coppery and volatile stone is in his manifest cold and moist, and in his secret warm and dry. And that coldness and moistness which is in manifest, is a watery fume corrupting and making black, destroying itself and all things, and flying from the fire. And the heat and dryness, which is in secret, is warm and dry gold, and it is a most pure oil penetrative in bodies and not fugitive, because the heat and dryness of Alchemy tingeth and nothing else. Cause therefore the coldness and watery moisture, which is in manifest, to be like unto the heat and dryness, which is in secret, that they may agree together and be conjoined, and be made all in one penetrating and tincting, but it is meet those moistures be destroyed by the fire, and by the degrees of the fire, with gentle temperament and moderate digestion.
The philosophical putrefaction is nothing else but a corruption and destruction of bodies. For one form being destroyed, nature presently brings into it another form, more better and subtle. Putrefaction is the same thing that fraction of filthiness is. For by putrefaction every thing is digested, and fraction is made between that which is filthy, that which stinks, and that which is pure and clean. For a pure and clean body being putrefied doth immediately grow and increase, as is manifest in a grain of corn, which after it has stood many days under the heat of the earth, then it beginneth to swell, and that which is pure grows out of it and multiplies, but that which is filthy and naught, vanishes away. Therefore putrefaction is also necessary in our work, by reason of the aforesaid causes.
Conception and desponsation are done in rottenness in the bottom of the vessel, and the generation of things begotten shall be done in the air, that is in the head of the vessel, that is of an alembic. The body does nothing but putrefy, and cannot be putrefied but by Mercury. Putrefaction may be made with a most soft fire of dung, warm and moist, and with no other, so that nothing may ascend. Because if anything should ascend, a separation of parts would be made, which should not be done until the man and woman be perfectly joined, and one receives another. The sign is in the sight of the perfect solution, and although Azoth appears white in the first mixtion and conjunction, by reason the woman overcometh with her colour, nevertheless in putrefaction, by the benefit of the fire, they are both made black by the fire increasing in moist, it putrefies the colour black, which is tincture, and therefore to be kept a great secret.
The nature of Gold being putrefied in strong water excels all natures therefore in the making of the Stone, it is to be noted that no stone excelleth the mineral stone in virtue.
Make a round circle of the Man and Woman, and draw out of it a quadrangle, and out of the quadrangle a triangle, make a round circle, and thou shalt have the Stone of the Philosophers.
Geber proves in his Book of Trials that if Sol and Luna are incorporated together by Art, they will not easily be separated, and so the one converteth the other, because the one is dry and the other is moist, and after the one hath taken the other, they embrace themselves with such strong knitting and hold themselves so fast, that the one can hardly be plucked from the other. This would be much more stronger if one of them were spiritual, that is medicinal, and so tangible by reason of his spiritualness. Gold is Gold in act and in matter, but if it were spiritualised, then is made of act — power, and of matter — form and of a thing done — a thing doing, of a woman — a man, and of a thing born — a thing bearing. Therefore, since there is no matter of Gold, no Gold which was not first Silver as the Philosopher says, if therefore such a form be joined to this matter, that is to Luna, surely they will most desirously embrace themselves and make that which is the less perfect more perfect, and this is done naturally and amicably, because every nature desires to be perfect and naturally abhors to be destroyed.
The intention of labourers in this Art, yea rather the intention of the Art itself, according to the possibility of the nature of things, is that the matter of one thing may put on the form and nature of another thing.
Copper is to put on the nature and form of Silver, or Lead is to put on the nature and form of Gold, and so likewise of all other metals. For since form is the nature of everything, then any thing being despoiled of his form, and another form brought to it, I doubt whether the nature of it be changed from its form. We say therefore, that the name of Alchemy in Greek signifies Transmutation and thereupon we say that Alchemy is the knowledge and science of transmuting things from their forms and shapes according to how the forms of things are divided.
Of Blackness ~
Here the Four Elements are separated,
And the Soul is most subtly severed from the Body.
Hermes (in his second treatise):
Know my Son, that this our Stone of many names and diverse colours is ordained and compounded of four Elements, which we must divide and cut into members and more straightly sequestrate them and mortify the parts and turn them into that nature which is in them. We must keep the water and fire dwelling in them, which is of four Elements, and we must contain those waters with his water, even if it were not water but a fiery form of true water ascending in the vessel, which contains the spirits in the bodies and makes them tingeing and permanent.
Take of it little and little, divide the whole, grind it earnestly, until it be possessed with death of the intensity of blackness like dust. This therefore is great design, in searching out of which many men have perished, and afterwards thou shalt discern every thing separately and grind them diligently.
We must mortify two Argent vives at once. Take the brain thereof, and grind it in most sharp vinegar or in children’s urine until it be obscured. This being done it liveth in putrefaction, and the thick clouds which were upon it and in his body before he was mortified, are returned, and this being begun again as I have written it, may again be mortified as before. But we must sequestrate it from two sulphurs and decoct it continuously, till the water be made black. He therefore that maketh earth black shall come to his purpose and it shall go well with him.
When the first is black we say it is the Key of the Work, because it is not done without blackness.
Therefore my dear Son, when thou art in thy work see that in the beginning thou have black colour, and then assure thyself that thou putrefieth and proceedeth in the right way.
O blessed is nature, and blessed is thy operation, because of imperfection thou makest perfect with true putrefaction, which is black and obscure. Afterwards thou makest diverse new things to spring up, and with thy greenness thou cause divers colours to appear. That blackness is called earth, which is reiterated so often with light decoction, until the blackness remains alone, and so you have two elements. The first water by itself, and then earth of water.
Avicenna in his book of Moistures:
The agent heat in a moist body doth first engender blackness, as we may see in Calx, which is made by the common sort.
I will that posterity makes bodies no bodies by dissolution, and to make no bodies bodies by pleasant decoction. Wherein we must take great heed that the spirit be not converted into fume and vanish away by overmuch fire.
Keep it and be careful that none of it fly into fume, and let the nature of the fire be according to the heat of the Sun in July, until the water be thickened and the earth made black, by the long decoction thereof. So therefore thou hast another element which is earth, and let it suffice thee for blackness.
Open thy eyes and thy heart, hearken and understand I will show and speak unto thee words that are to be understood, if thou be one of them which should understand. Know this, that from man nothing cometh forth but man, and so of every animal the like engendered, but we see some things engendered of their roots to be unlike one to another, because we see some things that have wings to be engendered of things that have no wings. We see and know also some things that we know not of what nature cometh forth, although we know it sufficeth us, but cannot give any reason for it, because they are dark and profound and perhaps hidden underneath the earth. And know that of that mineral nature the Art is made and of nothing else.
Know therefore the mineral root, making your work of them.
Aristotle in his second Book of the Soul:
It is a most natural and perfect work to engender like to like, as a plant to engender a plant, and a goat to engender a goat.
The work of the Art of Alchemy would not profit in itself, unless we know the apparent natures without error.
O, Water remaining in form, the creatress of the Royal Elements. 0, Nature the chief creatress of natures, which contains Nature and meanly overcometh by Nature, which cometh with light, and is begotten with light.
Out of the Lucidary of Arnoldus ~
Some men have said that all the colours which may be devised in the world do appear in the work of the Stone, but that is the deceit of the Philosophers. For there appear but four principal colours, and because all the other colours draw their original out of them, therefore they called them all colours, and although all colours do not appear to thee yet care not so long as thou mayest segregate the elements. For yellowness signifies burnt choler and fire. Redness signifies blood and air. Whiteness, phlegm and water. Blackness melancholy and earth. Whereupon Hortulanus says there are four Elements, having four colours and know that the aforesaid colours appear in our dissolution.
I demand in what time this blessed Stone may be made, to which it is answered as a certain author Lelius the Philosopher witnesses, that his magistery was finished in eight days, and that another did it in seven days, and another in three months, and some in four months, and some in half a year, and some in the space of a whole year, and Maria says she did it in three days. To this I say that the cause of diversity, that is of shortness and length of time, might be defect in the virtue of the water of Mercury or because it worketh of Sol and Luna. And some of the Philosophers added more and some less. But Sol is fixed and not flying, and with that only did they work. Whereupon, for his impotency of fixion and impatiency of fire when it was mingled with Sol by melting, it caused it to ascend for a great part. And when it did ascend, so they called it water and a soul and a spirit, saying that their water was not common water nor water of Mercury. And then the earth remained in the bottom, then they reduced that water above the body and made it again to ascend by virtue of the fire, and they mingled it again with earth, until they carried out the earth with them in their belly. “The wind carried him in his belly.” Therefore of necessity they must have a great quantity of the aforesaid water. And then the spirit was fixed in the body, therefore they began that subliming again until all the whole remained fixed and that which was weak ascended. Then was the spirit fixed in the body, and Luna was incorporated to Sol and commixed by the least, and so the operation was finished. Whereupon the aforesaid diversity in working might be in adding too much of the fixed body and too little of the body not fixed, and because there was not more of the unfixed body, therefore it ascended the sooner, and when there was more of the fixed then it ascended more slowly.
But what say you of this? The Philosophers say plainly, “Our Gold is not the common Gold, and our Silver not common Silver”. I say that they call water Gold because it ascendeth to higher things by the virtue of the fire, and in truth that Gold is not common Gold, for the common people would not believe that it could ascend to higher matters by reason of its fixedness. Know moreover that such a manner hath been accustomed of the Philosophers, as to halt and dissemble in a most plain way, and to hide the matter that is spoken of, by figures and parables and sometimes by metaphorical words and sometimes by false and strange practise in way of similitudes.
Wheresoever we have spoken plainly, there we have spoken nothing, but where we have used riddles and figures, there we have hidden the truth.
Salts and Alums are not the Stone but helpers of the Stone. He that hath not tasted of the Savour of the Salt shall never come to the wished ferment of ferments, for it fermenteth finitely by excellency, such is the superior as is the inferior.
Burn in water, wash in fire.
Decoct, recoct and decoct again.
Often times make moist and always coagulate.
Kill the quick and revive again and raise from the dead.
And thou shalt have truly which thou seekest,
If thou know the Regimen of the fire,
Mercury and fire are sufficient for thee.
If thou Our Copper well do know
All the other things thou mayest let go.
Out of an Ancient little book — Hortulanus upon the Epistle of Hermes:
He only that knows how to make the Philosophers Stone understandeth their words concerning the Philosophers Stone. For the Philosophers have manifestly endeavoured to make this Art known to the worthy and to conceal it from the unworthy. And so they always speak truth of the virtue of intention but not of the virtue of speech. And so they say the Philosophers Stone to be made of an egg, because there are three things in an egg, which are like to three things which make perfect the Stone. Hermes says, “Sol is its father and Luna is its mother”, and thus he granteth that two things enter into the composition of the Stone, and that Hortulanus proves because the water of Sol is volatile and his body fixed, and in the contrary way with Luna. And then these words spoken by Geber and other philosophers are declared “make fixed volatile, and volatile fixed, and fixed volatile”. For they persuade that there is manifest solution, because the whole work consists in Solution. Likewise when he says that it is superior and inferior, hereby superior is understood the worthier and inferior the unworthier, that one may be made of those three or that one thing may be made of Sol and Luna whose parts are equal. And this conjunction is called the Sublimation of the Philosophers, and Sublimation is called Exaltation, or Dignification, because Luna and Mercury are dignified. For when Union is made in so great dignity, then Luna is as Sol and Mercury. Likewise when fixation is made which is called the dead body, then Sol is as base as Mercury.
Likewise, the Stone is said to have four Elements, which Arnoldus expoundeth. Because when solution is made then water is called one element, and when the body is impure, the earth is called the second element, and when the earth is calcined, it is called fire, and when the Stone is again dissolved it is called air.
Likewise the Stone is said to have body, soul and spirit. By the body we understand the impure body as was said before, by the soul is understood the ferment, and by the spirit which hath its being in projection which is called by another name, Fifth Essence, which this compostion having gotten, it has the true virtue of converting.
Likewise the aforesaid Stone is called Rebis, that is one thing which is made of two things, that is of body and spirit, or of Sol and Luna of a body purified and fermented.
Likewise it is called a Stone found in every place, because of the true composition, when Sol, Luna and Mercury are conjoined together, the virtue of the Stone is wholly through the world, in mountains and plains, that is in bodies and Mercury, and in the Sea, that is in dissolved water, and flying things take help and nourishment of it. Things flying are quick Mercury and imperfect bodies which are converted into Sol and Luna, and it is called Scorpio, that is poison, because it mortifies itself and reviveth itself again, for that threefold thing being cast upon Mercury doth revive it, because it maketh a true body and yet it is called mineral Argent vive of the Philosophers. But the matter of the Philosophers Stone is water, and it is understood of the water of these three, as Hortulanus proves, neither ought there to be more or fewer. And he says that Sol is the man and Luna the woman, and Mercury the sperm. But that there may be generation and conception, it is meet that the man be joined to the woman, and so conception and Impregnation ought to be made before fermentation, and when the matter is multiplied and fermented, then it is said that an infant increaseth in the womb of the mother. Hortulanus and Arnoldus say that the soul is poured into the body and a crowned king is born.
In the book of The Turba of the Philosophers these words are recited, “dissolve bodies and imbibe the spirit”. They say bodies in the plural because there must be two, and they say spirit in the singular because it is meet there should be one. And there is no sperm without the matter of bodies unless Mercury. And when it is said, imbibe the spirit then that operation is understood which fixes Mercury and the Stone is multiplied. Multiplied, that is reiterated.
Likewise, when Mercury mortifies the matter of Sol and Luna, the matter remains like ashes, and it is called of the Philosophers searing or grinding of them. Of these ashes it is said in the book of the Turba and in the book of Arnoldus, make no small account of these ashes.
Likewise the aforesaid ashes, which is of these three things, is called by the Philosophers an impure body, because it must be decocted and calcined unto whiteness. Therefore Morienus says in the book of the Turba, “unless you purify the unclean body and make it white and send a soul into it, you have directed nothing well in this magistery”. And in this sort there are two had, that is Calcination of the Stone itself and Fermentation. Calcination, that is in manner of white Ash or earth, or of white calx by the spirits, which reduction of operation is done and made with our fire, that is with water of our Mercury.
Likewise, when it is called tincture it tincteth. It is understood that if this medicine be calcined, dissolved and coagulated, it is fermented, for white is made Luna, with Sol it is made Sol.
Likewise, Geber proves and says, of the medicine of the third order, because both white and red are one and the same way with Sol and Luna, yet they differ in fermentation, of which third order this medicine is double, that is Solary and Lunary, and yet it is in one essence, and the manner of doing is one. But there is an addition of yellowness, or of yellow colour of which medicine is perfected of the substance of fixed Sulphur. That is, either medicine is begun with Sol or Luna, for red ferment is made with Sol and white with Luna. Sol is taken two ways, one way for water of Sol, another way for the body of Sol as has been said before.
Likewise, when it is said that all colours appear, it is true, because before fermentation, in calcinations, dissolutions and fixations, all colours appear.
Light of Lights: And know that they are the same things which make both white and red, inwardly and outwardly, that is Sol, Luna, and Mercury. Which three being dissolved and fermented, he calleth them Argent vive, saying Argent vive hath in itself, Body, Soul and Spirit.
Likewise decoct the man and the woman together, till they be coagulated and made a Stone.
Likewise, you must note that Our Elixir is not made but of minerals, and note moreover, the Dragon dies not unless he be killed by his brother and sister, and not by one only but by two at once. Sol is the brother and Luna is the sister. Lastly, Arnoldus says, because the Philosophers speak true of the Stone whatsoever they speak, because they speak of the virtue of speech to conceal it from the unworthy, but of the virtue of intention they speak to the worthy and speak a truth. And the Philosophers know that such matters ought to be declared mystically, as poetry in the manner of a fable and parable, and when the Philosophers speak of great matters, they do not mingle parables and fables, as Macrobius says.
Here the dew falleth from heaven,
And washeth the black body in the sepulchre.
Senior in his Epistle of Sol and Luna:
But the water which I have spoken of is a thing descending from heaven and the earth with his moisture receives it, and the water of heaven is retained and kept with the water of the earth, and the water of the earth by reason of its bondage honoureth him, and water is gathered together in water, and water retaineth water, and Albira is whitened with Astuna.
The spirit enters not into bodies, unless the bodies be clean.
Take the whiteness and let the blackness alone.
Mundify Tin with the choicest washing, and extract his blackness out of it, and also his darkness, and then his brightness will appear.
Dissolve it with white fire until it seem like a naked sword and by whitening make the body to be white.
Water when it is mingled with Copper doth whiten it inwardly. This whitening is called by some men, impregnation, because the earth is whitened, for the water ruling the earth increases and is multiplied, and an augmentation of a new offspring is engendered thereby.
Then it becomes thee to wash the black earth and to make it white without fire.
Take that which descends to the bottom of the vessel and wash it with hot fire, till the blackness thereof be taken away, and that his thickness vanish, and make the compounds of the moistures to fly from it, until there come a very white calx, in which there shall be no blot nor spot, for then is the earth able and prepared to receive the soul.
This earth with his water is putrefied and cleansed. Which when it is cleansed, the whole magistery by the help of God shall be effected.
Azoth and fire do wash Laton, and take the blackness from it.
Make white the Laton and break the books, that your heart be not broken, for this is the composition of all the wisemen and also the third part of the whole work.
Join therefore, as it is said in the Turba, dry to moist, that is black earth with his water and decoct it till it be made white, thus you have water and earth by itself, and earth whitened with water, that whiteness is called air.
Solomon in the Seventh book of Wisdom, set down this science for light and above all beauty and health. In comparison to that precious stone, he hath not compared it, because all gold is as it were small sand, and silver is accounted as dirt in sight of that, for the getting of that is better than the work of most pure silver and gold, the fruit thereof is more precious than all the riches of this world, and all the things which are desired in the world are not able to be compared to this. The length of days and health are in his right hand, but glory and infinite riches are in his left hand, his ways are fair and laudable operations, and his bounds are moderate and not hasty but with the instances of daily labour. Wood of Life is in those which apprehend it, and a light never failing, blessed are they which possess it because the knowledge of God shall never perish, as Alphidius witnesseth saying, he that shall find this science or knowledge, his meat shall be lawful and everlasting.
O, how miraculous is that thing that hath all things in itself, which we seek, to which we add nothing, nor diminish nothing, but remove it only in superfluous preparation.
The first matter of metals is a certain smoky substance, containing in itself an unctuous humidity or moistness, from which substance the workman separates the philosophical moistness which is fit for your work, which will be as clear as gum, in which the fifth and metallic essence dwells, and that is a gentle metal, and in it is the means of conjoining tinctures, because it hath the nature of Sulphur and the nature of Argent vive.
O how profitable is that thing, because we use that raw medicine, which after it is decocted and digested it is the greatest poison above all poisons.
In Alchemy there is a certain noble body which is removed from master to master, in the beginning whereof misery will be with Vinegar but in the end joy with gladness.
Astanus in the Turba:
Take that black spirit not burning, and with it dissolve and divide bodies. It is all fiery and dissolving by his fieriness, dividing all bodies with his co-equals.
Whosoever will enter into our Rosary and there see and have roses as well as white as red, without that base thing with which our locks are locked, is likened onto a man that is desirous to go without feet, because in that base thing there is a key by which the seven metallic gates are opened, and without that base thing the precious work can never be effected. Washing is the ending of blackness, or purifying it, until white be made perfectly white, and red plain red, for Azoth and fire do take away the obscurity of the fire.
Mortification is a separation of hardness from the body, because the soul is then dead, but the body is alive by reason of the body heat and dryness. For everything that hath heat hath life and for this cause the calx of Alchemy is said to have life, because the Philosophers have studied to kill their imperfect life and to restore a perpetual life.
Reviving is by reason of nourishment, that is to say, a restoring of their perfect humour and rectified moisture by the expedition of that imperfect moisture.
Out of a Certain Torn Paper ~
Now I make manifest unto thee by natural knowledge the Secret Stone of the Philosophers which is decked with a three fold garment, the Stone of Riches, the Stone of Charity, and the Stone of Curing all languishing. And in it is contained every Secret, and it is called the Divine Mystery given of God, and in the world there is not a more higher thing, after a rational soul. You must diligently note, I have told you that our Stone is decked with a threefold garment, that is, divided into three parts, into a body, a soul, and a spirit, whereupon the dead body which wanteth a spirit is dark and misty.
If thou wilt, my Son, that the body be revived, then put his soul to it again, and it will live presently.
O, Master, I understand it not.
My Son, I will tell it thee more plainly. One Stone or one thing only, because the body is reduced into its nature, that is into its water, that is into its first matter, because the first matter of bodies is an unctuous and slimy water. Then it is first called one thing when the substance of the body and the water of Union are inseparably united by the least parts, and the Philosophical Stone, of which infinite branches are multiplied, and this is called the known Stone in the books of the Philosophers. Therefore, my Son, from that Stone is its own proper water extracted, and in the spirit by manner of separation. Sublimation which we use is an elevation of unfixed parts but the unfixed parts are elevated by fume and wind.
But we will that those two be fixed together and yield gentle fusion or melting, and so understand our true and certain sublimation, and the stone which no man can touch with his tongue. Hermes says, “Divide the subtle from the gross”. Let the earth be calcined and the water sublimed. The earth remains downwards the water ascends upwards. The earth is purged by calcination, the water by sublimation, and both by putrefaction. The water defends the earth that it burns not, the water is bound by the earth that it fly not, and they both being sufficiently purged are made one inseparable, because one without the other cannot be. One part thereof being cast upon an hundred parts of Argent vive, doth tinct it into true silver, and if it shall be such tincture, one part of it being turned into red, doth tinct as many parts into true gold, of which gold there can be no better found, and this is of hidden nature and gotten by the heat of the fire.
Note, the spirit of the Lord was carried upon the waters before the creation of heaven and earth. Genesis first chapter.
We may see therefore that all things are created of water. God divided this water when he spoke, and commanded part of the water to go into the dry land, and called it earth. And He preserved the unconverted water for the earth to be dew and moisten it, because dry earth yields not much fruit, unless it be oftentimes wetted with rain water, and without rain water it seldom or never bears fruit.
Of the Rejoicing or Springing or Sublimation of the Soul.
Here the Soul descendeth from on high,
And revives the putrefied body.
Now follows the fourth word and it is that the water, which shall be thickened and coagulated with the earth, may ascend by sublimation. Thus you have earth, water and air. And this it is which the Philosophers say make it white and sublime it quickly with fire, until the spirit go out of it, which you will find in it, and it is called Avis or the Ashes of Hermes.
Make no small account of the Ashes, for it is the jewel of thy heart.
Augment the regimen of the fire, because after whiteness it comes to ashiness, which is called calcined earth, which is of a fiery nature.
The calcined earth remains in the bottom, and is of a fiery nature, and so you have four elements in the aforesaid proportions — dissolved water, whitened earth, sublimed air, and calcined fire.
Of these four elements, Aristotle speaks in his book of the regimen of principles, “when you have water of air, and air of fire, and fire of earth, then you have the full art of philosophy”, and this is the end of the first composition, as Morienus says patience and delay are necessary in our magistery, surely hastiness is partly of the Devil in this magistery.
A dead thing will be revived and a sick thing be healed. It behoveth thee to join the body and the soul together by contrition in Sol.
Sow your gold in white foliated earth.
Let the upper fume descend to the lower, and fume conceives from fume. This divine water is a King descending from heaven. It is the reducer of the soul into his body, which revives after his death, and life is by it and afterwards death shall not be.
For the body rejoices when the soul entreth into it, but the body possesses the soul, and every that hath found out the soul doth easily possess it, and note this, that the soul is punished with the body and is imprisoned with it, and by it is turned into a body.
The spirit is the extracter and reducer of the soul and the reformer of the whole work, and all things which we seek are in it. Nothing more base in sight than that, and nothing more precious in nature than that, and God hath not ordained it to be sold for a price.
It behoveth us to have the knowledge of the beginning as well of natural things as of artificial things, for he that knoweth not the beginning, cannot come to a good and perfect end. This secret is the life of everything and it is a water, and water takes in hand the nourishment of man and of other things, and in water is the greatest secret. But that you may not err, it is convenient for you to know that our sublimation is nothing else but to exalt bodies, that is to bring them into a spirit, which is not done but with gentle fire. For we say thus, he is sublimed into a Bishop, that is exalted. And therefore, common sublimation, which is only effect, that is to say, that the body now to be sublimed is made so spiritual, that it may be sublimed. It belongeth nothing to our work, neither is it any more required after the preparation of the first stone, because such sublimation doth not make spiritual, but only shows the effect of spirituality.
In the work of our magistery we need but one vessel, one furnace and one disposition. This you must understand after the preparation of the first stone.
Of water all things are made and the spirit of the Lord was carried on the water, and the beginning of the generation of man was of water.
0 strong nature, overcoming natures and causing natures to rejoice.
It is convenient not to be ignorant of the chief principles and roots of this Art, which are of the essence of the work.
Our sulphur is stronger than any fire.
There is one thing to be chosen of all things, which is of a black and blue colour, having a metallic and liquid form. And it is a thing hot and moist, watery and burning, and it is a living oil, and a living tincture, a mineral stone and a water of life of wonderful efficacy.
No tincting poison is engendered without Sol and his shadow, that is his wife.
Sublimation is of two sorts. The first is the reviving of the superfluity, that the pure parts may remain separated from the elemental faeces, so that they may possess the virtue of the fifth essence, and this sublimation is the reduction of bodies into a spirit, when as the corporeal thickness passes into the thinness of the spirit.
The second sublimation is extraction, because it is in it, of the nature of the fifth essence separated from the elemental faeces. But I call the fifth essence a tincting spirit wherein washing is necessary, that the unctuousness of Arsenic, or the oily nature of the purest unctuousness, which bound by his faeces, may be extracted by it, which faeces suffer it not to be sublimed.
Vincentius of the Stone of the Elixir ~
Vincentius in the natural looking glass in his first book: The alchemists have endeavoured in mineral bodies like the work of nature to do that in a short time, which nature does in 1000 years. Whereupon they have taught to do a certain thing, which transmuteth those bodies on which it is cast, and this they call Elixir. And it is called a Stone and no stone. A stone because it is grinded. No stone, because it is melted and runs without evaporation as gold. Neither is there any other thing with which that propriety may agree.
Therefore Elixir is a thing which is projected upon a greater body and changes the thing from its nature into another nature, but it is done when the lesser body and the spirit and the elements and the ferment are mingled, and there is one confection made of all of them. And Elixir is a Greek word, which sounds [like] a great treasure, or the best of treasures. And truly the Elixir, which mingles itself with the body, is as Tutty with Copper, but the Copper is enervated or grows from that Tutty, the reason for which that Tutty is an earthly thing, but Elixir is a spiritual thing, and by the nature of its kind, returned to another kind.
The Elixir is made two ways, one way out of mineral spirits and clean prepared bodies. Another way out of certain things coming from animate things, as out of hair, an egg, or blood.
In the first way thus, the spirits are mortified and sublimed, until they are made clean. After this, one of the generated bodies by nature is burnt until it may be grinded, then it is calcined until it is made clean after the manner of a calx.
But at length the spirits and bodies so prepared are grinded and imbibed with the sharp distilled waters. Afterwards they are so long inhumidated, until they are turned into clear water, then they are congealed, at the last they are put so long in the fire, until they are made fixed.
Of the Complement of the Elixir ~
Avicenna in his Epistle to Rases:
The Elixir therefore tingeth with his tincture, is drowned with his oil, and fixed with his calx, and the white is completed with three things, in which there is not fire, but the Citrine or Yellow is completed with four whole things.
True it is that the White Elixir does not want but three things, that is to say, Oil, Tincture and Calx, but the Red needs four, that is to say Oil, Calx, Tincture, and Tincture again which is called fire, and therefore Avicenna adds, “in which there is not fire “.
Of the Manifold Fire ~
But the fire is manifold, and the quality of it diverse, distinguished by certain degrees, for some fire is hot in the first degree, and moist in the second degree, that is to say of horse dung, the property of which is that it does not destroy the oil, but increases it by its moistness, for others destroy it by reason of their dryness. To this fire, therefore, there is not likened any other fire in the world, unless it be the material fire of the body of a sound man. But the fire of the Sun is hot in the same degree, but it is dry. This is that which tames the thing, and is made of the animated thing, and is nourished as a boy to whom milk is given in the beginning, for the boy is nourished and increased out of hot and moist. So the fire of the horse dung increases the oil with its humidity, but it fastens the stone by its heat being temperated.
There is another fire between these two which is hot and dry in the second degree, as the fire of a furnace after bread is taken out. This melts gently and does not burn, because there is not a flame in it nor the strength of heat, for the heat in declining by little and little goes back. But if it should stand it would fix the spirit in the body, or without the body. But the fire of the horse dung, neither melts nor burns, but tames and increases the moistness.
There is a fourth fire of the furnace of the fixing, this melts and fixes, but it does not burn because it is not flammable, nor differs from the foregoing, unless it be in that there is a continual heat, which is not in the foregoing.
The fifth fire is flaming, and it is hot and dry in the third degree. This only calcines and does not melt, that is, for the making of gold and silver, and of other bodies, in the same degree or further. And it is a fire in the furnace of calcination.
The sixth is hot and dry in the fourth degree, and this melts and fixes strongly by mollifying the bodies sweetly. Neither does it separate or disperse them. This is fire of the furnace of melting in the same degree.
The seventh fire is a fire of leaves which dissipates and disperses and melts bodies.
The eighth is that which melts and calcines, and it is flaming because flame only has his operation in it. Coals and flames is the substance of fire, and in that flame only of wood. This is also in the same degree with the fires going before.
The ninth also is in the same degree, that is, which is master to them all, as the fire of office, that is of trial. This melts and burns, and dissipates and disperses that which is bad, it saves and rectifies that which is good, it is as it were a judge discerning the good from the bad.
The Fire of Juniper ~
Continual Artificial fire lasting in what degree you will have it, by the space of one, two or three months, until the coals be bare, therefore you must always keep them covered, and you may augment or diminish your heat according to your pleasure, and that is according to the addition of more or less kindled coals.
First, see that you have sufficient store of ashes, made only of the wood of Juniper, then have a great earthen vial, and in the midst thereof, let there be another glass or crucible, and put in the ashes and set the great vial over the heat of the fire, until the ashes wax hot and so surround the lesser vial, and set coals made only of wood of the aforementioned Juniper upon those ashes, and you must have more hot ashes of the same wood, which you must sprinkle on the aforesaid coals, and cover them with their ashes made very hot, and have you matter to be put into that lesser pot or glass, and put a cover on the greater glass and set it on a stone under a bench or on a bench but upon a stone, lest by some chance misfortune happen to it. By such practice you may prepare many such fires. You may likewise put hot water into the lesser glass, or the moist belly of the horse, and into it the vial of the matter.
You shall make the aforesaid coals in this manner. Cut wood of Juniper into small pieces of the thickness of two fingers or more, put them into a great pot well stopped and luted on every side, and filled up to the top. Set that pot, the space of one whole day, over a strong fire of a furnace of wind or flame of wood, and let it cool by itself. Then open the glass, and that you shall have that you desire, but you must burn the ashes after the common order. This fire may be fire of the first or second degree of fixing of spirits.
Here is born a noble and rich Queen
Whom the wisemen liken unto their daughter
She increaseth and bringeth forth infinite children
Which is immortal pure and without spot
The Queen hates death and poverty
She excels both Silver and Gold and precious stones
And all medicines both precious and base
There is nothing in this world like unto her
For which we render thanks to Immortal God.
Violence oppresses me being a naked woman
For before my body was as it were outcast
Neither was I yet a mother, until I was again born
Then I got strength of all herbs and roots
I have obtained victory in all diseases
I was the name of my Son.