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The Crowning of Nature
Source: Adam McLean's Alchemy Website @ www.alchemy.pipex.com
Commentary by Adam McLean
The influence of the heavens by the will and command of God, descends from above and mixes with the virtues and properties of the Stars, and likewise in this manner is the first production of our seed.
You must not take it out of any combustible for it fights with it without being prejudiced, but is known out of a metallic root ordained by the Creator only for the generation of metals.
You must seek it in the seed of its proper nature from which nature may produce it.
Bernard Trevisan's books are writ true, right and once by circumstances to amuse souls.
The Elements are Water, Air, Earth, and Fire, which must be so applied and governed until such time they produce a soul.
We gather the four elements by a concordance of the Seven Planets.
All our work is to Congeal and Dissolve the body, and Congeal the Spirit.
God being before all things, when He was alone created one Substance, which He called the first matter and of that substance he created the Elements, and from them created all things.
Our Stone is the Quintessence of the Four Elements, separated from them and reduced into a fifth Essence, being extracted out of the body of the first matter. Nature created by God prepared with human artifice, then by the Conjunction and Union of the said elements after their perfect rectification, reduces them into a fifth, a glorious fifth Essence or Spirit called Quintessence, appearing in a glorified body which is found in one only thing created by God.
Wheresoever is found a metallic Spirit, a metallic Soul and a body metallic, there is also found infallibly Quicksilver, Sulphur and Salt, in which certainly will make a perfect metallic body.
We gather it from the most perfect Creature upon which the Sun ever set his eyes.
St Dunstan's work, De Occulta Philosophia E: G: I: A, calls it the food of Angels, the heavenly Viaticum, the Bread of Life, and it is undoubtedly next under God, the true Alchochodon or giver of years, and he does not so much admire the question whether any man can die that uses it, as to think why the possessors of it should desire to live, who have these manifestations of Glory and eternity represented to their fleshly eyes.
Our Stone is made or composed of Two, Three, Four, and Fire: of Five, that is the quintessence, of Four which are the Four Elements, of Three which is of three Principle natural things, of Two which signifies double mercury, and of One which is the first principle of all things, which was produced clean and pure from the Creation of the world, fiat --- be it made.
There are Creatures created more noble than Gold and we must look [for] it where truth will find it, which so hath put in nature, and man cannot know it by sight, except he see the whole work.
Adam our first father was in his inward parts, or internal man, made according to the similitude of God of the same substance and matter which the Angels were made, though men (that the world hold great Doctors) say and tell it for truth that God made man out of a piece of mud, clay, or dust of the Earth, which is false, it was no such matter, but a quintessential Matter, which is called Earth but is no earth. Adam before his all had a far different body than what he had after, and so far different that if we should behold him as he was in his Innocency, we should admire the glory of him, and tremble at the sight, as at the sight of an Angel and such a body as our blessed Saviour brought from heaven with him, such a body shall we arise with, and with such bodies shall our souls be endued with flesh and blood. Otherwise Man would not differ from Angels, for this flesh and blood is put upon us by the Holy Ghost, that is by regeneration. I forebear to speak more of these mysteries known to few. But he that liveth to be blessed with this Art, shall glorify his Creator. Man the Microcosm or Little World, from the Stars received Spirit, from the Great World his body, and from God immediately his soul, so here is an illumination of the Blessed Trinity. Now let us say something of the production of the Great World out of nothing, when there were neither time or place, and God created a certain Chaos Invisible which the Philosophers call Hyle, the most remote matter. Out of this He made an extract or Second Matter Chaos, which the Philosophers know not by speculation, but since that matter was and is visible and tangible, in which were and are all the seeds and forms of all creatures Superior and Inferior, that ever were made. From this God divided the four Elements, in a word did make all things Celestial and Terrestrial, the Angels, Sun, Moon, and Stars. The knowledge and practice of the Philosophers upon this Chaos brought them to the knowledge of all wisdom, and from thence next [to] God, seek thou and find all wisdom, and indeed Angelical wisdom is attained by it.
Incredulity is given to the world as a punishment.
He that knoweth not what he seeketh, shall not know what he shall find.
Concerning the Ancient Chaos
Chaos is the first beginning of the first created from an Uncreated Being, this God omnipotent created in the beginning, but before the work of the days it was without shape and also confused. But afterwards all the most sound Philosophers nominated that Essence, the Mother and the first matter of the world, for Hilon, and Nature, in whose bosom innumerable forms lay hid, which the Omnipotent Builder, that great Spagirus, appointed in his time to break forth, for he had first included a spirit in that Undigested Matter, Chaos, who some hath affirmed ought to be called the Soul of the World, some the Form of Forms, others the Proximate Instrument of the Creator. By the benefit of this spirit so included, there is at length by the most free will of God, providing for and overlooking all things, a separation is made of the waters from the waters, by which they were divided. But it is very remarkable, that at the separation of the Chaos, there was a just division, no deperdition, but every particle of the same being full of spirit and life, they are fit for that to which they were ordained, waxing strong and vegetating.
Hence the admirable strength of things, may by the sons of men be drawn forth and become a true metamorphosis, if they artificially search and handle them according to the nature of the Chemical Art, for the true Philosophers have considered of no other Mystery than Nature itself, and a possibility of Nature, which Natural simplicity may indeed suffice those that rely on it, for Nature doth work most of all from its aptness of its own virtue and beginning, as it doth demonstrate, only needing a little help of Art.
With the Cabalists this Chaos is twofold, to wit, Intelligibles and Visibles, the one proceeding from the immediate decree of God, the other is reported or declared to proceed immediately from the execution of the same decree.
Know further, that the point you see in the White, is put for the centre of the Earth, the whiteness doth signify the Earth itself, the crooked line signifies the flowing water, which in its own place would cover the Earth, but by the decree of the most bountiful Creator, it encompasses some part only. The white circle beset with little black spots, signifies the Air, as the sevenfold little points of a golden color denotes the Fire.
These things being thus expounded and declared, the next consideration shall be of the seven Planets punctually compassing the Chaos. The first of these is Saturn, and therefore is placed in the ascendant, but he contains all the other planets, as the others do the rest, but in a diverse order. From hence it is known that all things are in all things, according to the true philosophical intention. But Saturn himself is feminine and melancholy, Jupiter feminine and phlegmatic and sanguine, Mars masculine and sanguine, Mercury feminine and phlegmatic, lastly the Moon feminine and melancholy.
Saturn the Chemical Subject in the Root of Art
Saturn is the first of the planets far exceeding all his brethren in essence, order and dignity. He is accounted the primary son of Nature, the root of metals known to few.
Hence saith the Clangor, the colouring spirit is the philosopher's Mercury with its Red or White Sulphur being naturally mixed with it in the mine and bowels of the Earth, also indifferently prepared, the judgement of the artificer being left until the perfect consummation, as it is in the metaphor of Bellinus concerning the Sun, that which is the spirit is called Saturn, in plain words tincturing and dividing all metallic bodies especially gold with a true and radical dissolution, as is manifest by his words in the Rosary, "Know, saith he, that my father the Sun hath given me power above all power and hath clothed me with a garment of glory, and all the world seeks me and runs after me, for I am that excellent one who exalts and debases all things, and none of my servants except one can overcome me, to whom is given that which is contrary to me, and he destroys me, though not my nature, and that is Saturn who separates all my members. Afterwards I turn to my Mother who congregates all my divided and separated members".
Trevisan affirms the same thing, that no other argent vive can be extracted out of any other body, except out of the Red Servant, which is called by Bellinus, the contrary Servant. But it is called a Servant (to wit) the Servant of Nature, because it serves in the generation of Metals in her Minerals, and because it serves in Chemistry to generate that heavenly and also specified stone. It is called Red, because in this last preparation he goes into red dust. But it is termed to be contrary to the Sun, because he doth radically dissolve him and bring him into his first matter. But lest thou should err, my Son, these things are not to be understood of Saturn belonging to metals or mineral Mercury, but concerning the metalline Sun and Moon which are contained in our lead, (to wit) in potential and not visible. Pythagoras says that every secret is in lead.
That I may at length conclude in one word this golden chapter, I do plainly with a constant protestation affirm the more sound Philosophers to have nominated it the Star of the Sun, the Ens of the Moon (Sun and Mercury). Know further, that although the subject of health and riches be the same, and that we will handle them both in these commentaries, yet professedly as to the sons of learning and men of understanding it may appear in this place, we will especially treat of the matter of Medicine, for it is our chief intention. But as yet you see Saturn in the ascendant, and all the planets accompanying him, but having the Sun and Moon under his feet, by which is signified that Saturn himself only doth contain in himself those two tinctures, sought by so many and found or known to few. But that a little solar star appears in the Moon, and a little lunar star in the Sun, doth not want a Mystery, for the Sun and Moon came forth of the one and same root, as may in a short space be occularly demonstrated by an ingenious Artificer, by the little white drops which afterwards become red is signified abundance of Tincture, lying hid especially in the body of Saturn. By the mountain out of which a flourishing tree doth appear, is very fitly signified that Saturn is not gotten elsewhere than in hilly places.
After the subject was known, the first intention of the philosophers that water should be got which they had noted with many names amongst which that sharp vinegar so much spoken of by them is one. But the second is dissolving Mercury. The third is Marish water. Dissolving Mercury is defined by a natural dissolution, and is defined by them to be that by whence metals are dissolved by a natural dissolution, and their spirits are brought from power into Action. But before they can be brought to act, Nature ought necessarily to be stirred up, but if the dissolving Mercury should be dry there would be no irritation of Nature, and so by consequence in vain would the solution be hoped for.
There are therefore some which have endeavoured to have that dissolving Mercury, or this water of those marshes, by Distillation, and it was effected. Therefore Distillation with them is the elevation of the watery vapours in the vessel, for in that are two parts of the Stone (to wit), the Superior and the Inferior. They will have the Superior part to be attenuated by Distillation, especially again when the Earth drieth and fasteneth, the Water makes clean and washeth, but the Air and Fire maketh to color.
Arnoldus says, it is necessary that there be much Water and much Air, because the multitude of the tincture will be so much as the multitude of the Air, but the Water is purging and the efficient cause of the clearness of the whole body and Medicine. Hence it is that frequent Distillation is called the most true Ablution of the Elements.
It is therefore necessary that the Stone be divided by the Four Elements and that by Distillation. First, by a light fire equally temperated and continued, water is to be gotten. Then the fire is to be made a little more vigorous and stronger, until the fire be received mixed with the fire. That which remains burned in the bottom is the dry earth where the crystalline Salt of the Stone lieth hid. Moreover, by the inferior circle, the furnace is signified. By that Red as yet beneath, the fire is signified. By the superior circle, the vessel in which the matter is put. By the cloud is signified the smoke which seems to rise like a cloud as you are distilling.
To prepare in this art is nothing else than to take away superfluities and supply deficiencies, because light things cannot be fixed without the company of weighty, and weighty things cannot be exalted without the consortship of light things. Neither can the hot without the consortship of the cold, the cold of the hot, the moist of the dry, the dry of the moist, the hard of the soft, the soft without the addition of the hard, be temporated or prepared. But when they are by course fitly espoused, there is generated from them a temporated substance, which the violence of the Fire cannot overcome, nor the putrefaction of the Earth vitiate, neither the limosity of the Water condensate, nor any contract, adumbrate, or overshadow.
We must know further that the preparation of the aforesaid matter is perfected by the removing of the superfIuous part and the addition of the absent, by the exercise of the Four Regimens. The first of them is a reduction to the nature of the Fire. The second is a resolution into Water, and the third is a levigation into Air, and the fourth is a pressing down to the Earth or fixing. The first is by Calcining. The second is by Loosening. The third is by distilling through a still. The fourth is by Coagulating or Congealing with a light fire.
And so the whole preparation is perfected, to which purpose the Hermite did also intimate in his Smaragdine Table, saying, "it ascends from the Earth to Heaven and descends again from Heaven to Earth". And that this doctrine concerning the preparation of the Stone might be better understood, Geber testifieth most openly concerning this. Saith he, "Our art doth not consist in the plurality of things for it is one matter (to wit) of metals in which consisteth our Mystery, to which we have not added any strange thing, neither do we diminish unless that in the preparation we remove superfluity". But the other things pertaining to this Chaos are clearly enough unfolded by the second Chapter, but here it remaineth in the Water.
Division in this art is the separation of the parts of the composition that they may be the better at length united. In which sense composition is contrary to Division, which indeed is the beginning and life of the thing, for unless there were a Composition, the thing would not be produced into a being.
Hence the cunning Son of Jazichus, the spirit will not remain in the body, neither will it be in it nor tarry any longer, until the body be subtilated, attenuated as the Spirit is. And when it is so attenuated and subtilated and does go out of his density and thickness to thinness, and from his grossness and corporeality to spirituality, then the spirit will be mingled with and drunk up in them, and so they are both become one and the same and will not be separated, as neither water mixed with water cannot be discerned, so although the Philosopher's Stone be divided into two principles (to wit) into the superior part which ascendeth, and into the inferior part which remaineth in bottom fixed, yet notwithstanding these two parts doth concord in virtue.
Therefore the materials are to be weighed and converted and divided because they are changed from a thing into a thing, as the seed of a man in the womb is in a natural preparation turned from thing to thing, until there be found a perfect man, from which was his root and beginning.
Moreover, by the Solar and Lunar stars is signified the water already gotten out of the body of Saturn. By the Sun and Moon the body of Saturn wherein the Salt yet remaineth. By the red understand the fire, by mediation whereof the aforesaid water was drawn forth.
Acuation is that by which the Stone is amended by the extraction of his proper earth, that is of the Salt, and by the mixing of the same with Sulphur and his proper Mercury.
Hence Gratianus, of every thing there may be made ashes, and of that Salt there is water, and of that water there is Mercury, and of that Mercury by diverse operations there is made Sun. He therefore that knows the Salt and its solution, knows the hidden secrets of the ancient wise men. Whosoever, therefore will alter spirits and bodies and change them from their nature, it behoveth that he first reduce them to the nature of Salts and Alums otherwise he will do nothing, then let him lave or wash those, that Sal may go forth fusible. You ought as Arnold saith to praise God, from whence also another Philosopher, put therefore thy mind on the Salt, the chief and most hidden Mystery of all the ancient Philosophers.
Moreover, by the lunar star is signified the White Salt of Saturn already gotten. By the circles, the furnace and vessels. By the compassing red, the fire, and that of Calcination, because Saturn is not gotten but first by calcining.
The Green Lion
The Green Lion is that Philosophical Mercury so often spoken of in his first beginning, or flourishing, easily avoiding the fire, because it is not fixed, but being fixed it desires it, and expects it and rejoiceth in it. It is of a Cold and Airy nature, and out of it (as it is in the Rosary), God created all mines. Let it not therefore seem strange to anyone because it reduceth into and doth radically dissolve all metals into their first matter, when as out of him are all things, and in whose bosom are all the planets, they lie hid and are contained. Seeing therefore that some of them affecteth a sublime work to him and is a profitable spirit, and there is no thing in the world besides him, neither is there that may stand in his place, and is only profusive in the body that wants him (hence Rosary).
But the ancient and wise Philosophers have engendered the manner of wit (knowing) until it be a little done that he might expect the fire. It doth not cease to go above the reluctancy of the fire and is nourished with it, so that when any fixation is fastened unto him, there proceeds wonderful things and changes, because when he is changed he changeth, and his entrance appears in his sound and splendour. When therefore it is coloured it coloureth, when it is loosed it looseth, and it doth make itself white in the twinkling of an eye, and it becomes red in succession, and it is a congregating water, milk, and strong urine, softening oil, and the father of all wonderful things. It is smoke and a cloud, and the fugitive servant accidental Mercury eating the Sun, who hath preferred himself before Gold and hath overcome, for it is generated, risen and produced out of him.
But lest thou should err, my son, know that those which understood of Mercury in the body of Philosophical Saturn and metalline, to be true. Moreover the Lion is said to be green in the threefold aspect. First in respect of his attractive power, for here the Central Sun is like to the Celestial Sun and make the world flourishing and green. Secondly, it is called the green Lion, because as yet the Gold is incomplete nor fixed in any body, and therefore is called living Gold. Thirdly, it is called a Lion by reason of its very great strength, reference being had to the Animal Lion, for as all beasts obey the lion, so all metallic bodies do give place to this living Gold.
Conjunction in this art is a natural act of two vapours of the body and spirit, in one and the same genus but in a diverse species of actors and sufferers [actives and passives].
But lest thou should err, my Son, thou must now that the spirit is twofold (to wit) Tinctural and Preparing. The Preparing spirit dissolveth brass and extracteth it out of the body of the lodestone, and reduceth it again into the body itself. But the Tinctural spirit is beyond the body, and it is a body itself of a watery nature, but in the Elixir the tinctural spirit being masculine is the body, the woman the spirit.
Hence saith Arnold, the spirit is not altered from the body so that it should lose its spiritual virtue, but every body is altered and coloured by the spirit. Join therefore, my Son, (as it is in the Rosary thy Gabricius more beloved to thee than all thy sons, with his sister Beya, who is a cold girl, sweet and tender. Hence it is rightly gathered, that unless there should be such a copulation, there would never be a Conception, Raising, Pregnation, or Birth. This therefore, is the direction of this disposition, which is especially assimilated to the creation of Man.
But by the circles is signified the vessels and furnace. By the Green Lion as it were but half into the vessel, is signified that one part ought to be put in after another and not altogether, as first Mercury then Salt or Oil, and these things are to be put in by little and little, after they are purified.
The Animal, Vegetable and Mineral Stone
We find the Philosophers Stone to be variously defined with Philosophers in general, amongst which definitions we will at length rehearse one or other of them.
Therefore, the Stone, as Clangor hath it, is a body composed out of the first essence of metals, which first essence is indeed termed other where Argentvive reduced from the power of them into acting by the art of chemistry, the mystery of all beginnings.
Again the Philosopher's Stone is metallic matter converting the substance and forms of imperfect metals. That this conversion is not done but by its like is long ago agreed upon by all Philosophers. It is therefore necessary that the Stone be got out of a metallic matter (to wit) our Mercury in which is all that which is so sought for by the wise men, and lieth hid in our Mercury, although this Mercury may be termed threefold. From whence three principle Stones are known by philosophers, (to wit) the Mineral of the Wise men, or the Mineral, Animal, and Vegetable Stone of them, threefold in name, one in being.
Whereupon saith one of the Ancients, there are three Stones and three Salts of which the whole magistery consisteth, (to wit) Mineral, Animal, and Vegetable (Mercury is mineral; the Moon is plant, because she receiveth into herself two colours, white and red ; and the Sun is animal because he receiveth three, (to wit) constriction, white and red).
But by the tree upon the mountain on the left hand flourishing and bearing fruit, is signified his vegetability, as by the leg of a man raised out, his animality. By the third mountain upon which also a flourishing tree grows out, two things are signified. First, that Saturn is hid only in hilly places and it behoveth that he should be digged out of the Earth, which may be understood to be noted by the circle, from whence especially his minerality appears.
Calcination, as subtle witted Geber will, is the turning of a thing into dust by the fire, and by the privation of its humidity, consolidating other parts.
According to others, this Calcination is the last purgation of the Stone, the restoring of its colour, the conserving of its innate Humour, and the induction of Solution. And it is fourfold, for it is either by the desiccation of the moistness of Nature, or by reduction into the bottom of the furnace by fire, and then it is called Alcoole or a subtle powder, or by the amalgamation of familiar metals with quicksilver, by mixing metals with six parts of Mercury, or by strong waters, the spirits of the Salts of black vitriol, of sulphur and the like.
However it be, we use Calcination to mundify the part fixed, and the Earthly part of the Stone. For every calcined thing is in its kind fixed. And so the Sun and Moon are calcined with the first water philosophically, that the bodies may be opened and become spongeous and subtle, that the second water may the better go in to work its work, which is to exalt the Earth into Mirable Salt by its only attractive virtue. Which second water is fire, not natural, by whose virtue the completement of this art is done.
Moreover, by the Sun here joined with the Moon, understand the body of Saturn even now to be calcined with the Philosophical water. By the bird flying from above, that in Calcination the spirit of Saturn goes downwards and remains together with the body, as in Sublimation it always goes upward, as is to be seen in the next chapter. But by the bird or spirit flying upwards, understand dusky clouds ascending frequent indeed but moderately.
Sublimation according to some is when that which is extracted into the sublime part of the vessel is stirred up and doth subsist there.
According to Geber, it is the elevation of a dry thing by the fire, with the adherency of its vessel.
Either definition is honest. We must know further, that the philosophers for four reasons made sublimation. First, that the body should be made a spirit of a subtle matter. Secondly, that the Mercury might incorporate itself with the body and become one with it. And thirdly, that the whole may become White, then Red and clean, and especially that the innate humidity of the Stone might be restored, which he had at the first lost in the bottom, and may be moved forwards and made fit for a sudden liquefaction, because the medicine ought to be a simple dust of a most subtle and pure substance, adhering out of its nature to the Argent vive or a most easy liquefaction, and hidden or secret subtilation of an easy ingression, after the manner of water, and fixed on the reluctancy of the fire, before the fIight of Mercury.
This Solution is the reduction of a dry thing into water. By this Solution metallic bodies are reduced into their first form, that is into their next matter, to wit, Mercury and Sulphur from whence they took their beginning.
Some of the Philosophers do put the matter of Solution to be twofold, to wit, by hot mud and fervent water, but others do contend that there is but only one Solution necessary in this art, which only hath and is to be done out of and with itself, and it is raw and clear without violence.
Hence saith the Philosopher --- a raw solution is better than a sodden one, a moist than a dry, a voluntary than a violent, a temperate than a swift, a fragrant than a stinking, a clean one than a thick, a black one than a red one, and therefore in every Solution we must secretly beware of the vitrification of the matter by the odours and vapours of imperfect bodies, that the force of that generative form may not be choked up with corrosives.
Therefore, saith the Philosopher "help Solution by the Moon and coagulation by the Sun".
Putrefaction according to some is the resolution of that which is mingled into the hot and moist by a natural putrefaction. According to others, Putrefaction, which is also termed conception or espousing in the putrefaction which is in the bottom of the glass, is the Conception of the proper and natural callidity in every moisture, under the conservation of it from another moisture going about in the glass.
Yet notwithstanding, Putrefaction is necessary in this work because there is never anything born, increasing, nor animated, except after Putrefaction because if it were not putrefied, it could not be poured forth nor loosed, and if it were not loosed, it will be brought to nothing.
But thou must know this, My Son, that the Putrefaction of the Philosophers is not sordid nor unclean, but it is a mixing of the water with the Earth, and the Earth with the water, by little and little, until the whole body is become one.
Hence Morien "in the Putrefaction of our brass, the spirits are united with the body and are dried up in it. For unless the water should be dried up with or by the Earth, the colours would not appear".
For Putrefaction is nothing else but a mortification of the moist with the dry, between whose mortification there doth appear blackness in regard of the domination of the obscure woman.
Yet the process or force of itself, to wit, of the Philosopher's Stone, is first Black, because unless it were first Black it would not be White, nor Red, because that redness is composed of Black and White. The Philosophers have called this blackness, Silver, the black Lead, the head of the Crow, and from whence it is said in Turba, "when thou shalt see blackness to come to that water, know then the body is melted".
Thou must know, my Son, that whilst the Earth in the aforesaid blackness doth begin to retain with it some of the Argent vive, then it is termed Conception, and then the male acteth towards the female, to wit, Argent vive, with or into the Earth, and this is the reason why the Philosophers say that our Mystery is nothing else but the male and female and their conjunction. For the water beareth sway over the Argent vive, and the Earth increaseth, multiplieth, and augmenteth.
Hence again Philosophers say, "Conception and Dispousation are to digest it in the putrefaction in the bottom of the vessel, and the generation of the genitors in the air and head of the vessel, to wit, the still".
For the body does nothing except it putrefy and it cannot putrefy except with Mercury.
Therefore the Philosophers, "for with one part of the body are six and thirty parts of the water to be taken, and let putefraction be made with moist gentle fire of hot and moist dung, and in no ways with others, so that nothing may ascend. Because if any thing should ascend a separation would partly be made, which ought not to be done, until the male and female are perfectly joined together, and one received the other, the sign whereof is the superficies in the nature of perfect solution".
We must know that when the Earth is a little made white, there it is termed Pregnation, because then the Earth is Impregnated. For when the Earth is joined with an imperfect body, it is called Our Earth, because the Earth is the Mother of all the elements, and this is that which they term [unidentified alchemical symbol], when the Earth begins to retain with it somewhat of Arsenic, or Our Salt, or Argent vive, for then it is called a Conception, because the male acteth towards the female, because the Mystery of the Philosophers is nothing else but the male and female and their conjunction. Water coming to them, that is Arsenic or Our Salt, which increases much in the Earth and is augmented and comes out when the Earth is dealbated, then it is called a Pregnation, because the Earth having conceived goes away pregnant.
Moreover, that here and in the former Chapter, the little star formed of seven fold little pricks, becometh Red but not fully, it signifies that the matter of the Stone now shut up in the Philosophical phial, hath in some part suffered putrefaction, but it is far from a plenary mundification, which is made in the bottom of the vessel. For it ought to purge further, as is demonstrated by the thirteenth Chapter.
But whereas the Red and White is not compounded of Red and White, but of Black and White, there is no doubt but by the help of the Governor of all things, it will in short space come into perfect whiteness. But that the little star is not deprived of his blackness, appeareth by the black complements sticking to the little points and planets.
Matter and form are only contained (as saith the Philosophers) by the Generation of Nature, but they understand by the matter and form, the Agent and Patient, thin and thick, Sulphur and Mercury, male and female, and by consequence know Generation.
He therefore that doth know how to choose matter well disposed and very ready to suffer, and strong to act, this man shall bring forth the more excellent and strong effect, but that the generation of the elixir might be the better done, let the artist diligently consider what things are requisite for Nature in the generation of metals, and what of art is to the generating of the Stone, that a collection being made between these thing he may have, from whence he may judge, whether it be possible to generate the stone.
Thou must know, therefore, my Son, lest thou should err, that there are four things that are altogether requisite or necessary to Nature in the Generation of metals. First, to have composing principles, one whereof hath itself as the Matter, the other is the form of composing. Secondly, to have that due weight of the principles. Thirdly, a fit place is altogether required, that is a solid place, for unless the place where Nature mingleth were according to the two principles solid, the Vapours which are also termed Spirit would exhale, and the solidity of the place doth condensate or thicken those spirits already mixed, from whence it is they begin to act and suffer one towards the other, by subtilizing and separating impurities. The fourth thing requisite in the generation of metals is heat temperated, by which metals are in the end excluded and exhaled into the air.
All these things required are necessary in the art to generate the Stone, all which the artist by imitating Nature in all things, except in her weight, shall easily conceive that the Stone may be gotten. But let him take the weight from Nature necessarily as it shall be meet.
Moreover, of the diverse and intermingled colours appearing here and elsewhere, you may see from day to day in the glass vessel, whereof it is sufficient to have put you in mind, in this place.
Fermentation with the Philosophers is the incorporation of the Animal part, the restoration of the vapour, the inspiration of the odour, the supplying of the beings, and it is double White and Red, whose ferment is the Sun, the Sun of the Sun, the Moon of the Moon. That is, the Sun is ferment to the Gold, or Red Elixir, and the Moon is ferment to the Silver, or White elixir.
But as substantial bodies, and fixed upon the fire, cannot manifest their qualities, neither do live or are lifted up of themselves, unless by the benefit of spirituality, they are first purified and vivificated, so neither can spiritual accidence manifest their permanent virtue, except they are united and perpetuated with fixed bodies. For then and not before, the body inbreatheth the spirit, teaching him by vigorating, to reluct, strive or struggle against the fire, and the spirit embraceth the body teaching him to pierce through gross bodies, actually to subtilize thick ones, and to generally cure all infirmities and diseases.
But the intention of Fermentation is that the thing to be fermented should be prepared, washed, calcined, and dissolved, that it may the better be joined with the subtle work or body, that is to say, White ferment with White, and Red with Red.
Yet these things not hindering, my Son, you are to know that Fermentation doth not change the powder of the Stone into any form but his own, but it giveth savor, odour, and strength to transmute other bodies to his own nature.
But by the Toad, here understand the sphere of Saturn swelling with tincture, or his heaven to be great and impregnate therewith, and by and by ready to bring forth, which by the ejection of the four elements appeareth most plainly in the next Chapter, in the conversion of whom one after another, until they are inseparably fixed, dependeth the chief completement of this work.
The Separation of the Elements
We being about to speak concerning the generation of the elements and their conjunction, by reason that one of them cannot be understood without the other, we shall handle them both together in this and the subsequent Chapter.
Therefore the separation of the elements in this art is nothing else than to separate or segregate heterogeneous (which are accidents from homogeneous (which are of the Essence of the Stone), that at length the mixture of the elements might be most pure and perfect. But the conjunction of the elements is to keep up homogeneous things, that is, those that are of the nature of the Radical Moisture.
Hence Raymond "have patience in dealbation or whitening, because here lieth much tardity".
Thou must know further, my Son, that the separation of the elements with the Philosophers is termed the conversion of them, as if to convert the elements was to make a thin body of a gross one, that is, of the body a spirit, and afterwards of the moist a dry, of water earth, and the elements are converted one into the other. But the Philosophers do prescribe such a manner of converting the body into the spirit. The earth is resolved into water, and water into air, the air into fire, but the spirit is turned into the body. This way the fire is coagulated and it becomes air, but the air is coagulated and becomes water, but the water is coagulated and becomes earth.
From whence saith Assidnus "behold elements hath met together in one nature, who when they are so impelled (that is coagulated) become friends, but when they wax thin they become enemies. Therefore convert the elements and thou shalt find what thou seeketh".
It behovest thee, therefore, first of all to mortify and exalt the Stone, that is, the body, soul and spirit, seeing that no one gains any thing in this art except he mortifieth, but mortification is by the separation of the elements, by which the effect of every element is shown.
Therefore if thou wilt make the elixir, it will be necessary that thou break this Stone into his elements, which is signified by the parts of the year, and then conjoin the elements by fire, Mercury mediating, which is the Philosopher's chiefest secret, and then this Mystery is completed, for all the art is placed in conjoining and loosing. But these separations are done as seest, my Son, Mercury mediating, for it first looseth the body and makes separation which in the meantime are conjoined by Salt and Mercury.
But here we must diligently note it is first of all Mercury, in the beginning of the work is called water, then the blackness appearing earth, then being sublimated air, and being made red is called fire.
The Conjunction of the Elements
Then being sublimated with some luminary body it is termed Salt.
Then being added to the whole composed matter it is called the Spirit. And so the Earth, with Water, Air and Fire, is a body, the Salt is the life, the last watering of the only Mercury, the spirit.
It is therefore evident that the Stone consisteth of four elements, to wit, Water, Air, Fire and Earth. For in the Stone there are the Soul, the Body and Spirit, and yet but one Stone, as it is above said, behoving to loose and coagulate him again, then all the operations are contained under the Solution until the Albifaction it is sodden again, and becomes a Stone again when it is coagulated. Afterwards it is loosed again and then the solution is reiterated, until the Stone comes out like wax.
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Ortus [the Rising]
Ortus in this art is termed to be conjunction of the second salt or ferment, with the imperfect body prepared.
Hence Morien "we must know that the knowledge of our Mystery is likened to the creation of Man. For first there is conjunction, then conception, then pregnation, then Ortus or a springing or rising, a bringing forth, then Nutrition".
I would therefore have thee understand this one thing, because our seed is Argent vive. When the Earth is joined to an imperfect body, which is termed Our Earth, because the Earth is the Mother of all the elements, and they call it Copulation. But when the Earth begins to retain with it something of the Argent vive, then it is termed Conception, when the male acteth towards the female. But when the Earth is made white then it is called Pregnation, because it is then pregnant, and then the ferment is joined with the imperfect body until they become one in species and aspect, and then it is termed Ortus, because our Stone is then born, which is called a King by the Philosophers.
Whereupon it is said amongst them "Honour your King coming from the Fire. Crown him with a Diadem, and bring him up even to perfect age, whose Father is the Sun, his true Mother the Moon".
Unnatural Fire or Fermentation
With the philosopher are four fires recorded, to wit, Natural, Unnatural, against Nature, and Elementary, and these fires may better be known by their complexion and compositions. For out of Mercury dissolving and conjoined in the body, there becomes another Mercury, which is called Adrop, Thick Water, Our Water, the Second Water, which is Fire, Strong Fire, Unnatural Fire. For those two, to wit, Spirit and Body, being fit and joined together according to their due proportion, out of them this second Mercury, which we have described is made, and this is that Mercury of which it is written, that in it is whatsoever wise men seek, for the body, the soul and the Tincture are drawn from this Mercury.
But the second Mercury is moist in the vapour, not oily but gummy, of a property indifferent, subtle, easily lying the sharpness of the fire, and vanishing away in it, possessing both body and spirit in loosing remaining water in itself.
Moreover by Fermentation in this place, understand the second fermentation, because the Stone, especially the Inferior part thereof, should as yet be better prepared, washed, calcined, and dissolved, that it may yet unto a more higher and nobler degree of perfection, whereby it may the better be joined with any subtle work or body.
The little star with sevenfold little pricks appearing a colour somewhat duskish, signifies that the star, although it has suffered many alterations and hath his elements indifferently mixed, yet is far from being sufficiently mundified, seeing as yet it wanteth much purgation, as by the same blackness which it hath in putrefaction, appearing in the next Chapter. By the bird flying from above, understand the Spirit descending, the Stone putrefying temperately, and by little and little.
Moreover by the domination of the Woman who is of the Mercurial and Lunar humidity, the blackness doth as yet appear, but here it is a little diminished in quantity as in the following Chapters you may see, for by little and little it is changed from colour to colour until the blackness doth altogether vanish away, and the Stone becomes endued with the greatest whiteness, which is a sign of perfection.
By the bird flying from above, understand as you were admonished in the former Chapter.
Therefore, Exaltation is an ingenious nobiliating of the magnet or lodestone being dealbated, which is chiefly by the augmentation of the spirit, the sublimation of the Earth, the promotion of the liquefaction by the exaltation of the rectified elements, and by a lively constituting of the Fifth Essence out of them. From whom, saith the Philosophers, "when thou hast had the Water out of the Air, the Air out of the Fire, and the Fire out of the Earth, then thou mayest know that then the Stone hath lost the Water which he had at first out of the Air, after his resolution into it. For the Air and Water are contiguous elements, more light in mixing and better in operation of fire".
When the cold hath overcome the hot, the Air is turned into Water, but when the hot hath overcome the cold, the Water is turned into Air, but thou must have the Air out of the Fire by his Solution.
Moreover now you see the four elements wonderfully altered, exalted and almost fixed.
By the azure colour understand the Earth turned into Air, by the green colour the Air turned into Water, by the yellow colour Water turned into Fire, lastly by the colour somewhat brown understand the Fire to be turned into Earth. By which wonderful alteration is further signified that the Stone now draweth nigh to Fixation.
By the Pelican penetrating and wounding her own breast, from which rivers of blood do seem to flow, understand that this is spoken of the Pelican by a similitude which is called the Blood of Love, for as she doth impart her blood to her young ones, so the Stone being brought to a Quintessence by conversion into the four elements, is ready to impart his tincture to the imperfect wanting it.
Lastly in that you have in the following figure the bird of Hermes sleeping in the midst and applying himself to perpetual rest, understand the discords and hatred of enemies, that is, of the elements, are laid aside, lulled asleep by their long alterations and conversions, laid before our eyes in the former Chapters. But from the fire from above temperately cherishing the Matter, the artificer buildeth the reason of making his Athanor.
Let putrefaction and much conversion be upon him until it being well purged by sublimation he be made white. For as Marcus saith "when he has drunk his burning Mercury he passeth away and remaineth in the shadows of purgatory with many nights, but conceiveth in baths, and brought forth in the Air, then waxeth Red, goes upon the Water, and is white upon the tops, and is become White, light and airy, which first was ponderous, dry and obscure fire. For the Sun being Exalted the air waxeth hot and drieth".
But take this concerning the fifth essence in this work and Mastery, is the mixing of all the four elements, and the reduction of them into one pure substance. If therefore thou wilt see the Stone, to wit, the fifth substance by the four elements, thou must know that if every one of them do not partake of the fifth nature, the Stone cannot be united nor conjoined with a dry body.
Fixation in this art is when the body receives a tinctural or colouring spirit and takes away his volatility or flying, which is by frequent iteration, until it becomes ashes of everlasting duration, and the whole remains in the fire.
We must know further that fixation is always in the white, though not every fixation.
We must know moreover, that out of the perfection of fixation, the fire becomes cold, by whose benefit alone the Stone comes out fixed. When the hidden Mystery of him is made manifest, his colour is Citrine or Red, but after his first fixation in the white, there follows no error in the whole Mystery, although you proceed to the Crowning of Nature by often passing the Philosophical Wheel, and by bettering your blessed Stone by many reiterated solutions and coagulations.
Lastly, by the white circle is signified the white stone, now fixed by the red fire, whose punishment now it suffereth and feareth not, and by the vessel, which is within of an azure colour, is signified the Ethereal spirit of the Stone, which by the benefit of a cold fire doth animate the Stone.
Projection in this art is the reduction of the fixed earth Multiplicative, or a formal substance firmly coloured, upon much of convenient matter, to the desired joy of the Artist. But because it is not well perceived, cast one pound upon a thousand, but before this moist medicine may go out, the Philosophers have noted some necessity of Ceration.
Hence speaketh Anonimous "it is better to project, now thou dost cast upon fundaments, and fundaments upon. My word, I will love thee, O Lord. I will have thee attend, the which reason is in Saffron. If the Saffron should be projected dry it would colour but little, but if being loosed it be joined with a little liquor, and that little into much, it would colour infinitely. Thou shalt therefore make thy Projection so. First multiply 10 into 10 and then there will be 100, and 100 into 100 and they will be 10000, and so into infinity". But this cannot be done without Ceration, which the Wise have so defined "Ceration is the fitting of a hard and not fusible Medicine to Liquefaction by a frequent Imbibition".
Hence Morien in the Rosary, "the whole Mystery is nothing else than an extraction of Water out of the Earth, and a casting of Water on the Earth, until both it and the Earth putrefy, and become clean, seeing as yet the Earth to be mingled with the Water, and the Water or temperate decoction to be a little diminished, the other to increase". They all say that this was perfect Ceration, from whence they have also said further, that the Earth, when the Water is Cered, drunk up and dried with the temperated decoction of the Sun, that is, the heat, and is turned into Earth, that therein is the whole matter. For his force, as that divine Hermes speaketh, is entire if it were turned into Earth. But enough and more than enough has been said of the taking away of the Leprousy of Metals.
Of the curing of Man's body and continual health, understand these things from a few days to a longer time.
For a month every day let there be taken of this blessed powder, the quantity of a grain of mustard seed, in white wine or in any other liquor, early in the morning. It is sudorific or causing sweat, if anything be, to be sent forth by the pores. It is laxative, if anything be, to be evacuated by stool. It is diuretic, if anything be, to be driven forth by the passage of urine. But it is never vomative, as that is altogether contrary to nature.
Moreover, that I may briefly conclude, all this powder is like Ethereal fire, pleasantly consumes all the hurtful superfluities in Man's body, raising it up, rectifying, and bringing it to a just temperature and equality. Furthermore, it not only rectifieth Man's body but also reneweth the whole man, by the use thereof continued for a few weeks, Lastly, none of the three principles, to wit, of Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury, can in the least exalt itself. But presently, by one little grain, taken as aforesaid, the disease is rooted out, and a man is continued safe and sound without diseases, until the time appointed of God. Therefore to the most Mighty God be Praise, Honour and Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
In the last Chapter it is made known what it is in general, but not how many fold, but it is by two ways, to wit, quality and quantity But because the Wise have left us a perfect and known complete method concerning this doctrine of Imbibition, and of their ways of operation which follow plainly and fully the Crowning of Nature, I shall altogether give over speaking of them.
I shall add this, instead of the Crown concerning the ruling of Saturn, let a mineral be taken of the same, existing in his first being. Let it putrefy in the belly of a horse, according to the Philosophical month, to wit, 40 days. After putrefaction, by the benefit of Distillation, let the Vinegar so often spoken of, be extracted, to radically dissolve all the metals of the Philosophers. Let that blessed produced vinegar be put upon other Saturn, who from whence may go forth into transparent redness dissolved. Let the redness be extracted and putrefied anew, for the space of a Philosophical month in a horses belly. Then in a strong vessel let it be first urged with a gentle fire, afterwards a strong fire being used, the Red Oil will go forth like blood, through a 1000 small veins. Let the dead head be reduced into Alcool, or subtle powder, calcined, and with phlegm reserved for this use, let it be drunk up and digested and evapourated. Thou shalt have then his natural Salt which if thou wilt mingle with the predicated oil and do urge back again, the red oil will go out transparent, colouring the heavenly Stone, when it hath been coloured by himself. But by the specifical Salt or Ferment, this is truth.
Commentary by Adam McLean