Count Bernard TREVISAN
British Museum Sloane Ms # 3630
Translated from the French by Sigismund Bacstrom
[ Produced by R.A.M.S. (Restoreration of Alchemical manuscripts Society) 1982 ]
The first thing requisite in this Science of Transmutation is the knowledge of the Matter, from whence is extracted the Argent vive and the Sulphur of the Philosophers; of which two the Sovereign Medicine is made and constituted.
The Matter from whence is extracted the Sovereign Medicine and Secret of the Philosophers, is only most fine Gold and most fine Silver and Argent Vive, all which thou seest daily altered nevertheless, and moved by artifice in the nature of a Matter White and dry in the manner of a Stone, from whence our Argent Vive and Sulphur are elevated and extracted by strong ignition by reiterate destruction of the same, by resolution and sublimation, and in this Argent Vive is the Air and Fire which cannot be beheld by Corporeal Eyes, being subtile and Spiritual which makes against those who think to obtain four Elements really and visibly separated in the Work, each one apart, but such know not the nature of things, and that simple Elements cannot be obtained by us, although we know them by their operations and effects which are found in these lower elements, to wit Earth and Water, as they are altered from a compact and gross nature, whereby they are moved from one nature to another. That Sol and Luna are the Matter of our Blessed Stone, the sayings of all Philosophers confirm, and in real truth saith our Father Hermes, "The Sun is the Father and the Moon is the Mother", but great doubt is made of the third Composition, to wit what is the Argent Vive of which with the Sol and Luna our Composition is made. Which to know, it is to be noted that the Philosophers divided into two parts, First and Second. That Second part is by Philosophers divided into the White Stone accomplished, and into the Red Stone.
But because this notable Secret lies in knowing the First Part, Philosophers doubting to reveal this Secret have made but little mention of the First Part, and believe that if it had not been to prevent the Science of Philosophers would have remained as wholly false in its principles, they would have been entirely silent and have mentioned nothing of it; Wherefore if they had not in any manner touched upon, the Science would have in all points rested in Ignorance and perished, as being false in its terms.
As this is the beginning, the Key, the Foundation of our Magistery, without which nothing is to be accomplished, and that being unknown, ye Science would remain deceitful and false in practice. To the end that this great Secret might not remain unknown, which is the Stone, to which nothing strange or foreign is to be added, I have designed to make some mention of it, wholly, certainly and true, which I have seen and possessed, God of Truth being my witness, which I commit to the Secret Cabinet of the pious Soul, upon peril of the same, wherefore Philosophers have called this Secret Verbum Dismissum, which is to say a word left or concealed. It is then to be known that the Philosophical work is to be divided into three degrees, to wit --- the Vegetable, Mineral and Animal Stone. The Vegetable Stone properly and principally the Philosophers have attributed to this First, which is the Stone of the First Degree, of which Peter of Villaneauve (Brother of Arnold) saith in his Rosary, "The beginning of our Stone is Argent Vive or its Sulphurity which we must obtain from its gross corporeal substance before we can pass to the Second Degree".
The beginning of our Stone is, that Mercury growing like a tree, be composed and sublimed by opening it for the volatile germ, or seed, which cannot nourish nor grow without the Fixed Tree that retains it, as the living nipple of an Infant.
It appears then that this Stone is Vegetable, as it were, the sweet Spirit that proceeds from the Bud of the Vine joined in the Work, first to a Body, fixed and whitening as is said in the Green Dream wherein after the Text of Alchemy is very notably described the practice of this Vegetable Stone to those who wisely discern the Truth, which for certain reasons and just cause I forbear to set down here.
The First Degree then of our Philosophical Stone, is to make Our Mercury Vegetable, clean and pure, which is called by Philosophers White Sulphur not burning, which is the means of conjoining Sulphur with Bodies, and Mercury, truly and really, that he may be of one nature, fixed, subtle, clean and united to the Bodies in their profundity, by the help of their heat and moisture, of which Philosophers say, Tinctures may be conjoined, but not Argent Vive Vulgar, that being cold and phlegmatic and destitute of lively operation, which consists in heat and moisture, but because it is in part volatile, therefore it is the medium to fix volatile spirits, and to adhere or adjoin to the fixed substances of Bodies, wherein is touched the cause of its necessity, which is threefold. The first as we are to join the two Seeds, to wit, Male and Female, they ought to be mingled with each other by a natural alliance and Love, and by a continual sponginess, in such manner that the moist of one be attracted by the moist of the other and by consequence the one be mixed with the other and that they be joined together, and for as much as those two Bodies, to wit Gold and Silver are made moist by heat digesting, dissolving and subtilizing, then they are the First Matter and simple, and take upon them the name of Seed, which are near to generation, through the impression they receive by their simplicity and obedience to instrumental heat, equivalent and like to the natural heat of this Mercury, forming and sealing thereto a kind of Elixir, for that the First Part of the Stone is called Elixir. The First Part then is the medium of conjoining extremities of the Vessel of Nature, in which Vessel the Spirits ought to be transmitted as they proceed from one nature to another, wherein is touched the Second Part of its necessity, for as the Stone ought to be impregnated with Spirits, it is necessary there should be therein a retentive faculty or Virtue embraced by them, to the end that they may be mixed with the Body in the smallest parts. This Virtue is truly found in our Philosophical Mercury, as it is in part of a Spiritual nature, so is truly a pure Spirit, impregnated and purified from all feculent and terrestrial resident Spirits. I say true and fixed in one part for it contains the nature of the one and of the other Fire, which manifests and declares its ponticity or compunctuous sharpness, which appears in its operation, for by this Mercury mortified is easily congealed, the Mercury of the Vulgar, as the Text declares. Nevertheless it is not fixed by itself, but ought to be conjoined with Sol and Luna and be married in friendship and to the end, that which is not in it, may be fixed by those Bodies, to wit, that this thing which is composed of several mixtures together with their co-naturals, may directly fix the Mercury of the Vulgar, for which cause no Bodies are mixed which fixed, to the end that the compounded Fire, which is called Mercury sublimed philosophically or First matter, may be informed by proper Ferments, as to obtain the force more lastingly, and persevere the contest of the Fire notwithstanding its asperity, wherefore, saith Hortulanus, "That is not strange to it, to which it ought to be conjoined", viz., fixed. And of this Mercury saith Raymond, "The Argent Vive by us made, congealeth the common, and is more common to men than the common, of less price, of greater virtue and utility, and also of greater retention, being a Gum more noble than Pearls, which converts and attracts to its fixed nature all other Gums clear and pure, and enables them to resist in the Fire, and to rejoice therein", wherefore saith Morienus, "Those who would obtain this composition without this First Part are like those who would mount to the height of a pinnacle without a ladder, who when they begin to climb find themselves cast down to the bottom in misery and pair. This Mercury exuberate then is the first beginning and Foundation of our glorious Magistery, for it contains in itself Fire which ought to be replenished and nourished with a great and strong Fire in the Second Regimen of our Stone, now as well the Fire enclosed in our said Mercury by the First Regimen, as the Fire which ought to be inclosed by the Second is by Philosophers named the proper Instrument, which is the Second thing principally required to be understood in this high Magistery in such manner that the Matter Volatile and fixt by heat and congelation, with dissolution of the bodies as Philosophers teach, for the greatness of the Magistery have veiled under another name, to wit, Sublimation or Exaltation of the Mercurial matter, as it is exalted in its noble Virtues, and Sublimed in its degrees. "Wherefore", saith Arnold, "Let Mercury first be sublimed, that is, as Mercury is in nature low and base condition to wit, Earth and Water, let it be brought to a more noble and higher condition, to wit Airy and Fiery, which are principles near approaching to this Mercury in the intention of Art and Nature". Wherefore when this Mercurial Stone is thus Exalted and Subtilized, it is said to be sublimed in its First Sublimation, which is convenient to sublime with its Vessel, as saith Raymond in his Codicil in the beginning Chapter 2 of Vade Mecum de Mercurale Philosophorum. We hope in God that our Mercury shall be sublimed to greater things which tinge it, and its Soul shall be exalted into Glory, as being that which it behooves to enter into its Mother’s Belly, also it is said to be born of the First Nativity, which hath regards to all orders of the Chemical Earth, and the heart of the workers in this Art shall not be frustrated of joy, and shall tell thee, calling God to witness, that as this mercury hath been by some one sublimed, it hath appeared cloathed with so great Whiteness as the Snow on the highest mountains, under a most subtile, crystalline splendour, from whence proceeds at the opening of the Vessel, so great, so sweet, so excellent an odour, as the like is not to be found under the World, and I who speak this know that this most marvelous Whiteness has appeared to my own eyes, and have handled this attenuated and subtilized, crystalline Matter with my own hands, and with my own sense of smelling have smelt this marvelous sweetness, and with great joy begun to shed tears upon the astonishment of marvelousness and sweetness, for which Blessed be the Eternal God, most High, and Glorious who hath hidden these marvelous Great Secrets of nature, yet hath vouchsafed to a few I know (most Reverend Father) that when you shall be acquainted with the causes of this disposition you will admire that a Matter so corrupt should contain in itself such a heavenly like nature, I am not sufficient to declare to you these Wonders, yet the time may come (if it be found expedient) that I may acquaint you with many particular matters of this nature, which her to write I have not obtained permission from the God of Nature.
Of this Celestial nature, it is said in the Book of Prognosticks, certainly in Medicine, Celestial Gifts are found, but to proceed further, when you have sublimed this Mercury, take fresh and new with its Blood or Ferment, that it may not grow old or stale. Present it to its Parents, Luna and Sol to the end that of these three things, to wit Sol, Luna and Mercury our Composition may be made, and that the Second Degree of our Stone may begin.
The Second Degree, if thou wouldst have then good multiplication in the strongest qualities and mineral virtues by the operation of the Second Degree, and the help of Nature.
Take the clean Bodies and with them unite the said Mercury in such weight or proportion, as is known to the masters of this magistery, and to conjoin the said dry Matter (or Sulphur) which is the Sulphur of the Elements, and which is called Oil of Nature, and Mercury sublime, subtilized, dissolved and hardened by the operation of the First Degree in rejecting nevertheless all the residue and Faeces, that is made in sublimation, as of no value. But it is not to be understood in our sublimation the thing sublimed should remain in the top of the vessel, as it happens in the sublimation of Sophisters, but in our sublimation what is sublimed is a little elevated above the Faeces of the vessel and sustains itself and is joined to the sides of the vessel, and that which is foul and impure remains in the bottom, by Nature which desires to lose of its own accord, by a certain manner of evacuation, to the end it may be restored in melioration, in losing its impure parts that it may recover pure and better by which parts the third cause of its necessity, which is that as Mercury is clean white, incumbustible it illuminated our Stone and defends it from adjustion, and keeps it from burning temporals and moderates the excessive ardour of Fire against Nature, reducing and bringing it back to a true Temperature and concord with the Natural Fire.
For the Philosophical Mercury contains an excellency of the fire in natural and sovereign virtue of which is to qualify against the heat of the Fire against Nature, naturalizing that is converting itself, or making itself natural by sweetly, according to the natural Fire, which is a great increase known to few.
Wherefore here Mercury is called the Earth or Nurse in this part, as it is the Matter or Sperm, without which the Stone cannot grow or multiply, whereof saith Hermes, "Ye Nurse of our Stone is the Earth (of Mercury) of which Sol is the Father and Luna the Mother, it mounts from Earth to heaven, again descends to the Earth, of which the strength is entire, if it be turned to Earth, which Earth and the two perfect Bodies, the right composition of the Philosophical takes birth and beginning".
Let these two Bodies then be sufficient for thee, being such as are sought and required, as saith Arnold de Villa Nova, that as the end of the state is perfection it perfects the Mercury of the Vulgar and other imperfect Bodies and transmutes them. We must then necessarily acquire this virtue which is found where it is, now it is likely no ways better to be found than in perfect Bodies, for if in Bodies pure and fine there be not force and virtue to transmute imperfect Metals into perfect and true Sol, in vain should we seek it in the base, the like say of Lune and all imperfect Metals, Sol and Luna only are perfect, and all the rest are imperfect.
To obtain then this mercurial substance, wherewith all the perfect virtue to transmute into Sol and Lune the imperfect metals, you must have recourse to the two perfect Bodies and no other. Wherefore it is to be known, that the conjunction of these two Bodies is the natural term of the last subtilization and of Transmutation of the First Matter of Regeneration, because of by this conjunction, by the first simple Matter is made generation of the true Elixir. Lune reduced into its First Matter is the passive matter, for truly, she is the wife of Sol and he is her husband, that is in very near affinity to each other, such is the conveniency between the Male and the Female in this kind of Art, of both which is engendered Sulphur White and Red , glutinous and congealing Mercury certainly better creation and nearer transmutation is made, when the proper Male is joined to its proper Female into one nature, and the Male joins most profoundly in the passive Matter by the subtility of its nature, and transmutes it more, converting its nature into another nature, and transmutes it more, converting its nature into another nature, to wit, into the nature of Sulphur; of which conjunction saith Dastin, "If the White Woman be married to her Red Husband they incontinently embrace one another, and are joined together. They are dissolved by themselves that these which were two might be made one Body". This copulation is the philosophical marriage and indissolvable Bond, wherefore it is said also, where these two Bodies are made one by conjunction, that they may hold one nature, to wit, our Mercury, which is by some called the Ring or Sovereign Bond, also it is called the Daughter of Platon, which conjoin Bodies assembled in Love. Compose then this our Stone of these three things, and not any other, for in other matters is not lodged that which so many do seek. This amalgam, or Philosophical composition thus ordered, it may be truly said of it, that the Stone is made but of one Thing. For this composition is a mixture of inestimable price and value, that is of such a price as cannot be sufficiently thought.
This is our Brass, that is our amalgam or composition, made of the above said three things or Matter only, and then begins the second part of our most noble Stone, and the stone of the Second Degree which is called Mineral.
Now it is to be noted, that by the Second Regimen or Operation, the Stone of Mercury which was born by the First Operation, so clear and resplendent, is mortified, blackened and made vile and ugly, in fire, is so deformed with the whole compound, that is may revive with great victory, with great clarity, purity and force than it had first, For this mortification is vivifying, for in mortifying it revives itself.
And certainly these two Operations are so chained and interlaced one with another, that one cannot be without the other, as appears in the doctrine of Philosophers, for the corruption of one is the generation of the other.
All this business then is nothing else but to create Sulphur of Nature and reduce the composition to its First Matter of the Metallick kind, for as Albertus saith in his Book of Minerals; "We must not so much alter or distance our Stone from the nature of Metals". Know then that this Compound is the substance out of which ought to be drawn the Sulphur of nature by comforting it, and nourishing it in joining to this substance the Mineral Virtue, to the end it may be made a new Nature stript from all its Sulphureous terrestricity and corruption and all phlegmatic humidity, hindering digestion. It is further to be observed that according to the divers alterations or change of the one and the same Matter in digestion, divers names are imposed on it by the Philosophers according to its divers complexions, some have called it a coagulating pressure, some Azoc, Arsenic, others Album and tincture illuminating all bodes, some have called it, Philosophical Egg, for a Egg is composed of three parts, viz., Shell, White, and the Yolk, so is compounded out Philosophical Egg, or Body, Soul and Spirit. Although in truth our Stone is but one thing according to Body, Spirit and Soul, but according to the divers reason and intentions of Philosophy, is now called one Thing, and then another, which Plato meant when he said, "The Matter flows infinitely or always, if the Form stay not its flux", so is it Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity, for there is Body, Soul and Spirit. There is also Sulphur, Mercury and Arsenick, for the Soul breathing, that is casting out its Vapours by Arsenick Works in conjoining Mercury of which philosophers say that the property of Arsenick is to breathe, or respire, the property of Sulphur is to coagulate or congeal Mercury, nevertheless this Sulphur, this Arsenick and this Mercury are not those the vulgar think of which are not those venomous Spirits the Apothecaries sell, but the Spirits of the Apothecaries are those vulgar Spirits, theirs are more of imperfection and corruption, to prejudice rather than repair imperfect Metals. Wherefore it cannot give perfection and incorruption to them, which perfection ought to be given by our Medium, Vainly therefore do those Sophisters work, who endeavor to make the Elixir, from such venomous Spirits full of corruption. For certainly, in no other thing is lodged the Truth of the Sovereign subtility of Nature, but in the three matters above said, to wit, Sulphur, Arsenick and Mercury Philosophical wherein the reparation and total perfection of Bodies that are to be purged, lodges, only all the Philosophers have imposed divers names on our Stone. Wherefore leave the plurality of names and regard only the compound, which is but once to be placed in one Vessel, from whence it is not to be taken till the Elementary Rotations be accomplished, that the force and active Virtue of our Mercury should be nourished and not be suffocated and entirely lost, for the seeds of Vegetables in the Earth are not propagated by growth and multiplication if their force and generative Virtue be taken from them by any strange quality whatsoever. In like manner also, this nature will not multiply, or be multiplied if it be not prepared in manner of Water.
The Matrix of the mother after Conception remains shut up or the Fruit will be lost, so our Stone ought always to remain closed in its Vessel, nor any strange thing ought to be added, but only should be nourished and informed by the Formative Virtue of its multiplicative Virtue, not only in quantity but greatly in quality, in such maner must be influenced or put into the said Matter, the vivifying Humidity by virtue whereof it is nourished, increased and multiplied.
After then our Compound is made, the first thing to be done is to animate it, putting to it the natural heat, or vivifying humidity, or the Soul, Air or life. By the work of solution or sublimation with congelation, and as you have made thy compound so must thou have a certain manner of proceeding according to the internal heat enclosed in the matter, otherwise it may remain void of its designed end, without Soul, deprived of its noble high virtues, and would have no motion to generation as other things by nature produced. The manner how to put Fire into the said Matter, and to convert it from disposition to disposition, from nature to nature, that is from low to high degree. The manner of this disposition is made by proper sublimation, Impregnation, mortification for Resurrection and Sublimation in the light Elements, so that all the circle of this noble Magistery is nothing but sublimation perfect, which nevertheless hath many particular operations annexed, chained, interlaced or joined together, but two are principally attending the whole Circle, which are perfect dissolution and perfect coagulation. So that the whole Magistery is perfectly to dissolve, and perfectly to congeal, dissolve the Body and congeal the Spirit, and this operation has ties and alliances together, that the Body never dissolves but the Spirit congeals, nor also the Spirit congeals not, except the Body be dissolved. As Raymond and all the Philosophers say, that the whole Magistery is nothing but Dissolution and Congelation by the Ignition, of which Operation many great and learned in this Science have been deceived, thinking to understand by confidence in their learning, the Circles of Nature, and the manner of Circulation.
It is then expedient to understand the manner of this Circulation, which verily is nothing else but to imbibe, refresh, or moisten the Compound in due weight or proportion with our Mercurial Water, which Philosophers command to be called Permanent Water, in which Imbibitions the Compound is digested and congealed to its natural accomplishment.
T’is most certain, that if Earth is to be made Fire, it must be subtilized or prepared, that it may be brought to greater simplicity, so is the Compound attenuated and subtilized, until the Fire bear rule therein.
And this Sublimation of Earth is made by Subtile Water, most highly sharp and penetrating, not having any feculency or odour, as Geber said in his Summary, "Such is the Water of our Argent Vive, sublimed and brought back to the nature of Fire, under the Vive, sublimed and brought back to the nature of Fire, under the name of Vinegar, Alum, Salt and many other sharp Liquors and other like things (even until now hid and covered), by which Waters bodies are subtilized, reduced and brought back to their First Matter, neighboring Stone, or Elixir of Philosophers, where it is to be known that as the Infant in the Mother’s Belly ought to be nourished with natural nourishment, which is Menstrual Blood, to the end it may be increased and grow in quantity and stronger in quality, so ought our Stone to be nourished with its Fatness (as saith Aristotle) of its own proper nature and substance, but what this fatness is that is the nourishment of life, increase, and multiplication of our Stone the Philosophers have wholly concealed it, as being the greatest Secret they have sworn never to reveal or make manifest to anyone, otherwise than their writings declare, but have remitted it to the hand of God alone, to reveal or conceal as it shall please Him". Nevertheless this fat and viscous humidity, vivifying or giving Life, the Philosophers have called Mercurial Water, or Oil Permanent, a Water abiding the Fire and also a Divine Water, and is the Key and Foundation of the whole Work, and this Mercurial Water impregnated and permanent, it is said in Turba, "That Bodies must be wrought by flame of Fire that they may be broken, torn and debilitated", to wit, by this Water full of Fire wherein the Perfect Bodies are so much washed as it is dissolved and made Water, which is not Water of the Clouds, or Fountain Water, as think the ignorant and foolish Sophisters: But this our Permanent Water which cannot yet be made permanent without the Body with which it is joined, that it resists the Fire without flying, wherein our Permanent Water is the whole Secret of our Stone, for by that Water is our Stone perfected, for that in it lodges the vivifying humidity of our Stone, as being the Life and Resurrection of it, of which our Secret Water it is said in Turba, "The Water alone does all, for it dissolves all, it congeals all that is congealable and divides and rends all without any other aid. It is that which Tinges and is Tinged". In brief, Our Work is no other thing than Vapour and Water, which is called whitening and rubifying and casting off the Blackness of the Bodies, which Philosophers have called Permanent Water, fixed and incorruptible and incombustible Oil, that cannot burn. T’is the matter which Philosophers have divided into two parts, one of which dissolves the Bodies by Calcination, that is, by reducing it into calx and by congealing itself and the other part of the said Water cleanses the Body from Blackness, Whitens and reduces it, makes it fluid and running in multiplying its parts.
This Water is called in Turba, "Most sharp Vinegar, and penetrating kindly by a vivifying heat, containing an invariable Tincture, which cannot be defaced or blotted out".
This Water is named by Artephius, temperate or the Moisture of the Wise, Wine of Choleric Youth. This Water is greatly concealed by the Philosophers under divers and various names, and is known but to few people. Hermes possessed it, and handled it, Alphidius hath treated of it, Morienus hath written of it, Lully understood it, Arnold perceived it, Raymond hath feasibly declared it, Geber knew it, the Text was not ignorant of it, Rasis, Avicen, Galen, Haley, and above all Albertus hath wisely hidden it. Dastin Bernard de Greves, Pythagoras, the Ancient Merlin, and Aristotle understood it well. In short this Water is crowned Victorious Secret, Celestial and Glorious Water, the last and final Secret for the nourishment of our Glorious Stone, without which it is never amended, increased, nor multiplied, for which Philosophers have concealed the manner of making it, as the Key of their Magistery, and in truth, I have read above one hundred books of this Art, and in none of them I found the perfecting of this Mercury and Permanent Water and have seen great and learned men in this Science, among whom I have not found one that had this secret, except one able Physician, who told me he had been 36 years in earnest prosecution before he obtained it.
Of this nature it is said that a double nature is given to it, to wit, of Sol and Luna, in the bowels of whom this Argent Vive is multiplied, as in the proper Belly of its Mother, lodged and purged, and converted into White Sulphur not burning in the action of the heat of the Fire, being therein regularly informed by Art and qualities of Sulphur, having been before introduced or placed in the said Argent Vive. So that this Mercurial Water is nothing else but the Spirit of Bodies converted into the nature of Quintessence giving virtue to our Stone and governing it, and the Stone of our Composition is the containing Matrix or expedient place, to wit, Mother Earth, or vessel of Nature, retaining the formative Virtue of the Stone, wherein natural heat is placed, which is formative Virtue issuing from the Vessel by the Fifth Spirit, wherefore it is called Mother and Nurse as giving natural Virtue to Sulphur, feeding and nourishing it.
This is our Composition, wherein this natural Vessel, whereto the Spirits are transmuted from nature to nature as they proceed, and so much the more as they are transmuted and altered in this Vessel retained so much, the remoter they are moved from their corruption and imperfection whatsoever, and the more they approach to the terms of purity and perfection, so long till they obtain the accomplishment of a Quintessence.
Wherefore they take, or are clothed with a New Nature, which is clean, White, pure, cleansed from all corrosiveness, and phlegmatic volatility.
In such affinity then of Vessel the humidity of the Spirit wherein the abovesaid is enclosed by its viscosity or glutinous nature is retained in adherence, or firm and natural conjunction and heat, as in its Radical Humidity mixt and mortified, and after Death revived by sublimation by a joyful deliverance in elevating itself wholly from a Saline and Bitter Nature.
Then it is mighty to sustain itself, nourish and multiply itself, as being already a kindled Fire and simple nature, which t’is convenient to nourish with Whey, to wit, its enlivening Humidity of which in part it was engendered, which is Permanent Water, Virgin’s Milk or Aqua Vitae coming from the Vine, for they are wholly different. It is nevertheless called Aqua Vitae for that it vivifies our Stone to Resurrection, it is also called Blod incrudated, White Mentruum, nourishment of the Child, Food of the heart, Water of the Sea, Food of the Dead, and Argent Vive of Philosophers depurated from feculent terrestriety by Philosophical Sublimation. After then our Compound is made, it should be placed in its Secret Vessel and decocted, or baked in a very soft heat moist or dry, and moistened and congealing soften till the Earth arise Foliated, which must be afterwards calcined and infinitely incerated in fixing with the said Water, which is called fixed incombustible Oil, till it flows and metls soon like unto wax, of which saith Raymond, "The manner of creation is, the Stone be sublimed with part of the reserved humidity which never leaves its Body, being mixed, with circulation gives true fusion", and afterwards he said, "It is commanded that thou moisten or refresh our Stone with its permanent Humidity, whereby its parts are clarified as appear, for after the perfect clearing or purgation of our Stone from all corruption, particularly the Sulphureous humours, to wit the unctuous combustible fatness and phlegmatic vaporeity, the Stone is brought to its proper nature and substance, not burning, and without this Humidity, our Stone is never amended, nourished, augmented or multiplied".
It is to be noted also that our Stone in digestion is moved to all the colours in the World, but three are principal, of which good care and notice are to be taken, to wit, Black colour, which is first and it is the key of the Beginning of the Work; of the Second kind or degree, the White colour is the Second, and the Red is the third, whereof it is said that the thing of which the head is Red, the feet White, and the eyes Black is our Magistery.
Note then that when our Compound begins to be moistened with our Permanent Water, then is all the Composition turned like melted Pitch and is Black like a coal, and at this time is our Compound called Black Pitch, Burnt Soot, Melted Lead, Foul Laton, Magnesia, and the Black Bird. For there is seen a Black Cloud flying in the middle region of the vessel in desirable manner being elevated about the vessel, and at the bottom, the Matter melted like Pitch, of which saith James of the bough of St. Saturnia, a blessed Cloud flying about the vessel wherein the Sun is eclipsed, and Raymond says, "When this mass is thus Black then it is dead and deprived of Form, then it is said to be a dead Body, and out of good temperature, its Soul being separated from it, then is the humidity manifest in the colour of Black Quicksilver, and stinking, which before was dry and White, of good odour heating, cleansed from Sulphur by its first operation and is now depurating by this Second Operation."
And for this is thy Body deprived of Soul which it hath lost with its Splendour and marvelous lucidity which at first it had, and all now is Black and Ugly, wherefore Geber names it from its properties, stinking Black Spirit, occultly White and manifestly Black, naming it Living Water and Dry.
This Mass thus Blackened is the Key and sign of perfect invention of this manner of Work of the Second Regimen of our most precious Stone, wherefore saith Hermes: "This Blessing being seen, believe that you are in a good Path, and have kept in the Right Way".
So that this Blackness in colour shows the true and right manner of working, for hereby the matter is made deformed and corrupt with a true Natural corruption from whence follows generation and real disposition in this Matter, to wit, the requirements of a new Form which for lucid serenity or clearness, beauty, purity, marvelous splendour and fragrant odour or great sweetness.
Now when the work of Blackness is accomplished we must come to the Work of Whiteness, which is one of the Roses in the Philosopher’ Garden, by many desired, required and expected, but as above said before Whiteness appeareth, all the Colours that may be thought of are seen and perceived in this work, of which care need not be had, but only to Whiteness that must be expected with great constancy. The way nevertheless of working to the Black, to the White, and to the Red is always one, to wit, bake and decoct the Compound in feeding with our Permanent Water, to wit, decoct. Compound with Red, by which imbibitions and digestions is extracted from the Stone this middle Substance of Mercury, which is the whole perfection of our noble Mastery, in such manner that our Stone should be purged not only from sulphureousness but also from earthiness by sublimation of Water, Calcination of Earth, moistening and decocting of them by reduction, between distillation and calcinations, and after conjoining with proper Sulphur, by its measured natural heat decoct, or bake so long until it be congealed and deprived of all Sulphureous humidity by the union of natural heat and Fire thereto corresponding, and after it is sublimed into Sulphur most White like Snow.
By this it appears that our Stone contains two substances of One Nature, one volatile, the other Fixt, which, and either of which the Philosophers call Argent Vive, because in the operation of this Stone, the Stone ought to be separated from all combustible and corrupt Sulphureity, and that there remains only the pure subtility and middle Substance of Argent Vive congealed and depurated of all external Sulphur or strange corruption, and this depuration is made when the Body is turned into Spirit, and the Spirit into Body by reiterated calcinations, reduction, and sublimation, whereby is made the dissolution of the Body, and is but One Operation whereby all these things are performed, to wit, solution of Argent Vive fixed with congelation of certain parts of the Volatile, and Ablution thereof with Water proportioned (with Fire) and the congelation of the said Water into a Stone, by the medium and operation of Heat of the Male and the Female, then truly is born the Stone after the first conjunction of them and not before, as in Man and Woman by this operation is the Body divided, subtilized and diligently governed, till its subtile Soul is extracted from its solidity and turned into a thin attenuated and impalpable Spirit. Then the Body is made no Body, and the no Body is made a Body, and this is true, and the true invention of the rule of working.
It is to be known though all Bodies are to be dissolved by a penetrating Spirit, with which it is to be mixed and whereby without doubt is made a like Spiritual, and as this Spirit is sublimed it is named Water, which washeth itself and cleanseth as above said, in rising with a most subtile Substance, opening the corrupted parts and of it. And this Ascension Philosophers have called Distillation, Ablution, and Sublimation perfect and accomplished. The Stone is then vivified by the vivifying Spirit or natural Soul of which it was deprived in Blackness, and is now inspired, animated, resuscitated, reduced, and carried to its last end of subtility and purity, and is a Stone, Crystalline, White as Snow, rising from the bottom of the vessel sticking to the sides of it, the remainder of its resting in the bottom of the vessel below this Crystalline Stone separated from its residence gathered apart and sublimed without the said residence for if you try to sublime it with its residence gathered apart and sublimed without the said residence for if you try to sublime it with its residence you shall never make separation of them, and so your labour will be lost.
Sublime it then without its residence, and it is the White Foliated Earth of the White Sulphur not burning, congealing, and after perfectly fixing Mercury, cleansing all foul Bodies and perfecting the imperfect, reducing them to true Luna.
This Sulphur so sublimed, no whiteness in the world exceeds it, for it is divested of all corruptible things, and is a new nature, a Quintessence arising from the pure parts of the four Elements. T'is the Sulphur of Nature, Arsenic, not burning, the incomparable treasure, the Joy of Philosophers, and the Delight so much desired by them, the White, Clear and Foliate earth, the Bird of Hermes, the Daughter of the Great Secret, and the new White Black Bird whose Feathers exceed Crystalline Brightness, White as Snow, of clean subtility and agility.
This Philosophical White Black Bird is of venerable virtue, for it is the Substance of the purest Substance in the world which is the simple Soul of the Stone, clean, noble, separated from all corporeal thickness and by great subtility divested of all bodily grossness. This White Incombustible Sulphur it is convenient to calcine the space of its dry decoction, so long till it becomes most subtile powder, impalpable, deprived of all sulphureous humidity. Then let it be incerated with White Oil of Philosophers by little and little till it suddenly flow like wax, and without creation being finished, which is nothing but reduction, to fusion or melting the thing would not melt. Then is our Glorious White Stone of Philosophers finished, fusible and melting, White as Snow, of new verdure, persevering in the Fire, retaining and congealing mercury after fixing it, tingeing and transmuting all imperfect bodies of Metals into Luna, of which cast one part upon one thousand parts of Mercury or other imperfect Metal, it shall change it into better Silver, finer, purer and whiter than that of the Mines. The manner of Projection and Multiplication of the White and Red Stone are both one, but the multiplication may be done in two manners, one by projecting one part upon one hundred parts more into pure Luna or pure Gold. There are other ways more profitable and secret to multiply the Medicine in Projection, wherein I am at present silent, but by multiplication the Stone is augmented without end, to wit, by Digestion, animation and Imbibition with Mercurial Oil, which Oil is also named of the nature of Metals, and this multiplication is only done by Imbibing and refreshing the Stone with the said Mercurial Oil Permanent, by dissolving and congealing so often as one will, for the more the Stone is digested the greater is its Perfection, and the more it will transmute, for it will be more subtile. And herein is accomplished the White Celestial Rose, of good odour, embraced by all the Philosophers.
When the White Stone is accomplished, you must dissolve one part of it, and so calcine it (as some will have it) by long decoction till it becomes like impalpable Ashes, so soft not to be touched, coloured Citrine. Then imbibe it with the Red Oil till it become Rd as Coral, as Raymond saith in his Codicil in his Chapter on Calcination of the Earth, "Forget not to Calcine it in its kindled Fire".
The Matter of the Earth foreknown of thy Stone, with reiterated dissolution, distillation of Water, and calcinations of the Body till the Earth remain White, void of all humidity and after a longer and stronger continuation of the Fire and imbibition of the Water till it become like a Hyacinth in powder, impalpable to the touch, the sign of which is manifestly shown.
As to its last Calcination it remains deprived of all humidity, spoken of in the second principle process in the Second Regimen which is to take the Stone Red, of which saith Geber it is not without the addition of a thing tingeing (or Ferment) it, which Nature well knows, to wit, without it be imbibed and tinged with this Celestial Water or Oil, of which says the Lily of the Philosophers, "Oh Celestial Nature, how dost thou turn our Bodies into Spirits, Oh Marvelous puissant who is above all, and surmounts all, and is the Vinegar which turns the Sol into true Spirit and Luna also, without which neither Black nor White nor Red can ever be produced in our work. For without this Nature is joined to our Body, which converts it into Spirit as Spiritual Fire, tingeing it with venerable Tincture that can never be blotted out".
This Water Hermes hath called the Water of Waters, Alphidius, Water of the Indian, Babylonian and Egyptian Philosophers. This Water whereby Bodies are turned into Spirits and their First Nature and Matter of our Stone, are never amended without it, but add to the White the White Water, let then the Red Stone be moistened with the Red Water to that end by long decoction or bathing, as by long imbibition, and by continual moistening, it be made as Red as Blood, the Hyacinth Scarlet or Ruby, shining as a Light in a dark place as a kindled Light.
And lastly, that our Stone be adorned with a Red Diadem, of which saith Diomedes, "Honour our King coming from the Fire with his Wife and take heed of burning them by too great heat, bake and decoct them sweetly that to the end they may be made Black, then and afterwards Citrine and Yellow, then Red, and last of all Tingeing Venom". For these are to be made by the division of the said Water, as said Egisue, "I command that you put not all the Water together but by little and little, and bake gently till the work be accomplished".
And so it will appear that the Stone will remain Red of a true Illuminated Redness, clear lively, melting like wad, by the Tincture whereof Vulgar or Argent Vive and all other imperfect Metals may be presently turned into true Sol much better than the Mines produce, wherein is accomplished our precious Stone, which is infinite Treasure to the Glory of God who lives and Reigns perpetually.
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