The Philospoher´s Stone overcomes everything to which it is applied, and tinges foreign bodies with its ovvn colour. The dry fire tinges bodies, the air strengthens them, the white water washes away their blackness, and their earth receives the Tincture. Concerning the coction needed for the development of our substance, the Sages have expressed themselves in a great variety of ways. Observe Hermes, who says that it must be repeated again and again, until the red colour at length is obtained. Herein is the stability of the whole work.
Now, since Nature is ahvays striving to attain perfectiori, and to reach the goal set before her by the Creator of ali things, she is continually at work upon the qualities of the four elements of each substance ; and so stirs up and rouses the inward action of the elements by the accidental heat of the Sun, and by natural warmth, that there arises a kind of vapour or steam in the veins of the earth. This vapour cannot make its way out, but is closed in ; in penetrating through fat, earthy, oily, and impure sulphureous substances it attracts to itself more or less of these foreign and external impurities. This is the reason that there are seen in it so great a variety of colours before it attains to purity and its own proper colour.
Those mineral and metallic substances which contain the largest proportion of efficacious sulphureous and mercurial vapour are the best ; and each quality of the four elements has its own peculiar operation and transmuting influence in such a conglomeration of various substances — their action being roused by the sulphur of the earth and the outward heat of the Sun. Through these agencies the Matter is often dissolved and coagulated, till that which is pure, or impure, is borne upward ; and this is the work not of a few years, but of a great length of time.
Nature has to purge away the peculiar characteristics of ali other metals before she can make gold ; as you may see by the fact that different kinds of metal are found in the same metallic vein. This fact may be explained in the following manner. When the sulphureous and mercurial vapours ascend, they are mixed, and United by coction, with the aforesaid substance. If those sulphureous vapours are earthy, thick, and impure, and the heat of the Sun, or their own natural heat, have too sudden and violent an effect, the substance hardens, with all its sulphureous impurities, before it can be purged of its grossness, and it becomes more lilce metallic sulphur.
If the quicksilver is hardened, the whole mass takes the form of some metal, according to the influence of the particular planet with which it is penetrated. For Nature first combines the four elements into some substance or body, which then receives its specific properties through the influence of some planet. Such is the origin of copper, tin, lead, iron, and quicksilver.
But it is not essential that I should here describe at length the specific composition and distinctive properties of each of the imperfect metals ; they are ali mingled in various proportions of impure sulphur and inefficacious quicksilver. Nature, as I said, is ceaselessly at work upon these imperfect metals, purging and separating the pure quicksilver from the impure, and the pure sulphur from the impure, until ali their grossness is removed, and they become what God designed that they should be, viz., gold. But if these vapours float upward in their original pure condition, with their inward, pure, and subtle earth, without becoming mixed with gross, earthy, and sulphureous alloy, and if they succeed in breaking forth into the open air, before they become hardened into a sulphureous mass, they remain quicksilver and are not changed into any metal elements vvithout conjunctiori and gentle coction.”
Our ore Lucas calls the white ore, and it goes by many other names on account of the many colours which it exhibits in the various stages of the Chemical process. But though the jealousy of the Sages has described it under various names, it is, and remains only one substance. Pythagoras says : “ Many names are given to it ; nevertheless, it is nothing else but the one and true Matter, and this is by reason of the development of its nature. The envious have described it by the names of all bodies, as, for instance, a coin, lead, copper, etc., according to the variety of its colours.”
“ Do not add to it any foreign substance ; for the common substance of metals is one thing, and more excellent than all other things.” Hence our whole Art is concerned with water, and a twin substance that ameliorates the water. Synon telis us that sulphur and our ore are derived from one thing, and changed into four. Lucas says : “The white ore is subjected to coction till it generates itself.
Thus it becomes United in all its four elements, and receives a living soul. It is never more than one thing, but as a man consists of body, soul, and spirit, and yet is no more than one person, so our substance consists of body, soul, and spirit. The ore receives its strength, spirit, and growth from the water.” The Sages say : “ If the ore be often deadened in its coction, it becomes all the more excellent, and if the body have a soul after the manner of man.” The body does not penetrate the soul, but the soul penetrates the body, because it is volatile. The soul, which is hidden in the four parts of the body, is called sulphur.
These bodies are male and female, and by their mutual operation our substance becomes water. Aristeus -says : “ Observe the indestructible water which issues from it.” Take the humidity which it gives off. Hence other Sages say: “ Take water with its twin substances, and let it be dried up by means of the vapour which is like it, and coagulated in its own water.” That water is also called poison ; it is the principle of life, because it is a soul, and extracted from many things.
All bodies that this Tincture enters are quickened ; all bodies from which it is extracted are destroyed. Its potency is spiritual blood, which, if well mixed with bodies, transmutes them into spirits, and combines with them into one substance. The body attracts the spirit, and the spirit tinges the body with a spiritual substance like blood. For the Sages say that whatever has a spirit has blood. If the venom penetrate the body, it imparts to it an indestructible colour, and then the soul cannot be separated from the body any more. If in flying it faces round and meets its pursuer, then is the flight at an end. The two belong together, aud Nature always tends to assimilate kindred substances. The final colour is indestructible, because the soul pervades every part of the body, and is inseparably bound up with it. Though the water is naturally cold, yet we must beware of too fierce a degree of heat ; for if the moisture of the substance be dried up, our work must come to nought.
That which is called the spirit, is the active, or male prin- ciple, and can only be obtained by the dissolution of the body. Accordingly, we must understand this of the humidity which results, namely, that which is produced, as long as two spouses are conjoined after a lawful manner, even unto the white. Would you know when the body has been rendered liquid by coction? Hear what Bonellus answers: “When you see a black substance floating in the water, you may know that the body has been dissolved.
other things, and is an excellent, harsh, and bitter acid, which transmutes gold into pure spirit. Without this acid we cannot attain either the red, or the black, or the white. When it is com- bined with bodies, then the body changes into spirit, by a heavenly fire, and immutable, indestructible tincture. Know also that the union must be brought about by a gentle fire, since the elements cannot stand a fierce fire, until the union has taken place. When the gentle heat is applied, the elements devour and con-sume each other, and yet again, on the other hand, comfort and strengthen each other, and teach each other to stand the test of fire. Hence the Sages say :
“ Invert the elements, and you will find what you seek.” To invert the elements is to make that which is moist, dry, and that which is volatile, fixed. The hus- band also enforces conjunction that he may reproduce his own likeness. Many strive to accomplish this separation and conjunc- tion ; but few succeed in bringing about an union which can stand the test of fire. The composition which is prepared out of our precious substance is not even in the slightest degree dimin- ished in volume by fire.
Rather, it is nourished by fire, as a mother nourishes her child. These are the only things that have the power of maldng red and white, both inwardly and outwardly. Remember that at first they can only bear a gentle fire. When you see that a whiteness begins to appear it must be your next care to extract it from the black substance ; then you should develop the redness which is hidden in it. But the latter object you must attain, not by extraction, but by gentle coction. Do not marvel that the Sages describe our ore under many names, and as consisting of body, soul, and spirit.
They are also referred to as brothers, or as husband and wife. But Geber says that sometimes the whole substance is only called body, or spirit ; and unless there be a dissolution into water, our work cannot be brought to a successful issue. Of course, we do not mean the the water of the clouds, as the foolish say, but a permanent water, which, however, cannot be permanent without its body. Thus Hermogenes says that we are to takethe hidden spirit, and not to despise it, because it shares its great power with its brother. For only the union of the two can give us the right Tincture. The water is also called a most sharp acid, with which the body must be washed ; this is what Socrates calls “ woman’s work, and child’s play.” The secret of our Art is the union of man and woman : the husband receives the tinging spirit from his wife. The union of husband and wife coagulates the female principle ; and if the whole be transmuted into red, we have the treasure of the world, of which Synon says: “If the water be changed into the body, the body is changed, first into earth, then into dust and ashes, and you have what you want.”
Then the work is over, and the Stone contains within itself the Tincture in the body of Magnesia. Therefore, the Sagessay, in conclusion : “ My son, extract from the splendour its shadow.” Accordingly, we need exertion, and exercise is beneficial to us, seeing that milk is for infants, but that strong men require stronger food. So also is it in this operation of the Stone.
Nothing so precious as the true Tincture ; and if with its bodies it become liquid, it produces a marvellous effect. For the Tinc- ture changes everything itis mixed with into its own nature, and makes it white both within and without. By one operation and way, by one substance, and by one mixing, the whole work is accomplished, while its purity is also one, and it is perfected in two stages, each consisting of a dissolution and a coction, with the repetition of these.
It must be your first object to elicit the whiteness of the sub- stance by means of gentle and continued coction or heat. I know that the Sages describe this simple process under a great number of misleading names. But this puzzling variety of nomenclature is only intended to veil the fact that nothing is requiied but sim- ple coction. This process of coction, however, you must patiently keep up, and that with the Divine permission, until the King is crowned, and you receive your great reward. If you ask whether the substance of our Stone be dear, I teli you that the poor pos- sess it as well as the rich.
Many have been reduced to beggary because they foolishly despised that which is highly esteemed by the Sages. If kings and princes knew it, none of us would ever be able to obtain it. Only one vessel is required for the whole process, which should be of stone, and should be capable of resisting fire.
A pound of the body of our ore should be taken, and ren- dered as pure, refined, and highly rectified, like the virtue of heaven, as the philosophers have it. Then the vessel should be placed in a reverberatory alembic. This should be set over a gentle fire, the vessel being kept tightly closed, in order that it may be able to retain its companion, and permit the same to enkindle the whiteness thereof, as Lucas says. The vessel con- taining the ore must be placed over the fire, since there can be no perfection without heat and intermixture of elements, seeing that it is produced from blood. When the male and the female principle have been together for a space of forty nights, there is an emission of moist warm seed ; and to the same God has liberally given much blood to heat it. This seed develops into an embryo which is supported with a little milk over a moderate fire, and grows stronger day by day. Its growth must be aided by warmth ; but the heat of the fire should be temperate, like that of the Sun. This may be effected by placing our vessel over an empty vessel, and that again upon some glowing coals. The process of coction should be continued until the alembic is’ well dried and the substance begins to assume a liquid aspect ; for water alone is sufficient for the coagulation and fixing of the whole, as we are told by Democritus. This water is described under various names, such as sulphur, quick- silver, spirit, and also vapour, for it can scarcely retain its companion. There are in our Art only two substances, and if I speak of two, then I think of four, all which things require one thing, by which Nature, conquering all Nature, is extracted. For Nature, on account of its nature, rejoices in itself, Nature conquers nature, and in itself contains nature. At the same time one is not opposed to the other, but one comprehends the other, whereby it excels the other, and the philosophers call this water the purifying water.
Quickens body and soul. The more perfectly our ore is purged, and subjected to coction, the better it becomes, till it is at length condensed into a Stone. But it must be dissolved again, and subjected to a powerful fire, until it looks like burnt blood. If this Stone be added to any substance, it tinges it into gold. The Sages speak of it as a kind of root. Take, they say, the whole virtue of the Tincture, and concentrate it in the Root. If a body which has no earthy elements receive this Tincture, it receives more benefit than less excellent bodies.
The Stone overcomes everything to which it is applied, and tinges foreign bodies with its ovvn colour. The dry fire tinges bodies, the air strengthens them, the white water washes away their blackness, and their earth receives the Tincture. Concerning the coction needed for the development of our substance, the Sages have expressed themselves in a great variety of ways. Observe Hermes, who says that it must be repeated again and again, until the red colour at length is obtained. Herein is the stability of the whole work.
Afterwards it assumes many, many colours, not including the red, which appears at the end. For the white must precede it. Set to work by the regimen of fire, and triturate. The above mentioned water volatilizes all bodies ; even such as are gross it penetrates until it has assimilated them to its own nature. Know that unless you operate upon bodies until they are destroyed and their soul is extracted, with such you will never tinge any body, for nothing tinges which has not first itself been tinged. If the body be made fluid and burnt, then it bends itself towards its begetter, becoming a subtle Magnesia, and it turns towards the earth, which makes it spiritual and vivifies it. Before the final whiteness of the first stage is attained, the substance turns first of a black, then of an orange, and then of a reddish colour (which, however, is quite different from the final redness of the last stage). These colours, however, need not trouble you, since they are evanescent and merely transitional.
From what I have said you may gather that our substance is found in the gold which is hidden in Magnesia, and that it is one thing composed of sulphur from sulphur and mercury from mercury. And as the substance of our Stone is one, so is the method of its preparation. Therefore, do not listen to those ignorant and fraudulent alchemists who speak of many different kinds of sublimation and distillation. Turn a deaf ear to those who say that the substance of our Stone is the powder of the Basilisk. As to the (length of) time required for the prepara- tion, you must begin it in the winter, which is moist, and extract the moisture until the spring, when all things become green, and when our substance, too, should exhibit a variety of colours. In the summer the substance should be reduced to powder by means of a powerful fire. The autumn, the season of ripeness, should witness its maturity, or final redness. About the motions of the stars or planets you need not trouble yourself. Our substance is a body containing the spirit which makes glass malleable, and turns crystals into carbuncles. One drop of our Elixir, as large as a drop of rain, will suffice to tinge and trans- mute a body a thousand times as large as itself.
This most noble Remedy was appointed, like all other things, for the use of man, because he is the most glorious of God’s creatures, and the lord of the whole earth. It was given to him for the purpose of preserving his youth, expelling disease, preventing suffering, and providing him with all he requires. Our Elixir is better than all the medicinal prepara- tions of Hippocrates, Avicenna, and others. From it may be prepared a potable antidote which has power to cure leprosy. As fire purges and refines metals, so this Remedy restores to the human body its natural heat, expels from it all health- destroying matter, and fortifies it against every conceivable form of disease. Its virtue is infmitely greater than that of the potable gold dust, which is taken as a preventative among the Gentiles.
Great and wonderful is the potency of the gold that slum- bers in Magnesia, both for the purifying of the human system, and for the transmuting of metals. What more shall I say ? All the things that I have here faithfully described I have seen with my own eyes, and performed with my own hands.
When I was preparing the substance, after discovering the true method, I was so seriously interfered with by the persons with whom I lived that I was almost on the point of giving up the whole thing in despair. At length I communicated my discovery to a friend, who faithfully executed my instructions,and brought the work to a successful issue. For which Blessed Gift may God be praised, world without end. Amen.
Day by day, during several weeks ;
Thus in this one vile thing
You will discover and bring to perfection the whole work of Philosophy,
Which to most men appears impossible,
Though it is a convenient and easy task.
If we were to shew it to the outer world We should be derided by men, women, and children. Therefore be modest and secret,
And you will be left in peace and security.
Remember your duty towards your neighbour and your Gocl, Who gives this Art, and would have it concealed.
Now we will conclude the Preface,
That we may begin to describe the very Art,
And truly and plainly set it forth in figures,
Rendering thanks to the Creator of every creature.
Hereunto follows the First Figure,
The Sages will teli you That two fishes are in our sea Without any flesh or bones.
Let them be cooked in their own water ;
Then they also will become a vast sea,
The vastness of which no man can describe.
Moreover, the Sages say
That the two fishes are only one, not two ;
They are two, and nevertheless they are one, Body, Spirit, and Soul.
Now, I teli you most truly,
Cook these three together,
That there may be a very large sea.
Cook the sulphur well with the sulphur,
And hold your tongue about it :
Conceal your knowledge to your own advantage, And you shall be free from poverty.
Only let your discovery remain a close secret.
The Sea is the Body, the two Fishes are Soul a>id Spirit.
The Sages say truly That two animals are in this forest : One glorious, beautiful, and swift, A great and strong deer ; The other an unicorn. They are concealed in the forest, But happy shall that man be called Who shall snare and capture them. The Masters shew you here clearly That in all places These two animals wander about in forests (But know that the forest is but one). If we apply the parable to our Art, We shall call the forest the Body. That will be rightly and truly said. The unicorn will be the Spirit at all times. The deer desires no other name But that of the Soul ; which name no man shall take away from it. He that knows how to tame and master them by Art, To couple them together, And to lead them in and out of the forest, May justly be called a Master. For we rightly judge That he has attained the golden flesh, And may triumph everywhere ; Nay, he may bear rule over great Augustus.
In the Body there is Soni and Spint.
The Sages do faithfully teach us That two strong lions, to wit, male and female, Lurk in a dark and rugged valley. These the Master must catch, Though they are swift and fierce, And of terrible and savage aspect. He who, by wisdom and cunning, Can snare and bind them, And lead them into the same forest, Of him it may be said with justice and truth That he has merited the meed of praise before all others, And that his wisdom transcends that of the worldly wise.
The Spint and Soul must be united in their Body.
A WOLF AND A DOG ARE IN ONE HOUSE, AND ARE AFTERWARDS CHANGED INTO ONE.
Th e Body is mortified and rendered white , tken jomed to Soul and Spirit by bemg saturated with them.
A savage Dragon lives in the forest, Most venomous he is, yet lacking nothing : When he sees the rays of the Sun and its bright fire, He scatters abroad his poison, And flies upward so fiercely That no living creature can stand before him, Nor is even the Basilisk equal to him. He who hath skill to slay him, wisely Hath escaped from all dangers. Yet all venom, and colours, are multiplied In the hour of his death. His venom becomes the great Medicine. He quickly consumes his venom, For he devours his poisonous tail. All this is performed on his own body, From which flows forth glorious Balm, With all its miraculous virtues. Hereat all the Sages do loudly rejoice.
THIS SURELY IS A GREAT MIRACLE AND WITHOUT ANY deception — THAT IN A VENOMOUS DRACON THERE SHOULD BE THE CREAT MEDICINE
The Mercury is precipitated or sublimed, dissolved in its own proper water , and then once more coagulated.
The Mercury having been often sublimed , is at length fixed , and becomes capable ofresisting fire : the sublimation must be repeated until at length fixation is attained.
Let the Body be placed in horse-dung ‘ , or a wartn bat/i , the Spirit havmg been extracted from it The Body has become white by the process, the Spirit red by our Art. All that exists tends towards perfection , and thus is the P hilosopher’ s Stone prepared.
Thus you may know that the Tincture has truly attained the first degree.
This is the reiteration , gradation, and amelioration of the Tincture , or Philosopher’ s Stone; and the zvhole is called its Augmentation.