The power-alchemist, THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE AND THE ELIXIR, THE GLORY OF THE WORLD, The stone of the philosophers is, by all the authors who have treated of it, esteemed to be the greatest gift of God on earth
There is a subtle alchemy in life meeting life which finds no parallel in any known fact. But the alchemists unconsciously shadowed it forth in their dream of the philosopher’s stone. Life meets life in the living crucible of the mind. And all things thrown into that living fire are fused into a new creation. The philosopher’s stone is found, which has the power in very truth of turning all baser metals into gold. The philosopher’s stone is found in the great crucible of true education. The educator is a power-alchemist. He applies the flame of life, and man in himself becomes power.
The ancients sought long for the philosopher’s stone, which, as they believed, would turn every-thing it touched into gold. Christ has dis-covered it, and revealed its secret to those who believe in Him. It is that stone `cut out without hands,’ the blessed Son of God Himself, at whose divine touch every experi-ence of the Christian life, however painful, is turned into a golden blessing. For ‘ we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.’
The great truth which is set forth in Jacob’s vision—viz., that there is communication be-tween earth and heaven—is made actual in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the Mediator between God and man. By Him we draw near to God, and God comes near to us. He is the ladder which connects heaven and earth. As for the angels, they are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.
The religious theory of the science may be gathered from Faber’s Propugnaculum Alchymiae, published in 1644, wherein occurs the statement ; ” The stone of the philosophers is, by all the authors who have treated of it, esteemed to be the greatest gilt of God on earth. As therefore it is so great and mighty a gift of God, the most necessary thing in order that man should attain to a knowledge of its excellence and worth, is wisdom which is bestowed by God on very few.”
This precious stone, which went by various names, the ” Universal Elixir,” the ” Elixir of Life,” the ” Water of the Sun,” was thought to procure to its happy discoverer and possessor riches innumerable, perpetual health, a life exempt from all maladies, and cares, and pains, and even in the opinion of some—immortality. It transmuted lead into gold, glass into diamonds, it opened locks, it penetrated every-where ; it was the sovereign remedy to all disease, it was luminous in the darkest night. To fashion it—so the alchemists said—gold and lead, iron, antimony, vitriol, sulphur, mercury, arsenic, water, fire, earth, and air were needed ; to these must be added the egg of a cock, and the spittle of doves.
Really, said one shrewd and satiric writer, it only wanted oil, vinegar, and salt, to make of it a salad. Now the curious thing is—as we shall see in the sequel—the alchemists were not far out in their opinion. All these ingredients, or rather most of them—the cock’s egg and the dove’s spittle only exempted—are to be found combined in the Philosopher’s Stone, and only recent science has established this fact. As the possessor of this stone was sure to be the most glorious, powerful, rich, and happy of mortals, as he could at will convert anything into gold, and enjoy all the pleasures of life, it is not surprising that the Philosopher’s Stone was sought with eagerness. It was sought, but, as already said, never found, because the alchemists looked for it in just the place where it was not to be found, in their crucibles. Medals were struck on which were inscribed ” Per Sal, Sulphur, Mercurium, Fit Lapis Philosophorum,” which was a simplification of the receipt. On the reverse stood, “Thou Alpha and Omega of Life, Hope and Resurrection after Death.” It was identified with Solomon’s seal ; it was called Orphanus, the One and Only.
It is curious to find a better appreciation. of the Spirit of Truth than prevailed in the Churches among the Alchemists or Hermetic philosophers, commonly supposed to be seeking the philosopher’s stone for the making of gold, but, according to others, handing down under the symbol of the stone a very ancient study for the perfecting of man. Thomas Vaughan, writing on Her-metics, or Alchemy, in the middle of the tyth century, said : ” God the Father is the metaphysical, supercelestial Sun ; the Second Person is the Lig& ; and the third is Amor /Knew, or a Divine Heat proceeding from both. Now with-out the presence of this Heat, there is no reception of the Light, and by conse-quence no reception from the Father of Light”
THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE AND THE ELIXIR
Matt 10:38-39 says; “And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [[a]cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his [[b]lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].”
In bygone times there was much research among scientific men for what was termed the philo-sopher’s stone, the art of transmuting into gold the baser metals. There was also as much labour bestowed in search of the elixir vita, the water of life, which, it was contended, whoever discovered, would be enabled to possess unbounded riches, as well as immortal youth and beauty.
It was, however, reserved for our age to find these two most desigble blessings, and now they are within the reach of every one who will be at the pains to labour for their acquisition, and when acquired, to exercise the necessary watchfulness to retain their possession. There arc, however, two conditions to acquire these gifts.
The one is selling all that we have; the other, no less a sacrifice than that of life; and it is to neglect complying with these conditions, which prevents the enjoyment of unbounded wealth, and of a life which is not subject to pain, sickness, old age, or death. He who among us Is desirous of possessing the true philosopher’s stone, must sell all that he has, ere he can have wherewith to purchase it.
True wisdom, which is true wealth, exists only in the Supreme Being ; but he, having endowed man with lofty and aspiring desires, has also furnished him with the means of gratilying them. He has placed at every one’s disposal an inexhaustible treasury, from which the more he takes, the greater is the amount left him to spend.
This treasury is the Word of Divine Truth, or Sacred Scriptures. Every truth which he draws therefrom, and which he expends in making known, multiplies itself as it passes from hand to hand, and increases in value as it pursues its course. It is a most important property of this truth, to take from the man all idea of his own merit. The more it enlightens its receiver, the more humble he becomes. It levels all desire of worldly aggrandizement; it brings the man to so much poverty of spirit, that, surrendering all lie has to the guidance of Infinite Wisdom, he is content to follow in the order of provi-dence, and feels that, guided by this, he must ultimately become wealthy.
He, at the same time, while in this lowly state, has very aspiring wishes ; his high imagin-ings are for a crown, but it is a crown which fadeth not away, a crown of immortal glory. With these aspiring desires, his own life, his merely natural affec-tions and worldly enjoyments, find a very low place indeed. In truth, his mind is so intent upon the true elixir vita, the true water of life, that what he enjoys or engages in here, are only the results of his connexion with the world of causes. The effects belong to this life or to the body, and must be performed as acts of use, but they are swallowed up in the more important uses which devolve on the soul.
THE GLORY OF THE WORLD
From the beginning of all things God is. He is likened to light and fire, and He may be likened to the latter in His essence, because fire is the first principle of all things that are seen and grow. In the same way, the first principle of our Art is fire. I feat impels Nature to work, and in its working are manifested Body, Spirit, and Soul ; that is, earth and water.
Earth is the Body, oil the Soul, and water the Spirit; and all this is accomplished through the Divine goodness and lenity, without which Nature can do nothing ; or, as the Sage says : “God’s lenity rules all things ; and beneath the thickness of the earth, after creation, are revelled lenity and integrity.”
That is to say: If the earth is separated from the water, and itself dissolved into oil and water, the oil is integrity, and the water lenity ; for the water imparts the soul to the oil and to the body, andlthe body] receives nothing but what is imparted to it by heaven, that is, by the water—and the water is revealed under the oil, the oil under the earth. For the fire is subtle, and floats upward from the earth with subtle waters, and is concealed in the earth.
Now oil and air and earth are purified by their own spirit Therefore the oil is integrity in the body, and the spirit lenity. And the spirit in the first operation descends to the body and restores life to the body; although the oil is pure and remains with the body, yet it cannot succour the body without the help of the spirit ; for the body suffers violence and anguish while it is dissolved and purified. Then, again, the “thickness of the earth” is transmuted into a thin substance such as water or oil, and thus the ” lenity ” is seen in the body.
For the body is so mild or soft as to be changed into water, or oil, although before it was quite dry. Therefore oil is seen in the earth, which is the fatness or life of the water, i.e., an union of fire, air, and water.. Now give the water to the body to drink, and it will be restored to life. And though those three elements have ascended from the earth, yet the virtue remains with the body, as you may see by dissolving it into oil and water. But the oil cannot operate without the spirit, nor can the spirit bear fruit without the oil and the body.
Therefore they must be united ; and all “lenity” and “integrity” are seen in the body when it is transmuted to white and red.
Explication of the Opinion V Pythagoras. This Sage asks what that is which is touched, and yet not seen. He means that the substance which is prepared by our Art is one thing, which is tangible and invisible.
That is to say, it is felt, but not seen, nor is the mode of its operation known. He who knows it, but knows not its operation, as yet knows nothing as he ought This one thing, which alone is profitable for the purposes of our Art, proceeds from a certain dark place, where it is not seen, nor are its operation or its virtue known to any but the initiated.
A great mystery is also concealed in the Matter itself, namely, air and fire, or the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. This is concealed in it, and yet is invisible, as the Sage says : What is not seen, or known, is only heaven.
That which is felt, and not seen, is earth. Earth, says the Sage, is thickness, or body, which is found at the bottom of the Matter, has accu-mulated in the Matter, and can be felt and known. By the words, “that is between heaven and earth, which is not known,” (it, in the world), the Sage means that the Matter of our Stone is found in the small world ; not in rocks and mountains, or in the earth, but between heaven and earth, i.e., in the air.
Again, when he says that “in it are senses, and entirety, as smell, taste, hearing, touch,” he would teach us that in human nature there is entirety of mind and perception for man can know, feel, and understand. Ile would also teach us how our Stone is to be found, namely, by sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
By sight, because the Matter of the Stone is thick, or thin and clear, and turns black, white, and red. By smell, because, when its impurity is purged away, it emits a most sweet fragrance. By taste, because it is first bitter and disagreeable, but afterwards becomes most pleasant By touch, because that sense enables us to distinguish between the hard and the soft, the gross and the subtle, between water and earth, and between the different stages of distillation, putrefaction, dissolution, coagulation, fermentation, and injection, which the substance goes through. The different processes of the task are perceived with the senses, and it should be accomplished within forty-six clays.
Loosening of the Knot of Aristeus
“Take the body which I have shown you, and beat it into thin leaves,” it., take the earth which cleaves to our substance, and, by having become dry, becomes visible and knowable ; for now it is water and earth. The earth is thus sham, and divided into two parts, earth and water. Let that earth be taken, placed in a phial, and put in a warm bath, by the warmth of which it is dis-solved, through its own internal coction, into water; this the Sage calls beating into thin leaves.
The body which is thus obtained is variously described as the Philosopher’s Stone, or the Stone of leaves. ” Add some of our salt water, and this is the water of life.” That means : After its dissolution into water, it must receive our salt water to drink—for this water has been previously distilled from it, and is the water of life; for the soul and spirit of the body are hidden in it, and it is called our sea water ; the same also is its natural name, because it is obtained from the invisible hidden sea of the Sages, the sea of the smaller world. For our Art is called the smaller world, and thus it is the water of our sea. If this water is added to the body, and heated and purified with it, the body is purged by long coction, and its colour changes from black to a brilliant white, while the water is coagulated, and forms, by indissoluble union with the body, the imperishable Philosopher’s Stone, which you must use to the glory of God.
Exposition of the Saying of Parmenides. Jealous Sages have named many waters and metals and stones, simply for the purpose of deceiving you ;. herein the philosophers would warn us that they have used secrecy, lest the whole mystery should be manifested before all the world. Those who follow the letter of their directions are sure to be led astray., and to miss entirely the true foundation of our Art.
The fault, however, lies not with the Sages so much as with the ignorance of their readers.
The Sages name it a stone ; and so it is a stone, which is dug up from our mine. They speak. of metals ; and there are such things as metals liquefied from our ore. They speak of water ; but our water we obtain from our own spring. The red and white sulphur they refer to are obtained from our air.
Their salt is obtained from our salt mines. it is our Sun, our verdigris, halonitre, alkali, orpiment, arsenic, our poison, our medicine, etc. By whatever name they call it they cannot make it more than one thing. It is rightly described by all the Sages, but not plainly, enough for the uninitiated en-quirer. For such an one knows neither the substance nor its Operation. The Sage says : ” Relinquish Sun, Moon, and Venus for our ore,” i.e., it is not to be found in any earthly metals, but only in our ore. Whoever rightly understands the concluding words of the Sage has received a great blessing at the hand of God.
Explanation of Me Saying of Lucas. By the living water of the Moon this Sage means our water, which is twofold. The distilled water is the Main ; the Sun, or fire, is hidden in it, and is the Father of all things. Hence it is compared to a man, because the Sun is in the water. It is also called living water ; for the life of the dead body is hidden in the water. It is the water of the Moon, because the Sun is the Father and the Moon the Mother.
Hence, also, they are regarded as husband and wife. The Body is the Moon, or Mother, and the distilled water, or male principle, rises up-ward from the earth ; and for that reason is sometimes called Moon. For it is the water of the Moon, or Body. It has left the Body, and must enter it again before our Art can be perfected. I fence the Body, or Moon, has well been designated the female principle, and the water, or Sun, the male principle, for reasons which have been set forth at length in this book.
Again, when the Sage says, “Coagulate it after our fashion,” those last three words mean that the body must receive its spirit to drink gradually, and little by little, until it recovers its life, and health, and strength, which takes place by means of the same gentle heat which digests food in the stomach, and matures fruit in its place. For it is our custom to eat, drink, and live in gentle warmth.
By this regimen our body is pre-served, and all that is foul and unprofitable is driven out from our body. According to the same fashion of gentle coction, all that is fetid and black is gradually purged out of our Stone. For when the Sage says “after our fashion,” he wishes to teach you that the preparation of the Stone bears a strict analogy to the processes of the human body.
That the chemical development of our substance is internal, and caused by the operation of Nature and of its four elements, the Sage indicates by the words, ” Everything is already coagulated.” The substance contains all that is needed ; there is nothing to be added or taken away, seeing that it is dissolved and again conjoined by its own inherent properties. When the Sage continues, ” I bid you take water of life, which descends from the Moon, and pour it upon our earth till it turns white,” he means that if water and earth are separated from each other, then the dry body is our earth, and the extracted water is the water of the Moon, or water of life.
This process of adfusion, desiccation, attrition, coagulation, etc., is repeated till the body turns white ; and then takes place onr conglutination, which is indissoluble. ” Then,” as the Sage says, “we have our Magnesia, and the Nature of natures rejoices.” Its spirit and body become one thing : they were one thing, and after separation have once more become one thing ; therefore, one nature rejoices in the restora-tion of the other. Exposition of the Saying of Ethelitts.
He says: ” Heat our Stone until it shines like dazzling marble ; then it becomes great, and a mystic Stone ; for sulphur added to sulphur preserves it on account of its fitness.” That is to say : %Viten the moist and the dry have been separated, the dry which lies at the bottom, and is called our Stone, is as black as a raven. It must be subjected to the coction of our water (separated from it), until it loses its blackness, and becomes as white as dazzling marble.
Then it is the mystic Stone which by coction has been transmuted into fixed mercury with the bless-ing of God. The Stone is mystic, or secret, because it is found in a secret place. in an universally despised substance where no one looks for the greatest treasure of the world.
Hence it may well be called The IIIDDEN STONE.
By the joining of two sulphurs and their mutual preservation, he means that though, after the separation of spirit and body, there seem to be two substances, yet, in reality, there is only one substance ; so the body which is below is “sulphur,” and the spirit which is above is also “sulphur.” Now, when the spirit returns to the body, one sulphur is added to another ; and they are bound to-gether by a mutual fitness, since the body cannot be without the spirit, nor the spirit without the body.
Hence there are these two sulphurs in the body, the red and the white, and the white sulphur is in the black body, while the red is hid beneath it If the spirit is gradually added to the body, it is entirely coagulated into the body, sulphur is added to sulphur, and perfection is attained through the fitness which exists between them.
The body receives nothing but its own spirit ; for it has retained its soul, and what has been extracted from a body can be joined to nothing but that same body. The spirit delights in nothing so much as in its own soul, and its own body. I fence the Sage says : ” When the spirit has been restored to the body, the sulphur to the sulphur, and the water to the earth, and all has become white, then the body retains the spirit, and there can be. no further seFtration.”
Thus you have the well purged earth of the Sages, in which we sow our grain, unto infinity, that it may bring forth much fruit Explanation of the Saying of Pythagoras. You have good cause to wonder at the great variety of ways in which the Sages have expressed the same thing. Nevertheless, their descriptions apply only to one Matter, and their sayings refer only to a single substance. For when our Sage says, ” We give you directions concerning these things : We tell you that it is dry water, like the water of the Moon, which you have pm. pared,” he means that we Sages must give directions, according to the best of our ability.
If those directions, rightly understood, do not answer the purpose, you may justly charge us with fraud and imposture. Hut if you fail through not taking our meaning, you must blame your own unspeakable stupidity, which follows the letter, but not the spirit of our directions.
When the Sage further says that it must drink its own water, he would teach you that after the separation of the dry from the moist, the water ex. tractcd from the body is the right water, and the water of the Moon, prepared by putrefaction and distillation. This extracted water is regarded as the male principle, and the earth, or body, as the female principle.
The water of the husband must now be joined in conjugal union to that of the wife ; the body must, at intervals, drink of its own prepared water, and become ever purer, the more it drinks, till it turns most wonderfully white. Then it is called “our calx,” and you must pour the water of our calx upon the body, until it is coagulated, becoming tinged, and a most bright quality returns to it, and the body itself is saturated with its own moisture. If you wish to obtain the red tincture, you should dissolve and coagulate, and go through the whole process over again. Verily, this is God’s own truth, an accurate, simple, and plain statement of the requirements of our Art.
Explanation of the Emerald Table of Hermes.
Hermes is right in saying that our Art is true, and has been rightly handed down by the Sages ; all doubts concerning it have arisen through false interpretation of the mystic language of the philosophers. But, since they are loth to confess their own ignorance, their readers prefer to say that the words of the Sages arc imposture and falsehood.
The fault really lies with the ignorant reader, who does not understand the style of the Philosophers. If, in the interpretation of our books, they would suffer themselves to be guided by the teaching of Nature, rather than by their own foolish notions, they would not miss the mark so hopelessly. By the words which follow : “That which is above is also that which is below,” he. describes the Matter of our Art, which, though one, is divided into two things, the volatile water which rises upward, and the earth which lies at the bottom, and becomes fixed.
But when the reunion takes place, the body becomes spirit, and the spirit becomes body, the earth is changed into water and becomes volatile, the water is transmuted into body, and becomes fixed. When bodies become spirits, and spirits bodies, your work is finished ; for then that which rises upward and that which des-cends downward become one body.
Therefore the Sage says that that which is above is that which is below, meaning that, after having been separated into two substances (from being one substance), they are again joined together into one substance, i.e., an union which can never be dissolved, and possesses such virtue and efficacy that it can do in one moment what the Sun cannot accomplish in a thousand years.
And this miracle is wrought by a thing which is despised and rejected by the multitude. Again, the Sage tells us that all things were created, and are still gene-rated, from one first substance, and consist of the same elementary material ; and in this first substance God has appointed the four elements, which represent a common material into which it might perhaps be possible to resolve all things.
Its development is brought about by the distillation of the Sun and Moon. For it is operated upon by the natural heat of the Sun and Moon, which stirs up its internal action, and multiplies each thing after its kind, imparting to the substance a specific form. The soul, or nutritive principle, is the earth which receives the rays of the Sun and Moon, and therewith feeds her children as with mother’s milk.
Thus the Sun is the father, the Moon is the mother, the earth the nurse—and in this substance is that which we require. He who can take it and prepare it is truly to be envied. It is separated by the Sun and Moon in the form of a vapour, and collected in the place where it is found.
When Hermes adds that ” the air bears it in its womb, the earth is its nurse, the whole world its Father,” he means that when the substance of our Stone is dissolved, then the wind bears it in its womb, i.e., the air bears up the substance in the form of water, in which is hid fire, the soul of the Stone ; and fire is the Father of the whole world.
Thus, the volatile substance rises upward, while that which remains at the bottom, is the “whole world ” (seeing that bur Art is compared to a “small world”). I fence I fumes calls fire the father of the whole world, because it is the Sun of our Art, and air, Moon, and water ascend from it ; the earth is the nurse of the Stone, i.e., when the earth receives the rays of the Sun and Moon, a new body is born, like a new tutus in the mother’s womb.
The earth receives and digests the light of Sun and Moon, and imparts food to its fietus clay by day, till it becomes great and strong, and puts off its blackness and defilement, and is changed to a different colour. This, “child,” which is called “our daughter,” represents our Stone, which is born anew of the Sun and Moon, as you may easily see, when the spirit, or the water that ascended, is gradually transmuted into the body, and the body is born anew, and grows and increases in size like the fetus in the mother’s womb.
Thus the Stone is generated front the first substance, which con-tains the four elements ; it is brought forth by two things, the body and the spirit; the wind bears it in its womb, fur it carries the Stone upward from earth to heaven, and down again from heaven to earth. Thus the Stone receives increase from above and from below, and is born a second time, just as every other foetus is generated in the maternal womb ; as all created things bring forth their young, even so does the air, or wind, bring forth our Stone.
When Hermes adds, “Its power, or virtue, is entire, when it is transmuted into earth,” he means that when the spirit is transmuted into the body, it receives its full strength and virtue For as yet the spirit is volatile, and not fixed, or permanent. If it is to be fixed, we must proceed as the baker does in baking bread. We must impart only a little of the spirit to the body at a time, just as the baker only puts a little leaven to his meal, and with it leavens the whole lump.
The spirit, which is our leaven, in like fashion transmutes the whole body into its own substance. Therefore the body must be leavened again and again, until the whole lump is thoroughly pervaded with the power of the leaven. In our Art the body leavens the spirit, and transmutes it into one body, and the spirit leavens the body, and transmutes it into one spirit.
And the two, when they have become one, receive power to leaven all, things, into which they are injected, with their own virtue The Sage continues: “If you gently separate the earth from the water, the subtle from the hard, the Stone ascends from earth to heaven, and again descends from heaven to earth, and receives its virtue from above and from below. By this process you obtain the glory and brightness of the whole world.
With it you can put to flight poverty, disease, and weariness; for it overcomes the subtle mercury, and penetrates all hard and firm bodies.” He means that all who would accomplish this task must separate the moist from the dry, the water from the earth. The water, or fire, being subtle, ascends, while the body is hard, and remains where it is.
The separation must be accomplished by gentle heat, i.e., in the temperate bath of the Sages, which acts slowly, and is neither too hot nor too cold. Then the Stone ascends to heaven, and again descends from heaven to earth.
The spirit and body are first separated, then again joined together by gentle coction, of a temperature resembling that with which a hen hatches her eggs. Such is the preparation of the substance, which is worth the whole world, whence it is also called a “little world.” The possession of the Stone will yield you the greatest delight, and unspeakably precious comfort. It will also set forth to you in a typical form the creation of the world.
It will enable you to cast out all disease from the human body, to drive away poverty, and to have a good understanding of the secrets of Nature. The Stone has virtue to transmute mercury into gold and silver, and to penetrate all hard and firm bodies, such as precious stones and metals. You cannot ask a better gift of God than this gift, which is greater than all other gifts. Hence Hermes may justly call himself by the proud title of ” Hermes Trismegistus, who holds the three parts of the whole world of wisdom.”