The Crowning of Nature
Text and figures 1-7.
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The influence of the heavens by the will and command of God, descends from above and mixes with the virtues and properties of the Stars, and likewise in this manner is the first production of our seed.
You must not take it out of any combustible for it fights with it without being prejudiced, but is known out of a metallic root ordained by the Creator only for the generation of metals.
You must look [for] it in the seed of its proper nature from which nature may produce it.
Bernard Trevisan's books are writ true, right and once by circumstances to amuse souls.
The Elements are Water, Air, Earth, and Fire, which must be so applied and governed until such time they produce a soul.
We gather the four elements by a concordance of the Seven Planets.
All our work is to Congeal and Dissolve the body, and Congeal the Spirit.
God being before all things, when He was alone created one Substance, which He called the first matter and of that substance he created the Elements, and from them created all things.
Our Stone is the Quintessence of the Four Elements, separated from them and reduced into a fifth Essence, being extracted out of the body of the first matter. Nature created by God prepared with human artifice, then by the Conjunction and Union of the said elements after their perfect rectification, reduces them into a fifth, a glorious fifth Essence or Spirit called Quintessence, appearing in a glorified body which is found in one only thing created by God.
Wheresoever is found a metallic Spirit, a metallic Soul and a body metallic, there is also found infallibly Quicksilver, Sulphur and Salt, in which certainly will make a perfect metallic body.
We gather it from the most perfect Creature upon which the Sun ever set his eyes.
St Dunstan's work, De Occulta Philosophia E: G: I: A, calls it the food of Angels, the heavenly Viaticum, the Bread of Life, and it is undoubtedly next under God, the true Alchochodon or giver of years, and he does not so much admire the question whether any man can die that uses it, as to think why the possessors of it should desire to live, who have these manifestations of Glory and eternity represented to their fleshly eyes.
Our Stone is made or composed of Two, Three, Four, and Fire: of Five, that is the quintessence, of Four which are the Four Elements, of Three which is of three Principle natural things, of Two which signifies double mercury, and of One which is the first principle of all things, which was produced clean and pure from the Creation of the world, fiat – be it made.
There are Creatures created more noble than Gold and we must look [for] it where truth will find it, which so hath put in nature, and man cannot know it by sight, except he see the whole work.
Adam our first father was in his inward parts, or internal man, made according to the similitude of God of the same substance and matter which the Angels were made, though men (that the world hold great Doctors) say and tell it for truth that God made man out of a piece of mud, clay, or dust of the Earth, which is false, it was no such matter, but a quintessential Matter, which is called Earth but is no earth. Adam before his all had a far different body than what he had after, and so far different that if we should behold him as he was in his Innocency, we should admire the glory of him, and tremble at the sight, as at the sight of an Angel and such a body as our blessed Saviour brought from heaven with him, such a body shall we arise with, and with such bodies shall our souls be endued with flesh and blood. Otherwise Man would not differ from Angels, for this flesh and blood is put upon us by the Holy Ghost, that is by regeneration. I forebear to speak more of these mysteries known to few. But he that liveth to be blessed with this Art, shall glorify his Creator.
Man the Microcosm or Little World, from the Stars received Spirit, from the Great World his body, and from God immediately his soul, so here is an illumination of the Blessed Trinity. Now let us say something of the production of the Great World out of nothing, when there were neither time or place, and God created a certain Chaos Invisible which the Philosophers call Hyle, the most remote matter. Out of this He made an extract or Second Matter Chaos, which the Philosophers know not by speculation, but since that matter was and is visible and tangible, in which were and are all the seeds and forms of all creatures Superior and Inferior, that ever were made. From this God divided the four Elements, in a word did make all things Celestial and Terrestrial, the Angels, Sun, Moon, and Stars. The knowledge and practice of the Philosophers upon this Chaos brought them to the knowledge of all wisdom, and from thence next [to] God, seek thou and find all wisdom, and indeed Angelical wisdom is attained by it.
Incredulity is given to the world as a punishment.
He that knoweth not what he seeketh, shall not know what he shall find.
Concerning the Ancient Chaos
Chaos is the first beginning of the first created from an Uncreated Being, this God omnipotent created in the beginning, but before the work of the days it was without shape and also confused. But afterwards all the most sound Philosophers nominated that Essence, the Mother and the first matter of the world, for Hilon, and Nature, in whose bosom innumerable forms lay hid, which the Omnipotent Builder, that great Spagirus, appointed in his time to break forth, for he had first included a spirit in that Undigested Matter, Chaos, who some hath affirmed ought to be called the Soul of the World, some the Form of Forms, others the Proximate Instrument of the Creator. By the benefit of this spirit so included, there is at length by the most free will of God, providing for and overlooking all things, a separation is made of the waters from the waters, by which they were divided. But it is very remarkable, that at the separation of the Chaos, there was a just division, no deperdition, but every particle of the same being full of spirit and life, they are fit for that to which they were ordained, waxing strong and vegetating.
Hence the admirable strength of things, may by the sons of men be drawn forth and become a true metamorphosis, if they artificially search and handle them according to the nature of the Chemical Art, for the true Philosophers have considered of no other Mystery than Nature itself, and a possibility of Nature, which Natural simplicity may indeed suffice those that rely on it, for Nature doth work most of all from its aptness of its own virtue and beginning, as it doth demonstrate, only needing a little help of Art.
With the Cabalists this Chaos is twofold, to wit, Intelligibles and Visibles, the one proceeding from the immediate decree of God, the other is reported or declared to proceed immediately from the execution of the same decree.
Know further, that the point you see in the White, is put for the centre of the Earth, the whiteness doth signify the Earth itself, the crooked line signifies the flowing water, which in its own place would cover the Earth, but by the decree of the most bountiful Creator, it encompasses some part only. The white circle beset with little black spots, signifies the Air, as the sevenfold little points of a golden color denotes the Fire.
These things being thus expounded and declared, the next consideration shall be of the seven Planets punctually compassing the Chaos. The first of these is Saturn, and therefore is placed in the ascendant, but he contains all the other planets, as the others do the rest, but in a diverse order. From hence it is known that all things are in all things, according to the true philosophical intention. But Saturn himself is feminine and melancholy, Jupiter feminine and phlegmatic and sanguine, Mars masculine and sanguine, Mercury feminine and phlegmatic, lastly the Moon feminine and melancholy.
Saturn the Chemical Subject in the Root of Art
Saturn is the first of the planets far exceeding all his brethren in essence, order and dignity. He is accounted the primary son of Nature, the root of metals known to few.
Hence saith the Clangor, the colouring spirit is the philosopher's Mercury with its Red or White Sulphur being naturally mixed with it in the mine and bowels of the Earth, also indifferently prepared, the judgement of the artificer being left until the perfect consummation, as it is in the metaphor of Bellinus concerning the Sun, that which is the spirit is called Saturn, in plain words tincturing and dividing all metallic bodies especially gold with a true and radical dissolution, as is manifest by his words in the Rosary "Know, saith he, that my father the Sun hath given me power above all power and hath clothed me with a garment of glory, and all the world seeks me and runs after me, for I am that excellent one who exalts and debases all things, and none of my servants except one can overcome me, to whom is given that which is contrary to me, and he destroys me, though not my nature, and that is Saturn who separates all my members. Afterwards I turn to my Mother who congregates all my divided and separated members".
Trevisan affirms the same thing, that no other argent vive can be extracted out of any other body, except out of the Red Servant, which is called by Bellinus, the contrary Servant. But it is called a Servant (to wit) the Servant of Nature, because it serves in the generation of Metals in her Minerals, and because it serves in Chemistry to generate that heavenly and also specified stone. It is called Red, because in this last preparation he goes into red dust. But it is termed to be contrary to the Sun, because he doth radically dissolve him and bring him into his first matter. But lest thou should err, my Son, these things are not to be understood of Saturn belonging to metals or mineral Mercury, but concerning the metalline Sun and Moon which are contained in our lead, (to wit) in potential and not visible. Pythagoras says that every secret is in lead.
That I may at length conclude in one word this golden chapter, I do plainly with a constant protestation affirm the more sound Philosophers to have nominated it the Star of the Sun, the Ens of the Moon (Sun and Mercury). Know further, that although the subject of health and riches be the same, and that we will handle them both in these commentaries, yet professedly as to the sons of learning and men of understanding it may appear in this place, we will especially treat of the matter of Medicine, for it is our chief intention. But as yet you see Saturn in the ascendant, and all the planets accompanying him, but having the Sun and Moon under his feet, by which is signified that Saturn himself only doth contain in himself those two tinctures, sought by so many and found or known to few. But that a little solar star appears in the Moon, and a little lunar star in the Sun, doth not want a Mystery, for the Sun and Moon came forth of the one and same root, as may in a short space be occularly demonstrated by an ingenious Artificer, by the little white drops which afterwards become red is signified abundance of Tincture, lying hid especially in the body of Saturn. By the mountain out of which a flourishing tree doth appear, is very fitly signified that Saturn is not gotten elsewhere than in hilly places.
After the subject was known, the first intention of the philosophers that water should be got which they had noted with many names amongst which that sharp vinegar so much spoken of by them is one. But the second is dissolving Mercury. The third is Marish water. Dissolving Mercury is defined by a natural dissolution, and is defined by them to be that by whence metals are dissolved by a natural dissolution, and their spirits are brought from power into Action. But before they can be brought to act, Nature ought necessarily to be stirred up, but if the dissolving Mercury should be dry there would be no irritation of Nature, and so by consequence in vain would the solution be hoped for.
There are therefore some which have endeavoured to have that dissolving Mercury, or this water of those marshes, by Distillation, and it was effected. Therefore Distillation with them is the elevation of the watery vapours in the vessel, for in that are two parts of the Stone (to wit), the Superior and the Inferior. They will have the Superior part to be attenuated by Distillation, especially again when the Earth drieth and fasteneth, the Water makes clean and washeth, but the Air and Fire maketh to color.
Arnoldus says, it is necessary that there be much Water and much Air, because the multitude of the tincture will be so much as the multitude of the Air, but the Water is purging and the efficient cause of the clearness of the whole body and Medicine. Hence it is that frequent Distillation is called the most true Ablution of the Elements.
It is therefore necessary that the Stone be divided by the Four Elements and that by Distillation. First, by a light fire equally temperated and continued, water is to be gotten. Then the fire is to be made a little more vigorous and stronger, until the fire be received mixed with the fire. That which remains burned in the bottom is the dry earth where the crystalline Salt of the Stone lieth hid. Moreover, by the inferior circle, the furnace is signified. By that Red as yet beneath, the fire is signified. By the superior circle, the vessel in which the matter is put. By the cloud is signified the smoke which seems to rise like a cloud as you are distilling.
To prepare in this art is nothing else than to take away superfluities and supply deficiencies, because light things cannot be fixed without the company of weighty, and weighty things cannot be exalted without the consortship of light things. Neither can the hot without the consortship of the cold, the cold of the hot, the moist of the dry, the dry of the moist, the hard of the soft, the soft without the addition of the hard, be temporated or prepared. But when they are by course fitly espoused, there is generated from them a temporated substance, which the violence of the Fire cannot overcome, nor the putrefaction of the Earth vitiate, neither the limosity of the Water condensate, nor any contract, adumbrate, or overshadow.
We must know further that the preparation of the aforesaid matter is perfected by the removing of the superfIuous part and the addition of the absent, by the exercise of the Four Regimens. The first of them is a reduction to the nature of the Fire. The second is a resolution into Water, and the third is a levigation into Air, and the fourth is a pressing down to the Earth or fixing. The first is by Calcining. The second is by Loosening. The third is by distilling through a still. The fourth is by Coagulating or Congealing with a light fire.
And so the whole preparation is perfected, to which purpose the Hermite did also intimate in his Smaragdine Table, saying, "it ascends from the Earth to Heaven and descends again from Heaven to Earth". And that this doctrine concerning the preparation of the Stone might be better understood, Geber testifieth most openly concerning this. Saith he, "Our art doth not consist in the plurality of things for it is one matter (to wit) of metals in which consisteth our Mystery, to which we have not added any strange thing, neither do we diminish unless that in the preparation we remove superfluity". But the other things pertaining to this Chaos are clearly enough unfolded by the second Chapter, but here it remaineth in the Water.
Division in this art is the separation of the parts of the composition that they may be the better at length united. In which sense composition is contrary to Division, which indeed is the beginning and life of the thing, for unless there were a Composition, the thing would not be produced into a being.
Hence the cunning Son of Jazichus, the spirit will not remain in the body, neither will it be in it nor tarry any longer, until the body be subtilated, attenuated as the Spirit is. And when it is so attenuated and subtilated and does go out of his density and thickness to thinness, and from his grossness and corporeality to spirituality, then the spirit will be mingled with and drunk up in them, and so they are both become one and the same and will not be separated, as neither water mixed with water cannot be discerned, so although the Philosopher's Stone be divided into two principles (to wit) into the superior part which ascendeth, and into the inferior part which remaineth in bottom fixed, yet notwithstanding these two parts doth concord in virtue.
Therefore the materials are to be weighed and converted and divided because they are changed from a thing into a thing, as the seed of a man in the womb is in a natural preparation turned from thing to thing, until there be found a perfect man, from which was his root and beginning.
Moreover, by the Solar and Lunar stars is signified the water already gotten out of the body of Saturn. By the Sun and Moon the body of Saturn wherein the Salt yet remaineth. By the red understand the fire, by mediation whereof the aforesaid water was drawn forth.
Acuation is that by which the Stone is amended by the extraction of his proper earth, that is of the Salt, and by the mixing of the same with Sulphur and his proper Mercury.
Hence Gratianus, of every thing there may be made ashes, and of that Salt there is water, and of that water there is Mercury, and of that Mercury by diverse operations there is made Sun. He therefore that knows the Salt and its solution, knows the hidden secrets of the ancient wise men. Whosoever, therefore will alter spirits and bodies and change them from their nature, it behoveth that he first reduce them to the nature of Salts and Alums otherwise he will do nothing, then let him lave or wash those, that Sal may go forth fusible. You ought as Arnold saith to praise God, from whence also another Philosopher, put therefore thy mind on the Salt, the chief and most hidden Mystery of all the ancient Philosophers.
Moreover, by the lunar star is signified the White Salt of Saturn already gotten. By the circles, the furnace and vessels. By the compassing red, the fire, and that of Calcination, because Saturn is not gotten but first by calcining.
The Green Lion
The Green Lion is that Philosophical Mercury so often spoken of in his first beginning, or flourishing, easily avoiding the fire, because it is not fixed, but being fixed it desires it, and expects it and rejoiceth in it. It is of a Cold and Airy nature, and out of it (as it is in the Rosary), God created all mines. Let it not therefore seem strange to anyone because it reduceth into and doth radically dissolve all metals into their first matter, when as out of him are all things, and in whose bosom are all the planets, they lie hid and are contained. Seeing therefore that some of them affecteth a sublime work to him and is a profitable spirit, and there is no thing in the world besides him, neither is there that may stand in his place, and is only profusive in the body that wants him (hence Rosary).
But the ancient and wise Philosophers have engendered the manner of wit (knowing) until it be a little done that he might expect the fire. It doth not cease to go above the reluctancy of the fire and is nourished with it, so that when any fixation is fastened unto him, there proceeds wonderful things and changes, because when he is changed he changeth, and his entrance appears in his sound and splendour. When therefore it is coloured it coloureth, when it is loosed it looseth, and it doth make itself white in the twinkling of an eye, and it becomes red in succession, and it is a congregating water, milk, and strong urine, softening oil, and the father of all wonderful things. It is smoke and a cloud, and the fugitive servant accidental Mercury eating the Sun, who hath preferred himself before Gold and hath overcome, for it is generated, risen and produced out of him.
But lest thou should err, my son, know that those which understood of Mercury in the body of Philosophical Saturn and metalline, to be true. Moreover the Lion is said to be green in the threefold aspect. First in respect of his attractive power, for here the Central Sun is like to the Celestial Sun and make the world flourishing and green. Secondly, it is called the green Lion, because as yet the Gold is incomplete nor fixed in any body, and therefore is called living Gold. Thirdly, it is called a Lion by reason of its very great strength, reference being had to the Animal Lion, for as all beasts obey the lion, so all metallic bodies do give place to this living Gold.