Arisleus, begotten of Pythagoras,
a disciple of the disciples by the grace of thrice great Hermes, learning
from the seat of knowledge, unto all who come after wisheth health and
mercy. I testify that my master, Pythagoras, the Italian, master of the
wise and chief of the Prophets, had a greater gift of God and of Wisdom
than was granted to any one after Hermes. Therefore he had a mind to assemble
his disciples, who were now greatly increased, and had been constituted
the chief persons throughout all regions for the discussion of this most
precious Art, that their words might be a foundation for posterity. He
then commanded Iximidrus, of highest council, to be the first speaker,
The First Dictum.
Iximidrus Saith:- I testify that
the beginning of all things is a Certain Nature, which is perpetual, coequalling
all things, and that the visible natures, with their births and
decay, are times wherein the
ends to which that nature brings them are beheld and summoned. Now, I instruct
you that the stars are igneous, and are kept within bounds by the air.
If the humidity and density of the air did not exist to separate the flames
of the sun from living things, then the Sun would consume all creatures.
But God has provided the separating air, lest that which He has created
should be burnt up. Do you not: observe that the Sun when it rises in the
heaven overcomes the air by its heat, and that the warmth penetrates from
the upper to the lower parts of the air? If, then, the air did not presently
breathe forth those winds whereby creatures are generated, the Sun by its
heat would certainly destroy all that lives. But the Sun is kept in check
by the air, which thus conquers because it unites the heat of the Sun to
its own heat, and the humidity of water to its own humidity. Have you not
remarked how tenuous water is drawn up into the air by the action of the
heat of the Sun, which thus helps the water against itself? If the water
did not nourish the air by such tenuous moisture, assuredly the Sun would
overcome the air. The fire, therefore, extracts moisture from the
water, by means of which the air conquers the fire itself. Thus, fire and
water are enemies between which there is no consanguinity, for the fire
is hot and dry, but the water is cold and moist. The air, which is warm
and moist, joins these together by its concording medium; between the humidity
of water and the heat of fire the air is thus placed to establish peace.
rind look ye all how there shall arise a spirit from the tenuous vapour
of the air, because the heat being joined to the humour, there necessarily
issues something tenuous, which will become a wind. For the heat of the
Sun extracts something tenuous out of the air, which also becomes spirit
and life to all creatures. All this, however, is disposed in such manner
by the will of God, and a coruscation appears when the heat of the Sun
touches and breaks up a cloud.
The Turba saith:- Well hast thou
described the fire, even as thou knowest concerning it, and thou hast believed
the word of thy brother.
The Second Dictum.
Exumedrus saith:- I do magnify
the air according to the mighty speech of Iximidrus, for the work is improved
thereby. The air is inspissated, and it is also made thin;
it grows warm and becomes cold.
The inspissation thereof takes place when it is divided in heaven by the
elongation of the Sun; its rarefaction is when, by the exaltation of the
Sun in heaven, the air becomes warm and is rarefied. It is comparable with
the complexion of Spring, in the distinction of time, which is neither
warm nor cold. For according to the mutation of the constituted disposition
with the altering distinctions of the soul, so is Winter altered. The air,
therefore, is inspissated when the Sun is removed from it, and then cold
supervenes upon men.
Whereat the Turba said:- Excellently
hast thou described the air, and given account of what thou knowest to
The Third Dictum.
Anaxagoras saith:- I make known
that the beginning of all those things which God hath created is weight
and proportion, for weight rules all things, and the weight and spissitude
of the earth is manifest in proportion; but weight is not found except
in body. And know, all ye Turba, that the spissitude of the four elements
reposes in the earth; for the spissitude of fire falls into air, the spissitude
of air, together with the spissitude received from the fire, falls into
water; the spissitude also of water, increased by the spissitude of fire
and air, reposes in earth. Have you not observed how the spissitude of
the four elements is conjoined in earth! The same, therefore, is more inspissated
Then saith the Turba:- Thou hast
well spoken. Verily the earth is more inspissated than are the rest. Which,
therefore, is the most rare of the four elements and is most worthy to
possess the rarity of these four?
He answereth:- Fire is the most
rare among all, and thereunto cometh what is rare of these four. But air
is less rare than fire, because it is warm and moist, while fire
is warm and dry; now that which
is warm and dry is more rare than the warm and moist.
They say unto him:- The which
element is of less rarity than air!
He answereth:- Water, since cold
and moisture inhere therein, and every cold humid is of less rarity than
a warm humid.
Then do they say unto him:- Thou
hast spoken truly. What, therefore, is of less rarity than water?
He answereth:- Earth, because
it is cold and dry, and that which is cold and dry is of less rarity than
that which is cold and moist.
Pythagoras saith:- Well have
ye provided, O Sons of the Doctrine, the description of these four natures,
out of which God hath created all things. Blessed, therefore,
is he who comprehends what ye
have declared, for from the apex of the world he shall not find an intention
greater than his own! Let us, therefore, make perfect our
They reply:- Direct every one
to take up our speech in turn. Speak thou, O Pandolfus!
The Fourth Dictum.
But Pandolfus saith:- I signify
to posterity that air is a tenuous matter of water, and that it is not:
separated from it. It remains above the dry earth, to wit, the air hidden
in the water, which is under the earth. If this air did not exist, the
earth would not remain above the humid water.
They answer:- Thou hast said
well; complete, therefore, thy speech.
But he continueth:- The air which
is hidden in the water under the earth is that which sustains the earth,
lest it should be plunged into the said water; and it, moreover,
prevents the earth from being
overflowed by that water. The province of the air is, therefore, to fill
up and to make separation between diverse things, that is to say, water
and earth, and it is constituted a peacemaker between hostile things, namely,
water and fire, dividing these, lest they destroy one another.
The Turba saith:- If you gave
an illustration hereof, it would be clearer to those who do not understand.
He answereth:- An egg is an illustration,
for therein four things are conjoined; the visible cortex or shell represents
the earth, and the albumen, for white part, is the water. But a very thin
inner cortex is joined to the outer cortex, representing, as I have signified
to you, the separating medium between earth and water, namely, that air
which divides the earth from the water. The yolk also of the egg represents
fire; the cortex which contains the yolk corresponds to that other air
which separates the water from the fire. But they are both one and the
same air, namely, that which separates things frigid, the earth from the
water, and that which separates the water from the fire. But the lower
air is thicker than the upper air, and the upper air is more rare and subtle,
being nearer to the fire than the lower air. In the egg, therefore, are
four things- earth, water, air, and fire. But the point of the Sun, these
four excepted, is in the centre of the yolk, and this is the chicken. Consequently,
all philosophers in this most excellent art have described the egg as an
example, which same thing they have set over their work.
The Fifth Dictum.
Arisleus saith:- Know that the
earth is a hill and not a plain, for which reason the Sun does not ascend
over all the zones of the earth in a single hour; but if it were flat,
the sun would rise in a moment over the whole earth.
Parmenides saith:- Thou hast
spoken briefly, O Arisleus!
He answereth: Is there anything
the Master has left us which bears witness otherwise? Yet I testify that
God is one, having never engendered or been begotten, and that the head
of all things after Him is earth and fire, because fire is tenuous and
light, and it rules all things on earth, but the earth, being ponderous
and gross, sustains all things which are ruled by fire.
The Sixth Dictum.
Lucas saith:- You speak only
about four natures; and each one of you observes something concerning these.
Now, I testify unto you that all things which God hath created are from
these four natures, and the things which have been created out of them
return into them, In these living creatures are generated and die, and
all things take place as God hath predestinated.
Democritus, the disciple of Lucas,
answereth:- Thou hast well spoken, O Lucas, when dealing with the four
Then saith Arisleus:- O Democritus,
since thy knowledge was derived from Lucas, it is presumption to speak
among those who are well acquainted with thy master!
Lucas answereth:- albeit Democritus
received from me the science of natural things, that knowledge was derived
from the philosophers of the Indies and from the Babylonians; I think he
surpasses those of his own age in this learning.
The Turba answereth:- When he
attains to that age he will give no small satisfaction, but being in his
youth he should keep silence.
The Seventh Dictum.
Lucusta saith:- All those creatures
which have been described by Lucas are two only, of which one is neither
known nor expressed, except by piety, for it is not seen
Pythagoras saith:- Thou hast
entered upon a subject which, if completed, thou wilt describe subtly.
State, therefore, what is this thing which is neither felt, seen, nor
Then he:- It is that which is
not known, because in this world it is discerned by reason without the
clients thereof, which are sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. O Crowd
of the Philosophers, know you not that it Is only sight which can distinguish
white from black, and hearing only which can discriminate between a good
and bad word! Similarly, a wholesome odour cannot be separated by reason
from one which is fetid, except through the sense of smell, nor can sweetness
be discriminated from bitterness save by means of taste, nor smooth from
rough unless by touch.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
well spoken, yet hast thou omitted to treat of that particular thing which
is not known, or described, except by reason and piety.
Saith he:- Are ye then in such
haste! Know that the creature which is cognised in none of these five ways
is a sublime creature, and, as such, is neither seen nor felt, but is perceived
by reason alone, of which reason Nature confesses that God is a partaker.
They answer:- Thou hast spoken
truly and excellently.
And he:- I will now give a further
explanation. Know that this creature, that is to say, the world, hath a
light, which is the Sun, and the same is more subtle than all other natures,
which light is so ordered that living beings may attain to vision. But
if this subtle light were removed, they would become darkened, seeing nothing,
except the light of the moon, or of the stars, or of fire, all which are
derived from the light of the Sun, which causes all creatures to give light.
For this God has appointed the Sun to be the light of the world, by reason
of the attenuated nature of the Sun. And know that the sublime creature
before mentioned has no need of the light of this Sun, because the Sun
is beneath that creature, which is more subtle and more lucid. This light,
which is more lucid than the light of the Sun, they have taken from the
light of God, which is more subtle than their light. Know also that the
created world is composed of two dense things and two rare things, but
nothing of the dense is in the sublime creature. Consequently the Sun is
rarer than all inferior creatures.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
excellently described what thou hast related. And if, good Master, thou
shalt utter anything whereby our hearts may be vivified, which now are
mortified by folly, thou wilt confer upon us a great boon!
The Eighth Dictum.
Pythagoras saith:- I affirm that
God existed before all things, and with Him was nothing, as He was at first.
But know, all ye Philosophers, that I declare this in order that I may
fortify your opinion concerning these four elements and arcana, as well
as in the sciences thereof, at which no one can arrive save by the will
of God. Understand, that when God was alone, He created four things-
fire, air, water, and earth, out of which things He afterwards created
all others, both the sublime and the inferior, because He predestinated
from the beginning that all creatures extracted from water should multiply
and increase, that they might dwell in the world and perform His judgments
therein. Consequently, before all, He created the four elements, out of
which He afterwards created what He willed, that is to say, diverse creatures,
some of which were produced from a single element.
The Turba saith:- Which are these,
And he:- They are the angels,
whom He created out of fire.
But the Turba:- Which, then,
are created out of two?
And he:- Out of the elements
of fire and air are the sun, moon, and stars composed. Hence the angels
are more lucid than the sun, moon, and stars, because they are
created from one substance,
which is less dense than two, while the sun and the stars are created from
a composition of fire and air.
The Turba saith:- And what concerning
the creation of Heaven?
Then he:- God created the Heaven
out of water and air, whence this is also composed of two, namely, the
second of the rarer things, which is air, and the second of the denser
things, which is water.
And they:- Master, continue thy
discourse concerning these three, and rejoice our hearts with thy sayings,
which are life to the dead.
But the other answereth:- I notify
to you that God hath further made creatures out of three and out of four;
out of three are created flying things, beasts, and vegetables; some of
these are created out of water, air, and earth, some out of fire, air,
But the Turba saith:- Distinguish
these divers creatures one from another.
And he:- Beasts are created out
of fire, air, and earth; dying things out of fire, air, and water, because
flying things, and all among vegetables which have a spirit, are created
out of water, while all brute animals are from earth, air, and fire. Yet
in vegetables there is no fire, for they are created out of earth, water,
Whereat the Turba saith:- Let
us assume that a fire, with your reverence's pardon, does reside in vegetables.
And he:- Ye have spoken the truth,
and I affirm that they contain fire.
And they:- Whence is that fire?
He answereth:- Out of the heat
of the air which is concealed therein; for I have signified that a thin
fire is present in the air, but the elementary fire concerning which you
were in doubt is not produced, except in things which have spirit and soul.
But out of four elements our father Adam and his sons were created, that
is, of fire, air, water, and likewise earth. Understand, all ye that are
wise, how everything which God hath created out of one essence dies not
until the Day of Judgment. The definition of death is the disjunction of
the composite, but there is no disjunction of that which is simple, for
it is one. Death consists in the separation of the soul from the body,
because anything formed out of two, three, or four components must disintegrate,
and this is death. Understand, further, that no complex substance which
lacks fire eats, drinks, or sleeps, because in all things which have a
spirit fire is that which eats.
The Turba answereth:- How is
it, Master, that the angels, being created of fire, do not eat, seeing
thou assertest that fire is that which eats!
And he: Hence ye doubt, each
having his opinion, and ye are become opponents, but if ye truly knew the
elements, ye would not deny these things. I agree with all whose judgment
it is that simple fire eats not, but thick fire. The angels, therefore,
are not created out of thick fire, but out of the thinnest of very thin
fire; being created, then, of that which is most simple and exceedingly
thin, they neither eat, drink, nor sleep.
And the Turba:- Master, our faculties
are able to perceive, for by God's assistance we have exhausted thy sayings,
but our faculties of hearing and of sight are unable to carry such great
things. May God reward thee for the sake of thy disciples, since it is
with the object of instructing future generations that thou hast summoned
us together from our countries, the recompense of which thou wilt not fail
to receive from the Judge to come.
Arisleus saith:- Seeing that
thou hast gathered us together for the advantage of posterity, I think
that no explanations will be more useful than definitions of those four
elements which thou hast taught us to attain.
And he:- None of you are, I suppose,
ignorant that all the Wise have propounded definitions in God.
The Turba answereth:- Should
your disciples pass over anything, it becomes you, O Master, to avoid omissions
for the sake of future generations.
And he:- If it please you, I
will begin the disposition here, since envious men in their books have
separated that, or otherwise I will put it at the end of the book.
Whereat the Turba saith:- Place
it where you think it will be dearest for future generations.
And he:- I will place it where
it will not be recognised by the foolish, nor ignored by the Sons of the
Doctrine, for it is the key, the perfection and the end.
The Ninth Dictum.
Eximenus saith:- God hath created
all things by his word, having said unto them: Be, and they were made,
with the four other elements, earth, water, air, and tire, which He coagulated,
and things contrary were commingled, for we see that fire is hostile to
water, water hostile to fire, and both are hostile to earth and air. Yet
God hath united them peacefully, so that they love one another. Out of
these four elements, therefore, are all things created- heaven and the
throne thereof; the angels; the sun, moon. and stars; earth and sea, with
all things that are in the sea, which indeed are various, and not alike,
for their natures have been made diverse by God, and also the creations.
But the diversity is more than I have stated; each of these natures is
of diverse nature, and by a legion of diversities is the nature of each
diverse. Now this diversity subsists in all creatures, because they were
created out of diverse elements. Had they been created out of one element,
they would have been agreeing natures. But diverse elements being here
mingled, they lose their own natures, because the dry being mixed with
the humid and the cold combined with the hot, become neither cold nor hot;
so also the humid being mixed with the dry becomes neither dry nor humid.
But when the four elements are commingled, they agree, and thence proceed
creatures which never attain to perfection, except they be left by night
to putrefy and become visibly corrupt. God further completed his creation
by means of increase, food, life, and government. Sons of the Doctrine,
not without purpose have I described to you the disposition of these four
elements, for in them is a secret arcanum; two of them are perceptible
to the sense of touch and vision, and of these the operation and virtue
are well known. These are earth and water. But there are two other elements
which are neither visible nor tangible, which yield naught, whereof the
place is never seen, nor are their operations and force known, save in
the former elements, namely, earth and water; now when the four elements
are not commingled, no desire of men is accomplished. But being mixed,
departing from their own natures, they become another thing. Over these
let us meditate very carefully.
And the Turba:- Master, if you
speak, we will give heed to Your words.
Then he:- I have now discoursed,
and that well. I will speak only useful words which ye will follow as spoken.
Know, all present, that no true tincture is made except from our copper.
Do not therefore, exhaust your brains and your money, lest ye fill your
hearts with sorrow. I will give you a fundamental axiom, that unless you
turn the aforesaid copper into white, and make visible coins and then afterwards
again turn it into redness, until a Tincture: results, verily, ye accomplish
nothing. Burn therefore the copper, break it up, deprive it of its blackness
by cooking, imbuing, and washing, until the same becomes white. Then rule
The Tenth Dictum.
Arisleus saith:- Know that the
key of this work is the art of Coins. Take, therefore, the body which I
have shewn to you and reduce it to thin tablets. Next immerse the said
tablets in the Water of our Sea, which is permanent Water, and, after it
is covered, set it over a gentle fire until the tablets are melted and
become waters or Etheliae, which are one and the same thing. Mix, cook,
and simmer in a gentle fire until Brodium is produced, like to Saginatum.
Then stir in its water of Etheliae until it be coagulated, and the coins
become variegated, which we call the Flower of Salt. Cook it, therefore,
until it be deprived of blackness, and the whiteness appear. Then
rub it, mix with the Gum of Gold, and cook until it becomes red Etheliae.
Use patience in pounding lest you become weary. Imbue the Ethelia with
its own water, which has preceded from it, which also is Permanent Water,
until the same becomes red. This, then, is Burnt Copper, which is the Leaven
of Gold and the Flower thereof. Cook the same with Permanent Water, which
is always with it, until the water be dried up. Continue the operation
until all the water is consumed, and it becomes a most subtle powder.
The Eleventh Dictum.
Parmenides saith:- Ye must know
that envious men have dealt voluminously with several waters, brodiums,
stones, and metals, seeking to deceive all you who aspire after knowledge.
Leave, therefore, all these, and make the white red, out of this our copper,
taking copper and lead, letting these stand for the grease, or blackness,
and tin for the liquefaction. Know ye, further, that unless ye rule the
Nature of Truth, and harmonize well together its complexions and compositions,
the consanguineous with the consanguineous, and the first with the first,
ye act improperly and effect nothing, because natures will meet their natures,
follow them, and rejoice. For in them they putrefy and are generated, because
Nature is ruled by Nature, which destroys it, turns it into dust, reduces
to nothing, and finally herself renews it, repeats, and frequently produces
the same. Therefore look in books, that ye may know the Nature of Truth,
what putrefies it and what renews, what savour it possesses, what neighbours
it naturally has, and how they love each other, how also after love enmity
and corruption intervene, and how these natures should be united one to
another and made at peace, until they become gentle in the fire in similar
fashion. Having, therefore, noticed the facts in this Art, set your hands
to the work. If indeed, ye know not the Natures of Truth, do not approach
the work, since there will follow nothing but harm, disaster, and sadness.
Consider, therefore, the teaching of the Wise, how they have declared the
whole work in this saying:- Nature rejoices in Nature, and Nature contains
Nature. In these words there is shewn forth unto you the whole work. Leave,
therefore, manifold and superfluous things, and take quicksilver, coagulate
in the body of Magnesia, in Kuhul, or in Sulphur which does not burn; make
the same nature white, and place it upon our Copper, when it becomes white.
And if ye cook still more, it becomes red, when if ye proceed to coction,
it becomes gold. I tell you that it turns the sea itself into red and the
colour of gold. Know ye also that gold is not turned into redness
save by Permanent Water, because Nature rejoices in Nature.: Reduce, therefore,
the same by means of cooking into a humour, until the hidden nature appear.
If, therefore, it be manifested externally, seven times imbue the same
with water, cooking, imbuing, and washing, until it become red. O those
celestial natures, multiplying the natures of truth by the will of God!
O that potent Nature, which overcame and conquered natures, and caused
its natures to rejoice and be glad! This, therefore, is that special and
spiritual nature to which the God thereof can give what fire cannot. Consequently,
we glorify and magnify that [species], than which nothing is more precious
in the true tincture, or the like in the smallest degree to be found. This
is that truth which those investigating wisdom love. For when it is liquefied
with bodies, the highest operation is effected. If e knew the truth,
what great thanks ye would give me! Learn, therefore, that while you are
tingeing the cinders, you must destroy those that are mixed. For it overcomes
those which are mixed, and changes them to its own colour. And as it visibly
overcame the surface, even so it mastered the interior. And if one be volatile
but the other endure the fire, either joined to the other endures the fire.
Know also, that if the vapours have whitened the surfaces, they will certainly
whiten the interiors. Know further, all ye seekers after Wisdom, that one
matter overcomes four, and our Sulphur alone consumes all things.
The Turba answereth: Thou hast
spoken excellently well, O Parmenides, but thou hast not demonstrated the
disposition of the smoke to posterity, nor how the same
The Twelfth Dictum.
Lucas saith: I will speak at
this time, following the steps of the ancients. Know, therefore, all ye
seekers after Wisdom, that this treatise is not from the beginning of the
ruling! Take quicksilver, which is from the male, and coagulate according
to custom. Observe that I am speaking to you in accordance with custom,
because it has been already coagulated. Here, therefore, is not the beginning
of the ruling, but I prescribe this method, namely, that you shall take
the quicksilver from the male, and shall either impose upon iron, tin,
or governed copper, and it will be whitened. White Magnesia is made in
the same way, and the male is converted with it. But forasmuch as there
is a certain affinity between the magnet and the iron, therefore our nature
rejoices.) Take, then, the vapour which the Ancients commanded you to take,
and cook the same with its own body until tin is produced. Wash away its
blackness according to custom, and cleanse and roast at an equable fire
until it be whitened. But every body is whitened with governed quicksilver,
for Nature converts Nature. Take, therefore, Magnesia, Water of Alum, Water
of Nitre, Water of the Sea, and Water of Iron; whiten with smoke.: Whatsoever
ye desire to be whitened is whitened with this smoke, because it is itself
white, and whitens all things. Mix, therefore, the said smoke with
its faeces until it be coagulated and become excessively white. Roast this
white copper till it germinates of itself, since the Magnesia when whitened
does not suffer the spirits to escape, or the shadow of copper to appear,
because Nature contains Nature. Take, therefore, all ye Sons of the Doctrine,
the white sulphureous nature, whiten with salt and dew, or with the Flower
of White Salt, until it become excessively white. And know ye, that the
Flower of White Salt is Ether from Ethelia. The same must be boiled for
seven days, till it shall become like gleaming marble, for when it has
reached this condition it is a very great Arcanum, seeing that Sulphur
is mixed with Sulphur, whence an excellent work is accomplished, by reason
of the affinity between them, because natures rejoice in meeting their
own natures. Take, therefore, Mardek and whiten the same with Gadenbe,
that is, wine and vinegar, and Permanent Water. Roast and coagulate until
the whole does not liquefy in a fire stronger than its own, namely, the
former fire. Cover the mouth of the vessel securely, but let it be associated
with its neighbour, that it may kindle the whiteness thereof, and beware
lest the fire blaze up, for in this case it becomes red prematurely, and
this will profit you nothing, because in the beginning of the ruling you
require the white. Afterwards coagulate the same until you attain the red.
Let your fire be gentle in the whitening, until coagulation take place.
Know that when it is coagulated we call it the Soul, and it is more quickly
converted from nature into nature. This, therefore, is sufficient for those
who deal with the Art of Coins, because one thing makes it but many operate
therein. For ye need not a number of things, but one thing only, which
in each and every grade of your work is changed into another nature.
The Turba saith: Master, if you
speak as the Wise have spoken, and that briefly, they will follow you who
do not wish to be wholly shut in with darkness.
The Thirteenth Dictum.
Pythagoras saith:- We posit another
government which is not from another root, but it differs in name. And
know, all ye seekers after this Science and Wisdom, that whatsoever the
envious may have enjoined in their books concerning the composition of
natures which agree together, in savour there is only one, albeit to sight
they are as diverse as possible. Know, also, that the thing which they
have described in so many ways follows and attains its companion without
fire, even as the magnet follows the iron, to which the said thing is not
vainly compared, nor to a seed, nor to a matrix, for it is also like unto
these. And this same thing, which follows its companion without fire, causes
many colours to appear when embracing it, for this reason, that the said
one thing enters into every regimen, and is found everywhere, being a stone,
and also not a stone; common and precious; hidden and concealed, yet known
by everyone; of one name and of many names, which is the Spume of the Moon.
This stone, therefore, is not a stone, because it is more precious; without
it Nature never operates anything; its name is one, yet we have called
it by many names on account of the excellence of its nature.
The Turba answereth:- O! Master!
wilt thou not mention some of those names for the guidance of seekers?
And he:- It is called White Ethelia,
White Copper, and that which flies from the fire and alone whitens copper.
Break up, therefore, the White Stone, and afterwards coagulate it with
milk. Then pound the calx in the mortar, taking care that the humidity
does not escape from the vessel; but coagulate it in the vessel until it
shall become a cinder. Cook also with Spume of Luna and regulate. For ye
shall find the stone broken, and already imbued with its own water. This,
therefore, is the stone which we call by all names, which assimilates the
work and drinks it, and is the stone out of which also all colours appear.
Take, therefore, that same gum, which is from the scoriae, and mix with
cinder of calx, which you have ruled, and with the faeces which you know,
moistening with permanent water. Then look and see whether it has become
a powder, but if not, roast in a fire stronger than the first fire, until
it be pounded. Then imbue with permanent water, and the more the colours
vary all the more suffer them to be heated. Know, moreover, that if you
take white quicksilver, or the Spume of Luna, and do as ye are bidden,
breaking up with a gentle fire, the same is coagulated, and becomes a stone.
Out of this stone, therefore, when it is broken up, many colours will appear
to you. But herein, if any ambiguity occur to you in our discourse, do
as ye are bidden, ruling the same until a white and coruscating stone shall
be produced, and so ye find your purpose.
The Fourteenth Dictum.
Acsubofen saith:- Master, thou
hast spoken without envy, even as became thee, and for the same may God
Pythagoras saith:- May God also
deliver thee, Acsubofen, from envy!
Then he:- Ye must know, O Assembly
of the Wise, that sulphurs are contained in sulphurs, and humidity in humidity.
The Turba answereth:- The envious,
O Acsubofen, have uttered something like unto this! Tell us, therefore,
what is this humidity?
And he:- Humidity is a venom,
and when venom penetrates a body, it tinges it with an invariable colour,
and in no wise permits the soul to be separated from the body, because
it is equal thereto. Concerning this, the envious have said: When one flies
and the other pursues, then one seizes upon the other, and afterwards they
no longer flee, because Nature has laid hold of its equal, after the manner
of an enemy, and they destroy one another. For this reason, out of the
sulphureous mixed sulphur is produced a most precious colour, which varies
not, nor flees from the fire, when the soul enters into the interior of
the body and holds the body together and tinges it. I will repeat my words
in Tyrian dye. Take the Animal which is called Kenckel, since all its water
is a Tyrian colour, and rule the same with a gentle fire, as is customary,
until it shall become earth, in which there will be a little colour. But
if you wish to obtain the Tyrian tincture, take the humidity which that
thing has ejected, and place it therewith gradually in a vessel, adding
that tincture whereof the colour was disagreeable to you. Then cook with
that same marine water until it shall become dry. Afterwards moisten with
that humour, dry gradually, and cease not to imbue it, to cook, and to
dry, until it be imbued with all its humour. Then leave it for several
days in its own vessel, Until the most precious Tyrian colour shall come
out from it to the surface. Observe how I describe the regimen to you!
Prepare it with the urine of boys, with water of the sea, and with permanent
clean water, so that it may be tinged, and decoct with a gentle fire, until
the blackness altogether shall depart from it, and it be easily pounded.
Decoct, therefore, in its own humour until it clothe itself with a red
colour. But if ye wish to bring it to the Tyrian colour, imbue the same
with continual water, and mix, as ye know to be sufficient, according to
the rule of sight; mix the same with permanent water sufficiently, and
decoct until rust absorb the water. Then wash with the water of the sea
which thou hast prepared, which is water of desiccated calx; cook until
it imbibe its own moisture; and do this day by day. I tell you that a colour
will thence appear to you the like of which the Tyrians have never made.
And if ye wish that it should be a still more exalted colour, place the
gum in the permanent water, with which ye shall dye it alternately, and
afterwards desiccate in the sun. Then restore to the aforesaid water and
the black Tyrian colour is intensified. But know that ye do not tinge the
purple colour except by cold. Take, therefore, water which is of the nature
of cold, and steep wool therein until it extract the force of the tincture
from the water. Know also that the Philosophers have called the force which
proceeds from that water the Flower. Seek, therefore, your intent in the
said water; therein place what is in the vessel for days and nights, until
it be clothed with a most precious Tyrian colour.
The Fifteenth Dictum.
Frictes saith:- O all ye seekers
after Wisdom, know that the foundation of this Art, on account of which
many have perished, is one only. There is one thing which is stronger than
all natures, and more sublime in the opinion of philosophers, whereas with
fools it is more common than anything. But for us it is a thing which we
reverence. Woe unto all ye fools! How ignorant are ye of this Art, for
which ye would die if ye knew it! I swear to you that if kings were familiar
with it, none of us would ever attain this thing. O how this nature changeth
body into spirit! O how admirable is Nature, how she presides over all,
and overcomes all!
Pythagoras saith:- Name this
Nature, O Frictes!
And he:- It is a very sharp vinegar,
which makes gold into sheer spirit, without which vinegar, neither whiteness,
nor blackness, nor redness, nor rust can be made. And know ye that
when it is mixed with the body, it is contained therein, and becomes one
therewith; it turns the same into a spirit, and tinges with a spiritual
and invariable tincture, which is indelible. Know, also, that if ye place
the body over the fire without vinegar, it will be burnt and corrupted.
And know, further, that the first humour is cold. Be careful, therefore,
of the fire, which is inimical to cold. Accordingly, the Wise have said:
"Rule gently until the sulphur becomes incombustible." The Wise men have
already shewn to those who possess reason the disposition of this Art,
and the best point of their Art, which they mentioned, is, that a little
of this sulphur burns a strong body. Accordingly they venerate it and name
it in the beginning of their book, and the son of Adam thus described it.
For this vinegar burns the body, converts it into a cinder, and also whitens
the body, which, if ye cook well and deprive of blackness, is changed into
a stone, so that it becomes a coin of most intense whiteness. Cook, therefore,
the stone until it be disintegrated, and then dissolve and temper with
water of the sea. Know also, that the beginning of the whole work is the
whitening, to which succeeds the redness, finally the perfection of the
work; but after this, by means of vinegar, and by the will of Gcd, there
follows a complete perfection, Now, I have shewn to you, O disciples of
this Turba, the disposition of the one thing, which is more perfect, more
precious, and more honourable, than all natures, and I swear to you by
God that I have searched for a long time in books so that I might arrive
at the knowledge of this one thing, while I prayed also to God that he
would teach me what it is. My prayer was heard, He shewed me clean water,
whereby I knew pure vinegar, and the more I did read books, the more was
The Sixteenth Dictum.
Socrates saith:- Know, O crowd
of those that still remain of the Sons of the Doctrine, that no tincture
can be produced without Lead, which possesses the required
virtue. Have ye not seen how
thrice-great Hermes infused the red into the body, and it was changed into
an invariable colour? Know, therefore, that the first virtue is vinegar,
and the second is the Lead of which the Wise have spoken, which if it be
infused into all bodies, renders all unchangeable, and tinges them with
an invariable colour. Take, therefore, Lead which is made out of the stone
called Kuhul; let it be of the best quality, and let it be cooked till
it becomes black. Then pound the same with Water of Nitre until it is thick
like grease, and cook again in a very bright fire until the spissitude
of the body is destroyed, the water being rejected. Kindle, therefore,
above it until the stone becomes clean, abounding in precious metal, and
exceedingly white. Pound it afterwards with dew and the sun, and with sea
and rain water for 31 days, for 10 days with salt water, and 10 days with
fresh water, when ye shall find the same like to a metallic stone. Cook
the same once more with water of nitre until it become tin by liquefaction.
Again cook until it be deprived of moisture, and become dry. But know that
when it becomes dry it drinks up what remains of its humour swiftly, because
it is burnt lead. Take care, however, lest it be burnt. Thus we call it
incombustible sulphur. Pound the same with the sharpest vinegar, and cook
till it becomes thick, taking care lest the vinegar be changed into smoke
and perish; continue this coction for 150 days. Now, therefore, I have
demonstrated the disposition of the white lead, all which afterwards follows
being no more than women's work and child's play. Know, also, that the
arcanum of the work of gold proceeds out of the male and the female, but
I have shewn you the male in the lead, while, in like manner, I have discovered
for you the female in orpiment. Mix, therefore, the orpiment with the lead,
for the female rejoices in receiving the strength of the male, because
she is assisted by the male. But the male receives a tingeing spirit from
the female. Mix them, therefore, together, place in a glass vessel, and
pound with Ethelia and very sharp vinegar; cook for seven days, taking
care lest the arcanum smoke away, and leave throughout the night. But if
ye wish it to put on mud (colour), seeing that it is already dry, again
imbue with vinegar. Now, therefore, I have notified to you the power of
orpiment, which is the woman by whom is accomplished the most great arcanum.
Do not shew these unto the evil, for they will laugh. It is the Ethelia
of vinegar which is placed in the preparation, by which things God perfects
the work, whereby also spirits take possession of bodies, and they become
The Seventeenth Dictum.
Zimon saith:- O Turba of Philosophers
and disciples, now hast thou spoken about making into white, but it yet
remains to treat concerning the reddening! Know, all ye seekers after this
Art, that unless ye whiten, ye cannot make red, because the two natures
are nothing other than red and white. Whiten, therefore, the red, and redden
the white! Know, also, that the year is divided into four seasons; the
first season is of a frigid complexion, and this is Winter; the second
is of the complexion of air, and this is Spring; then follows the third,
which is summer, and is of the complexion of fire; lastly, there is the
fourth, wherein fruits are matured, which is Autumn. In this manner, therefore,
ye are to rule your natures, namely, to dissolve ill winter, to cook in
spring, to coagulate in summer, and to gather and tinge the fruit in autumn.
Having, therefore, given this example, rule the tingeing natures, but if
ye err, blame no one save yourselves.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
treated the matter extremely well; add, therefore, another teaching of
this kind for the sake of posterity.
And he:- I will speak of making
lead red. Take the copper which the Master ordered you to take at the beginning
of his book, combine lead therewith, and cook it until it becomes thick;
congeal also and desiccate until it becomes red. Here certainly is the
Red Lead of which the wise spake; copper and lead become a precious stone;
mix them equally, let gold be roasted with them, for this, if ye rule well,
becomes a tingeing spirit in spirits. So when the male and the female are
conjoined there is not produced a volatile wife, but a spiritual composite.
From the composite turned into a red spirit is produced the beginning of
the world. Behold this is the lead which we have called Red Lead, which
is of our work, and without which nothing is effected!
The Eighteenth Dictum.
Mundus saith to the Turba:- The
seekers after this Art must know that the Philosophers in their books have
described gum in many ways, but it is none other than permanent water,
out of which our precious stone is generated. O how many are the seekers
after this gum, and how few there are who find it! Know that this gum is
not ameliorated except by gold alone. For there be very many who investigate
these applications, and they find certain things, yet they cannot sustain
the labours because they are diminished. But the applications which are
made out of the gum and out of the honourable stone, which has already
held the tincture, they sustain the labours, and are never diminished.
Understand, therefore, my words, for I will explain unto you the applications
of this gum, and the arcanum existing therein. Know ye that our gum
is stronger than gold, and all those who know it do hold it more honourable
than gold, yet gold we also honour, for without it the gum cannot be improved.
Our gum, therefore, is for Philosophers more precious and more sublime
than pearls, because out of gum with a little gold we buy much. Consequently,
the Philosophers, when committing these things to writing that the same
might not perish, have not set forth in their books the manifest disposition,
lest every one should become acquainted therewith, and having become familiar
to fools, the same would not sell it at a small price. Take, therefore,
one part of the most intense white gum; one part of the urine of a white
calf; one part of the gall of a fish; and one part of the body of gum,
without which it cannot be improved; mix these portions and cook for forty
days. When these things have been done, congeal by the heat of the sun
till they are dried. Then cook the same, mixed with milk of ferment, until
the milk fail; afterwards extract it, and until it become dry evaporate
the moisture by heat. Then mix it with milk of the fig, and cook it till
that moisture be dried up in the composite, which afterwards mix with milk
of the root of grass, and again cook until it be dry. Then moisten it with
rainwater, then sprinkle with water of dew, and cook until it be dried.
Also imbue with permanent water, and desiccate until it become of the most
intense dryness. Having done these things: mix the same with the gum which
is equipped with all manner of colours, and cook strongly until the whole
force of the water perish; and the entire body be deprived of its humidity,
while ye imbue the same by cooking, until the dryness thereof be kindled.
Then dismiss for forty days. Let it remain in that trituration or decocting
until the spirit penetrate the body. For by this regimen the spirit is
made corporeal, and the body is changed into a spirit. Observe the vessel,
therefore, lest the composition fly and pass off in fumes. These things
being accomplished, open the vessel, and ye will find that which ye purposed.
This, therefore, is the arcanum of gum, which the Philosophers have concealed
in their books.
The Nineteenth Dictum.
Dardaris saith:- It is common
knowledge that the Masters before us have described Permanent Water. Now,
it behoves one who is introduced to this Art to attempt nothing till he
is familiar with the power of this Permanent Water, and in commixture,
contrition, and the whole regimen, it behoves us to use invariably this
famous Permanent Water. He, therefore, who does not understand Permanent
Water, and its indispensable regimen, may not enter into this Art, because
nothing is effected without the Permanent Water. The force thereof is a
spiritual blood, whence the Philosophers have called it Permanent Water,
for, having pounded it with the body, as the Masters before me have explained
to you, by the will of God it turns that body into spirit. For these, being
mixed together and reduced to one, transform each other; the body incorporates
the spirit, and the spirit incorporates the body into tinged spirit, like
blood. And know ye, that whatsoever hath spirit the same hath blood also
as well. Remember, therefore, this arcanum!
The Twentieth Dictum.
Belus saith:- O disciples, ye
have discoursed excellently!
Pythagoras answers:- Seeing that
they are philosophers, O Belus, why hast thou called them disciples?
He answereth:- It is in honour
of their Master, lest I should make them equal with him.
Then Pythagoras saith:- Those
who, in conjunction with us, have composed this book which is called the
Turba, ought not to be termed disciples.
Then he:- Master, they have frequently
described Permanent Water, and the making of the White and the Red in many
ways, albeit under many names; but in the modes after which they have conjoined
weights, compositions, and regimens, they agree with the hidden truth.
Behold, what is said concerning this despised thing! A report has gone
abroad that the Hidden Glory of the Philosophers is a stone and not a stone,
and that it is called by many names, lest the foolish should recognise
it, Certain wise men have designated it after one fashion, namely, according
to the place where it is generated; others have adopted another, founded
upon its colour, some of whom have termed it the Green Stone; by other
some it is called the Stone of the most intense Spirit of Brass, not to
be mixed with bodies; by yet others its description has been further varied,
because it is sold for coins by lapidaries who are called saven; some have
named it Spume of Luna; some have distinguished it astronomically or arithmetically;
it has already received a thousand titles, of which the best is: "That
which is produced out of metals." So also others have called it the Heart
of the Sun, and yet others have declared it to be that which is brought
forth out of quicksilver with the milk of volatile things.
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