The Twenty-first Dictum.
Pandolfus saith:- O Belus, thou
hast said so much concerning the despised stone that thou hast left nothing
to be added by thy brethren! Howsoever, I teach posterity that this despised
stone is a permanent water, and know, all ye seekers after Wisdom, that
permanent water is water of mundane life, because, verily, Philosophers
have stated that Nature rejoices in Nature, Nature contains Nature, and
Nature overcomes Nature. The Philosophers have constituted this short dictum
the principle of the work for reasonable persons. And know ye that no body
is more precious or purer than the Sun, and that no tingeing venom: is
generated without the Sun and its shadow. He, therefore, who attempts to
make the venom of the Philosophers without these, already errs, and has
fallen into that pit wherein his sadness remains. But he who has tinged
the venom of the wise out of the Sun and its shadow has arrived at the
highest Arcanum. Know also that our coin when it becomes red, is called
gold; he, therefore, who knows the hidden Cambar of the Philosophers, to
him is the Arcanum already revealed.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
even now intelligibly described this stone, yet thou hast not narrated
its regimen nor its composition. Return, therefore, to the description.
He saith:- I direct you to take
an occult and honourable arcanum, which is White Magnesia, and the same
is mixed and pounded with wine, but take care not to make use of this except
it be pure and clean; finally place it in its vessel, and pray God that
He may grant you the sight of this very great stone. Then cook gradually,
and, extracting, see if it has become a black stone, in which case ye have
ruled excellently well. But rule it thus for the white, which is a great
arcanum, until it becomes Kuhul, closed up with blackness, which blackness
see that it does not remain longer than forty days. Pound the same, therefore,
with its confections, which are the said flower of copper, gold of the
Indies whose root is one, and a certain extract of an unguent, that is,
of a crocus, that is, fixed exalted alum; cook the four, therefore, permanently
for 40 or 42 days. After these days God will show you the principle(or
beginning) of this stone, which is the stone Atitos, of which favoured
sight of God there are many accounts. Cook strongly, and imbue with the
gum that remains. And know ye that so often as ye imbue the cinder, so
often must it be desiccated and again humectated, until its colour turns
into that which ye desire. Now, therefore, will I complete that which I
have begun, if God will look kindly on us. Know also that the perfection
of the work of this precious stone is to rule it with the residue of the
third part of the medicine, and to preserve the two other parts for imbuing
and cooking alternately till the required colour appears. Let the fire
be more intense than the former; let the matter be cerated, and when it
is desiccated it coheres. Cook, therefore, the wax until it imbibes the
gluten of gold, which being desiccated, imbue the rest of the work seven
times until the other two thirds be finished, and true earth imbibe them
all. Finally, place the same on a hot fire until the earth extract its
flower and be satisfactory. Blessed are ye if ye understand! But, if not,
I will repeat to you the perfection of the work. Take the clean white,
which is a most great arcanum, wherein is the true tincture; imbue sand
therewith, which sand is made out of the stone seven times imbued, until
it drink up the whole, and close the mouth of the vessel effectually, as
you have often been told. For that which ye seek of it by the favour of
God, will appear to you, which is the stone of Tyrian colour. Now, therefore,
I have fulfilled the truth, so do I conjure you by God and your sure Master,
that you show not this great arcanum, and beware of the wicked!
The Twenty-Second Dictum.
Theophilus saith: Thou hast spoken
intelligently and elegantly, and art held free from envy.
Saith the Turba:- Let your discretion,
therefore, explain to us what the instructing Pandolfus has stated, and
be not envious.
Then he:- O all ye seekers after
this science, the arcanum of gold and the art of the coin is a dark vestment,
and no one knows what the Philosophers have narrated in their books without
frequent reading, experiments, and questionings of the Wise. For that which
they have concealed is more sublime and obscure than it is possible to
make known in words, and albeit some have dealt with it intelligibly and
well, certain others have treated it obscurely; thus some are more lucid
The Turba answereth: Thou hast
And he:- I announce to posterity
that between boritis and copper there is an affinity, because the boritis
of the Wise liquefies; the copper, and it changes as a fluxible water.
Divide, therefore, the venom into two equal parts, with one of which liquefy
the copper, but preserve the other to Pound and imbue the same, until it
is drawn out into plates; cook again with the former part of the venom,
cook two to seven in two; cook to seven in its own water for 42 days; finally,
open the vessel, and ye shall find copper turned into quicksilver; wash
the same by cooking until it be deprived of its blackness, and become as
copper without a shadow. Lastly, cook it continuously until it be congealed.
For when it is congealed it becomes a very great arcanum. Accordingly,
the Philosophers have called this stone Boritis; cook, therefore, that
coagulated stone until it becomes a matter like mucra. Then imbue it with
the Permanent water which I directed you to reserve, that is to say, with
the other portion, and cook it many times until its colours manifest. This,
therefore, is the very great putrefaction which extracts (or contains in
itself) the very great arcanum.
Saith the Turba:- Return to thine
exposition, O Theophilus!
And he:- It is to be known that
the same affinity which exists between the magnet and iron, also exists
assuredly between copper and permanent water. If, therefore, ye rule copper
and permanent water as I have directed, there will thence result the very
great arcanum in the following fashion. Take white Magnesia and quicksilver,
mix with the male, and pound strongly by cooking, not with the hands, until
the water become thin. But dividing this water into two parts, in the one
part of the water cook it for eleven, otherwise, forty days, until there
be a white flower, as the flower of salt in its splendour and coruscation:
but strongly close the mouth of the vessel, and cook for forty days, when
ye will find it water whiter than milk; deprive it of all blackness by
cooking; continue the cooking until its whole nature be disintegrated,
until the defilement perish, until it be found clean, and is wholly broken
up (or becomes wholly clean). But if ye wish that the whole arcanum, which
I have given you, be accomplished, wash the same with water, that is to
say, the other part which I counselled you to preserve, until there appear
a crocus, and leave in its own vessel. For the Iksir pounds (or contains)
itself; imbue also with the residue of the water, until by decoction and
by water it be pounded and become like a syrup of pomegranates; imbue it,
therefore, and cook, until the weight of the humidity shall fail, and the
colour which the Philosophers have magnified shall truly
The Twenty-third Dictum.
Cerus saith:- Understand, all
ye Sons of the Doctrine, that which Theophilus hath told you, namely, that
there exists an affinity between the magnet and the iron, by the alliance
of composite existing between the magnet and the iron, while the copper
is fitly ruled for one hundred days: what statement can be more useful
to you than that there is no affinity between tin and quicksilver!
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
ill spoken, having disparaged the true disposition.
And he:- I testify that I say
nothing but what is true why are you incensed against me Fear the Lord,
all ye Turba, that you Master may believe you!
The Turba answereth:- Say what
And he:- I direct you to take
quicksilver, in which is the male potency or strength; cook the same with
its body until it becomes a fluxible water; cook the masculine together
with the vapour, until each shall be coagulated and become a stone. Then
take the water which you had divided into two parts, of which one is for
liquefying and cooking the body, but the second is for cleansing that which
is already burnt, and its companion, which [two] are made one. Imbue the
stone seven times, and cleanse, until it be disintegrated, and its body
be purged from all defilement, and become earth. Know also that in the
time of forty-two days the whole is changed into earth; by cooking, therefore,
liquefy the same until it become as true water, which is quicksilver. Then
wash with water of nitre until it become as a liquefied coin. Then
cook until it be congealed and become like to tin, when it is a most great
arcanum; that is to say, the stone which is out of two things. Rule the
same by cooking and pounding, until it becomes a most excellent crocus.
Know also that unto water desiccated with its companion we have given the
name of crocus. Cook it, therefore, and imbue with the residual water reserved
by you until you attain your purpose.
The Twenty-fourth Dictum.
Bocascus saith:- Thou hast spoken
well, O Belus, and therefore I follow thy steps!
He answereth:- As it may please
you, but do not become envious, for that is not the part of the Wise.
And Bocascus:- Thou speakest
the truth, and thus, therefore, I direct the Sons of the Doctrine. Take
lead, and, as the Philosophers have ordained, imbue, liquefy, and afterwards
congeal, until a stone is produced; then rule the stone with gluten of
gold and syrup of pomegranates until it be broken up. But you have
already divided the water into two parts, with one of which you have liquefied
the lead, and it has become as water; cook, therefore, the same until it
be dried and have become earth; then pound with the water reserved until
it acquire a red colour, as you have been frequently ordered.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
done nothing but pile up ambiguous words. Return, therefore, to the subject.
And he:- Ye who wish to coagulate
quicksilver, must mix it with its equal. Afterwards cook it diligently
until both become permanent water, and, again, cook this water until it
be coagulated. But let this be desiccated with its own equal vapour, because
ye have found the whole quicksilver to be coagulated by itself. If ye understand,
and place in your vessel what is necessary, cook it until it be coagulated,
and then pound until it becomes a crocus like to the colour of gold.
The Twenty-fifth Dictum.
Menabdus saith:- May God reward
thee for the regimen, since thou speakest the truth! For thou hast illuminated
And they:- It is said because
thou praisest him for his sayings, do not be inferior to him.
And he:- I know that I can utter
nothing but that which he hath uttered; however, I counsel posterity to
make bodies not bodies, but these incorporeal things bodies. For
by this regimen the composite is prepared, and the hidden part of its nature
is extracted. With these bodies accordingly join quicksilver and the body
of Magnesia, the woman also with the man, and by means of this there is
extracted our secret Ethelia, through which bodies are coloured; assuredly,
if I understand this regimen, bodies become not bodies, and incorporeal
things become bodies. If ye diligently pound the things in the fire and
digest (or join to) the Ethelias, they become clean and fixed things. And
know ye that quicksilver is a fire burning the bodies, mortifying and breaking
up, with one regimen, and the more it is mixed and pounded with the body,
the more the body is disintegrated, while the quicksilver is attenuated
and becomes living. For when ye shall diligently pound fiery quicksilver
and cook it as required, ye will possess Ethel, a fixed nature and colour,
subject to every tincture, which also overcomes, breaks, and constrains
the fire. For this reason it does not colour things unless it be coloured,
and being coloured it colours. And know that no body can tinge itself unless
its spirit be extracted from the secret belly thereof, when it becomes
a body and soul without the spirit, which is a spiritual tincture, out
of which colours have manifested, seeing that a dense thing does not tinge
a tenuous, but a tenuous nature colours that which enters into a body.
When, however, ye have ruled the body of copper, and have extracted from
it a most tenuous (subject), then the latter is changed into a tincture
by which it is coloured. Hence has the wise man said, that copper does
not tinge unless first it be tinged. And know that those four bodies which
you are directed to rule are this copper, and that the tinctures which
I have signified unto you are the condensed and the humid, but the condensed
is a conjoined vapour, and the humid is the water of sulphur, for sulphurs
are contained by sulphurs, and rightly by these things Nature rejoices
in Nature, and overcomes, and constrains.
The Twenty-Sixth Dictum.
Zenon saith:- I perceive that
you, O crowd of the Wise, have conjoined two bodies, which your Master
by no means ordered you to do!
The Turba answereth:- Inform
us according to your own opinion, O Zenon, in this matter, and beware of
envy! Then he:- Know that the colours which shall appear to you out of
it are these. Know, O Sons of the Doctrine, that it behoves you to allow
the composition to putrefy for forty days, and then to sublimate five times
in a vessel. Next join to a fire of dung, and cook, when these colours
shall appear to you: On the first day black citrine, on the second black
red, on the third like unto a dry crocus, finally, the purple colour will
appear to you; the ferment and the coin of the vulgar shall be imposed;
then is the Ixir composed out of the humid and the dry, and then it tinges
with an invariable tincture. Know also that it is called a body wherein
there is gold. But when ye are composing the Ixir, beware lest you extract
the same hastily, for it lingers. Extract, therefore, the same as an Ixir.
For this venom is, as it were, birth and life, because it is a soul extracted
out of many things, and imposed upon coins: its tincture, therefore, is
life to those things with which it is joined, from which it removes evil,
but it is death to the bodies from which it is extracted. Accordingly,
the Masters have said that between them there exists the same desire as
between male and female, and if any one, being introduced to this Art,
should know these natures, he would sustain the tediousness of cooking
until he gained his purpose according to the will of God.
The Twenty-Seventh Dictum.
Gregorius saith:- O all ye Turba,
it is to be observed that the envious have called the venerable stone Efflucidinus,
and they have ordered it to be ruled until it coruscates like marble in
And they:- Show, therefore, what
it is to posterity.
Then he:- Willingly; you must
know that the copper is commingled with vinegar, and ruled until it becomes
water. Finally, let it be congealed, and it remains a coruscating stone
with a brilliancy like marble, which, when ye see thus, I direct you to
rule until it becomes red, because when it is cooked till it is disintegrated
and becomes earth, it is turned into a red colour. When ye see it thus,
repeatedly cook and imbue it until it assume the aforesaid colour, and
it shall become hidden gold. Then repeat the process, when it will become
gold of a Tyrian colour. It behoves you, therefore, O all ye investigators
of this Art, when ye have observed that this Stone is coruscating, to pound
and turn it into earth, until it acquires some degree of redness; then
take the remainder of the water which the envious ordered you to divide
into two parts, and ye shall imbibe them several times until the colours
which are hidden by no body appear unto you. Know also that if ye rule
it ignorantly, ye shall see nothing of those colours. I knew a certain
person who commenced this work, and operated the natures of truth, who,
when the redness was somewhat slow in appearing, imagined that he had made
a mistake, and so relinquished the work. Observe, therefore, how ye make
the conjunction, for the punic dye, having embraced his spouse, passes
swiftly into her body, liquefies, congeals, breaks up, and disintegrates
the same. Finally, the redness does not delay in coming, and if ye effect
it without the weight, death will take place, whereupon it will be thought
to be bad. Hence, I order that the fire should be gentle in liquefaction,
but when it is turned to earth make the same intense, and imbue it until
God shall extract the colours for us and they appear.
The Twenty-Eighth Dictum.
Custos saith:- I am surprised,
O all ye Turba! at the very great force and nature of this water, for when
it has entered into the said body, it turns it first into earth, and next
into powder, to test the perfection of which take in the hand, and if ye
find it impalpable as water, it is then most excellent; otherwise, repeat
the cooking until it is brought to the required condition. And know that
if ye use any substance other than our copper, and rule with our water,
it will profit you nothing. If, on the other hand, ye rule our copper with
our water, ye shall find all that has been promised by us.
But the Turba answereth:- Father,
the envious created no little obscurity when they commanded us to take
lead and white quicksilver, and to rule the same with dew and the sun till
it becomes a coin-like stone.
Then he:- They meant our copper
and our permanent water, when they thus directed you to cook in a gentle
fire, and affirmed that there should be produced the said coin-like stone,
concerning which the Wise have also observed, that Nature rejoices in Nature,
by reason of the affinity which they know to exist between the two bodies,
that is to say, copper and permanent water. Therefore, the nature of these
two is one, for between them there is a mixed affinity, without which they
would not so swiftly unite, and be held together so that they may become
Saith the Turba:- Why do the
envious direct us to take the copper which we have now made, and roasted
until it has become gold!
The Twenty-Ninth Dictum.
Diamedes saith:- Thou hast spoken
already, O Moses [Custos], in an ungrudging manner, as became thee; I will
also confirm thy words, passing over the hardness of the elements which
the wise desire to remove, this disposition being most precious in their
eyes. Know, O ye seekers after this doctrine, that man does not proceed
except from a man; that only which is like unto themselves is begotten
from brute animals; and so also with flying creatures.
I have treated these matters
in compendious fashion, exalting you towards the truth, who yourselves
omit prolixity, for Nature is truly not improved by Nature, save with her
own nature, seeing that thou thyself art not improved except in thy son,
that is to say, man in man. See, therefore, that ye do not neglect the
precepts concerning her, but make use of venerable Nature, for out of her
Art cometh, and out of no other. Know also that unless you seize hold of
this Nature and rule it, ye will obtain nothing. Join, therefore, that
male, who is son to the red slave, in marriage with his fragrant wife,
which having been done, Art is produced between them; add no foreign matter
unto these things, neither powder nor anything else; that conception is
sufficient for us, for it is near, yet the son is nearer still. How exceeding
precious is the nature of that red slave, without which the regimen cannot
Bacsen saith:- O Diomedes, thou
hast publicly revealed this disposition!
He answereth:- I will even shed
more light upon it. Woe unto you who fear not God, for He may deprive you
of this art! Why, therefore, are you envious towards your brethren?
They answer:- We do not flee
except from fools; tell us, therefore, what is thy will?
And he:- Place Citrine with his
wife after the conjunction into the bath; do not kindle the bath excessively,
lest they be deprived of sense and motion; cause them to remain in the
bath until their body, and the colour thereof, shall become a certain unity,
whereupon restore unto it the sweat thereof; again suffer it to die; then
give it rest, and beware lest ye evaporate them by burning them in too
strong a fire. Venerate the king and his wife, and do not burn them, since
you know not when you may have need of these things, which improve the
king and his wife. Cook them, therefore, until they become black, then
white, afterwards red, and finally until a tingeing venom is produced.
O seekers after this Science, happy are ye, if ye understand, but if not,
I have still performed my duty, and that briefly, so that if ye, remain
ignorant, it is God who hath concealed the truth from you! Blame not, therefore,
the Wise, but yourselves, for if God knew that ye possessed a faithful
mind, most certainly he would reveal unto you the truth. Behold, I have
established you therein, and have extricated you from error!
The Thirtieth Dictum.
Bacsen saith:- Thou hast spoken
well, O Diomedes, but I do not see that thou hast demonstrated the disposition
of Corsufle to posterity! Of this same Corsufle the envious have spoken
in many ways, and have confused it with all manner of names.
Then he:- Tell me, therefore,
O Bacsen, according to thy opinion in these matters, and I swear by thy
father that this is the head of the work, for the true beginning hereof
cometh after the completion.
Bacsen saith:- I give notice,
therefore, to future seekers after this Art, that Corsufle is a composite,
and that it must be roasted seven times, because when it arrives at perfection
it tinges the whole body.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
spoken the truth, O Bacsen!
The Thirty-First Dictum.
Pythagoras Saith:- How does the
discourse of Bacsen appear to you, since he has omitted to name the substance
by its artificial names?
And they:- Name it, therefore,
And he:- Corsufle being its composition,
they have applied to it all the names of bodies in the world, as, for example,
those of coin, copper, tin, gold, iron, and also the name of lead, until
it be deprived of that colour and become Ixir.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
spoken well, O Pythagoras!
And he:- Ye have also spoken
well, and some among the others may discourse concerning the residual matters.
The Thirty-Second Dictum.
Bonellus saith: According to
thee, O Pythagoras, all things die and live by the will of God, because
that nature from which the humidity is removed, that nature which is left
by nights, does indeed seem like unto something that is dead; it is then
turned and (again) left for certain nights, as a man is left in his tomb,
when it becomes a powder. These things being done, God will restore unto
it both the soul and the spirit thereof, and the weakness being taken away,
that matter will be made strong, and after corruption will be improved,
even as a man becomes stronger after resurrection and younger than he was
in this world. Therefore it behoves you, O ye Sons of the Doctrine, to
consume that matter with fire boldly until it shall become a cinder, when
know that ye have mixed it excellently well, for that cinder receives the
spirit, and is imbued with the humour until it assumes a fairer colour
than it previously possessed. Consider, therefore, O ye Sons of the Doctrine,
that artists are unable to paint with their own tinctures until they convert
them into a powder; similarly, the philosophers cannot combine medicines
for the sick slaves until they also turn them into powder, cooking some
of them to a cinder, while others they grind with their hands. The case
is the same with those who compose the images of the ancients. But if ye
understand what has already been said, ye will know that I speak the truth,
and hence I have ordered you to burn up the body and turn it into a cinder,
for if ye rule it subtly many things will proceed from it, even as much
proceeds from the smallest things in the world. It is thus because copper
like man, has a body and a soul, for the inspiration of men cometh from
the air, which after God is their life, and similarly the copper is inspired
by the humour from which that same copper receiving strength is multiplied
and augmented like other things. Hence, the philosophers add, that when
copper is consumed with fire and iterated several times, it becomes better
than it was.
The Turba answereth:- Show, therefore,
O Bonellus, to future generations after what manner it becometh better
than it was!
And he:- I will do so willingly;
it is because it is augmented and multiplied, and because God extracts
many things out of one thing, since He hath created nothing which wants
its own regimen, and those qualities by which its healing must be effected.
Similarly, our copper, when it is first cooked, becomes water; then the
more it is cooked, the more is it thickened until it becomes a stone, as
the envious have termed it, but it is really an egg tending to become a
metal. It is afterwards broken and imbued, when ye must roast it in a fire
more intense than the former, until it shall be coloured and shall become
like blood in combustion, when it is placed on coins and changes them into
gold, according to the Divine pleasure. Do you not see that sperm is not
produced from the blood unless it be diligently cooked in the liver till
it has acquired an intense red colour, after which no change takes place
in that sperm? It is the same with our work, for unless it be cooked diligently
until it shall become a powder, and afterwards be putrefied until it shall
become a spiritual sperm, there will in no wise proceed from it that colour
which ye desire. But if ye arrive at the conclusion of this regimen, and
so obtain your purpose, ye shall be princes among the People of your time.
The Thirty-Third Dictum.
Nicarus saith:- Now ye have made
this arcanum public.
The Turba answereth:- Thus did
the Master order.
And he:- Not the whole, nevertheless.
But they:- He ordered us to clear
away the darkness therefrom; do thou, therefore, tell us.
And he:- I counsel posterity
to take the gold which they wish to multiply and renovate, then to divide
the water into two parts.
And they:- Distinguish, therefore,
when they divide the water.
But he:- It behoves them to burn
up our copper with one part. For the said copper, dissolved in that water,
is called the ferment of Gold, if ye rule well. For the same in like manner
are cooked and liquefy as water; finally, by cooking they are congealed,
crumble, and the red appears. But then it behoves you to imbue seven times
with the residual water, until they absorb all the water, and, all the
moisture being dried up, they are turned into dry earth; then kindle a
fire and place therein for forty days until the whole shall putrefy, and
its colours appear.
The Thirty-Fourth Dictum.
Bacsen saith:- On account of
thy dicta the Philosophers said beware. Take the regal Corsufle, which
is like to the redness of copper, and pound in the urine of a calf until
the nature of the Corsufle is converted, for the true nature has been hidden
in the belly of the Corsufle.
The Turba saith:- Explain to
posterity what the nature is.
And he:- A tingeing spirit which
it hath from permanent water, which is coin-like, and coruscates.
And they:- Shew, therefore, how
it is extracted.
And he:- It is pounded, and water
is poured upon it seven times until it absorbs the whole humour, and receives
a force which is equal to the hostility of the fire; then it is called
rust. Putrefy the same diligently until it becomes a spiritual powder,
of a colour like burnt blood, which the fire overcoming hath introduced
into the receptive belly of Nature, and hath coloured with an indelible
colour. This, therefore, have kings sought, but not found, save only to
whom God has granted it.
But the Turba saith:- Finish
your speech, O Bacsen.
And he:- I direct them to whiten
copper with white water, by which also they make red. Be careful not to
introduce any foreign matter.
And the Turba:- Well hast thou
spoken, O Bacsen, and Nictimerus also has spoken well!
Then he:- If I have spoken well,
do one of you continue.
The Thirty-Fifth Dictum.
But Zimon saith:- Hast thou left
anything to be said by another?
And the Turba:- Since the words
of Nicarus and Bacsen are of little good to those who seek after this Art,
tell us, therefore, what thou knowest, according as we have said.
And he:- Ye speak the truth,
O all ye seekers after this Art! Nothing else has led you into error but
the sayings of the envious, because what ye seek is sold at the smallest
possible price. If men knew this, and how great was the thing they held
in their hands, they would in no wise sell it. Therefore, the Philosophers
have glorified that venom, have treated of it variously, and in many ways,
have taken and applied to it all manner of names, wherefore, certain envious
persons have said: It is a stone and not a stone, but a gum of Ascotia,
consequently, the Philosophers have concealed the power thereof. For this
spirit which ye seek, that ye may tinge therewith, is concealed in the
body, and hidden away from sight, even as the soul in the human body. But
ye seekers after the Art, unless ye disintegrate this body, imbue and pound
both cautiously and diligently, until ye extract it from its grossness
(or grease), and turn it into a tenuous and impalpable spirit, have your
labour in vain. Wherefore the Philosophers have said: Except ye turn bodies
into not bodies, and incorporeal things into bodies, ye have not yet discovered
the rule of operation.
But the Turba saith:- Tell, therefore,
posterity how bodies are turned into not-bodies.
And he:- They are pounded with
fire and Ethelia till they become a powder. And know that this does not
take place except by an exceedingly strong decoction, and continuous contrition,
performed with a moderate fire, not with hands, with imbibition and putrefaction,
with exposure to the sun and to Ethelia. The envious caused the vulgar
to err in this Art when they stated that the thing is common in its nature
and is sold at a small price. They further said that the nature was more
precious than all natures, wherefore they deceived those who had recourse
to their books. At the same time they spoke the truth, and therefore doubt
not these things.
But the Turba answereth:- Seeing
that thou believest the sayings of the envious, explain, therefore, to
posterity the disposition of the two natures.
And he:- I testify to you that
Art requires two natures, for the precious is not produced without the
common, nor the common without the precious. It behoves you, therefore,
O all ye Investigators of this Art, to follow the sayings of Victimerus,
when he said to his disciples: Nothing else helps you save to sublimate
water and vapour.
And the Turba:- The whole work
is in the vapour and the sublimation of water. Demonstrate, therefore,
to them the disposition of the vapour.
And he:- When ye shall perceive
that the natures have become water by reason of the heat of the fire, and
that they have been purified, and that the whole body of Magnesia is liquefied
as water; then all things have been made vapour, and rightly, for then
the vapour contains its own equal, wherefore the envious call either vapour,
because both are joined in decoctions, and one contains the other. Thus
our stag finds no path to escape, although flight be essential to it. The
one keeps back the other, so that it has no opportunity to fly, and it
finds no place to escape; hence all are made permanent, for when the one
falls, being hidden in the body, it is congealed with it, and its colour
varies, and it extracts its nature from the properties which God has infused
into His elect, and it alienates it, lest it flee. But the blackness and
redness appear, and it falls into sickness, and dies by rust and putrefaction;
properly speaking, then, it has not a flight, although it is desirous to
escape servitude; then when it is free it follows its spouse, that a favourable
colour may befall itself and its spouse; its beauty is not as it was, but
when it is placed with coins, it makes them gold. For this reason, therefore,
the Philosophers have called the spirit and the soul vapour. They have
also called it the black humid wanting perlution; and forasmuch as in man
there are both humidity and dryness, thus our work, which the envious have
concealed, is nothing else but vapour and water.
The Turba answereth:- Demonstrate
vapour and water!
And he:- I say that the work
is out of two; the envious have called it composed out of two, because
these two become four, wherein are dryness and humidity, spirit and vapour.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
spoken excellently, and without envy. Let Zimon next follow.
The Thirty-Sixth Dictum.
Afflontus, the Philosopher, saith:-
I notify to you all, O ye investigators of this Art, that unless ye sublime
the substances at the commencement by cooking, without contrition of hands,
until the whole become water, ye have not yet found the work. And know
ye, that the copper was formerly called sand, but by others stone, and,
indeed, the names vary in every regimen. Know further, that the nature
and humidity become water, then a stone, if ye cause them to be well complexionated,
and if ye are acquainted with the natures, because the part which is light
and spiritual rises to the top, but that which is thick and heavy remains
below in the vessel. Now this is the contrition of the Philosophers, namely,
that which is not sublimated sinks down, but that which becomes a spiritual
powder rises to the top of the vessel, and this is the contrition of decoction,
not of hands. Know also, that unless ye have turned all into powder, ye
have not yet pounded them completely. Cook them, therefore, successively
until they become converted, and a powder. Wherefore Agadaimon saith:-
Cook the copper until it become a gentle and impalpable body, and impose
in its own vessel; then sublimate the same six or seven times until the
water shall descend. And know that when the water has become powder then
has it been ground diligently. But if ye ask, how is the water made a powder?
note that the intention of the Philosophers is that the body before which
before it falls into the water is not water may become water; the said
water is mixed with the other water, and they become one water. It is to
be stated, therefore, that unless ye turn the thing mentioned into water,
ye shall not attain to the work. It is, therefore, necessary for the body
to be so possessed by the flame of the fire that it is disintegrated and
becomes weak with the water, when the water has been added to the water,
until the whole becomes water. But fools, hearing of water, think that
this is water of the clouds. Had they read our books they would know that
it is permanent water, which cannot become permanent without its companion,
wherewith it is made one. But this is the water which the Philosophers
have called Water of Gold, the Igneous, Good Venom, and that Sand of Many
Names which Hermes ordered to be washed frequently, so that the blackness
of the Sun might be removed, which he introduced in the solution of the
body. And know, all ye seekers after this Art, that unless ye take this
pure body, that is, our copper without the spirit, ye will by no means
see what ye desire, because no foreign thing enters therein, nor does anything
enter unless it be pure. Therefore, all ye seekers after this Art, dismiss
the multitude of obscure names, for the nature is one water; if anyone
err, he draws nigh to destruction, and loses his life. Therefore, keep
this one nature, but dismiss what is foreign.
The Thirty-Seventh Dictum.
Bonellus saith:- I will speak
a little concerning Magnesia.
The Turba answereth:- Speak.
And he:- O all ye Sons of the
Doctrine, when mixing Magnesia, place it in its vessel, the mouth of which
close carefully, and cook with a gentle fire until it liquefy, and all
become water therein! For the heat of the water acting thereupon, it becomes
water by the will of God. When ye see that the said water is about to become
black, ye know that the body is already liquefied. Place again in its vessel,
and cook for forty days, until it drink up the moisture of the vinegar
and honey. But certain persons uncover it, say, once in each week, or once
in every ten nights; in either case, the ultimate perfection of pure water
appears at the end of forty days, for then it completely absorbs the humour
of the decoction. Therefore, wash the same, and deprive of its blackness,
until, the blackness being removed, the stone becomes dry to the touch.
Hence the envious have said:- Wash the Magnesia with soft water, and cook
diligently, until it become earth, and the humour perish. Then it is called
copper. Subsequently, pour very sharp vinegar upon it, and leave it to
be soaked therein. But this is our copper, which the Philosophers have
ordained should be washed with permanent water, wherefore they have said:
Let the venom be divided into two parts, with one of which burn up the
body, and with the other putrefy. And know, all ye seekers after this Science,
that the whole work and regimen does not take place except by water, wherefore,
they say that the thing which ye seek is one, and, unless that which improves
it be present in the said thing, what ye look for shall in no wise take
place. Therefore, it behoves you to add those .things which are needful,
that ye may thereby obtain that which you purpose.
The Turba answereth:- Thou has
spoken excellently, O Bonellus! If it please thee, therefore, finish that
which thou art saying; otherwise repeat it a second time.
But he:- Shall I indeed repeat
these and like things? O all ye investigators of this Art, take our copper;
place with the first part of the water in the vessel; cook for forty days;
purify from all uncleanliness; cook further until its days be accomplished,
and it become a stone having no moisture. Then cook until nothing remains
except faeces. This done, cleanse seven times, wash with water, and when
the water is used up leave it to putrefy in its vessel, so long as may
seem desirable to your purpose. But the envious called this composition
when it is turned into blackness that which is sufficiently black, and
have said: Rule the same with vinegar and nitre. But that which remained
when it had been whitened they called sufficiently white, and ordained
that it should be ruled with permanent water. Again, when they called the
same sufficiently red, they ordained that it should be ruled with water
and fire until it became red.
The Turba answereth:- Show forth
unto posterity what they intended by these things.
And he:- They called it Ixir
satis, by reason of the variation of its colours. In the work, however,
there is neither variety, multiplicity, nor opposition of substances; it
is necessary only to make the black copper white and then red. However,
the truth-speaking Philosophers had no other intention than that of liquefying,
pounding, and cooking Ixir until the stone should become like unto marble
in its splendour. Accordingly, the envious again said: Cook the same with
vapour until the stone becomes coruscating by reason of its brilliancy.
But when ye see it thus, it is, indeed, the most great Arcanum. Notwithstanding,
ye must then pound and wash it seven times with permanent water; finally,
again pound and congeal in its own water, until ye extract its own concealed
nature. Wherefore, saith Maria, sulphurs are contained in sulphurs, but
humour in like humour, and out of sulphur mixed with sulphur, there comes
forth a great work. But I ordain that you rule the same with dew and the
sun, until your purpose appear to you. For I signify unto you that there
are two kinds of whitening and of making red, of which one consists in
rust and the other in contrition and decoction. But ye do not need any
contrition of hands. Beware, however, of making a separation from the waters
lest the poisons get at You, and the body perish with the other things
which are in the vessel.
The Thirty-Eighth Dictum.
Effistus saith:- Thou hast spoken
most excellently, O Bonellus, and I bear witness to all thy words!
The Turba saith:- Tell us if
there be any service in the speech of Bonellus, so that those initiated
in this disposition may be more bold and certain.
Effistus saith:- Consider, all
ye investigators of this Art, how Hermes, chief of the Philosophers, spoke
and demonstrated when he wished to mix the natures. Take, he tells us,
the stone of gold, combine with humour which is permanent water, set in
its vessel, over a gentle fire until liquefaction takes place. Then leave
it until the water dries, and the sand and water are combined, one with
another; then let the fire be more intense than before, until it again
becomes dry, and is made earth. When this is done, understand that here
is the beginning of the arcanum; but do this many times, until two-thirds
of the water perish, and colours manifest unto you.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
spoken excellently, O Effistus! Yet, briefly inform us further.
And he:- I testify to Posterity
that the dealbation doth not take place save by decoction. Consequently,
Agadaimon has very properly treated of cooking, of pounding, and of imbuing,
ethelia. Yet I direct you not to pour on the whole of the water at one
time, lest the Ixir be submerged, but pour it in gradually, pound and dessicate,
and do this several times until the water be exhausted. Now concerning
this the envious have said: Leave the water when it has all been poured
in, and it will sink to the bottom. But their intention is this, that while
the humour is drying, and when it has been turned into powder, leave it
in its glass vessel for forty days, until it passes through various colours,
which the Philosophers have described. By this method of cooking the bodies
put on their spirits and spiritual tinctures, and become warm.
The Turba answereth:- Thou hast
given light to us, O Effistus, and hast done excellently! Truly art thou
cleared from envy; wherefore, let one of you others speak as he pleases.
The Thirty-Ninth Dictum.
Bacsen saith:- O all ye seekers
after this Art, ye can reach no useful result without a patient, laborious,
and solicitous soul, persevering courage, and continuous regimen. He, therefore,
who is willing to Persevere in this disposition, and would enjoy the result,
may enter upon it, but he who desires to learn over speedily, must not
have recourse to our books, for they impose great labour before they are
read in their higher sense, once, twice, or thrice. Therefore, the Master
saith:- Whosoever bends his back over the study of our books, devoting
his leisure thereto, is not occupied with vain thoughts, but fears God,
and shall reign in the Kingdom without fail until he die. For what ye seek
is not of small price. Woe unto you who seek the very great and compensating
treasure of God! Know ye not that for the smallest Purpose in the world,
earthly men will give themselves to death, and what, therefore, ought they
to do for this most excellent and almost impossible offering? Now, the
regimen is greater than is perceived by reason, except through divine inspiration.
I once met with a person who was as well acquainted with the elements as
I myself, but when he proceeded to rule this disposition, he attained not
to the joy thereof by reason of his sadness and ignorance in ruling, and
excessive eagerness, desire, and haste concerning the purpose. Woe unto
you, sons of the Doctrine! For one who plants trees does not look for fruit,
save in due season; he also who sows seeds does not expect to reap, except
at harvest time. How, then, should ye desire to attain this offering when
ye have read but a single book, or have adventured only the first regimen?
But the Philosophers have plainly stated that the truth is not to be discerned
except after error, and nothing creates greater pain at heart than error
in this Art, while each imagines that he has almost the whole world, and
yet finds nothing in his hands. Woe unto you! Understand the dictum of
the Philosopher, and how he divided the work when he said- pound, cook,
reiterate, and be thou not weary. But when thus he divided the work, he
signified commingling, cooking, assimilating, roasting, heating, whitening,
pounding, cooking Ethelia, making rust or redness, and tingeing. Here,
therefore, are there many names, and yet there is one regimen. And if men
knew that one decoction and one contrition would suffice them, they would
not so often repeat their words, as they have done, and in order that the
mixed body may be pounded and cooked diligently, have admonished you not
to be weary thereof. Having darkened the matter to you with their words,
it suffices me to speak in this manner. It is needful to complexionate
the venom rightly, then cook many times, and do not grow tired of the decoction.
Imbue and cook it until it shall become as I have ordained that it should
be ruled by you- namely, impalpable spirits, and until ye perceive that
the Ixir is clad in the garment of the Kingdom. For when ye behold the
Ixir turned into Tyrian colour, then have ye found that which the Philosophers
discovered before you. If ye understand my words (and although my words
be dead, yet is there life therein for those who understand themselves),
they will forthwith explain any ambiguity occurring herein. Read, therefore,
repeatedly, for reading is a dead speech, but that which is uttered with
the lips the same is living speech. Hence we have ordered you to read frequently,
and, moreover, ponder diligently over the things which we have narrated.
The Fortieth Dictum.
Jargus saith:- Thou hast left
obscure a part of thy discourse, O Bacsen!
And he:- Do thou, therefore,
Jargus, in thy clemency shew forth the same!
And he answereth:- The copper
of which thou hast before spoken is not copper, nor is it the tin of the
vulgar; it is our true work (or body) which must be combined with the body
of Magnesia, that it may be cooked and pounded without wearying until the
stone is made. Afterwards, that stone must be pounded in its vessel with
the water of nitre, and, subsequently, placed in liquefaction until it
is destroyed. But, all ye investigators of this art, it is necessary to
have a water by which the more you cook, so much the more you sprinkle,
until the said copper shall put on rust, which is the foundation of our
work. Cook, therefore, and pound with Egyptian vinegar.
GO TO PART 3