View Full Version : Alchemy and the concept of generation

05-29-2010, 10:24 PM
The below quotes are from a thread in the Subtext forum and I intend to expand upon them below that.


Would you like to share with us what your understanding of alchemy is, since, in the manner of Socrates, you are so concerned with correct definitions and the like. And kindly elaborate; I'm sure generations of family wisdom might bring some light to this thread.


Kindred Soul

As far as I'm concerned, the only two sources for our understanding of what alchemy is should be:

1) The writings of the alchemists themselves.
2) Nature and her workings.
to which some might add a third, word etymologies/cabala etc, but this is incidental and must be supported by interpretation of the specific cabala.

By appeal to the alchemists themselves, then, we could for example consult Fulcanelli, who likened alchemy to the study of causes (as opposed to chemistry which deals with effects), and who also suggested alchemy was more like the work of the microbiologist or the farmer than the chemist. We could consult Sendivogius, who explains that the earlier Sages never departed from the simple ways of nature, and that natural generation was a big key to understanding it. We could consult Cyliani with his explanation of the Stone and its health giving effects, as well as his proclamation regarding metallic salts. But all these would only be partial answers.

In my mind then, alchemy is the science which deals with the question of how natural things - including metals, minerals, atoms etc - are generated, how they are preserved, and how they die or transform. This was admittedly the subject of Kirchweger's famous La Nature Devoileé, an alchemical tract containing some great wisdom. In treating of this subject, it must treat of the cause of the generation of bodies, and also the question of what constitutes the life of something living (such as a metal or a tree). Put more simply, if we are treating the cause of the life and generation of things, we are asking what constitutes their spirit, their soul, their body and so on. What constitutes the vital principle that causes them to change. It is this subject that alchemy studies.

The end goal was not only the creation of the Philosophers Stone, but understanding of creation and creator. Much like modern physics should be today, but is not. By understanding what causes matter to form into specific shapes, to self organize, ie the Secret Fire, matter could be manipulated.

This definition then does not exclude the possibility of a spiritual or internal use of alchemy, although it does deny the idea that alchemy is solely concerned with some non physical generation. Alchemy being concerned with what causes birth/death, it is admitted that the Stone may prolong life, but that doesn't mean that every alchemist would choose to use it in this way. They might decide instead that people being corrupt, the best course of action was to go meet their maker instead. Who wants to hang around for hundreds of years and arouse suspicion and envy when much more knowledge might be gained by not fearing that change of form known as death? Think of Dionysus-Osiris, torn apart by the Titans, re-membered eventually... death and resurrection in a more perfected form... coagula must be balanced with solve... but I digress.

The idea that alchemy is associated with natural generation, and that the Artist is merely helping nature to generate something that natural temperatures and environmental conditions would not allow her to do, is supported by the books of the alchemical authors. You can even consult Aristotle who stated in his books that what is left incomplete by Nature is completed/brought to perfection by Art. You could note how in his writings he placed the fifth element of ether between the sun, moon and fixed stars, which is exactly where some alchemists placed their celestial water, and ask what is out there in space that might be classed as a water, flowing between the stars? But few people consult Aristotle anymore.

We are closing for today. If you search in alchemy, at one point you will find the expression V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (= visit the centre of the earth and by rectification you will find the stone). The alchemist- writers are quite mistaking here. We recommend our 16 words from our first mail: first the stone is produced, then the journey to the inner earth starts. The stone is found in the body, not in the earth. Mind you, everything is, in the end, found in the body. If an alchemist travels through the earth, he's doing that in the microcosmos of the body. Remember what we said: the real sun and moon (and earth) are in you. Not outside. And this explains why our friend could still hear common street noise outside his apartment when he traveled to the centre of the earth over 19 years ago with tremendous speed.
Regardless of any questioning of the homosexual aspects of the letters, I think this quote of the Paris 4 seems to display a profound lack of knowledge of alchemy and why it is called hermetic. The allusion to the centre of the earth should alert anyone studying the texts to the nature of the hermetic vessel and the way that anything is generated.

Animals are generated within the darkness of the body, are nurtured within the womb... vegetables in the darkness of their own earth... metals/minerals in the caverns beneath the earth. Crystallization occurs by a drawing inwards towards centres of nucleation. Implosion - also a center seeking movement. Similarly any spiritual or divine generation, regardless of whether it involves some sexual act, should involve a similar drawing inwards (like our magnet provokes). This is why the material of the Stone is found at the interior of the earth, since the parts thrown off as crust, a skin, is the result of the flowering process, the visible end of the generation, and not of the hidden inner process.

Their claim that the matter of the stone is in the body alone, referring to their own body, and that visiting the interior of the earth (apparently literally) only occurs after the generation of the Stone, is almost a complete 180 degree reversal of the principles alchemy is built on: #1, that its matter is found everywhere, #2 that people have not paid attention to the process of natural generation and it is here in Natures mysteries that we should focus our research (Michael Sendivogius). Anyone who refuses to recognise that the word hermetic designates something unseen, something enclosed or shut up, misses the golden key.

But though they never departed from the simple ways of Nature they have something to teach us, which, in these more sophisticated times, still need to learn, because we have applied ourselves to what are regarded as the more advanced branches of knowledge, and despise the study of so "simple " a thing as natural Generation. Hence we pay more heed to impossible things than to those objects which are broadly exhibited before our very eyes, we excel more in subtle speculations than in a sober study of Nature, and of the meaning of the Sages.

Alas this statement of the Cosmopolite is true. It has always seemed sad to me that, as Sendivogius put it, people seem to despise the study of such a simple thing as natural generation and how it occurs, and prefer such drawn out allegories about gay men and astral journeys into the heart of the planet to the seal of truth.

05-29-2010, 10:58 PM
The title of Kirchweger's work, at least translated from the French edition, was:

Nature unveiled, or, a theory concerning Nature
in which we demonstrate, via an exact analysis of its Operations, how and from what all things take their birth, how they are preserved, how they are destroyed and reduced again to their primordial essence.

The first paragraphs of the preface (from my own translation):

The first step which must be undertaken by any person who desires to obtain knowledge of Nature, is to examine, with great attentiveness, how and whereby all natural things take their birth, such as meteors, animals, vegetables and minerals; how they are preserved, and how they are destroyed. It will be seen that these different effects operate via the same cause; that every thing contains within itself a principle of life, which is also the principle of its own destruction; that this principle is the same in everything; and that it is this Universal Agent which, after different ways of action, operates all generations and dissolutions which maintain and renew this vast universe.

It is this which I propose to demonstrate in this work, which is the fruit of my observations and experience. I have written particularly for those lovers of chemistry who, defective in their understanding of the operations of Nature, work haphazardly, blindly following the processes which are before their eyes, and are led astray in their researches, to the detriment of their good health and fortune. They will find here a clear and tangible theory, which has the advantage of being easy to verify in practice, without which we cannot really boast of being truly educated.

And another:

God has brought Nature out of nothingness, by means of his Word which was engendered long ago. God willed, and the Word engendered a vapour, a mist or great smoke, and here is stamped his virtue, that is to say, a spirit full of force and power. This vapour condensed into a water, which the Sages have called Universal and Chaotic, or simply chaos, it is from this water that the Universe has been formed: it is this that has, was and always will be the first matter of all natural things.

The generation of the world from this Word is, no doubt, no less incomprehensible than the generation of this divine Word, yet it suffices us to know, regarding this intelligence of Nature, that all that existed in the beginning was this vapour, animated by His spirit, and which has become tangible in the form of water.

Admittedly then, according to Homerus, as well as many others, the matter of the world was this "vapor" animated by the divine Word or spirit, which must condense before it becomes a water. This word, "condensation", denotes a drawing together of parts and the generation of greater harmony and coherence. The element of water flows, it forms droplets, it coheres together, as mercury does. This is the quality of moistness. Dryness on the other hand denotes the opposite - a lack of cohesion, as dust displays. The ancients believed that what held bodies together was a kind of moisture, and Pernety described this idea in his Treatise on the Great Work. But moisture was not merely that of water, it was this quality of cohesion and cooperation often attributed to love.

Hard bodies would therefore have an internal radical moisture holding them together. Sendivogius and others speak of an oiliness which attaches to all things. Again, oil has the quality of viscosity.

It is my understanding that by using words or symbols such as oil, vapour, moisture, mercury and so on, the adepts were attempting to convey and point out this quality of maintaining its cohesion that certain types of matter have. This is why the mercury of a metal is said to be a very small part of the original body.

This is only a very small part of my understanding of mercury however, more could be said regarding the relationship between the matrix of mercury, the mercury-as-azoth and the relationship of the Greco-Roman Mercury to the alchemical idea. However one idea at a time is better.

It was said that the humid radical was the seat/vehicle of the fire in the body: sulphur inside, mercury outside. Mercury contains within it its own sulphurous principle, to which it owes its coagulation or humidity, says Fulcanelli. Now sulphur was described as fire-air or fire-earth depending on the author. In the normal viewpoint that we see disclosed to our eyes, fire is usually external, visible and palpable, acting on us. In generation however the elements must reverse their order: fire-air directed toward the center, water and earth on the outside.
More @ a later time. Comments/discussion appreciated.

05-30-2010, 12:25 AM
Read the caves and mines thread, we discussed the "vapor" there and I even gave some pictures or this vapor taken from inside a gold mine that I used to work, if you look at those pictures closely you will see the red and white gur growing on the cave wall as a result of these vapors just as the Hyle and Cohyle text spoke of. If you zoom in on the pictures you see the very white golden tear liquid dripping from the ceilings of the cave. Also, if you study the pictures carfeully you will see that the white, closely resembling a white niter deposit is growing inside the deepest reaches of the cave where sunlight doesn't reach, by cons the white turns to red and even starts to manifest as a type of iron sulfate deposit (VITRIOL) but only where the sunlight reaches it, thus it takes its sulfur from the sun, just as all the alchemical symbolism implies and this validates the writtings of Anton Kirchweger in the Golden Chain about the generation of metals from this gur by way of arsenic and sulfur into marcasite, yes since the cat is out of the bag, yes the gur is clay, I'll present more in the Chaos of the Sages Thread shortly . I responded to your thread here because I admire your approach and share it as well,.... the way to understanding alchemy is through a prfound respect and thourough study of nature, which will take you to even subtler realms.

From: http://www.rexresearch.com/adept/aai3as.htm (http://www.rexresearch.com/adept/aai3as.htm)

Jacob Juran ~ Hyle & Coahyl

"Gur --- Its sign, however, is this: in the caves of the mountains where the workers labor and dig our gold or silver, a white oil drips out and when it has disappeared in the ground in which there is this Cohyle or the seed and the beginning of the gold, there will be something glowing from the earth like a tear or like a white blood, and like a tear of a plant or a grapevine when they are cut, and it is similar to drops of light water in its seeping out, and after a day or night it will coagulate and be similar to the saliva of the mouth or the milk or water foam. And after a certain time when you see it, you will find it slightly reddish and this redness will increase every day, and when it is redder than coagulated blood, but not yet hard as stone, but soft and like a salve and cream, then the gold in it is completed, but not yet stable in the heat of the fire, and it will not be stable until it coagulates and becomes similar to a hard rock, and this is the word of King Saba, which he talks about in his book Kaba Thabiban, the oil, the butter of the wise. It is a bird in the world and it is white like snow, and it is the bird of all birds since it doesn’t fly underneath the sky and above the earth like other birds, but it comes down from the height of the sky into the deepest abysses in the interior of the earth, and its flight goes through stone and ground, through rock and the abysses of the sea; this bird in reality is the Phoenix of the Wise and alchemists, and if it doesn’t join with the mother of the gold in the earth and this become white and slightly stable, then the alchemists will not be able to complete it in a long time except if it comes down every day and flies into the interior of the earth and hides and unites with the mother of the gold, and when you first see it you will compare it with the seed of men, and its face, if white, will turn red after some time, and it will be soft as butter or a salve; but when its softness changes the gold is born and stable in fire. This Cohyle has no name, just like the Cohyle of the first way has none. But the experienced of those working inside the mountains when they find this Cohyle, they answer and say we have preceded the birth of the son and the completion of the gold because, see, the son is received, and due to our hurry we have found no gold… my son, choose this Cohyle, the butter of the wise men; you can find when it is red like blood, choose it, because with it you will hurry to its end, and if it is white like saliva of the mouth, choose it because with it you will understand even more; therefore when possible choose the red one and the white one, but choose it soft like a fatty substance…"

John Webster ~ Metallographia: Or, An History of Metals

" III. Of the Generation of Metalls, and whether they Grow, and have Vegetability --- The author of Arcae Arca. [Theatr. Chym.] from Lully and Mathesius tells us this… ‘That the matter (viz. of Metals) before it be coagulated into a metallick form, is like unto Butter made of the Cream of milk, which may be clamed or spread as Butter, which he (he meaneth Mathesius) calleth Gur, which I also (saith the Author quoted) have found in the Mines, where Nature hath produced Lead’. To ratifie this, and to put it forth of doubt, I shall relate what I my self have found, and how have some pounds of it by me. Inquiring after this Gur of all persons that I could hear of that wrought in Mines, there could some of them tell me, that often in the sudden breaking of some Stone, there would be a liquor spurt forth bright and shining, which they regarded not, because they knew no use nor benefit to be made of it, nor knew how to save or keep it."

Anton Kirchweger ~ The Golden Chain of Homer

"....Gur --- The portion of the earth which the corrosive [vapor] has been unable to dissolve completely, is made subtle, dirty, and greasy in part. Alchemists call it a metallic gur, or the first matter of metals, but wrongly so, because it is the first and nearest matter to sulphur and arsenic. When arsenic becomes marcasite, that then is the very nearest matter to metals, because metals spring directly from marcasite and not from this gur which is only the distant matter of metals. This gur or dirty substance is made ever finer by the rising corrosive vapors and is more and more dissolved. And the more it becomes subtle, the more it congeals the corrosive within itself, and that makes it sulphurous and arsenical. This arsenic is increasingly ripened into marcasite, and the marcasite in turn into metal. Such is the progress of metals, which we intend to show ever more clearly.

When the vapors rise into the cracks and crevices of the rocks, they turn into water because of their condensation (while more and more rise unceasingly). This water contains the intermingled spirit of salt and saltpeter, which spirit is known by all alchemists to be corrosive. Here, however, in the center, it is surrounded and diluted by much Phlegma and water. Such spirits adhere to rocks and earth by their sharpness, corrode and dissolve them, make them subtle, swollen, sticky, greasy and dirty, and turn them into a moist gur which lies between the rocks and the earth like meat interlarded with bacon. But often it penetrates outside due to the swelling and adheres to the walls, as may be seen in old galleries and mines. The more dissolved and refined such dissolved earth becomes through vapors and salty spirits, the more it swells, pressing and driving out the remaining moisture by this swelling. In turn, this moisture runs back to the center or elsewhere into other corners and holes of the earth. This swollen earth or gur now has no peace, because the continually rising and subsequent vapors are attacking it ever more, adhere to it, congeal and coagulate with the earth; and the more such corrosive vapors follow, the more fiery, sulphurous the earth becomes. The more sulphurous it becomes, the higher it swells, and more moisture it drives off, and becomes the drier the longer it lasts. The drier it becomes, however, the more the sulphurous component part loses its combustibility and thereby acquires the name of mercury, or rightly, arsenic, which has originated in the sulphurous acidity. It no longer burns, but is still volatile. This volatility, however, is gradually more bound by the central heat between the stones, and thereby congealed and coagulated, so that it is transformed into a marcasite. If the digestion or earthy central heat is strong, the marcasite is congealed into a metal; but if it is weak, it remains what it is or becomes a marcasite or arsenic choke-damp, or pyrite. "

Good example of that last one: Pyrite crystals on shale :maybe indicating that gur was present between the shale composites and squeezed out between the cracks and crystallized into pyrite

05-30-2010, 01:05 AM
Quoth Abraham the Jew:

"...SPIRITUS PHYTONIS, which can be prepared as well from the Old Albaon, as also from the CHAOS UNIVERSALI; from Men and Vines."

And the attached illustration:


A book worth reading IMO, as it especially concurs with some of what Leo has been sharing lately, mostly regarding the 'rocky lumps' of our Old One...

Glauber's 'Preparation of the Sweet Oil of Vitriol' is also very forthcoming in this regard... If one has a little lab experience and knows a trick or two :)

05-31-2010, 01:57 AM
I absolutely agree on the approach to Nature in seeking the art, it has been my bone with others I have talked with before who frame their studies in terms of some chemical operation (such as martial regulus) but who don't discuss what the operation of the processes has taught them about nature and the elements, and how the processes of combination of bodies work in general. I'll comment on those threads eventually after I've had some time to think stuff through, but I'd like to look at one of the statements mentioned above.

In many of the texts, digestion is spoken of, as in "If the digestion or earthy central heat is strong, the marcasite is congealed into a metal;", likewise we see in many works the image of a serpent eating its own tail, self digestion. Gurdjieff mentioned this idea too, in the concept trogoautoegocrat, which he indicated meant "eating myself, I am renewed". The text you mentioned compares digestion to the "earthy central heat". I rather suspect this is an variant translation of a concept meaning the central fire of the earth, one of the 3 classes (or manifestations) of fire Pernety spoke of: celestial, central, and fire of the stove. The first two could be seen as yin and yang manifestations of fire. Most of modern chemistry is concerned with the celestial fire, and the fire of the stove, but only touches the central incidentally because it cannot be measured objectively except by its effects when disturbed from its equilibrium. It would be this fire in operation when the marcasite is being "ripened" by digestion.

Incidentally, it seems possible that the so called orgone energy, itself a manifestation of this central fire, is attracted into accumulators by virtue of the polarity differential between metals, non metals and the surrounding environment, and this could suggest the means of how this secret fire may convert one element to another, and how the ripening process might be hastened.

06-10-2010, 04:14 AM
The following quote is from Walter Russell's "A New Concept of the Universe"

The science of metallurgy must realize that all metals are unbalanced conditions of carbon and silicon. Iron and nickel are unbalanced positive and negative extensions of silicon. Silicon is their fulcrum of balance, just as two children on opposite ends of a seesaw are unabalanced extensions of the fulcrum which controls their balance. We now obtain nickel from other countries. We have an unlimited supply of it in our every mountain.

Just as sodium and chlorine find their balance in salt, and thus lose their metallic qualities, so do all pairs of metals lose their metallic unbalance in salts. A salt in Nature is a balanced pair of elements.

Reciprocative balanced reversals of motion is the only power Nature or man has ever used. That is the basis of the electric current -- the piston of Natures wave engines or of man's motors and pumps.

solomon levi
06-12-2010, 08:06 PM
I have been recognising lately how closely quantum physics relates
to alchemy and alchemical allegory. The cloud or mist could refer
to an electron cloud and besides water/moisture, QP describes the
four cohesive forces: gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong force.
If we wish to observe nature and where matter comes from, QP
seems to have some good answers.

Check out this book, Sacred symbols of the Dogon, if inclined. :)


You'll find a lot of our symbols in ancient Egyptian technology - the fox, wolf, serpent, seed, egg, etc...

06-14-2010, 06:31 AM
I have been recognising lately how closely quantum physics relates
to alchemy and alchemical allegory. The cloud or mist could refer
to an electron cloud and besides water/moisture, QP describes the
four cohesive forces: gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong force.
If we wish to observe nature and where matter comes from, QP
seems to have some good answers.

Check out this book, Sacred symbols of the Dogon, if inclined. :)


You'll find a lot of our symbols in ancient Egyptian technology - the fox, wolf, serpent, seed, egg, etc...

I've never found myself that attracted toward Laird Scranton's material or quantum physics actually, but thats just me, I tend to believe quantum physics is an incorrect model of reality (although founded on mostly accurate observations in the laboratory).

What was cool about your posting that when you did however was that the same morning I discovered in the work of a Danish female alchemist the key to why Fulcanelli dwelt on the cat in Egypt and the X so much.

In the Book of the Dead, plate 7 I believe, it is spoken of the cat Maau (similar to the same they make), a form of Ra, who guards the sacred Persea tree from the serpent Apep (in one of the variants of the Osiris legend this tree is used, and it is known as a solar tree, "ished"). The cat's name apparently not only means "cat", but "equal to". The graphic shape of the X which the cat's whiskers display is a symmetry of one triangle against another - equilibrium through which light is made manifest, generation VS radiation, if you get my drift. Egyptian symbolism always seems to be complex and multi layered in its simplicity to me. Thanks for the reminder.