View Full Version : The Matrix of the Philosophers

07-19-2010, 01:59 AM
In my ever increasing attempts to enlighten the members of AF as to the true nature of the arcanum arcanorum I shall proceed to quote a number of passages on the topic of the Matrix of our Work.

"This product, allegorically expressed by an angel or by a man --- the attribute of the evangelist St Matthew --- is none other than the Mercury of the Philosophers, double in nature and quality, partly fixed and material, partly volatile and spiritual, which suffices to begin, achieve and multiply the work. It is the unique and only matter that we need, without having to worry about finding any other; but we must know, so as not to err, that authors generally begin their treatises with this mercury and how to acquire it. This Mercury definitely is the matrix and the root of gold, and not the precious metal which is absolutely useless and without function in the way we are studying. Eirenaeus Philalethes says with much truth, that our Mercury, barely mineral, is even less metallic because it only contains the spirit or metallic seed, while the body tends to move away from the mineral quality. It is nevertheless the spirit of gold, contained in a transparent oil, easily coagulable; the salt of metals, since all stone is salt, and the salt of our stone, since the stone of the philosophers, which is this mercury of which we speak, is the subject of the Philosophers’ Stone. Hence several Adepts, intending to create confusion, called it nitre or saltpeter (sal petri, salt of stone), and copied the sign of the one onto the image of the other. Further, its crystalline structure, its physical resemblance to melted salt, its transparency, have allowed it to be compared to salts and caused it to be given all their names. According to the will or whim of writers, it has been described in turn as sea salt, rock salt, sal alembroth, oleu vitri which Pantheus describes as being chrysocolla, and others as borax or atincar; Roman vitriol, because [***-123-1] (Rome), Greek name of the Eternal City, means strength, vigor, power, domination; the mineral of Pierre-Jean Fabre because he says gold lives in it (vitriol) (5). It is also called Proteus because of its metamorphoses in the course of the work, and Chameleon ( [***-123-2], (rampant lion), because it takes on, in sequence, all the colors of the spectrum. "

"For you, unknown brothers of the mysterious city of the sun, we have formed the resolution of teaching the diverse and successive modes of our purifications. You will be thankful to us, we are certain, to have pointed out to you these reefs of the hermetic sea, against which so many inexperienced Argonauts have been shipwrecked. If you want to possess the griffin --- which is our astral stone --- by tearing it from its arsenical ganque, take two parts of virgin earth, our scaly dragon, and one part of the igneous agent, which is that valiant knight armed with the lance and shield. [*152-1] (Ares), more vigorous than Aries, must be in a lesser quantity. Pulverize and add the fifteenth part of this pure, white, admirable salt, washed and crystallized several times, which you must necessarily know. Intimately mix it; and then, following the example of the painful Passion of Our Lord, crucify it with three iron nails, so that the body dies and can then be resurrected. This done, drive away the coarsest sediments from the corpse; crush and triturate the bones; mix the whole thing on a slow heat with a steel rod. Then throw into this mixture half of this second salt, extracted from the dew that fertilizes the earth in the month of May, and you will obtain a body clearer than the preceding one. Repeat the same technique three times; you will reach the matrix of our mercury, and you will have climbed the first rung of the ladder of the sages. When Jesus resurrected the third day after his death, a luminous angel clothed in white alone occupied the empty sepulcher... "

"In the pure hermetic expression corresponding to the labor of the Work, Baphomet comes from the Greek roots [*158-2] (Bapheus), dyer, and [*159-1], standing for [*159-2], the moon; unless we want to use [*159-3], [*159-4], in the genetive case, mother or matrix, which leads to the same lunar meaning, since the moon is truly the mother or the mercurial matrix which receives the tincture or seed of sulphur, representing the male, the dyer --- [*159-5] (Bapheus) --- in metallic generation. [*159-6] has the meaning of immersion and of tincture. And it can be said, without revealing too much, that sulphur, father and dyer of the stone, fertilizes the mercurial moon through immersion, which brings us back to the symbolic baptism of Mete, expressed again by the word baphomet (2). It appears as the complete hieroglyph of science, represented elsewhere in the personality of the god Pan, mythical image of nature in full activity. "

"Of the preceding, it is especially important to remember that metals, liquefied and dissociated by mercury, recover the vegetative power they possessed at the time of their appearance on the physical plane. The dissolving agent plays for them the part of a genuine Fountain of Youth. It separates the heterogeneous impurities brought in from the mineral deposits, takes away from them the infirmities contracted throughout the centuries; it reanimates them, gives them new vigor and rejuvenates them. It is the way common metals are reincrudated; that is, put back in a state close to their original state, and from then on they are known as living or philosophical metals. Since they reassume, upon contact with their mother, their original faculties, we can assert that they became close to what she is and have taken a nature similar to hers. On the other hand, as a result of this conformity of complexion, they are obviously incapable of engendering new bodies with their mother, the latter having only a renewing rather than a generating power. Hence we must conclude that the mercury of which we speak and which has for symbol the Eve of the Mosaic Eden, is not the one to which the sages have assigned the role of matrix, of receptacle, the vase, suitable for the reincrudated metal, called sulphur, sun of the philosophers, metallic seed and father of the stone. "

"In the alchemical domain, the Greek cross and the cross of St Andrew have come meaning that the artist must know. These graphic symbols, reproduced on a great number of manuscripts, and which are in certain texts the object of a special nomenclature, represent among the Greeks and their medieval successors, the crucible of fusion that potters always marked with a small cross (crucibulum), sign of good make and of tested solidity. The Greeks also used a similar sign to indicate an earthenware matrass. We know that this vessel was destined for coction and we think that, because of its very material, its usage must have differed little from that of a crucible. Moreover, the word matrass, used in the same sense in the 13th century, comes from the Greek [*202-1], (metra) matrix, a word equally used by puffers and applied to the secret vase serving in the maturation of the compound. Nicolas Grosparmy, Norman Adept of the 15th century, gives an illustration of this spherical utensil, laterally tabulated, which he also calls matrix. Furthermore, the X denotes sal ammoniac of the sages or salt of Ammon ([*202-2] --- ammoniakos), in other words, salt of the Ram (26), which was formerly written, more accurately, harmoniac, because it realizes the harmony ([*202-3] --- assembling), the agreement of water with fire, because it is the mediator par excellence between heaven and earth, the spirit and the body, the volatile and the fixed. It is also the Sign, without any other qualification, the seal that reveals to man the intrinsic virtues of the prime philosophical substance through certain superficial lineaments. Finally, the X is the Greek hieroglyph for glass, purest of all matters, affirms the masters of the art, and the one nearest to perfection. "

"It is the most critical stage of the work, the one when the stone’s first coagulation, greasy and light, makes its appearance on the surface and floats on the waters. At that time, we must redouble precaution and prudence in the application of fire if we don’t want to redden it prematurely and precipitate it. At first it manifests in the shape of a thin film, very fast broken, of which the fragments detached from the edges shrink, join together, thicken, and take on the form of a flat iron --- the isle of the Cosmopolite and the mythical land of Delos --- animated with gyratory movements and subjected to ceaseless shiftings. This isle another image of the hermetic fish, born from the sea of the Sages --- our mercury that Hermes calls mare patens --- the pilot fish of the Work, the first solid state of the embryonic stone. Some have called it echeneis, according to legend, held back and fixed the largest of ships, the dolphin, whose head we see emerging in our bas-relief, possesses just as positive a meaning. Its Greek name, [*312-1] (delphis), indicates the matrix, and no one ignores that philosophers call mercury the receptacle and matrix of the stone. "

"The Greek [*313-4] (plate) by which the oar (15) was designated simultaneously proposes the meaning of vessel and of winnowing basket. The latter is a kind of wicker shell attributed to Mercury and which the cabalist writes "vent" (wind) (16). This is why the Emerald Table, speaking of the stone, allegorically conveys that "the wind carried it in its belly". This "van" (winnowing basket) is none other than the matrix, the vessel carrier of the stone, the emblem of mercury principal subject of our bas-relief. As for the caduceus, it is well known that it is the property of the messenger of the gods with the winged helmet and talaria. We will only say that the Greek word [*314-1] (kerukeion), caduceus, by its etymology recalls the cock, [*314-2] (keruss), consecrated to Mercury as the herald of the light."

"Envisioned in its different uses, the grinding stone is one of the philosophical emblems meant to express the hermetic solvent, or the first mercury without which it is completely useless to undertake anything nor hope for anything profitable. It is our only matter capable of setting into motion, animating, and revivifying common metals, because the latter easily dissolve in it, divide themselves there, and adapt themselves under the influence of a mysterious affinity. Although this primitive subject possesses neither the quality nor the power of philosophical mercury, it nevertheless possesses everything it needs to become so, and indeed becomes so, provided the metallic seed, which it lacks, is added to it. Thus art comes to help nature, by allowing this skillful and marvelous worker to perfect that which, for lack of means, materials or favorable conditions, she had to leave unfinished. This initial mercury, the subject of the art and our true solvent, is precisely the substance which the philosophers named the unique matrix, the mother of the Work; without her, it would be impossible for us to achieve the preliminary decomposition of metals nor, consequently, to obtain the humid radical or mercury of the sages, which truly is the stone of the philosophers. In such a way that whoever claims to make the mercury or the stone with all the metals as well as whoever asserts the unity of the first matter and mentions it as the only thing necessary is indeed speaking truthfully."

All quotes taken from Fulcanelli's Dwellings.

What is the matrix? The answer is out there.