View Full Version : Twenty Universal Attributes

10-05-2012, 09:02 PM
Before I begin I would like to thank my teachers for their testimonies.

This is something I always find myself reflecting on, and I thought I would share it with the all of you.

The four elements and their qualities.

Air is moist and hot.
Fire is hot and dry.
Water is moist and cold.
Earth is cold and dry.

This is all well and good, but with the hermetic authors I read, it usually stops here. What purpose do these qualities serve? It is understood that Earth is cold and dry so that it may accept moisture and warmth, and that Fire is hot and dry so that it may be cooled upon watering. But what does this lead to?

Those I admire teach that there are twenty universal attributes which come out of the elements, and indeed four of these attributes are intimately connected to the elements.

The whole of creation comes about through the interaction of two opposites, and most directly come the four (five if you so desire, a space to fill anyways) elements.

When the four elemental qualities interact, when they come together as it has been ordained they do, their qualities necessarily lead to the generation of new attributes in things.

Add much dryness and heat of Fire to something Cold, Oily and Liquid—we'll say mostly Water and Earth—and come out with something Hot, Dry and Soft —now mostly composed of Earth, Air and Fire.

Or something to that effect.

The twenty attributes are:

Oily or Unctuous

So, if the interactions of the elements produce these qualities, and these qualities point to different combinations of the four elements, only now to see their inner workings throughout nature and stand in awe.

10-06-2012, 03:18 AM

The circulation of elements is the circulation of qualities. I don't adhere to your 20 qualities. Though they exist they are more as sub qualities.
The 4 main qualities circulated are hot cold moist dry.
Fire is hot. Water cold. Air is moist/humid and earth dry.

Yet when hot fire means dry earth. Dry earth becomes hot and dry.

Lets say we add water to ash. Then we heat our moist earth. Now we have hot moist earth. Heat the earth till the moisture flys up. Now you have hot dry earth. And moist cold air.
Because the air is "cold" and moist the water coagulates and falls back down to the earth. Increase the heat and you will have hot moist air and the water will not fall.

(Sorry this assumes your working with a sealed container,but you get the gist"
The circulation of elements is the circulation of the 4 qualities.
4 elements = fixed bodies
4 qualities=volitile spirits OF the 4 fixed bodies.
That is my take. :)
Oh! But thank you for that list of 20 qualities as well :D

10-06-2012, 06:44 PM
Hey, no problem :)

The elements I started off talking about are not the mundane elements, say, the liquid water. If you take river water or rain water and distil it, you can extract an earth. And they say if you ferment it you can get an oil. This is the physical manipulation of things, and all physical things have attributes to them.

The Spagyrical Anatomy of Water (http://www.alchemywebsite.com/jfren_5.html)

The point I was trying to make was, how do you describe the physical characteristics of a substance in relation to our art? Water in general is liquid, mobile, clear. But upon the introduction of say, a certain salt, it becomes sharp and dense along with its attributes of liquid, mobile and clear. Add the right kind of salt and get something cloudy.

I completely agree that the four elemental qualities are what compose the metaphysical elements, and these are joined together in certain quantities in order for things to manifest. You will never find a rock that does not have an inner fire. You will never find a water that does not have an inner movement. These inner qualities, however, when joined in certain proportions create specific attributes, the ones I've mentioned.

Try to describe the physical characteristics of something. anything really. You will refer to at least one or more of these attributes.

Lets say we add water to ash. Then we heat our moist earth. Now we have hot moist earth. Heat the earth till the moisture flys up. Now you have hot dry earth. And moist cold air.
Because the air is "cold" and moist the water coagulates and falls back down to the earth. Increase the heat and you will have hot moist air and the water will not fall.

What is going on in your sealed flask? You can't see the spirits moving about, can you? (if you can, tell me your secrets! :p) We refer to the attributes we see in order to know anything on a larger scale.
We add water to ash. This is a liquid, mobile, clear, light, sticky, cold substance added to a dry, rough, light, subtle substance. This results in a liquid, heavy, cloudy, slow(er) substance.

How then to work on it? What if you want your cloudiness to remain in the liquid and the heaviness to leave it?
How then to apply the circulation of the metaphysical elements?

If you apply heat like Fire, your water leaves and then again becomes clear upon condensation. It may even be a little heavier. Do this enough times and it might eventually become cloudy. If not, how to bring that cause about? What substance has an attribute that will circulate into something liquid, mobile, subtle, and cloudy? (might be a bad example, why would we ever want something cloudy?)

But I agree with you, these are sub-qualities. For me they are below metaphysical creation (the elements), but in defining a substance they sit above all physical creation.

edit, I found a better example:

Can KNO3 be attracted from the atmosphere?
Lets say you have some, what does it take to seperate the spirit from the body? The potassium. From the nitrogen. H'm. Just an interesting thought. Under what conditions do these two substances come together to make KNO3.

You want a spirit? what are the attributes in physical manifestation of potassium nitrate? what about potassium and nitrogen? what will result if we add a dry heat (fire) or a liquid heat (say, an acid)? How sticky will your fire need to be to draw out a spirit (assuming the line "like increases like" and that the spirit is hot, subtle, sharp etc)? and how heavy or soft or subtle a heat to work its way in?

10-07-2012, 05:58 AM
That is a lot to follow up on :)
I am increasing my knowledge as fast as possible.
Though my knowledge is still crude so forgive me. KNO3 was simply an interesting thought. But technicalities i am not school in.
when it came to KNO3. I simply found it interesting that both nitrogen and potassium are very important elements. eh an uneducated comment trying to stir an interesting reply. :)

I can see the influence of the spirits ;)
for earth and water be corporal. fire and air be spirits.
dry and moist be corporal. hot and cold be spirits.

Anyway! So as not to get off topic. Ayurveda. The Charaka Samhita.
This Philosophy which seems alchemical in nature. Relies heavily on qualities. Good stuff :)

10-07-2012, 03:41 PM
yeah I have a terrible time writing out my thoughts unless someone else points out where they might need elaboration, so I thank you.

It was a good comment in the end, helped me explain my thoughts a bit better. nitrogen is usually found in the form of a gas. nitrogen gas has certain qualities and will maintain some of those qualities even when bonded with potassium, even if they are now the 'inner qualities' of potassium-nitrate. In my opinion it has to, otherwise a transmutation would have occurred and once you brake down potassium-nitrate you would not again have nitrogen and potassium.

but I am by no means educated in the alchemical arts. I have much to learn still. . .

And yes Ayurvedic thought. The Charaka Samhita is very early Ayurvedic book and makes up part of the shad darshan, which are the six main philosophies incorporated into Ayurveda. Ayurveda concepts of Agni and the formation of the dhatus are especially good in relation to alchemical pursuits, well, mine anyways.
Agni is likened to Fire, and governs all transformations in the body, whether physical or mental. The latin work Ignis is similar to Agni. There are upwards of forty different sub-types of Agni governing smaller metabolisms. So just think! forty different ways to break down a substance! Mein Gott! :p