View Full Version : Alchemical Paths: Wet/Dry, Long/Short, Rich/Poor, Noble/Ignoble

11-24-2016, 04:58 PM
We do know that there is a "less noble" way of working involving common gold. When following this "less noble" path, could this Stage be carried out sooner rather than later assuming one knows what his final objective is? Curious your thought on this.

I don't get you. There's no sooner or later.

Why less noble with gold ?

Also, in Alchemy, there is no "wet or dry path". There's only fusion. That's how elements interact, in a "fused medium", whatever the temperature needed to fuse the medium.


11-24-2016, 06:12 PM
I don't get you. There's no sooner or later. Why less noble with gold? In the context of my post there is no such differentiation. They are just illustration of the same principle.

It is my understanding that there is a "Noble Way" that does not use common gold in the preparatory stages, and a "Less Noble Way" that involves the use of common gold as a means of shortening the length of time of some of our Operations.

Philalethes does a good job describing both ways in "An Open Entrance To The Closed Palace Of The King"

When you have prepared our gold and Mercury in the manner described, put it into our vessel, and subject it to the action of our fire; within 40 days you will see the whole substance converted into atoms, without any visible motion, or perceptible heat (except that it is just warm). If you do not yet rightly know the meaning of "our gold," take one part of common gold (well purified), and three parts of our Mercury (thoroughly purged), put them together as directed (cap. xvi), place them over the fire, and there keep them at the boiling point, till they sweat, and their sweat circulates. At the end of 90 days you will find that the Mercury has separated and reunited all the elements of the common gold. Boil the mixture 50 days longer, and you will discover that our Mercury has changed the common gold into "our gold," which is the Medicine of the first order. It is already our Sulphur, but it has not yet the power of tinging. This method has been followed by many Sages, but it is exceedingly slow and tedious, and is only for the rich of the earth. Moreover, when you have got this Sulphur do not think that you possess the Stone, but only its true Matter, which you may seek in an imperfect thing, and find it within a week, by our easy yet rare way, reserved of God for His poor, contemned, and abject saints. Hereof I have now determined to write much, although in the beginning of this Book I decreed to bury it in silence.

This is the one great sophism of all adepts; some speak of this common gold and silver, and say the truth, and others say that we cannot use it, and they too, say the truth. But in the presence of God I will call all our adepts to account, and charge them with jealous surliness. I, too, had determined to tread the same path, but God's hand confounded my scheme. I say then, that both ways are true, and come to the same thing in the end -- but there is a vast difference at the beginning. Our whole Art consists in the right preparation of our Mercury and our gold. Our Mercury is our way, and without it nothing is effected. Our gold is not common gold, but it may be found in it; and if you operate on our Mercury with common gold (regulating the fire in the right way), you will after 150 days have our gold, since our gold is obtained from our Mercury. Hence if common gold have all its atoms thoroughly severed by means of our Mercury, and then reunited by the same agency, the whole mixture will, under the influence of fire, become our gold. But, if, without this preparatory purging, you were to use common gold with our Mercury for the purpose of preparing the Stone, you would be sadly mistaken; and this is the great Labyrinth in which most beginners go astray, because the Sages in writing of these ways as two ways, purposely obscure the fact that they are only one way (though of course the one is more direct than the other).

The gold of the Sages may then be prepared out of our common gold and our Mercury, from which there may afterwards be obtained by repeated liquefactions, Sulphur and Quicksilver which is incombustible, and tinges all things else. In this sense, our Stone is to be found in all metals and minerals, since our gold may be got from them all -- but most easily, of course, from gold and silver. Some have found it in tin, some in lead, but most of those who have pursued the more tedious method, have found it in gold. Of course, if our gold be prepared in the way I have described, out of common gold (in the course of 150 days), instead of being found ready made, it will not be so effectual, and the preparation of the Stone will take 1 1/2 years instead of 7 months. I know both ways, and prefer the shorter one; but I have described the longer one as well in order that I may not draw down upon myself the scathing wrath of the "Sages". The great difficulty which discourages all beginners is not of Nature's making: the Sages have created it by speaking of the longer operation when they mean the shorter one, and vice versa. If you choose common gold, you should espouse it to Venus (copper), lay them together on the bridal bed, and, on bringing a fierce fire to bear on them, you will see an emblem of the Great Work in the following succession of colours: black, the peacock's tail, white, orange, and red. Then repeat the same operation with Mercury (called Virgin's Milk), using the "fire of the Bath of Dew," and (towards the end) sand mixed with ashes. The substance will first turn a much deeper black, and then a completer white and red.

Hence if you know our Art, extract our gold from our Mercury (this is the shorter way), and thus perform the whole operation with one substance (viz., Mercury); if you can do this, you will have attained to the perfection of philosophy. In this method, there is no superfluous trouble: the whole work, from beginning to end, is based upon one broad foundation -- whereas if you take common gold, you must operate on two substances, and both will have to be purified by an elaborate process. If you diligently consider what I have said, you have in your hand a means of unravelling all the apparent contradictions of the Sages. They speak of three operations: the first, by which the inward natural heat expels all cold through the aid of external fire, the second, wherein gold is purged with our Mercury, through the mediation of Venus, and under the influence of a fierce fire; the third, in which common gold is mixed with our Mercury, and the ferment of Sulphur added. But if you will receive my advice, you will not be put out by any wilful obscurity on the part of the Sages. Our sulphur you should indeed strive to discover; and if God enlightens you, you will find it in our Mercury. Before the living God I swear that my teaching is true. If you operate on Mercury and pure common gold, you may find "our gold" in 7 to 9 months, and "our silver" in 5 months. But when you have these, you have not yet prepared our Stone: that glorious sight will not gladden your eyes until you have been at work for a year-and-a-half. By that time you may obtain the elixir by subjecting the substance to very gentle continuous heat.
We can't say Mercury is liquid or Venus solid. In a dry path it is solid in cold state and liquid in fusion.


Also, in Alchemy, there is no "wet or dry path". There's only fusion. That's how elements interact, in a "fused medium", whatever the temperature needed to fuse the medium.

Wet Path (Long Way)...

Other Philosophers, subsequently, after another method, which is the humid way, have extracted from the interior of Mercury an igneous spirit, which is mineral, vegetable, and reproductive. In the humid concavity of this spirit is concealed the primitive Mercury, or universal quintessence. By the means of this spirit, they have attracted the spiritual seed contained in gold, and have thus obtained their sulphur, and that Mercury of the Philosophers which is neither solid as a Metal, nor of fluid-like Quicksilver, but has a medial condition between them.

From Compostella the return can be made either by the same path, following a different itinerary or by the wet or maritime path, the only way the authors indicate in their writings. In this case the pilgrim choosing the maritime route boards under the leadership of an expert pilot, a proven mediator captain capable of ensuring the safety of the vessel during the entire crossing. Such is the difficult part played by the Pilote de l’Onde Vive because the sea is full of reefs, and storms are frequent. Indeed, in our opinion, the dry path would be preferable, but we have no choice. Cyliani warns his reader that he describes the wet way, full of difficulties and surprises, only by duty. Our Adept deems the same, and we must respect his will.

Dry Path (Short Way)...

Those Philosophers who experimented by the dry path have succeeded in rendering a part of their gold volatile, and reducing it into a sublimate, white as snow and shining like crystal. The remaining portion they have converted into a fixed salt, and from the conjunction of the volatile and the fixed, they have made their Elixir.

By using the dry path, represented by the earthly road followed at first by our traveler, one can successfully but progressively exalt the diffuse and latent virtue, transforming into activity that which was only potential. The operation is completed when, on the surface, appears a shining star, formed of rays emanating from a single center, prototype of the great roses of our gothic cathedrals. A sure sign that the pilgrim has successfully reached the end of his first trip. The dry path, also called the Work of Saturn, rarely translated into iconography as it is described in texts, based upon the use of solid and crystallized materials, the brief way (ars brevis) only requires the help of a crucible and the application of high temperatures. The dry way, the only one which authors reserved without providing any explanation about it, is a joy to the artist as well as a treasure to the alchemist. Nevertheless, contrary to the humid way, whose glass utensils allow for easy control and accurate observation, the dry way cannot enlighten the operator at any time in the process of the Work. So, although the time factor reduced to a minimum constitutes a serious advantage in the practice of the ars brevis, the necessity of high temperatures, on the other hand, presents the serious inconvenience of an absolute uncertainty as to the progress of the operation. Everything happens in the deepest mystery inside the crucible which is carefully sealed, buried at the core of the incandescent coals. It is therefore important to be very experienced and to know the fire’s behavior and power well as one could not find in it, from the beginning to the end the least of indication. All the characteristic reactions of the humid way having been indicated among the classical authors, it is possible for the studious artist to acquire indications precise enough to allow him to undertake his long and difficult work. Here on the contrary, it is without any guide that the traveler, brave to the point of rashness, enters this arid and burnt desert. No road laid out, no clue, no landmark; nothing save the apparent inertia of the earth, of the rock, of the sand. The shiny kaleidoscope if the colored stages does not brighten up his uncertain walk; it is as a blind man that he continues his path, without any other certainty save that of his faith, without any other hope but his confidence in divine mercy.

11-24-2016, 07:35 PM
Also, in Alchemy, there is no "wet or dry path". There's only fusion.

I personally wouldn't discount wet "techniques" or dry "techniques" though -- at least not at this point in my understanding :p

Which I think you are talking about when you mention the temperature at which a process is performed.


11-25-2016, 11:18 AM
I'm not denying that there is no such thing as "wet path" and "dry path", and I use myself this terminology, with a lot of caution, but I don't find it accurate.

Quoting authors means nothing to me, the quote can be wrong, (or right and this is relative). I'm not rejecting what ancients said, of course. Just saying you have to always be cautious. Rulandus extensively read authors and made is dictionary upon them. So it is in a way, a second hand source.

Some authors, even famous, were not that much knowledgeable about other paths, some never really finished the Work. So you can never know.

Dry/Wet is commonly accepted, but it is extremely interesting to go beyond this. To see what is really happening there, in the display of the Principles. And what is setting them.

Also, Wet do not mean Long. Dry do not mean short.
A lot of authors claimed that dry = short and wet = long, but it is not totally accurate since there is Ars Brevis - in "wet and "dry" paths. Saying "Ars Brevis" is dry path, is setting a limitation in your mind. What they generally don't speak about is the long and tedious "wet" path that needs to be performed prior to the "dry" "Ars Brevis"(This is stated also in the third part of the Golden Chain.)

Ho yes, you can make a final coction of four days in a row and call it Ars Brevis if you want to, but when you performed the path since half a year before with alambics, retorts, filtrations and crystallizations, you don't call it short path. Sometimes to perform this you need special salts, fusible, that were worked an purified long ago. Tedious and not very dry, nor short... There is no miracle. You need to purify the matters before, then getting the principles, and set them right in order for them to work together, and then they will combine more or less quickly, at a higher or lower temperature.

There is a "dry path", with metal in fusion that takes a year to perfom, - in a glass flask - because the Seed needs to develop enough at a relatively "high" temperature (and very precise one, but already about 350/400C). So is it wet because of the glass or dry because it is a metal that needs to be melted ? None ? Glass, crucible, athanor or furnace, whatever : Fusion is what matters !

(Special note to the Solar and Lunar Light Paths. There is exceptions with them because light is already in a fusion state so to speak and sometimes not the matters on which it is applied).

And I know a "wet path" that can be performed in few days only. No real rule. No real limit. See beyond the vision of the ancients, commonly accepted. Question their vision.

What ancients called wet was with Henry the Slow, the Athanor. And "dry" with higher temperatures, and reverbatory ovens/furnaces. This changes nothing. It's just a question of fusion of the Mercury Bath. One at room temp, one needing to be strongly heated. It's going beyond labels.

Okay I see what you mean by Noble and less Noble Ways.

It needs a specification because for some it was a question of money, saying that the Long and Humid way was the way of the riches, and the short the one of the poor. Question of money and time. When you have servants to watch the flame of the oil lamp under your athanor, and you can spend a lot of money in good oil, then it is a kind of aristocratic way. Even more if in fact, you use gold as prime matter. (The reverse of what you are stating in fact !).

11-25-2016, 11:42 AM
Also Schmuldvich, I guess you are referring to a "higher source for the Sulfur Principle", since gold is a lowest, more material, source for this Sulfur, and this shorten the work (is it from True and Old nature Path ?). And in this sense, yes, I agree with you totally.

Maybe noble is not the good word, maybe "Higher Path" in order to avoid confusions with a "money/time possibilities" linked to (human) "Nobility" ?

Of course, and I'm sure you'll agree with this :

All Principles are coming from One and Unique Source, and thus have all the same value. The matters or the processes are equal.

There is nothing "vile" in this universe, just an appearance. We can only talk about "more particular" and "more universal", that's all. But it do not gives an aristocratic tone to the process. Just a level of differentiation.

I've posted on the forum a complete method with "Humano stercore", ie, human shit & urine (RAMS, TUGEL). Seems to give gold at the end. So, even with “ig.noble” matters, we can still have something noble.

11-25-2016, 12:18 PM
A bit of lyrical (yet perhaps relevant) fun on the side...

Maybe noble is not the good word, maybe "Higher Path" in order to avoid confusions with a "money/time possibilities" linked to (human) "Nobility"?

From the traditional lyrics of 'Loch Lomond (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bonnie_Banks_o'_Loch_Lomond)':

O ye'll tak' the high road and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye...Or in today's English:

You'll take the High Road and I'll take the Low Load,
And I'll be in Scotland before you...Pretty self-explanatory :) ... Apparently, taking the 'Low Road' gets us to 'Scotland' faster than the 'High Road'...

OR, in Marillion's version (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9FIQWnAKj4&feature=youtu.be&t=180) (just for the fun of it):

You'll take the acid and I'll take the dope,
And I'll be stoned before you...

11-25-2016, 02:30 PM
For example, in 'Hermes Old Nature Path', the Dry Way and the Wet Way start out the same, and are identical until the end of the First Rotation (the obtainment of the Philosophical Mercury).

The difference starts in the Second Rotation, where those who work in the 'Wet Way' use metallic gold, while those who work in the 'Dry Way' use the Philosophical Gold.

The work with metallic gold is described by ICH as 'less universal' than the one with 'Philosophical Gold' (regenerated from the same Earth after the First Rotation).