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Thread: The Secret Book of Artephius: Commentary & Analysis

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    It's been a while and I would have to go through the entire book all over again. I'll post it here in case it pops up.
    I've just had a quick re-read of Artephius and couldn't find it. Maybe my memory played some tricks on me when I read it 5 or 6 times over, years ago...

    However, I clearly remember Sulfuric Acid (prepared in a certain way) being mentioned in some notes of Von Bernus. Sulfuric Acid also naturally occurs in the preparation of Marcasite. Also, when reading Artephius now, I noticed how he mentions that the first water (the catalyst for the sublimation) is of a 'sulfurous and viscous' acid nature... Perhaps this is what my mind registered as 'Oil of Vitriol' at the time...

    This sublimation, is made by things acid, spiritual, volatile, and which are in their own nature sulphureous and viscous, which dissolves bodies and makes them to ascend, and be changed into air and spirit.
    Acid (or perhaps better worded, the 'Acid Principle') is one of several 'cheats' to elevate fixed matters, open and 'spiritualize' them, but IME not absolutely necessary.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    He plainly names 'Oil of Vitriol' (Sulfuric Acid) as involved in the preparation. It takes attentive reading to spot it. I didn't notice it the first 2-3 times I read it.

    ...It's been a while and I would have to go through the entire book all over again. I'll post it here in case it pops up.
    You or I can read "The Secret Book of Artephius" over and over again, but neither of us will ever find any reference to this Oil of Vitriol you claim Artephius speaks of so plainly.

    No amount of attentive reading will make something appear that simply is not there.


    JDP pointed out the one and only time in "The Secret Book of Artephius" where any kind of vitriol or vitriolic substance is mentioned

    Quote Originally Posted by JDP View Post
    The only clear mention of a related word to the word "vitriol" seems to be the following passage:

    "And in this our philosophical sublimation, not in the impure, corrupt, vulgar mercury, which has no qualities or properties like to those, with which our mercury, drawn from its vitriolic caverns is adorned. But let us return to our sublimation."
    And like he pointed out, Oil of Vitriol is not another term for sulfuric acid, Andro.

    I would expect you, of all people, to be versed more on Alchemy than most of us here. Do you not realise (as you pointed out above with the "acid principle") that when the Sages refer to "Sulfuric acid" they are referring to something containing the principles of our Sulphur and not vulgar sulfuric acid?

  3. #13
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    I have just admitted above that I was mistaken about this. No need to antagonize.

    I am not using anything of the kind in my own current work, so I simply share some correlations as I see them.

    What you don't seem to get is that a PRINCIPLE can be also used in its 'lower' expressions, as 'substitutes' - if the 'Supreme Vinegar of the Mountains' is not at hand.

    Acid treatment is an experimentally proven means to volatilize/sublime/elevate fixed salts. This is not arguable on my part, since I have done it myself a few years back.

    I strongly suspect that Cyliani and St. Didier (for example), when emphasizing the relevance of their knowledge of chemistry, were implying the use of a chemical to initially 'open the lock' of their matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmuldvich View Post
    I would expect you, of all people
    "Expect Nothing - Receive Everything"
    ~ Anonymous
    Last edited by Andro; 10-28-2016 at 08:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    But most sages say that these three do not form part of the stone (although gold and silver are used for "ferments" later if one wishes to make a transformation powder.
    Artephius certainly seems to suggest that at least gold does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    I have just admitted above that I was mistaken about this. No need to antagonize.
    Apologies. You posted as I was typing so I did not see what you wrote until just now. Your post was not there when I hit "reply". My intent was not to antagonize though I do realize my post comes across that way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    I strongly suspect that Cyliani and St. Didier (for example), when emphasizing the relevance of their knowledge of chemistry, were implying the use of a chemical to initially 'open the lock' of their matter.
    Certainly a great topic of discussion!

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDP View Post
    Artephius certainly seems to suggest that at least gold does.
    But again "gold" is also used as a deckname. The "gold" of the philosophers is not the precious metal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    But again "gold" is also used as a deckname. The "gold" of the philosophers is not the precious metal.
    But the amount of things that the author of that text says makes it very difficult not to conclude that he really means a "philosophical solution" of gold in the secret solvent. This guy does not just casually say "Sol", or "gold", or even the more conspicuous use of the word "our" before the word "Sol/gold"; no, he is very persistent in pointing out actual gold. Example:

    "This saturnine antimony agrees with sol, and contains in itself argent vive, in which no metal is swallowed up, except gold, and gold is truly swallowed up by this antimonial argent vive. Without this argent vive no metal whatsoever can be whitened; it whitens laton, i.e. gold; reduceth a perfect body into its prima materia, or first matter, viz. into sulphur and argent vive, of a white color, and outshining a looking glass. It dissolves, I say the perfect body, which is so in its own nature; for this water is friendly and agreeable with the metals, whitening sol, because it contains in itself white or pure argent vive."

    From this passage alone we learn that:

    1- He works with metals and a secret solvent he usually calls "argent vive" (among other "decknamen")

    2- That the metal he prefers to use is NOT "white", but has color (notice he says that it is "whitened" by the "argent vive"), and there are ONLY TWO metals that meet this criterion: gold and copper. All other metals are "white" (in reality they are different shades of silver-grey, but that is what was meant by "white metals".)

    3- He refers to this metal as being "perfect" (only two metals were regarded as such: silver and gold)

    A couple more examples:

    "Take, saith he, crude leaf gold, or calcined with mercury,"


    "That is, you must extract a living and incombustible water, and then congeal, or coagulate it with the perfect body of sol, i.e. fine gold, without alloy;"

    Once again, he is obviously referring to a metal. He prefers to use it without alloying with other metals, it is beaten into thin "leaves" or reduced to powder by "calcining" a mercury-gold amalgam (both methods are for increasing the surface area of the metal) and then subjected to the action of the secret solvent.

    What "Artephius" does hide under a difficult to penetrate veil is the preparation of the secret solvent, about which he keeps talking about and describing its action upon metallic bodies but is never very clear regarding how and out of what substances exactly is it made. But he does not make any secret whatsoever regarding the chosen metal he worked with. The references to purified metallic gold in a fine state of division or a flattened form (to increase the surface area of the metal to the action of the secret solvent) are pretty clear. This guy obviously preferred to work with gold. Some other alchemists actually preferred other metals (see, for example, the works of the German lawyer/alchemist Franz Clinge, who says that though gold can also work to prepare the "sulphur" for the Stone, it works much better with certain two other metals which are much cheaper. It is not a "coincidence" that Clinge also is much more cautious when he talks about the secret solvent and its preparation, for which purpose he also adopts a more "enigmatic" style, just like "Artephius". The whole secret of alchemy depends on the preparation of this special "water", "mercury", "solvent", or whatever you want to call it, and not so much on what metal is chosen to prepare the "sulphur" for the Stone, therefore many alchemists hardly made much of a secret regarding the topic of what metal was used to prepare the "sulphur/soul/tincture" of the Stone.)
    Last edited by JDP; 10-29-2016 at 01:20 PM.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDP View Post
    But the amount of things that the author of that text says makes it very difficult not to conclude that he really means a "philosophical solution" of gold in the secret solvent. This guy does not just casually say "Sol", or "gold", or even the more conspicuous use of the word "our" before the word "Sol/gold"; no, he is very persistent in pointing out actual gold. Example:

    "This saturnine antimony agrees with sol, and contains in itself argent vive, in which no metal is swallowed up, except gold, and gold is truly swallowed up by this antimonial argent vive. Without this argent vive no metal whatsoever can be whitened; it whitens laton, i.e. gold; reduceth a perfect body into its prima materia, or first matter, viz. into sulphur and argent vive, of a white color, and outshining a looking glass. It dissolves, I say the perfect body, which is so in its own nature; for this water is friendly and agreeable with the metals, whitening sol, because it contains in itself white or pure argent vive."
    But this passage only says that the solvent will dissolve gold, not that gold is actually part of the solvent, which later becomes the Stone. The sage is trying to say that the "saturnine antimony" is very compatible with gold, as other authors (e.g. Fulcanelli) have also indicated.

    From this passage alone we learn that:

    1- He works with metals and a secret solvent he usually calls "argent vive" (among other "decknamen")
    I agree. The solvent is used to extract and combine with the sulphur of a particular common metal.

    2- That the metal he prefers to use is NOT "white", but has color (notice he says that it is "whitened" by the "argent vive"), and there are ONLY TWO metals that meet this criterion: gold and copper. All other metals are "white" (in reality they are different shades of silver-grey, but that is what was meant by "white metals".)
    I think he's only saying what would happen if you use this solvent with gold. This doesn't mean that he uses that metal to make the Medicine. It is used with gold only after the medicine is made in order to make the transmutation powder.

    3- He refers to this metal as being "perfect" (only two metals were regarded as such: silver and gold)
    I agree that here he is referring to gold for the red powder (often called "red rose". Silver is used for the white powder (often called "white rose"). But again, this does not mean that gold is used to make the Medicine. Gold is only used afterwards as a ferment to make the transmutation powder. In other words, gold is used, but is not one of the two initial matters. The two initial matters are a mineral and a metal. This metal is not gold or silver or mercury or any of the metalloids (such as Antimony).

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDP View Post
    A couple more examples:

    "Take, saith he, crude leaf gold, or calcined with mercury,"


    "That is, you must extract a living and incombustible water, and then congeal, or coagulate it with the perfect body of sol, i.e. fine gold, without alloy;"

    Once again, he is obviously referring to a metal. He prefers to use it without alloying with other metals, it is beaten into thin "leaves" or reduced to powder by "calcining" a mercury-gold amalgam (both methods are for increasing the surface area of the metal) and then subjected to the action of the secret solvent.

    What "Artephius" does hide under a difficult to penetrate veil is the preparation of the secret solvent, about which he keeps talking about and describing its action upon metallic bodies but is never very clear regarding how and out of what substances exactly is it made. But he does not make any secret whatsoever regarding the chosen metal he worked with. The references to purified metallic gold in a fine state of division or a flattened form (to increase the surface area of the metal to the action of the secret solvent) are pretty clear. This guy obviously preferred to work with gold. Some other alchemists actually preferred other metals (see, for example, the works of the German lawyer/alchemist Franz Clinge, who says that though gold can also work to prepare the "sulphur" for the Stone, it works much better with certain two other metals which are much cheaper. It is not a "coincidence" that Clinge also is much more cautious when he talks about the secret solvent and its preparation, for which purpose he also adopts a more "enigmatic" style, just like "Artephius". The whole secret of alchemy depends on the preparation of this special "water", "mercury", "solvent", or whatever you want to call it, and not so much on what metal is chosen to prepare the "sulphur" for the Stone, therefore many alchemists hardly made much of a secret regarding the topic of what metal was used to prepare the "sulphur/soul/tincture" of the Stone.)
    The sages deliberately tried to confuse what they were writing, and sometimes talked about parts of the process without mentioning other parts. A large part of the confusion stems around an understanding of Geber's "three stones" or "medicines". These are obtained sequentially and are often called (amongst many other names):

    1. Philosophical Sulphur;
    2. Elixir or Potable Gold; and
    3. Philosopher's Stone, Absolute or Universal Medicine.

    The Philosophical Sulphur is the crude matter of the Stone, the Elixir is used for medicinal purposes, and the Universal Medicine is used only for the transmutation of metals. It can then no longer be used for medicinal purposes or for extending one's life.

    To get from the second to the third medicine, requires a coction with either Silver or Gold. Silver for the White Stone and Gold for the Red Stone. This is the only step where either Silver or Gold is added. Before that, only a common metal (easy to determine) and a mineral (the identity of which is the greatest secret and never revealed) are joined. The "living" mineral produces the solvent while the "dead" metal contains the philosophical gold or sulphur. The solvent is used to extract the sulphur from the metal. They then join to become the first mercury, and from this is extracted the second mercury or philosophical mercury, which is also known as philosophical sulphur just to create even more confusion. This is also the "compound" or Rebis.

    Fulcanelli (in "Dwellings", Page 326) specifically wrote:

    "... we do not mean to say that gold and silver should absolutely be proscribed, or claim that these metals are excluded from the Work by the masters of the science. But we fraternally warn the disciple that neither gold nor silver, even modified, enter into the composition of mercury."

    Thus, as I said, they are used in the Work, but are not at all used in any form to make the mercury, or solvent.

    Fulcanelli then adds:

    "And were we to discover, in some classical authors, a contrary assertion, we should believe that the Adept ... actually meant philosophical gold or silver, and not the precious metals with which they neither have nor show anything in common."
    Last edited by Illen A. Cluf; 10-29-2016 at 05:55 PM.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    But this passage only says that the solvent will dissolve gold, not that gold is actually part of the solvent, which later becomes the Stone. The sage is trying to say that the "saturnine antimony" is very compatible with gold, as other authors (e.g. Fulcanelli) have also indicated.



    I agree. The solvent is used to extract and combine with the sulphur of a particular common metal.


    I think he's only saying what would happen if you use this solvent with gold. This doesn't mean that he uses that metal to make the Medicine. It is used with gold only after the medicine is made in order to make the transmutation powder.

    I agree that here he is referring to gold for the red powder (often called "red rose". Silver is used for the white powder (often called "white rose"). But again, this does not mean that gold is used to make the Medicine. Gold is only used afterwards as a ferment to make the transmutation powder. In other words, gold is used, but is not one of the two initial matters. The two initial matters are a mineral and a metal. This metal is not gold or silver or mercury or any of the metalloids (such as Antimony).
    But "Artephius" was not "Fulcanelli". I know that "Fulcanelli" did not think that gold (or silver) enters the composition of the Stone until later, when the Stone is already made and gold (or silver) is used as a "ferment". But this is not what "Artephius" thinks. This guy was operating on gold to make the Stone itself, dissolving gold in the secret solvent and preparing the "sulphur" from it:

    "That is, you must extract a living and incombustible water, and then congeal, or coagulate it with the perfect body of sol, i.e. fine gold, without alloy; which is done by dissolving it into a mature white substance of the consistency of cream, and made thoroughly white. But first this sol by putrefaction and resolution in this water, loseth all its light and brightness, and will grow dark and black; afterwards it will ascend above the water, and by little and little will swim upon it, in a substance of a white color. And this is the whitening of red laton to sublimate it philosophically, and to reduce it into its first matter; viz. into a white incombustible sulphur, and into a fixed argent vive."

    He is not describing here the "fermentation" of the finished Stone with gold but the making of the Stone itself with gold by submitting gold to the "philosophical solution/sublimation" in the secret solvent. And he was not the only alchemist who was convinced this was the right way of operating, while other alchemists preferred other metals for this part of the operations.

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