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Thread: Easy to Read & Comprehend Alchemical Tracts

  1. #11
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    Dwellings (Fulcanelli)- Castle of Dampierre selected portion

    So perishes the inconstant one.

    Like the lantern without a light, his faith ceases to shine; easily defeated, unable to react, he falls and in vain seeks in the surrounding darkness this light which can only be found within.

    But while the inscription presents no ambiguity, the image, on the other hand, is much less clear. This stems from the fact that the interpretation can be given in two ways in consideration of the method employed, and also of the path followed. We first discover an allusion to the fire of the wheel, which, for fear of its ceasing resulting in the loss of the matters, should not for even one moment cease its activity. Already in the long way, a slowing down of its energy, a lowering of the temperature constitute accidents detrimental to the regular progress of the operation; for, even if nothing is lost, the length of time, already substantial, is increased even more. An excess of fire spoils everything; however, if the philosophical amalgam is merely reddened and not calcined, it is possible to regenerate it by redissolving it, according to the Cosmopolite’s advice, and by resuming the coction with more caution. Completely extinguishing the fire on the other hand causes the irremediable ruin of the content, although if analyzed the latter does not seem to have undergone any change. Therefore, during the entire course of the work the hermetic axiom told by Lintaut must be remembered which teaches that "gold, once dissolved into spirit, if it feels the cold, is lost with the entire Work". Consequently, do not activate the flame inside your lantern too much and watch that you do not let it go out: you would be between Scylla and Charybdis (9).

    Applied to the short way, the symbol of the lantern provides another explanation to one of the essential points of the Great Work. It is no longer the elemental fire, but the potential fire --- the secret flame of the matter itself --- which the authors veiled from the layman in the form of this familiar image, What then is this mysterious, natural, and unknown, fire which the artist must be capable of introducing into his subject? Here is a question that no philosopher has wished to resolve, even by resorting to the help of an allegory. Artephius and Pontanus speak of it in such an abstruse fashion that this important thing remains incomprehensible or goes unnoticed. Limojon de Saint Didier asserts that this fire is of the nature of limestone. Basil Valentine, ordinarily more verbose, is content to write: "Then light the lamp of wisdom and seek with it the gross thing that was lost". Trismosin is barely clearer: "Build", he says, "a fire in your glass or in the earth which holds it enclosed". Most of the other authors designate this inner light, hidden within the darkness of substance, by the epithet of fire of the lamp. Batsdorff describes the philosophical lamp as one always needing to be abundantly supplied with oil and its flame as always needing to be fed by way of an asbestos wick. The Greek [*329-1] (asbestos) means inextinguishable, of unlimited duration, tireless, inexhaustible, qualities attributed to our secret fire, which says Basil Valentine, "whines in the darkness, although it does not burn". As for the lamp, we find it in the Greek term [*329-2] (lamptern), lantern, torch, which used to designate the fire vase where wood was burned to provide light. Such indeed is our vase, dispensing the fire of the sages, that is, our matter and its spirit, or, to say it all, the hermetic lantern. Finally, a term close to [*330-1] (lampas), lamp, the word [*330-2] (lampe), expresses all that which rises and comes to the surface, scum, foam, scoria, etc. And this indicates, for whomever possesses a smattering of hermetic knowledge, the nature of the body, or, if you prefer, of the mineral casing containing this fire of the lamp which only needs to be stirred up by ordinary fire to perform the most surprising of metamorphoses.

    Yet another word for the benefit of our brothers. Hermes, in his Emerald Table, utters these solemn, true, and important words: "You separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, gently, with great industry. It rises from the earth to the sky, gently, with great industry, and then descends from the sky into the earth and thus receives the virtue of higher and lower things". Note therefore that the philosopher recommends to separate, to divide, and not to destroy or sacrifice one to save the other. For if it were so, we ask you, from which body would the spirit rise and into which earth would the fire descend to again?

    Pontanus affirms that all superfluities of the stone are converted under the action of fire into a unique essence and that as a consequence whoever claims to separate anything however small understands nothing about our philosophy.

    Panel 8 --- Two vases, one in the form of an embossed and engraved flagon, the other a common earthen pot, are represented in the same frame occupied by this saying of St Paul:

    .ALIVD.VAS.IN.HONOREM.ALIVD.IN.CONTVMELIAM.

    One vessel for honorable uses, another for base uses.

    "But in a great house", says the Apostle (10), "there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor".

    Our two vases appear well defined, clearly marked and in absolute agreement with the precepts of hermetic theory. One is the vase o nature made of the same red clay God used to form the body of Adam with. The other is the case of the art, whose entire material is composed of pure, clear, red, incombustible, fixed, and diaphanous gold, of an incomparable brightness. And these are our two vessels which truly represent only two distinct bodies containing the metallic spirits, the only agents we need.

    If the reader is acquainted with the traditional manner of writing of the philosophers --- which manner we try to imitate correctly so that the Ancients can be explained through us and se we can be controlled by them, it will be easier for him to understand what the hermeticists meant by vessels. For these vessels represent not only two matters, or rather one matter in two states of its evolution, but they also symbolize our two ways based on the use of these different bodies.

    The first of these ways which uses the vase of the art is time-consuming, painstaking, thankless, accessible to wealthy people, but is in a place of great honor in spite of the expenditures it entails, because it is the one which authors preferably describe. It s used as a support for their reasoning as well as for the theoretical development of the Work, requires an uninterrupted labor of twelve to eighteen months, and starts with natural gold prepared and dissolved in the philosophical mercury which is then cooked in a glass matrass. This is the honorable vase reserved for noble use of these precious substances which are the exalted gold and mercury of the sages.

    The second way demands, from beginning to end, only the help of a coarse clay abundantly available, of such a low cost that in our time ten francs are sufficient to acquire a quantity more than enough for our needs. It is the clay and the way of the poor, of the simple and the modest, of those whom nature fills with wonder even by her most humble manifestations. Extremely easy, it only requires the presence of the artist, for the mysterious labor perfects itself by itself and is achieved in seven to nine days at the most. This way, unknown to the majority of practicing alchemists, is elaborated from start to finish in one crucible made of fireproof clay. It is the way that the great masters called woman’s work and child’s play; it is to it that they apply the old hermetic axiom: una res, una via, una dispositione. One matter, one vessel, one furnace. Such is our earthen vase, a despised, plain vase of common use, "which everyone has before his eyes, which costs nothing, which can be found at everyone’s house, yet which nonce can recognize without a revelation".
    Source: http://cista.net/Houses/main.htm

    Castle of Dampierre is the hidden gem in his series of works. It is my favorite portion. The secret of the dry path & Ars Brevis (short dry path) has been laid out (somewhat)plainly in the same portion.
    Last edited by Dwellings; 09-21-2017 at 06:32 PM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwellings View Post
    Source: http://cista.net/Houses/main.htm

    Castle of Dampierre is the hidden gem in his series of works. It is my favorite portion. The secret of the dry path & Ars Brevis (short dry path) has been laid out (somewhat)plainly in the same portion.
    What do you think Fulcanelli means with his "coarse clay abundantly available"?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    What do you think Fulcanelli means with his "coarse clay abundantly available"?
    Clay crucible

  4. #14
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    This is great work, Dwellings! Exactly what I like to see posted on an Alchemy message board!

    It seems that our comprehension and pertinence of particular texts is directly related to our grasp of our Art at the time. I find that every year that I go back and re-read the same texts, something new always pops out to my mind's eye. Perhaps those portions that you feel are the "only parts worth reading" will be the parts that further advance your knowledge of Alchemy in later years.


    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    What do you think Fulcanelli means with his "coarse clay abundantly available"?
    "...these vessels represent not only two matters, or rather one matter in two states of its evolution, but they also symbolize our two ways based on the use of these different bodies..."

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmuldvich View Post
    "...these vessels represent not only two matters, or rather one matter in two states of its evolution, but they also symbolize our two ways based on the use of these different bodies..."
    "The combination of the two initial matters, one volatile, the other fixed, produces a third body, fixed, which marks the first stage of the stone of the philosophers."

    "No philosopher knows, and many admit it, in what manner the initial matters, while in contact with one another, react, interpenetrate, and finally unite under the veil of darkness which envelops, from beginning to end, the intimate exchanges of this peculiar procreation."

    "These are the emblems of the initial matters, one ardent, igneous, figured by the Gorgon mask and its lightning bolts; the other, aqueous and cold, passive substance represented in the shape of a sea shell called Merelle by the philosophers... The mutual reaction of these primary elements --- water and fire --- yield common mercury, of mixed quality, which is this igneous water or aqueous fire that we use as a solvent in the preparation of the philosophers’ mercury."

    "It is the common epithet applied to decomposing matters, matters being corrupted, which are characterized in the philosophers’ work by an oily, greasy appearance, a strong and disgusting odor, a viscous and sticky condition, a quicksilver-like consistency, a blue, violet or black coloration."

    "These very suggestive attributes clearly show in form the two active and passive matters
    (notice the PLURAL FIRST), whose mutual reaction yields, at the end of the philosopher’s fight, the first substance (notice the SINGULAR NOW, AFTER THE INITIAL MATTERS HAVE REACTED AND BECOME "ONE" IN APPEARANCE; this is the trap that you keep falling for over and over, and over, and over, etc. without realizing the fact that the "one matter only" is in fact a composite of several and not really "only one" from the beginning, which is what many a MALICIOUS & ENVIOUS alchemist want you to incorrectly assume so you will be sent on a wild goose chase for that "one matter only" that exists NOWHERE already made for your convenience, and that YOU have to make yourself out of SEVERAL) of the Work."

    "Latona, the princess becomes in the language of the Adepts, La Tonne (French for the tun), le tonneau (French for the cask), which explains why beginners have such a difficult time identifying the secret vessel where our matters are fermenting."
    Last edited by JDP; 09-22-2017 at 11:00 AM.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    What do you think Fulcanelli means with his "coarse clay abundantly available"?
    There are 3 meanings of the single word Clay in the para.

    1. Fireproof clay -> for crucible

    2. "Clay" the mineral matter.

    3. "Clay" - Initial fixation of the spirit into metallic realm & not reaching iron i.e. it is between one state & the other. Also, Gold & Iron has affinity.

    Fit the clay & its products according to the above meanings in the para.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmuldvich View Post
    "...these vessels represent not only two matters, or rather one matter in two states of its evolution, but they also symbolize our two ways based on the use of these different bodies..."
    Quote Originally Posted by JDP View Post
    "The combination of the two initial matters, one volatile, the other fixed, produces a third body, fixed, which marks the first stage of the stone of the philosophers."

    "No philosopher knows, and many admit it, in what manner the initial matters, while in contact with one another, react, interpenetrate, and finally unite under the veil of darkness which envelops, from beginning to end, the intimate exchanges of this peculiar procreation."

    "These are the emblems of the initial matters, one ardent, igneous, figured by the Gorgon mask and its lightning bolts; the other, aqueous and cold, passive substance represented in the shape of a sea shell called Merelle by the philosophers... The mutual reaction of these primary elements --- water and fire --- yield common mercury, of mixed quality, which is this igneous water or aqueous fire that we use as a solvent in the preparation of the philosophers’ mercury."

    "It is the common epithet applied to decomposing matters, matters being corrupted, which are characterized in the philosophers’ work by an oily, greasy appearance, a strong and disgusting odor, a viscous and sticky condition, a quicksilver-like consistency, a blue, violet or black coloration."

    "These very suggestive attributes clearly show in form the two active and passive matters
    (notice the PLURAL FIRST), whose mutual reaction yields, at the end of the philosopher’s fight, the first substance (notice the SINGULAR NOW, AFTER THE INITIAL MATTERS HAVE REACTED AND BECOME "ONE" IN APPEARANCE; this is the trap that you keep falling for over and over, and over, and over, etc. without realizing the fact that the "one matter only" is in fact a composite of several and not really "only one" from the beginning, which is what many a MALICIOUS & ENVIOUS alchemists want you to incorrectly assume so you will be sent on a wild goose chase for that "one matter only" that exists NOWHERE already made for your convenience, and that YOU have to make yourself out of SEVERAL) of the Work."

    "Latona, the princess becomes in the language of the Adepts, La Tonne (French for the tun), le tonneau (French for the cask), which explains why beginners have such a difficult time identifying the secret vessel where our matters are fermenting."
    I am trying to move everyone away from the same pit and you guys seem to fall back into it. Amazing.


    Ripley Revived
    Also their Operations different
    Appear, the one thou must sublime and boyl,
    O tedious way! In which much time is spent,
    And many errours, which the Work will spoyl:

    The other silently doth make no toyl,
    Like the still voice which to Eliah came,
    About which Work thou needest not to broyl,
    Nor wantst thou fiery Vulcan’s parching flame,
    A far more gentle heat begins and ends this Game.
    You are still in the bolded part.

  8. #18
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    THE SALAMANDER OF LISIEUX II

    The beauty of the style, the successful choice of motifs, the delicacy of execution, make this little door one of the most delightful specimens of 16th century wood sculpture. This hermetic paradigm, exclusively devoted to the symbolism of 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 (Plate V)

    In order to make the students more responsive to the particular value of the emblems analyzed, we shall respect the order of the work without allowing ourselves to be guided by considerations of architectural logic or aesthetic nature.

    On the tympanum of the door with carved panels, we notice an interesting allegorical group composed of a lion and a lioness facing each other, They are holding in their forepaws a human mask which personifies the sun, encircled by a liana carved into a mirror handle. Lion and lioness, male principle and female virtue, reflect the physical expression of the two natures, of similar form but opposite properties, that the art must choose at the beginning of the practice. From their union, accomplished according to certain secret rules, comes this double nature, mixed matter that the sages have named androgyne, their hermaphrodite, or Mirror of the Art. This substance, at once positive and negative, passive containing its own active agent, is the basis, the foundation of the Great Work. Of these two natures, taken separately, the one which plays the role of the feminine matter is the only one indicated and alchemically named on the corbel bearing the overhand of a second-story beam. The figure of a winged dragon can be seen, its tail curled into a ringlet. The dragon is an image and symbol of the primitive and volatile body, true and unique subject upon which one must first work. The philosophers have given it a multitude of diverse names besides the one under which it is commonly known. This has caused and still causes so much difficulty, so much confusion, to beginners, and especially to those who are little concerned with principles and do not know how far the possibility of nature can be expanded. In spite of the general opinion averring that our subject had never been named, we assert on the contrary that many books name it and that all describe it. However, while it is mentioned by the good authors, it cannot be said that it is underlined or expressly shown; it is often classified among the bodies that have been rejected as improper or alien to the Work. This is a traditional technique used by Adepts to divert the lay people and to hide from them the secret entrance to their garden.

    Its traditional name, the stone of the philosophers, is descriptive enough of the body to serve as a useful basis for its identification. It is, indeed, genuinely a stone, for, out of the mine, it shows the external characteristics common to all ores. It is the chaos of the sages, in which the four elements are contained, but in a confused, disorganized manner. It is our old man and the father of metals which owe their origin to it, as it represents the first earthly metallic manifestation. It is our arsenic, cadmia, antimony, blende, galena, cinnabar, tutia, tartar, etc. All ores, through the hermetic voice, rendered homage to it with their name. It is still called black dragon covered with scales, venomous serpent, daughter of Saturn, and "the most beloved of its children". This primal substance has seen its evolution interrupted by the interposition of a filthy combustible sulphur, which coats its pure mercury, holds it back, and coagulates it. And, though it is entirely volatile, this primitive mercury, materialized by the drying action of the arsenical sulphur, takes the shape of a solid, black, dense, fibrous, brittle, crushable mass rendered, by its lack of utility, vile, abject, and despicable in the eyes of man, Yet, in this subject --- poor relative of the metal family --- the enlightened artist finds everything that he needs to begin and perfect his Great Work, since it is present, say the authors, at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the Work. Therefore the Ancients have compared it to the Chaos of Creation, where elements and principles, the darkness and the light, were on and the other confounded, intermixed, and unable to mutually interact. For this reason they symbolically depicted their matter in its first being as the image of the world which contained in itself the materials of our hermetic globe (1), or microcosm, assembled without order, without form, without rhythm or measure.

    Our globe, reflection and mirror of the microcosm, is therefore nothing but a small part of the primordial Chaos, destined by divine will for elementary renewal in the three kingdoms, but which sets of mysterious circumstances have oriented and directed toward the mineral kingdom. Thus given form and specified, subjected to the laws ruling the evolution and the progression of minerals, this chaos, which has become a body, contains in a confused manner the purest seed and the closest substance there is to minerals and metals. The philosopher’s matter is therefore of mineral and metallic origin. Hence, one must only seek it in the mineral and metallic root, which, says, Basil Valentine in the book, The Twelve Keys, was reserved by the Creator and intended only for the generation of metals. Consequently, anyone who seeks the sacred stone of the philosophers with the hope of encountering this little world in substances alien to the mineral and metallic kingdoms, will never reach his goals. To turn the apprentice away from the path of error the ancient authors teach him to always follow nature. Because nature only acts within its own appropriate species, only develops and perfects itself within itself and by itself, free from any heterogeneous thing occurring to hinder its progress or to oppose the effects of its generating power.

    On a post of the frame on the left side of the door that we are studying, a subject in high relief calls and holds our attention. It shows a richly dressed man wearing a sleeved doublet and a mortarboard hat, his chest emblazoned with a shield showing a six-pointed star. This man of means, standing on the cover of an urn with embossed sides, serves to indicate the content of the container, according to the custom of the Middle Ages. It is the substance which during sublimations rises above the water, floating like an oil on its surface; it is Basil Valentine’s Hyperion and Vitriol, Ripley’s and Jacques Tesson’s green lion, in a word, the real unknown of the great problem. This knight of beautiful bearing and heavenly lineage is no stranger to us: several hermetic etchings have acquainted us with him. Salomon Trismosin, in The Golden Fleece, shows him standing up, his feet planted on the edges of two water-filled vases, which reveal the origin and the source of this mysterious fountain; water of dual nature and virtue, issued from the milk of the virgin and the blood of Christ; igneous water and aqueous fire, virtue of the two baptism mentioned in the Gospels: "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier that I cometh, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable" (2). Philosopher Solidonius’ manuscript reproduces the same subject in the image of a chalice filled with water, out of which two characters are half-emerging in the center of a rather busy composition summing up the entire work. As for the treatise of Azoth, it is a huge angel --- that of the parable of St John in the Book of Revelation --- who treads the earth with one foot and the sea with the other, while raising a burning torch with his right hand and compressing an air-inflated goatskin with the left one, clear images of the quaternary of the primal elements: earth, water, air, fire. The body of this angel, whose two wings replace the head, is covered by the seal of the open book, ornamented by the cabalistic star, and the seven words, emblem of Vitriol: Visita Interiora Terrae, Rectificandoque, Invenies Occultum Lapidem (3). "I then saw", writes St John (4), "another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was, as it were, the sun, and his feet were as pillars of fire. He had in his hand a little open book, and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth. And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth; and when he had cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had resounded their voices, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me: Keep under seal the words of the seven thunders, and write them not... And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said: Go and take the little open book which is in the hand of the angel who standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And he said unto me: Take it and eat it; it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey".

    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.

    Now here is the last decorative subject of our door. It is a salamander serving as capital to the small twisted column of the right jamb. It appears to be, in a fashion, the protecting corbel of the median pillar, located on the ground floor, and as far as on the attic window. It would even seem, given the deliberate repetition of the symbol, that our alchemist had a marked preference for this heraldic reptile. We do not want to insinuate here that he meant to give it the erotic and vulgar meaning which Francis I valued so much; it would be insulting artisan, dishonoring science, and outraging truth in the manner of this high-bred debauchee with low intellectuality to whom we regret owing the paradoxical name of Renaissance (6). However an unusual feature of human disposition prompts man to cherish more that for which he has suffered and toiled most; this reason would probably allow us to explain the triple usage of the salamander, hieroglyph of the secret fire of the sages. It is so indeed, because, among the secondary products entering into the work as helpers or servants, none is more difficult to discover, none is more laborious to identify. It is yet possible, in accessory preparations, to use instead and place of the required additives certain substitutes capable of a similar result; however, in the elaboration of Mercury, nothing could be substituted for the secret fire, this spirit likely to animate it, exalt it and blend with it after having extracted it out of filthy matter. "I would feel very sorry for you", wrote Limojon de Saint-Didier (7), "if, like myself, after having known the true matter, you had spent fifteen years entirely in work, study, and meditation without being able to extract from the stone the precious juice it contains in its midst, for want of knowing the secret fire of the sages, which from this apparently dry and arid plant, causes to flow a water that doesn’t wet the hands". Without it, without this fire hidden in a saline form, the prepared matter could not be tested or fulfill its function of mother, and our labor would remain forever chimeric and vain. Every generation requires the help of a specific agent, determined for the realm in which nature has placed it. And everything bears seed. Animals are born from an egg or fertilized ovum; vegetables come from a seed that has been rendered prolific; similarly, minerals and metals have for seed a metallic liquid fertilized by the mineral fire. The latter then is the active agent introduced by the art into the mineral seed and Philalethes tells us, "it is the first to make the axle turn and the wheel move". Hence it is easy to understand to use of this invisible and mysterious metallic light, and the care with which we must seek to know it and to distinguish it by its specific, essential, and occult qualities.

    Salamander, in Latin salamandra, comes from sal, salt, and mandra, which means stable and also rock hollow, solitude, hermitage. Salamandra then is the name of the salt of the stable, salt of the rock, or solitary slat. In the Greek language this word takes another meaning, revealing the action that provokes: the Greek word [***-125-1] (Salamandra) appears formed from [***-125-2] (Sala) meaning agitation, perturbation, used probably for [***-125-3] (salos) or [***-125-4] (zale), agitated water, tempest, fluctuation, and from [***-125-5] (mandra) which has the same meaning as in Latin. From these etymologies we can draw the conclusion that the salt, spirit or fire takes birth in a stable, a rock hollow, a grotto... That is enough. Lying on the straw of his manger in the grotto of Bethlehem, is Jesus not the new sun bringing light to the world? Is he not God himself in his carnal and perishable shell? Who the has said: "I am the Spirit and I am the Life; and I have come to set fire unto things?".

    This spiritual fire, given form and materialized in salt, is the hidden sulphur, since during its operation it is never made manifest or perceptible to our eyes. And yet this sulphur, as invisible as it may be, is not an ingenious abstraction or a doctrine stratagem. We know how to isolate it, how to extract it from the body that conceals it, by an occult means and in the appearance of a dry powder which, when it is in that state, becomes improper and without effect for the philosopher’s art. This pure fire, of the same essence as the specific sulphur of gold but less digested, is, on the other hand, more abundant than that of the precious metal. This is why it easily unites with the mercury of minerals and imperfect metals. Philalethes affirms that it is found hidden in the belly of Aries, or the Ram, constellation which the sun crosses in the month of April. Finally, to even better designate it, we will add that this Ram, "which hides within itself the magical steel", ostensibly bears on its shield the image of the hermetic seal, the star with six rays. So it is in this very common matter, which may seem merely useful to us, that we must look for the mysterious solar fire, a subtle salt and spiritual sulphur, a celestial light diffused in the darkness of the body, without which nothing can be done and which nothing could replace.

    Among the emblematic subjects of the small mansion of Lisieux, we have mentioned earlier the important place occupied by the salamander, specific emblem of its modest and learned owner. We were saying that it can be found as far as the attic window of the roof, almost inaccessible and rising up against the open sky. It embraces the kingpost of the gable between two parallel dragons sculpted on the exposed wooden sides of the gable (Plate VI). These two dragons, one apterous ( [*126-1], without wings), the other chrysopterous ([*126-2], with golden wings), are those about which Nicolas Flamel speaks in his Hieroglyphic Figures, and which Michael Maier (Symbola aurea mensae, Frankfurt, 1617) considers to be, along with the globe surmounted with the cross, specific symbols of the style of the celebrated Adept. This simple declaration demonstrates the wide knowledge that the artist from Lisieux had of philosophical texts and of the symbolism specific to each of his predecessors. On the other hand, the very choice of the salamander leads us to believe that our alchemist must have searched for a long time and spent many years to discover the secret fire. The hieroglyph in fact hides the physicochemical nature of the fruit of the garden of Hesperia, fruit whose late maturity can only rejoice the sage in his old age, at the sunset ([*126-3] (Hesperis) of a laborious and painful career. Each piece of fruit is the result of a progressive condensation of the solar fire by the secret fire, a word incarnate, a celestial spirit embodied in all things of this world. And the assembled and concentrated rays of this double fire color and animate a pure, diaphanous, clarified, regenerated body of brilliant brightness and admirable virtue.

    Once it has reached this point of exaltation, the igneous principle, material and spiritual, by the universality of its action becomes assimilable to bodies contained in the three kingdoms of nature; it is as efficient with animals and plants as it is within mineral and metallic bodies. It is the magical ruby, agent endowed with igneous energy and subtlety and clothed in the color and the multiple properties of fire. Again the Oil of Christ or of crystal, the heraldic lizard, attracts, devours, vomits and feeds the flame, resting on his patience like the old phoenix on his immortality.
    Source: http://cista.net/Houses/main.htm

    Note: He lays the same trap as Ripley which I have quoted above. Read carefully. Also, the concepts learned will be general & fundamental in nature.

  9. #19
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    Castle of Dampierre - Selected texts

    .SIC.ITVR.AS.ASTRA.

    Thus is one immortalized.

    This pyramidal construction, the shape of which recalls the hieroglyph adopted to designate fire, is note other than the Athanor, a word by which the alchemists signified the philosophical furnace essential to the Work’s maturation. Two side doors have been installed, facing each other: they block out glass windows which allow observation of the phases of the work. Another one, placed at the basis gives access to the fire; finally, a little cover near the top serves as a heat register and exhaust vent for the gases produced by the combustion. Inside if we rely on the very detailed descriptions given by Philalethes, Le Tesson, Salmon, Pierre Vicot, Huginus a Barma, etc., the Athanor is designed so as to receive an earthen or metallic plate called nest or arena because the egg undergoes incubation in the warm sand (Latin arena, sand). As for the combustible agent used for heating, it often varies although many authors admit they prefer thermogenic lamps.

    At least this is what the masters teach about their furnaces. But the Athanor, the dwelling of the mysterious fire, claims kinship with a less common design. It is more in accordance with hermetic esotericism, it seems to us, to understand that it is through this secret furnace --- the prison of an invisible flame --- that the substance is prepared, the amalgam or the rebis, used as an envelope ad matrix of a central core where these latent capabilities are sleeping, which the common fire will soon activate. As matter alone is the vehicle of the natural and secret fire, the immortal agent of all our achievements, it alone remains for us the true and unique Athanor (from the Greek [*** 386-1] (athanatos), which renews itself and never dies). Philelthes tells us about the secret fire, which sages could not do without as it is the one responsible for all metamorphoses within of the compounds, that it is of metallic essence and sulphurous origin. It is acknowledged as a mineral because it is born from the primary mercurial substance, the unique source of all metals; and sulphurous because this fire during the extraction of the metallic sulphur has taken on the specific qualities "of the father of metals". It is therefore a twofold fire --- the twofold fiery man of Basil Valentine --- who contains at once the attractive, agglutinating, and organizing virtues of mercury and the drying, coagulating, and fixative properties of sulphur. Whoever has at all any smatterings of philosophy, will easily understand that this twofold fire, the animating agent of the rebis, as it only needs heat to go from potentiality to actuality and to make its power effective, could not be the one of the furnace although it metaphorically represents our Athanor, that is to say the topos of energy, of the principle of immortality enclosed in the philosophical compound. This twofold fore is the pivot of the art, and according to Philalethes expression, the first agent which causes the wheel to turn and the axle to move", and so it is often called fire of the wheel, because it seems to develop its action according to a circular fashion, whose aim is the conversion of the molecular structure, a rotation symbolized by the wheel of fortune and by the Ouroboros.

    And so matter destroyed, mortified, then recomposed into a new body, thanks to the secret fire which is aroused by the one of the furnace, gradually raises itself with the help of multiplications, up to the perfection of the pure fire, veiled under the figure of the immortal Phoenix: sic itur ad astra (thus is one immortalized). Similarly, the workman, faithful servant of nature, acquires with the knowledge of the sublime, the high title of knight, the esteem of his peers, acknowledgement by his brothers, and the honor, which is more enviable than all worldly glory, to be among Elias’ disciples.
    .EN.RIEN.GIST.TOVT.

    Within nothing, everything lies.

    A primordial motto which the ancient philosophers loved to repeat and by which they meant the absence of value, the commonness, the extreme abundance of the basic matter from which they drew everything they needed. "Then you will find the All-in-All, which is the styptic force of all metals and minerals derived from salt and sulphur, and twice born of Mercury", writes Basil Valentine in the book of the Twelve Keys.

    Thus does true wisdom teach us to not judge things according to their price, the pleasure received from them, or the beauty of their appearance. It leads is to value in man personal merit rather than the outer or the social conditions, and in bodies the spiritual quality they keep hidden within them. To the eyes of the wise, iron, this pariah of human industry, is incomparably more noble than gold, and gold more despicable than lead; for this bright light, this ardent, active, and pure water that common metals, minerals, and stones have preserved, is lacking only in gold. This sovereign to which so many people pay homage, for which so many consciences demean themselves in the hope of obtaining its favors, has of wealth and preciousness only the clothes. A sumptuously dressed king, the gold is but an inert, albeit magnificent, body, a brilliant corpse compared to copper, iron, or lead. This usurper, that an ignorant and greedy crowd raises to the rank of god, cannot even claim to belong to the old and powerful family of metals; stripped of its coat, it then reveals the baseness of its origin and appears to us as a simple metallic resin, dense, fixed, and fusible, a triple quality which renders it obviously improper to the realization of our objective.

    Thus we can see how vain it would be to work on gold, for whoever has nothing can evidently give nothing. It is therefore to the raw and vile stone that we must address ourselves without repugnance for its miserable appearance, its disgusting odor, its black coloration, its sordid rags. For these same rather unattractive characteristics allow us to recognize it and caused people to always looks at it as the primitive substance, issued from the original chaos and that God, during the Creation and organization of the universe, would have reserved for his servants and his chosen ones. Drawn from the Void, it bears its imprint and its name: Nothing. But the philosophers have discovered that in its elementary and disorganized nature, consisting all of darkness and of light, of bad and of good, assembled in the worst of confusion, this Nothing contained All they could hope for.
    .AB.INSOMNI.NON.CVSTODITA.DRACONE.

    Beside the dragon, which is watching, things are not guarded.

    The myth of the dragon in charge of the surveillance of the famous orchard and of the legendary Golden Fleece is known well enough to prevent us the trouble of repeating it. It suffices to point out that the dragon is chosen as the hieroglyphic representative of the crude mineral matter with which we must begin the Work. That is to indicate its significance, the care that we must bring to the study of the outer signs and of the qualities likely to make its identification possible, to help us recognize and distinguish the hermetic subject among the many minerals which nature places at our disposal.

    In charge of guarding the marvelous field, where philosophers go and get their treasures, the dragon is known to never sleep. His fiery eyes remain constantly open. He knows neither rest nor weariness and could not overcome the insomnia which characterizes it and grants it its true raison d’etre. This is actually what the Greek name it bears expresses. [*408-1] (Drakon) has for root [*408-2] (derchomai) to look and see, and by extension to live, a word close to [*408-3] (derchenes) who sleeps with open eyes. Primitive language reveals through the cloak of symbols, the idea of an intense activity, of a perpetual and latent vitality enclosed in the mineral body. Mythologists name our dragon Ladon, a word whose assonance comes close to Laton and which can be assimilated to the Greek [*408-4] (Leto) to be hidden, unknown, ignored like the matter of the philosophers.

    The dragon’s general appearance, its well-known ugliness, its ferocity, and its unusual vital power correspond exactly to the external characteristics, properties and capabilities of this subject. The special crystallization of the latter finds itself clearly indicated by the scaly skin of the dragon. So are its colors, for the matter is black, spotted red or yellow as is the dragon, which is its likeness. As for the volatile quality of our mineral, we see it translated by the membranous wings with which the monster is equipped. And because it is said that it vomits fore and smoke when attacked and that its body ends in a snakelike tail, poets, for these reasons, had him be born of Typhon and Echidna. The Greek [*408-5] (Tuphaon) a poetic term for [*408-6] (Tuphon) or [*408-7] (Tuphos) --- the Egyptian Typhon --- means to fill with smoke, to light, to set aflame. [*408-8] (Echidna) is nothing else than the viper. Hence we can conclude that what the dragon takes after from Typhon is its hot, ardent, and sulphurous nature while it owes to its mother its cold and wet complexion with the characteristic form of the ophidians.

    While the philosophers have always hidden the common name of their matter under an infinity of qualifiers, they were, on the other hand, often quite prolix as far as describing its form, its virtues, and sometimes even its preparation. By common consent, they assert that the artist must hope to discover nothing, nor produce anything outside of the subject because it is the only body in nature capable of providing him with the essential elements. To the exclusion of other minerals and other metals, it preserves the principles necessary to the elaboration of the Great Work. By its monstrous albeit expressive figuration, this primitive subject appears clearly as the guardian and the unique dispenser of the hermetic fruits. It is their depository, their vigilant preserver, and our Adept speaks wisely when he teaches us that apart from this solitary being, philosophical things are guarded by no one, since we might look in vain for them elsewhere. And about this first body, fragment of the original chaos and common mercury of the philosophers, Geber exclaimed: "Blessed be the Almighty, who created our mercury and who gave it a nature to which nothing resists; for, without it, the alchemists’ painstaking efforts would be in vain, all their labor would become useless".

    But, asks another Adept (3), "Where then is this aurific mercury which, resolved into salt and sulphur, becomes the humid radical of metals, and their animated see? It is imprisoned in a jail so strong that nature itself could not pull it out, if the industrious art did not facilitate the means for it".
    .FRVSTRA.

    In vain.

    It is the succinct translation, engraved in stone, of the four fires of our coction. The authors who spoke of it, describe them as so many different and proportionate degrees of the elementary fire acting in the midst of the Athanor, on the philosophical rebis. At least, such is the meaning suggested to beginners, and that they hurry to put into practice without much further thought.

    And yet the philosophers themselves attest that they never speak more obscurely than when they seem to express themselves with precision; their apparent clarity deludes those who let themselves be seduced by the literal meaning, and who do not attempt to make sure whether it agrees or not with observation, reason and the possibility of nature. This is why we must warn the artists, who will try to accomplish the work according to this process that is to say, by submitting the philosophical amalgam to the increasing temperatures of the four regimens of fire, that they will certainly be the victims of their ignorance and frustrated from the desired results. They should first strive to discover what the Ancients meant by the metaphoric expression of fire and that of the four successive degrees of its intensity. For indeed we are not speaking of a cooking fire here, of a fireplace fire, or of a blast furnace fire. "In our work", asserts Philalethes, "common fire only serves to keep away the cold and the accidents it could cause". In another section of the treatise, the same author positively affirms that our coction is linear, i.e., equal, constant, regular, and uniform from the beginning to the end of the work. Almost all philosophers have used as an example this fire of coction or maturation, the incubation of a hen’s egg, not in terms of the temperature to be used but in terms of uniformity and permanence. And so we very strongly advise people to consider before anything else the relationship that the sages have established between the fire and the sulphur, so as to obtain this essential notion that the four degrees of the first must infallibly correspond to the four degrees of the second, which is to say much in a few words. Finally in his so minute description of the coction, Philalethes does not forget to point out how much the real operation is removed from its metaphoric analysis because instead of being directed as one generally believes it to be, it has seven stages or regimens, simple reiterations of one and the same technique. In our opinion, these represent the most sincere words that have been said about the secret practice of the four degrees of fire. And, although the order and the development of these works are guarded by the philosophers and always shrouded in silence, the special characteristic which the coction, understood in that way, takes on will nevertheless allow the wise artist to rediscover this simple and natural means, which ought to favor its operation.
    Source: http://cista.net/Houses/main.htm
    Last edited by Dwellings; 09-22-2017 at 03:56 AM.

  10. #20
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    May 2016
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    Mystery of the Cathedrals - Selected Texts

    Few alchemists will admit the possibility of two ways, one short and easy, called the dry way, the other, longer and less rewarding, called die moist way. This may be due to the fact that many authors deal exclusively with the longer process, either because they do not know of the other, or because they prefer to remain silent about it, rather than to teach its principles. Pernety refuses to believe in those alternative methods, while Huginus a Barma, on the contrary, asserts that the ancient masters, such as Geber, Lully and Paracelsus, each had his own particular process. Chemically speaking, there is no objection to a method, employing the moist way, being replaced by another, which makes use of dry reactions, in order to arrive at the same result. Hermetically the emblem we are studying is a proof of this. We shall find a second one in die eighteenth-century Encyclopaedia, where the assurance is given that the Great Work may be accomplished in two ways; one, called the moist way, being longer but held more in honour and the other, or dry way, being much less esteemed. In the latter 'the celestial Salt, which is the Philosophers' mercury, must be boiled for four days in a crucible over a naked fire, together with a terrestial metallic body. 'In the second part of the work, attributed to Basil Valentine, but which seems rather to be by Senior Zadith, the author appears to have the dry way in mind when he writes that 'in order to arrive at this Art, neither great labour nor trouble is required and the expenses are small, the instruments of little worth. For this Art may be learnt in less than twelve hours and brought to perfection within the space of eight days, if it has its own principle within itself.'

    Philalethes, in chapter XIX of the Introitus, after having spoken of the long way, which he describes as tiresome and good only for rich people, says: 'But by our way no more than a week is necessary; God has reserved this rare and easy way for the despised poor and for abject saints.' Furthermore, Langlet-Dufresnoy, in his Remarques on this chapter, thinks that 'this way is achieved by the double philosophical mercury'' and adds: 'The work is thereby accomplished in eight days, instead of taking nearly eighteen months by the first way.' This shortened way, which is, however, covered by a thick veil, has been called by the Wise the Regime of Saturn.

    The boiling of the Work, instead of necessitating the use of a glass vase, requires only the help of a simple crucible. 'I will stir up your body in an earthenware vase, in which I will inter it', writes a famous author, who says again further on: 'Make a fire in your glass, that is to say in the earth which holds it enclosed. This brief method, about which we have freely instructed you, seems to me to be the shorter way and the true philosophical sublimation, in order to arrive at the perfection of this difficult task.'This could be the explanation of the basic maxim of our Science: 'One single vessel, one single matter, one single furnace.'

    In the preface to his book, "Cyliani refers to the two processes in these terms: 'I would like to warn you here never to forget that only two matters of the same origin are needed, the one volatile, the other fixed; that there are two ways, the dry way and the moist way. I follow the latter one for preference as my duty although the former is very familiar to me: it is done with a single matter.' Henri de Lintaut also gives a favourable testimonial to the dry way when he writes: 'This secret surpasses all the secrets in the world, for by it you can in a short time, without great trouble or labour, arrive at a great transmutation. For information about this, see Isaac Hollandois, who speaks of it more fully.' Unfortunately our author is no more forthcoming than his colleagues. 'When I consider,' writes Henckel," 'that the artist Elias, quoted by Helvetius, claims that the preparation of the Philosophic stone is begun and finished in the space of four days, and that he has actually shown this stone, still adhering to the fragments of the crucible, it seems to me that it would not be so absurd to ask whether what the alchemists call great months may not be as many days, which would mean a very limited space of time. And to ask further whether there may not be a method, which consists only in keeping the matters in the greatest degree of fluidity for a long time, which could be achieved by a violent fire, maintained by the action of the bellows. However, this method cannot be carried out in all laboratories and perhaps not everyone would find it practicable.'
    Source: Mystery of the Cathedrals

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