We know that once our Matter is prepared, this work is no longer a Work of the hands of an Artist, but a work we must allow to Naturally progress in due time.

This Natural progression of our microcosm can be seen as a rotation of the wheel or Circulation within our vessel...the energy of Active/Passive, Positive/Negative, Volatile/Fixed working as an Alchemical generator eventually produces a new regenerated Matter, something more perfect than before. Is this not the goal of Alchemy!

Watching the Matter in our flask physically rise upward from below, gain "celestial" power, then descend back down influencing the "terrestrial" with its new vibratory frequency is an exciting sight to behold! The continually circulating Matter clearly produces energy (which can visually be seen inside of our vessel) and this energy changes the pressure inside our flask, thus changing the conditions of our microcosm, which eventually perfects our Matter further to Perfection. This is Alchemy!

Many of the fundamental precepts the Masters attempted to convey in their writings can be seen, understood, and readily comprehended once we prepare our Matter and allow it to progress Naturally. Tracing Truth back to something a simple as Circulation can help us progress in our Art without sophisticating newfound methods or processes which do more to impede than help us.

The following image sums it up well...

"Emerald Tablet" by Hermes Trismegistus

What is below is like that which is above, and what is above is like that which is below, to accomplish the miracles of one thing.
And as all things were produced by the one word of one Being, so all things were produced from this one thing by adaptation.
Seperate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, acting prudently and with judgement.
Ascend with the greatest sagacity from the earth to heaven, and then again descend to earth, and unite together the powers of things superior and inferior.

If we look towards the words of the Sages, we see this to be Universal Truth...

"Twelve Gates" by George Ripley, 1471

If you therefore will exalt the bodies,
First you augment them with the spirit of life,
Till in time the earth be well subtilized,
By natural rectifying of every Element,
Exalting them up into the firmament,
Then much more precious shall they be than gold,
Because of the quintessence which they do hold.

For when the cold has overcome the heat,
Then into water the air shall be turned,
And so two contraries together shall meet,
Till either with the other right well agree,
So into air the water as I tell thee,
When heat of cold has got domination,
Shall be converted by craft of our circulation.

And of the air then fire you shall have,
By loosening, putrefying and subliming,
And fire you have of the earth material,
Thus by craft dissevering your elements,
Most especially well calcining your earth,
And when they be each one made pure,
Then do they hold all of the first nature.

In this way therefore make them be circulated,
Each into other exalting by and by,
And all in this one glass surely sigillate,
Not with thine hands, but as I teach you naturally,
Fire into water, then turn first hardly,
For fire is in Air, which is in water existent,
And this conversion accords to our intent.

Then furthermore turn on your wheel,
That into earth the air converted be,
Which will be done also right well,
For Air is in water being earth, trust me,
The water into fire, contrary in her quality,
Soon turn you may, for water is in earth,
Which is in fire, convertion true is this.

The wheel is now near turned about,
Into air turn earth which is the proper nest,
Of other Elements there is no doubt,
For earth is in fire, which in air takes rest,
This circulation begin you in the west,
Then into the south, till they exalted be,
Proceed duly, as I have taught you in the figure.

In which process clearly you may see,
From one extreme how to another you may not go,
But by a mean, since they in qualities contrary be,
And reason will show that it be so,
As heat into cold, with other contraries more,
Without their means, as moist to heat and and cold,
Examples sufficient before this I have told.

Thus I have taught you how to make,
Of all your Elements a perfect circulation,
And at the figure example to take,
How you shall make this foresaid Exaltation,
And of your medicine in the Elements true graduation,
Till it be brought to a generative temperate,
And then you have conquered the tenth gate.

"A Way To Operate The Elixir"

By its continual circulation, kept up by means of external heat, it drops down continually on the matter - rising as a dew and continually trickling down the sides of the glass; and so continually re-moistening the matter below. By this means a matter that to all appearance is incorruptible is brought into a state of putrefaction- the blackness of death follows- but the dead will revive again uniting all three into a glorified body.

"Medulla Alchimae" by George Ripley, 1471

Virtue must be increased by a wise management of the Matter: you must circulate this Menstruum in the Unctuous humidity in a Vessel of Circulation, by rotation continually.

"Verbum Dismissum" by Bernard Trevisan, 1480

After then our Compound is made, the first thing to be done is to animate it, putting to it the natural heat, or vivifying humidity, or the Soul, Air or life. By the work of solution or sublimation with congelation, and as you have made thy compound so must thou have a certain manner of proceeding according to the internal heat enclosed in the matter, otherwise it may remain void of its designed end, without Soul, deprived of its noble high virtues, and would have no motion to generation as other things by nature produced. The manner how to put Fire into the said Matter, and to convert it from disposition to disposition, from nature to nature, that is from low to high degree. The manner of this disposition is made by proper sublimation, Impregnation, mortification for Resurrection and Sublimation in the light Elements, so that all the circle of this noble Magistery is nothing but sublimation perfect, which nevertheless hath many particular operations annexed, chained, interlaced or joined together, but two are principally attending the whole Circle, which are perfect dissolution and perfect coagulation. So that the whole Magistery is perfectly to dissolve, and perfectly to congeal, dissolve the Body and congeal the Spirit, and this operation has ties and alliances together, that the Body never dissolves but the Spirit congeals, nor also the Spirit congeals not, except the Body be dissolved. As Raymond and all the Philosophers say, that the whole Magistery is nothing but Dissolution and Congelation by the Ignition, of which Operation many great and learned in this Science have been deceived, thinking to understand by confidence in their learning, the Circles of Nature, and the manner of Circulation.

"The True Book Of The Learned Greek Abbot Synesius", 1612

Now my Son, by the grace of God you are acquainted with one Element of our Stone, which is the black earth, the Raven's head, by some called the obscure shadow, upon which earth, as upon a base, all the rest is grounded. This terrestrial and dry Element, is called, Laton, the Bull, black dregs, our Metal, our Mercury. And thus by the privation of the adust humidity, which is taken away by Philosophical sublimation, the volatile is fixed, and the moist is made dry and earth; nay, according to Geber, there is wrought a change of the complexion, as of a cold and humid Nature, into dry choler; and according to Alphidius, of a liquid into a thick. Whence is apprehended what the Philosophers mean when they say, that the operation of our Stone is only a transmutation of Nature and a revolution of Elements. You see then how that by this incorporation the humid becomes dry, the volatile fixed, the Spiritual corporeal, the liquid thick, water fire, air earth, and that there happens an infallible change in their true nature, and a certain circulation of the four Elements.

"An Open Entrance To The Closed Palace Of The King" by Philalethes, 1667

Let your delicate substance remain at the bottom, which is the womb of conception, in the sure hope that after the time appointed by the Creator for this Operation, the spirit will arise in a glorified state, and glorify its body -- that it will ascend and be gently circulated from the centre to the heavens, then descend to the centre from the heavens, and take to itself the power of things above and things below.

"A Demonstration Of Nature" by John Mehung, 1678

Put to heart, therefore, the true scope and responsibility of your intent. I, myself, again, receive all my wisdom, virtue, and power from heaven, and my Matter, in its simplest form, is the four elements. This is the first principle and the quintessence of the elements, which I bring forth by reductions, time, and circulations, by which I transmute the inferior into the more perfect, the cold and dry into the moist and warm; and thus I preserve stones and metals in their natural state of moisture. This is brought about by the movements of the celestial bodies, for by them the elements are ruled; by their controlling influence like is brought to like. The purer my substance is, the more excellent are the results produced by the heavenly influence. And do you think that there in your alembic, where you have your earth and water, I will be induced by your fire and heat, and by your white and red colour, to bend my neck to your yoke, and to do your will and pleasure? Do you think that you can move the heavens, and force them to shed their influence upon your work. Do you think that that is an organic instrument which gives forth sweet music only when it is touched by the musician's fingers?

"The Practice Of Lights", 1683

Surely, without any falsehood, the Science of Alchemy is true and not to be mocked or scorned at, as many blind Asses do. Many men blunder about this blessed Tincture which have neither Learning nor any sight in Philosophy, which causes great slander and mocking to the great rebuke of this noble and glorious Science of Grace, which Science and cunning is contained only in natural moving or circulation and rotation of the Heavens above, as all natural things do in this World by passing their circuit, which the high Creator of Nature kept in His marvelous Divine Power there as he began and not else. The saying of all the Philosophers is, “No man shall come to this Science by haste and heady strength, but by Patience, and long time, and true Governance of Fire.”

"The Golden Chain Of Homer", 1723

Heaven and air have their influence not upwards, but downwards, towards water and earth, but earth and water ascends upwards to meet them. They mix thus in the state of vapours in order to fabricate the Chaotic regenerated, and impregnated water or the Universal, Semi-material Sperma Mundi. As soon as the air is impregnated and animated with Heaven, it communicates immediately with water and earth to impregnate them also.

This communication is done in a moment, as the Elements are gradually prepared to meet and mix with each other, by a continual circulation. There is no doubt but our atmosphere is continually loaded with Vapours, exhalations and clouds for the sake of communication of the Elements; as soon as these Vapours become condensed into Rain, Dew, Snow or Hail and fall down that same moment the volatilisations and exhalations of water and earth take place and are ready to succeed and meet those, which come down; so that there can never be no want of generation of such Vapours, which when sufficiently dilated or extended constitute our common air, which is more or less pure according as it is more or less animated by Heaven or fire.

The Heavens receive the ascending Vapours, which as they recede from the atmosphere become more and more subtil and spiritual until they are actually returned to their first Universal state of Ether or Spiritus Mundi. The atmospheric air also receives continually the volatilised water and succeeding Vapours, until it is satiated and overloaded, when the superflous Humidity is forced down again in Dew, Rain, Hail, Snow.

Thus fire and air come down into the Waters and impregnate them; the Waters dispose their thickest part and give it to the Earth; the Earth thereby becomes overloaded or saturated, which superfluity of earth and water is again volatised and sublimed upwards by the fire, inverted fire or Central Heat, into Vapours, which ascension and descension God has implanted into the Universal fire, as the Great and only Agent of nature, or rather Nature herself which causes this perpetual circulation by its attracting and repulsing power, as we have demonstrated in the Second Chapter.

The Lover of Natural Knowledge may clearly learn here how the Effluvium of one Element becomes the food and nourishment of the others, until converted therein; the same takes place with us and our food, as, for instance, we eat Bread and drink Wine, we discharge the superfluities of our food, which are used for manure on the land; seed is sown therein and out of such superfluities grows again our food.

A Tree looses its leaves during Winter, the leaves fall to the Root, where they putrify and become humidity which penetrates to the Root and feeds the Tree again.

Observe this well and you will fully comprehend the Superius and Inferious of Hermes, and our Catena Homeri or Platonic Ring. Thus you will see a continual transmutation of Matter, that is a conditional change or modification, whilst the inward central fire of Nature remains always the same, as it was in the beginning.