Volume 2 Summer 1981

Exemplar- Dr A. K. Bhattacharya
Circulatum Minus of Urbigerus - Prof. M. M. Junius
Hermetic Cabala in the Monas Hieroglyphica and the Mosaicall Philosophy - M. T. Walton
The Calendar, The Seasons and The Sidereal Zodiac - S. Marshall


Our Cover Photographs

In the Prima (first) class at Paracelsus College instruction is given on how create a herbal stone, a reunification of separated and purified elements from the vegetable kingdom which is so evolved that, without extensive laboratory processes, it will separate another herb into its alchemical components. The body of the herb drops to the bottom while the alchemical sulphur and mercury rise to the top. This issue of Essentia contains an article on how make an evolved solution which, like the solidified stone, can accomplish this separation.

The top photograph in the cover series shows how the oil of Chamomille floats on the surface of the "wet work" after the separation. The bottom left photo shows the Chamomille in a test tube in the process of being separated. The bottom central photo shows an early stage in the separation of Hibiscus with the layer of oil beginning to form on the top. (Unfortunately, a slide provided by Professor Junius which showed a later stage in this Hibiscus separation was too dark for reproduction here,) The remaining slide shows the separation of rose petals in the liquid "stone."

To the best of our knowledge these are historic photographs. We are not aware that any other photographs have ever been published showing the operation of an herbal stone or the wet work.


Dr. A. K. Bhattacharya

The Ayurvedic healing arts are one of the greatest, but least known, assets of ancient Indian civilization. The Ayurveda, which is best translated as "Science of Life," is a practical system of medicine having eight important divisions. These cover therapeutics, surgery, toxicology, psychiatric knowledge, pediatrics and pregnancy, rejuvenation of worn out bodily tissue, knowledge for increasing virility, and a section which relates to diseases of the eye, ear, nose, mouth, throat, etc.

Ayurvedic medicine flows from, and is totally integrated with, the ancient Vedic philosophy which postulates that the world of matter can only be understood and dealt with in connection with subtler levels of existence. The Ayurvedic medical practice, therefore, pays great attention to the way that the elements of air, fire and water interact with the "earth" of the human body according to ancient concepts of the law of polarity.

Modern Western civilization knows very little about Ayurveda. Only two of the classic texts on Ayurvedic medicine have ever been translated into English and there are but a handful of English commentaries available, mostly in libraries as they are out of print. Not having sufficient information, and lacking the background to deal with its philosophy, the medical profession in the West has tended to view Ayurvedic medicine as a mass of primitive superstitions. The Indian Doctor we are honoring in this space has done much to overcome this unwarranted prejudice.

It is true, however, that the West has been influenced by Ayurvedic medicine without appreciating the source. The better known system of Chinese acupuncture with its notion of five dynamic forces (or elements) and its practice of pulse diagnosis has obvious similarities with, and foundations in, the Ayurvedic tradition. Many schol ars believe the Ayurvedic pre-dates and has influenced the Chinese system. Also Tibetan medicine, which Western doctors are now studying with great interest because of its effectiveness in healing, openly admits that its origins are to be found in the Ayurveda.

Some historians even claim that Western medicine unknowingly adopted some Ayurvedic practices during the Middle Ages, and not the best ones at that or with full understanding. These specialists say that during the so-called Dark Ages, scholars associated with the Unani medical system of the Middle East translated Ayurvedic texts into Arabic. When these scientific works were re-translated into Latin, starting in the 11th century, they played an important role in establishing the conceptions and practice of modern medicine.

However, one contemporary Indian Doctor has made tireless efforts to consciously bring to light and to the Western world the essentials of the an cient Ayurvedic healing arts. His name is Dr. Amiya Kumara Bhattacharya. He was born on May 11, 1926, in Baroda, Gujarat State in India, the son of the famed physician Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Ph.D., and Shrimati Labanya Maya Devi.

Dr. Bhattacharya's father, Benoytosh, was his primary teacher laying the foundation for his son's education in Ayurveda and modern homeopathy. (Homeopathy is still a major and respected tradition in India, as it is in Great Britain, although in the United States it has almost vanished due to the prejudices of the American Medical Association). Out of the developing collaboration between father and son came a number of books which demonstrate that the Ayurvedic system can shed much light on modern experiments involving healing with magnets, healing at a distance with radionic techniques, and new methods of combining the potentized substances used in homeopathic medicines.

For example, in his book Tridosha and Homeopathy, Dr. Bhattacharya opens up a whole new approach for modern medicine as he discusses how the elements of air (v, for Vaya), fire (p, for Pitta), and water (k, for Kapha) are each dominant in certain medicinal preparations and can be used, therefore, to overcome faults in corresponding aspects of the human body. "Tridosha" translates as "three faults" and the Ayurvedic physician is concerned with dynamically balancing these three subtle elements in the living organism instead of merely overcoming the symptoms of disease. (Those familiar with the curriculum of Paracelsus College will recall perhaps that the P,V,K factors spoken of by Dr. Bhattacharya are useful considerations when doing the herbal work.)

Dr. Bhattacharya's books on healing with magnets give detailed procedures which show how the polarity of magnets can be used to influence the polarity of the life source. While giving full credit to the work of many others involved in magnetic healing, and even coauthoring a work with the American researcher Albert Roy Davis, Dr. Bhattacharya makes unique contributions in this area.

Dr. Bhattacharya passed his Doctor of Medical Science examination at Baroda College in 1949. He started his homeopathic practice in Baroda in 1950 and moved thereafter to Naihati in West Bengal. In 1954 he married Shrimati Manasi Devi. They have one daughter, Tapasi. At Naihati he started a charitable dispensary at Shastri Villa. A recent letter from Dr. Bhattacharya reveals that last year almost 16,000 persons were given free consultations and medication at this clinic.

Among the books in which Dr. Bhattacharya explores the relationship between ancient and modern science are: Power in a Magnet to Heal; Magnet Dowsing; Gem Therapy; Magnet and Magnetic Fields, or Healing by Magnets; Septenate Mixtures in Homeopathy; Tridosha Homeopathy; and The Science of Cosmic Rays or Teletherapy. Many of these books are available through the Publication Department of Paracelsus College.

Dr. Bhattacharya is a member of the Liga Medicarum Homeopathica Internationalis and President of the World Teletherapy Association.

In the repeated associations of Frater Albertus, President of Paracelsus College, with Dr. Bhattacharya at the Ashram in Naihati, Frater has personally observed the Doctor and his staff assisting the afflicted and impoverished with useful homeopathic remedic. while making extensive use of gem therapy and other effective methods rarely practiced in the Western World.

Persons like Dr. Bhattacharya deserve all the support possible, both financial and moral, to continue their unselfish work among humankind.
- Frater Albertus and Art Kunkin


The Circulatum Minus of Urbigerus

Professor Manfred M. Junius

Only a small section of classical alchemical literature is dedicated to the Lesser Work, the Opus Minor, consisting of the alchemical work in the Plant Kingdom.

This may seem surprising as the two ways of the Opus Minor (Via Sicca: the "dry way" leading to Stones; and Via Umida: the "wet way" leading to Circulata) are not only very suitable preparation excercises for the ways of the Opus Major, but their results are of great value in the Art of Healing. For example, Johannes Isaac Hollandus in his Opera Vegetabilia says: "Thus, my child, I have taught you to make the Vegetable Stone, which is the best among all the three Stones.1"

The practicant of the Opus Minor becomes acquainted with alchemical concepts and practice. He learns the Encheria (handwork, craft technology) and, if he works with sincerity and devotion, he is rewarded with either the Plant Stone in case he desires a result of fixed (solid) consistency, or with the Circulatum Minus if he prefers a liquid result of truly spectacular nature.

The first number of Essentia in the Spring of 1980 reported on some of the different ways of making the Plant Stone. The present paper is dedicated to the Circulatum Minus, the Liquid Stone.

In 1690 there appeared a remarkable treatise on the Circulatum Minus by Baron Urbigerus, which was printed by Henry Fairborne in London. In 1691 there followed a German edition printed by Johann Caspar Birckner at Erfurth. This was followed by a reprint in Hamburg in 1705. The original English title is: "Circulatum Minus Urbigeranum, or the Philosophical Elixir of Vegetables with The Three Certain Ways of Preparing it, fully and clearly set forth in One and Thirty Aphorisms by Baron Urbigerus, a Servant of God in the Kingdom of Nature."

The German title speaks of "Three other ways of preparing the Vegetable Elixir based on personal experience."

The attachment of his own name to the Circulatum Minus is an evidence that the Baron looked upon the three ways of preparing it as original and entirely his own.

The actual text consists of a dedication to all sincere souls and lovers of Hermetic Philosophy, a copper plate, the thirty-one aphorisms and an appendix which is a commentary on the copper plate.

It is suggested that readers procure themselves the text of Urbigerus, if possible the edition by Frater Albertus2.This contains Frater's own valuable commentary as well as Urbigerus aphorisms regarding the making of the Grand Elixir.

In what follows, it is presumed that readers are familiar with the Art of Separation in the Plant Kingdom although we will take care to define certain commonly used procedures.

What is a Circulatum?

Circulation, according to the German alchemist Andreas Libavius 1555-1616), means the "Exaltation improvement, uplifting) of a liquor liquid) through a continuous dissolution and coagulation in the Pelican circulation vessel) with heat as the agent (energy)."3

Circulation therefore is an improvement of liquid substances, which are continuously brought from the liquid to the gaseous state and then returned to the liquid state. Various operations come together in the Art of Circulating, which may include Digestion, Sublimation, Distillation and Cohobation.


Digestion means a ripening in mild digestive warmth, through which a substance is made to actualize and yield its inherent forces. Maceration in mildly warm temperature may also be called Digestion. Through Digestion thick liquids become subtle, their crude state is modified and that which is opaque becomes transparent. The impure, which settles at the bottom, may then be separated.

The substance to be digested is enclosed in a suitable container, which is then put into an oven or upon some suitable heating equipment. In hot climates Digestion in the Sun is also practiced. The old masters often digested in horse dung. The time required for Digestion may involve a few days, a Philosophical Month (forty days and nights) or even longer.

Specially suitable for Digestion is the so-called Pelican.

The Pelican, with two necks for continuous distillation, took its name from the bird.

The substance is put into this container, ideally filling about two thirds of the lower half. The Pelican is set into horse dung up to its "waist line" (or it may be placed upon some suitable heating equipment). A thermostatically controlled sand bath or ash does very well. The liquid evaporates into the upper portion of the Pelican where it codenses again because of the lower outside temperature; it then flows back through the arms and along the walls.

The modern alchemist may use a suitable reflux system (a boiling flask with a condensor mounted on top), or even a soxhlet extractor. If the equipment can be thermostatically regulated it can be left without attentance for considerable time.

It is important that there is sufficient space for expansion in the upper part of the reflux system. The oment of expansion which is followed by contraction is the main cause of the Exaltation of the liquid. The following sketches suggest suitable equipment for Circulation.

A Soxhlet extractor (left) or an adapter with a Kjeldahl Trap can be used for circulation.

Sublimation takes place when an extract is driven upwards into the sublime (upper) part of a container and precipitates there.

DistiIlation is used principally to separate volatile from non-volatile substances. Through heat the more volatile liquids are driven out in the form of vapors. In a special cooling system known as a condenser they are recondensed into liquids which are then collected in a special receiver. In this way solid substances can be separated from liquid ones, or two liquids from each other if these have different boiling points and the temperature can be controlled adequately. Continued refining through Distillation is called Rectification.

Rotation and Cohobation

Closely related to Circulation are Rotation and Cohobation, the second term often used instead of Circulation.

Rotation means boiling a liquid for a certain period in a reflux system. The heat is then switched off and the conents allowed to cool. After this it is reheated and again allowed to cool, this cycle continuing as needed. A Rotation is basically a rhythmical Circulation.

Cohobation means a series of successive Distillations of a solvent over the substance or substances which have been dissolved in it. After each Distillation the Distillate is reunited with the residue which remained in the boiling flask, and the Distillation is repeated. According to alchemical concepts this process leads to a loosening of the structure of certain materials, each time the solvent taking with itself a little more of the solids which thus become volatile. (The Alchemist is little interested in the fact that this may involve certain chemical changes in the original substances, since substances in Alchemy can appear in many forms.)

The technique of Cohobation is very frequently used in alchemical work and Urbigerus also proposes it for his Circulatum Minus as the actual Circulation. (See aphorisms XIV and XV)

The Retort, a long necked apparatus resembling a wild goose, was used for gentle distillation and cohobation.

Before we dedicate ourselves in detail to the process of making the Circulatum Minus we should know that the term is also used in Alchemy as a general term for the alchemical work in the Plant Kingdom. The term, in the wider sense, may also stand for a number of preparations such as the "Temperatum," the "Aqua Solvens" of Paracelsus, the "Secret Spiritus Vini of Raimundus Lullus and the Adepts," the "Aqua Mercurialis," the "Spiritus Mercuri Universalis," and others.

We shall now come to the actual preparation of the Circulatum Minus of Urbigerus. Relevant text portions are quoted.


"Our Circulatum minus is only a specificated Elixir, belonging to the Vegetable Kingdom, by which without fire, or farther Preparation of the Vegetables, we can in a Moment extract their true Essence, containing their Virtue, Quality and Property, which is a great Chymical Curiosity, performing wonders in the Practice of Physick, and in demonstrating some Works of Nature."


"We call it Circulatum, because tho never so often used in any Extraction, or Chymical Experiment what-ever, it loses nothing of its Quality, or Property: which is a Prerogative, pertaining to the Universal Elixir, called also the Circulatum Majus, because it commands in all the three Kingdoms of Nature; whilst this, being restrained to one only Kingdom, is for that reason stil'd Minus."

"We differentiate between the Circulatum Majus and the Circulatum Minus. The latter is an Elixir which can perform in the Plant Kingdom what the Circulatum Majus achieves in all the three Kingdoms Plant Kingdom, Mineral Kingdom and Animal Kingdom): the Separation of the Three Essentials, Sulphur, Mercury and Salt, of a Mixtum.4"

It is true that the Circulatum Minus, if correctly and well prepared, does not lose anything of its vigor even after repeated use. A Circulatum, which the present author made in his laboratory a number of years ago, still separates instantly any fresh plant immersed in it into its Essentials.


"Out of Diana's undetermined Tears, when Apollo has appeared, after the Separation of the three Elements, Determination, Digestion and glorious Resurrection, we can, without the Addition of any other created thing, prepare this our determined Elixir: Which is the first, noblest, and secretest way of the Philosophers."

The "Tears of Diana" is the Mercury, the undetermined or pure ethyl alcohol, i.e., ethyl alcohol which has not yet been specified by adding any mineral salts to it (fixed Earth).

The original title page of the Urbigerus pamphlet on the wet work showing the copper engraving which provides a visual key to the laboratory operations
See : Golden Manuscripts: Circulatum Urbigerus for larger graphic.

"When Apollo has appeared" after the volatile Sulphur, i.e., the essential oil, has been extracted from the plant species, for instance through steam distillation. The appearance of Apollo, the distillation of the essential oils, is always the first step in Separation.

Urbigerus states that the Separation of a species into its Three Essentials (here called the Elements) is necessary for the work. The Mercury is then determined by adding the other purified substances, i.e., the Salt and the fixed and the unfixed Sulphur. This is followed by digestion and subsequent Distillations. In this way we can prepare the Circulatum Minus out of one thing without any addition. Urbigerus considers this to be the noblest way of preparation.


"The Determination of our Diana's Tears consists only in their perfect and indissoluble Union with the fixt Vegetable Earth, philosophically prepared, purified, and spiritualized: for the love of which they are forced to leave their first universal undetermined Property, and be clothed with a determined particular one, which is required for our Circulatum Minus."

Urbigerus tells us clearly what he means by Determination of Diana's Tears. But the Salt from the plant body (fixt Vegetable Earth) must be prepared alchemically, i.e., correctly calcined, purified and spiritualized: made volatile). By this procedure, their nature is changed.


"Our second way of preparing this our Vegetable Elixir is by a right Manipulation of a Plant of the noblest Degree, standing by itself or supported by others: after the Preparation of which, and its Putrefaction, Reduction into an Oil, Separation of the three Principles, with their Purification, Union, and Spiritualization, the whole is to be turned into a spiritual ever-living Fountain, renewing every Plant that shall be plunged into it."

Urbigerus refers to the Vine. During the so-called Opus Vini, the Work with the Wine, there comes a stage where the practicant may choose between a volatile liquid result or a fixed result, a Stone. For the "Reduction into an Oil" the reader may also refer to Glauberus Concentratus,5and to the Opera Vegetabilia of Hollandus.1 This procedure would be too lengthy to be described here, so we shall concentrate on the first and the third way of making the Circulatum.


The third and common way is only a Conjunction of a fixt Vegetable Salt with its own volatile sulphureous Spirit, both to be found ready prepared by any vulgar Chymist, and since in their Preparation the purest Sulphur, containing the Soul, has suffered some Detriment by their not being philosophically manipulated, they cannot be inseparably joined without a sulphureous Medium, by which the Soul being strengthened, the Body and Spirit are also through it made capable of a perfect Union."

The conjunction of a fixed vegetable salt (obtained from the plant body through Calcination and subsequent extraction and purification) with its own sulphureous spirit serves for the preparation. The volatile sulphureous spirit is an alcoholic essence distilled from a plant. ("Sulphureous Spirit" always means an alcoholic distillate which contains the essential oil, the volatile Sulphur of the species.)

These aromatic alcoholates were frequently sold by chemists and a number of treatises on the Art of Distillation refer to them. The famous "Water of Carmelite" and the "Water of Elizabeth of Hungary" are compound examples of these. However, these "Waters" or sulphureous spirits are distillates. Therefore they lack the fixed part of the Sulphur which, because of its nonvolatile nature, could not be distilled and therefore was discarded. From the alchemical point of view this fractionation is unphilosophical, since the fixed part of the Sulphur contains the other part of the Soul. (We shall see later that the organic acids it contains are the key to the secret of volatilizing the Salts.)

Since the organic acids present in the distillate do not suffice for the operation, more have to be added from outside. In this way the Sulphur is strengthened and acts as a catalyst in bringing together the Body and the Spirit, the Salt and the Mercury.

In the following aphorism Urbigerous tells us what this sulphureous matter is and from where we can obtain it.


"The proper Medium, requisite for the indissoluble Union of these two Subjects, is only a sulphureous and bituminous Matter, issuing out of a Plant, living or dead, which is to be found in several parts of the World, and is known to all manner of Men (the Copavian we find to be the best, and after that the Italian), by which, after it has been separated from its feculent parts through our Universal Menstruum, all the Pores and Atoms of the fixt Salt, which is extremely fortified by it, being dilated, it is made capable of Receiving its own Spirit and uniting itself with it."

Urbigerus clearly refers to resins. These are complex mixtures of mainly aromatic substances with properties of acids, further alcohols, phenols, strongly unsaturated substances. Resins are closely related to terpenes. We obtain resins by injuring certain trees, mainly pines, firs, larch trees and a number of exotic species. A special variety of resin is amber. The German text of Urbigerus contains a decisive sentence: "und von allen Arten derer Meerfischen (Meerfischern) erkandt wird" [and is recognized by all kinds of sea fish (sea fishermen)]. This obvious reference to amber put the author on the right track. (Succinic acid, which amber contains, is a marvellous catalyst.)

Volatile spirits were distilled through vessels with slender necks resembling the ostrich.

But Urbigerus himself tells us which kinds of resins he considers particularly suitable for the operation. First the Copavian (i.e., Copaiva Balsam obtained from Copaiva Balsama). Next to this he recommends the "Italian" resin, taken from the characteristic Italian pines abundantly found in the country. The pine is often mentioned in Italian poetry and even in music (Ottorino Respighi: I Pini di Roma). This resin has to be purified from its feculent parts by water. The best method of purification would be a proper distillation. Le Febure in his work Chymischer Handleiter describes this process as follows:6

"The resin is to be pulverized and mixed with three parts of pulverized bricks and one part of common salt which has previously been completely dried by heating. The whole is then given into a retort and distilled constantly increasing the temperature. Some of the oily distillate can bc used as it is. The distillate can also be rectified by adding once more three parts of common salt and by distilling again."

The easiest procedure for us is to buy readily clarified resins, such as Copaiva Balsam (balsams are mixture resins and etheric oils, partly with aromatic acids) or Canada Balsam, of the North American Abies Balsamica), which peaking, a turpentine. It contains about 24 percent of essential oil 60 percent of resin soluble in alcohol and 16 percent of resin soluble in ether.

The author experimented with resins while making his Circulata. Because of the excellent results obtained with Canada Balsam he would like to recommend this to his companions in the Art. Canada Balsam is used in microscopy and is available in highly purified condition. Whatever resinous matter you decide to use, make sure that it is natural and not fragmented. Natural Canada Balsam is easily available, although certainly not the cheapest

If you carefully look at the copper plate you may observe that there is a hole in the tree, from which resins flow. In fact, the river into which Apollo and Diana have to step is resinous. Notice that Diana comes out of the river on the other side with Apollo's Sun in her hand; they have become one being.


"To fortify the Sulphur, and open the Pores of the Salt, no other Method is to be used, but to imbibe the same with the bituminous Matter in a moderately digestive Heat, as if one would hatch Chickens, and as the Salt grows dry, the Imbibitions are to be repeated, until you find it fully saturated that it refuses to imbibe any more of the Matter."

"To fortify the Sulphur:" this indicates that the Salt and the Sulphur have already been put together. We now add of the resinous matter, imbibing our mixture of Salt and (volatile) Sulphur with it. The whole is then exposed to moderate heat (digested). The imbibition is repeated whenever the matter becomes dry.

Before adding the resinous matter, the practicant stands at a crossroad. He can choose at this point whether he wants to take the dry or the wet way. In the first case the Salts of the fixed part of the Sulphur obtained by Calcination would be added. These would not volatilize the Salt of the body, and the result will be a Stone. (Frater Albertus has described the process in his commentary to Urbigerus in aphorism VIII.)


"In the Course of Imbibitions the whole Mass is at least nine or ten times a day to be stirred with a Spatula, or some other Instrument of dry Wood, by which reiterated Motion, the bituminous Matter receives a better ingress into the Body, and perfects the Operation sooner."


"Great care is to be taken, that in the performance of the Imbibitions, no kind of Soil or Dust fall into your Matter, for the prevention of which your Vessel may be kept covered with a Paper, prickt full of holes, or any other suitable Covering, and that nothing come near it, which has its own internal Sulphur: for the Pores of the Salt being very much dilated and opened, it may easily determine itself to any other Subject, and so spoil your Undertaking."

Since at this stage we already operate with highly purified substances, care must be taken that no impurities spoil the work. The author has obtained good results with entirely closed and rather large flasks. Periodically the flasks were opened for some time to allow for fresh air. They were then closed again. The danger of contamination is reduced considerably by working in a closed oven (incubator).


"If in three, or four Weeks time at the farthest, your fixt Vegetable Salt does not manifest its full Saturation, it will certainly he in vain for you to go any farther with it: for you may assure yourself, that you either err in the Notion of the Salt or the real sulphureous Medium, or in the Management of the Imbibitions."


"When your Imbibitions are fully performed, your Salt will then be in a convenient readiness to receive its own Spirit, by which it is made volatile, spiritual, transparent, and wonderfully penetrating, entering of a sudden into the Pores and Particles of every Vegetable, and separating in a moment their true Essence of the Elements."

If everything has gone well, we can now pour on the Mercury, i.e., the rectified ethyl alcohol.


"Altho the Salt is fully prepared for the Reception of its own Spirit, yet unless you well observe the right Proportion of them (which is, that the volatil always predominate over the fixt) you will never be able to make any perfect Union between these two Subjects, contrary in Quality, though not in Nature."

The alcohol must dominate in proportion over the fixed. The author has achieved good results by a proportion of 6:1 or even 8:1.


"Before you begin your Distillations and Cohobations, after the Addition of the Vegetable Spirit to its own Salt, a Putrefaction of eight or ten days is to precede, during which time, the sulphureous Spirit, strengthened by the bituminous Matter, and finding the Salt fit for Conjunction with it, has the power to enter into its Pores, to facilitate its Volatilization, and Union."

During this "Putrefaction" which nothing else but a further Digestion, there is a change in color and the Salt appears almost like some slime. The strengthened Sulphur and the Spirit now act upon the Salt, beginning to make it volatile. After this we begin our Distillations.


If after six or seven Distillations and Cohobations of the distilled upon the Remainder, you do not find your Spirit to be extremely sharp, and the Remainder in the bottom altogether insipid, it will be an evident Sign that you fail in the true knowledge of the Vegetable Spirit, which, being exceedingly volatil, has in Nature power to volatilize its own Body, and unite itself inseparably with it, finding it capable of its Reception."

The Distillations are to be carried in the water bath. Between Distillations and after Cohobations (when the distillate has been poured over the residue), an occasional period of Digestion is useful. After seven Distillations you will find your distillate to have a characteristically very penetrant odor and a corrosive taste.


"It is to be observed, that in the Progress of your Distillations the sulphureous Medium do not in the least ascend: for as it is a real Medium, concurring to unite the Body with the Spirit, before the Spiritualization of the Body, and without the Concurrence of which no perfect Union of these two Subjects is to be expected; so on the contrary in the Progress of the Work its Concurrence would be highly disadvantageous to them both, and totally subvert the Operation."

To avoid this we make all our Distillations in the water bath. If the temperature would be too high the result would also rather be a fixation the volatile parts on the Salt instead of a volatilization. Careful slow distillation is needed in all attempts volatilization.

The Alembic, resembling a dancing bear, was used for distillation.


"The ascending of the sulphureous Medium, when the Spirit begins to carry over its own Body, to unite itself inseparably with it, evidently and certainly signifies, that you do not regulate your Fire, as you should, and that, instead of giving a gentle vaporous Heat to facilitate the Union, you give a violent one to destroy it."


"When your Salt is brought to its perfect Spiritualization, and real Union with its own volatile Spirit, then you will have in your power your Circulatum Minus, or Vegetable Elixir, and Menstruum, with which you will be able to perform wonders in the Vegetable Kingdom, separating in a moment not only their Principles or Elements, but also at one and the same Operation the Pure from the Impure."

If you have worked correctly you will now have made the Circulatum Minus according to the third way. At the same time you now understand the first way, since all you have to do is to prepare it from the same plant species from which you took your resinous matter, for instance from pines or firs. You can extract your resinous matter from small branches of Pine or Fir by steam distillation. This is how natural turpentines are obtained. For the rest you proceed as above.

In the following aphorisms Urbigerus informs us what the Circulatum can do.


"If into this your Vegetable Elixir you put any green Vegetable, shred in pieces, it will in less than half a quarter of an hour without any external Heat putrefy, and precipitate itself into the bottom quite dead, which is nothing but the cursed Ecremental Earth) and on the Top will swim a yellow Oil, containing the Salt and Sulphur, and the Elixir will be of the Color of the Plant, comprehending its Vegetable Spirit: which if it does not, this a sign, that your Operations have not been Philosophical."

When you immerse a freshly cut green plant, for instance a leaf or two of Peppermint, you will first notice that the liquid becomes milky and even totally opaque. This is the sign of an emulsion. If you allow it to stand for some time, the tiny oil drops will gradually ascend to the surface and finally form a layer of yellow oil. This oil contains the Salt and the Sulphur of the species immersed in the Circulatum.

The author's experience has shown that the color of the oil varies from species to species. (See cover photographs.)

In the next aphorism Urbigerus tells us about the therapeutic value of this oil.


"One only drop of this yellowish oil, given in Distempers according to the Virtue and Quality, attributed to the Plant, every Morning and Evening in a Glass of Wine, or any other convenient Vehicle, will infallibly and insensibly cure those Distempers, corroborate the vital Spirits, if constantly taken to purify the Blood in sickly and infectious Times."

Aphorisms XXI - XXIV tell us about further use of the Circulatum Minus. It will extract the tincture from corals (XXI); it serves for making the Elixir Proprietatis if equal quantities of Myrrh, Aloe and Saffron are immersed in it (XXII). It also dissolves all kinds of Gums, Oils and Balsams, separating their Essence (XXIII). It also extracts the tincture from a number of metals and minerals (XXIV).

Aphorism XXV finally tells us that we can recover the Circulatum after use through gentle distillation, so that we may use it again when required.


1. Hollandus, Opera Vegetabilis, Vienna 1773, Chapter 40.
2. Frater Albertus' Golden Manuscripts: Circulatum Urbigerus, Para Publishing Co., Inc. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1973.
3. Andreas Libavius, Alchemie, 1597. Reprint Weinheim, 1964.
4. Mixtum: species in which the Essentials are mixed. For instance, a plant species.
5. Glauberus Concentratus, Leipzig and Breslau, 1715. Reprint Ulm, 1961, p. 9.
6. Le Febure, Neuvermehrter Chymischer Handleiter, Nurnberg, 1685, p. 566.


Hermetic Cabala in the Monas Hieroglyphica and the Mosaicall Philosophy*

Michael T. Walton

The word Cabala appears frequently in sixteenth and seventeenth century Hermetic writings. Though Hermetic philosophers apparently attached significance to Cabala, the nature of the relationship to Hermeticism is largely an unexplored area. It is the purpose of this paper to investigate two Hermetic treatises, one by John Dee and one by Robert Fludd, and the Hermetic Cabala found in them.

The words Hermetic Cabala may seem unfamiliar as non-Jewish Cabala in Europe is often titled Christian Cabala. The difference between Christian and Hermetic Cabala is, in this writer's mind, one of purpose. Christian cabalists like Johannes Reuchlin and William Postel used Cabala as a weapon to bolster Christian theology whereas Hermetic cabalists like John Dee and Robert Fludd approached Cabala as a tool to be applied in understanding nature.

In both Christian and Hermetic Cabala two subdivisions existed which were derived from their Jewish parent. One was practical Cabala or Cabala masith, a type of magic, and the other was speculative Cabala or Cabala iunith. In the works to be discussed, neither Dee nor Fludd concerned himself with feats of magic performed by means of practical Cabala. They used Cabala, rather, to describe nature. It is to the methods and cosmology of speculative Cabala that one must turn to understand the cabalistic ideas found in the Monas Hieroglyphica (Antwerp, 1564) and the Mosaicall Philosophy (London, 1659). The following discussion of Cabala will limit itself, therefore, to the methodological and cosmological idea's of speculative Cabala.

Within the narrow limits prescribed above, it is hoped that the important question of why Cabala was adopted by Hermeticists will be answered in part.1 The subjects of this study were chosen because they illustrate two different applications of Hermetic Cabala. John Dee was enamored of the mathematical ideas of Neo-platonism. In his Monas Hieroglyphica, he approached Cabala as a means of explaining the cosmos in terms of geometrical symbols. Robert Fludd, though influenced by mathematics, was a physician and practicing alchemist. Cabala was applied by him in the Mosaicall Philosophy to validate a scientific view of the world primarily based on an alchemical interpretation of the Bible.2 It will be seen that Cabala had within it concepts which were adaptable to each approach.

Robert Fludd's interpretation of the traditional Sephirothic Tree of Life.


The Hebrew word Cabala means tradition. Jewish cabalists believed that Moses received its teachings from God. Unlike the law of Moses, Cabala was to be given only to a select circle of adepts. Joshua and the seventy elders of Israel were said to be the original group. In truth Cabala can only be traced to about the ninth century A.D. and the writing of the mystical treatise Sepher Yezirah or Book of Formation.

Yezirah was incorrectly attributed to Akiva ben Joseph (fl. 130). Saadiah Gaon (d. 942), a leading Talmudic scholar, wrote a commentary on Yezirah as did the famous Neo-platonist Soloman ibn Gabirol, the Avencebrol of the Fons Vitae. The attention given to Yezirah by these prominent scholars helped to establish it and its mystical views as important aspects of Judaism. Yezirah contains ideas which became basic to Cabala. Besides being a standard text for Jewish mystics, Yezirah influenced Christian cabalists. It was translated and published in Latin in 1552 by William Postel, a Christian. Two more Latin and several Hebrew editions appeared between 1562 and 1642.

Yezirah is a description of the formation of the universe. Numbers, letters and words, all aspects of the Hebrew Alphabet, were the instruments of the formation. This alphabetic view of creation became an integral part of later cabalistic works like the Sepher Bahir and the Zohar. Yezirah was a source for the cabalistic belief in ten Divine emanations or Sephiroth. Each emanation in Yezirah was equated with a letter of the alphabet and represented a step in the act of formation. Later cabalists described theSephiroth as attributes of the supreme Deity giving them names like wisdom and love.

The first Sephirah was the Spirit, Ruach, of the living God, Elohim.3 The source of this emanation was later called the En Soph or boundless. The Ruach Elohim was the origin of three lesser emanations, Air, Water and Fire, which were thought to correspond with the letters Aleph, Mem and Shin. Six final Sephiroth arose in turn to complete the heavenly realm. They were Light, Depth, East, West, North and South. The ten Sephiroth existed in a celestial world and were eternal like their boundless beginning. Yezirah explains, "their end is in their beginning and likewise their beginning is in their end ...."4

In its most developed form, Jewish cabalism taught that three other worlds, identical except in their nearness to the En Soph, arose from the Sephirothic world: the Briatic world, the habitation of the angel Metatron, the archetypal man; the Yetziratic world, the home of the angelic host; and the Assiatic world, the realm of the spheres, of matter and the residence of the prince of darkness.

Cabala declared that man, an inhabitant of the lowest world, was the microcosmic image of the archetypal man. The Zohar states, "The Heavenly Adam who emanated from the highest primordial obscurity (the En Soph) created the Earthly Adam."5 Cabala's strong adherence to the macrocosmal-microcosmal analogy is further developed in the Zohar. It compares the letters of God's name, the Tetragrammaton (Yod Hay Waw Hay) to the major parts of the body; the Yod represents the head, the Hay the arms and shoulders, the Waw the breast, and the final Hay, the back and legs (fig. 1).6 This macrocosm-microcosm analogy and the idea of a dark world of matter, it will be seen, were especially appealing to Fludd.

Cabala validated the alphabetic view of creation by equating the alphabet with physical reality. The seven double letters of the Hebrew alphabet were shown to correspond to the seven days of the week, the seven planets, the seven heavens and the seven gateways of the body. The twelve simple Hebrew letters were found to be the source of the twelve zodiacal signs, the twelve months and the twelve members of man.

Cabala was scientific in that the correspondence between the visible world and the letters used in its formation was believed to be not just symbolic but actual. Cabalists were convinced that the study of numbers, letters and words yielded the underlying realities of the heavens and of the earth. This attitude was adopted by Christian and Hermetic cabalists.

The resemblance between the macrocosm-microcosm analogy of Cabala and ideas started by Plato in the Timaeus and the Phaedrus gives an indication of why Cabala was acceptable to Hermetic philosophers. Hermeticists as adherents of Neo-platonism would naturally seek out and adopt compatible ideas. The Hermetic belief in the Neo-platonic macrocosm-microcosm doctrine found an ally in Cabala.

Robert Fludd 1574-1637

There are also similarities between cabalistic concepts and the Pimander of the Hermetic corpus. The Pimander relates that the divine Nous created the world by an emanation or Demiurge brought forth by his word.

"But the divine Nous . . . existing as Life and Light brought forth by a word another Nous, the Demiurge, who as god over the fire and the breath fashioned seven Governors who encompass with their circles the sensible world . . ."7

The series of seven governors originating from a word is much like the Sephirothic doctrine of Cabala. The idea of a decending order of creation from the celestial to the sensible world is also paralleled in Cabala. In the Pimander, as in Cabala, the divine emanation is said to be reflected in man. The macrocosmmicrocosm relationship is thus established.

The connection between the divine Nous, light and the creation found in the Pimander is of importance, for the role of light is also stressed in Cabala. The Zohar supposes a view of creation similar to that of Hermes when it says, "The most mysterious struck its void, and caused this point (the first emanation) to shine."8 Cabala further teaches that man's soul is the image of the macrocosm because it is composed of light. The phrase "in our image" refers to light, declares the Zohar.9

In this writer's opinion, it is in the similarity between the doctrines of Cabala, Neo-platonism and the Hermetic corpus that the reason for the rapid acceptance and wide diffusion of Cabala in the Renaissance and early modern period is to be found. Cabala was a tool with tremendous appeal for men like Dee and Fludd. Because Cabala claimed to originate with Moses, an assertion also made for Neo-platonism and hermeticism, and relied on the Holy Scriptures for its doctrines, it had the added recommendations of age and divinity.

Up to this point Cabala has been examined from the standpoint of its cosmogony and cosmology. Of equal importance are the methods by which cabalistic truths were wrested from Holy Writ. The tradition which Cabala claimed to represent was one of teaching holy men the techniques necessary for understanding the true and recondite meaning of the scriptures. Both Jewish and Christian cabalists saw the true message of the scriptures as:

"Like a beautiful woman, concealed in the interior of her palace, who when her friend and beloved passes by, opens for a moment a secret window and is seen by him alone, and then withdraws herself immediately and disappears for a long time, so the doctrine only shows herself to the chosen . . ."10

Three techniques were applied to discover the hidden woman: Notaricon, Tsiruf and Gematria. Notaricon is the art of decomposing words found in the scriptures and using their letters as abbreviations for other words or ideas. The notariconic method would interpret the letters of the phrase B'reshith, in the beginning, to mean "in the beginning God saw that Israel would accept the Law."

Tsiruf is the division and/or transposition of the parts or letters of a word into all possible permutations so as to form other words. By applying Tsiruf, B'reshith is found to yield B're, he created, Shith, six. The phrase he created six was used by cabalists to support the doctrine of the Sephiroth.

Gematria is the technique of employing letters as numbers. A gematriatic example is Genesis 38:2 where the words "Lo three men stood by him", are found to have the numerical value of 701. The sum of the names Michael, Gabriel and Raphael is also 701. The conclusion is that they must have been the three men.

Cabalistic methods of exegesis are not limited to Jewish theology. They can, in fact, be used to prove almost anything from the scriptures. Christian scholars quickly recognized this fact and adapted Cabala to Christian theology. Hermeticists did not remain ignorant of Cabala's malleability. They used it to prove their mystical-religious theories of nature.

Before turning to Hermetic Cabala as developed by Dee and Fludd, it would be helpful to look at the Christian Cabala of Johannes Reuchlin, an early popularizer of Cabala who greatly influenced Fludd. Reuchlin is important because he recognized the harmony between Cabala and Neoplatonism, explained Notaricon, Tsiruf and Gematria, and transmitted the cabalistic cosmology in his widely circulated works.

In his first cabalistic treatise De Verbo Mirofico (Basel, 1494), Reuchlin identified the Tetragrammaton as the true source of the Pythagorean tetrad. By comparing the tetrad with God's name, Reuchlin demonstrated Greek philosophy's dependence on Cabala. The first letter of the Tetragrammaton, Yod, has the appearance of a point so Reuchlin saw it, in the Pythagorean sense, as the beginning and the end of all things. The second letter, Hay, numerically equal to five, was the sum of the trinity's union with nature, the duad. The numerical value of the third letter, Waw, is six. The number six was the symbol of perfection to the Pythagoreans. The last letter, also a Hay, symbolized the human soul which was between heaven and earth as the number five was in the decade. Reuchlin's belief that Cabala was the source of Greek philosophy opened fruitful paths for its application to the explanation of philosophical and theological doctrines.

John Dee 1527-1608

In addition to philosophical Cabala Reuchlin practiced a Christian oriented cabalistic spiritual exegesis, an example of which was deriving the names Father, Spirit and Son from the letters of the Hebrew verb he created.11 Reuchlin is valuable in understanding both Dee and Fludd. Dee saw mathematical possibilities in Cabala as did Reuchlin. Fludd appears to have been directly influenced by the cabalistic cosmology imparted by Reuchlin's works. His writings often cite Reuchlin's De Arte Cabalistica (Hagenau, 1516). Reuchlin also provides a standard of Christian Cabala against which the goals and usages of Hermetic Cabala can be measured.


In his "Mathematical Preface" to Euclid's Elements, John Dee cites Boethius that God created all from number. He reasons that if all was derived from number, we can by means of mathematics:

". . . behold in the Glasse of creation the Form of Forms, the exemplar Number of all things numerable both visible and invisible."12

Dee's view that nature originated from and can be discovered through mathematics is representative of Renaissance Neoplatonism. His views are especially like those of Nicholas of Cusa whom he quotes in the "Mathematical Preface." Cusa in Of Learned Ignorance propounded the view that mathematics is a means by which God can be understood.13 Both Dee and Cusa agreed that mathematics is a useful tool because it allows a comparison of the finite with the infinite.

Dee saw mathematics as an intermediary between the natural and the supernatural. Mathematical things were not as perfect as the ideal world but were also not as gross as the natural world.14 At its highest level, Dee believed, mathematics leads to a knowledge of the formal or celestial world of Platonism. It was Platonism's concentration on the ideal rather than on the practical that accounted for its lack of popularity, said Dee.15

Dee translated Euclid's Elements as a preparation to lead people from practical mathematics back to the true science of Plato, a science which discovered the nature of the universe.16 It was in an attempt to explain the celestial realm and its order through mathematics that Dee made use of Cabala in the Monas. He treated Cabala as an adjunct to mathematics. To him true Cabala was mathematical rather than linguistic. In the Monas, he interpreted his monad by means of Notaricon, Tsiruf and Gematria.

Dee believed the hieroglyphic monad to be a geometrical symbol in which the organization and reality of the entire universe was represented and from which the whole of creation could be derived. The role of the monad is analogous to that of the Hebrew alphabet in traditional Cabala. The monad, said Dee, "imbued [the astronomical symbols] with immortal life" and allowed their meaning to be expressed "most eloquently in any tongue and to any nation."17 The monad could express all because the external bodies of the celestial sphere were reduced to "their mystical proportions" in it.

Dee did not consider the monad to be his original discovery. It was, rather, a symbol based on the alchemical sign for mercury sent to him by IEOVA, the Tetragrammaton, to rebuild and restore astronomy. The monad was to be viewed as a new dispensation or restoration of a preexistent art of writing which had become extinct. These points are made clear in the Monas' "Preface to the King."

"Mercury may rightly be styled by us the rebuilder and restorer of all astronomy [and] an astronomical messenger [who was sent to us] by our lEOVA so that we might either establish this sacred art of writing as the first founders of a new discipline, or by his counsel renew one that was entirely extinct . . ."18

It seems that Dee equated the monad or its component parts with the origin of alphabets. The monad was, therefore, the ultimate source of alphabetical Cabala. He pointed out that the letters of the Latins, Greeks and Hebrews, like the monad, were derived from points, straight lines and the circumference of circles.19 Divine power was viewed by Dee as the source of the Hebrew alphabet and the symbolism represented by its vowel signs and letters.20

A corollary to the view that alphabets originated in geometrical symbols was the idea that alphabetical Cabala is inferior to mathematical Cabala. Cabala is most productive when applied to deriving knowledge from mathematical symbols. Dee stated that the investigation of the monad, like the investigation of the Hebrew letters, through Notaricon, Tsiruf and Gematria, is a holy art.21

Dee's purpose was not only to understand the mysteries of visible and invisible things by interpreting the monad with Cabala but also to demonstrate to the Jews, in a missionary sense, that God is benevolent to all, i.e. he has endowed Christians with great wisdom.

". . . then (compelled by truth, if he may understand) he [the Jewish cabalist] will call this art holy. too; and he will own that, without regard to person, the same most benevolent God is not only of the Jews but of all peoples, nations and languages."22

It was, then, not without some religious zeal that Dee discussed Cabala with the Jews. The Monas' Christian tone is especially obvious in the preface where Dee, like Reuchlin, states that Cabala is not opposed to the Trinity.23 He viewed non-Jewish Cabala much like Reuchlin and believed it to be the true Cabala, a point he hoped to make to the Jews. Dee was even more precise than Reuchlin in his definition of true Cabala. He selected mathematical Cabala as the highest means of knowing truth. Still Dee considered the alphabetic form to be important.

"... no mortal may excuse himself for being ignorant of this our holy language, [the cabalistic interpretation of the monad] . . . (which) I have called the real cabala, or of that . . . other and vulgar one, which rests on well known letters that can be written by man . . . "24

Real or mathematical Cabala "explains the most obtruse arts" and was used in the Monas as a key to the universe. The Monas applies Cabala first as a geometrical form of Notaricon. Dee describes each part of the monad as a symbol for a cosmic reality (fig. 2). This corresponds to alphabetic Notaricon wherein each letter represents a word or concept.

Theorem One states that all things happen by means of a straight line and a circle. The monad embodies this basic reality for it is made up of lines and circles. Theorem Three says that as a circle is derived from a point and a line, Theorem Two, the circle and point of the monad represent the geocentric universe. Because the sun is the highest perfection of the universe, the circle and the point also represent it.

The use of Notaricon is extended to explain the monad's joining of a half circle to the solar circle. The half circle represents the moon. The meaning is that on an evening and a day, the duration of the creative period in Genesis, the light of philosophers was made. Two final examples of notaraiconic interpretation are the rectilinear cross and the sign of Aries. The cross represents the mystery of the four elements from which the world was made by the action of fire, symbolized by Aries.

The technique of Tsiruf was used by Dee to derive the signs of the planets from the component parts of the monad. As in alphabetical Cabala, Dee permuted the parts of the monad to form new and meaningful symbols. Theorem Twelve states that the signs of the planets are derived from the symbols of the moon, the sun and Aries. The accompanying diagram shows that Saturn can be derived from the rectilinear cross with one half the symbol of Aries attached to the lower right quadrant. The construction of Jupiter is said to be opposite to that of Saturn (fig. 3).

Theorem Thirteen deals with Venus and Mercury in a similar vein. Venus is made by attaching the solar circle to the cross and Mercury is the same as Venus with the lunar half circle added (fig. 4). The majesty of the sun and its relationship to the moon and the zodiacal signs are demonstrated in Theorems Fourteen and Fifteen .

The word Tsiruf appears in Theorem Twenty-three as a precise term to describe the permutations of the numbers which Dee associated with the monad.25 It is clear, however, that the derivation of the planetary symbols from permutations of the monad is a correct general application of Tsiruf.

John Dee used Gematria or numerical interpretation to a considerable extent in the Monas. Numbers are derived from the monad in Theorems Sixteen to Twenty. Theorems Twenty-three and the concluding Theorem Twenty-four, however, are the sections where the gematriatic method is most clear and intelligible. The discussion centers on the rectilinear cross of the monad and its relationship to the Pythagorean quaternary.

Using Tsiruf Dee determines that the numbers one, two, three and four have twenty-four possible permutations. By means of a gematriatic interpretation, Dee links, in Theorem twenty-four, the twenty-four permutations to the hours of the day; the six wings of the four Gospel beasts found in the Apocalypse of John; and the twenty-four elders mentioned in the same Apocalypse. This section is particularly worthy of reproduction as an example of Dee's application of the cabalistic method.

"Thus we shall now at last, in this our twenty-fourth speculation, consummate and terminate the permutations of the quaternary, to the honour and glory of Him who (as John . . . witnesses in the fourth and last part of the fourth chapter of the Apocalypse) sits on the throne and around Whom four animals (each having six wings) speak day and night; ... Whom also twenty-four elders, . . . falling prostrate from twenty-four seats . . ., adore . . ."26

The Monas' mystical explanation of the universe gains intelligibility when approached from the standpoint of Cabala. John Dee, as did the writers of Yezirah and the Zohar, explained the universe in symbols which had reality to him. The monad cabalistically interpreted served its function well of embodying all the symbols related to the universe. The lack of Sephiroth and angelology in Dee's system indicates how "rational" and "mathematical" he sought to make it. He used the cabalistic method but not the cabalistic cosmology.

The primary goal of the Monas seems to have been the symbolic quantification of the universe. The religious aspects of the system should not be overlooked for God was recognized as the source of truth and the origin of all things, the Form of Forms.

Dee's role in developing a mathematical form of Cabala which could be applied to nature seems to have been recognized by contemporaries for his monad appears in Libavius' Commentariorum Alchymiae (Frankfurt, no date) and in Steeb's Coleum Sephiroticum Mainz, 1679). Reuchlin's theological Cabala which proved the superiority of Christianity is in marked contrast to Dee's geometrical Cabala which discovered celestial relationships. Just how mathematical Dee's cabalistic system is can be best appreciated when it is compared to Fludd's alchemical universe.


The Monas' description of the universe did not stress the macrocosmal-microcosmal relationship or the material world. Dee's greatest interest seems to have lain in knowing the celestial or formal world. Robert Fludd's emphasis in the Mosaicall Philosophy was quite different. As a physician and alchemist, Fludd was occupied with matter and man. He concerned himself with the celestial realm as it related to its material image. In the Mosaicall Philosophy he sought to elucidate and apply knowledge gained from the Bible of celestial influences to the material world and to the microcosm. It is through alchemy and cabala that the Mosaicall Philosophy attempts to explore the connection between the heavenly and the earthly worlds.

Fludd did not believe that alchemy was the only science that could describe the universe. Three mystical sciences; Cabala, natural magic and alchemy, were capable of illuminating the creation. The universe which these sciences were meant to explore consisted of three worlds: the Intelligible, the Celestial and the Elementary. The Mosaicall Philosophy emphasizes the roles of alchemy and Cabala in describing these worlds.27 The book develops the relationship between the three mystical sciences, the three worlds of the macrocosm and the three corresponding parts of man cabalistically.

"[Cabala, Natural Magic and Alchemy] . . . are the three mystical sciences, which are by wise men appropriated into the knowledge of the three worlds; I mean, the Intelligible, the Celestial, and Elementary, represented, according unto the Cabalists by these three Letters of the name of Adam. Also the three parts of man, termed the little world, to wit, alteration and corruption, as also the elementary part."28

Of importance in this passage are the cabalistic equation of the letters of the Hebrew word for man with the tripartate macrocosm and the emphasis placed on the alteration and corruption of the elementary world. The Mosaicall Philosophy and its use of Cabala may be viewed as an elucidation of these themes.

Fludd begins his description of the universe with a cosmogony based on Genesis which resembles doctrines found in the Pimander, in Cabala and in Paracelsus. The universe was created by the "Eternal spirit of wisdom" or the Ruach Elohim, a term found in Yezirah, who "doth operate by his Angelicall Organs of a Contrary fortitude, in the Catholic Element of the lower waters."29 The contrary actions referred to are those of condensation and rarefaction. It should be noted that Paracelsus gives a similar view of creation by separation and coagulation in his Three Books of Philosophy Written to the Athenians.

The angelical organs of the Ruach were the sun, governed by the 'potent angell' Michael, and its subservient forces the four winds, each also governed by an angel. The sun by "celestial Alchimy, or spagerick vertue of the divine illumination" divided the waters into upper and lower parts.30 The upper waters, the home of good angels, "were obedient unto bright Divinity, and were converted into a fiery nature" whereas, the lower waters, Satan's habitat, "being fecall, gross, impure, and therefore more rebellious unto light" were converted into an elementary nature subject to change.31

Fludd demonstrated the sun's role in the rarefaction of creation by pointing to the action of a weather glass. In sunlight the water in the glass expands, but in darkness, the cold north influence of the elementary world, the water contracts. Between the upper waters and the lower waters existed the third part of the universe, the firmament. The firmament was the mediator between the dwelling place of the Ruach Elohim and the fecal world.

Above the firmament, all stood in the changeless similitude of God while in the world below the action of contraries led to change. As an example of the existence of opposite actions in the elementary world, Fludd cited the heart's systole and diastole, contraction by the cold nature of matter and dilatation by the act of formal light.32

The trilevel universe which Fludd described is primarily in interpretation of God's division the the waters in Genesis. God's use of an intermediary Ruach Elohim suggests both the Pimander and Cabala. The Pimander's influence on Fludd is seen in his unpubished work A Philosophical Key (1618).

The Key's discussion of the creation turns on a Demogorgon which worked by means of two intermediaries, chaos and eternity. The elementary world was described as the Litigum, abortion, of chaos. It was the realm of evil and was fecal in nature. The Key like the Pimander also stressed the role of light in the creative process. The Mosaicall Philosophy continued the Key's fecal analogy and view of light but substituted the Ruach Elohim and angelology of Cabala for the Demogorgon and its agents.

A most significant aspect of Fludd's cosmogony is its similarity to the alchemical process of distillation. The Divine emanation is viewed as an alchemist who used beams of light to separate the primordial waters into their constituent parts. The finest material rose, leaving behind the fecal debris of the elementary world. In distillation Fludd believed that he had observed the process of creation described by Moses in Genesis. The weather glass was an experiment which supplied convincing proof of the role of light in rarefaction. This explanation of creation based on experiment was the true mosaical philosophy.

A Table of Planetary Influences which shows how each hour of the day is ruled by a certain planet differing for each day of the week. A diagram used by Robert Fludd when treating diseases.

It is difficult to determine how much of Fludd's general scheme was taken from Cabala. Creation by light's emanation, the macrocosm-microcosm doctrine and angelology are all found in Neo-platonism and the Hermetic corpus as well as in Cabala. Fludd's extreme reliance on alchemical processes indicates that he probably used Cabala as a support for ideas developed from non-cabalistic sources. Cabala's similarity to his beliefs gave him a covenient proof for his views. In the matter of particulars, Cabala, perhaps, added more to his thought. This is especially true of the macrocosm-microcosm analogy. Fludd displays good cabalistic form when he states that the "aevaill or angelical effect, is the image of the eternal Idea, and the temporal world, is the similitude of the aeviall."33

It is true that in any macrocosmal-microcosmal system the two worlds are identical, but the interspersion of a series of three worlds is reminiscent of the cabalistic cosmos. The universe developed in the Mosaicall Philosophy is more like the three sub-Sephirothic worlds of Cabala than the seven level cosmos of the Pimander. The Mosaicall Philosophy's use of light corresponds to Cabala. Fludd's statement that each "world was made by the sending forth of God's bright Emanation"34 is paralleled in the Zohar. The three worlds of the Mosaicall Philosophy like the Zohar's differed only in that each had a "lesse proportion of light than other."35

Fludd's terminology and angelology in the Mosaicall Philosophy seem to be drawn from Cabala. As the cabalistic Sephiroth correspond to the divine attributes so does each angel in Fludd's cosmos perform a necessary function to God's nature and his creation. The attribute Elohim, for example, sends down the power of cold effects to Saturn while the attribute Jehovah Sabaoth pours forth the beams of concupiscibility.36

Even in this, his most cabalistic of moods, Fludd leans heavily on ocular demonstration. The means by which angels influence the world, he compares to the sympathetic action of a lodestone.37 Angels do not work directly but rather through intermediaries in the firmament. Angelical beams proceed to the stars. Each animal or vegetable has a particular star "that poureth out upon him his proper influence.38 The topic of celestial influences on the elementary world as demonstrated by lodestones is the subject of the last portion of the Mosaicall Philosophy.

The doctrines of Cabala and alchemy are thoroughly mixed in the Mosaicall Philosophy. Fludd, perhaps, did not distinguish the two because their cosmological teachings were so similar. Both systems were, after all, sciences which should yield the same results in studying the universe. The scriptural interpretations of Cabala lent divine authority to Fludd's alchemical views. His free combination and equation of Cabala with alchemy resulted in a system which was a homogenous mixture of the two approaches.

The Mosaicall Philosophy's discussion of the doctrine of anima mundi or world soul illustrates this homogeneity. The pagan concept of anima mundi, said Fludd, was the same as the Catholic soul of Christianity and the angel "mitattron" of Jewish Cabala.39 Anima mundi, Catholic soul and Metatron were simply three terms for the same truth. Seen in this syncretistic light the cabalistic elements in Fludd's philosophy make a good deal of sense.

In reading the Mosaicall Philosophy, a question arises, how much first hand knowledge of Hebrew and Cabala did Fludd possess. This question grows out of serious errors made by him in his cabalistic interpretations of Hebrew phrases. One near comical error which he committed was in referring to Zohar as a rabbi.40 Another obvious misuse is found in part two of the Mosaicall Philosophy where Fludd tries to prove his three level cosmos by Notaricon. He asserts that the phrase "the heavens",mem yod mem shin hay means the heavens or the firmament, are between fire, the upper waters and the lower waters. According to Fludd, the spelling reads mem yod mem shin aleph=a shamaum. The Aleph and Shin, signify esch, fire and mayim, mem yod mem, represents water.41

Fludd is correct, esch is fire and mayim water. Cabalistically they could mean that the heavens are between fire and water. Unfortunately the interpretation is based on a mispelling, "The heavens" is spelled with a Hay, and not an Aleph. Such an error invalidates his conclusion and casts doubt on his knowledge of Hebrew.

This writer has been able to find no usage in Jewish Cabala where "the heavens" is interpreted using an Aleph instead of a Hay.42 If a check of the cabalistic sources cited in the Mosaicall Philosophy indicates anything about Fludd's knowledge of Cabala, it was derived in large part from Johannes Reuchlin's De Arte Cabbalistica.43 Reuchlin, in fact, is the only cabalist mentioned in the book.

In light of Fludd's linguistic defects, it is strange that he, like Dee and Reuchlin, claimed his Cabala to be the true one. After discussing how the world was created by twenty-two spiritual", letters, he calls the Jews to repentance by saying that Hebrew is "much spoken by the learned Rabbis of our age, but little known or understood by them."44 A similar indictment could be brought against Fludd. One should note that a critique of Dee's knowledge of Hebrew is more difficult to find than one of Fludd. Nowhere in the Monas does he betray his cabalistic sources. He actually used Hebrew but once and only then in an unintelligible phrase.45

In defense of Fludd, it would appear that his purpose in the Mosaicall Philosophy was not to show a mastery of Hebrew or of Cabala but rather to integrate a system dating from Moses into his alchemical view of the universe based on the Bible. If Moses received both Genesis and Cabala from God, should not Cabala be used to understand Genesis. Fludd's major tool for discovering the mosaicall philosophy was alchemy and not Cabala, however. The Mosaicall Philosophy's views were conditioned primarily by the physical theories of alchemy and its ocular proofs. To these proofs were fit compatible doctrines of Cabala. In its own way the Mosaicall Philosophy was as successful a mystical scientific work as Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica. Its physical explanation of the universe took into account all the factors which Fludd considered necessary for scientific validation: Holy Writ, alchemical knowledge, and the cabalistic tradition.

The systems which Dee and Fludd developed indicate two uses to which Cabala could be put by Hermetic scientists. The intensely mathematical approach of Dee found in Cabala a tool to explore cosmical relationahips. Fludd on the other hand saw the cabalistic cosmology as a proof for his alchemical view of nature. Within Cabala's doctrines and methodology were the seeds for both interpretations.

It was natural for Dee and Fludd to use a system of the supposed antiquity and divinity of Cabala. Cabala's teachings, especially those concerning the creation and the macrocosm-microcosm, were welcome because of their harmony with the Neo-platonic and Hermetic doctrines upon which mystical science was based. The cabalistic approach was deemed scientific by both Dee and Fludd. They believed it, like mathematics and alchemy, revealed the underlying processes and realities of nature.

The difference between Hermetic and Christian cabalists lies in the Hermetic attempts to integrate Cabala into an explanation of nature. Reuchlin and his genre sought to prove and illuminate Christian theology with Cabala, not to found a scientific world system. Both Dee and Fludd stepped into the theological arena in declaring that theirs was the true Cabala and that the Jews would do well to heed their teachings, but this proselytizing of the Jews was a secondary consideration. Understanding two applications of Cabala to Hermetic science only begins to shed light on the broader issue of Cabala's role in Hermetic thought. For the historian of science, a knowledge of Hermetic Cabala can increase his understanding of the goals, the doctrines and the methods of Hermetic scientists.


*Some of the material on John Dee is contained in Michael T. Walton "John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica: Geometrical Cabala" Ambix, vol. 23, pt. 2, July 1976, pp. 116-123.
1. For a more general presentation of Cabala in the Renaissance see F. Secret, Les Kabbalistes Cretions de la Renaissance, (Paris, 1964). A general discussion of Jewish Cabala is found in G. G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, (Jerusalem, 1941).
2. That Fludd was steeped in the mathematical tradition is seen in his Utrinsque Cosmi (Oppenheim, 1617). In that book on page 164, he describes a tri-level cosmos based on Pythagorean and Platonic views. Much of the book is based on a mathematical description of the world. In his use of Cabala, however, Fludd did not select out its mathematical aspects. He adopted, rather, Cabala's way of describing the physical order of the universe. The distinction between Dee as a mathematician and Fludd as a alchemist is, then, somewhat limited to their Cabala.
3. Cabalistic terms like Ruach Elohim were much used by Hermeticists. Henricus Khunrath in his Magnesia Catholica Philosophorum (Mageleburg, 1599) refers to the Ruach Chochmah-El, Spirit of the wise God.
4. Sepher Yezirah, trans. by Knut Stenring (London: Wm. Rider and Son Ltd., 1923), p. 22.
5. Zohar ii, 70 b, trans. by Christian D. Ginsburg in The Kabbalah, (London: 1896).
6. Zohar ii, 42 a, Ibid.
7. Hermes Trismegistus, The Poimandres, trans. by Hans Jonas in The Gnostic Religion (Boston: Beacon Press, 1963), pp. 149-50.
8. Zohar i, 15 a, trans. by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon (London: Soncino Press, 10949).
9. Zohar i, 22 b, trans. by Ginsburg, op cit.
10. Zohar ii, 99 Ibid.
11. For more on Reuchlin's Cabala see Christian D. Ginsberg, The Kabbalah (London, 1896), pp. 206-13.
12. Euclid's Elements, introduction by John Dee (London: Leyborn, 1661), p. 3.
13. Nicholas of Cusa, Of Learned Ignorance, trans. by Fr. Germain Heron (Yale Press, 1954), chapter 11.
14. Elements, p. 2.
15. Ibid., P. 1.
16. Ibid., p. 1.
17. John Dee, Monas Hieroglyphica, trans. by C. H. Josten, Ambix, XII, p. 121.
"Ibid., p. 122.
"Ibid., p. 127.
20. Ibid., p. 127.
21. Ibid., p. 133.
22. Ibid., p.133.
23. Ibid., p. 127.
24. 1b id., p. 135.
25. Ibid., p. 209.
26. Ibid., p. 217.
27. J . B. Craven in Doctor Robert Fludd points out that in section one of De practernaturi utriusque mundi historia in sectiones tres divisa (Frankfurt, 1621) Fludd discusses Cabala. The ideas Fludd set forth there are very much like Zoharic doctrines. He compared the Tetragrammaton to the parts of the body and used the Zoharic names for the Sephiroth. The Yeziratic doctrine of a creation from earth (Aleph), fire (Shin) and water (Mem) was also developed. Cabala is mentioned in other works by Fludd but only the system of the Mosaicall Philosophy will be discussed here.
28. Robert Fludd, Mosaicall Philosophy (London: Humphrey Moseley, 1659), p. 155.
29. Ibid., p. 59.
30. Ibid., p. 193.
31. Ibid., p. 192.
32. Ibid., pp. 193-94.
33. Ibid., p. 197.
34. Ibid., p. 198.
35. Ibid., p. 172.
36. Ibid., pp. 193 and 196.
37. Ibid., p. 196.
38. Ibid., p. 196.
39. Ibid., p. 145.
40. Ibid., p. 155.
41. Ibid., p. 155.
42. An identical cabalistic interpretation of the phrase "the heavens" is found on page 4 of Georg von Welling's Opus Mago-Cabbalisticum et Theosophicum (Homburg vor der Hohe, 1735). Welling may have drawn it from Fludd or some other cabalistic work unknown to this author. The fact remains that the interpretation is a misuse of Hebrew.
43. Two of Fludd's many references to Reuchlin are in Ibid., pp. 61 and 137.
44. Ibid., p. 161.
45. Monas Hieroglyphica in op. cit. p. 127.

The Calendar, The Seasons and The Sidereal Zodiac

Steve Marshall

The seasons and the astrological cycles have been inextricably linked as marking the passage of time throughout the history of the human race, from the far distant past of primeval humanity even to the present day. By studying the origins of our knowledge of astrological cycles in relation to the history of the calendar, one may come to a better understanding of the principles behind zodiacal influences in both the tropical and sidereal systems.

One of the most ancient calendar systems was delineated by the phases of the moon. In this system there were thirteen moons or months in a year. Each one bore a title which reflected the activity of the season in which it occurred. Vestiges of this system are still apparent today in the so-called "harvest moon". The Indians of Borneo still use this system to mark the passage of the days, and determine the time for the planting of their hillside rice.

The use of the calendar in ancient times not only marked the passage of time, but determined the times for planting and harvesting in harmony with the seasons. The ancient Egyptians from whom we have obtained much of our astrological knowledge, noted the passage of the seasons, the flooding and receding of the Nile, by the heliacal rising of certain stars and constellations. A star rose heliacally when it could be seen on the horizon near the sun in the wee hours just before dawn.

The Egyptians divided the arch of the heavens along the path of the sun into twelve constellations corresponding to the twelve signs of the zodiac. The calendar system of the Egyptians divided the year into twelve months according to the heliacal rising of these twelve constellations, and it was this twelvefold division of the year which formed the basis of the modern calendar we use today.

Because of the connection between the passage of the seasons and the twelve-fold division of the heavens, certain constellations became associated with certain seasons. If one reads any of the books on ancient star names most all of the constellations in the belt of the zodiac bear titles reflecting the season which came with the heliacal rising of that particular constellation. Titles such as the proclaimer of rain, "the maker of the seed," and others were common names for these constellations in antiquity. It was believed that the constellations gave off influences which affected the seasons. This belief, however, did not take into account the changes due to the precession of the equinox.

In order to better understand these changes it is necessary to describe exactly what the precession of the equinox means. "Equinox" is a Latin term meaning "equal night". There are two points on the ecliptic (the path of the sun) where the ecliptic intersects the plane of the equator. The equator is a band extending around the middle of the earth. If one were to slice the earth in half along the line of the equator and were to extend in all directions the flat surface produced, one would have the plane of the equator. If this surface were extended until it reached the path of the sun, where the sun passed through that plane would be the equinoctial points. The following diagram helps to ilustrate this.

As can be seen in the preceding diagram, the sun passes through this plane at two points: the vernal equinox and the autumnal equinox. The sun's passage to the vernal equinoctial point marks the beginning of the season of spring, and this point on the ecliptic also marks the beginning of the sign of Aries in the tropical zodiac. Because of the wobble of the earth as it revolves around the sun, the equinoctial point appears to move backwards through the divisions of the heavens; thus, the sun could reach the equinoctial point beginning the season of spring, yet, by the precession of the equinox, be aligned with a wholly different constellation than it was many, many years ago. The precession of the equinox is so slow that, outside of certain mystery schools which preserved the science of celestial mechanics, this motion was not widely recognized until modern times.

Because of this precession of the equinox one finds that in studying the ancient star names that the constellation referring to the spring rains changes as one goes back in history. During the time that the equinox point appeared in the constellation of Aries, that constellation bore titles reflecting the spring season. As one goes back in antiquity one finds that the constellation of Taurus and then Gemini bear these or very similar seasonal titles. From this, one begins to see that the cycle of the seasons is indeed independent of the zodiacal division of the heavens.

Despite the independence of the seasons from stellar influences the seasonal titles of the constellations reflect the fact that the main concern of the ancients was not the influence of the constellations in themselves but the seasonal influences associated with them during a particular period. The cycle of the seasonal influences is the basis of the tropical zodiac beginning with zero degrees Aries at the point of the vernal equinox regardless where it happened to be in the heavens. It is this zodiac which is used to plot the places of the lights and planets in the modern ephemeris. It cannot be denied that seasonal influences affect organic life on this planet; thus the tropical zodiac considered as providing a system of interpretation based upon the cycle of the seasons cannot be ignored.

The tropical zodiac seemed to account for the seasonal influences affecting the planet; but the ancients also noted that certain esoteric influences emanated from the stars themselves, subtly altering the influence of the rays projected from the planets when a planet passed between the earth and these stars. The division of the heavens into twelve signs or constellations, and making a one-to-one correspondence between these signs and the signs of the tropical zodiac created the sidereal zodiac. This sidereal zodiac and the precession of the equinox are the basis of the grand cycles taught during the curriculum at Paracelsus College.

The signs of the sidereal zodiac, although similar in influence to their tropical counterparts are different in their effect. This can be demonstrated in that the passage of the sun through the tropical sign of Aries influences the earth so as to begin the season of spring in the northern hemisphere and the season of autumn in the southern hemisphere. The difference of the seasons between the northern and southern hemispheres is a demonstration of the law of polarity in the cycle of the seasons and the influences of the tropical zodiac. The fact that the influence of the sidereal zodiac affects the earth in a manner different from that of the tropical influences is demonstrated in that, although the tropical zodiac affects the seasons, the sidereal zodiac does not.

Although the influences of these two zodiacs manifest differently, both of them are important in analyzing the exoteric and esoteric influences in an astrological chart.

One of the problems in the sidereal system is that, although the beginning point of the tropical zodiac is firmly fixed, the beginning point of the sidereal zodiac has been a subject of debate from culture to culture throughout history. Some authorities give the beginning point such that the vernal equinoctial point entered the cross over point between the sidereal sign of Pisces and Aries at approximately 221 A.D., others at 290 A.D., and others as late as 499 A.D.

All of these differences in the epoch year are the result of choosing a different star in the arch of the heavens for the calculation of the cusps of the sidereal zodiac. Some use Spica in the constellation Virgo, while others use Aldebaran in the constellation of Taurus. These stars are called "working stars".

The zodiac utilizing Aldebaran as a working star, giving 221 A.D. as an epoch year, is the starting point used by most modern day sidereal astrologers, although many Hindu astrologers still use the 290 A.D. epoch year for the sidereal zodiac. These epoch years give the beginning of the Aquarian Age as not occuring until 2371 or 2440 A.D. Anyone who has studied the solar cycles in relation to human history can see that this is not correct.

In studying the grand cycles as taught at Paracelsus College in conjunction with the present astronomical knowledge concerning celestial motion, one finds that, like the tropical zodiac, the sidereal zodiac is also independent of any fixed point in the heavens. just as the equinox point of the tropical zodiac is determined by the motion of the earth around the sun where the path of the sun intersects the plane of the equator, the beginning point of the sidereal zodiac is determined by the motion of the sun around the star Alcyone, completing this revolution every 259,200 years.

There is a point corresponding to the equinoctial point in the sidereal zodiac where the plane of the ecliptic intersects the sun's path around Alcyone. This intersection occurs at two points during the pivoting of the stars and the sun around the central star Alcyone. At these points of intersection the position of the equinox point marks the cusp of the sidereal zodiac upon the ecliptic along which the zodiacal longitudes of the planets are measured.

Whereas the vernal equinox point marks the beginning of the Influence of Aries in the tropical zodiac, the corresponding point in the sidereal zodiac begins the influence of Sagittarius. This correlates with Hindu astrology where the beginning of Purvashadha at 0 degrees Sagittarius was anciently the beginning of their sidereal zodiac. The vernal equinox point intersected this sidereal point in 19,717 B.C. Counting backward through the zodiac in equal arcs of 30 degrees, the equinox point entered 0 degrees Aries in the sidereal zodiac in 277 B.C. In order to determine the position of the planets within this band of sidereal influences, the number of years from 277 B.C. to the date of the chart is multiplied by fifty seconds of arc; the figure is then converted to degrees and minutes of arc which is subtracted from the tropical position as calculated from the ephemeris.

Although both the sidereal and tropical zodiacs are independent of the actual stars and constellations, the ancients are still quite clear about there being a subtle influence radiating from the stars themselves. Modern astronomers have also validated this idea in their detection of high frequency radio waves emitted by these stars. These influences manifest in the conjunction of planets and house cusps with the fixed stars along the zodiacal belt. Conjunctions in zodiacal longitude seem to be sufficient for their influencing the house cusps but conjunction in right ascension and declination seems to be A necessary for the stars to influence the planets. Calculating the latter conjunctions requires a thorough knowledge of spherical geometry and trigonometry, so I will not discuss the calculations in this article.

For further information on the fixed stars, I recommend The Stars by L. Edward Johndro and The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology by Vivian E. Robson. The influence of the fixed stars and the sidereal zodiac as yet have not been fully researched. It is hoped that this article will serve as a basis for others interested in the astrological cycles to help compile further data on these influences so that conclusions may be derived.


Inquiries by students ...and answers

Q. One of the many qualities of comfrey is its ability to heal broken bones by its gummy, mucilaginous allantoin contents which strengthen the epithelial formation. With the vodka extraction we seem to keep this slimy condition. However, the product of the alcohol extraction is not slimy. Has the allantoin essence been lost or only its body (the slimy appearance), which we then have purified with the other salts? Allantoin is a cell proliferant binding mucilage.

A. The slimy condition mentioned is due to the approximately 50% water portion of the vodka.

Q. At what point in the lunar cycle should I expose my Salt to the celestial influences in order to obtain the Virgin's Milk? Also, what weather conditions give the best results?

A. A lunar cycle can be the waxing and waning period. Cardinal, Mutable and Fixed also represent cycles. For an extraction the waning period is preferred by some, while for distillation the waxing of the moon is used. The seasons rather than the prevailing weather conditions are much more important. An undertaking of your kind needs some careful planning.

Q. When working with Yew Berry, is the tincture harmful?

A. Any herbal tincture can be harmful if improperly applied.

Q. When working with sublimate of sulfur to obtain the oil, ether was used for extraction. The result was clear semi-crystals. Is this the oil? Is there a better method to obtain the oil in usuable quantities?

A. Try collecting the fume of burnt sulphur and condensing it into an essence.

Q. Concerning drying agents used with alcohol. Can any drying agent be used or must it be only calcined tartar?

A. Almost any water absorbing substance not soluble in alcohol will do.

Q. Upon using a "Mapp" gas torch to calcine antimony, the product was a fine white "cotton" on the crucible cover. The glass was crystallized. Was too much heat used?


Q. Have experienced dizziness, no energy, and depression since the first of the year, about the time I ran out of my seven basics. Is this part of the process, inner cleaning, etc.?

A. Could be, but every other possibility has to be considered which could have produced such a condition as you state.

Q. Does an eclipse result in any particular influence on the individual? If so, how do we interpret this?

A. An eclipse interferes with electrical and cosmic emanations.

Q. Which would be the most powerful menstruum: sal ammoniac on alcohol "KM" or alcohol poured over liquid salt of tartar?

A. Both may be powerful, in one way or another, depending on what substance the menstruum is working upon.

Q. Basil Valentine, Triumphal Chariot, page 270, states: "Sublime antimony with Sal armoniac." What kind of salt is this? In the original German text it reads "mit Armenischen Salz" in this case referring to a Balkan Country - Armenia.

A. It is sal ammoniac in this case. Either ammonium carbonate or chloride is understood under this designation.

Q. Something bothers me when it comes to alchemy. We are taught laboratory alchemy but at the same time there is also mental alchemy. Why is there not more emphasis on mental alchemy?

A. Practically all available teachings are based upon the mental concept. Hardly any practical alchemistical laboratory is taught openly anywhere. It is for this reason that the Paracelsus College emphasizes the validity of laboratory alchemy. Actually the practical instruction should be an outcome of theoretical investigation. Since so much of the theoretical aspect is emphasized everywhere else, this is why. However, the College in its Electives is teaching also the mental aspect to bring both into harmony.