Volume 3 Fall 1982

Cover photo: Gianni Rollin


Exemplar - Dr. Christian August Becker
The Marvelous Chemical- Physical Work of Prince Sansevero
The Hunt for Artificial Gold
The Dry Way
The Sound of Alchemy - Music of the Spheres
Inquiries by Students ... and Answers
A Theory - How Petroleum ... Came into Being
Artificial Medicinal Stones
The Four Seasons in Alchemy


Dr. Christian August Becker, M.D.

Very little is actually known about Dr. Becker. If it was not for his discovery of what he calls the 'Acetone of the Wise' in his work, Das Acetone written in the German language, he would have just practised his profession like so many medical doctors, with the help of what is available to them by way of accepted medications. There is not even a picture of him readily available to show what he looks like.

The outstanding fact is that Dr. Becker made an attempt to discover and - in his way of research and later application in his praxis - established for himself that which is known as the alchemistical mercury, is acetone derived in a special way. That is, differently produced than commercial acetone.

Being a student of Paracelsus and the Alchemists he concluded that there must be a solvent (menstruum) available to work on minerals and metals that proves itself to be harmless to the human constitution. As in so many cases to arrive at such conclusions a flash of ingenuity, or whatever name it may be called, is needed. In Dr. Beckcr's case the resultant manifestations speaks for itself, which he experienced in his praxis upon his patients.

In 1862, on June 30th, he published a small book "Das Acetone" and in 1867 a second edition followed, after which hardly anything was known about his work, except for the few researchers into alchemistical lore who did not anticipate to find anything of importance at such a late date, because most of the alchemistical literature is found during medieval times. Later attempts are only repetitious of former writings and expoundations of would-be alchemists with hardly any practical results of additional discoveries or rediscoveries.

Dr. Becker must have attained to a ripe old age, as he states in his preface that his seventy years of research made this possible. Even if he started as a teenager it would safely bring him in his high eighty years of age.

In his preface from which we quote he says that in 1877 he was lead to Paracelsus, but this is a printers' mistake, as the second edition is dated July 1867, it says:

"The more recent times which provoked the curiosity in historical sciences by assimilating the past with the present, have also toned down so far as Paracelsus is concerned, but there have been repeated attempts to gain recognition for his work. However, those works were concerned more with his system than with his medications, the reason may be looked into and criticized by the thoughts of any time period, while the knowledge of the medications, hidden behind the veil of alchemical language, poses very large problems for science and research. Van Helmont has already proved the error of the Paracelsian system, but held the medications therein in high regard.

My studies of magnetism in 1877 led me to Paracelsus, whose thorough medical knowledge of same filled me with admiration. This caused me to work. The darkness of his language made necessary to look for enlightenment by comparing alchemical tracts and treatises. Then I realized that the virtually untouched "Feld der Arkane"* had to be the main goal of culture, and the brilliant healings of Poterius increased my interest even more. The intrigue of the mysterious was conducted and I was supported tremendously by those two very scientific minded pharmacists, Drs. Grager and Klauer. I was chiefly concerned with the finding of the pain-killing sulphurs of vitriol, (Sulphur Vitrioli Narcoticum Paracelsi) when in 1835 I came to the discovery of "Ferrum corbonicum sacharatum". I also found the "Aurum diaphoreticum Poterii" which by sublimation of the gold amalgam appeared as a finely separated metallic gold, however, which may be further separated, as may be seen through a microscope, by a simple precipitation of the gold solution with "Eisenvitriol" or the Vitriol of Iron.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is very effective, even in small doses, and it proved to be especially effective against rheumatism, particularly "Rheumatismus Cordis.

I pursued this line of research and discovered numerous medications which are not listed in the Pharmocopaea, but which nevertheless are efficacious in practice.

I had hoped for additional information in Weidenfeld's writings "De Secretis Adeptorum", but the main theme, the "Spiritus Vini Lullianus" remained a mystery except for some illusory glimpses, and only now, after more than twenty years of renewed studies, did I recognize the idea of the Actetone in the text. This sheds new light on the medication of the Adepts and brightens many of their writings.

Due to the prejudice of the authorities against alchemistry, I probably cannot count on a large participation in my cause, but now and then, there might be a colleague who is secretly interested in this line of research. For this reason and partly because I want to provide a freeing of the obstructions in this domain and because I desire to leave the 70 years of my research as an endowment, I make this small writing known to the general public."

Mulhausen, 30 June 1862
Dr. A. Becker

With this seemingly casual announcement Dr. Becker left posterity one of the most important rediscoveries. It is astounding that this pearl of great price is so little known. But again, no wonder, who can afford a jewel unless one has earned the price for it so one can call it one's own.


The Marvelous Chemical-Physical Work of Prince Sansevero

By Isaac Beck

Born January 30th 1710 at Torremagvare and died March 22nd 1771 at Naples, Italy.

While strolling through the old part of the city of Naples in Italy, two friends decided to stop at the Chapel Sansevero. The narrow streets were filled with loud talking people using their hands to emphasize expressions. Both had previously been informed about the "two corpses" to be seen there and soon had reached the chapel whose exterior revealed nothing out of the extraordinary. After entering they took the right hand stairway leading to the subterranean vaulted room.

A damp atmosphere greeted them and a simple electric light bulb hanging from the ceiling left a sad glow on the two corpses that appeared even paler in this light.

There they stood, the two skeletons, but what was that wild looking ball of strands spreading from the heart up and down and all around the skeletons?

Horrified, they felt an unseen force to step aside. Like a stroke of lightening it occurred to them that these balls of strands were the channels that had the blood pulsate through them. Yes, pulsate! Flow through them. At the same time they became aware of the law of duality, that life and death are inseperably connected.

How horrified the preserved eyeballs of the dead woman looked, immovable, into the void; an endless sadness within them and yet, as if there were no more eyes.

"Out of here, let's go out of here." Both ran out of the chapel into the sunlight, into the light of life, followed as it seemed by a demon.

Imagine if this would have happened around midnight. Fortunatelly it was a genuine sunny Neopolitan day.

When personally visiting the chapel I must say that I was not so terribly frightened. Let me explain what I have found.

Concealed in the old part of Naples is a small chapel. It belongs to an ancient family of nobility, the Sangro's dating back to the year 808 A.D.

A fantastic member of this family was Raimondo Di Sangro, Prince Sansevero. He remodeled the family chapel, which also served as a Mausoleum, into its present state. Actually into a museum, the only one of wondrous kind.

The two anatomical preparations are indeed almost unbelievable. The two skeletons in the basement of the chapel have each a completely preserved heart and entire circulatory system, but no more fleshy organs or parts. Even through an opening in the top of the head the arteries within can be plainly seen. Likewise the veins in the tongue are there.

Actually there are three corpses. A man and a woman with an unborn child. The woman still has her eyes in the skull. The unborn child has a complete circulatory system and heart but again an opening in the skull. The placenta rests on the bottom connected with the umbilical cord of the seated unborn child. The man, besides his heart, has also his gall and bladder intact.

Both, man and woman, had been worked with between 1763 and 1765.

Officially it is said that the anatomist, Dr. Guiseppe Salermo was the originator, as he was a friend of the Prince. Many believe it was Sangro himself, since both came from the same environment.

Enemies of the Prince claim to know for certain he had injected the man and woman while still alive. Only one thing they did not know, how it was done and what was used to "metalize" the circulatory system. It remains a puzzle to this very day.

During a medical convention in 1975 it was decided that the man died of a cancer in his right foot. The woman was supposed to have died during a Caesarian Operation. She must have suffered terrible pains as her hand is holding onto an object. Her arm is still in the same position. The hypertrophy of the heart is based upon the excessive pain. Immediately after they had died the corpses were injected.

The Prince had shown his ingenuity at an early age. He studied at the College of the Jesuits in Rome and when thirteen years of age he was already a Master of Pyrotechnic (Alchemy) and could among other things imitate the song of birds with fire only, which was followed by many inventions in various ways. He improved a gun (Arguebuse), a canon seven times lighter than cannons of the same caliber, carrying the ammunition farther. The cannon was made of a leatherlike substance. Then a hydraulic pump of enormous capacity. He loved to work on the completion of things others said were impossible. All of Naples was astonished about his amphybian vehicle with four wheels in the water that by constant rotation moved the carriage containing twelve people. Travelers had written about it but could not find out how the wheels rotated. There is even a picture of this vehicle available. The Prince had discovered a material that was featherlight, extremely thin and absolutely waterproof (a kind of nylon?). He presented a piece of this material to King Carlo of Bourbone who used it as a raincoat while hunting.

He could take the coarsest string and change it into a white silk-like thread. He also was intrigued by the phenomena of color.

His extraordinary ability in mechanics made it possible for him to invent a revolutionary printing press downstairs in the palace. With just one pressing text and varicolored illustrations could be produced. His work LETTERA APOLOGETICA came of this press. An original copy can be marveled at in the BIBLIOTHECA NATIONALE.

He discovered a colored substance that would penetrate white marble and was considered to be natural. That this is so, anyone can find out.

After his death (?) a stone was placed upon his grave that was formerly somewhere else. Again this stone is a technical puzzle. The letters are in low relief and white while the rest is now pink. The entire stone is one piece of marble. At that time nothing was known about this. Some theoretical specialists claim that, an acid was used and the excess removed. Although no one has been able to duplicate it until now.

Visitors from the 19th Century report that the stone was a light red. Since it now is pink it is a sign that it was colored artificially.

In 1750 he became a Freemason and later Grandmaster of the Naples Lodge. The Pope at that time was not elated about this fact.

For this reason he is still blacklisted and his works including sculpture ignored and discredited.

A casual glance in the chapel appears to be historical and family related symbolism, like over the entrance door where it shows a person emerging from an open grave with a sword in his hand. Indicating that some can elude death by disappearing with its corpse (because the grave was found empty.)

That Sangro had excellent knowledge about the arts shows his selection of artists as is indicated by three sculpters. There is a dead Christ whose body is covered bv a veil, very thin and transparent. This is most unusual, since the entire work is made out of one piece of marble.

His anonymous biographer (really his friend Origlia, who belonged to an Illuminate Order) tells us that the Prince invented an unusual substance that could be poured but quickly solidified like marble. A piece of such tile is still left.

Let us return once more to color. He could take the color out of gems and make them clear. Inversely he could darken the color of an amethyst. This specialty was to make Lapis Lazuli at very little cost. Nowadays diamonds can be bombarded in Cyclotrones bringing about changes in color only to return to their previous color in a decade or so. Of interest is that his deep blue "Lapis Lazulie" was retained as background whereas the Cameo was in white.

In his subterranean laboratory he worked on a continuously burning lamp. In a letter of March 15, 1766 addressed to a "Monsieur I'Abbe Nollet de I'Academie des Sciences a Paris" he gives particulars. In short, after four years of research, when removing stopper of a vessel (sort of a retort with long neck) and bringing it close to a candle light for further investigation, the contents in the vessel, that looked like soft butter, burst into bright light yellow flame. The temperature of the vessel did not increase neither did the content within the vessel diminish.

The material used to begin with was bone. Preferably human bones, especially the skull, considered the best. The work consisted of extracting the salts from it and to purify them to such a degree to produce fire. Not ordinary fire but a gaseous one. He meant that such matter would continuously attract particles of sulphur from the volcanic environment and probably compensate for loss of weight.

He also produced a white wax out of plants that looked like natural wax.

A porcelain was produced that got its lustre not through a glaze but by cutting similar to the lustre obtained when cutting rubies, etc. This made the lustre softer and more beautiful. What he spoke least about was Palengenesis (creation of plants and animals).

His chief laboratory assistant, Felice Piccinino, was watching with greatest attention a Matrass (a flask with a long and slender neck) standing hermetically sealed upon the hearth when someone making no noise approached him and trying to scare him, let go with a terrible outcry. Surprised by the outcry Piccinia turned around and while doing so knocked the vessel over. At once a thick dark smoke came up from it, in the beginning like an oval and gradually taking on the form of a naked person. It was olive coloured with a long beard and the hair had some strands of silver.

While those present stared in amazement at what they saw, a plasterer engaged on some ornamental ceiling work went into a convulsion had to be taken home. He later in a hospital. An apprentice in his flight kicked over a bucket with dissolved lime, never to return to his job.

Slowly the human shaped form dissolved.

Housewives were elated about invention to coat copper utensils with tin, that had a silverlike lustre and easy to keep clean. The process of tinning the copper was quick and not the slow process known then.

Concerning the healing of patients considered incurable, only two of such miraculous healings are known.

He could change sea water (salt water) into sweet water "without corrosives or the hellish stone". That no corrosive was used gives food for thought.

What else could it have been except the "Universal Mercury" without which according to the Alchemists no Stone of the Wise could be produced.

The people of Naples are convinced that the Prince is still alive, because his grave was . . . empty. A plant is named Sanseviera after him, meaning "not to be gotten rid of".

Did the Prince Sansevero disappear with the corpse out of the grave?

Should you, dear reader, ever get to Naples in Italy, then by all means go to the Via Francisco de Sanctis, close to the Piazzo San Domenico Maggiore. There you will find the "Capella Sansevero", the museum full of wonders.

It is not found in the Himalayas or amidst the Gobi Desert or somewhere subterranean, but in a simple little street in a large city in Europe.

Should you, dear reader, ever see or meet the Prince, please inform him of my highest esteem and the warmest of greetings.

But, should you ever get to Naples, it might also be of help not to carry too many of the riches with you, as some Neapolitans are experts to do the opposite of the Prince, instead of enriching you, let mysteriously (?) disappear out of your purse or pockets what you brought along on riches.

All this does not change the fact that there remains an unexplained riddle; how anyone could have accomplished what can be seen, when looking at two corpses that have their circulatory system intact, including the heart and one carrying still an unborn child.


The preceding article by Paracelsus College student Isaac Beck of Antwerp, Belgium, is of special interest as the original photo on the front cover of Essentia was obtained by special permission from Signor Gianni Rollin who was allowed to take the photos, as absolutely no photographs are allowed to be taken at the chapel. This is the first time the colored pictures are authorized to be Published in a magazine. Essentia wishes to acknowledge the courtesy of Signor Gianni Rollin in behalf of the Paracelsus College.


Is There Still Any Purpose In The Pursuit Of Alchemy?

The Hunt for Artificial Gold

By Hans Gerhard Lenz, Ph.D.

During the nineteen hundred twenties, the alchemist Franz Seraphim Tausend attracted considerable attention. With the help of Alchemy the journeyman plumber born in Bavaria, who had a whole string of occupations, succeeded in rising to the state of a gentleman farmer and in becoming the owner of a castle. In 1925, he managed to get access to General Ludendorff and his party through Secretary of State Meissner, Chief of the Cabinet of President Hindenburg. Because he asserted that he could undertake the production of artificial gold, he elicited Mathilde Ludendorffs special interest in him. This way of obtaining gold was meant to raise the funds for the German reparation payments after World War 1 and to achieve the economic ruin of flooding the gold market with artificial gold. Under Ludendorffs protection, Tausend founded a company.

Tausend could not produce serious evidence of any chemical or metallurgical studies. He asserted that he 'had found the "philosophers stone" in 1925, and that with it he had produced gold as a by-product. He made two attempts under the supervision of the government mint office. However, when during the second attempt Taisend produced a small grain (or globule) of gold of one ounce, it turned out that this gold had been smuggled inside. SubsequentIy, he acquircd further means through the sale of gold bonds. These were to be redeemed later through the sale of the gold produced by him, together with high interests. The whole affair ended with an indictment for fraud. True, the punishment was mild, as in the meantime party bosses of the NSDAP had also gone over to him.

This anecdote seems to be typical for the whole history of Alchemy. The medals from past centuries preserved in various museums, however, appear to confirm that successful transmutation bad been accomplished. The inscriptions on medals report that they consist of transmuted (alchemistic) gold. On the outside the medals have the color of gold, but until today, no exact examination as to what metals they contain has been undertaken.

Already in earlier years strict standards were applied to alleged metallic transmutations. There exists a memorial of Landgraf Wilhelm II of Hesse-Kassel (1532-1592) from the year 1588, in which he gives precise instructions to a deputy as to what was to be done to prevent or expose fraudulent manipulations. Thus it understandable that the son of Landgraf Wilhelm IV, Landgraf Moritz the Scholar (1572-1632), commissioned his personal physicians and not alchemists traveling from court to court to carry out alchemistic processes. Their goal was to increase an existing quantity of gold, especially by using antimony, silver, mercury. and copper. In the city library of Kassel we can read many such recipes in the manuscripts of Landgraf Moritz, which are to this day almost completely preserved.

To whom can the development of Alchemy actually be traced? As the central figure we find in both the alchemistic and the astrological literatures the name of Hermes Trismegistos, to whom are ascribed the "Astrologumena", the "Corpus Hermeticum", and the "Tabula Smaragdina" (the "Emerald Tablet"). Thus Alchemy can be traced to Egypt. It was used by craftsmen in distillations and metal works as well as in the manufacture of medicines and objects for the religious cult.

Medieval Alchemy derived its knowledge from the two above mentioned sources, though large1y through the intermediary of the Arabs Who, beside the church, artisan tradition, also passed on the philosophic spiritual superstructure. In that way. mystical-spectulative Alchemy received a strong impetus in the age of humanism and the reawakening of Neoplatonism. At that time, Paracelsus (1493-1541) had probably recognized that it was beyond his abilities to produce the "Magnum Opus", the 'Philosophers' Stone", the universal medicine. He therefore used the essential components of the "Great Work" medicinally, for example, the sulphuric part, and thereby scored successes with his cures. In that way he reformed medicine through the use of medicines made of mineral substances. Thus he successfully used as a medicine oil of antimony, which does not contain any antimony but is instead a complicated carbon-hydrogen compound.

The Rosicrucians of the 17th century tried to give the impression that, because of old traditions, they were in possession of the secret of metal transmutation and that, therefore, thev held the key to immeasurable wealth. At the same time, they held the alchemistic process to be the perfecting of metals and considered it to be on an equal level with the maturation process of the alchemist himself. Both were to desclop to perfection (gold) side by side.

The parallel arrangement of the ideas of alchemy, linked to the thoughts of the Rosicrucians on the one hand and modern chemical coceptions on the other, leads to a great confusion of definitions when considered simultaneously. This also leads to the most dcvious speculations in esoteric circles. The consequence is that some processes and methods of alchemy that are still useful and noteworthy today, are not heeded but pushed aside in a sweeping judgment as devious, erroneous or quack-pharmiceutical. Alchemy is called a dubious art, supposed to produce alchemistic gold by means of mysterious processes, although, it is said, that it has so far evidendly, never succeeded in doing so. Nevertheless, alchemistic thought provides useful ideas and practices even today, which should be researched and applied for the benefit of all, for example, in the chemopharmaceutical industry.


The Dry Way

Manuel Algora Corbi

Wet and dry says: those are different possibilities when in the laboratory. But, what is dry way? Those who may have had once the curiosity of searching through the "Encyclopedia Britannica" of Edinburgh, 1771, after Frater Albertus' indications on the Philosophical Mercury, should have found, page 80:

"This term is used to signify all operations performed by fusion." This was, and still is, the concept of dry way, both in chemistry and alchemy.

Yet, to understand the raison d'etre of this way of working, we must rise up to the principles of alchemical science. Alchemy is the metamorphosis operated by spirit in matter. In as much as we lean toward this, we leave the realm of chemistry and enter into the realm of alchemy. Then substances begin to show unaccustomed properties and reactions, the later ones which might aptly be described as Life. This is not the place to enter into a full esoteric discussion of the subtle forces which may develop their potential through the alchemist's aid. Only brief indications may be given, as corresponding to the subject of the article. First of all, we have what are called the etheric or formative forces. These are the forces of vitality, of growing, most directly related to water, Moon, and the plant kingdom. What about the mineral kingdom? Ekehard Wagner, in the journal of the anthroposophical laboratories Weleda, poses thus the answer':

"When one handles plants and minerals, one perceives immediately the polarity which both the natures constitute. The first ones are a living material, which one deals with as much as possible under the liquid form. (. . .) For the mineral, on the contrary, time does not play a role, and what characterizes it typically, is the solid form with its lines and its rectilineal aristas; it has but few relations with the liquid element. However, when one refers himself to the origin of minerals, a liquid fusion state of substance is found, from which a solid state has decanted itself. ( ... ) Metals have solidified at the liquid level and have remained out of the influence of the formative forces of the mineral Kingdom. It is this that quicksilver, the mercury, manifests still very neatly."

Yes, common mercury, as a liquid metal, still has a contact with living etherical forces (but the alchemical application of this should form part of a different study).

What is important to retain here is the relation liquid-ether.

The influence of planetary positions on the metals ruled by them has been widely demonstrated today, but in this case we need to work with the solved metal. In the words of Rudolf Steiner: "As long as materials remain in a solid state, they are subject to the action of earthy forces. Since a material is in the liquid state, the action of planets is experienced in it." In a wet way, one works with li quids; in the dry way, fusion is the natural solution of n body into its own water.2 Thus, in a sense, there is no dry way the liquid elemental ways being indispensable for any true alchemical metamorphosis. This is the Moon: "Moon the Mother, Sun the Father", the womb's liquid of alchemical gestations. Are the dry ways of working a modern concept? No; alchemists of all ages have resorted to it. For example, according to Quercetanus, Extraction of oils and tinctures of minerals 3: "Have a good pumice-stone, the whitest you may find, powder it subtly, then irrigate it with good distilled vinegar and dry it; this you should reiterate four times, and the last one it must be reverberated four hours by a flaming fire, non violent, to avoid it may fuse. Cimentate afterwards with this powder very thin sheets of any metal, even Sun, and this by stratification in a great fire of reverberation or of any other kind, as long as 24 hours, and your powder will invest itself of the metal's color; reiterate this cimentition until your metallic sheets have been rusted."

Here, a tincture (color, soul, sulphur) is first extracted with a dry menstrum (pumice-stone) in a crucible; afterwards reduced in a wet way by distilled vinegar (animated with niter through cohobations); finally, circulated with rectified spirits of wine.

A similar experience may be found in Basile Valentine when extracting the soul of Jupiter, etc.

John Henry Pott is one of those authors which, although officially labeled as chemist, shows the most interesting and wide knowledge of alchemical secrets. I would recommend the study of his Chemical Dissertations for those who may interest themselves in the dry workings. For example, in the Section IX of his first dissertation (On the Sulphur of Metals), he has spoken of dry menstrua:

"The first one and most common is, undoubtedly, the fixed salt of tartar which, since its fusion, penetrates every metal and mineral, and takes from them the sulphurous part."

Again, not a singular idea, but one which may be found, for example, in George Starckey's Pyrotechnics or The Art of Volatilising Alkalis, who also indicates the fusion of the alkali with the calx of the imperfect metal, in order to extract its sulphur.

Chemistry makes now-a-days use of the coloring of certain salts (such as borax), when in fusion with metals, with identification views. But, as usual, alchemists went further. For example, coming to nearer times, concerning another dry menstrum, salt ammoniac, an example is quoted from Fulcanelli's "Les Demeures Philosophales" (The Philosophers Abodes), thus giving a knowledge of opportunity for those who may have not read the french edition of said work. The operation is performed on silver chloride (horned moon of the ancients):

"Weigh, then, your silver salt, which you will mix intimately with three times the same quantity of pure ammonium chloride. Introduce the whole in a high glass retort, of such a capacity that only the bottom of it may be occupied by the salinous mixture. Give a gentle heat in the sand-bath, and rise it by degrees. When the temperature is enough, the ammoniacal salt will rise up and make a tapestry of a firm layer on the vault and neck of the apparatus. This sublimate, of a snow whiteness, seldom yellowish, would induce to think that it hides nothing of a particular kind. Cut, then, dexterously the retort, separate carefully the white sublimate, and dissolve it in distilled water, cold or hot. The solution having been finished, you will find at the bottom a most fine powder, of brilliant Red: it is part of SILVERS SULPHUR or LUNAR SULPHUR, separated from the metal and volatilized by the aminoniacal salt in course of its sublimation."

As Fulcanelli goes on to say, repeating the whole procedure, a total extraction of the sulphur may be achieved, leaving a grey irreducible ash, from which the specified mercury of silver may be obtained (this must be understood in the same sense as B. Valentine in the XXIst Chapter of his Curris Triumphalis when referring to antimony).

A similar procedure would be found in Pott's dissertation, sublimating with quicksilver, which takes off silver's sulphur in the form of a cinnabar.

Even metals were considered as solvents, as under their liquid state they are a water, a mercury in the alchemical sense, most resembling common mercury indeed. Gold, for example takes off from Venus its celebrated tincture, by repeated alloy, (by fusion) and separation (by means of aqua fortis, for example); thus, it becomes increasingly red, because it has partaken of copper's sulphur.

Dry Ways in the Opus Magnum

Here again, dry ways of working are possible. To witness that we are dealing with ancient alchemical procedures, not modern inventions,we will look after, once more, for a reference. This we may find in Helvetius, who performed a most knom transmutation. Asking Helvetius how the lapis philosophorum was produced, he was told by the adept who gave it to him.4 "The menstrum is a celestial salt, or of celestial virtue, with the only benefit of which Philosophers solve the terrestial metallic body, and after having solved it, they educe from it the noble Elixir of the Philosophers. The operation, however, was performed, from beginning to end, in a crucible in an open fires all the work, certainly, does not begin and consumate in may days, but in four days, in which work no more than 3 florins are spent." Thus, this kind of work has also called the brief way, though it be noted that preliminary operations, which require some more time, are previously necessary. There is a variety of workings in this dry way, but I will restrict this to one I have worked myself, that of Fulcanelli, and his known descendants, first E. Canseliet, then Severin Batfroi, Guy Beatrice, and others, who would not like to be mentioned.5

But, to come to an understanding, resort must be made once more to those archetypal higher principles of alchemy, will find afterwards different concrete expressions when in the laboratory, according to personal likes and knowledges.

Due to the Fall, man has become gradually imprisoned in matter, blind to nature's spiritual essence. The first ancient alchemists, on the contrary could contact, in their soul life, with nature spirits, which represented unto them their dynamical character in the form of symbols. When this faculty was lost by degrees, the language of alchemists became also less symbolical and more technological, more materialistic. Still in an alchemist of highest genius, such as B. Valentine, we may find an indication of the importance of contemplation, to penetrate into the essence of things, and unveil their secrets. This is not just rational thinking, but a true faculty, of the soul. Today, the reverse way may be walked, for the meditation on the practical laboratory work may lead to a state of communion with nature, to a revival of soul's life, in which the archetypical principles and processes of alchemy may be internalized to produce a psychic catharsis and rebirth. (But this would be a different story, not up to the point.)

What is important to consider here is that the ancient alchemical symbol are really the best way of expression for alchemical living invisible realities: the subconscious imaginations of Nature which manifest themselves in the laboratory, just as our own imaginations, by their magical power sooner or later do manifest themselves physically. These symbols and archetypical processes, which have their reality, in a higher level of existence, may manifest themselves physically in many different ways. Just as the gods of ancient mythology may be related one to another as corresponding to the same archetype, though manifest under a different guise in different cultures, so there is, say, a differen mercury in the plant, animal and mineral kingdom. Actually, there is but one mercury, which expresses itself through several bearers. Thus, in alchemy, different ways of working are possible, as long as the material and procedures may become the physical manifestation of the psychical archetypes and forces.

The Great Work is a journey from Moon to Sun, unconscious to consciousness, a true Opus Solis which shows the archetypical initiation of the Twice Born, the lapis being the Universal Medicine, and healing being an attribution of the solar sphere of Tiphareth in the qabalistic Tree of Life. I will restrain myself from entering into an endless series of relationships showing the nature of the work on hand, but, coming to the point more down to earth, thanks to Eirenae Philolethes, natu Angli, habitatione Cosmopolitaes6.

The Stone you seek, we said and still affirm is only gold, brought to so high perfection, as it is possible which though a firm compacted body is, yet by arts direction, and nature's operation, it is made a tingling spirit which will neve fade.

Similar indications may be found in all of Philalethes works, for example in his Exposition upon St George Ripley's Vision (London 1677), where the lapis is said to be gold digested to the highest degree to which Nature and Art may bring it. Again, not a singular idea but one witnessed, for example, by Johann Joachim Becher7, which calls it a subtle gold, with plenty of tincture which it may communicate to others.

"Sun the Father". To ritualize the rebirth of Sun in the laboratory, we need Sun to begin with: red man, ferment, etc. Now, there are three kinds of gold, according to Tachenius (Med. de auro): astral, elemental, metallic; or as The Hermetic Triumph details:

"In order that you may desire nothing that belongs to the theory and practice of our Philosophy, I will tell you that, according to Philosophers, there are three kinds of Gold.

"First one is an astral Gold, whose center is in the Sun, which with its rays communicates it, at the same time than its light, to all heavenly bodies under it. It is an igneous substance, and a continuous emanation of solar corpuscles which, being in a perpetual flux and reflux, because of the movement of the sun and the stars, fills up the whole universe. Everything is penetrated by this Gold in the immensity of heavens upon earth, and, in its bowels, we breathe continuously this astral Gold, this solar particles penetrate our bodies and are ceaselessly exhalated from them.

"The second one is an elemental Gold, that is, the purest and most fixed portion of the elements, and of all substances composed by them; so that every sublunar being of the three genera contains in its center a precious grain of this elemental Gold.

"The third one is the handsome metal, whose brightness and inalterable perfection give it a price, which make it to be considered by all men as the sovereign remedy for all evils and needs of life, and as the only foundation of greatness and human power." etc.

Many have worked with the third kind of Gold (Au of the chemists): B. Valentine, Philalethes, D. Mueller, Cyliani (who extracts its essence by means of a mineral spirit acuated with a metallic salt, which requires a long preparation). In our own times, the English alchemist Lapidus.8

The first kind of Gold has to be related with what the ancients called the Universal Spirit. On the particular, we find in Johannes Trithemius:

"It is a Universal Fluid, a living one, extended throughout all Nature, which penetrates all beings; it is the most subtle of all things, incorruptible in its essence, and permeating the infinite space ( ...). The sun and planets are but condensed states of this Universal Principle, distributing their abundances through their palpitating hearts, and sending them to the forms of the lower worlds and to every being, acting through their own centers, and impelling those forms to a higher state in the path of perfection ... This spirit may be obtained in the same way as it is communicated to earth: from the stars The forms in which this living principle becomes fixed, become per fect and permanent ... Thus, the philosophal stone is the ultimate that can be made using it, making that which is volatile to become fixed."

Thus, the first kind of Gold might be condensed into the lapis philosophorum, and this, as Limojon de Saint-Didier, again, will instruct us, by means of a gold of the second species:

"The gold of the wise is proper the gold of the second species; for, when this gold is perfectly calcinated, and exalted to the cleanness and whiteness of snow, it acquires, by Magistery, a natural simpathy for the astral gold, of whom it has become visibly a true magnet, it attracts and concentrates in itself so great a quantity of astral gold and of solar particles, received from the continuous emanation of them done in the center of Sun and Moon, that it is in a disposition near to become the living gold of the Philosophers."

This is what the dry way now under study does, and here is its raison d'etre: getting a magnet (elemental gold) to attract the solar corpuscles (astral gold), and condensate them in solid form.

Those who know Alchemie und Heilkunst, by Alexander von Bernus, should have found, ending the chapter on "Das geheime Feuer und der gcheime Weingeist der Adepten" (The secret fire and the secret spirits of wine of the Adepts), the indication of a similar idea. It is presented there in a different form, but the idea is the same.

Reading The Golden Chain of Homer, the idea is found again on the possibility of materializing subtle principles, of fixing what is volatile:

"The Universal Fire fills that immense space of the universe between the Heavenly bodies, and as a power to become material, it generates a subtle vapor or invisible humidity, its first passive principle. It causes therein a gentle reaction, and a most subtle fermentation takes place universally, and by this reaction the universal acid is everywhere generated, which we can call anything else than a most subtle incorporated NITRE; it is inwardly fire and outwardly cold.

"Thus this spiritual NITRE or universal ACID we call the second invisible change of the universal Fire, generated out of the chaotic invisible HUMIDITY; and as this approaches the atmosphere of the Heavenly Bodies it becomes gradually more and more material, until it meets an alkaline passive principle, wherein it fixes itself and forms native Nitre, so that from universal spiritual Nitre it becomes material Nitre. "Thus we say without good reason that the Solar Rays of light are nothing else than a most subtle spiritual Nitre it becomes material comes more and more nitrous as it approaches the Earth."

It is obvious that to get that condensation of Universal Spirit, special conditions of weather are required, as A. v. Bernus has already indicated himself. There is a cosmic breathing. and the Universal Spirit descends to Earth at Spring, and returns to heavens at Autumn. Lets read again The Hermetic Triumph:

"Several Philosophers indicated the most propitious season of the year for this operation. Some made no mystery of it; other more circumspect ones only did explain this point by means of parables. 'The first ones mentioned the month of March and Springtime. (...) Cosmopolita, to indicate the most propitious season for the Philosophical work, says it is that one in which all living beings, sensitive and vegetable, seem to be animated by a newfire, which impels them reciprocally to love, and to the multiplication of the species, that Venus is the godess of this charming island, in which he soon discovered all the secrets of nature; but, to indicate more clearly this season, he says that lambs and bulls were seen to pasture in the meadow, accompanied by two young shepherds, thus expressing clearly with this spiritual allegory the three months of Springtime, by means of the three celestial signs corresponding to them: Aries, Taurus, Gemini."

L. Kolisko, in her study "Spirit in Matter"9, has shown the particular forces which play through solved metals at springtime. By sinking the tip of a filter-paper into a solution of silver nitrate, a precipitation is made on the paper as the solution rises up through it. The experience done in winter, no forms will appear. At spring, soft radiating forms appear in the precipitate, thus showing the presence of etheric forces.

The alchemist of the dry way knows how to attract and fix these etheric forces into a salinous substance, the secret Fire. When this is done, a green tincture ensues, which is worth noting when considering the relationships Venus-Spring-Prana; The green energy of Osiris, etc. That this green tincture is truly the color of immature astral gold, and not explicable by current chemical knowledge, has been proved to myself by experience. Working in such a polluted city as Madrid, only a slightly yellowish color ensued, which is what could be expected from the chemical point of view, greenish tinctures seldom appearing. At the same time, a friend of mine worked in the country, performing just the same operation, and a most beautiful emerald green appeared. By an over-exact work, the increasing in weight of the secret fire, because of the condensation of the Universal Spirit, may even be determined.

Those who have read Frater Albertus' meeting with Eugene Canseliet in The Alchemist of the Rocky Mountains may read it again with this article in mind, and will surely find it more understandable.

Now to the question, "what do you understand under philosophical mercury?" the reply of Canseliet comes:

"The soul, this is the minute part, that can be obtained from the mass during the sublimating in the dry way. This is also called the little fish (LA REMORE) that becomes a stone."

The 'little fish" is the magnet attracting astral gold, will be the lapis philosophorum. To produce this magnet, a gold of the second species, "the purest and most perfect portion of the elements, and of all substances composed by them", must be extracted from a metallic body. Both metals and salts are required here as dry menstrua, the extracted soul been finally treasured the secret fire. Thus, the works Fulcanelli begin to have some meaning unto us. For example, when refering to the fruits of the Garden of Hesperides (elixir vitae and transmutation stone):

"Each of these fruits is the rest of a progressive condensation of solar fire by secret fire, incarnated word, celestial spirit corporified all things of this world." So much could be said . . . there is enough food for thinking. Thus, those who may be interested in developing the immense possibilities of Alchemy in this area, may thus find a way of entrance to dry workings, workings which are not fancies, but experienced by many as laboratory realities at present, ad majorem Dei gloriam.


1 Christmas 1978, No. 40, Medicines with metals.
2 For those interested in magic, an advise never found in modern books, is to melt the metal you are working with when producing a talisman. Thus, the metal contacts the chosen astrological influence at the time of the operation, and, when solidified, keeps it forever.
3 Receuil des plus curieux et rares sec touchant ld Medecine Metallique & Minerale tirez des Manuscripts de Feu M. Ioseph du Chesne, sieur de ]a Violette (Paris, M.DC.XLI.) p. 29-32.
4 Vitulus Aureus quem Mundus adorat orat, in quo tractatur de rarisimo Naturae Miraculo Transmutandi Metalla.
5 Please, let it be noted this does not mean I am in complete agreement with ideas of this "school"; nor, completely with those of any "school" and living practitioner I have known (and I know some). But whatever one has made in laboratory is not refutable; and Canseliet has (several others also).
6 The Marrow of Alchemy, (1654), First book of the second part.
7 Auctorum laboratorii Chymici Monacsensis seu Physicae subterraneae, 2nd supplement, chemical thesis VI.
8 I would like to make use of this opportunity in order to state that Lapidus, whom I know well, is NOT Stephen Skinner (in spite of what was suggested in - Parachemy).
9. Spirit in Matter (A Scientist's answer to the Bishop's queries), issued by the Kolisko Archive, Rudge cottage, Edge Stroud, (England, 1948).


The Sound of Alchemy

Music of the Spheres


MUSIC OF THE SPHERES: It is exactly that: whole spheres, orbs in outline, circles within circles, causing subtle angles at interceptions, vesica piscis of birth and crosses of death.

MUSIC OF THE SPHERES: It is music without sound, music as a vital light in a universal vacuum, music beyond our human ability to hear. It is the music of light and color without reflecting or resonating agents. It is beyond us, about us, throughout us; a silent and eternal pulse.

Man is a catch-all of the cosmos, ever trying to assimilate and synthesize these kinds of realizations, most of which most of which go for self-improvement through technology or comfort. Yet for our inner purpose, these inner realizations are refined for awareness an self-development in a universal and spiritual context.

The MUSIC OF THE SPHERES is a laughing matter, perhaps amusing to the muses alone because of our human obsession with sensual beliefs in hearing. This music is a total process of molecular motion, variatipon and change. Its perfection lies in harmony, its imperfection in dissonance.

Perhaps "Harmony of the Spheres" or even more simply "Harmony of the Circle" should demand our attention, for the duty of this subject is to clarify the nature of universal harmony itself. We must consider an active and functioning cooperation of elements which create equitension or cohesion among elements, be they of audial or light qualities.

The Music of the Spheres is beyond our foot-tapping acknowledgement of rhythm. It is beyond our subjective debate of beauty's definition. It is beyond earth pulses or rhythms which satisfy, affect or soothe our emotions. Participation in this music is to BE it, to fulfill our ontological oneness. This music has nowhere to go, no line or melody to follow, no cadence to fulfill. It is a three dimensional unit of equal balance, resonating in itself, participating in neither indulgence or sacrifice. It is beyond the condition of our human awareness in most respects.

Solid objects of Light cause interplay in balances, perhaps only measurable in proportion, ratio or angle. Rays from those perfect channels of Light are reflected in other objects of form. These essences are cognized and then, and only then, is outr human-physical kingdom recognized. As above, so below, as without, within. Our process is a resonant factor of the archetype. Our songs are faint replies to our essential, eternal impulse.

In the first century, a Palestinian Greek, Nichomachus of Gerara, wrote prolifically on the subject of Music of the Spheres in his INTRODUCTION TO ARITHMETIC: Book One:
For it is clear that these studies are like ladders and bridges that carry our minds from things apprehended by sense and opinion to those comprehended by the mind and understanding ... and from those material, physical things, our foster-brethren to us from childhood, to the things which we are unacquaintd, foreign to our senses ... but in their immateriality are eternally more akin to our souls, and above all, the REASON which is in our souls.

Isadore of Seville, at the beginning the 7th century, continues these thoughts in a somewhat less verbose way in his EYTOMOLOGIES:

Nothing exists without music; for the Universe itself is said to have been framed by a kind of harmony of sounds, and the heaven itself revolves in the tones of that harmony.

Isadore is simply westernizing the Hindu concept of "Sound Creation" as mentioned in the early Vedic texts and the important 13th century treatise, Samgitaratnakara or Sarangdeva. This Ocean of Music begins with a detailed cosmogony, gradually narrowing its scope to the human body and the stages of pregnancy from month to month, before it is concerned with the birth of sound itself. It is the first cry of AUM in the cosmos, whereby the beginning was the WORD.

Marsilo Ficino (1433-1499) and Robert Fludd (1574-1637) speculated about and developed the basic harmonic theories of Pythagoras in the grand assumptiveness of the High Renaissance. Perhaps the most thorough recorder of Pythagorean theory and Platonic solids in relation to the universal spheres was Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). In Harmonies of the World, Kepler discusses how the five regular solid figures can serve as a basic primer for all harmonic understanding. Kepler not only implies the alchemical marriage of these basic forms, but also rationally relates these figures to the ratios of the Pythagorean monochord. His association of these forms to his astronomical research creates an interesting and fundamental vocabulary for music conversation in the harmonic field.

Our modern sense of tuning is so tempered in the keyboard contexts that it is difficult to understand the basic laws by which we came to them. Simply, Pythagorean tuning techniques deal with ratios of string length: 1:2, 1:3, 3:4, 4:5, 5:6, 8:9 and so forth. These are based on an overtone series which is the common law ruler of sound in every human musical/acoustical system. It is at this point that most musicians and the majority of esoteric speculators cease their investigation. The overtone series is the crux that unifies all systems and validates the law of harmony in its natural mathematical state. It is only here that our diverse paths as musicians, scientists, mathematicians, symbolists, alchemists and philosophers come together for confirmation of our factual intuitional selves.

It is a tendency among writers to and speakers on esoteric subjects to define their own terminology in regard to music and its correspondences on inner levels. To challenge them is proper, not particularly for the enjoyment of debate, but for the exercise toward truth. An analogy can be made with alchemical laboratory work. Tinctures may be read about, recognized for their associations and qualities and yet remain abstract and non-tested substances. However, to actually prepare a tincture thoroughly by picking the herb, drying it and continuing with all the steps through personal usage brings an inner understanding into the process. Wisdom is the sought result and then more difficult and challenging steps to making a herbal stone may be undertook. The same is true for music. We must not simply take correspondences for granted as truth, we must test them. Even if musical correspondences vary from teacher to teacher, we can learn their process by approaching their results with an investigating mind.

It is often said that the trinity of music in alchemy is melody (Sulphur), harmony (Mercury), and rhythm (Salt). Yet they all contain each other. Melodies are horizontal, harmonies are vertical and rhythm is the cohesive element among and between the first two in regard to time and space. We are dealing with an abstract that can not exist out of time and remain musical to our human ears.

We know how difficult it is to explain the essence and power behind alchemy to a scientist using strictly conventional possibilities. I believe the same is true in regard to music, and yet we really do not separate the cosmic nature of music from the repertoire of the radio. Perhaps to clearly approach the alchemy of sound, we must begin to use terms like "philosophical melody," "philosophical harmony" and "philosophical rhythm."

Chemical elements take on different characteristics depending on the other elements with which they form combinations. The same is true musically. We can make an assumption about the tone G (sol) only in regard to its relationship to other tones: it may be the tonic or root of a chord, it may be the first tone of a melody, it may be the sixth overtone in a series or the fifth of a minor triad. The power and dominance of the tone G is completely dependent on its relationship to all other sounds heard both vertically and horizontally at the same time. 'An harmonic structure, we can also see the power of an unheard tone: other tones lead us toward it and demand a resolution toward it.

Often statements are made in relationship of a tone to a color. This presents a relative problem in both the area of sound and sight. We accept that the tone A is now tuned at vibrations per second. However Europe there is a common use of vibrations for the same tone, and I look back over the past three centuries there is a wide margin on the tuning of the pitch A. Its historical variation is so wide that it would move up or down two or three half steps as we know them today. So the question of the true nature of vibration per second pitch is an essential one. Similarly we are challenged by the quality of color. What is true red? What is the most red of all? Can we debate the power of a tone by the instrument which produces it?

The Alchemy of Sound is just as demanding and perplexing as those in the chemical arts. Yet we are just pioneering the remarkable possibilities of defining sound and music in such exact terms that musicians can approach the Music of the Spheres without being led astray by the vague musical and visual conveniences which have pillowed our intellects. We can now begin to contemplate our spiritual ancestry through solid figures in musical holographs, dimensional Kabalistic trees and in precise alchemical definitions. The Music of the Spheres is right here. Active perfection and participation in it simply awaits our undivided attention. Shall we begin?


Addey, John M., Harmonics in Astrology, L. N. Fowler & Co., Essex, England, 1976.
Blair, Lawrence, Rhythms of Vision Croom & Helm, London, 1976.
Hamel, Peter Michael, Through Music to the Self Shambhala, Boulder, Co., 1979.
Hersey, G. L. Pythagorean Palaces: Magic and Architecture in the Italian Renaissance. Cornell University Press, Ithaca. 1976.
Kayser, Hans, AKROASIS: The Theory of World Harmonics, Plowshare Press, Boston, 1970.
Kahn, Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Mysticism of Sound Serwire, Holland, 1979.
McClain, Ernest G. The Pythagorean Plato: Prelude to the Song Itself, Nicolas Hays, Stony Brook, NY., 1978.
Rudyar, Dane, The Rebirth of Hindu Music, Weiser, New York, 1979.

Inquiries by Students ... and Answers

Q. Amo means love in Latin. It is especially interesting, in the light of the mcssage of Love he gives. Is it possible, that his teachers gave him this name with a foresight i.e. to express his true nature and mission?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q.What effect have the planets on the extractions of the tinctures and oils from antimony?

A. This depends on their aspects to each other in relationship to the mineral antimony, which differs at given times.

Q. In making the glass of Antimony, why is it so much easier to make glass now?

A. Because of the equipment available and the control of the temperatures.

Q. Could you please explain, what the true potable gold is, as many authors call it or obtain from different things. After the gold has been dissolved in the philosophical mercury does it require further Purification: by what means?

A. Potable (drinkable) gold has to be so prepared that no poisonous salts are found in it. It is its essence, alchemical spirit and sulphur, that make it possible to distill from it its colored essence and becomes potable.

Q. I still cannot get it clear in my mind the value of using the acetone of the Wise as a menstruum to extract oil of calcium rather than making an acetate and distilling out the oil. I assume the acetone method must be superior for our classwork but don't see it clearly. Would you please comment?

A. There is a difference. The acetone of the Wise extracts its sulphur from calcium whereas the acetone extraction gives you a catalysate, meaning a change in acetone from calcium as a catalyst.

Q. This is just a personal observation but it often seems that the great music of the past is a kind of doorway to an augmented awareness of reality, coming by way of the heart. One feels that the music of the great composers conceals mysteries that perhaps even they were not aware of and that there is more true magic, for instance, in a Beethoven Symphony or Wagner Opera than in many an occult book. If sound creates, isn't such music a creation of great influence, and isn't a performer, in a way, celebrating at a sacred ritual?

A. Absolutely.

Q. What is the easiest and most efficient way to extract the mercury of Antimony from the Red Kermes?

A. With its own vinegar.

Q. When a soul comes into this life, does it know when it will leave? Is it true that when it wants to leave nothing can keep it here?

A. To the first part of your question the answer is: As a whole, No. Regards part two: The answer is: Circumstances over which it has no control may prevent it from leaving, but it can even fight this.

Q. You state in "The Alchemist of the Rocky Mts." that the Prince of Peace will appear May 7th, 1986. Will gender be important here or could this person be a female?

A. A quotation was given in the book which uses the word prince (positive-giving forth), not princess (negative - recipient).

Q. You cautioned us in the Prima Class not to apply the saying, "If a little does a little good - a lot will do a lot of good", to the tinctures we make and take daily. Question: Now that we've taken them for a year could they be a little stronger or could we take a little more dosage, or should we still use caution?

A. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Use great caution.

Q. Did you say last year that there was a way of determining from our horoscope whether or not we should at meat?

A. No.

How does one discriminate between Imagination, Actuality and Reality?

A. By experience.

Q. Frater, in your book "The Alchemist of the Rocky Mountains" you've mentioned various persons by name. Are these ficticious characters or real ones in your life?

A. They are real. The names Farnsworth, Syndergaard, etc. are real. Except the name of the couple, Gunderson has been changed, as one of the two is still living at an advanced age. As an example this picture is an actual photo of the late Dr. Hyrum Syndergaard. This should answer your questions and close this matter for good.

Q. On the color plate #4 of "Men and the Cycles of the Universe", all dates from 19,717 B.C. through 277 B.C. add up to a number '7', and all dates past 277 B.C. total 11 or 2. This date of 277 B.C. began the Piscean age during which the Christed One entered this world.
1. Is there any connection between His entrance in this world and the number value change? If not - then:
2. What is the significance of this dramatic numeral change, for chance happenings I doubt could explain it.

A. Seven plus two equals nine. The last and highest of all integers or the indication of the completion of an epoch.

Q. Was there some reason why you said Amber was found in the Baltic Sea?

A. Because so much has been and still is found there, besides other places in the world.

Q. How is the fire regulated? How cautious must one be in regulating the fire as one approaches the different colors one may obtain from Antimony?

A. This depends on the equipment available. In an electric muffle furnace a pyrometer measures the exact temperature. Various clay cones that melt at a certain temperature can also be used.

Q. When speaking of arriving at the proper proportions of sulphur, salt and mercury in the fire stone, for example, is this an equivalence relation? And is this by weight? i.e. weight of salt = weight of sulphur weight of sulphur = weight of mercury?

A. During the entire process nature finds in its closing steps its own proportions, if allowed to do so.

Q. Last year you said that homeopathically preparations contained only the salt, this may be so with non soluble metal preparations, but herbal potencies are prepared from, standard tinctures. It seems that these would contain the mercury and sulphur instead of the salt. Would you please explain?

A. Your statement is correct. But there are preparations going under that name that are not prepared spagyrically. This was the gist of my statement. Your next to the last sentence answers your own question.



Pharmacopoeia Londinensis. Or, the New London Dispensatory. In Six Books 5th edition by, William Salmon, Professor of Physic. London, 1696.

Chapter Xl, page 564, #53 Lapis Vegetabilis, The Vegetable Stone

Rx. Take a dry plant, digest it with its own distilled water: draw from it the flegm, spirit, and oil; from the feces extract a salt (by calcination) with the flegm: then draw a tincture from the same kind of herb with the spirit; impregnate the salt with the tincture, and add as much of the oil as the salt so impregnated can swallow up, then coagulate like a stone. (Salmon) "It has all the virtues of the herbs exalted from whence it is extracted."


The Four Seasons in Alchemy

Adapted from the French of the wise Benedictine Dom Antoine-Joseph Pernety 1716-1801

Translated by Prof. Kjell Hellesoe

In analogy to the four seasons of the common year, the Philosophers also have their four seasons; but they are rather different. In fact, by seasons they understand the diverse successive states in which the matter of Art finds itself during the course of operations. And these seasons renew themselves each Philosophic year, i.e. each time one reiterates the operation order to arrive at the perfection of the work. Their winter is the time of dissolution and putrefaction: spring succeeds and lasts from the time the black color begins to disappear until the white color is perfect.

Their summer consists of this whiteness and the saffron color which follows. The red color which comes afterwards is their fall. For this reason they say that winter is the first season of the year, and this is why the work has to be started in the winter. Those who recommend to begin in the springtime, only have the matter with which the work has to be done in mind, and not the beginning of the Artists work, since this may be done any, of the vulgar seasons.

Winter. Sometimes the Sages have given this name to their mercury. But usually it is intended in an allegorical sense, to denote the beginning of the work, or the time preceding putrifaction. This is why they usually say that one has to start during the wintertime and finish in the fall. Just as nature seems to be dead during the wintertime and does not yet produce anything; in the same way the mercury of the Sages only disposes towards generation, which will not occur without corruption, and corruption will only happen by way of putrefaction. Thus the regimen of the fire has to be of the first degree. The mercury dissolves its body, and the Philosophers have said that the degree of the fire has to be similar to the heat of a chicken hatching; others to the heat of the stomach, to the heat of manure; others again, to a heat similar to the solar heat during the month of March, or when the sun is in the sign of Aries. This is why they have said that the work has to be started in the sign of the Ram, while the moon is in the sign of the Bull. And all this signifies nothing but the heat philosophically moderated at the begining of the work.

It is during this philosophical wintertime, that the mercury is mortified, that the earth conceives and changes its nature.

Spring. This is the time when the mercury takes on the warm and humid temper and constitution of air, which is achieved by a fire of the second degree. This heat should be moderate and tempered, but stronger than the one of winter. During this regimen the sulphur dries up the mercury. It produces the philosophical herbs and flowers, i.e. the colors preceding the whiteness itself. The matter can then no longer be destroyed. In order to redetermine this passage from black to white, the Philosophers have called it spring, as well as the matter itself.

Summer. This signifies the matter at the white stage, or the regimen of fire at the third degree. Its constitution is igneous. This third degree fixes the mercury, and its heat is similar to the sun in the sign of the Lion. It must be continued to the red stage. Then this red has been completely digested. It is so fixed that it no longer fears the fire. Our Dragon, says Philaletes, is then adorned by all celestial and terrestial virtues. Remember also that each of the fires must be double of the other. It is during this regimen that the fruits appear, and that it ascends to heaven in a chariot of fire; for then the red will appear, which will be permanent during all revolutions made by five coctions after the true white.

Fall. This is the time of the year when the Artist reaps the fruits of his labors. Its constitution is cold and dry. Hence remember that one must dissolve during the winter, cook during spring, coagulate during summer, and reap the fruits during fall; i.e. to bestow the tincture.