Golden Manuscript


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 Baro Urbigerus

A Servant of God in the Kingdom of Nature.

Experto Crede.


LONDON,
Printed for Henry Fairborne, at the Rose
in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1690.


c. 1973 PARA PUBLISHERS
P. 0. BOX 2225
CUSTOM HOUSE STATION
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94126


INTRODUCTION

In the "Collectanae Chemicae"* (JAMES ELLIOT & CO., 1983, London, England) mention is made by the author of the Philosophical Stone about a treatise written about the "little work, or the preparation of the Herbal Stone in these words:

"Very few of the true philosophers have touched upon this subject, for it seemed trifling in respect to the great work, as the process in metals is generally termed; but there is a modern publication in English, a small thin duodecimo, without any author's name, having for its title "Aphorismi, seu Circulus majus et Circulus minus, wherein the whole process is plainly laid down."

Hardly anything is known about this, since it was customary not to reveal the identity of individuals who were responsible for publishing works of such controversal nature. The reader should not forget that in Centuries gone Alchemy was also ridiculed, as in our own days, especially by those whose knowledge was based mostly on book learning and very little practical experience. Be it as it may, considerable speculation has been going on as to who the author of the "Aphorisms" was, or could have been. Since this treatise was in existence when the Collectanae Chemicae was compiled, there would have to be a close proximity to the dates of publication. This in itself would not necessarily prove to be correct, as in the compilation of the Collectanae Chemica not all writers of the various treatises, which it contains, did write them at the same time. What is of interest to students of Alchemy is the fact that not much is available on the little work, or Opus Minor, as it is called in Latin. On the other hand enormous literary efforts have been made when it came to the work on metals, or the "Opus Major", the great work, that described how to make the Philosopher's Stone. Efforts to explain how to cope with such a delicate undertaking were not always successful. Too much emphasis was placed on archaic language and weird illustrations which gave imagination free reign and got lost in the most impossible realms of speculation. Yet, when it came to get some instructions on the spagyric herbal work, our authors, - heaven knows for what reasons - acted just as mysterious. It is safe to say that one of the plainest methods on how to prepare the stone of the vegetation is given in the Collectanae Chemica. Nevertheless, it needs some corroboration, especially since the author thereof mentions this treatise of the "Aphorism", as being worthy of the attention of alchemistical students and practioners. It was stressed, rightfully enough, that the process is given by way of Aphorism with an admonition that, if one knows what the author refers to, the process described is very plain. All in all there are thirty-one sections. Each supposedly to give an outline if not concrete directions on how to produce the opus minor. To locate a copy of these Aphorisms is another thing, as can be seen since very little is known of its author, and no mention of any other name is made or even hinted at.

It seems that dame fortune has been good to me through help from above this would be the language used by former Alchemists - because before me lies the following, entitled: "APHORISMI." On the inside it says: Licensed January 13, 1689/90. Rob. Midgley

What follows are some ninety-nine sections, it would not be correct to call them chapters, because of their brevity, telling the reader by way of Aphorism how to make the Stone of the Philosophers. The second part of this treatise is the preparation of the Herbal Stone.

About the Author we do not know anything, except that the name Urbigerani could be a changing of Urbiger, which would let us assume that he was of Teutonic origin. To let the reader get a better idea of the man who wrote this, here follows the exact wording of the title page given above:

To Our DEAR DISCIPLES, Honor'd COADEPTS, And All WELL-WISHERS To Our HERMETIC ART

"Finding you, dear Sons, who have thro our means attain'd to the true knowledge of our first Matter, worthy to receive our farther Instructions in the remainder of the Process, to extirpate all such Ambiguities, as you may have conceiv'd in our Absence, to facilitate your Labors, and to precaution you in the bringing your Work to its highest Perfection, We here, according to your desire, expose to you, and for your Sakes, to the Public, all the most infallible Rules, necessary for preventing of Errors in this great Undertaking. And tho you, ever-honor'd Coadepts, could never yet so far prevail on yourselves, as to come to a Resolution of presenting the World with the full Practice of this our Art, joined to the Theory, we are nevertheless most certain, that we shall not receive any Reprimand from you for bringing to light these our Rules, which we have so penn'd, that even those, who know not our Person, will not only soon perceive, that all, we have written, is the real Truth, clearly exhibiting both the Theory and Practice of the whole Hermetic Art, but also conclude that these Operations must of necessity have very often pass'd thro our own hands, from our giving such positive Rules, and infallible Instructions, elucidating all the most obscure and intricate Enigms of the Philosophers, and warning them of all the Accidents, that may happen in the working of our Subject: We are, we say, confident, you neither will, nor can blame us for this: since you will easily discern, that our Design is purely to instruct our Disciples, and prevent all the Well-wishers to this most noble Art from being impos'd upon, and cheated, by any false pretended Adept: to the end that those, who shall from the Divine Benignity, by the help of these our Aphorisms, or otherwise, have received the blessed knowledge of our first Matter, which is the very same in all our three ways of producing the grand Elixir, may thro these our certain Rules obtain the accomplishment of their Desires.

"Having in our Travels fortuned to meet with some Persons of true Principles in Philosophy and Religion, we could not but embrace them, and instruct them towards its farther Perfection, which cannot be attained without the true knowledge of our Celestial Art, by which comprehending all the Mystery of Mysteries, we learn also how to serve God in Faith and Truth. And since we have no Obligation to any living Soul for the knowledge, we possess, having attained it all by the only Blessing of Almighty God on our Industry and Expenses: being therefore at more liberty than those, who receive such a Favor from us, or some other Adept, 'tis our Determination, whenever, we meet with Persons so qualified, always to do the same. Wherefore being at present in England, tho we are no Native of this Kingdom, we think it necessary to set forth these our Aphorisms in the English Tongue, not in the least doubting, but that the Knowing, minding only the Sense, will easily pardon any Impropriety, they may find in our Expressions: and when Providence shall carry us into any other Country, we, having attained to some competent knowledge of most European Languages, shall again take care to publish them in the Speech of the Place, where we shall be, that we may the sooner obtain the effect of our Desires, which aim at nothing, but the undeceiving of the World by setting down certain and evident Marks. distinguishing the Worthy from. the Unworthy, and at the bringing of Men to leave their unnecessary Forms, by instructing them in the true way of Serving God, being the only means to render them happy both in this World, and the next."

My assumption that Urbiger could have been German, finds some additional support, in his statement that he is no Englishman. It is questionable if the Reader, especially those who are not too familiar with Alchemistical terminology, could get much from these obscure writings without some help from those who are actively engaged in the Hermetic work. As the name indicates, Hermetic means tightly sealed; some help to breach a tight seal is not unwelcome in such cases as this.

It should be clearly understood that any attempt to shed some light on these Aphorisms is purely arbitrary. Since everyone has a right to his or her own interpretation there is no intention or suggestion that my attempt to shed some help in the form of an attached commentary is the last word. Those versed in alchemistical lore will know if my attempts are justified. That is also the reason why I have attached only a very brief commentary to the vegetable process, and none to the Opus Major. Commentary on the Opus Major will have to be looked for in some of my other writings. -Frater Albertus


(101 Aphorisms on the Great Work to be added p7 - 33)


TO ALL TRUE LOVERS OF THE HERMETIC PHILOSOPHY

Having in our Precedent Aphorisms clearly delivered such infallible Rules and Instructions, as are necessary for producing our Grand Elixir, or Circulatum Majus, the only real Secret of the true Adepts, commanding in all the Kingdoms of Nature, which will, we question not, be no less pleasing to all other lovers of Sciences. than to our Disciples; and being farther inclined fully to inform them, how to preserve themselves and others in perfect Health by obviating any Distemper, that may otherwise overcome them, before they can attain to the Accomplishment of their Desires: We have thought it convenient to impart likewise to them our three several ways of making our Vegetable Elixir, or Circulatum minus, which may be prepared, and brought to its utmost Perfection in the space of a Philosophical Month by any skilful Artist, who shall comprehend and follow our certain Directions, laid down in these our subsequent Aphorisms, where the whole Work is so evidently demonstrated, that none, who is ever so little versed in Chymistry, can be liable to mistake. Nor do we any way doubt, but all those, who shall with a sincere and upright Intention peruse these our plainly-written Aphorisms. will find themselves obliged to bless Almighty God for his infinite Mercy in having inspired us to open their Eyes, that they may see, what is requisite for their present Health, and future Happiness, both which we heartily wish to every one. who, as becomes a true Philosopher, unfeignedly loves God and his Neighbor.


Circulatum minus Urbigeranum,
Or The

PHILOSOPHICAL ELIXIR
Of
VEGETABLES,
With
THE THREE CERTAIN WAYS OF PREPARING IT.

I

Our Circulatum minus is only a specificated Elixir, belonging to the Vegetable Kingdom, by which without any 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.

II

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.

III

Out of Dianas 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.

IV

The Determination of our Dianas 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 to this our Circulatum minus.

V

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 in it.

VI

The third and common way is only a Conjunction of a fixt Vegetable Salt with its own volatil 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.

VII

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 Vegetable Salt, which is extremely fortified by it, being dilated, it is made capable of receiving its own Spirit, and uniting itself with it.

VIII

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 moderate digestive Heat, as if one would hatch Chickens, and as the Salt grows dry, the Imbibitions are to be repeated, until you find it so fully saturated that it refuses to imbibe any more of the Matter.

IX

In the Course of Imbibitions the whole Mass is at least nine or ten times a day to be stirr'd 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 its Operation the sooner.

X

Great care is to be taken, that in the performance of the lmbibitions, 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 it self to any other Subject, and so spoil your Undertaking.

XI

If in three, or four Weeks time at farthest, your fixt Vegetable Salt does not manifest its full Saturation, it will certainly be 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 of the real sulphureous Medium, or in the Management of the Imbibitions.

XII

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 volatil, spiritual, transparent, and wonderfully penetrating, entring of a sudden into the Pores and Particles of every Vegetable, and separating in a moment their true Essence or Elements.

XIII

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.

XIV

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 its Salt fit for Conjunction with it, has the power to enter into its Pores, to facilitate its Volatilization, and Union.

XV

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 exceeding volatil, has in its Nature power to volatilize its own Body, and unite itself inseparably with it, finding it capable of its Reception.

XVI

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 your Operation.

XVII

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.

XVIII

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.

XIX

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 putrify, and precipitate itself into the bottom quite dead, (which is nothing but the cursed Excremental 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, 'tis a sign, that your Operations have not been Philosophical.

XX

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, and corroborate the vital Spirits, if constantly taken to purify the Blood in sickly and infectious Times.

XXI

If you put Coral into this Menstruum, you will see an admirable Experiment: for although its Pores are compacter, than in any other Vegetable; yet it will on a sudden transmit its internal Spirit into the Menstruum, and sending its Soul and Body, like a blood-red Oil to the Top, will at last fall to the Bottom like a grayish Excrement.

XXII

If Myrrh, Aloes, and Saffron, of each an equal Quantity, are put into this Menstruum, the truest Elixir Proprietatis (as Paracelsus terms it) which is a most excellent Cordial, and almost of as great Efficacy and Virtue, as the Universal Elixir itself, in curing all curable Distempers, will presently swim on the Top, and its Caput Mortuum will separate itself into the Bottom.

XXIII

This Vegetable Menstruum dissolves not only all sorts of Gums, or any other kind of Substance in the Vegetable Kingdom, but also all sorts of Oils and Balsams, coming out of Trees, separating their true Essence, by which you may perform wonderful things both upon living Bodies, and dead ones, the last of which it preserves forever without opening or any farther Preparation of them.

XXIV

Though this Menstruum is only specificated upon Vegetables, it will nevertheless in a moment draw the Tincture out of Metals and Minerals; but it will not separate all their Principles, not being the appropriated Menstruum for such Operations; and though such Sulphurs are highly balsamic for the Lungs and Spleen, yet since our Elixir Proprietatis far exceeds those praeter natural Preparations, we only give this as a curious Chymical Experiment.

XXV

Since this Vegetable Menstruum is eternal, you must observe, that you lose nothing of its Quantity or Quality in separating of it from the Oil, and Spirit of the Vegetable, which is done by a gentle Destillation in Balneo aporoso, the Vessel being very well luted and dried before. The Menstruum, coming over with the Flegm of the Vegetable, from which it is by a Distillation in Balneo to be separated for farther uses, leaves the Oil at the Bottom, united with its own Spirit, which will easily go over in any common Heat, not leaving anything behind it: which is a Mark of its Spiritualization, Purification, and Regeneration, that it has received from the Menstruum.

XXVI

Out of this Oil or Essence of your Vegetable so prepared, or by any other Philosophical way, (as we have mentioned in our second Manner of making this our Elixir) if you know how to putrify it natually without any Fire, and to separate all our Principles out of it, purifying and uniting them inseparably together, being all made spiritual and transparent, you will then have out of this second Regeneration the greatest Arcanum in the World, as upon Vegetables, so also upon Minerals and Metals, except Gold and Silver.

XXVII

If this regenerated Essence be determined with our First Matter, it will then be in a Capacity radically to dissolve all sorts of Metals or Minerals, and principally Gold, which is imperceptibly dissolved in it, like Ice in common Water, and can never be separated common Gold again, neither by Distillation, nor Digestion: out of which, after a Philosophical Digestion, Separation of the three Principles, with their Purification, Union, Digestion, and third Regeneration, you may prepare the great Medicine of Medicines, of equal Virtue and Quality with the Grand Elixir upon human Bodies, and with our Mercury simplex, upon Metals or Minerals.

XXVIII

The determinating this regenerated Menstruum with our first Matter is to be performed by its Amalgamation with it, in which the Vegetable Menstruum, drawing out of it all its Qualities and Properties, and uniting them with its own, is made capable of the same Virtue and Property, as our Mercury Simplex, in dissolving and volatilizing every created thing, that shall come near it.

XXIX

Some are of Opinion, that both the Elixirs may be produc'd out of several determined things as Human Excrements, May-dew, (which they call also their Menstruum from above, or Water from the Clouds) etc. as also that the Grand Elixir may be prepared out of this, or any other Vegetable regenerated Menstruum; but since we know, that such Menstruums, which they call their Philosophical Mercury, although they may dissolve and volatilize Metals, yet cannot meliorate any of them, this Dissolution and Volatilization being neither natural nor Philosophical, we therefore with good Reason judge all those Opinions to be only false Suppositions and ill-grounded and imaginary Notions.

XXX

We with our Divine Master Hermes absolutely affirm, that, Almighty God having, after he had created all things, commanded every one of them to procreate out of its own kind, our Elixirs are not to be produced by any of those sophistical ways, as we have fully made appear in these and our precedent Aphorisms, in which we have given ample Instructions for the preparing the Universal Elixir out of our undetermined Matter, and the specificated one out of the Root of Vegetables.

XXXI

Out of the true Affection and Charity, we have for all Lovers of Arts, we advise every one, who shall desire to prepare either of these our Elixirs, only to follow our Infallible Rules, being the Compendium of the whole Practice and Theory according to all true Philosophers, and not to mind any other: for some having delivered things by Hearsay, others from Reading, and very few from their own Practice, they may easily be imposed upon and deluded by any Pseudo-chymist or pretended Adept.


Experto Crede.

A POSTSCRIPT,
containing

AN EXPLANATION OF THE FIGURE, PREFIXT TO THE APHORISMI URBIGERANI.
See Top

Having in our One Hundred and One Aphorisms so perspicuously laid open all the Difficulties, and so amply taught the compleat Theory and Practice of the whole Hermetic Mystery, that any ingenious Lover of Chymistry will not only be enabled to understand the most abstruse writings of the Philosophers, but also to effect any real Experiment, which is to be expected in the Progress of our Celestial Art; and yet being apt to believe, that such, as are not our Disciples, may perhaps meet with some of the Philosophical Figures, the meaning of which they may not so easily comprehend, we have judg'd it highly experient, in the Front of this our little Book to place this our Figure, by which, being a perfect Compendium of all the Philosophical Emblems, the rest maybe without any great difficulty understood. Now since this our Figure, mystically representing all our subjects and Operations, cannot but admit of many and various Interpretations, all which if we should here set down, our Aphorisms (where they are already delivered, and of which this would then be a Repetition,) would be altogether useless and insignificant: we therefore at first esteemed it very superfluous to give any farther Illustration of it. But our desire being to do all the good, we can, to the Public, we have on second Thoughts resolved with our wanted Brevity to deliver the following Explanation for the better Comprehension both of It and our Aphorisms. The Tree is a Supporter of the Motto, Virtus unita fortior: which, being to be read from the side of the Serpent, representing by the Half-Moon on its Head the Planet, under whose Influence it is born, is to be referred to it according to its particular Motto, which signifies, that, if you take it alone, it can do little or nothing in our Art, as wanting the Assistance of others. By the Green Dragon is to be understood our first undetermined Matter, comprehending all our Principles, (as is demonstrated by the Half-Moon on its Head, the Sun in its Body, and the Cross on its Tail,) and denoting by its Motto, that it can perform the whole work without being joined with any other created or artificially prepared thing: which is our first way. But this our Dragon, when copulating with our Serpent, is forced to comply with her, degrading itself from its undetermined Being for the production of our second way. Apollo with the Sun on his head, and Diana with the Half-Moon, embracing each other, shew our third way, and the Continuation of our first and second. The River, into which they descend, signifies the State, they must be reduced into, before they can be in a Capacity of being born again, and before in any of our three ways they can be brought to a perfect Spiritualization and Union. Apollo and Diana, coming out of the River in one wonderful Body, Diana having obtained all, represent our Herculean works, ready finished, and the beginning of their Conjunction, and by their going to set their foot on firm, ground, where she is to sow the noble Fruits for the Procreation, is to be understood the Continuation of their Conjunction, till they are fully united and perfected. In this Scheme also, as well as in our Aphorisms, are mystically exhibited all the principal Points of Faith and Religion, comprised in the Volumes of the Old and New Testament: whence it manifestly appears, that the Contemplation of Nature truly leads to the Compre hension of those heavenly Verities, by which alone we can expect to arrive at the Enjoyment of that blessed Immortality, to which, as to the true and ultimate End of our Creation, all our Endeavors are to be directed.

Further comment from The Golden Game by Stanislas Klossowski De Rola Pg.307, note 497.
Aphorismi urbigerani.

'Virtue united is stronger.' (Virtus unita fortior.) The virtue inherent in the Seed produces the miracle of the Tree. As the acorn becomes the oak, so does the Stone of the Philosophers grow into the Philosopher's Stone. Nil sine vobis, 'Naught without you,' says the mercurial Snake with the martial tail, to his opposite number the winged Dragon with the saturnine tail. Per Nos omnia, 'Through us, everything,' answers the latter who, being the symbol of the Materia Prima, contains its future potentialities.

'I am a captive of thy beauty,' whispers Apollo to his sister Diana, indicating his incestuous designs (and the initial domination of the female in their tryst). 'I will vanquish thee yet further,' answers Diana, pointing to the rising Waters of Dissolution. The hieroglyph, which is in the place of an arrow on her bow, is the symbol of Gaea, the Earth, which indicates the kind of earth that must be dissolved in their fiery embrace. On the other side of the Tree, as the waters recede, the Rebis~Hermaphrodite emerges, and his/her lunar face addresses its alter ego (the Sun): 'Thy Regeneration is in my power.' The other face gratefully exclaims: 'By thee [living water] I shall live.'

FINISH


Interpretation and Explanation of the Aphorism.

I

The first paradox we see here is that it says: "by which without any fire" - this process is to be accomplished. Later on he says that a digestive heat is necessary.

II

Circulation in this case can mean a maceration, percolation or in our modern times a soxhlet extraction.

III

The separation of the three elements are meant to be the three essentials sulphur, salt, and mercury, or its essential ethereal oil, spirit and mineral residue.

IV

A total separation of these three essentials is stressed, without such separation nothing can be accomplished as outlined thereafter.

V

This means one plant only or a mixture of plants may be used. The preparation begins with putrefaction which means fermentation. Here the spirit (Alcohol) is freed. From this tincture is distilled the oil or alchemistical sulphur. The third principal, salt or mineral, is not mentioned, but a vision of the three is stressed as necessary to get the vitality of the plant or plants renewed and increased so it can give off from its own vital strength to revive dying or weak plants.

VI

Here he mentions the salt. This, he says may be obtained from the chemist. Again we have a seeming paradox, because alchemists state that their preparations can not be had at the chemist's or apothecary's shop. This is correct, but here a product devoid of the two essentials sulphur and mercury is mentioned. This can be had in the chemist's shop and serves its purpose.

VII

Emphasis is placed on the sulphurous matter which he also calls bituminous. This refers to the resinous substance which is attached to the pure alchemical plant sulphur. This can be extracted from the fresh plant as well as the dried. When the salt has been purified then it is ready to receive the purified essential oil and purified spirit (alcohol).

VIII

The next process describes how this is done. That which is was called bituminous is nothing else but the calcined residue of the sulphur, also known as salt of sulphur. This together with the extracted plant, which also has been reduced to black ashes - (carbon) is then placed in a retort and the purified spirit (mercury) and oil (sulphur) are added. In a heat equivalent to that needed to hatch chicken eggs, it is distilled. Here again, a discrepancy appears, because it takes a higher degree of heat to distill the alcohol over than that required to hatch an egg. The answer is very simple, the process accomplished by creating a vacuum in the retort, which Alchemists knew how to do without the sophisticated equipment of the modern chemist.

This distillation to dryness and pouring over of the distillate is repeated until the bituminous substance (salt) gets lighter every time. When this process is repeated and it will not take up and hold anymore of the added moisture of alcohol and oil.

IX

The contents in the retort both prior to and after distillation should be agitated at least nine or ten times a day to enable a better penetration and whitening of the substance.

X

When using a retort for the distillation care should be taken not to get any foreign matter into it. As the salt gets more subtle it will attract dust or fine particles, and these are difficult to remove.

XI

If after three or four weeks the salt has not been fully saturated with its mercury and sulphur, something is wrong. The process should be stopped and started all over again.

XII

When properly conducted it is supposedly to be a transparent crystalline substance. My own experience has not shown an absolutely pure crystalline substance, but an opaque white hard result.

XIII

The quantity of each of the three essentials is of importance. When the salt will not imbibe any more of mercury and sulphur, Nature has found its own balance.

XIV

Here, he tells us that in the beginning the salt should be saturated with its tincture (mercury and sulphur - it is the sulphur that tincts) and stand for about a week or ten daysto help open the pores of the salt, ie. to dissolve its soluble substance.

XV

Care should be taken that none of the volatile spirit is lost. Every bit of it is needed for the penetration of the salt in the process of repeated cohobation (bringing together) of spirit and salt.

XVI

The sulphur should not and does not distill over with the spirit but gets more and more united (alchemical marriage) with the salt.

XVII

He warns of an excessive heat. A sure sign that heat is needed for the process, whether a waterbath or ashes, both formerly obtained through fire.

XVIII

When this union is properly performed the little circulation has been accomplished.

XIX

When other plants have been finely cut and placed into the distilled spirit it will have them fall to the bottom within fifteen minutes as dead earth or terra damnata, while its essential oil (sulphur) and spirit (mercury) will swim on top. Thus the essentials are extracted by the power and strength of the spirit menstruum.

XX

The oil from a finely cut plant macerated in a proper vehicle, either wine or water - swims on top. One drop of this oil has great medicinal virtue.

XXI

Coral, when put into this menstruum will act the same way, and have its salt fall to the bottom. but will show a red oil swimming on top.

XXII

An equal mixture of Myrrh, Aloes and Saffron, will give an excellent Elixir, again swimming on top, while the plant substance goes to the bottom.

XXIII

This menstruum dissolves also gums, oils, and resins from trees.

XXIV

This menstruum is also said to draw out a tincture from metals. He tells us correctly that it will not dissolve metals as it is not the proper menstruum for metals. But that it will extract a tincture, has been proven to be correct.

XXV

This menstruum may be regenerated by gentle distillation in a vapor bath.

XXVI

The next is somewhat puzzling because he says something which all Alchemists deny, namely, that this recovered oil and spirit does work on minerals and metals, with the exception of Gold and Silver. If he means only the extrac tion of their tincture, yes, but no transmutation can result therefrom.

XXVII

Only when this essence is united with the philosophical mercury will it act upon metals and dissolve them. But not otherwise.

XXVIII

Three different alchemical mercuries are found within Nature, all the offspring of One Universal Mercury or Spirit. United they can perform what one alone cannot.

XXIX

He makes a distinction once more between what extracts a tincture and what dissolves a substance. Not all menstruums are alike, though man can and does call all of them mercury, or philosophical mercury.

XXX

It is only by Divinely inspired knowledge that these Elixirs can be produced.

XXXI

He exhorts all to stay within the bounds of Nature by Divine decree and follow the instructions of those who speak from experience to avoid delusion by pretenders and PseudoAlchemists.

No doubt some concentrated thinking is essential in order to fathom what these short aphorisms are trying to convey.

Those who have had some experiences in alchemistical laboratory practice will be pleasantly rewarded by an extra gift in the form of the menstruum he mentions, that will extract the essentials out of plants, when in the Collectanae Chemica we are told that the vegetable stone, when properly prepared, will extract the essentials of any plant when immersed in the juices of the herb, or the macerated tincture of a plant. It is unfortunate that more have not written about this important work on plants, because when this process is mastered it will surely open up greater vista in the alchemistical domain. Not all who ventured into the herbal work came up with its final result, the Herbal Stone. This is because too many began actual work in the laboratory with insufficient theoretical preparation. No doubt, rash attempts, by following the letter to the last iota, that failed to materialize expected results, have added oil to the fire, which alchemistical opponents were only too happy to fan. Undoubtedly, there are unusual circumstances surrounding alchemistical results. The reason for the results is not always easy to explain especially why desired results denied to some are granted to others. The fact remains, however, some are given the knowledge of how to do the work, while others cannot even see the meaning. Some are attached to Alchemy with great fascination and cannot let go. To them Alchemy holds the answer to the mystery of life, while to others it is but fantasy and imagination. Only he, who has had personal experiences knows what it is all about. Words alone cannot do justice. One has to find the answer for oneself. Some help to Neophytes from those who have already attained alchemistical results, by personal experience, will be immense help in shortening the time required. When such can be found, and their assistance obtained it will surely prove to be a great blessing to all who sincerely seek for an answer to their alchemistical questions.

Frater Albertus

Top