Volume 4: Number 1 Spring 1979

This classical illustration of the Green Lion and the Sun (the original is in colour) is from a series from the "Rosarium philosophorum" 16th. Century, Stadtbibliothek Vadiana, St. Gallen, Ms. 394 a, f.97.

Potable Gold - A. G. Fehres
Astronomy for Astrologers IV

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Commentary: Italics


An ingot of one ounce of 9999 gold was dissolved in aqua regia and washed with distilled water to near neutral until specks of metallic gold appeared.

Aqua Regia, a mixture of Hydrochloric and Nitric reduces metallic gold to salts of gold, chiefly gold chloride. When the salts lose their acidity and become neutral or alkaline, the salts tend to convert into metallic gold again.

During the washing also a brown precipitate appeared in the solution which was filtered out, dried and stored for later possible use and labelled: Gold Body 1.

Salts of gold are always of a complex constitution in comparison to most other metallic salts. Seeing "four nines" gold was used the brown powder could not be an impurity. No analysis was carried out, but as this powder is insoluble in water, it could very well be auric hydroxide or auric sulfide.

The resulting salts of gold were of a deep purple colour and were thoroughly dried as they were found to be very hygroscopic.

Gold chloride is not only water soluble, it attracts moisture very quickly (hydroscopic) and becomes a liquid. It also becomes a liquid when overheated. once the solution is near neutral, the water evaporated off and the salts broken up into small granules, I found a small erlenmeyer flask on a very mild heat most suitable to get the salt thoroughly dry.


Philosopher's Mercury was put over some of the gold chloride, causing a violent hissing as well as heat which caused the contents to boil. The vapours smelled strongly of Aqua Regia.

Quoting from 'Alchemy Rediscovered and Restored' by A. Cockren, page 125: 'When the Mercurial Water is added to these salts of gold, there is a slight hissing, an increase in heat, and the gold becomes a deep red liquid. The degree of hissing depends on how little Mercury is slowly added. If too much Mercury is added the salt is 'drowned' and no hissing occurs.

The liquid immediately became deep red and a sediment formed which, when cold, was filtered out through a No. 5 filter paper. Then more of our Mercury was poured over the sediment until no more colour came out. The dried sediment, light brown in colour, was put with Gold Body 1.

This light brown powder behaves the same as the precipitate obtained during the washing of the salt. It does not dissolve in water nor in alcohol, tests neutral and during calcination quickly changes to carbon, ignites and burns up.

This deep red filtrate, now called 'EXTRACT NO. 1' was distilled to recover the solvent, which was used again over more of the gold chloride and this process was repeated until all gold chloride had been used for which one ounce of Philosopher's Mercury was sufficient.

Our solvent, being very volatile, should be handled with great care unless one can afford considerable loss during operations. Filtration was done in a well closed jar just big enough to contain the funnel and filtrate bottle. For distillation a retort was used and the receiving flask was preheated before joining and then cooled. This works well if a very low heat is used. Joints were taped with plastic adhesive tape for extra safety.

This EXTRACT No. 1 should not be called potable gold. other than perhaps in highly triturated homeopathic preparations it is not at all safe to take as it still contains gold chloride in liquid form and Aqua Regia which remained in the gold chloride.
Cockren states that the oil of gold is obtained by addition of the mercurial water to the salts of gold. This is true, but the oil is still in a poisonous mixture of acid and liquid salt. Later on Cockren clearly points out that the oil of gold, a deep amber liquid of an oily consistency, is obtained from this deep red liquid by means of distillation. He goes on to say that this oil IS the potable gold of the alchemists.

While distilling off Mercury from Extract No. 1, it was noticed that first the Mercury came over and then a soft yellow liquid which was received in a separate receiving flask. This soft yellow liquid, after standing for a few hours, changed to orange, then to red and by the next day had become a very deep dark red, now called EXTRACT No 2.

This yellow liquid tests very acid, yet it also contains Mercury, which acts more slowly on liquid salts of gold when in an acid solution.

To diminish confusion further notes on EXTRACT No. 2 have been omitted, but it could be briefly mentioned that it was gently washed with distilled water several times and then once with alcohol. The extract was then rectified (alcohol evaporated off, fresh alcohol poured over it and filtered) and put together with the final extract.


After the Mercury and soft yellow liquid had been distilled of EXTRACT No 1, there remained in the distillation flask a thick black liquid and a film of metallic gold had lined the bottom.
The metallic gold lining resulted from the liquid gold chloride from which its acidity had been removed during distillation, which converted the salt into metal before the Mercury had caused its separation.
Absolute alcohol was poured onto this black liquid resulting in a deep red liquid, which was filtered and now called EXTRACT No 3.
More alcohol was poured over the sediment in the filter paper until no more colour was extracted. The sediment was then gently dried and put with 'Gold Body 1'.
The gold pellicles easily lifted from the bottom of the retort and were put away for re-use.
This EXTRACT No. 3, when sufficiently concentrated, has an oily consistency but is very acidic, which can easily be detected by smell.
From EXTRACT No 3 alcohol was distilled off until the distillate started to show a faint yellow colour.
Rota-vap apparatus was used, but is not a must as long as very low heat is used.
The alcohol tested very acid and was discarded.
The black viscous residue in the distillation flask was washed with distilled water several times until the washings tested neutral.
If distillation is continued wider high vacuum a clear oil can be obtained from it.
All washings were evaporated and the remains were rectified with alcohol several times. The black viscous residue was dissolved in absolute alcohol, producing a very strong deep red liquid, which was filtered through a No 5 filter paper. The sediment was treated the same as before.
The rectified remains of the washings were added to this liquid. All liquid was rectified with alcohol twice more (until its VAPOUR tested neutral) now called POTABLE GOLD.
Litmus paper cannot be used on an oily liquid.


Potable gold, thus prepared and rectified can be reduced to an oil as follows:
Let the alcohol evaporate off with a very gentle heat until no more alcohol can be smelled.
Dissolve residue with philosopher's mercury and circulate for a philosophical month or longer.
Distill off philosopher's mercury until the liquid is of mild oil consistency.
Pour distilled water onto this liquid. This will cause the oil to separate as a deep amber liquid, which can be made to cling to the sides through gently rolling and rotating the flask.
Pour out the water in an evaporating dish. If it has a tinge of yellow or faint red, it will also test acid, which means that either your potable gold or philosopher's mercury has not sufficiently been rectified or purified.
Weigh your bottle before and after removal of the oil. I think, the oil is the best and most reliable as a basis for trituration (dilution into potencies).
The oil is easily removed through dissolving it with alcohol.
Oil of gold can also be obtained as follows:
Dissolve salts of gold with enough philosopher's mercury and let it stand, well stoppered, for a couple of months.
This allows the mercury the time to act on all the salt and no metallic gold will form.
The amber oil will have separated, but will be found together with a red liquid which is very acidic.
Make the oil stick to the sides of the flask and decant the red liquid or pour the whole contents in an evaporating dish, let the oil cling to the sides and decant the red liquid.
Wash the oil with distilled water till neutral and rectify with alcohol at least twice.


Considering the oil as a solid extract, 1 gram of the oil would make 10ml of fluid extract, which would make 100m1 of tincture, one litre of lx, 10 litres of 2x, etc.

What potency to use, how much and how often, comes down to 'trial and error' as this would differ from person to person, depending on sensitivity and pathological conditions. As far as I know, no clinical evaluation has ever been documented apart from my own personal attempts in this direction.

To my own satisfaction the oil of gold has been proved to be non-toxic, but so is a herbal laxative, meaning to say that too much of it can be taken with unpleasant results.

Experience will teach you it to be wise to start with nothing stronger than the tincture and no more than 5 drops a day. Sensitive people should start with a lx or higher potency. Every day keep checking how you feel without allowing your emotions or imagination to take over.

From weak potencies it is unlikely that you get noticeable reactions from day to day. Strong doses of the tincture can result in headaches, increase in temperature, feeling too warm especially at night plus perspiration, tiredness, depression, lower back and neck pains, general aching of joints, kidney and bladder pains, darker urine, loss of appetite and nausea.

According to Naturopathic philosophy these symptoms indicate an increased effort of the body towards cleansing. Therefore, my advice as a naturopath is to take it easy!


Potable gold as well as the oil of gold are no overnight miracle cures and they are no pain killers either. Throughout the ages gold has been considered the perfect materialization of the sun and as such the qualities, benefits and virtues of the essence of gold (oil of gold) are assumed to be the same as or comparable with those of the sun, e.g. energizing or revitalizing, warming and expanding. Therefore, as a result the body would be more capable to look after itself, to start cleansing, renovating and rebuilding, slowly but surely.

- Arthur G Fehres.



A planetary aspect refers to a planet's position in the sky as viewed from the Earth at times of major configuration formed relative to the Sun.

Thus in this discussion we are looking at Aspects in the astronomical sense between the Sun and another planet only. However, in Astrology the same principle still applies in aspects between one planet and any other.

Astronomically, an Aspect or Configuration is the angular distance measured along the ecliptic in celestial longitude, as viewed from the Earth.

The outside circle (see illustration) represents the orbit of a superior planet (a planet outside the Earth's orbit). The inner circle, closest to the Sun, the orbit of an inferior planet, Mercury or Venus.


When a superior planet is in line with the Sun and Earth, and is on the far side of the Sun, it is in superior conjunction, or just simply conjunction. When an inferior planet is similarly positioned on the far side of the Sun from the Earth it is in superior conjunction also; but when it is on the near side of the Sun and in line with that body and the Earth it is in inferior conjunction. All planets can reach superior conjunction, but only Mercury and Venus form the inferior conjunction. When a planet or the Moon is in conjunction with the Sun it is always on or near the meridian at noon for any place. The interval between successive superior conjunctions, or successive inferior conjunctions, is known as a planet's synodic period.


The apparent angular distance of a planet east or west from the centre of motion (the Sun) at any time is called its elongation. With superior planets elongation can be measured up to 18 do east or west from the zero point at conjunction. The expression "at elongation" usually means the planet's maximum angular distance during its particular revolution of the Sun. But in the case of the inferior planets, Mercury can only be just over 28o from the Sun (viewed from the Earth) at Greatest Elongation West; Venus can only reach a distance of about 48o at these angular limits. It follows, therefore, that when a planet is in conjunction the Sun elongation is nil; at opposition, elongation is 180o

The illustration shows an inferior planet's path to be through superior conjunction to Greatest Elongation East, then swinging towards through inferior conjunction until it reaches its greatest western elongation, and so back again to superior conjunction to complete a synodic period.

When Mercury and Venus are east of the Sun they rise or set later than the Sun, because even though in terms of celestial longitude they will then be ahead of the Sun, moving in a direct or anticlockwise direction (as direction of arrox*"illustration"),the rotation of the Earth makes the Sun and planets appear to move in a clockwise direction.

Thus, when their Greatest Elongation East occurs in the spring months, when they are north of the celestial equator, they will be favourably placed for observation as "evening star", being high in the sky at sunset. Venus, in particular, is then very bright and sets about 4 hours after sunset, and Mercury about 2 hours after sunset. Mercury is only observed by the naked eye about the time of greatest apparent elongation. In the autumn months, when south of the celestial equator, neither planet attains a very high altitude, and when western elongation occurs at this time of the year they set before darkness has completely fallen, setting before the Sun. At western elongation Mercury and Venus are "morning stars" because they rise ahead of the Sun, before daylight.


Only the superior planets, which have orbits larger than the Earth's, can form square (quadrature) and opposition aspects with the Sun. the Moon, of course, because it orbits the Earth also forms these aspects. To an astrologer, when a planet's angular distance along the ecliptic from the Sun is 90o it is in square aspect; but the astronomer speaks of the planet being at quadrature C "illustration"). A planet is at eastern quadrature when, viewed from the Earth, it is 90o eastwards of the Sun, at apparent midpoint between conjunction and opposition. This would be First Quarter in the case of the Moon. At western quadrature a planet is westwards of the Sun by 90o at apparent midpoint between opposition and conjunction, and for the Moon this would be Last Quarter.

At eastern quadrature a superior planet's meridian passage is around 6 pm; at western quadrature, 6 am.


A planet is in opposition to the Sun when the Sun, Earth, and planet are approximately or directly in line, with the Earth in the middle. Mercury and Venus cannot be in opposition to the Sun. When at opposition a superior planet (or the Moon) crosses the meridian at about midnight. A planet is also at its closest point in its orbit to the Earth (perigee) at opposition, and at its farthest point (apogee) at conjunction the Sun, as shown in "illustration". This means that at opposition it will be above the horizon all night.


Occultation (Latin: occulere, cover) is a term most commonly applied to the hiding of a star or planet by the Moon. In other words, the other body is "eclipsed", and it would not be incorrect to say that a total solar eclipse is an occultation of the Sun. An occultation can only occur when the other body and the moon are in the same degrees of longitude and of declination.

Reference: "The Astrologer's Astronomical Handbook" - Jeff Mayo (Fowler)

Astronomy for Astrologers V


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