Volume II: Number 4 Autumn 1974


East - The Initiation of Truth by Rick Grimes


The Alchemical Work - Armand Barbault p.154
Questions and Answers p.170
East 'The Initation of Truth' - back cover

The Alchemical Work

By Armand Barbault

It is astonishing, writes Jacques Sadoul in his book, Alchemists and Gold, to find a contemporary alchemist - Armand Barbault - working in the second half of the second half of the twentieth century, who strictly applies mediaeval instructions to his Hermetic work. But this is not the least astonishing of the facts to be learned about this devoted alchemist whose memory is celebrated by Frater Albertus in this issue of Parachemy. Armand Barbault not only followed the mediaeval alchemists in his work, but unlike them, described in plain language both his PRIMA MATERIA, or prime substance, and hs methods of operation. His early work was devoted to the discovery of a tincture comparable to the potable gold of Paracelsus, rather than to the confection of the Philosopher's Stone, which occupied his later years. For this reason, he did not use any of the minerals often referred to by traditional Hermetic writers, but as he says, "quite simply ... a clod of earth." His choice of menstruum was inspired by an illustration in the MUTUS LIBER depicting two alchemists wringing out cloths that had been stretched between poles overnight to gather the dew. Similarly, Barbault arose early each morning to drag sheets across the grass in order to collect the precious dew. He also made use of the sap of plants as well as dew in maturing his prime substance. The substance itself, described in the following article, was no more than 1800 grams of earth (less than four pounds). His work in this experiment alone spanned more than two decades, and the substance he eventually obtained was tested in modern German pharmaceutical laboratories. There it was found to be efficacious in treating certain maladies and the laboratories began to search for a quicker method of producing a synthetic substance with similar properties, but in vain. As Raymond Abellio writes in his preface to Barbault's book, THE GOLD Of THE THOUSANDTH "Not only did the liquid prove impossible to analyse, but nothing even vaguely resembling it could be discovered. Yet Armand Barbault concealed nothing."

We are indebted to Professor Joscelyn Godwin for the translation from the German of the article that follows.

The Preparation of the Alkahest and the Tinctures of the First Matter

For nearly twenty-five years, my wife and I have been on the path of investigating the alchemical elixirs or tinctures. The trials passed and the results obtained make it possible to give a review and a judgment of the work, partially explained in my book, which appeared in 1969 (The Gold of the Thousandth Morning). After the successful preparation of the first Tincture of Potable Gold, and after the practical experience of ten years, I can now approach closer to the heart of the matter, with regard to the knowledge acquired and in the sense of the ancient philosophic tradition.

The Revelation and the First Endeavors

If we pass over in silence that which led us to this search, we can say that everything began quite simply with a clod of earth, taken in winter from beneath a lawn. It was carefully freed from all foreign bodies and impurities, and placed in a retort. From springtime onwards, it was enriched with plants and dew, so as to make a turf. This turf was dried, moistened again, and enriched with further additions of plants and dew-this done repeatedly, and in a very simple way which is described in my book. But not everything was so easy as that, for this first operation was the fruit of long reflection and meditation. After long preparation. it was begun only when a revelation was granted to my wife. This revelation or inspiration assured her that we were entrusted with a kind of mission. You know that all the old authors state that one must be "chosen" in order to have real success, with the Alchemical Work, and that even that is not always sufficient to guarantee attainment of the goal. Is it not also said that many are called, but few are chosen? This call, reaching us from the highest spiritual powers, showed us the way we had to follow. As the first trial. we were compelled to renounce the life to which we were accustomed, and move to the place where we could find the Materia Cruda and all the necessary materials for the first preparation. All this took place, needless to say, in the greatest secrecy with regard to the outside world.
Then came the day when we took possession of this Materia Cruda, our raw material; and this was a terrible trial, above all for my wife, for she had to join battle with the Dragon who guards the etheric forces of the Earth, in order that the earth we had obtained should not be simply "dead" earth. It had to be living earth, containing the seeds or the sparks of life, so that the so-called "Turf of the Philosophers" could be produced out of it.

This first trial, which can also be regarded as one of the first aspects of the Labors of Hercules, was successfully passed, for the Dragon at bay turned into a Lion. I leave the interpretation of this metaphysical event to initiates: one finds it traditionally in all works of Alchemy. And so it happened that in the depths of winter, on a moonless day and at midnight, my wife and I took possession of our Materia Cruda. This occurred in the year 1948, on the 15th of February, somewhat after midnight.

The Labors of Hercules and Nature

Nothing is given in the old authors on the Labors of Hercules. These represent a part of the mystery, and it is left to the neophyte to fathom their meaning on the basis of his own initiation.
Must one be silent about these secrets?
Certainly one must, if they have been imparted to me by a Master who enjoins one to silence. But in the case of those who believe that they have discovered them themselves, the responsibility is their own.
For my part, I believe that this deep knowledge is not transferable; and although I have mentioned the battle with the Dragon, which is part of the secret, it is certain that if the neophyte does not prove worthy he will relinquish this battle and thus not attain victory over the Dragon. Something similar occurs from the moment when the Materia Cruda is in our possession; a material which, as you know, contains as a result of that battle the Spark of Life, the influence of the etheric and spiritual powers, or the Philosophic Seed necessary to the realization of the work. The Adept is then in a position where he must, under the same conditions, gather plants out of doors, early in the morning, place them in a round glass vessel containing dew, and then mix them with the "new earth" (Materia Cruda). It is imperative to capture the life-forces of the chosen plants, so that this does not simply fall back into the earth, as is the normal case when unprepared people gather the plants. This is the continuity that exists between Nature and Man as a perfect union and which allows Nature to render all that she possesses for the realization of the Work-which cannot be performed without the permission of the spiritual powers.
Knowledge of the Laws of Nature is then necessary. One must know that at night the young plants take up through their roots the sources of life which contribute to their growth. Growth occurs principally as soon as the Sun rises, and while it draws its circle in the sky, activating the marvelous "green retort" in the plants (photosynthesis). We have to collect plants that have the maximum of vitality, or rising forces, with which we nourish the turf drop by drop so that it may achieve its fullest power. A further part of the Work is to nourish the turf with these plants and bathe it all in dew. We use the sap and the dew which appears in pearls on the tips of leaves and grasses, and which rises to Heaven; for neither plants, nor dew, nor sap obeys the laws of gravity. This is a long accumulation of rising forces, which in time makes possible what Hercules did, when he bore the Earth on his shoulders without feeling its weight.
I think I can say no more to show you the importance of those first labors outside, with Nature, at the moment of sunrise. You will understand, too, why Saint-Germain says in one of his books that it takes a good dozen years to collect the necessary forces, so that the turf becomes the yeast or spore of which I have spoken in my book. This is also the reason my book has the title, The Gold of the Thousandth Morning.

From the Materia Cruda to the Materia Prima
And the Work of Art and Nature

When secrecies are present. we may think that they refer to the work of the Adept, to the way in which he proceeds, his art and his observations, and that they bring him into dangers which concern only himself, In earlier days one observed silence, and that is understandable; today experimenters patent their findings . . . but in our work one cannot speak thus.
Certainly the most ungrateful and difficult time for the pair who are treading the path is the period of preparation, enrichment, enlivening and development of the turf, until it becomes the true yeast or spore. Each year, after the repeated wettings, additions of new plants (maceration), tending, and drying, one observes an alteration in the composition of the turf: it becomes blacker and blacker, and also heavier and heavier. But nothing can give you an idea of the length of time before the first work is finally completed.
Who can describe the joy when one day, after pouring over the material another measure of fresh, clear dew, the worker sees this dew become altogether black?-A blackening which becomes more intense until the point where it turns to a viscous, cream-like liquid. He pours this off and keeps it in another vessel. Then the material, remaining in its container, is dried, and another fresh measure of dew is added; and this is repeated sufficiently to complete successfully the first stage of the work.
In fact, it does not take long for the dew. now black and viscous, to precipitate a "new earth" on the bottom of its vessel, resembling more a tartaric substance than an earthy one. In this way. the "old earth" (the Materia Cruda)is changed bit by bit into a tartaric substance, which becomes our Materia Prima, now to be calcined.

What has taken place?

Few adepts know, for it is again a great secret when one says, "Water will become transformed into Earth . . ." - and this is another aspect of the Labors of Hercules. But it is quite simple: The material has become enriched with time, with work, with the long assimilation of anti-gravitational or rising forces, and it now obeys this rising law. Under the influence of the dew, which swims upwards, it has felt itself gravitating from below to above, and thus obeys the same laws. It has now reached the necessary saturation. The enriched earth rises up, transmutes itself, and is from now onwards in a position to work on materials which are applied to it; it has become an ennobled species of Higher Yeast, or Spore, which is spoken of in the alchemical works without an explanation being given. I do not mention a few singularities of the preparation, for there are some knacks which the experimenter must find out for himself, if he has the patience to go so far. But I can assure you that no substance will have the powers you expect- unless it has been through this state. +



Questions and Answers


Q. In antimony and other minerals, as well as with metals, there results an unfixed and a fixed product. Could you say something about the fixed vegetable product?

A. Vinegar instead of alcohol will produce a fixed tincture.

Q. In this preparation process for what was hinted at in Lab A-in gathering plants and herbs for use-will the so-called pollution of the ecology affect the plants-or can this be effectively purified out-or-the thought is that possibly the plant will not be able to grow with the former efficacy?

A. The pollution of plants can be caused by animal droppings, decaying carcasses, poisonous gases, or other industrial contamination, cleansing will be necessary. Should a common washing not remove the visible impurity it is best to leave them alone. Should a plant show healthy growth, even in polluted areas, it would indicate a healthy strain able to transmute seemingly contrary substances by inner inertia.

Q. Could you please explain what thickness of filter paper and thimbles is best to use in the different aspects of the herbal and universal work?

A. No one filter paper will do the work for use in the different aspects of the herbal and universal work. We have found for general purposes, please note, regular coffee filter paper used with plastic cups filters very satisfactory.

Q. How could it be possible for man to partake of a universal solvent (philosophical mercury) without doing irreparable harm to himself?

A. By way of analogy and just as an analogy, consider the use of alcohol in beverages or concentrated form.

Q. Frater, would you explain if you will, why a snowflake crystallizes with only 60o angles. Do the aspects have the effect? The influences as you pointed out come from the 8th house and because a physical manifestation follows law and order, how does this happen? What part does the ruler play? Also, in the laboratory, yesterday you mentioned the ethereal volatile oils that come over with the distillate. Would you care to say more about these at this time?

A. Like so many things in nature we have to consider that everything takes place according to law. Interpretation of such laws is another thing. Various reasons can be given in this case but whether a final valid one, is presently to be had is doubtful. When distilling substances containing volatile oils, some of such are carried up and over with the steam. In alcohol or ether extractions more can come over by distillation. Controlled steam distillation where ethereal oils are collected is the best way to obtain ethereal plant oils.

Q. Is a thrice distilled menstruum of alcohol, acetone K.M., etc. satisfactory to use a second time on an entirely different substance? For example, if it is used in producing a tincture from Sb2S3 is it all right to use it again on Sb2O3 or on eggs--or could its being charged by the first substance make this undesirable?

A. We recommend an extraction media (menstruum) to be used a second or subsequent times only on the same or closely related substances as you state with antimony. We would not use the same to extract ovum vitelli.

Q. When washing with water to sweeten, would distilling off the water instead of letting it evaporate make any significant difference in the result?

A. When distilling the water off mostly water comes over, while during open evaporation acids are evaporating with the water, which repeated washings will show. In a mechanical evaporator it can be done quicker and very efficiently. Either process can be used in edulcoration (sweetening).

Q. How is phlegm properly removed-by skimming it off?

A. Yes, also by fractional distillation.

Q. Would it be possible to make a Kerckring Menstruum by first extracting the oil from sal ammoniac with ether and then to circulate the oil with alcohol. Would this be a faster method of making the menstruum?

A. If the ether has been removed, yes.

Q. An herb is separated into its three parts and purified. It is then recombined and subjected to more heat. Are the resulting crystals the "Seed of the Herb".

A. The resulting crystals are not the seed of the herb. These can only be found in the living plant. The process you have described is the redemption of the plant. It has been saved from further propagation in its own realm by a higher intelligence, man, and will serve now in an exalted state in the animal realm .

Q. First use Mercury for distillation and then water for a second distillation. Is it good?

A. Yes. Alcohol will extract substances that are soluble in alcohol, and water will distill. what is water soluble. It has been found useful where applicable.

Q. When a substance is fixed by acetic acid, is the spirit as well as the sulphur and salt contained within the substance that has been fixed.

A. The spirit and sulphur, Yes, but not all of the salt in most cases. Consider the fixed salts of antimony that are left from the bulk of glass of antimony salts.

Q. What is the difference between the so-called dry and wet process in alchemy?

A. One uses a menstruum (extraction rnedia) in a moist form, while the dry process uses no menstruum at all but relies on the inherent moisture concealed in the substance.

Q. Please, with your special tact, can you go over with us the necessity of learning to coax results gently with the fire? As a group, we will not be able to come up with unified and happy results in the lab if one of us is forever turning up the flame under things. as we have it lowered. We do all feel an urgency, but it is because we do not See that a tiny Day in Eternity is so tiny. Thank you.

A. Observation and diligence are the best handmaidens. Co-operation in a joint venture is not only necessary but essential.

Q. Can an immature glass of antimony be ground and reheated and become GOOD glass, or has it lost some of its virtue by, having been heated? Experience has shown it is almost impossible to get good glass from the second heating.

A. It has been done with good results. The controlling of temperatures seems to be the crux to the whole operation.


back cover



"From the east shall come the Son of man. He shall walk forth out of these mountains, and in his right hand he shall bear the Book of Life and in his left shall he have his commencement." In this painting you will see what you can see if only you will look. This represents the initiate as he comes forth from the high places and the low places to reside in all men.

(24) Twenty-four square feet, containing (3,456) three thousand four hundred fifty-six square inches. Thus, these digits combined equal the sacred number nine (9). Within this nine are all things manifest in the earth and yet have their completion in man (10). Though their origin be ever with the father.

Look and you shall find the matrix of life in four laws and three principals, and see also our glorious mother that hides her seven daughters beneath her veil. Also, the eye of conscience is concealed not by the storm, nor the seven virtues of the Pleiades by darkness. Be still our brother. Herein lies a second key; take these twenty-four about this Son. Render them into six-add them unto nine and find the one quintessence; which, when combined in one figure is the sun.

Within these twenty-four are sixteen which form, across the heart, across from which men are born, born to discover the seven seals of their being and the knowledge of their soul.

From the east the young sun, Apollo rises, -held in the grasp of the mystery ...

In the west sits the master with the mystery in the grasp of his hand,-the eagle and the dove at peace in his being.