Volume V: Number 3 Summer 1977


Purification - Leandro Della Piana


The Four Elements - Air p.451
Astrology For The Neophyte - Saturn p.464
Do Chemicals Have Memory? p.458
Questions and Answers p.459
Purification - back cover


The Four Elements

Frater K.H.


In our previous article on the elements, we pointed out how air, as described by some of the philosophers, is moist and hot. It would also be correct to say that air is cold and dry, cold and moist, or any combination of the four complexions found within the four elements. Air also may be found to express itself as a singular complexion of hot, cold, wet, or dry. Of the four so-called elements, air alone possesses this singular unique attribute by which the philosophic work is made possible. For example, many of us have at one time or another, whether in chemistry or demonstration film, witnessed a process called cryogenics. By this method air in a super cooled state will instantly freeze any object placed within it by reducing the temperature to sub zero. It is interesting that scientists term air a liquid when in this state, therefore calling it liquid air.

As another example, we will step to the opposite extreme and find air now in a super heated state, as in atomic explosion where fusion takes place. Even at the lesser scale, super heated air will cause liquefication of most metals. Thus, by demonstrating two extremes which the element air is capable of, we can begin to grasp some significance of what the philosophers had in mind. Our whole problem in this work is that we do not really understand or even comprehend what this element really is.

In the philosophic work there are a number of "baths" which were and can he employed by the hermetic student. The emersing and surrounding effect of air as a bath produces unique properties and characteristics upon the subject. Is not this earth surrounded by an air bath and does it not at different times display all the complexions singular and dual at one time or another? Is not our earth, therefore, a fit subject to contemplate in this manner and to realize what an incredible work of hermetic art our heavenly creator is producing?

Thus, our element of air becomes before our very eyes a chameleon, able to change its complexion from moment to moment by whatever agency it is subject to.

In a previously discussed element we gave the example of the cube of ice and presented it to you as an earth by way of analogy. This earth, when heated, is resolved into water because this earth contained water. Raise the heat a little more and our water has now become air and by way of inspection we would find that its complexion is dual, both hot and moist. However, we can and do, under slightly altered conditions, find that our air which was previously hot and moist can also be cold and moist. We need only remind ourselves of how penetrating the air becomes when the day is cold and moist. Oh, how we shiver and there just never seems to be enough warm clothing!

We must understand that philosophically our vegetable substance upon which we are working, will only change its matter by way of the element air. More specifically, we should observe that what we are working upon and separating by way of this element reveals itself to us in its unfixed state. Thus, by the miracle of air, God has permitted us to separate spagyrically the lighter from the heavier, the ethereal from the gross. Once again, we are faced with understanding complexions or graduations of our substance. The heavier our subject is the more weight it has and the more fixed it is and less subject to intervention by the element air. Thus, before our eyes our vegetable work separates itself, the lighter from the heavier; and by God's grace we are permitted to see that which needs yet to be fixed.

The great mystery, which so disturbs the mind of many a tyro, is how to fix the unfixed by way of fire. When confronted by the book of Genesis from the Holy Bible, the subject is liable to be even more bewildering. Does it not say in the first chapter that the spirit of God moved the surface of the waters? When God's holy spirit, as it were, brooded upon his primordial waters, the lighter was separated from the heavier. The heavens from the earth. By this primordial distillation, we find the element of air first revealed.

Of the four seasons, summer is the one in which all growth reaches for its greatest maturity. All growing things must have gained a certain degree of strength, thereby they can sustain growth into the element air. All plants on the surface of our earth reach us through the air at this time to whatever height has been predetermined by our creator for that particular seed. The animal kingdom, as well at the plant, obey this law of growth. There is much that appears before our eyes which really has little meaning to us. As an example, if we travel in the mountains and observe the vegetation there, we will see that there is a definite limitation to growth. Vegetation matter in these higher reaches is not able to sustain the growth which its cousins enjoy at the lower levels. As we consider these thoughts from the hermetic point of view, there is a key here which should have great meaning to us. Anyone who has traveled or climbed to the higher levels of some mountains can tell us from personal experience that the element air is colder and dryer. We would suggest a thought at this point for your contemplation: that it is the invisible fire which has dried this element air and produces a similar effect on vegetation at these levels. The wood of trees and shrubs bears the signature of intensive drying. Fire is hidden in the air element and, philosophically speaking, justifies the expression of mountain climbers which they call windburn. It is interesting that this burning effect of the wind or air can occur at either high or low altitudes. Again from the philosophical point of view, it is the fire in the element air that produces this drying effect (coagulation), no matter if the air is hot, dry, or cold. Haven't most of us rummaged through the freezer compartment and found, at one time or another, some food that was completely dried out by what we call freezer burn? Isn't it interesting that whoever coined this expression should have chosen the word burn which denotes fire and heat?

Those who have successfully brought their vegetable stone to some degree of conclusion will be able to appreciate that what they have was possible by way of the element air. Without the many unique virtues which this element possesses, that peculiar calcination would not be possible. In short, the vegetable stone owes its existence to the element air.

Do we not now see that this element will become whatever we want it to be? This incredible virtuosity of our air is the very reason why so much confusion exists considering this subject. Of the four elements, air is the most misunderstood. In our work upon the vegetable stone, it is the air which slowly calcines our earth with its hidden fire. (We might use the word occult fire in place of hidden fire, but we dislike using the word occult, as its meaning has become sloppy and bears connotations which would make Webster cringe.)

Contained within the three elements water, air, and earth is our hidden fire not obvious to the eye. We are now confronted with an immensity, as we apprehend that there is a mysterious shifting back and forth of It. This It is God's great secret which He bestows by grace upon his sons and daughters who earnestly love Him. Only by sincere supplication and daily practice in the "School of the Holy Spirit" will this grand mystery he made known to the tyro. We would ask you a question: What is your relationship to your work upon the vegetable stone? Do you comprehend what the meaning of this effort is and, more to the point, why you are making this effort? If your work at any point is mechanical, we would ask that you consider pausing and propose this question to yourself: Why am I doing this?

Plants and animals grow by way of the air element. This also holds true for the vegetable stone. Our earth is actually resuscitated and begins to breathe by way of inhalation and exhalation of the air. As the process draws toward completion, the pulse rate of the stone increases and life begins. So it is that in time the three essentials become evenly distributed and a new wonder becomes manifest to our eyes. Our vegetable stone has become living and is able to bear the elements on its own accord. It is born from the retort which was its womb. The little work is so ignored and so greatly misunderstood. If we know That which is First, we would also know That which is Last. Even in the Holy Bible, it is stated "That which is Last will become First." We will have to travel by the roadway of hard experience and soul searching sacrifice, willing to give all, on nothing more than the promise of the sages. This promise was given with the. understanding that we should practice daily in the school of the Holy Spirit.

The Four Elements - Fire


Astrology For The Neophyte

By Carl W. Stahl

Saturn In The Constellations

Saturn is the planet of restriction. It slows down and hinders the free action of the planets it aspects and the constellations it is in. Its basic purpose is to restrict, or contain, in order to use other planetary energies constructively. In time there is over restriction, extreme crystalization sets in, and all progress ceases. The reason Mars is exalted in Capricorn is that here the Martian energy is restricted for useful work. The gasoline engine, the steam engine and the heating of water for steam or water heating of homes are a few examples. In this respect Saturn performs a useful purpose. Saturn strong people try to keep emotional distance between themselves and others. The reason for this is that Saturn strong people cannot handle emotions of any kind. Theirs is the stiff upper lip don't break down philosophy. When Saturn aspects the Moon it seems to prevent the person from attaining emotional maturity. With the Sun it restricts the vitality and the life force available to the native. With Mercury it restricts the ability to communicate with others. With Venus there is a restriction on our ability to love mainly because love is a two way street and the Saturn strong person is unable to hold up his end. Aspecting Mars we find that aggression and leadership qualities are restricted, sometimes to the extent of bringing actual fear and cowardice into the picture. With Jupiter it restricts our joy, pleasure and financial growth. With Uranus it restricts freedom of expression and our mental growth. With Neptune we find it difficult to bring our dreams and aspirations into practical expression. With Pluto it increases the native's desire for seclusion and helps alienate him from the mainstream of life. Some keywords of Saturn are: Want, greed, jealousy, inferiority complex, hunger, restriction, grasping, fear, cowardice, corruption, burdens, worry, toil, loneliness and self denial. In our charts it indicates that which we lack.


Although Saturn is exalted in Libra this does not prevent it from restricting the love nature and making the native timid in affairs of the heart and even prevents him or her from making lasting relationships with others. There is always th e fear of giving too much and then in being embarrassed when the other person rejects this offer of love. Th tragedy of this is that timidity prevents the person from living a complete and normal life. These natives have a tendency to be forgetful. They must always retain within themselves a certain secret place where they think secret thoughts. A tendency to straddle the fence.


Saturn here dampens the aggressiveness of the native making the normally fearless person cautious and fearful. Scorpio normally will go out of his way to pick a fight whether it be physically or mentally. Now, however, the native restricts himself by picking only on those weaker than himself. This repression of energy causes frustration and this pent up energy may be released by outburst of anger or assault. By tht proper use of self-discipline, orderand method the native must learn to control and direct the energy at his disposal into constructive work. Construction rather than destruction must be the goal.


The normally outgoing, enthusiastical native becomes staid and over cautious in his approach to life. The confidence which enables him to be successful in life is now replaced by tinifdity. He now restricts himself in the belief that "you get what you earn" philosophy. He shuns those who could help him and believes in a do it yourself code of life. Too much energy is wasted in preparing for a rainy day. The law and order attitude of Saturn should be put to work doing things that require precision, accuracy, neatness and perfection. Expression of joy and happiness are restrainedand at a minimum.


Work, toil and struggle are the key words that this native uses to attain success. With or without the presence of Saturn they use the work ethnic.. Unless it is done the hard way it scarcely merits attention. Experience is the only teacher and the harder the lesson learned the more value it has. The native has an abundance of patience and perserverance. Skimping and saving is a way of life. Accuracy, cleanliness and simplicity are things the normal native of Capricorn understands. Only underaffliction do dirt, disease and falsehood prevail.


Under this influence the somewhat unstable and eccentric native is more sober and inclined to take the hard road over the intuitive one. Long and persistent testing precedes any new discoveries. What should be a joyand an opening of new horizons becomes drudgery and toil. Gone is the inspiration and the pleasure of opening new horizons. Timidity and repetition combine with secrecyand reserve to slow down any new laws that await discovery. Saturn does not deny all results, in whatever field the native may search, it simply makes whatever the native gains the result of long and painstaking work.


The usually relaxed and happy Piscian becomes frustrated and uptight under the influence of the restrictive andconcentrative Saturn. No longer is he the generous, free spending, happy go lucky person. Now he puts his nose to the grindstone. and, although he may do so reluctantly, saves his money for a rainy day. There can be no gambling under this influence because the native is being tested to see if he ran operate, orhow hecan operate, under the restrictive influence of Saturn. Only a fife of earning will enable him to overcome this ban on his power to expand as far as he would wish.


Everything that makes Aries the aggressive leader of men is here inhibited. The disinclination which makes him slow in getting out of bed in the morning will be increased here to the point of actual laziness. Where he would normally dash in where angels fear to tread now his approach becomes one of cautious timidity. This position causes the native to make careful plans and totest all eventualities before going ahead with his projects. Fear and cowardice could creep into the fearless heart of the native. Energy and vitality are restricted.


Saturn here restricts the native's normal love life. He hesitates to extend the hand of friendship for fear it will be repulsed. His emotional life is juvenile and immature. If in one of the inactive places it may even lead to perversion and cruelty. Sex and love, which are the Taurean's real existence, are now secret, hidden things. No longer is it the joyous, uninhibited normal function but something dirty which has to he hidden from the sight and sound of others. Shuns association with members of the opposite sex.


Communication, conversation, business and even the thought processes are slowed down by this position of Saturn. The volative native is now bowed down by the leaden weight of Saturn's inhibitions. Everything must be checked and counter checked before any action can be taken. Gemin~ who normally hates the effort of digging for deeper meanings, now is slowed to a dragging walk where he formerly flew. Because he is normally impatient the native makes mistakes and may even be inclined to shade the truth if falsehood could advance his goals and desires. Patience and accurate work still pay off if the native tries.


Saturn is in its detriment here. It restricts the emotional development causing the native to be emotionally immature with the result thathe remains constantly at a juvenile level. His imagination remains at the childhood level and he finds it impossible to cope with his own and other people's emotions. Fear of the future replaces the wonderful day dreams and imaginative experiences which are Cancer's normal mental fare. Sex becomes a thing to be hidden, suppressed or done only behind locked doors. The normal processes of the subconscious mind are perverted and bring out only warped and anemic results.


The natural leadership ability of Leo is restricted as the native doubts his own abilities. Vitality is at a low ebb and the light of the Sun finds difficulty both in reaching and in being reflected by the native. Gloom replaces the natural exuberance of the native and he finds it frustrating to slow down his naturally outgoing nature to comply with the lead of Saturn which replaces the gold of the Sun. Happiness here depends on whether the native can transmute the lead of Saturn into the true gold. As the alchemists are fond of saying: "Our gold and our Mercury."


All plans must be checked and rechecked. The superb planner becomes a worry wart. Confidence in his abilities is gone and the normally shy Virgo becomes even more of a recluse. Virgo is normally brave and courageous but he now becomes tinfid and afraid. His ability to communicate is warped and it is only by keeping things down to simple basics that he can manage to function at all. Fle seeks to regulate his life by a rigid set of rules from which he is afraid to stray. He seeks to find out what others have &-dd and done in similar circumstances and the result is that what little is accomplished is old hat. Nothing new or inspirational can come about under this influence.



Do Chemicals Have Memory?

Recently a friend who is in charge of manufacturing different chemicals in a large manufacturing plant had discussed a problem he was encountering with one of their reactors. It seemed this particular reactor had been used in the manufacturing of a particular chemical but for some reason it started giving bad batches regardless of how careful the additives were metered in and the running temperatures were adhered to. In between trying the different batches they would give the reactor a quick flushing out with water. Yet, again when they tried, the chemical would not behave as it had done for months before.

When considering the different possibilities of why this would be so, we asked ourselves if it is possible for chemicals to learn an effect, in this case one that was undesirable, and then pass this information on to those chemicals that come into contact with it. In this case, because the reactor was only quickly flushed out with water, there would still he traces - if only parts per million - of the chemical that had gone outlaw.

A course of action was embarked upon to try and destroy any trace of the old chemical that could be clinging anywhere within the vessel. High temperature steam was injected for several hours and the vessel was flushed with boiling water several times until there was no possibility of any remaining chemical clinging within. The result was that when they put the vessel on line, they had the reaction they wanted originally.

This idea of chemicals having memory is not new by any means. Many chemical reactions can be speeded up, if a portion of the end result that is desired is added to the substance. For centuries of time, anyone making vinegar has found that by adding "Mother of Vinegar," which is a stringy curd-like substance that forms in old vinegar, to cider the oxidation process is hastened, as it would appear as if the curd-like substance passes on this information of how to react very quickly to the new cider. This is called "seeding the process." Anyone familiar with baking bread does the same thing when they take dough that has already risen and add a portion of it to the new batch that is being worked upon. Again, this bread will rise quicker than if one were to start out without adding the old to it. The oxidation of linseed oil is another example of memory in chemicals. It may take some time for the oxidation to take place the first time but, if removed from the light regardless of how long, the next time it is exposed the process will have quickened. Perhaps when working in your lab, you will be able to use this information to advantage on some projects.

- Canada

People are like stained glass windows. They glow and sparkle when it is sunny and bright but when the sun. goes down their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.



Questions And Answers


Q. Can I separate the Sulphur from Mercury by placing them in a distillation flask just as I did to separate them from the Salt but excluding the menstruum, and then subject them to moderate heat until the Vapor travels to a closed flask leaving the Oil behind? Should this Oil then be calcined in the same manner as Salt before re-uniting it with the other Principles? Is this process essential to success in Animal and Metallic workings?

A. The oil is not calcined.

Q. Can I produce the Radical Metallic Menstruum by placing equal parts of Copper Sulphate and Potassium Nitrate in a distillation flask and, subjecting this mixture to seven distillations at decreasing temperatures, discard the residum after each distillation, or should the residue be kept, purified by calcination, and returned to its original source? Should this be done at the end of the project or throughout?

A. Your description above will not produce what you are after.

Q. In the past few months, I've heard a lot about dew, rainwater, potassium, vinegar and butter of antimony, etc. Either I was asleep or in a fog, or they were not dealt with in Quinta two to three years ago. Could you elaborate?

A. The report on water separation in the last issue should answer part of your question. As to potassium, this refers to the work on tartar. Vinegar of antimony and the making of butter of antimony are taught in the quinta and sexta. Some classes have been somewhat slower to absorb what is taught and therefore are behind, but all are given in the end how to come up with them. Q, Oil? Tincture? on top of Sb vinegar . . . could this be used medicinally? What about the KM tincture also?

A. The vinegar of antimony is used to fix the antimony. It can also be used for gangrene, as Basil Valentine mentions. besides other applications, provided it is the pure vinegar of antimony. The froth or scum that may floating on top during the putrefaction, is not an oil or the tincture looked for. The tincture of the KM or residue after the KM has been distilled off should not be used medicinally a,, it contains some substances that can he very harmful. The resulting KM distillate is to be used as an extraction media only.

Q. Regarding iron ore and the distillation of crystals as in the jar, I am rather confused as to which is what in the three parts of the distillation. First part: Enzyme? Should it be kept so airtight? What is trying to escape? I can see there is more water from the air in it than anything, but to grow the enzyme I think it needs mercury, sulphur, and salt of the iron - as well as from the air. Would it be the sulphur, mercury, and salt of the mercury of iron plus the fixed sulphur and mercury from the water? Second part: This, from which much of the volatile part has escaped as it is open is, I presume, the less volatile part of the water from the air (more earth of water and some water of water)??? The oil has separated and seems the heavier part, which is strange to me compared with the third part. Third part: What part of the water does this contain? The water of water? Or mercury in which the oil can dissolve? Is this mercury of the iron in here more than in the others? Some must be in the first one if it is an iron enzyme. It was from crystals like these - without so much water from the air - that I obtained what I think was the Philosophical Mercury. At a very low temperature under vacuum, after the water had gone and before the dry crystals melted, puffs of vapor came over and condensed into a lemon liquid. There was too little to collect and it evaporated quickly. Could this be so?

A. Such crystals were not distilled but grown. Enzymatic growth is to be taken in the sense of reproducing its own kind. When exposed to air these crystals will go from the ferrous to the ferric state. The three essentials are contained within such natural grown crystals. What escapes is the H20. There is hardly any oil separation except by skillful extraction. It is possible, as you explain, to free an alkahest from the pure iron. But it would have to be just such virgin iron.

Q. Archibald Cockren and alchemists before him mention potable gold. It states that only the philosophical mercury can dissolve it and make it drinkable, and do no harm but good. Could such be used in arthritic cases where salts of gold injections are given? Besides have those who have been referred to in Parachemy as having the philosophical mercury been able to make such potable gold?

A. Gold will dissolve in the philosophical mercury, especially when made previously into its salt. We do not know of anyone having received potable gold for arthritic therapy, because it has not been available for medical evaluation. We have one report where potable gold has been obtained by a student. As to the PRS, yes, it is made here in small quantities for research purposes. Due to the high cost of gold, it is very expensive; but, neverthless, can be made available to qualified institutions willing to run such tests.


Q. Frater in the Spring 1976 Parachemy you give a preparation for oil of Antimony which is almost identical to Basil Valentine's preparation, page 144-146 Waite's Edition of The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony. Why was he not given credit for his earlier work?

A. There was no intention to mislead or to take credit for this formula. It simply states again what is known among alchemists. Prior to Basil Valentine, alchemists had the formula for this procedure of how to make one of the various oils of antimony. So, Basil could have been accused of plagiarism which was as far from his intention than is mine. These things are common property of all alchemists and none would dare to claim to be the sole originator.

Q. In the Mass of the Catholic Church, the Priest during the Offertory, goes to the Epistle's side of the altar, blesses the water by means of the sign of the cross and pours WINE and WATER into the chalice, with the prayer, "Grant that, by THE MYSTERY of this WATER and WINE, we may be made partakers of His Divinity Who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity . . ." Aside from the rather simple and exoteric symbolism taught by the Catholic Church on this regard, it is obvious that a deeper (ESOTERIC) symbolism is hidden in the letter of thi's ritual, and specifically the Alchemical symbolism must have a great deal to do in "diving" into the "MYSTERY" . . . Will you please give a comprehensive ALCHEMICAL interpretation of this WINE and WATER symbolism, and if at all possible of the symbolism of The Mass as a whole?

A. You have this answer already.

Q. I can do away with this Duality in certain restricted fields, like mental, moral, and aesthetic; but not practically. How do I do it practically?

A. It is much easier to be confronted on the practical side than anywhere else. Make comparisons and you have the law of duality reveal itself.

Q. The work: How can we pursue it? Is there a method, i.e., meditation?

A. First one has to know what the work consists of before one can commence it. A contact with those who do know certainly will help. This contact has to he found first.

Q. Use of words: The exciting = the manifested + unmanifested patterns (in contrast to manifested patterns that can be sensed directly). These unmanifested patterns, I shall call ABSTRACT PATTERNS. It these ABSTRACT are "true" (i.e., minimal - by minimal, I mean the "smallest" abstract pattern that yields the given phenomena i.e. 1 have in mind the true laws of nature and fulfilled in experience) then they must also exist. Thus they are not nonexisting. The question is can all such patterns be sensed (experienced) in nonphysical states of consciousness?

A. A state of consciousness reveals itself always within and without by experience. There is no other way.

back cover


Purification arises out of separation, out of the various processes that transpire during the work with separation. To cleanse is purification, but the work of purification is more than a degree of cleansing, however great. Dissolution, which is a separation, a decomposition, a breaking up is an important process of purification. That which is not essential is. set apart from that which is essential. That which is pure is freed from that which is not pure. There is a natural fire and a hidden fire in man that brings about through calcination, putrefaction, distillation, and sublimation a cleansing, subtilization, and rectification which reveals a sublime state of substance. Only that which has stood the test of fire has been purified. Only that which meets the test of love, which encompasses the greatest good for all concerned, is pure.

Unless there is first seen what it is that is to undergo purification, the work which leads to its attainment cannot commence. The color black may represent that which is the beginning of the work. It may stand for the body that is to be worked with, whether this be a specific body in the vegetable, mineral, or animal kingdom or the body which is called man. What applies to one body may, in a similar way, be applied to all other bodies. Just as a plant consists of components which taken together manifests in a certain way a distinctive characteristic and essence so in a corresponding way does man. Through the physical, emotional, and mental components of man, there manifests characteristics and an essence which distinguishes each, which we call personality. The personality itself may be said to be a body. When the black which is to be seen in man is changed to gray and then to white, there is seen the pure white salt, the personality, freed of all its non-essentials, its impurities. By the help of Mercury the vision of the greater life, the will and the power of the greater life - the lesser and ignoble way of life is dissolved, separated from, prepared and cleansed for the greater and noble way of life. This white salt is a living stone. It is the lesser work.

To begin the greater work, the philosophical mercury is needed. It cannot enter into the work until the lesser work is undertaken. Until man has prepared himself through separation and purification, he is not able to receive the philosophical mercury whereby he may with knowledge and understanding transmute the lesser into the greater thereby revealing in all substance the value which is in it. Before man can draw forth from other substance that which is of value and lasting, he must first have within himself the stone which will not be dissolved, which ever replenishes itself as it serves to transmute all that is base into the sublime. Man must realize the greater life within first. This realization comes because there is a love for purification, for that which is pure. Then, it Is possible for the greater life to reveal Its goodness outwardly.