Mystics, Teachers and Societies

An excerpt from 'The Alchemist of the Rocky Mountains'
a novel by
Frater Albertus 1976
A limited edition of 500 copies.


pp.75 - 89

" ... Another individual who started men thinking in more constructive ways was Gurdjieff. His pupil, Ouspenski, did much to introduce Gurdjieff's teachings to a wider circle.
"This is what enlightened individuals or groups of like mind proclaim. But we should not confuse those who are delegated to bring enlightenment among the masses with those who have the authority or power vested in them by right of their knowledge, understanding and wisdom, exceeding those to whom they delegate.
Why? Because a delegate cannot delegate his powers; they are limited to him only. Those who assume the right that they can delegate an office or authority to others must be in possession thereof. Anyone authorized to perform a certain work should be able to cite proof to the extent that he is capable to execute his assigned task within his sphere of activity - and there it ends. It does not carry with it the right of further extension. A delegate's authority is limited. On the other hand, he who delegates may do so by the right of his authority. This implies full knowledge, understanding and the means for the plan or work to be consummated. A delegate may not have possession of that fullness. His may be only a partial knowledge, understanding and means of the entire scope. While in the capacity of his specific assignment, he may be fully capable to perform the task to which he has been delegated.
"As above so below. It is man's prerogative to aspire to greater things in life. Comparisons should be based upon the qualifications inherent in the persons and their acts that are to be emulated. Those who will look always below their present standing will find those who are not as far developed. Comparisons made with such individuals do not help much in the furtherance of one's development. Comparisons may develop into a smug feeling of superiority. He who is not more developed than you can be of little assistance in the furtherance of acquiring greater knowledge. If the latter is our aim, we must look above. We must find those who do know more than we do. There is the storehouse from which we may draw. There will be found the ways and means for greater knowledge, but at this point we feel insignificant. Our former standing of selfimposed aggrandizement becomes nil. Instead of looking down, we will have to look up.
"We will find ourselves in the center of things. There will be those below us and those above us. As soon as we. have realized that there is always one below us who is not as capable of performing a task as well as we can, then by the same token do we acknowledge that there is one who can do it better. This should help us in establishing an equilibrium within ourselves. It will help to forestall a feeling of continuous superiority. Too many feel excessive pride by constantly making comparisons with those below their present level of knowledge and understanding. This is self-delusion. Remember: There is always one who can do things better than you and who has greater knowledge and understanding than you possess. From there we can expect help which will enable us to do the same unto others who look to us for help - but then, we will render it in a spirit of meekness and thanksgiving and not in arrogance and selfaggrandizement."
"Are there any alchemists alive who practice laboratory alchemy and make their results available to those who ask for them?" asked Dr. Farnsworth.
I can think of two right now," said the alchemist, "with whom I am personally acquainted. One is living in the Black Forest in Germany and produces for the medical profession his spagyric medications that are available only by prescriptions from pharmacists. Another one, Baron Alexander von Bernus, who passed on a few years ago, still has his spagyric medications produced at his castle in Donaumuenster, a few miles from Donauwoerth where Franz Hartmann was born."
'What about von Bernus and Dr. Hartmann?" asked Dr. Farnsworth excitedly.
"The alchemical writings of this Twentieth Century sage, which were published in German and translated into French, give concrete evidence that we are dealing with a laboratory alchemist and not just a theoretical exponent of the writings of ancient or medieval hermeticists. His statements leave little doubt of a broad understanding. Let me quote the following from memory:
The method of liquification and distillation of the salts the masters kept strictly hidden. Not because of an idle desire for secrecy, but because the key to making the Philosopher's Stone lies hidden within the salts . . . but whosoever believes to find anything in the metallic salts of our chemistry will fail miserably. The matter is far from simple.
"He, whom the Baron entrusted to handle the valuable pigskin volumes, knows what it means to turn the old pages of handwritten works of Albertus Magnus, in the old Latin, or the first published works of Paracelsus or Valentinus.
"At a medical congress, convened at Utrecht, Holland, in 1942, Dr. med R.A.B. Oosterhuis of The Hague, Holland, had this to say about the works of von Bernus: 'One of the alchemical methods unknown to present day chemistry consists, in von Bernus's opinion, in the sublimation of various potassium salts.' The Professor of Leyden has reported that the solid Sal Tartari (K2CO3) can be liquified through the cohobation with an etherial spiritus. Such a liquid alkali is of great medicinal value. Liquification and distillation of the potassium and natrium salts are according to von Bernus, secrets which our chemistry has not yet resolved. Contrary to present day pharmaceutical techniques, such spagyric preparations, and the preceding cohobation require months to bring to fruition. Then Dr. Oosterhuis said: 'von Bemus implies that metals reach a state in the physical chemical condition that cannot be further reduced.' Laboratory alchemists know from personal experience that this is so as they know how to extract their essence or essential oil (alchemical sulphur). This is what von Bernus told me when I visited with him at his castle in Donaumuenster. There, he had his laboratory which one could term a contemporary alchemistical place where he does not disregard modem chemical discoveries. From this, one may gather that the Baron was no dilettante attempting to convey a personal opinion concerning profound manifestations, but one versed in ancient as well as modern sciences.
"To call him the Prince of the German Alchemists is appropriate because the Baron had no peers in his time. This statement is based on personal acquaintance with those actively engaged in the hermetic work in Europe and in the U.S.A. The exchange of laboratory results, arrived at independently, based on the strict formulas of alchemical laws, leaves little question of results that meet the facts. For this we can vouch personally; it was a mutual and reciprocal occurrence.
"Examination of the Baron's 'Azinat' (an antimonial preparation) in his laboratory indicates that there is no need to defend or vindicate this Twentieth-Century alchemist as his works speak for themselves. Their acceptance by the European medical profession gives it the seal of merit. Advanced scientific thinkers of the medical and pharmacological world have rallied around von Bernus and tested the products of his laboratories. His were not only speculative but actual laboratory results and these have withstood the empirical tests of science.
"It may seem strange that, in this age of scientific marvels and accomplishments, there should still be need for the art and science of the alchemist. In modern texts on the subject, it is ridiculed and considered old fashioned and outmoded. Substantial evidence points to the fact that the true value and essence of alchemy is to he understood in our times. A similar awakening transpired, during the early 1920's, when Sir Ernest Rutherford shook the scientific world to its foundations by announcing the transmutation of the elements. Today, the latest atomic charts show, after uranium, that man-made elements now are as securely established as those which nature produces. Now it is to be found in scientific textbooks as if there were never a question about it. Yet, the discredited medieval scientists, known as alchemists, proclaimed and demonstrated transmutation centuries earlier.
"Iatrochemistry, as understood among the medical profession, had its origin in the 'virtues' of the substances found in the genus iatropha. It is not a synthesized chemical component but the inherent quality naturally and spatially derived that is essential. These inherent properties have lost to a great extent their former significance among the medical profession. Baron von Bernus showed the inconsistency of chemically derived substances that are devoid of the essential qualities necessary to bring about healing. Not just relief from symptoms, but to cure the radix of the ailment necessitated the alchemical preparation. The Baron and those versed in the subject, in their laboratories, produced the medicaments. Clinical evaluation, by the practicing medical profession, had to bring the proof. Only by trial, the downfall or substantiation of alchemy was assured. Alchemy has been and will be an important factor in medicine.
"The fact that alchemical preparations are difficult to obtain is due to the meticulous requirements of preparation and the very few alchemists of genuine stature. This makes these products extremely scarce within the medical profession. They cannot be produced in pharmacies for the knowledge required is not found in pharmacopoeias, so it remains for the alchemists to supply them. Alchemy is in itself not a branch or part of the healing arts such as allopathy, homeopathy or biochemistry. It is a way and means to procure pure strains of medications applicable in any of the other systems. These medications possess the inherent essential virtues spatially derived in a scientific way. Those patients of the medical profession who are fortunate enough to obtain the preparations of the von Bernus Solunar Laboratories are living testimony of their effectiveness.
"It is fortunate that von Bernus transmitted the alchemical knowledge to others in whom he confided. Thus, his work can be perpetuated for the benefit of mankind through the properly appointed medical channels.
In the same city where von Bernus labored, another individual was born who was to leave an imprint on the pages of occult and hermetic teachings. Dr. Franz Hartmann was born the son of a medical doctor in Donauwoerth, Bavaria, on November 22, 1838 and died August 7, 1912 at Kempten in Germany. During his seventy-four years of life, he saw many changes take place, not only in the world around him but within himself. At 24 years of age he finished his studies as a pharmacist. Not finding what he was looking for, namely a study that would help him to further his alchemical longings, he decided to study medicine. There followed years of frustration that carried him all over the world. This frustration was due to the fact that he could not find what he searched for, the knowledge that men like Paracelsus and others before him possessed. He came to the United States of America and established an eye clinic. Then he went to Mexico. Thereafter, for some time, he lived in Colorado only to end up as a ship's doctor on the way to the Orient. Via Japan he came to India. There he became connected with the Theosophical movement. It was Madame Blavatsky who influenced his way of thinking into more positive channels. After two years in India, he returned in 1885 to Europe and lived in Salzburg and Berchtesgaden. In Munich he founded in 1897 the International Theosophical Society and became known all over the world as the champion of its cause.
In the U.S.A. he published the first English language version of the Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians. Unfortunately, his lengthy introduction is missing in an edition that was published many years later. The influence Franz Hartmann exerted upon his contemporaries has even increased after his death.
"Then there are others in our own times. Some are known only bv their names and nothing is known of their whereabouts. There is Fulcanelli.
"It was autumn of 1937 at the Castle de Lere, near Bourges, when its owner Pierre de Lesseps in the presence of a chemist, geologist and two physicist friends watched intensely as a man by the name of Fulcanelli took half a pound of common lead in a molten state and put into it an unknown substance. Shortly, it was transmuted into gold. When asked what this substance was or what it contained to bring about this change in the metal, he would only mention offhandedly that it was derived from ferrous pyrite (fool's gold), a ferrous sulphide, FeS2.
"He also transmuted 100 grams of silver into uranium. The astonished witnesses, who had watched very carefully and had previously thoroughly examined the ingredients used by the alchemist, for such he was, re-examined, as well, his end products. They all had to concede to this phenomenon of transmution of one metal into another.
"Shortly thereafter, Fulcanelli disappeared. One of the very few in whom he confided is presently still living in Savignies, in the Vicinity of Beauvais in France. He evades all questioners about Fulcanelli, by saying he does not know the alchemist's present whereabouts or whether Fulcanelli was a real or an assumed name. He steadfastly refuses to give out any information about this, by now, mysterious individual. The name of Fulcanelli's amanuensis is Eugene Canseliet.
"Much wild speculation is going on concerning the whereabouts of Fulcanelli. Many weird stories about him are in circulation. It is claimed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was and still is after him, as he supposedly is in possession of a document from the Thirteenth Century alchemist, Roger Bacon, who had the formula for atomic fission and fusion. Reference is made to the statement wherein Roger Bacon says that from a certain material an explosive can be made that can destroy an entire army or a city with a blinding flash. Some claim that this has reference to his invention of gun powder. This claim is refuted by the argument that the flash of gun powder and the explosion thereof does not coincide with the destructive force that can destroy an entire army or city mentiond by Monk Roger Bacon. This the unleashing of atomic power does produce. It is also said that Fulcanelli tried to discourage Professor Rene Hellbronner, a French scientist, from continuing his atomic research.
"Whatever fact or fancy may be attached to the name or to the man Fulcanelli, it will not disprove that an individual under this name appeared in France and thirty years ago conducted an alchemical experiment in the laboratory of the Chateau de Lere, near Bourges, France, as testified to by its owner, Pierre de Lesseps, and other reliable witnesses.
"The question still remains: Who was or is this modern alchemist Fulcanelli, and where is he now? Eugene Canseliet adamantly refuses to tell and thus the mystery deepens as time goes on.
"Will his identity become known in the near future? Who knows!!"
"It may be of interest for you to know that I have just now returned from Europe where Fulcanelli's only pupil, Eugene Canseliet and I have met at his home to clarify some topics that have caused misunderstandings among those who have read his books and explanations he previously gave about some of his personal alchemistical concepts.
It was just a few months ago Signore Augusto Pancaldi of Ascona and I took the Orient Express from Domodossola, Italy, for Paris. It had been arranged by Sign. Villa-Santa of Lugano that I should meet Fulcanelli's only student Eugene Canseliet in his home near Beauvais, an hour's train ride from the Gare du Nord in Paris. Since Canseliet spoke no English, Sign. Pancaldi who speaks four languages fluently and himself is active in laboratory alchemy, was to act as interpreter and to help with the difficult alchemistical language barrier.
'When we arrived at the previously arranged time, Madame Canseliet informed us that she knew nothing of our coming and we were told Monsieur Canseliet was not at home. This appeared to be a ruse to prevent him from being disturbed. However, she agreed that we could return later, since she did know how to reach him. We returned later and were received by him as he unlocked the chain from the gate and ushered us into his house and the not-too-large living room. Canseliet is small of stature, bald in front with the sparse hair left on the sides and back of his head hanging down in long strands to his neck.
"The three of us were sitting at the round table, and after the formalities were concluded and the conversation became animated, Canseliet consented to answer the questions I had prepared on the train from Paris to Beauvais. Sign. Pancaldi began to read the questions and wrote down precisely the answers Canseliet gave to avoid any misunderstandings later. When some of the original French words of Canseliet's are placed in my notes in parentheses it is only to compare meanings and show that the translation from the French has the same meaning.
I began by asking: Monsieur Canseliet, you have become famous in Europe through your alchemistical literary efforts, especially by publishing Fulcanelli's two books. Since only one has been translated into English, your name is not as well known in the U.S.A. as in your native France. I will give only an authentic version of our personal meeting here in your house. May I ask you for additional information?
A. Yes, because alchemy does not change in itself (immuable). Alchemy is the great harmony. In a sense it is also the art of music as well as the priestly art that requires a constant purification because the alchemist has to be in constant unison (soit au diapason) with his matter and the Cosmic. All this has to be in absolute purity exactly as Rulandus said in his Lexicon: alchemia est impuri separatio ...
Alchemy consists of three main parts.
1.) To be in harmony with the matter to be worked with.
2.) This harmony has to be also within the alchemist.
3.) To be in harmony with the Cosmic.
All of these three have to be in harmony as one.
This harmony can be considerably intruded upon by waves which disturb the weather (meteora) as can be noticed by the constantly clouded sky and the presently continued drought.
We do the same in the laboratory that the old ones did, except. that we have the advantage of better technical equipment but lack what the old ones had, a closer relationship with nature. They also had the advantage of the four seasons that were not so disturbed as we experience now. When the sky is covered the Universal Spirit can't descend.
Q: Your name, Canseliet, has become almost synonymous with that of Fulcanelli. Is this because you are the only person who can be named as his pupil?
A: I have been the only (le seul) pupil of Fulcanelli.
Q: Did you work theoretically with Fulcanelli or were you only his helper in practical alchemistical laboratory work, or both?
A: We, Fulcanelli and myself, were engaged only in speculative alchemy. I have seen quite a few things while I was with Fulcanelli. I did him many favors that made it possible for me to watch him often while he worked. I did not work with him. I only observed. It was in 1915 when I got to know Fulcanelli. I was 16 years old and it all happened through a servant of his who said to me: "I am going to introduce you to a very interesting person," and that was Fulcanelli.
Q: When did you see Fulcanelli last?
A: I was around Fulcanelli for 15 years. Fulcanelli left in 1930, the year when "Demeures Philosophales" (Dwellings of the Philosophers) was published. Do you know "Le Mystere des Cathedrales?" It has been translated into English but I am not convinced that it is a good translation especially since I don't speak English. In 1932 Jules Champagne died, whose portrait you see hanging there on the wall. He was the one who made all the drawings in the book.
Q: Do you know where Fulcanelli originated? Where he came from?
A: No. I only know that he had a large circle of friends, among them Ferdinand Lesseps (builder of the Suez Canal) and Pierre Curie to mention only a few well-known names.
Q: Do you know where Fulcanelli is now, or do you have any clues?
A: In 1922 he visited me several times in Sarcelles. When he left in 1930, he was an old man (un vieillard) but when I saw him again in 1952 he looked hardly 50 years old.
Q: Whom do you consider the best informed alchemist alive in Europe or generally?
A: I don't know any (Je ne connais pas).
Q: Are you in contact with other alchemists here on earth? If yes, with whom?
A: I don't know any. There was Barbault and Savouret, but otherwise I know only students of alchemy, and I am an older student, one of the oldest who works with the younger students because alchemy is above all the art of fire.
Q: What do you think of Armand Barbault and his spagyric method of production since we both, you and I, know him personally?
A: This is spagyric chemistry. I know personally from him that he wanted to work in such a way. His "Turba" is not the prima materia of the philosophers. One cannot take it seriously (ce n'est pas serieux). One cannot make out of plant leftovers (dechets vegetaux) something useful, but there are fields where personal conviction plays a part and everyone works according to his beliefs.
Q: What do you see in the future concerning the practical laboratory alchemy?
A: I believe youth (les Jeunes) will enter into it (s'y mettre). For more than 20 years I have observed that the future of alchemy belongs to youth.
The philosopher with his stone is always in the presence and this presence contains both past and future.
Q: Would you be willing that we, you and I, perform jointly some practical laboratory experiments in your laboratory, or whatever place you would choose?
A: I can see no difficulty as soon as the laboratory is ready, but not at this time of the year.
Mr. Pancaldi then said to Canseliet: I can take care of the preliminaries for this joint project. It is up to you to suggest which way you would like to prepare the philosophical mercury either by the dry or wet method, since both can be used. The time is depending on our presence next year from the beginning of June until August.
A: I prefer the dry way. Do you know that the philosophical mercury can only be produced at the proper time? This time is considered within traditional alchemy as spring because only the philosophical mercury that is produced during this time is the philosophical mercury. Therefore, to know the correct time is of importance.
Q: Are you acquainted with the production of the philosophical mercury in both the wet and dry way and are you prepared to prove it?
A: No. In my opinion most traditional texts speak of the wet and dry way only to use it as a trick to conceal the dry way from obtaining the philosophical mercury. The philosophical mercury can only be made the dry way.
"Mr. Pancaldi interrupted and pointing to me, said: 'He can use a glass container for either the dry or wet way,' to which Canseliet answered only with, 'No'."
Q: What do you understand under philosophical mercury?
A: The soul (l'ame), this is the minute part (la partie minuscule) that can be obtained from the mass during the sublimation in the dry way. This is also called the little fish (le petit poisson= la remore) that becomes a stone.
Q: Did Fulcanelli prove in the laboratory how to produce the philosophical mercury, and did you personally handle the same? If yes, would you recognize at once the philosophical mercury if I were to show it to you?
A: Yes, I have watched. Yes, I have handled the philosophical mercury. Yes, I would recognize the philosophical mercury if one would show it to me.
Q: Were you an eyewitness while Fulcanelli made the gold transmutation?
A: Yes. I was present with Gaston Sauvage and Jul. Champagne. The transmutation was made in the Usine a Gaz de Sarcelles where I was employed. The transmutation was performed by myself under the direction of Fulcanelli. I received three small pieces of the transmuting stone (pierre transmutatoire). This transmuting stone consisted of one part gold and one part philosophical stone.
Q: Did Fulcanelli make any other transmutation with only you present?
A: No. He did not make any transmutation with only myself present. I know only of the one at Sarcelles.
Q: Do you continue to teach your pupils what Fulcanelli has taught you?
A: I am the headmaster (chef d'ecole) similar to Andre Breton. My biggest contact with the pupils is through books and considerable correspondence. I am also visited by many people and if I would not from time to time act that I am not available at home, I would not be able to do very much (sinon je ne ferais plus rien). I have also considerable correspondence with Italians.
Q: Have you had any personal alchemical success in the laboratory after Fulcanelli left you, which others can testify to?
A: Yes. Formerly, when I was more engaged in experimenting than at present, I have caused an Aurora Borealis.
The last coction I have not as yet accomplished except for the sequence of color and that of the planets which can't be followed in an earthenware vessel. One can, however, by the harmonious noises and whistling sounds make a comparison without a chromatic scale. One may say chromatic because of its color relationship to the musical scale. This last coction I have not been able to complete because the time which the old ones called "the week of the weeks" (la semaine des semaines) has not been favored by the weather, because of the distortion of the air by the various waves. This is the reason why my last coction simply will not take place or can not take place.
You know that for such a week the following traditional requirements have to exist during spring: beautiful weather so the sky is clear (ciel decouvert) and also, the second quarter of the moon going towards the full moon is not always so easy to bring together with the first.
Q: Do you still teach practical laboratory alchemy?
A: I teach through books and personal contact. Science and the university are my territory and not socalled occult circles.
Q: Do your students teach?
A: L'association culturelle de l'universite de Paris gave me recognition with the title 'savant' and I am proud of it.
Q: Would you allow me to photograph your alchemistical laboratory so posterity would have a picture of it?
A: Just now I am moving my laboratory. I can't very well manage the stairs to the top anymore. You can see the new fireplace at the end of the garden. As you know, the chimney is an important part of the laboratory.
Q: Are you presently using any of your own alchemical preparations for your personal health?
A: Yes. Thanks to this alchemical preparation I am still here. In 1974 I had a heart attack. Thanks to the 'niter' which I produce as a pink salt out of the dew in spring could I recover.
"Since Mr. Pancaldi and myself had another appointment the same evening in Paris, we left after spending the afternoon with Canseliet in his home to meet with Prof. Dr. Monod-Heizen, the eminent French physicist, who showed considerable interest in laboratory alchemy. It was not only a pleasant meeting but a highly stimulating and interesting one, since the professor has spent his entire life discovering the origin of light from the physicists' point of view while not ignoring what alchemy could reveal as possible additional information.
"Soon after, we were invited to make the personal acquaintance of Signore Julio Villa-Santa of Lugano who also had an interview with Canseliet some years ago to compare his with ours. It showed no marked difference as the former was used in a Round Table discussion over the Swiss Radio Network. Both Sign. Villa-Santa and his wife, the former Countess Sophia Tekeli de Scel, are keen students of alchemy and are looking forward to next year and the joint experiments of Canseliet and myself near Beauvais, France.

The Inkilabs at Bit Nur