The Sixty-First Dictum.
Moses saith:- It is to be observed that the envious have named lead of copper instruments of formation, simulating, deceiving posterity, to whom I give notice that there are no instruments except from our own white, strong, and splendid powder, and from our concave stone and marble, to the whole work whereof there is no more suitable powder, nor one more conjoined to our composition, than the powder of Alociae, out of which are produced instruments of formation. Further, the Philosophers have already said: Take instruments out of the egg. Yet they have not said what the egg is, nor of what bird. And know ye that the regimen of these things is more difficult than the entire work, because, if the composition be ruled more than it should be, its light is taken and extinguished by the sea. Wherefore the Philosophers have ordered that it should be ruled with profound judgment. The moon, therefore, being at the full, take this and place in sand till it be dissolved. And know ye that while ye are placing the same in sand and repeating the process, unless ye have patience, ye err in ruling, and corrupt the work. Cook, therefore, the same in a gentle fire until ye see that it is dissolved. Then extinguish with vinegar, and ye shall find one thing separated from three companions. And know ye that the first, Ixir, commingles, the second burns, while the third liquefies. In the first place, therefore, impose nine ounces of vinegar twice – first while the vessel is being made hot, and second when it is heated.
The Sixty-Second Dictum.
Mundus saith:- It behoves you, O all ye seekers after this Art, to know that whatsoever the Philosophers have narrated or ordained, Kenckel, herbs, geldum, and carmen, are one thing! Do not, therefore, trouble about a plurality of things, for there is one Tyrian tincture of the Philosophers to which they have given names at will, and having abolished the proper name, they have called it black, because it has been extracted from our sea. And know that the ancient priests did not condescend to wear artificial garments, whence, for purifying altars, and lest they should introduce into them anything sordid or impure, they tinged Kenckel with a Tyrian colour; but our Tyrian colour, which they placed in their altars and treasuries, was more clean and fragrant than can be described by me, which also has been extracted from our red and most pure sea, which is sweet and of a pleasant odour, and is neither sordid nor impure in putrefaction. And know ye that we have given many names to it. which are all true – an example of which, for those that possess understanding, is to be traced in corn that is being ground. For after grinding it is called by another name, and after it has been passed through the sieve, and the various substances have been separated one from another, each of these has its own name, and yet fundamentally there is but one name, to wit, corn, from which many names are distinguished. Thus we call the purple in each grade of its regimen by the name of its own colour.
The Sixty-Third Dictum.
Philosophus saith:- I notify to posterity that the nature is male and female, wherefore the envious have called it the body of Magnesia, because therein is the most great arcanum! Accordingly, O all ye seekers after this Art, place Magnesia in its vessel, and cook diligently! Then, opening it after some days, ye shall find the whole changed into water. Cook further until it be coagulated, and contain itself. But, when ye hear of the sea in the books of the envious, know that they signify humour, while by the basket they signify the vessel, and by the medicines they mean Nature, because it germinates and flowers. But when the envious say: Wash until the blackness of the copper passes away, certain people name this blackness coins. But Agadimon has clearly demonstrated when he boldly put forth these words: It is to be noted, O all ye demonstrators of this art, that the things [or the copper] being first mixed and cooked once, ye shall find the prescribed blackness! That is to say, they all become black. This, therefore, is the lead of the Wise, concerning which they have treated very frequently in their books. Some also call it [the lead] of our black coins.
The Sixty-Fourth Dictum.
Pythagoras saith:- How marvellous is the diversity of the Philosophers in those things which they formerly asserted, and in their coming together [or agreement], in respect of this small and most common thing, wherein the precious thing is concealed! And if the vulgar knew, O all ye investigators of this art, the same small and vile thing, they would deem it a lie! Yet, if they knew its efficacy, they would not vilify it, but God hath concealed this from the crowd lest the world should be devastated.
The Sixty-Fifth Dictum.
Horfolcus saith:- You must know, O all ye who love wisdom, that whereas Mundus hath been teaching this Art, and placing before you most lucid syllogisms, he that does not understand what he has said is a brute animal! But I will explain the regimen of this small thing, in order that any one, being introduced into this Art, may become bolder, may, more assuredly consider it, and although it be small, may compose the common with that which is dear, and the dear with that which is common. Know ye that in the beginning of the mixing, it behoves you to commingle elements which are crude, gentle, sincere, and not cooked or governed, over a gentle fire. Beware of intensifying the fire until the elements are conjoined, for these should follow one another, and be embraced in a complexion, whereby they are gradually burnt, until they be dessicated in the said gentle fire. And know that one spirit burns one thing and destroys one thing, and one body strengthens one spirit, and teaches the same to contend with the fire. But, after the first combustion, it is necessary that it should be washed, cleansed, and dealbated on the fire until all things become one colour; with which, afterwards, it behoves you to mix the residuum of the whole humour, and then its colour will be exalted. For the elements, being diligently cooked in the fire, rejoice, and are changed into different natures, because the liquefied, which is the lead, becomes not-liquefied, the humid becomes dry, the thick body becomes a spirit, and the fleeing spirit becomes strong and fit to do battle against the fire. Whence the Philosopher saith: Convert the elements and thou shalt find what thou seekest. But to convert the elements is to make the moist dry and the fugitive fixed. These things being accomplished by the disposition, let the operator leave it in the fire until the gross be made subtle, and the subtle remain as a tingeing spirit. Know ye, also, that the death and life of the elements proceed from fire, and that the composite germinates itself, and produces that which ye desire, God favouring. But when the colours begin ye shall behold the miracles of the wisdom of God, until the Tyrian colour be accomplished. O wonder-working Nature, tingeing other natures! O heavenly Nature, separating and converting the elements by regimen! Nothing, therefore, is more precious than these Natures in that Nature which multiplies the composite, and makes fixed and scarlet.
The Sixty-Sixth Dictum.
Exemiganus saith:- Thou hast already treated, O Lucas, concerning living and concealed silver, which is Magnesia, as it behoves thee, and thou hast commanded posterity to prove [or to experiment] and to read the books, knowing what the Philosophers have said: Search the latent spirit and disesteem it not, seeing that when it remains it is a great arcanum and effects many good things.
The Sixty-Seventh Dictum.
Lucas saith:- I testify to posterity, and what I set forth is more lucid than are your words, that the Philosopher saith: Burn the copper, burn the silver, burn the gold.
Hermiganus replies:- Behold something more dark than ever!
The Turba answereth:- Illumine, therefore, that which is dark.
And he:- As to that which he said – Burn, burn, burn, the diversity is only in the names, for they are one and the same thing.
And they:- Woe unto you! how shortly hast thou dealt with it! why art thou Poisoned with jealousy!
And he:- Is it desirable that I should speak more clearly?
And they:- Do so.
And he:- I signify that to whiten is to burn, but to make red is life. For the envious have multiplied many names that they might lead posterity astray, to whom I testify that the definition of this Art is the liquefaction of the body and the separation of the soul from the body, seeing that copper, like a man, has a soul and a body. Therefore, it behoves you, 0 all ye Sons of the Doctrine, to destroy the body and extract the soul therefrom! Wherefore the Philosophers said that the body does not penetrate the body, but that there is a subtle nature, which is the soul, and it is this which tinges and penetrates the body. In nature, therefore, there is a body and there is a soul.
The Turba answereth:- Despite your desire to explain, you have put forth dark words.
And he:- I signify that the envious have narrated and said that the splendour of Saturn does not appear unless it perchance be dark when it ascends in the air, that Mercury is hidden by the rays of the Sun, that quicksilver vivifies the body by its fiery strength, and thus the work is accomplished. But Venus, when she becomes oriental, precedes the Sun.
The Sixty-Eighth Dictum.
Attamus saith:- Know, O all ye investigators of this Art, that our work, of which ye have been inquiring, is produced by the generation of the sea, by which and with which, after God, the work is completed! Take, therefore, Halsut and old sea stones, and boil with coals until they become white. Then extinguish in white vinegar. If 24 ounces thereof have been boiled, let the heat be extinguished with a third part of the vinegar, that is, 8 ounces; pound with white vinegar, and cook in the sun and black earth for 42 days. But the second work is performed from the tenth day of the month of September to the tenth day [or grade] of Libra. Do not impose the vinegar a second time in this work, but leave the same to be cooked until all its vinegar be dried up and it becomes a fixed earth, like Egyptian earth. And the fact that one work is congealed more quickly and another more slowly, arises from the diversity of cooking. But if the place where it is cooked be humid and dewy it is congealed more quickly, while if it be dry it is congealed more slowly.
The Sixty-Ninth Dictum.
Florus saith:- I am thinking of perfecting thy treatise, O Mundus, for thou has not accomplished the disposition of the cooking!
And he:- Proceed, O Philosopher!
And Florus:- I teach you, O Sons of the Doctrine, that the sign of the goodness of the first decoction is the extraction of its redness!
And he:- Describe what is redness.
And Florus:- When ye see that the matter is entirely black, know that whiteness has been hidden in the belly of that blackness. Then it behoves you to extract that whiteness most subtly from that blackness, for ye know how to discern between them. But in the second decoction let that whiteness be placed in a vessel with its instruments, and let it be cooked gently until it become completely white. But when, O all ye seekers after this Art, ye shall perceive that whiteness appear and flowing over all, be certain that redness is hid in that whiteness! However, it does not behove you to extract it, but rather to cook it until the whole become a most deep red, with which nothing can compare. Know also that the first blackness is produced out of the nature of Marteck, and that redness is extracted from that blackness, which red has improved the black, and has made peace between the fugitive and the non-fugitive, reducing the two into one.
The Turba answereth:- And why was this?
And he:- Because the cruciated matter when it is submerged in the body, changes it into an unalterable and indelible nature. It behoves you, therefore, to know this sulphur which blackens the body. And know ye that the same sulphur cannot be handled, but it cruciates and tinges. And the sulphur which blackens is that which does not open the door to the fugitive and turns into the fugitive with the fugitive. Do you not see that the cruciating does not cruciate with harm or corruption, but by co-adunation and utility of things? For if its victim were noxious and inconvenient, it would not be embraced thereby until its colours were extracted from it unalterable and indelible. This we have called water of sulphur, which water we have prepared for the red tinctures; for the rest it does not blacken; but that which does blacken, and this does not come to pass without blackness, I have testified to be the key of the work.
The Seventieth Dictum.
Mundus saith:- Know, all ye investigators of this Art, that the head is all things, which if it hath not, all that it imposes profits nothing. Accordingly, the Masters have said that what is perfected is one, and a diversity of natures does not improve that thing, but one and a suitable nature, which it behoves you to rule carefully, for by ignorance of ruling some have erred. Do not heed, therefore, the plurality of these compositions, nor those things which the philosophers have enumerated in their books. For the nature of truth is one, and the followers of Nature have termed it that one thing in the belly whereof is concealed the natural arcanum. This arcanum is neither seen nor known except by the Wise. He, therefore, who knows how to extract its complexion and rules equably, for him shall a nature rise forth therefrom which shall conquer all natures, and then shall that word be fulfilled which was written by the Masters, namely, that Nature rejoices in Nature, Nature overcomes Nature, and Nature contains Nature; at the same time there are not many or diverse Natures, but one having in itself its own natures and properties, by which it prevails over other things. Do you not see that the Master has begun with one and finished one? Hence has he called those unities Sulphureous Water, conquering all Nature.
The Seventy-First Dictum.
Bracus saith:- How elegantly Mundus hath described this sulphureous water! For unless solid bodies are destroyed by a nature wanting a body, until the bodies become not-bodies, and even as a most tenuous spirit, ye cannot [attain] that most tenuous and tingeing soul, which is hidden in the natural belly. And know that unless the body be withered up and so destroyed that it dies, and unless ye extract from it its soul, which is a tingeing spirit, ye are unable to tinge a body therewith.
The Seventy-Second Dictum.
Philosophus saith:- The first composition, that is, the body of Magnesia, is made out of several things, although they become one, and are called by one name, which the ancients have termed Albar of copper. But when it is ruled it is called by ten names, taken from the colours which appear in the regimen of the body of this Magnesia. It is necessary, therefore, that the lead be turned into blackness; then the ten aforesaid shall appear in the ferment of gold, with sericon, which is a composition called by ten names. When all these things have been said, we mean nothing more by these names than Albar of copper, because it tinges every body which has entered into the composition. But composition is twofold – one is humid, the other is dry. When they are cooked prudently they become one, and are called the good thing of several names. But when it becomes red it is called Flower of Gold, Ferment of Gold, Gold of Coral, Gold of the Beak. It is also called redundant red sulphur and red orpiment. But while it remains crude lead of copper, it is called bars and plates of metal. Behold I have revealed its names when it is raw, which also we should distinguish from the names when it has been cooked. Let it therefore be pondered over. It behoves me now to exhibit to you the quantity of the fire, and the numbers of its days, and the diversity of intensity thereof in every grade, so that he who shall possess this book may belong unto himself, and be freed from poverty, so that he shall remain secure in that middle way which is closed to those who are deficient in this most precious art. I have seen, therefore, many kinds of fire. One is made out of straw and cinder, coals and flame, but one without flame. Experiment shows that there are intermediate grades between these kinds. But lead is lead of copper, in which is the whole arcanum. Now, concerning the days of the night in which will be the perfection of the most great arcanum, I will treat in its Proper place in what follows. And know most assuredly that if a little gold be placed in the composition, there will result a patent and white tincture. Wherefore also a sublime gold and a patent gold is found in the treasuries of the former philosophers. Wherefore those things are unequal which they introduce into their composition. Inasmuch as the elements are commingled and are turned into lead of copper, coming out of their own former natures, they are turned into a new nature. Then they are called one nature and one genus. These things being accomplished, it is placed in a glass vessel, unless in a certain way the composition drinks the water and is altered in its colours.
In every grade it is beheld, when it is coloured by a venerable redness. Although concerning this elixir we read in the sayings of the philosophers: Take gold, occurring frequently, it is only needful to do so once. Wishing, therefore, to know the certitude of the adversary, consider what Democritus saith, how he begins speaking from bottom to top, then reversing matters he proceeds from top to bottom. For, he said: Take iron, lead, and albar for copper, which reversing, he again says: And our copper for coins, lead for gold, gold for gold of coral, and gold of coral for gold of crocus. Again, in the second place, when he begins from the top to the bottom, he saith: Take gold, coin, copper, lead, and iron; he shews, therefore, by his sayings that only semi-gold is taken. And without doubt gold is not changed into rust without lead and copper, and unless it be imbued with vinegar known by the wise, until, being cooked, it is turned into redness. This, therefore, is the redness which all the Philosophers signified, because, how ever they said: Take gold and it becomes gold of coral; Take gold of coral and it becomes purple gold – all these things are only names of those colours, for it behoves them that vinegar be placed in it, because these colours come from it. But by these things which the Philosophers have mentioned under various names, they have signified stronger bodies and forces. It is taken, therefore, once, that it may become rubigo and then vinegar is imposed on it. For when the said colours appear, it is necessary that each be decocted in forty days, so that it may be desiccated, the water being consumed; finally being imbued and placed in the vessel, it is cooked until its utility appear. Its first grade becomes as a citrine mucra, the second as red, the third as the dry pounded crocus of the vulgar. So is it imposed upon coin.
Agmon saith:- I will add the following by way of a corollary. Whosoever does not liquefy and coagulate errs greatly. Therefore, make the earth black; separate the soul and the water thereof, afterwards whiten; so shall ye find what ye seek. I say unto you that whoso makes earth black and then dissolves with fire, till it becomes even like unto a naked sword, who also fixes the whole with consuming fire, deserves to be called happy, and shall be exalted above the circle of the world. This much concerning the revelation of our stone, is, we doubt not, enough for the Sons of the Doctrine. The strength thereof, shall never become corrupted, but the same, when it is placed in the fire, shall be increased. If you seek to dissolve, it shall be dissolved; but if you would coagulate, it shall be coagulated. Behold, no one is without it, and yet all do need it! There are many names given to it, and yet it is called by one only, while, if need be, it is concealed. It is also a stone and not a stone, spirit, soul, and body; it is white, volatile, concave, hairless, cold, and yet no one can apply the tongue with impunity to its surface. If you wish that it should fly, it flies; if you say that it is water, you Speak the truth; if you say that it is not water, you speak falsely. Do not then be deceived by the multiplicity of names, but rest assured that it is one thing, unto which nothing alien is added. Investigate the place thereof, and add nothing that is foreign. Unless the names were multiplied, so that the vulgar might be deceived, many would deride our wisdom.