In his Key to Alchemy, Samuel Norton divides into fourteen parts the processes or states through which the alchemical substances pass from the time they are first placed in the test tube until ready as medicine for plants, minerals, or men:
1. Solution, the act of passing from a gaseous or solid condition, into one of liquidity.
2. Filtration, the mechanical separation of a liquid from the undissolved particles suspended in it.
3. Evaporation, the changing or converting from a liquid or solid state into a vaporous state with the aid of heat.
4. Distillation, an operation by which a volatile liquid may be separated from substances which it holds in solution.
5. Separation, the operation of disuniting or decomposing substances.
6. Rectification, the process of refining or purifying any substance by repeated distillation.
7. Calcination, the conversion into a powder or calx by the action of heat; expulsion of the volatile substance from a matter.
8. Commixtion, the blending of different ingredients into new compounds or mass.
9. Purification (through putrefaction), disintegration by spontaneous decomposition; decay by artificial means.
10. Inhibition, the process of holding back or restraining.
11. Fermentation, the conversion of organic substances into new compounds in the presence of a ferment.
12. Fixation, the act or process of ceasing to be a fluid and becoming firm; state of being fixed.
13. Multiplication, the act or process of multiplying or increasing in number, the state of being multiplied.
14. Projection, the process of turningthe base Metals into gold.
Ioannis Danielis Mylii Vetterani Hassi M.C. Opus medico–chymicum: continens tres tractatus siue Basilicas: quorum prior inscribitur Basilica medica: secundus Basilica chymica: tettius Basilica philosophica. Francofurti: Apud Lucam Iennis, 1618–1630. Volume One.
Johann Daniel Mylius (c.1583–1642) was a German philosopher, composer and alchemist, who also studied theology and medicine. He wrote many alchemical treatises, and is best known for his works on alchemical emblems. Seen here across from the beautiful title page engraving are the handwritten notes by a previous owner.
The Ouroboros symbolizes life on every level, it is both the macrocosm and the microcosm — the serpent and the egg, the universal and the individual. The circle represents the movement of divine energy and is a pictorial representation of the dictum “my end is my beginning.”
The Double Ouroborus shows two serpents which are integrated as one and symbolizes perfection and the union of opposites. The alchemical dictum associated with the double ouroboros is “Solve et Coagula” meaning “dissolve the body and coagulate the spirit.” The bottom, wingless serpent must be dissolved as it represents the unenlightened body. The top, winged serpent is elusive and must be coagulated. The continual circle ends when the two are integrated and become one.
… . . .. .
R. Abrahami Eleazaris Uraltes Chymisches Werk. Schwartzburgicum, P. M. & I. P. E. Erfurt, Verlegts Augustinus Crusius, 1735.
Engraving of the double ouroboros in front of a tree bare of leaves and on the left a tulip–like flower is growing. Tulips are thought to represent the attainment of spiritual awareness.
One of my most beloved, and coveted books on alchemy and mysticism! Beautiful collection of alchymical arte-work, wonderful commentary and quotes collected by many practitioners, and occultists.
How I came to own the book is this.. I happened in a little corner used bookstore in Dinkytown (the college area of UofM in Minneapolis).. I found the book shoved in a downstairs back corner.. among piles of unsorted mess.. I did not have money, and wouldn’t be paid for another week.. so I put the book on hold. Life got in the way and I forgot about the book, and a month or two went by. My long-time roommate and onagainoffagain lover boy had been in that part of town hunting for some obscure star lord graphic novel and ended up in the same bookshop. When he returned home he told me he had visited the shop and had found a gift for me. Before he could show me I recounted my own adventure and find, regretful I had not returned for the lost book! Amazingly he had seen it in a pile on the staircase ready to be taken back down to the dungeon! I had not told him about the book, not once before he found it himself! What a smile from the universe! So, this miracle of a book actively found its way into my life.. and how thankful I am to have it! If you can find it, buy the thing!
Any and every student of alchemy should and must have it!
(Yes, they do have it on Amazon.. as stated before I really try not to advocate for amazon, as they have truly cornered small local bookstores, and left them bleeding to die. Sotospeak. If someone MUST go that route, totally go there do it.. if at all possible go anywhere else!)
Alchemy symbols. Historical artwork of alchemy symbols and their explanation, taken from an 18th- century German publication. The chemicals shown are potassium nitrate (salpeter), copper (koper), ammonium chloride (salarmonacum), allaun verlecht (a metal alloy), sodium choride (salcomunis), mercury (queck silber) and sulphur (sulphur). Alchemy was the pseudo-scientific predecessor to chemistry, which among other ideas is best known for its practitioners’ hunt for the Philosopher’s Stone, which would impart eternal life and the ability to turn base metals into gold.
Joscelyn Godwin (born 16 January 1945 at Kelmscott, Oxfordshire, England) is a composer, musicologist and translator, known for his work on ancient music, paganism and music in the occult.
He was educated as a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral School, Oxford, then at Radley College (Music Scholar), and Magdalene College, Cambridge (Music Scholar; B.A., 1965, Mus. B., 1966, M.A. 1969).
He moved to the U.S. in 1966 to undertake post-graduate work in musicology at Cornell University, where he gained his Ph.D. in 1969 with a dissertation on “The Music of Henry Cowell”. He then taught at Cleveland State University for two years before moving to Colgate University Music Department in 1971.
Amongst his work is the first complete English language translation (1999) of one of the first illustrated printed texts, the incunabulum Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499).
He continues to teach in the music department at Colgate University, where he often teaches semester-long courses delving into the life and work of a single composer. In the past, Godwin has also taught “The Atlantis Debate,” a class which focuses on the feasibility of flood myth, as well as “Western Esoteric Tradition.”
( Joscelyn Godwin, is well worth your time! His books are well researched, written in a fluid- easytofollow (and) even fun style! On top of the actual writing, his ideas on sound and the western mystery traditions are profound.. I felt privileged to read and own each of his works. The first I received, the book on kircher has large full- page diagrams and engravings.. And the same of the Robert Fludd book.. If you have the money and interest, go purchase these books! They should be on the amazon link I included. )
Ms. # 2400, Bibliotheque de Troyes, France. Adapted from Manly P. HALL: The Most Holy Trinosophia of the Comte de St. Germain (Philosophical Research Society, 1963)
It is in the retreat of criminals in the dungeons of the Inquisition that your friend writes these lines which are to serve for your instruction. At the thought of the inestimable advantages which this document of friendship will procure for you, the horrors of a long and little deserved captivity seem to be mitigated… It gives me pleasure to think that while surrounded by guards and encumbered by chains, a slave may still be able to raise his friend above the mighty, the monarchs who rule this place of exile.”
Three illustrations of Mercurial birds, representing the volatile nature of alchemical work.
(Image 1) Emblem 9 (of 12) from the 1752 Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon by unknown alchemist L.C.S., reproduced by Adam McLean (p42).
Translates Mike Brenner in McLean’s edition: “A soaring eagle with heart aflame, with the Sun and Moon at the threshold of its wings, bears tokens of dominion: the crown of influence, the sceptre of the king, and the globe of the empress.
“Its buoyancy in flight and its flaming heart show the ethereal nature of this eagle: wet outside, fire inside. It is our Liquid Mercury.
“The Sun and Moon seek solace under the shadow of these wings, basking in the pleasing radiation from the flaming heart.
“To win the Crown of the Earth, fuse the power of the sceptre and the globe…” (p42).
(Image 2) Copperplate 7 (of 19) from Johann Conrad Barchusen’s 1718 Elementa chemiae, appearing in Johannes Fabricius’s 1976 collection, Alchemy (p18).
Comments Fabricius: In plate 7 “the deluge [cf. the biblical Flood] leaves only a small patch of land, on which the Hermes bird descends [beneath the symbol of Mercury]. The chaotic situation is emphasized by the emergence of the seven planets on the horizon, a symbol of universal disorder. As indicated by the sign of sulphur, the sinking island is set on fire by sulphurous flames from the hellish interior of the earth. Yet the alchemist’s sinking island is ‘supported’ by a sealed chest of drawers emerging from the sea and containing immense riches of silver and gold. Although the adept’s world has become a sinking island, it has been simultaneously transformed into a treasure island” (p18).
(Image 3) Second woodcut of the 1550 Rosarium philosophorum, also appearing in Fabricius’s Alchemy (p24).
In this depiction “the king, standing atop the sun and representing the spiritus, meets the bride of his choice, resting on the moon and representing the anima. The rose branches crossed by king and queen bear out their mutual love, but the court clothes suggest the restrained nature of their initial encounter.
“The two roses at the end of each branch refer to the four elements, two of which are active and masculine (fire and air), while two are passive and feminine (water and earth). Their ordered arrangement in a ‘rosie cross’ suggests the abatement of the prima materia and its warring elements. The fifth flower is brought by the dove of the Holy Ghost, a parallel of Noah’s dove carrying the olive branch of reconciliation in its beak. Descending from the quintessential star, the bird reconciles the masculine and feminine elements, just as its third branch equates the rose branches with the three pipes of the mercurial fountain, now transformed into a stem of roses.
“The dove is the agent effecting the rapprochement between king and queen, just as the bird indicates the spiritual and heavenly nature of their love. The unusual character of this affair is further stressed by the partners’ left-handed contact. This uncustomary gesture points to the closely guarded secret of their infringement of a general taboo. Actually, the royal couple engages in ‘unnatural’ and illegitimate love, the secret of which is of an incestuous nature: the bride is the king’s own sister. Hence the ‘Rosarium’ admonishes: ‘Mark well, in the art of our magisterium nothing is concealed by the philosophers except the secret of the art…’” (p24).