[English translation by Mike Brenner -Copyright Mike Brenner 1997]
This figure is complicated, but to a philosopher, wondrous to behold. In the center of the inner circle is the sun with 7 rays of warmth. Above is the crown of celestial SAL-NITRE of the physical world and the Nature-Spirit. The figure represents: (1) Chaos or universal subjective nature as the purest birth of this Nature-spirit in the center of the Earth, (2) Sulphur saturated with astral Mercury, (3) the White Gold of the wise, (4) the many layers of the Earth, and (5) Travisan's Fountain.
The outer circle represents the Zodiac where the 7 planets forever course through the ether. The planets concentrate their influx of energy into the world below, inducing the law: as above so below, and as below so above.
The planets in this figure have an occult order, with Saturn in the first, or lowest, spot. From above, Saturn congeals the One Substance (the etherial Fiery-Water or the astral Watery-Fire with its ring of coldness). It manifests right into the alchemist's hand and continues throughout the Work. The golden Sun-Child already lays concealed in It.
Jupiter is right above Saturn, the next step of the Work. The power of Jupiter first lets black Saturn experience Composition, then darkens the Sun and the Moon. Jupiter then sweeps up to paradise like an airborne dragon, out of the stomach of Saturn. Jupiter transmutes the dark Earth into the subtle elements from which the black child is freshly born in the sky, the way a noble jewel is polished. Finally, this enables Jupiter to completely discard the shadowy mundane world, the old Adam.
At the top is the moon, snow-white Diana, the queen of solidity. She starts her heavenly journey by drinking in and dissolving all the tail colors of a Peacock in a heat. The Moon uses the Philosophers' Stone to hermetically seal the pure liquid Air-Element. Continuing through the dry gaseous Fire, the Moon journeys on the Path to the celestial Solid Fire and the Red Tincture.
Next after the moon at the very top, is Mercury, the Initiator, the Worker, and the Completer of the whole Work, the moist-radical or base-moisture of the Stone. Now, Mercury swings from the top horn of the crescent Moon down to Venus, entering through her silver chord. Mercury starts out in liquid form at the Moon, but solidifies while passing through Venus and Mars, penetrating through to the center of the Sun.
Among the 7 planets I am called the Sun.
My pointy crown symbolizes the process:
First, we become completely subtle and pure
And bind with Mercury,
Then the black raven grows.
It is buried in the grave,
Adorned with lillies, and betrothed.
Then at last the Sun-Child appears,
Bedecked with purple on his throne.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 1
The mundane Nature-Spirit: (1) pours itself into the Central-Fire of the earth, (2) starts working in that fire, (3) is bound in mercurial moisture and liquid form, (4) is impelled to and fro, through the Archaeum of the Earth, as a saturated wind, (5) is congealed by Saturn, and (6) is thrown to the ground in front of the Alchemist, like the true metallic gore (the metal's seed).
The Alchemist: (1) recognizes this as the most valuable treasure on earth, (2) takes it home joyfully, (3) inserts it into the glass coffin, (4) binds it with the gaseous Mercury, (5) seals the coffin, (6) watches the black Raven grow in the putrefaction, (7) is reborn in the Paradisiacal Kingdom to corporal Diana, and (8) is crowned as the Child of the Sun.
Worship God, and love those
Who overcome their depression and cravings.
Give only the best to God and neighbor.
Come, I will show you
A Treasure that you will treasure:
A golden fountain and a silver spring
From the word of God and the Soul of Humanity.
I am that Treasure,
Better than all other good things.
Yet, I am also an poisonous dragon,
A furious lion with jaws open like an abyss.
All metals bow before me;
When I grab them, they bust to pieces.
EXPLANATION OF CANON 1
The Alchemist should be a pious, sincere, lover of God and neighbor. That way, better success will ensue in this highest mystery of nature, which can only be given as a gift from God. The author of this canon writes about the origin of the Substance of the Stone. This One Substance originated from the very first moment of creation when God said the all-powerful word FIAT.
The One Substance is animated by that emanation of Being Itself called the Nature Spirit. Therefore, the Substance is as powerful for this Work now as it was in the beginning, and ever shall be until the end of the world. Now this is (1) Hermes' superior and inferior, (2) Bernardus' little well, (3) Hermogenes' magic fire-staff, (4) silvery Mercury springing from the forehead of God, (5) the highest good from the time of the Fall, when people became poisoned by ignorance, until the time they are reintegrated into Paradise.
The dragon wings have 7 indentations, to indicate the seven steps Eleazer said are needed to chop off those wings (after Eleazer's meaning). The first three steps involve progressing the dragon gently and without corrosion through the 3 worlds in turn: the Mundane (solid), the Paradisiacal (liquid), and the Celestial (gaseous). The fourth step represents passing through frequent barriers in the distant islands of the philosophers where the dragon eats himself so full of Earth, that he can no longer fly, as if he wanted to melt everything solid into liquid. In the fifth stage he becomes a prisoner of Saturn's scythe. In the sixth stage, everything turns around, liquid becoming solid again
If the sublime wisdom of the universe,
Prized about all else,
Had opened up clearly,
As told by Philaleth; and
If my mother, Nature,
My colorful Mercury; and
If my fiery life were revealed;
Then there would be as many Adepts,
As there are Sophists now.
But God wills
The greedy world not to
Grasp my nature or
Discover my Mercury.
So I am only known to those
Who God sends to my Master.
Who explains everything clearly,
And reveals my figure:
What to make out of the poisonous dragon,
And my solid red brother.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 2
Physically, mentally, and emotionally turn to the Kingdom in your heart. Only then can you truly understand our overall mother, Nature. Only then can you comprehend the Mercurial Spirit hidden deeply in her innards, which gives life, seed, and soul to all 3 kingdoms. If the innumerable modern pseudo-Adepts would just recognize this, then the world would be full of true masters.
But it is hidden from their mundane eyes, that can perceive only the tranistory, that is, physically manifested things like minerals and metals. The One Substance escapes them. They do not recognize the seed and germ of all metals, where the glowing Mercury of nature lies hidden, the seed which the south-wind provides in shining gray, viscous liquid form.
Why? Because greedy, self important people, seeking only to satisfy their cravings, are fated to lose this Treasure which the God of Gods gives only to those in tune with nature, seeking with the heart of a child. And only these, not the thousands of sophisticated manipulators, know what to make of this poisonous Mercurial dragon and his accompanying liquid Sulphur and viscous Earth.
My species gives me a grey belly,
but I'm neither male nor female.
Rather, I have both genders.
My flesh and blood prove it.
My blood is male, my flesh female.
The power of both is spiritual.
I have both male and female organs.
So people call me a hermaphrodite.
My treasure is the Earth Element,
where there are minerals, metals, and such.
Yet I'm nothing that you may suppose.
I am One Substance by my nature.
In my metal form I am simultaneously
hot and cold, wet and dry.
EXPLANATION OF THE CANON 2
Here the author points out that the One Substance, is a viscous, gray, hermaphroditic liquid. Its passive, feminine characteristic comes from its liquid state and spirit of Mercury. Its active, masculine characteristic comes from its solid state and spirit of fiery Sulphur. In other words, physically it is Water and earth, but spiritually it is Mercury and Sulphur.
The author's second paragraph shows the Substance born in the center of the Earth and brought forth by the South-Wind. The author empowers us with clear words: It is neither mineral nor metal. It is an essence or substance with equal proportions of the characteristics of the 4 elements.
Now what can sophists and vain seekers after this mystery say about this atomic Substance, which has a hermaphrodite spirit and body, yet is neither a mineral nor a metal? All their misconceptions are swept away: there is no antimony, vitriol, saltpeter, salt, quicksilver, sulphur, gold, silver, nor other metalic compounds. One Substance only is needed. It encompasses all wisdom. Nature consituted It. The wise use It. Discover it and recognize Its esoteric secrets, lest, in all your science, you completely miss the target.
(1) The most-secret dual receptacle, without which the Work cannot be done. (2) How to hermetically seal the passions (CAPRICUS in the form of golden Earth or Sulphur, representing masculinity) with the the power of the Conscience (BE-JAH the Holy Spirit [literally, the Lord God], in the form of liquid Mercury or the Moon, representing femininity). (3) The hermaphrodite figure standing on the circle, so it belongs to that circle, but is nevertheless separate from it. (4) The green lion in the circle, which represents the blossoming of Life, and which attains its power through the gaseousSAL-NITRE. It becomes larger by devouring the liquid Mercury it drank, which it excretes as thick as tar.
Hermes called me the Sun and the Moon. Riplaeus called me the green lion. Our author called me hermaphrodite, but I pay no attention to that. It makes no difference. Nor does it matter what the sophists call me, for they learn nothing for all their trouble except: (1) I am One Substance, not two; (2) In me is Bernard's little fountain; (3) I am dry water, subtle pure; (4) I am raised up by the power of Mars, as commanded by Philaleth, the famous Adept who coagulates my esoteric nature with Mercury.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 3
In their books for the curious world, the adepts spoke in symbols. For example, the Stone is made of One Substance. It is a thing that is a simple unity, not a composite. It has equal parts of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. It possess equal attributes of heat and cold, moisture and dryness. It arises from liquid and solid Fire. Thus, in the first verse, Hermes calls it the Sun because it is made of Solid Fire; and in the second verse, he calls it the Moon because it is made of Liquid Mercury. Riplaeus calls it the green lion, because it grows more fiery whenever the Celestial Fire is inflamed.
The Master Norton called it a Hermaphrodite, since Hermes said it is both solar and lunar. But don't make the mistake made by most current-day alchemists. This single thing with dual characteristics is not a composite constructed by human hands. As it says in verse 13: By my nature I am One Substance.
And in verse 15: I am Dry Water, subtle and pure, and I am powered with Mars energy. That means, that in the center there is a subtle Fire. The Mars energy causes this Fire to rise up and become strengthened by the Celestial Fire. According to the words of the philosopher: Give the fire to the Fire and mercury to Mercury.
Four elements are sealed in me,
Sulphur and Mercury are dissolved in me.
I am savage, deadly, smoky, poisonous,
solid, liquid, constant, and gaseous.
Not animal, vegetable, fungus,
arsenic, vitriol-alaun, salt,
gold, nor any metal.
I am White Mercury. I have only one root and two stems.
Everyone despises me, because I don't look too cool in my dull gray coat.
Yet, I am like the prize-winning beehive that produces the best honey
for lords, princes, and the king.
I am equally valuable for everyone,
high and low, rich and poor.
EXPLANATION OF CANON 3
We are informed in Verse 1 that the chaotic-philosophical Water is not the same as the Water Element. There the author states: the four elements are sealed in me. And to show us the origin of his central Sulphur and astral Mercury, he adds: flowing with sulphur and mercury. The next 2 verses clarify that this hermaphrodite Substance is both solid and gaseous.
First he describes the dark, earthly, liquid characteristic, saying: I am wild, deadly, smoky, and poisonous. No man can face it without crying out and suffering from the most terrible poison. None dare touch it nor taste its repulsive smell. Yet even its raw state, it effects wonderful cures. Also, after a little preparation with small doses of ADMIRACULA PRAESTANDA, it can be touched or taken without harm.
But the following verse describes its characteristic as solid, liquid, constant, and gaseous. The author already named the interior and exterior forms of this One Substance. But, admittedly, God and the adepts do not permit discovering any clearer revelation.
Next,the author states what it isn't: not animal, vegetable, fungus, arsenic, vitriol, alum, salt, sulphur, mineral, gold, nor metal. So this universal Tincture is not from the animal, vegetable, mineral, or metal kingdoms. These words bring particular dizziness to the brains of today's alchemists, who will ask: what is it then? Well, it has certainly already been named several times, but to repeat it one more time superfluously: (1) It is the purest offspring of the gaseous mercury in the belly and center of the Earth. (2) It is a stone in liquid form. (3) It is an invisible solid. (4) It grows up like the mustard seed. (5) It works through the astral fire. (6) It transmutes everything it touches into a liquid-solid like itself. (7) It is a fiery water or air which cold Saturn congeals on top of the Earth. Enough said, since anyone who does not understand this now is beyond help, and further words will not help, for this is essential to any real Alchemy. (8) Manipulations, spells, and magical formulae do not apply here, because it is a dual spiritual-physical material, intractible to sophists. (9) It is White Mercury transmuted into gray, liquid form. (10) Even though it is laying at everyone's feet, philosophy cannot explain it better than as a unity with balanced dual characteristics.
(1) The Physical Substance evolves naturally and is called the lesser substance of the Stone, while the Mystical Substance is manufactured by the Adept and is called the greater substance of the Stone. Compounding these two Substances together completes the first Rotation, by fulfilling the seven circulations of the Water. This symbolically prepares the Earth to accept the Astral Seed. The queen has sex with the king and conceives the Child.
(2) The three clouds represent the three principles of Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt appearing from the four elements.
(3) The planets around the horizon differ in their order.
(4) Mercury, the hermaphrodite spirit balancing passion and conscience, is the first symbol on the bottom because Mercury is the first to work on the Hermaphrodite Child. The Child's material attachments lead to Saturn dominating it from above, to teach it that its animal nature is illusionary.
(5) Saturn, the mythical ancestor of the planets, swallows the golden Child of the Sun (which Mercury made) into his pitch-black belly. Saturn is next above Mercury and stays for seven time seven days. Then Saturn tires. His predecessor Mercury, with help from celestial Mercury, forces Saturn to spit the Child back out, and to hand the Child, undamaged, over to Saturn's follower, Jupiter.
(6) Jupiter lovingly nurses the vomitted Child in the cosmic kingdom of the Air and gives the Child a beautful form like a well polished noble jewel.
(7) Venus, the snow-white crystal liquid Mercury comes next, the Amazon queen, already on the other side of and ruler of the cosmic kingdom of the Air. The Child begins to grow aggressive. Venus, the nurse-mother, uses her virgin milk to suckle and wash the Child and make the Child grow.
(8) Mars is next under Venus. The Child grows strong and fiery from the virgin milk of Venus, solid as Mars himself, yet liquid as Venus. When this perfect balance is achieved, the blackness of the Child gives way to a rainbow of colors. Finally, the colors all join together to form white light.
(9) The Moon is now directly opposite below the cosmic kingdom of the Air, the solid, snow-white Diana, the white Stone, the crowned queen, who supervises the seven circulations of the Air, and becomes the solid Tincture, which transmutes all incomplete metals into the finest Silver.
Norton, Philaleth's instructor,
In my correct form
And he saw me clearly.
Everything good is in me,
Which you and everyone can do.
In the middle is my crowned figure,
My silver Mercury,
Which the educated call argentum,
And which is known as quicksilver.
Two hazy materials must be made very clear,
Maria writes, to perform the Work:
Those two are my frozen Water
And my brother Mercury, subtle and pure.
EXPLANATION OF THE PARAGRAPH 4
People enjoy expounding about the height of the sky, the depth of the sea, and the location of the center of the earth, but they are quieter than Pythagorean neophytes about the nature of the Universe. And without knowing the nature of Being itself, the rest of their speculations are worthless.
In this Work, there are uncountably many seekers of the Stone. However, they do not know the keys which are called quicksilver or mystical Mercury, or the Medium between two bodies, the conjunction of passion (CAPRICUM) and conscience (BE-JAH). Finding the Stone seems like untying the Gordian knot or bumping into a brick wall, because modern speculators imagine they are looking for earthly, physical things instead of mystical, spiritual things.
Norton, the Adept who taught the famous Philaletha, hints that we should seek and find quicksilver or philosophical Mercury in the Medium of the One Substance.
Maria the prophet says it even clearer what this Medium is, namely, two invisible gases, composed of black-red material, appearing to the adept in crystal clear liquid form. Now comes the key, when she says that this Medium should be harnessed to lead the entire Work. She adds that the source of these two hazy chemicals is Aqua Composita and its esoteric gaseous Mercury.
I am the good unicorn of the ancients.
Dissociate me into two,
And then bond us back together,
So that my mortal remains no longer decompose.
That is how to get the most powerful medicine.
Pay no attention to my wild and poisonous nature,
Because, God willing,
I cure all sickness and give long life.
EXPLANATION OF CANON 4
The One Substance is above all a unity, symbolized by the one horn of the unicorn. Denying this unity would overlook important mechanisms and laws of nature. The One Substance is a single material with both male and female gender. It is the One Glass for the adept blower, but which Aficentia [sic] calls a duality, and Hafilio [sic] and others call a trinity. It is the One Oven producing flames with as many degrees of cold and heat as you can find on a thermometer, and a similar number of degrees of wetness and dryness. The degrees are determined by the Element appearing in biggest proportion, which willingly and gently gives It its form. The one plan and recipe for the Work is: Dissolve and Coagulate; this formula creates the entire world, according to the occultist Dicentes [sic].
Keep dissociating (dissolving the coagulation) and bonding (coagulating the solution) until the moisture is completely overcome from the dryness and soldified. Then you have that powerful medicine, that the modern world cannot understand, and that makes fools of those who pretend to be wise.
Gently (without damage) unify these pure Principles by science and art, and you hit the target dead center.
This Figure clearly shows
The orbiting of the four Elements:
Turn Air, Fire, Water, and Earth
into Water through our Fire.
Then make that Water into Earth.
That completes the Work.
In other words, separate
the Air, Fire, Water, and Earth,
and unify them once more.
Do it gently or all is wasted,
And all the work and all the reward are lost.
The Crown sits in the point of the Earth.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 5
Alchemy teaches of three kinds of circulations occuring in three worlds: the outer Earthly, the Paradisiacal, and finally, the Celestial World. Mass concentrates in the outer World where the gross, corporal elements, Water and Earth, predominate. The subtle elements, Air and Fire, predominate in the paradisiacal and celestial World.
In the first World, the Earth is drowned in Noah's flood of sin and bottoms out into the ground. In the next World, the Earth is evaporated by the warm breeze, and the rainbow appears. In the third world, the Earth is purified by fire, crystallized, and coagulated.
In each World, the Elements procede along their orbit: Water turns into Air, Air into Fire, Fire into Earth. The same order is also used for Reduction. Eventually this cycle repeats. The first World has seven circulations of Water. The second seven circulations of Air. The third seven circulations of Fire. The Latin scholar Morienus, who moved to Jerusalem from Rome, said that you find what you seek when you change the Water into Air, the Air into Fire, and the Fire into Earth. Ebner [sic] agrees with Hermes, saying: It come into Its full power when It turns to Earth, which must occur gradually and without damage, or else the Work is lost.
Seek after reason and intelligence,
And do not look down on me,
Though I am vile and small,
Nothing else in the entire world
Contains the true Tincture,
Since I have the subtle and pure Mercury,
Settled, without turbulence,
Completely liquid, yet white and clear.
EXPLANATION OF CANON 5
Zealous Adepts can see further and sharper, because they penetrate through to the center, to the esoteric meaning of things. Thus they perceive the effects of Spirit manifesting in the physical. The One Substance, in which God and nature placed such a deep mystery, appears to be a vile, contemptible thing. Yet, the Tincture or Stone of the Philosophers can be made out of nothing else in nature. The One Substance houses, attracts, and produces the absolutely purest spirit of Mercury. In It, the wise find all they seek.
Back in Figure 1, Mercury swung from the dark, exoteric world of the gross elements to the subtle, esoteric kingdom of the Air. This same spirit of Mercury in pure, crystal-white, liquid form appears in Figure 4 inside the innermost triangle. The crown sitting on the triangle represents the Sun-child as a solid jewel. Though the noble Salt is sealed in the excreted soil, that soil is now set aside, later to become the cornerstone, the foundation of the entire Work, unchanging and forever.
The seven stars represent the circulations of Air, through which the paradisiacal queen nourishes so the Child grows in power, strength, and virtue.
The dry water indicates
A substance that wets nothing, yet is
The Seed of all humidity.
It is the Green Lion's partner,
Made pure and subtle by the Mars-nature,
The White Mercury is made here:
It must be polished as bright
As a spring of liquid silver:
That is how to gently inspire the Work along,
So it binds with its Red servant.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 6
The Dry Water symbol is fundamental to this Work of our hearts. It is a dry rain from above, a rarefaction and condensation strange to the touch. Your hand would not get wet, but would change colors, becoming black as chimney soot, white as snow, and red as freshly spilt blood. It is invisible, yet everywhere. It is the moist Center, the warm Radical, the green lion, the liquid dragon. The magical fire in Its waters evaporates It. It becomes a liquid silver Spirit rising up from a fountain floating in the Air. It is transmuted from the putrid murk of the rotting grave, into a pure and splendid Light full of Glory. It is now the Nymph-Spa where the Sun and Moon bathe, preparing for a magical copulation so powerful that they are permanently bonded together into a single being.
THE SIXTH CANON
A king in purple robes
Stabilizes me each time:
That is the pure Gold of the Philosophers
Who seek It in me.
It is called Solid Red Sulphur.
Everything else keeps a wide berth,
Because I can do it all single handed,
Though I am only one Stone,
I tolerate no Silver or Gold,
And Mercury treats me with disdain.
I complete the entire Work
All by my Self.
EXPLANATION OF CANON 6
In this recipe for cooking the Stone to coherency, the cloudy, vaporous Water that does not wet the hand serves as the moisture that binds and stabilizes the Stone, like an egg binds dough. This stabilization process is represented by the Regulus of Jupiter who is the newly born heavenly Child or the black Stone beset with rubies. It symbolizes the passions regenerated into true desire, the red solid Sulphur that arises from this same purified moisture and becomes the Stone. The art and science of this spiritual union and reintegration gives It the power to complete all Work pertaining to the Stone and the true Tincuture.
Only someone (are your ears turning red now?) wallowing in blissful ignorance of natural law would think that lifeless metallic gold, silver, and mercury, which neither speak nor breathe, could ever give birth to a life-giving Stone or healing Tincture. The Adept who wrote this Canon dismisses all such nonsense.
True, the Stone may look like gold, silver, and mercury, but its internal essence is the Mystical Substance from Figure 4. This Mystical Substance is sometimes called gold because part of it is solid fiery Earth. Silver because part of it is liquid-water, and Mercury or quicksilver because of the white mixture and the product arising from it. So, with the bubble of pride burst, you can succeed in achieving your goal and reach closer to your final destination.
Figure 7 reveals the Gold, Silver, and Mercury from Paragraph 6 and Canon 6 fully.
The Sun represents the Child emanating from Saturn, or Jupiters Stone, or the Gold of the Philosophers still half-shrouded in darkness, whose internal heat draws in and devours the magnetic whiteness of the Mercury-Water of his sister the radical humidity.
The Moon represents this Mercury-Water, the mystical Silver. When Sun and Moon are equally mixed they accomplish the true Wedding of the red Servant with his good smelling white sister.
Mercury, the hermaphrodite spirit with both masculine and feminine attributes, the off-spring of the Sun and the Moon, is symbolized by the cross connecting these sacred siblings.
This Mystical Mercury or quicksilver has a positive and negative aspect. Its negative aspect is being dissolved in the very Mercurial Water it magnetically attracts to itself. Its positive aspect is that it binds this Water and solidifies it.
Like red and white roses grow form ordinary stems, Silver and Gold flowers grow from the stem of mystical Mercury.
Here the Work begins,
gives the power
The elixir of long life.
A duality separated by a moist fire,
Bestowing health and wealth.
That is how to see this Figure.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 7
The results of the Work can only be attained in Fire wet with sweat by this alchemical wedding of the red groom to his white sister. No one knows this better than those who strived for ages without the benefit of this paragraph. Had they only placed the red groom at the altar between the center of the heavens and the earth, and then brought his pure, liquid sister-bride to kiss him there. Then they would have been well along their Path to stable health and limitless wealth, the by-products of the white and the red elixirs.
Do not pollute me,
Just dissolve me, coagulate me,
And turn me upside down.
That how to do good Work.
In these 4 verses Northon tosses all the the other Alchemists a rock to stub their toes on. (1) Guard It from pollution by any external substances that are not homogenous and harmonious. (2) Pour your water on the fire without putting the fire out so the water escapes as steam. (3) Following the ancient wisdom, give Fire to the fire and Mercury to the mercury. (4) As they melt into each other, their tight embrace dissolves them and finally coagulates them. (5) Then a doubled Mercury dissolves and coagulates itself through a strengthened or doubled Fire.
As Mercury completes the circle by returning to fiery Earth, like a flower turned stem-up, you become master of the art of the Stone and complete the Work.
So far, the figures portrayed the life cycle of the One Substance: Its origin, birthplace, purification, separation, hermetic sealing, pollution, congealing, sublimation, and union in strict succession. These processes led to the consummation of the alchemical wedding between the red groom and the white bride.
Figure 8, next in this mystical life cycle, contains a miniature copy of itself inside it. There is a cross on top of an outer circle, containing an inner solar system.
The shaded area inside is the dead Winter Earth, the old-Adam, who experiences a force field emanating from the circle within. That force enlivens him, calcinates him, and transforms his hidden Salt into thickly flowing, solid white, Mercury, which is the new Spring Earth, where Hermes said to sow our Gold.
Sun and Moon hang in perfect balance with each other, witnessing this alkinization.
The placement of the 4 elements is significant. Fire is on top by the cross because the Fire for the process must be sought from Above.
Earth is directly under Fire, because the fire calcinates the Earth and makes is fire-proof. Fire, Air, and Water then transform similarly, and the Stone is produced.
The Sun, a golden pebble, floating between Fire and Air, represents solid Red Sulphur which consists of Fire and Air and which is the masculine aspect of the Moon.
The liquid Mercury, floating between Fire and Water, consists of Fire and Water and is the feminine aspect of the Moon.
The Mercurial Moon hanging from the underside of the transforming Earth repesents all this joining, circulating, and one-time concentrating into solid Earth.
When Sun and Moon with Mercury
Are Joined together,
Indivisible and fireproof,
An eternal splendor occurs.
But, you must know and understand Figure 8.
All work will be in vain
In this mysterious art,
If mundane Moon and Mercury
Entice you from the Path.
Mystical Moon and Mercury
Is another name for one's nature:
Mystical Fire is the Fiery Water,
In which the Mystical Moon and Sun are cremated.
To join the Sun and Moon with Mercury, use solid Fire. The Mercurial Moon is made of Fire and Water, here called Fiery Water. To really learn something from the beautiful Paragraph 8, meditate on the dual state of this Fiery Water that the Sun and Moon cook in.
The feminine aspect of this dual Mercury consists of Fire and Water. It dissolves, penetrates, and makes things turn green and blossom. Its Humid Primigenium or Radical maintains and nurtures the inner heat of the Sulphur and the dry heat of the Salt.
The masculine aspect appears as a viscous Oil when extracted from Sulphur and Salt. The mystically implanted Fire-Nature is the first to bind and to coagulate.
When you can repeat this dissolution and coagulation in a controlled manner, then you can claim to truly understand Paragraph 8.
Dissolve me gently,
With no water or powder.
Place me in a moist coffin.
I turn white and red,
Then bubble forth a spring,
Fair as the Moon, bright as the Sun.
EXPLANATION OF CANON 8
Without using acid, dissolve a stone into liquid, so gently you would say it dissolved itself voluntarily, the way a black agate is polished into a diamond without cutting any faces. Physically this cannot be done, and even more so more so, because the Canonist says to do it with no water or polishing powder, which prohibits forcing the transformation with physical strength (Aqua Forte), economic power (Aqua Regis), or any other compulsive powers (corrosive powders).
The next verse describes how to do it mystically, by placing it in the moist coffin. That means, submerge the newly wedded couple, our Gold and Silver, into the liquid mercury. They are raised to the spiritual plane as they become one with each other in the fiery Water. This united Spirit, Soul, and Body bursts forth like bubbles in a bright shining spring. And the horns of the moon hide at the boundaries where these bubbles meet.
Its buoyancy in flight and its flaming heart show the etherial 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 using the Dry Fire of Mars and the Wet Fire of Venus.
This figure shows the power of the
Cooking and melting
Solid into liquid.
Fire which slays the Sun and Moon then
Then the 4 elements turn
The Lesser Work gives way to the
Birth of the child of the sun.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 9
Philosophers speak of four fires symbolize the four attributes of the elements: moist and cold, dry and warm, each one serving as the cure and resurrection of another. There are also two lions, one volatile drawn with wings, and one solid drawn without wings. The latter magnetically attracts the wisdom to turn the solid to liquid, and the liquid to solid, and to unite them together.
One is solar, and the other lunar. One is Red Sulphur, the other White Sulphur, which must be made one with each other.
Here is the conflict between the wolf of ascent and the dog of descent, who bite each other to death, melting into a pool of their own commingled blood.
When the solid is thus made liquid (when the Dry Fire is dissolved in the Wet Fire, and the warmth begins to work in the moisture) then this mixture gives birth to the black raven of solar and lunar eclipses which then dies.
The Lesser Work ends when the mystical Fire changes the 4 elements into Solid Fire like a black, tarry, metallic gore. That is the beginning of the Great Work where the child of the sun is born.
The black raven grows
For those who are able to
Stop the fire, and be patient,
Until the colors appear.
EXPLANATION OF CANON 9
It seems impossible to change a black raven into a white dove or swan, but that is just part of the hermetic work.
Noah first tried to use ravens to scout out whether the waters of the Sin-Flood had receded. But the ravens found some dead carrion to feed on and did not come back, so he used doves. That is why we drown the black raven in the Liquid Mercury, so it is resurrected as a white dove that proclaims the white Stone.
The raven had nothing more to give except to stay submerged in the Liquid Fire until the spiritual dove arrives.
This process of changing from black to white passes through all the colors of the peacock's tail, or the colors of the rainbow.
While the Liquid Fire predominated, the black raven was born. As the Dry Fire surpasses the Liquid Fire, the dry gaseous colors appear, but eventually turn into pure white.
The raven (symbolizing our dark earth) (1) sits on the ground though quite flight-capable, (2) stares straight into the sun hungering for, gobbling up, and sealing in the vibrations of the astral north-wind, (3) builds up enough internal heat to metamorphose into a gorgeous peacock.
The darkened Hermaphrodite Child (1) putrefying in the shadows (2) uses Midnight Fire (3) to overcome the cold light of its former life.
Saturnian lead must (1) melt, (2) cook, and (3) turn to tin.
The dove (1) can sometimes go back, but (2) once the raven drinks in this fire, (3) the ashes can never be unburned.
The fermenting metallic sperm is like dough. (1) Let it finish rising on its own before adding any flavors. (2) Heat the oven as gently as the gurgling of a brooding hen. (3) The Tincture is ready when a golden crust appears on the loaf, if we can patiently conquer our damned ignorance and compulsion to hurry the process.
Your first task is
Controlling this faculty:
Turn our virgin Earth
Into Milk, but
Be Gentle and take as long
As a pregnancy.
Then the raven is born,
Later classified as the peacock,
In 5 months, lilies bloom
When you decide to open the door for him.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 10
The most difficult part of the Work is exactly controlling the intensity of the expansion and contraction of the esoteric Fire. Mistakes are guaranteed without precise understanding. The word Alchemy denotes both Chemistry and Physics, so pay careful attention to both.
The expanding-contracting Fire is actually two non-interacting, freely circulating fires corresponding to the elemental attributes dry-moist. These two fires balance each other out so when one rests the other works.
Gracefully expanding and contracting both fires will prevent dissolving the moist liquid Fire too abruptly or coagulating the dry mystical solid Fire too harshly.
Right from the start of the Work, continually emphasize this gentleness in processing the White solid into the mystical Fire, so that neither overwhelms or ruins the other.
This takes time, so Paragraph 10 makes the beautiful analogy to the nine months it takes to bear a child. This also happens to be the time it takes to manufacture the Elixir and for the other operation that creates the Stone.
At the end of this time period the raven is at the door. The Raven is deprived of its body or its darkness after lasting 40 days.
The peacock colors appear in the half-solid liquid gases, which become fully solid along the way, as they change into the Moon.
Evaporate the raven's body (our Liquid Mercury), then resolidify, meaning kill it.
That is how the swan is born, swimming in the sea of glass, Hardening into the crystal Stone of the first order.
This paragraph follows Flamell in keeping the fiery king sealed for 150 days, though Bernardus Trevisanus says 130 days, to produce the first Stone.
Now it whitens
And has the power to
Transmute lead, tin, copper,
Into the finest Silver,
EXPLANATION OF CANON 10
Initially, Saturn produces 4 kinds of forms and 4 corresponding colors: (1) Saturnial black, (2) Jovial gray, (3) Mercurial or Lunar white, and (4) Martial or Venusian yellow. Then Solar red evolves followed by all the mixed hues of nature and contrivance.
When the various principles complete the final darkness of their putrefaction, the mixture or composite is called Laton. The Laton crystallizes through Azoth (Mercurial Acid) and augments and solidifies into the white Tincture.
After completing the cycle of putrifying and cleaning the Stone and fermenting it, there is nothing left to worry about, except to hope God preserves it from violation.
Only the White Stone can turn the black Laton Stone to yellow. And only the Yellow can turn it to Red. Make (1) the Black into White, (2) the White into Yellow, (3) the Yellow into Red, then you have Mastery.
The Black Stone is like Winter, the White like Spring, the Yellow like Summer, and the Red like Autumn.
Pay exceptional attention not to take the White Stone from the fire too early, before it is completely solid and precipitated. When it is done, it shatters all by itself, and from then on we use its shards.
The first Stone hardly transmutes anything. However, after the Astral Mercury resurrects it, and joins it with as much acid as it will soak up, then one part of this Tincture will transmute many thousand parts of incomplete metals into Silver.
The twelve stars of the zodiac conduct the last rites as the Water dies and turns to Stone.
The Astral force field represented by the cross first multiplies its power by marrying it with its Acid, then supplies it with Dry Fire, coloring it yellow like Venus and Mars, and finally reddens it as the Sun.
Diana shines through
When the proud peacock gives up his tail
The white swan Diana appears
Like the man-in-the-moon
You can transmute Venus, Mars, Mercury, and Tin
Just think about what he did,
And do it the same way:
Then the power of the swan grows,
And changes all metals into Silver.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 11
When the peacock gives up his tail colors, a tiny circulation of white opens up. Shortly after this everything turns white in the blink of an eye.
Be careful not to break the glass and shiny figure too soon, or else the Fire goes out, the uncooked product is wasted, and better luck next time. It has to harden by itself, so it shatters like a piece of glass.
It is important, each time you use Virgin Milk (its Acid) to dissolve and precipitate it, to multiply it by 10, going from 10 to 100, 100 to 1000, etc., ad infinitum.
My favorite is the Method of Projection where you dissolve the Stone in its White Oil (its fermentation) until it turns to oil. Put quicksilver in the vessel with some of this oil, and cook until solid. This precipitate transmutes lead, tin, or copper into Silver.
You can also do this process with the Solid Red Sulphur or Stone.
Before combining it with quicksilver, mix a little of this oil with some wine or brandy. This produces the world-famous Aurum Potabile (liquid gold) which cures every illness of the human body.
Keep going until it turns red,
If that happens, thank the Lord: for
The Sun is the beauty that is in all the metals,
The Sun is the power that turns those metals into Gold.
Inside the Black (the attribute of the body) dwells the White (attribute of the spirit), inside the White dwells the Red (attribute of soul). Thus Alchemists work in three worlds, the outer dark world, the paradisiacal spiritual world, and the celestial Light beyond.
The first Work is done through Water and Earth (according to the outer mundane qualities), the second through Air and Salt, and the third through Fire and Light.
Whoever knows how to make the Solid White Stone from the celestial Light, that is, from the mystical Dry Fire, knows how to conduct the marriage of the solid queen and the solid red king.
So simmer it in Dry Fire, and in Dry Calcination, until it is red as cinnabar. Do not add water or anything else. Wait until it is brewed to complete redness.
Before you get any red, a gray ash appears which contains the hidden Phoenix. Then yellow or orange Red emerges from that ash, turning into red.
By simmer it a while longer and the Salamander appears, who first takes on a yellowish Red, and finally a lack Red color. The Salamander is solid and fire-proof, and actually enjoys being in and feeding on the Fire.
The multiplication and projection of Paragraph 11 are now clear with nothing more to do except what I left out in the interest of brevity.
The snake eating its own tail represents the solid White and Red Stones. These first harden and solidify the virgin Milk, and then transform into a Salamander who lives in the Fire. The Fire furnishes the Salamander with the energy for its continued evolution.
The flying dragon, now fallen to Earth, breathes fire, which devours all metals, transmuting them into Silver or Gold.
The cross designates the Attraction Field of the Astral Fire whose vibrations color the Salamander Venusian yellow, Martian Citrine-Red, and blood-red. This is the Fire of eternal Youth through multiplication, experienced by many.
Turns the swan into a
She feasts on
And lives in flames,
Blood-Red in color,
Nourished by the glowing embers:
Those who bow to her rule,
(Like the Pelican
Who gives all to his young):
Will see the Salamander
Strength and Virtue,
But she only appears to those who
Understand 7 stars:
She opens up
The 7 gates for us.
EXPLANATION OF PARAGRAPH 12
Fire is the energy for implementing and completing all Alchemical Work. Fire and heat instantly changed the swan to a Salamander. Dry mystical Fire was used in the earlier part of the Work. Now the moist physical Fire at steady heat builds up, maintains, and cools the mystical Fire. The mystical Fire is called the blood of its own Fire-Embers, appearing in Figure 12 beneath the pelican.
The 7 Stars, which remind us of the magical or natural Imbibitiones, the author himself clarifies:
The Milk of the Moon is not like the virgin Milk of the Sun: making (EINTRAENKUNG) the White Stone requires whiter milk, than the Red.
Use Dry Fire to sublimate and calcinate it. Start making it red by pouring a tiny bit of yellow-red Mercury on it, once or, if needed, twice.
Just One Thing under the Sun
Its Possession is the secret of making Gold.
Its form is both male and female.
Its nature is both hot and cold.
Its nutrients pour out,
Its male part, solid, Its female part, liquid.
Its unity makes it the beginning and the end.
Its state changes from male to female:
Dissolving, putrefying, purifying, coagulating,
Until the golden Child appears.
Its milk feeds the Child anew,
And lets you immediately repeat the Work,
Until everything flows and penetrates.
Then fine gold accumulates,
Its Spiritual Body turns acid.
Its Colors have to be made ready for the Work:
But be righteous and guard against sins,
And God will grant you this treasure:
Its color will eventually turn red,
And then remember to thank the Lord.
EXPLANATION OF CANON 12
To sustain succintness, the Author can say no more, yet says all.
This final canon is the Epilogue summarizing and confirming the others.
In the beginning verses, there is the One Substance, our White Ingredient, the Ens Mundi, the One Thing, the secret Subject or spirit energy which is the source of the physical energy transmitted through its object, the Sun.
This One Substance is in a state of perfect balance, a perfect gender balance of male and female, and a perfect vibrational balance of heat and cold.
The male and female aspects of this balance are this passive Subject and its active Object. The male (the artificially modified Object) waits inside the Subject in solid form, until the female Subject acts on the Object. Then the Object loses its congealed solidity and turns liquid. When its flows (as Hermes said) they can be harmoniously and gracefully separated from teach other, and later hermetically sealed back together.
At the beginning of the Work, as a liquid, and at the end, as a solid, It is just One Thing. But not in between, from the time Passion and Reason are separated, until they are sealed back together to produce the White Stone.
The steps are: (1) dissolve, (2) putrefy, (3) purify, (4) coagulate. Repeat this process until the golden Child appears in the form of the noble Stone. Separation followed by marriage. Nourish the Stone with heavenly nectar, the ambrosia of our virgin Milk, which means dissolve it. Let it rot and wash it with magical solutions. Seal it in its tomb until it coagulates and solidifies, until the power of the Tincture climaxes.
This Gold of the Sun is the fine Gold of the Wise. Repeat the process until It becomes cherry red. Then just melt a bunch of metals together, one fifth gold, and toss in a freely flowing portion of the Tincture, and you will see how much incomplete metal you can change into the finest gold this way.
Praise God for the Result.