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Page

Réfer. : AL2401T
Auteur : Philalethes.
Titre : A short vade mecum.
S/titre : to the Celestial Rubis.

Editeur : J. Elliot and Co., London.
Date éd. : 1893 .


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246 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
A
B R I E F G U I D E T O

THE
C E L E S T I A L R U B Y .
-------
Concerning the Philosopher's Stone and its Grand Arcanum.

T HE Philosopher's Stone is a certain heavenly, spiritual, penetrative, and fixed substance, which brings all metals to the perfection of gold or silver (according to the quality of the Medicine), and that by natural methods, which yet in their effects transcend Nature.
It is prepared from one substance, with which the art of chemistry is conversant, to which nothing is added, from which
nothing is taken away, except that its superfluities are removed.
No one will question the utility of our Art, if he believes that it enables us to transmute base metals into gold. That
base metals are capable of such transmutation is clear; Nature
has destined them all to become gold, but they have not been
perfectly matured. If, then, that which hinders their perfect
digestion be removed, they will all become gold; for crude, cold,
and moist Mercury is the common first substance of gold as well
as of the other metals. Hence all other metals may be perfected
into gold, by the aid of our Divine Magistery, which, being projected
upon imperfect metals, has power to quicken the maturing
process by as much as itself exceeds the standard maturity
of gold. How patent, then, must the spiritual nature of our
Stone be, which can effect more in one hour by a bare projection
than Nature in the course of ages. If that substance which
Nature supplies be taken in hand by Art, dissolved, coagulated,
and digested, its perfection is increased from a monadic to a

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TREATISES OF PHILALETHES. 247
denary virtue; by repeating the same process, it is increased
a hundred-fold, and then a thousand-fold, etc. This wonderful
Medicine penetrates each smallest part of the base metals (in
the proportion of 1:: 1,000) and tinges them through and
through with its own noble nature: your arithmetic will fail
sooner than its all-prevailing power. Each smallest part that is
pervaded with the vitalizing power of the Elixir in its turn tinges
that part which is nearest to it until the whole mass is leavened
with its marvellous influence, and brought to the perfection of
gold. This is done in a very short time, on account of the
spiritual nature of the agent; it is the true metallic fire, and as
a common fire warms even those parts of any object which are
not in immediate contact with the fire, so this Elixir penetrates
dissolved and melted metals in a moment of time -- just in the
same way as the virtue of leaven or yeast is brought to bear een
upon those parts of the meal which it never reaches. A reproach
is sometimes levelled at our Art, as though it claimed the power
of creating gold; every attentive reader of our former tract will
know that it only arrogates to itself the power of developing,
through the removal of all defects and superfluities, the golden
nature, which the baser metals possess in common with that
highly-digested metallic substance.
Listen, then, while I make known to you the Grand Arcanum of this wonder-working Stone, which at the same time is not a
stone, which exists in every man, and may be found in its own
place at all times. The knowledge which I declare is not
intended for the unworthy, and will not be understood by them.
But to you who are earnest students of Nature, God will, at His
own time, reveal this glorious secret.
I have shewn that the transmutation of metals is not a chimerical dream, but a sober possibility of Nature, who is
perfectly capable of accomplishing it without the aid of magic;
and that this possibility of metallic transmutation is founded
upon the fact that all metals derive their origin from the same
source as gold, and have only been hindered from attaining the
same degree of maturity by certain impurities, which our
Magistery is able to remove.
Let me tell you, then, what is the nature of this grand arcanum, which the Sages have called the Philosopher's Stone.

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248 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
but which is in every man, in every thing, at every season of the
year, if it be sought in the right place.
It must consist of the elements, for they are the universal substance of all things, and as it is of a nature homogeneous with
that of gold, it must be that which contains the qualities of all
elements in such a combination as to render it incapable of
being destroyed by fire.
It follows, then, that you must look for the substance of our Stone in the precious metals, since the required combination of
elements is not found anywhere else. Those foolish sophists
who seek it outside the domain of metals will never arrive at any
satisfactory conclusion. For there is only one true principle,
and nothing heterogeneous must be introduced into our Magistery
For as a lion is always born of a lion, and a man of a man, so all things owe their birth to that which they are like; that
which is combustible is derived from that which is combustible,
that which is indestructible from that which is indestructible.
Nor must we expect to find the principle which imparts the
qualities of gold anywhere but in gold itself. If, indeed, we were
able to create the sperm of things, we might hope to evolve this
metallic principle from plants or animals which do not contain
it; but that is the privilege of God alone. We must be content
to dispose and develop the sperm which is made ready to our
hands -- new things we are unable to produce, and even if we
could, our artificial seed would be no better than that which
Nature has provided. If any one calling himself a Sage cannot
use the things which are already created, it does not seem likely
that he will be able to create new things out of heterogeneous
substances -- the seeds of metals out of herbs or animals.
Thus, you see that the Stone which is to be the transformer of metals into gold must be sought in the precious metals, in
which it is enclosed and contained.
But why is it called a Stone, though it is not a stone; and how is it to be found ? The Sages describe it as being a stone
and not a stone; and the vulgar, who cannot imagine how so
wonderful a thing should be produced except by art-magic,
decry our science as impious, wicked, and diabolical. Some
silly persons clamour for an Act making the profession or
practice of this Art punishable by statute law. Now, one can

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TREATISES OF PHILALETHES. 249
hardly be angry with the illiterate and ignorant persons who
raise this cry; but when it is taken up by men of exalted station
and profound learning, one hardly knows what to say. These
men I also reckon among the rude multitude, because they are
deplorably ignorant of everything pertaining to our Art, and
yet, forgetful of their dignity, they join in the hue and cry
against it, like so many cowardly village curs. It is neither
religious nor wise to judge that of which you know nothing; and
yet that is exactly what these people do, who claim to be both
Christians and scholars.
But let us return to the point from which we strayed. Some Alchemists who are in search of our Arcanum seek to prepare
something of a solid nature, because they have heard the object
of their search described as a Stone.
Know, then, that it is called a stone, not because it is like a stone, but only because, by virtue of its fixed nature, it resists
the action of fire as successfully as any stone. In species it is
gold, more pure than the purest; it is fixed and incombustible
like a stone, but its appearance is that of very fine powder,
impalpable to the touch, sweet to the taste, fragrant to the smell
in potency a most penetrative spirit, apparently dry and yet
unctuous, and easily capable of tinging a plate of metal. It is
justly called the Father of all miracles, containing as it does all
the elements in such a way that none predominates, but all form
a certain fifth essence; it is thus well called our gentle metallic
fire. It has no name of its own; yet there is nothing in the
whole world whose name it might not with perfect propriety
bear. If we say that its nature is spiritual, it would be no more
than the truth; if we described it is as corporeal, the expression
would be equally correct; for it is subtle, penetrative, glorified,
spiritual gold. It is the noblest of all created things after the
rational soul, and has virtue to repair all defects both in
animal and metallic bodies, by restoring them to the most
exact and perfect temper; wherefore is it a spirit or quintessence.
But I must proceed to answer the second and more important part of my question. How is this Stone to be obtained ?
It does not exist in Nature, but has to be prepared by Art, in
obedience to Nature's law. Its substance is in metals; but in
form it differs widely from them, and in this sense the metals are

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250 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
not our Stone. For if we would elicit our Medicine from the
precious metals, we must destroy the particular metallic form,
without impairing its specific properties. The specific properties
of the metal have their abode in its spiritual part, which resides in
homogeneous water. Thus we must destroy the particular form of
gold, and change it into its generic homogeneous water, in which
the spirit of gold is preserved; this spirit afterwards restores the
consistency of its water, and brings forth a new form (after the
necessary putrefaction), a thousand times more perfect than the
form of gold which it lost by being reincrudated.
It is necessary, then, to reduce metallic bodies to their homogeneous water which does not wet the hands, that from this
water there may be generated a new metallic species which is
nobler by far than any existing metal, viz., our Celestial Ruby.
The whole process which we employ closely resembles that followed by Nature in the bowels of the earth, except that it is
much shorter. Nature produces the metals out of cold and
humid Mercury by assiduous digestion; our Art takes the same
crude, cold, and humid Mercury, and conjoins with it mature
gold, by a secret artifice; the mixture represents a new and far
more potent Mercury, which, by digestion, becomes not common
gold, but one far more noble, which can transmute imperfect
metals into true gold.
Thus, you see that though our Stone is made of gold alone, yet it is not common gold. In order to elicit our gold from
common gold, the latter must be dissolved in our mineral water
which does not wet the hands, this water is Mercury extracted
from the red servant, and it is capable of accomplishing our work
without any further trouble to the Artist. It is that one true,
natural, first-substance, to which nothing is added, from which
nothing is subtracted, except certain superfluities, which, however,
it will cast off without any aid by its own inherent vital
action. The chief object of your perseverant efforts should be
the discovery of this Mercury, or the albefaction of our red
Laton; all the rest is mere child's play, as the Artist has only to
look on while Nature gradually matures his substance.
But remember that our albification is by no means an easy task. Gold which has been thus whitened can never resume
its old form, for, instead of being corporeal and fixed, it is now

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TREATISES OF PHILALETHES. 251
spiritual and volatile. Concentrate your whole mind, therefore,
on the whitening of the Laton. It is easier to make gold than
thus to destroy its form; he who so dissolves it may be said
rather to coagulate it -- for dissolution of the body and coagulation
of the spirit are coincident in it.
Consider these signs, ye sons of knowledge. That which dissolves is spirit; that which coagulates is body. A body
cannot enter a body so as to cause dissolution; but a spirit can
enter it, attenuate and rarefy it; and as you seek water, you
need water to bring it to light; for every Agent has a tendency
to assimilate to itself that which it acts upon, and every natural
effect is conformed to the nature of the efficient; hence water is
necessary if you would extract water from earth.
When I speak of water, I do not mean aquafortis, royal water, or any other corrosive whatsoever, for these waters, instead
of dissolving metals, only corrode, mar, and corrupt them,
without destroying their old form, to which task they are
in sufficient, as they are not of a metallic nature. No, our water
is the water Mercury, which dissolves homogeneous metallic
bodies, and mingles with them in indissoluble union, abides
with them, is digested with them, and together with them
becomes that spiritual whole which we seek. For everything
that dissolves a substance naturally (still preserving the specific
properties of the thing dissolved) becomes one with it both
materially and formally, coalesces with it, and is thickened by
it, thus nourishing it; as we see in the case of a grain of wheat,
which, when dissolved by the humid earthy vapour, thereby
takes up that vapour as its radical moisture, and grows together
with it into a plant. We may also observe that, every natural
dissolution being a quickening of that which was dead, this
quickening can take place only through some vital agent which
is of the same essence with the dead thing if we wish to
quicken the (dead) grain of wheat, we can do this only by means
of an earthy vapour, which, like the grain itself, is a product of
the earth. For this reason common Mercury can have no
quickening effect on gold, because it is not of the same essence
with it. A grain of wheat sown in marshy soil, so far from being
quickened into life, is, on the contrary, destroyed, because the
aqueous humour of the soil is not of the same nature. In like

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252 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
manner, gold, if mixed with common Mercury, or with anything
except its own essential humour, is not dissolved, because such
waters are too cold, crude, and impure; for which reason, being
utterly unlike gold, they cannot amalgamate with it, or attain
with it to a far nobler degree of development. Our Mercury,
indeed, is cold and unmatured in comparison with gold; but it
is pure, hot, and well-digested in respect of common Mercury,
which resembles it only in whiteness and fluxibility. Our
Mercury is, in fact, a pure water, clean, clear, bright, and
resplendent, worthy of all admiration.
If you wish for a more particular description of our water, I am impelled by motives of charity to tell you that it is living,
fluxible, clear, nitid, as white as snow, hot, humid, airy, vaporous,
and digestive, and that gold melts in it like ice in warm water;
moreover, that in it is contained the whole regimen of fire, and
the sulphur which exists but does not predominate in it. This
water is the true Keeper of our Gates, the Bath of the King and
of his Queen, which warms them incessantly, but is not taken of
their substance, and is distinct from the whitening substance of
the water, though the two are united and appear under the same
flowing form and colour. It is our vessel, our fire, the abode of
our furnace, by whose continuous and gentle warmth the whole
substance is digested. If you know this water, it will be seen to
contain all our fires, ail our proportions of weight, all our regimens.
It is Bernard of Trevisa's clear pellucid Fountain, in
which our King is cleansed and strengthened to overcome all his
foes. All you have to do is to find this water and to put into it
the purified body; out of the two Nature will then produce our
Stone.
This mineral water can be extracted only from those things which contain it; and that thing from which it is most
easily obtained is difficult to discover, as is also the mode of its
extraction. It dissolves gold without violence, is friendly to it
washes away its impurities, and is white, warm, and clear
Without our Mercury, Alchemy could not be a science, but only
a vain and empty pretence. If you can obtain it, you have the
key of the whole work, with which you can open the most secret
chambers of knowledge. Its nature is the same as that of gold,
but its substance is different, and the preparation of it causes

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TREATISES OF PHILALETHES. 253
a great stench. Weigh well the possibilities of Nature; refrain
from introducing any heterogeneous element into our Magistery,
and do not blame me if you fail to understand my words. . .
Our Stone is produced from one thing, and four mercurial substances, of which one is mature; the others pure, but crude, two
of them being extracted in a wonderful manner from their ore by
means of the third. The four are amalgamated by the intervention
of a gentle fire, and there subjected to coction day by day,
until they all become one by natural (not manual) conjunction.
Afterwards, the fire being changed, these volatile substances should be fixed and digested by means of heat which becomes
a little more powerful every day (i.e., by means of fixed
and incombustible Sulphur of the same genus) until the whole
compound attains the same essence, fixity, and colour.
There are twelve degrees or phases of this our process, which I may briefly enumerate and describe as follows. The
first is Calcination.
Calcination is the first purgation of the Stone, the drying up of its humours, through its natural heat, which is stirred into
vital action by the external heat of water -- whereby the compound
is converted into a black powder, which is yet unctuous,
and retains its radical humour.
This calcination is performed for the purpose of rendering the substance viscous, spongy, and more easily penetrable; for
gold in itself is highly fixed, and difficult of solution even in our
water; but through this calcination it becomes soft and white,
and we observe in it two natures, the fixed and the volatile,
which we liken to two serpents. In order that a full dissolution
may be made, there is need of contrition, that calcination
may afterwards produce a viscous state, when it will be fit for
dissolution.
When the substances are first mixed, they are at enmity with each other, by reason of their contrary qualities, for there is
the heat and dryness of the Sulphur fiercely contending with the
cold and moisture of the Mercury. They can only be reconciled
in a medium which partakes of both natures, and the medium in
which heat and cold are reconciled is dryness which can co-exist
with both. Thus cold and heat are brought to dwell peaceably
together in the dryness of the earth, and dryness and moisture in

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254 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
the coldness of the water. This reconciliation of contrary
qualities is the second great object of our calcination.
Its sufficient cause is the action of the inward heat upon the moisture, whereby everything that resists it is converted into a
very fine powder; the moving and instrumental cause is the
fire contrary to Nature, which, being hidden in our solvent water,
battles with its moisture and digests it into a viscous or unctuous
powder.
This operation takes place before our dissolution, because whenever bodies are dissolved, the spirits in their turn are congealed.
Again, the woman must reign, before she is overcome
by the man. The dominion of the woman is in the water, and if
the man overcome her in the element in which both her qualities
of coldness and moisture inhere, he will easily conquer her where
she has only one quality.
Calcination, then, is the beginning of the work, and without it there can be neither peaceable commixtion nor proper union.
The first dealbation reduces the substance to its two principles,
sulphur and quicksilver, the first of which is fixed, while the
other is volatile. They are compared to two serpents, the fixed
substance to a serpent without, and the volatile substance to a
serpent with, wings. One serpent holds in his mouth the tail of
the other, to shew that they are indissolubly conjoined by community
of birth and destiny, and that our Att is accomplished
through the joint working of this Mercurial Sulphur, and
sulphureous Mercury. Hence the whole compound is at this
stage called Rebis, because there are two substances but only one
essence. They are not really two, but one and the same thing;
the Sulphur is matured and well digested Mercury, the Mercury
is crude and undigested Sulphur. It has already been said that
in our Art we imitate Nature's method of producing metals in
the bowels of the earth, except that our method is shorter and
more subtle. In metallic veins only crude and frigid Mercury is
found, in which the inward heat or dryness (i.e., Sulphur) can
scarce make its influence felt. No digestive heat is found there,
but in the course of ages an imperceptible motion changes this
metallic principle. In the course of centuries, however, this
imperceptible digestive heat changes the Mercury into what is
then called fixed Sulphur, though before it was denominated
Mercury.

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TREATISES OF PHILALETHES. 255
But in our Art, we have something besides crude and frigid Mercury, viz, mature gold, with its manifold active qualities.
These are united to the passive qualities of our Mercury; and so
one aids and perfects the other, and as we have two fires, instead
of the one slow inward fire of Mercury, the operation is more
expeditious, and something far nobler than common gold is
produced.
Thus you see that in our Art we have two Sulphurs and two Mercuries (i.e., Sulphur, and Mercury of Mercury, and
Sulphur and Mercury of gold), but their only difference consists
in degrees of perfection and maturity. Now, the perfect body
of gold is reduced to its (two) first principles by means of our
Divine water which does not wet the hands (viz., Mercury and
Sulphur). This operation fora time gives the ascendancy to the
female agent; but this being unnatural, the male agent soon
reasserts itself, and by means of its heat dries up the moisture of
the female agent, and -- through calcination -- converts it all into
a most subtle and viscous powder, which powder is then
changed by dissolution into a water, in which the spirits of the
solvent and the thing dissolved, the male and the female
principles, are mingled. But the inward heat, which has once
been roused into action, still continues to work, separating the
subtle (which floats on the surface) from the gross (which sinks
to the bottom), until the man has gained the upper hand, the
inseparable union takes place, and the male impregnates the
female; the female brings forth a nebulous vapour, in which
they are putrefied and decay, and from which both arise with a
glorious body, no longer two, but only one by inseparable
conjunction. This new birth is then coagulated, sublimed,
nourished, and exalted to the highest degree of perfection, and
may afterwards be indefinitely multiplied by fermentation, and
used both for projection and as an Universal Medicine.
We see, then, that these black and fetid ashes are not to be despised, since they contain the Diadem of our King; your
substance will never be white, if it has not first been black. It
is by means of putrefaction and decay that it attains the
glorified body of its resurrection. Therefore, you should honour
the tomb of our King, for unless you do so, you will never
behold him coming in his glory.

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256 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
A great many students make a mistake at the very outset, by performing this calcination on a wrong substance -- borax, or
alum, or ink, or vitriol, or arsenic, or seeds, or plants, or wine,
vinegar, urine, hair, blood, gum, resin, etc.; or they choose a false
method, and corrode instead of calcining the metallic bodies on
which they operate. Calcination can take place only by means
of the inward heat of the body, assisted by friendly outward
warmth; but calcination by means of a heterogeneous agent can
Only destroy the metallic nature, in so far as it has any effect at
all. Every calcination of gold, which is not succeeded by a
spontaneous dissolution, without laying on of hands, is also
fallacious.
The true calcination is by means of Mercury, which (being added to gold in due proportions) softens and dissolves the gold,
and, by its inward heat, united to outward heat, stirs into action the
native heat of the gold, and thus causes it to dry up its humidity
into that fine, viscous, black powder. And this is the true key
of the work -- to incrudate the mature by the conjunction of an
immature -- being incrudated to calcine it -- being calcined to dissolve
it -- and all this philosophically, not vulgarly.
The outward signs of the calcination are as follows: -- When the gold has become saturated with water, and the fire of the
Mercury has called into play the heat of the bath, the water
which was so brilliant begins to grow dim, then visibly swells and
bubbles, until the whole becomes a fatty and viscous powder,
which, however, still retains its radical humour. For when the
heat first beg ns to operate, the cold and the moist seek refuge
by rising to the top; thence they descend in liquid form and
assimilate as much of the substance as they can to themselves;
thus the powder is converted into a glutinous water. For
between the different processes of our Art, there exists such a
concatenation that not one can be produced or understood without
the rest. In order to hide our meaning from the unworthy,
we speak of several operations; but all these -- the whole progress
of the substance from black to white and red -- should be
philosophically understood as one operation, one thing, one
successive disposition to black, white, and red.
The following rules should be observed if you wish to bring about true calcination:--

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TREATISES OF PHILALETHES. 257
In the first place, you must procure our Mercury; common Mercury will produce no effect if you operate on it till doomsday.
Secondly, the external fire of the furnace should be neither too violent (in order that the equilibrium of chemical forces in
the substance may not be disturbed), nor yet too gentle, so that
the action of the inward fire may not languish for want of outward
heat. It should be just such as to keep up an equable
vital warmth.
In the third place, the Laton should receive neither too much nor too little to drink. If it receive too much, it will not be able
to give it out, and a nebulous tempest will arise; if too little, it
will be burnt to cinders. The activity of the Sulphur must dry
up the superfluous humour of the Mercury, therefore, the active
(sulphur) must not be swamped with too much sperm; nor must
the moisture be choked with too much earth. The proportions
should be between two or three parts of water to one of gold;
but the larger the quantities of both substances, the more perfect
will the calcination and dissolution be. The chief mistake
against which you must guard is the swamping of your earth
with water. For the earth contains the fire, which is the principal
digestive in our Art.
In the fourth place, you should take care to seal up your vessel properly, to prevent the spirit from evaporating. Consider
how carefully Nature has closed up the female womb to prevent
anything from escaping or entering that might prove hurtful to
the young life; and quite as much (if not more) care is required
in our Magistery. For when the embryo is being formed, great
winds arise, which must not be allowed to escape -- or else our
labour will have been all in vain.
The fifth requisite in our work is patience. You must not yield to despondency, or attempt to hasten the chemical process
of dissolution. For if you do so by means of violent heat, the
substance will be prematurely parched up into a red powder,
and the active vital principle in it will become passive, being
knocked on the head, as it were, with a hammer. But our true
calcination preserves the radical humour in the body dissolved,
and converts it into an unctuous black powder. Patience is,
therefore, the great cardinal virtue in Alchemy. It must not be
supposed that the signs and colours which I describe appear on

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258 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
the first day, or even within the first week: Bernard of Trevisa
tells us that he waited in an anguish of expectation for forty days,
and then returned and saw clouds and mists. You need the
patience of the husbandman, who, after committing the seed to
the earth, does not disturb the soil every day to see whether it is
growing. . . . As soon as you have prepared y our substance,
i.e., mixed mature yellow sulphur with its crude white sulphur,
put them in a vessel and let them stand undisturbed; at the end
of twenty-four hours, the Mercury, which is attempting to rouse
the latent fire of the sulphur, will begin to effervesce and send up
bubbles. But little variation of colour shall appear until the
object of the Mercury has been accomplished, and the Royal Bath
prepared; at first it is the Mercury alone that is at work. When,
however, the Bath has been made hot (i.e., the inward warmth of
the gold roused) the greater part of our work is over, and we shall
be easily able to distinguish the various operations. The first
colour which appears after the silver colour of the amalgamated
body, is not perfect blackness, but only a darkish white; the
blackness becomes more pronounced day by day, until the substance
assumes a brilliant black colour. This black is a sign that
the dissolution is accomplished, which does not come about in
one hour, but gradually, by a continuous process; for the Tincture
which comes out of the Sun and Moon appears black to the eyes,
but is insensibly and imperceptibly extracted. When the whole
of the Tincture has been extracted from the body that is to be
dissolved, the blackness is complete. The more you digest the
substance at first, the more you subtilize the gross, and blacken
the compound. There are four principal colours, the first of
which is blackness; and it is of all colours the most tardy in
making its appearance. But as soon as the highest degree of
intense blackness has been reached (there being no idle intervals
in our work), that colour begins little by little to yield to another.
The time during which this blackness is developed is very long,
and so is the time during which it disappears; but it is only for
one moment that the blackness neither increases nor decreases:
for things find rest only in that which is the end of their being,
but blackness is not the end of our substance.
The advent of the blackness is like the coming of the night, which is preceded by a long twilight -- when the last ray of

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TREATISES OF PHILALETHES. 259
light has faded away, the blackness of night has come; only our
work is more tedious, and the change is, therefore, still less
perceptible.
It may be objected that the black tincture begins to be extracted as soon as the inward heat is roused, and that, therefore,
the colour which appears must be, from the very first, an
intense black. My answer is that the Tincture which is extracted
is, as a matter of fact, not black, but of a dazzling white; and
that the blackness is produced gradually, through the action of
the water on the body, out of which it draws the soul (the
tincture), thus giving the body up to decomposition. It is
this putrefaction (the result of the mutual action of the Sulphur
and Mercury) which imparts to the Tincture its black colour;
in itself the Tincture is brilliantly white. How long, then, will
you have to wait till perfect blackness appears ? Flamellus tells
us that this intense blackness comes at the end of about forty
days. Ripley advises us to let the mingled substances remain
together for six weeks, until the conception has taken place,
during which time the fire must be very gentle. And Bernard
(of Trevisa) suggests the same thing, when he says in his parable:
" The King doffs his glorious robes, and gives them to Saturn
who clothes him in a garment of black silk, which he retains for
forty days." Of course, the blackness which is here spoken
of is not equally intense all the time, as you will understand
from what has been said above.
In the course of this change from white to black, the substance naturally passes through a variety of intermediate colours;
but these colours (being more or less accidental) are not invariably
the same, and depend very much on the original proportion
in which the two substances are combined. In the second stage,
during which the substance changes from black to white, it is
already far purer, the colours are more lucid, and more to be
depended upon. In the two phases there are intermediate
colours; but in the first they are more dingy and obscure than
in the second, and very much less numerous. In the progress of
the substance from blackness to whiteness (i.e., the second phase
of our Magistery), the most beautiful colours are seen in a
variety such as eclipses the glory of the rainbow; before the
perfection of blackness is reached, there are also some transition

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260 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
colours, such as black, azure, and yellow -- and the meaning of
these colours is that your substance is not yet completely
decayed; while the body is dying, the colours are seen, until
black night shrouds the whole horizon in pitchy gloom. But
when the process of resurrection begins (in the second phase),
the hues are more numerous and splendid, because the body is
now beginning to be glorified, and has become pure and spiritual.
But in what order do the colours of which we speak appear ? To this question no definite answer can be given, because in this
first phase there are so much uncertainty and variation. But
the colours will be the clearer and more distinct, the purer your
water of life is. The four principal colours (white, black, white,
red), always follow in the same order; but the order of the
intermediate colours cannot be so certainly determined, and you
ought to be content if within the first 40 days you get the black
colour. There is only one caution you should bear in mind,
in regard to this point: if a reddish colour appears before the
black (especially if the substance begins to look dry and powdery
at the same time), you may be almost sure that you have marred
your substance by too violent a fire. You should be very careful,
then, about the regulation of your fire; if the fire be just hot
enough, but not too hot, the inward chemical action of our water
will do the rest.
Our Solution, then, is the reducing of our Stone to its first matter, the manifestation of its essential liquid, and the extraction
of natures from their profundity, which is finished by bringing
them into a mineral water; nor is this operation easy: those
who have tried can bear out the truth of my words.


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