Introitus Apertus sentence Superior virtues in the inferior system is not poetically purposed. A.E. Waite in his Open Entrance is more economical with a stint rare heavenly conjunction.
As already said, my opinion is the Open Entrance version by A.E. Waite, due to his lack of adeptness, could not be but a difficult and often incorrect translation from Introitus Apertus. Indeed shortfalls occur in chapter III or third too. Inaccuracies which instead make the difference between a great alchemist, Philalethes, and the Open Entrance translator.
Introitus Apertus third chapter is the first of four very high-risk ones dealing with different aspects of quite the same thing. Philalethes is here preparing the hidden Alchemy key of Mercurius Duplicatus and Magnet. Getting through these chapters will be a real “koan” or certification. This book is comparable to Tabula Smaragdina as far as authority is concerned. But since I decided to present all Introitus chapters in this blog (sometimes we do things because we didn’t know they were impossible), I think I’m going to have other occurrences to rhapsodize about. This time I would like to point on Philalethes scholar and exemplary latin writing. Indeed it is very difficult to find even a quite acceptable latin between baroque period authors. Merely Philalethes sometimes mistakes stressing marks on final syllable. And this makes him to be surely neither italian nor spanish (Philalethes real identity is shrouded in mystery).
Chapter Third or III
Waite’s Open Entrance: On the Chalybs of Wises.
Latin Introitus Apertus: De Chalybe Sophorum
Chalybs is a quite neglected term by most of authors. A far as I know, Cosmopolite and Limojon ( and a very useful and quite unknown Salcerien Tourangeau) employ it. If you remember, Philalethes puts it to use in Introitus chapter 2 on Mercurius Philosophorum: “ We call it our Chaos, air, Luna (Moon) Chalybs, but still in many respects, because our material goes through different states and undergoes varied changes…”. So, it is clear enough we can identify it with Mercurius Philosophorum at the beginning of all its metamorphosis and trasmutations. That’s to say Secret Fire or Spirit reduced in a Mercurius more fixed and less volatile. Or that strange substance out of several chemical salts sublimation and passed through first putrefaction (see an Opus Magnum scheme). The foundation of our work. Generally in Introitus Apertus french translations, namely Entrée Ouverte, for example in that one at my hand incorporated in tome fourth of “Biblioteque des Philosophes Alchimiques ou Hermetique” Paris 1754, Chalybs has been replaced by term “Acier” or Steel. And this cannot be to our surprise since any latin dictionary gives steel and sword for Chalybs-ybis. Latin language does not provides other terms for steel, at least in my dictionary. Indeed its origin is from Chalybe or inhabitant of Pontus, a country well renown, in roman age, for steel and swords forging. And we know that sword is an allegory for dry way Mercurius Philosophorum, and furthermore that Philalethes shows to love this difficult way. As well as knowing that back at baroque age “steel” was a slang for sword.
So french translator too makes an inaccuracy. To be on the safe side Waite refuses to translate Chalybs and keeps it. Problem is that latin terms usually present more than a meaning. And then is up to the reader. To cut it short, I doubt real Philalethes would be afraid to translate the term Chalybs in his english version. Indeed he has never proved to be in shortage of hermetic synonyms and allegories in his Introitus Apertus. I noticed that Open Entrance and the french translation I afore mentioned share many insufficencies, nevertheless the last one is more accurate. On the left the page from Entrée Ouverte.
But let’s go on with the chapter. In bold words and phrases in Open Entrance that do not match with Introitus Apertus.
Waite’s Open Entrance: “Our Chalybs is the true key of our Art, without which the Torch could in no wise be kindled, and as the true magi have delivered many things concerning it, so among vulgar alchemists there is great contention as to its nature”. Interpretative and summarizing, yet not improper.
Open Entrance: It is the ore of gold,the purest of all spirits; ……..
Latin Introitus Apertus: est auri minera, spiritus prae cunctis valde purus,………
My verbatim translation: it is the gold’s mine, a spirit, earlier than all (that’s verbatim, while interpretative is: before all things), hugely not contaminate…….
Ore of gold should be incorrect from a chemical point of view too. Indeed it is very exceptional to find a compound of gold in nature, since an ore is a naturally occurring solid material from which a metal or valuable mineral can be profitably extracted. For example stibine is an antimony ore. I ask myself how a skilled alchemist might describe Mercurius Philosophorum (which I repeat is a substance out of physical passages of state and that can be defined an acceptable handling “base” or Spirit of Life of the whole mineral world) using a term that traditionally has never been a synonyms for our “ Sperms”. Ancient believed that minerals literally were being born from mothers mines. And Mine, latin Minera, has been an allegory for mineral mother from very ancient ages. As for “ the purest of all spirits” is common sense yet alchemically a non sense. For, literally, Spirit of Life/Mercurius is the ineffable primitive matter. Before all determinations. To you the judgement.
Open Entrance: ..a secret, infernal, and yet most volatile fire, the wonder of the world, the result of heavenly virtues in the lower world — for which reason the Almighty has assigned to it a most glorious and rare heavenly conjunction,…Interpretative and summarizing, yet not improper.
Open Entrance: ..even that notable sign whose nativity is declared in the East.
This star was seen by the wise men of old, and straightway they knew that a Great King was born in the world.
Latin Introitus Apertus: ….virtutum superiorum in inferioribus systema, quare signo illum notabili notavit Omnipotens,cujus nativitas per Orientem in Horizonte hemisphaerii sui Philosophicum annuntiatur.
My verbatim translation: …superior virtues in the inferior system, in which sign the Almighty was noticed, whose birth is by means of Sun rising in the horizon of hemisphere..
Incredibly enough, my translation is purely verbatim or literal. Open Entrance and Entrée Ouverte are interpretative, not literal. I simply looked up in my old high school latin dictionary (after having been studying Alchemy for more than 25 years now). Our nowadays common sense is no more roman age common sense. And baroque age people were so far from classical antiquity too. But not Philalethes.
This wording is not poetically purposed. “Superior virtues in the inferior system” we have already encountered an alike sentence in my just previous post about Fulcanelli quoting Philalethes fourth chapter on External Influences: “ As Philalethes writes about the union of the superior virtue with things below”. Open Entrance author be more economical with a stint rare heavenly conjunction. Mercurius Philosophorum is a powerful magnet for the Secret Fire coming from starry cosmos. And Works are carried out by night. Inside our vessels we can watch multiple processes, as usual they occur in nature. To some extend, Alchemy is closer to biology than chemistry. But pay attention here, since rule of three ( one allegory for at least three different concepts) may intend a more suitable Solve et Coagula process to obtain our Mercurius Philosophorum inside a well stoppered vessel. Up and down, and finally after Labors of Hercules we get our Spirit. Furtherly Mercurius Philosophorum, or Azoth, is a more fixed, and thus more provided with Superior virtues item, instead of a too volatile Mercurius. Still mantaining dissolving capabilities.
Philalethes has not conceived his Introitus Apertus as a book giving sequential pieces of symbolic information, but he rather focus on substance attributes. He does not describes the moment in which Primitive Mercurius turns into Mercurius and then Mercurius Philosophorum. As well as Fulcanelli he loves to retake concepts and refuses to be systematic. In this chapter Philalethes examines Mercurius or Universal Dissolvent possibilities as transforming or cooking or solving agent. Or coming out of dark.
Horizonte or Horizon, which Open Entrance so happily neglects, is of course the line at which the earth’s surface and the sky appear to meet, but also a synonym for Mercurius Philosophorum. Pernety, in his Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermetique Paris 1754, comes to rescue: “Horizon, Nom que les Philosophes Hermétiques ont donnè au mercure des Sages, parce qu’il est le principe et la base de l’or philosophique”. So: Horizon, name given by hermetic philosophers to Mercurius of Wises or Philosophorum, for it is the base of philosophical gold (see Basilius Valentinus Azoth or the way to make the hidden Philosophers Gold). Mercurius Philosophorum, as unveiled by the very Philalethes in Introitus Apertus first chapter or I, is flavus color or yellowish-golden color. Hemisphere is a synonymous for vessel or container or microcosme. Thus this little King or Regulus is to be born inside an hemisphere, or vessel. As for Oriens-tis is Sun rising, or Light rising, or the God of Sun, or the God of Light and lastly East.
Of Course Mercurius is the white coming out of putrefaction black, but I know you want to hear something different. The ultimate sign of the resonance-like earth-sky connection is a shining star appearing in the vessel. Fulcanelli extensively talks about it. Pay attention now: per Orientem in Horizonte hemisphaerii. So, is there a place, a position, inside vessel where a little star does appear? Is the coming white a shining one? And is its position eastward? Fulcanelli sometimes contradicts himself and says the star is brightening purple. So, well after the operations described in Introitus chapter third. In my opinion Stars in the cosmos are far more important than this little curiosity. Anyway you may have a try.
Open Entrance: This star was seen by the wise men of old, and straightway they knew that a Great King was born in the world. When you see its constellation, follow it to the cradle, and there you will behold a beautiful Infant.
Latin Introitus: Tu, cum ejus astra conspexeris, sequere ad usque cunabula, ibi videbis infantem pulchrum,
My verbatim translation: You, that have watched these Stars converging, from its ( Mercurius Philosophorum becoming little King) place of birth, over there you saw the little baby.
One star has come from the vessel, another is coming from another vessel, and another from starry cosmos. Have we to name all this a constellation? Of course we are talking about shining babies, quite little stars.
Open Entrance:Remove the impurities, look upon the face of the King’s Son; open your treasury, give to him gold, and after his death he will bestow on you his flesh and blood, the highest Medicine in the three monarchies of the earth.
Interpretative, yet correct. Yes, we will sow philosophical or metallic gold in our mercurius philosophorum (see Atalanta Fugiens & Terra Alba Foliata) and then let putrefy all. And a new king will be born. But…..what does constellation mean?
In the end it is clear enough that Sword or Chalybs is a synonym for the Male Mercurius Philosophorum in Alchemical marriage. The one with gold inside.