A.E. Waite’s is the Open Entrance version commonly available on the internet. Is this translation of Introitus Apertus reliable? Here is the first four chapters’ analysis.
This detailed examination is just because Arthur Edward Waite’s translation is still today the common source of Philalethes Introitus Apertus available for those researchers who can read only English, that’s to say for the majority of Philalethes readers. This article has something to say even to that school of thinking stating that “Secrets Reveal’d: or an Open Entrance to the Shut Palace of the King”, London 1669, was written and edited before “Introitus Apertus ad Occlusum Regis Palatium”, Amsterdam 1667. Anyway, not the version we are examining, since this is not the original translated by William Cooper in 1669, but by Waite in 1893.
The question is not of little value, for Introitus has been considered the far most famed, quoted, and the reliable hermetic book written in the seventeenth century. Which has often been referred to by Fulcanelli to have his words evidenced. He, strangely enough, has been said to have taken his quotations from a french translation of Introitus Apertus and not directly from the latin original. Here I’m quoting Canseliet, who furtherly remarks that latin Introitus and its french translation were not dissimilar. But we can not state the same about Waite’s “Open Entrance”. I stored a copy of the last one, but actually never read it till nowadays, rather preferring latin and french Introitus Apertus editions. But when double checking for the English translation of a latin Introitus sentence in Open Entrance, not only I did not find it but I became aware of countless omissions and inaccuracies in the English edition. So many that I really doubt this translation from latin could decently transmit Philalethes’ message.
In my introduction, I said I will examine the first four chapters, but the reason I put my eyes on Waite’s Open Entrance dwells in the XIII chapter, the thirteenth. Both XIII chapters of Introitus and Open Entrance, on the use of mature sulfur, are apparently introduced by some thoughts on alchemical secrecy. Then a thorough investigation on both the first page of the same chapter indicates that a famed sentence in Introitus has been omitted in Waites’s Open Entrance. The very sentence, quoted by many authors, is “ Vera sapientia se ipsam in aeterno tuetur honore ( translation below) “. This leaving undone is not beyond one’s comprehension, for the whole context then appears to be quite different. Apparently, Open Entrance has been written by an author who didn’t match the same importance to nonoperative parts as Introitus’ did. Probably he thought he wouldn’t have found any Alchemy key out in what he reputed to be a mere introduction. Or maybe he would rather pick Alchemy for his readers to find it more appealing. You can judge by yourself. And you can also discover other important unexpected omissions.
Introitus: De Sulphuris maturi usu in opere Elixiris“. Open Entrance translation: Of the Use of Mature Sulphur in the Work of the Elixir (verbatim)
Introitus: De Mercurii necessitate diximus, O.E: We have spoken of the need of Mercurius, (verbatim).
Introitus: multaque de Mercurio arcana tradidimus, quae ante me sat erant in mundo jejuna, quia aut aenigmatibus obscuris, aut sophisticis operationibus, libri sere omnes chemici scatent.
O.E.: and have described its properties more plainly and straightforwardly than has ever been done before. ( Interpretive, yet in the same sense )
Introitus: Egò verò ( ego vero) non sic egi.
My Translation: I haven’t written in that way, (verbatim). Introitus: hac in re voluntatem veram divino beneplacito resignans. My Translation: on this thing submitting my will to god’s approval. ( verbatim)
Introitus: qui hac utima mundi periodo thesauros hosce referaturus mihi videtur,.
My Translation: this last time seems to be about unveiling the treasures, ( verbatim).
Introitus: quare non amplius timeo, ne vilescat ars, absit.
My Translation: so I don’t fear our art to be discredited and disappear. (verbatim)
Introitus: Hoc fieri nequit.
My Translation: that cannot happen. (interpretive).
Introitus: Nam Vera sapientia se ipsam in aeterno tuetur honore.
My Translation verbatim: For true knowledge takes care of itself in eternal honor.
Introitus: Ultimam tandem instar fimi vilesceret aurum argentunque!
My Translation: Finally the importance of dung will humiliate gold and silver! (verbatim).
Introitus: Magnum a toto mundo hactemus adoratum idolum!
My Translation: so far mostly worshipped! (verbatim)
Now let’s go thoroughly into it directly to the finishing sentence “Finally the importance of dung will humiliate gold and silver! so far mostly worshipped!” Open Entrance writer seems never been reading Trevisanus, and hardly has asked himself about the Materia Prima provenance. So he has skipped a sentence unusually, for alchemical standards, written in clear. He has misinterpreted metals mortification with alchemists mortification. In this case Introitus author, by writing gold and silver, has precisely indicated metallic gold and silver. Let’s drop the silver for the moment ( its exposition is by the way the same as gold). Another reference for gold in Alchemy is “ Philosophers’ gold”. And here we don’t mean a metal, but Rebis or Androgyne (hermaphrodite). Although some authors intend the perfect redness. The alchemy lexicon has never been homologized and the rule of three ( a symbol may stand for at least three different concepts) mixes things up. although some authors intend the perfect redness. The alchemy lexicon has never been homologized and the rule of three ( a symbol may stand for at least three different concepts) mixes things up.
The title of the book is “ Open Entrance to the Shut palace of the king” ( of course Introitus in latin means entrance). The palace of the king is an allegory for metallic gold. King is, in this case, gold. For the rule of Three, King might also stand for other issues, but “the shut palace” is clearly an allegory for molecular arrangement. And “Open entrance” is an allegory for breaking gold molecular arrangement. This sentence: “ Finally the importance of dung will humiliate gold and silver! ” is clear and plain wording on how to get the famed Secret Fire. Sure, dung supplies us with Secret Fire. Also metallic gold can supply good Secret Fire ( the best actually). But gold is a “ Shut Palace”, and must be opened.
“For true knowledge takes care of itself in eternal honor.” is another Introitus sentence omitted in the Open Entrance translation. That’s not a poetic overtone, but a key understanding of our Mastery working. Consequently, if the Introitus writer gives the impression of being an initiated, the open entrance does not. Our ancient books ( before 1830 and some later exceptions) are our historical and scientific documents. When a series of phenomena are described by a hermetic authority or more than one lesser-known author, we tend to assume that these people can’t all be victims of the same illusions. There must be something. If Canseliet, wrote about Mastery ( rosecroix-rosy-cross) there must be something true in it. But when reading “How to Become an Alchemist” By Jollivet-Castelot, 1897, introduction by Papus, many of us might tend to take it as an unaccountable fiction. Is Jollivet-Castelot trustworthy? Anyway, I will quote from him: “Every morning focus on a famed ancient alchemist and ask him/her for help” (briefs). Let’s compare this to “For true knowledge takes care of itself in eternal honor”. Vera sapientia se ipsam in aeterno tuetur honore. Just what our Sacred Art is for.
Finally a quote from Ferguson’s Bibliotheca Chemica, Tome two, under caption “ Introitus Apertus … nunc primum publicatus, curante Joanne Langio, Amstelodami… 1667” we can find a note: “ This is usually regarded as the first edition. Cooper, however, in his epistle to the English edition, says that he had seen the treatise in MS long before Langius had translated it, and in a note, to the reader, he states distinctly that the English version is from the original and is not a retranslation of Langius’ version.
On the left, I produce the page “ Catalogus Librorum editorum Aeyrenaeo Pjilalethe Cosmopolita” which you can find in Introitus Apertus Joanne Langius. This page contains an exhaustive catalog of books written by Philalethes. The Latin list begins with our Introitus 1667, while the English ( Anglice) list with:” Introitus Apertus ex Manuscripto perfectiori traductus et impressus, in 8. Lond. 1669” that’s to say: “ Introitus Apertus from a manuscript perfectly traduced and printed in 8… ”.
to be continued at Introitus Apertus vs Waite’s Open Entrance. Chap 1 ;