In his preface Orthelius points at what will be the focus of the commentary on Sendivogius Novum Lumen Chymicum: the heavenly influences on the earth rendered by twelve images.
In fact Andreas Orthelius commentary on Sendivogius is mostly known for the twelve accompanying images, which seemed so simple and immediate in their rendering of the operations, that the Latin text explaining them was even scarcely translated. But, as you will see, Orthelius does not reveal whether the German book he mentions in his preface, and from which the twelve figures are extracted, was the German original version of Sendivogius New Chemical Light or not.
As we will see further on, Orthelius mentions the year 1624 as publication date of the German book, this might suggest he perhaps meant Rythmi de Opere Universali ex coelo soloque prodeunte,….in Michael Sendivogius Lumen Chymicum Novum ed. Andreas Orthelius, Erphordiae 1624. Inspite of the Latin title the book is in German. There is a summary in Summa Rhytmorum Germanicorum de Opere Universalis edited by the same Orthelius, and which the reader can find in the same Theatrum Chemicum Zetzneri Argentorati, Tome 6.
Back to the Orthelius commentary on Sendivogius published on Theatrum Chemicum, I think to please the readers presenting my own translation. I warn you that Orthelius Latin is all but classic and often packed with neologisms, syntax errors and carelessness. Definitely one of the worst Latin you can bump into in a seventeenth century alchemical treatise.
At Levity dot com you can find an english version of the New Chemical Light by Sendivogius. Here’s my translation from Orthelius commentary from Theatrum Chemicum Zetzneri Argentorati, Tome 6 page 397: Orthelius Commentator in Novum Lumen Chymicum Michaelis Sendivogii:
Commentary on New Chemical Light of Michael Sendivogius Polish, illustrated with twelve images found in Germany. And in year 1624 published in favor of the real children of Hermes. Now genuinely translated from German to Latin language (1).
Preface by Orthelius.
Ut de veris Dei et artis amantibus Doctrinae filiis bene mereri possem, quo de miraculo Hermetico fundamentalem instructionem haberent…….To be truly worthy to offer to the true children of the Doctrine lovers of God and art the ultimate instructions on the Hermetic miracle, and make sure that they don’t lose their time, not so much as regarding studies and researches but work practices, I put in order the figures of a german text that were obscure and difficult to read, I had arranged them in an appropriate order, albeit fragmented, however exhaustive, and now I want to offer these images to your consultation with my explanations and additions, and testimonies taken by New Chemical Light by Sendivogius, so I will attempt to explain the power of nature and the true meaning of the author, not extrapolating and bending his words to my theories. But before dealing with this subject I think it useful to explain the general meaning so as to make easier the task of your intellect.
Here starts the general discourse on the first matter of metals as well as the essential parts of the Philosophers Stone.
The mentioned text, accompanied by the pictures array (it was corrected and inferred as some pictures either could not be read, or were missed out ) starts with the following words.
Side-note: Aim of the Hermetic Pyrotechnic.
Ancient philosophers have been sharing Adam’s ignominy and the following curse. To mitigate the human destiny, burdened by diseases and death, they try to discover remedies and medicines ( not for death, though).
For this purpose they could not find out a better subject than gold, nor a more worthy art than the art of fire, among the creatures living in the sub-moon circle nothing can be found of more perfect and consistent than gold, which cannot be destroyed by no element. They concluded gold could not fear any natural decadence but only lack of perfection, although its being the king of metals. They also infer that gold is so compact and dissolution proof because of its solar nature.
Side-note: The descent of Metals.
In fact what nature destroys on the surface, appears again as mineral in the deep of the earth, conversely what can be destroyed of gold, appears as medicine. So ancient philosophers spared no effort to work on gold, and got to improve the work of nature with what they called Pyrotechnic, art of fire, or ingenious alchemical art, which is the mother of all the human arts, and through this art they learned to really dissolve and regenerate gold, taking it to real perfection.
Side-note: Agent and Patient.
This art is as difficult as beautiful, in fact they soon understood that nothing could be performed with gold without the proper key, which was nothing else than its proper and first mother, in which and from which it was generated. Mother’s name was Prima Materia, first matter, who was not only gold’s mother but the matrix of all metals. The mother is half celestial and half terrestrial, and consequently metals are the same nature, philosophers called the sky as being “above” and the earth as being “below”, and discovered these two entities interacting each other in a way simile to the human love, they defined the “above”, the firmament, as male and the “below”, the earth, as female, and said that they needed each other to operate. They also said that the celestial beams descended to the deep center of the earth through ducts and channels, to have an agent which then, through the terrestrial Archeo, they quickly embrace each other, upwards over and over, then with a terrestrial substance liquor, which is called patient, they mix together and because of the different places qualities, with the influence and concordance of asters, give birth to various species of metals and minerals.
The Opus is largely the quest for a thing, which is veiled, from which ( wonderfully) a certain humidity, dissolves gold without violence and noise, but softly and in a natural way like ice does liquify in warm water. Furthermore if you investigate the process, you could get what the gold is being produced in nature. And which is also the origin of all metals and things, as well as gold. But, while all the other things have impurities, gold instead has nothing impure, as it shares the same mother.
Third Chapter. First matter of metals is double, but one without the other cannot create any metal. The first and main is the humid mix of the air in the warmth, called Mercurius by the Philosophers, ruled by the Sun and Moon beams in the philosophical sea. The second is the Earth dryness, which they called Sulphur.
Fourth Chapter. Hence the elements threw their qualities and strengths in the center of the earth, Archeus does sublime them as vapor by the warm in a perpetual motion on the earth surface. In fact the earth is porous, the wind or vapor dripping through earth pores turns into water, from this everything is created. Equally when the vapor goes through these pores, in which Sulphur’s grease joins, the vapor called Mercurius by Philosophers adjusts and gets attached to the grease, from this mixture the greasiness takes the neglected name of vapor.
Sixth Chapter. The four elements in perpetual motion drip in the viscera heavy water vapor, which is the seed of metals, called Mercurius for its flowing quality, and combination with everything, not because of its essence. It gets absorbed in Sulphur for its internal warmth. When it joins the grease of the earth, it becomes greasy radical humid ( humidum radicale).
Eighth Chapter. The competing elements in the earth’s center, as if they were loins, cast its seed. The center due to motion put it in the matrix. Matrices are really countless, many pores many matrices, one purer than the other, and so on ad infinitum. Then know, what a pure matrix generates in her simile is a pure fetus.
Ninth Chapter. The vapor is Sulphur if goes through warm and pure spots, to which it tends to adhere. If through cold and impure pores, is Saturnus and c.