Page 41: By means of our art we prepare these spirits, making them suitable and lightsome in order to act on the first Matter or Materia Prima which is the the metallic earth within that we have to put all these spirits, they will attract all the virtues they are endowed with; they will attract only the spirits prepared to metals generation. The same author goes on to say he can attract the same spirits with a water whose he reveals the composition and which can coagulate and fix the quicksilver.
All natural things have an essence and substance composed by a double portion of matter, for they contain at the same time the formal virtue. The Matter comes from elements and the form of celestial virtues arrives which can give a shape to the elements matter”.
Sabine Stuart Chevalier makes us acquainted that Secret Fire is contained in the stars beams and seems to be also attracted by our planet inner center (3). She argues the phenomenon being brought about by the four elements contained. In poor words this is caused by the contraction-expansion of our elements, or states of matter, which so heterogeneously magnetizes the matter that the coming out Secret Fire also get attracted in turn. By means of alchemical art our Materia Prima, or metallic Soul, but it is fair to say even Spirit of Life/Mercurius is already all set to that, can finally attract sky beams as a magnet. In fact Raimundus Lullius reveals that he could prepare a water, or Mercurius as it is always called water even if in solid state, to the purpose. Note Lullius statement of Alchemy being a “ condensation and separation of vapors”.
The Secret Fire seminal virtues being nothing more than what we call Soul or a denser Mercurius. Consequently earth is the mother par excellence, who gives the matter the capability to make a new living body.
The double portion of matter is composed by Mercurius-Sulphur, since ancient alchemists did believe that only Sulphur could induce a substance to take a particular form. In modern times we could say that if Mercurius gives life, Sulphur gives the individual property (4). Many alchemists think which is coming from the sky be a Sulphur.
In pages 43 and 44 Stuart Chevalier deals with metals generation inside mines, which I repute being a redundancy not essential to her Alchemy.
Page 45: “…….It is not a question of extracting the agile matter to invigorate it, but we need to take this tincture (5) from the substance of gold or silver to strengthen and increasing it by means of the spirits extracted from a combined quantity of vitriol, salt of nitre and rock alum.
These three minerals must be put into a horn, distilled phlegm till these powerful and dissolvent spirits will raise; then one has to change the vessel and give strong fire. That’s the method to achieve a great quantity of good spirits to be then rectified at balneum maria, by cohobations or repeated distillations over the same matter, till nothing more will distill and the spirits will appear as oils at the vessel bottom.
Put this oil into a triangular glass matrix, close tight and get those spirits “fait monter au haut d’une pointe de la matrice” (my translation was: to raise the top of a tip of the matrix), then get there back to make them raising up another tip and keep on that operation till they will not be seen raising again and will remain in the bottom of the vessel.
Page 46: “ Those spirits, worked in that way, feature the property of congealing the raw Mercurius, since as metallic bodies they have received a quality they have lured inside the earth; In fact they contain a Sulphur also coming from metals. The more these spirits will be subtle, the more they will powerfully act on metals”.
Always there is this idea to extract the most possible quantity of Secret Fire from raw matter, and Stuart Chevalier here points at the biggest containers of the alchemical matter we can find in our planet: gold and silver (6).
The aforementioned salts, namely vitriol, salt of nitre and rock alum are ubiquitous both in Alchemy and in ancient chemistry. Sabine Stuart here doesn’t specify what she intends for salt of nitre, if urine salt, or Sal Armoniac, or saltpeter. Probably, seen the mixture with other two metallic compounds, such as vitriol and rock alum, she has in mind the Salt Armoniac (7), a salt appreciated for its volatility. So here we have two metallic salts featuring low vaporization heats and a volatile salt. What can we need more then to extract our Mercurius? But, instead, Stuart Chevalier states that all that is just to “congeal” a raw Mercurius (since if Sulphur is being put into cause here, the mentioned “Mercure” cannot but being our Mercurius). Sabine, as we will se further down, doesn’t content herself with a generic Secret Fire/Mercurius extracted from the aforementioned salts. She wants “the” Mercurius. Thus the above salts seems to be here just means of dissolution and an interesting fixation.
- See also Atalanta Fugiens & the Golden Apples;
- See also Cesare Ripa & the Hot Frozen Ouroboros World Machine;
- See also Thesaurus Hermeticum & the Pythagorean River;
- See also Eros, Psyche & a New Alchemical Body;
- See also Guido Montanor & the Latin Verb Tingo-Tinxi;
- See also Weidenfeld & Basilius Oleum Vitriolis;
- See also Lemery & the Aqua Regia first Step: Salt Armoniac;