The Philosophical Egg as a musical instrument? Here Canseliet dares to describe an unbelievable scale of whistling notes coming from its Crystal Dome.
A touching moment for an old alchemist, bound to hear this spectacular series of musical notes just very few times in a life time. An astonishing reading for an apprentice, and a person who prudently decided not to go any further.
Eugène Canseliet was born in 1899 and died in 1984. A reasonably long life for an alchemist who attended at least one disastrous disruption of his Philosophical Egg, an event that doesn’t seem to have shorten the life of anybody though. As a young boy he was pupil of J.J. Champagne, and did know Fulcanelli ( but we are denied to know if accordingly or not). Canseliet was never that loved by Fulcanelli’s admirers ( perhaps I should call them adorers). But more than his Master, Canseliet had spent his entire life as a well renown Alchemy authority.
The excerpt below, taken from the italian edition of L’Alchimie Expliqueé sur ses Textes Classiques Paris 1972, constitutes a piece of correspondence between Canseliet and a “beyond the sea” friend of him. The presented alchemical scene is the last cooking of the Great Work third part (see an Opus Magnum scheme). To the point that this is sometimes considered a Great Work per se. My translation from italian.
Canseliet, chapter twelve. The Great Cooking:
“…….I’m here certain to meet the curiosity of the reader who wisely takes for granted the impossibility to be told everything in details.
Letter number 37 – 17th May 1951 – h. 8 a.m.
my cooking is now working from the day before yesterday Tuesday afternoon, exactly from 9 p.m. That’s to say just after the very instant my 415 centigrams remora was enclosed into my 160.55 grams philosophical egg.
As you can imagine I ‘m following the whole operation with a great interest, an intensely maintained emotion, a passion well beyond every description.
Like the last year the first sound – very likely a C (do) – has made itself perceived very soon, one hour and thirty two after the beginning, that’s to say approximately around 10 and a half p.m. It has been keeping for about less than two minutes, about one hundreds seconds, without a change in the beginning weight, + toad 0 (1) and mica included, 313.6 grams.
The second whistle, which gave the impression to be a D (re), arrived just 24 hours later, yesterday, at 10 and 10 p.m., while the weight has slightly increased and reached at the same time 333.65 grams, namely – and that’s amazing – the same increase proportion when temperature was at 340 degrees Celsius.
As far as weight is concerned, its increase seems magnificent and always augmenting in a similar tangible way – grams 18 some fifteen minutes ago – but that’s being in accordance with the alchemical tradition which gives a huge density to the Stone.
The white mica is practical, but makes visible nothing more than the dome crunch formed into the + (2) over the Materia, or matter, and which really appears to me as the philosophical lute or Nature lute. I’m not expecting the F (fa) before twilight, so I will take a nap.
Letter number 38 – 21st May 1951
the great cooking (3) proceeds without impediment, like a regular clock, apparently in such an easy and effortless way I constantly fear that a sudden disaster might happen to all destroy in a crude trick and make me pay back all my fool’s paradise.
What a prodigious harmony is this operation, superb “poetry”, whereas the greek term reveals the abstract and metaphysical essence, as well as the practical and scientific one: Poiesis, “ operation, confection, execution”.
I have no doubt now, my good old, and if God wants it, tonight I’m going to establish the truth: the “black” lasts six days and the Hebdomas Hebdomadum (4) of adepts is far absolutely real and is brought to an end from the seventh day, the resting day. During that one the white and red phases should rapidly occur, such effortless to reminds me the rest of Sunday or the God’s day. So tonight I will be hearing the note ending the last working day, namely the sixth, in the same time of the sounding series whose crescendo have been apparent to my ear as the advanced progression of weights and heat in their perfect synchronism. Here’s the observed weights in the very instants those very light whistles can be heard ( + included).
D (re E (mi) F (fa) G (sol) A (la) B (si)
336.65 354.8 368.6 369 423.5 440.60
I’m currently keeping at 500 degrees celsius as far as allowed by my excellent pyrometer, whose divisions go from 20 to 20. Nevertheless the device is very precise, since my mixture does not seem to experience something bad; its protective incrustation is changeless and does not elevate, in spite of the huge increase in weight already passed to 440.6 grams. I notice that the sound intervals are not exactly every 24 hours, but there are differences of 10 to 12 minutes, as proved by my living room pendulum, which is usually very precise. This seems to me a bit strange”.
Take notice of the letters dates. But also take notice that Canseliet calls it “this unpredictable week of the weeks”. In twenty years time he could try it out only four times, because of the contraries temperatures. During the week in which the work of Nature and man join together.
- The complicated apparatus handcrafted by Canseliet for the last cooking, see also Nicaise le Fevre and the Egg inside the Egg , Piero della Francesca and the Philosophical Pendent Egg , Brouaut’s Frontispiece, the Organ Pythagorean Proportions , Atorène, Music Theory Course for Alchemists. Part 1 , The Secret Night Chant of a Stradivarius Tree ;
- + stands for Crucible;
- a.k.a. last cooking;
- latin for “the week of the weeks”;