The Philosophical Egg as a musical instrument? Here Canseliet dares to describe an unbelievable scale of whistling notes 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 lifetime. 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. 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 shortened the life of anybody, though. As a young boy, he was a 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 an excellent renowned Alchemy authority.
The excerpt below, taken from the Italian edition of L’Alchimie Expliqueé sur ses Textes Classiques Paris 1972, constitutes a correspondence between Canseliet and a “beyond the sea” friend of his. 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 is from Italian.
Canseliet, chapter twelve. The Great Cooking:
“… I’m here sure to meet the curiosity of the reader who wisely takes for granted the impossibility of being told everything in detail.
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 great interest, an intensely maintained emotion, and 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 ten and a half p.m. It has been kept for about less than two minutes, about one hundred 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 slightly increased and reached at the same time 333.65 grams, namely – and that’s amazing – the same increase proportion when the temperature was at 340 degrees Celsius.
As far as weight is concerned, its increase seems magnificent and constantly augmenting in a similar tangible way – grams 18 some fifteen minutes ago – but that’s by the alchemical tradition, which gives a massive 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, which 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 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 remind me of the rest of Sunday or God’s day. So tonight, I will be hearing the note ending the last working day, namely the sixth, at the same time as the sounding series whose crescendos have been apparent to my ear as the advanced progression of weights and heat in their perfect synchronism. Here are 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 it at 500 degrees celsius as far as allowed by my excellent pyrometer, whose divisions go from 20 to 20. Nevertheless, the device is exact since my mixture does not seem to experience something terrible; its protective incrustation is changeless and does not elevate, despite 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, he could try it out only four times because of the contrary temperatures. During the week in which the work of Nature and man join together.
Canseliet’s apprentice, Atorène, provided a detailed explanation of the phenomenon.
- For the complicated apparatus handcrafted by Canseliet for the last cooking, see Canseliet & the details of the last cooking;
- Nicaise le Fevre and the Egg inside the Egg , Piero della Francesca and the Philosophical Pendent Egg , Brouaut’s Frontispiece, the Organ Pythagorean Proportions , The Secret Night Chant of a Stradivarius Tree ;
- + stands for Crucible;
- a.k.a. last cooking;
- latin for “the week of the weeks”;