Is Fulcanelli here talking about astrology or light from a single Star? Anyway, he introduces a classified Alchemy topic: Signatures or External Influences.
“Knowing timing, place, and season is a precondition for a successful secret production. So let’s foresee the exact hour when stars, in our fixed sky, will shape positively”, Dwellings of Philosophers 1929. Is Fulcanelli talking about astrology, light from Starry Cosmos, or a single Star?
Anyway, he introduces a very private and classified Alchemy topic: Signatures. That’s to say, those “instructions about external influences” passed from Master to apprentice and always left with no option but silence.
So, in both cases, I was instructed about, or I knew very little, I cannot but deal only with details scattered by our hermetic authors in their published writings. And, as we go, we’ll find that these instructions have often conflicted with themselves. But now let’s read Fulcanelli’s complete excerpt (paragraph is the one assigned to Salamander of Lisieux):
“In describing the painful and delicate preparation of our Stone, we have omitted to speak of effective participation provided by some external influences. We could, in this sense, be satisfied to quote Nicolas Grosparmy, a follower of the fifteenth century, which we have discussed earlier in this study, and Cyliani, philosopher of the nineteenth century, omitting Cipriano Piccolpassi, Italian master potter, who has devoted a part of his teaching to the examination of those conditions. But his works are not for everyone. In any case, to satisfy, as far as possible, the legitimate curiosity of researchers, we can say that without absolute agreement with the lower surface elements, our matter, devoid of the astral virtues, can not be of no use. The body we work on is, before treatment, more terrestrial than celestial. Art should turn it, helping nature, into a more celestial earth. Knowing the timing, place, season, etc., is the precondition for a successful secret production. So let’s foresee the exact hour when stars in our fixed sky will shape positively, for they will reflect in this divine mirror which we call our stone and trace on it their fingerprint. And the terrestrial star, occult flambeau of our birthing, will be the mark of the lucky union between earth and sky. as Philalethes writes, “the union of the superior virtues with things below.” We will have confirmation to discover within the fiery water or that terrestrial sky, from the typical expression of Wenceslas Lavinius of Moravia, our hermetic sun, central heating, manifest, visible, and radiating. Catch a ray of sunshine, condensate in a substantial way, nourish with elemental fire this spiritual embodied fire, and you get to possess the greatest treasure of this world”.
Then Fulcanelli goes on with fighting dragons and devouring eagles. So let’s stop here for the moment. Above and beyond his alchemical skills, Fulcanelli is a poet. A poet with dirty hands. To the extent that many think his nom plume may cover up more than one person. What makes the french alchemist so great? But let’s try to understand what he (or they) is talking about.
Before getting to the main topic of this post, namely External Influences and Starry Fingerprints, we have learned that we must prepare our matter. In fact: “The body we work on is, before treatment, more terrestrial than celestial”. The terrestrial body is mass, corpse rather than body. Simply what prevents Secret Fire from coming to the surface? To the light. Our raw matter, or Materia Tertia, will be reduced to Mercurius/Quintessence. At the same time, a celestial body is a Secret Fire involved in the whole alchemical metamorphosis from Mercurius to Light Stone, traveling through Mercurius Philosophorum, Mercurius Duplicatus, White and Red Sulphur (see an Opus Magnum scheme). Finally, get to something out of the vessel, which is a vessel in itself.
Fulcanelli hardly orders sentences in conceptual sequence. So, let’s reverse sets of words: “Catch a ray of sunshine, condensate in a substantial way,… For they will reflect in this divine mirror which we call our stone and trace on it their fingerprint”. From the Opus magnum scheme, we may note that when Secret Fire is in Mercurius Philosophorum appearance ( a Mercurius less volatile and more fixed), we get hold of a powerful magnet to attract light from the sky and cosmos.
As usual, Philosophia Reformata by Mylius, 1622 second series, may wonderfully come to help. Indeed, on the left, we can see a Green Lion devouring Sun. Of course, due to the rule of three (a symbol may stand for at least three different concepts or phases), the Sun symbol is primarily entitled to represent the astronomical Sun, Metallic Gold, even another Mercurius Philosophorum, or the Solve et Coagula process involved (for an exhaustive listing of Sun and Moon (1) possible meanings). But, here, our Green Lion, Mercurius Philosophorum (just a more fixed Mercurius), is devouring the astronomical Sun, a Starry Fingerprint, or an External Influence. To put it simply, Secret Fire, either from inside a corpse/Materia Tertia or from a Sun, is undoubtedly the same substance. Here a necessary concept of Mirror is involved. We have already discovered something about it when dealing with Mercurius Duplicatus (2). But, if Mercurius Duplicatus sometimes bumps over the rule of three, the Mirror symbol is too appealing and not to resist for many hermetic authors. Indeed its diapason-like or resonance-like meaning supports entirely all relationships between a Mercurius/Secret Fire/Quintessence/Light and another companion, either from the sky or from inside raw matter. When Mercurius comes from the cosmos, hermetic authors call it External Influences or Starry Fingerprints.
The image on the top page has been taken from Jacques Coeur palace in Bourges. Fulcanelli uses it to explain a different paragraph since it would be too much clear to make it simply accompany the excerpt I chose. Indeed Fulcanelli loves words to be deeply buried into these stone books. Anyway, the high relief displays Pilgrims following something up in the sky. The high relief technique gives a sense of light standing out from the surface. Fulcanelli puts to use the name Compostella to indicate the purpose of this pilgrimage. For a latin reader, “Compostella“ may sound like Campustellae or Starry Field. And this is what we have been taught about so far. But, wait a moment, I have always thought there was a misunderstanding here. The campus is the latin for the field, a singular name with no doubt. And concerning Stell-ae, it is the latin genitive for the star, so we are before a singular name too, for the plural genitive should be Stell-arum, of stars.
Consequently, our pilgrimage to Compostella should be a specific singular star research. The field of the Star (except, however, the fact that the word “compos“ must not be simplistically confused with the word “campus“, as we will see in the last paragraph). But still focusing on “stela“, what star are we talking about? I know that many are to say that we have to look only inside our vessel, being campus-field just an allegory for vessel-microcosm ( but compos means rather differently, not campus). The rule of three is ubiquitous ( an allegory may stand for at least three different concepts), but not this time. Our light inside the vessel, this time, works as a magnet. Fulcanelli is clear enough: in our fixed sky. To mix things up, if you remember, he has utilized a quite equivocal sentence: “The knowledge of timing, place, the season is a precondition for a successful secret production. So let’s foresee the exact hour when stars, in our fixed sky, will shape positively”. It might seem he would intend an astrology concept, as we moderns are used to, namely a forecast of a person’s future, typically including a delineation of character and circumstances based on the relative positions of the stars and planets at the time of that person’s birth—a birth or natal chart for our Works. In my opinion, is quite impossible and rather absurd to try a common sense horoscope for our light stone. Not to mention the fact that zodiacal constellations are all but fixed.
Frankly, I do not see people calculating zodiacal positions in Jacques Coeur’s entrance picture but looking in a precise fixed direction up in the sky. But let’s see what our nasty Fulcanelli, in Mystery of Cathedrals 1926, tells us when indicating the picture on the top: “It is, therefore, not surprising that Jacques Coeur had a reproduction of these peregrini (pilgrims), so popular with medieval puffers (1), placed at the entrance to his mansion. Does Nicholas Flamel not describe in the same way, in his Figures Hieraglyphiques, the symbolic journey he undertook… ?”
Back to Dwellings of Philosophers: “In the night sky, silent and deep, one star is shining, hugely radiating and consisting of all the stars of heaven, to be your guidance and torch light of universal wisdom”. But some lines after he quotes (to our lucky chance) Philalethes: Philalethes does not underestimate this astral signature, revealing the preparation of Mercurius. Be careful, he says, to regulate your way according to North Star that our imam will appear before you”. (2)
And again: “Echeneis, Εχενηίϛ, is the famous fish going to stop (according to some) or direct (others) ships that sailed the northern seas, under the influence of the North Star (3)... Echeneis is the pilot of the alive wave, our Mercurius. Again someone will object that Polaris is here just an allegory for mercurial light inside the vessel. But not this time. Looking at Jacques Coeur pilgrims: sometimes alchemists have to raise their look to the common sense stars in the cosmos.
Echeneis/Mercurius/Secret Fire/Quintessence, a purer form of this substance (probably included in atomic electronic clouds), comes from stars and can accord the principal register. But according to the central register to what? Let’s recall Jacques Coeur’s high relief again. We can see a shrine vessel guarded by a third pilgrim. Inside Mercurius extracted from a raw terrestrial matter or Materia Tertia. To be awakened. External Influences.
And, to end, now we can get why the star is introduced by the word “compos“ which means owner, the path to follow, and also “mentor-advice to follow”. So the idea of a specific field in the word composition may completely decay. Additionally, 10,000 years ago, the pole corresponded to the Milky Way, so we would have seen a large ring around whose axis the earth turned. In Castilian, Camino de Santiago is the astronomical term for Milky Way. So it was the milky way that led the way for the wayfarer.
- Puffers, souffleurs, soffiatori is a deserving scorn terms to indicate people uselessly working at ovens. I do not understand this Fulcanelli’s finesse;
- Philalethes “Introitus Apertus ad Occlusum Regis Palatium”, Amsterdam 1667. Chapter IV or fourth. De Magnete Sophorum or On the Magnet of Wises. Fulcanelli’s quote, probably from a French translation, is just a brief interpretative summary;
- See also the Pythagorean Thigh in the Northern Sky , Santi Pupieni and the Raising Black-New Moon , Thesaurus Hermeticum & Dry Pythagorean River , Nuisement and the Sun Resisting Capture , Voynich Manuscript and the Unknown Part of the Rhythm , Trisulti Carthusian Monastery and the Yearbook Wheel , Orthelius Commentary on Maria Prophitissa. Part 1 , Homer and the External Influences in Iliad ;