Metallic gold is made from water, namely celestial water from the sky. To this ancient assertion, Augurello tries to give a rationale and a method.
Giovanni Aurelio Augurello, born in Rimini in 1454, although cited by Sendivogius in his Novum Lumen Chymicum, was not known as an alchemist by contemporaries but a classics scholar, an erudite like many others in the Italian renaissance. If he had not written this “ Crysopoeia”, or the art of making gold in ancient greek, during the reign of pope Lion X (1513-1521), a broad audience would have hardly remembered him.
For all that, one can instead be amazed by the alchemical scholarship denoted in Augurello’s poem. The basic Alchemy foundations are examined and contemplated as well as providing a glance at the alchemical scenery in Venice and Padova, where Augurello lived and worked. An outlook on the “love for gold” of Venetian people. Which is byzantine indeed.
Augurello introduces his “invention”, as he calls it, to the same pope Lion X. This naivety may seem, and is, so surprising to us, considering that was a pope, John XXII, in Spondent quas non exhibent bull, to ban from practicing Alchemy in the fourteenth century. But the art of making gold was a severe and urgent request back then, especially for popes. Legend has it that Lion X replied in a very derisive ( or practical) way, sending Augurello a purse to be made of gold.
Crysopoeia is a latin metrical composition, not lacking a certain gracefulness. It is divided into three books or main chapters. The first is an introductory and detailed investigation of Nature’s processes and why we need “water” to reduce metallic gold to its seed. Of course, as a poem, I summarized the most prominent parts.
Augurello starts his long piece of poetry by beseeching the Sun in the Sky as it causes gold to grow and extend into the deep of the earth. Together with its sister Moon, who more than Sun contributes to opening the earth’s pores. He also invokes Mercury for providing a source of pure water, namely a clear bourn of Quicksilver, the real foundation of the Crysopoeia art. Then Hephaestus, of course, has furnaces in which billions of electron and orpiment corpuscles run. Ultimately, he prays to Aphrodite to teach us how to proceed.
But moreover, he focuses on Vulcano/Hephaestus since the making of gold art invention has been inspired by his work. The greek metallurgic God taught how to obtain metals from Air and turn them into Water. “ Give me some shining fire,” Augurello asks. This enterprise is also inspired by Hephaestus’s sister Cytherea (another name for Aphrodite) and all the rivers’ Nymphs.
Then Augurello takes the refrain so appealing to alchemists of gold being born from gold. But he providentially adds:” by being turned into Water., once gold is reduced to its real substance, it can make seeds out of fruit ”. This secret gold birth also heads to its augmentation. Here Augurello presents the giving life Spirit saying that it cannot demonstrate any virtue if loaded with coarse matter.
“The Soul, an individuality deprived of course matter, is the ideal clothing for Spirit since it is well endorsed that all Souls are incarnated in a body. But through a Spirit, the only to have the power to unify two principles so different. Augurello says that only the Spirit can separate these two extremities and let them live apart. The same concept will reduce the gold in its seed to make other gold. Thanks to this Alchemy key, we can see how gold can be made outside mines by a good master.
This is tied up with the proceeding to obtain the first root of every metal, which is also the reason for its origin. “Augurello says that Nature “makes” metals in a similar way. We should compare veins in the deep of the earth to human furnaces. Isn’t the heat so similar? But who is the mortal to dare to accomplish such an art? We should accept the maternal side of this “nourishment” task. The stars in the sky have communicated this precious art to us.
Wheat cultivation in rich soil is very resembling gold cultivation. He, who is used to making gold, does know this birth is from the first principle. Pure gold is called an “Elixir” by Arabs.
The ignorants believe all metals are different, but they don’t know the earth must be deprived of all wastes to shine as pure gold.”
Then Augurello, apparently with no reason, moves to emphasize all the most prominent Italian rivers and the south mediterranean sea, from Sicily to Greece. He insists on the cleaning action of the sea, moreover during the night. And he points out the fact that the biggest volcanoes are on the seaside.
He goes on to analyze the state of the art of making gold in Venetian land: some extract a piece of hard marble-like rock from a deep cavern. Since caverns, Augurello says, are penetrated by Sunbeams. Not only but thunders and fire from the sky arrive there. And, he goes on to say, all this fire causes the earth’s natural humidity to be cooked. According to Augurello, this is the origin of vapors we can find in caverns.
I mean to add: vapors caverns are fire from the sky; our poet calls them liquors of fire. But here, Augurello brings the superstitious idea of a material liquid Mercurius, due to the observation that all metals, when melted, are liquid. At the same time, our Mercurius is an impalpable thing (1). Nevertheless, Augurello seems to know all that; he soon points at the fool practice of trying to extract gold from this melted material. But he fails to add that if his melted material undergoes repeated melting processes can give out our real Mercurius, the seed of all metals. This is a real immortal work, as the same Augurello pieces of evidence.
To the same extent, he points at the practice used by Hannibal to get rid of rocks blocking the passages through the Alps: a very simple and ancient system to pour a mix of vinegar and common salt through fissures that cause the rocks to break.
Pay attention to this meaningless sentence since it may hide a very simple operative method to break a rock into pieces ( in this case, we would try to sublimate it then).
In fact, after this phrase in Annibal’s works, Augurello dedicates some pages to the beauty and utility of Water which, with all his bourns, does make a sea. This water, the author goes on, gives birth to plants, especially some gold plants.
Of course, Augurello is not so naive to think a gold plant may exist, but if we substitute the word Water with the word “ Mercurius”, all should appear clearer. Our poet soon makes his intentions more explicit: “ This water, golden in its essence, is of the same color of Stars in the Sky”.
Augurello presents Sulphur, speaking of its intrinsic heat, and Quicksilver/Mercurius. He says that joined together, the two form bodies.
We have already seen that concept (2). But our author fails to say that Sulphur and Mercurius are two different stages of the same thing.
Augurello goes on with the interesting observations that when planting (3) the seed of all metals, we always get gold or silver from this cultivation. He tries to explain the enigma by saying that all metals are gold and silver but loaded with coarse and waste material. And to this extent, he exaggerates, saying that all melted metals are gold in color.
So, in his opinion, gold and silver are just purified metals, which is not valid. But the fact that the transmutation is always in gold and silver is a real enigma for a modern alchemist.
He retakes the state of the art of making the gold by telling of a “Euganean”, Padova, habit: the inhabitants use to detach the incrustation from long aging wine barrels ( barrels tartar). They put it in a neat and well-closed earthen pot and place it in a furnace to boil and cook overnights and days. Then they break this white earth into pieces getting sparks of silver and gold. But, Augurello remarks, we cannot follow recipes we don’t know; one has to follow his/her way. He saw a man trying another path: he put pieces of silver and bronze with hot white salt and a tile powder. He mixed well with his hands, adding some other powders. He made some little pills ad put them in a pot and then into a furnace within a fire like Souls in the hellfire.
Augurello’s analogy with hell is not just a poetic occurrence. As many times we can find our preliminary works compared to the infernal regions. It is not a chance occurrence that sometimes Souls and Metallic Souls, or Sulphuri, are represented by similar symbols.
Augurello describes what happened then, analogizing to Soul suffering and Etna volcano’s inner. Nine days and nine nights did last this inferno, then he took hold of the red hot pot and cooled down with cold water. He broke them into small pieces and put them inside a vial, poured over some water that powerfully separated the gold from silver, and melted them into greenish water. This powered water melts as much, and this powder is full of power.
The lines are not clear, of course. Confusing, I may say—even the verses. The pot on fire for nine days is rather intelligible and natural. The following processes are to be taken with care. Augurello cannot say or know anything. Be aware that the result of replicated sublimations is called “our dissolving water” or Mercurius.
Thanks to this Water, the metals in small pieces can be distilled. Then Augurello analyzes the resistance of gold to common dissolvents such as Aqua Regia or Fortis. In the sense that these two acids do not dissolve gold. That’s to say, it is not reduced in its “seeds”. For an alchemical seed is not material. Thus we have to search for another dissolving substance: the water out of minerals sublimation. Augurello says we must find our dissolving water from bourns other than common. Since our precious water is from the Sky, this water is also the seed of all metals. It can make all metals liquid. But bear in mind that this “Water” can take the material appearance of a powder. This celestial powder can convert all metals into gold indeed. The secrets of nature are to be discovered through an oven, as Hermes has taught us.
Augurello is talking of Projection Powder. See an Opus Magnum scheme.
To be continued at Augurello and the Art of Making Gold. Second Book 1.
- See also Stuart Chevalier Lessons on Earth: a Virgin Marriages ;
- See also Atalanta Fugiens & Double Mercurius , Ostanes, two natures etc , Atalanta Fugiens and the Golden Apples , Codex Marcianus Ouroboros ;
- See also Atalanta Fugiens & Terra Alba Foliata , Cabala Mineralis and the She Horse on Urine Works part 1 ;