Augurello in the Crysopoeia second book end introduces the concept of a saffron powder able to transmute every metal giving it the color of a star.
“There is a secret mountain where a fountain spurts, like quicksilver and sovereign. A cavern is open in this site where a virgin dwells and stay. Through a narrow and dreadful path of thick bushes this celestial virgin uneasily comes, for she has to go up, before this entry side there is a not wide flat space with dark shadowy passages similar to watery rivulets and surrounded by green mossy stones……”.
You can find an introduction to Augurello and his Crysopoeia at Augurello and the Art of Making Gold. First Book. The previous part of the second book is at Augurello and the Art of Making Gold. Second Book 1. My translation from latin, in italics, is interpretative and summarizing, due to the poetically over elaborated, and often pointless, writing form.
“Everyone entered this place leaves detestable human smudge. But at the same time everyone coming to this place drops the mortal weigh and puts on a quick Spirit, pure and light. These qualities are taken through the conduits of this earth and there a golden Nymph is sitting. She is glittering gold all over. “
In the previous article Augurello presented the “Emerald” or Flos Coeli ( Flux of the Sky) as a source of Secret Fire, here the allegory of a Virgin does not refute that since it stands for our first impalpable Mercurius out of salts volatilization in preparatory works ( see an Opus Magnum scheme). A more precise wording could be ” Virgin Philosophical Earth” (1). Further down we will see why the term Virgin was used in ancient times: a superstitious concept of minerals making in the inner of the earth. For the moment you have to know that this Mercurius is still unmarried and also volatile, since no man has already duplicated or fixed her (2). The allegory of the cavern is often used in Alchemy to define our first matter, or better the difficulty to reach it in the deep of the earth, or after exhausting processes. Putrefactive dark stages and vegetative stones are surely familiar to the concept. Nevertheless is not infrequent the case in which the cavern term is not to be taken as an allegory, but literally as a real physical cavern. As a matter of fact inside a cavern, our Secret Fire/Mercurius tends to be quite “seen” in the form of vapors. Anyway the Nymph at the entrance, our Secret Fire/Mercurius, is already our Philosophers Gold (3), since metallic gold is nothing but concentrate Secret Fire. But no alchemist has never give a rational answer to why metals do transmute in gold.
“So, you who are looking for such great works have to go to Tarvisian mountains ( Alps on the border between Italy and Austria) and in those wonderful places. Here the vein is caused by sulphur and quicksilver vapors and so you can take some pure metal, the Spirit is hidden inside and lives silently, loaded with a heavy body whose it wait to be liberated one day and set free in the air escaping its dark prison. And this heavy burden of corporal mass which ores are naturally charged, gets to be light again and can rise to supreme regions and get melted, no matter the original hardness, by this beautiful art which imitates nature and forces this mass to return to its original use. For this reason the enclosed seed comes out of its thick prison.”
As said before Augurello partakes the ancient and superstitious belief that a mineral is originally composed by a natural humid-liquid Mercurius and a dry or oily natural Sulphur. Of course this is just a chemical credulity. When ancient alchemists stated one had to imitate nature they intended this kind of separation. Of course alchemical Mercurius is not the gaseous part of a mineral and Sulphur is not the oily one. This has nothing to do with Secret Fire, which as a matter of fact Augurello scarcely named.
“Sometimes gold concentrates and receives by means of its force an augmentation of its own seed and perpetual generation and this seed starts to clearly rise, in the same way as a tree growing from earth and little by little gets taller. Is this Spirit to make the gold growing up in its veins. “
We will see in coming articles that there is a link between the Secret Fire behavior, the Sunlight and the gold metallic veins direction and texture in the deep of the earth. The new concept here is that Secret Fire can “augment” or simply the matter hosting it can be ” lighten” in raw matter and increased in Secret Fire by soaking in the same secret Fire.
“Ancients too much superstitious have overthrown the order of matter and have hidden their knowledge under the melting metals art, so much that is impossible to discover it. Nevertheless you can go up high mountains and find many Nymphs to guard treasures in secret and obscures sites. Those Nymphs make the golden fleece to come out of a beautiful ivory pine cone. There in order to acquire glory the prince Jason happens to arrive along with all the brave young searching under Heracles and Jason guide. One of the two in the sure address of Colchis isle shows you the way to the golden fleece, as a starting point you should follow. The other may teach you how many works you have to carry out. It is not such an important matter to know what kind of hard matter to take, but how to make it ready and suitable. This is the great fact, that’s the work and enterprise too. “
Jason and the Argonauts myth was often used to define the wet path, or way. Augurello here seems to prefer this path instead of the too much secret melting path. Unrevealed because of its short and too much precise proceedings.
“Ignorance may flood you in vain practices and lies. Since by means of a careful work they mix the hot water which they call “Menstruum”, like the female period ( Augurello names it as ” women’s flowers”) because of its smell. And also because from its belly a new baby is being born. You have to work very hard at little fire, since without a hard work you will never get to anything. But these works tend to vain hopes, because they mix various matters and this is against nature. Since nothing is more required than the simplicity without inserting too much things apart from the breath of the pure sulphur and the touch of its companion quicksilver coming to rescue. Gold is native from them. When the art shall disaggregate what was joined before, and you will see a seed growing up, which you shall need to keep secretly with an incessant fire to be exerted. Your care also require to feed it properly and with no hurry. So when the right time comes the baby shapeless borne will show its perfection till the imperfect mass become a perfect thing.”
Augurello takes here too much for granted the alchemical axiom to never use more than one ingredient. Our unique ingredient is Secret Fire, but since we cannot work with impalpability, very often we have to extract from one thing by means of other chemicals. Additionally, Sulphur and Mercurius might appear as companions, but they rather are subsequent and following each other. They really are a single thing, and sometimes the same chemical too.