In Augurello’s last part the origin and making of the powder comes innately along with natural processes. So the alchemical glass birth is not unlike pearls.
The first part of the final book of Augurello’s Crysopoeia, or the art of making gold, is the more involute and difficult to read. Here the author tries to explain the alchemical progress as coinciding with natural phenomena.
We cannot be surprised of that, either because it was a cultural trend of ancient ages science, or perhaps because some of Augurello superstitions may be true. Can we, above every reasonable evidence, deny the taking place of alchemical, or philosophical, Secret Fire in birthing, growing and dying, occuring around us in every moment? Can we rationally keep Alchemy out of Life? But Augurello’s poetic statements here do appear to us as superstitions, in fact he seems to ignore mysteries deeper than the taking colors of marine shells.
Along with what seems a figurative poetic need to adorn his work, we cannot but be surprised by the knowledge the erudite, not an alchemist, Giovanni Aurelio Augurello puts on display in his Crysopoeia. The author puts a conclusion to the description of his alchemical operations to make gold. We ended the second part with the introduction of a specific powder to the purpose, namely the Projection Powder And there the third books begins. My translation from latin of the most substantial parts. In some cases the verses will be translated in full, though not verbatim due to the poetic form of a work which is not a treatise but a poetry.
You can find the previous book at Augurello and the Art of Making Gold. Second Book 2. And the beginning of the work, together with an introduction to the author, at Augurello and the Art of Making Gold. First Book.
” A down to heart desire to describe the origin of this magnificent powder has taken me. So my verses will invoke you, honorable Nymph guarding this sacred fountain………”
Augurello has often called on ancient deities to help him in his task, and not only as a poetic chance, since every mentioned god or goddess were not extraneous to either alchemical processes or matters. As in the case of this Nymph, we know that both Nymph and fountain are synonyms of our Secret Fire/Mercurius coming out, like a white and diaphanous mythological Spirit, from the raw matter, like a mysterious source of water.
” The first thing first one eager to make gold, or silver, has to necessarily know are the regimens of fire. Or the great diversity in them. Because there are a lot of fires in this art and chiefly two: one is a quiet emulator of nature, the other is the demanding fire of the art, suitable to extract the seed tied to gold. When your gold is melted and got humid, it emits abundant vapors and is violently raised upwards. The first fire, the one imitating nature, feeds the pure seed of gold.”
The wording “regimens of fire” is synonym with ” transmutations stairs” (1) or the operations our matters ( both raw and spiritualized) must undergo. To perform these operations are availed by two kind of Fires: our alchemical Secret Fire/Mercurius, which we extract from raw salts although it is the very substance coming from stars and suns, and of course the common fire which makes the gold to become “humid” or liquified by heating. Even though is incredibly difficult to sublime metallic gold to directly extract Secret Fire out of it, and here Augurello seems to suggests a similar path, it is true that metallic gold can anyway be “dissolved”, or sublimated, in Secret Fire/Mercurius to be in this way reincrudated, namely reduced in its “seed”. Which, as we know, will be fed on Secret Fire (2).
” To put your work to an end you have to take various pure gold foils, and conveniently reduced them in a very fine powder. You will grind it for a very long time till the powder becomes fluid. In the same time this matter will be watered, and sometimes by its very seed, as the author have already said, without mixing any extraneous thing.”
This operation is very unlikely to happen by simply grind metallic gold, which by definition is too ductile to be powdered. The process is known as “calcination”, which very likely involved oxidation or some other chemical contaminations. Some of these proceedings involved cupeling or other calcination methods (3). Another way to calcinate metals was also by the very use of Secret Fire/Mercurius, because of its strongly oxidizing properties. The term seed does always involve the use of Mercurius, very likely out of other raw salts than gold (4). When Augurello says to not mix extraneous things he means not to do use solvents other than Mercurius, which is a philosophical solvent out of repeated sublimations. But very often the use of chemical solvents, like mild acids, to treat raw salts was necessary.
“Since nature has to be joined to its simile, to play in accord with, as a harp and its strings”
A poetic verse to go over again the above concept.
” Even though our first matter is found in the deep of caverns, do not fail to remember that it arrives from the sky. And also don’t forget that everything can, and must, be liquified.”
And I add: to be then solidified over and over again. Here we are before a real compendium of Alchemical axioms. That’s to say the necessity of “Solve et Coagula”, or continuing to go back and for through elements water and earth, because strangely enough our Secret Fire gets extracted by this weird method ( 5). In spite of its being extracted from raw matter, our Secret Fire is the same as that coming from the stars and suns. As a matter of fact Augurello have talked of “Emerald” or Flos Coeli, or flux of sky (6) in Augurello and the Art of Making Gold. Second Book 1.
” When your matter will become liquified, to the purpose of getting fixed and liquid again, you will put your matter at the bottom of a very oblong vessel, since these matters must be “extended” . In this vessel the gold is made as well. A great heat will be necessary, in the same way as spanish people use to do with earths in the glassware art, then brought to Italy. In this way the vitreous mass gets purified days and night. Augurello encourage to make our vessel out of this vitreous mass, since from this a nice vase can be formed. In the same way you can make a vessel out of other earths taken from certain hills in the nearby of Padova. From this material you will be able to make the necessary oblong vessel alembic like he above mentioned and which you will firmly close the mouth. You will have also to consider making a proper double thick oven to provide a long lasting strong heat. Inside this vessel gold will be reduced in liquid and becomes white as snow. Then suddenly it will take a blue color, and violet and the color of the stars in the sky. Together with a bitter taste will be a good indication to be on the right way, because your matter will turn into black”
The foundation of this paragraph seems to be the alchemical vase. Namely a final vessel made out of the very Mercurius become Sulphur in our third work. At some extent like a vitrous paste our Sulfurous Mercurius is able to collapse on itself while going on cooking itself. Another black phase, or putrefaction, is evidence of a cooking indeed (see an Opus Magnum scheme). The author anyway doesn’t clearly separate works and phases. When Augurello says that the vitreous mass gets purified nights and days and finally becomes white as snow, he seems to allude to works to achieve our Mercurius in preparatory stage. The art of making glassware is really interesting, it might seem quite a metallurgic path. It would contain all the elements, as metallurgic paths use. Nevertheless the process is so different from our canonical dry ways. But the author did mentioned the pelican tool in the beginning of his Crysopoeia, which is not a metallurgic device. It is true that the the fluid which circulates in the vascular system inside a pelican can get a very viscous texture. So it would rather seem an analogy (7).
” Augurello goes on saying that pearls are being born in a similar way. They certainly come out of marble, but their seed is conceived by the dew from sky in fact, according to Augurello, the different colors of shells come directly from clouds. Before the dawn, at the time of the first sun beam this kind of dew falls and shells drink it receiving nourishment. There we have a kind of stone, being born white and then acquires colors, quite liquid and then turns solid”
Augurello here is trying to give a rational to the alchemical white and soft paste coming out of our preliminary work and announcing our white mercurial water. It was not uncommon by many alchemists of ancient times to try to justify Alchemical transmutations looking for analogous phenomena in nature. Surely nature does follow alchemical models, but the case of pearls. It is difficult here to divide superstition from analogy.
To be continued.
- See also Guido Montanor & Regimens of Fire ;
- See also Ripley Scroll: the Soul Drinks only Blood ;
- See also Fioravanti & Metals Calcination ;
- See also Weidenfeld & Basilius Oleum Vitriolis ;
- See also Wenceslaw Lavinius and the Sky and Earth Properties ;
- See also Nicolas Lefevre and the Flos Coeli Medicine ;
- See also Baro Urbigerus & the Circulatum Tree ;