Third Level is Solution in Scala Transmutationis. Gerardus Dorneus in Congeries Paracelsicae, 1581, deals with this difficult and confusing level between Labors of Hercules and Main Work.
“Omnis operatio proprium requiris ordinem” or every action needs a rule, in this way Dorneus begins its introduction to Congeries Paracelsicae Chemiae de Transmutationibus Metallorum, or Essay on the chemistry of Paracelsus on metals transmutations. The copy we are examining has been taken from Bibliotheca Chemica-Curiosa Mangeti 1703 (1).
The excerpt I chose is on Solution or Coitus or Conjuction. So we are in an area out of Labors of Hercules but not yet in Main Work /see an Opus Magnum scheme). According to some we are just before Mercurius Duplicatus, to others Solution is Mercurius Duplicatus (2). As a matter of fact metallic gold is to be sown inside a Mercurius Philosophorum to get dissolved. For some metallic gold is male while Mercurius Philosophorum is female. Others state this is an antecedent phase to the very important one unifying the two Mercurii, so Man would be Mercurius with some dissolved gold inside, and Woman a virginal Mercurius as it has just come out of Labors of Hercules. In any case we need a Putrefaction-Digestion phase after (3). That’s in theory, of course, because practical work is a little bit departing from an established course. To put it simply it all depends on chosen Materia Tertia or raw matter. Often metallic gold stabilizes or makes fixed a too volatile Mercurius, indeed a dry powder of calcinated gold can dry a humid Mercurius, thus taking the name of “Sulphur”. But often too this operation is impossible to be done without lost too much volatile Mercurius, which in this case has to be previously fixed in another way.
Scala Transmutationis or transmutations stairs is an ancient and confusing method for alchemical works layout. Very hardly we can find the same scheme by all hermetic authors. In this case Dorneus uses the same of Cabala Speculum Artis & Naturae by Michelspachers. What is of interest in this excerpt is the application of Cold, Warm, Dry and Humid canon. Pay attention here: warm or hot, dry and Fire are to be referred to gold or Sulphur, while cold, water or aqua, and humid to Mercurius.
But let’s start my translation now: “Ad secundum postea, tertius gradus accedit, solutio videlicet, eaque duplex, una frigoris, altera vero caloris” .Translation: following the second comes the third, solution of course, and there double, the one cold, the other warm”. Frigus-oris means
cold-chill-frozen but also winter season and still-not moving. The last one is very fitted with a logical alchemical meaning . For Gold-Fire-Sulphur is fixed of course, being calcinated, indeed very able to move our Mercurius. Unus means one, but also “the same”, here we have “una”, so, since there are no plural involved, it must be feminine. Plato, in Timaeus, called Mercurius “ the same” and Sulphur “ the other”. That’s sounds as our case. Rule of three gives us at least three different concepts for every symbol, and Mercurius and Sulphur are among the most ubiquitous.
“Salia, corrosiva, & calcinata quaevis per ignem coagulantur;” Translation: All salts rusted (4) and calcinated by means of fire got coagulated.
“Frigore tandem aeris resolvuntur in liquorem, aquam, vel oleum, humido loco in cella, vel in aere super marmoreum lapidem, aut vitrum posita”.Translation: They finally get liquified in liquid/liquor, water, oleum/oil with the air chill, in a humid place such as a cellar, or in air positioned over a marble stone or a glass.
“Pinguia tamen & sulphurea calore solvitur aeris, ignis calore coagulantur”.Translation: anyway puffy and sulphur-like salts get dissolved by fire heat (5).
“Summatim autem quod ignis calore solvitur, aeris frigore tandem coagulatur: contrà, quod frigore solvitur aeris, ignis calore coagulatur”.Translation: to give a summary what is dissolved by fire heat, is coagulated by air chill: on the contrary what is dissolved by air chill, get coagulated by fire heat.
“Notato qua ratione frigidum aerem esse dicimus, quod pugnare quodammodo videtur contra nonnullorum philosophantium opinionem: volunt enim isti calidum & humidum esse. Verum ex quibus constat aer, non considerant”.Translation: We state to have observed this air chill theory, that will make us quarrel with not few philosophers opinions: for they sustain to be hot and humid. They don’t consider that air does exist from evidences.
“An non ex igne & aqua? quid enim aliud est aer quam aqua per ignem resoluta? Quandoque igitur ab una sui parte, igne scilicet, calorem & siccitatem, ab altera vero frigiditatem, & aquae suae humiditatem mutuatur”.Translation: If it is not from fire and water, from where then? What is air if not another water liquified by fire? Hence from one part of it, fire of course, it takes warm and dryness, from the other real coldness and its water humidity.
“Sunt enim duae qualitates principes tantum, reliquae vero duae harum ministrae”.Translation: So they are just two principles-qualities, real remains of two servants sty.
“Nihil enim natura calidum, quod etiam necessario siccum non sit naturaliter, nihil item frigidum quod ea ratione humidum non sit”.Translation: Because there’s nothing in the warm nature, that isn’t all the same a natural requisite to dryness, as nothing in cold that is not in the method of humid.
“Quicquid praeterea his contingit, natura non, sed per accidens fieri judicato”.Translation: Anyone then can get in touch with that, not by method, but accidentaly.
“Non aliter de elementis, principem locum obtinent ignis et aqua, terra vero frigiditatem à focia videlicet aqua mutuatur, & siccitatem quam habet ab ignem, per se autem nunquam calida, neque humida, imo neque frigida neque sicca, sed aliis suis duobus principibus inservire videtur haud aliter, quam cera cuivis sigillo”.Translation: On the contrary not with elements, in fact fire and water keep the first place, earth of course is a real cold obtained from water by means of ovens, as much as dryness when coming from fire, on the other hand never hot, nor humid, neither cold nor dry, but instead other two of their principles are seen to serve, as seal wax.
“Pariter de aere judicandum: sic enim a suo patre calorem & siccitatem habet ab igne scilicet, frigiditate & humiditate ab aqua sua matre”.Translation: in the same way for air: because it owes hot to its father and of course has dryness from fire and owes humidity from its mother water.
“Generantur ergo tanquam a suis parentibus igne & aqua, masculus aer, seu potius hermaphroditus, & foemina terra”.Translation: thus generated from its parents as much as fire and water, male air or better hermaphrodite and female earth (6).
- BCC, tome second, liber or book 3, section 2, subsection 10;
- See also Atalanta Fugiens & Mercurius Duplicatus ;
- See also Atalanta Fugiens & Terra Alba Foliata ;
- corrosiva from corrodo, to rust;
- See also see Codex Marcianus Ouroboros ;
- See also Stoll, the Lacinius Translator on Male and Female Elements and Wenceslaw Lavinius and the Sky and Earth Properties and Cesare Ripa and the Hot Frozen Ouroboros World Machine ;