Master Rodanius wrote a little treatise on Elements. On the rotation of the Elements, as tools of our Alchemical Works.
Roughly defined changes of states of matter, the Elements, unfortunately for us moderns, are the paradigm of Alchemy. There’s no way to get around them.
My interpretative translation from Umbkehrung der Element, nach Beschreibung des Meisters Rodanii, or Rotations of Elements, according to Master Rodanius’s description. Taken from Joachim Tancke, or Tanckius, Promptuarium Alchemiae Leipzig 1614.
The misprints, archaic forms as well as the longitudinal cut of the verso pages, have made my translation from gothic german very difficult. I hope you will not devalue my article for the lack of introductory parts, which I have omitted to spare me a hard time. Rodanius’s opening words may interest bibliographers, but nothing in it can be considered detached from the following body of the treatise. Anyway, the starting part of Umbkehrung der Element can be deduced from the page picture on the top. As usual, my translation is in italics, and my comments are normal.
“… Philosophers define the Solving as the reduction of bodies like Spirits. the Coagulation as the reduction of Spirit bodies, and so the Body shall be spiritual, and the Spirit corporeal, both shall turn to be a philosophical composite (philosophorum) as they called it… “
Very poetic words express very practical truths. In a few words, the alchemists of the time defined Spirits as everything that could “run away”, even fumes and vapors. In contrast, Bodies were everything prevented from running away. To the first one, they give the name of Mercurius, and to the second, the name of Salt. They believe that a body that allowed its fumes to fly away was a body that had missed the Spirits of Life. The Soul was extracted in a second operation.
The above-mentioned are the primitive substances of which ancient alchemists believed matter to be composed. They imagine a fume or volatile liquid to be a component of the matter because they observed escaping fumes when heating matters. This is obvious and somewhat superstitious for us today. But the idea behind that nomenclature is more complex; we are a step beyond that. We are at the formation of our extremely volatile alchemical Mercurius, formed after reiterated salts volatilizations. The running away matter is then much more complex than mere fumes. The fixation of this volatility is a matter of real knowledge; it is by real Philosophers ( latin philosophorum).
“… make the fixed running away and the running away fixed; in this way, through the Grace of God, you will achieve full Mastery.”
Not only the volatile philosophical matter must be made fixed, but the fixed must, in every moment, be able to return to volatility. In this way, all the unwanted matter is discharged. This statement has another meaning: the volatile matter can dissolve, and the fixed matter should have the same property. We will see how this concept is developed. The continued passage of the states of matter is indispensable in our alchemical works.
” Neither God can turn white this solution, without the transformation of the Elements, Turba Philosophorum says: set the Elements, so you will find what you search, and indeed the rotation of Elements is not different, then the transformation of Elements in other Nature.
Philosophers say that the four elements are the result of an action and they are not mere aspects, and they also say that without the four elements, nothing can be accomplished… “
Elements result from passages from heat to cold, cold to head, dry to wet, and wet to dry. Because the action is not chemical, but in physics, it affects the electronic clouds of matter. Because electronic movements significantly affect our Secret Fire and our operative methods.
“… but in the same way in some of them, different things master different Elements, as we see in Lapide Philosophorum ( Philosophers Stone). Philosophers say that our Stone will come from both the belly and Spirit Soul.
For this reason, Corpora (bodies) are helpful in this composition… “
Although the Philosophers Stone, because of fixity, can be considered a body that encloses all the features met during our works, so is even perfectly able to dissolve and volatilize. Like a Spirit.
” In Sol and Luna, the dominations are not established, and there is a complex game.”
This was almost impossible for me to translate a paragraph. The real instructions are in the following plain sentences. So, although not entirely literal, my translation is here purely interpretative. My interpretation translation is a summary of the paragraph and Sol and Luna’s behavior in the long run.
“In Sol, the Fire dominates the other Elements… “
Alchemy Sol or Sun in latin may symbolize either metallic gold ( our Sun in the earth), Sulphur, Redness, or fixity, or the male part of the alchemical marriage (1). They are all renowned for their dry features. Consequently, it is intuitive enough why the Element Fire here dominates the other Elements.
” … and about those, it is in the red Stone and yellow color as well as having a role in a warm and true Corpus (body), and certainly not in the very hot, that the Earth is another Element so the bright Gold, the Earth is cold and dry, it moderates the Sol, then the Fire will retake the yellow color and the Sol entirely in a perfect red shall become, and so even red.”
We know of the passage of colors in the main work. The Element Fire can take our First Matter out of the Whiteness and, through the yellow-orange, to perfect cooking in the Redness. In many ways, the perfect Red is achieved using skillful cooking. Since the First Matter is just one, the Element Fire takes the matter from whiteness to redness.
” But in Luna (Moon in Latin) dominates the Earth on the other Elements, and those will be taken to a white color, which is a cold Corpus ( body), a little humid and dry, then the other Elements like Fire and Water are in equal part in the Luna. The Water alone is superior to the Fire and, because of that, takes care of the Philosophical Luna in a humid and cold Corpus, when in the Luna, the Water is not superior to Fire, so certainly the whiteness of the Luna becomes yellow, and consequently, this Corpus (body) shall take the nature of Sol”.
Luna is here the female part of the alchemical marriage. The Dissolvent (see Opus Magnum scheme)
To be continued at Rodanius and the Rotation of Elements Part 2.
Se also Atalanta Fugiens and Mercurius Duplicatus and Atalanta Fugiens and the Golden Apples ;
See also Stoll, the Lacinius Translator on Male and Female Elements , Wenceslaw Lavinius and the Sky and Earth Properties , Cesare Ripa & the Hot Frozen Ouroboros World Machine and Glaser’s Frontispiece ;