As below as above, i.e. to attract the most possible Mercurius/Secret Fire/Spiritus Universalis from the sky and gather it into our verginal dissolvent.
My translation from Archarion’s La Via della Vera Alchimia, ed. Mediterranee 1994, appendix Testamentum Fraternitatis Roseae et Aureae Crucis from Cod SN 2897 in the Vienna Nationalbibliothek, with the Ms full title Testamentum Der Fraternitet Rosæ et Auræ Crucis, als gewisse Extases oder geheime Operationes, wodurch das Mysterium eröffnet an unsere Kinder der Weisheit göttlicher Magie und englischer Cabbalae. I.W.R. Anno 580.
You can find the first chapter, known as ‘Nosce te Ipsum‘ at Testamentum Fraternitatis Roseae et Aureae Crucis. Part 2.
In the second chapter of Testamentum Fraternitatis Roseae et Aureae Crucis we understand why the preparation of a salt particularly charged in Spiritus Mundi ( spirit of the world) is important when putting together the dissolvent. In fact it is of the utmost importance to bring down the Mercurius/Secret Fire/Spiritus Universalis/Vitriolum Microcosmi from the Macrocosm ( the above) to our Microcosm ( below). But Macrocosm, as we will see, does mean both sky and interior of the earth. The Microcosm is our little alchemical “battle field”: the preparation of the virginal Dissolvent/Alcahest, or Mercurius. Another step of the countless transformations of our Spirit of life.
We will see in the coming chapters how Macrocosm and Microcosm meanings will fit to a more complex situation. Presently we have to prepare the Dissolvent. As dissolvent is also the philosophers Stone and in Testamentum Fraternitatis Roseae et Aureae Crucis the red Stone will not remain confined to itself but will take on a broader sense.
In this chapter we will encounter a lot of specific names. Theoretically our ineffable substance is always the same, practically its appearance is always changing, largely depending on the works stages and very according to the different paths here described (see an Opus Magnum scheme).
The operations focusing on the preliminary works are more unveiled than the main work ones. In fact the alchemical marriage, as well as the following feedings, are here roughly treated and barely mentioned. To complicate things, the author hints at numerous paths and jumbles processes. Anyway, it is very difficult to find proceedings more in clear than those ones.
Note that all the passages of states in preliminary works are comprehensive of what we call “Solve et Coagula”. Crystallizing, crushing, liquefying and then over and over again. They all are indispensable to come the Spiritus/Secret Fire from power to the act..
What is below is as what is above.
Now, if you want to search for the spiritus universalis magneticus, bear in mind: it is obtained in various ways. First: it hovers in the air; second; in the dew, rain, snow and hail. The fastest thing is to get it from rainwater, in fact the spiritus mundi moves down frequently to keep in life all the created things: so it is hidden in the spirit that weaves and creates all the spirits from which all things begin. And here it hovers in the water.
With fir wood have some large barrels made containing 12-16 buckets ( around 1000 liters) of water, and cover well. In spring take rainwater into, and when the weather is fine keep them uncovered under the sun and moon; in fact: Patrem ea res habet solem, matrem lunam ( this thing has the sun as father and moon as mother). This water is particularly fertile because it contains in all the superior forces, and finally, when appears Venus swimming in the sea, that’s to say it turns green, then it becomes magnetic. Then replace the water which received sun beams with other rainwater, when it rains and the weather is bad you have to cover it. In addition, the barrels must be kept in a hidden place where no one can get to. After four to eight weeks when it starts to putrefy and a mucous substance got formed, cover the barrels, because in them you have, concealed, the spiritus and the beginning of all things in the world.
Take two large alembics, put them in a balneum-mariae, set a helmet and a gathering container, fix them well, and distillate one part. Keep the distillate, tightly closed, in stone vessels. Then distill another part and preserve this one. Leave the third part (one third of the liquid) in the alembic. When everything has cooled pour on the liquor other fresh rain water, set the helmet and the water container, fix them well and distill again a part of Phlegm. Pour other fresh water and keep going until you’ve consumed all the water and distilled everything but some 12 measures of liquor, which will be red-brown. Remember: you have to distill all the slime and all the earth that are produced in the putrefaction, so you not only have a pure land, but also a red sulfur, the real Hermes fish without bone swimming in this fiery salty sea. Keep well the residual liquor. Then take your spirit and have rectified: the remained phlegm is of no use. When you have extracted your spiritus, except 2-3 measures, keep it carefully because it is very volatile and penetrating. Then take the red-brown liquid/liquor, pour into a retort, put it in a bath of cinders, cover with the container and distill everything but a dense liquor. Let cool and pour the second part of the distillate, which will concentrate again. Let rest for a day and a night, then distill again. This time, however, distill until a residual liquor denser than the first will remain. Pour the distillate again, leave for two days and two nights, so it will soften again. When you see the earth separating, pour all the clear solution in another retort.
Close tight your retort with the earth and conserve it with care. Place the retort with the liquor in a bath of sand or better cinders, set a water container, fit it well, and distill four measures. Keep the distillate, pour the red residual liquor into a glass, cover it well, put it in a cool place and see if crystals form. When crystals of various colors are formed, decant the liquor into a crooked, pick up crystals with a wood pliers and keep away from dust; add again a measure of spiritus to liquor and distill in cinders a little more of a measure, add the distillate to the previous one. Place the vessel in a cold place and let for other crystals to be formed, take them and add the residual spiritus to the remained liquor, distill again in cinders a little more of a measure, put the liquor in the cellar, waiting for the formation of new crystals. And add the distilled to the previous. When the crystals are formed, decant the liquor, take the crystals and keep with care. Distill again a part of liquor and wait for the crystals to be formed. Repeat this operations for all the crystals to be formed; In this way you have the vitriolum microcosmi.
If some red is remained stuck, pour it over again all that spiritus spirtuosus that you have distilled from the liquor and rinse vessels with it. Then pour the remaining one on the earth you have put aside. Pour it all on the liquor in which no more crystals are formed and distill it into a retort. Towards the end increase the flame so that the bottom of the retort should be red hot. It does not matter if it cracks. Remove the retort from the heat, break it and collect all the red-brown earth, grind it to powder, put it in an alembic, pour the distilled spirit over, and extract it, so a white earth will settle on the bottom. Pour the red extract into a clean glass. Put the remained earth into a little alembic, set it in the sand and distill all the remained humidity until total drying, so you have prepared the sigillum Hermetis. Also distill the red liquor until a thick red juice, preserves the super distillate spirit. Then take all crystals, grind them very well and put in an alembic. Also add the thick red fiery liquor as well as a measure of the last distilled water.
Place the alembic on a moderate heat. So everything will soften. Let rest for four days and four nights, so crystals will liquefy. Then put the glass in a cool place, so other crystal will form, which look completely different. When crystals will be formed, decant the liquor, and pick up the crystal. Distill the half of the liquor, put again what the residual in cinders and so on. Repeat until all the crystals will be formed. Liquefy them again and if you do not have any saturated water, take what I told you to put aside after the first distillation, liquefy the crystals and wait for them to be formed again. Repeat the operation several times until they melt into the fire as a wax, so you have prepared the sal sapientiae, the strongest of all things, as Hermes says, starting from the macrocosm you have prepared the lapis medicinalis, a spiritual rock. Also it is confirmed what Hermes says, that what is above is as what is below, and with it you can perform wonders.
Take half an ounce of these crystals and grind them up with a dram (1/8 ounce) of gold, put them together in a phial, seal it and set it all together in our athanor until colors appear. With other crystals you can enhance your universal stone, so you get the lapis medicinalis fixus.
But you can also do this: take your crystals of first order (sal sapientiae) grind them very well, to two ounces of this add one ounce of purified mercury and put them together in an alembic. Set a helm and heat with a fire that has the power to sublimate. Add the sublimate to the residual and sublime again. Repeat until everything has risen, except few faeces. Then pick up the sublimate and sublime it alone for several times. Now you have again two ways in front of you: the dry one with gold and a humid one, after you have made the sublimate to liquefy in a cellar. Treat this liquor as I taught you for the urine as it’s the same thing, so you will get the lapis medicinalis again. Nevertheless you can also do this: take your sublimate and grind up to powder, then with it also grind your fiery red sulfur, and sublime together, so the sublimed sulphur will increase with it, and you have the fire of nature. You can pass this fire through colors alone or distill it together with sublimate by coobations, after that you have let soften (becoming an oil) the sublimate in a cellar. So you get a fiery liquor.
But you can transform your crystals in a liquor (in a steam bath), even at the very beginning and distill by coobations. Then pour this liquor on red sulfur and extract it, carefully decant the clear solution, then pick up the white earth and put it in a phial. If this earth weighs a dram you have to pour on it four drams of liquor. Then close the phial and place it in the athanor. Heat for four weeks with a first degree fire, so the mass begins to turn black. If not, then you did not properly operated. Therefore, past four weeks, let the fire of first degree acting for another four weeks, so you get the right velvety black, the philosophical black ( the images below have been taken from ms. Darmstadt).