Aphorismi Urbigerani engraving number two deals with a dry Hermes entering a cave, bringing along sublimation flowers.
Thus no more watery environment. Here Mercurius has reached a fixation. And now vessel or Vas Circulatorium can be finally opened. We have our gold’s mine. We have accomplished that difficult operation called Closed Circulation, or simply Circulation, for closed conditions (without vacuum) are compulsory. And, moreover, we have accomplished what Glaser calls fixation of the volatile. But before that, inside Circulatorium, we have performed a volatilization of fixed salts. Perhaps it is time to have a glance at Opus Magnum scheme. Be aware that we are not obliged to perform our circulation inside a Pelican. Other vessels can be used for the purpose. In fact Urbigerus, in his fifth Aphorism, presents another way for vegetable salts volatilization:” Our second way of preparing this our Vegetable Elixir is by a right Manipulation of a Plant of the noblest Degree, standing by itself, or supported by others: after the Preparation of which, and its Putrefaction, Reduction into an Oil, Separation of the three Principles, with their Purification, Union, and Spiritualization, the whole is to be turned into a spiritual ever-living Fountain, renewing every Plant, that shall be plunged in it.” And that seems a real spagyric path, as we commonly are used to. Actually it is the same concept as aphorisms 2-4, but for the method to volatilize vegetable salts: no more salts plus outer liquids, but just a division of a plant into its elemental components, that Urbigerus calls “Principles”, while they are mere elements. To then re-unify them in a closed circulatorium. The basic idea, in both methods is getting rid of phlegmatic parts. Which, apart from everything, provides a good closed circulation too.
From all aforementioned we get that the real secret here is not circulation, but circulatorium, that’s to say the tool, since without it a closed circulation is quite impossible.
But the main aim of this post was the explication of the first Aphorismi Urbigerani picture. And now we are. Since we could not understand this picture without plunging a little into Urbigerus book. I have often heard of this engraving as a compendium of Mercurius Philosophorum. While, in my opinion, is a wonderful representation of what a Vas Circulatorium is, or better what a fixation of Mercurius goes about inside a Circulatorium. The tree being a rendition of our special circulating vessel, like a sap continuously moving into the vascular system of a plant. And we know that trees are emitting bituminous or resinous substances.
We can see Mercurius in its circulating phase on the tree right, while Mercurius Philosophorum in on the left. Man-Sun and Woman-Moon are not Mercurius, but Solve et Coagula movements or up and down inside our circulatorium, or fixed and volatile. Someone will object that man is sulphur and women mercurius. In fact sulphur-mercurius too are subjected to rule of three, and here they are mere Solve et Coagula movements (6). Or better when Mercurius is in volatile phase is woman with a bow, when in fixed phase is man with a sulphureus harp. Both are unripe Mercurius, mind, not unripe Sulphur, which is a Main Work product. While Mercurius is achieved in the end of preparatory Works.
Take notice of the motto “Virtus unita fortior” on the tree top : « Unified virtue is stronger”. Stronger than what? Than the hovering serpent, moving like a flux, here representing Mercurius in its volatile phase, saying “Nil sine vobis” or nothing without you. That’s to say that volatile woman is useless without the male fixation (alchemical symbolism comes from ancient times). Volatile Mercurius is so beautiful but impossible to be handled and tries hard to resist to fixation, in fact she’s saying: “Ulterus te vinciam”, or I will conquer you later. While he/the fixed is irresistibly attracted by her volatility/dissolving qualities, with a “Pulchritudine tua captus sum” or I’m prisoner of your beauty. Fixed can’t help but be dissolved by volatile. You will be also listen of Love/Amalgamation/One nature delights in another nature……etc. So often alchemist have used loving/sexual attibutes to explain it.
On the left part a winged dragon is speaking as being plural(union has been performed): “Per Nos omnia” or by means of us, all. In fact the new substance resulting from fixed-volatile is no more like a fluing difficult to handle serpent, nevertheless conserves a winged dissolving power. Indeed our Mercurius Philosophorum maintains all Mercurius penetrating attributes.
Pay close attention to the last two mottos: “Regeneratio tua in mea potentia” or your regeneration is in my power. And “Per te vivam” or by means of you I’m to live. Because things are getting confusing now. What is this regenerated substance? Very often Hermaphrodite allegory has been emploied to hidden both Mercurius Philosophorum and metallic salts decomposition into it (sometimes even Mercurius Duplicatus, but this seems not the case). As a matter of fact substance to be regenerated can be a metallic salt. And sometimes fixed/man/Sun is used to point at a metallic salt (7).
What is of main importance, here, is Circulatorium (8) and tree allegory. As a matter of fact inside a vas circulatorium we can perform both Mercurius Philosophorum and metallic salts decomposition into it. To regenerate them. That’s to say to extract their huge amount of Secret Fire.
- Adustum, in latin burned out or marked with fire;
- See also Hollandus Sal Armoniacum;
- See also Archarion and Analysis inside a mortar;
- See also Basilius Valentinus, Azoth, Salt or Philosophers Gold?;
- See also Sun & Moon at the Turn of First Millennium;
- See also Basilius Valentinus & Solve et Coagula Tree;
- See also Atalanta Fugiens & Golden Apples;
- See also Starkey & Volatilization of Alkalis;