We are resuming Cabala Mineralis, this time affording the Main Works colors passages. In fact, the point of this second part is the achievement of Sulfur.
We have already said that the end, and purpose, of these preliminary operations, are the reaching of our Mercurius Philosophorum, or Mercurius in a fixed texture, with sometimes complicated salt volatilizations. I have also already mentioned these “labors” usually revolve around passages of state.
See a complete gallery of Cabala Mineralis drawings on the last page.
You can find the first part, concerning the preparatory works, at Cabala Mineralis or the She Horse on Urine Work part 1.
In the “Tractatus Johannis Isaaci Hollandi, or simply the treatise of J.I. Hollandus on urine, which you can find at How Urine Salts Extract a White and Red Dye, was written: “It is known that all and any tinctures (dyes) will be within White and Red… ”. These transmutations will not appear by magic, but by continuous “washings” (1), or pouring of our “Water” Mercurius Philosophorum (see an Opus Magnum scheme). As a matter of fact, it will be interesting to follow on parallel Hollandus essay too and see what both the dutch alchemist and Rabbi Simeon ben Cantara omit and reveal. Be aware that their operations are necessarily different, but anyway comparisons might be useful.
The first image in the article, the fourth of the collection, presents a flask half filled with a dark color liquid, some black crows nearby, and a little half-immersed angel with a silver half-moon. At a closer look, the liquid is not really dark but vaguely spotted. The second image in Cabala Mineralis is identical but for the particular that a little golden sun has come to substitute the silver moon. The third one is the natural culmination of the first two. In “Kore Kosmou” Isis, referring to Hermes Trismegistus, says: ” he did honor me with the perfect black”. In fact, the black putrefaction is the unquestionable sign of a perfectly successful alchemical marriage. But who are the spouses? The two angels are labeled with Sun and Moon, of course, even if the real alchemical marriage is between two Moons, that’s to say between two women. Rabbi Simeon ben Cantara, the Cabala Mineralis supposed author, does explain the concept in the fourth image under the note, which my article ” Cabala Mineralis and the Three Salts Enigma” has referred to as an example to mention a wide range of cases in which three parts ( of Mercurius, or Mercurius become Sulfur) might possibly be mentioned in Alchemy.
“Duae, ad plus Tres partes, Mercuri nostri, liquant una partem luna vel solis volgi subtilitati… ” Translation: two, or three at maximum, parts of our Mercurius dissolve one part of vulgar Luna-Moon (metallic silver) or Sol–Sun ( metallic gold) “subtilitati” or already reduced in Mercurius (spiritual form). That’s to say they have to be dissolved in Mercurius and then repeatedly volatilized till another Mercurius is reached. In this way, we have achieved the famous “Seed of Metals”. Now we are in the situation rendered by the image on the left ( which you may find an exhaustive explication, as well as a translation, in preliminary works): we can see a young man in red sowing some “seeds” on the soil. The seeds are our powdery calcined metals to be dissolved in the Mercurius soil (2). This soil is in the Hollandus line: “ … and this will be the Quinta Essentia: If you will put a white matter your Quinta Essentia will be white as snow if a red matter it will be red, and in its virtue gold will shine”. This substance has been the object of preliminary works, namely the Quinta Essentia/Mercurius Philosophorum.
Cabala Mineralis author skips various passages and limits himself to suggesting an alchemical marriage or duplication of Mercurii. Hollandus too doesn’t mention it. As a matter of fact, it is not so easy to find not only an exhaustive development of the topic but in most cases even a mention of it. Alchemists generally preferred to let images that were not allowed be put down in words. But, even if without indulging in excessive wording, Cabala Mineralis images 4-5 don’t put too much on display. it might seem as though silver ( concerning the angel with a moon) and gold ( angel with the sun) dissolution was involved. Of course, it is, but the symbols of the Sun and Moon are not here meaning any metals, but spouses. Thus, take the Quinta Essentia, ( out of preparatory operations, or labors of Hercules) and divide it into parts ( be aware that you shall have to schedule a certain number of “additions”. Do always allow yourself to fail with your mind, and in so doing learn from your own experience, rather than take for granted what you read in treatises. Bear in mind that there have never been two alchemists who have produced the same substances, I mean as far as the content in Secret Fire is concerned. So be street-wise and autonomous).
Rabbi Simeon doesn’t mention the heat degree to be applied during the whole Main work. Be aware that the operations on urine salts can hardly be performed without the application of external heat, but this varies from author to author, and from phase to phase. This putrefactive stage was commonly carried out in sand or dung heat. If you remember Hollandus does apply cinders or sand. Cabala Mineralis author also fails to mention when keeping the vessel open and when closed them. We will encounter other treatises whose author will be more unselfish.
“… et corpus unum sunt, spongiosum, inseparabile, Quod vocatur luna nostra, vel sol noster, non vulgi”. And they are a unique body, sponge-like, inseparable. Which we call our Moon, or our Sun, not vulgar. The “Moon” angel is the undeterminate Mercurius Philosophorum/Quinta Essentia to be divided, so the female. The “Sun” angel is a partition of the same Mercurius, but with some calcined metal to be put inside to get dissolved in this Alkahest ( generally silver or gold). The necessary work to obtain a powder, most commonly an oxide, is a chemical process, but another calcination occurs when the powder gets in touch with Quinta Essentia/Mercurius. This is the “Calcinatio Sophica Solis”, or the philosophic calcination of gold ( be aware that silver calcination would be called “Sun” since the metallic powder does act here as a man. Of course because of the rule of three, by which a single symbol may have at least three different meanings (3) the female-male symbolism is as huge as the sea in Alchemy.
Into this flask ( sometimes the same female flask) a certain “Fight of attraction” will occur. However this is just a prerequisite since marriage can only be arranged between two entities of similar condition, so two Mercurii. Then they ( but they are just a single person) are to be put to putrefy in so doing becoming a single body again. Their body is of a sponge-like texture, if reading the first part you can argue why. This body is from now a single, inseparable body for the very simple reason you should the time made have the necessary partitions. Now you shall have to add, or wash. For the reasons why even more than two parts are to be put together, refer to Cabala Mineralis and the Three salts Enigma.
“… Luna, per Mercurium Aquilarum Quinque. Sol, per Mercurium Aquilarum Septem”. The work on urine is not an easy one and, what’s more, is not a perfect one. As I said it was performed due to its availability in volatile salts as well as a certain amount of Secret Fire (4), so it was considered a source of interesting salts, both from a chemical and alchemical point of view. But it was a rather difficult substance to operate on, mostly because, as we have seen from Hollandus, Glaser, and Lancillotti recipes (the last two were not alchemists of course, but Hollandus doesn’t seem to step on different ways, there is a need of external common fire, as Cabala Mineralis pictures put on display. Thus the work tends to go along with a series of chemical distillations and sublimations. If the amount of Secret Fire within our First Matter was substantial we will need just alchemical distillations. This quite long preamble in order to present the last phrase of the fourth image undernote which suggests sublimating silver for five times (eagles) and gold for seven, but “per Mercurium”, that’s to say by Mercurius Philosophorum that you, well-advised alchemists, have previously set apart. This operation is considered both an alchemical and chemical calcination. The so-called distillation comes with the following putrefaction.
We have arrived at picture number 6, or Mercurius Duplicatus (5). Now we have a single flask, the so-called nuptial bed, in which female and male Mercurius have given up their ” fights” and finally collapse into black putrefaction ( namely the second of the entire work). Philosophical putrefaction, since this strange oxidation could be produced by Secret Fire, finally comes out from potential to act: ” Sol noster de calcinatione nostra irrigabum novi Mercurii, partibus duabus in pondere. Sol vulgi sit corpus unum nigerrimum non spongiusum”. Our Sun, or our Gold, is a Philosophers Gold (6). Yes, because we would not strictly need any precious metal as an indispensable ingredient. We should already have our active agent inside our Mercurius, but this being too much-skilled practice, I recommend getting the most possible Secret Fire out of some easy metals. Thus, when saying “our Gold” you, not-so-skilled alchemists, can translate as our Mercurius out of some easy salt to then achieve a Mercurius to have metallic gold or silver reduced in Mercurius. Cabala Mineralis author too recommends this practice, since he calls the new body ” out of vulgar gold”. Anyway in this practice, the reduction in Mercurius is a kind of calcination, in fact, the author calls it ” Calcinatio rostra”, or our calcination. They have it ” partibus duabus pondere”, or divide it into two parts in weight. The result will be a new single body not sponge-like since the alchemical marriage tends to make the texture change. The flask must remain well closed for a certain amount of days, at rest. Wait for the perfect black to appear. As Isis says in “Kore Kosmou”, the perfect black is a gift from the sky, the only sign that your efforts are to be rewarded (7). Picture number 7. “Germinatio Vegetativa” or vegetal germination. We already know that during the Main Work a transmutation of colors from black to red (8) passing through white is to happen and not by magic, but by the magic of Mercurius. Cabala Mineralis’s author fails to mention all the passages from black to white and, what’s more, doesn’t mention the color grey, but in this picture, he refers to green, or better a greenish-black. In this stage, we don’t have to wait for the first light of Mercurius to appear, since we already are the lucky owners of a Mercurius Philosophorum. Whatever kind of cooking we are allowed to perform ( for example Kamala Jnana, see undernote 9, just cooked by pouring Mercurius on) we have to get our matter to undergo “Washings” or Laiton. In simple words, we have to discharge our partitioned Mercurius very slowly, but in a “stormy” way ( see the kind of tempest over the matter surface) black starts to change color. The first appearance may be a greenish tone. It is not compulsory, though. Sometimes it can be caused by molds. Sometimes it is just a tone toward grey. But in ancient times it might appear as a sign of “vegetation”, of life (10). The undernote in fact says: “Sol de nigretudine Colore Mutato viridascens Germen, suum pandit in vegetationem”. The Sun from blackness changes to a greenish-black germ, it gets vegetative.
Picture number 8.” Sulphur Album”, or White Sulfur. The first appearance of whiteness in our main Works is a sign of Sulfur. Mercurius is always Mercurius of course, but it is crowned as Sulfur. An unripe Sulfur though, since is not red yet. We may have already read in this site of the ubiquitous rule of three, by which every symbol stands for at least three different concepts. So Sulfur is also called a Mercurius Fixed, and/or Mercurius when reaches colors, in this case, it is called “Dye”. ” Sol noster Mutato Colore viridis, Transit in Sulfur, Quod est Corpus Animatum Anima in Corruptibili”. Our Sun turned greenish and is now on the way to white, which is an animated body, it really is our incorruptible Soul. Very often you may read in alchemical treatises that Mercurius is our Spirit of Life, while Sulfur is Soul. Just a question of densities.<