Thesaurus Hermeticum engraving number eleven puts on display what is also known as Pythagorean River. A very ancient forbidden knowledge till last century.
Was the german physician Johannes Conradus Barchusen to present, in appendix of his treatise “Elementa Chemiae” 1718, the 79 Thesaurus Hermeticum engravings after having coincidentally (he said) found them in a benedectine monastery.
These pictures were soon considered of exceptional importance and are also been known as Symbolical Treatise of the Stone. Number eleven was one of the clearest rendition of Mercurius Sideribus ( see an Opus Magnum scheme).
Sideribus, from sidereus, means “glinting from the stars” in latin. Enlarging the picture on the left we can spot a Mercurius classically performed by the foot winged roman Mercury messenger of the gods, in Alexander von Suchten “Chymische Schrifften” 1680. Philalethes in his Introitus Apertus 1667, chapter sixth “On the Air of the Sages” states there are waters above the firmament which we are unable to see while the waters under the firmament are visible to us mortals. Then he goes on mentioning those which, though hidden within matter, nevertheless have a real existence.
Fires/ Waters do all the job during their astonishing colors metamorphosis. They quite appear in “making alchemical work”, in this performing like an energy matter. Of course, letting apart for a moment those waters hidden within molecular matter. Here we are introducing above waters, or simply Above. And if you are thinking of the famed hermetic statement “ As Above so Below” you got it. There we are. But before going any further why and what these waters from above are alchemically for?
Generally speaking we try to extract Secret Fire from mineral masses because the amount of Secret Fire inside mineral masses is hugely greater than that one we can extract from rain, water, snow, air, moon, sun and stars. In addition density of Secret Fire coming from Stars and that one coming from within is different. So we need heavy metallic matter to successfully perform Alchemy. But only Secret Fire from above can awake sleeping Secret Fire from within. So our simple pythagorean river from above or Mercurius Sideribus/Universalis does not contain whatever is necessary for our philosophical works. Storing Secret Fire inside a glass is a deep alchemical idea and indeed is what our philosophers stone is about. But….after all our alchemical works. After Mercurius and Sulphur extraction from metallic atoms.
What I believe is this flux from above is hold to “awake” or magnetize an alchemical resonance-diapason mirroring process. And photochemistry is not here just a coincidence. Photonic Light is not narrowly a vehicle, like a molecular substance. On the contrary it is also a tool.
We are ready to hear from pythagorean Philolaus, now: “There is a central condensed Fire and an outer Fire surrounding spherical universe, in is turn divided into three spheres: Olympos or Fixed Stars (1),
Let’s apart Earth and Antichthon, for this post, and concentrate on this Anima Mundi or Soul of the Universe, concept. It is not a religious concept, although during medieval and renaissance attempts were made to conciliate catholicism and Alchemy. Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquin, Marsilio Ficino, the uncertain author of Pymander, Robert Fludd, Michael Maier, Georg von Welling, Jachob Boehme, Isaac Newton have all tried to fit Waters from Above in christian cosmogonies. Waters from above probably do not take any part in Celestial Mechanics, but in alchemical mechanics and for us, alchemists, this dry pythagorean river is sacred. Yet we cannot have the slightest idea of a holder of universe. Perhaps a japanese person might better understand this belief.
Be aware of the huge importance alchemists grant to Cosmos. Indeed they say that Sun is between Sky-Olympos and Sub Lunar-Ouranos. And according to harmonic laws is the string in the middle to give harmony to a chord. But when referring to Waters permeating Ouranos do we really intend our roasting Solar giant? That’s not an issues of little account because our Mercurius Universalis, Aurum Astrale and Argentum Vivum come down from this region.
The Thesaurus Hermeticum engraving comes to rescue. Have a closer look inside Cosmos region: Waters/Secret Fire from Olympos are gathered by Moon. Indeed our satellite is a wonderful mirror. And comparably Waters/Secret Fire from Sun, to arrive to us in a bearing conformation, must be reflected by the moon. So we pick up sun waters from moon.
Now we are ready for another concept, namely Density Stairs. But let’s hear from Fulcanelli putting it into poetic words, as usual: “ In its subtle state is a universal Spirit, and we call our Mercurius, but when it descends and penetrates the world, it thickens and coagulates to become the Soul, and we call our Sulphur. Lower it freezes in a body, and we call our Salt”. To put it simply this is what we call leveling or degrees of fire or our Secret Fire density stairs. Alchemy foundation, worker and worked matter. All the same Waters, Air, Fire, Earth are not here chemical elements but degrees of our Secret Fire. We will encounter this idea of fire degrees all over hermetic symbolism, for it is affected by the rule of three, by which every concept stands at least for three different meanings.
Are we talking about photonic light or whatever? To be honest alchemists cannot put a resolutive word on the topic. They often admit Secret Fire might be an ineffable strange substance enclosed in atomic electronic clouds.
So it may be traveling with photonic light. But these are suppositions, of course. At the state of the Art, experiments are proving to be impossible. Are whatsoever wavelengths involved in all that? Alchemists don’t know too. Canseliet was really scared about scientific and technology improvements on wavelengths field. But he said this in 1960’s. We know that also developments on electricity researches, during the second half of eighteenth century, did cause quite a stir back at that age in alchemical milieus.
But what kind of stars emit secret fire/waters? Once again, we don’t know. The only pivot on the topic is that sky conditions, or external influences namely called “Signatures” have always been of huge importance in our works.
To end up: by studying the combinations of wavelengths of light, called spectra, emitted by various stars, scientists had been able to determine what kinds of atoms stars contained. They found that stars fell into two groups. One type was nearly 100% hydrogen and helium, while the other contained 99% hydrogen and helium and 1% other elements. They interpreted these as two generations of stars. The first generation had formed out of clouds of gas that came fresh from the big bang, and their composition reflected that of the early universe. The nuclear fusion reactions by which they shine have mainly just increased the proportion of helium relative to hydrogen, without making any heavier elements. The members of the first generation that we see today, however, are only those that lived a long time. Small stars are more miserly with their fuel than large stars, which have short lives. The large stars of the first generation have already finished their lives. Near the end of its lifetime, a star runs out of hydrogen fuel and undergoes a series of violent and spectacular reorganizations as it fuses heavier and heavier elements. Very large stars finish this sequence of events by undergoing supernova explosions, in which some of their material is flung off into the void while the rest collapses into an exotic object such as a black hole or neutron star. The second generation of stars, of which our own sun is an example, condensed out of clouds of gas that had been enriched in heavy elements due to supernova explosions. It is those heavy elements that make up our planet and our bodies.
Is Alchemy affected by all that? I repeat, we don’t know. But Thesaurus Hermeticum engraving on the top displays a leit motiv very often used in hermetic collections. For example the picture over on the left, from Hortulus Hermeticus by Stolcius (3), shows the same concept as Thesaurus Hermeticum. On the right I produced the same Hortulus Hermeticus accompanied with a necessary motto (4): “Qui nescit regimen veritatis, ignorat vas Hermetis” or he who disregards the truth promotion, ignores Hermes vessel.
- In the picture North Star or Polaris, see also the Pythagorean Thigh in the Northern Sky ;
- See also San Miniato Sun Path or the Sky as seen from Earth , Nuisement and Sun Resisting Capture , Voynich Manuscript and the Unknown Part of the Rhythm , Two Stars in a Venetian Geocentric Sky , Santi Pupieni and the Raising Black-New Moon , Hans Memling’s Altarpiece with Boar and January 17 ;
- Hortulus Hermeticus by Daniel von Stolcemberg, Stolcius. From Hortulus Hermeticus Flosculis Philosophorum etc 1628.
- Hortulus Hermeticus Continuus taken from Bibliotheca Chemico-Curiosa Mangeti 1702.