To deprive spirits from their body: the ultimate Jean Brouaut’s goal in Traité de l’Eau de Vie. When a subtle alcoholic medicine reaches Spiritus Vini Lulliani.
Since Ramon Lullius is scarcely comprehensible in his works, we can try to get to him him through later authors, specially seventeenth century iatro-chemists like Jean Brouaut. Though the method with alcoholic dissolutions might seem universal, it was instead handled in as different ways as different alchemists. Brouaut’s book can never be taken for granted, till the last phrase.
This part is the last (Third Book) of Brouaut’s Traité de l’Eau de Vie, Paris 1646. The reading of the previous Brouaut and the Anatomy of Wine is an essential.
The style of this last part is even, if possible, more convoluted ( perhaps Brouaut wrote in a rush) than the previous ones. My translation from original french in quotation marks. My comments in normal.
“Third Book. First Chapter. How to extract the Dyes from spirit of WINE, and separate their Souls.”
We have already seen that Brouaut is rather ambiguous about the term Spirit (you can check the first part of his treatise at Brouaut and the Alliance of Water and Fire part 1), sometimes he means the alcoholic product of wine extraction, that’s to say Brandy, some others our alchemical Spirit of Life/Mercurius, extracted from salts volatilization (and as we go we will see how this is possible with the very brandy). We also know that the Spirit of Life/Secret Fire/ Mercurius is the same for every being, while the Soul is different and peculiar to every being. Finally, we know that the Spirit of Life extract the Soul. And here Brouaut means either the volatile colored molecular parts extracted by brandy, or the real Soul/Sulphur, or Tincture, extracted by the Spirit of Life/Mercurius. Which, at least we alchemists, believe (1).
“It remains to us two things: the extraction of tinctures/dyes and the art of Circulation of the rectified water to convert it in Quintessence. The ancient gave this water the name Sky, because of its subtlety and the virtue to receive influx from the stars.
So, take the substances ( here Brouaut employes the term Drogues (french for medicines) you want to take the Soul out, and grind or crush them and then soak in this Water in a glass vessel well closed. Which it takes a few days”.
It is clear enough that the Water Brouaut is talking about is the result of wine distillation as seen in Brouaut and the Anatomy of Wine. He is introducing here a process with close resemblance with Starkey Pyrotechnie & Volatilization of Alkalis 2.
“This done, remove the water of life by carefully bending the vessel. Then pour into it new well rectified water of life and push down the substances, repeating as soon as no dye can be extracted and the above mentioned substances remain as dead and without Soul. Pour all the colored waters of life after having pressed for the last time and put inside a distill apparatus, distilling little by little on cinders. On Balneum the heat would no be enough to lift up.
When you have pulled out (original french retirez) some of your Water and you have seen some milk-like drops coming out of the alembic’s beak, replace the flask to receive what has to discharge then: because what has already distilled is the pure Water-of-Life and what escaping is the Essence, Soul, or the Tinctures Form discharged from the above mentioned substances. If you want then to put all together again it will not be a bad thing, because all Water will take the virtue of those dyes, whose faeces lie as dark dead thing in the bottom, without life and property. But if you will separate the first Water as I said, this will be an almost peculiar liquor your medicines, which it will condense all the flavors. If you like to extract the Spirit or dye from a single herb, like cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, clove and others, you may with the following method.
Second Chapter. On the wonderful things about the extraction of Tinctures.”
In french dye and tincture are synonymous. Both mean tingeing stuff.
“How this Celestial Water” can raise these asters toward itself, that’s to say to separate spirits from all bodies and unify and put in place: I have arrived to say and show the effects after having achieved its Sky by rectificating making subtle and purificating its substance. These spirits deprived of their body, which will be lighted up by their beautiful dyes (tinctures in french), soon raised to sublimity”.
Just few paragraphs above I said that our most sublime Secret Fire is achieved by reiterated salts volatilizations (2).
” Who does refuse to admire the sight of Tinctures, along with their living penetration to the bodies center attracting the spiritual virtues? When the bodies are deprived of their Souls.
Third Chapter. On the Asters of Philosophic Sky, specially of the Sun which is Gold.
Since this spiritual Water, or Quintessence, is so simile to Sky, it is reasonable to put some stars in it. Just to give it some different virtues.”
Here Brouaut is introducing the process of dissolving some calcinated gold powder in this Mercurius/Spiritual Water (3). As we have already seen in this site, this proceeding is sometimes called to adorn the sky, indeed (4).
“You will see the dyes (tinctures in original french) coming out like bright and subtle fires, like stars in the sky, which leading place is taken by the Sun. Our Sun is the metal gold, which is the King, the most excellent and perfect of terrestrial bodies. It is invincible, immortal.”
This Brouaut’s statement is nothing new in Alchemy. Gold is the metal of transmutations. Perhaps, in gold electronic cloud, a certain amount of Secret Fire is contained. Perhaps, in that lies its perfection. In fact Brouaut compares it to Sun, another body hugely rich in Secret Fire, but quite impossible to be gathered directly (5).