“But if gold is invulnerable even to fire attacks, how do we manage to place it in our Sky? Most have taught the way, like for instance Ramon Lullius, Philippe Ulstadius and in more recent times Theophrastus Paracelsus, Gerard Dorneus and some others, anyway each in different ways, but all tended to the same end: to extract the Tincture and reproduce ( Brouaut uses the term “imprint”) the virtue in the Water of Life, or Spirit of Wine.”
Here the verb to reproduce means that the metallic gold has to be reduced in Mercurius so, strangely enough, in Water of Life. See the under note 3.
“The most difficult thing is to reduce gold in such a state for the tincture to be extracted. Ramon Lullius and Ulstadius had it very subtly powdered with quicksilver (vif argent in original french) in the same way as goldsmiths, that’s to say you have to put the gold reduced in fine laminae or, which is better, in fine filing Then you have to heat the mercury inside a crucible till it starts to emit fumes, then put gold inside after having heat it in its turn, then move the crucible a little to have all well amalgamate, that’s to say mixing and dissolving. Go on with the fire till all the mercury is evaporated in fumes, and the gold powder lies dry in the bottom, which powder you have to wash with water and dissolved salt and, in the end, just with water. Then put it in the Water of Life, or spirit of wine. “
The purpose of the entire operation is to have calcined metallic gold powder. Because gold, naturally, cannot be reduced in powder. The purpose of this golden powder is to be then dissolved in our Mercurius/Secret Fire/Spirit of Life/Water of Life. See foot note 3.
“According to Lullius there is also an easier way, that’s to say to drop several times in this water some gold hot laminae, so to take not the dye ( tincture in original french), but the virtue and power, like a hot iron in common water. But in my opinion (Brouaut) the spirit of wine in this way would rapidly evaporate.”
I doubt the proceeding described by Brouaut was the same as the hot iron put in common water. Apparently the water here mentioned is “EAU” in capital letters, or WATER. We know, in fact, that our special Water of Life, or Mercurius/Secret Fire wonderfully functions as means of metals calcination (6). Sometimes our Secret Fire seems to have the oxidizing common fire properties. Of course a mere brandy, however purified, cannot aspire to reduce metallic gold in a dry powder, but if you put some salts inside Brandy and volatilize taking advantage of Brandy volatilizing virtue……..the Brandy is no more a common alcoholic specimen.
“……….While Paracelsus recommended to calcine the gold with the water of salt prepared and mixed to horseradish juice…”
In fact this water of salt seems to have some resemblance with the proceeding described in Lemery & the Spirits of Common Salt with Wine.
“……The he distills with juice bource Pastor : this is put in the spirit of wine which is extracted in this way. Take a jar of a very good and white, or clear wine, wine and put to circulate in hot balneum in a suitable, and well closed, vessel during ten days ( in some books you can find forty). Then pour it in an alembic to distill without fire, because it has to distill at cold and till the spirit will be all risen and the Water of Life starts to follow. Another method is to put some glass phials filled with wine to freeze, when the wine will be frozen, break the phials and you will find in the heart of wine a liquor which has retired to the inner, and which the cold could freeze. This is what we call spirit of wine.”
Brouaut have taught the distillation of wine in my previous article Brouaut and the Anatomy of Wine.
” Others extract in that way: put a quantity of wine inside a big flask, then pour over a portion of perfect Water of Life and place the whole, well closed, in hay horse ( which is called belly horse) up to the neck for fifteenth days. Past that, open and gently sloping and take out the spirit floating on the surface with a little fabric filter and distill in another vessel till the Water of Life will rise. I think this perfectly rectified water to be, without any other proceeding, the real Spirit of Wine which extract the dyes (tinctures). They give it the name Spirit to hid their secrets: I come back to the calcination of gold which ( as said Jabair, the prince of alchemists) cannot be perfectly calcined or just with a great fatigue and this without a great utility yet. As for me, I find that operation so difficult to miss the burning to do it, getting to Arnaldus Villanoviensis opinion, that’s to say that real golden water is that of rosemary’s flowers, being called in that way because of the color.”
In the fourth chapter Brouaut presents a lot of medicinal distillation with aromatics for many diseases. But here we are interested to know about the circulation in pelican.
“Fifth Chapter. How to separate the Spirit of Tincture and the perfection of this spirit with its virtues.
The last and supreme secret in all these operations is about something you have extracted the tincture, distill your tinted water on cinders and not on balneum: because the cinders catch the spirits with the water, which the balneum cannot do. Then put what will be distilled inside a pelican for as long as, when opening the vessel, you can smell a very sweet and perfect scent. Since the circulation has this property to take the liquor to a sweetness well representing the asters which it is ornate with. If this is not accomplished yet, put to circulate again till the achievement of your desire. Then you will have an essence by far better than any medicine and which dosage is so tiny to surprise you.
So you have raised your Sky, or liquor of life, to perfection. This is a universal remedy, a real Catholicon (universal remedy in latin).
Sixth Chapter. On the Quintessence Circulation.
Here I will add the drawings of these special circulating vessel, inside which must be placed the above mentioned tinctures.
B. Circulatorium’s hole.
C. Handle or beaks of the still, descending inside the circulatorium’s belly, where the water falls again after having risen.
B. Other little put outside down on the previous one and well closed.
These vessels, or circulators, are by the philosophers called pelicans, which the one in the first drawing is by far the best, but difficult to have properly made, because of the glassmakers ignorance. The second can be a replacement, but the circulation is not as fast as inside the first one. Circulation means to rise ( and raise) and descend over and over, like a wheel, which the tinctures quintessence, or spirit or water do inside these vessels. In the end they become so subtle because of the continuing ups and downs that they can conserved in the well closed vessel till the end of the world.
If you make circulate you Water of Life without any tincture inside, that will result in a wonderful liquor the same.
Seventh Chapter. On the Quintessence Conservation.
You should keep your quintessence in a well closed and chilled down container. Prepare some common wax and having melted it add to it some turpentine in order to make the more glueing. With this mixture prepare a little ball and put it inside a pig’s bladder, with that close the vessel. To conserve it, keep the vessel inside a larger vessel packed with sand and put it in a cellar or a cave. Be careful when handling, because it is very volatile.”
Has Jean Brouaut forgotten something? Yes, he has forgotten to repeat what said in the previous article on wine distillation. That’s to say that ……..”the TARTAR salt is epitomized by the most acute philosophers owing more to mineral than vegetal reign……a subtle Tartar which is not extractable till the last distillations”. So wine does contain mineral salts. And with the volatilization of mineral salts, by means of other more volatile substances, we get our Secret Fire/Mercurius, our real Water of Life/Spirit of Wine, not more mere Brandy. How do you say Spirit of Wine in Latin? Spiritus Vini.
A good reading of previous parts will enlighten the last ones. And don’t neglect Starkey and his volatilization of alkali, at footnote 4.
Really interesting is the footnote Brouaut has used as ending phrase, apparently to assign a date to his book. The thing is not unusual for the books of the age, but very unusual is the format, as you can see in the image below: ” Du 7. SEPT-embre 1646. L’impression de ce Livre a eté achevée.“, that’s to say: on 7. Sept (seven in french) – ber 1646. The printing of this book has come to perfection. Two remarked sevens, two times seven……..and why to be so happy for a printing termination?
Two times seven is a frequent interval of time in Alchemy. Two operations for seven repetitions. In fact the number fourteen is from time to time clued, moreover in images (7): often the reaching of Mercurius and the following extraction of colors ( dyes, or tinctures, indeed). A real difficult ending. But easier when a Pelican is involved.
- See also Eros, Psyche & a New Alchemical Body ;
- See also Nicolas Lefevre and the Benzoin Magisterium ;
- See also Atalanta Fugiens and the Golden Apples , Cabala Mineralis or the She Horse on Urine Work part 1 ;
- See also Starkey Pyrotechnie & Volatilization of Alkalis 2 ;
- See also Nuisement and the Sun resisting Capture ;
- See also Fioravanti & Metals Calcination ;
- See also Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit and Secret Iconography of the Wheel ;