Flos Coeli is latin for the flux of the sky. Unexpectedly Nicolas Lefevre makes this legendary substance from the middle of the earth to the surface.
I picked up the Lefevre excerpt from Cours de la Chimie pour servir d’Introduction à cette science. Par Nicolas Lefevre professeur royale en Chymie etc.… Paris 1751, or Courses of Chemistry to serve as an introduction to this science, by Nicolas Lefevre, royal professor in chemistry, etc. Lefevre is the third of the ancient french must-to-know iatrochemists.
The others are Glaser and Lemery. Of course, there were others of them worth to be read and whose I indeed intend to put down on this site extensively. But Lefevre is mainly renowned for his “gathering heterogeneous pieces of information” attitude. In fact, in this article, Lefevre retook the work of a not so easy to find a french colleague of his, that’s to say, Quesnot and his Plusieurs Secrets Rares e Curieux, Paris 1708. But for the moment, waiting for further research, please appreciate this excerpt from the more available Lefevre. A bit of ancient chemical superstitions doesn’t affect a reading that may reveal interest.
Of course, this is an excerpt from an iatrochemist, so let me warn you that Alchemy is a bit different from these proceedings, allowing for longer and reiterated cooking and searching for a kind of ultimate sublimation. We have always referred to these chemical recipes as being finalized to obtain medicine to remove diseases. But let’s put it down to work now—my translation from the original french in quotation marks ( and my comments in normal). I must warn you that I adjusted my translation to differ slightly from verbatim due to Lefevre’s Baroque style. Nicolas Lefevre’s Cours de la Chymie, Tome Fourth page 410.
La Medicine du Flos Coeli, or the Flux of the Sky Medicine:
“The Flux of the sky is simply a vapor coming from the middle of the earth to surface during equinoxes… ”.
The concept of Secret Fire/Mercurius as a vapor was as basic as rooted in ancient chemist and alchemistic environments. This consideration might be seen as ineffective and unreal due to the modern consideration of Secret Fire as a frequence-like. Indeed considering it as a vapor gives a hint on why Secret Fire was symbolically represented as a flowing serpent. This Secret Fire is somewhat impalpable; we believe it could be contained inside the atomic electronic cloud. The sky, sun, and stars are believed to be particularly rich in this substance as long as they produce it continuously.
“… the one of Mars is known as female, and that one of September is known as male.”
Male and female in Alchemy stand for many different concepts (1), but is collected in a different part of the year doesn’t make a female or a male. Roughly, in Alchemy, the female is the dissolvent, and the male is dissolved. The male gets the female fixed. And so on. As we read Lefevre’s excerpt, we will see that these requirements remain almost always unattended.
The chemical definition of the substance described by Lefevre is difficult interpretation. A similar concept of “ flux of the sky” could also be found in my article on Capello and the Equinox Nostoc Collecting. In that case, the “Flos Coeli” chemically leads to an algae substance. According to the collecting time, we can find the same concept of female and male.
“… In the case you will cook it at a proper time, it must be washed in fountain water, with no earth left, drain it with care in a white canvas, laying a canvas on the floor, where with a hand you will reduce it against the canvas and let it till the day after, in order not to allow any humidity left. This done, you will pile it in a marble or glass mortar, put it in a well-luted glass vessel ( nothing has to transpire), and let it rest for about forty days with no fire.
That pass has to be pressed wrapped in a white canvas at an apothecary press, and it will give out more than half of its juice of the same blood color, which is the resolution it has reached by itself during the mentioned time. In this way, being naturally transmuted from one reign to another, and changed from earth to water, put this extraction inside a glass alembic and filled to half, close with flour and egg white to make a lute, adapting a receiver of the same size which you then will expose before a window or another similar place, night and day. It will distill by itself and the same celestial power jiggle which originally imparted life to it. Very clear water will be released, but it will be delivered just a tenth part, which you can hardly believe since it has been agitated just forty days. This spirit is called universal dissolvent containing in itself the virtues of fire and rosée ( dew), which are sulfur and mercurius, and definitely over the night and day productions, sun and moon; it dissolves the bladder calculi by injection… “
This is not our Mercurius, of courses, since we have to “ water”, or liquefy salts, but unquestionably it may be a product filled with raw Secret Fire to use in some instances we are in shortage of it to make an extra, just in the case.
“… When you want to make a universal medicine for all diseases, it has to be put inside a vessel flask and gently cooked at a well-regulated lamp. II you have a pelican, that will be even better; if not, the mentioned flask will suit you as well since the substance will cohobate by itself and eventually get frozen into crystals. If you put it in an alembic when the water distills, it has to be cohobated by pouring it over the dried part, and that will cause a waste of time and substance….”
Indeed that will cause a waste of substance, but I strongly doubt a waste of time. This meaningless proceeding tends to get very close to our alchemical proceedings to achieve Mercurius or Alkahest. Still, the more interesting part comes with the moistureless water eventually sublimated.
“… and it has to be cohobated seven times….”
Les voilà, say french people, there we are, our famed seven reiterations of these meaningless proceedings. This operation sounds like having many assonances with the alchemical one to achieve the “eagles” and, if it were Alchemy, it could be placed at the end of the works of Hercules. The works to achieve our Dissolvent/Mercurius/Alkahest/Moon.
“… after that your water will be “ sans peine dans le pelican” without excessive exhaustion inside the pelican, this is what is known as reincrudation of bodies or purifying them;”
A real reincrudation of a body, namely a metal, needs further dissolving processes (3), known as Washings.
And at least a second putrefaction or Black Phase ( see an Opus Magnum scheme). As of now, we have grasped a kind of Dissolvent, more or less. Only the male has to be reincrudated. The female represents the “Dissolvent”. But I don’t want to comment any further since Lefevre is perfectly aware of performing a chemical operation, not an alchemical one. He is not so pretentious. After all, he is just looking for medicine.
“In the end, these salts come to appear as big crystals; during the corporification work, they will get calcined by themselves and reduced to an impalpable dust which has to be guarded with care because it includes in itself the virtues of all the celestial and terrestrial substances, proper to the conservation of our naturally warm and radical humid ( Humidus Radicalis);”
In poor words, for the conservation of the Secret Fire within every being.
“To further comprehend the awesome things it contains, you will invariably proceed with the September Flos in the same way as the Female”.
We have seen above that we cannot apply serious alchemical sex when only dealing with substances collected in a different part of the year… unless we mean to marry them further (4).
“So done, we will unify these two powders in equal weight; an atom of these joined substances has the virtue of an entire drachma. Being joined together, they are called Elixir, employing that you can achieve and aspire to the highest metallic transmutation mysteries, depending on what sort of fermentation you have picked up: the sun one ( gold) or the moon (silver)…”.
It is not so quickly done. Lefevre has neglected a lot of passages ( always check the Opus Magnum scheme as above).
“We have to act in accordance to the weights of nature, taking ten ounces of this elixir and one ounce of gold foil and crumbling it on marble, then put this powder inside a vessel which will have to be hermetically luted, cook for forty days at a lamp or ashes heat without discontinuing it and in twenty days the elixir will resurrect this gold in its real first matter, which will be blacker than black, ten days after this great black will produce a snow whiteness, in further ten days a green color will appear, then citron or citrus, then dark violet, then suddenly in four days the ultimate color will be red and the projection on the mercury (metal) put to crucible till smoke, throwing over this powder a part of seven part of mercury and it will be fixed “si credere fas est “ or we have to believe it.
Take an ounce of your powder, get it dissolved in seven ounces of your mentioned blood, put a flask at balneum mariae, and give fire to ashes for ten or twelve days; the whole will become like a melted gum; then bury it on the sand till neck for twice twenty-four hours and will result in medicine whose proportion will be one weight over one hundred of mercury and the whole will be fixed according to the metal of the ferment…”.
The metallic gold dissolved and then dissolved over again, so reincrudated is the ferment. That’s to say, it has returned to its first matter or Secret Fire/Mercurius.
“… and that will be limitless: I don’t believe a word.”
Here, the process is not entirely disclosed, but if Lefevre didn’t believe it, he would not have wasted a word about it.
“Observations on the Flos Coeli proceeding.
The salt must be extracted from the remains of the distillation for the first given water.
To get the male married to the female, one has to set aside the female or the male to do so. That’s to say the first cooked should wait for the gathering of the other one.”
Lefevre seems to eventually admit that male and female are the results of a partition.
“It will be closed inside a bottle over the night before the marriage; one has to temperate the water dryness to become as it was after the cooking, so done they will be joined as above mentioned; a spoonful of this water with its salt removes all sort of diseases, mostly fevers and if one must go on with the treatment this might be three times two by two a day.
A poultice of said Flos Coeli.
Place the quantity you like of Flos Coeli into an enameled pot, pour over some olive oil in order to well cover said flower ( product of a distillation) let it digesting at cool during three or four days, after that you will pour the whole inside a pan, where you make it boiled into the afore mentioned pot until the afore mentioned flower lies dried at the bottom of the afore mentioned pan : pour your oil in which you will place a similar quantity of the afore mentioned Flos Coeli, digest them and cooked as above, repeating a third time, after that you will weigh up your oil and take the same weight of good litharge (lead monoxide) reduced in powder, you will pour an adequate quantity of a good vinegar from a white wine over it and make them boil, after that you will have it resting for some hours, and extracted the vinegar saturated with the litharge salt , take care not to mix them, after that you will stir the vinegar together with your oil from the afore mentioned flos coeli into a pan and have them gently cooked on the fire continuously stirring up till this mixture become brown color and with a proper texture, which you will prove on the back of a mortar, being that cooled down it will be rolled, to be kept guarded for your use. This poultice is employed to remove cysts and scrofula.”
- See also Sun & Moon at the turn of the last millennium ; Philosophia Reformata, Father Sun & Mother Moon ;
- See also Atalanta Fugiens & the Golden Apples ;
- See also Kamala Jnana from Black to White ;
- See also Atalanta Fugiens & Mercurius Duplicatus ;
- See also Capello and the Equinox Nostoc Collecting ;