Flos Coeli is latin for flux of the sky. Unexpectedly Nicolas Lefevre makes this legendary substance coming from the middle of the earth to surface.
The Lefevre’s excerpt I picked up is 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 iatro-chemists.
The others being Glaser and Lemery. Of course there were others of them worth to be read, and whose I surely intend to extensively put down on this site. But Lefevre is largely renown for his “gathering heterogeneous informations” attitude. In fact in this article Lefevre retook a work of a not so easy to find french colleague of him, that’s to say Quesnot and his Plusieurs Secrets Rares e Curieux…. Paris 1708. But for the moment, waiting for further researches, please appreciate this excerpt from the more available Lefevre. A bit of ancient chemical superstitions don’t affect a reading that may reveal interesting.
Of course this is an excerpt from a iatro-chemist, so let me warn you that Alchemy is a bit different from these proceedings, allowing for longer and reiterated cookings and searching for a kind of ultimate sublimation. We have always to refer to this chemical recipes as being finalised to obtain a medicine in order to remove diseases. But let’s put down to work now. My translation from the original french in quotation marks ( and my comments in normal). I have to warn you that I adjusted my translation to slightly differ from verbatim due to Lefevre involute 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 the time of equinoxes…..”.
The concept of Secret Fire/Mercurius as a vapor was as basic as rooted in ancient chemist and alchemistic environments. Actually this consideration might be seen ineffective and unreal due to the modern consideration of Secret Fire as a frequence-like. Surely considering it as a vapor gives a hint on why Secret Fire was symbolically represented as a flowing serpent. This Secret Fire being somewhat impalpable we currently believe it could be contained inside the atomic electronic cloud. The sky, sun and stars are believed to be particularly rich with this substance, as long as literally 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 a lot of different concepts (1) , but the mere fact of being collected in a different part of the year doesn’t make a female, or a male. Roughly, in Alchemy, the female is the dissolvent, the male the dissolved. The male gets the female fixed. And so on. As we go on reading this Lefevre’s excerpt, we will see that these requirements remain almost always unattended.
The chemical definition of the substance described by Lefevre is of 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 lead to an algae substance. We can find there the same concept of female and male according to the collecting time.
“………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 and put it in a well luted glass vessel ( nothing has to transpire) and let it to rest for about forty days with no fire.
That passed it has to be pressed wrapped in a white canvas at an apothecary press and it will give out more than an 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 a reign to another, and changed from earth to water, put this extraction inside a glass alembic and fill 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, and it will distill by itself and the same celestial power jiggle which originally imparted life to it. A very clear water will be released, but it will be delivered just a tenth part, which you can hardly believe it since it has been agitated just forty days and this spirit is called universal dissolvent containing in itself the virtues of fire and rosée ( dew), which are sulphur 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 certain cases 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 alambic, when the water will distill it has to be cohobated by pouring it over the dried part and that will cause a waste of time and substance…..”
Surely that will cause a waste of substance, but I strongly doubt a waste of time: as a matter of fact this meaningless proceeding tends to get very close to our alchemical proceedings to achieve Mercurius or Alkahest, but the more interesting part comes with the whole of the moistureless water to be 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 having many assonances with the alchemical one to achieve the “eagles” and, if it were Alchemy , it could be placed in the end of the works of Hercules. The works to achieve our Dissolvent/Mercurius/Alkahest/Moon.
To be honest a real reincrudation of a body, namely a metal, needs further dissolving processes (3), known as Washings.