If we continue analyzing the role of Adam as uprooted from the Genesis story, having isolated him from the narrative context as a fish caught in dim waters, we will find ourselves in a cul-de-sac when trying to give a role to Eve.
In the light of that, it is of primary importance to grasp who, or what, Adam is. According to the prevalent opinion among researchers in Alchemy, Adam is said to represent our perfect red, or the end of the second (main) work. Dom Pernety in his Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermètique says: “Adam is a name Philosophers gave their Magisterium when it is perfect red, because their material being the Quintessence of the Universe and the raw material of all the individuals of nature, has a perfect relationship with Adam in which God picked the purest essence of all beings, and besides, Adam, which means red, expresses the color and the qualities of the Magisterium“.
Almost all of the baroque age alchemical dictionaries give similar explications. Fulcanelli seems to run along these lines too. Nevertheless, when giving Adam the meaning of either the perfect Red (1), or the Magisterium from gold (in both cases not the precursor of the white Magisterium) we are then at odds when trying to give a role to Eve. Dom Pernety not even attempts to remedy and, with nonchalance, may be he hopes the reader has not seen the word Adam before looking up for Eve. In fact in his “Dictionnaire” we can find out Eve as the “Magistère des Sages, lorsqu’il est parvenu à la blancheur” or the Magisterium when reaching the Whiteness. But the alchemical colors tend to go from white to red and over again. Not the other way round. There aren’t blood drops giving origin to white lambs, in Alchemy, but white lambs suddenly stained with blood. In the second work, after the union of the two Mercurii, and the second putrefaction, a whiteness does eventually appear, and then orange and red, then a black phase again. That will go round until we reach what we consider the supreme red, the perfect red. The Red Magisterium. Concerning gold, it is red when simply dissolved in Mercurius/Universal Dissolvent (before turning black), and become all white when the Mercurius/Universal Dissolvent is extracted.
If Eve was extracted by Yahweh Elohim from Adam, logic would have that she was not that much different from Adam. In fact, in Greek mythology, the parturition by a woman resulted in an individually separated newborn, while the extraction from a man resulted in a new epitome of the father, as men cannot give life, but split an already existing life. For instance, Zeus gives birth to Athena and Dionysos, who definitely were two different personifications of the same Zeus (alchemically, at least). Hence, Eve must be a personification of Adam, as she was mythologically born from a man, in fact the verse 2:27 says: “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”. As we can see the concept is rather sophisticated, and we will see how the “rib” gives a precise geometry to the “marriage”.
In “Dwellings of Philosophers”, Fulcanelli does not comment on the scene of the “extraction” of Eve from Adam. In fact the french alchemist honestly tell us that the figure of Eve puts a strain on his certitude. So he prefers the set of the expulsion from Eden. Caused by the snake and Eve, of course. Nevertheless this will be equally interesting to us, as it will provide his interpretation of the figure of Adam.
We know that Fulcanelli does search for laboratory confirmations in the artworks beautifying “the dwellings of philosophers”. But the path he seeks confirmation to seem to be a certain dry path (I used the adjective “certain” here, but I should have rather used “uncertain” instead, as there are no certainties about the dry proceedings he followed). Problem with dry paths is that they are generally poorly suited for explaining the teaching of Alchemy in general. And I have my doubts that the myths of the past have been designed by the ancient scholars to point out at particular hidden dry processes, as Fulcanelli assumes. I rather think they wanted to pass on the ancient idea of Alchemy in general, and do not play guessing games with posterity. But we can hardly read in Fucanelli’s two books about the general didactic path at all. This aspect, as well as his barely concealed misogyny, should teach us not to nourish many hopes, when reading the promising title of the chapter “The alchemical myth of Adam and Eve”. In fact, here we will discover two Adams: Adam and “the Adam”, and, since Adam’s pregnancy could no longer be kept hidden, eventually even an Adam’s child, “the little fish Echeneis” who, ultimately, Fulcanelli made us to understand to be the real Adam. And Eve? Ah, yes……. she is the barely visible wife of the first, the lover of the second, and the mother of the third. Neither the daughter, and nor the sister, but only the kinship revealing Adam’s symbolic independence. Mind you, I have not written importance, but independence. In Alchemy, the symbolic Adam is independent from Eve, but only for a short time. We can further say that the alchemist is free from taking action only for a short time.
But let’s listen to Fulcanelli, from “the Alchemical Myth of Adam and Eve”: …….. Adamus, Adam latin name, means made of red earth; it is the first being of nature, the only one of human creatures who have been gifted of the two natures of the androgyne. We can therefore consider him, from the hermetic point of view, as the basic material joined to the mind in the same unit of the created substance, immortal and perdurable. But when Yahweh Elohim, according to the Mosaic tradition, gave birth to the woman by individualizing, in distinct and separate bodies, these primitive natures previously combined in one body, the first Adam had to become specific, losing its original constitution and became the second Adam, imperfect and mortal. Adam the prince, who is never found anywhere in any configuration, is called by Greeks Αδαμος or Αδαμας, word meaning, on the earth plane, the hardest steel, indomitable and still a virgin, which characterizes the profound nature of the first heavenly man and the first earthly body as being lonely and not subjected to the hymen’s yoke”. Then Fulcanelli quotes an excerpt from Plato’s “Timaeus” regarding “Adamas”: “Of all the water we called fusible, he said, the one having the most tenuous and equal parts; which is the most dense; this unique kind which color is bright yellow; the most precious of goods, gold actually, formed by its filtering through the stone. The gold knot, become very hard and black because of its density, is called Adamas. Another body, neighbor of gold for the small portions, but several species, whose density is lower than the density of gold, which contains a very thin low earth alloy, which makes it harder than gold, which is lighter at the same time, through the pores of its mass is buried, it is one of those brilliant and condensed waters called airain. When the portion of earth it contains is thereby separated by the action of time, it becomes visible to itself and is given the name of rust.” A millennium later Rulandus would write: “Adamas, in Arabic Subedhig, in Latin Adamas (Pliny, 1. 37, c. 4), the diamond, which is found both apart from gold and in gold, contrary to the opinion of the ancients, who knew it only as native in gold among the metals of Aethiopia”…….Native in the most Perfect Gold”. Of course the diamond is not native in gold, but in carbon. Anyway Rulandus here paraphrases, with the scientific roughness of his age, the ancient motto that wanted the alchemical gem for antonomasia, the Philosophers Stone, native in the most Perfect Gold, that’s to say the Perfect Red. That, alchemically, is totally correct.
Fulcanelli gives Adam all the roles, keeping Eve in the background as wife, lover and mother. And, in the meantime, he is aware not to be able to make Eve following Adam. It is during Eve’s role as lover, when the metal will be dissolved until becoming a dissolvent itself, i.e. having undergone a “reincrudation”, that Fulcanelli finds out an object which looks very similar to a rib. That item doesn’t lead to Eve’s birth, in fact it is Adam’s and Eve’s child, but, once it is born, the French alchemist decide to shed some light on it. It goes without saying that this tiny body is just peculiar to some dry paths, anyway it is really worth to be read upon: ” ……effective generator of the stone, which was named Cain …….. it’s a tiny body – given the volume of the mass from which it comes, – having the outward appearance of a bi-convex lens, often circular, sometimes elliptical. Of earthen rather than metallic appearance, this lightweight button, infusible but very soluble, hard, brittle, crumbly, black on one side, white on the other, purple in its fracture, received various names relating to its form, its color or some chemical peculiarities. This is the secret prototype of the popular swimmer of the kings cake, the little fish called Echeneis…..”.
Or Remore. Name of a small fish to which the ancients attributed the property to stop a vessel in his tracks, though sailing under full sail. Hermetic Philosophers have given the name of Remore and Echeneis to the fixed part of the material of the Work, in allusion to the alleged power of the fish, because the fixed portion stops the volatile part by fixing it. An object leading to the Stone, and, according to Fulcanelli, the real Adam. Not Eve, yet.
To Eve, the courtesy of the French alchemist gives the honor to be the Universal Dissolvent, with these words: “…..without which nothing in Alchemy can be done”. Which, as a woman, I cannot but appreciate. But, in my opinion, to make Adam able to generate, even if for division, that honor should go to Adam instead. In fact, he is created on the sixth day, as a matter-light coming out of the dark-wild chaos.
For very ancient times, the sexual symbolism has been a simple way to explain complex situations. Alchemically, the feminine was simply the one who attracts the male, male he who stirs the female. We know that in later times a reverse of sexual roles did occur, so the universal dissolvent took feminine appearance. While at the dawn of times, the energy and exuberance of what we know as “mother”, was instead a young man prerogative. Adam, indeed.
To be continued at Andrea Pisano and the Weird Birth of Eve Rib. Part 3. Previous Part at Andrea Pisano and the Weird Birth of Eve Rib. Part 1.