A simple eighteenth-century popular experiment on the astronomical Moon’s effects on cinders in a bowl full of water. By the Venetian count Santi Pupieni.
The book excerpt I chose is taken from Lettere Critiche, Giocose, Morali, Scientifiche ed Erudite del conte Agostino Santi Pupieni ossia dell’avvocato Giusepp-Antonio Costantini, Venezia 1769, or funny, moral scientific and erudite letters from A.S.P. a.k.a. Giuseppe Antonio Costantini.
The first half of the eighteenth century in Europe is known to have been too ancient to forget the belonging to the general past scientific ideas and too modern to keep a reverent silence on them. Indeed it was a disrespectful period, accompanied by many old memories. Agostino Santi Pupieni was a quintessential character of his age: too erudite to abandon the old knowledge but too frivolous to devote to it. It is primarily thanks to the lightweight writing leisure times of those unambitious gentlemen that some interesting clues appear among their frolics.
The stimulating excerpt I decided to post belongs to the fourth volume of Lettere Critiche, which is, along with all the six volumes I possibly know of the series, a bunch of trivial correspondence that nobody knows why someone had considered worthy enough to be published. In the chapter on “The Stellar Influx”, Santi Pupieni cannot be expected to develop the thread above a chattering on horoscopes. In a paragraph, he put down to point at the Moon influx in our everyday life:
“… take a glass jug (1) filled with water, containing a part of well-cooked cinders from vine shoots, and leave it to rest both in the proximity of the new Moon or the conjunction of the Moon with the Sun. At the very point of this conjunction, you will see some bubbles moving from the cinders and water surface, with no one to touch the jug and some small part of the cinders rising.
These two facts cancel out the objection of the obstinate that the rays of planets, due to their distance, nothing cannot operate above the earth, and, consequently, nothing we sift its influence over us. According to Cassini’s observations, I reckon the Moon is far from us in its perigee, or closer to the Italian ground, roughly 185,000 miles. And yet, in the moment of the conjunction of these two planets, it happens visibly the turbidity of the water, or the motion of the cinder, with various bubbles that arise with neither external motion nor heat to excite the movement (2).
Now, if these are the Moon effects, why can not we assume some equal effect by other planets and stars? The distance of those is indeed incomparably greater than that of the moon. Still, if we look at the facts I have shown above, we rather mean that the effects of the moon over earthly things do not arise by pressure or irradiation but as a virtue and correspondence up to now not understood by us. According to all the appearances, we will never get to understand. On the other hand, it is clear that this distance does not take away the correspondence of the current action of the planet, since in the very point of the conjunction takes place the cinder movement in the water…”
We know that salts volatilization is a foundation of alchemical works, to the extent that our Universal Dissolvent/Mercurius/Alcahest/Secret Fire comes out of that stage, wholly dedicated to this preparatory work ( see an Opus magnum scheme). Want to know when is the best period to perform some salts volatilization? Lunar phases are essential to these exhausting works (3). Below you can see how close to the Sun are the black (in conjunction with the Sun ) and the new Moon.
Anyway, be aware of two points: first, such a thing as an astral chart for positive moments is never performed in Alchemy, unlike Spagyrics. As I said in my article San Miniato Sun Path or the Sky as Seen from Earth , we cannot cast a horoscope for our First Matter. Nevertheless, we do have specific moments to do certain operations (called External Influences), leading us to the second point: astronomical Moon and Sun are not planets for us, but our closer environment. Our Cosmos (4). Alchemists are still tied to the Ptolemaic geocentric system (5). So Sun and Moon make our Sun-stone, and some very far stars light it. That’s enough (6).
- The author here uses the ancient Italian guastada;
- Another old-fashioned Italian word ” commozione” for movement;
- See also Starkey Pyrotechnie & Volatilization of Alkalis 2 , Weidenfeld & Basilius Oleum Vitriolis , Baro Urbigerus & the Circulatum Tree , Cabala Mineralis or the She Horse on Urine Work part 1 ;
- See also Thesaurus Hermeticum & Dry Pythagorean River , Nuisement and the Sun Resisting Capture , Voynich Manuscript and the Unknown Part of the Rhythm , Pietro Perugino and the Lady of the Wind , Trisulti Carthusian Monastery and the Yearbook Wheel ;
- See also Two Stars in a Venetian Geocentric Sky ;
- See also Introitus Apertus vs Open Entrance. Chap 4 and Fulcanelli & External Influences ;