Johannes Isaac Hollandus in his neglected Opera Vegetabilia gives a real clue as far as is concerned Sal Armoniacum or Universal Solvent or Mercurius.
J.I.Hollandus is considered an ermetic author when writing De Lapide Philosophico, A Work of Saturn , Opuscula Alchimica, The Hand of Philosophers and a spagyrical one in the case of Opus Vegetabile or Opera Vegetabilia. But Hollandus is, above and beyond all doubts, a “practicus” that’s to say an experiential alchemist.
Johannes Isaac seems to have been Isaac Hollandus son. He, and his father Isaac, are reputed to have been Basilius Valentinus contemporaries, so about fifteenth century. Hollandus father and son hand’s on attitude, together with their scanty use of the bombastic ermetic symbolism usually employed by more prestigious classical ermetic authors, make them not so ostensibly distinguished in alchemical bibliography. Be aware that some ancient commentators allege Hollandus family not to be alchemically trusted because of their telling the truth. To you the answer.
This excerpt is taken from Opus Vegetabile, better known as Opera Vegetabilia, first published in Amsterdam 1659, the chapter concerning the preparation of the Plant Stone from dry herbs. We can find a really interesting and clueing part about a Sal Armeniacum so close to our Sal Armoniacum or Mercurius. Incredibly enought their use seem to be the same. Theorically, and alchemically speaking, there’s no difference between vegetal and mineral Mercurius. I leave without comment. But If Mercurius is indefinite Spirit of life, it cannot but being extracted from whatsoever. And its dissolving property still being universal.
Johannes Isaac Hollandus: “My childs, you should understand what I said and taught in previous chapters: that is you must learn to recognize the nature of the herbs and to separate their spirits from the bodies. Now I will explain and teach these things better. Know then that there is another spirit or sal armeniacum, namely of salty things. it is also called sal armerniacum because are called sal Armeniaca spirits (not grasped by the senses) of all things when they are separated from their bodies. So spirit of all salts are called sal armeniacum. But this is not the sal ammoniacus that the philosophers say, this is the sal armeniacum with the four elements inside which they do their elixir with. With the other one they can not make any elixir, because it is the philosophical soap (or wash water) which they clean and purify the corpus (body) with, and free items from their evil moisture, dissolve corpora (bodies) and combine things, even if contrary or conflicting. It is a volatile spirit that enters and exits, and if there were not elixir could not form. In this sal ammoniacus (1) there are many hidden things, not all describable, especially because with it, before it is stabilized, we do extraordinary things. But this is not necessary. However all that sal ammoniacus extracted from salts does (2) also does sal ammoniacus extracted from herbs, and with sal ammoniacus extracted from herbs you can make an elixir without addition of any other species. What you can not do with the sal armeniacum (3) from salts. Conversely this sal armeniacum can be prepared from other species, and with it you can dissolve in water all the Mercury and metal and all things, if you proceed as I have explained elsewhere. And that was enough.”
For us too, but pay attention to: “with sal ammoniacus ( armeniacum) extracted from herbs you can make an elixir without addition of any other species. What you can not do with the sal armeniacum from salts.” We will find again this statement.
- Since Sal Ammoniacus is afore mentioned as being for different use, we are allowed to read it as Sal Armeniacum and consider them as synonymous.
- Same error as above.
- Hollandus here seems back to “Armeniacum” spelling. Sal Armoniacum and Sal Ammoniacum have been mixed up by other authors than Hollandus: Rulandus in his “LexiconAlchemiae” Frankfurt 1612 defines Sal Ammoniacum a substance with great lightness after sublimations, while Dorneus, in his “Dictionarium Paracelsi” Frankfurt 1584, called the same substance Sal Armoniacum. To cut a long story short Dom Pernety, in his Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermetique 1754, names it Sal Armoniacum. All these authors make Sal Armoniacum synonymous of Eagle.
You can find excerpts from Hollandus Opera Vegetabilia in Manfred Junius “Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy”. Sal armeniacum is there translated with Salarmeniac and Sal Ammoniacus with Salmiac.