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 a hermetic author when writing De Lapide Philosophico, A Work of Saturn, Opuscula Alchimica, The Hand of Philosophers, and a spagyric 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’s son. He, and his father Isaac, are reputed to have been Basilius Valentinus contemporaries, so about the fifteenth century. Hollandus’s father and son’s hand’s attitude, together with their scanty use of the bombastic hermetic symbolism usually employed by more prestigious classical hermetic authors, make them not so ostensibly distinguished in the alchemical bibliography. Be aware that some ancient commentators allege the Hollandus family is not to be alchemically trusted because they tell the truth. To you, the answer.
This excerpt is taken from Opus Vegetabile, better known as Opera Vegetabilia, first published in Amsterdam in 1659, the chapter concerning preparing the Plant Stone from dry herbs. We can find a really interesting and clueing part about a Sal Armeniacum close to our Sal Armoniacum or Mercurius. Incredibly enough, their use seems to be the same. Theoretically and alchemically speaking, there’s no difference between vegetal and mineral Mercurius. I leave without a comment. But If Mercurius is an indefinite Spirit of life, it cannot but be extracted from whatsoever. And its dissolving property still being universal.
Johannes Isaac Hollandus: “My child, you should understand what I said and taught in previous chapters: you must learn to recognize the nature of the herbs and 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 of salty things. it is also called sal armerniacum because they are called sal Armeniaca spirits (not grasped by the senses) of all things when they are separated from their bodies. So the spirit of all salts is 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 the other one, they can not make any elixir because it is the philosophical soap (or wash water) that they clean and purify the corpus (body) with, 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 no 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 (2) also does sal ammoniacus extracted from herbs. With sal ammoniacus extracted from herbs, you can make an elixir without adding other species, which 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, pay attention to the sentence: “with sal ammoniacus ( armeniacum) extracted from herbs, you can make an elixir without adding any other species. What you can not do with the sal armeniacum from salts.” We will find this statement again.
- Since Sal Ammoniacus is aforementioned for different uses, we can read it as Sal Armeniacum and consider them synonymous.
- Same error as above.
- Hollandus here seems back to “Armeniacum” spelling. Sal Armoniacum and Sal Ammoniacum have been mixed up by authors other than Hollandus: Rulandus, in his “LexiconAlchemiae” Frankfurt 1612, defines Sal Ammoniacum as 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 with 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.