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In the previous chapter I spoke of the substances Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt as being analagous to the Spirit, Soul, and Body. What I intend to convey is that the Spirit of the Metal is the Spirit of Mercury (a volatile essence which in its gaseous state is an Aether), the Sulphur is the Soul or the Blood, and the Salt the Ashes or the Body.

Again I quote from Basilius Valentinus, Father of Modern Chemistry:

'Of the Spirit of Mercury.'

'Though I have a peculiar Stile in writing, which will seem strange unto many, causing strange Thoughts and Fancies in their Brains, yet there is reason enough for my so doing; I say enough, that I may remain by my own experience, not esteeming much of others prating, because it is concealed in my knowledge, Seeing having alwaies the preheminence before Hearing, and Reason hath the praise before Folly: Wherefore I now say, that all visible, tangible things are made of the Spirit of Mercury, which excels all earthly things of the whole world, all things being made out of it, having their Off-spring only from it; for all is found therein which can perform all whatsoever the Artist desires to find; It is the beginning to operate Metals,

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when it is become a spiritual Essence, which is meer Air flying to and fro without wings; it is a moving wind, which after it is expelled its dwelling by Vulcan, it is driven into its Chaos, where it again enters, and resolves itself into the Elements, where it is elevated and attracted by the Sydereal Stars after a Magnetical manner unto themselves, out of love, whence he proceeded before, and was operated because it affects its like again, and attracts it to it. But if this Spirit of Mercury can be caught, and made corporal, it resolves into a Body, and becomes a pure, clear, transparent water, which is the true spiritual water, and the first Mercurial Root of the Minerals and Metals, spiritual, intangible, incombustible, without any mixture of earthly Aquosity; it is that Celestial water, whereof very much hath been written; for by this Spirit of Mercury all Metals, may if need require, be broken, opened, and resolved into their first Matter, without Corrosive; it renews the age of Man or Beast, even as the Eagles; it consumes all evil, and conducts a long Age to long Life. This Spirit of Mercury is the Master-Key of my Second Key, whereof I wrote in the beginning; wherefore I will call; Come ye Blessed of the Lord, be anointed, and refreshed with water, and embalm your Bodies, that they may not putrefie or stink; for this Celestial Water is the beginning, the Oyl, and the means, seeing it burns not, because it is made of spiritual Sulphur; the Salt Balsam is corporal, which is united with the Water by the Oyl, whereof I will afterwards treat more at large, when I shall write of them, and mention them.

'And that I may further declare what is the Essence, Matter and Form of the Spirit of Mercury, I say, that its Essence is blessed, its Matter spiritual, and its Form earthly, which yet must be understood by an incomprehensible way; these are indeed harsh

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[paragraph continues] Expressions, many will think, thy Proposals are all vain, strange Effusions, raising wonderful Imaginations, and true it is that they are strange, and require strange people to understand these Sayings; it is not written for Peasants, how they should grease Cart-wheels, nor is it written unto those who have no knowledge of the Art, though they be never so learned, or think themselves so; for I only account them Learned, who next unto Gods Word, learn to know Earthly things, which must be pondered and judged by the Understanding, founded upon a true Knowledge, to distinguish Light from Darkness, who choose that which is good, and reject the evil.

'It is needless for you to know what the beginning of this Spirit of Mercury requires, because it can in no wise help nor advantage you, only take notice of this, that its beginning is supernatural, out of the Celestial, Sydereal and Elementary, bestowed on it from the beginning of the first Creation, that it may enter further into an Earthly Substance. But because this is necessary which hath been declared to you, leave the Celestial to the Soul, apprehend it by Faith, and let the Sydereal likewise alone, because these Sydereal Impressions are invisible and intangible, the Elements have already brought forth the Spirit perfect into the world by the Nutriment, therefore let that alone likewise; for man cannot make the Elements, but only the Creator, and remain by thy made Spirit which is already formal and unformal, tangible and intangible, and yet is presented visibly. So have you enough of the first Matter, out of which all Metals and Minerals grow, and is one only thing, and such a matter which unites itself with the Sulphur in the following Chapter, and enters into a Coagulation with the Salt of the first Chapter, that it may be one Body, and a perfect Medicine of all Metals, not only to bring forth in the

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Earth at the beginning, as in the great World, but also by help of the vaporous Body to transmute and change, together with the augmentation in the lesser World: Let not this seem strange to you, seeing the Most High hath permitted, and Nature undertaken it.

'Many will not believe this, esteeming it impossible, despise and vilifie these Mysteries, which they understand not in the least, they may remain Fools and Idiots till an illumination follows, which cannot be without God's Will, but remains till the time predestinate. But wise and discreet men, who have truly shed the sweat of their Brows, will be my sufficient witnesses, and confirm the Truth, and indeed believe and hold for a truth all that which I write in this case, as true as Heaven and Hell are preordained, and proposed as Rewards of good and evil to the Elect and Reprobate. Now I write not only with my hands, but my Mind, Will and heart constrain me to it: Those who are highly conceited, illuminated, and world-wise, hate, envy, scandalize, defame and persecute this Mystery to the utmost Rind, or innermost Kernel, which hath its beginning out of the Center; but I know assuredly, there will come a time, when my Marrow is wasted, and my Bones dried up, that some will take my part heartily, after I am in the Pit; and if God would permit it, they would willingly raise me from the dead; but that cannot be; wherefore I have left them my Writings, that their Faith and Hope may have a Seal of Certainty and Truth, to testifie of me what my last Will and Testament was, which I ordained for the poor, and all the Lovers of Mysteries, though it did not behove me to have wrote so much, yet I could not refrain without prejudice to my Soul, but to drive a Light or Flash through a Cloud, that the Day might be observed, and the dark Night, thick and gloomy, rainy Weather expelled.

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'Now how the Archaeus operates further by the Spirit of Mercury in the Earth, or Veins of the Earth, take this Advice, that after the spiritual Seed is formed by the impression of the Stars from above, and fed by the Elements, it is a Seed, and turns itself into a Mercurial Water, as first of all the great World was made of nothing, for when the Spirit moved upon the Water, the Celestial Heat must needs raise a Life in the cold waterish and earthly Creatures; in the great World it was Gods Power, and the Operation of the Celestial Lights; in the little World it is likewise Gods Power, and the Operation to work into the Earth by his Divine and Holy Breath. Moreover the Almighty gave and Ordained means to accomplish it, that one Creature had obtained power to operate in the other, and the one to help and assist the other, to perform and fulfil all the Works of the Lord; and so an influence was permitted the Earth to bring forth by the Lights of Heaven, as also an internal Heat, to warm and digest that which was too cold for the Earth, by reason of its humidity, as unto every Creature a peculiar fashion according to its kind; so that a subtile sulphurous Vapour is stirred up by the Starry Heaven, not the common, but another more clarified and pure Vapour, distinct from others, which unites itself with the Mercurial Substance; by whose warm property, in process of time, the superfluous Moisture is dryed up, and then when the soulish property comes to it, which gives a preservation to the Body and Balsam, operating first into the Earth by a spiritual and sydereal influence, then are Metals generated of it, as it pleaseth the Mixture of the three Principles, the Body being formed according as it assumes unto it the greatest part of those three. But if the Spirit of Mercury be intended and qualified from above upon Animals, it becomes an Animal Substance; if it goes upon Vegetables by order,

it becomes a Vegetable Work; but if, by reason of its infused nature, it fall on Minerals, it becomes Minerals and Metals, yet each one hath its distinction as they are wrought, the Animals for themselves, the Vegetables on another manner and form by themselves, and so likewise the Minerals, each one a several way, whereof to write particularly would be too tedious, and yield large and Various Narrations.

.      .      .      .      .

'This is the summe in brief, that without the Spirit of Mercury, which is the only true Key, you can never make Corporal Gold potable, nor the Philosophers' Stone. Let it remain by this Conclusion, be silent; for I my self will at present say no more, because Silence is enjoyned thee and me by the orderly Judge, recommending the Execution and further search thereof to another, who hath not as yet reduced the Matter into a right Order.'

And here the words of Alexander von Suchten, from the 'Blessed Casket of Nature's Marvels' by Benedictus Figulus:

'The primary matter of man and the primary matter of the great world are one and the same thing. But this primary matter of the world and of man is a Crystalline Water of which Holy Writ says "Before God created Heaven and Earth, the Spirit of the Lord brooded over the waters." This water became a primary matter of both. But where remains the Spirit of the Lord, which brooded over the waters, after the two worlds, i.e. heaven and earth, and man had been created from the same? I reply, in the primary matter of man and of the world, God who is Perfection, has wished to dwell in Man. But here the following question might be put; how did man know--since the

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primary matter of man and the world is a crystalline water--how could man know whether the Spirit of the Lord had remained in this primary matter of the world, or of man? I reply, he knew it by the Art of Water, for Water was his teacher. This teacher shewed him how the world dies, how the Spirit departs from it, how the body is without spirit, the spirit without body. He saw how the spirit returns to the body, and the body revives. He saw by the decay of the world that it did not become again what it had been before. Hence it became plain to him that God dwells not in that which passes away, but in that which is eternal.'

Next: Chapter III: The Quintessence (I)