Philosophers’ Spirit of Wine

Heavenly SpiritPhilosophers’ Spirit of Wine

Lynn Osburn © 2009

 

StoneWorks Lab Ring, DIY Division

 

“Philosophers say, We have not written our Bookes but unto our children, and our children are they who understand our sayings.

And Plato saith, Who knoweth our purpose, and our intention is now a Philosopher, and is inriched; and who knoweth not our sayings, he is in the snares of Nature & c.

And Geber: For wheresoever we have spoken plainly , there we have said nothing, but where under riddles and figures wee have put something, there have we hid the truth.   [Revelation of the Secret Spirit, 1622, p. 73]

 

“This Virgin and blessed Water the Philosophers named in their Books with many thousand names; they call it Heaven, Celestial Water, Celestial Rain, the dew of Heaven, May-dew, Water of Paradise, parting Water, Aqua Regis, a corrosive Aquafort, sharpe Vinegar, Brandy, Quintessence of Wine, growthful green Juice, a growing Mercury, a viridescent Water, and Leo Viridis, Quick-Silver, Menstrum, Bloud, Urine, Horse-pis, Milk, and Virgins Milk, white Arsnick, Silver, Lune, and juice of Lune,  a Woman, Feminine Seed, a sulphureous vapouring Water and Smoak, a fiery burning Spirit, a deadly piercing poyson, and Basilisk that killeth all, a venomous Worm, a venomous Serpent, a Dragon, a Scorpion devouring his Children, a hellish Fire of Horse-dung, a sharp Salt, and Salt-Armoniack, a common Salt, sharp Soap, Lye, a viscous Oyl, …an Eagle, Vulture, Bird of Hermes, a Vessel and Seal of Hermes, a melting and calcining Furnace, and innumerable other names of Beasts, Birds, Herbs, Waters, Juices, Milk, Blouds, &c. And they writ figuratively in their Books of this Water, to be made of such things, whereas all the unwise, which sought it in such like things, have not found the true desired Water. Know only therefore, my dear Son, that it is only made of Mercury vive, and of no other heterogeneous thing in the World; and that the Philosophers therefore gave it so many Names, that it might not be known to the unwise.

[Aurifontina Chymica: or a Collection of Fourteen small Treatises Concerning the first Matter of Philosophers, For the discovery of their (hitherto so much concealed Mercury. Which many have studiously endeavoured to Hide, but these to make Manifest, for the benefit of Mankind in general; Hydropyrographum Hermeticum, London, Printed for William Cooper at the Pelican in Little-Britain; 1680, page 35-36]

 

Spirit of Philosophical
                    Wine“Concerning the understanding of the true and genuine Stone of the Philosophers, and the manner of proceeding in its preparation, I give thee this information, that the said Stone is compounded and engendred of two things, viz. Body and Spirit, or of Masculine and Feminine Seed, that is, of the Water of Mercury, and of the Body of Sol.

First of all Mercury be dissolved and reduced into a Spiritual Water, which is termed by the Philosophers, the first Matter of Metals, the juice of Lune, Aqua Vitae, Quintessence, a fiery ardent Water or Brandy; by which Water or prime Matter, Metals are unlock’d or untied, and freed from their hard and stiff bonds and reduced into their first and uniform nature, such as the Water of Mercury itself is.

[Aurifontina Chymica, Hydropyrographum Hermeticum, page 1-3.]

 

“Therefore, my Son, observe, that the red Philosophical Sulphur is in the Gold, as Richardus testifieth, and King Calid saith: Our Sulphur is no common Sulphur, but is of a Mercurial nature fixated, and not flying from the Fire. The same all other Philosophers also do witness, that their red Sulphur is Gold. It is true, my Son, that the Philosophers do say in their Books that the common Gold or Silver is none of their Gold or Silver, in regard that their Gold and Silver is quick or living, but the common are dead, and therefore not capable to bring imperfect Bodies to perfection.” [Hydropyrographum Hermeticum, page 8]

 

Arnoldus in his Epistle speaketh home, saying, Gold and Silver is in our Stone potentially and virtually, after a powerful, invisible and natural way; for if it were not so, no Gold nor Silver could come of it: but the Gold and Silver existing in our Stone, is better that the common, because it is living, but the common is dead. And for this very reason the Philosophers called it their Gold and their Silver, because it is powerful in their Stone, active in its essence, but not visible common Gold and Silver.

[Hydropyrographum Hermeticum, page 10-11]

 

“And so consequently it is impossible by the means of the simple Gold to perfect other Bodies, unless the perfect Body be first dissolved and reduced to its first Matter; which done, it is introverted by our labour and Art, and reduced into a true ferment and tincture. Moreover the Philosophers do say, that there is no coming to a good end, until Gold and Silver be joined together in one Body. Here, my Son, thou must understand Lune metaphorically, and not to the letter, because the Philosophers say in their Writings that Lune is of a cold and moist nature, which description they attribute also to Mercury: and therefore by Lune is understood Mercury, or the prime Matter, which is the Philosophers Lune or juice of Lune

 

No profit is to be got by this Art, unless the perfect Bodies by means of the Philosophers Fire, or Water of Mercury, be reduced into their primum Ens, which is a Sulphureous Water, and Not Mercury vive, as the Sophisters suppose. For the first matter of Metals is not Mercury vive, but a clammy Sulphureous Vapour, and a viscous Water, wherein the three principles, viz. Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury, are coexistent. Consequently it is necessary to know the true blessed Water of Mercury, or the Heavenly supernatural Fire.” [Hydropyrographum Hermeticum, page 12-13]

 

Firmament of the New
                      World

 

“The Elements shall melt with fervent heat; the Earth also, and the Works that are therein, shall be burnt up, and that there will be a new World, very glorious, excellent and good…There shall happen a destruction of the Elementary World by Fire. Observe in this Art, that the Fire must perform the like in its type in Nature. Therefore, my Son set thy thoughts upon this Water, wherewith the Body of Sol (which, as Rogerius witnesseth, is a perfect created World) is burnt up, and destroyed and dissolved, that it is not a common Fire, in regard the common is not able to burn or destroy the Gold: but it is a supernatural incombustible Fire, the strongest of all Fires, yea a Hellish Fire, which only hath the power to burn the Gold, and to set the same free from its stiff hard bonds.

[Hydropyrographum Hermeticum, page 15]

 

“I would advise those who insist on treading the path that leads towards the Philosopher's Stone, only to begin their journey after having followed several courses in chemistry so that they will know how to manipulate. Whatever many authors may say, if I had not had the knowledge of chemistry that I do possess, I would never have reached the goal.

“Seek to know the Vinegar of the Mountains because without it you can do nothing. Its knowledge will give you that of the fairy of the soul so called by Arnold of Villanova in his Little Rosary.

“I thought that I heard split the tree at whose feet I was sitting. The sound made me turn my head. I saw a nymph, a very epitome of beauty emerging from this tree. Her clothes were so diaphanous that they seemed transparent. She said to me: "From the heart of this holy tree I have heard the repetition of your misfortunes.

Starry Night in Heavenly
                    Spirit

“A victory won without danger," she said, "is a triumph without glory. Before leaving I must once more point out to you that you can only battle the dragon that defends interiorly the entry of this temple, with this spear which you must make red hot by the aid of a common fire in order to pierce the body of the monster which you must fight and to penetrate right to its very heart. This dragon has been well described by the ancients and they have spoken of it on many occasions."

“Finally I made up my mind and made ready for the battle. Having collected branches of dry wood that were scattered on the spot where I found myself, I lit them with the help of a lens that I found to be on me and heated my spear almost white hot… Determined to win or to perish, I furiously seized my spear with one hand and the substance in the other and put a sufficient quantity of this latter on the lock. In a little while the lock disappeared entirely and the two leaves of the door to the temple opened with a loud noise. My eyes fell on a fierce dragon who was endowed with an enormous three pointed tongue with which he sought to throw his fatal breath on me…” [Hermes Unveiled, Cylani, 1831]

“Perfectly dry wood of sycamore, oak, birch, box or poplar, heated in a sealed glass tube to 3600, melts to a black liquid which solidifies with tumefaction. Wood heated in the same manner with half its weight of water, is converted into a substance resembling bituminous coal, and burning with a smoky flame. Wood yields, when heated in a sealed glass tube, gases which escape with violence when the tube is opened, a very faintly coloured, clear or milky liquid, and a solid residue, which resembles red coal if it has been charred between 1600 and 2000, black coal between 2200 and 2800, and caking coal if charred at still higher temperatures. At 280 it still retains the structure of wood; between 3000 and 3200 it is tumefied, at 3400 fused into a dense mass. Vegetable substances strongly pressed between moist clay, so that the vapours can escape but slowly, and heated to between 2000 and 3000, yield a residue resembling coal. [Handbook of Chemistry Vol. XV; 1862; page 148-152]

 

 “To omit circumstances, the first Matter out of which the Philosophers Stone is to be had and taken, is a subject common and poor in outward appearance, and therefore it is called a little thing, and it is in every Mine, yet is nearer in some things than in others…

 

Scales of the
                      Philosophick Dragon

 

“Know that all Philosophers affirm, that the Matter is but one thing, and a vile thing which costeth nothing, cast in High-ways and trodden upon, which is the hope of Metals, or a thing containing all things needful for the Work within it self; and albeit curious Wits hold all these to be Aenigma's, yet they are true according to the letter. Briefly, to manifest the truth, you shall know that in all Mines whatsoever there doth lye certain Beds, of a lutinous or clayish substance, under the Earth, which in some places is harder than in others, the deeper the Mine is, the more unctuous is the Clay; and this Clay is the Mother of the Metals, the feeder of the Mines, for in it lies hid the Spirits, or the three Principles of Metals, (viz) Salt the Body, Sulphur the Soul, and Mercury the Spirit, not common nor running, but a white Vapour which resolves it self into a white Water; I say invisibly in this confused lump of Clay, lies hid the aforesaid Principles.” [Aurifontina Chymical, Privy Seal of Secrets]

 

“When wood previously well dried is heated in vessels which allow free egress to the volatile products of decomposition, water is first driven out, and there passes into the receiver, first a colourless, then a yellowish liquid. As the temperature rises, the vapours become smoky, the distillate continually more coloured, and smoky gasses escape. The liquid distillate becomes mixed with drops of oil, at first mobile and slightly coloured, then continually more viscid and dark-coloured so that the exit-tubes are filled with black pitch liquified by the heat. The residue in the retort is charcoal. The liquids which pass over mix in the receiver and separate, when left at rest, into two layers, an upper watery layer, which is Crude Wood-vinegar, or Pyroligneous acid, and a lower layer consisting of Wood-tar. [Handbook of Chemistry Vol. XV; 1862; page 148-152]

 

 

 

Philosophick Wine
                    darkening“But when the quick Mercury without any extraneous thing is set free from its bonds, and dissolved into the primogeneal Water, then and but then we are capable to cleanse his inside, and by distillation to sever the Spirit from the Water, and terrene terestriety; concerning which Separation the Philosophers have writ in an occult stile, such as no conceited person will easily apprehend, but especially they describe it figuratively in the distillation of Wine. For in the distillation of Wine appeareth evidently, that the Spirit of Wine is mixed with a great deal of Water, and terrene terrestriety: but by means of an artificial distillation, the dry Spirit of Wine may be severed from all the phlegmatick humidity and terrene terrestriety, in so much that all the Spirit of Wine is severed from the Water existent in the Wine, and the Water from the Earth, and then remain the Lees, out of which a white Salt is extracted, and joined again with the Spirit, and then the Spirit is distilled an cohabited diverse times, until all the Salt be gone over with it, whereby the Spirit is hugely fortified and actuated. And in truth, this is a notable typical description represented unto us by the Philosophers, which in the preparation of the Water of  Mercury we ought to imitate; for after its dissolution we ought in like manner (as hath been taught of the Wine) by Sublimation sever the Water or Phlegm from the Spirit, and the Spirit from the Earth, and to rectifei the Earth, and joyn and distill it together with the Spirit until all together come over the Helm. Of which preparation of the Water, none of all the Philosophers hath written more clearly nor better than Raymund Lullie, viz. in Testamento novissimo, as also in the first Testament, in libro Marcuriorum, libro Q. Essentieae, & c. where he doth plainly enough declare, that after the Putrefaction, Separation, Distillation of the Philosophical Spirit of Wine, the Spiritual Water is to be mixed again and distilled with its own Earth, that it come over with it; he declareth also, how this Philosophical Wine or Menstruum is fortified and acuated with its own Salt. And further it is to be noted, that this Water, Menstruum or Philsosphical Spirit if Wine, being thus prepared, doth dissolve or open its own Body, or Mercury vive, into the primum Ens, or primogenial Water, whereby it is multiplied without end by means of Putrefaction and Distillation.

[Hydropyrographum Hermeticum, page 23-26]

 

“Take Wine Red or White, the best that may be had, or at least take Wine that is not any way eager, neither too little nor too much thereof, and distil an Aqua ardens, as the custom is, through Brass Pipes, and then rectifie it four times for better purification. But I tell you it is enough to rectifie it three times, and stop it close, that the burning Spirit may not exhale, because herein have many men erred, thinking it ought to be seven times rectified, But my Son, it is an infallible sign to you when you shall have seen that Sugar steeped in it, and being put to the flame burneth away as Aqua ardens. Now having the water thus prepared, you have the matter out of which the Quintessence is to be made, which is one principal thing we intend to treat of in this Book. Take therefore that, and put it in a circulating Vessel, or in a Pelican, which is called the Vessel of Hermes, and stop the hole very close with Olibanum or Mastick being soft, or quick Lime mixed with the White of Eggs, and put it in Dung, which is naturally most hot, or the remainings of a Wine-Press, in which no heat must be by accident diminished, which you may do, my Son, if you put a great quantity of which you please of those things at a corner of the House, which quantity must be about thirty Load: This ought to be, that the Vessel may not want heat, because should heat be wanting, the circulation of the water would be impaired, and that which we seek for uneffected; but if a continual heat be administered to it by continual circulations, our Quintessence will be separated in the colour of Heaven, which may be seen by a diametrical Line, which divides the upper part, that is the Quintessence, from the lower, namely, from the Fæces, which are of a muddy colour. Circulation being continued many days together in a circulating Vessel, or in the Vessel of Hermes, the Hole, which you stopp’d with the said Matter, must be opened, and if a wonderful Scent go out, so as that no fragrancy of the world can be compared to it; insomuch as putting the Vessel to a corner of the House, it can by an invisible Miracle draw all that pass in, to it; or the Vessel being put upon a Tower, draws all Birds within the reach of its Scent, so as to cause them to stand about it. Then you will have, my Son, our Quintessence which is otherwise call’d Vegetable Mercury at your will, to apply in the Magistery of the transmutation of Metals: But if you find not the influx of Attraction, stop the Vessel again as before; and put it in the place before appointed, and there let it stand till you attain to the aforesaid Sign. But this Quintessence thus glorified, will not have that Scent, except a Body be dissolved in it, nor have that heat in your mouth as Aqua ardens: This is indeed by the Philosophers call’d the Key of the whole Art of Philosophy, and as well Heaven, as our Quintessence, which arrives to so great a sublimity, that either with it by it self alone, or with the earthly Stars (Metals) the Operator of this work may do miracles upon the Earth.

[The Heaven, Essence or Spirit of Wine of Lully, Described, Can. I. Dist. I. Lib. De Quinta Essentia; from, Concerning the Secrets of the Adepts or of the Use of Lully’s Spirit of Wine; 1694]

 

Philosophic Wine
                      distilling Heavenly Spirit

Animating Blue Spirit

 

Gold and Blue Spirit of
                      Philosophick Wine


Green Lion           

 

“Fill a big retort with fresh sawdust of oakwood, and connect a large recipient, and distil a vinegar from it. Make as much as is necessary, and rectify it, until it is sharp enough. Than take shiny chimney soot that is without debris, and divide from it 10-12 pound (360 g.) in more flasks. Poor as much vinegar over it that the soot is dissolved in it, and let it putrefy it for a month, and it will decay.          

 

“Thereafter put the first flask in a sand bath, distil all phlegm from it and keep the burning Spiritus. Rectify this until it is pure and clear. Be careful that it will not get struck by any light.          

 

“Put the remainder in a luted retort with a large receiver and distil, that way the Acetum with a blood red Sal Volatile comes over. Separate the Oil, and rectify the Aceto, so that it becomes penetrating and strong.     

 

“(It is better to rectify the vinegar and Oil together first for two times. That way the Oil becomes clear and red, and the tar stays at the bottom. The rectification of the Oil alone over the remaining Kohl that is recommended by Tölde, will let too much of the Oil remain behind in the charcoal, or it burns. Presumably the coals keep also some sharpness of vinegar. After the rectification together the Oil is separated from the vinegar with a separation funnel and kept for external use. The vinegar is rectified one or two times alone. Fr. DG).”       

 

“Now you need a Sal Alcali. Make a brine from a lot of completely burned out Oak wood ashes, and cook it into (cook-in, thicken) a salt. Glow this salt thoroughly out and put in a flask. Poor the above vinegar on it so that it can dissolve, and slowly distil the phlegm off.

 

“Stop when it starts to taste sour, let it cool and poor as much Spiritus (which you have distilled and rectified at the start) that everything coagulates nicely. Separate again the Phlegm. Now cohobate all until a fatty Liquor rises up. Rectify this individually, and you will have a key that will dissolve Gold and Silver and their Mercurium, and bring them into a Liquor.

 

Another way

“Another way to make a liquid key from the black Raven, with which Gold and Silver can be dissolved and brought into their prima materia is this:

 

“When you have first distilled your vinegar from the sawdust and rectified as strong as possible, you poor this onto the burned-out wood chips and distil it off again with strong fire. This is stored in its entirety. The Spiritus is prepared as described above and also an Oil is rectified. The Sal Alkali is cleaned as good as possible through repeated dissolving, filtration and coagulation, until it stays behind like a fatty butter.

 

“Now mix the vinegar and the Oil, poor it on the salt, keep it two days in moderate heat (it is better if you circulate it a few weeks) and cohobate 10 or 12 times, until the vinegar separates as you had poured it on. (the vinegar and the Oil can then be mixed again, because in fact they have been rectified together 2-3 times, but thereafter they must be separated to clean the vinegar further. Fr. DG)

 

“Thereafter do the same with the Spiritus. Pour it on the coagulated principals (Salt, Oil and Vinegar), and cohobate together 10 or 12 times, after you have separated all the phlegm.

 

“Then cohobate per retortam, so that a liquor with many colours rises over, which you than have to rectify one or two times per se. Take from gold or silver chalk one part, and pour 4 parts of the liquor, and digest it together 12 hours in a retort. When you digest it too long, it will become too fixed. Than distil everything over, and you will have a red juice or a butter. Put this is in a Phiole, but let three parts of the flask stay empty. Close it well with a glass stopper or melted, and give it 4 months of per Gradus Fire. That way it will show all colours and at last a blood red stone, which, if you leave it in this state, is a great medicine.”

[Coelum Reseratum Chymicum, J.G. Toeltius, 1612/1736]

 

 

“You take 20 pounds of Soote made by the fire, highest condensed in the top part of the fireplace. That the firewood is of true oak. I have used also the bark, but dry and not more humid. I have filled up an earthen retort and I have luthed to it a wide flask, cooled with snow and marine salt. I have made a great fire, arriving until red the most intense one. The white vapors have begun to show their power and the Elements have engaged their battle. After time, I have seen the Dew to cover the walls, of a beautiful citrine yellow. It's Xantosis according Balduinus & Widigulfus of Mainz. I have increased the fire of one degree until that Dew is not changed from citrine to intense red. This is the Blood of the Green Lion , that you collect like a dense and heavy Oyl, for a volume of approximately a third party of the round flask. When the Oyl does not exit more, then you interrupt the fire and leaves to cool. It takes apart the flask well and luthe it, so that the Spirit don't decoy away. It leaves the Oyl to the nutriment of the Sun and the Moon for beyond forty days. This is the Mercurial Oyl of Soote but still immature. In that meantime you will have calcined the caput, wash ashes and obtained a citrine salt, crystalline and perfumed, than in itself encloses every sweetness but that is a poison for the man. Conserve yours salt, very washed and crystalized in a dry place and lacking in humidity, because of it would absorb so much until poisoning itself. Your Oyl will be rectified for twelve times in an alembic for volatile spirits. You will concentrate it as a substance sharpened and rich in caliditas. Your Oyl circulates hour on sweet salt, because it can be nourished of the sweetness of Diane . You will obtain a silver salt fixed to the dome of yours capitel; it is our Nude Diane whose beauty is involved our senses. You make attention when you collect this salt, because it can stordir you, at par of the beautiful Diana that done to fall Attheon. The oyl is filtered and added in reason of two parts with one part of quintessence of Pine. The salt still is circulated for one hundred days by the heat of the Sun, without to stop, in this new regenerating bath. Here your King and your Queen find their talamus and conceive the Prince of Dissolvents, the true Vytriol of the Wises , source of great joy and eternal hope.” [Treatise on Philosophical Mercury, John Maynard, 1663]

 

“By distilling off 10 to 15 per cent of the crude wood-vinegar, Crude Wood-spirit is obtained, consisting principally of the more volatile matters such as acetic acid, acetate of ammonia, methylic alcohol, acetate of methyl, lignone, acetone, aldehyde, mesite, pyrocatechin, and pyroxanthogen. It likewise contains, in greater or smaller quantity (probably according to the quantity of the product distilled from the crude wood-vinegar), volatile oils, a substance which turns brown on exposure to the air, and bodies identical with those which remain in larger quantity in the residue of the crude wood-vinegar, and in the tar.

 

“The residual portion of crude wood-vinegar is an aqueous solution of variable quantities of acetic acid, empyreumatic oil, and resin, and a peculiar extractive matter called empyreumatic extract. It likewise contains creosote, a small quantity of eupione, and other volatile oils.”  [Handbook of Chemistry Vol. XV; 1862; page 148-152]

 

First you must obtain a substantial volume of the Starting Material. That should not be difficult as it covers most of the Lands. Once you have a sufficient quantity of the Starting Material prepare the First Matter from it. This operation requires many tedious hours and has been called the work of Vulcan and the labors of Hercules.  During the process the Starting Material is reduced to the Prime Matter by separating the Fire Element.

 

The Prime Matter is a dark earth that once upon a time was found wherever humans dwelled. It was of no value and mostly thrown out with the heaps of garbage. The wealthy paid to have it removed. Today it is not so easy to find so you will have to do it yourself this laborious work. Once you have accomplished this you will have the Philosophers’ Earth.

 

The Starting Material will be transformed into the Prime Matter after separating the Fire Element. It will appear to be a soote in the stove pipe. Gather it; you may grind into a powder. This is the Philosophers’ Antimony.

 

Next you must prepare the Philosopher’s Wine from the Earth by separating the Air and Water Elements. This can be done in one operation. However, the process is tedious and laborious requiring technical skills. The operation is a sight to behold nonetheless.

 

This Philosophers’ Wine in the crude state is yellow at first, turning red over a short time, then becoming very dark red almost black with age. This Wine has been called by many names in the past including Philosophers’ Mercury in the crude state.

Distill this Wine in a water bath through a short copper column with long arm into a glass recipient. Stopper it well this heavenly blue spirit.

 

“Perfectly dry wood of sycamore, oak, birch, box or poplar, heated in a sealed glass tube to 3600, melts to a black liquid which solidifies with tumefaction. Wood heated in the same manner with half its weight of water, is converted into a substance resembling bituminous coal, and burning with a smoky flame. Wood yields, when heated in a sealed glass tube, gases which escape with violence when the tube is opened, a very faintly coloured, clear or milky liquid, and a solid residue, which resembles red coal if it has been charred between 1600 and 2000, black coal between 2200 and 2800, and caking coal if charred at still higher temperatures. At 2800 it still retains the structure of wood; between 3000 and 3200 it is tumefied, at 3400 fused into a dense mass. Vegetable substances strongly pressed between moist clay, so that the vapours can escape but slowly, and heated to between 2000 and 3000, yield a residue resembling coal.

 

“When wood previously well dried is heated in vessels which allow free egress to the volatile products of decomposition, water is first driven out, and there passes into the receiver, first a colourless, then a yellowish liquid. As the temperature rises, the vapours become smoky, the distillate continually more coloured, and smoky gasses escape. The liquid distillate becomes mixed with drops of oil, at first mobile and slightly coloured, then continually more viscid and dark-coloured so that the exit-tubes are filled with black pitch liquified by the heat. The residue in the retort is charcoal. The liquids which pass over mix in the receiver and separate, when left at rest, into two layers, an upper watery layer, which is Crude Wood-vinegar, or Pyroligneous acid, and a lower layer consisting of Wood-tar.

 

“In the dry distillation of hornbeam-wood, Wollner’s empyreumatic fat is obtained in the outermost receivers, floating on the top of the empyreumatic oil; it resembles mutton-fat.

 

“The composition of the gaseous, liquid and solid products of the dry distillation depends partly on the constitution of the wood employed, but more on the degree and manner of heating, so that the quantitative proportions of the several compounds vary greatly, and many, under certain circumstances, are absent altogether. At the lower degrees of heat, a comparatively larger quantity of oxygen and hydrogen is employed in the formation of water; at higher temperatures (above 3000) there is a more abundant formation of acetic acid and other oxygen-compounds, together with hydrocarbons; the more rapidly the heat is applied, the larger is the quantity of wood-vinegar and tar produced, and the smaller the quantity of residual charcoal.

 

“The gases evolved in the ordinary process of distillation are carbonic oxide, carbonic acid, marsh gas, and hydrogen, containing scarcely any traces of other hydrocarbons; but if wood is heated—as for the preparation of illuminating gas, to a temperature considerably above that at which the liquid products of the distillation are decomposed, olefiant gas and other hydrocarbons of higher atomic weight are formed at the expense of the tar.

 

“The crude wood-vinegar and the wood-tar are resolved—according to the kind of treatment to which they are subjected—into various but still mixed products.

 

“By distilling off 10 to 15 per cent of the crude wood-vinegar, Crude Wood-spirit is obtained, consisting principally of the more volatile matters such as acetic acid, acetate of ammonia, methylic alcohol, acetate of methyl, lignone, acetone, aldehyde, mesite, pyrocatechin, and pyroxanthogen. It likewise contains, in greater or smaller quantity (probably according to the quantity of the product distilled from the crude wood-vinegar), volatile oils, a substance which turns brown on exposure to the air, and bodies identical with those which remain in larger quantity in the residue of the crude wood-vinegar, and in the tar.

 

“The residual portion of crude wood-vinegar is an aqueous solution of variable quantities of acetic acid, empyreumatic oil, and resin, and a peculiar extractive matter called empyreumatic extract. It likewise contains creosote, a small quantity of eupione, and other volatile oils.

 

“By boiling the residue with excess of potash-hydrate, this empyreumatic oil and resin are for the most part removed, while the extract remains dissolved. The empyreumatic resin still contains acetic acid; it may be further decomposed by digesting it with alcohol, and treating the dissolved portion with ether and soda-lye, and after prolonged boiling with water, is converted into mould-like substances.

[Handbook of Chemistry Vol. XV; 1862; page 148-152]

 

“To omit circumstances, the first Matter out of which the Philosophers Stone is to be had and taken, is a subject common and poor in outward appearance, and therefore it is called a little thing, and it is in every Mine, yet is nearer in some things than in others, and in a word in the Mineral Kingdom you must have it, in the most excellent work of the Mineral Hierarchy; therefore not Animals or Vegetals. Know ye then, (although I deny not Raymonds Cannons to be true) that the lively Nature being constrained with the strength of Gold, in the most subtle heat, the Tincture may be made well easily, and in a short time, which will convert all metals into perfect Gold; but the way of the Philosophers in the Universal Work, was out of the Mineral Kingdom; leaving therefore Animals and Vegetals, I will acquaint you with the Universal Subject. Know that all Philosophers affirm, that the Matter is but one thing, and a vile thing which costeth nothing, cast in High-ways and trodden upon, which is the hope of Metals, or a thing containing all things needful for the Work within it self; and albeit curious Wits hold all these to be Aenigma's, yet they are true according to the letter. Briefly, to manifest the truth, you shall know that in all Mines whatsoever there doth lye certain Beds, of a lutinous or clayish substance, under the Earth, which in some places is harder than in others, the deeper the Mine is, the more unctuous is the Clay; and this Clay is the Mother of the Metals, the feeder of the Mines, for in it lies hid the Spirits, or the three Principles of Metals, (viz) Salt the Body, Sulphur the Soul, and Mercury the Spirit, not common nor running, but a white Vapour which resolves it self into a white Water; I say invisibly in this confused lump of Clay, lies hid the aforesaid Principles.

      And this is the true Matter or Subject of the Philosophers, and mark how that it agreeth with that I said before: First, that it is one thing, which yet containeth three; Secondly, that it is a vile thing, and yet is not so, for it is a lump of Clay; Thirdly, that it is so vile and common that Workmen throw it out of their Mines, and tread on it, as a thing of no value: I have seen Highways paved with it in Hungary, and it is no other in other Countries. And is not this Chaos or confused matter? is not this the hope of Metals? be you judge. I took my Matter in Hungary out of the Mines of Sol, and so I was taught, because more decocted, and riper or hotter Spirits are there, than in any other Mines. Paracelsus out of it wrought his Elixir, but the Philosophers generally took their Matter (which is the same in shew and substance, but not so ripe) out of the Mines of Saturn, and that is their Saturn so often mentioned in their Books; not Ore of Saturn, nor Mercury of Saturn but the Sperm, where the Vegetable Spirits are not specificated to Lead, but lye hid in the lutinous lump of Clay.” [Aurifontina Chymica, Privy Seal of Secrets]


Matters
[Wolves and Honey, A Hidden History of the Natural, 2004]

 

 “…in our chapter in the Philosophers Argent vive, and in the second part of the Testament of the Exuberation of Physical Mines, and in our Book of the First Essence of the Quintessence of gold and silver; afterwards in other Books also made by me, where the whole Art is completely set down , but we have hidden the Secret as much as we could. But seeing that no man without this Secret can enter the Mines of the Philosophers, or make any thing that can profit him; therefore by the help of the Almighty, whom it hath pleased to reveal unto me this Secret, I will declare this whole Art without any fiction...” [Aurifontina Chymica, Clavicula or, A little Key of Raymond Lullie Majoricane; 1680; pages 165-166.]

 

“But now that we may speak something farther of our aes, you are to understand that aes signifies permanence & a permanent water. And as to the further considerableness of the nature of our aes, thou mayst easily perceive from its name of 4 letters in the English tongue viz BRAS. Which in Latin signifies aes: First of all therefore by B is signified the first body of our work which is our sweet & bitter olive & our aes remaining or permanent in its own form. But by R is signified the root of our work & the spring or fountain of the radical permanent moisture which our red tincture & red rose, which putrefies & purefies all things to generation in its own kind. And by A is signified our father Adam, who was the first man out of whom the first woman eye was born; from where thou maist understand that there is the male & female. Know therefore that our aes is the beginning of our work, our gold & our olive: For it is the first matter of metals, even as also a man is the first of man & woman. But S signifies the soul of our life & the spirit of life, which God inspired into Adam, & into all creatures, the which spirit is indeed called a quintessence.


”Moreover my son, by these 4 letters we understand the 4 elements without which nothing is generated in the nature of things. They also signify the sun & moon which are the cause of all life germination & augmentation of all things that grow in the world. Therefore in this name of 4 letters, all the whole work consists. For in our aes is male & female, out of whom he ariseth that is called, begotten. Consider therefore my son, advisedly, what is signified by our sweet aes which is called our sandiver, or the salt of our nitre. Also what the sanguis draconis, what the sol & lune, what our mercury & our aqua vite are, & many other things, of which the philosophers have spoken obscurely & enigmatically. Understand therefore my son that our first matter is neither common gold nor silver, nor is it of corrosives or such like extraneous things, which such as wander in the dark do use at this day. Beware therefore my son that thou admitst not at any rate any thing contrary in kind, for be sure, that what a man sows that shall he also reap. Farther, understand that when our stone is completed in his own proper kind, then it will be an hard stone which will not easily be dissolved. But yet if thou addest his wife thereto, it will be dissolved into oil which is called the oil of the philosophers, an incombustible oil & by many other names.

 

“Understand also my son that there are diverse fermentations as well corporal as spiritual, viz the corporal in quantity & the spiritual in quality. The corporal fermentation doth increase the weight & quantity of the medicine, but yet it is not of so great potency as is the medicine itself, or as the spiritual fermentation is. For it only augments the medicine in quantity, but not in virtue, but the spiritual fermentation augments it in both, & where the corporal bears rule (or projects) upon a hundred the spiritual bears rule upon a thousand. But farther, as long as the medicine is fermented with spiritual qualities so long is it called medicine.


“But when it is fermented with a corporal substance, it is called elixir. There is therefore a diverse manner of fermenting & a difference between medicine & elixir, for the one is spiritual, & the other is corporal. Understand also that as long as the ferment shall be spiritual it is a liquid oil & a gum, that cannot be conveniently carried about from place to place. But when it shall be a corporal ferment then it will be a stone, which thou mayst carry about thee in thy purse. Now then thou seest that there is a difference between medicine & elixir, nor is there less difference between elixir & gold & silver; for gold & silver are of difficult fusion but the elixir not so, for it viz the elixir presently melts at the flame of a candle, from whence thou mayst easily perceive how various the differences of our composition & temperature are. But last of all that we may speak somewhat of the meal & drink.

“Understand that the food of them is of the aerial stones & their drink is extracted out of two perfect bodies viz of sol & lune. But the drink which is extracted out of the sun is called aurum potabile & that of the moon is called lac virginis. And now my son we have spoken unto thee open enough, if the divine grace be not wanting unto thee, for the drink which is extracted out of the sun is red, but that out of the moon is white, & therefore one of them is called aurum potabile, & the other lac virginis, one also is masculine & the other is feminine, but yet both of them have their original of one image & one kind. Consider, my son, what I say, or otherwise if thou wander in the dark. Some evil may betide thee for want of the light, & so beware, that thou be diligent in the gyration or turning about of the philosophical wheel, that thou make water of earth, air of water, fire of air, & earth of fire. And all these of one image & root, that is of their own proper race or kind, & natural food, wherewith new life thereof may be cherished without end. He that hath understanding let him understand for it is not allowable to speak more. And verily if thyself understandest these things I doubt not, but that thou wilt never divulge such great secrets.” [Of the Mercury and Stones of the Philosophers, George Ripley]

 

“The philosophers have placed many and various names in their works that they might not be understood by fools, and so their knowledge be made vile and that it might not be indifferently common to all, as well to the unworthy and the worthy. But the philosophers themselves have not so much minded the names as the truth of the names, for by what name sooner our stone is nominated that it is but one thing, which were it but known, it could not be permitted to be so common as it is, as well to the poor as to the rich, nor would it ly in the streets to be trod on by human feet. And that I may open unto thee this thing, know by god that it is one of those things, which are of the seven days, and the viler of them. Out of whose body blood is artificially extracted, and a vaporous humour, which is called the blood of the green lion, out of which is made a water which is called the white of an egg and the water of life, of maydew, and by many other names, the which to avoid prolixity we shall at present omit. But out of the said water an earth is created, which is called sulphur vive, the calx of the body of the sun and moon and of other bodies, calcined eggshells, ceruse, saltpetre, arsenick and by innumerable other names; And know that in that earth is a fire and in that water is Air, and the earth putrefied with his own water, until the 4 elements may be separated from them, if the artist will copiously and without negligence proceed on in the rule of distilling them. Yet it sufficeth for the complement of the elixir to separate the water from the earth and to deal with the earth by calcination, and to rectify the water by circulation and again to conjoyne it as is permitted within 24 ways of practicing: On which account: When thou hadest a philosopher saying take of this or that, always understand it of this stone, or of the parts thereof separated, as if when he sayth, take arsenick, understand the fire of the stone, for sulphur the air, oil and sometimes the fire, and for armoniack the air, and for armoniack not dissolved the earth, and for mercury water, and sometimes mercury per se; now understand these things and remember them. For mercury understand a water exalted with his own calx, which must be congealed into salt, the which is called salt petre and the sulpur of Bacon, the which congeals every argent vive, because it is not the sulphur of the vulgar. Therefore as often as at any time thou findest in any philosophical work thus written in their recipes take mercury, beware of the argent vive of the vulgar; where they mencion sulphur and arsenick, beware of common sulphur and arsenick, either prepared or not prepared, where of saturn beware of vermilion, where the green lion beware of vitriol and copper, where sol beware of gold, where the lune there beware of common silver. In ablution beware of salts, and all corrosive waters metallick. In sublimations beware that thou mix no extraneous thing with the stone, in distillation beware that thou receive no drops; in calcinations see that thou extract no moisture: in projection see that thou eat not of a thing unclean: In thy work, shut thy vessel once what one is more is of evil. Beware that thou inmitt not thy stone into an heap of mercury the which Solomon reproved in the book of proverbs, for the stone is one, hid under innumerable names, the work one, the regiment one, the medicine one manifoldly varied, the which if thou hast, see that thou sell it not, but operate in a secret place that it may not come to any ones knowledge, least perhaps thou beest scandalized, and suffer judgment from men and revenge from god; for if any one make the art saleable, he will not long prosper in this life, for it is rather divine (if it be lawful so to speak) than human, this elixir, the which god will not suffer to be communicated but to the worthy.” [Philorcium, Chapter III, How error arising from the interpretation of hard words may be avoided; George Ripley]

 

 

“This oil now floating on the top is separated with the help of the white feather of a pigeon that has been well washed and dampened and it is necessary to be careful not to lose any of it at all because it is the true quintessence of there generated common gold in which the three principles are reunited and can no longer be separated the one from the other.

 

“Be careful to note that it is not necessary to push the lapidification of the matter too far in order not to transform the calcined fold into a sort of crystal. It is necessary to control the external fire skillfully so that it dries the saline humidity of the calcined gold, little by little, and thus changes it into a soft earth, which falls like an ash, because of its lapidification or more ample dessication.

 

“The oil thus obtained by separation is the tincture or the sulphur or the radical fire of the gold or the true coloration. It is also the true Potable Gold or the Universal Medicine for all the ills that afflict humanity. One only takes this at the two equinoxes in a quantity necessary lightly to color a soup spoon full of white tine or of distilled dew, seeing that a large quantity of this medicine would destroy the radical humidity of man and thus deprive him of life.

 

“This oil assumes on all possible forms and transforms itself into powder, into salt, into stone, into spirit, etc., by means of dessication by the help of its own secret fire. This oil is also the Blood of the Red Lion.” [Hermes Unveiled, Cyliani]

 

Fairy Spirit Starry
                    Night

Celestial Salt

Philosophick Saphires
                    from Heavenly Spirit
Philosophick Gold Lace
Philosophick Gold Spear