The version here has been taken from A. Waite's translation published in the two volume Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus, which he heavily edited of masonic remarks of Tschoudy.
Alchemical Catechism: A Short Catechism of Alchemy
Baron Tschoudy's Books List. Into male and female. To what may we compare Nature?
To Mercury. Give a concise definition of Nature. It is not visible, though it operates visibly; for it is simply a volatile spirit, fulfilling its office in bodies, and animated by the universal spirit-the divine breath, the central and universal fire, which vivifies all things that exist. What should be the qualities possessed by the examiners of Nature? They should be like unto Nature herself. That is to say, they should be truthful, simple, patient, and persevering.
What matters should subsequently engross their attention? The philosophers should most carefully ascertain whether their designs are in harmony with Nature, and of a possible and attainable kind; if they would accomplish by their own power anything that is usually performed by the power of Nature, they must imitate her in every detail. What method must be followed in order to produce something which shall be developed to a superior degree than Nature herself develops it.
The manner of its improvement must be studied, and this is invariably operated by means of a like nature. For example, if it be desired to develop the intrinsic virtue of a given metal beyond its natural condition, the chemist must avail himself of the metallic nature itself, and must be able to discriminate between its male and female differentiations. Where does the metallic nature store her seeds? In the four elements. With what materials can the philosopher alone accomplish anything?
With the germ of the given matter; this is its elixir or quintessence, more precious by far, and more useful, to the artist, than is Nature herself. Before the philosopher has extracted the seed, or germ. Nature, in his behalf, will be ready to perform her duty. What is the germ, or seed, of any substance? It is the most subtle and perfect decoction and digestion of the substance itself; or, rather, it is the Balm of Sulphur, which is identical with the Radical Moisture of Metals.
By what is this seed, or germ, engendered? By the four elements, subject to the will of the Supreme Being, and through the direct intervention of the imagination of Nature.
Alchemical Catechism : Theophrastus Paracelsus :
After what manner do the four elements operate? By means of an incessant and uniform motion, each one, according to its quality, depositing its seed in the centre of the earth, where it is subjected to action and digested, and is subsequently expelled in an outward direction by the laws of movement. What do the philosophers understand by the centre of the earth?
A certain void place where nothing may repose, and the existence of which is assumed.
Where, then, do the four elements expel and deposit their seeds? In the ex-centre, or in the margin and circumference of the centre, which, after it has appropriated a portion, casts out the surplus into the region of excrement, scoriae, fire, and formless chaos. Illustrate this teaching by an example. Take any level table, and set in its centre a vase filled with water; surround the vase with several things of various colours, especially salt, taking care that a proper distance intervenes between them all.
Then pour out the water from the vase, and it will flow in streams here and there; one will encounter a substance of a red colour, and will assume a tinge of red; another will pass over the salt, and will contract a saline flavour; for it is certain that water does not modify the places which it traverses, but the diverse characteristics of places change the nature of water. In the same way the seed which is deposited by the four elements at the centre of the earth is subject to a variety of modifications in the places through which it passes, so that every existing substance is produced in the likeness of its channel, and when a seed on its arrival at a certain point encounters pure earth and pme water, a pure substance results, but the contrary in an opposite case.
After what manner do the elements procreate this seed? In order to the complete elucidation of this point, it must be observed that there are two gross and heavy elements and two that are volatile in character. Two, in like manner, are dry and two humid, one out of the four being actually excessively dry, and the other excessively moist.
They are also masculine and feminine. Now, each of them has a marked tendency to reproduce its own species within its own sphere. Moreover, they are never in repose, but are perpetually interacting, and each of them separates, of and by itself, the most subtle portion thereof. Their general place of meeting is in the centre, even the centre of the Archeus, that servant of Nature, where coming to mix their several seeds, they agitate and finally expel them to the exterior.
What is the true and the first matter of all metals? The first matter, properly so called, is dual in its essence, or is in itself of a twofold nature; one, nevertheless, cannot create a metal without the concurrence of the other. The first and the palmary essence is an aerial humidity, blended with a warm air, in the form of a fatty water, which adheres to all substances indiscriminately, whether they are pure or impure. How has this humidity been named by Philosophers? By what is it governed? By the rays of the Sun and Moon.
What is the second matter? The warmth of the earth -otherwise, that dry heat which is termed Sulphur by the Philosophers. Can the entire material body be converted into seed? Its eight-hundredth part only-that, namely, which is secreted in the centre of the body in question, and may, for example, be seen in a grain of wheat.
Of what use is the bulk of the matter as regards its seed? It is useful as a safeguard against excessive heat, cold, moisture, or aridity, and, in general, all hurtful inclemency, against which it acts as an envelope. Would those artists who pretend to reduce the whole matter of any body into seed derive any advantage from the process, supposing it were possible to perform it? None; on the contrary, their labour would be wholly unproductive, because nothing that is good can be accomplished by a deviation from natural methods.
What, therefore, should be done? The matter must be effectively separated from its impurities, for there is no metal, how pine soever, which is entirely free from imperfections, though their extent varies.
Now all superfluities, cortices, and scoriae must be peeled off and purged out from the matter in order to discover its seed. What should receive the most careful attention of the Philosopher? Assuredly, the end of Nature, and this is by no means to be looked for in the vulgar metals, because, these having issued already from the hands of the fashioner, it is no longer to be found therein. For what precise reason? Because the vulgar metals, and chiefly gold, are absolutely dead, while ours, on the contrary, are absolutely living, and possess a soul.
What is the life of metals? It is no other substance than fire, when they are as yet imbedded in the mines.
Catechism of Alchemy
What is their death? Their life and death are in reality one principle, for they die, as they live, by fire, but their death is from a fire of fusion. After what manner are metals conceived in the womb of the earth? When the four elements have developed their power or virtue in the centre of the earth, and have deposited their seed, the Archeus of Nature, in the course of a distillatory process, sublimes them superficially by the warmth and energy of the perpetual movement.
Into what does the wind resolve itself when it is distilled through the pores of the earth? It resolves itself into water, whence all things spring; in this state it is merely a humid vapour, out of which there is subsequently evolved the principiated principle of all substances, which also serves as the first matter of the Philosophers. What then is this principiated principle, which is made use of as the first matter by the Children of Knowledge in the philosophic achievement? It is this identical matter, which, the moment it is conceived, receives a permanent and unchangeable form.
One is common to them all; their differences are to be accounted for by the: locality from which they are derived, not to speak of the fact that Nature completes her work with far greater rapidity in the procreation of silver than in that of gold, and so of the other metals, each in its own proportion.
How is gold formed in the bowels of the earth? When this vapour, of which we have spoken, is sublimed in the centre of the earth, and when it has passed through warm and pure places, where a certain sulphureous grease adheres to the channels, then this vapour, which the Philosophers have denominated their Mercury, becomes adapted and joined to this grease, which it sublimes with itself; from such amalgamation there is produced a certain unctuousness, which, abandoning the vaporous form, assumes that of grease, and is sublimised in other places, which have been cleansed by this preceding vapour, and the earth whereof has consequently been rendered more subtle, pure, and humid; it fills the pores of this earth, is joined thereto, and gold is produced as a result.
How is Saturn engendered? It occurs when the said unctuosity, or grease, passes through places which are totally impure and cold. How is Venus brought forth?
She is produced in localities where the earth itself is pure, but is mingled with impure sulphur. What power does the vapour, which we have recently mentioned, possess in the centre of the earth? By its continual progress it has the power of perpetually rarefying whatsoever is crude and impure, and of successively attracting to itself all that is pure around it. What is the seed of the first matter of all things? The first matter of things, that is to say, the matter of principiating principles is begotten by Nature, without the assistance of any other seed; in other words.
Nature receives the matter from the elements, whence it subsequently brings forth the seed. What, absolutely speaking, is therefore the seed of things? The seed in a body is no other thing than a congealed air, or a humid vapour, which is useless except it be dissolved by a warm vapour. How is the generation of seed comprised in the metallic kingdom? By the artifice of Archeus the four elements, in the first generation of Nature, distil a ponderous vapour of water into the centre of the earth ; this is the seed of metals, and it is called Mercury, not on account of its essence, but because of its fluidity, and the facility with which it will adhere to each and every thing.
Why is this vapour compared to sulphur?
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Because of its internal heat. From what species of Mercury are we to conclude that the metals are composed? The reference is exclusively to the Mercury of the Philosophers, and in no sense to the common or vulgar substance, which cannot become a seed, seeing that, like other metals, it already contains its own seed. What, therefore, must actually be accepted as the subject of our matter? The seed alone, otherwise the fixed grain, and not the whole body, which is differentiated into Sulphur, or living male, and into Mercury, or living female. What operation must be afterwards performed A.
They must be joined together, so that they may form a germ, after which they will proceed to the procreation of a fruit which is conformed to their nature. What is the part of the artist in this operation? The artist must do nothing but separate that which is subtle from that which is gross. To what, therefore, is the whole philosophic combination reduced? The development of one into two, and the reduction of two into one, and nothing further.
Whither must we turn for the seed and life of meals and minerals? The seed of minerals is properly the water which exists in the centre And the heart of the minerals. How does Nature operate by the help of Art? Every seed, whatsoever its kind, is useless, unless by Nature or Art it is placed in a suitable matrix, where it receives its life by the coction of the germ! How is the seed subsequently nourished and preserved?
By the warmth of its body. What is therefore performed by the artist in the mineral kingdom? He finishes what cannot be finished by Nature on account of the crudity of the air, which has permeated the pores of all bodies by its violence, but on the surface and not in the bowels of the earth. What correspondence have the metals among themselves? It is necessary for a proper comprehension of the nature of this correspondence to consider the position of the planets, and to pay attention to Saturn, which is the highest of all, and then is succeeded by Jupiter, next by Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and, lastly, by the Moon.
It must be observed that the influential virtues of the planets do not ascend but descend, and experience teaches us that Mars can be easily converted into Venus, not Venus into Mars, which is of a lower sphere. So, also, Jupiter can be easily transmuted into Mercury, because Jupiter is superior to Mercury, the one being second after the firmament, the other second above the earth, and Saturn is highest of all, while the Moon is lowest. The Sun enters into all, but it is never ameliorated by its inferiors.
It is clear that there is a large correspondence between Saturn and the Moon, in the middle of which is the Sun; but to all these changes the Philosopher should strive to administer the Sun. When the Philosophers speak of gold and silver, from which they extract their matter, are we to suppose that they refer to the vulgar gold and silver?
By no means; vulgar silver and gold are dead, while those of the Philosophers are full of life. What is the object of research among the Philosophers? Proficiency in the art of perfecting what Nature has left imperfect in the mineral kingdom, and the attainment of the treasure of the Philosophical Stone. What is this Stone? The Stone is nothing else than the radical humidity of the elements, perfectly purified and educed into a sovereign fixation, which causes it to perform such great things for health, life being resident exclusively in the humid radical. In what does the secret of accomplishing this admirable work consist?
It consists in knowing how to educe from potentiality into activity the innate warmth, or the fire of Nature, which is enclosed in the centre of the radical humidity. What are the precautions which must be made use of to guard against failure in the work? Great pains must be taken to eliminate excrements from the matter, and to conserve nothing but the kernel, which contains all the virtue of the compound. Why does this medicine heal every species of disease? Item s unavailable for purchase. Please review your cart. You can remove the unavailable item s now or we'll automatically remove it at Checkout.
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