THE LIGHT COMING OUT OF THE DARKNESS BY ITS OWN
The dark Chaos had come out as a confused mass from the depth of the
Nothing, on the first sound of the almighty Word, and one would have said
that disorder made it, and that it could not be the work of a God, formless
as it was. All things in it were in a deep rest, and the elements in it
were confused, because the divine Spirit did not yet distinguish them.
Who could now tell in which way the Heavens, the Earth and the Sea have
been formed so light in themselves, and so vast, taking into account their
wide spread? Who could explain how the Sun and the Moon have received the
movement and the light, and how everything we see down here, has its form
and its being?
Who could eventually understand how every thing has received its own
denomination, has been animated by its proper spirit, and while coming out
of the impure and unordered mass of the Chaos, has been regulated by a law,
a quantity and a measure?
O you, children and imitators of the divine Hermes, to whom the science of
your father showed the nature discovered, only you, only you know how this
immortal hand has formed the Earth and the Heavens out of this formless
mass of the Chaos; since your Great Work shows clearly that God has created
all things in the same way that your Philosophical Elixir is made.
But it does not belong to my weak pen to draw such a great picture; I am
only a puny child of the Art, without any experience. It is not that your
savant writings didn’t make me perceive the real goal one should go for,
nor that I don’t know this Ilias, which has in it all we need, as well as
this admirable composite through which you could bring the virtue of the
elements from power to act.
It’s not that I do not know your secret Mercury, which is no other than a
living, universal and innate spirit, which, in the form of airy vapour,
comes down ceaselessly from heaven to earth in order to fill its porous
belly, which then is born in the middle of impure sulphurs, and while
growing, changes nature from volatile to fixed, giving itself the form of a
It is not that I do not know yet, that if our oval Vessel is not sealed by
Winter, it will never be able to keep the precious vapour, and that our
beautiful child will die at birth, if it is not promptly rescued by an
industrious hand and by the eyes of a lynx, since otherwise it will not be
able to feed on its first humour, to the example of man, who, after feeding
on impure blood in the motherÂ¹s womb, lives on milk when he comes on earth.
Even if I know all these things, I do not dare yet to prove them to
you, the errors of others always making me incertain. But if you are more
touched by pity than by envy, dare to remove from my mind all doubts which
embarass it, and if I can be happy enough to explain distinctly in my books
all which concerns your magistry, make, I conjure you, that I have from you
as an answer: Work hard, since you know what has to be known.
How much are men, who are not advanced in HermesÂ¹s School, wrong, when,
with a greedy spirit, they attach to the sound of the words. It is
ordinarily believing those vulgar names of Quicksilver and Gold they go to
work, and it is with common gold that they imagine, through a slow fire, to
eventually fix this fugitive Silver.
But if they could open the eyes of their mind to understand well the hidden
sense of the authors, they could clearly see that the Gold and the
Quicksilver of the vulgar are destitute of this universal fire, which is
the real agent; this agent or spirit leaves the metals when they are in the
furnace, exposed to the violence of the flames; this makes that the metal,
outside of its mine and with this spirit removed, is only a dead and
It is another Mercury and another Gold that Hermes heard about: a humid and
warm Mercury, always constant in the fire. A Gold which is all fire and all
life. Such a difference allows easily to distinguish them from those of the
vulgar, which are dead and mindless corpses, while ours are bodily spirits,
O great Mercury of the philosopher! it is in you that Gold and Silver are
together, after they have been pulled from power to act. Mercury, all Sun
and all Moon, triple substance in one, and one substance in three. O
admirable thing! Mercury, Sulphur and Salt make me see three substances in
one only substance.
But where is that gold-making Mercury, which, dissolved in Salt and
Sulphur, becomes the humid radical of metals, and their animated seed? It
is locked up in a prison so strong that even Nature itself could not remove
it, if the industrious art would not ease its means.
But what does the art? Ingenious minister of the diligent nature, it
purifies, through a vaporous flame, the paths leading to the prison, not
having a better guide nor a more sure means than a soft and continous heat
to help nature, and to allow it to cut the threads which tie our Mercury.
Yes, yes, it is the only Mercury you have to seek, unsubmissive minds!
because only in this Mercury you can find everything the Sages need. In it
are united in forthcoming power the Moon and the Sun, who, put together,
without vulgar Gold and Silver, make the real seed of the Silver and the
But every seed is useless if it remains as it is, if it does not decay and
becomes black; because corruption always precedes generation. It is this
way that Nature proceeds in all its operations, and when we want to imitate
it, we must also blacken before whitening, without which we will only
O you! who, to make Gold by art, are always in the middle of the flames of
your glowing coals; you who freeze and solve your various mixtures in so
many ways, sometimes dissolving them entirely, sometimes coagulating them
only partially, how comes that, like smoky moths, you spend days and
nights roving around your furnaces?
Stop from now on to exhaust yourself in vain, fearing that a crazy hope
makes all your thoughts to go in smoke. Your works only involve useless
sweat, which marks on your front the unhappy hours you spend in your dirty
retreats. What are these violent flames good for, since the sages do not
use glowing coal nor burning wood to perform the hermetic Work?
It is with the same fire that nature uses underground, that the art should
work, and that is the way that art should imitate nature. A vaporous fire,
which is not light however, a fire which nourishes and does not consume, a
natural fire, made by art however; dry, but which brings rain; humid, but
which dries. A water which extinguishes, a water which washes the bodies
but does not wet the hands.
It is with such a fire that the art, which wants to imitate nature, must
work, and which one has to supply when the other is lacking. Nature starts,
art finishes, and only art purifies what nature could not purify. Art
encompasses industry, and nature simplicity; so if the one clears the road
the other stops immediately.
What’s the use of so many different substances in retorts or pot-stills, if
the matter is unique, just like the fire? Yes, matter is unique, it is
everywhere, and the poor can have it as well as the rich. It is unknown to
everybody, and everybody has it before the eyes; it is despised like mud by
the vulgar ignorant, and is sold at a cheap price; but it is precious to
the philosopher who knows its real value.
It’s this matter, disdained so much by the ignorants, that the savants look
after with care, because in it is all they can desire. In this matter are
together the Sun and the Moon, not the vulgar ones, not the dead ones. In
this matter is enclosed the fire, from which these metals get life; it is
this matter which gives the fiery water, which also gives the fixed earth;
it is finally this matter which gives all what’s necessary for an enlightened
But instead of considering that one only compound is sufficient for the
philosopher, you enjoy yourself, stupid chemists, to put several products
together, and instead of the philosopher, who boils, with a gentle and
solar heat, in a single vessel, a single vapour which thickens slowly, you
put one thousand different ingredients together, and instead of God, who
made all things from nothing, you debase everything to nothing.
It is not with the soft gums, nor with the hard excrements, it is not with
blood or human semen, it is not with green raisins nor with herbal
quintessences, strong waters, corrosive salts, nor with Roman vitriol, not
with arid talcum, nor impure antimony, not with sulphur or mercury, not
even with the vulgar metals themselves that an able artist will work at our
What’s the use of all those mixtures? Because our science encloses the whole
Magistery in one root, which I made you know already, and perhaps more than
I had to. This root contains two substances, which have only one essence
however, and these substances, which are intitially only Gold and Silver in
power, become eventually Gold and Silver in act, provided we can well
equalise their weights.
Yes, these substances make actual Gold and Silver, and through the equality
of their weights, the volatile is fixed in Golden sulphur. O luminous
Sulphur! o real animated Gold! I adore in you all marvels and all virtues
of the Sun. Because your sulphur is a treasure, and the real foundation of
the art, which ripens in elixir what nature only brings to the perfection
of the Gold.