TREATISE ON GOLD
How to Extract the Gold’s Virtue and to Prepare a Wholesome Medicine
All true chymists and philosophers write that common corporeal gold is of not much use in man’s body if it is only ingested as such, for no metallic body can be of use if it is not previously dissolved and reduced to the prima materia. We have an example in corals. The virtue of corals is not in the stone or the body but in their red color. If the corals are to release their power, a separation must first occur through a dissolution, and the redness must be separated from the body. Tincture the body is a shell which is left behind quite white, but the essence of the corals, which is quite red, afterwards perfectly accomplishes its effect in man’s body because the obstruction has been separated from it (that is, from the stone and the body). Thus you should also deal with gold, silver, iron, lead, and other metals. If they are to bear fruit, they must likewise be separated from their bodies, that is, from their inner earth or slime, to allow their radical moisture to operate quite unhindered in man’s body. Before, its power could not accomplish it, as the bodies were still held by their metallic slime and earth. Consequently, whoever wants to do something useful in medicine must see to it that he first dissolve and open his metallic body, then extract its soul and essence, and the work will then not result in no fruit.
But as to give here my view as well, I am certain that raw metals, without prior preparation, help little or nothing at all. Our natural warmth is far too weak to be able to cook and prepare the metals in such a way that they can penetrate to the heart through the small veins and finally throughout the body, imparting their effect. Even so, some are convinced that metals are supposed to have been eaten and digested by chickens, just as Pliny wrote in his time that if a hen were fed with gold leaf, it would transform the gold into an essence in its stomach. And thus, if it were eaten, the chicken would bring man great strength and health. Some also believed that in our time and wrote wonders about it, how gold veins are supposed to have shown up in the chicken livers, which is ridiculous. I am surprised that it did not also lay golden eggs, like Aesop’s hen! Then they would have become mighty rich people in a short time, especially if they had bred as many chickens as in Egypt, where they are hatched in a specially arranged oven, and 20,000 creep out all at once. They could have laid many eggs, thus producing several million gold for a poor man. Let anyone who wishes believe this, but experience has taught me differently. I have tried it at different times and very carefully attended to the chickens. But after several days of feeding the chickens with gold leaf, I found nothing but — salve honore — gilt muck. I had therefore spent my money very badly.
I had the chickens slaughtered, wanting to know if the gold seed in them had perhaps grown so big that they could henceforth excrete nothing but gold. But less than nothing was to be found, while the chickens had eaten more than two ducats of gold. I felt sad because my Art did not progress.
This, however, I have seen. A chicken belonging to a Count had swallowed a big pearl. When the chicken was cut open after several hours, the pearl was indeed found in the stomach but its lustre was all gone, as if it had been reverberated in the fire. This stands to reason, because pearls have not got the same fixation as metals, especially not as gold and silver, which are most indestructible. Experience proves that no element can destroy Gold, and although some Aquae Chrysuleae (gold waters) can corrode it and dissolve it into water, there is nevertheless no destruction. If the waters are again distilled off it, the Gold is left just as good as before. But if a pearl is thus dissolved, it can no longer be brought into its body, that is, become a pearl, although many chat of it, pretending one could thus make one big pearl from many small ones. True, a body, also one of mother of pearl, can put be put together, but one cannot give it the right lustre of pearls.
Gold, however, stays shining, also after its dissolution. I will admit, however, that gold did appear in the stomach of the chicken as if it had undergone an alteration, but it was in fact nothing except that it got ready for exit together with the other excrements. It seems so very incredible that gold-veins have supposedly been seen in the liver. From where did those veins come? Either they allowed the gold leaves to move entire to the liver through the veins, or they had to grow out of the blood – none of which can be true. If the gold had been digested, part of it would have turned into blood and should have been communicated further to the other organs by the liver. If the blood had then immediately reversed into gold, it would follow that the whole chicken, which takes its nourishment and increase in weight solely from the blood, would have turned into gold. One could then have wished that he had had chickens as big as aurochses or elephants – then the gold of the century would have appeared in the world.
I am also convinced that raw, unprepared metals are more harmful than useful to man. Because of their heaviness they enter the abdominal folds, mingle with the tartar, thus increasing the pain, as could be proven by many examples. Although I can remember that I knew a furrier in Weiss, the region of the Enns river in Austria, who, when he felt a discomfort in his stomach, got hold of some iron filings, ate a good amount of them and cured himself thereby. Matthiolus and Mizaldus also remember such meals and report that they agreed well with the people. True, there are good reasons for this, as iron is sooner destroyed than other metal. I would nevertheless not like to use it. For we cannot know what kind of a work Nature intended to make of it, whether it was supposed to become a tree or a metal, which the Farmer discusses quite well and reasonably in Arcanum aperta arconorum arcanissimorum, and also thoroughly instructs his disciple in it. Of the same opinion is also the luminous most noble Sendivogius, who philosophizes wonderfully and thoroughly about it in his treatises.
True, it is certain and undeniable that if metals are to be brought into their essentials, they must be dissolved into Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury. However, these are not the prima materia but the materia secunda ex prima orta (the second matter originated in the first). Of what use would it be to us if they were to revert directly into their chaos? We could not do anything with them. Nature, however, does with them as she pleases, which the artist cannot copy. For him it must be enough to stay with the predestined and predetermined materia, and to extract and prepare from it its true essence. But how that is done, about that all keep silent and do not wish to come forth. But if you do not have the prima materia of the metals, you will never radically open the gold, and this prima materia is the bolt before the door of many fine geniuses, preventing them from entering the shrine of Nature. Dear Lord! How many have tortured themselves and tried to find this key, but they sooner died searching than that they found it. Many a man has been delayed by the name of prima materia, which he did not correctly understand, searching for a key that would bring the ( ) into the prima materia or chaos. As I have indicated above, this would be of no use to me, but with the other materia prima I can afterwards make what I want. In this there is hidden a great secret, especially if one wishes to bring out the substantialia.
When they hear of the Principles, many believe that they will turn into a Mercurius currens, a special Salt, and a separate Sulphur. They take great pains to get the process for obtaining these Principles, and do not save any expense. I have found a distinguished man who had in his possession a whole pound of liquid Mercury of Gold, but he achieved no more with it than that he prepared with it a precipitate. How much expense this had caused him is easy to guess, let alone how much labor was involved. He did believe that because he had the liquid Mercury of the Sun, he had already won the party and was on the right way according to the philosophers, as they declare unanimously that one has to prepare the Mercury. This has led many of them astray into an eternal labyrinth, out of which they cannot find a way. They could not believe that this Mercury also has its hypostatic principles. But the Philosophical Mercury is a simple body, and with it a Mercury is made, as the philosophers say: Fac Mercurium per Mercurium. (Make Mercury through Mercury). Yes, they say, our Mercury is our gold, and our gold dissolves common gold. These are strange sayings, which appear absurd to Aristotelian philosophers and totally contrary to Nature. Nevertheless, it is the pure truth, and it can be depicted by a coarse example by taking a vulgar (common) Mercury, adding to it filed or granulated lead, and setting it to digest for some time. The lead will also turn into a Mercury and pass with it through the leather. It can also be sublimated with it.
When some men saw this, they immediately fell for it and imagined that they were now holding the fox’s tail and it could no longer escape. Thus they also undertook this processing of the gold, but their miserable work revealed how much they had been mistaken and that the writings of the philosophers are not to be understood superficially according to the letter.
I must admit that at the beginning of my labors I had also believed that either vulgar Mercury or at least the liquid Mercury of the ( ) had to be infallible, according to what is written. Therefore, I tried to make the Mercury of the ( ) with vulgar Mercury. I spent a long time on it, till it went as quickly through the leather as common Mercury. When I finally succeeded, the vulgar Mercury and the gold were nevertheless left as they had been previously. And supposing it had turned into a liquid Mercury, it would not have helped me because at that time I did not understand things better.
But if I set it to digest and proceeded as the philosophers teach, various colors appeared, black, white, yellow, and red. Following the last, however, a ridiculous mouse was born, and I had nothing more than a precipitate for the French (V.D.) and other diseases. Therefore, I went away chapfallen. Without doubt, Poppius’ opinion is the same, just like the common erroneous view of most laboratory workers, because he tried to explain this dissolution by the example of the corals, which, however, does not fit in every case. Tincture alicujus corporis extractio (the extraction of the tincture of a body) is something else than resolutio corporis in sua principia sive in primam materiam (the resolution of a body into its principles or into prima materia).
Regarding corals, however, it is true and certain that their best power is contained in the tincture and that the body is not good for anything, which is not just simply true. I must admit that the chief virtue resides in the color or tincture, but it does not therefore follow that there is also nothing in the other bodies. The tincture of the corals is their least part. One pound yields but a little, and if we treat the work quite subtly, we can hardly obtain half a dram of the true tincture of essentials, as Mr. Lauremberg also writes in Animaadversionibus & Notis ad Aphorismos Angeli Salae, where we can read him further, and where he convincingly presents his views to Angelo Salae. I myself must applaud Mr. D. Lauremberg and admit that the tincture in precious stones and corals is so scanty that it makes me wonder that so little can be extracted. Therefore many believe that it is impossible for the Art to extract a tincture, but they are mistaken. The tincture may well be extracted, but it is impossible to obtain it in great quantity.
Consequently, we can infer what is to be thought of the tincture sold in pharmacies, where they have big vats full of it. It is nothing but a mere brandy, slightly colored during digestions or due to the acid with which the corals are dissolved and which is still contained in it! Yet a great fuss is made about it, whereby both the physician who does not know better and the patient are cheated. But the tincture of corals is such a beautiful ruby-red juice, and there is so little of it, that one beholds it with amazement. I myself have seen very little of it aside from what I observed in Kassel in the Princely Pharmacy and in Marburg with Dr. Johann Hartmann. A single grain of this tincture does more than a whole pound of the common. If our author’s opinion were true, namely, that the body of corals is good for nothing and only deserves to be poured away, it would follow that the Salt of corals and the magistery were of no use at all. Experience, however, has proven it to be quite different. I have learned in practice that if a magistery of corals is especially well prepared, it is a mighty tonic for the heart. If this only came from the tincture, there would be little hope in it.
Although I must admit that the greatest power is in the tincture, one must not therefore throw the body away altogether, because it can be so beautifully prepared that it results in very great virtues. Its crystalline Salt — with which was as a ruby. From the body I made the Salt which was as clear and crystalline as diamonds can never be. When I had it in its last solution, I again added to it its own tincture, drew the superfluous liquid off per balneum until it looked quite dry. Now this crystalline Salt turned as red as blood and as transparent as crystal, which was not only a special pleasure for my eyes but in addition made me happy, thinking this process could possibly also be applied to the higher metals. I am still of opinion that if the tincture were extracted with a proper menstruum, the body changed into a transparent one, and that tincture were again added to it, it might well turn in to something. An experienced chymist could try it, perhaps his work would be a good investment. Consequently, the body of corals should not be completely rejected.
I have extracted from the above-mentioned pound more than four Lots of pure crystalline Salt. Of course, a clumsy laboratory worker can handle it so badly that he spoils everything, and that afterwards nothing else can be prepared from it. For we find not a few of those inexperienced laboratory workers who spoil more than they bring to a good end, especially when they follow their own fantasies. What I am saying is not at all to be understood as if I esteemed and approved the prepared coral powder of the common apothecaries, much less praise and hold in high regard the powdered corals administered by the would-be intelligent females. They cannot do anything in medicine and are no better than if one had swallowed a handful of sand. They go to the stomach and out again through the behind. Only faith must do its best, or else nobody would believe that such red corals are a medicine.Experience, however, shows what good one can hope of them. Whoever wishes to scour his stomach and intestines with them, as dishes and pans are scrubbed, let him do it, but I do not want such a scrubbing.
With the body of corals of which the tincture has already been extracted, a Spiritus can be prepared which burns like a brandy and can be used for many things in medicine. But how to bring each into its added will be shown according to the author’s instructions and illustrated by my own experience. Therefore, we will each time start with the text, or the preparation and its use, while I indicate my preparation in the note and observation, so that no one who wants to copy it will go wrong, and thus we are beginning with the oil of gold.
Fine gold, 2,3,4, Lots, or as much as you like. It must first be poured three times through antimony, each time driving the antimony off on a cupel, as goldsmiths and refiners know how to do. Of that Basil of the Benedictine Order says as follows: The Grey Wolf must eat the Lion, which must be devoured by it three times, after first purifying itself and cleansing its eyes with the Wolf’s blood, so that they shine brightly. The Wolf is the antimony; the Lion, however, the pure gold. When now the gold has thus been purified, have it beaten thin like paper. Make of it round, rolled-up rolls that can be put into a separator. Pour on it Aquam Regis (King’s water) that has previously been conjoined with the sublimated ammonia during distillation and rectification. This water must stand two fingers’ high above the gold. Now close the mouth of the retort, so that the spirits do not vanish. Set the glass in warm ashes and dissolve it in the Balneum and gently distill the moisture off it. Then refine it strongly in the sand till the corrosive or sharpness has altogether gone over the head. The gold will be left at the bottom of the vessel like a brown powder or dust.
This powder must afterwards be reverberated, closed, in a steady fire, day and night for 13 weeks. the heat must be such that the gold neither flows nor melts. In the heat the gold will stew in its own juice, so that it will thereafter in the second dissolution drop its earth and metallic slime. After that, take one-third of the subtle gold calx and pour its own water over it. It is a crystalline, transparent, mineral water, quite pure and delicate, which Paracelsus calls the Green Lion and Basil, Aquam Solventem (Dissolving water). Take nine parts, everything closed in a phial, let it circulate for three weeks in a vapor-fire, and the gold will turn into oil, leaving its slime and earth behind. Regarding this metallic earth, its virtue is to dry in surgery and also to heal, especially every fluid damage. This preparation is done according to the chymical and not to the common method.
Aside from the rational soul, God has made no more wonderful creature than gold. It is such an excellent body that does not know anything of destruction from any element. Therefore it was called by the Arabs fortitudo omnis fortitudinis (strength of all strengths). But for a long time it had only been misused, and nobody could believe that God had enclosed a medicine in this wonder-creature. The ancient Greeks only used it for the luxury of their life. This was only because they did not know the noble Art of Chymia, which can prepare it into a medicine. For this reason the Arabs reflected a little more deeply on this matter and discovered that in it there must lie a great power and a Universal Medicine.
Avicenna, Geber, Arnold of Villanova and similar witnesses can be found now and again, which all goes to prove that gold is the very noblest subject in the whole world. This has not only been confirmed by the philosophers and physicians but its test and effect have proven the truth of what they stated. Just as the aforementioned Arnold of Villanova cured with it the King of Naples, who had suffered from lepra and restored him to full health. If I wished to name all the sick who were cured by gold, it would result in a big, immense work. Let those see to it how they can one day take the responsibility for writing against their conscience and negating everything the learned physicians have left in their writings and experience has proven true, of whom Eratus is not one of the least. He issued a public treatise or dialogue against it, and as nothing could be found in it but wrong assumptions and hypothesis, it is not worth answering it, although he has already been refuted by many and his worthless arguments have been pointed out to him. Of such men the whole country is full nowadays. They do not wish to admit that there are such mighty virtues in gold and other metals, though experience has taught us differently. Those fellows can never answer for it, for they are doing violence to God and Nature, while they should thank God profusely for this noble subject and not only use it out of greed, vanity, and arrogance – because it was not created for that purpose – but rather for the maintenance of man and his body which is subject to all kinds of diseases. In gold there is such a congenial combination of elements that it must incontestably follow that the very best medicine can be prepared with it, provided we ourselves apply us and do not begrudge a little effort.
We could actually have patience with those people if they only kept their opinions to themselves, but they must be blamed for so greatly playing down and slandering those wonderful medicines before others. They speak of them like the blind man of colors, just as recently an old, otherwise quite experienced physician told me to my face that metallic medicines are pure poison. But when I asked by what principle he could prove it, he replied that they were altogether harmful to man because of their poisonous origin. I had to laugh and did not consider this reasoning worthy of an answer. I only said that no old woman would have so little intelligence that she could not refute that reasoning. Therefore it is totally wrong to revile and slander those noble medicaments, which they do not understand. Cardanus and Scaliger were also of that opinion. Nevertheless, Cardanus had to admit willy-nilly that he had seen an important test made with potable gold. Scaliger, likewise, changed his opinion after he got better informed.
If only our cocky critics would do the same! Then many a man would work harder in this work than he does, and many more secret things would be revealed which stay unpublished due to the slandering. True, it would be unfair to stick all arcana on the nose of the ungrateful world. Therefore the true philosophers have not without reason depicted gold by a circle with a point in the center, thereby showing its great perfection. They also compare it to the heavenly sun, for just as the sun refreshes all sublunar things with its heat, so gold likewise refreshens all human organs, especially the heart. And just as the sun is the king of the planets, so gold is the king of metals, and the heart is the king among the human organs. These three have a great affinity for each other. Only the external look of the gold rejoices the heart of the misers, and in order to obtain gold enough they are using all kinds of means, also against their conscience. They often resort to such means as cost them their health and life, and they do not pay attention to it no matter how great the danger may be.
Now we will turn to the preparation of aurum potabile (potable gold). A great deal could here be said of the true potable gold, and there is hardly any chymist, yes, hardly any common laboratory worker, who would not know a special and secret preparation. In addition, many a man utters such nonsense that one must rightly laugh at it, and we can now and then also read about such fantasies. Yet all are very much mistaken, just as I recently saw someone who wanted to prepare potable gold with ear wax! Regarding that, I think it would have been much better if he had taken monkey wax. Then, someone tried to make potable gold with pigeon dirt, but it remained gold as before, and the dirt also remained what it had been. There is indeed nothing in the world so crazy that one does not find people who dare process it to gold according to their fool’s head. They boast a great deal about it, but finally the unhappy ending shows up their foolish beginning. This is certain and true: gold may be prepared as anyone wishes, without the universal menstruum of the ancient ones — it is yet not the ancients’ aurum, for their gold is a different gold.
I can imagine that Basil Valentine means antimony by the term Grey Wolf – much less Paracelsus. Although many call antimony the Grey Wolf, it is only to be understood figuratively and is only enigmatically true. Is it that antimony, or the Grey Wolf, refines gold and adds a beautiful lustre to it? But how does it help the Philosophical Work? For all philosophers admit unanimously that their gold is no common gold. Yes, their gold dissolves gold. If then it is not common gold, how can it be processed through antimony? Common gold is dead and powerless, unless it be dissolved through the prima materia out of which it was born, and be born a second time. Only then will it really become Philosophical Gold and aurum potable, a small dose of which can drive away all sicknesses in a short time.
Yet this must not be understood as if I wanted to deny all the gold’s virtues. No, because experience proves that common gold has mighty effects in many sicknesses. The gold of Hermes, however, and that of other philosophers is a medicine that cures all sicknesses, no matter where they come from. Like fire it penetrates the whole body, cleansing it of all superfluities and restoring it to the highest degree of health. Whoever achieves it is extremely happy. On this preparation many tons (?) of gold have been squandered, while nothing has been accomplished except thereby learning to distill a little. That is why artificial furnaces, instruments, and glasses have been invented, so that, if the ancients were now to raise again and see them, they would not know for what purpose to use them. It is undeniable that the Art has advanced so much that Hermes himself would be surprised and could not do what modern Artists do. But this is what we are lacking: that we can nevertheless not achieve what they knew, as we can further read in Sendivogius.
Without doubt, in his Liber de Tinctura Physicorum (Book of Physical Tinctures) Paracelsus understands quite a different Green Lion than the author imagines, for it is not born in the general manner of lions but appears ex sputo Lunae (out of the spittle of Luna), which was likewise invulnerable. The philosophers have written entire books about it. Especially in the Rosarium it is often said that there are three things that do the work, Leo viridis (Green Lion), aqua foetida (evil-smelling water), and fumus albus (white steam). This Green Lion has made many men crazy, nam illa viriditas vertitur in aurum nostrum (for that greenness changes into our gold). So we hear clear enough that the Green Lion is quite another thing, but each interprets the philosophers’ sayings according to his understanding. If we then ask what the philosophers really meant thereby, they stand there not knowing whether to say white or black.
This Lion quarrels with the Dragon and is wounded and devoured by it, because of which the Dragon must also burst. But when they putrefy together, a sweet medicine results, like that of Samson’s lion, which can cure all diseases.
It is regarding this Lion that many wonderful and beautiful processes have been undertaken with gold, many dangerous sicknesses cured by it, but nevertheless it is also true that it is quite unlike the true Philosophical Gold, and that it cannot be compared with it at all. Even if the gold were prepared in such a way that it could never again be reduced into a body – which can be done, and many boast about it although the proof is surely lacking – it is still only a Particular medicament and no such a Universal one as the true philosophers’ potable gold should be. Thus all philosophers say that their gold is not yet corporeal or in a metallic body, either by Nature or through fire, but that it is soft, does not resemble gold either in substance or external form, and that it contains its own water by which it is dissolved without the addition of anything else. This water must never be separated from it but stay with it forever, and it is coagulated with it. These seem to be sheer paradoxes but in truth they are pure apodictica and no fantasy, as many may think they are.
For the water of the philosophers is also their gold, which dissolves and coagulates itself, also their only menstruum acetum acerrimum (most acid), and not the spirit of wine or another corrosive water as Augurellus understood Lully’s Solvent Water or Mercury, when he wrote about in Lib. I, Chrysopae.
Whoever does not find these properties in his gold is no doubt far from the right way and cannot hope for a good ending of his work, may he labor as hard as he likes. For gold is water and yet is none, but it can easily be turned into water if the Artist wishes. Many a man might think that these are odd notions, namely, that the gold of the philosophers is simultaneously their menstruum, solvent water, and Mercury, and yet it is the pure truth. It can and must not be otherwise, anyone may believe it or not. Aside from this, the highest truth remains that if its own water does not remain with it, the gold is worth very little. Many will think that that must be a strange gold that can dissolve other gold. Yes, it dissolves itself, and it is the Dragon that devours and revives itself. It is the Phoenix that burns itself and rises from the ashes much more beautiful than before. For if gold is sown into its field, it grows and multiplies itself, bringing a thousandfold fruit for the maintenance of man’s life.
But where this water can be found is kept very secret by the philosophers. They say that it must be fetched from India. True, it is easiest to get it in India, as the best gold mines are there. Experience has shown us, however, that an Indian crow brought this water to Germany in its pouch and poured it on a mountain. Thus a fountain is said to have sprung up from it which provides enough of this water, and at present it is as easy to obtain it in this country as in India. One has to be careful, however, to find the right fountain, as there are many other fountains around it that contain poison. The water is precisely of the kind which Pegasus (a winged horse that caused the stream Hippocrene to spring from Mount Helion with a blow of his hoof) beat out of Parnassus with its hoof, or which the mountain Nostacris in Arcadia (typist: please note that it is Arcadia and not Akkadia) pushed out of a rock and which cannot be kept in any other vessel than the horn of a horse.
Each may reflect himself on what this strange water may be. Let it suffice to say where this water can be found and what qualities it has. And I will add something one has to carefully note about this water and by which it can be recognized: It lights and burns itself, simultaneously burning the gold. This may well be the fiery means whereby Moses burnt the Golden Calf to ashes and gave of it to drink to the children of Israel in that water. If you cannot find this water which burns itself and turns into red ashes, you may surely believe that you will achieve nothing in this secret. It is gold and at the same time water and fire. It is hot and cold, like Jove’s Hammonius fountain, moist and dry, it wets and dries again.
True, the author thinks in this process that we should pour our own crystalline-mineral water on it, but he does not indicate what kind of water it must be, or if gold contains in itself, or if it is to be obtained from another source. Many have been laid astray by this water, so that they achieved little with this process. Even if they had obtained this mineral-crystalline water — which is made by two different processes — and had added it to the gold, it is yet not the right handle and the right key for opening this strong lock and house, even if it were broken down ever so subtly into its atoms. For as long as it is not processed in such a way as to be dissolved into its prima materia, it is not the true philosophical dissolution. The author’s mineral water will never accomplish this, even if it were left mixed with it in the digestion till Doomsday. It does not do anything the gold except that it gets calcined. Finally it separates again from it, which the Philosophical Water never does, as has already been said. If it has once mingled with gold or silver, it cannot be separated from either in all eternity. Both become one single water, the water of life and health, rendering all creatures fertile. It is like the water in the country near Suessa (town in Latium) which renders those fertile who drink of it, be they men or women. If, on the contrary, a woman, cow, dog, or sheep drinks of the river Aphrodisios, it makes them infertile. This water, however, also makes old withered trees fertile again, if it is poured to their core through a hole drilled into them and the hole is again tightly closed with a plug.
The author instructs us to let the water circulate with the gold for three weeks, but before doing so it has to be reverberated for 13 weeks, which is a long and tiresome work. It is also dangerous, as in reverberating we can easily overlook that it flows back again into a body, when a great deal of calx is produced. If this happens, the previous pains and labor are totally lost. Therefore I cannot advise any beginning laboratory worker to spend much time and work on this process – reverberating requires much labor and coal. He may well think that this process is quite philosophical, but it is as common as the others that are now and then found in the authors of books on alchemy. Of those processes Ulstadius has many in his work Coelum Philosophorum (The Heaven of the Philosophers), from which one can take some, just as Libavius has compiled a whole hodgepodge from other authors. Likewise, D. Andreas Brentius, though the works of Brentius must not all be despised. They contain very fine manipulations which I myself have used in part.
Before this, I also prepared it according to the author’s instructions. When it was ready, I finally coagulated it. The mineral water of which he speaks evaporated, leaving me only a fine subtle gold calx which I added to silver in flux. It tinged it into gold, but I had little gain from it as I obtained no more gold than I had used in the preparation. Pains, labor, Aqua Regis, and other expenses were lost. Nor could I tinge with it as the gold had not been radically opened, much less perfectly. In that condition it cannot give more to its needy neighbor than it has itself. If, however, it had entered its mother’s womb a second time in a good Nicodemic manner and had been born again, it could have brought fruit a hundred fold, as Sendivogius expressly writes in his Alegoria, at the end of his twelve treatises. Many indeed read it but the least number of them understand it, believing that if only they could bring gold into a liquid form, they would have a tincture. Yes they may well get a tincture but it is no good, and the Artist will not be able to get rid of his hunger with it. Yes, he will in addition be obliged to add of his own gold and lose it, and this work is not for any poor fellow, as one does not obtain a good medicine with it.
But whoever hopes to get rich thereby is greatly mistaken and is led astray. I, too, was struck in this error at the beginning of my laboratory work and believed the dissolved gold would immediately become the Philosophers’ Stone – but what I did get is not worth boasting about. Even so, I learned many a good thing from it by experience. Nevertheless, it is not to be despised completely. It is a rudimentary beginning and the proof that the transmutation of metals is no poem, as many pretend, or that it is the devil’s work. They shout so much and so loud about the transmutation that it would not be surprising if the whole world had become deaf from it. This, however, is done without understanding, because they speak according to their lights and believe that because they do not succeed, it is also impossible for others.
It is and remains indeed a genuine Art, whether you or I know it or not. I have seen with my own eyes, at two different places, how to transform tin into good gold, and in great quantity. Once it was done by an Englishman in Salzburg, in my presence and that of a medical doctor. I myself took the gold to the mint and had Ducats made of it. It was not only gold to all appearance, as the sophists are used to make, but the stablest gold in all tests. After that, I saw such gold in Italy, in a convent where a monk transmuted two pounds of lead into the best gold by means of a few grains of some red powder.
Whoever does not wish to believe those experiments, let him read Hoghelande, Elias the Artist, and others. Then the light will shine into his eyes, unless he has no eyes like the moles. It is customary to say: Manus nostrae oculatae sunt, credunt quod vidunt (Our hands have eyes and believe what they see). If one also does not believe those, I do not know what advice to give, since Thomas says: If I see the marks of the nails, I will believe. So many people have seen it, and yet it is not believed. Such a person must have a stubborn coarse donkey brain, not worth looking at a sincere Philosopher, far less speaking and conversing with him. The hide of ignorance stays in front of those fellows’ eyes, and although we tell them ever so often that so many proofs have been given at various places – and that that gold is still there at this moment – they will nevertheless say that it was not natural but was done as a work of the devil who, they say, did some bedazzlement, thus cheating people.
Yes, those fellows may well have been blinded by the devil, rendering them incapable of seeing what wonders God has put in Nature. And this objection is not valid: that God alone can change Nature. That is indeed true and will remain true. To this one should reply that the Philosophers do not alter Nature in the least, for then it would follow that an ox would turn into a man, a man into a wolf, as happens with the Laps through sorcery. They only remove the accidents of the metals to be transformed, as they differ not by species but solely by their accidents.
This is mighty thoroughly discussed in Quercetanus Contra Aubertum. What is lacking in my treatise, the kind reader may discover in that work. I only touch upon the truth in a few words and prove that the transmutation of metals is true and has its foundation in Nature. Of course, I do not wish to force anyone to believe me — the Art remains true irrespective of whether you believe in it or not – and by your not believing it is neither balled over nor destroyed.
Now then, as we do not deal expressly with it, we do not wish to stop further at this but return to our process, examining our potable gold more closely and seeing how we can usefully apply it as a medicine. We will also consider how it can be separated without danger and be liberated from the strong fetters in which it had been caught. As God has closed it so tightly, a mighty treasure must doubtlessly lie hidden in it, and to prevent thieves from robbing it and causing damage with it, the Lord God has preserved it so carefully, and it is rightly called Lillium inter spinas (the lily among thorns).
In the vegetables (plants) there are no such great virtues. Therefore they have no such strong fetters. Experience shows that they rarely retain their powers more than a year. Then their virtue evanesces, as may be seen in old seeds. Then their multiplying power is extinguished, and such corn never rises and brings fruit. Gold, however, and the higher minerals never suffer, and if gold were to lie for a thousand years in water-rotten earth, it would not lose any of its power. Likewise Mercury. Acrid fumes do not harm it much, but it passes through them like a brave hero, without detriment to its capability, not heeding any danger. This cannot be said of any vegetable, be its name what it may. It is solely the right key that is lacking, and this key is also the bride for whom one dances. Whoever finds this key must fervently thank Gold for it in his heart every day, for he will posses everything his heart may desire.
But returning to the author’s crystalline-mineral water, his key – it is prepared of vitriol and tartar, and with it he says he opens the firm fetters of gold. There is probably something to it, but it does not do the opening. It is far too weak, it cannot enter the chamber where the treasure is hidden but must stay outside. But this it does: it makes the gold very subtle and turns it into the very finest atoms, so that it can thereafter be made potable and its enormous virtues can be extracted. This is not done by the crystalline water alone. There exist various other menstrua to achieve it, as will be shown in the following process and my Notes. They will accomplish precisely what the author’s water is supposed to do, and this process does not require as much time in reverberating and digesting, consequently will save much expense. And you are not struck with any one author’s process, especially as you have understood from the discussion led until now that this is not the kind of menstruum of which the Philosophers write.
I esteem them equally highly — you can use one or another – but nevertheless it cannot be denied that one is better than another. One is much easier, more akin to human nature, and not so corrosive. The sharp corrosive spirits mix so much with the gold that they cannot easily be removed, as I have already indicated. It happened to me myself that I could not remove them by any means except through reduction. f those menstrua I say that you should guard and beware of, for they spoil the good and turn a teriac into a poison. Consequently, gold cannot be taken into the body without danger, of which Penotus also reminds us and warns us against, saying: If the gold solutions to be put or dripped on silver, they must be red and not black, which the common solutions nearly all are. They are not to be despised or discarded, as Quercetanus also requires, just as other chymists whom one should rightly follow.
I must relate that I recently saw some clear water at a friend’s. It transformed filed gold — not dissolved in Aqua Regis — into a bloodred liquid through a good digestion. After it stood in digestion for one month, the water disappeared and the gold rose in the glass as if some fermented paste were rising, which was a pleasure to see. When it was given stronger fire afterwards, it settled down again, and the glass looked as if some gold leaf had laid in it. Nothing rose anymore. It was fixed and stable. My friend opened the glass and weighed it, it had increased in weight due to the menstruum. He poured some more of the water over it and set it back, closed, in digestion. The gold united again with it and was as red as blood and quite fireproof. When it was taken out, I took two grains and put them into a glass of warm wine. It dissolved very quickly and tinged the wine bloodred, which was amazing to see. The wine became somewhat sweet from it. I am of the opinion that if ever a right tincture was prepared from gold, this was it.
I can truthfully say that during my lifetime I have seen much regarding the preparation of potable gold, and have also experienced as much myself as any man of my age, but nothing more beautiful has come to my attention. One could not notice any suspicion of any corrosive in the menstruum, but it was quite pleasant in taste, almost like wine about to become somewhat “hard”. Gold melts in it like butter near a fire or in the hot sun. Nor did it leave any White Earth in the solution, as the solutions for the magistery generally do. It was a thick, red liquid and finally a powder, at first brownred, the bloodred. But whether it could do anything in the transmutation of metals, I cannot say, for I have not tried it, nor have I seen it tried. y friend only gave me a little of it, which I afterwards used for the sick – to my great astonishment, because it was especially effective in extremely serious and dangerous sicknesses.
But what kind of water this was and of what it consisted, the practitioner did not tell me at the time. I can quite easily believe, however, that it must be made of a substance closely akin to gold. I have concluded so, because when I put just one drop of this water in a silver spoon, it soon resulted in a golden tincture, many hundred times more beautiful than the rubedo (redness) or sulphur of antimony. Although the latter also tinges silver, it is not quite pure but blackish-yellow. This one, however, was as pure as if a goldsmith had gilded it, and yet the water was as clear and white as crystal.
If, then, someone knew its prima materia, I believed, he would not be far from the Universal Menstruum, since it dissolves gold without any violence. This is a characteristic of a true philosophical menstruum, as Sendivogius and others attest to, for like associates with like. Although he was otherwise my great friend, I could not persuade him to entrust me with the composition of this water. When I asked him about it, he always replied that I had seen enough, and if I opened the eyes of intelligence just a little, I would certainly find it and know what qualities it has. They would show me if I was right or wrong. If I had been smart, I would secretly have made a projection to try if this tincture was also effective in the tingeing of metals. I would then have been sure that this was the true Menstruum and Philosophical Mercury. But it is said: Cogitationes posteriores sapientiores, or God did not want me to know it yet but wants to be ever implored for it. It looks as if it were a mean thing but in truth it is the greatest secret of all Nature.
This I consider a sure potable gold, for nothing corrosive was used in its preparation but everything went on quite smoothly, and the solution and final coagulation were like blood. Of course, one can find some solutions that also turn out red, but the menstruum used is somewhat sharp. It is the reason why Angelus Sala was moved to state in his Aphorisms that it is impossible to change gold into a liquid without a corrosive. This applies to the proceedings of the common laboratory workers, but it does not follow that it is impossible to find in Nature a menstruum capable of dissolving gold without Violence and suspicion of corrosion and reverting it into the prima materia. Because Angelus Sala did not know or believe, should it therefore not be true! It is not right of such a chymist simply to make such a statement, for if I and someone else do not know something, does it therefore follow that it does not exist in Nature?
Garzias ab hortis mentions in his Indian Observations that the Indians have a water in which gold will soften, so that it can then be formed by hand into anything they wish. Afterwards it will again become hard as before, which is no small wonder. He does not say, however, if it is a natural water or one prepared artificially. Be that as it may, it would seem that it could not be a corrosive water, otherwise the gold would not only become soft but it could in addition not be thus manipulated by hand. What will Sala reply now?
I do not doubt that this water is prepared by Art, but it is done from a substance that loves gold and has a special affinity for it, or else it could not achieve such a feat. Thus H.D. Laurenbergius also relates that he knows such a water that gently melts gold without any suspicion of corrosives, like ice in hot water. If then this is true — and there is no doubt it is — it must certainly follow that gold, without Sala’s objection — can be opened and reduced into its prima materia without a corrosive. Whoever is endowed by God with so much good fortune that he can accomplish this, may well thank Him and be happy that he has such a treasure which cannot be paid with any amount of gold, for no sickness can be so severe that he cannot cure it, and he will thus become a wonderworker through it.
Aside from this unique water, nothing can be found that could accomplish this, no matter what it is called, be it spirit of salt or wine – it does not do it. But this should not be understood as if I wanted to reject all preparations of potable gold. Not at all. This writing is only to indicate that there are two dissolutions of gold. One is done quite gently and without violence through melting, whereby the gold is so much dissolved that it can never again be changed into a Body. This is the philosophical, natural, and friendly dissolution. The other is done in various ways with different menstrua and calcinations, by Mercury, Sulphur, various salts, etc. It is called violent because gold is thereby not changed into the prima materi but only into extremely fine atoms, and through them gold can again be reduced.
Yet, aside from the Universal Menstruum, there still exist other means to bring gold so far that it can never be smelted into another Body. This has its special reasons, but it does not follow that gold has been changed into the true prima materia. Even so, a fine medicine has been made with it, as will be seen later in my Notes. I consider it highly and have also often used it to great advantage in my practice. One must take care, however, not to be tempted by the multiple processes, thus achieving no more than a leprous gold calx and doing more harm than good. Those who do that would do much better to leave gold in peace. Although they know and have read that gold contains a powerful medicine, they do not know how to deal with it properly. If the shells can be removed and the core extracted, one has an arcanum with which nothing in Nature can be compared, as has already been mentioned above where it is written that gold is constituted in such a way that it cannot be destroyed by any element.
But someone might here object: “I hear much talk and discussion about it, and you only open your mouth wide but do not put anything into it, or you want to wash the pelt, but without wetting it. Therefore I cannot achieve a right preparation and am getting quite confused or even suspicious, for the process of Poppius is boring and obscure, and I cannot trust other processes – of which one can now and then find whole fodders – especially as I hear that the dissolution is so hard to handle”.
To this I reply: It is indeed true that many written things can be found in almost all books and that nevertheless hardly anybody can reach the desired goal, and that in the end effort, labor, and expenses are lost, as I have myself experienced not once but frequently. Thus I had at first put so much faith in Libavius that I believed his words were nothing but Gospel truths. I worked according to the processes he had compiled but achieved nothing but the sowing of effort and the reaping of misfortune. Even when I burnt myself several times, I did not want to stop because I could not imagine that such a man could have written and published so many untested things — especially because he examined and severely censured other men’s works.
What I found to be true, however, is very little, and my Vulcan (fire) would in no way go along with such precepts. Therefore, I did not obtain enough to bring forth a louse. Of such writers there are more. They write either too obscurely or in a veiled manner, so that even Oedipus could not guess their meaning, or their processes have only sprung from their own brain and have never been tested. This has spoiled many a natural talent and scared it from working in the laboratory. It would be better if they stopped writing.
So that the beginning laboratory worker and kind reader do not also waste work, time, and money, as I did, I will here indicate a process which I have worked with my own hands and also found good for my patients in many sicknesses. Just as in the following processes I will not present anything that I have not performed myself, assisted by my collaborators. I will honestly report what they accomplished in various diseases, hoping that young students about to begin their practice will be greatly served by it. I do not remember that similar book with such a method has seen the light of day, for in the practice one can see what a specific medicine can do. Now we will proceed with our process for making potable gold.
Take some of the best purified gold, as much as you like, have a goldsmith laminate it very thin, the thinner the better. Cut it as big as a Thaler (old coin like the Dollar), the cut round pieces from a stag’s antlers, as big and thick as half a Thaler, take a cement can no wider than the pieces of antlers or half a Thaler, so that only the pieces fit in. One can also make it of good clay, as one pleases. At the bottom of the can put one finger’s width of sand or gypsum, which is better. On it put a piece of antlers, upon that a piece of your gold, above it again a piece of antlers, then again gold. Put everything layer upon layer, as the chymists say, till the can is full or till you have used all your gold. Again, put gypsum upon it till the can is quite full, close the can with good lute, let it dry, then set it in a medium strong cementing fire, at first very gentle, then finally so strong that the can will well glow for one hour or four. Let it cool, open the can, and you will find the gold calcined almost flesh-colored.
This work must be repeated three times. The gold will become quite soft and can be pounded and rubbed. Now mix it with calcined antlers and reverberate it on a cupel but not too strongly, for a whole day. The gold will turn almost the color of bricks. Then it is correctly and well calcined, and you may be sure that you cannot get a better calcination. It will become so subtle that it can easily be used in medicines for several sicknesses without any further preparation, for this calx is sweet and not contaminated by any corrosives.
Upon this beautiful pure calx pour the following prepared menstruum. It will extract its tincture in a few hours like blood, leaving its metallic slime behind. Pour the menstruum off, pour fresh one upon it till all of the tincture is extracted and nothing but a dead earth is left. Nor is that to be thrown out, because it has a special power for drying and cleansing all discharging damages, so that they heal all the sooner. Distill your menstruum down to dryness through sand, and a purple-colored tincture will be left in the glass. Upon that pour a good spirit of wine. How that is to be correctly prepared will be found further on in the Treatise on Tartar. Better, use some quintessence of salt. How to make that will also be taught under its title. Set it closed to digest and it will extract a yet purer tincture. Distill the spirit of wine to half, and you will have a wonderful potable gold. Or, if you pour some quintessence of salt over it, you can leave it such as, without distilling it and use it as a medicine, because the essence of salt is by itself a fine medicine, also without gold, as will also be shown in its proper place.
Even if this potable gold is one of the best kinds there are and does its share with glory in many sicknesses, it can still be processed higher, so that one grain accomplishes more than ten do otherwise. Although this preparation looks bad, it is quite philosophical, and as can be seen, does not contain anything corrosive. Neither Salt, Mercury nor Sulphur is added to this calcination, and although it is said that the volatile salt of stag’s antlers (carbonate of ammonia) calcines gold, it is true but is no harmful corrosive. By itself it is a wonderful poison-eliminating medicine, which can be taken into the body without harm or damage. In addition, it does not mix with gold in such a way as to stay with it, as the corrosive spirits are want to do – which may be seen by its taste and weight – but the glowing disappears, leaving the gold behind pure and only calcined. I am of opinion that a better calcination cannot be found in the common works than this. Therefore a student may follow it quite assuredly, provided he knows just a little of how to deal with the fire, so as not to make it too hot and smelt the gold into a Body. If he did, all his work and trouble would be lost. If he prevents the smelting, he has already won, and thereafter the subsequent work will proceed without trouble and hindrance.
How this potable gold is to be heightened in its virtue, I will also show. Whoever cares, can do it, he will not regret it. Although it requires some time, it is yet a wonderful work and help in need. Therefore the physicians can see hereby how sincerely I am operating and that I do not hide the manipulations needed to obtain such a medicine or, as others do, withhold what is most necessary and keep silent about it.
Take therefore 1 lb. of the best purified live Mercury (how it has to be prepared will subsequently also be indicated in its chapter), pour over it 1 lb. of the best rectified oil of vitriol, let it digest closed till the Mercury is altogether dissolved. Distill the oil from it quite strongly and finally give it so much fire that it can sublimate up, then it will rise very white and crystalline. Some black feces will be left at the bottom of the glass. Pour those off as they are good for nothing, remove the sublimate, put it back in a retort and pour the oil of vitriol over it. Let it dissolve again, and when this is done, again distill the oil off it and sublimate the Mercury. It will rise even more beautifully than before. You must repeat this work till the Mercury appears bright, transparent, and clear as crystal. Then it is well prepared for this purpose.
Now take 2 Lots of it, and 1 Lot of the previous liquid or potable gold, mix them well, enclose them together in a phial,set that in a vapor fire, and in 20 days, at most 25 days, it will turn quite black and look like melted pitch. Thereafter set it in ashes or sand, and it will become grey-white-yellow and finally red like blood and transparent like a ruby. Thus you will get a medicine like which there is none better in virtues, and it is a true panacea for use in almost all sicknesses, especially where strength is required. It does its effect without any discomfort and almost through imperceptible perspiration, as will be shown in the description of its operation.
After the calcination of the gold, I thought of a special menstruum. Now I will also show you how it is to be prepared to make the work and the process perfect. It depends on the best manipulation, and this is what is to be done: Take a good amount of boy’s urine, distill it to half, pour away what is left, and put the distillate again in a retort. Again distill it to half, and do this work three times. With the subtle spirit a beautiful, transparent, shining salt will rise. Rinse all the salt with the spirit out of the alembic, weigh this spirit, mix it with the same amount of the best spirit of wine, let it gently putrefy together for 8 days, then distill it, and you will have a wonderful menstruum for all metals, minerals, and precious stones. With this you can obtain the true tincture of gold.
Do not believe that you will get a better and surer process in authors, though they talk a lot about it and every small shopkeeper praises his goods. Finally you will nevertheless discover for whose benefit their singing is. You must not ask or doubt if this process works or not. You have already heard from me that I do not want to write anything that my eyes have not seen or my hands have not worked, for I do not take these processes from mute books, as many have done. I wish to make a gift to and serve the studying youth with what Vulcan (fire), has given me. Writing is no art nowadays, but to invent processes and verify them in the fire is difficult, and it often happens that one must say, “of that we could not think”. If now there is one who does not learn anything by my labors, he will understand and learn it much less from other writings, let him be assured of that.
We must now also explain how and for what this noble medicine is to be used, and how we can apply it to advantage. First, this potable gold is a special treasure and arcanum for keeping the human body from many sicknesses. It greatly strengthens the heart and all spirits. Administer 5 grains of it in water at room temperature. It goes through the body like smoke and preserves it, so that it can be kept from all possible sicknesses till the end of life. It is truly a great blessing of God not having to spend one’s life on the sickbed. Wealthy people should have it specially prepared for them to assure them of good health in addition to their wealth. Of what use are riches and property to a man if he is sick, lame, and in bad health, and does not enjoy either food or drink? Truly, health is better than all wealth. Whoever despises those remedies despises God’s goodness, for God has not only created money and properties for the sustenance of man but has also given the medicines, so that man might be better equipped for his profession. But I know many who would rather hang themselves than spend 100 Thalers for their health, and they are living so miserably that they are of no use either to themselves or to others. I consider this a great punishment of God.
For example, I have known some rich sows in this country who said that they would rather be sick than poor. Although they were rich enough, they did not get so much enjoyment from their wealth that they could eat one morsel with delight in a full quarter of a year, because of their sicknesses. Oh! May God preserve us from such “hospital wealth!” I would rather guard cows than lead such a miserable life with so many riches, since no man knows that he must finally leave all his belongings here, being unable to take anything along with him from this world. They must be fools, yes, maniacs, to have such thoughts. The body has indeed been created in the likeness of God. Although money and assets are also a great gift of God, the body is yet more than all that and has only been created for the purpose of being maintained and of serving our fellowman with it. Whoever then wants to end his life in good health till God calls him, can achieve it by this arcanum and frequent praying to God.
It is a special medicine for the stroke which it helps enormously. It does not put the physician to shame, unless the stroke affected the heart immediately and finished it. Otherwise, if there is still a little hope left, it does its work amazingly well.
I tried it for the first time on a noblewoman in Polten, Austria, and found it to be good. There lived a noble widow who had a sanguinary complexion and was full-blooded. She fainted at dinner, fell over, let hands and feet flop down, and began a death rattle. Her attendant saw that it was a stroke. Just at that time there was no physician in town, and as I had some business with Herr von Greuss in Walde — which is located not far from the town Polten – the patient’s servant at once came there and asked Frau von Greuss for advice. She immediately left to see the widow, and I accompanied her.
When we arrived, we found that she was lying there without consciousness and movement, rustling all the time. I opened her mouth with a wooden instrument and poured some of the potable gold into her in some water of lilies of the valley. I sat her upright and gave her the dose once more, seeing to it that she kept it down, which was the case. Meanwhile, I had her rubbed very strongly with towels. After about half an hour she moved her eyes. I felt that the spirits were ready to return and put some sneezing powder made of lilies of the valley and tobacco into her nose through a quill. all at once she began to sneeze and opened her eyes, but she could not yet recognize anyone, nor could she speak. I now took some teriac, mixed it with a few drops of this potable gold, and after again opening her mouth with the instrument, I coated her upper palate with it. This I did once every half hour, and thus almost the whole night went by. Toward morning I again gave her 6 drops in water of lilies of the valley. Thereafter she became alive again, in one instant so to speak, at the surprise of all present, although she had trouble lifting her arms. I put some more teriac on her palate and opened a vein for her in the morning. Her blood was so thick that it could hardly get out of the vein. She felt increasingly better and also began to speak. I had the following decoctum made for the external members and had her rubbed with it.
decoction Rx. Rad. Aaronis
Enulae camp. a. j Lot.
Urticae minor, ji Lot.
Mastichis an. j. Lot.
Aloe succtrinae, ji. Lot.
Piperis longi, jii.
Salviae acut. an., ji. Lot.
Flor. Lavendul., ji. Lot.
Sem. Erucae an. ji. Lot.
I had these boiled for her in white wine and had her arms and legs vigorously rubbed with it. She recovered thus her health in three days and lived thereafter hale and healthy for a few more years. I had to leave one or three doses of this potable gold with her which she was going to keep as a special treasure and use only in case of emergency. Afterwards, everybody wanted to know with what I had cured this dangerous sickness. I could tell of more such cures, but one is enough. I only relate this to show what potable gold can do and how it was applied, so that a practitioner can do the same in a similar case, unless special circumstances require a different procedure. It is therefore not without reason that I describe and report the circumstances so carefully.
If one requires a strong tonic in epidemic diseases, such as in pestilential and spotted fevers, it can be this potable gold, for it not only strengthens the heart powerfully but also drives the poison out through perspiration. Thus it cleanses all the blood of infection, as I have experienced in many places with many persons. When in June and July of 1613 there was a strong outbreak of the pestilential fever in Morea, also called Peloponnesus, in the town of Modon and other places, including Candia, and people frequently died of it, I and my travelling companions survived and preserved ourselves from that poison with this potable gold. I have also cured many Turks of this sickness, which afterwards was greatly to my advantage in the course of my peregrinations in oriental places. Because of it, I received good recommendations from one place to another, so that I could promote my planned travels and finish them the sooner, as I was not only escorted safely but also made some honest money thereby. Whoever, therefore, is infected with such a contagious disease, let him not wait but take 7,8,9, drops of this potable gold in some spirit of citrus fruit. It will immediately cause the perspiration to flow and bring peace to the heart. As a prevention, take 5 drops early in the morning, once a week, and thereupon perspire a little. Those who have no spirit of citrus fruit may take it in a little wine.
It is an excellent remedy for palpitations and chlorosis, which mostly trouble young girls. Nothing better can be found in Nature, as it does away with the complaints in a few days. Some time ago, I cured a young girl of 14 years in Leipzig. She was so greatly troubled by this sickness that she could no longer walk through her room. I did not give her more than 3 doses of 6 drops each time, in extract of balm.
Her symptoms disappeared, her menses occurred, and thus she recovered her health. It is an excellent remedy for activating the menses. To such persons one gives, four days before the New Moon, 5,6,7,8 drops in either extract of balm or extract of saving (red cedar, juniper). If necessary, the body can be cleansed with the common purgatives. To do this, there is nothing better than the following pills. As a special arcanum, they remove the obstructions of the uterus, and not many like them can be found.
Special Pills for the Menses
Rx.Extract. ex Baccis Lauri
Flor. Centaur. min.
Calendulae an. ji. Lot.
Sabinae an. j. Lot.
Olei Sabinae j. Lot.
Borrac. Vener jii. Lot.
Mass. pil. Aloe phang. ji. Lot.
fiat massa pilularum cum oleo cinamoni. (for the pills).
Of this one gives morning and evening one scruple in one go, at the usual time. This composition is recommended for everybody. Following this, one gives the potable gold. It is said that wealthy women have these two arcana in their family medicine-chest, enabling them to prevent many a misfortune. It is indeed put so clearly before their eyes that they cannot go wrong.
In the case of a difficult birth, I know nothing better. It does not only accelerate the living birth but also the still birth and the afterbirth. At this one might be surprised. I saw it happen in 1612 with a Countess in Styria. She had been in labor for three days and as a result was exhausted. The child in her was dead, and everybody expected her to give up the ghost. Her husband did not spare any means. As I found myself about the same time at the Inn of that locality and heard how everybody lamented and felt sorry for the Countess I opened my travelling medicine-chest and sent her 10 drops by the innkeeper’s wife, to be taken only in a little wine. As soon as she had taken it, she was in labor pains again, although they had already stopped completely. After about a quarter of an hour, the baby was born and the afterbirth followed. Thus the woman was kept alive. Her husband soon came to me at the inn, asking if I was the man who had sent something to drink to his wife. I said yes, and he asked me to do him the favor of driving home with him, as he wanted to show his gratitude to me. And as my advice was further required, I was ready to give it.
I drove to his home with him and spent the night there. I was taken to the woman in childbed. She was so weak that she could not speak. I gave her 9 more drops in a little Malvasian (wine) and ordered her to be kept alone during the night, though care should be taken that she did not sleep too deeply. She rested very well and gently. When she awoke toward morning, she asked for me. I went to her and she thanked me, saying that next to God I was her life’s extension. She begged me to stay with her for eight days, but as my travels did not permit it, I excused myself. Then she pulled a diamond ring from her finger and gave it to me. Her husband, with great thanks and joy, rewarded me very generously, and I stayed there for another half day. The Countess was feeling fine, and so I was graciously allowed to leave and also acquired — let there be no envious talk about it – a famous reputation. My name has become honorably known in all Austria, where physicians are somewhat more highly esteemed than in this country.
For cancer it is a powerful remedy, as it takes it out from the center to the circumference, provided one does not wait too long before it spreads into all the veins and corrodes them. If it reaches that stage, we cannot hope for a cure, but if it has not got the upper hand, it can well be cured with this medicine. Thus, in 1619, I had as a patient a wealthy woman who had previously tried many things. I also tried for three months but it did not help her, nor did the remedies which had done much for others — they were all in vain. Therefore I proposed to make potable gold for her, as I knew no other remedy for her cure. She was glad that I could suggest yet another remedy and procured to this end 5 Lots of fine gold. I prepared it according to the prescribed process and gave her 5 drops in a little warm wine three times a week. But she had to perspire a little after each time she drank it, as it is a diaphoreticum (perspiration-inducing) all by itself, even without any other means.
When had taken the potable gold for some time, it greatly purified her blood, so that it became noticeable: the cancer did not eat further all around as it did when she used the other medicaments. It stood still and cleared up. Likewise, the woman’s pain became less day after day. On the outside I only put Sal Saturni (salt of lead) in it. The pain stopped altogether, but the cancer did not disappear quite so fast. She, however, did not pay any attention to it but moved about as she pleased, taking care of her household as before. She had no further complaints to the end of her life and lived after this cure for six more years. She was a woman 46 years of age.
This cure should be well remembered, for most physicians consider cancer incurable. But why is it considered incurable? Not because of actual malice or a defect in the medicine, but only because of the physicians’ laziness. They do not wish to prepare those medicines, as will be shown further in another place.
In the same year, in Leipzig, I cured a wealthy man of his dizzy spells. he could not safely go down a star without someone walking next to him and holding him firmly to prevent him from falling. This was so serious that he once fell from his chair. Because of his frequent dizziness he was afraid of a stroke. To him I also gave this potable gold, but only once a week, and I prescribed for him a solution with which he had to wash his head once every eight days. After the washing, I also prescribed for him a balsam which he had to rub on the upper spinal cord, both temples, his nose and nape. In this way he was cured of this sickness with the help of God, at the age of 55. The solution, however, was prepared as follows:
Rx. Rad, paeoniae
Zedoriae an. j. Lot.
Flor. primulae veris
Rosar. rub. an. ji. Lot.
Salviae an. j. Lot.
Succiniam j. Lot
Everything to be boiled into a lixiviate. With this he had to wash his head and quickly dry it again at a coal fire. The balsam was prepared from the following oils and used as written above:
Rx. Olei Mosch. per expression, facti jii. Lot.
Caryophyll. an. ji. Lot.
Citri an. ji. Lot.
Succini albi an. ji. Lot.
Ambrae gris. an. ji. Lot.
Ladani opt. jii. Lot – to be mixed according to the Art to prepare the balsam.
This balsam cannot only be used to great advantage for dizzy spells but also for strokes and other serious head disorders, as will be further reported in another place.
If you wish to use this potable gold for the maintenance of your health, take 8 drops within 14 days in a perspiration-inducing liquid, and perspire somewhat thereafter. It is always better perspire a little after taking the medicine than to use it such as without anything else, for in sweating the blood is cleansed and everything impure is eliminated with the perspiration. Children, however, must take it only once in 4 weeks, and only 3 drops in one go. Likewise those who are over 50 years of age. Those who are over 60 can use it once in 14 days, because in old age bad moistures collect which must be driven out. In this way man can be kept hale and healthy to his last hour.
I knew a winegrower in Croatia. That man was 136 years old, at least, as he told me, and looked like someone about 60. He had a grandson whom I also saw, aged 72 years. He admitted that as long as he could remember he had never been sick, because he still tended to his vineyards in his great age, was hoeing there, and did all his work as well as a youngster, and not even one finger was hurting him. He related to me many stories of the Turks which had taken place in Croatia, and the man had such a remarkable memory that I could not wonder enough at it. I asked what was the reason that he had grown so old and had always been in good health. He told me he had some earth which he dug up on a special mountain, that he was taking a pinch of it every morning in a tablespoon of brandy, and that that had kept him so long – in addition to God. He showed it to me. It was red as blood and like grease and stuck on one’s fingers. I took it to be sealed or Lemnian earth or solar fat (axungia Solis), as there were various mines in the same locality.
As I had no time to go myself to the mountain with the man – for it was a good two miles away – not very far from the Turkish fortress of Petrinja – I could not obtain any of it to take along with me to test it to see if a Solar Spirit (Spiritus Solis) was hidden in it. But it must undoubtedly have been a solar spirit, else it would not have had such power. And this was especially noteworthy: If this earth was put in brandy, it melted almost completely in it. It is sure that Hungary and the kingdoms belonging to it had been especially rich in various goldish ores – and it is almost everywhere – but they cannot all be cultivated due to the Turkish danger. I had seen in Sohl that the Turks had invaded the country and taken away with them over 200 miners, men and women. One hears of that everywhere in the Walachia and in the Croatia, and in those places there still lies hidden a great treasure. When one gets to Macedonia and Thrace, especially around Philippopl, one can find the terra sigillata (sealed earth) at various places in different colors, red and white, which are also used by the Turks for various sicknesses. I myself have collected some of it and brought it back with me to Germany. I do not relate these stories without a special reason, for they prove that there is a special power in the solar spirit of gold for maintaining life, strengthening and increasing the vital spirits, thus obtaining the desired health. Therefore Geber says not unjustly: In the Sun and the Salt of Nature is everything. Now enough said of this for this time. We will proceed further to other preparations.
Oil of Gold Prepared in the Common Way
Gold purified through antimony, 1 Lot. Dissolve it into a gold-colored oil in a circulated oil of salt. When the gold is totally dissolved, pour oil of wine over it, not the common one obtained from tartar but that which is distilled from the best wine which still has its mother and lees. This done, the oil of gold will in one moment be changed into a blood red oil, like a beautiful transparent ruby. Now add to it 6 Lots of good spirit of wine to one part of this oil, set it in mild ashes, put a well luted alembic on it and begin distilling, at first gently, finally stronger. The gold will rise bloodred over the alembic, giving off a lovely lustre. Now it is prepared.
This process may well be short but it has many difficulties in it. It is not so easy to tinge as many believe and as the words look because it requires two strong requisites, namely, the circulated salt-oil and oil of wine, and it takes a great deal of trouble and work before the oil of wine is made. The author has not indicated how it is to be prepared, but in the treatise on tartar he has written about it. However, it is just as little the correct one as that of which he warns us in this process. But I have added the right preparation, obtained by my experience, which can be found in my Note, where the kind reader can look it up. It must not be made from the feces of the wine, as the author indicates, but from the purest wine, if anything good is to be done with it, as experience teaches. For the pure oil of wine mixes with the wine. That which is made of the feces of wine, however, may well mix with it but it does not take its essentials over the retort. Whether this be a right solution, I let everybody see for himself.
What has just been said of the oil of wine also applies to the circulated oil of salt. If the gold is to be rightly opened, it must be the circulated quintessence of the salt — but how it is to be prepared, the author does not indicate here either; although he has a description of the oil of salt under that title, it is also bad and according to the common manner. I have added a preparation taken from my own experience, which can also be found there.
But in order to make the process soon available, uncurtailed, to a beginner, I have not spared the effort of adding it also here. If anything were perhaps lacking in one place, he could find the discrepancy compensated in another. It takes a lot of industry and time to get it right. To make it right, however, the process must be done as follows:
Have a retort made for you that has a tube at the back of the bottom. It must be quite narrow below, somewhat wider above. Fill it completely with stone-salt, such as is hewn in the mountains of Salzburg, Austria, and in Styria. Wall it in a furnace, lute a receiver in front but make a small hole between the joints with a quill, to give it air when the spirits move. Now give fire per degrees till the salt flows in the retort like water, which you can easily notice. Then let a few drops of water drip inside through the tubes, and the salt spirits will soon rise, penetrating forcibly into the receiver. Now you must give them some air through the small holes but close them up soon again, and they will move all the quicker, and it is so nice to see. You must continue doing this till all the salt changes into spirit. Take all the spirit and rectify it to remove the phlegma.
Of this spirit take 1 lb., add to it as much melted salt, knead it under potter’s clay and turn it into little balls. Let them dry in the air and distill them trough a retort, as is customary. You will obtain a beautiful yellow-green spirit. Take the caput mortuum (death’s head) out of the retort, powder it, and lixiviate the salt from it with lukewarm rain water, filter and coagulate it, dissolve it again and coagulate it. You must repeat this till the salt has become as beautifully transparent as crystal and flows like wax.
Add it to the spirit and let both well unite in the digestion. Now you have a fine spirit of salt that dissolves gold rightly and liquifies it. Aside from doing this, it is also a good spirit for use in medicine, and the common spirit can never equal its performance. True, it requires a lot of work but it pays the effort well, as everyone who uses it in such work will see for himself. The gold calx will also become as beautifully brown as if it had been calcined for some time with Mercury and Sulphur.
Thomas Kessler of Strasbourg also indicates a fine manner of making the spirit of salt with bellows: One has to have a retort made of good clay. It must have a tube at the back into which the bellows are directed, to enable the wind to get directly into the center of the retort, driving the spirit into the receiver. True, it is a fine piece of workmanship, but does not yield much. The retort must strongly glow for three hours before one begins with the bellows. I tried it, but when I saw that it would not yield much, I did as follows:
I had a retort made with two tubes, one in the center and one bellow at the bottom, as the figure shows. Through tube (a) I let the water drop in as indicated in the previous process, and quickly closed the hole up. After that, I directed the bellows into tube (b),and as soon as the cold water had dripped inside, I worked the bellows. An observer would have had great fun seeing how frequently and wonderfully the spirits ran into the receiver, and of what colors they were. It all goes fast, but the bellows must be glued to the tube to prevent the spirits from running out backwards. Therefore, it must be fitted with a long iron tube at the beak, so that it does not burn. The furnace must also be arranged accordingly, to let the tube stick out far enough. Likewise that which is supposed to stick out above. In this way things will go very well. It is possible to prepare a good amount in one day, because the air of the bellows does not permit the spirits to fall down again, to be united again with the Body, as happens otherwise. For they must go – but the receiver must be big enough, or else it is not without danger, as anyone will easily agree. For if the spirits force their way out and do not find enough room, they break the receiver, as happened to myself, not knowing that they are so violent and push almost like the spirit of tartar.
If someone cannot work this process of the spirit of salt for lack of the right instruments, and yet would need it, let him take 1 lb. of crushed salt and 2 lbs. of coaldust, mix them well together and distill them in the common way through a retort. He will also obtain a good spirit, but it must be well rectified once or three times to rid it if its feces. He can also use it in the dissolution of the Sun, as our author would have it.
The reason why I here describe the spirit of salt in so many ways is so that the laboratory worker be instructed how important the menstrua are. Often a single bad manipulation hinders a great work, and those who will only use a common spirit of salt, as the distillers sell, will no doubt work in vain and achieve nothing useful. It is the same with the oil of wine whose preparation, as already mentioned, you will find further on. The better the wine, the more wonderful the oil will be. You can use Spanish wine and will obtain all the more, as experience has taught me. But his you must take careful note of: If you have distilled once, you must repeat it once or several times. Then you will get a good medicament, for the often repeated process turns the work into a subtle medicine.
When you have driven all the gold over the alembic, put it in a cold place for some time, such as a cool cellar, and in time beautiful transparent crystals, like rubies, will sprout. You can take those out with a wooden pair of tongs, and dry them on paper. There are very few of them, as the Body does not all rise in one go over the alembic. Therefore the Death’s Head can be taken out, reverberated with sulphur flowers, and the gold calx will become quite pure. Pour again some spirit of salt of salt and oil of wine over that, and proceed as before. The entire Body will finally rise over the alembic. More will be reported on this at another place when we will deal with other preparations.
These crystals still have another advantage: Take one part of them, add 3 parts of Mercury of Saturn optim. purified, set it together in sand in a phial and give it a graduated fire. Mercury will precipitate in a short time, and it will not only result in a fine medicine but also in a sample of gold, so that you can see with your own eyes that the Mercury of lead can thereby be turned into gold. It can either be melted with borax or melted and assayed by the cupel with lead. Thus you will certainly find that it is no empty talk, although some would deny that it is a proof. It might well be so, as the crystals made of gold can again be brought back into a Body and provide a gold proof. It is easy to answer this by first observing the weight of the crystals, then that of the added Mercury and the prepared gold. In this way you will see if you have an excess or not. I am of opinion that there will be some, but I do not say that it will be of great importance in regard to all costs incurred, because it does cost something to prepare the Mercury of lead. Thus, these crystals also do not just cost a little, yet one can nevertheless prove thereby that it is possible to make a transmutation without the Universal Tincture. Whoever wishes, can try it, he will not work in vain, nor will he lose much thereby, and the gold will turn out quite beautiful, more beautiful than that from the Hungarian mines, of which I once had 3 ounces together.
Nor is this oil of gold to be despised, because it is of great usefulness in medicine if properly applied. Whatever I have learned, I will reveal. It may well be that others have also tried it for other sicknesses, but I have mostly used this composition for the French disease (venereal disease), when it strongly drove the poison out through perspiration, thus healing the infected persons.
First I tried it on a scholar who had a training school not far from Vienna in Austria. He was not satisfied with Germany but devoted himself to the French. (“The French” was the name given to syphilis). He had acquired it from a French “putain”, or whore. He already had it to the highest degree: his hair was falling out, boils came out on his temples, spots were also on his thighs, and whatever other symptoms there are in such an infection. I did tell him that I was willing to cure him, but that it would be at great expense as the infection had already advanced so far. The woman with whom he was living offered to assume all the costs, if only he could be restored to good health. I thought they were sleeping together, and it looked to me as if she were also infected, but she did not say anything about it. I prepared this oil of gold for him, as I had received enough money for it, and gave him 6 drops a day in one dose, in some spirit of Lignum Sanctum (holy wood). I made him perspire to dryness in a bathroom, and when he had done this for four days, he got a rash over his body like the rind of a birchtree. He was very ugly to look at, as his blood was totally infected. I continued for 14 days, and it drove the disease out of his body most formidably. Then I made him take a bath in the following solution: 2 lbs. of sulphur, 4 lbs. of salt, 1 lb. of tartar. All this had to boil strongly in a kettle with water, till the water was quite whitish. In that he bathed four times, when the dirt fell off him and he became quite clean and healthy.
When children contract smallpox or the measles, they cannot be helped by any better remedy than this oil of gold, giving them once, twice, or three times each time 4 drops in a tablespoon of lentil broth. It will soon drive them out and off the heart, so that they are rid of the sickness in a few days.
Against dizzy spells it is likewise a wonderful expedient. With it I cured two wealthy persons in a short time, one a man, the other a woman, both belonging to the nobility of Thuringia. I did not give them more than 6 drops in a spoonful of swallow-water, continuing thus for 14 days. Externally, I had their temples rubbed with snake grease. Their dizziness disappeared, and one has to-date not noticed anything of it in them.
Nasal polyps are chased away very quickly, as I tried doing for a noble young lady in 1630. She was greatly troubled with it. I first put some spirit of Nieri on it until was everywhere sorely corroded, although it was sore enough by itself, greatly hindering her breathing and speaking. After that, she had to coat it every morning and evening with this oil, and it may well have still other virtues in medicine. But because I have no experience in that regard, I cannot give a true report on it. The kind reader will have to be content with the experiments I have related.
With this oil I still did something else: I took one Quentlein (1.66 gr.) of it, added to it 3 Quentlein oil or tincture of sweet antimony and congealed it in a phial to a fixed, darkred powder, which took four weeks. Finally I gave it a very strong fire and it flowed together in a glass. I removed it, pulverized it, and used it in many sicknesses. It also did its share amazingly well and was almost like a panacea.
I wanted to know if I could also put a golden-yellow coat on Luna (silver) in aquafort. I beat the calx down and edulcorated it, then added some of this medicine and set it in a gradation fire. The Luna calx turned brownred in 8 days, and red oildrops were hanging in the phial above the matter. I congealed it still longer, the drops vanished, and everything became red. On the very day I intended to take it out, the imperial invasion took place. Not only was the glass smashed but I was robbed of all my medicines, so that I cannot tell whether or not it would have resulted in something. Someone who has this medicament in stock should test it, he cannot lose much by doing so. I am of opinion that it would turn into something, especially because the ferment had been united to and congealed with the tincture of antimony. But I do not wish to be the cause that everybody embarks on goldmaking, because I myself cannot do it. I only say that Nature is wonderful in her works. Whoever reflects on them may well occasionally discover a secret. Often a bad and mean thing has so much in it that nobody would believe it.
Another Process for the Preparation of Oil of Gold
Take purified gold, 2 Lots; quick silver, 8 Lots. Make of them an amalgam such as goldsmiths make when trying to gild. Put this ground gold in a leather and dry the quicksilver off it. The gold will be left in the leather like a white mass or dough. Put it in a crucible or cupel, mix it with three times as much sublimated sulphur, then set the cupel in a reverberating furnace till the sulphur and the mercury disappear completely and the gold is left in the cupel like a brown powder. This gold is as fluffy as a sponge. Put it in a glass, pour over it some oil of vitriol, which has been united with the White Swans, thereafter distill it to oil over the alembic. This oil must then be rectified with spirit of wine, strengthened by its oil. In this way one can also obtain a beautiful red oil.
In this formula the author again shows us another process for making potable gold. Although he does not lack in processes, they are deficient in so far as gold cannot thereby be made truly potable. If there is a subject under the sun with which many processes have been undertaken, it is gold; and if there is one by which less has been accomplished, it is precisely gold. Therefore many have been induced to even bar gold from medicine. But those have not acted intelligently, for what fault is it of the pure and good gold that it is treated so wrongly? It would rather do away with such processes than it must submit to be tortured so badly as the daily works show more than enough. These Laboratory workers err all together in the sole key for opening its hard locks and fetters, for many works disclose an uncertain foundation. However, where there is no foundation, how can a stable house be built?
I remember a funny dreamer in Leipzig who pretended that gold, which is a pure fire, could not be opened or made potable except by another pure fire. In so saying he was not wrong, and it is so in truth. But I asked him what he understood by the fire that was to dissolve gold. He did not wish to tell me but said that it was a fire that only lights but does not burn. Now I well remembered that Paracelsus also wrote of such a fire, but whether that dreamer understood what was meant by it, I doubt very much, for in such a fire the angels and good spirits are also transformed.
I asked where he hoped to get this pure fire. Now it was difficult to get him to talk. Once I tried getting drunk, thinking that the wine was a sure betrayer of many secrets. It worked, and when he had become drunk and truthful, he let the art out of the bag and said that it was no other than the wil-o’-the-wisps, that they were such a pure fire. I would have loved to laugh at it but could not let him see what I thought till I had learned all his secrets. I also wanted to know how to catch them, but he did not wish to disclose this secret to me. But I did not think other than that this art would burst my stomach with laughter – or I already had the will-o’-the-wisps in my stomach and they wanted to get out again. I could not imagine that the old fool was serious, but he insisted solemnly. Then I thought how God could let a man fall down so much that he could imagine such absurdities. All that I found out – and that was also the reason why he had been called will-o’-the-wisp-catcher during his lifetime. I have met many other strange dreamers but none like him – but I cannot know if he ever caught a will-o’-the-wisp.
We must also examine the author’s process. Many think very little of it, as the Gold must be amalgamated with Mercury and calcined with Sulphur. For they say that Mercury robs gold of its inherent moisture and that it becomes subsequently all too dry owing to its reverberation with the Sulphur. Whether this is true or not, I will indicate in the proper place, It may very well be that this calcination is not of very great benefit to medicine, but whether it is due to the fact that Mercury robs gold of its moisture, I will not dispute. So, it cannot be highly considered because of this, but the whole process appears suspect to me, and I believe the author has never worked it himself or achieved potable gold by it.
He wants to dissolve the gold with oil of vitriol and drive it thereby over the alembic, which gives me much to think about, because the corrosive oil of vitriol does not dissolve gold in such a way that it rises with it over the alembic. It is evident and requires no proof that the corrosive oil of vitriol fixes all volatile spirits and makes them stable, including sulphur, which becomes so fixed by it that no fire can light or burn it. If it does that, how then can it take gold, the stablest of all, along with it over the alembic? Here it is not important that some object and say that gold can be worked so far with other corrosive spirits that it rises into the alembic — why should the spirit of vitriol not do the same? But the answer is easy to find: one corrosive spirit is not like another. I am here speaking of the corrosive spirit of vitriol and not of its sweet arcanum, of which something will also be said later. For I am well aware that from vitriol a menstruum can be prepared that can dissolve and take over the alembic not only gold but all other metals and precious stones. To do this, however, is not everybody’s doing and ability, and it requires an experienced and learned Philosopher and not a common laboratory worker. The process also takes quite some time, and the White Swan must also be present, as the menstruum is useless without it.
But what kind of Swan this is, neither Basil nor Paracelsus has expressly stated, although Basil speaks about the Swan. But if it is to be understood literally, I very much doubt, and I cannot imagine that the common laboratory workers know the White swan or know how to look for it. Nor can I believe that Poppius understood it, otherwise he would have achieved much more precious and greater works with this menstruum, as it can be called a Universal Menstruum, which it really is. In nearly all his works out author goes for the menstruum prepared of tartar and vitriol, which he no doubt understands here, and of which we will also speak of in its place. Soon afterwards he indicates how to prepare it under the name of “arcanum of Tartar”. Thus he also speaks a great deal about it in his Preparation of Silver and Preparation of Tartar, using his process seven times, as indeed a Universal can do. Let scholars judge of it, my opinion will be found expressed clearly enough in my Notes.
But I consider the menstruum with the Swan of Basil and Paracelsus much more important than that which I saw at a wealthy Philosopher’s. He put a whole Ducat in it. It disappeared in half an hour without any noise, and the menstruum turned bloodred from it. Therefore a young chymist must take great care not to trust every process — only to gain misery and bitterness for his great trouble. True, a process can soon be written, but it only becomes apparent hoe true or right it is when it is put in practice and elaborated according to the letter. If any man were to verify his writings and processes, of which he smears together big volumes, oh! how badly he would fare and he would finally be obliged to say that his writings had only been the thoughts of his brain, and that he had imagined that they would also succeed in the fire.
Shortly before, I thought that many do not speak highly of the calcination of Gold with Mercury and do not wish to adapt it for medicines, such as those which are prepared with the power of the fire, like the Aquae Regis and the spirits of the salts of ammonia. I will therefore indicate here a fine method, for although gold must be calcined if one wants to make something important of it, suitable for all works, dissolutions, and extractions, it must be done as follows:
Have a fine crucible made of the kind that the glaziers have. It must not be too big or too small. Set it in the glass furnace at a constant heat and let it stay in a continuous flux. It must be placed in such a way that it can frequently or constantly be stirred with an iron wire. Let it stand in that heat for 14 days, and you will find a beautiful gold calx within that time. It melts easily in almost every menstruum and can afterwards be worked as you like. Little is lost of the gold. I have sent 3 Lots of gold to the glassworks, and when the calx came back, not more than half a Quentlein had been lost. It was so delicate that no laboratory worker could have made it subtler or clearer, of a somewhat blackish-brown color. Such a calcination can easily be done. The glazier gets a good tip and does it, leaving the stirring to boys who are doing it day and night. And a Thaler goes a long way.
There are other ways of calcination. I have seen a gentleman in Austria calcine gold in a constant fire, but the fire was made of pure sulphur. After four weeks — for that is how long he left the gold in the fire — it was so soft that it could be ground into a fine flour between one’s fingers. But because this calcination is not suitable for everything, I will not recommend it. Each will see which kind of calcination he should use for his work. Before reporting the above, I had indicated that which is done with stag’s antlers. It is not only suitable for all works but there is no suspicion of a corrosive in it. Likewise, the above calcination in the glass furnace can also well be used. I have read about more than a hundred calcinations of the Sun, but when they were examined they are nearly all cast over one last and issue from one foundation: either through dissolving waters or through fumigations or cementations, through minerals, also through lead, because the fumes of lead also calcine gold, rendering it so soft that it can easily be reduced to a powder. I would not want to use it for medicines, however, as lead fumes are poisonous and contain arsenic.
Some assert that gold can be calcined wit the salt of rainwater, May dew, or hail. If it is put in it while in flux, it is supposed to turn into a delicate powder which can afterwards melt in any kind of liquid. If that were so, it would indeed be a fine thing, and I would myself think highly of it as it would be quite a handy means. However, I have neither tried it nor worked with it, and I can therefore not say anything sure about it, because I cannot make a reliable report about something my eyes have not seen themselves.
Once someone came to me who said that he calcined gold with the salt of rainwater, May dew, or hail for all his works! I do not wish to contradict it, as they contain anyhow a great secret for many sicknesses. I also know that some have prepared potable gold with their spirits, but it takes some effort to make the salt and requires a rather long time. The same is done with rainwater, but it results in a beautiful salt.I know a man who wants to make the Philosophers’ Stone from rainwater. Whether he will accomplish it, time will tell. But I believe that he will achieve little without the central salt of Nature. It is probably true that water is a receiver for all celestial influxes, though it is questionable that it can be specified upon metals from its general condition. I am leaving to every man his will and ideas. They will show him what he can do with it.
On the Essence of the Sun & the Arcanum of Sulfur of Gold ~
If one takes what is beaten thin
Opens it as it should
Then pours into it drop by drop
Mutratur which grows beautifully on the Rhine
Of that an oil arises of itself
Take note of what I am telling you about it
The gold then settles again
Slowly drips away until at last
The effervescence stops of itself
Put a long alembic on
And strongly distill everything again
Till no more juice comes off it
Then pound it to a fine powder
And pour it into warm water
To dissolve the sharpness
Stir it with a wooden spoon
Pour it off/ and pour fresh one over it
So that nothing corrosive is left
Gold calx should be left brown and subtle
But if there is much of it
Repeat the work again
Just as before
The more often this is repeated
The more subtle and beautiful it becomes
Nor has it any grain or lustre
But that has been completely destroyed
That one has also to take note of
When you believe that everything has been poured off
Dry it quite gently
Or else it will quickly ignite
Bursting the oven at short notice
Everything above and below
That happens as fast as lightning
Therefore, use common sense and intelligence in this
Something else I wish to relate
If you cannot get any oil of Mutritar
Take common herbs
Prepare them into a fine salt
Dissolve it into an oil
Use it as indicated above
When the gold has been prepared
I give you this additional information
Twelve letters – the number fourteen
Five syllables and also six vowels
Rectify this very finely
And pour the gold calx into it
Set it in digestion well closed
Then leave it for several days
The solvent will become beautiful and red
This essence will help you in case of need.
These rhymes have been taken from an old book, and many have played with them like the cat with the mouse, believing that enormous secrets were hidden in them. Thus I met a laboratory worker in the archbishopric of Salzburg, who was otherwise no incompetent man and knew some fine manipulations. With him I had many discussions about the secrets of alchymy. Finally, he told, but confidentially, that he had a description of the secret of the Philosophers’Stone. He was so secretive about it, however, that he did not let the cat out of the bag. At last I promised him so much if he only let me read it once a quite superficially, that he agreed. After reading it, I had to laugh out loud that the good man considered these empty verses so important. I had hoped that I could surely go fishing in them, but I could hardly catch a crawfish.
I told him that there was nothing secret in these lines, that it was only the fulminating gold (or: leaf gold), aurum fulminans, known to all alchymists, that was indicated in them, and that he did not understand the word Mutratar nor the last eight lines in which mention is of 12 letters, 5 syllables, 6 vowels, and the number 14. He said that they contained a great secret – but this secret is also known to the coal-heavers. I believe that many would attain to the Art or some other secret if they did not set such great store by those futile things, they are only cheating themselves thereby. Good Lord! What a catalog of names I could report of those I met in my travels who relied on such false rhymes. They had bought them for a great deal of money from vagrants or fraudulent rascals, believing that they now had all they needed, that nothing was lacking, and that they had only to start working. But at the end they were shouting: “The thief has cheated me!” And I have seen more than three gallows full of such vagrants who peddled such rhymes.
When they came to me with them, I questioned them. They failed lamentably, bringing forth many excuses. They pretended not to understand such high matters themselves but had found the verses in some old vault or cloister where many distinguished alchymists had lived many years ago – to which they could swear magnificently. Whoever is not careful is easily caught in their thieve’s net, for one’s inquisitiveness is strongly prodded after such a mendacious discovery, especially as they can affirm it with so many oaths. They also say that they have seen such a large quantity of man-made gold, yes, that they themselves had seen it being made, and they use whatever more bacon they can find to bate the trap. What man would not listen with delight to those sirens who sing so beautifully that it makes you forget food and drink, like the companions of Ulysses. O you frivolous fellows, how will you one day answer for it that you attract so much money into your pockets with your thieving finger?
I knew a gentleman in Thieving who had been given 5.000 Thalers to a vagrant for such a process. when I became acquainted with him soon afterwards, he trusted me so much that he let me read it. After reading it, I told him that I had that process and poem four years ago and that it contained nothing but fantasy and nonsense. The good man was greatly startled, and when I explained one thing and another to him, also telling him that precisely the word Mutratar and the twelve syllables were in that process just as in these rhymes, he became even more startled and recognized the futility of this process. Although he said that he was going to write to the swindler, wherever he was, I have not heard any further, but I believe he did not say much to this fraud but preferred to keep quiet. It may also be that the swindler used a false name, as those fellows normally do. Nor do I doubt that our author himself thought little of it, because he gave it the title, “On the essence of the Sun and the arcanum of sulphur”.
I must confess that there is no more stupid and bad process than this among all those dealing with gold. If the spirit of wine were to lie on it for a hundred years, it would not extract the right essence or sulphur from it, as experience shows more than enough. It is easy to write such things, but experience tells how true the writing is and what the process can do when it is tested. But so that beginners may not be mislaid by such poetry, I will explain here briefly what is said in it. Many a man might think that it is all seraphic wisdom, while it is nothing but an operation for acquiring fulminating gold.
The explanation is as follows: Laminated gold has to be dissolved in Aqua Regis. When it is dissolved, the oil of tartar (for Mutratar is tartarum’, the letters have only been transposed) has to be poured in drop by drop. A strong roaring and effervescence will arise, But the drops must be put in only one after another because of the fast ebullition. When the fermentation has stopped and everything is calm, the liquid has to be distilled off (it can also be just poured down while the gold precipitates). Some powder is left. Warm water has to be poured on that to remove the sharpness. If the gold were not altogether dissolved softly and subtly, the process has to be repeated from the beginning. Then it has to be dried gently, only in the room or in the air but not in the sun, or else it would quickly ignite, breaking everything it meets, as I once experienced in Austria. I had 8 Lots of this gold calx and wanted to dry it in the room on a copper cover in a stove. I had hardly left the room, as I wanted to go to dinner, when a rumbling arose in the room to startle everybody in the house. We did not know what it was. When I had opened the door of the room to leave, the gold ignited and broke the tiled stove into a thousand pieces, also shattering the railing around the stove. Thus I sustained a great loss, as I did not retrieve one Pfennig (small German coin) of these 8 Lots of gold.
If sulphur flowers are mixed with the gold, however, and they are again cemented and burnt, it loses all fulminating, which is quite surprising. What is even more surprising: The fulminating is due to the tartar, and if after the gold has fermented, a good amount of oil of tartar is poured on it, it does away with the in the same way, no matter how strong the heat is that one applies. Many will not believe this, and yet it is the truth. Many might say that it is against Nature, because two contrary or different operations cannot be done simultaneously in one subject.
If you have no oil of tartar at hand, the verses tell you to burn grape vine to ash and make salt of it. Then let it flow to oil in the cellar, and use it in the same way. This also works, it also precipitates the gold, but vinewood is often harder to obtain in many places than tartar. Nor are you always tied to these salts, others also precipitate gold, such as the salt of pine trees or ashes of firtrees, and there is more ash from firs than from vines. In addition, there exist other means for precipitating the dissolved gold in Aqua Regis than the salt of tartar, although Angelus Sala, in his Aphorismi, does not believe it. But experience is the teacher of fools.
But is it true that gold receives so much power to explode from these salts, someone might ask, not unreasonably. I say no, although the striking power does not properly stem from the tartar, for I have at various times precipitated gold with fir ashes. It did not explode, although the fire was rather strong. This has to be ascribed to the spirits which ignite the sulphur of the gold, making it explode so violently. This exploding occurs contrary to common sense, because other powder fulminates ahead or above itself, while this one kicks backwards and below itself, and with such force that one Quentlein of that fulminating gold has more force than 8 Lots of common gunpowder.
The sulphur of iron does the same as gold, but aside from that, no sulphur of any metal does, no matter how it is prepared. That is why many would like to conclude that these two metals must have a great kinship between themselves. They believe that the sulphur of iron is as good as the sulphur of gold, which is quite wrong, however. In all eternity, the sulphur of iron will not become a sulphur of the Sun, irrespective of how the preparationis carried out. the sulphur of iron remains what it is and cannot resist the power of Saturn (lead), even if it is a valiant hero. Nevertheless, it must concede victory to this old gentleman.
Now we will finish with the paraphrasing of the rhymes. When everything has thus been prepared and the calx of gold has been achieved, one is supposed to pour on it some spirit of wine, that is 5 syllables, 6 vowels, 12 letters, together the number 14. These words have mislaid many a man, believing that they contained a high arcanum, and the true Philosophical Menstruum were thereby revealed. But it is not so and is only bla-bla and humbug, which is no arcanum, much less the Universal Menstruum. This is the reason that many believe that the spirit of wine must be the true Philosophical Menstruum and that they spend a great deal of time acquiring it.
Well then, with this spirit of wine one was supposed to extract the tincture of gold, and this was supposed to be the essence of the Sun which could help in case of need. Let those believe it who want to, I for my part cannot believe it. Nor do I let myself be persuaded, because I am quite certain that the spirit of wine does not extract any essence out of this fulminating gold. It is far too weak to decompose such a perfect subject, the most perfect Body. And what would it matter if it could extract an essence, it would yet not be the essence that could help you in need, for it would only be a subtle part of the gold, separated from its Body. It can do little, and can in no way lead you to riches, for it has not become plusquamperfect (more than perfect), as it has to become if it is to do something for others. Gold does not have its powers from it, it has no more than it requires for its own perfection. If it is to accomplish anything, it must first acquire such a virtue in its regeneration, when it has again to enter its mother’s womb.
Now it is obvious that the spirit of wine is not the gold’s mother, nor can it ever become so. As gold did not originate in spirit of wine at the beginning of the earth, it must necessarily follow that the spirit of wine can in no way extract a useful tincture from gold. It can therefore not be called “Sulphur of the Philosophers”, while itself and its Body can be reduced. Yes, more men, many of them, including Angelus Sala, do not wish to admit that the tincture can be separated from the Sun — although Sala later changed his mind and recognized his error. One cannot deny that the color should not separate from the Body, that the Body stays behind as silver, and in the reduction it is not again a Body of the Sun but fixed silver that is left, which acquires another sulphur in antimony and copper, turning into gold again. Therefore many believe that because this fixed silver can again become gold, one could add a sulphur, which could tinge it into gold. This is true, provided one has the right Philosophical Tincture, or the silver is made so fixed that it can pass all gold tests through cement, antimony, and quartz. Otherwise it is impossible that anything useful can result thereby. But how this is done remains to be reported, because the Philosophers keep it very secret.
Some time ago, I saw at a Philosopher’s in Italy a lump of several pounds of silver, which stood all tests. All it was lacking was the right color, which he could give it very easily. He frankly admitted that by his skill he could make a hundredweight of silver fixed within three months, provided he had just one partner. But how he did it, I was not told. True, many process-makers and braggarts write exceedingly big volumes about it, but in truth they are nothing deceit and processes that can never be brought to perfection. Hardly one hair curler can be found who does not pretend to know how to make fixed silver, and yet, with all their art they are such poor wretches that one could take pity on them. One may well say here, “Physician, help thyself!” And if they did not occasionally meet an imprudent beginner, hardly conversant with the writings of the Philosophers, who gave them bread for some time, for God’s sake, they would have starved a long time ago and the world would have got rid of them many years ago.
I knew one of this sort in Erfurt. He convinced some good credulous people that he could fix all Thalers in a short time and finally transmute them into the best gold, and that it would not cost much at all. These good people imagined that they would soon become great gentlemen, and accepted the artist. He built various kinds of ovens, put up a pair of bellows, and set up an entire goldsmith’s workshop. First, he tried with a small sample of 3 Lots of silver. He cemented these and juggled about with them till he thought that the time had come to ensnare the birds. But it was nothing but the White body of the Sun from which the tincture had been extracted. He put it into the cementing box as if it were only common silver.
When now everybody was eagerly looking forward to the issue, and the day had been set — which he first selected in the calendar to make sure there was a lucky aspect of the Sun and Moon — when the monkeys were supposed to come out of the box, everything happened in a solemn and devout manner. He pulled the boxes out of the fire and when they had cooled, he told his sponsors to open them themselves, so that they could see that he was dealing with them honestly and sincerely. Furthermore, he said, he was going away for one or two days, they should meanwhile have the fixed silver tested to see if it could pass all assays. This was done. The silver passed all examinations and was found to be good, but the color was lacking, and the people did not know what to do. The artist, however, stayed away for eight days, and they were greatly looking forward to his return. They were very sorry and worried that their teacher in the Art would not return at all, because he was being tested. Yet they were full of good hope nevertheless, as he had left behind his Suppellectilem, which was not that important. Meanwhile, they told their intimate friends of this feat and promised to accept them also into their society when the artist returned. Their friends were likewise interested in the new art and consented to put up a sum of Thalers.
The artist returned after one week. There was great joy, and a wonderful meal was prepared. They were very happy indeed, especially when he asked how the silver passed the test, if it had also stood the gold assays. Everything was confirmed with delight, and each wanted to be the artist’s next client. Then he told them that he would in future also turn this fixed silver into gold, and he began making arrangements for it, which was easy to do. Now their mood became even more jubilant, and they were wondering where they might perhaps find a kingdom to buy — there would be no shortage of gold…
They now concluded a deal and decided, seeing that a great work did not take more time than a little one, to invest 500 Marks. The instruments were arranged and the work was begun. In the meantime, the artist saw his advantage. He changed the cementing boxes, took the silver out, yes, even out of town. Nevertheless, the alleged work is given fire. On a Saturday night, the artist pretends to go to confession, and the good people are supposed to watch the work for some time, to make sure that nothing goes wrong.
He left – looking for a father confessor in a foreign country. As he was staying away a long time, the good people were eagerly waiting for him with their meal, but because he had promised the father confessor not to eat anything that evening, he did not come back to table. They were surprised at it but did not think anything bad of it, thinking he would come after the sermon and communion. He, however, was taking a really long way!
Now the company suspected that something was not right. They decided to let the fire go out and take a look at the work. It took place the following Monday. As the artist had perhaps fallen asleep in the church and did not come, they opened the boxes — and found in them a mighty odd transmutation, for instead of their Thalers, they found nothing but horseshoes, lead, bricks, and similar fine substances — while the silver and the artist were roving throughout the world.
They now began to look at each other and froze as if they had attacked and caught a torpedo fish (eel). Their brief happiness turned into an immense dirge, and yet they could not complain openly. But when they disagreed among themselves, each accusing the other of having persuaded him to enter this deal, the affair became known, and the good people had to add insult to injury. And that was called “making silver fixed”.
Of such cheats there are still many more in the world, who might also mislead wise men. That is the reason why I am relating this, to put everybody on his guard and not to give credence to such swindlers. For they have studied for many years how to cheat people, and I think that this is one of the reasons why alchymia is forbidden in Spain and that not everybody can work with it. Would to God that the same would happen in Germany! Then many an honest man would not be so shamefully done out of his property. And no person should work with it who has not been called to it by God and is a physician.
Now we will stop with this report and turn to the other preparations, according to our author’s instructions.
Another Way of Making Oil of Gold ~
Take some of the brown gold calx that has been reverberated with sulphur. Put it in a phial glass with a very flat bottom. Set that in warm sand for 18 weeks, day and night. Give it constant heat but so that the calx does not melt. In this way the gold is finally swelling up and becomes as soft as cotton. Open the glass and pour over it the following fiery spirit of the arcanum of tartar, which extracts the tincture of gold in an astonishing way. This must be discarded over the alembic, when a gold-colored oil will rise, quite transparent and lovely to look at.
The Arcanum of the Salt of Tartar ~
Take the magistery of vitriol, which is quite clear, transparent and crystalline. Dissolve in it the vegetable salt, then distill the phlegms gently off it. Thereafter dissolve it in distilled rainwater till it loses all its feces and gets rid of its slime. Now coagulate it to dryness. Pour the vegetable blood, or the vegetable fire over it, then distill it over the alembic. First the spirit will come out, then the fiery spirit, and this is the arcanum for this work.
The author presents another way of making oil of gold. It differs little from the first, except that the menstruum for the extraction is taken from vitriolic tartar, with the addition of brandy. The process is probably fine and can be made, although I have not tried it for gold. I have, however, done it for silver and found it to be true according to the letter. But the reverberation is a very tiresome work, as 18 weeks is a long time and much coal has to be used. In addition, this fire must be well regulated or else the substance will easily melt and revert into a Body. Then all effort and work are lost. This long time is required to allow the calx to become all the subtler, but one can achieve this just as well in a shorter time. In the manner indicated, potable gold cannot be prepared in less than half a year. The patient could die a hundred times before getting his medicine. I would advise (the alchymists) to use the gold calx which I taught in the previous process, or that obtained with stag’s antlers. It can melt and be extracted in almost every liquid, even if one does not use the tartarized arcanum as a menstruum.
The gold calx can in any case soon be made volatile. Within two days I can volatilize it so much that it rises entirely into the alembic; even flies away. One may well be surprised that such a fixed Body can be so far destroyed that it can fly away without wings like Mercury, and yet can also be made fixed again with a little effort. I know how to make a spirit that destroys gold so much in a few hours that it flies with the spirit out of the glass into the air, if the glass is not tightly closed. Nobody knows where it goes, and it vanishes entirely, so that not one grain is left in the glass.
When I mentioned this one day at a princely table, the Prince did not want to believe it and asked me to show it to him in practice. When I did this in a short time — because I already had a supply of the spirit – he was quite surprised and said that he had had many laboratory workers, but none had gone so far. Furthermore, he said that if he knew how to make this spirit, he would not doubt the preparation of the Philosophers’ Stone. But he was wrong, because this spirit had not been the Universal Spirit, as the Philosophers want it to be, but had been made from other minerals, and was corrosive. Therefore it could not and should not be an ingredient and medium for attaining this high Work. Although it could not be used for this purpose — nor had I prepared it to this end — it was yet a wonder that it could volatilize the gold so fast without further preparation. And if nothing was added to it, it did not let the gold drop away. Even if one tried ten times to separate it through the Balneum, the gold always went with it over the alembic, not as an oil or an extract but with its color, just the color of the spirit itself, only somewhat pale-yellow. Aside from that, it was beautiful, bright and white like spring water. It is not necessary to describe here how to prepare this spirit as it does not help this Work. It is also dangerous to operate with it because it kicks so much and violently as no gunpowder does. It is better, however, to handle the tartarized arcanum, but one must have a good amount of it, and I will here describe how I made it.
I took 1 lb. of salt of tartar, optim. rectified. Upon it I poured drop by drop the same amount of oil of vitriol. I let it effervesce, then put it down till it had settled. I decanted the liquid and gently dried the residue. I dissolved the latter in the phlegma of the vitriol, poured the pure off and filtered it. I distilled the liquid to half, then put the rest in a cold place. Now beautiful clear and transparent crystals sprouted, which I took out with a wooden spoon, letting half of the remaining water steam off further; set it back in the cellar, let it sprout, poured the liquid off, mixed the crystals with the previous ones. When I had dried and weighed them, I had obtained 2 lbs. from these 4 lbs.
On these crystals I poured some good rectified spirit of wine — which the author calls the “vegetarian blood” — set it to digest, as otherwise they do not easily dissolve, till they were completely dissolved. Then I distilled them according to the Art. When I had driven over 2 lbs. of the spirit, I changed the receiver, added another and increased the fire somewhat. Now a beautiful fiery spirit went over. I removed the Death’s Head, enclosed it in a retort and reverberated it well. I also extracted its salt with distilled rainwater, added it to the distilled spirit, let it circulate for 8 days, and drove it over again. Thus I obtained a wonderful menstruum with which one can not only extract the Soul of the gold but also that of all metals, minerals and precious stones. It dissolves and extracts exceedingly well, and if it does not take everything over the alembic the first time, it must be cohobated and will work very well.
When I tried this process with silver, I could not get everything over the alembic the first time but had to pour it back several times into the left-over. Then it went over, leaving only a few feces in the retort, which were quite black and light. I am of opinion that one has to proceed in the same way with gold, as its Body is even more fixed and compact than the Body of silver, and the cohobations achieve much good, which could otherwise not be done.
With this menstruum I have dissolved the crocus Martis, the crocus (saffron color) of iron and extracted its tincture, which turned out more beautiful than any dissolution of the Sun. I took it over the alembic in the same way. And when I separated the menstruum from it by a vapor bath, a beautiful oil was left, pleasant and sweet, as if it had come from the best gold. It also tinged silver into shining gold, though it was not stable. But when the silver was immediately held in the fire, it did not fly away like that which comes from antimony. It was only washed away when it was strongly rubbed. This work could well make you hope that you could make something out of iron with which you could earn your bread. I leave it to anyone who would like to try it. I am afraid, however, that it will hardly be possible without a good fermentation, because Basil says that Mars also attains glory by his quarrelsomness, but that he must take care not to be pushed down again and suffer shame and derision, as the old Saturn (lead) is his archenemy: where he can give him a secret knock, he will not hesitate to do so, because the old folks are generally no friends of warriors.
With this oil one can also turn Mercury into a beautiful precipitate, which can be used to great advantage in many sicknesses. It makes it so fixed and fireproof that it can pass a rather stiff test of Vulcan (fire). I really think that if it is conjoined with the oil of gold, it can become something useful, but I do not wish to cause anyone to squander money on it. In this passage I only reveal my thoughts in case someone wanted to do something for Mars, although Mars seldom brings riches. Instead, he robs and takes wherever he can, not asking if it belongs to God or the poor fellowman, as a very honest man learned after 24 years. I could also tell a story of what war has cost me. May God one day end such abominable destruction of the country and restore noble peace to us, for then many fine arts will yet arise, honoring God and serving the poor fellowman. Well then, everything comes from God, good fortune and misfortune, and we must say with Job: Si bona suscepimus a Domino, cur non mala sustineamus.
We will also say something about the virtues of this gold. The author (Poppius), however, does not mention them, doubtlessly because it does precisely what has been said of the other preparations, to which I will also refer to the kind reader. He will easily notice when this gold oil is to be used. Not only will he learn the doses but also see from my comments in what cases I used them. It cannot be contradicted that gold can in general heal all sicknesses, as all the books of hermetic physicians testify. And whoever will read the history of cases cured by the potable gold of Anthony of London will find astounding things in them, observed and cured both by himself and others who had the potable gold brought to them from far-away countries. Of that a whole treatise has been written and printed in Hamburg. Even so there are some who do not think much of it, saying that this solution is not philosophical, etc. I will not discuss this here, while no one knows yet for sure by what means he dissolves the gold, even if there are several descriptions available, pretending to indicate the process. I believe, however, that he did not make his secret public to the extent that the sparrows could whistle it from the rooftops, for he would be a bad fencer who did not keep one stroke for himself. One thing is sure, it is no small science to know how to process gold correctly so as to turn it into a medicine without a corrosive.
What to think of potable gold that is supposed to be strengthened with the blood of Venus (copper) and Mars (iron), is not difficult to decide. I consider it nonsense, because the sulphur of iron and copper is not the sulphur of gold. Therefore, no such effect can follow, and I wonder that some wealthy physicians also publish articles about it, trying to convince people that cow dung is grease. Although both come from the cow, they are therefore not the same. Dung may well be spread, but plants do not melt thereby.
How to Prepare the Quintessence of Gold
Take some of the brown calx reverberated with sulphur, 3 or 4 Lots. Mix it with the crystalline coagulated dry water, 6 Lots. This water does not dissolve the metal in the common way but separates the good from the bad. It destroys the bad and the course, turning it into earthdust and slime, while increasing the good in its nature, This conjunction done, very carefully close the glass with lute, then set it in a gradation-fire in sand for 8 weeks, day and night, in steady heat, but only so much that the calx does not melt and shows just a slight brown glow. In that steady heat the crystalline water will open the gold completely, turning it into dust and ashes.
When now the gold has all turned into ashes, give it a stronger fire for three weeks. Then take it out, open the glass and pour it over these ashes the vinegar of Nature, which the Philosophers call Nature’s fire. The vinegar will soon revivify the ash, extract its Soul, beat the earth and feces down and leave them at the bottom of the glass. You can do the same with silver and other metals. In this way metals can be totally anatomized and decomposed, bringing them into their crystalline and essential form.
Whoever wants to follow Nature further, may add to this essence of gold the essence of antimony, which may be quite sweet and transparent, nicely smelling and tasting, and also penetrating. This essence will soon be tinged and attract the tincture of the gold. Enclose the latter in a glass and set it in warm ashes. It will turn into a red transparent glass or salt, quite stable and fixed in the fire, quite transparent. It might well be called the arcanum of gold. It is also possible to add the essence of vitriol instead of the essence of antimony and coagulate further, as just said.
I thought above that there is not one laboratory worker barely able to distill water who would not know a special arcanum for processing potable gold or the quintessence! Therefore more processes have arisen then there are hours in the year. They are all useless words and breadless arts which spoil more than they help, and each wants to arrange the hat after his head. Accordingly, I think less than nothing of those processes. Yet there is so much shouting about them that it fills all corners of the world. And now as almost everybody knows that medicine that an excellent medicine lies hidden in gold, everybody wants to extract it. Indeed, it is to be considered a great gift of God if this noble jewel is granted to a man. Those who strive after this high secret are not to be blamed but should rather be praised, provided they do not associate with sophists, thereby cheating people out of their money and ruining their health. Our author had likewise taken great pains and had strenuously reflected on how he could obtain this jewel we can easily see by his various labors that he tried in different ways. Among others, he also indicated this process on how to prepare the quintessence of gold. As I see it, however, this is not a quintessence but only a wearisome calcination and extraction with the arcanum of tartar or vitriolized tartar.
With this salt he does nearly all his works, believing that he has quite rightly proceeded according to the views of the Philosophers — which I cannot believe, because the crystalline dry water of the Philosophers and the arcanum of Nature are different from what the author thinks. The latter decompose gold, so that it can never again be brought into a Body gold, unless it is done by projection. But according to the processes of our author, gold can again be reverted into a Body with little effort, and this crystalline water and out author’s vinegar of Nature cannot do much that it would completely discard its covers and stand there naked. In addition, one is said to decompose the Body gold; the other, to extract it, which is against all Philosophers. They always say that calcining, sublimating, fixing, etc., are all one work, and that it is done in a closed vessel and furnace. If this is true, as it is indeed, it must follow that the author never understood the views of the Philosophers, much less prepared Nature’s vinegar and making potable gold thereby. This process can therefore not be a quintessence of ( ), no matter how often he insists that we must follow Nature.
This would nevertheless be a good teacher if he also showed the way of Nature, in which one should certainly walk. Nature does not lead us astray, provided we do not digress from her. She gives us the natural bodies and spirits in which the Art must work – prepare, purify and ready them, to become that which the Art had intended to make of them at the start. But at the same time she shows us, as if pointing with a finger, where we should direct our eyes, that is, to her work, as she operates in her workshop, and not as the misleading alchymists require in their false books, ever boasting of high matters. I am not speaking of the books of the Philosophers, however, although they are obscure and cannot be understood at the beginning. Therefore Baccaser says in the Turba: Qui longanimis erit libenterq; patientia fruitur in tramite justo hujus artis meabit, etc. It is a good warning.
It is the same with the vinegar of Nature. Nature has already prepared it. We must not make it under any circumstances but only take it out of her vinegar-jar. It is vinegar against Nature, sweet, pleasantly tasting and crysta-clear. Therefore it does not wet the hand and is called the most acid vinegar (acetum acerrimum) by the Philosophers, which are strange words. This vinegar correctly decomposes gold into its Principles, simultaneously extracting its tincture. Our author’s process is unable to do this, and it is nothing but a preparation of the Body for turning it into a liquid. It differs very little from the other preparations, because for a quintessence all three Principles must be well purified. Here, the tincture and the Sulphur are indeed purified, but where are the other two, Salt and Mercury? Mercury, which appears in the form of a beautiful clear water, must likewise be brought to the highest degree of purity. The Salt also must be sublimated into a transparency, like diamonds or rubies. Then a quintessence can follow.
All this can be accomplished by the vinegar of Nature alone, without decanting or distilling. The common man will not believe this, because he calcines gold himself, dissolves and extracts it himself, thus believing that he can produce a quintessence. According to our author’s instructions, gold must first be turned into a fulminating gold, then mixed with the vitriolized tartar, then cemented for fully 18 weeks. With the vitriolized menstruum the Sulphur is first extracted. This is saying it in a few words, but the work is so long that it becomes extremely tedious. Even so, there is something to it. This process is good enough to work after it, but you have to remember that it does not result in a quintessence, as our author believes. But whoever wants to obtain a fine essence in a short time, may work as follows:
I took the calcined gold and poured on it the secret spirit of vitriol. It dissolved the gold within 24 hours and extracted an essence like a ruby, leaving a white Body like fixed silver. Thus I could obtain the whole preparation and perfection within 8 days, because the real spirit of vitriol has the power of attacking, decomposing, and liquefying gold without violence. No other menstruum can easily do this, except that which I saw at a good friend’s, of which I also spoke above. Anyone in possession of it could produce the quintessence of gold – but not everything is revealed to us, nor would it always be good to do so.
But how the secret spirit of vitriol, which so nicely dissolves gold, is to be prepared will be reported below under its title, to which I hereby wish to refer the kind reader. What is missing here will be disclosed there.
Here I wil teach you to prepare a secret spirit for making potable gold which tastes as good as a Seville orange. It subdues gold, causing it to melt in any liquid, yes, in rainwater, and it tinges bloodred. I have always considered this my greatest secret, and am still considering it such. I will communicate it here out of goodwill, but on condition that I am rightly understood. Whoever does not understand had better leave it, or else he might accuse me of misleading him. Yet I can say in good conscious that I am writing nothing but the truth, and I here reveal what I have made with my own hands. With this spirit gold becomes so beautiful and pleasant that it is amazing, and not one in a hundred will believe that there is so much power in this spirit. For if filed gold is simply put in it and subjected to a mild digestion, it will lose its luster and change into the highest redness. The spirit, however, unites with the gold and disappears — and Body and Spirit result in one sweet Body. No menstruum can do this, except the Universal of the world and the Philosophers, no matter what the laboratory workers write — it is not important. You must know, however, that this spirit must not be made more often than once a year, for various reasons, and this is no sophistry as some imagine. Although it can be made at any time, it does not have the power of decomposing gold, at which I myself have been surprised.
But so as not to keep you waiting any longer, know that in the soil near silver mines a special brown earth is found between the galleries. When the sun enters the constellation Cancer and at full moon, which happens every year about mid-June, that earth turns beautifully yellow, as if it were covered with the finest gold. It does not last for more than three hours when it disappears again and the gold vanishes in one moment, so to speak. I observed this carefully at Freiberg in Meissen. You have to wait for it attentively, otherwise you will not notice it. You must not only go by the calendar, but if you wish to collect this gilt earth, you must yourself be familiar with astronomy, to know at what time the full moon occurs in the sky in the mountains, so as not to miss this time, be it at night or during the day, it is all the same.
Get as much of this earth as you like, put it in an oak barrel to prevent the spirit from evaporating, half fill the retort with it, add a receiver, then distill the spirit off. It will look wonderful. When it is all out, distill the phlegma over. By rectification you must get the volatile salt from the left-over. The latter must be turned into a viscous substance by means of its fixed salt. Without it, the work is impossible as one must open the other. When the viscous substance is quite pure, distill it seven times through a retort, and you will get a beautiful crystalline spirit with which you can master the gold and get its essence. I do not believe that any writer has revealed as much as I have. Pray to God for good luck! It is plain enough, I believe a child could understand it. If you cannot make gold spiritual with this spirit and dissolve it into its three Principles, you will not do it with any Aqua Regis or salt of ammonia, except with the dry water of the Philosophers – let anyone say what he likes.
I have learned as much in chymia as any man who is a great boaster and swashbuckler. And praise be to God, I also know what the Art is capable of and how far its operation extends. If God grants you this means for obtaining potable gold, you must not search for other processes, for you will not need them. In a short time, and almost without effort, you will be able to prepare a panacea which will quickly help the sick in their needs. Of this you cannot use more than 5 grains at one go, and you will with pleasure learn its effects in a few hours.
True, I have only been looking for two years for this materia but have been unable to obtain it because I have always been impeded by the tyrannical troops. I must pray to God to let me obtain and enjoy it next year. Many great lords will remember how miserably they have been cheated with potable gold, and how much they spent for it. And what did they obtain? Nothing but words and leprous gold calx which they often used more to the detriment of their health than for the maintenance of their lives. If their laboratory workers had known this one menstruum, they would not have led their pious Princes in vain by the nose. It is right that this should happen to those gentleman. When they are supposed to make an advance payment to their physicians for a good medicine, nothing is being done and money is tied down with chains. But when such vagrants come, who carry their art only on their tongues, then all treasures are open, nothing must be lacking, yes, they even give great honoraria and golden chains for the cheating.
A few years ago, I saw such a swashbuckler at the court of a noble Lord. He only gave him a mere well-rectified spirit of vitriol instead of a true spirit of silver and brass, but praised it in advance to high heaven. Such a sacred thing it was, according to him, greater than Mary’s shirt at Loretto! He was given a fine gold chain in addition to a portrait painting. I offered to make a good quantity of this spirit for 10 Thalers, which would be as good and even better than the former. But due to all the boasting, my offer was laughed at, because I had not told him such stories. that is how it still goes, and the fat will always float on top. An honest man would feel ashamed if he were to make such false claims as these shameless fellows do.
Likewise, I also saw a vagrant on Austria who carried a small travel apothecary along with him. He spoke wonders of what arcana it contained, and convinced people so much of it that he made a great deal of money. When he had exhausted his supply, he had it filled again by a laboratory worker called Johann Spangenberg, paying nine Thalers for it. When I arrived on the scene, he became quite scared. Nevertheless, this had been for him the right owl to catch birds, and he was indeed quite successful. When he noticed, however, that his tricks were about to become common knowledge, he moved away with his prey, after rather thoroughly emptying the purses of some Counts and Lords, whom he ripped off properly.
The same happened recently at a noble Court where a laboratory worker had gone through more than 40.000 Thalers. When the works and medicaments were examined, someone said he would prepare the same medicines for 500 guilders. This caused the Prince to become suspicious, and thereafter he did not spend any more money on laboratory works. This is the reason why the praiseworthy art of chymia reaps great contempt throughout the world through such men. Now we will no longer stop at those cheats but consider and examine the author’s process further.
The author also advises us to add the essence of the Sun to the essence of antimony and to coagulate them together. That is correct, but one has to take care that the essence of antimony or vitriol be quite sweet and red. Otherwise there will be a failure. How to prepare them will be shown in their place.
In the grand-ducal laboratory at Innsbruck in Thieving, I saw that the tincture of the Sun was increased by the tincture of antimony by 1 to 5 parts. After four days in digestion, various colors could be seen, and I was very surprised that during this time a flower appeared in the center, like gold. It did not change, but all around it there was something like a rainbow. Now the laboratory worker removed it from the fire and opened the glass. When the air touched it, all the colors in the center disappeared and only a muddy-red liquid was left. This caused everybody to be startled. We put it back and coagulated it to a red powder. After that, we took it out and put some of it on a red hot silver plate. It was fixed and did not smoke.
Now the laboratory worker took 1 Lot. of silver calx, 1 Quentlein of this tincture, and mixed them together with a pestle. The silver calx turned totally black. He put it into a phial, set that to digest, as it turned even blacker than before and flowed together like a lump of pitch. As I continued my traveling farther from there, I could not wait for the final result, but I heard from the Director of the Chemical Laboratory that he tried to refine the silver enough to make stable gold of it. Whether he succeeded in doing so and the gold stood the test, I cannot say for sure. All experienced chymists believe that antimony contains the seeds and flowers of all metals, which we may well believe. As this oil had been fermented with the tincture of the Sun, one may well suppose that something came out of it. I wish I could have stayed long enough to see the result, but I took some of the tincture or essence along with me in my travels, to test what it could do for diseases.
After this, I visited some one belonging to the aristocracy, not far from Trient. He had a beautiful laboratory, a good laboratory worker, and he himself was a learned man with whom I saw many wonderful things. At that time I made sweet oil of vitriol, which was as red as blood and sweet as sugar. Something will also be said about that further on. I prepared this oil of gold for him and let it coagulate, which was done in a short time. It turned into a stone, transparent like glass. With it he cemented silver once or three times, then melted it with a rather strong fire, and everything flowed together into one mass. He distilled that on a cupel and obtained a white Body which he put in separation water (Aqua Fortis). The laminae turned brown-red and did not melt but decreased in weight. After they had laid in it for some time, he removed them and melted them. They registered half a point on the needle, and no separation water would attack them. Now he prepared a refining water of the following ingredients and put this Body in it, thinly laminated. It refined from day to day until it was as beautiful as the best Ducat-gold. Some black powder was left in the glass which afterwards, when melted, gave a white Body. The graduation (refining) water was made as follows:
Antimonii an Unc. j.
Vitrioli ad flavedinem calcinati Un. iiij.
Sulphuris vivi Unc. j.
Viridis aeris ij. Lot.
Salis gemma Unc. j.
Arsenici iij. Lot.
Mercurii sublimat. iiij. Lot.
To be very well mixed and pulverized, imbibed with the urine of young boys, distilled in a retort by the degrees of the fire, in a very large receiver, propter impetu spirituum copiosissimorum destillentur, exibit aqua lactea, quam 1. purga, vel injectione lunae, vel cohobatione.
He loyally informed me of this process, but I never tried it. Therefore I will not say too much about it. However, I saw that the silver obtained the most beautiful colors of the Sun, though it is not true that this water fixed the silver. It was the preceding tincture that did it, the water only provided the color. If silver is fixed, it can be enormously refined by this water. I have, however, forgotten what the gain was. I suppose that the work had not been done without any gain, as both ingredients are wonderful fixers, and a great virtue is hidden in them. Thus, probably no sickness can resist this medicament.
We must now return again to our potable gold and speak about its virtues, especially about what I learned by experience and practice, and what is generally not found in other authors. Above, at the beginning of this Note, I mentioned that I had not prepared this essence according to the author’s process. I did it in my practice and have noted what I have thus learned. However, so as not to deviate from my method of reporting, I show in each of the author’s works what I have seen regarding it and what I have discovered about it in my practice, also for what it is used. As I have already above referred to several case histories which recommend potable gold, I will here only relate two or three additional ones which would be difficult to find elsewhere, to show what wonderful virtues and effects God has put in this subject.
In Gmunden, Austria, in the region of the Enns, I had a patient who belonged to the aristocracy. He had such a discharge in his eyes as I had never seen in my life. It swelled his eyes to make them look like chicken eggs, and they were as red as blood. It is easy to guess how much pain they cause him, as he could rest neither by day nor by night. After he had suffered for quite some time and had also consulted many physicians about it, he told me of his great pain and begged me to help him for God’s sake. I accepted him and wanted to see what I could do for him. Seeing that his whole sickness consisted in such a strong, heavy discharge, I first ordered an enema for him, to be administered for several consecutive days.
Rx. Rad. Bzyoniae
Asari an. j. Lot.
Mercurialis an. m. j.
Cortc. Myrobalan. Ind. j. Lot.
To be cooked in a sufficient quantity of bullion, & tecto vase ad casum partis tertiae, cola &
Rec. Colaturae Unc. j.
Electuarii Drasenae j. Lot.
Mellis roset. ij. Lot.
Salis gemmae j. Lot.
Olei olivar. iij. Lot., everything to be mixed for the enema.
This enema removed much bad moisture from him. After that, I used many topical remedies, but it was to no avail. Although at first the discharge seemed to go away, it nevertheless returned each time. I, too, despaired of him and did not want to try anything further. But because the poor patient was in such pain, he begged me to try everything, even if it took his whole fortune, for he would rather die or be quite poor than suffer such pain. I then prepared potable gold for him after my own recipe and cleansed him six times a month with an extract of antimony and spirit of vitriol. After that I gave him every morning 4 drops of gold essence, and prescribed a proper diet for him. Within two months the symptoms disappeared, the tumor vanished, though the redness continued for some time. I drove it away with the following water:
Rec. Aq. Euphrasiae
Rosarum an. ij. Lot.
Levistici j. Lot.
Aceti Antimonii j. Lot.
Sacharih crystallini v. Quentlein (?)
(could be: v. Quent.)
Croci j. Scrup. misce.
With this he had to wash his eyes several times a day. The redness disappeared completely, and he got a fresh and healthy face again.
When I sailed from Limason, Cyprus, to Tripolis, Syria, and we had rather bad weather for several days, the upper sail above the round top had one day to be quickly removed. A boatsman, who was a Moor, wanted to run quickly from the ladder inside the ship. He missed his step, and when he was only halfway down, fell on an anchor that was lying in the ship, ready to draw up a rope. He had fallen on the ribs of his left side, which became quite swollen. He threw up much blood and was lying there whining like a dog. We were now on high sea, and no apothecary was near. I felt pity for the poor man, took my supplies and gave him a dose of my potable gold, mixed with sweet oil of antimony. He continued throwing up the whole night, but the pain subsided a little. The following day I gave him another dose, again another night. The throwing up disappeared and so did the pain, though there was much swelling. God granted us the good fortune to arrive in Tripolis on the fourth day, when I gave him a purgative prepared from Mercury, which drove a mass of black matter from him. The following day I gave him the purgative again, after which he became hale and healthy and thanked me profusely through an interpreter. I encountered this man again in Alexandria. He helped me in every possible way on the boat and praised my help with many words in front of his co-workers.
At Crain, at the Coratian border between Cammenick and a mountain castle called Cruetzen, which belonged to the Counts of Thurn, there was an inn in a village where I was lodging, waiting for an opportunity to travel to Glis-Wertz in Dalmatia, which was a mighty fortress, and Ragusa. My landlady was in bed, she was sick. I spoke with her; she spoke Wendish, I polish. These two languages understand each other fairly well, just as Slavonic is quite common in that country. I asked her what was the matter with her. She showed me her stomach. It was as swollen as I had never seen the like in my life. It was hard as stone but did not hurt her very much. However, she could not walk because of the huge swelling and weight. She said she had this trouble for over two years. She had spent a great deal of money on it, but nothing could help her. I asked how much she would give me if I restored her health. She was very happy about my concern and wanted to give me all she owned. Her husband offered the same.
I began purging her with the Mercury all by itself — the preparation of this Mercury will be discussed later on. At first, it accomplished very little, eliminating mostly some yellow water. I gave it again the following day, also the third day. Then it operated properly and eliminated so much white, yellow and black slime from her that it was astonishing. Externally, I had her stomach rubbed three times a day with warm urine. Now the swelling began to get soft. As I saw her strength was low, I did not want to attack her further with purging. In the meantime, an opportunity to travel to Zeng arose. I therefore left her some of the potable gold coagulated with oil of antimony and prescribed that she should take 4 grains in a bit of Malvasian wine every day.
The innkeeper had a fine mule which he presented to me. I took it with me, rode with it over mountains and valleys, and it agreed very well with me. When I returned after four weeks and wanted to continue with my other planned journey, I found my landlady walking about in her room. Her stomach had decreased by a good yard. I myself was surprised at it. I purged her twice more and gave her more of the gold, left, and told the innkeeper to get word to me in Venice or Pedua how all this would end. He did so after one month, telling me in a letter written in Wendish that his wife had become quite hale and healthy. He had also arranged for 20 Ducats to be paid to me by a merchant by the name of Simon Cagnoli, which the latter also did. I sold the mule in Treviso for 60 Sequins. Thus I obtained some money, and the woman recovered her health. I myself had not believed at the beginning that it was possible to cure such a sickness in so short a time. But praise and thanks be to God who has put such miracles in Nature and commanded the physician to operate with them. This case history is quite remarkable, and among a thousand patients there may well not be another like it. If there is, a student has now received good directives for treating it. The physicians Paravim Minadous, Andrigassius, and Spigelius, etc., to whom I also communicated this medicament, were also quite surprised at it.
I will tell yet another case history and close by relating what I did in Ischl, in the region of the Enns, for a boy, 14 years of age. He had fallen from a ladder and became mute as a result thereof. He was the only son of wealthy parents. For the parents this misfortune was a great cross, as one may well imagine. They had sent to Salzburg, Weiss, and Linz, wherever they knew of a physician, looking for help. They had sent the boy to Baden, to the warm thermal baths, but it did not help. He remained mute as before, and nobody thought he could be cured. What was surprising was that he did not feel any pain. Finally, his father came to Gmunden, into the house where I was living. At table he related how his son had arrived at such a great misfortune and said that he would give a thousand Ducats to get help. I entered into a conversation with him and said that if he were ready to trust me, I would try something with the boy. However, I did not want to promise him certain help, as he had already tried so much in vain. He was glad about it, and I drove with him to Ischl to examine his son and thereafter come to terms with him.
After examining the patient, I said that it would be a lengthy treatment because the veins and muscles of the tongue were bad, but if he agreed to send his son with me to Gmunden, I would do my best to cure him. The parents liked my proposal. I took the boy with me and began the treatment. The father gave me 40 Ducats for the preparation of the medicine. I took 20 Ducats thereof and prepared potable gold without the addition of antimony. I purged the boy three times with antimony, and will later indicate how to make this preparation. After that, I gave him several sudorifics, also prepared from antimony. They made him perspire a great deal. Thirdly, I prepared a solution for him with which I had his head washed twice early in the morning before he had eaten. He was to be washed each time for almost a full half hour, to thoroughly moisten the veins.
Rec. Rad. Pyrethri
Asarillan j. Lot.
Juniperi an. iij. Lot.
Musci Terrestris an. m. ij.
Meliloti an. m. iij.
Lumbricor. terrestr. in olbano exsiccator j. Lot.
Sulphuris vivi ij. Lot. incidantur,
To be mixed and cooked in a common liquid. This solution agreed very well with him. He could lift his tongue and did as if he wanted to speak, but could not yet quite manage it. Meanwhile I had prepared potable gold and gave him every morning 5 drops in cherry-brandy. When he had taken it for 10 days, he recovered his speech, though he still stuttered somewhat. For this trouble I prescribed the following balsam:
Rec. Extracti Fellis caprilli j. Lot.
Caryophyll. an. j. Lot.
Camomill. Rom. ij. Lot.
Lavendul. j. Lot.
Nucis mosch. j. Lot, everything to be mixed.
I had rubbed him with it every morning and night, and he was freed from that miserable symptom through God’s blessing – but I did not get the 1.000 Ducats. Even so, I was so well compensated that I could be satisfied. Owing to this healing, I acquired a great reputation, which was important to me as gold. It is right, however, to reward good work with gratitude. It is said: Medice, cura teipsum (Physician, heal thyself!)
If now it is true that each thing has its own seed, and must have its own seed if it is to be an autonomous Body, it must necessarily follow that gold must have a special seed, copper and iron other special seeds. Even so, it cannot be denied that the seed of metals is identical as far as their remote potentiality is concerned, and that it refined by cooking. Nevertheless, digestion produces a ripe fruit and seed different from the others, and the artist will never be able to cook gold from copper, even if he were doing it till Doomsday. Well, as this does not belong here, I will not deal with it at the present but wait for another opportunity. I am only relating it so that no one should be misled into thinking that gold can be increased in virtue by the lesser metals. The contrary can rather be proven,, namely, that the pure blood of gold is infected by the impure and leprous iron and copper. Then it is quite useless to medicine. Therefore one has to be very careful about such potable gold and not to believe what anybody fancies, but he must diligently read the writings of the Philosophers and reflect upon them with special care, even if they are only understood according to the letter.
A Common Way of Making Potable Gold
Take some gold purified through antimony, 3 Lots. Dissolve it in oil of salt, mixed with Mercury made of urine. When the ( ) is well dissolved into a golden oil, pour the oil of wine into it, and it will become red as blood. Take 1 part of this blood and 10 parts of spirit of wine, distill over the alembic till it is quite beautiful like a ruby, and you have a potable gold which can be used internally and externally.
The author indicates various processes for making potable gold, and when they are examined by day, it is all one work, that is, a dissolution of gold. Only the menstrua are somewhat changed, for the rest it is one and the same, as I have already mentioned. You can take any menstruum you like, provided it does not harm gold, so that the gold is not contaminated by it, thereby causing harm to man. Through the menstrua gold does not acquire any other virtues than those it already has. Arousing those, however, so that they can come out of their potentiality into actuality, can only be done by a suitable menstruum, which has been discussed in various Notes. Whoever possesses a good menstruum, let him dissolve gold in it, and he has enough processes, and must not look for another. Even if there were a thousand processes, nothing will finally result thereby but a dissolution. Nevertheless, one process is better than another. The present preparation is just like the recent one with the oil of wine, except that the spirit of urine is added to the oil of salt. Aside from that, it is one operation and has one effect. But here he speaks of the Mercury of urine, which is no other than the spirit of urine, and he does not say anything about the method of its preparation. Although I have already referred to the spirit of urine, I will nevertheless describe here the right preparation of the Mercury, so that laboratory workers are not hindered by a lack of knowledge thereof and can find in one context the whole perfect process. It is done as follows:
Collect a good amount of boys’ urine, let it putrefy for some time, and distill the first and subtle spirit over like brandy. Set the filtrate in digestion for 8 days and distill again as before. Keep the spirit but boil the left-overs of both distillations quite dry in a kettle. Calcine it in a potter’s furnace, extract from it its fixed salt with rain water, knead it under potter’s clay, and distill it like common spirit of salt. You will obtain a yellow, sharp spirit, rather heavy in weight. Rectify it to remove all phlegma, then pour on it by drops the first-prepared volatile spirit. It will effervesce strongly, so that you will be surprised to find so many opposites together in one subject. A white substance will precipitate. Let it settle, pour the phlegma off from it, dry the rest, put it in a curcurbit and sublimate it with a strong fire. A beautiful bright sublimate will rise into the alembic. Remove it and keep it, as it is good for many things. Take one part of it, add to it 3 parts of spirit of salt, digest this together and distill it. Now you will have a wonderful menstruum for dissolving not only gold but all the other metals and minerals.
Now dissolve the calcined gold with it, according to the author’s instruction, and you will obtain a very fine and right extraction. While feces will be left over in the retort, which turn into a white Body if they are melted with borax, but it is quite untractable, brittle, and breaks. If it passes through the bath of Saturn, however, its malleability is restored and it turns into a true fixed silver, which has also been referred to in the previous Note. How to process it to revert it to what it had been has also been reported.
The Mercury spirit of urine is an excellent medicine for all pulmonary diseases, because it cleanses them thoroughly and rids them of the slime that is the cause of tuberculosis, asthma, and other severe sicknesses. If one takes of it only one drop in a liquid such as hyssop, melissa, or carbobenedict water, it also expels the calculus, but without any suffering. It dissolves it, as the calculus is salty tartar. The spiritual tartar looks for it and masters it. Being a spirit, it penetrates and liquifies it, forcing it to pass together with it through the urether and bladder. I could tell many examples of this, how I cured persons of high and low ranks with it – but of that more will be said in its place. Everyone who has a house apothecary should keep it ready, for it is not only useful for the aforementioned diseases but for many others. Taken in camphorated spirit of wine at the time of the Plague, it drives the poison out with great force through perspiration and urine. It resists all corruption, from which this disease actually stems, and all medicines for this infection should really be tinged with this spiritus, which should be carefully remembered. It is a great pity that hardly any apothecary exists where such a wonderful medicine can be found, to which one could resort in case of need. I am afraid it will also mean preaching to deaf ears.
If the brain sinks down either through beating or falling, people generally become insane. A wonderful experiment can now be made with this spirit. Of this medicine give every morning half a scruple in water of blue violets, and you will see with surprise how soon it will show its effect.
When in winter the external members, hands and feet, freeze, put some spirit of urine over them with a sponge or cloth. It extracts the frost in a few hours and prevents the member from rotting or developing a tumor.
How the Purging is to be Prepared
Take 4 Lots of quicksilver, 1 Lot of fine gold, make an amalgam with them, such as goldsmiths do when they wish to gild. Thereafter, enclose the amalgam in a glass, let it stand for 32 days in a gentle heat, such as a vapor fire. After that, 3 days in warm ashes. In this time the Body of the ( ) will have completely mixed with the quicksilver. Now pour the oil of vitriol over it, standing one finger’s width over the materia. Set the glass in warm sand till the moisture has evaporated, then leave it in the same heat till it turns into a beautiful red precipitate.
In this process and title the author indicates how the gold is to be prepared so that it may purge and turn into a fine precipitate, which also takes place. But if I take a good look at the preparation, it is rather a Mercury than a purging gold. This must be achieved by the Mercury, as Mercury can also do this without the addition of gold, if it is precipitated with spirit of vitriol or other means, of which more will be said later on. It becomes more sudorific than cathartic, as its effect shows. But when I look at the composition, I find that there is 4 times as much Mercury as gold. Therefore it is wrong to call it “purging gold”. This process is not at all new or of particular importance, for this preparation can be found in many authors, and I had previously seen it in many laboratories, though under the title of “purging Mercury”. More can be read about this and looked up in Penotus, Beuinus, Quercetanus, Harmannus, and other chymists, who prepare this medicine in a shorter time.
The author believes that gold would turn altogether into a Mercury which could in turn again be reduced into gold. But he is mistaken. Gold stays gold, even if it went through the leather with Mercury, as the goldsmiths also know. If they wish to gild, they must put the gold on the silver, and even if everything had been precipitated and appeared to have become fixed, it could be driven off in a good fire, leaving the gold beautiful and shining. It had therefore not been altered, let alone turned into a medicine. Therefore students must be alert not to be misled by splendid titles. In this composition one can also see that gold stays as it is and does not impart the least bit of its substance to the Mercury. Accordingly, gold does not cause such a purging.
But whoever wants to purge with gold, let him take only aurum fulminans (gold that explodes over fire with sharp detonation – beaten into thin leaflets) which, however, must be properly edulcorated, 10 or 12 grains. He will find that it also purges violently without Mercury, but without pain and danger. It will rid him of much bad moisture, especially if it is wrapped in a little black hellebore and taken in pill form. Then it purges exceedingly well, and is especially good for persons who cannot take much medicine. It is also a good remedy for persons who cannot take much medicine. It is also a good remedy for fine gentlemen who generally do not like to take many medicines and would rather be purged without them, if it were possible.
Thus, some time ago, I purged a noble Count without the addition of any medicine, either external or internal. The following day he had twelve stools. It was indeed a fine piece of the Art, and many who read this will probably have a good laugh at it. But let them laugh or cry, it is the same to me, but even so it is the bitter truth, and I can perform it again whenever and at what time you are asking me for it. Nor is it sorcery, as some will think, but it happens in quite a natural way. In addition, it is surprising that it enables people to have as many bowel movements as they wish, and when they feel that they have been purged enough, they can at once stop, so that there is not too much of a good thing. Even if a man were several miles away from me, it can still be done as if he were present.
This purging method also provides you with a good way of purging pregnant women in case of need, as I tried recently with two such persons. It harms the fruit in no way, as it effects its operation without any trouble. That I should reveal it to everybody, however, I will not do. I reveal anyhow so much as nobody has ever done before. For how often it happens that a pregnant woman must be purged, and this is especially dangerous in the first and last months. Often mother and child must die from it. Those can be helped by this means, aided by God, and this is no paradox.
From a metallic body I can make a salt that is beautiful and bright like a crystal, without any rectification. It tastes like a somewhat sour apple. If you put no more than a grain of it on your tongue and let it melt, it purges in a surprising way 12 or 15 times, without any discomfort. Children and pregnant women can also use it, which is indeed a fine performance. It does not only attack the fluids, leaving the hard feces behind, as some purgatives sometimes do, but it removes all feculent material. It may well be called a specific purging medicine, and can be prepared in a few hours. But what kind of a metallic body it is, each may ponder upon, because it has no name. It is black, white and grey, and is heavy as gold. From this one can easily see what it is. (ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!)
What is more, I can cure epilepsy with it and have done so for various persons, praise be to God, giving only 1 or grains in a specific liquid, such as Linden-, cherry- or swallow-water. Well, to treat further of this cannot be done here and will probably be done at another place.
Poppius uses this purging gold for the cure of the French (syphilis), giving 2 or 3 grains in one Lot of teriac. True, the impure syphilis-infected blood is mightily cleansed by it, for it is not only purged through bowel movements but also causes profuse perspiration. It must be remembered, however, that if it is to purge, it must not be too fixed; if it is to cause perspiration, it must be reverberated in a strong fire. Then it gets a diaphoretic virtue and drives out the perspiration. All diaphoretics must be well fixed and separated from their volatile spirits, because the volatile spirits, move the abdomen and purge, as may be seen with antimony. Many think that it is impossible to prepare it in such a way that it only purges through the lower parts. Whoever can control its volatile spirits, however, can easily achieve it, and by many and various means, of which I will speak further on in detail.
Likewise, it is also used for the Plague in lemon water, juice or spirit, because it strongly fights every poison, provided it is made quite fixed. If great impurity is noticed in a subject, it can also be used for purging, but it must be done immediately at the beginning, since, as Quercetanus rightly reminds us in his Alexicaco, Mercurius strongly fights this poison. Thus one has heard that the Plague had made no dent in localities close to quicksilver mines. This is the reason why quicksilver is put around people’s neck as a temporary amulet against the Plague.
This prepared gold is also used to advantage in cases of Red Dysentary when one generally becomes aware of a suspicion of poison, as in the year 1624, when such an epidemic prevailed in Thuringia. If you administer 2,3 or 4 grains in quince juice, it does much good, no matter through what channel it accomplishes its operation, for Nature knows well how to eliminate her excrements.
In jaundice, it does its share very well and can easily be administered by putting 5 grains into lavender water for three consecutive days. It not only drives away jaundice but all other sicknesses that have specific colors, and there is no better remedy.
In surgery, this gold is quite a healing medicine, for it provides a good foundation in all corrupted parts, cleanses them and promotes their healing. A surgeon may well rely on it, It eliminates everything impure without pain and corrosion, and does not let any accident become harmful. It heals all wounds in a short time, no matter what they are, because Mercury is a mighty incarnativum, better than all medicines, and barbers should use it instead of the common corrosive precipitate which is harmful and causes much pain. This one, however, operates quite without pain and does not cause any inflammation. Where there are especially deep holes, it heals them quickly, in particular if it is mixed with the other medicines.
How to Prepare Diaphoretic Gold
Take some of the brown gold calx, calcined quite subtly like sponge or cotton wool, as has been mentioned several times before. It has to be calcined in a steady fire for 13 or 18 weeks. This calx must be put in a phial glass and frequently moistened with mercurial oil. When there are 2 Lots of the calx, pour 1 Quentlein of mercurial oil upon it all at once, then mix these well together, close the glass and set it in warm sand for 3 days. When the calx has again become fixed and dry, open, open the glass and give it again 2 Quentlein of mercurial oil. The glass must be closed again and put for 1 or 6 days in the sand till it is again fixed and dry. This must be done a third time and continued till 4 Lots of mercurial oil have been imbibed into the gold calx. Finally, it has to be given a strong fire to turn it into a stable red powder. When this work has been completed, you have the right Diaphoretic Gold.
This preparation of diaphoretic gold is likewise more a preparation of Mercury than gold, as the whole composition proves, because the oil of Mercury, which is otherwise quite volatile, is tied with the gold and made stable in the fire. It should be more correctly called “diaphoretic Mercury” than “diaphoretic Gold”, as twice the amount of gold is added to the oil of Mercury. This composition is almost literally repeated in the Treatise on Mercury. True, it is a fine composition, but one has to take care to obtain the right mercurial oil, devoid of any corrosive matter, otherwise nothing good will come of it. How to do this, will be clearly reported below by the author and myself, where the laboratory worker can look it up. Therefore, it is not necessary to add it here and to describe the same work twice or three times.
It is easy to prepare it, as these two coagulate easily. Only, one must not take too much liquid or oil. If it should happen through carelessness, the fire has to be correctly regulated to prevent the water or oil from rising and evaporating, leaving the gold alone at the bottom. This can very easily happen if there is too much spirit, because it is volatile and has great power. Not only does it rise quickly but it also breaks the glasses, as I myself have experienced. A beginning laboratory worker must pay dearly for his experience, especially if he is dealing with wrong and obscure processes. Strange things often happen, and nothing comes out of them. This is the reason why I have taken on this author, explained him, and illustrated him with special Notes and experiments, making a real system out of it, so to speak, and so clear that a person with little intelligence, or one who only now begins to learn, can well work according to it. Whoever is not helped thereby, cannot be helped. Nor do I believe that anyone has been acting so sincerely. True, many have published beautiful writings, but that they had been verified by experience – that did not happen.
The author did indeed not invent this process but compiled it from the old Philosophers who said that the gold had to be prepared through Mercury. This had a different meaning with them than the author now imagines. Some, however, got closer to this process. They were looking for a different liquid or mercurial oil and conjoined it with the gold. In that they were very successful and obtained a much nobler medicament than the author’s. The author did hear a bell ring but he did not know in what village, because the term “Mercury” is an ambiguous word, and among a thousand there is hardly one who hits on the right understanding of it.
The right Mercury or its liquid absorbs the gold in such a way that it is so strongly conjoined with it that they can never again be separated – which common Mercury does not do. Even if it obtains great fixity, the two do not conjoin per minima. Saturn, no matter how lame he is, knows how to separate them. What he examines and finds to be stable will remain stable and need therefore not fear any enemy.
Of such a nature and capability is also the liquid of the real Mercury. But where to find and obtain him, I cannot report at this time, as I myself have not yet met him, although I saw him for some time at another good friend’s. But to me he did not wish to come, although I have not stopped searching for him. Many Philosophers have reported that he can surest be met in Egypt. Therefore, I did not begrudge a journey to Egypt, visited there all seven ports where the Nile flows into the sea, especially as they say that he lives near the water. That may well be so, because where the Nile does not flow, Egypt is desert, dry and infertile and uninhabited. Therefore I could not inquire in such places but traveled from one port to another, was referred from one to the next, from the uppermost, the Canopico, to the Bolbitico, from there to the others, the Sebbenitico, Pelusiario, Tenetico, Phanitico, and finally to the Mendosico. However, I achieved as little in one port as in another though I saw some horrible and enormous crocodiles. If Mercury had crept inside them — because when you are looking for him, he has a way of hiding like the polyp — I cannot say, but I can truthfully say that I met with great danger in Egypt, and yet, God’s Providence did not allow me to find Mercury. I will probably not do so till God takes pity on me and grants him to me for a good medicine, as I greatly harmed my body in my youth with traveling and laboratory works — and this blessing of God must be obtained by continual and devout prayers. What I have so far said about Egypt has not been done without a reason, as some would imagine, for the Mercury I have in mind is a true son of the Nile, which takes its origin in the mountains of Luna and flows through the whole of Egypt, Sapienti satis.
In the course of my travels, however, I came to know many kinds of fine earth and metallic stones, which are useful to me in many ways. Nor will I withhold from the kind reader the good things that happened to me. Although I did not get to know the true Mercury, I did find a mercurial liquid with which i can prepare a wonderful potable gold. It is indeed no mean arcanum, although I have so far kept it as my greatest secret and have been reluctant to reveal it to anybody. Even so, I will not withhold it any longer but communicate it to my fellowman and serve him thereby. It must be prepared with great care, however, as the spirit is so volatile that it vanishes from a glass that is not tightly closed, even if set only in the air, without the heat of the sun and the fire, at which I have often been surprised. As mentioned earlier, this liquid is so acceptable to gold that they quickly conjoin and want to stay together. How you can obtain it is done as follows:
In the gold mines there is a yellow or red earth. Have some of it brought to you. Now take some of that, powder it, pour distilled rainwater over it, boil it for one to three hours, and when there is no more water, add some more. Then suck it down slowly, filter it through paper, distill half of it off, and put it in a cool place. After a few days, mighty beautiful crystals will sprout. Remove and dry them. They taste like sour wine, almost like cream of tartar mixed with a little bitterness. If they are left for a few days in a closed glass, in gentle heat, they turn as red as blood. Now take a good amount of the aforesaid mineral or earth, crumble it and dry it without fire. mix the crystals with it, one part of crystals to two parts of the earth. Put this mixture in a retort, place a rather big receiver in front, and distill by degrees. You will obtain a beautiful white mercurial spirit. Enclose that in a phial and let it digest for 14 days in a vapor bath. Then separate the phlegma from it, rectify it once or four times in a glass retort set in sand, and you will obtain a beautiful secret mercurial spirit, of which you will not have seen much. It has a very nice taste.
Now take one part of the gold calx, prepared as I have taught in my Note above. Add as much of the mercurial spirit, congeal them together well closed, and when there are no more yellow drops, add the same amount of spirit and coagulate again. It will again become fixed in a short time, and the gold will open and become quite red. Pour more spirit over it and process till the gold turns blood red and is fireproof. You will have a medicine, the like of which you will hardly find. It can be used for all diseases and all men. You must not try to find out how it operates, for it works according to the disease, and its effect is very fast. It very quickly drives the perspiration if the sickness is supposed to be cured thereby, yet without any subsequent tiredness, as may be seen sufficiently from the few examples and experiments cited, from which the application of the medicine can be learned, also where it is required. If Nature will not have it otherwise than that a purging should be used, it must not be omitted. I prepared this medicine only once, because I can only rarely obtain the required earth, especially in view of the present menace of war.
It happened in 1624, when the Red Dysentary was raging amid the young, and I first tried it on my oldest little 4-year-old daughter. She had also succumbed to this cruel epidemic, and so much so that I doubted for her life. She had a strong fever, her pulse was rapid, hard, and strong, she had a very great thirst, her tongue was all black, and her excrements were black and green. Day and night she could neither rest nor sleep due to the cruel pain. Moreover, she could neither eat nor take medicines but vomited everything, even if it was ever so little. All these signs pointed to death. There was little hope, as the symptoms could not have been worse. Although she was not lacking in any good remedies, nothing would help her in the least.
Just then, I had this work in the fire, and although it had not yet been quite brought to its perfection, I opened the glass and took some of it out. I wanted to try what it could do in this desperate sickness. I gave my little daughter 3 drops of it in a little bullion. She kept it down and afterwards lay quietly for two hours. I believed it was an omen of death and that all her strength had gone. But, praise be to God, things turned out quite differently. After two hours, she again had a bowel movement, but not with such pain as before, at which I was very happy. As I noticed that much putrid matter was present due to the internal tumors, I considered it necessary to expel it by a little enema, which was applied and relieved her. It was made as follows:
Rec. Rad. Polypodi
Sem. Carthami cortus. an. j. Lot.
Flor. Hypericon an. m.j.
Cort. granat. ij. Lot.
Hordei mundi an. m.j. coquantur in lacte caprillo vase clauso, cola & colaturae j. Unc.
Hierae colocynth. ij. Lot.
Mellis rosati j. Lot.
Salis comm. j. Lot., mixed, and this was the enema.
After this enema, the colic diminished somewhat. Thereupon I gave her another dose of this gold, and I could see with my own eyes that the child got new strength, so to speak, and improved. After 10 hours, I again gave her a dose, and a fourth after another 6 hours. With God’s help and this sole remedy my child recovered completely. Later, I cured more than thirty patients with this one remedy, and most of them are stll alive at this time.
The following year, in 1625, a surveyor of the waterworks in the saltworks of Sultza in Thurigia, a hard-working man, had so much pain in his left side that he could not relax day or night. He went for advice to Naumburg, but things turned out very bad for him. A severe fever followed which lasted over four hours every day. Soon after that, his thigh began to swell, and finally his whole abdomen. He sent for me, asking me to help him. I saw that it was dropsy at its highest stage. I purged him three times with Mercury, as will be described below. An enormous amount of water went from him, but he was so exceedingly tired that I did not wish to attack him further with purging. All at once the water was eliminated too frequently, removing with it much spirit and strength. As he could not take any food, I had to think of a tonic. I therefore gave him every day 3 drops of potable gold in plain water. After that, he found new strength, as he reported to me, and felt quite light all over. The swelling, however, continued, and his abdomen and legs were quite soft. When I saw that his strength was increasing, I gave him everyweek one of the pills, each time one scruple.
Rec. Extr. Hellebori nig.
Mag. Gummi de Peru j. Lot.
Turpeti mineral. j. Lot.
Tinct. Corall. rub. ij. Lot,
These mixed, and with oil of cinnamon made up the mass of the pills. they worked exceedingly well, without any discomfort, and expelled the water in a moderate fashion. In the meantime, I gave him every morning 3 grains of potable gold. The swelling subsided, and after 9 weeks he was completely free of it, so that not the least could be noticed about it. However, as he did not keep to a proper diet in eating and drinking – for he drank far too much – the same sickness returned in 1628 and he died of it, unable to obtain the same remedies as before. I believe that if he had them, especially at the beginning, he could have been cured once more. This is a great experiment, and a physician may certainly rely on it. I know for sure that he will earn praise and honor by it and be able to do away with the common saying:
Hydrops, Quartana Medicorum scandala plana.
One requires the right means at the right time, and will see that Nature is not so powerless that she cannot cure dropsy. She has enough remedies, if only we were not so lazy, and were searching for them among her subjects, and were preparing them. Everything depends on these two things provided God’s blessing is added, for without it we cannot accomplish anything.
That same year, there was a school teacher not far from Sultza, called Reinsdorff. he was in bed with just this sickness. His thighs had sprung open, and much water ran out of them. Nevertheless, his abdomen stayed thick, and at the same time his genitals had ruptured, so that much water went from him. He, too, sent for me, asking me for advice, as he had heard that the surveyor in Sultza had been cured of precisely this sickness. As he could not pay for the required medicines at the apothecary, I gave him some of my own, even if they were ten times better – for God’s sake. When I saw that he had become rather weak, I sent him 4 doses of this potable gold. He had to take it in cinnamon water on four consecutive days. After that, I gave him the afore-mentioned pills, each time half a scruple. They acted as a very mild laxative and eliminated much water from him. The swelling disappeared completely. I continued four times a week with the potable gold, and did this for two months. His thighs were still somewhat thick and open. I therefore prescribed the following footbath, in which he had to wash twice a day, as hot as he could stand it.
Rec. Herb. Ebuli m. iij.
Cort. Sambuci m.j.
Rosar. rub. an. m.j.
Aluminis rochae an j. Lot.
Muriae naturalis, enough to boil these herbs in it. They had to boil for several hours, then be poured off and let cool. After this, he had to have iron slag made redhot and poured over by this water till it was only just so hot that he could stand it. In it he had to bathe his thighs. They became small and lithe and began to heal. When he had used this footbath several times, I also gave him some iron oil to put on his ulcers. Everything healed in a short while, and he was completely restored.
For the quartan fever it is a good remedy. In the same year, I cured three patients of it, a man and a woman of the aristocracy, and a young girl, all three in Thurigia. The nobleman had this fever for 19 weeks, and his feet began to swell. What he was using for it was of no avail. At first, I did not want to take him on, seeing that he was already swelling up and that he was losing his appetite, the longer the more. Nevertheless I agreed to try my art because of his insisting. I had the following pills prepared for him and gave them to him four times at a go, with one day’s rest in between. Before purging him, I gave him the arcanum or tincture of tartar, and it will be described below under its title.
When he had used it for 7 consecutive days, one could notice a change in the urine. Before, it was yellow, murky and thick, now it was altogether black. I thought that now was the right time to resort to the melancholy humor or tartar, and began with it. The first day, I gave him 1 scruple, although that did not do much. The following day, I gave him one and a half scruples, the third and fourth day, 2 scruples each time. They achieved a great deal and eliminated so many black feces that one could wonder how so many could have been held in the abdomen. The arcanum of tartar had softened them, so that the pills could expel them. The pills were made as follows:
Rec. Extr. Helleborinig.
Cort. fraxini an. j. Lot.
Aloes j. Lot.
Antimonii com Spir. Vitriol. praecip. j. Lot.
Tartari Vitriolyti j. Lot.
Absinthii an. j. Lot.
Tinc. Croci orientalis j. Lot.
Martis j. Lot. cum oleo Rosismarini, was the mass of the pills made.
After this treatment, the fever would not subside but the paroxysm was not as strong as before. Thereafter I gave him 6 times some of this potable gold, each time 3 grains in an extract of root of fern. The fever left and did not return, and the patient had completely recovered. With the other persons, however, where the fever had not yet become so severe, I used nothing but potable gold, 2 grains at one go, in an extract of fern, on two consecutive days. they were completely cured.
I will relate yet another case history, when I used this potable gold in a case of consumption. A noble young lady had not had her menses for a rather long time. In addition, she had lost much weight and had a fever. She continued losing weight from day to day but even so did not want to take any medicine, except what old women cooked and gave her. When then her end threatened to come on St. Matthew’s Day, she tried more than ever. She had a physician fetched from Weimar. When he came, he already had enough with one look at her, did not prescribe anything, and left again. Her brother, who was a good friend of mine just as the previous patient whom I had cured of the quartan fever, looked me up and told me of her condition and how the physician had left her in despair. He begged me to look after her. I gave the same reply as the Weimar physician, namely, that they had waited too long. They, however, implored me to take the trouble of going with them to their home, as it was no farther away than one and a half miles.
When I arrived, she was lying there withered like a skeleton. I could not comfort her very much but said that I would try something with her. She was to call on God for a healing. I gave her every day 2 grains of this potable gold in rose-sugar, because I could not undertake anything else owing to her great exhaustion. (“rose-sugar” is also known as “conserve of roses”). I left again the third day, leaving her a whole Quentlein of this arcanum. I prescribed her to use it every day, and within 14 days she was to inform me of her condition. In my heart, however, I did not think that she could be cured. What happened?
After 14 days, she wrote me a letter in her own handwriting, informing me that she was feeling better and that her stomach demanded food. She wanted to know what kind of a diet she should follow. I wrote her what was required and ordered her to take the medicine I had prescribed every day. Four weeks had not passed when she got up and learned to walk, which she had been unable to do before for 10 weeks. Of that she also informed me, and she continued in that way. I sent her more of the medicine, as much as I had. Shortly thereafter she reported to me that her menses had appeared again, though quite pale. I replied that she should be glad about this, even if they did not have the color they were supposed to have, as it could not yet be otherwise. She was to continue the treatment. After three months, she was quite hale and healthy, her weight had increased, and she recovered her natural color. Later she married, and is still alive today.
I consider this cure a miracle, for whoever would have seen her would have sworn that she could not see the third day. Nevertheless, God has blessed this medicament, enabling her to recover her full health, which should be remembered.
These are my experiments with potable gold. I have no others to write about, but the conclusion is easy to draw: If it has performed thus in the main diseases, what could it not do in the lesser ones? And as it is a powerful diaphoretic, there is no doubt that it would very well do its share for the Plague and epidemical diseases. I hope to God that it will also be a success for all those who use it, and wealthy people should try to obtain this noble medicine. I have been unable to get this mineral earth again. Not that it could not be found again, but that it could not be extracted and brought to me due to the war. Nevertheless, I hope that I can shortly obtain it again and with God’s help again prepare this noble medicine, thus serving my fellowman and my family in case of need. I do not doubt that it could be used for many other things, but because I have not tried it, I will keep silent about it. Each may try it himself, then he can best judge and see what he can achieve with the virtues I have described above.
How To Prepare A Mercurium Vivum From Gold And Other Metals
Take 4 Lots of Hungarian gold, dissolve it in salt oil, distill the salt off, and brown calx is left at the bottom. Put that into a flat glass, close it tightly and give it a constant fire, but so that the calx does not melt in the glass. Let it stand for 8 or 12 weeks, and the calx will be so much reverberated that it becomes quite malleable, like dust. Now dissolve it in oil made of antimony and Mercury, let it stand in the heat till the oil disappears altogether and dries up. Then begin to sublimate with a strong fire, and the gold will sublimate above on the glass like a golden ring. Remove it carefully. It can be manipulated with the fingers like an amalgam or quicksilver, except that it does not run like the common quicksilver.
Another Way ~
Take subtle gold calx, calcine it with the elementary Mercury of the Sun or Moon. After the calcination, add as much Live Mercury to it and put it into a sublimatorium. Let it stand in gentle heat for 8 days till it turns into a sublimat. Now begin sublimating. Enclose this sublimate in a glass and set it to digest for some time in a vapor fire, and all the sublimate will change into a mercurial Body. If now sulphur is added to this quicksilver of gold in the right proportion or weight, and Mercury is thus prepared with the Philosophical Fire, you have an excellent medicine for healing lepra, for it cleanses the corrupt impure blood, expels the dirt of the whole body through perspiration, and rejuvenates it somewhat.
Almost the whole world is singing of the Mercury of the Sun and other metals, and there is no laboratory worker who does not speak of this Mercury. I have also met many learned men who thought that the Mercury of the Sun was like the bride around whom there is so much dancing, but what they got was little, just like the suitors of Penelope. It is the same with this Mercury. I would like to see a man and speak with one who does not have this Mercury on his brain. But Mercury laughs at them and causes them enormous confusion. If there is one subject under the sun that causes much work for the alchymists, it is this, and many believe that if only they could prepare the Mercury of the Sun, they would be on the right way, and that no better way could be found in the whole world.
This is so because the Philosophers unanimously indicate that the first beginning of the Work must and should be a work based on the rays of the Sun, as Sendivogius says. This saying has made a fool of so many and has sublimated their brain to such an extent that for the sake of Mercury their work came to nothing and went up in the air. Even so, whenever I entered a laboratory, I saw that they were busy preparing the Mercury of the Sun. Much money has been squandered on it and strange processes have been invented, that one must rightly wonder that human ingeniosity has accomplished to fathom that secret. And I say frankly, if Hermes and Geber were to raise from the dead, they would be horrified and could never do such works. And although Geber experienced many beautiful things in distillation and wrote tremendous processes himself, they are nothing in comparison with the present works, for each wants to be above the other. Each tries to show his work in a better light, and each praises his work above that of others. If they are seen in daylight, however, they all show the same result. That is, one remains a fool like another, and one accomplishes as little as another. Under the late Emperor Rudolf II, I know that more than 10.000 Ducats were spent on this Mercury, and not one Ducat’s worth of usefulness resulted from it, except that syphilis, which was at that time quite common in Prague, could be cured faster. But this cure costs a lot of money, and syphilis is not worth so much, it can be cured at less expense.
I have seen how a laboratory worker had a large quantity in a glass and wanted to congeal it. I laughed at this work and asked what it was that he wanted to congeal. Since the gold had been fixed before, he would not, if the desired fixation were to follow immediately, obtain more ( ) than there was before. But he could not get this into his mercurial brain and thought that there would be ten times more than there was before. But the tables were turned and the glass received a shock. Now the prisoner broke loose and fled in silence. He looked around to see how he could safely get away. Seeing no way or hole except the fire-wall, he fled through there, and the good plan came to naught. How Mercury must have laughed at this foolish young man when he escaped so easily from prison.
In brief, say what you like, Mercury remains a trickster, goes hither and thither, tries his luck how he can deceive the gods and men. Besides, he also has a thieving nature, carrying away the veil of Venus and Vulcan’s instrument. And again, I am surprised that so much time is spent on the preparation of this Mercury and the various processes that have been invented to this end.
Our author has also described two for us, but both are not worth anything and are stupid enough for a laboratory worker such as the afore-mentioned one. For it is evident that gold accounts for the least part of it, and how then can it be called a Mercury of the Sun? Most of it is vulgar mercury and a little antimony, and if it is somehow properly treated, the common mercury can be driven off it, so that it must leave the gold behind. And suppose it stayed with it and mixed with it like one water with another, what good would it be? Because it would be a contaminated composition, and as little could be accomplished with it as with common mercury, except that in this way it precipitates somewhat faster. Aside from that, I cannot see anything else in it.
Many artists believe, as our author also does, that if they had the Mercury of the Sun and conjoined it with its own sulphur, they would have the greatest medicine in the world. Let him believe that who wants, I for my person cannot believe it. Experience has often proven that in that form the Mercury of the Sun does not except its own tincture or sulphur. If things went as the author wants, and supposing that it accepted them immediately, there would nevertheless be a separation in the right examination.
(Translator’s note: Agricola speaks about the Mercury of the Sun (gold), yet the sign in the margin refers to Luna (silver). Likewise in Para 2 above. The sign should be gold.
I have seen that Herr Hasselmeyer had almost a whole pound of Mercury of the Sun. He also added its sulphur — which was blood red — but it did not except that tincture, although he had kept it long enough in the fire. Bernard Penotus also testifies that he did not succeed in doing it. There are reasons why it does not except the sulphur. When the Body ** is changed into a running Mercury, there is no separation of the sulphur and the salt, but everything is simultaneously transformed into a Mercury. Consequently, it already contains all that it needs and cannot absorb more. That is also the reason why it rejects any additional sulphur, and the substance ( ) is totally transformed without a separation. Of what use is it them to add a superfluous amount of it? Nature does not absorb more than is her due. The rest is all time, effort and expense for nothing.
Although there is something to it that the Mercury is better than the common one, if it is processed to perfection, I do not doubt that common Mercury can also be processed to that degree by careful preparation, except, as already indicated above, one is sooner coagulated and made stable in the fire than the other. It must, however, not be infected with the common Mercury, which is only a bastard, but must be pure and perfect, otherwise it is not worth much. Whoever would like to prepare it, let him follow this process, for both of the author’s processes are not worth a hood.
Take sublimated Mercury, sublimated with vitriol and salt. Make it come alive again as is customary. After that, take sal ammoniacum, as much as there is Mercury, and sublimate it again. When this is done, remove it from the head of the alembic. Discard the feces, and sublimate again. Repeat this sublimating till everything stays at the bottom and melts like wax or butter. Then it is enough. Now take it out and put it in a glass dish, pour over it ammoniated water of the Sun (whose preparation will be indicated below), to moisten it well. Set it in warm sand and coagulate it. Then add again some water and coagulate. This must be repeated till it can no longer be coagulated but stays fluid like oil. Put it in a cold place, and it will turn into a beautiful bright water. This water is also used for other things, and in chymistry much can be done with it, especially as a means for refining silver.
Now take as much of this water as you like, put your thinly laminated gold or silver in it, let it digest 24 hours, and the gold will melt and become like a sponge. Distill the water off, a dirty mass will be left at the bottom. Pour warm rainwater on it and mix it well with your fingers. The whole Body will turn into a beautiful running Mercury.
By this process the Mercury of any Body can be made pure and uncontaminated. It can be used at the artist’s pleasure, but to make the Lapis with it will not happen this year.
Although there are more means and ways for preparing the Mercury of the Sun, they cannot all be recommended. Most of them are quite wrong, and among ten hardly one works. Therefore I will add yet another method by which it is easier to obtain it in less time. Here it is: Take 4 Lots of gold, dissolve it in Aqua Regis, as is usually done. When everything is dissolved, distill the water off to oiliness, pour fresh Aqua Regis over it, let it digest 24 hours, and again distill it to oiliness. You must repeat this work seven times. Now give it a rather strong fire, and the gold will rise and sublimate. Remove this sublimate carefully and dissolve it in spirit of wine, strengthened by oil of salt. It will melt. Distill half of the water off and set the rest in a cool cellar. Beautiful crystals will spout. Remove them, add to them 2 Lots of salt of urine, salt of alkali, salt of tartar, sublimate of ammonia, each one and a half Lots, let them putrefy together for 14 days. Now add half a pound of crude tartar and sublimate or drive it through a retort into a receiver in which there is cold water. You will see the Mercury of the Sun rise over quite bright like common Mercury. It comes alive in the cold water. Remove it and purge it in the same manner as will be indicated regarding common Mercury. You have again a true live Mercury without the addition of common live Mercury.
Although our author thinks that many consider that by this transmutation the metal is brought into its prima materia, he himself cannot believe it but says that it is only brought into its second materia. One is as true as the other, for this Mercury is neither prime nor second materia. When the Philosophers refer to the second materia, they understand quite another materia, as Sendivogius writes in detail about it in his 12th Treatise and his Book on Mercury. If this were the second materia of Mercury, the Philosophical Materia could come out of it, but not by precipitation as the majority believe. They may precipitate as much as they like, they cannot do it, for this precipitate cannot only be revived and made volatile and evaporated like common Mercury – which I have already mentioned several times — but it cannot be turned into Philosophical Materia, which materia is universal and not specific, and it is the Soul of the whole world. Therefore all labor with the Mercury of the Body is lost, may they say what they like.
Libavius believes that by adding common Mercury to this Mercury an excellent piece of art has been achieved, but it exists only in his imagination, not in the work. One has to laugh reading this fantastic trash of Libavius, when he adds: Arrige aures Pamphile, and he considers this an enormous secret, when it is actually only mere fantastic trash, good for nothing. But I will not be against it and believe that it is better for medicines than common Mercury. But this Mercury costs much money and is an expensive medicine. A much better medicine can be made by making the gold potable. as I have taught you, than by first turning it into running Mercury.
Everything that has here been said about the Mercury of the Sun likewise applies to the Mercury of the Moon. I consider them at the same level, for both are perfect Bodies which cannot be brought into their prima materia without the addition of the true Philosophical Materia, even if 12 fodders of processing were prescribed. I could certainly indicate over 300 processes for one of these matters, which cost me a great deal, though no real work could be found in them, except that I learned a fine knack for regulating the fire and boiling some water. A young student must not be led astray and must not believe anything those sophist fellows say. It is only words, and they cannot stand up to Vulcan (fire), but they and others are only being made fun of.
How to Prepare Vitriol from Gold
Take 6 Lots of fine gold which has passed through antimony or has been purified by it. Beat it into thin plates, coat it with the artificial Mercury, called Aqua Regis by the Philosophers, and give it a gentle heat. The plates will begin to give off a crocus and color. Put that in a clean glass, then coat the gold plate again and calcine it till a vitriol or color appears once more. Continue doing this till all the gold has become one color. This vitriol is like the crocus of Mars (iron). Put everything together and pour Aqua Regis over it. When it is dissolved enough, cleanse it with Nature’s water., then distill the phlegma off to half the amount, and a beautiful vitriol will sprout, which attaches to the glass like sugar. That is the vitriol from gold.
Another Method ~
Others, however, take the golden plates, beat them quite thin and fill the alembic with them so that, when the spirits rise into the alembic out of the artificial Aqua Regis, those same fiery spirits permeate the whole gold, extracting a subtle crocus which adheres to the plates like beautiful saffron. They remove it and pour over it Paradise Water, let it extract for 8 days, then decant, filter through paper, and coagulate it to a salt of vitriol.
Here the author indicates two processes for making gold vitriol, but in their effect one is like the other. Only a menstruum, or solvent, is used, and a method of working is prescribed. It is nothing but a dissolution of gold with the corrosive Aqua Regis, which he calls “artificial Mercury”. If you have a good Aqua Regis, it extracts a crocus in the digestion, but that is much better done by the spirit of Mercury. It is nothing but a dissolution that occurs when Aqua Regis is poured on the calcined gold. It is not without merit and gives you a crocus, but it is much slower and afterwards leaves you with little spirit, because, if this vitriol is given strong fire in the digestion, it melts back again into a Body. It results in a yellow spirit that is not really sour though somewhat bitter. The salt or the vitriol of the Sun can be made in another way which goes faster and also dissolves the Body better.
Distill the spirit through the alembic, rectify it three times. Then take the salt from the Death’s Head, add it to the first spirit and distill till the fixed salt also goes over the alembic. When this spirit is ready, beat the gold into plates, hang it in a glass above the spirit, and it will extract the crocus in the digestion. Then dissolve the crocus in distilled rainwater, filter it, and distill it by half. Now lovely brown, sometimes also red crystals will shoot in a cool cellar. They can be dissolved again, but it will not amount to much. It is indeed no radical dissolution, be it called salt or vitriol. It is nothing but a corrosion of the Body, to weaken it so much that it can be made potable. When all these works are rightly considered, one is like another, and one has the same effect as the other.
I have already several times reminded the reader in my Notes that if one has a right dissolution of the gold — of those I have mentioned I consider only two as the principle ones — it is sufficient, and there is no need to worry greatly about the others. Care has only to be taken to choose that which is not too corrosive, so that one does not administer poison instead of a teriac. You may call it by any name you wish, it is finally nevertheless leprous calx. Thus the author’s vitriol is nothing else: For it is only corroded by Aqua Regis, and nothing concerning the Art can be learned from it, although the Aqua Regis is called a Mercury, and rainwater Paradise Water. Words do not improve the work, and one should take the least possible notice of words but look solely to the operation and in what it will and should result.
If the gold is calcined first, however, as has already been taught above, it can be imbibed with spirit of urine and thus be dissolved completely. It will leave its feces at the bottom. What is dissolved is decanted, and the menstruum is distilled off quite dry. Now pour on some more spirit of urine, proceeding as has been said before, and this must be repeated three or four times. Then pour distilled rainwater, or better, distilled May Dew over it. The gold will dissolve very well and will thereafter give off its crystals and salt.
May Dew is prepared as follows: Collect a rather large quantity of it, put it in a big glass, seal the glass and set it for 6 weeks in the sun or in warm horse manure. The dew wil coagulate, so to speak, but at first it becomes quite thin. The phlegma must be separated, and finally its spirit driven over with a strong fire. In this way one obtains a fine menstruum, useful for many things, especially if it is strengthened by its crystalline salt and conjoined to it. Now someone might ask for what purpose this vitriol of the Sun is made and prepared. The author does not mention it with one word, but it is easy to see why: to turn it into potable gold, serviceable for many diseases in case of need. It is not necessary to write here much about how this vitriol is to be elaborated further, for this has been dealt with ad nauseam in almost all headings and chapters.
I have seen in a noble house that a spirit was distilled from it, which was a wonderful cardiac tonic. It was quite different from the common spirit of vitriol. With it a tincture was extracted from calcined silver, more beautiful than the finest gold could ever be. It was a wonderful arcanum for epilepsy. Whether it could also be used in alchymia, I cannot truthfully say. I heard it being discussed, however, that if the yellow sulphur of silver were conjoined with gold, it would turn into a strange combination, supposedly a real augmentation of the Sun. I have not tried it. I am not against it, as it may very well be so, but I doubt that it can be produced in large quantity, as silver does not contain much of this yellow sulphur.
So far we have dealt with many dissolutions and calcinations of **, explained and amplified the author’s processes by our experience, also accomplished fine cures and experiments with it. But as to reveal my final option of this business — I do not think much of most of them, because these dissolutions are no philosophical destructions. But I have already shown above how gold is to be artificially decomposed, and it need not be repeated here. I have only examined the operations in accordance with the author’s instructions and method, and have revealed how I have found them to be in the fire, in practice. I hope that the kind readers will accept my care and candor with thanks. I could have written about many other preparations and my 30-year-experience with fire. But that was not my intention. had only resolved to analyze this author and to show how far he could be followed.
Recently I got a hold of another way of preparing potable gold, such as Herr Harianus a Mynsich, my old school comrade, describes in his Thesaro Medico-Chymico, although a similar one is also found in Ustadius’ Coelum Philosphorum, and Thurnheuser also mentions it. That oil has greatly proven its effect. Upon the insistence of a member of the nobility, I prepared it and found its effect so good that I did not wish to omit indicating it here, so that everyone might safely work with it. Although the preparation appears to be bad, it does not matter. Often there is more art in a bad process than in one that has been colored by many exaggerations which, when put to the test, show what it is. Now we will proceed with the preparation.
Take Hungarian gold, well purified through antimony, have it laminated very thinly, then dissolve it in a right oil of the Sun (I have already indicated its right preparation and more will be said about it below under its title). When it is dissolved, distill the oil of the salt strongly off it, and a fine gold calx will be left at the bottom of the glass. Take it out, put it in a small retort, pour enough cinnamon oil on it to turn it into a pap. The gold will soon begin to effervesce and become black. Pour on it a good alcoholized spirit of wine, standing 2 fingers’ breadth above the materia. It will soon extract a tincture from the gold. Pour the spirit off and pour fresh spirit on it, and continue doing this till no more tincture shows.
Remove the Death’s Head, wash it with warm water and weigh it. Now pour again the right quantity of spirit of salt on it, and let it dissolve again. Distill the spirit off quite dry, pour oil of cinnamon over it, and when it effervesces, add the spirit of wine and extract its tincture. Repeat this work till the gold is completely dissolved and not the least bit of insolved matter is left of the Body. Now pour some clear purged spirit of wine on it, distill it to oil, and you will have a wonderful medicine or potable gold. To tell the truth, if among the common dissolutions one pleases me more than another, it is precisely this one, because it operates extremely well. The person whom I did the favor of preparing it for, used it for her sickness – of which nothing need be said here – and it was of great benefit to her health. However, I made two subsequent tests of it.
In 1629, a noble gentleman was suffering from a troublesome podagra, so much so that his hands and feet had shrunk, and yet he was not yet 42 years old. Although he had resorted to great physicians and had also been to warm springs, it was to no avail. I met him by accident, and we discussed the terms. I told him that I wished to try something with him but that I could not promise sure help. First, I purged him with oil of antimony, as will also be taught later. It went through bone and marrow, as he reported to me. When I saw that it agreed so well with him, I gave it to him again after two days, and thus I purged him four times in a row. Then I gave him three times a week 6 drops of potable gold in essence of Jva Arthetica. I had his members rubbed with oil of ossium microcosmi. He continued with this from Easter to St, James’s. He learned to walk again with a cane wherever he wished, while he could previously not get farther than the place where he had been taken with a chair. The bumps, however, did not disappear as they had already been hardened to the highest degree. But he was happy and thanked God to have improved so far that he could again walk anywhere in the house and grasp things with his hands. I would never have thought that this solution could have such an excellent effect. I also believe that he would have completely recovered if he had continued with this medicine.
That same year, the little 10-year-old daughter of an honest man in Sultza had long had a fever. The child was so exhausted that she lost her strength and withered. The paroxysm occurred every other day at 2 p.m. and lasted four hours. Although many medicines had been used, there was no progress, and the child’s condition stayed the same. Yes, after the last medicine, she was worse than at the beginning. I was convinced that she was going to die, as no medicine would help her. When I had prepared this potable gold, I gave her three drops in the morning in some conserve of roses. The following morning I again gave her 3 drops. About one hour afterwards it looked as if she were going to vomit, but nothing happened. While she was gagging, a worm was passing through her mouth, almost twelve inches long. I was surprised. The fever went from this hour on. I continued for three more days with the dose. The little girl was hale and healthy and like newborn. From this I conclude that this solution must also have great potential in other diseases, but as I could no longer experiment because of the war, I cannot report further about it. Whoever wants to keep his body in good health, should use this solution. He will certainly not regret it. And with this we will conclude this treatise on gold and its preparations, and proceed to silver according to our author’s method.