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Full text of "The hermetic and alchemical writings of Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus Bombast, of Hohenheim, called Paracelsus the Great : now for the first time faithfully translated into English ; edited, with a biographical preface, elucidatory notes, a copious Hermetic vocabulary, and index, by Arthur Edward Waite"

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IN T\\ u V uj-uTfto. 

VOL. I. 

iLonlion : 







Preface to the English Translation ix. 



The Ccelum Philosophorum, or Book of Vexations, concerning- the 
Science and Nature of .Alchem)', and what opinion should be 
formed thereof. Regulated by the Seven Rules or Fundamental 
Canons according to the Seven commonly known Metals ; and 
containing a Preface, with certain Treatises and Appendices ... 3 

The Preface of Theophrastus Paracelsus to all Alchemists and readers of this book. The 
First Canon : concerning the nature and properties of Mercur>'. The Second Canon ; con- 
cerning the nature and properties of Jupiter. The Third Canon ; concerning Mars and his 
properties. The Fourth Canon : concerning Venus and her properties. The Fifth Canon : 
concerning the nature and properties of Saturn. The Sixth Canon : concerning Luna and the 
properties thereof. The Seventh Canon : concerning the nature of Sol and its properties. 
Certain treatises and appendices arising out of the Seven Canons. God and Nature do 
nothing in vain. Note on Mercurius Vivus. \Vhat is to be thought concerning the congela. 
tion of Mercury'. Concerning the Recipes of .\lchemy. How to conjure the cr>'stal so that 
all things may be seen in it. Concerning the heat of Mercury. What materials and 
instruments are required in Alchemy. The method of seeking Minerals. What Alchemy is. 

The Book concerning the Tincture of the Philosophers, written 
against those Sophists born since the Deluge, in the life of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God ... ... ... ... ... ig 

The Preface. Chapter I. : concerning the Arcanum and Quintessence. Chapter II. : 
concerning the definition of the Subject and Matter of the Tincture of the Philosophers. 
Chapter III. ; concerning the Process of the Ancients for the Tincture of the Philosophers, 
and a more compendious method by Paracelsus. Chapter IV. : concerning the Process for the 
Tincture of the Philosophers, as it is shortened by Paracelsus. Chapter V. : concerning the 
conclusion of the Process of the Ancients, made by P.iraccUus. Chapter VI. : concerning the 
Transmutation of Metals by the Perfection of Medicine. Chapter VII. : concerning the 
Renovation of Men. 

The Grad.\tions of Metals 31 

Preface. The First Gradation. The Second Gradation. The Third Gradation. The 
Fourth Gradation. The Fifth Gradation. The Si.xth Gradation. The Seventh Gradation. 
The Eighth Gradation. The Ninth Gradation. The Tenth Gradation. The Eleventh 
Gradation. The Twelfth Gradation. The Thirteenth Gradation. The Fourteenth Gra- 

vi. The Hermetic a7id Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus, 


The Treasure of Treasures for Alchemists 36 

Concerning the Sulphur of Cinnabar. Concerning the Red Lion. Concerning the Green 

Concerning the Transmutations of Metals and of Cements ... 41 

Concerning the First or Royal Cement. Concerning the Second Cement. Concerning 
the Third Cement. The Fourth Cement. The Fifth Cement. The Sixth Cement. Con- 

The Aurora of the Philosophers, by Theophrastus Paracelsus, which 

he otherwise calls his Monarchia ... ... ... ,. ... 48 

Chapter I. : concerning the Origin of the Philosophers' Stone. Chapter II. : wherein is 
declared that the Greeks drew a large part of their learning from the Egyptians ; and how it 
came from them to us. Chapter III- : what was taught in the Schools of the Eg>-ptians. 
Chapter IV. : what Magi the Chaldaeans, Persians, and ^Eg^'ptians were. Chapter V. : 
concerning the chief and supreme Essence of Things. Chapter VI. : concerning the chief 
errors as to its discovery and knowledge. Chapter VII. : concerning the errors of those who 
seek the Stone in Vegetables. Chapter VIII. : concerning those who have sought the Stone 
in Animals. Chapter IX. : concerning those who have sought the Stone in Minerals. 
Chapter X. : concerning those who have sought the Stone, and also Particulars, in Minerals. 
Chapter XI. : concerning the true and perfect special Arcanum of Arsenic for the White 
Tincture. Chapter XII. : General Instruction concerning the Arcanum of Vitriol and the 
Red Tincture to be extracted from it. Chapter XIII. : Special Instructions concerning the 
process of Vitriol for the Red Tincture. Chapter XIV. : concerning the Secrets and Arcana 
of Antimony, for the Red Tincture, with a view to Transmutation. Chapter XV. : con- 
cerning the Projection to be made by the Mystery* and Arcanum of Antimony. Chapter 
XVI. : concerning the Universal Matter of the Philosophers' Stone. Chapter XVII. : con- 
cerning the Preparation of the Matter for the Philosophic Stone. Chapter XVIII. : 
concerning Instruments and the Philosophic Vessel. Chapter XIX. : concerning the Secret 
Fire of the Philosophers. Chapter XX. : concerning the Ferment of the Philosophers, and 
the Weight. 

Concerning the Spirits of the Planets... ... ... ... ... 72 

Prologue. The First Treatise. - Chapter I.: concerning Simple Fire. Chapter II.: 
concerning the multiplicity of Fire from whence spring the varieties of Metals. Chapter 
III. : concerning the Spirit or Tincture of Sol- Chapter IV. : concerning the Spirit or 
Tincture of Luna. Chapter V. : concerning the Spirit of Venus. Chapter VI. : concerning 
the Spirit of Mars. Chapter VII.: concerning the Spirit of Jupiter. Chapter VIII. : con- 
cerning the Spirit of Saturn. Chapter IX. : concerning the gross Spirit of Mercury. The 
Second Treatise. — Concernirj the Philosophers' Mercury-, and the Medium of Tinctures. 
Chapter I. : from what Tinctures and Leavens are made. Chapter II. : concerning the 
Conjunction of the Man with the Woman. Chapter III. : concerning the Form of the Glass 
Instruments. Chapter IV. : concerning the Propenies of Fire. Chapter V. : concerning the 
Signs which appear in the Union of Conjunction. Chapter VI. : concerning the Knowledge 
of the Perfect Tincture. Chapter VII. : concerning the Augmentation or the Multiplying 
of Tinctures. The Third Treatise.— Chapter I. : concerning the Building of the Furnace 
with the Fire. Chapter II.: concerning the Conj.unction of the Man with the Woman. 
Chapter III. : concerning the Copulation of the Man with the Woman. Chapter IV. : con- 
cerning the Philosophic Coition of the Husband with his Wife. Chapter V. : concerning the 
Black Colour. Chapter VI. : concerning the Bud appearing in the Glass- Chapter VII. : 
concerning the Red Colour. Chapter VIII. : concerning Increase and Multiplication. 

The Economy of Minerals, elsewhere called the Genealogy of Minerals 89 

Preface to the Reader. Chapter I. : concerning the Generations of Minerals. Chapter 
II. : concerning the Ultimate and Primal Matter of Minerals. Chapter III. : concerning the 
Field, the Roots, and the Trees of Minerals. Chapter IV. : concerning the Fruits and the 
Harvest of Minerals. Chapter V. : concerning the Death of the Elements, especially of 
Water. Chapter VI. : concerning the Death of the Tree of Minerals. Chapter VII. : 
concerning the variation of the Primal Matter of Minerals, in proportion to the di6ferent 
Species and Individuals thereof: also concerning the various colours, etc. Chapter VIII. : 
concerning the Natural Dispenser of Minerals, and his Ministers. Chapter IX. : concerning 

Table of Contents. \ii. 


the Virtues and Properties of Salts in Alchemy and in Medicine. Chapter X. : concerning 
Mumia. Chapter XI. : concerning Dry Salt. Chapter XII. : concei-ning Salt Nitre. 
Chapter XIII. : concerning the 111 Effects of Nutrimental Salt. Chapter XIV. : concerning 
Vitriol. Chapter XV. : concerning the Species of Vitriol and the Tests of it. Chapter XVI. : 
concerning the Virtues of Vitriol, crude or calcined, in Medicine. Chapter XVII.: concerning 
the Threefold Sulphur of Minerals. Chapter XVIII. : concerning Arsenic used for Alchemy. 
Chapter XIX. : concerning Quicksilver. Chapter XX. : concerning Cachimixand Imperfect 
Bodies. Conclusion. 

The Composition of Metals , ... 114 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 

Book the First : concerning the Generation of Natural Things 120 

Book the Second: concerning the Growth of Natural Things... 128 

Book the Third: concerning the Preservation of Natural Things 130 

Book the Fourth: concerning the Life of Natural Things .. 135 

Book the Fifth: concerning the Death of Natural Things ... 138 

Book the Sixth: concerning the Resuscitation of Natural Things 146 

Book the Seventh : concerning the Transmutation of Natural 

Objects ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... J 51 

Book the Eighth : concerning the Separation of Natural Things 160 

Concerning the Separation of Metals from their Minerals. Concerning the Separation of 
Minerals. Concerning the Separation of Vegetables. Concerning the Separation of Animals. 

^ Book the Ninth : concerning the Signature of Natural Things ... 171 

Concerning Monstrous Signs in Men. Concerning the Astral Signs in the Physiognomy 
of Man. Concerning the Astral Signs of Chiromancy. Concerning Mineral Signs. Con- 
cerning certain particular Signs of Natural and Supernatural Things 

The Paracelsic Method of Extracting Mercury from all the 

Metals 195 

The Sulphur of the Metals ... 197 

The Crocus of the Metals, or the Tincture 199 

The Philosophy of Theophrastus concerning the Generations of 
the Elements. 

Book the First: concerning the Element of Air... ... ... 201 

Book the Second: poncerning the Element of Fire ... ... 210 

Treatise the First : concerning the Separation of Air and Fire. Treatise the Second : 
concerning the Sun. Light, Darkness, and Night. Concerning Winds. Concerning the 
Temperate Stars. Concerning Nebuli. Concerning Metals, Minerals, and Stones from the 
Upper Regions. Concerning Metals. ConcerninE Stones from Above. Concerning Crystals 
and Beryls. 

Book the Third : concerning the Element of Earth 226 

Book the Fourth : concerning the Element of Water, with its 


viii. The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


Appendix I. : a Book about Minerals ... ... ... ... ... 237 

Concerning Silver. Concerning Jove. Concerning Saturn. Concerning Iron and Steel. 
Concerning Venus. Note. -Of Mixed Metals. Concerning Spurious Metals. Concerning 
Zinc. Concerning Cobalt. Concerning Granates. Note concerning Gems. Concerning 
Quicksilver. Note concerning Cachiiniae, that is, the Three Imperfect Bodies. General 
Recapitulation concerning Generation. Of the Generation of Marcasites. Autograph 
Schedule by Paracelsus. 

Appendix II. : concerning Salt and Substances comprehended under 

Salt 257 

Correction and Addition on the Subject of a second time correcting and reducing Dry 

Appendix III. : concerning Sulphur ... ... ... ... ... 265 

Concerning the Kinds of Sulphur. Concerning Embryonated Sulphur. Concerning 
Mineral Sulphur. Concerning Metallic Sulphur, that is, Sulphurs prepared from the entire 
Metals. Concerning the Alchemical Virtues of Sulphur, and first concerning Embr>'onated 
Sulphur. Concerning Mineral Sulphur. Concerning the Use of Sulphur of the Metals in 

Appendix IV. : the Mercuries of the Metals ... .., .. ... 278 

A Little Book concerning the Mercuries of the Metals, by the Great Theophrastus 
Paracelsus, most e.\cellent Philosopher and Doctor of both Faculties. Mercury of the 
Sun. Mercury of the Moon. Mercurj' out of Venus. Mercur>' out of Mars. Mercury of 
Jupiter. Mercury of Saturn. 

Appendix V. : De Transmutationibus Metallorum ... ... ... 283 

Concerning the Visible and Local Instruments : and first of all concerning the Spagj-ric 
Uterus. The Phcenix of the Philosophers. A Very Brief Process for attaining the Stone. 

Appendix VI. : the Vatican Manuscript of Paracelsus. A Short 

Catechism of Alchemy ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 288 

Appendix VII. : the Manual of Paracelsus ... ... ... 306 

The Work on Mercury for Luna and Sol. The Work of Sulphur. The Fi.xation of 
Spirits. A Cement of Part with Part. The Solution of Gold by Marcasites. A Great 
Secret. Method of calcining Mercurj'. Digestion of the Moon. For the White and Red. 
For Multiplication. Red Oil which fixes Luna and Sol. The Gradation of Luna. The 
Oil of the Philosophers. Corporal Mercury-. Mercury of all the Metals. The Foundation 
of the Philosophers. Mercurj* of Saturn. Fixed Augment. Mercury- of Jupiter. Merciu^* 
of the Moon. To convert Metals into Mercury. Augment in Luna. Mercury of Sol or 
Luna. Oil of Arcanum. Water of Mercury. Elixir at the White. Concerning Luna and 
Venus. Notable Elixir. Rubification Sal Ammoniac Sal Borax. Cinabrium. Facti- 
tious Corals. Pearls from Chalk. Ruby. Aqua Ardens. Calcination of Sol and Luna. 
Sublimation and Fixation of Sulphur. Oil of Vitriol. Sal Borax of the Philosophers. 
Fixation of Arsenic. Coagulation of Mercury. Glorious Oil of Sol. Lac Virginis. The 
Process of Sulphur. Operation for Sol. To make Precious Stones. Water which makes 
Luna into Sol. Fixation of Sulphur. How e\'ery Stone can be transmuted into a clear one. 
The Adepts' Fire. Sol produced with Pars cum Parte. Concerning Cements. Method of 
making Luna. Water of Luna. True Albatio. Rubification of Mercury. Oil of Mercury 
and the Sun. Quintessence of Luna, etc Fixation of Orpiment. Spirits of Water. 
Augmentation for Sol. Fixed Luna. Secret Philosophical Water. The Hermetic Bird. 
Attinkar of Venus. Cement Regal. Philosophic Water. 


THERE are many respects in which Paracelsus at the present day seems 
to be little more than a name. Even among professed mystics the 
knowledge concerning him, very meagre and very indefinite, is know- 
ledge that has been obtained at second hand, in most cases from Eliphas 
Levi, who in his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, and again in his Histoire 
de la Magie^ has delivered an intuitive judgment upon the German ** Monarch 
of Arcana," expressed epigramatically, after the best manner of a Frenchman.* 
But, whencesoever derived, the knowledge is thin and phantasmal. Paracelsus 
is indeed cited as an authority in occult science, as a great alchemist, a great 
magician, a great doctor ; he is somehow supposed to be standing evidence 
of the '* wisdom of a spoliated past,'* and to offer a peculiar instance of 
malignity on the part of the enemies of Hermetic philosophy, because such 
persons have presumed to pronounce him an impostor. Thus there is a very 
strong opinion concerning him, which occultists and mystics of all schools have 
derived from a species of mystical tradition, and this represents one side of 
modern thought concerning him. It is not altogether a satisfactory side, 
because it is not obtained at first hand. In this respect, however, it may 
compare, without suffering by comparison, with the alternative opinion which 

» The cure of Paracelsus were miraculou-i, and he desened that there should be added to his name of Philippus 
Theophrastus Bombast that of Aureolus Paracelsus, with the addition of the epithet of divine. — Dog^tte de la Haute 
Magie^ c. x. Paracelsus, that reformer in magic, who has surpassed all initiates by his unassisted practical 
success.— /^/rf.. c. 5. Paracelsus, the most sublime of the Christian magi. — Ibid.y c. 16. Paracelsus was a man of 
inspiration and of miracles, but he exhausted his life with his devouring activity, or, rather, he rapidly outwore and 
destroyed its vestment : for men like Paracelsus can both use and abuse fearlessly ; they well know that they can no 
more die than grow old here \i^Q\\.~Rxtuel de la Haute Magie^ c a. Paracelsus was naturally aggressive and 
combative ; his familiar, he said, was concealed in the pommel of his great sword, which he never put aside. His life 
was incessant warfare ; he travelled, he disputed, he wTote, he taught. He was more attentive to physical results than 
10 moral conquests ; so he was the first of practical magicians and the last of wise adepts. His philosophy was wholly 
sagacity, and he himself called \\ Phihsophia Sagax. He has divined more than anyone without ever completely 
understanding anything. There is nothing to equal his intuitions unless it be the temerity of his commentaries. He 
was a man of bold experiences; he was drunk of his opinions and hb talk ; he even got drunk otherwise, if we are to 
believe his biographers. The writings which he has left behind him are precious for science, but they must be read 
with caution ; he may be called the diN-ine Paracelsus, if the term be understood in the sense of a diviner ; he is an 
oracle, but not invariably a true master. He is great as a physician above all, for he had discovered the Universal 
Medicine ; yet he could not preserve his own life, and he died while still young, worn out by his toil and excesses, 
leaving a name of fantastic and doubtful glorj-, based on discoveries by which his contemporaries did not profit. He 
died without having uttered his last message, and he is one of those mysterious personages of whom one may affirm, as 
of Enoch and S. John : he is not dead, and he will re\isit the earth before the last doy. —Histoire d« ta Magie^ 
Liv. v., c. 5. His success was prodigious, and never Has any ph)-sician approached Paracelsus in the multitude of his 
marvellous cures. — Dogme de la Haute Magie^ c. 16. 

2 A 

X. The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

obtains among non-mystics, namely, that Paracelsus was a great charlatan, 
though at the same time it is true that he was a great physician, at least for 
the period in wliich he lived. This judgment as little, perhaps less than the 
other, is derived from any solid knowledge concerning the man or his 
writings.* At the same time it is noticeable that even hearsay condemnations 
admit that Paracelsus performed notable cures. How it comes about that the 
application of what would be termed a distracted theory both in medicine and 
physics enabled its inventor to astound his age by what seemed miracles of 
the healing art would be a crux for such criticism if the criticism knew anything 
about it. It is not a crux for the mystics, because by these it would be replied 
that Paracelsus was a veritable adept, that his Hermetic teachings require to 
be interpreted, and that the key to their meaning would lay open for those 
who possess it an abundant treasure of sapience to which the literal 
significance is only a bizarre veil. Between these views it is unnecessary to 
make choice here. It is proposed to enable those who are interested in 
either to judge this matter for themselves by placing completely before them, 
for the first time, and in an English dress, the Hermetic writings of Para- 
celsus. It is proposed, also, by way of a brief introduction, to notify a few- 
facts in connection with the life of the author, which may be useful at the 
beginning of an inquiry. 

There are, however, many debateable points in connection with the life of 
Paracelsus to which a reference in this place scarcely requires to be made. 
What proportion of his long designation belonged to him by birth or baptism, 
to what countries he actually extended his travels during incessant wanderings 
which terminated only with his life, under what circumstances he died and 
what was the precise manner of his death, all these are points about which 
there is considerable uncertainty, and they are at this day not likely to be set- 
tled. Theophrastus and Bombast seem to have been assumed names, to one of 
which an unfortunate, and in some respects an undeserved, significance has 
been since attracted. The surname of Paracelsus was conferred by his father 
in alchemy, and it signified that he was greater than Celsus, the physician of 
ancient fame. To the style of Hohenheim it is believed that he had only 
a doubtful right. His alternative designation of Eremite suggests the 
monastic state, but the reference is simply to his birthplace, Maria Einsiedeln, 
or Notre Dame des Eremites, a short distance from Zurich. He appears tc 
have been christened Philippus Aureolus, and in his writings he indifferently 

• M. Louis Figuier, the French scientist, who otherwise might perhaps he regarded as exhibiting more than Gallic 
accuracy, may be cited in this connection. Referring to the fact tliat Paracelsus has laid some stress upon an op'nion 
not uncommon among alchemists, namely, that astrology and magic are collaterally a help to the seeker after the Great 
Work, he goes on to affirm that the writings of Paracelsus are filled with foolish invocations to the invisible world, 
while, as a fact, there is not a single treatise comprised in the great Geneva folio, nor is there any other extant work 
attributed to Paracelsus, and known to the present editor, which contains any invocations at all. M. Louis Figuier 
subsequently states, apparently on the sole authority of his intuition as a Frenchman and a man of parts, that the 
fuliginous Swiss physician enjoys only a contested authority among alchemists, which is only partially true ; and adds 
that he was a theoretical writer who did not apply himself manually to the accomplishment of the Ma^ituin 0pm, 
which, so far as it is possible to judge, is not true at all. 

Preface to the Etiglish Translation. xi. 

describes himself as a Helvetian and a German. He was born in the year 
1493, following the tradition which is most generally accepted, but other 
dates have been indicated, the earliest being 1490. According to one account 
he was descended from the ancient and honourable family of Bombast, which 
had abode during many generations at the castle of Hohenheim, near 
Stuttgart, Wiirtemberg, but this is most probably romancing. His father 
was a physician of repute, who is said to have been in possession of a large 
collection of curious books, and has also been described as a grand master of 
the Teutonic order, but the precise meaning attaching to this high-sounding 
dignity is uncertain and the authority is suspicious. His mother is variously 
identified as the matron of a hospital and "superintendent of the university 
of Einsiedeln. " Paracelsus is reputed to have been their only child, born one 
year after marriage, but it has also been hinted that his parents were not 
married, and that the great master of Hermetic medicine was a natural son. 
He is said also to have been emasculated in his childhood, but there is 
reason to suppose that this was merely a hypothetical explanation to account 
for his beardless aud somewhat feminine appearance, and for that hatred of 
women which seems to have been one of his social characteristics, and can be 
traced indirectly, but with sufficient distinctness, in his writings.* About 1502 
the family removed to Carinthia, and there the father continued to practise 
medicme till his death in 1534. From him Paracelsus is supposed to have 
received the first rudiments of education, and he entered the university of 
Basle at the age of sixteen, when he betook himself to the study of alchemy, 
surgery, and medicine. To the first of these sciences he had previously had 
some introduction through the works of Isaac the Hollander, which are said 
to have inflamed him with the ambition of curing diseases by medicine 
superior to the materia at that time in use. It was from the same source that 
he derived the cardinal principle which is enunciated everywhere in his 
writings, namely, that salt, sulphur, and mercury are the three elementary 
constituents of all substances. This doctrine, however, by no means origin- 
ated with the first alchemist of Holland, and Isaac himself was a follower of 
Geber, Morien, and Arnold.! The actual initiation of Paracelsus into the 
mysteries of alchemy is, however, supposed to have been attained under the 

° So free was Paracelsus of all amourous weaknesses, that he made even his sex seem AovAitXvA.— Doffine dt la. 
Haute .l/o^/V. c. 11. 

t Contemporary with Basilitis Valentinus were Isaac the Hollander and his son, who are supposed to have worked 
with success. They were the first alchemists of Holland, and their operations were highly esteemed by Paracelstis, 
Boyle, and Kunckel. In practical chemistry- they followed the traditions of Geber, and their alchemical experiments 
are the most plain and explicit in the whole range of Hermetic literature. They worked principally in metals, 
describing minutely the particulars of ever^* process. Their lives are almost unknown. . . . They are placed in the 
fifteenth century by conjecture, from the fact that they do not cite any philosophers subsequent to that period. They 
speak of Geber, Dastin, Morien, and Arnold, but not of more modern authorities, while, on the other hand, their 
references to aquafortis and aqua regia, which were discovered in the fourteenth centurj', prevent us from assigning 
their labours to an anterior epoch. The two Isaacs were p.-lrticularly skilful in the manufacture of enamels and 
artificial gem stones. They taught that the Grand Magisteriunt could convert a million times its own weight into gold, 
and declared that any person t-iking weekly a small portion of the philosophical stone will be ever preser%ed in perfect 
health, and his life will be prolonged to the ver>' last hour which God has assigned to him.— irr-M of AUkemyiticAl 

xii. The Hermetic and Alclmnical Writings of Paracelsus. 

tuition of the Abbot Trithemius." who is regarded as an adept of a high order, 
and had been previously the instructor of the more celebrated, though less 
illustrious, Henry Cornelius Agrippa.t From this mysterious ecclesiastic, 
who at the present day, in so far as he is remembered at all, is best known by 
his treatises on cryptic writing, he is supposed to have acquired "the 
Kabbalah of the spiritual, astral, and material worlds." About 1516 he is 
still found at Basle pursuing his researches in mineralogy, medicine, surgery, 
and chemistry, under the guidance of Sigismund Fugger, a wealthy physician 
of that city. Subsequently, having got into some trouble with the authori- 
ties, he fled, and commenced his nomadic life, which an apparently inaccurate 
tradition represents to have begun at the age of twenty years. Though his 
father was still alive he appears to have been without any means of subsis- 
tence, and supported himself, like many distressed students of that period, by 
psalm-singing, astrological predictions, chiromantic soothsaying, and, it is 
even said, by necromantic practices. He wandered through Germany, 
Hungary, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. 
In the last mentioned country, if it be true that he ever reached it, he is 
reported to have been made prisoner by the Tartars, to have been brought 
before "the Great Cham," to have become a favourite at the court of that 
potentate, and to have accompanied his son on an embassy from China to 
Constantinople. In spite of the tuition of Trithemius, he had apparently 
something to learn, and that was nothing less than " the supreme secret of 
alchemistry," the "universal dissolvent,'' the Azoth, alcahest, or sophic fire. 
This was imparted to him by a generous Arabian, about whom no other 
particulars are forthcoming. It is easy to see that the greater part of this 
nomadic legend is purely fabulous, and so also, in all probability, is his 
subsequent journey to India and Egypt. It is not an unusual device to 
account for obscure periods in the lives of Hermetic philosophers by extensive 
eastern travellings. However this may be, Paracelsus ultimately returned to 
Europe, and passed along the Danube into Italy, where he appears as an 
army surgeon, and where also his wonderful ctu-es began. He is said to have 
re-entered Germany in 1526, at the age of thirty-two, and if this be accepted 
the date 1516, when he is supposed to have been at work with Sigismund 
Fugger, will be found approximately correct. It is to the period immediately 
succeeding his return that most of his biographers assign his induction into a 
professorship of physics, medicine, and surgery, at the university he entered 

• Trithemius was a monk of the Benedictine order, who began life as a mendicant child setting forth in search of 
knowledge. He was received into a convent at Treves, where he made astounding progress in his studies. Having 
exhausted the po^ihilitics of his teachers, he betook himself to Louvain. thence to Heidelberg, and subsequently to 
Mayence. He became familiar with oriental languages, pagan and Christian philosophy, astronomy, and alchemy. 
He was a theologian, a poet, an astronomer, and a necromancer. He took mon.aslic vows in 1482, and in the year 
following he became the abbot of a convent at Spanheim, which he transformed speedily into a sanctuary of art and the 
sciences. He subsenuently was made superior of an abbey at Wurzbourg, .ind there it would appear he remained till his 
death in the ycir 1516. His works are chiedy historical, but, as above indicated, there are some upon secret writing 
which are exceedingly curious, and one, Ckrvnologia Mystica, is of a magical character. 

t Agrippa, who seems to have divided with r.tracelsus the reputation of the Trismegi^tus of his time, was horn in 
i486 and died in 1535. 

Preface to the English Translation. xiii. 

as a youth. This was a position of some importance, and it was offered him 
at the instance of Erasmus and Ecolampidus. "There, in his lectures, he pro- 
fessed internal medicine, denounced the antiquated systems of Galen and other 
authorities, and began his instruction by burning the works of these masters 
in a brass pan with sulphur and nitre. He created innumerable enemies by 
his arrogance and his innovations, but the value of his mineral medicines was 
proved by the cures which he performed." These cures only increased the 
hatred of his persecutors, and Paracelsus, with characteristic defiance, invited 
the faculty to a lecture, in which he promised to teach the greatest secret of 
medicine. He began by uncovering a dish which contained excrement. The 
doctors, indignant at the insult, departed precipitately, Paracelsus shouting 
after them : ' If you will not hear the mysteries of putrefactive fermentation, 
you are unworthy of the name of physicians.' " It will be easily understood 
that the Hermetic doctor did not long retain his professorship at Basle. He 
came into conflict with the municipal authorities, and a second time he was 
forced to flee the place. He betook himself once more to a wandering mode 
of life. In 1528 he proceeded to Colmar ; in 1530 he is found at Nuremburg, 
in embroilment, as usual, with the medical faculty, by whom he was de- 
nounced as an impostor, but the tables were turned on his opponents after his 
successful treatment of several aggravated cases of elephantiasis. For the 
ten years succeeding this date there are no certain records of his movements ; 
he commonly lodged at inns and other public places, still performing cures 
which were astonishing for the period, and, according to the accusations of 
his enemies, also drinking to excess. t The testimony of Oporinus on this 
point is very clear, though it has been indignantly repudiated by some of his 
later defenders. In 1541 Paracelsus was invited by Archbishop Ernst to settle 
at Salzburg, and there, according to one account, he died on September 24 
of the same year, but the manner of his death, like that of his birth, has been 
the subject of contradictory recitals,! By an alternative statement it occurred 
on a bench at the kitchen fire in a Strasburg hostelry. One writer supposes 
the event to have been accelerated by a scuffle with assassins in the pay of 
the orthodox medical faculty. 

There can be no doubt that Paracelsus obtained a wide, though not 
altogether a happ) , reputation during the brief period of his turbulent life, 
and there is also no doubt that this was immeasurably increased after death. 

* Paracelsus, who was the first who made known zinc, has obtainetl an immense and deserved reputation by 
introducing into medicine the use of chemical compounds furnished by metaU. To the old therapeutics of the Galcnists, 
abounding in complicated and often inoperative preparations, he substituted the simple medicaments furnished by 
chemistry, and was the first to open the audacious path to the application of this science to human ph^-",io1og>' and 
pathologj'.— Louis Figuier, L'Alckhnii: et ics AUhimistes, troisiime iditicn, pp. 99, 100. 

t Marvellous Paracelsus, always drunk and always lucid, like the heroes of RabelaLs. — Dogrne lie la Haute Ma^ie, 

X He proceeded to Maehrcn, K.iernthen, Krain, and', and finally landed in Salzburg, to which place he 
was invited by the Prince Palatine, Duke Ernst of Bavaria, who was a great lover of the secret arts. In that place 
Paracelsus obtained at last the fruits of his long labours and of a widespre-ad fame. But he was not destined to enjoy 
a long time the rest he so richly deserved. . . . He died, after a short sickness (at the age of forty-eight years), in 
a small room of the ^\^litc Horse Inn. near the quay, and his body was buried in the graveyard of St. Sebastian, — 
Hartmann's Paracclsjis. 

XIV. The Hervictic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

It is in no sense inexact to affirm that he founded a new school both in 
medicine and in alchemy. The commentaries on his medical sjstem became 
a literature which, in extent, at least, is formidable ; out of the mystic physics 
of his alchemical teachings the Rosicrucian doctrines developed in the first 
part of the following century. The works of Benedictus Figulus are evidence 
that he was idolized by his disciples. He was termed the noble and beloved 
monarch, the German Hermes, the Philosopher Trismegistus, our dear 
preceptor and King of Arts, Theophrastus of blessed memory and immortal 
fame. The collection of his genuine writings was made with devout care, 
and as a consequence of his celebrity many fictitious treatises were in due 
course ascribed to him.* Students attracted by his doctrines travelled far in 
search of like-minded persons to compare observations thereon, and to sift 
the mysterj' of his instruction. In the course of these inquiries it seems to 
have become evident, from the experience of his followers, that his prescrip- 
tions in many cases were not to be literally understood, even when the\' were 
apparently the ordinary formulse and concerned with the known materia of 
medicine. It will scarcely be necessary to add that in things alchemical the 
letter of his teachings was found still more in need of interpretation. The 
very curious influence exercised by Paracelsus for something like two hundred 
years over certain sections of restless experiment and speculation is still 
unwritten, and it would be interesting to trace here, were it possible within 
the limits of a preface. A task so ambitious is, however, outside those 
limits, and will perhaps be more wisely surrendered to other hands, for it is, 
in the main, part of the history of medicine, and demands an expert in the 
medical literature and medical knowledge of the past. The translations 
which follow arc concerned only with the Hermetic writings of Paracelsus, to 
the exclusion of manj' formidable treatises on surgical science, and on the 
causes and cure of disease, "f hey comprise what Paracelsus would himself 
have comprised in a collection of his alchemical writings, and this in itself is 
much more than is ordinarily understood to be within the significance of the 
term. With Paracelsus the province of alchemy was not limited to the 
transmutation of metals. It was, broadly speaking, the development of 
hidden possibilities or virtues in any substance, whether by God, or man, or 

* More especially, dear friends, have we to complain of the devilish cunning way in which the works of 
Theophrastus have hitherto hcen suppressed, only a few of which (and those to be reckoned the very worst) having 
appeared in print. For although they have been collected together from all countries in which Theophrastus has lived 
and travelled — the books he has written in Astronomy, Philosophy, Chemistry, Cabala, and Theology, numbering some 
thousand volumes— yet the same has only been done from avarice to get riches. For, having been trafficked in and 
sold for great sums, they have become scattered among the courts of princes and nobles, while Christendom at large, 
for whose use and benefit Theophrastus wrote, has no part in them. Particularly his theological v.'orks (because they 
annihilate the godless, and do not suit children of this world — belly-servers, deceived by the devil) have hitherto been 
totally suppressed. . . . But, at the Last Day, I, together with all true Sons of the Doctrine, shall demand an 
account of them for having . . . shut Truth away in boxes, walls, and vaults, and behind locks and bolts. Now, 
these precious and revered writings were ordered by God in our latter times, through Theophrastus, for the use and 
weal of the whole of Christendom. As regards our dear, highly favoured .Monarch and Preceptor, . . . we, for 
cur part, will not suppress bis Life, his well-merited praise, . . . gi\en him by God, the Angels, and the whole 
Firmament, but will heartily defend his honour and te.iching to the very end of our life. — lienedictus Figulus. A Gplden 
a*ui nU'iScJ Cttski:l t>/ Xaiiires Man'c's. 

Pre/ace to the English Translation. 


Nature. Thus it included the philosophy of creation, and dealt with the 
first matter as developed into the universe by Divine Power. It included 
also the natural evolution which takes place round us, whether in the 
formation of metals within the earth, or the formation of animals in the 
matrix. Finally, it included the development by man's skill and art of 
whatsoever was capable of improvement in the products of Nature. Thus 
the Hermetic and Alchemical writings of Paracelsus have a wider scope than 
might at first be inferred from the title. The purpose of this translation is 
altogether of an unpretentious kind. It aims at providing, and that for the 
first time, a complete and faithful text of all that Paracelsus is known or 
supposed to have written on the subject of alchemy and Hermetic medicine. 
It does not attempt to distinguish between the works which have been falsely 
attributed to him ; concerning this question there are no satisfactory canons 
of criticism, for those which have been indicated by the old author of the 
Onomastikon are of an arbitrary and unpractical kind. \ careful reader will 
probably regard with suspicion the " .Aurora of the Philosophers," at least in 
its present state, and he will possibly reject altogether the treatise " Con- 
cerning the Spirits of the Planets." There is nothing else in these volumes, 
except the uncertain " Manual," which from internal evidence is unlikely to 
have been the work of Paracelsus, and it is unnecessary to enter into the 
question which has been raised by some of his biographers as to his employ- 
ment of scribes under him, who reduced his dictations to writing and have 
possibly maltreated their master. The text which has been adopted for 
translation is the Geneva folio, in four volumes, 1658, in Latin. The bizuT-re 
mixture of Latin and old German in which Paracelsus originally wrote 
presents many difficulties with which it is unnecessary to grapple, as the 
Latin collected edition appears to represent in a very satisfactory manner 
both the letter and the spirit of the originals. 

It seems also desirable to state that a comparison of the medical and 
chemical knowledge possessed by Paracelsus with the chemistry and medicine 
of to-day is outside the purpose of this edition, because it is outside possibility 
within the limits of two volumes. There is no doubt that it would be an 
interesting as well as an important task to establish the exact position of 
Paracelsus, not only as regards modern knowledge, but as regards the science 
which preceded him, and it is hoped that such a work will be ultimately 
performed. Should this translation be regarded as final by students, or at 
least as a satisfactory- foundation for a full and complete comprehension of the 
sage of Hohenheim, and should the encouragement which is indispensable to 
an undertaking so long and costly be adequately given, it is proposed, after 
a reasonable interval, that these two volumes of uncriticised text should be 
followed by one other which will contain all the materials requisite for 
understanding Paracelsus, and will further trace, methodically and historically, 
the development of alchemical symbolism, with the growth of chemical 
knowledge from the Byzantine period to the dawn of the Reformation. It is 

x\ i. The Hervtetic and Alchemical Wrilhigs of Paracelsus. 

anticipated that this inquiry will fix for the first time the true objects of 
Hermetic physics, and the place which must be assigned to Paracelsus in 
connection therewith. The less ambitious but indispensable preliminary of 
this inquiry has been alone attempted here, and the simple provision of a text, 
as intelligible as the circumstances will allow, has been truly no light 
undertaking, nor should it be regarded as the exclusive work of one hand. 
The editor has accomplished his task with the collaboration of other 
specialists, and is responsible only for certain portions of the actual trans- 
lation, and for its general revision and collation. The work, as it stands, 
consists of {a) the large body of literature, entire and unabridged, attributed 
to Paracelsus, and treating directly of alchemy, and the transcendental 
doctrines and physics of the Magnum Opus ; (b) The whole Paracelsian 
literature of the Great Elixir and the Universal Medicine ; (c) So much of 
the Hermetic philosophy and cosmogony of Paracelsus as has been judged 
necessary to illustrate his alchemical teachings ; (d) One important treatise 
illustrating the application by Paracelsus of metallic and mineral substances 
to the treatment of diseases ; (e) An exhaustive collection of al< hemical 
references scattered through the chirurgical works of Paracelsus. Thus, the 
present edition is practically inclusive of everything except the exoteric 
medicine of Paracelsus, which, it is thought, is of inferior importance to the 
modern student. 


Hermetic Chemistry. 




The Science and Nature of Alchemy, and what Opinion should be 

FORMED thereof. 

Regulated by the Seven Rules or Fundamental Canons according 

to the seven commonly known Metals ; and coiitaining a 

Preface with certain Treatises and Appendices. 


OF Theophrastus Paracelsus to all Alchemists and Readers 

OF THIS Book. 

YOU who are skilled in .Alchemy, and as many others as promise your- 
selves great riches or chiefly desire to make gold and silver, which 
.\lchemy in different ways promises and teaches ; equally, too, you 
who willingly undergo toil and vexations, and wish not to be freed from them, 
until you have attained your rewards, and the falfilment of the promises made 
tc you ; experience teaches this every day, that out of thousands of 3'ou not 
even one accomplishes his desire. Is this a failure of Nature or of -Art ? I, 
say, no ; but it is rather the fault of fate, or of the unskilfulness of the 

Since, therefore, the characters of the signs, of the stars and planets of 
heaven, together with the other names, inverted words, receipts, materials, 
and instruments are thoroughly well known to such as are acquainted with 
this art, it would be altogether superfluous to recur to these same subjects in 
the present book, although the use of such signs, names, and characters at 
the proper time is by no means without advantage. 

But herein will be noticed another way of treating .Alchemy different from 

the previous method, and deduced by Seven Canons from the sevenfold series 

of the metals. This, indeed, will not give scope for a pompous parade of 

words, but, nevertheless, in the consideration of those Canons everj'thing 

which should be separated from Alchemy will be treated at sufficient length, 

and, moreover, many secrets of other things are herein contained. Hence, too, 

result certain marvellous speculations and new operations which frequently 


4 Tlic Hermetk and AlcJuinical Wriiings 0/ Paracelsu!.. 

differ from the writing-s and opinions of ancient operators and natural 
philosophers, but have been discovered and confirmed by full proof and 

Moreover, in this Art nothing is more true than this, though it 4)6 little 
known and gains small confidence. All the fault and cause of difficultj" in 
Alchemy, whereby ver\- many persons are reduced to poverty-, and others 
labour in vain, is wholly and soleh" lack of skill in the operator, and the defect 
or excess of materials, whether in quantity or qualit>% whence it ensues that, 
in the course of operation, things are wasted or reduced to nothing. If the 
true process shall have been found, the substance itself while transmuting 
approaches dail}' more and more towards perfection. The straight road is 
easy, but it is found bj- verj- few. 

Sometimes it may happen that a speculative artist may, by his own 
eccentricit},-, think out for himself some new method in Alchemy, be the con- 
sequence anj-thing or nothing. He need do nought in order to reduce some- 
thing into nothing, and again bring back something out of nothing. Yet this 
proverb of the incredulous is not whollj- false. Destruction perfects that 
which is good ; for the good cannot appear on account of that which conceals 
it. The good is least good whilst it is thus concealed. The concealment 
must be removed that so the good ma}- be able freely to appear in its own 
brightness. For example, the mountain, the sand, the earth, or the stone in 
which a metal has grown is such a concealment. Each one of the visible 
metals is a concealment of the other six metals. 

By the element of fire all that is imperfect is destroyed and taken away, 
as, Q|r instance, the five metals, Mercurj', Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Saturn.* 
^^i_ On the other hand, the perfect metals, Sol and Luna, are not consumed in that 
same fire. Thej- remain in the fire : and at the same time, out of the other 
imperfect ones which are destroyed, the}' assume their own body and become 
visible to the eyes. How, and by what method, this comes about can be 
gathered from the Seven Canons. Hence it may be learnt what are the nature 
and property of each metal, what it effects with the other metals, and what 
are its powers in commixture with them. 

But this should be noted in the verj- first place : that these Seven Canons 
cannot be perfectly understood by ever}- cursor}- reader at a first glance or a 
single reading. An inferior intelligence does not easily perceive occult and 
abstruse subjects. Each one of these Canons demands no slight discussion. 
Many persons, puffed up with pride, fancy they can easily comprehend all 
which this book comprises. Thus they set down its contents as useless and 
futile, thinking they have something far better of their own, and that therefore 
they can afford to despise what is here contained. 

" The three prime substances are proved only by fire, which manifests them pure, oa]:ed, dean, and simple. In the 
absence of all ordeal by fire, there is no proWng of a substance possible. For fire tests e%-erything, and when the impnre 
matter is separated the three pure substances are displaj-ed.— /)* Origin* Me*bcrum.ex Tnhttt Pri^JS SMitfamiis- 
Paramitam, Lib, I., c I. Fire separates that iriiich is constant or fiied from that which Ls fugitive or volatile.— 
Dt Merits Mttallicii, Lib. IL, Tract 1. Fire is the father or actiw principle of separation.—" Third Fragment 
on Tartar," fixnn the Fragmmta Medico, 



Concerning the Nature and Properties of Mercury.* 

ALL things are concealed in aU. One of them all is the concealer of the 
rest— their corporeal vessel, external, visible, and movable. All lique- 
factions are manifested in that vessel. For the vessel is a living and 
corporeal spirit, and so all coagulations or congelations enclosed in it, when 
prevented from flowing and surrounded, are not therewith content. No name 
can be found for this liquefaction, by which it may be designated ; still less can 
it be found for its origin. And since no heat is so strong as to be equalised 
therewith, it should be compared to the fire of Gehenna. A liquefaction of this 
kind has no sort of connection with others made by the heat of natural fire, or 
congelated or coagulated by natural cold. These congelations, through their 
weakness, are unable to obtain in Mercury, and therefore, on that account, he 
altogether contemns them. Hence one may gather that elementary powers, 
in their process of destruction, can add nothing to, nor take away anything 
from, celestial powers (which are called Quintessence or its elements), nor have 
they any capacity for operating. Celestial and infernal powers do not obey the 
four elements, whether they be dry, moist, hot, or cold. No one of them has 
the faculty of acting against a Quintessence ; but each one contains v>ithin 
itself its own powers and means of action.! 

♦ By tlic mediation of Vulcan, or fire, any metal can b€ generated from Mercur>".^ -^t ihe same lime. Mercury is 
imperfect as a metal ; it is semi-generated and wanting in coagulation, which is the end of all metals. Up to the half- 
way point of their generation all metals are Mercury. Cold, for example, is Mercury; but it loses the Mercurial 
nature by coagulation, and although the properties of Mercury are present in it, they are dead, for their vitality is 
destroyed by coagulation.— £>< Mtntis Meln/licis, Lib. III., Tract II., c 2. The essences and arcanas which arc 
latent in all the six metals are to be found in the substance of Mercurj-.— W«W., c 3. There are two genera of 
Mercury, the fixed Mercury of earth and another kind which descends from the daily constellation.— /*/</., Lib. I., 
Tract II., c 4. As there is a red and white Sulphur of M.ircasites, a yellow, red, and black Sulphur of Talc, a 
purple and black Sulphur of the Cachimia;, a Sulphur of Cinnabar, and, in like manner, of marble, amcth>-st, etc., so is 
there a special Mercurj- of Copper, Plumbago, Zinc, Arsenic, ac—IiiJ. Mercurj- is not Quicksilver, for Mercury is 
dead, while Quicksilver is li^ng. — De Ifvdrofisi. 

t Nothing of true value b located in the body of a substance, but in the virtue. .\nd this is the principle of the 
Quintessence, which reduces, say, sclbs. into a single ounce, and that ounce far exceeds the entire lolbs. in potency. 
Hence the less there is of body, the more in proportion is the virtue.— Z>^ Oritint iUriorum Invisiiilmm, Lib. IV. 

6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Concerning the Nature and Properties of Jupiter. 

In that which is manifest (that is to say, the body of Jupiter) the other six 
corporeal metals are spiritually concealed, but one more deeply and more 
tenaciously than another. Jupiter has nothing of a Quintessence in his com- 
position, but is of the nature of the four elementaries. On this account his 
liquefaction is brought about by the application of a moderate fire, and, in like 
manner, he is coagxilated by moderate cold. He has affinity with the 
liquefactions of all the other metals. For the more lilce he is to some other 
nature, the more easily he is united thereto by conjunction. For the operation 
of those nearly allied is easier and more natural than of those which are 
remote. The remote body does not press upon the other. At the same time, 
it is not feared, though it may be very powerful. Hence it happens that men 
do not aspire to the superior orders of creation, because they are far distant 
from them, and do not see their glory. In like manner, they do not much fear 
those of an inferior order, because they are remote, and none of the living 
knows their condition or has experienced the misery of their punishment. For 
this cause an infernal spirit is accounted as nothing. For more remote objects 
are on that account held more cheaply and occupy a lower place, since 
according to the propriety of its position each object turns out better, or is 
transmuted. This can be proved by various examples. 

The more remote, therefore, Jupiter is found to be from Mars and \'enus, 
and the nearer Sol and Luna, the more " goldness " or ^' silveriness," if I 
may so say, it contains in its body, and the greater, stronger, more visible, 
more tangible, more amiable, more acceptable, more distinguished, and more 
true it is found than in some remote body. Again, the more remote a thing 
is, of the less account is it esteemed in all the respects aforesaid, since what is 
present is always preferred before what is absent. In proportion as the nearer 
is clear the more remote is occult. This, therefore, is a point which yoUj 
as an Alchemist, must seriouly debate with yourself, how you can relegate 
Jupiter to a remote and abstruse place, which Sol and Luna occupy, and how, 
in turn, you can summon Sol and Luna from remote positions to a near place, 
where Jupiter is corporeally posited ; so that, in the same way, Sol and Luna 
also may really be present there corporeally before your eyes. For th^rans- 
mutation of metals from imperfection to perfection there are several practical 
receipts. Mix the one with the other. Then again separate the one pure 
from the other. This is nothing else but the process of permutation, set in 
order by perfect alchemical labour. Note that Jupiter has much gold and not 
a little silver. Let Saturn and Luna be imposed on him, and of the rest Luna 
will be augmented.* 

• Tin, or Jupiter, is pure Mercury coagulated with a small qu.ituity of Salt, but combined with a larger proportion 
of white Sulphur. It derives its colours, white, yellow, or red, from its Mercury. Its sublimation is also by 
Mercury, and its resolution by Salt, and it is sublimed and resolved by these. — De Eiemcnto Agutr, Tract III., c. 6. 

The Coelutn Philosophorum. 7 


Concerning Mars and His Properties. 

The si.\ occult metals have expelled the seventh from them, and have 
made it corporeal, leaving it little efficacy, and imposing on it great hardness 
and weight. This being the case, they have shaken off all their own strength 
of coagulation and hardness, which they manifest in this other body. On the 
contrary, they have retained in themselves their colour and liquefaction, 
together with their nobility. It is very difficult and laborious for a prince or a 
king to be produced out of an unfit and common man. But Mars acquires 
dominion with strong and pugnacious hand, and seizes on the position of 
king. He should, however, be on his guard against snares, that he be not 
led captive suddenly and unexpectedly. It must also be considered by what 
metiiod Mars may be able to take the place of king, and Sol and Luna, with 
Saturn, hold the place of Mars.* 


Concerning Venus and Its Properties. 

The other six metals have rendered Venus an extrinsical body by means 
of all their colour and method of liquefaction. It may be necessary, in order to 
understand this, that we should show, by some examples, how a manifest 
thing may be rendered occult, and an occult thing rendered materially manifest 
by means of fire. Whatever is combustible can be naturally transinuted by 
fire from one form into another, namely, into lime, soot, ashes, glass, colours, 
stones, and earth. This last can again be reduced to many new metallic 
bodies. Ifa metal, too, be burnt, or rendered fragile by old rust, it can again 
acquire malleability by applications of fire.f 


Concerning the Nature and Properties of Satukn. 

Of his own nature Saturn speaks thus : The other six have cast me out 
as their examiner. They have thrust me forth from them and from a 
spiritual place. They have also added a corruptible body as a place of abode, 
so that I may be what they neither are nor desire to become. My six brothers 
are s|irilual, and thence it ensues that so often as I am put in the fire they 
penetrate my body and, together with me, perish in the fire, Sol and Luna 

• In the generation of Iron there is a larger proportion of Salt and Mercury, while the red Sulphur from which 
copper proceeds is present in a smaller quantity. It contains also a cuprinc salt, but not in equal proportion with 
Mercur>-. Its coiibtituents are its own body, which preponderates ; then comes Salt, afterw.-u-Js Mercur>', and, lastly, 
Sulphur. When there is more Salt than the composition of Sulphur requires, the metal can in no wise be made, for it 
depends upon an equal weight of each. For fluxibility proceeds from Mercury- and coagulation from Salt. Accordingly, 
if there be too much Salt it becomes too hard. — De Etttittnto Agucr, Lib. IV., Tract III., c. 4. 

t Venus is the first metal generated by the Archeus of Nature from the three prime principles after the marcasites 
and cachimia: have been separated from these. It is formed of the gross redness which is purged off from the primal 
Sulphur, of the light red expelled in like manner from the Mercury, and of the deep yellow separated in the 
purification of the prime Salt by this same ArcheiLs.— /^I't/., c. 3. 

8 The Hervtetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

excepted. These are purified and ennobled in my water. My spirit is a water 
softening' the rigid and congelated bodies of my brothers. Yet my body is 
inclined to the earth. Whatever is received into me becomes conformed 
thereto, and by means of us is converted into one body. It would be of little 
use to the world if it should learn, or at least believe, what lies hid in me, and 
what I am able to effect. It would be more profitable it should ascertain what 
I am able to do with myself. Deserting all the methods of the Alchemists, it 
would then use only that which is in me and can be done by me. The stone 
of cold is in me. This is a water by means of which I make the spirits of the 
six metals congeal into the essence of the seventh, and this is to promote Sol 
with Luna.* 

Two kinds of Antimony are found : one the common black, by which Sol 
is purified when liquefied therein. This has the closest affinity with Saturn. 
The other kind is the white, which is also called Magnesia and Bismuth. It 
has great affinity with Jupiter, and when mixed with the other Antimon}' it 
augments Luna. 

Concerning Luna and the Properties thereof. 

The endeavour to make Saturn or Mars out of Luna involves no lighter 
or easier work than to make Luna, with great gain, out of Mercury, Jupiter, 
Mars, Venus, or Saturn. It is not useful to transmute what is perfect into 
what is imperfect, but the latter into the former. Nevertheless, it is well to know 
what is the material of Luna, or vi'hence it proceeds. Whoever is not able to 
consider or find this out will neither be able to make Luna. It will be asked. 
What is Luna ? It is among the seven metals which are spiritually concealed, 
itself the seventh, external, corporeal, and material. For this seventh always 
contains the six metals spiritually hidden in itself. And the six spiritual 
metals do not exist without one external and material metal. So also no 
corporeal metal can have place or essence without those six spiritual ones. 
The seven corporeal metals mix easily by means of liquefaction, but this 
mixture is not useful for making Sol or Luna. For in that mixture each metal 
remains in its own nature, or fixed in the fire, or flies from it. For example, 
mix, in any way you can, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, Sol, 
and Luna. It will not thence result that Sol and Luna will so change the 
other five that, by the agency of Sol and Luna, these will become Sol and 
Luna. For though all be liquefied into a single mass, nevertheless each 
remains in its nature whatever it is. This is the judgment which must 
be passed on corporeal mixture. But concerning spiritual mixture and 

• Lead is the blackness of the three first principles, uliich, however, is by no means a superfluity, but a peculiar 
metallic nature in them existing. For all metals are latent in Mercurj', and they are all only Mercur>'. The same is to 
be concluded concerning Salt and Sulphur. Thus, as copper is the abundant redness of the three principles, so Lead is 
their blackness ; but, at the same time, there are four colours concealed therein - the blackness, purged off from the 
three principles ; redness, which contains a precipitate out of Mercury ; whiteness, from the calcination of Mercury ; 
and a certain yellowness, derived from Merctu^*. Thus the grossness and the colours are alike due to Mercury, and 
Lead is, in fact, a black Mercury. -- Ibiti., c. 5. 

The Caelum Philosophorum. 9 

communion of the metals, it should be known that no separation or 
mortification is spiritual, because such spirits can never exist without bodies. 
Though the body should be taken away from them and mortified a hundred 
times in one hour, nevertheless, they would always acquire another much 
more noble than the former. .'\nd this is the transposition of the metals from 
one death to another, that is to say, from a lesser degree into one greater and 
higher, namely, into Luna ; and from a better into the best and most 
most perfect, that is, into Sol, the brilliant and altogether royal metal. It is 
most true, then, as frequently said above, that the six metals always 
generate a seventh, or produce it from themselves clear in its esse. 

A question may arise : If it be true that Luna and every metal derives its 
origin and is generated from the other six, what is then its property and its 
nature ? To this we reply : From Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and 
Sol, nothing and no other metal than Luna could be made. The cause is 
that each metal has two good virtues of the other six, of which altogether 
there are twelve. These are the spirit of Luna, which thus in a few words 
may be made known. Luna is composed of the six spiritual metals and their 
virtues, whereof each possesses two. Altogether, therefore, twelve are thus 
posited in one corporeal metal, which are compared to the seven planets and 
the twelve celestial signs. Luna has from the planet Mercury, and from 
Aquarius and Pisces, its liquidity and bright white colour. f? . "--. ^"d K. 
So Luna has from Jupiter, with -h. (Sagittarius) and Taurus, its white colour 
and its great firmness in fire. % , "^^ , tt • Luna has from Mars, with Cancer 
and Aries, its hardness and its clear sound. $ , szs, and 0''. Luna has from 
Venus, with Gemini and Libra, its measure of coagulation and its malleability. 
?, n, and Libra. From Saturn, with Virgo and ?: (Scorpio), its homogene- 
ous body, with gravity, b. TIJ, and ?(, . From Sol, with Leo and Virgo, its 
spotless purity and great constancy against the power of fire. ©, Q, and Tlj. 
Such is the knowledge of the natural exaltation and of the course of the spirit 
and body of Luna, with its composite nature and wisdom briefiy summarised. 

Furthermore, it should be pointed out what kind of a body such metallic 
spirits acquire in their primitive generation by means of celestial influx. For 
the metal-digger, when he has crushed the stone, contemptible as it is in ap- 
pearance, liquefies it, corrupts it, and altogether mortifies it with fire. Then 
this metallic spirit, in such a process of mortification, receives a better and more 
noble body, not friable but malleable. Then comes the Alchemist, who again 
corrupts, mortifies, and artificially prepares such a metallic body. Thus once 
more that spirit of the metal assumes a more noble and more perfect body, 
putting itself forward clearly into the light, except it be Sol or Luna. Then 
at last the metallic spirit and body are perfectly united, are safe from the 
corruption of elementary fire, and also incorruptible.* 

• When the three prime principles have been purged of their superfluities, and from the said superfluities the 
imperfect metals have been generated, there remains nothing gross or crude, either in coloiu' or substance, but only a 
ver>- subtle nature of a white and purple hue. This is the most pure quality of Mcrcurj', Salt, and Sulphur, most clear 

lo Tlie Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


Concerning the Nature of Sol and its Properties. 

The seventh after the six spiritual metals is corporeally Sol, which in itself 
is nothing but pure fire. What in outward appearance is more beautiful, 
more brilliant, more clear and perceptible, a heavier, colder, or more homo- 
geneous body to see ? And it is easy to perceive the cause of this, namely, that it 
contains in itself the congelations of the other six metals, out of which it is 
made externally into one most compact body. Its liquefaction proceeds from 
elementary fire, or is caused by the liquations of Mercury, with Pisces and 
Aquarius, concealed spiritually within it. The most manifest proof of this is 
that Mercury is easily mingled corporeally with the Sun as in an embrace. But 
for Sol, when the heat is withdrawn and the cold supervenes after liquefaction, 
to coagulate and to become hard and solid, there is need of the other five metals, 
whose nature it embraces in itself — Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, Luna. In 
these five metals the cold abodes with their regimens are especially found. 
Hence it happens that Sol can with difficulty be liquefied without the heat of 
fire, on account of the cold whereof mention has been made. For Mercury 
cannot assist with his natural heat or liquefaction, or defend himself against 
the cold of the five metals, because the heat of Mercury is not sufficient to 
retain Sol in a state of liquefaction. Wherefore Sol has to obey the five 
metals rather than Mercury alone. Mercury itself has no office of itself save 
always to flow. Hence it happens that in coagulations of the other metals it 
can effect nothing, since its nature is not to make anything hard or solid, but 
liquid. To render fluid is the nature of heat and life, but cold has the nature 
of hardness, consolidation, and immobility, which is compared to death. For 
example, the six cold metals, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mars, Venus, Luna, if 
they are to be liquefied must be brought to that condition by the heat of fire. 
Snow or ice, which are cold, will not produce this effect, but rather will 
harden. As soon as ever the metal liquefied by fire is removed therefrom, the 
cold, seizing upon it, renders it hard, congelated, and immovable of itself. 
But in order that Mercuiy may remain fluid and alive continually, say, I pray 
you, whether this will be affected with heat or cold ? Whoever answers that 
this is brought about by a cold and damp nature, and that it has its life from 
cold — the promulgator of this opinion, having no knowledge of Nature, is led 
away by the vulgar. For the vulgar man judges only falsely, and always holds 
firmly on to his error. So then let him who loves truth withdraw therefrom. 
Mercury, in fact, lives not at all from cold but from a warm and fiery nature. 

and excellent in form, substance, essence, and colour. These two essences, namely, the white and the purple, are by the Archeus, and out of the first, fixed and coagulated, is formed silver, while from the purple there is 
generated gold, which is the most noble Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, separated from all other colours, and consisting 
of purple alone. Its clayey or yellow appearance is accounted for by the subtlety and clearness of the metal, because 
all the dull colours are removed. In Silver the most prevalent colours are green and blue, which :u-e respectively 
derived from the Mercury and the Salt, the Sulphur contributing nothing in the matter of colouring, On" the other 
hand, in gold the purple colour is derived from Salt, the pellucid redness from Sulphur, and the yellow from Merciuy. 
—Hid., c. 8. 

The Calum Philosophomm. 1 1 

Whatever lives is fire, because heat Is life, but cold the occasion of death. The 
fire of Sol is of itself pure, not indeed alive, but hard, and so far shews the 
colour of sulphur in that yellow and red are mixed therein in due proportion. 
The five cold metals are Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus, and Luna, which assign 
to Sol their virtues ; according to cold, the body itself ; according to fire, 
colour ; according to drj-ness, solidity ; according to humidity, weiglit ; and 
out of brightness, sound. But that gold is not burned in the element of 
terrestrial fire, nor is even corrupted, is effected by the firmness of Sol. For 
one fire cannot burn another, or even consume it ; but rather if fire be added 
to fire it is increased, and becomes more powerful in its operations. The 
celestial fire which flows to us on the earth from the Sun is not such a fire as 
there is in heaven, neither is it like that which exists upon the earth, but that 
celestial fire with us is cold and congealed, and it is the body of the Sun. 
Wherefore the Sun can in no way be overcome by our fire. This only 
happens, that it is liquefied, like snow or ice, by that same celestial Sun. 
Fire, therefore, has not the power of burning fire, because the Sun is fire, 
which, dissolved in heaven, is coagulated with us. 

Gold is in its f i Celestial \ f Dissolved 

Essence three- - 2 Elementary - • Fluid 

fold I 3 Metallic I I Cor/'oreal. 

The End of the Seven C.\nons. 




God and Nature do Nothing in Vain. 

THE eternal position of all things, independent of time, without beginning 
or end, operates everj'where. It works essentially where otherwise 
there is no hope. It accomplishes that which is deemed impossible. 
What appears beyond belief or hope emerges into truth after a wonderful 

Note on Mercurius Vivus. 

Whatever tinges with a white colour has the nature of life, and the 
properties and power of light, which causally produces life. Whatever, on 
the other hand, tinges with blackness, or produces black, has a nature in 
common with death, the properties of darkness, and forces producti\'e of 
death. The earth with its frigidity is a coagulation and fixation of this kind 
of hardness. For the house is always dead ; but he who inhabits the house 
lives. If you can discover the force of this illustration you have conquered. 

Tested liquefactive powder. 
Burn fat verbena.* 

Recipe. — Salt nitre, four ounces ; a moiety of sulphur ; tartar, one ounce. 
Mix and liquefy. 

What is to be thought concerning the Congelation or Mercury. 

To mortify or congeal Mercury, and afterwards seek to turn it into Luna, 
and to sublimate it with great labour, is labour in vain, since it in\ olves a 
dissipation of Sol and Luna existing therein. There is another method, 
far different and much more concise, whereby, with little waste of Mercury 
and less expenditure of toil, it is transmuted into Luna without congelation. 
Any one can at pleasure learn this Art in Alchemy, since it is so simple and 
easy ; and by it, in a short time, he could make any quantity of silver and 

* Verbenas adole pingues, et inascula tura.— Virg , Eel. viii. 65. 

The C(plum Pliilosophonim. 13 

gold. It is tedious to read long descriptions, and everybody wishes to be 
advised in straightforward words. Do this, then ; proceed as follows, and 
you will have Sol and Luna, by help whereof you will turn out a very rich man. 
Wait awhile, I beg, while this process is described to j-ou in few words, 
and keep these words well digested, so that out of Saturn, Mercury, and 
Jupiter 3'ou may make Sol and Luna. There is not,, nor ever will be, any art 
so easy to find out and practise, and so eflfective in itself. The method of 
making Sol and Luna by Alchemy is so prompt that there is no more need of 
books, or of elaborate instruction, than there would be if one wished to write 
about last year's snow. 

Concerning the Receipts of Alchemy. 

What, then, shall we say about the receipts of Alchemy, and about the 
diversity of its vessels and instruments ? These are furnaces, glasses, jars, 
waters, oils, limes, sulphurs, salts, saltpetres, alums, vitriols, chrysocollae, 
copper-greens, atraments, auri-pigments, fel vitri, ceruse, red earth, thucia, 
wax, lutum sapiential, pounded glass, verdigris, soot, testae ovorum, crocus of 
Mars, soap, crystal, chalk, arsenic, antimony, minium, elixir, lazurium, gold- 
leaf, salt-nitre, sal ammoniac, calamine stone, magnesia, bolus armenus, and 
many other things. Moreover, concerning preparations, putrefactions, 
digestions, probations, solutions, cementings, filtrations, reverberations, 
calcinations, graduations, rectifications, amalgamations, purgations, etc., with 
these alchemical books are crammed. Then, again, concerning herbs, roots, 
seeds, woods, stones, animals, worms, bone dust, snail shells, other shells, 
and pitch. These and the like, whereof there are some very far-fetched in 
Alchemy, are mere incumbrances of work ; since even if Sol and Luna could be 
made by them they rather hinder and delay than further one's purpose. But it 
is not from these — to say the truth — that the Art of making Sol and Luna is to 
be learnt. So, then, all these things should be passed by, because they have 
no effect with the five metals, so far as Sol and Luna are concerned. Someone 
may ask. What, then, is this short and easy way, which involves no difficultj', 
and yet wherebj- Sol and Luna can be made ? Our answer is, this has been 
fully and openly explained in the Seven Canons. It would be lost labour 
should one seek further to instruct one who does not understand these. It 
would be impossible to convince such a person that these matters could be so 
easily understood, but in an occult rather than in an open sense. 

The .\rt is this : After you have made heaven, or the sphere of Saturn, 
with its life to run over the earth, place on it all the planets, or such, one or 
more, as you wish, so that the portion of Luna may be the smallest. Let all 
run, until heaven, or Saturn, has entirely disappeared. Then all those planets 
will remain dead with their old corruptible bodies, having meanwhile obtained 
another new, perfect, and incorruptible body. 

That body is the spirit of heaven. From it these planets again receive a 
body and life, and live as before. Take this body from the life and the earth. 

14 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Keep it. It is Sol and Luna. Here you have the Art altogether, clear and 
entire. If you do not yet understand it, or are not practised therein, it is 
well. It is better that it should be kept concealed, and not made public. 

How TO Conjure the Crystal so th.^t ali, things may be seen in it. 

To conjure is nothing else than to observe anything rightly, to know 
and to understand what it is. The crystal is a figure of the air. Whatever 
appears in the air, movable or immovable, the same appears also in the 
speculum or crystal as a wave. For the air, the water, and the crj-stal, so far 
as vision is concerned, are one, like a mirror in which an inverted copy of an 
object is seen. 

Concerning the Heat of Mercury. 

Those who think that Mercury is of a moist and cold nature are plainly in 
error, because it is by its nature in the highest degree warm and moist, which 
is the cause of its being in a constant state of fluidity. If it were of a moist 
and cold nature it would have the appearance of frozen water, and be always 
hard and solid, so that it would be necessary to liquefy it by the heat of fire, 
as in the case of the other metals. But it does not require this, since it has 
liquidity and flux from its own heat naturally inborn in it, which keeps it in a 
state of perpetual fluidity and renders it "quick," so that it can neither die, 
nor be coagulated, nor congealed. And this is well worth noticing, that the 
spirits of the seven metals, or as many of them as have been commingled, as 
soon as they come into the fire, contend with one another, especially Mercun,', 
so that each may put forth its powers and virtues in the endeavour to get the 
mastery in the way of liquefying and transmuting. One seizes on the virtue, 
life, and form of another, and assigns some other nature and form to this one. 
So then the spirits or vapours of the metals are stirred up by the heat to 
operate mutually one upon the other, and transmute from one virtue to 
another, until perfection and purity are attained. 

But what must be done besides to Mercury in order that its moisture and 
heat may be tak^n away, and in their place such an extreme cold introduced as 
to congeal, consolidate, and altogether mortify the Mercury? Do what 
follows in the sentence subjoined : Take pure Mercury closely shut up in a 
silver pixis. Fill a jar with fragments of lead, in the midst of which place 
the pixis. Let it melt for twenty-four hours, that is, for a natural day. This 
takes away from Mercury his occult heat, adds an external heat, and con- 
tributes the internal coldness of Saturn and Luna (which are both planets of 
a cold nature), whence and whereby the Mercury is compelled to congeal, 
consolidate, and harden. 

Note also that the coldness (which Mercury needs in its consolidation and 
mortification) is not perceptible by the external sense, as the cold of snow or 
of ice is, but rather, externally, there is a certain amount of apparent heat. 
Just in the same way is it with the heat of Mercury, which is the cause of its 
fluidity. It is not an external heat, perceptible in the same way as one of our 

The Coelum Fhilosopiiorum. 1 5 

qualities. Nay, externally a sort of coldness is perceptible. Whence the 
Sophists (a race which has more talk than true wisdom) falsely assert that 
Mercury is cold and oi a moist nature, so that they go on and advise us to 
congeal it by means of heat ; whereas heat only renders it more fluid, as they 
daily lind out to their own loss rather than gain. 

True Alchemy which alone, by its unique Art, teaches how to fabricate 
Sol and Luna from the five imperfect metals, allows no other receipt than 
this, which well and truly says : Only from metals, in metals, by metals, and 
with metals, are perfect metals made, for in some things is Luna and in other 
metals is Sol. 

What M.\terials and Instrume.\ts are required in Alchemy. 
There is need of nothing else but a foundry, bellows, tongs, hammers, 
cauldrons, jars, and cupels made from beechen ashes. Afterwards, lay on 
Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venu^, Mercury, and Luna. Let them operate 
finally up to Saturn. T I ^l^Ji*^ 

The Method of Seeking Minerals. 

The hope of finding these in the earth and in stones is most uncertain, 
and the labour very great. However, since this is the first mode of getting 
them, it is in no way to be despised, but greatly commended. Such a desire or 
appetite ought no more to be done away with than the lawful inclination of 
young people, and those in the prime of life, to matrimony. As the bees long 
for roses and other flowers for the purpose of making honey and wax, so, too, 
men — apart from avarice or their own aggrandisement — should seek to extract 
metal from the earth. He who does not seek it is not likely to find it. 
God dowers men not only with gold or silver, but also with poverty, squalor, 
and misery. He has given to some a singular knowledge of metals and 
minerals, whereby they have obtained an easier and shorter method of 
fabricating gold and silver, without digging and smelting them, than they were 
commonly accustomed to, by extracting them from their primitive bodies. 
And this is the case not only with subterranean substances, but by certain 
arts and knowledge they have extracted them from the five metals generally 
(that is to say, from metals excocted from minerals which are imperfect 
and called metals), viz., from Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus, 
from all of which, and from each of them separately, Sol and Luna can be 
made, but from one more easily than from another. Note, that Sol and Luna 
can be made easily from Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter, but from Mars and 
Venus with difficulty. It is possible to make them, however, but with the 
addition of Sol and Luna. Out of Magnesium and Saturn comes Luna, and 
out of Jupiter and Cinnabar pure Sol takes its rise. The skilful artist, 
however (how well I remember !), will be able by diligent consideration to 
prepare metals so that, led by a true method of reasoning, he can promote 
the perfection of metallic transformation more than do the courses of the 
twelve signs and the seven planets. In such matters it is quite superfluous to 

1 6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

watch these courses, as also their aspects, good or bad days or hours, the 
prosperous or unlucky condition of this or thai planet, for these matters can 
do no good, and much less can they do harm in the art of natural Alchemy. 
If otherwise, and you have a feasible process, operate when you please. 
If, however, there be anything wanting in you or your mode of working, or /q 
your understanding, the planets and the stars of heaven will fail you in 
your work. 

If metals remain buried long enough in the earth, not only are they 
consumed by rust, but by long continuance they are even transmuted into 
natural stones, and there are a great many of these ; but this is known to few. 
For there is found in the earth old stone money of the heathens, printed with 
their different figures. These coins were originally metallic, but through the 
transmutation brought about by Nature, they were turned into stone. 

What Alchemy is. 

Alchemy is nothing else but the set purpose, intention, and subtle 
endeavour to transmute the kinds of the metals from one to another.* 
According to this, each person, by his own mental grasp, can choose out for 
himself a better way and Art, and therein find truth, for the man who follows 
a thing up more intently does find the truth. It is highly necessary to have a 
correct estimation of stars and of stones, because the star is the informing 
spirit of all stones. For the Sol and Luna of all the celestial stars are nothing 
but one stone in itself; and the terrestrial stone has come forth frem the celes- 
tial stone ; through the same fire, coals, ashes, the same expulsions and re- 
purgations as that celestial stone, it has been separated and brought, clear and 
pure in its brightness. The whole ball of the earth is only something thrown 
off, concrete, mixed, corrupted, ground, and again coagulated, and gradually 
liquefied into one mass, into a stony work, which has its seat and its rest in 
the midst of the firmamental sphere. 

Further it is to be remarked that those precious stones which shall forth- 
with be set down have the nearest place to the heavenly or sidereal ones in 
point of perfection, purity, beauty, brightness, virtue, power of withstanding 
fire, and incorruptibility, and they have been fixed with other stones in the 

earth, t 

They have, therefore, the greatest affinity with heavenly stones and with 
the stars, because their natures are derived from these. They are found by 

• Alchemy is, so to speak, a kind of lower heaven, by which the sun is separated from the moon, day from night, 
medicine from poison, is useful from what is refuse.— ZJ; Cotica. Therefore learn Alchemy, which is otherwise 
called Sp.->gyri.t. This teaches you to discern between the true and the false. Such a Light of Nature is it that it is 
• -a mode of proof in all things, and w.ilks in light. From this light of Nature we ought to know and speak, not from 
mere phantasy, whence nothing b begotten save the four humours and their compounds, augmentation, stagnation, and 
decrease, with other trifles of this kind. These proceed, not from the clear intellect, that full treasure-house of a good 
man, but rather are based on a fictitious and insecure foundation.— /'«rffw//r;</w. Lib. L, c. 3. 

\ ^Vhen the occult dispenser of Nature in the prime principles, that is to say, the potency called Ares, has 
produced the gross and rough genera of stones, and no further grossness remains, a diaphanous and subtle substance 
remains, out of which the Archeus of Nature generates the precious stones or gems.— Z),- KUminto Aqua-, Lib. IV., 
Tract IV., c. 10. 

The Ccelum Pliilosophorum. 17 

men in a rude environment, and the common herd (whose property it is to 
take false views of things) believe that they were produced in the same place 
where they are found, and that they were afterwards polished, carried around, 
and sold, and accounted to be great riches, on account of their colours, 
beauty, and other virtues. A brief description of them follows : — 

The Emerald. This is a green transparent stone. It does igood to the 
eyes and the memory. It defends chastity ; and if this be violated by 
him who carries it, the stone itself does not remain perfect.* 

The Adamant. A black crystal called .Adamant or else Evax, on account 
of the joy which it is effectual in impressing on those who carry it. It is of an 
obscure and transparent blackness, the colour of iron. It is the hardest of all ; 
but is dissolved in the blood of a goat. Its size at the largest does not exceed 
that of a hazel nut.t ^>^^^SL,'d-^ /:4A^£![yunA4^t<,'^'uL'- 

The Magnet Is an iron stone, and so attracts iron to itself. | 

The Pearl The Pearl is not a stone, because it is produced in sea shells. 
It is of a white colour. Seeing that it grows in animated beings, in men or 
in fishes, it is not properly of a stony nature, but properly a depraved (other- 
wise a transmuted) nature supervening upon a perfect work.§ 

The Jacinth Is a yellow, transparent stone. There is a flower of the 
same name which, according to the fable of the poets, is said to have been a 
man. II 

The Sapphire Is a stone of a celestial colour and a heavenly nature. H 

The Ruby Shines with an intensely red nature.** 

The Carbuncle. A solar stone, shining by its own nature like the sun. ft 

The Coral Is a white or red stone, not transparent. It grows in the 
sea, out of the nature of the water and the air, into the form of wood or a 
shrub ; it hardens in the air, and is not capable of being destroyed in fire. J f 

• The body of the Emerald is derived from a kind of peirine Mercury. It receives from the same its colour, 
coagulated with spirit of Salt. —Ibid., c. 12. 

t The most concentrated hardness of all stones combines for the generation of the adamant. The white adamant 
has its body from Mercurj', and its coagulation from the spirit of Salt.— /^/</., c. 14. 

X Fortified by experience, which is the mistress of .-\1I things, and by mature theor>', based on experience, I affirm 
that the Magnet is a stone which not only undeniably attracts steel and iron, but ^has also the same power over the 
matter of all diseases in the whole body of — Dt Corallis. See Herbattus Tfue^krasti. 

§ The Pearl is a seed of moisture. It generates milk abundantly in women if they are deficient therein. — 
Df Aridura. 

1; The Jacinth, or Hyacinth, is a gem of the same genus as the Carbuncle, but is inferior thereto in its nature. — 
Dt EUmrnto Aiuct, Lib. IV., Tract IV., c. 11. 

■I In the matter of body and colour the Sapphire is generated from^Ierciuy (the prime principle). It is formed 
over white Sulphur and white Salt from a pallid petrine Mercury. Hence white Sapphires frequently occur because a 
white Mercury concurs in the formation. In like manner a IuteK:oloured Mercury sometimes produces a clay-like 
hue.— Ibid,, c. 15. 

• • The Ruby and similar gems possessing a ruddy hue are generated from the red of Sulphur, and their body is of 
petrine Mercury. For Mercur>' is the body of every precious stone. — Ibid., c. 13. 

tt The Carbuncle is formed of the most transp.-urcnt m.itter which is conser^■ed in the three principles. Mercury is 
the body and Sulphur the colouring thereof, with a modicum of the spirit of Salt, on account of the coagulation. All 
light abounds therein, because Sulphur contains in itself a clear quality of light, as the art of its transmutation 
demonstrates. — Ibid., c. 11. 

tt There are two species of red Corals-onc a dull red, which varies between sub-purnlc and semi-black ; the other a 
resplendent and brilliartt red. As the colours differ, so also do the virtues. There is also a whitish species which is 
almost destitute of efficac)'. In a word, as the Coral diminishes in redness, so it weakens in its qualities.— ^o-foniM 
Thtophrasti; De Corallis. 


1 8 The Henndic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

The Chalcedony Is a stone made up of different colours, occupying a 
middle place between obscurity and transparency, mixed also with cloudiness, 
and liver coloured. It is the lowest of all the precious stones.* 

The Topaz Is a stone shining by night. It is found among rocks, t 

The Amethyst Is a stone of a purple and blood colour.! 

The Chrysoprasus Is a stone which appears like fire by night, and like 
gold by day. 

The Crystal Is a white stone, transparent, and very like ice. It is sub- 
limated, extracted, and produced from other stones. g 

As a pledge and firm foundation of this matter, note the following con- 
clusion. If anyone intelligently and reasonably takes care to exercise himself 
in learning about the metals, what they are, and whence they are produced : 
he may know that our metals are nothing else than the best part and the spirit 
of common stones, that is, pitch, grease, fat, oil, and stone. But this is least 
pure, uncontaminated, and perfect, so long as it remains hidden or mixed with 
the stones. It should therefore be sought and found in the stones, be recog- 
nised in them, and extracted from them, that is, forcibly drawn out and 
liquefied. For then it is no longer a stone, but an elaborate and perfect metal, 
comparable to the stars of heaven, which are themselves, as it were, stones 
separated from those of earth. 

Whoever, therefore, studies minerals and metals must be furnished with 
such reason and intelligence that he shall not regard only those common and 
known metals which are found in the depth of the mountains alone. For there 
is often found at the very surface of the earth such a metal as is not met with 
at all, or not equally good, in the depths. And so every stone which comes to 
our view, be it great or small, flint or simple rock, should be carefully investi- 
gated and weighed with a true balance, according to its nature and properties. 
Very often a common stone, thrown away and despised, is worth more than a 
cow. Regard must not always be had to the place of digging from which 
this stone came forth ; for here the influence of the sky prevails. Everywhere 
there is presented to us earth, or dust, or sand, which often contain much gold 
or silver, and this vou will mark. 

Here ends the Ccelum Philosophorum. 

•The gem Chalcedony is extracted from Salt. — C/iiJUrfio Magna; De Tmnoribus, etc., Morhi Gallici, 
Lib. III., c. 6. 

t The Topaz is an extract from the minera of Mars, and is a transplanted Iron. — Ibid. 

{ The Amethyst is an extract of Salt, while Marble .ind Chalcedony .ire extracted from the same principle through 
the Amethyst. —Ibid. 

§ The origin of Crj'Stals is to be referred to w.tter. They contain within them a spirit of coagulation whereby they 
are co.igulated, as water by the freezing and glacial stars. —/./^. Metecrtim, c. 7. 




By ph. THEOPHRASTUS BOMBAST, of hohenheim, 

Philosopher of the Monarchia^ Prince of Spagyrists, Chief Asfronotner, 
Surpassing Pliysician, and Trismegistns of Meclianical Arcana. 


SINCE you, O Sophist, everywhere abuse me with such fatuous and menda- 
cious words, on the ground that being sprung from rude Helvetia I can 
understand and know nothing : and also because being a duly qualified 
physician I still wander from one district to another ; therefore I have pro- 
posed by means of this treatise to disclose to the ignorant and inexperienced : 
what good arts existed in the first age ; what my art avails against you and 
yours against me ; what should be thought of each, and how my posterity in 
this age of grace will imitate me. Look at Hermes, Archelaus, and others 
in the first age : see what Spagyrists and what Philosophers then existed. 
By this they testify that their enemies, who are your patrons, O Sophist, at 
the present time are but mere empty forms and idols. Although this would 
not be attested by those who are falsely considered your authentic fathers and 
saints, yet the ancient Emerald Table shews more art and experience in Phil- 
osophy, Alchemy, Magic, and the like, than could ever be taught by you and 
your crowd of followers. If you do not yet underst.ind, from the aforesaid 
facts, what and how great treasures these are, tell me why no prince or king 
was ever able to subdue the Egyptians. Then tell me why the Emperor 
Diocletian ordered all the Spagyric books to be burnt (so far as he could lay 
his hands upon them). Unless the contents of those books had been known, 
they would have been obliged to bear still his intolerable yoke, — a yoke, 
O Sophist, which shall one day be put upon the neck of yourself and your 

From the middle of this age the Monarchy of all the Arts has been at 
length derived and conferred on me, Theophrastus Paracelsus, Prince of 
Philosophy and of Medicine. For this purpose I have been chosen by God to 


20 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

extinguish and blot out all the phantasies of elaborate and false works, of 
delusive and presumptuous words, be they the words of Aristotle, Galen, 
Avicenna, Mesva, or the dogmas of any among their followers. My theory, 
proceeding as it does from the light of Nature, can never, through its consis- 
tency, pass away or be changed : but in the fifty-eighth year after its millennium 
and a half it will then begin to flourish. The practice at the same time 
following upon the theory will be proved by wonderful and incredible signs, so 
as to be open to mechanics and common people, and they will thoroughly 
understand how firm and immovable is that Paracelsic Art against the triflings 
of the Sophists : though meanwhile that sophistical science has to have its 
ineptitude propped up and fortified by papal and imperial privileges. In that 
I am esteemed by you a mendicant and vagabond sophist, the Danube and the 
Rhine will answer that accusation, though I hold my tongue. Those calumnies 
of yours falsely devised against me have often displeased many courts and 
princes, many imperial cities, the knightly order, and the nobility. I have a 
treasure hidden in a certain city called Weinden, belonging to Forum Julii, at 
an inn, — a treasure which neither you, Leo of Rome, nor you, Charles the 
German, could purchase with all your substance. Although the signed star 
has been applied to the arcanum of your names, it is known to none but the 
sons of the divine Spagyric Art. So then, you wormy and lousy Sophist, since 
you deem the monarch of arcana a mere ignorant, fatuous, and prodigal quack, 
now, in this mid age, I determine in my present treatise to disclose the 
honourable course of procedure in these matters, the virtues and preparation 
of the celebrated Tincture of the Philosophers for the use and honour of all 
who love the truth, and in order that all who despise the true arts may be 
reduced to poverty. By this arcanum the last age shall be illuminated 
clearly and compensated for all its losses by the gift of grace and the reward 
of the spirit of truth, so that since the beginning of the world no similar 
germination of the intelligence and of wisdom shall ever have been heard 
of. In the meantime, vice will not be able to suppress the good, 
nor will the resources of those vicious persons, many though they be, cause 
any loss to the upright. 



IPHILIPPUS Theophrastus Paracelsus Bombast, say that, by Divine grace, 
J many ways have been sought to the Tincture of the Philosophers, which 
finally all came to the same scope and end. Hermes Trismegistus, the 
Egyptian, approached this task in his own method. Orus, the Greek, observed 
the same process. Hali, the Arabian, remained firm in his order. But 
Albertus Magnus, the German, followed also a lengthy process. Each one of 
these advanced in proportion to his own method ; nevertheless, they all arrived 
at one and the same end, at a long life, so much desired by the philosophers, 
and also at an honourable sustenance and means of preserving that life in this 
Valley of Misery. Now at this time, I, Theophrastus Paracelsus Bombast, 
Monarch of the Arcana, am endowed by God with special gifts for this end, 
that every searcher after this supreme philosophic work may be forced to 
imitate and to follow me, be he Italian, Pole, Gaul, German, or whatsoever or 
whosoever he be. Come hither after me, all you philosophers, astronomers, and 
spagj-rists, of however lofty a name ye may be, I will show and open to you, 
Alchemists and Doctors, who are exalted by me with the most consummate 
labours, this corporeal regeneration. I will teach you the tincture, the 
arcanum,* the quintessence, wherein lie hid the foundations of all mysteries 
and of all works. For everj- person may and ought to believe in another only 
in those matters which he has tried by fire. If any one shall have brought 
forward anything contrary to this method of experimentation in the Spagj-ric 
Art or in Medicine, there is no reason for your belief in him, since, experimentally, 
through the agency of fire, the true is separated from the false. The light _of__ 
Nature indeed is created in this way, that by means thereof the proof or trial 
of everything may appear, but only to those who walk in this light. With this 
light we will teach, by the very best methods of demonstration, that all those 
who before me have approached this so difficult province with their own fancies 
and acute speculations have, to their own loss, incurred the danger of their 
foolishness. On which account, from my standpoint, many rustics have been 

• The Arcanum of a substance is not the \irtue (vir/us) but the essence {vis) and the potency i^tenfia), and is 
stronger than the virtue ; nevertheless, an old error of the doctors conferred the name of virtues upon the potential 
essences. —/'arrtw/Zruwi, Lib. IV. Many things are elsewhere set forth concerning the Quintcss^ce, but what is de- 
scribed is really a separation or e.xtraction of the pure from the impure, not a true quintessence, and it is more correctly 
termed an Arcanuni.~EjrfiiutJti0 Totiui AstroHotH*a^ 

2 2 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

ennobled ; but, on the other hand, through the speculative and opinionative art 
of these many nobles have been changed into clowns, and since they carried 
golden mountains in their head before they had put their hand to the fire. 
First of all, then, there must be learnt — digestions, distillations, sublimations, 
reverberations, extractions, solutions, coagulations, fermentations, fixations, 
and every instrument which is requisite for this work must be mastered by 
experience, such as glass vessels, cucurbites, circulators, vessels of Hermes, 
earthen vessels, baths, blast-furnaces, reverberatories, and instruments of like 
kind, also marble, coals, and tongs. Thus at length you will be able to 
profit in Alchemy and in Medicine. 

But so long as, relying on fancy and opinion, you cleave to your fictitious 
books, you are fitted and predestinated for no one of these things. 


Concerning the Definition of the Subject and Matter of the 
Tincture of the Philosophers. 

Before I come, then, to the process of the Tincture, it is needful that I open 
to you the subject thereof : for, up to the present time, this has always been 
kept in a specially occult way by the lovers of truth. So, then, the matter of 
the Tincture (when you understand me in a Spagyrical sense) is a certain thing 
which, by the art of Vulcan,* passes out of three essences into one essence, or 
it may remain. But, that I may give it its proper name, according to the use 
of the ancients, though it is called by many the Red Lion, still it is known by 
few. This, by the aid of Nature and the skill of the Artist himself, can be 
transmuted into a White Eagle, so that out of one two are produced ; and 
beyond this the brightness of gold does not shine so much for the Spagyrist 
as do these two when kept in one. Now, if you do not understand the use of 
the Cabalists and the old astronomers, you are not born by God for the 
Spagyric art, or chosen by Nature for the work of Vulcan, or created to open 
your mouth concerning Alchemical Arts. The matter of the Tincture, then, is 
a very great pearl and a most precious treasure, and the noblest thing next to 
the manifestation of the Most High and the consideration of men which can 
exist upon earth. This is the Lili of Alchemy and of Medicine, which the philo- 
sophers have so diligently sought after, but, through the failure of entire 
knowledge and complete preparation, they have not progressed to the perfect 
end thereof. By means of their investigations and experiments, only the 

• Tlie office of Vulcan is llic separation of the good from the bad. So the .Ajt of Vulcan, which is .Vlchemy, is like 
unto death, by whicli the eternal and the temporal arc divided one from another. So also this art might be called the 
death of things.— ZJir Morlns Mel.iUkis, Lib. I., Tr.ict III., c. i. Vulcan is an .tslral and not a corporal fabricator. - 
DeCadutoMntricis^ VI. The artist working in metals and other miner.lls tr.ansforms them into other colotirs, and 
in so doing his operation is like that of the heaven itself. For .is the artist excocts by me.ins of Vulcan, or the igneous 
element, so heaven performs the work of coction through the Sun. The Sun, therefore, is the Vulcan of heaven ac- 
complishing coction in the earth. — Z?^ Icteritiis. Vulcan is the fabricator and architect of all things, nor is his habita- 
tion in heaven only, that is, in the firmament, but equally in all the other elements.— i.i4. Meteorum, c. 4. Where 
the three prime principles are wanting, there .tlso the igneous essence us absent. The Igneous Vulcan is nothing else 
but Sulphur, Sal Nitrum. and Mercury. — Ibid., c. 5. 

The Tincture of the Philosophers. 23 

initial stage of the Tincture has been given to us ; but the true foundation, 
which my colleagues must imitate, has been left for me, so that no one should 
mingle their shadows with our good intentions. I, by right after my long 
experiences, correct the Spagyrists, and separate the false or the erroneous from 
the true, since, by long investigations, I have found reasons whj- I should be 
able justly to blame and to change diverse things. If, indeed, I had found out 
experiments of the ancients better than my own, I should scarcely have taken 
up such great labours as, for the sake, the utility, and the advantage of all 
good Alchemists, I have undergone willingly. Since, then, the subject of the 
Tincture has been sufficiently declared, so that it scarcely could or ought to be 
exceeded in fidelity between two brothers, I approach its preparation, and after 
I have laid down the experiences of the first age, I wish to add my own inven- 
tions ; to which at last the Age of Grace will by-and-by give its adhesion, 
whichever of the patriarchs, O Sophist, you, in the meantime, shall have 
made leaders. 



THE Philosophers, and a more compexdious Method by Paracelsus. 
The old Spagyrists putrefied Lili for a philosophical month, and afterwards 
distilled therefrom the moist spirits, until at length the dry spirits were 
elevated. They again imbued the capiU inoriuiun with moist spirits, and drew 
them off from it frequently by distillation until the dry spirits were all elevated. 
Then afterwards they united the moisture that had been drawn off and the 
dry spirits by means of a pelican, three or four times, until the whole Lili 
remained dry at the bottom. Although early experience gave this process 
before fixation, none the less our ancestors often attained a perfect realisation 
of their wish by this method. They would, howeverj have had a shorter way 
of arriving at the treasure of the Red Lion if they had learnt the agreement of 
Astronomy with Alchemy, as I have demonstrated it in the Apocalypse of 
Hermes.* But since every day (as Christ says for the consolation of the 

• The Book of the Kevclation of Hcrmn, uiterpreted by Tbeophra^liu Paracekus, concerning the Supreiut: 
Secret of the World, seems to have been first brought to light by Benediclus Figulus, and appealed as a piece de 
risistiiire in his *' Golden and Blessed Casket of Nature's Marvels," of whicli an English translation has been very 
recently published. (" A Golden and Blessed Casket of Nature's >LTr\els. " By Benedictus Figulus. Now first 
done into English from the German original published at Frankfort in the ycir i(o3. London : James Elliott and 
Co. 8vo. 1893.) .■\mong the many writings which have been fabulously attributwl to Uermes, there does not seem to be 
any record of an apMntypte^ and it b impossible to say what forged document may have been the subject of inter- 
pretation by Paracelsus. As the collection of Figulus is now so readily accessible, it b somewhat superfluous to re- 
produce the treatise here, but since this translation claims to include everj'thing written by the physician of Hohenheim 
on the subject of Alchemy aiid the Universal Medicine, it is appended at this point. It should be premised that 
Benedictus Figulus complains bitterly of the mutilation and perversion to which the works of Paracelsus were subjected, 
and the Rcvtlatwn of Hermes seems in many parts to betray another hand, especially in its quotation of authorities 
who are not countenanced by its reputed author. 

' Hermes, Plato, .\ristotle, and other philosophers, flourishing at different times, who have introduced the Arts, and 
more especially have explored the secrets of inferior Creation, all these have eagerly sought a means whereby man's 
body might be preserved from decay and become endued with immortality. To them it was answered that there is 
nothing which might deliver the mortal body from death ; but that there is One Thing which may postpone decay, renew 
youth, and prolong short human life (.is with the patriarchs). For death was laid .is a punishment upon our first parcnt>, 
Adam and Eve, and will never depart from all their decsendants. Therefore, the above philosophers, and many others, have 

24 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

faithful) has its own peculiar care, the labour for the Spagyrists before my 
times has been great and heavy ; but this, by the help of the Holy Spirit 
flowing into us, will, in this last age, be lightened and made clear by my 
theory and practice, for all those who constantly persevere in their work with 
patience. For I have tested the properties of Nature, its essences and con- 
ditions, and I know its conjunction and resolution, which are the highest and 
greatest gift for a philosopher, and never understood by the sophists up to this 
time. When, therefore, the earliest age gave the first experience of the 
Tincture, the Spagyrists made two things out of one simple. But when after- 
wards, in the Middle Age, this invention had died out, their successors by 
diligent scrutiny afterwards came upon the two names of this simple, and 
they named it with one word, namely, Lili, as being the subject of the 
Tincture. At length the imitators of Nature putrefied this' matter at its proper 
period just like the seed in the earth, since before this corruption nothing could 
be born from it, nor any arcanum break forth from it. Afterwards they drew 
off the moist spirits from the matter, until at length, by the violence of the 
fire, the dry were also equally sublimated, so that, in this way, just as the rustic 

sought this One Thing with great labour, and have found that that which preserves the human body from corruption, and 
prolongs life, conducts itself, with respect to other elements, as it were like the Heavens ; from which they understood that 
the Heavens are a substance above the Four Elements. And just as the Heavens, with respect to the other elements, are 
held to be the fifth substance (for they are indestructible, stable, and suffer no foreign admixture), so also this One 
Thing (compared to the forces of our body) is an indestructible essence, drying up all the superfluities of otu" bodies, 
and has been philosophically called by the above-mentioned name. It is neither hot and dry like fire, nor cold and 
moist like water, nor warm and moist like air, nor dry and cold like earth. But it is a skilful, perfect equation of all 
the Elements, a right commingling of natural forces, a most particular union of spiritual virtues, an indissoluble 
uniting of body and soul. It is the purest and noblest substance of an indestructible body, which cannot be destroyed 
nor harmed by the Elements, and is produced by Art. With this, Aristotle prepared an apple, prolonging life by its 
scent, when he, fifteen days before his death, could neither eat nor drink on account of old age. This spiritual 
Essence, or One Thing, was revealed from above to Adam, and was greatly desired by the Holy Fathers ; this also 
Hermes and Aristotle call the Truth without Lies, the most sure of all things certain, the Secret of all Secrets. It is 
the Last and the Highest Thing to be sought under the Heavens, a wondrous closing and finish of philosophical 
work, by which are discovered the dews of Heaven and the fastnesses of Eai-th. What the mouth of man cannot utter 
is all found hi this spirit. As Morienus says: " He who has this has all things, and wants no otlier aid. For in it are 
all temporal liappiness, bodily health, and earthly fortune. It is the spirit of the fifth substance, a Fount of all Joys 
(beneath the rays of the moon), the Supporter of Heaven and Earth, the Mover of Sea and Wind, the Oulpourer of 
Rain, upholding the strenglli of all things, an excellent spirit above Heavenly and other spirits, giving Health, Joy, 
Peace, Love ; driving away Hatred and Sorrow, bringing in Joy, expelling all Evil, quickly healing all Diseases, des- 
troying Poverty and miserj-, leading to all good things, preventing all evil words and thoughts, giving man his heart's 
desire, bringing to the pious earthly honour and long life, but to the wicked who misuse it, Eternal Punishment." This 
is the Spirit of Truth, which the world cannot comprehend without the interposition of the Holy Ghost, or without the 
instfuciron oT those who know it. The same is of a mysterious nature, wondrous strength, boundless power. The 
Saints, from the beginning of the world, have desired to behold its face. By Avicenna this Spirit is named the Soul of the 
World. For, as the Soul moves all the limbs of the body, so also does jh i!?_ Sfarit muvfe alJiiodifia^ And as the Soul is In all 
the limbs of the Body, so also is this Spirit in all elementary created things. It is sought by many and found by few. 
It is beheld from afar and found near ; for it exists in cverj' thing, in every place, and at all times. It has the powers 
of all creatures ; its action is found in all elements, and the qualities of .-ill things are therein, even in the highest per- 
fection. By virtue of this essence did Adam and the Patriarchs preserve their health and live to an extreme age, some 
of them also flourishing in great riclics. When the philosophers had disco\'ered it, wiih great diligence and labour, they 
straightway concealed it under a strange tongue, and in parables, lest the same should become known to the unworthy, 
and the pearls be cast before swine. For if cveiyone knew it, all work and industry would cease ; man would desire 
nothing but this one thing, people would live wickedly, and the world be ruined, seeing that they would provoke God 
by reason of their avarice and superfluity. For eye hath'not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath the heart of man understood 
what Heaven hath naturally incorporated with this Spirit. Therefore have I briefly enumerated some of the qualities 
of this Spirit, to the Honour of God, that the pious may reverently praise Him in His gifts (which gift of God shall 
afterwai-ds come to them), and 1 will herewith shew what powers and virtues it possesses in each thing, also its outward 
appearance, that it may be more readily recognised. In its first state, it appears a.s an impure e.arlhly body, full of im- 
perfections. It then has an earthly nature, healing all sickness and wounds in the bouels of man, producing good and 
consuming proud flesh, expelling all stench, and healing generally, inwardly and outwardly. In its second nature, it 

The Tincture of the Philosophers, 25 

does at the proper time of year, they might come to maturity as one after another 
is wont to ascend and to fall away. Lastly, as after the spring comes summer, 
they incorporated those fruits and dry spirits, and brought the Magistery of 
the Tincture to such a point that it came to the harvest, and laid itself out 
for ripening. 



The ancient Spag)-rists would not have required such lengthened labour 
and such wearisome repetition if they had learnt and practised their work in 
my school. They would have obtained their wish just as well, with far less 
expense and labour. But at this time, when Theophrastus Paracelsus has 
arrived as the Monarch of Arcana, the opportunity is at hand for finding out 
those things which were occult to all Spag\'rists before me. Wherelore I 
say, Take only the rose-coloured blood from the Lion and the gluten from the 
Eagle. When you have mixed these, coagulate them according to the old 

appears as a watery body, somewhat more beautiful than before, because (although still having its corruptions) its 
Virtue is greater. It is much nearer the truth, and more effective in works. In this form it cures cold and hot fcvcr^, 
.-uid is a specific against poisons, which it drives from heart and lungs, healing the same when injured or wounded, puri- 
fying the blood, and, taken three limes a day, is of great comfort in all diseases. But in its third nature it appears as 
an aerial body, of an oily nature, almost freed from all imperfections, in which form it does many wondrous works, pro- 
ducing beauty and strength of body, and (a small quantity being taken in the food) preventing melancholy and heating 
of the gall, increasing the quantity of the blood and seed, so that frequent bleeding becomes necessary-. It expands the 
blood vessels, cures withered Hmbs, restores strength to the sight, in growing persons removes what b superfluous and 
makes good defects in the Umbs. In its fourth nature it appears in a fiery form (not quite freed from all imperfections, still 
somewhat waterj- and not dried enough), wherein it has many virtues, making the old young and reviving those at the 
point of death. For if to such an one there be given, in wine, a barleycorn's weight of this fire, so that it reach the 
stomach, it goes to his heart, renewing him at once, dri\-ing away all prenous moisture and poison, and restoring the 
natural heat of the liver. Given in small doses to old people, it removes the diseases of age, giN-ing the old young hearts 
and bodies. Hence it is called the Elixir of Life. In its fifth and last nature, it appears in a glorified and illuminated 
form, without defects, shining like gold and silver, wherein it possesses all preWous powers and virtues in a higher and 
more wondrous degree. Here its natural works are taken for miracles. When applied to the roots of dead trees they 
rcvi\-e, bringing forth leaves and fruit. A lamp, the oil of which is mingled with this spirit, continues to bum for ever 
without diminution. It converts cr^'stals into the most precious stones of all colours, equal to those from the mines, and 
does majTi other incredible wonders which may not be revealed to the unworthy. For it heals all dead and living bodicA 
u-ithout other medicine. -^ Here Christ is my witness that I lie not, for all heavenly influences are united and combined 
therein. This essence also reveals all treasures in earth and sea, converts all meullic bodies into gold, and there i.s 
nothing like unto it under Heaven. This spirit is the secret, hidden from the beginning, yet granted by God to a few 
holy men for the revealing of these riches to His Glory— dwelling in fier>- form in the air, and leading earth with itself 
to heaven, while from its body there flow whole river* of liiing water. This spirit flies through the midst of the 
Heavens like a morning mist, leads its buniing fire into the w.-itcr, and has its shining realm in the heavens. And 
although these writings may be regarded as false by the reader, yet to the initiated they are true and possible, when the 
hidden sense is properly understood. For Gdd is wonderful in His works, and His wisdom is without end. This spirit 
in its fiery form Ls called a Sandaraca, in the aerial a Kybrick, in the watery an .lUoth, in the earthly Alcohoph and 
Aliocosoph. Hence they are deceived by these names who, seeking without instruction, think to find this Spirit of Life 
in things foreign to our Art. • For although this spirit which we seek, on account of its qualities, is called by these 
names, yet the same is not in these bodies and cannot be in them. For a refined spirit cannot appear except in a body 
suitable to its nature. And, by however many names it be called, let no one imagine there be different spirits, for, say 
what one will, there is but one spirit working ever>'whcre and in all things. That is the spirit which, when rising, 
illumines the Heavens, when setting incorporates the purity of Earth, and when brooding has embraced the Waters. 
This spirit is named Raphael, the Angel of God, the subtlest and purest, whom the others all obey as their King. This 
spiritual substance is neither heavenly nor hellish, but an airy, pure, and hearty body, midway between the highest and 
lou-cst, without reason, but fruitful in works, and the most select and beautiful of all other heavenly things. This work 
of God is far too deep for understanding, for it is the last, greatest, and highest -iecret of Nature. It is the Spirit of 
God, which in the Beginning filled the earth and brooded over the waters, which the world cannot grasp without the 
gracious interposition of the Holy Spirit and instruction from those who know it, which also the whole world desires for 
its virtue, and which cannot be prized enough. For it reaches to the planets, raises the clouds, drives away mists, gives 

26 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus, 

process, and you will have the Tincture of the Philosophers, which an infinite 
number have sought after and very few have found. Whether you will or not, 
sophist, this Magistery is in Nature itself, a wonderful thing of God above 
Nature, and a most precious treasure in'this Valley of Sorrows. If you look 
at it from without it seems a paltry thing to transmute another into something 
far more noble than it was before. But you must, nevertheless, allow this, 
and confess that it is a miracle produced by the Spagyrist, who by the art of 
his preparation corrupts a visible body which is externally vile, from which he 
excites another most noble and most precious essence. If you, in like 
manner, have learnt anything from the light of Aristotle, or from us, or from 
the rules of Serapio, come forth, and bring that knowledge experimentally to 
light. Preserve now the right of the Schools, as becomes a lover of honour 
and a doctor. But if you know nothing and can do nothing, why do you 
despise me as though I were an irrational Helvetian cow, and inveigh against 
me as a wandering vagabond ? Art is a second Nature and a universe of its 
own, as experience witnesses, and demonstrates against you and your idols. 
Sometimes, therefore, the Alchemist compounds certain simples, which he 

ils light to all ihini's, turns everything into Sun and Moon, bestows all health and abundance of treastue, cleanses the 
leper, brightens the eyes, banishes sorrow, heals the sick, reveals all hidden treasures, and, generally, cures all diseases. 
Through this spirit have the philosophers invented the Seven Liberal Arts, and thereby gained their riches. Through 
the same Moses made the golden vessels in the Ark, and King Solomon did many beautiful works to the honour of God. 
Therewith Moses built the Tabernacle, Noah the Ark, Solomon the Temple. By this ^zra restored the Law, and 
Miriam, Moses' sister, was hospitable ; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and other righteous men, have had lifelong abund- 
ance and riches ; and all the saints possessing it have therewith praised God. Therefore is its acquisition very hard, 
more than that of gold and silver. For it is the best of all things, because, of all things mortal that man can desire in 
this world, nothing can compare with it, and in it alone is truth. Hence it is called the Stone and Spirit of Truth ; in its 
works is no vanity, its praise cannot be sufficiently expressed. I am unable to speak enough of its virtues, because its good 
qualities and powers are beyond human thoughts, imutterable by the tongue of man, and ih it are found the properties 
of all things. Yea, there is nothing deeper in Nature. O unfathomable abyss of God's Wisdom, which thus hath 
united and comprised in the virtue and power of this One Spirit the qualities of all existing bodies ! O unspeakable 
honour and boundless joy granted to mortal man ! For the destructible things of Nature are restored by virtue of the 
said spirit. O mysterj- of mysteries, most secret of all secret things, and healing and medicine of all things ! Thou 
last discovery- in earthly natures, last best gift to Patriarchs and Sages, greatly desired by the whole world I Oh, what 
a wondrous and laudable spirit is purity, in which stand all joy, riches, fruitfulness of life, and art of all arts, a power 
which to its initiates grants all material joys 1 O desirable knowledge, lovely above all things beneath the circle of the 
Moon, by which Nature is strengthened, and heart and limbs are renewed, blooming youth is preserved, old age driven 
away, weakness destroyed, beauty in its perfection preserved, and abundance ensured in all things pleasing to men ! O 
thou spiritual substance, lovely above all things I O thou wondrous power, strengthening all the world! O thou 
invincible virtue, highest of all that is, although despised by the ignorant, yet held by the wise in great praise, honour, 
and glor>^, that -proceeding from humours — wakest the dead, expcllest diseases, restorest the voice of the dying ! O 
thou treasure of treasures, mystery of mysteries, called by Avicenna " an unspeakable substance," the purest and naost 
perfect soul of the world, than which there is nothing more costly under Heaven, unfathomable in nature and power, 
wonderful in virtue and works, having no equal among creatures, possessing the virtues of all bodies under Hea\en ! 
For from it flow the water of life, the oil and honey of eternal healing, and thus bath it nourisheil them with honey and • 
water from the rock. Therefore, saith Morienus : " He who hath it, the same also hath all things." Blessed art Thou," 
Lord God of our fathers, in that Thou hast given the prophets this knowledge and understanding, that they have 
hidden these things (lest they should be discovered by the blind, and those drowned in worldly godlessness) by which 
the wise and the pious have praised Thee ! For the discoverers of the mystery of this thing to the unworthy are bre.^kcrs 
of the seal of Heavenly Revelation, thereby offending God's Majesty, and bringing upon themselves many misfortunes 
and the punishments of God. Therefore, I beg all Christians, possessing this knowledge, to communicate the same to 
nobody, except it be to one living in Godliness, of well-proved virtue, and praising God, Who has given such a treasure 
to man. For many seek, but few find it. Hence the impure and those living in vice are unworthy of it. Therefore is 
this Art to be shewn to all God-fearing persons, because it cannot be bought with a price. I testify before God that 1 
lie not, although it appear impossible to fools, that no one has hitherto explored Nature so deeply. The Almighty 
be praised for having created this Art and for revealing it to God-fearing men. Amen. And thus is fulfilled this 
precious and excellent work, called the revealing of the occult spirit, in which He hidden the secrets and mysteries o* 
the world. But this spirit is one genius, and divine, wonderful, and lordly power. For it embraces the whole world, 
and overcomes the Elements and the fifth Subst.ance. To our Trismegislus Spagj-rus, Jesus Christ, be praise and glory 
immortal. Amen. 

The Tincture of the Philosophers. 27 

afterwards corrupts according to his need, and prepares thence another thing. 
For thus very often out of many things one is made, which effects more than 
Nature of herself can do, as in Gastaynum it is perfectly well known that Venus 
is produced from Saturn ; in Carinthia, Luna out of Venus ; and in Hungary, 
Sol out of Luna ; to pass over in silence for the time being the transmutations 
of other natural objects, which were well known to the Magi, and more 
wonderfully than Ovid narrates in his Metamorphoses do they come to the 
light. That you may rightly understand me, seek your Lion in the East, and 
your Eagle in the South, for this our work which has been undertaken. You 
will not find better instruments than Hungary and Istria produce. But if 
you desire to lead from unity by duality in trinity with equal permutation of 
each, then you should direct your journey to the South ; so in Cyprus shall you 
gain all your desire, concerning which we must not dilate more profusely than 
we have done at present. There are still many more of these arcana which 
exhibit transmutations, though they are known to few. And although these 
may by the Lord God be made manifest to anyone, still, the rumour of this 
Art does not on that account at once break forth, but the Almighty gives 
therewith the understanding how to conceal these and other like arts even to 
the coming of Elias the .Artist, at which time there shall be nothing so occult 
that it shall not be revealed. You also see with your eyes (though there is no 
need to speak of these things, which may be taken derisively by some) that in 
the fire of Sulphur is a great tincture for gems, which, indeed, exalts them to 
a loftier degree than Nature by herself could do. But this gradation of metals 
and gems shall be omitted by me in this place, since I have written sufficiently 
about it in my Secret of Secrets, in my book on the Vexations of -Alchemists, 
and abundantly elsewhere. As I have begun the process of our ancestors 
with the Tincture of the Philosophers, I will now perfectly conclude it. 

Concerning the Conclusion of the Process of the Ancients, 


Lastly, the ancient Spagyrists having placed Lili in a pelican and dried it, 
fixed it by means of a regulated increase of the fire, continued so long until 
from blackness, by permutation into all the colours, it became red as blood, 
and therewith assumed the condition of a salamander. Rightly, indeed, did 
they proceed with such labour, and in the same way it is right and becoming 
that everyone should proceed who seeks this pearl. It will be very difficult for 
me to make this clearer to you unless you shall have learnt in the School of 
the Alchemists to obser\-e the degrees of the fire, and also to change your 
vessels. F^or then at length you will see that soon after your Lili shall have 
become heated in the Philosophic Egg, it becomes, with wonderful appearances, 
blacker than the crow ; afterwards, in succession of time, whiter than the 
swan ; and at last, passing through a yellow colour, it turns out more red than 

28 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 




any blood. Seek, seek, says the first Spagyrist, and you shall find ; knock, 
and it shall be opened unto you. It would be impious and indecorous to put 
food in the mouth of a perfidious bird. Let her rather fly to it, even as I, with 
others before me, have been compelled to do. But follow true Art ; for this 
will lead you to its perfect knowledge. It is not possible that anything should 
here be set down more fully or more clearly than I have before spoken. Let 
your Pharisaical schools teach you what they will from their unstable and slip- 
pery foundation, which reaches not its end or its aim. When at length you 
shall have been taught as accurately as possible the Alchemistic Art, nothing 
in the nature of things shall then at length be so difficult which cannot be 
made manifest to you by the aid of this Art. Nature, indeed, herself does not 
bring forth anything into the light which is advanced to its highest perfection, 
as can be seen in this place from the unity, or the union, of our duality. But 
a man ought by Spagyric preparations to lead it thither where it was ordained 
by Nature. Let this have been sufficiently said by me, concerning the process 
of the ancients and my correction of the Tincture of the Philosophers, so far as 
relates to its preparation. 

Moreover, since now we have that treasure of the Egj'ptians in our hands, 
it remains that we turn it to our use : and this is offered to us by the Spagyric 
Magistery in two ways. According to the former mode it can be applied for 
the renewing of the body ; according to the latter it is to be used for the trans- 
mutation of metals. Since, then, I, Theophrastus Paracelsus, have tried each 
of them in diff'erent ways, I am willing to put them forward and to describe 
them according to the signs indeed of the work, and as in experience and 
proof they appeared to me better and more perfectly. 


Concerning the Tr.vnsmutation of Met.\ls by the 
Perfection of Medicine. 

If the Tincture of the Philosophers is to be used for transmutation, a pound 
of it must be projected on a thousand pounds of melted Sol. Then, at length, 
will a Medicine have been prepared for transmuting the leprous moisture of 
the metals. This work is a wonderful one in the light of Nature, namely, that 
by the Magistery, or the operation of the Spagyrist, a metal, which formerly 
existed, should perish, and another be produced. This fact has rendered that 
same Aristotle, with his ill-founded philosophy, fatuous. For truly, when 
the rustics in Hungar}' cast iron at the proper season into a certain fountain, 
commonly called Zifterhrunnen, it is consumed into rust, and when this is 
liquefied with a blast-fire, it soon exists as pure Venus, and never more 
returns to iron. Similarly, in the mountain commonly called Kuttcnberg, 
they obtain a lixivium out of marcasites, in which iron is forthwith turned 
into Venus of a high grade, and more malleable than the other produced by 
Nature. These things, and more like them, are known to simple men rather 

The Tiyicttire of the Philosophers. 29 

than to sophists, namely, those which turn one appearance of a metal into 
another. And these things, moreover, through the remarkable contempt 
of the ignorant, and partly, too, on account of the just envj' of the artificers, 
remain almost hidden. But I myself, in Istria, have often brought Venus 
to more than twenty-four (al. 38) degrees, so that the colour of Sol could 
not mount higher, consisting of Antimony or or Quartal, which V^cnus I used 
in all respects as other kinds. 

But though the old artists were very desirous of this arcanum, and sought 
it with the greatest diligence, nevertheless, very few could bring it by means 
of a perfect preparation to its end. For the transmutation of an inferior metal 
into a superior one brings with it many difficulties and obstacles, as the 
change of Jove into Luna, or Venus into Sol. Perhaps on account of their 
sins God willed that the Magnalia of Nature should be hidden from many men. 
For sometimes, when this Tincture has been prepared by artists, and they were 
not able to reduce their projection to work its effects, it happened that, by 
their carelessness and bad guardianship, this was eaten up by fowls, whose 
feathers thereupon fell off, and, as I myself have seen, grew again. In this 
way transmutation, through its abuse from the carelessness of the artists, 
came into Medicine and Alchemy. For when they were unable to use the 
Tincture according to their desire, they converted the same to the renovation of 
men, as shall be heard more at large in the following chapter. 

Concerning the Renovation of Men. 

Some of the first and primitive philosophers of Eg)-pt have lived by 
means of this Tincture for a hundred and fifty years. The life of many, too, 
has been extended and prolonged to several centuries, as is most clearly 
shewn in different histories, though it seems scarcely credible to any one. 
For its power is so remarkable that it extends the life of the body beyond 
what is possible to its congenital nature, and keeps it so firmly in that con- 
dition that it lives on in safety from all infirmities. And although, indeed, 
the body at length comes to old age, nevertheless, it still appears as though it 
were established m its primal youth. 

So, then, the Tincture of the Philosophers is a Universal Medicine, and 
consumes all diseases, by whatsoever name they are called, just like an 
invisible fire. The dose is very small, but its effect is most powerful. By 
means thereof I have cured the leprosy, venereal disease, dropsy, the falling 
sickness, colic, scab, and similar afflictions ; also lupus, cancer, noli-me- 
tangere, fistulas, and the whole race of internal diseases, more surely than 
one could believe. Of this fact Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Bohemia, 
etc., will afford the most ample evidence. 

Now, Sophist, look at Theophrastus Paracelsus. How can your Apollo, 
Machaon, and Hippocrates stand against me? This is the Catholicum of the 


30 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Philosophers, by which all these philosophers have attained long life for 
resisting diseases, and they have attained this end entirely and most 
effectually, and so, according to their judgment, they named it The Tincture 
of the Philosophers. For what can there be in the whole range of medicine 
greater than such purgation of the body, by means whereof all superfluity is 
radically removed from it and transmuted ? For when the seed is once made 
sound all else is perfected. What avails the ill-founded purgation of the 
sophists since it removes nothing as it ought ? This, therefore, is the most 
excellent foundation of a true physician, the regeneration of the nature, and 
the restoration of youth. After this, the new essence itself drives out all that 
is opposed to it. To effect this regeneration, the powers and virtues of the 
Tincture of the Philosophers were miraculously discovered, and up to this 
lime have been used in secret and kept concealed by true Spagyrists. 

Here ends the Book concerning the Tincture of the Philosophers. 



WE now purpose to speak concerning gradations,* and those of such a 
kind that a metal dissolved or digested in them can be promoted to 
the degree of Sol and transmuted. Many persons endeavour to 
transmute the lesser metals into silver, and others, of a mediocre nature, into 
gold, with some difference, however, in their conjunction, so that in a 
cineritium, by transmutation of graduation, the lesser metals may be brought 
to the perfection of the greater ones — a perfection which answers any suitable 
tests. We will set down, then, in this place, fourteen gradations. Many 
others may be found, but these we willingly forget, and have collected those 
only which are established by experience, and are worth writing about. 
These we arrange with a triple differentiation. Some are strong waters, 
others are oils, and the rest liquids. These we arrange in a like order, as is 
clear from our method of treating them. That is to say, we put, first of all, 
strong waters, secondly oils, and lastly liquids. 

The First Grad.\tion. 

Take of Vitriol, Alum, and Salt Nitre, two pounds each ; of Flos Aeris, 
Crocus of Mars, and Hsematitis, a quarter of a pound each ; of Cinnabar, a 
pound and a half; of Antimony,! three-eighths of a pound ; of Arsenic, one- 
eighth of a pound. 

Let all be distilled with a verj- strong fire into strong water, which purify 
and clarify after the method of such waters, and dissolve therein cemented 
Luna, or Part with Part, Luna and Venus ; then put it in digestion for a 
month. Afterwards take out the residuum by fulmination, and thus you will 

• The tenn gradation is used by Paracelsus in more than one sense ; here it is the process by which one substance is 
developed into another. Care must be taken to distingtiish between this and the grades of metals, etc. Thus, in gold 
there are said to be twenty-four grades ; in silver thirty-two grades of softness ; in iron fortj'-six grades of hardness ; in 
lead eighteen degrees of flu-vibility ; twelve of malleation in copper ; in Mercury eighty-three properties or branches. — 
CAirur^gia ^fincr, Lih. III. Preface. 

t From the time of Basil Valentine, Antimony played almost as important a part in the operations of Alchemy as it 
performed in Medicine. It is variously described by Paracelsus. Sometimes the term b made to include all marcasites, 
cachimiae, talcs, ogerta, ctc.—Dr Morih Mitatlich, Tract III., c. 3. .^gain. Antimony is a mucilage, or, that you 
may understand me the better, firnisium.--/^/*/., c. 7. It transmutes Saturn into Venus.— Z)^ Aridura. It receives 
its body from Merciu-y. and is the most gross nature of Mercury, after it has been piu-ged out (that is, expelled from the 
prime principle). It retains all the powers and virtues of Merciuy. Of all products coming forth out of the three 
first principles, there is none which retains the virtue of Mercur>* more patently than Antimony. It is nothing but 
Mercury coagulated through the Spirit of Salt and Sulphur. But, at the same time, understand that it is derived from 
the gross and rough, not from the subtle nature of the said Mercttry. — i?* EUmento Aqua. Tract V., c. 5. 

32 The Hermetic Ufid Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

find it transmuted. Let that which is still in the aquafortis be precipitated 
and fulminated as above, and thus the remainder of the silver can be obtained. 
Care should be taken that the aforesaid simples be prepared and separated, 
first of all, in purgation, because any impurity hinders this work of 
transmutation very seriously. 

The Second Gr.\dation. 
In this second gradation it is worth while to note carefully another 
process, it being one which can be adopted with greater gain and subtlety, as 
follows : Take of Saltpetre and of Cinnabar each one pound. Let them be 
pounded together, and the water distilled from them ; which water preserve. 
Do the same with an equal weight of Antimony and Arsenic' Mix together 
the three waters, and add of Salt Nitre, Alum, and \'itriol each one pound. 
Distil all again, after the manner of Aquafortis. Afterwards pour this on its 
Caf'ut Mottuuxi, which has been finely powdered. Again distil it to its ultimate 
spirit, and clarify it, just as any other aquafortis. In the case of all metals 
which have been dissolved in it, and have remained in digestion until perfect, 
its powers of operation are incredibly great. In very truth, there are latent in 
a composition with these ingredients all the forces of those metals which have 
in themselves a corporeal matter. For three of such distillations tinge so 
powerfully, by the force of the water, that scarcely any greater or more 
powerful means of working with strong waters could be found. 

The Third Gradation. 

The third gradation, which is reckoned as last among the strong waters, 
is to be understood and compounded as follows : — Take of Cinnabar, Arsenic, 
and .Vntimony, each half a pound, of Saltpetre two pounds, and of Sulphur 
half a pound. Let these be pounded together, mixed, and distilled to strong 
water with a very powerful fire. Afterwards take two parts of this water, of 
Common Alum and Alumcn Plumosum each a part and a half, of Vitriol one 
part, of Verdigris and Crocus of Mars each half a part. Let all these be distilled 
together into a strong water with a very violent fire. At length, for the 
whole of this water, take two parts of the Caput Morfiiitm ; and of Antimony, 
Verdigris, Cinnabar, and Sulphur, half a part each. Distil these from their 
dregs by strongly driving them into a receiver. Afterwards, in this water, 
when it has been clarified, dissolve half a part with ten parts of flowers of 
brass and crocus of Mars, and let it be digested therein. You will afterwards 
find more of the residuum transmuted to Sol than you would deem possible to 
the Art. 

The Fourth Gradation. 

Let us now speak about gradations made with oils, w-hich do not dissolve 
after the mode and form of strong waters, but in digestion, and thus 
accomplish their perfection. The first gradation of this kind is made with Oil 
of Antimony, in which is latent a wonderful tincture of redness. Let the 

The Gradations of Metals. ^t, 

following be the process adopted : —Take of Antimony one pound, and of 
sublimated Mercury half a pound. Let them both be distilled together over a 
powerful fire by means of an alembic, and the redness will ascend as thick 
as blood. This tinges and graduates all Luna into Sol, and brings the latter 
when pale to the highest degree of permanent colour. 

The Fifth Gradation. 

The fifth gradation, whereof the oil is reckoned second in order, is made in 
the manner which follows : — Take of the Oil of the Philosophers one pound, 
with which mix half a pound respectively of Calcined Alum and of Citrine 
Colcothar. Distil a second time, and afterwards rectify to purity and a 
constant colour. Put in Luna, and let it remain in digestion. Reduce what 
remains, separate it in aquafortis, and, lastly, fulminate by means of Saturn. 

The Sixth Gradation. 

The sixth gradation, third in order among the oils, is made in the 
following way : — Take of Live Sulphur* two pounds, and of Flax Oil (linseed 
oil) four pounds. Let these be formed into a compound, and this be distilled 
into an oil. To this let there be added the same quantity of Live Sulphur, 
and let it be treated just as it was for the compound. Let it be digested in 
horse-dung for a month, or if longer, so much the better. After this let there 
be added one-eighth of a pound of each of the following : Salt Nitre, Vitriol, 
Alum, Flos Aeris, Crocus of Mars, and Cinnabar. Distil whatever will 
ascend. Remove the liquids, keeping only the oils. Put these apart in a 
glass cucurbite, adding the species as above, and the Caput Mortuum in 
powder. Distil again as before. Afterwards pour it off again from the dregs, 
let it be putrefied a second time for a month, and further distilled. When the 
colours are gone or separated, keep the red, and rectify it as required. Lastly, 
let plates of Luna be digested at the proper time, and at length reduced by a 
process of fulminaticMi. 

The Seventh Grad.\tion. 

Gradations w'hich are produced by liquids are found in two different forms, 
namely, the tenacious and the watery. First let us speak concerning the 
tenacious. Take one pound of Honey, and in it decoct one-quarter of a pound 
each of Vitriol and of Alum with an eighth of a pound of lamen. Distil the 
water from these over a strong fire, and add thereto one-eighth of a pound each 
of the Caput Mortuum from a human cranium, and half a pound of Sulphur. 
Decoct into the form of a hepar and digest for a month ; then distil and rectify 
with water until pure. Afterwards add one-eighth of a pound each of Sal 
.'Vmmoniac, Flos Aeris, Crocus of Mars, and Alum; a quarter of a pound of 
N'itriol, and two ounces each of fixed Antimony and fixed Red Arsenic. Pound 

• Live Sulphur is that of which fragments or particles will cohere without it being in a dissolved or fluid state.— 
Dt Prrfarationiius, Lib. 1., Tract ». 


34 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writiiigs of Paracelsus. 

these together, put into water, ;uid lot them stand in heat for ten days. After- 
wards let the Hquid be separated from the dregs. Purify and project into the 
mixture metallic plates ; then let them remain in moderate digestion until 
perfect. Lastly, let the matter be burnt, separated, and fulminated. 

The Eighth Gradation. 

The gradation by the second liquid is as follows : 

Take a sufficient quantity of aquafortis. In one part thereof dissolve 
Sol, in another part Venus, in another part Mars. Mix these solutions 
together, and afterwards distil the water from them. Pour this again on its 
dregs, and once more distil and pour as before, until a thick liquid is produced 
therefrom. To this add five parts of distilled and prepared Honey. Let all 
be digested for a month, and afterwards separate the phlegma. Keep the 
liquid, and in it let projected metallic plates be digested for a month. Lastly, 
let it be coagulated into a mass, and into one distinct bodj\ Let this be sub- 
jected to a process of fulmination and quartation. Fulminate a second time, 
and thus will be found an excellent transmutation by means of liquid. 

The Ninth Gradation. 

By the third liquid the ninth gradation is made in the following manner : 
Take aquafortis, in which dissolve Verdigris, and let both be kept together 
in horse dung for the space of a month. Now distil the water from the dregs, 
pour it on again, distil and pour it over several times, until an oil is produced 
from it. Into that liquid put metallic filings, and in the course of its being 
digested you will find a transmutation. Although the liquid may be small in 
quantity, nevertheless it graduates most effectually, and affects the very 
largest amount of metal in proportion to its own quantity. 

The Tenth Gradation. 

In the following manner the fourth liquid is to be understood : 
Take the best Aquafortis, and in it dissolve as much Steel as possible. 
Let these remain in digestion for a month, and from them will be formed a 
compound of one colour. Let this compound also be distilled into a liquid, 
in which metallic filings must remain in digestion until the liquid is incorpor- 
ated. Then let both be fulminated together— that is to say, the liquid and the 
metal— by means of Saturn. Then will be found this transmutation, which 
must be separated and prepared in the usual way. 

The Eleventh Gradation. 

The eleventh gradation is made by the first aqueous liquid according to 
the formula subjoined : 

Take four pounds of the most highly purified Saltpetre, and repurge this 
from its phlegma by combustion. Add two pounds of Common Salt dulv 
prepared. Mix these together, and distil with an alembic six or nine times, 
until the Salts altogether pass over through the alembic into the receiver 

The Gradations of Metals. 35 

placed ready for the purpose. Then take two pounds of this Water ; two 
ounces each of Flowers of Antimony, Flos Aeris, Flos Martis, and Flower of 
Sulphur, with two ounces and a half respectively of Sal Ammoniac and of Alum. 
Mix all these together, and let them remain in digestion for four and twenty 
days. After this let them be separated in the purest water. Afterwards let 
Luna and the metals be graduated by digestion, fulminated by Saturn, 
separated by quartification, and fulminated a second time. 

Twelfth Gradation. 

By means of the second aqueous liquid the twelfth gradation is produced 
in the following manner : 

Take three pounds of the most highly corrected Vinttm Ardetis ; one 
pound of the Water of Saltpetre ; half a pound of the Water of Common Salt ; 
and three quarters of a pound respectively of Vitriol, Alumen Plumosum, and 
Alumen Aochi. Let these be combined to form a mixture, and distil this six 
times from the Caput Mortmim. In this water let metals be digested, when 
they will be fixed and transmuted, as we have said above concerning 
the others. 

The Thirteenth Grad.vtion. 
By the third aqueous liquid the thirteenth gradation is produced in the 
following manner : 

Take one pound of Isteris of Blood. Distil it thirteen times from its 
dregs, and place in it two ounces each of Flos Aeris and of Sulphur. Let them 
be horse-dung for a month. Afterwards put in Calx Lunae, so that 
the colour and substance may be consumed. Afterwards let them be coagu- 
lated and fulminated in Saturn. Know that in this liquid common Mercurj', 
as well as that of metals, is coagulated according to the conditions of 

The Fourteenth Gradation. 
The fourth liquid in this place is the Water of Mercun,-, which is made for 
the fourteenth gradation as follows below : 

Take one pound of Mercury sublimated twenty times with Sal Ammoniac, 
and one ounce respectively of the Flowers of Venus, Mars, Sulphur, and 
Antimony. Grind and mix all together, and then let them be resolved into a 
water. This water requires no other labour whatever. Metals projected into 
it, digested for a short time, and afterwards fulminated, are graduated in a 
wonderful manner. 

Here ends the Book of Gradations. 


By Philippus Theophrastus Bombast, Paracelsus the Great 

NATURE beg-ets a mineral in the bowels of the earth. There are two 
kinds of it, which are found in many districts of Europe. The best 
which has been offered to me, which also has been found genuine 
in experimentation, is externally in the figure of the greater world, and is in 
the eastern part of the sphere of the Sun. The other, in the Southern 
Star, is now in its first efflorescence. The bowels of the earth thrust this 
forth through its surface. It is found red in its first coagulation, and in it 
lie hid all the flowers and colours of the minerals. Much has been written 
about it by the philosophers, for it is of a cold and moist nature, and agrees 
with the element of water. 

So far as relates to the knowledge of it and experiment with it, all the 
philosophers before me, though they have aimed at it with their missiles, have 
gone very wide of the mark. They believed that Mercury and Sulphur were 
the mother of all metals, never even dreaming of making mention meanwhile 
of a third ; and yet when the water is separated from it by Spagyric Art the 
truth is plainly revealed, though it was unknown to Galen or to Avicenna. 
But if, for the sake of our excellent physicians, we had to describe only the 
name, the composition, the dissolution, and coagulation, as in the beginning 
of the world Nature proceeds with all growing things, a whole year would 
scarcely suffice me, and, in order to explain these things, not even the skins of 
numerous cows would be adequate. 

Now, I assert that in this mineral are found three principles, which are 
Mercury, Sulphur, and the Mineral Water which has served to naturall)- 
coagulate it. Spagyric science is able to extract this last from its proper juice 
when it is not altogether matured, in the middle of the autumn, just like a 
pear from a tree. The tree potentially contains the pear. If the Celestial 
Stars and Nature agree, the tree first of all puts forth shoots in the month of 
March ; then it thrusts out buds, and when these open the flower appears, 
and so on in due order, until in autumn the pear grows ripe. So is it with the 
minerals. These are born, in like manner, in the bowels of the earth. Let 
the Alchemists who are seeking the Treasure of Treasures carefully note this. 
I will shew them the way, its beginning, its middle, and its end. In the 

The Treasure of Treasures. 37 

following treatise I will describe the proper Water, the proper Sulphur, and 
the proper Balm thereof. By means of these three the resolution and com- 
position are coagulated into one. 

Concerning the Sulphur of Cinnabar. 

Take mineral Cinnabar and prepare it in the following manner. Cook it 
with rain water in a stone vessel for three hours. Then purify it carefully, 
and dissolve it in Aqua Regis, which is composed of equal parts of vitriol, 
nitre, and sal ammoniac. Another formula is vitriol, saltpetre, alum, and 
common salt. 

Distil this in an alembic. Pour it on again, and separate carefully the 
pure from the impure thus. Let it putrefy for a month in horse-dung ; then 
separate the elements in the following manner. If it puts forth its sign,* 
commence the distillation by means of an alembic with a fire of the first 
degree. The water and the air will ascend ; the fire and the earth will remain 
at the bottom. Afterwards join them again, and gradually treat with the 
ashes. So the water and the air will again ascend first, and afterwards the 
element of fire, which expert artists recognise. The earth will remain in the 
bottom of the vessel. This collect there. It is what many seek after and 
few find. 

This dead earth in the reverberator)' you will prepare according to the 
rules of Art, and afterwards add fire of the first degree for five days and 
nights. When these have elapsed you must apply the second degree for the 
same number of days and nights, and proceed according to Art with the 
material enclosed. At length you will find a volatile salt, like a thin alkali, 
containing in itself the Astrum of fire and earth. t Mix this with the two 
elements that have been preserved, the water and the earth. Again place it 
on the ashes for eight days and eight nights, and you will find that which has 
been neglected by many Artists. Separate this according to your experience, 
and according to the rules of the Spagyric Art, and you will have a white earth, 
from which its colour has been extracted. Join the element of fire and salt to 
the alkalised earth. Digest in a pelican to extract the essence. Then a new 
earth will be deposited, which put aside. 

Concerning the Red Lion. 
Afterwards take the lion in the pelican which also is found [atj first, when 
you see its tincture, that is to say, the element of fire which stands above the 
water, the air, and the earth. Separate it from its deposit by trituration. 

• The Sign is nothing else than the mark left by an operation. The home constructed by the architect is the sign 
of his handicraft, whereby his skill and art are determined. Thus the sign is the achievement \Ki^V.—De Colua. 

t The earth also has its .\strum, its course, its order, just as much as the Firmament, but peculiar to the element. 
So also there is an Astrum in the water, even as in the earth, and in like manner with air and fire. Consequently, the 
upper Astrum has the .\stra of the elements for its medium, and operates through them, by an irresistible attraction. 
Through this operation of the superior and inferior .\stra, all things are fecundated, and led on to their end.— fx/Z/Vn/w 
Totius Astronomic. Without the .\stra the elements cannot flourish. ... In the Astrum of the earth all the 
celestial operations thrive. The Astrum itself is hidden, the bodies are manifest. . . . The motion of the earth 
is brought about by the Astrttm of the earth. . . . There are four .-Vstra in man (corresponding to those of the foiu: 
elements), for he is the lesser world. -De CaJucts, Par. 11. 

38 The Hermetic and Alcheviical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

Thus you will have the true aiirum potabile* Sweeten this with the alcohol 
of wine poured over it, and then distil in an alembic until you perceive no 
acidity to remain in the Aqua Regia. 

This Oil of the Sun, enclosed in a retort hermetically sealed, you must place 
for elevation that it may be exalted and doubled in its degree. Then put the 
vessel, still closely shut, in a cool place. Thus it will not be dissolved, but 
coagulated. Place it again for elevation and coagulation, and repeat this three 
times. Thus will be produced the Tincture of the Sun, perfect in its degree. 
Keep this in its own place. 

Concerning the Green Lion. 

Take the vitriol of Venus, t carefully prepared according to the rules of 
Spagyric Art, and add thereto the elements of water and air which you have 
reserved. Resolve, and set to putrefy for a month according to instructions. 
When the putrefaction is finished, you will behold the sign of the elements. 
Separate, and you will soon see two colours, namely, white and red. The red 
is above the white. The red tincture of the vitriol is so povv-erful that it 
reddens all white bodies, and whitens all red ones, which is wonderful. 

Work upon this tincture by means of a retort, and you will perceive a 
blackness issue forth. Treat it again by means of the retort, repeating the 
operation until it comes out whitish. Go on, and do not despair of the work. 
Rectify until you find the true, clear Green Lion, which you will recognise by 
its great weight. You will see that it is heavy and large. This is the 
Tincture, transparent gold. You will see marvellous signs of this Green Lion, 
such as could be bought by no treasures of the Roman Leo. Happy he who 
has learnt how to find it and use it for a tincture ! 

This is the true and genuine Balsam, J the Balsam of the Heavenly Stars, 
suffering no bodies to decay, nor allowing leprosy, gout, or dropsy to take 
root. It is given in a dose of one grain, if it has been fermented with Sulphur 
of Gold. 

Ah, Charles the German, where is your treasure? Where are your 
philosophers ? Where your doctors ? Where are your decocters of woods, who 
at least purge and relax ? Is your heaven reversed ? Have your stars 
wandered out of their course, and are they straying in another orbit, away 

^ Aitrum PotabiUy that is, Potable Gold, Oil of Gold, and Quintessence of Gold, are distinguished thus. Auruvt 
PotibiU is gold rendered potable by interniLvture with other substances, and with liquids. Oil of Gold is an oil ex- 
tracted from the precious metal without the addition of anything. The Quintessence of Gold is the redness of gold 
extracted therefrom and separated from the body of the metal. — De Membits Contrtictis^ Tract II., c. 2. 

t If copper be pounded and resolved without a corrosi\e, you have Vitriol. I-'rom this may be prepared the quint- 
essence, oil, and liquor \.h^reoi.—De Mordh Tiirtareh, Cuprine Vitriol is Vitriol cooked vj\l\i Coppur. — Dg Morbi* 
l^ermium, P.-ir. 6. Chalcanthum is present in Venus, and Venus can by separation be reduced into Chalcanthum. — 
Chirurgm Magna. Pars. III., Lib. IV. 

t There is, indeed, diffused through all things a Balsam created by God, without which putrefaction would im- 
mediately supervene. Thus, in corpses which are anointed with Balsam we see that corruption is arrested, and thus in 
the physical body we infer that there is a certain natural and congenital Balsam, in the absence of which the living and 
complete man would not be safe from putrefaction. Nothing removes this Balsam but death. But this kind differs 
from what is more commonly called Balsam, in that the one is conservative of the living, and the other of the dead.— 
Chirurgia Magna, Pt. II., Tract II., c. 3. The confection of Balsam requires special knowledge of chemistry, and it 
was first discovered by the Alchemists. —/i/t/. , Pt. I., Tract II., c. 4. 

The Treasure of Treasures. 39 

trom the line of limitation, since your eyes are smitten with blindness, as by 
a carbuncle, and other thing's making a show of ornament, beauty, and pomp? 
If vour artists only knew that their prince Galen —they call none like him — was 
stickini^ in hell, from whence he has sent letters to me, they would make the 
sign of the cross upon themselves with a fox's tail. In the same way your 
Avicenna sits in the vestibule of the infernal portal ; and I have disputed with 
him about his aitntm f'vtahile, his Tincture of the Philosophers, his Quintessence, 
and Philosophers' Stone, his Mithridatic, his Theriac, and all the rest. O, 
you hypocrites, who despise the truths taught you by a true physician, who is 
himself instructed by Nature, and is a son of God himself! Come, then, and 
listen, impostors who prevail onlj- by the authority of your hiyh positions ! 
After my death, my disciples will burst forth and drag you to the light, and 
shall expose your dirty drugs, wherewith up to this time you have compassed the 
death of princes, and the most invincible magnates of the Christian world. 
Woe for your necks in the day of judgment ! I know that the monarchy will 
be mine. Mine, too, will be the honour and glory. Not that I praise myself: 
Nature praises me. Of her I am born ; her I follow. She knows me, and I 
know her. The light which is in her I have beheld in her; outside, too, I have 
proved the same in the figure of the microcosm, and found it in that universe. 

But I must proceed with my design in order to satisfy my disciples to the 
full extent of their wish. I willingly do this for them, if only skilled in the 
light of Nature and thoroughly practised in astral matters, they finally become 
adepts in philosophy, which enables them to know the nature of every kind of 

Take, then, of this liquid of the minerals which I have described, four 
parts by weight ; of the Earth of red Sol two parts ; of Sulphur of Sol one 
part. Put these together into a pelican, congelate, and dissolve them three 
times. Thus you will have the Tincture of the Alchemists. We have not here 
described its weight : but this is given in the book on Transmutations.* 

So, now, he who has one to a thousand ounces of the Asiriim Solis shall 
also tinge his own body of Sol. 

If you have the Astrum of Mercury, in the same manner, you will tinge 
the whole body of common Mercury. If you have the Astrum of Venus you 
will, in like manner, tinge the whole body of Venus, and change it into the 
best metal. These facts have all been proved. The same must also be under- 
stood as to the Astra of the other planets, as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Luna, and 
the rest. For tinctures are also prepared from these : concerning which we 
now make no mention in this place, because we have already dwelt at sufficient 
length upon them in the book on the Nature of Things and in the Archidoxies. 
So, too, the first entity of metals and terrestrial minerals have been made 
sufficiently clear for .Alchemists to enable them to get the Alchemists' Tincture. 

• It is didicutt to identify the treatise to which reference is made here. It does not seem to be the seventh book 
concerning The Nature of Things, nor the ensuing tract on Cemettts. The general question of natural and artificial 
weight is discussed in the Aurora o/tfu Philoiophtrs. No detached work on Transmutations has come down to us. 

40 The Hermetic and Alche^nical Writings of Paracelsus. 

This work, the Tincture of the Alchemists, need not be one of nine 
months ; but quickly, and without any delay, you may go on by the Spaygric Art 
of the Alchemists, and, in the space of forty days, you can fix this alchemical 
substance, exalt it, putrefy it, ferment it, coagulate it into a stone, and produce 
the Alchemical Phoenix.* But it should be noted well that the Sulphur of 
Cinnabar becomes the Flying Eagle, whose wings fly away without wind, and 
carry the body of the phoenix to the nest of the parent, where it is nourished 
by the element of fire, and the young ones dig out its eyes : from whence there 
emerges a whiteness, divided in its sphere, into a sphere and life out of its own 
heart, by the balsam of its inward parts, according to the property of the 

* Know that the Phoenix is the soul of the Iliaster (that is, the first chaos of the matter of aJl things), 
also the Iliastic soul in man. — Liher Azoth^ S. V., Practica Linea Vitre. 

Here ends the Tre.^sure of the Alchemists. 



JUST as we have given instructions concerning other transmutations, in 
the same way also we will fulfil our task with reference to cements. We 

will make mention of six cements, under which, indeed, all the kinds of 
cements will be comprised, with which we shall deal singly in serial order 
according to the recipps and modes of operation. The consideration has to 
be made general in all respects, so that all the cements may be reduced to one 
mode of fixation and colouring. These two conditions should not be 
separated, but they should always persist and remain together in one 
cineration, coloration, and quartation, just as the properties of true gold are 

This book on cements does, not state how inferior metals are to be trans- 
muted into others, as lead into copper, or iron into copper, etc. But this at 
least it teaches : how metals may be cemented into the chief metal, gold, that 
is, Sol. For cements with other recipes cannot perfectly fulfil their operation for 
transmuting to other metals ; but in these only there is a complete and rapid 
work of transmutation into Sol, which masters all the other metals, not, 
indeed, by quartation, but by colouring and tincture.* And notice should be 
taken what are the bodies which confer their own concordance as though 
belonging to the same species. For there are some bodies which are 
receptive, and others which are not so. Some have first of all to be reduced 

* From all thai has come down to us concerning the labours and investigations of the old philosophers, we see 
how indefatigable was their search after the best method for preserving and lengthening life. But Ijcing themselves 
devoid of a perfect instruction in the preparation of medicines, they did not hesitate to have recourse to the .\Ichemists, 
and thus, by the combined labours of both parties, there at length arose a genuine science of pharmacy, which then, 
by means of various chcmicil experiments devoted to medicine, was m.irvellously propagated and increased. But 
that which they call the Tincture excelled all. Yet, at the same time, it had fallen into a certain discredit, owing to 
the gold-makers, who thought it chiefly useful for the transmutation of metals. The philosophers of old having 
compounded the Tincture, whereby they transmuted the coloinrs of metals and purged away their dross, as might have 
been expected, next began to think of making use of it for the purpose of Medicine ; and seeing that the flowers of the 
metals were endowed with greater \-irtues than the metals themselves, they attempted to utilize these in the interests 
of the ph>-sician. Accordingly, whether from the benignant disposition of Heaven or through the fertility of their 
minds, those Tinctiu-es were discovered and improved, the efficaci' of which is borne witness to by ancient manuscripts, 
which mantiscripts have been suppressed by the crowd of pscudo-medici ; but we do not hesitate to publish them. — 
CAtrurg-ia Magnn^ Tract III., c. I. 

42 The Hermetic atid Alchemical Wrilings of Paracelsus. 

to their flowers ; with others this is not necessary. In like manner, some 
\ species colour according to the red Sol, others according to the clayey Sol ; 
some in flux, some in half cement. In like manner, too, diligent attention 
should be paid to fire, as being that wherein all cements chiefly lie concealed, 
and wherein they gain their power of operation. Fire contains within itself 
the whole of Alchemy by its native power to tinge, graduate, and fix, which 
is, as it were, born with it and impressed upon it.* Every elaborator of 
cements, too, must attend carefully to the method of the process ; for the 
method is even of greater moment than the prescription or recipe. 

So, then, let us proceed to the series of the six cements, as being those 
wliereby all cements are regulated. .Among these the first is the Royal 
Cement. Paying little heed to the method of the ancients, we will follow 
experience as our guide, and those prescriptions which experience proves to be 
of no use we will omit. Thus : — 

Take Flower of Brass, Antimony, Brick Tiles, Common Salt, of each half a 
pound. Having pounded all these very small and mixed them together, let 
them be imbibed with wine and dried. Repeat this process twenty-four times. 
With this powder let plates of Luna be cemented, in a moderate degree of fire, 
for four hours. Then at length take Regulus, plated and crude from the 
former process, and cement it with the same materials and an equal degree of 
fire, repeating the operation four or five times. Afterwards, having fulminated 
it again with cinders or ashes, reduce it once more to Luna. The instruments, 
such as the melting vessels, etc., must be thoroughly luted and stopped up. 
And although what we here set down is a somewhat lengthy process, yet you 
must know we make it so for the reason that experience teaches us there is no 
good in short processes by fire. Indeed, seeing that the continuance and 
force of the fire supply the chief fixation for the Royal Cement, it would really 
be far better if the substances spoken of were left for four days in the same 
kind of cement. 

Note, too, that the flowers of brass should be extracted from copper by 
means of vitriol. For herein is contained some natural fixation when it is 
taken thus, and that for many reasons. 

So, too, the tiles should be taken from a good house ; for the roof has 
the power of fixing the vapours which exist in Luna, which otherwise all fly 
away and escape. 

• Fire tries everything ; what is impure it removes, and it brings about the manifestation of pure substances. — 
Paramtritm, Lib. I., c. i. Fire separates the fixed from thefugitive. — ZJtr Mofbu Metaiiicis, Lib. IL, Tract L, c. i. 
Whatsoever pertains to separation belongs to the science of Alchemy. It tciches how to extract, coagulate, and 
separate every substance in its peculiar vessel.— /><" .l/or/^/j Ta>iarfis, c. 16. Whatsoever man does the planets do 
also, but in an alchemistic sense and process. Accordingly, as the Alchemist seeks saltpetre in nitre, mercury ia diuig, 
sulphur in fire, so he also seeks the firmament, which is invisible Vulcan. When be has collected these substances and united them, detonation follows, of that kind which in heaven is called a thunderbolt, but the .\lchemist terms it 
—Bombard. For he has the power of pnxiucing thunder, as in magic, which is the philosophy of Alchemy. There 
are foolish people who confound it with (what is now understood as) Nigromancy, yet there is a sense in which it is 
properly such, and in which Nigromancy is its true name from its earliest origin, being derived from the word blackness, 
because its initiates walk about as black as charcoal burners. They are all Nigromantics who serve Vulcan. — De Coiica^ 
s. V. Paralysis, 

The Transmutations of Metals and Cements. 43 

Salt corrects and fixes leprous Luna, cleansing- it from its blackness. 
These four details should exist and be put into practice together ; but it is the 
fire that must be specially observed and noticed. To this cement no other 
metal is applied ; and after it is fulminated it discloses and exhibits gold. 
Therefore this cement should be considered sufficient for one. 


The cement which we wish to put down in the second place is only for 
Sol, and with regard to it there are four objects which have to be considered. 
The first is that Sol is sometimes found in this cement defective in the fourth 
or middle part, because it is not fixed, or not brought to its degree without its 
deficiencies, as we set down in our treatise on Gradations. Wherefore it has 
to be cemented in order that it may be able to retain its own volatile body, 
which otherwise sometimes flies off in the cement, or in the process of inciner- 
ation, or else in aqua fortis. 

The second object is that a good deal of Sol is found which is defective 
in colour, and it is necessary one should know how to bring it to its perfection 
of colouring without diminution of its bulk, and so that the colours may 
remain in the specimens. 

The third is that this white, imperfect colour of Sol, having the appear- 
ance of Luna, may be cemented, so that it may retain the colour thence 
acquired in everj' specimen. 

The fourth concerns the weight in which the Sol is sometimes defective, 
so that it is esteemed as somewhat common. This must be entirely restored 
to it, when it proves its higher quality by its colour, and a higher grade of Sol 
exists, for many reasons. For the weight deceives no true artist, as the probe 
may, also, for many reasons. 

By means of cement gold can be perfected in these four particulars so that 
afterwards no defect shall be found in it, nor any volatile or unfixed condition. 
Let the preparation of this cement be as follows : — Antimony and Flower of 
Brass, of each half-a-pound ; of coagulated mercurj-, one-fourth of a pound ; let 
all be mixed together and imbibed with red oil of antimony until the whole is 
reddened. Afterwards cement with it gold in verj' thin plates or grains, lique- 
fied by fire for twenty-four hours, without the heat being allowed to decrease, 
in a fusing vessel closely fastened. When this time has elapsed, take out the 
Regulus not acted upon by the crude antimony. Let it be liquefied with the 
addition of copper-green or borax, and afterwards pour it into a form. So 
you will have the very best and most abundant cement for rendering Sol free 
from defects and in its highest degree, fixed and permanent in all cements, 
incinerations, and quartations. 

Concerning the Third Ce.ment. 

So far we have set down the two fixations or cementations for Luna and 
Sol, which ought to be adopted when these metals are to be multiplied. But 

44 The Hermetic and Alcketnical Writi7igs of Paracelsus. 

others, too, have to be cemented, and afterwards placed in a colouring cement. 
This third cement is adapted for perfecting the other metals and rendering 
them fit in themselves for the tincture of the other cements. For where a 
metal has not been prepared and smeared over for this tincture it is not able to 
take it, or onl)' in a very slight degree, and by a dangerous process. 

Quicksilver," which is comprised under this cement, is not among the num- 
ber of the metals, but only among metallic materials and malleable bodies. The 
cement is to be made thus : Antimony, one pound ; Saltpetre, one pound ; 
common Salt and Salt of Tartar, half a pound each. Having mixed all these 
together, put them in a dish, placed layer by layer with plates or filings of the 
metals. Let them be closely shut up and cemented for twelve hours with a 
most powerful fire, which had been originally for the first two hours only a gentle 
one. When this time has elapsed, let all that remains be extracted, that is to 
say, the loppa (refuse) along with the Regulus. This must be noted, that all 
cementings of this kind do not exhibit the Regulus, but some of them only the 
loppas. These should be afterwards treated with Saturn, according to the 
ordinary method, and Saturn of the same kind burnt in the vessel ; then the metal 
w ill be found fixed upon it. And here mark the difference of the separation by 
means of the jar, the cupella, or the cineritium. The metal enters into the 
cineritium or the cupella, but in the other case it remains on the jar. Metal 
of this kind, which remains on the surface of the jar, you will cement a 
second or a third time, as above, so that it may turn out more fixed and remain 
on the cineritium. When this has been done, it is fixed for receiving the 
tincture, which is given it by cementation. 

With regard to this cement it should be remarked that two or three metals 
can be blended together in one mixture and one body, which will be better than 
before. The following is the method. Take filings of Mars, Venus, and 
Jupiter, or Saturn. Let therp stand in a fire of liquefaction for twelve hours. 
Addition. The cement will be more useful, if besides the above there be taken 
of Antimony and Salt each one pound ; filings of Mars, Venus, and Saturn, 
half a pound each. Treat them as before mentioned. 

The Fourth Cement. 

The fourth cement is thai which is composed of minerals containing 
within them a perfect metal, and losing it by means of liquefaction. Here it 
should be noted that metals cannot be better fixed than \\ hen they are crude. 
They vanish altogether in the process of liquefaction. Transmutation of this 
kind takes place in minerals and metals before liquefaction, so that the metals 
may be fixed in their own nature, or may be transmuted into some other metal. 
Therefore we will here comprise tv.'o cements under one. The former is 

• Quicksilver is generated from the Mercuri-il prime principle. It is not ductile, and is opposed to ductility. 
.\lthough of all mct.ils it is chiefly assimilated to Mcrcurj-, it differs in this, that it has not received ductility from the 
.\rcheus, through the weakness occasioned by its small tiuanlity of salt and sulphur. It can, however, by the Spagyric 
process of addition, become a ductile metal, as is demonstrated by the philosophy of transmutation, which shews 
that it is capable of conversion into any metal. — i)e EUmtnto A^tttr, Tract III., c. 7. 

The Transnmiaiions of Metals atid Cements. 45 

for fixing a metal in a mineral without tr;;nsmiitation ; tlie latter for trans- 
muting the metal of \'enus into Sol, or some other metal. It must be 
remembered that there are far more excellent spirits in minerals than in 
metals themselves. These are they which assist the gradations and the 
fixations of minerals when they contain in themselves the tincture and the 
colours of the matter, which properties have not yet been destroyed by fire, as 
we fully point out in other books. The following is the prescription for fixing 
a metal in its own mineral : — 

Take of the mineral of Mars, well ground, one pound ; to which add two 
pounds respectively of Antimony and Saltpetre. Cover them closely, lute them, 
and let them be kindled in a fire of liquefaction for twenty-four hours. 
Then pour them out. Diminish with some reduction and fulminate vi-ith 
Saturn. Thus you will find metal of the same kind, with good colour of its 
own, which can be tested in many waj's and demonstrated naturally. So with 
other minerals whereof we make no mention here. For the spirits existing 
crudely in metals take precedence according to their own colours and essences. 

The following is the prescription for the transmutation of minerals : — 
Crocus of the flowers of Mars and flowers of the Crocus of V^enus, each 
one pound. \'itriol and Alum, each half a pound. Prepared common salt, 
one pound. Of the mineral, two pounds. Let all be liquefied, deprived of 
humidit)', and cemented for twelve hours. Afterwards let them be liquefied 
and fulminated in Saturn. When this is done there will be found in the vat 
a transmutation of the cineritium. You can even, for a transmutation of this 
kind, add a mixture of metals, taking into account, however, the special 
aptitude existing in them by means of which one can be more easily transmuted 
than another. 

The Fifth Cement. 

This fifth cemervt concerns only volatile bodies, as of common Mercurj', 
and metals such as Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, etc. It must be remarked 
that the corporal Mercuries from the metals diff'er from the common Mercury 
in their tincture, since they demand more tincture from the proved metals than 
that common one does. So, too, it should be understood that both Mercuries, 
the corporal and the common, should be first of all coagulated in order that 
they may be able to resist the cement, and to recover their corporal substance, 
together with their tincture and colouring, as the best metals should. 

The coagulation of Mercury* is as follows : — Take Aquafortis, weakened 
by a solution of Luna to such a degree that it no longer has any corrosive 
force nor sharpness for dissolving. Into this put either of the Mercuries 
before spoken of: let the water be warmed a little and afterwards stirred to 
a thick mass. Then the Mercurv will coagulate and harden into the form oi 

' Mercun' is coagulated by Lead, for no metal has greater aflRnity for Mercury than lead possesses. Coagulation 
is performed thus : Take Jii. of fine lead. Melt it in a vessel of clay ; remove it from the fire, and let it cool somewhat. 
When it approaches congelation, pour into it the same quantity of living Mercury.— ^n-Airftfjrw Magicir^ Lib. VIL 

46 Tlic HerDietic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

metal. Take it out of the water ; wash until clean, and then cement it with 
the following: — Borax, two drams and a half; Sal ammoniac, two ounces; 
Crocus of the Flower of Brass, and Flower of the Crocus of Mars, each six 
ounces ; calcined \'itriol and calcined Alum, each two ounces ; Haematitis and 
Bolus Armeni, each two ounces. Let them be well pounded, mixed, and 
imbibed several times in urine. Afterwards let them be placed, layer by layer, 
in a fusing' vessel, with the junctions closed and luted. You will cement by 
observing the degrees of fire, gently for one hour, and then with a stronger 
heat for the next hour. Cement for four hours, and keep in a state of fluxion. 
Then put it in Saturn and fulminate. So you will have the transmutation of 
Mercury as we said above. 

But when it has been cemented otherwise than in the w,iy now described, 
it can still be transmuted with the following cement : — Cinnabar and Borax, 
of each half a dram. Let these be liquefied into one body, which sublimate 
after the method of Cinnabar, so that it shall still be one body. Then add the 
following : Calcined Common Salt, Flowers of Brass, Crocus of Mars, Bolus, 
of each two ounces ; of the above-mentioned body, one dram. Let them be 
placed layer by layer in a crucible ; afterwards let them be slowly heated for 
the first six hours, and for the next six treated with a greater fire, and at last 
for twelve hours subjected to the most violent heat. This having been done, 
again sublimate as above by the aforesaid process, and on the fourth or fifth 
cement you will find the cinnabar fixed, which reduce and fulminate by Saturn. 
You will then have its transmutation as aforesaid. In this way you can proceed 
to transmutation with other volatile bodies. 

The Sixth Cement. 

It now remains to be said in what way Part with Part comes to be ce- 
mented so that it receives more of the tincture, and receives it sooner than by 
other like operations of the Artists, because Sol is fixed and graduated by the 
cement. It should be understood, too, that these should be cemented and 
both raised to the highest degree, prepared, subtilised, and re-purified ; after- 
wards liquefied at the same time, and made into plates in equal weight, then 
stratified in a crucible closely shut, with the following powder : Cinnabar, 
Flower of Brass, Bloodstone, half a dram each ; Sal Ammoniac, Calamine, 
Sulphur, Common Salt, Vitriol, Alum, and Crocus of Mars, two ounces each. 

After having been well ground and mixed into one body, let them be 
exposed to a gentle fire, and afterwards imbibed with urine, and at length use 
it for the aforesaid stratification. Let them be placed at the fire six hours to 
liquefy : then renew and liquefy for another six hours. Do the same a third time 
for twelve hours ; a fourth time for twenty-four hours. Lastly, liquefy by a 
fulmen of Saturn. In this way you have transmutation. If, however, you have 
selected other metals, such as Venus or Mars, add more of the powder and 
more heat, that they may be able to mix and be brought to a state of 

The Transmutations of Metals and Cements. 47 


In these few words we would conclude our book on cements, believing that 
we have treated these matters with sufficcnt clearness. Although many other 
prescriptions for similar cementations are in vogue, we exclude them from 
our own enumeration, putting down in this place only those which have been 
by experiment proved more useful. 

Here ends the Transml'tations of Metals and Cements. 



Concerning the Origin of the Philosophers' Stone. 

ADAM was the first inventor of arts, because he had knowledge of 
all things as well after the Fall as before, t Thence he predicted 
the world's destruction by water. From this cause, too, it came 
about that his successors erected two tables of stone, on which they engraved 
all natural arts in hieroglyphical characters, in order that their posterity 
might also become acquainted with tliis prediction, that so it might be 
heeded, and provision made in the time of danger. Subsequently, Noah 
found one of these tables under Mount Araroth, after the Deluge. In this 
table were described the courses of the upper firmament and of the lower 
globe, and also of the planets. At length this universal knowledge was 
divided into several parts, and lessened in its vigour and power. By means 
of this separation, one man became an astronomer, another a magician, 
another a cabalist, and a fourth an alchemist. Abraham, that Vulcanic Tubal- 
cain, a consummate astrologer and arithmetician, carried the Art out of the 
land of Canaan into Egypt, whereupon the Egyptians rose to so great a height 
and dignity that this wisdom was derived from them by other nations. The 

* The work under this title is cited occasionally in other writings of Paracelsus, hut is not included in the 
folio published at Geneva in i6SS. It was iirst issued at Basle in is75, and was accompanied with copious annotations 
in Latin by the editor, Gerard Dome. This personage wAs a ver^' persevering collector of the literarj* remains of Para- 
celsus, but is not altogether free from the suspicion of h.-iving elaborated his original. The .\urora is by some regarded 
as an inst.-\nce in point ; though no doubt in the main it is a genuine work of the Sage of Hohcnheim, yet in some 
respects it does seem to approximate somewhat closely to previous schools of Alchemy, which can scu-cely be regarded 
as representing the actual standpoint of P.aracelsus. 

t He who created man the same also created science. What has man in any place without labour? When the 
mandate went forth : Thou shalt live by the sweat of thy brow, there was, as it were, a new creation. When God 
uttered His fiat the world was made. Art, however, was not then made, nor was the light of Nature. But when Adam 
was expelled from Paradise, God created for him the light of Nature when He bade him live by the work of his hands. 
In like manner. He created for E\e her special light when He said to her ; In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children. 
Thus, and there, were these beings made human and earthy that were before like angelicals. . . . Thus, by the word 
were creatures made, and by this same word was also made the light which was necessar>' to man. . . . Hence the 
interior man followed from the second creation, after the expulsion from Paradise. . . . Before the Fall, that cog- 
nition which was requisite to man had not begun to develop in him. He received it from the angel when he was cast 
out of Paradise. . . . Man w.xs made complete in the order of the body, but not in the order of the arts.— Pe 
Cadiicis, Par. 111. 

The Aurora of the Philosophers. 49 

patriarch Jacob painted, as it were, the sheep with various colours ; and this 
was done by magic : for in the theolog)- of the Chaldeans, Hebrews, Persians, 
and Egpytians, they held these arts to be the highest philosophy, to be learnt 
by their chief nobles and priests. So it was in the time of Moses, when both 
the priests and also the physicians were chosen from among the Magi — the 
priests for the judgment of what related to health, especially in the knowledge 
of leprosy. Moses, likewise, was instructed in the Egyptian schools, at the 
cost and care of Pharaoh's daughter, so that he excelled in all the wisdom and 
learning of that people. Thus, too, was it with Daniel, who in his youthful 
days imbibed the learning of the Chaldeans, so that he became a cabalist. 
Witness his di\ine predictions and his exposition of those words, " Mene, 
_Mene, Tecclphares." These words can be understood by the prophetic and 
cabalistic Art. This cabalistic Art was perfectly familiar to, and in constant 
use by, Moses and the Prophets. The Prophet Elias foretold many things by 
his cabalistic numbers. So did the Wise Men of old, by this natural and 
mystical Art, learn to know God- rightly. They abode in His laws, and 
walked in His statutes with great firmness. It is also evident in the Book of 
Samuel, that the Berelists did not follow the devil's part, but became, by 
Divine permission, partakers of visions and veritable apparitions, whereof we 
shall treat more at large in the Book of Supercelestial Things.* This gift is 
granted by the Lord God to those priests who walk in the Divine precepts. It 
was a custom among the Persians never to admit any one as king unless he 
were a Wise Man, pre-eminent in reality as well as in name. This is clear 
from the customarj- name of their kings ; for they were called Wise Men. 
Such were those Wise Men and Persian Magi who came from the East to seek 
out the Lord Jesus, and are called natural priests. The Egj-ptians, also, hav- 
ing obtained this magic and philosophy from the Chaldeans and Persians, 
desired that their priests should learn the same wisdom ; and they became so 
fruitful and successful therein that all the neighbouring countries admired 
them. For this reason Hermes was so truly named Trismegistus, because 
he was a king, a priest, a prophet, a magician, and a sophist of natural 
things. Such another was Zoroaster. 


Wherein is Declared th.\t the Greeks drew a large part 

OF THEIR Learning from the Egyptians ; and how 

IT came from them to us. 

When a son of Noah possessed the third part of the world after the Flood, 
this .Art broke into Chaldaea and Persia, and thence spread into Egypt. The 
Art having been found out by the superstitious and idolatrous Greeks, some 
of them who were wiser than the rest betook themselve^^tp the Chaldeans and 

• No work precbely corresponding to this title is extant among the writings of Paracelsus. The subjecu to »l:Rh 
reference is made are discussed in the Philoscpkia Sagtuc, 

50 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Egyptians, so that they might draw the same wisdom from their schools. 
Since, however, the theological study of the law of Moses did not satisfy 
them, they trusted to their own peculiar genius, and fell away from the right 
foundation of those natural secrets and arts. This is evident from their 
fabulous conceptions, and from their errors respecting the doctrine of Moses. 
It was the custom of the Egyptians to put forward the traditions of that 
surpassing wisdom only in enigmatical figures and abstruse histories and 
terms. This was afterwards followed by Homer with marvellous poetical 
skill ; and Pythagoras was also acquainted with it, seeing that he comprised 
in his writings many things out of the law of Moses and the Old Testament, 
la like manner, Hippocrates, Thales of Miletus, Anaxagoras, Democritus, and 
others, did not scruple to fix their minds on the same subject. And yet none 
of them were practised in the true .^.strology. Geometry, Arithmetic, or 
Medicine, because their pride prevented this, since they would not admit 
disciples belonging to other nations than their own. Even when they had got 
some insight from the Chaldeans and Egyptians, they became more arrogant 
still than they were before by Nature, and without any diffidence propounded 
the subject substantially indeed, but mixed with subtle fictions or falsehoods; 
and then they attempted to elaborate a certain kind of philosophy which 
descended from them to the Latins. These in their turn, being educated 
herewith, adorned it with their own doctrines, and by these the philosophy 
was spread over Europe. Many academies were founded for the propagation 
of their dogmas and rules, so that the young might be instructed ; and this 
system flourishes with the Germans, and other nations, right down to the 
present day. 


• What was T.vught in the Schools of the Egvpti.vns. 

The Chaldeans, Persians, and Egyptians had all of them the same know- 
ledge of the secrets of Nature, and also the same religion. It was only the 
names that differed. The Chaldeans and Persians called their doctrine Sophia 
and Magic* ; and the Egyptians, because of the sacrifice, called their wisdom 
priestcraft. The magic of the Persians, and the theology of the Egyptians, 
were both of them taught in the schools of old. Though there were many 
schools and learned men in Arabia, Africa, and Greece, such as Albumazar, 
Abenzagcl, Geber, Rhasis, and Avicenna among the Arabians ; and among 
the Greeks, Machaon, Podalirius, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Plato, 
Aristotle, and Rhodianus ; still there were different opinions amongst them as to 
the wisdom of the Egyptian on points wherein they themselves differed, and 
whereupon they disagreed with it. For this reason Pythagoras could not be 

• Before .ill things it is nccessarj* to have a right understanding of the nature of Celestial Magic. It originates 
from divine virtue. There is that magic which Moses practised, and there is the maleficent magic of the sorcerers. 
There are, then, different kinds of Magi. So also there is what is called the Magic of Nature : there is the Celestial 
Magus ; there is the Magus of F.iith, that is, one whose faith makes him whole. There is, lastly, the Magus of 
Perdition.— /'/»V(jio//(m Sagnjc, Lib. II., c. 6. 

The Auro)'a oj the Philosophers. 51 

called a wise man, because the Egyptian priestcraft and wisdom were not r^r- 
pectly taught, although he received therefrom many mysteries and arcana; ijnd 
that Anaxagoras had received a great many as well, is clear from his discussions 
on the subject of Sol and its Stone, which he left behind him after his death. 
Yet he differed in many respects from the Egyptians. Even they would not be 
called wise men or Magi ; but, following Pythagoras, they assumed the name 
of philosophy : yet they gathered no more than a few gleams like shadows 
from the magic of the Persians and the Egyptians. But Moses, Abraham,_ 
Solomon, .Adam, and the wise men that came from the East to Christ, were 
true Magi, divine sophists and cabalists. Of this art and wisdom Kie Greeks 
knew very little or nothing at all ; and therefore we shall leave this philo- 
sophical wisdom of the Greeks as being a mere speculation, utterly distinct 
and separate from other true arts and sciences. 


What M.\gi the Chaldeans, Persians, and Egyptians were. 

Many persons have endeavoured to investigate and make use of the secret 
magic of these wise men ; but it has not yet been accomplished. Many even 
ot our own age exalt Trithemius, others Bacon and .Agrippa, for magic and the 
cabala* — two things apparently quite distinct — not knowing why they do so. 
Magic, indeed, is an art and facultj- whereby the elementary- bodies, their 
fruits, properties, virtues, and hidden operations are comprehended. But the 
cabala, by a subtle understanding of the Scriptures, seems to trace out the 
way to God for men, to shew them how they may act with Him, and prophesy 
from Him ; for the cabala is full of divine mysteries, even as Magic is full of 
natural secrets. It teaches of and foretells from the nature of things to come as 
well as of things present, since its operation consists in knowing the inner 
constitution of all creatures, of celestial as well as terrestrial bodies : what is 
latent within them ; what are their occult virtues ; for what they were origin- 
ally designed, and with what properties they are endovi'ed. These and the like 
subjects are the bonds wherewith things celestial are bound up with things of 
the earth, as may sometimes be seen in their operation even with the bodily 
eyes. Such a conjunction of celestial influences, whereby the heavenly 
virtues acted upon inferior bodies, was formerly called by the Magi a Gamahea,t 

• Lcam, therefore, Astronomic Magic, which olherwbe I call cabalistic. ~Di PestiliUtte^ Tract I. This art, 
formerly called cal>alistic, was in the beginning named caballa, and afterwards caballia. It is a species of magic. It 
was also, but falsely, called Gabanala, by one whose knowledge of the subject was profound. It was of an unknown 
Ethnic origin, and it passed subsequently to the Chalda»ans and Hebrews, by both of whom it was corrupted. — 
Phi'Oufihia ^itgax^ Lib. I., s. v. Probatio in ScUntiam Nectromantricum. 

t The object which received the influence and exhibited the sign thereof appears to have been termed Gamaheu, 
Gamahe>-, etc. But the name was chiefly given to certain stones on which various and wonderful images and figures 
of men and animals h.ive been found naturally depicted, being no work of man, but the result of the providence and 
counsel of God. --/)*• /w^_^/«r^«j, c. 7 and c. 33. It is possible, magically, for a man to project his influence into 
these stones and some other substances.— /(^/tt/., c. 13. But they also have their own inherent \irtue, which is indi- 
cated by the shape and the special nature of the impression.- Jbid.^ c. 7. There was also an artiflcial Gamaheus 
invented and prepared by the Magi, and this seems to have been more powerful. — De Carduo Angelico. 


52 Tlie Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

or tKe -rtiarriage of the celestial powers and properties with elementary bodies. 
.Herice ensued the excellent commixtures of all bodies, celestial and terrestrial, 
namely, of the sun and planets, likewise vegetables, minerals, and animals. 

The devil attempted with his whole force and endeavour to darken this 
light ; nor was he wholly frustrated in his hopes, for he deprived all Greece 
of it, and, in place thereof, introduced among that people human speculations 
and simple blasphemies against God and against His Son. Magic, it is true, 
had its origin in the Divine Ternary and arose from the Trinity of God. For 
God marked all His creatures with this Ternary and engraved its hieroglyph 
on them with His own finger. Nothing in the nature of things can be assigned 
or produced that lacks this magistery of the Divine Ternary, or that does 
not even ocularly prove it. The creature teaches us to understand and see the 
Creator Himself, as St. Paul testifies to the Romans. This covenant of the 
Divine Ternary, diffused throughout the whole substance of things, is indis- 
soluble. By this, also, we have the secrets of all Nature from the four elements. 
For the Ternary, with the magical Quaternary, produces a perfect Septenarj-, 
endowed with man}- arcana and demonstrated by things which are known. 
When the Quaternary rests in the Ternary, then arises the Light of the World 
on the horizon of eternity, and by the assistance of God gives us the whole 
bond. Here also it refers to the virtues and operations of all creatures, and to 
their use, since they are stamped and marked with their arcana, signs, char- 
acters, and figures, so that there is left in them scarcely the smallest occult 
point which is not made clear on examination. Then when the Quaternary and 
the Ternary mount to the Denary is accomplished their retrogression or 
reduction to unity. Herein is comprised all the occult wisdom of things which 
God has made plainly manifest to men, both bv His word and by the creatures 
of His hands, so that they may have a true knowledge of them. This shall 
be made more clear in another place. 


Concerning the Chief and Supreme Essenxe of Things. 

The Magi in their wisdom asserted that all creatures might be brought to 
one unified substance, which substance they affirm may, by purifications and 
purgations, attain to so high a degree of subtlety, such divine nature and 
occult property, as to work wonderful results. For they considered that by 
returning to the earth, and by a supreme magical separation, a certain perfect 
substance would come forth, which is at length, by many industrious and pro- 
longed preparations, exalted and raised up above the range of vegetable 
substances into mincial, above mineral into metallic, and above perfect metallic 
substances into a perpetual and divine Quintessence,* including in itself the 

• was regarded by Paracelsus as himself in a special manner the true Quintessence. After God had created 
all the elements, stars, and cverj- other created thing, and had disposed them according to His will, He proceeded, 
lastly, to the forming of man. He extracted the essence out of the four elements into one mass ; He extracted also the 

The Aurora of tlie Philosophers. 53 

essence of all celestial and terrestrial creatures. The Arabs and Greeks, by 
the occult characters and hieroglyphic descriptions of the Persians and the 
Hg-yptians, attained to secret and abstruse mysteries. When these were 
obtained and partially understood they saw with their own eyes, in the course 
of experimenting', many wonderful and strange effects. But since the super- 
celestial operations lay more deeply hidden than their capacity could penetrate, 
they did not call this a supercelestial arcanum according to the institution of the 
Magi, but the arcanum of the Philosophers' Stone according to the counsel 
and judgment of Pythagoras. Whoever obtained this Stone overshadowed it 
with various enigmatical figures, deceptive resemblances, comparisons, and 
fictitious titles, so that its matter might remain occult. \'ery little or no 
knowledge of it therefore can be had from them. 


Concerning the Different Errors as to its Discovery and Knowledge. 

The philosophers have prefixed most occult names to this matter of the 
Stone, grounded on mere similitudes. Arnold, observing this, says in his 
" Rosary" that the greatest difficulty is to find out the material of this Stone ; 
for they have called it vegetable, animal, and mineral, but not according to 
the literal sense, which is well known to such wise men as have had experience 
of divine secrets and the miracles of this same Stone. For example, Raymond 
LuUy's "Lunaria" may be cited. This gives flowers of admirable virtues 
familiar to the philosophers themselves ; but it was not the intention of those 
philosophers that you should think they meant thereby any projection upon 
metals, or that any such preparations should be made ; but the abstruse mind 
of the philosophers had another intention. In like manner, they called their 
matter by the name of Martagon, to which they applied an occult alchemical 
operation ; when, notwithstanding that name, it denotes nothing more than a 
hidden similitude. Moreover, no small error has arisen in the liquid ot 
vegetables, with which a good many have sought to coagulate Mercury,* and 
afterwards to convert it with fixatorj' waters into Luna, since they supposed 
that he who in this way could coagulate it without the aid of metals would 
succeed in becoming the chief master. Now, although the liquids of some 
vegetables do effect this, yet the result is due merely to the resin, fat, and 
earthy sulphur with which they abound. This attracts to itself the moisture 

essence of wisdom, art, and reason out of the stars, and this twofold essence He congested into one mass : which mass 
Scripture calls the slime of the earth. From that mass two hodies were made— the sidereal and the elementary. 
These, according to the light of Nature, are called the guintutit tiu\ The m.iss was extracted, and therein the firma* 
ment and the elements were condensed. WTiat was extracted from the four after this manner constituted a fifth. 
The Quintessence is the nucleus and the place of the essences and properties of all things in the universal world. 
.\11 nature came into the hand of God - all potency, all property, all essence of the superior and inferior glohe. All 
these had God Joined in His hand, and from these He formed man according to His \m3%^.—PliiloS0phiaSagax, 
Lib. I., c. 1. 

• AU created things proceed from the coagulated, and after coagulation must go on 10 resolution. From resolution 
proceed all procreated things.—/),; Tartan (fragment). All bodies of minerals are coagulated by salt.— />f 
Aatrtra/i6us Aquis, Lib. HI., Tract 2. 

54 The Hertneiic and Alchemical IVri/ifigs of Paracelsus. 

of the Mercur)- whicli rises with the substance in the process of coagulation, 
but without any advantage resulting. I am well assured that no thick and 
external Sulphur in vegetables is adapted for a perfect projection in Alchemy, 
as some have found out to their cost. Certain persons have, it is true, coagu- 
lated Mercury with the white and milky juice of tittinal, on account of the 
intense heat which exists therein ; and they have called that liquid " Lac 
Virginis " ; yet this is a false basis. The same may be asserted concerning 
the juice of celandine, although it colours just as though it were endowed with 
gold. Hence people conceived a vain idea. At a certain fixed time they 
rooted up this vegetable, from which they sought for a soul or quintessence, 
wherefrom they might make a coagulating and transmuting tincture. But 
hence arose nothing save a foolish error. 


Concerning the Errors of those who seek the Stone in Vegetables. 

Some alchemists have pressed a juice out of celandine, boiled it to 
thickness, and put it in the sun, so that it might coagulate into a hard mass, 
which, being afterwards pounded into a fine black powder, should turn 
Mercury by projection into Sol. This they also found to be in vain. Others 
mixed Sal Ammoniac with this powder ; others the Colcothar of Vitriol, 
supposing that they would thus arrive at their desired result. They brought 
it by their solutions into a yellow water, so that the Sal Ammoniac allowed an 
entrance of the tincture into the substance of the Mercury. Yet again nothing 
was accomplished. There are some again who, instead of the above- 
mentioned substances, take the juices of persicaria, bufonaria, dracunculus, 
the leaves of willow, tithxnial, cataputia, flammula, and the like, and shut 
them up in a glass vessel with Mercurv for some days, keeping them in ashes. 
Thus it comes about that the Mercury is turned into ashes, but deceptively 
and without any result. These people were misled by the vain rumours of the 
vulgar, who give it out that he who is able to coagulate Mercury without 
metals has the entire Magistery, as we have said before. Many, too, have 
extracted salts, oils, and sulphurs artificially out of vegetables, but quite in 
vain. Out of such salts, oils, and sulphurs no coagulation of Mercury, or per- 
fect projection, or tincture, can be made. But when the philosophers compare 
their matter to a certain golden tree of seven boughs, they mean that such 
matter includes all the seven metals in its sperm, and that in it these lie 
hidden. On this account they called their matter vegetable, because, as in 
the case of natural trees, they also in their time produce various flowers. So, 
too, the matter of the Stone shews most beautiful colours in the production cf 
its flowers. The comparison, also, is apt, because a certain matter rises out 
of the philosophical earth, as if it were a thicket of branches and sprouts, like 
a sponge growing on the earth. They say, therefore, that the fruit of their 
tree tends towards heaven. So, then, they put forth that the whole thing 

The Aurora of the Philosophers. 55 

hinged upon natural vegetables, though not as to its matter, because their 
stone contains within itself a body, soul, and spirit, as vegetables do. 


Concerning those who have sought the Stone in Animals. 

They have also, by a name based only on resemblances, called this matter 
Lac Virginis, and the Blessed Blood of Rosy Colour, which, nevertheless, suits 
only the prophets and sons of God. Hence the sophists* gathered that this 
philosophical matter was in the blood of animals or of man. Sometimes, too, 
because they are nourished by vegetables, others have sought it in hairs, in 
salt of urine, in rebis ; others in hens' eggs, in milk, and in the calx of e.^^ 
shells, with all of which they thought they would be able to fix Mercury. 
Some have extracted salt out of foetid urine, supposing that to be the matter 
of the Stone. Some persons, again, have considered the little stones found in 
rebis to be the matter. Others have macerated the membranes of eggs in a 
sharp lixivium, with which they also mixed calcined q^^ shells as white as 
snow. To these they have attributed the arcanum of fixation for the trans- 
mutation of Mercurj-. Others, comparing the white of the e.%% to silver and 
the yolk to gold, have chosen it for their matter, mixing with it common salt, 
sal ammoniac, and burnt tartar. These they shut up in a glass vessel, and 
purified in a Balneum Maris until the white matter became as red as blood. 
This, again, they distilled into a most offensive liquid, utterly useless for the 
purpose they had in view. Others have purified the white and yolk of eggs, 
from which has been generated a basilisk. This they burnt to a deep red 
powder, and sought to tinge with it, as they learnt from the treatise of 
Cardinal Gilbert. Many, again, have macerated the galls of oxen, mixed 
with common salt, and distilled this into a liquid, with which they moistened 
the cementary powders, supposing that, bj- means of this Magisterj', they 
would tinge their metals. This they called by the name of "a part with a 
part," and thence came— just nothing. Others have attempted to transmute 
tutia by the addition of dragon's blood and other substances, and also to 
change copper and electrum into gold. Others, according to the Venetian 
Art, as they call it, take twenty lizard-like animals, more or less, shut them 
up in a vessel, and make them mad with hunger, so that they may devour one 
another until only one of them survives. This one is then fed with filings of 
copper or of electrum. They suppose that this animal, simply by the digestion 
of his stomach, will bring about the desired transmutation. Finally, they 
burn this animal into a red powder, which they thought must be gold ; but 
they were deceived. Others, again, having burned the fishes called truitas 
(? trouts), have sometimes, upon melting them, found some gold in them ; 
but there is no other reason for it than this : Those fish sometimes in rivers 

• So acute is the potency- of calcined blood, that if it be poured slowly on iron it produces in the first place a white- 
ness thereon, and then generates msl.—Schclia in Libros dt T.irtarn. In Lib. II., Tract II. 

56 The Hermetic and Alche?>iical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

and streams meet with certain small scales and sparks of gold, which they 
eat. It is seldom, however, that such deceivers are found, and then chiefly in 
the courts of princes. The matter of the philosophers is not to be sought in 
animals : this I announce to all. Still, it is evident that the philosophers 
called their Stone animal, because in their final operations the virtue of this 
most excellent fiery mystery caused an obscure liquid to exude drop by drop 
from the matter in their vessels. Hence they predicted that, in the last times, 
there should come a most pure man upon the earth, by whom the redemption 
of the world should be brought about ; and that this man should send forth 
bloody drops of a red colour, by means of which he should redeem the world 
from sin. In the same way, after its ovv-n kind, the blood of their Stone freed 
the leprous metals from their infirmities and contagion. On these grounds, 
therefore, they supposed they were justified in saying that their Stone was 
animal. Concerning this mystery Mercurius speaks as follows to King 
Calid :— 

"This mystery it is permitted only to the prophets of God to know. 
Hence it comes to pass that this Stone is called animal, because in its blood a 
1/ soul lies hid. It is likewise composed of body, spirit, and soul. For the 
same reason they called it their microcosm, because it has the likeness of all 
things in the world, and thence they termed it animal, as Plato named the 
great world an animal." 


Concerning those who have sought the Stone in Minerals. 

Hereto are added the many ignorant men who suppose the stone to be 
three-fold, and to be hidden in a triple genus, namely, vegetable, animal, and 
mineral. Hence it is that they have sought for it in minerals. Now, this is 
far from the opinion of the philosophers. They affirm that their stone is 
j uniformly \egetable, animal, and mineral. Now, here note that Nature has 
distributed its mineral sperm into various kinds, as, for instance, into sulphurs, 
\ salts, boraxes, nitres, ammoniacs, alums, arsenics, atraments, vitriols, tutias, 
hajmatites, orpiments, realgars, magnesias, cinnabar, antimony, talc, cachymia, 
marcasites, etc. In all these Nature has not yet attained to our matter ; 
although in some of the species named it displays itself in a wonderful aspect 
for the transmutation of imperfect metals that are to be brought to perfection. 
Truly, long experience and practice with fire shew many and various 
permutations in the matter of minerals, not only from one colour to another, 
but from one essence to another, and from imperfection to perfection. And, 
although Nature has, by means of prepared minerals, reached some perfection, 
yet philosophers will not have it that the matter of the philosophic stone 
proceeds out of any of the minerals, although they say that their stone is 
universal. Hence, then, the sophists take occasion to "persecute Mercury 
himself with various torments, as with sublimations, coagulations, mercurial 
waters, aquafortis, and the like. All these erroneous ways should be avoided. 

Tlie Aurora of the Philosophers. 57 

together witli other sophistical preparations of minerals, and the purgations and 
fixations of spirits and metals. Wherefore all the preparations of the stone, 
as of Geber, Albertus Magnus, and the rest, arc sophistical. Their purga- 
tions, cementations, sublimations distillations, rectifications, circulations, 
putrefactions, conjunctions, solutions, ascensions, coagulations, calcinations, 
and incinerations are utterly profitless, both in the tripod, in the athanor, in 
the reverberatory furnace, in the melting furnace, the accidioneum, in dung, 
ashes, sand, or what nol; and also in the cucurbite, the pelican, retort, 
phial, fixatory, and the rest. The same opinion must be passed on the 
sublimation of Mercury by mineral spirits, for the white and the red, 
as by vitriol, saltpetre, alum, crocuses, etc., concerning all which subjects 
that sophist, John de Rupescissa, romances in his treatise on the White and 
Red Philosophic Stone. Taken altogether, these are merely deceitful dreams. 
Avoid also the particular sophistry of Geber ; for example, his sevenfold 
sublimations or mortifications, and also the revivifications of Mercury, with his 
preparations of salts of urine, or salts made by a sepulchre, all which things 
are untrustworthy. Some others have endeavoured to fix Mercury with 
the sulphurs of minerals and metals, but have been greatly deceived. It is true 
I have seen Mercury by this -Art, and by such fixations, brought into a metallic 
body resembling and counterfeiting good silver in all respects ; but when 
brought to the test it has shewn itself to be false. 


Concerning those who h.we sought the Stone .\nd .a.lso Particulars 

IN Minerals. 

Some sophists have tried to squeeze out a fixed oil from Mercurj' seven 
times sublimed and as often dissolved by means of aquafortis. In this way 
they attempt to bring imperfect metals to perfection : but they have been 
obliged to relinquish their vain endeavour. Some have purged vitriol seven 
times by calcination, solution, and coagulation, with the addition of two parts 
of sal ammoniac, and by sublimation, so that it might be resolved into a 
white water, to which they have added a third part of quicksilver, that it might 
be coagulated by water. Then afterwards they have sublimated the Mercury 
several times from the vitriol and sal ammoniac, so that it became a stone. 
This stone they affirmed, being conceived of the vitriol, to be the Red 
Sulphur of the philosophers, with which they have, by means of solutions 
and coagulations, made some progress in attaining the stone ; but in projec- 
tion it has all come to nothing. Others have coagulated Mercury by water 
of alum into a hard mass like alum itself ; and this they have fruitlessly fixed 
with fixatory waters. The sophists propose to themselves very many ways of 
fixing Mercury, but to no purpose, for therein nothing perfect or constant can 
be had. It is therefore in vain to add minerals thereto by sophistical pro- 
cesses, since by all of them he is stirred up to greater malice, is rendered 

58 The Hermetic aiid Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

more lively, and rather brought to g-reater impurity than to any kind of 
perfection. So, then, the philosophers' matter is not to be sought from 
thence. Mercury is somewhat imperfect ; and to bring it to perfection will 
be very difficult, na)', impossible for any sophist. There is nothing therein 
that can be stirred up or compelled to perfection. Some have taken arsenic 
several times sublimated, and frequently dissolved with oil of tartar and 
coagulated. This they have pretended to fix, and by it to turn copper into 
silver. This, however, is merely a sophistical whitening, for arsenic cannot be 
fixed* unless the operator be an Artist, and knows well its tingeing spirit. 
Truly in this respect all the philosophers have slept, vainly attempting to 
accomplish anything thereby. Whoever, therefore, is ignorant as to this 
spirit, cannot have any hopes of fixing it, or of giving it that power which 
would make it capable of the virtue of transmutation. So, then, I give notice 
to all that the whitening of which I have just now spoken is grounded on a 
false basis, and that by it the copper is deceitfully whitened, but not changed. 

Now the sophists have mixed this counterfeit Venus with twice its weight 
of Luna, and sold it to the goldsmiths and mint-masters, until at last they have 
transmuted themselves into false coiners — not only those who sold, but those 
who bought it. Some sophists instead of white arsenic take red, and this has 
turned out false art ; because, however it is prepared, it proves to be nothing 
but whiteness. 

Some, again, have gone further and dealt with common sulphur, which, 
being so yellow, they have boiled in vinegar, lixivium, or sharpest wines, for a 
day and a night, until it became white. Then afterwards they sublimated it 
from common salt and the calx of eggs, repeating the process several times ; 
yet, still, though white, it has been always combustible. Nevertheless, with 
this they have endeavoured to fix Mercury and to turn it into gold ; but in vain. 
From this, however, comes the most excellent and beautiful cinnabar that 1 
have ever seen. This they propose to fix with the oil of sulphur by cementation 
and fixation. It does, indeed, give something of an appearance, but still falls 
short of the desired object. Others have reduced common sulphur to the form 
of a hepar, boiling it in vinegar w'ith the addition of linseed oil, or laterine oil, or 
olive oil. They then pour it into a marble mortar, and make it into the form of a 
hepar, which they have first distilled into a citrine oil with a gentle fire. But 
they have found to their loss that they could not do anything in the way of 
transmuting Luna to Sol as they supposed they would be able. As there is 
an infinite number of metals, so also there is much variety in the preparation 
of them. I shall not make further mention of these in this place, because each 

• One recipe for the fixation of arsenic is as follows : —Take equal parts of arsenic and nitre. Place these in a tig- 
ilium, set upon coals, so that they may begin to boil and to evaporate. Continue till ebullition and evaporation cea:;e, 
and the substances shall h.^ve settled to the bottom of the vessel like fat melting in a fr>-ing-pan ; then, for the space 
of an hour and a half (the longer the better), set it apart to settle. Subsequently pour the compound upon marble, and 
it will acquire a gold colour. In a damp place it will a:^:>umc the consistency of a fatty fluid. — De Natiiraiibus Kebus, 
c. 9. Again : The fixation of arsenic is performed by salt of urine, after which it is converted by itself into an oil. — 
Clururgia Minor, Lib. H. 

The Aurora of the Philosophers. 59 

would require a special treatise. Beware also of sophisticated oils of vitriol 
and antimony. Likewise be on your guard against the oils of the metals, 
perfect or imperfect, as Sol or Luna ; because although the operation of these 
is most potent in the nature of things, yet the true process is known, even at 
this day, to very few persons, .\bstain also from the sophistical preparations 
of common mercury, arsenic, sulphur, and the like, by sublimation, descension, 
fixation by vinegar, saltpetre, tartar, vitriol, sal ammoniac, according to the 
formulas prescribed in the books of the sophists. Likewise avoid the 
sophisticated tinctures taken from marcasites and crocus of Mars, and also of 
that sophistication called b}- the name of " a part with a part," and of fixed 
Luna and similar trifles. Although they have some superficial appearance of 
truth, as the fixation of Luna by little labour and industry, still the progress of 
tlie preparation is worthless and weak. Being therefore moved with compassion 
towards the well meaning operators in this art, I have determined to lay open 
the whole foundation of philosophy in three separate arcana, namely, in one 
explained by arsenic, in a second by vitriol, and in a third by antimony ; by 
means of which I will teach the true projection upon Mercury and upon the 
imperfect metals. 

Concerning the true .\nd perfect special arc.\num of Arsenic 

FOR the W'HITE tincture. 

Some persons have written that arsenic is compounded of Mercury and 
Sulphur, others of earth and water ; but most writers say that it is of the 
nature of Sulphur. But, however that may be, its nature is such that it trans- 
mutes red copper into white. It may also be brought to such a perfect state 
of preparation as to be able to tinge. But this is not done in the way pointed 
out by such evil sophists as Geber in "The Sum of Perfection," Albertus 
Magnus, Aristotle the chemist in " The Book of the Perfect Magistery," Rhasis 
and Polydorus ; for those writers, however many they be, are either themselves 
in error, or else they write falsely out of sheer envy, and put forth receipts 
whilst not ignorant of the truth, .\rsenic contains within itself three natural 
spirits. The first is volatile, combustible, corrosive, and penetrating all metals. 
This spirit whitens Venus and after some days renders it spongy. But this 
artifice relates only to those who practise the caustic art. The second spirit 
is crystalline and sweet. The third is a tingeing spirit separated from the 
others before mentioned. True philosophers seek for these three natural 
properties in arsenic with a view to the perfect projection of the wise men.* 
But those barbers who practise surgery seek after that sweet and crj-stalline 
nature separated from the tingeing spirit for use in the cure of wounds, buboes, 

• Concerning the kinds of arsenic, it is to be noted that there are those which flow forth from their proper mineral 
or metal, and are called native arsenics Next there are arsenics out of metals after their kind. Then there are those 
made by Art through transmutation. White or crj-stalline arsenic is the best for medicine. Yellow and red arsenic are 
utilised by chemists for investigating the transmutation of metals, in which arsenic has a special efficacy.— Z>tf Ntitura- 
iibus Rebiis, c. 9. 

6o The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

carbuncles, anthrax, and other similar ulcers which are not curable save by 
gentle means. As for that tingeing spirit, however, unless the pure be 
separated from the impure in it, the fixed from the volatile, and the secret 
tincture from the combustible, it will not in any way succeed according to your 
wish for projection on Mercury, \'enus, or any other imperfect metal. \\\ 
philosophers have hidden this arcanum as a most excellent mystery. This 
tingeing spirit, separated from the other two as above, you must join to the 
spirit of Luna, and digest them together for the space of thirty-two days, or 
until they have assumed a new body. After it has, on the fortieth natural day, 
been kindled into flame by the heat of the sun, the spirit appears in a bright 
whiteness, and is endued with a perfect tingeing arcanum. Then it is at 
length fit for projection, namely, one part of it upon sixteen parts of an im- 
perfect body, according to the sharpness of the preparation. From thence 
appears shining and most excellent Luna, as though it had been dug trom the 
bowels of the earth. 


Gener.\l Instruction concerning the .Arcanum of Vitriol .\nd 
THE Red Tinxture to be extr.\cted from it.* 

Vitriol is a very noble mineral among the rest, and was held always in 
highest estimation by philosophers, because the Most High God has adorned 
it with wonderful gifts. They have veiled its arcanum in enigmatical figures 
like the following : " Thou shalt go to the inner parts of the earth, and 
by rectification thou shalt find the occult stone, a true medicine." By the earth 
they understood the Vitriol itself; and by the inner parts of the earth its 
sweetness and redness, because in the occult part of the Vitriol lies hid a 
subtle, noble, and most fragrant juice, and a pure oil. The method of its 
production is not to be approached by calcination or by distillation. For it 
must not be deprived on any account of its green colour. If it were, it would 
at the same time lose its arcanum and its power. Indeed, it should be observed 
at this point that minerals, and also vegetables and other like things which shew 
greenness without, contain within themselves an oil red like blood, v.hich is 
their arcanum. Hence it is clear that the distillations of the druggists are useless, 
vain, foolish, and of no value, because these people do not know how to 
extract the bloodlike redness from vegetables. Nature herself is wise, and 
turns all the waters of vegetables to a lemon colour, and after that into an oil 
which is very red like blood. The reason why this is so slowly accomplished 
arises from the too great haste of the ignorant operators who distil it, which 
causes the greenness to be consumed. They have not learnt to strengthen 
Nature with their own powers, which is the mode whereby that noble green 

• The arc-vnum of vitriol is the oil of vitriol. Thus : after the aquosity has been removed in coction from vitriol, 
the spirit is elicited by the application of greater heat. The vitriol then comes over pure in the form of water. This 
water is combined with the cafut mortuum left by the process, and on again sep.irating in a balneum maris, the phleg- 
matic p.irt passes off, and the oil, or the arcanum of vitriol, remains at the bottom of the vessel. - Ibid. 

The Aurora of the Philosophers. 6i 

colour ought to be rectified into redness of itself. An example of this is white 
wine digesting itself into a lemon colour ; and in process of time the green 
colour of the grape is of itself turned into the red which underlies the ccerulean. 
The greenness therefore of the vegetables and minerals being lost by the in- 
capacity of the operators, the essence also and spirit of the oil and of the 
balsam, which is noblest among arcana, will also perish. 


Speci.\l Instruction concerning the Process of Vitriol 
FOR the Red Tincture. 

■ Vitriol contains within itself many muddy and viscous imperfections. 
Therefore its greenness* must be often extracted with water, and rectified until 
it puts off all the impurities of earth. When all these rectifications are finished, 
take care above all that the matter shall not be exposed to the sun, for this 
turns its greenness pale, and at the same time absorbs the arcanum. Let it 
be kept covered up in a warm stove so that no dust may defile it. .Afterwards 
let it be digested in a closed glass vessel for the space of several months, or 
until different colours and deep redness shew themselves. Still you must not 
suppose that by this process the redness is sufficiently fixed. It must, in 
.addition, be cleansed from the interior and accidental defilements of the earth, 
in the following manner : — It must be rectified with acetum until the earthy 
defilement is altogether removed, and the dregs are taken away. This is now 
the true and best rectification of its tincture, from w hich the blessed oil is to be 
extracted. From this tincture, which is carefully enclosed in a glass vessel, 
an alembic afterwards placed on it and luted so that no spirit may escape, the 
spirit of this oil must be extracted by distillation over a mild and slow fire. 
This oil is much pleasanter and sweeter than any aromatic balsam of the drug- 
sellers, being entirely free from all acridity.! There will subside in the bottom 
of the cucurbite some very white earth, shining and glittering like snow. This 
keep, and protect from all dust. This same earth is altogether separated from 
its redness. 

Thereupon follows the greatest arcanum, that is to sa\', the Supercelestial 
Marriage of the Soul, consummately prepared and washed by the blood of the 

• So long as the viridity or greenness of vitriol subsists therein, it is of a soft quality and substance. But if it be 
excocled so that it is deprived of its moisture, it is thereby changed into a hard stone from which even fire can be struck. 
When the moisture is evaporated from vitriol, the sulphur which it contains predominates over the salt, and the vitriol 
turns red. — Dt Ptstilitaie^ Tract I. 

t The diagnosis of \-itriol is concerned with it both in Medicine and .\lchemy. In Medicine it is a paramount 
remedy. In .\lchemy it has many additional purposes. The Art of Medicine and Alchemy consists in the preparation 
of \'itriol, for it is worthless in its crude state. It is like unto wood, out of which it is possible to car\'e anything. Three 
kinds of oil are extracted from vitriol — a red oil, by distillation in a retort after an alchemistic method, and this is the 
most acid of all substances, and has also a corrosive qu-iliiy- also a green and a white oil, distilled from crude vitriol^ 
by descension.— />,• Vilrioh. Nor let it be regarded as absurd that we assign such great virtues to vitriol, for therein 
resides, secret and hidden, a certain peculiar golden force, not corporeal but spiritual, which excellent and admirable 
N-irtue exists in greater potency and certainty therein than it does in gold. When this golden spirit of vitriol is vola- 
tilized and separated from its impurities, so that the essence alone rem.iins, it is like unto potable gold.— Dr Morbit 
Amnttium, Methodus II., c. I. 


62 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

lamb, with its own splendid, shining, and purified body. This is the true 
supercelestial marriage by which life is prolonged to the last and predestined 
day. In this way, then, the soul and spirit of the Vitriol, which are its blood, 
are joined with its purified body, that they may be for eternity inseparable. 
Take, therefore, this our foliated earth in a glass phial. Into it pour gradually 
its own oil. The body will receive and embrace its soul ; since the body is 
affected with extreme desire for the soul, and the soul is most perfectly 
delighted with the embrace of the body. Place this conjunction in a furnace of 
arcana, and keep it there for forty days. When these have expired you will 
have a most absolute oil of wondrous perfection, in which Mercury and any 
other of the imperfect metals are turned into gold. 

Now let us turn our attention to its multiplication. Take the corporal 
Mercury, in the proportion of two parts ; pour it over three parts, equal in 
weight, of the aforesaid oil, and let them remain together for forty days. By 
this proportion of weight and this order the multiplication becomes infinite. 


Concerning the Secrets and Arcana of Antimony, for the Red 
Tincture, with a view to Transmutation. 

Antimony is the true bath of gold. Philosophers call it the examiner and 
the stilanx. Poets say that in this bath Vulcan washed Phcebus, and purified 
him from all dirt and imperfection. It is produced from the purest and noblest 
Mercury and Sulphur, under the genus of vitriol, in metallic form and bright- 
ness. Some philosophers call it the White Lead of the Wise Men, or simply 
the Lead. Take, therefore, of Antimony, the very best of its kind, as much 
as you will. Dissolve this in its own aquafortis, and throw it into cold water, 
adding a little of the crocus of Mars, so that it may sink to the bottom of the 
vessel as a sediment, for otherwise it does not throw off its dregs. After it 
has been dissolved in this way it will have acquired supreme beauty. Let it 
be placed in a glass vessel, closely fastened on all sides with a very thick lute, 
or else in a stone bocia, and mix with it some calcined tutia, sublimated to 
the perfect degree of fire. It must be carefully guarded from liquefying, 
because with too great heat it breaks the glass. From one pound of this 
Antimony a sublimation is made, perfected for a space of two days. Place 
this sublimated substance in a phial that it may touch the water with its third 
part, in a luted vessel, so that the spirit may not escape. Let it be suspended 
over the tripod of arcana, and lot the work be urged on at first with a slow fire 
equal to the sun's heat at midsummer. Then at length on the tenth day let it 
be gradually increased. For with too great heat the glass vessels are broken, 
and sometimes even the furnace goes to pieces. While the vapour is ascending 
different colours appear. Let the fire be moderated until a red matter is seen. 
Afterwards dissolve in very sharp Acetum, and throw away the dregs. Let 
the Acetum be abstracted and let it be again dissolved in common distilled water. 

The Aurora of the Philosophers. 63 

This again must be abstracted, and the sediment distilled with a very strong fire 
in a glass vessel closely shut. The whole body of the Antimony w'lll ascend as 
a very red oil, like the colour of a ruby, and will How into the receiver, drop by 
drop, with a most fragrant smell and a very sweet taste.* This is the supreme 
arcanum of the philosophers in Antimony, which they account most highly among 
the arcana of oils. Then, lastly, let the oil of Sol be made in the following 
way : — Take of the purest Sol as much as you will, and dissolve it in rectified 
spirit of wine. Let the spirit be abstracted several times, and an equal number 
of times let it be dissolved again. Let the last solution be kept with the spirit 
of wine, and circulated for a month. Afterwards let the volatile gold and the 
spirit of wine be distilled three or four times by means of an alembic, so that it may 
flow down into the receiver and be brought to its supreme essence. To half an 
ounce of this dissolved gold let one ounce of the Oil of .Antimony be added. 
This oil embraces it in the heat of the bath, so that it does not easily let it go, 
even if the spirit of wine be extracted. In this way you will have the supreme 
mystery and arcanum of Nature, to which scarcely any equal can be assigned 
in the nature of things. Let these two oils in combination be shut up together 
in a phial after the manner described, hung on a tripod for a philosophical 
month, and warmed with a very gentle fire ; although, if the fire be regulated 
in due proportion this operation is concluded in thirty-one days, and brought 
to perfection. By this, Mercury and any other imperfect metals acquire the 
perfection of gold. 


Concerning the Projection to be made by the Mystery 
AND Arcanum of Antimony. 

No precise weight can be assigned in this work of projection, though the 
tincture itself may be extracted from a certain subject, in a defined proportion, 
and with fitting appliances. For instance, that Medicine tinges sometimes 
thirty, forty, occasionally even sixty, eighty, or a hundred parts of the im- 
perfect metal. So, then, the whole business hinges chiefly on the purification 
of the Medicine and the industry of the operator, and, next, on the greater or 
lesser cleanliness and purity of the imperfect body taken in hand. For 
instance, one Venus is more pure than another ; and hence it happens that no 
one fixed weight can be specified in projection. This alone is worth noting, 
that if the operator happens to have taken too much of the tincture, he can 
correct this mistake by adding more of the imperfect metal. But if there be 
too much of the subject, so that the powers of the tincture are weakened, this 
error is easily remedied by a cineritium, or by cementations, or by ablutions 

• Antimony can be made into a pap with the water of vitriol, and then purified by sal ammoniac, and in this man* 
ner there may be obtained from it a thick purple or reddish liquor. This is oil of antimony, and it has many virtues,— 
Ckirurj^ia Magnn, Lib. V, Take three pounds of antimony and as much of sal gemma:. Distil them together in a 
retort for three natural days, and so you will have a red oil, whii:h lt.-Ls incredible healing power in cases of otherwise 
incurable vio-anii.—Chirurgia Minor, Tract II., c. ii. 

64 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

in crude Antimony. There is nothing at this stage which need delay the 
operator; only let him put before himself a fact which has been passed over 
by the philosophers, and by some studiously veiled, namely, that in projections 
there must be a revivification, that is to sa)% an animation of imperfect bodies — 
nay, so to speak, a spiritualisation ; concerning which some have said that 
their metals are no common ones, since they live and have a soul. 

Animation is Produced in the Following Way. 
Take of Venus, wrought into small plates, as much as you will, ten, 
twenty, or forty pounds. Let these he incrusted with a pulse made of arsenic 
and calcined tartar, and calcined in their own vessel for twentj'-four hours. 
Then at length let the Venus be pulverised, washed, and thoroughly purified. 
Let the calcination with ablution be repeated three or four times. In this way 
it is purged and purified from its thick greenness and from its own impure 
sulphur. You will have to be on 3-our guard against calcinations made with 
common sulphur. For whatever is good in the metal is spoilt thereb}', and 
what is bad becomes worse. To ten marks of this purged Venus add one of 
pure Luna. But in order that the work of the Medicine may be accelerated 
by projection, and may more easily penetrate the imperfect body, and drive 
out all portions which are opposed to the nature of Luna, this is accomplished 
by means of a perfect ferment. For the work is defiled by means of an impure 
Sulphur, so that a cloud is stretched out over the surface of the transmuted 
substance, or the metal is mixed with the loppings of the Sulphur and may be 
cast away therewith. But if a projection of a red stone is to be made, with a 
view to a red transmutation, it must first fall on gold, afterwards on silver, or 
on some other metal thoroughly purified, as we have directed above. From 
thence arises the most perfect gold. 

Concerning the Universal Matter of the Philosophers' Stone. 

After the mortification of vegetables, they are transmuted, by the concur- 
rence of two minerals, such as Sulphur and Salt, into a mineral nature, so that 
at length they themselves become perfect minerals. So it is that in the 
mineral burrows and caves of the earth, vegetables arc found which, in the 
long succession of time, and by the continuous heat of sulphur, put off the 
vegetable nature and assume that of the mineral. This happens, for the most 
part, where the appropriate nutriment is taken away from vegetables of this 
kind, so that they are afterwards compelled to derive their nourishment from 
the sulphur and salts of the earth, until what was before vegetable passes over 
into a perfect mineral. From this mineral state, too, sometimes a perfect 
metallic essence arises, and this happens by the progress of one degree 
into another. 

But let us return to the Philosophers' Stone. The matter of this, as 
certain writers have mentioned, is above all else difficult to discover and 

The Aurora of the Philosophers. 65 

abstruse to understand. The method and most certain rule for finding out 
this, as well as other subjects — what they embrace or are able to effect — is a 
careful examination of the root and seed by which they come to our knowledge. 
For this, before all things else, a consideration of principles is absolutely 
necessary ; and also of the manner in which Nature proceeds from imper- 
fection to the end of perfection. Now, for this consideration it is well to 
have it thoroug'hly understood from the first that all things created by Nature 
consist of three primal elements, namely, natural Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt 
in combination, so that in some substances they are volatile, in others fixed. 
Wherever corporal Salt is mixed with spiritual Mercurj' and animated Sulphur 
into one body, then Nature begins to work, in those subterranean places 
which serve for her vessels, by means of a separating fire. By this the thick 
and impure Sulphur is separated from the pure, the earth is segregated from 
the Salt, and the clouds from the Mercury, while those purer parts are 
preserved, which Nature again welds together into a pure geogamic body. 
This operation is esteemed by the Magi as a mixture and conjiinction by the 
uniting of three constituents, body, soul, and spirit. When this union is 
completed there results from it a pure Mercur)\ Now if this, when fiowing 
down through its subterranean passages and veins, meets with a chaotic 
Sulphur, the Mercurj' is coagulated by it according to the condition of the 
Sulphur. It is, however, still volatile, so that scarcely in a hundred years is it 
transformed into a metal. Hence arose the vulgar idea that Mercury and 
Sulphur are the matter of the metals, as is certain!)' reported by miners. It is 
not, however, common Mercury and common Sulphur which are the matter of 
the metals, but tlie Mercury and the Sulphur of the philosophers are incor- 
porated and inborn in perfect metals, and in the forms of them, so that they 
never fly from the fire, nor are they depraved by the force of the corruption 
caused by the elements. It is true that by the dissolution of this natural 
mixture our Mercury is subdued, as all the philosophers say. Under this 
form of words our Mercury comes to be drawn from perfect bodies and from 
the forces of the earthly planets. This is what Hermes asserts in the following 
terms: "The Sun and the Moon are the roots of this Art." The Son of 
Hamuel says that the Stone of the philosophers is water coagulated, namelyr^ 
in Sol and Luna. From this it is clearer than the sun that the material of the 
Stone is nothing else but Sol and Luna. This is confirmed by the fact that 
like produces like. We know that there are only two Stones, the white and 
the red. There are also two matters of the Stone, Sol and Luna, formed 
together in a proper marriage, both natural and artificial. Now, as we see 
that the man or the woman, without the seed of both, cannot generate, in the 
same way our man, Sol, and his wife, Luna, cannot conceive, or do anything 
in the way of generation, without the seed and sperm of both. Hence the 
philosophers gathered that a third thing was necessarj-, namely, the animated 
seed of both, the man and the woman, without which they judged that the 
whole of their work was fruitless and in vain. Such a sperm is Mercury, 

F — 

66 The Hermetic and Alcketnical Writings of Paracelsus. 

which, bv the natural conjunction of both bodies, Sol and Luna, receives their 
nature into itself in union. Then at length, and not before, the work is fit for 
congress, ingress, and generation, by the masculine and feminine power and 
virtue. Hence the philosophers have said that this same Mercury is composed 
of body, spirit, and soul, and that it has assumed the nature and property of 
all elements. Therefore, with their most powerful genius and intellect, they 
asserted their Stone to be animal. They even called it their Adam, who car- 
ries his own invisible Eve hidden in his body, from that moment in which they 
were united bv the power of the Supreme God, the Maker of all creatures. For 
this reason it may be said that the Mercury of the Philosophers is none other 
than their most abstruse, compounded Mercury, and not the common Mercury. 
So then they have wisely said to the sages that there is in Mercury whatever 
wise men seek. Almadir, the philosopher, says • " VVe extract our Mercury 
from one perfect body and two perfect natural conditions incorporated 
together, which indeed puts forth externally its perfection, whereby it is able 
to resist the fire, so that its internal imperfection may be protected by the 
external perfections." By this passage of the sagacious philosopher is under- 
stood the Adamic matter, the limbus of the microcosm,* and the homogeneous, 
unique matter of the philosophers. The sayings of these men, which we have 
before mentioned, are simply golden, and ever to be held in the highest 
esteem, because they contain nothing superfluous or without force. Sum- 
marily, then, the matter of the Philosophers' Stone is none other than a fiery 
and perfect Mercury extracted by Nature and Art ; that is, the artificially pre- 
pared and true hermaphrodite Adam, and the microcosm. That wisest of the 
philosophers, Mercurius, making the same statement, called the Stone an 
orphan. Our Mercury, therefore, is the same which contains in itself all the 
perfections, force, and virtues of the Sun, which also runs through all the 
streets and houses of all the planets, and in its own rebirth has acquired the 
force of things above and things below ; to the marriage of which it is to be 
compared, as is clear from the whiteness and the redness combined in it. 


Concerning the Prep.\ration of the M.^tter for the Philosophic 


What Nature principally requires is that its own philosophic man should 
be brought into a mercurial substance, so that it may be born into the philo- 

• Man himself was created from that which is termed limbus. This limbus contained the potency and nature of all 
creatures. Hence, man himself is c.-illcd the microcosmus, or world in miniature. — i>e Ccntriiiio'U Stu/li^rum. 
Man was' fashioned out of the limbus, and this limbus is the universal world.— /'(ir<i»;/>K»t Aliiid, Lib. II., c. 2. 
The limbus was the first matter of man. . . . Whosoever knows the limbus knows also what man is. Whatsoever 
the limbus is, that also is man. - Paramiriim Aliuii, Lib. IV. There is a dual limbus, man, the lesser limbus, and 

that Great Limbus from which he w.-ts produced— /> PoAtgra, s. v. dt Limbo. The limbus is the seed out of which 
all creatures are produced and grow, .-is the tree comes forth from its own special seed. The limbus has its ground in 
the word of God.— /</</. The limbus of Adam w.ts heaven and e.-irth, water and air. Therefore, man also remains 
in the limbus, and contains in himself heaven and earth, air and water, and these things he also himself is. — Farngrauum 
Allitum. Tract II. 

The Aurora of the Philosophers. 67 

sophic Stone. Moreover, it should be remarked that those common pre- 
parations of Geber, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Rupescissa, Poly- 
dorus, and such men, are nothing more than some particular solutions, sub- 
limations, and calcinations, having no reference to our universal substance, 
which needs only the most secret fire of the philosophers. Let the fire and 
Azoth therefore suffice for you. From the fact that the philosophers make 
mention of certain preparations, such as putrefaction, distillation, sublimation, 
calcination, coagulation, dealbation, rubification, ceration, fixation, and the 
like, you should understand that in their universal substance. Nature herself 
fulfils all the operations in the matter spoken of, and not the operator, only in 
a philosophical vessel, and with a similar fire, but not common fire. The 
white and the red spring from one root without any intermediary. It is 
dissolved by itself, it copulates by itself, grows white, grows red, is made 
crocus-coloured and black by itself, marries itself and conceives in itself. 
It is therefore to be decocted, to be baked, to be fused ; it ascends, and it 
descends. All these operations are a single operation and produced by the fire 
alone. Still, some philosophers, nevertheless, have, by a highly graduated 
essence of wine, dissolved the body of Sol, and rendered it volatile, so that it 
should ascend through an alembic, thinking that this is the true volatile matter 
of the philosophers, though it is not so. And although it be no contemptible 
arcanum to reduce this perfect metallic body into a volatile, spiritual substance, 
yet they are wrong in their separation of the elements. This process of the 
monks, such as Lully, Richard of England, Rupescissa, and the rest, is 
erroneous. By this process they thought that they were going to separate 
gold after this fashion into a subtle, spiritual, and elementary power, each by 
itself, and afterwards by circulation and rectification to combine them again 
in one — but in vain. For although one element may, in a certain sense, be 
separated from another, yet, nevertheless, every element separated in this way 
can again be separated into another element, but these elements cannot after- 
wards by circulation in a pelican, or by distillation, be again brought back into 
one ; but they always remain a certain volatile matter, and aurum potabile, as 
thej- themselves call it. The reason why they could not compass their intention 
is that Nature refuses to be in this way dragged asunder and separated by 
man's disjunctions, as by earthly glasses and instruments. She alone knows her 
own operations and the weights of the elements, the separations, rectifications, 
and copulations of which she brings about without the aid of any operator or 
manual artifice, provided only the matter be contained in the secret fire and in 
its proper occult vessel. The separation of the elements, therefore, is 
impossible by man. It may appear to take place, but it is not true, 
whatever may be said by Raymond Lully, and of that famous English golden 
-work which he is falsely supposed to have accomplished. Nature her- 
self has within herself the proper separator, who again joins together 
what he has put asunder, without the aid of man. She knows best the 
proportion of ever)- element, which man does not know, however mis- 


68 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

leading writers romance in tineir frivolous and false recipes about this 
volatile gold. 

This is the opinion of the philosophers, that when they have put their 
matter into the more secret fire, and when with a moderated philosophical heat 
it is cherished on every side, beginning to pass into corruption, it grows black. 
This operation they term putrefaction, and they call the blackness by the name 
of the Crow's Head. The ascent and descent thereof they term distillation, 
ascension, and descension. The exsiccation they call coagulation ; and the 
dealbation the)' call calcination ; while because it becomes fluid and soft in 
the heat they make mention of ceration. When it ceases to ascend and re- 
mains liquid at the bottom, they say fixation is present. 

In this manner it is the terms of philosophical operations are to be 
understood, and not otherwise. 


Concerning Instruments and the Philosophic Vessel. 
Sham philosophers have misunderstood the occult and secret philosophic 
vessel, and worse is that which is said by Aristoteles the Alchemist (not the 
famous Greek Academic Philosopher), giving it out that the matter is to be 
decocted in a triple vessel. Worst of all is that which is said by another, 
namely, that the matter in its first separation and first degree requires a 
metallic vessel ; in its second degree of coagulation and dealbation of its 
earth a glass vessel ; and in the third degree, for fixation, an earthen vessel. 
Nevertheless, hereby the philosophers understand one vessel alone in all the 
operations up to the perfection of the red stone. Since, then, our matter is 
our root for the white and the red, necessarily our vessel must be so fashioned 
that the matter in it may be governed by the heavenly bodies. For invisible 
celestial influences and the impressions of the stars are in the very first degree 
necessary for the work. Otherwise it would be impossible for the Oriental, 
Chaldean, and Egyptian stone to be realised. By this Anaxagoras knew the 
powers of the whole firmament, and foretold that a great stone would descend 
from heaven to earth, which actually happened after his death. To the 
Cabalists our vessel is perfectly well known, because it must be made 
according to a truly geometrical proportion and measure, and from a definite 
quadrature of the circle, so that the spirit and the soul of our matter, separated 
from their body, may be able to raise this vessel with themselves in proportion 
to the altitude of heaven. If the vessel be wider, narrower, higher, or lower 
than is fitting, and than the dominating operating spirit and soul desire, the 
heat of our secret philosophic fire (which is, indeed, very severe), will violently 
excite the matter and urge it on to excessive operation, so that the vessel is 
shivered into a thousand pieces, with imminent danger to the body and even 
the life of the operator. On the other hand, if it be of greater capacity than 
is required in due proportion for the heat to have effect on the matter, the 

The Aurora of the Philosophers. 6g 

work will be wasted and thrown away. So, then, our philosophic vessel must 
be made with the greatest care. What the material of the vessel should be is 
understood only by those who, in the first solution of our fixed and perfected 
matter have brought that matter to its own primal quintessence. Enough has 
been said on this point. 

The operator must also very accurately note what, in its first solution, 
the matter sends forth and rejects from itself. 

The method of describing the form of the vessel is difficult. It should be 
such as Nature requires, and it must be sought out and investigated from 
every possible source, so that, from the height of the philosophic heaven, 
elevated above the philosophic earth, it may be able to operate on the fruit of its 
own earthly body. It should have this form, too, in order that the separation and 
purification of the elements, when the fire drives one from the other, may be 
able to be accomplished, and that each may have power to occupy the place 
to which it adheres ; and also that the sun and the other planets may exercise 
their operations around the elemental earth, while their course in their circuit 
is neither hindered nor agitated with too swift a motion. In all these particu- 
lars which have been mentioned it must have a proper proportion of rotundity 
and of height. 

The instruments for the first purification of mineral bodies are fusing- 
vessels, bellows, tongs, capels, cupels, tests, cementatory vessels, cineritiums, 
cucurbites, bocias for aquafortis and aqua regia ; and also the appliances 
which are required for projection at the climax of the work. 



This is a well-known sententious saying- of the philosophers, " Let fire 
and Azoc suffice thee." Fire alone is the whole work and the entire art. 
Moreover, they who build their fire and keep their vessel in that heat are in 
error. In vain some have attempted it with the heat of horse dung. By 
the coal fire, without a medium, they have sublimated their matter, but they 
have not dissolved it. Others have got their heat from lamps, asserting that 
this is the secret fire of the philosophers for making their Stone. Some have 
placed it in a bath, first of all in heaps of ants' eggs ; others in juniper ashes. 
Some have sought the fire in quicklime, in tartar, vitriol, nitre, etc. Others, 
again, have sought it in boiling water. Thomas ,\quinas speaks falsely of 
this fire, saying that God and the angels cannot do without this fiie. but use 
it daily. What blasphemy is this ! Is it not a manifest lie that God is not 
able to do without the elemental heat of boiling water ? All the heats excited 
by those means which have been mentioned are utterly useless for our work 
Take care not to be misled by Arnold de Villa Nova, who has written on the 
subject of the coal fire, for in this matter he will deceive you. 

Almadir savs that the invisible ravs of our fire of themselves suffice. 

70 The HerDietic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Another cites, as an illustration, that the heavenly heat by its reflections 
tends to the coagulation and perfection of Mercury, just as by its continual 
motion it tends to the generation of metals. Again, says this same authority. 
" Make a fire, vaporous, digesting, as for cooking, continuous, but not 
volatile or boiling, enclosed, shut off from the air, not burning, but altering 
and penetrating. Now, in truth, I have mentioned every mode of fire and of 
exciting heat. If you are a true philosopher you will understand." This is 
what he says. 

Salmanazar remarks: "Ours is a corrosive fire, which brings over our 
vessel an air like a cloud, in which cloud the rays of this fire are hidden. If 
this dew of chaos and this moisture of the cloud fail, a mistake has been 
committed." Again, Almadir says, that unless the fire has warmed our sun 
with its moisture, by the excrement of the mountain, with a moderate ascent, 
we shall not be partakers either of the Red or the White Stone. 

.•Ml these matters shew quite openly to us the occult fire of the wise men. 
Finally, this is the matter of our fire, namely, that it be kindled by the quiet 
spirit of sensible fire, which drives upwards, as it were, the heated chaos from 
the opposite quarter, and above our philosophic matter. This heat, glowing 
above our vessel, must urge it to the motion of a perfect generation, temper- 
ately but continuously, without intermission. 

Concerning the Ferment of the Philosophers, and the Weight. 

Philosophers have laboured greatly in the art of ferments and of ferment- 
ations, which seems important above all others. With reference thereto some 
have made a vow to God and to the philosophers that they would never 
divulge its arcanum by similitudes or by parables. 

Nevertheless, Hermes, the father of all philosophers, in the " Book of the 
Seven Treatises," most clearly discloses the secret of ferments, saying that 
they consist only of their own paste ; and more at length he says that the 
ferment whitens the confection, hinders combustion, altogether retards the 
flux of the tincture, consoles bodies, and amplifies unions. He says, also, that 
this is the key and the end of the work, concluding that the ferment is 
nothing but paste, as that of the sun is nothing but sun, and that of the moon 
nothing but moon. Others affirm that the ferment is the soul, and if this be 
not rightly prepared from the magistery, it effects nothing. Some zealots of 
this Art seek the Art in common sulphur, arsenic, tutia, auripigment, vitriol, 
etc., but in vain ; since the substance which is sought is the same as that from 
which it has to be drawn forth. It should be remarked, therefore, that fer- 
mentations of this kind do not succeed according to the wishes of the zealots 
in the waj' they desire, but, as is clear from what has been said above, simply 
in the way of natural successes. 

But, to come at length to the weight ; this must be noted in two ways. 

The Aurora of the Philosophers. 7 i 

The first is natural, the second artificial. The natural attains its result in the 
earth by Nature and concordance. Of this, Arnold says : If more or less 
earth than Nature requires be added, the soul is suffocated, and no result 
is perceived, nor any fixation. It is the same with the water. If more or less 
of this be taken it will bring a corresponding loss. A superfluity renders the 
matter unduly moist, and a deficiency makes it too dry and too hard. If 
there be over much air present, it is too strongly impressed on the tincture ; if 
th^re be too little, the body will turn out pallid. In the same way, if the 
fire be too strong, the matter is burnt up ; if it be too slack, it has not the 
power of drying, nor of dissolving or heating the other elements. In these 
things elemental heat consists. 

Artificial weight is quite occult. It is comprised in the magical art of 
ponderations. Between the spirit, soul, and body, say the philosophers, 
weight consists of Sulphur as the director of the work ; for the soul strongly 
desires Sulphur, and necessarily observes it by reason of its weight. 

Vou can understand it thus : Our matter is united to a red fixed Sulphur, 
to which a third part of the regimen has been entrusted, even to the ultimate 
degree, so that it may perfect to infinity the operation of the Stone, may 
remain therewith together with its fire, and may consist of a weight equal 
to the matter itself, in and through all, without variation of any degree. 
Therefore, after the matter has been adapted and mixed in its proportionate 
weight, it should be closelj' shut up with its seal in the vessel of the philoso- 
phers, and committed to the secret fire. In this the Philosophic Sun will rise 
and surge up, and will illuminate all things that have been looking for his 
light, expecting it with highest hope. 

In these few words we will conclude the arcanum of the Stone, an arcanum 
which is in no way maimed or defective, for which we give God undying 
thanks. Now have we opened to you our treasure, which is not to be paid for 
by the riches of the whole world. 

Here ends the Auror.\ of the Philosophers. 



HAVING first of all invoked the name of the Lord Jesus Christ our 
Saviour, we will enter upon this work ; in which we shall not only 
teach how to change any inferior metal into better, as iron into 
copper, copper into siher, and silver into gold, but also to heal all infirmities 
which to the pretentious and presumptuous physicians seems impossible ; and — 
what is more still — to preserve men to a long, healthy, and perfect age. This 
Art was bestowed by the Lord our God, the supreme Creator, graven, as if in 
a book, in the body of the metals from the beginning of Creation to this end, 
that we might diligently learn from them. When, therefore, any man desires 
thoroughly and perfectly to become acquainted with this Art from its veritable 
foundation, it will be necessary that he should learn the same from the Master 
thereof, that is, from God, who created all things ; who also alone knows what 
nature and properties He has placed in every creature. He, therefore, is able 
to teach every one certainly and perfectly ; and from Him we can be taught 
absolutely what he means when he says, "Of Me ye shall learn all things." 
For nothing in Heaven or on earth is found so occult that He who created all 
things does not see through its properties, and know and perceive all. We 
will therefore take Him to be our Master, Operator, and Leader into this 
most veritable Art. Him alone will we imitate, and through Him learn and 
attain to the knowledge of that Nature which He Himself has, with His own 
finger, engendered and written on the bodies of these metals. Hence it will 
come to pass that the Most High Lord God will bless all His creatures in us, 
and will sanctify all our ways, so that in this work we may be able to bring our 
beginning to its desired end, and to attain the deepest joy and charity in our 

But if any one shall follow his own mere private opinion, he will not onl)- 
greatly deceive himself, but also all others who shall cast in their lot with him, 
and will bring them to great trouble. For man is assuredly born in ignorance, 
so that he cannot know or understand anything of himself, but only that 
which he receives from God, and understands from Nature. He who learns 

• This treatise is not included in the Geneva folio, and, both in style and in the method of treatment, it corresponds 
closely to the Au^or.^. The edition made use of for this translation is the Basle 8vo. of 1570. A considerable portion 
of the work enters into the Paracelsican congeries, entitled De Traminutaiionibus Metaiiorum, Frankfort, if 81. 

Concerning the Spirits of the Planets. 73 

nothing from these is like the heathen teachers and philosophers, who follow 
the subtleties and crafts of their own inventions and opinions. Such teachers 
are Aristotle, Hippocrates, Avicenna, Galen, and the rest, who based all their 
arts simply upon their own opinions. Even if, at any time, they learnt 
anything from Nature, they destroyed it again with their own fantasies, 
dreams, and inventions, before they came to the final issue. By means of 
these, then, and their followers, nothing perfect can be discovered. 

This it is which has moved and incited us to write a special book concern- 
ing Alchemy, basing it not on men, but on Nature herself, and upon those 
virtues and powers which God, with His own finger, has impressed upon 
metals. The initiator of this impression was Mercurius Trismegistus. He is 
not w-ithout due cause called the father of all wise men, and of all who 
followed this Art with love and earnest desire. He teaches and proves that 
God is the only author, cause, and origin of all creatures in this Art.* But he 
does not attribute the power and virtue of God to creatures or to visible 
things, as did the heathen mentioned above, and others like them. 

Seeing, then, that all art must be learned from the Trinity, that is, from 
God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Ghost, three 
distinct persons, but one God, we w-ill also divide this our alchemical work 
into three short treatises. In the first of these we will lay down what it is 
which the .-Vrt itself embraces, and what is the property and nature of every 
metal. Secondly, by what method a man may work and bring similar powers 
and forces of metals to a successful issue ; and, thirdly, what tinctures are to 
be produced from the Sun and from the Moon. 

* All arts which flourish on this earth are divine, all are from God ; from no other principle do they originate. 
The Holy Spirit is the enlargcr of the light of Nature. . . . Man of himself can discover nothing. . . . \Vhat 
things soever are found by the enlargement of this light of Nature within us, the same does the devil seek to corrupt, 
adulterate, and convert into falsehood. Thus are all arts and operations corrupted at this day. Even so is Alchemy 
debased and given over to lying tongues and depraved professors. — Paragy.iitutn, Tr.-ict IV. 

Concerning Simple Fire. 

IN the first place, it is necessary to state clearly what this Art comprises, 
what is its subject, and what its peculiarities. 
First and chiefly, the principal subject of this Art is fire, which always 
exists in one and the same property and mode of operation, nor can it receive 
its life from anything else.* It possesses, therefore, a state and power, common 
to all fires which lie hid in secret, of vivifying, just as the sun is appointed by 
God, and heats all things in the world, both occult, apparent, and manifest, as 
the spheres of Mars, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, and the Moon, which 
can shine only as they borrow their light from the Sun, and are in themselves 
dead. When, however, they are lighted up, as said above, they live and work 
according to their special properties. But the sun receives light from no 
other source than God Himself, Wiio rules it, so that in the sun God Himself 
is burning and shining. Just so is it with this Art.t The fire in the furnace may 
be compared to the sun. It heats the furnace and the vessels, just as the sun 
heats the vast universe. For as nothing can be produced in the world without 
the sun, so also in this Art nothing can be produced without this simple 
fire. No operation can be completed without it. It is the Great Arcanum of 
Art, I embracing all things which are comprised therein, neither can it be com- 
prehended in anything else. It abides by itself, and needs nothing ; but all 
others which stand in need of this can get fruition of it and have life from it, 
wherefore, first of all, we have undertaken that this shall be made clear. 

Concerning the Multiplicity of Fire from whence spring the 


Having first written concerning the simple fire which lives and subsists 
per se, it now remains to speak of a manifold spirit or fire which is the cause 
of variety or diversity of creatures, so that not one can be found exactly like 

« Fire is not to be regarded as an element, and so there is a distinction between fire and the firm.iment, which 
latter is an element. Fire is a matter which cooks and disintegrates, reducing into the ultimate matter, and, in this 
sense, fire and death are alike. For fire, like death, consumes and devours ever>'thing. Therefore, fire cannot be an 
element, but it can be, and is, a visible and sensible death. The other death is invisible, and is seen by no man.— 
Lib. Mt'tt^i}ritiHt c. i. 

t The congeries «<• Trnnsmutatimibus Melallnrum, to which refiirence has already been m,ade, gives the following 
variation in the reading at this point : Just so in the Spagyric art is this fire of athanor and the secret fire of the 
philosophers, which heats the furnace, the sphere of the vessel, and the fire of the matter, just as the sun is seen to 
operate in the whole world. 

t All arcana derive from the firmament. — /='rof»«-«/,2 .\foJui Ph.irm.icandi, Lib. II., Tract i. But that fire 

which is an element is the firmament, .-uid the stars are the fruits thereof.— Z./*. Meuorum, c. i. 

Concerning the Spirits of the Planets. 75 

another and identical in every part. This may be seen in the case of metals 
where no one has another exactly like itself. The Sun produces gold ; the Moon 
another and widely different metal, namely, silver ; Mars, another, namely, 
iron ; Jupiter, tin ; Venus, copper; and Saturn yet another, namely, lead; so 
that all these are unlike. In the same way does it hold good with men and 
other creatures, and the cause of this diversity is the manifoldness of fire. 
For example, the Venter Equiuus produces one kind of creature through the 
moderate heat generated by its corruption ; the Balneum Maris produces 
another ; ashes another ; sand, in like manner, another ; the flame of fire another ; 
coals another, and so on. This variety of creatures is not produced by the first 
simple fire, but from the regimen of the elements, which is various, not from 
the sun, but from the courses of the seven planets. And this is the reason why 
the universe contains no likeness amongst its individuals. For as the heat is 
changed ever}' hour and minute, so all other things vary. For this transmu- 
tation takes place in the elements, on the bodies whereof it is impressed by this 
fire. Where there is no great mixture of the elements, Sol is produced ; where 
it is a little more dense, Luna ; where still more so, Venus ; and thus according 
to the diversity of mixtures are produced different metals, so that no metal 
appears in its mineral exactly like another. It should be known, therefore, that 
this variety of metal is occasioned by the mixture of the elements, because that the 
spirits of these elements are found to be diverse and without likeness : whereas, 
if they were born of simple fire they would be so much alike that one could not 
be distinguished from another. But the manifold fire intervening, variety of 
form is introduced among creatures. Hence it may be easily gathered why so 
many and such varied forms of metals are found, and why no one is like 



Let us now come to the spirits of the planets, or of the metals. The 
spirit or tincture of Sol took its beginning from a pure, subtle, and perfect fire, 

• That fire, then, is manifold which is varied according to the diversity of the subject whereinto it flows, and by 
means whereof it is afterwards kindled in other subjects, as the fire of ashes, sand, the bath, filings, etc., has a medi- 
ated heat flowing from an immediate source into the subject-matter of the instrument, and from hence into the matter 
underlying the .\rt. In that manifold fire there is a diff'erence of position. This is for the reason that nothing in the' 
nature of things can be seen which is in alt respects like tq any other thing, though both come under the same species, 
nay, though both may be members in the same individual. One metal produces gold from that which generates silver ; 
another brings forth the metal of Saturn, of Venus, or of Mars. Each one of these is varied according to the diflTcrcncc 
of the place whence it proceeded and was created. No two men, no two members of the same body, no two 
leaves of the same tree, are foimd exactly alike : and so of the rest. Dissimilarity proceeds not from the first fire of 
created things, but from the differing rule over the elements by means of the planets, and not by the sun. Evcrj- 
moment, by this disposition of things, the heat in the elements varies, and at the same time the form of decomposed 
things from their compounds, though not from the simples. Where the mixture of the elements is not so great, there 
isjgenerated Sol ; where it is a little greater, and less pure, b generated Luna ; from that which is still more imperfect, 
^ Vcous ; and so of the rest, according to the mixture of the elements, the mineral of each metal is not like another, nor 
do the spirits of them in all respects agree one with the other. If they were generated from the simple fire alone, wilh- 
but the intervention of the manifold, no distinction of forms could occur either in metals or in any other created things. 
Why there are in use no more than seven metals, of which six are solid and the seventh fluid and thin, is explained in 
adept philosophy but not in .'Mchemy. — De Transmutationibus Metiiitontm, c. 2- But this statement concerning 
the seventh fluidic metal seems to be at variance with other teaching of Paraccbus, to which a congeries that has been 
subject to editing must naturally defer. 


76 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

for which reason it far surpasses all the other spirits and tinctures of the 
metals. It remains constantly and fixed in the fire, nor does it fly therefrom, 
nor is consumed by it, but rather by its agency it becomes clearer, purer, and 
more beautiful. Nothing either hot or cold can injure it, or any other accident, 
as they can injure the other spirits or tinctures of metals, and for this reason : 
that the body which it once assumes it defends from all accidents and diseases, 
and enables it to sustain the fire without injury. This body has not such 
power and virtue in itself; but derives it from the spirit alone which is shut 
up within it. For we know with regard to the body of Mercury that it cannot 
sustain or endure the hre, but flies from it ; but when in Sol it does not fly off 
but remains fixed and constant, this affords a most certain proof that it receives 
such a constancy from the spirit or tincture of Sol.* If, therefore, this spirit can 
be in Mercury, any one can infer that it would have some similar effect in the 
bodies of men when it is received therein. In our Chirurgia Magna we have 
said concerning the tincture of Sol that it will not only restore and preserve 
from weaknesses one who uses it, but also conserve him for a long and healthy 
life.t In like manner, the strength and virtue of other metals may be known 
from true experience, not from the wisdom of men and of the world, which is 
foolishness with God, and with His truth ; and all who build and rest their hope 
on that wisdom are miserably deceived. 



After having spoken with sufficient clearness concerning the tincture of Sol, 
it remains to put forward something about the tincture of Luna, and of the 
White Tincture which, in like manner, is produced from the perfect spirit, 
though it be less perfect than the spirit of Sol ; but, nevertherless, it excels in 
purity and subtlety all the other tinctures of the metals which follow it in order 
This, indeed, is well known to all who handle Luna, even rustics. It does not 

• It is well understood that the body of Sol is Mercury, which cannot at all stand the fire, but flees from M.—Dc 
Transmulat:ortihus Metailoruin, c. lo. 

♦ In the collection of treatises to which reference is here made, there is the following process for the manufacture 
of a tincture of gold :- Let the body be first deprived of its metallic .ind malleable nature; is to say, let it be 
corrupted ; then let the residue be cleansed with sweet water, and the colour extracted by means of spirit of wine, when 
the desired tincture will remain at the bottom. To compose the Water of Salt : Take ver>' while salt, but not that 
which been whitened artificially ; melt it several times ; reduce it to an exceedingly subtle powder ; mix it with 
the sap of raphanum. Shake it. Distil, after resolution, with an equal portion of the sap of blood. Then again distil 
five times. Thin plates of gold which have been purged by antimony are easily reduced to powder in this water. The 
powder thus prepared must be washed with sweet distilled water until it no longer savours of salt. As the salt does-not 
penetrate into its substance it is easily removed by ablution. To compose the Spirit of Wine : Take one sextarius 
(about a pint) of generous wine ; let it be poured into a circulatorj' vessel of appropriate size, that is, of such capacity 
that the wine can be shaken therein. Place it in a Balneum M.aris to the depth which the wine occupies, and decoct 
for ten days. Seal all apertures of the vessels, so that nothing can escape. Then place in a cucurbile, and abstract the 
spirit by a slow fire. As soon as it has passed aw.ay (which you will know by the usual signs), cease to urge the fire, 
for the residue is a simple sublimate. Pour the spirit of wine upon the abovtf-mentioned powder (which should be like 
alcohol) to the height of a palm, enclose it in a glass, keep it for a month in a warm bath to digest, when the colour 
will be separated and commingled with the spirit. A white powder will remain at the bottom. Having separated all 
these things, melt the powder, and it will be separated into a metallic water. Evaporate the spirits according to art, 
and the desired spirit will remain at the bottom. Perform its gradation in a retort of the proper size. This is done 
most conveniently by elevation, which is highly attenuating. -CV»>«r£;(i Magna^ Part II., Tract III., c. 2. 

Concerning the Spirits of the Planets. jj 

acquire rust, nor is it consumed in the fire lilce the other metals, all of which 
Saturn draws with himself when flying from the fire, but not this one.* Hence 
it may be gathered that this tincture is far more excellent than those set down 
below, for it preserves in the fire the body it has assumed without any accident 
or loss. Hence it is quite clear that if this in its own corruptible body by 
itself produces Mercury, what it will be able to effect when extracted from it into 
another body. Will not that in the same way protect and defend from 
accidents and infirmities? Surely if it produces this Mercury in its own body, 
it will do the same in the bodies of men.f -Vnd it not only preserves health, 
but causes long life, and cures diseases and infirmities, even those which are 
beyond its own special grade. For the higher, more subtle, and more perfect 
a medicine is, so much the better and more perfectly it cures. Wherefore 
those are mere ignorant physicians who waste their skill only on vegetables, 
as herbs and the like, which are easily corrupted. With these they endeavour 
to accomplish results which arc firm and fixed, but they do this vainly as those 
who beat the air. But why speak at length about these ? They have not 
learnt better in their universities. If they were compelled to go back to the 
beginning, learn and study, they would think it a great disgrace. Therefore 
they remain in their former ignorance. 

Concerning the Spirit of Venus. 
We have before made mention of a White Spirit, or colourless Tincture. 
Now we proceed to speak of a red spirit, which is produced from a thick 
elemental mixture of the former, to w-hich also it is subject, though, neverthe- 
less, it is more perfect than the spirits and tinctures of the succeeding metals. 
On this account it remains in the fire more constantly than the rest, so that it 
is not so soon burnt, nor does it so soon pass away as the other spirits which 
follow. The air also and the moisture of water are not so injurious to it as to 
Mars, just as it remains more fixedly and for a longer time in the fire. Venus 
has this force and property, that is to say, its body has, on account of the 
spirit which has been infused into it. Since, then, it produces this eflfect in its 
own body, that is, in Venus, it accomplishes as much also in man as is by 
Nature conceded to it. It preserves wounds in such a way that no accident 
can affect them, nor can the air or the water injure them. It also drives away 
all such diseases as are under its degree. This spirit further breaks up the 
bodies qf metals so that they lose their malleability. | In the bodies of men, too, 

• Molten lead destroys all the metals, including itself, by means of the fire, except Sol and Luna. — Congeries 
ParacfUica^ c. lo. 

t Since, then, the spirit of Luna is able to protect from all injury by fire or other accidents the body into which it 
enters, that is to say, Mercury*, and to render it consistent, it is easy to gather from this, if it produces such an effect in 
the case of an inst.ible and \'olatiIe body like Mercury, how much more powerfully it will act when disengaged from its 
own body and projected into the human \ioAy. — lbid. 

t On the other hand, if it be mixed with certain metals, even among those which arc perfect, it tears asunder their 
bodies, so that they are no longer malleable, or capable of being treated in any way until they are set free from it. — 

78 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

when it is taken for a disease to which it is not suitable, it produces incon- 
venient results.* It is necessary, therefore, that the physician who desires to 
use these should be experienced, and have a good knowledge of metals. It is 
far better, then, to use the more perfect spirits, which may be taken without 
any such fear of danger. Still, since the spirits of Sol and Luna are costly, so 
that it is not every one who can use them for curative purposes, every one 
must take according to his means whatever he can get and pay for.f Every 
one is not of such wealth that he can prepare these medicines, so each is com- 
pelled to do what he can. Every one will easily be able to gather from what 
has been said that metallic medicines far exceed vegetable and animal products 
in their strength and power of healing. So far we have said enough, and more 
than enough, concerning the spirit of V^enus.J 

Concerning the Spirit of Mars. 
Speaking of the Spirit of Mars, this comes from a more dense and com- 
bustible mixture of the elements than was the case with the others which 
precede. But Mars is furnished with greater hardness than the other metals, 
so that it is not melted in the fire as they are. True, it is hurt by the water 
and the air more than they are, insomuch that it is altogether destroyed by 
these influences, and it is also burnt in the fire, as experience proves. So, then, 
its spirit is less perfect than that of any of the above. But in hardness and 
dryness it exceeds all the metals above or below. For not only does it render 
the perfect metals, Sol and Luna, proof against the hammer, but even those 
which rank below itself, as Jupiter, Saturn, and the like.g Since, then, it pro- 
duces this effect on metals, this is a sign that k has the same eff"ect on the 
bodies of men, that is, it produces a struggling ; especially when it is taken for 
a disease to which it is not adapted, it contorts the limbs with great pain. 
But when it is used and applied for wounds which do not exceed its degree, it 
is of powerful cleansing qualities. So, then, this spirit is endowed with no less 
power and potency than are of those above, so far as regards those things for 
which it was appointed by God and by Nature. 

Concerning the Spirit of Jupiter. 
Concerning the spirit of Jupiter this should be known, that it is derived 
from the white and pale substance of fire, together with a nature of peculiar 

' III these cases it produces contraction of the limbs. — Ibid. 

t It would, however, be safer to use only the spirits of the perfect metals, unless gold and silver are too expensive 
for a patient's resources, or too difficult in their preparation for the talent and skill of any particular physician. In that 
case he may be compelled to do what he h,as learnt to do, that is, to treat such cases with vegetable and animal 
preparations. — Ihid. 

\ Under favourable astrological circumstances, many tinctures can be extracted from Venus. —ZJ^ Causis et 
Origine Litis Gaitictr, Lib. I., c. Ii. 

§ Nevertheless, it surpasses any other met.tls in h.ardnc5s and dryness, destroying and decomposing them by 
admixture with them, and this in the case of the perfect no less than of the imperfect metals.— 0«^^nVj Parti- 
eelsica, c. lo. 

Concerning the Spirits of tite Planets. 79 

crepitation and fragfility, not malleable like Mars. It, therefore, heats other 
metals, and renders them capable of being broken with hamrrfers. An 
example of this may be seen when it is joined with Luna, for it can scarcely 
be brought to its former malleability, except with the greatest labour.* The 
same effect it produces in all other metals, with the single exception of Saturn. 
If it produces this effect in the bodies of metals, it will do the same in human 
bodies. In these it corrodes the limbs with severe burnings and decay, so 
that they are completely cut off from their perfect workings, and lose them, so 
that they are unable to fulfil the necessary requirements of Nature. Never- 
theless this spirit has in it the virtue of removing cancer, fistulas, and other 
similar ulcers, especially those which are of its own nature, and which do not 
exceed the degree which God and Nature have given to it. 


Concerning the Spirit of Saturn. 

The spirit of Saturn is concrete and formed from a dry, dark, cold 
admixture of elements. Hence it results that, amongst all others, it has the 
least power of remaining and living in the fire. When, however, Sol and 
Luna have to be proved and purified, Saturn is added to them, and this has the 
effect of thoroughly purging them. Nevertheless, it is of that nature that it 
takes away their malleability.! It has the same effect on men, with great 
pains, as Jupiter and Mars. Being mixed with cold, it cannot act mildly. | It 
has the very greatest powers and virtues, whereby it cures fistulas, cancer, 
and similar ulcers, which come under its own degree and nature. It drives 
the same kind of diseases from man as it expels impurities from Luna. But if 
it does not go out altogether at the same time, it brings more harm than it 
does good. Conseqviently, whoever would use it must know what diseases it 
cures, against what it should be taken, and what effects Nature has assigned 
to it. If this be well considered it can do no harm. 


Concerning the Gross Spirit of Mercury. 

The spirit of Mercury, which is only subjected to the spirits above, has no 
determinate or certain form in itself. Hence it happens that it admits every 
metal, just as wax receives all seals, of whatever form. So this dense 
elementary spirit may be compared to the other spirits of the metals. For if 
it receive into itself the spirit of Sol, Sol will be produced from it ; if Luna, 
Luna ; and in like manner it does with the other metals. It agrees with them 
and takes their properties to itself. For this reason, so far as relates to its 

* By mixture with other metals it corrupts and decomposes them, especially Luna, and only with great labour'can 
it be separated therefrom. — Ibid. 

\ It leaves them broken and decomposed after washing. — Ibid. 

t It distorts the limbs . . « with more severe pains than even tin and iron ; but seeing that this spirit is 
coagulated with a much more intense cold than others, it does not act so violently. — Ibid. 

I I 

! I 

80 T/ie Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

body, it is appropriated to the spirits spoken of above, just as a woman to a 
man. For Sol is the body of Mercury, save only that Sol fixes Mercury and 
becomes fixed. The common Mercury is inconstant and volatile ; nevertheless 
it is subject to all the abovementioned ; and generates again not only the 
aforesaid metallic spirits and tinctures, but the metal itself by which the 
beforenamed tinctures arrive at their working. But if moderation be not 
observed it is impossible to perfect a tincture of this kind. If the fire which 
ouijht to vivifv this tincture be too fierce, the operation will be fruitless ; and 
so if it be too weak. Therefore it is necessary at this point to know what is 
the mean in this Art, and what powers and properties it has ; also by what 
means it is to be ruled, and how to tinge the tinctures, or bring them to their 
perfect operation, so that they may germinate and become apparent. Witii 
these few words we would conclude this first tract.* 

« It is prepared, then, so far as the body is concerned, from the aforesaid spirits, just as his wife is prepared for a 
husband, not by corporeal admixture, but when the spirit has been educed from its own metal and projected, after 
preparation, into Mercury, then at length it exhibits its transmutation. -Ibid. 

The End of the First Treatise. 


Concerning the Philosopher's Mercury, and the Medium of Tinctures. 

IN the first treatise we have written concerning- the spirits of the metals, 
their tinctures, etc., making clear their properties and natures, and what 
each separate metal generates. In this second we will treat of the 
medium of tinctures, that is, the Philosophers' Mercury, whereby are made 
tinctures and fermentations of the metals ; in seven chapters, as follows : — 


From what Tinctures and Leavens are Made. 

Whoever wishes to have a tincture of the metals, must take Philosophers' 
Mercury, and project it to its own end ; that is, into the quick mercury from 
whence it proceeded.* Hence will ensue that the Philosophers' Mercury will be 
dissolved in the quick mercurj-, and shall receive its strength, so that the 
Philosophers' .Mercury shall kill the quick mercurj' and render it fixed in the 
fire like itself. For there is between these two mercuries as much agreement 
as between a man and his wife. They are both produced from the gross 
spirits of metals, except that the body of Sol remains fixed in the fire, but 
the quick mercury is not fixed. The one, however, is appropriated to the 
other as grain or seed to the earth, which we will illustrate by an example, 
thus : If anyone has sown barley he will gather barley ; if corn, corn, etc. 
None otherwise is it in this Art. If anyone sows Sol he will gather gold, 
while from Luna he will collect silver, and so with regard to the other metals. 
In this way we say here tinctures are produced from the metals, that is, 
from the Philosophers' Mercury and not from quick mercury. But this 
produces the seed which it had before conceived.! 

• Notwithstanding, the tincture of mercury is a supreme secret. — De Vlcerum Cur,ttiont^ c. lo. 

t The dead wife of the metal, like an uncultivated field or soil, if it be macerated or revivified by the philosophic 
plough (the wife remaining fixed and incorrupt during the process), it is united to the aforesaid corporal spirit by the 
grades of fire, into its own nature and substance, and this with the dead body of the metal Now, this cannot be done 
with the crass spirit of mercury. .\nd although the mercury or quicksilver of Sol exists and is fixed, nevertheless the 
common mercury*, not as yet fixed, never attains to resurrection. For the resurrection of the metals is an immortal 
regeneration, and the medium whereby tinctures of this kind are .advanced to their generation. On this account, 
therefore, it cannot be united to dead bodies so as to bring about their fixation, but only to extracted spirits, as lo those 
corporeal ones above-mentioned, which are subject to the metals just as common mercury is to all metallic spirits. The 
crass spirit of mercury can no more generate this tincture in its substance than a concubine can bring forth legitimate 
offspring In the same way must it be judged concerning the crass spirit of mercury, until the metallic and corporal 
spirit is produced by means of the natural matter. Without this medium it will be impossible for anything good or per- 
fect to be accomplished in tinctures of this kind. Moreover, if the fire be too intense it cannot generate ; if too slack, 
the same result ensues. — De Transmutationibus MetaUimwt^ c. lo. 


82 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


Concerning the Conjunction of the Man with the Woman. 

In order that the Philosophers' Mercury and the quick mercury may be 
joined, and this latter united with the fixed, it must of necessity be known how 
much of it must be taken, since more or less than the proper quantity may 
hinder or altogether destroy the whole business. For by superfluity the seed is 
suffocated, so that it cannot live until it is fixed by the Philosophers' Mercury. 
But by defect, since the body cannot be altogether dissolved, it is also destroyed 
so that it is able to produce no fruit. Wherefore it should be clearly 
ascertained how much of the one and the other ought to be taken, if, indeed, 
the artificer would bring this work to its legitimate end. Let the receipt be 
as follows, namely : Take one part to two, or three to four, and you will not 
err, but will arrive at the desired end. 


Concerning the form of the Glass Instruments. 

When the matter has been rightly joined, it is necessary that you should 
have properly-proportioned glass vessels, neither larger nor smaller than is 
right. If they are too large, the woman, that is, the phlegm, is dispersed, 
whence it ensues that the seed cannot be born ; where they are too small the 
germ is suffocated so that it cannot come to fruit, just as when seed is sown 
under a tree, or among thorns, it cannot germinate, but perishes without fruit. 
No slight error, therefore, may arise through the vessels ; and when once this 
has occurred it cannot again be remedied in the same operation, nor can it 
arrive at a satisfactory issue. Wherefore note what follows, namely, that you 
take three ounces and a half and four pounds ; thus, having proceeded rightly, 
you will save the matter from being dispersed, and prevent the phlegm, or the 
germination, from being impeded. 


Concerning the Properties of Fire. 

After you have placed the matter in the proper vessels, you will cherish it 
with natural heat, so that the outside shall not exceed the inside. For if the 
heat be excessive, no conjunction will take place, because by the intense heat 
the matter is dispersed and burnt, so that no advantage arises from it. 
On this account the mid region of the air has been arranged by Nature 
between heaven and earth ; otherwise the sun and the stars would burn up 
all the creatures on the earth, so that nothing could be produced from it. 
Take care, therefore, that between the matter and the fire you interpose an 
airy part of this kind, or a certain distance. In this way the heat will not 
easily be able in any way to do injury, nor to disperse, and still less to burn. 
For if the heat be insufficient neither will the spirit rest acting in no way upon 

Concerning the Spii-its of the Playlets. %'^ 

its own humidity ; so it will be dried or fixed. For the spirits of metals are of 
themselves dead, and rest, and can effect nothing unless they are vitalised. 
■None otherwise. in the great world the seed cast into the earth is dead, and 
cannot grow of itself unless it be vitalised by the heat of the sun. In the very 
first place, therefore, is it necessary to build the fire for this work in just 
proportion, neither too large nor too small ; otherwise this work will never 
be carried on to its desired and perfect end. 


Concerning the Signs which in the Union of Conjunction. 

When the regimen of the fire is moderated, the matter is by degrees 
moved to blackness. Afterwards, when the drj-ness begins to act upon the 
humidity, various flowers of different colours simultaneously rise in the glass, 
just as they appear in the tail of the peacock, and such as no one has ever seen 
before. Sometimes, too, the glass looks as though it were entirely covered with 
gold. When this is perceived, it is a certain indication that the seed of the man 
is operating upon the seed of the woman, is ruling it and fixing it. That is, the 
fixed Mercury acts on the quick, and begins to embrace it. Afterwards, when 
the humidity has died out before the process of drj-ing, those colours disappear, 
and the matter at length begins to grow white, and continues to do so until it 
attains the supreme grade of whiteness. In the very first place, care should be 
taken not to hasten the matter unduly, according to the opinion of those who 
think that such a process is in all respects like what is perceived in the growth 
of corn, or in the production of a human being, the latter process occupying 
nine months, the former ten or twelve. Sol and Luna do not ripen so soon, 
or are born so soon, as the child from its mother's womb, or the grain from 
the womb of the earth. The higher and more perfect anything is and should 
be in its nature, the longer time is necessary for its production. For it should 
be known that everything which is born quickly perishes quickly. Both herbs 
and men afford a proof of this. In proportion as they are quickly produced or 
born is their life short. It is not so with Sol and Luna ; but they have a more 
perfect nature than men ; whence it ensues that they exhibit a long life for 
men and preserve them from many accidental diseases. 


Concerning the Knowledge of the Perfect Tincture. 

In the preceding chapter we have said how the matter itself is graduated. 
In this we will make clear by what means it may be recognised when it is 
perfect. Do this : When the White Stone of Luna stands forth in its white- 
ness, separate a morsel from it with the forceps, and place it glowing over the 
fire on a plate of copper. If the Stone emits smoke it is not yet perfect, where- 
fore it must be left longer in decoction, until it comes to the grade of a perfect 
Stone. But if it emits no smoke, you may believe it to be perfect. In the 
same way proceed with the Red Stone of Sol in its due gradation. 

84 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 


Concerning the Augmentation or the Multiplying of Tinctures. 

When you wish to augment or to multiply the tincture which you have 
found, join it again with the common mercury. Proceed in all respects as 
before, and it will tinge a hundredfold more than it did previously. You can 
repeat this as often as you wish, so as to have as much of the matter as you 
desire. The longer it remains in the fire, the more highly graduated it be- 
comes, so that one part of it will transmute an infinite number of parts of 
quick mercury into the best Luna and the most perfect Sol. Thus you have 
the whole process from the beginning to the end. With these few words we 
will conclude this second treatise, and will now begin the third. 

The End of the Second Tre.\tise. 


IN the second treatise we have described the method by wiiich the tinctures 
or fermentations should be produced. In this third we will say how 
the tinctures of Sol and Luna are made. This we shall make clear at 
sufficient length, and in what manner Sol, with the other planets, should be 
produced, namely, with the furnace and fire. 


Concerning the Building of the Furn.\ce, with the Fire. 

Mercurius Hermes Trismegistus says that he who perfects this Art creates 
a new world. For in the same way as God created the heaven and the earth, 
the furnace with its fire must be constructed and regulated, that is to say, in 
the following manner : First, let a furnace be built at a height of six palms, 
with the fingers and thumb extended, but in breadth only one palm ; round 
within and plain, so that the coals may not adhere to it. .At the bottom let a 
little mound be raised, sloping on all sides to the border. Let holes be left 
open underneath, four fingers in breadth, and to each hole let its own furnace 
be applied with a copper cauldron, which contains water. Then take the best 
and most lasting coals, and break them into lumps the size of a walnut. With 
these fill the long furnace, which must then be closed, so as not to burn out. 
Afterwards, add coals below, right up to the holes. If the fire is too great, 
put a stove before it : if too little, let the coals be stirred with an iron rod, 
that they may meet the air and the heat may be increased. In this way you 
will be able to regulate the fire, according to the true requirements of its 
nature, so that it shall not be excessive or defective, but adapted to the move- 
ment of the matter. This is compared to the firmament. .And there is another 
firmament in this place, namely, the matter contained in the glass. .After 
these things follows the form of the world. The furnace then is to be placed 
as the sun in the great world, which affords light, life, and heat to the whole 
furnace itself, and to all the instruments and other things which it encloses. 


Concerning the Conjunction of the Man with the Woman. 

Since we have treated of the furnace in which the tinctures are to be pre- 
pared, and of the fire, we now propose to describe more at length how the 

86 TJie Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

man and the woman meet and are joined together. This is the manner. Take 
Philosophers' Mercury, prepared and purified to its supreme degree. Dis- 
solve this with its wife, that is to say, with quick mercury, so that the worrian 
jTiay dissolve the man, and the man may fix the woman. Then, just as the 
husband loves his wife and she her husband, the Philosophers' Mercury 
pursues the quick mercury with the most supreme love, and their nature is 
moved with the greatest affection towards us. So then each Mercury 
is blended with the other, as the woman with the man, and he with 
her, so far as the body is concerned, to such an extent that they 
have no diflf'erence, save as regards their powers and properties, seeing 
the man is fixed, but the woman volatile in the fire. For this reason, the 
woman is united to the man in such a way that she dissolves the man, 
and he fixes her and renders her constant in every consideration as a conse- 
quence. Conceal both in a glass vessel, thoroughly fastened, so that the 
woman maj' not escape or evaporate ; otherwise the whole work will be 
reduced to nothing. 



When you have placed the husband and the wife in the matrimonial bed, 
in order that he may operate upon her and impregnate her, and that the seed 
of the woman may be coagulated into a mass b)' the seed of the man, without 
which she can bring forth no fruit, it is necessary that the man should perform 
his operation on the woman. 


Concerning the Philosophic Coition of the Husband with His Wife. 

As soon as you see the woman take a black colour, know for a certainty 
that she has conceived and become pregnant : and when the seed of the man 
embraces the seed of the woman, this is the first sign and the key of this whole 
work and Art. Therefore preserve a continuous natural heat, and this blackness 
will appear and disappear through being consumed, as one worm eats another, 
and goes on consuming until not one is still left. 


Concerning the Black Colour. 

As soon as the blackness appears and is manifest, it may be known that 
the woman has become impregnated. But when the peacock's tail begins to 
appear, that is, when many and various colours shall be seep in the glass, it 
is a sign that the Philosophers' Mercury is acting on the common mercury, 
and extending its wings until it shall have conquered. When, therefore, the 
dry acts on the moist these colours appear. 

Concerning the Spirits of the Planets. 87 


Concerning the Bud appearing in the Glass. 

When you have seen the difTerent colours, it is necessary that you persevere 
in the work, by constantly continuing the fire, until the peacock's tail is quite 
consumed, while the matter of Luna becomes white and glittering' as snow, and 
the vessel attains its degree of perfection. Then at length you may break off a 
morsel of the regulus, and place it on a heated copper plate. If it remains firm 
and fixed there, and tinges it, then it is a fermentation brought to the highest 
perfection of Luna. That King has strength and power, not only for transmuting 
metals, but also for healing all infirmities. He is a King worthy to be praised, 
and adorned with many virtues, and so great power, that he transmutes Venus, 
Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury into Luna, which will stand all tests. He 
also frees the bodies of men from an infinite number of diseases, as fevers, 
the falling sickness, leprosy, the gallic disease, and many mineral ailments 
which no herbs or roots, or anything of that kind, can remove. Whoever 
uses constantly this medicament, prepares for himself a fixed, long, and 
healthy life. 


Concerning the Red Colour. 

After the King has assumed his perfect whiteness, the fire must be con- 
tinued perseveringly, until the whiteness takes a yellow tint, this beings the . 
colour which succeeds the white ; for so long as any heat acts on the white 
and drj' matter, the longer such action lasts, the more is it tinted with yellow 
and saffron colour, until it arrives at redness, like the colour of a rubj-. Then 
at last the fermentation is prepared for gold, and the oriental King is born, 
sitting in his seat, and powerful above all the princes of this world. 


Concerning Increase and Multiplication. 

The multiplying of this fermentation should be noted, which is performed 
in the following manner. Let it be dissolved in its own moisture, and after- 
wards subjected to the regimen of fire as before. It will act on its own 
humidity more quickly than it previously did, and will transmute into its own 
substance, just as a little leaven seems to transmute into leaven the whole of a 
large quantity of flour. Wherefore it is an unspeakable treasure on the earth, 
of which the universe has not the equal, as Augurellus witnesses. 


This secret was accounted by the old Fathers who possessed it as among 
the most occult, lest it should get into the hands of wicked men, who by its aid 
would be able more abundantly to fulfil their own wickedness and crimes. We, 
therefore, ask you, w hoever have attained to this gift of God, that, imitating 

88 The Hennciic and Alchemical IVriiiiigs of Pai'acelsiis. 

these Fathers, you will treat and preserve this divine mystery in the most secret 
manner possible, for if you tread it under foot, or scatter your pearls before 
swine, be sure that you will hear pronounced against you the severe sentence 
of God, the supreme avenger. 

But to those who, by the special grace of God, abstain most from all 
vices, this Art will be more constantly and more fully revealed than to any 
others. For with a man of this kind more wisdom is found than with a thou- 
sand sons of the world, by whom this Art is in no way discovered. 

Whoever shall have found this secret and gift of God, let him praise the 
most high God, the Father and Son, with the Holy Spirit. And from this God 
alone let him implore grace, by which he may be able to use that gift to God's 
glory and to the good of his fellow-man. The merciful God grant that this may 
be so for the sake of Jesus Christ His Son, and our Saviour ! 

Here ends the Book concerning the Spirits of the Planets. 

Elsewhere called the Genealogy of Minerals. 


ALTHOUGH order seems to demand that we should have treated of the 
generation of minerals and metals before speaking' of their transmu- 
tations : still, since theory cannot be more lucidly taught than by its 
practice, I have thought it best for those who study this art to begin from the 
very beginning. For, above all else, Alchemy is a subject which is not com- 
prised in mere words, but only in elaborate facts ; just as is the case with the 
rest of those arts, familiarity with which is gained rather by putting them in 
practice than by any mere demonstrations. It is true that these demonstra- 
tions do a very great deal for those who are some way advanced rather tl\an 
for initiates. For these it is best that from the very first they should have a 
finger in the pie (as the saying is), and gradually learn from the very mistakes 
they make. Nobody ever acquired even the easiest art without making such 
blunders ; and certainly no one will be able to follow up Alcherny without 
making mistakes before he gets at the truth. No one, again, will ever enter 
the true path so long as he holds back from the goal through fear of making 
a false step, or fails to correct his own errors by imitating the course of 
Nature. It will not be so easy to learn if we fail to compare alchemical with 
natural methods. So, then, it was thought well to let artificial Alchemy 
precede the natural, so that we may recall those who are venturing forth in 
this art to the genealogy of minerals, as if to a safe anchorage. It seemed 
opportune, nay, even necessary, to provide some such anchorage for this pur- 
pose in the case of those who are studying Alchemy. 


Concerning the Generation of Minerals. 

When I had most carefully read through the writings of the ancients 
concerning the generation of minerals, I found that they had not under- 

" This treatise in the recension here chosen for tr.inslation is not found in the Geneva folio, and is translated from 
another collection of the works of Paracelsus, namely, the Frankfort 8vo. of 158^. A corresponding treatise, entitled />*- 
Minerniibits, which is included in the Geneva edition, goes over much the same ground, and is, indeed, in parts identical 
with that given in the text. Uut at the same time, it has differences sufficiently marked to require that both vcniions 
should he provided . It will, accordingly, lie found In an appendix at the end of this volume, under the title of A Uook 
about Minerals, 

go The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

stood the ultimate matter thereof, and, in consequence, much less did 
they understand the primal matter. If the beginning of any matter is 
to be described, its end should first of all be noted down. I therefore 
determined first of all to lay before you the ultimate matter of minerals, and 
from this you will easily understand the primal matter whence they derive 
their origin. We may bring forward an example from Medicine, where a 
disease has to be studied from its issue and not from its origin. Of this 
latter there is no knowledge, because it was secretly introduced, and he who 
observes it is virtually blind. But the end is visible from the issue towards 
which we see that disease tending, as though towards a mark set up for it to 
aim at. Now a thing cannot be better judged than by getting to know for 
what end it was created by God ; otherwise it will often happen that the true 
use of this creation of God turns to its abuse. Whosoever, therefore, under- 
takes any work with anything ought thoroughly to understand that with which 
he works, so that he may accomplish his task in the order prescribed by God, 
lest on account of his imperfect knowledge or utter ignorance of the matter, 
thmgs may turn out ill, and the devil's work rather than God's be done, 
through abuse of the matter and of appliances. For a rough example, take 
the case of an axe or club in the hand of a man who does not know how to 
use the one or the other. They become mere instruments of destruction. He 
alone should handle such tools who knows how to use them, and how, 
out of the material he has, to construct something that shall be to his 
neighbour's benefit, and preserve that material for the purpose for which God 
created it. On this account God wills that everything He has created should 
be possessed by one who knows how to use it ; and every man ought to apply 
himself to that pursuit whereto he feels in his own conscience called, and not 
to learn some other fanciful thing suggested by the devil. 

Know, then, that the ultimate and also the primal matter'-^' of everything is 
fire. This is, as it were, the key that locks the chest. It is this which makes 
manifest whatever is hidden in anything. In this place, then, we understand 
by the ultimate matter of everything that into which it is dissolved by fire ; so 
that among the three universal things which I have discussed elsewhere in 
different places, this should he regarded as the first and predominating one. Vou 
have an illustration in the case of a metal dissolved in the fire. It at once makes 
it clear that its first beginning was Mercurial Water, not Sulphur, since its 
resolution is not accompanied with flame, as would be the case with resins. 
It is also proved not to be Salt, because the first sign of its resolution is not a 
crumbling besides liquefaction and flame, as would be the case with earth 
and stones. Every metal, it is true, contains within itself Sulphur and Salt, 

• I call the ultimate matter of anything that state in which the suhstancehas reached its highest grade of exaltation 
and perfection, as, for example, gold, when it Ueen separated from all superfluities, foreign matter, etc., and remains 
in its pure virtue, without any admixture, been educed into its ultimate mM^a.—Chirurgiii Mugnn, Pt. II., Tract 
II. c, II. I'"or example, every body m.lde from the first matter is compelled to metamorphose into the ultimate mat- 
ter. Thus the ultimate matter it* beginning in the end of the increase of the first matter. - Ilfui., IV.rt III., 
Lib. 111. 

The Economy of Minerals. 91 

but Mcrcurj' holds the principal place therein. Now, it has seemed good to 
God to create water an element, and that from it should be every day produced 
minerals for the use of men. Thus it becomes the mother of those things 
which are developed in her, as it were in her matrix; that is to say, Mineral 
Fire, Salt, and Mercury are formed into metals, stones, and all mineral 
substance, albeit the offspring is quite unlike the mother. In this way the 
Most High has created all things with their own nature : the birds of the air 
for one purpose, which is different from that of the fishes in the sea. And so 
of the rest. Everything is to be committed to His divine will. Who makes 
everj'thing as it is, and wills that what He makes shall be eternal. As, therefore, 
water is not like its metallic offspring, nor the son like the mother, in the same 
way the earth itself is, as it were, wood and not wood, because it comes from 
that same source. In the same way, stone and iron are produced from water, 
which, however, becomes such water as never before existed : and the earth, 
too, becomes something which in itself it is not. So also man must become 
that which he is not.* 

In a word, whatever is to pass into its ultimate matter must become 
something different from what its origin was— varied and diverse, though from 
one mother. Thus God willed to be One in all, that is, to be the one primal 
and ultimate matter of all things. He is such, and so wonderful, an original 
artificer of all things as never has existed, nor will another ever exist. As, 
then, you have now heard so far concerning the mother of the minerals, we 
will in the sequel teach you more fully. The ancients have falsely written 
that this is the earth ; but they have never been able to prove it. 


Concerning the Ultimate and Primal Matter of Minerals. 

The first principle with God was the ultimate matter which He Himself 
made to be the primal, just as a fruit which produces another fruit. It has 
seed ; and this seed ranks as primal matter. Likewise, out of the ultimate 
matter of minerals the primal element was made, that is, it was made into 
seed, which seed is the element of water. This resolves it, so that it becomes 
water. It has been entrusted to it by Nature, or so arranged that it should 
produce the ultimate matter, and this is in water. Nature, therefore, takes 
under its own power and separation whatever there is in water ; and what- 
ever relates to a metal it puts on one side by itself for each particular metal. 
So also for gems, stones, the magnet, and other things of that kind, each 
separately and according to its own kind. For as God has appointed to the 
wheat its proper time for harvest, and the autumntide for fruits, and to other 
things like these in their elements, so for the element of water He has 

• It is needful for man to b<: bom a second time from a virgin, not from a wife, by water and by the spirit. For the 
spirit vivifies that flesh wherein there is no death possible for ever. The flesh wherein death abides profits nothing, 
.and nothing towards eternal salvation can it confer upon man. — Fhilinofhia Sagax, Lib. II., c 2. 

92 The Hennetic and Alchemical Writitigs 0/ Paracelsus. 

willed that there shall be a proper season of harvest and autumntide ; and for 
all other things, each according to its kind, He has foreordained times for the 
collection of their fruits. So, then, the element of water is the mother, seed, 
and root of all minerals ; and the Archa;us therein is he who disposes every- 
thing according to a definite order, so that each comes to its ultimate matter, 
which at length man receives as a sort of artificial primal matter : that is, 
where Nature ends, there the Art of man begins, for Nature's ultimate matter 
is man's primal matter. After such a wonderful method has God created water 
as the first matter of Nature, so soft and weak a substance, yet from it as a 
fruit the most solid metal, stones, etc. — the very hardest from the very softest: — 
and so that from the water fire should issue forth, beyond the grasp of man's 
intelligence, but not beyond the power of Nature. God has created wonderful 
offspring from that mother, as appears also in men ; if they be looked at even 
in their mother, each will be found peculiar in his intellect and his properties, 
not according to his body, but according to his own state of constitution. 


Concerning the Field, the Roots, and the Trees of Minerals. 

The Most High created the element of water to be, as it were, a field in 
which the roots of mineral trees, springing forth from their seeds, should be 
fixed, and thence the trunk and the branches should be thrust forth over the 
earth. He separated it, therefore, from the other three, so that neither in the 
air, nor in the earth, nor in heaven, but placed on the lower globe, it should 
exist by itself as a free body, to be on the earth and to have its centre there 
where it was founded, created after such an admirable order that it should 
bear man upon it like the earth ; so that man borne in a ship should speed over 
the water and get possession of it. What is more marvellous still is that 
though it surrounds our globe in every direction, the water does not fall down 
from its own limits, though the part at our antipodes seems to hang downwards, 
just as our part seems to them, and yet each remains spread out a plane 
surface on its own sphere, wherever you look at it, as if some pit should be 
imagined which, descending perpendicularly to the abyss, should find no bottom 
nor be sustained by the earth. It is even more wonderful than the eg^ in its 
shell, provided with all that it requires. The generations of minerals, then, 
from the element of water are protruded into the earth, just as from the 
element of earth all fruits are pushed forward into the air, so that nothing but 
the root remains in the earth. Exactly so, all metals, salt, gems, stones, talc, 
marcasites, sulphurs, and every similar substance, pass from their mother, the 
water, to another mother, namely, the earth, in which the operation of their 
trees is perfected, while their roots are fixed in the water. For as those things 
which grow from roots in the earth are finished in the air, in like manner, those 
which derive their origin from the water are altogether completed by Nature 
in the earth, so that they reach, as the others did, their ultimate matter. The 

The Economy of Minerals. 93 

ancients, led astray by this opinion, because they saw that metals were found 
in the earth, were so little advanced that they did not see their error when, on 
the subject of minerals, they wrote that out of the earth grew nothing but 
wood, leaves, flowers, fruits, and herbs, and that everything else was produced 
from water. No less mythical was the saying of that man who asserted that 
all things which were produced on the earth had their origin from the air, because 
they are in the air and are perfected there, though he saw their roots in the 
earth. Because he did not see the roots of minerals with his bodily eyes he 
would even feign that they are fixed in the earth. Such is the physical science 
of the Greeks, deduced only from what is seen, recognising nothing occult by 
mental experiment. It is just a fiction of lazy men who presume to chatter 
about natural science from eyesight alone ; and who do not experiment so as 
to observe those occult things which underlie the things which are manifest, 
the one over against the other. 


Concerning the Fruits .\xd the H.\rvest of Minerals. 

Just as all the fruits of the earth have their harvest and autumn on the 
earth and in the air, according to the predestined time in their generation, so 
the fruits of the water, that is to say, minerals, are gathered at their own 
time of maturity. When the mineral root first germinates they rise to their 
own trunk and tree, that is, into the body from which minerals or metals are 
subsequently produced ; just as a nut or a cherry is not immediately produced 
from the earth, but first of all a tree, from which at length the fruit is 
generated. In like manner, Nature puts forth a mineral tree, that is, an 
aqueous body, in the element of water. This tree is produced in the earth so 
far as it fills the pores thereof, just in the same way as the earth itself fills the 
air. From this are eventually produced fruits according to the nature and 
property of its species, at the extremities of its branches, just as occurs in 
trees which we see on the surface of the earth. We must seek, then, first of 
all, for the aqueous tree, and by-and-by for its fruits, by a method not inaptly 
borrowed from agriculture, and in the following manner. Some of the visible 
trees produce their fruits covered up ; for instance, chestnuts under a prickly 
bark, walnuts under one that is green and bitter, under that a wooden 
covering, and under this again a bitter membrane, and then at last the kernel. 
So it happens in minerals, the kernels of which, that is to say, the metals, are 
separated just like those others by barks. Other trees produce their fruits 
naked, such as plums, cherries, pears, apples, grapes, etc., where there is no 
such separation as that just described. So also some aqueous trees produce 
their gold, silver, corals, and other metals of that kind, free and naked, 
according to the condition and nature of the water. \s we know by the rind 
what fruit lies concealed within it, and as the spirit is known by its body, just 
so, in the case of minerals, the spirit of the metal is recognised, though hidden. 

94 The Hermetic afid Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

beneath its corporeal or mineral bark. The spirit of the aqueous element 
produces the body, of one kind in the mineral, of a different kind in the fruit. 
Although, then, gold may be in a mineral body, nevertheless that body is of 
no moment ; it has to be separated from the g'old as impure, while the gold 
itself is pure. There are, therefore, in a mineral two bodies, of which one is 
the fruit, the pure body of gold, wherewith its spirit is inseparably 
incorporated. So the fruits are first introduced from the element into the 
tree, as the spirit into an impure body, and with that at last into the earth, as 
something noble and pure. The same thing is seen in man, to whom have 
been given two bodies, one corrupt, but the other incorrupt, which will be 
eternally united with him, since it is the image of God, and by its possession 
especially man differs from all other creatures.* 


Concerning the Death of the Elements, especially of Water. 

Elements die, as men die, on account of the corruption in them. As water 
at its death, as it were, consumes and devours its own fruit, so does the earth its 
own fruits. Whatever is born from it returns to it again, is swallowed up 
and lost, just as the time past is swallowed up by yesterday's days and nights, 
the light or darkness of which we shall never see again. It is no weightier 
to-day than yesterday, not even by a single grain, and will after a thousand 
years be of the same weight still. As it gives forth, so, in the same degree, 
it consumes. The death of the water, however, is in its own proper element, in 
that great terminus and centre of water, the sea, wherein the rivers, and what- 
ever else flows into it, die and are consumed as wood in the fire. Rivers, 
indeed, are not the element of water, but the fruit of that element, which is the 
sea ; from this thej' derive their origin, and in this they receive both their life 
and their death. 

Concerning the Death of the Tree of Minerals. 

After Nature has planted the mineral root of a tree in the centre of its 
matrix, whether to produce a metal, a stone, a gem, salt, alum, vitriol, a saline 
or sweet, cold or hot spring, a coral, or a marcasite, and after it has thrust 
forth the trunk to the earth, this trunk spreads abroad in different branches, 

* The flesh and blood which man received from Adam can in no wise enter into the kingdom of God. For nothing 
can ascend into heaven which did not come forth out, of heaven. Now the Adamic flesh is earth. Thus it cannot enter 
heaven, but is again converted into earth. It is mortal, subject to death, and nothing mortal can enter heaven. There 
is no fire which can purge it from its stains in such wise as to make it fit for heaven. It admits not of purging or glori- 
fying. At the same time, man cannot enter heaven unless he be true man, clothed upon with flesh and blood. For it is 
only by flesh and blood that man is distinguished from the angels, for, otherwise, both are of the same essence. Herein 
man hath more than the angels, in that he is endowed with flesh and blood, and for man was the Son of God born into 
the world ; for him He died upon the cross, that so man might be redeemed and m.ade eligible for the kingdom of heaven. 
But when God had thus shewn His love for man, his flesh still excluded him from heaven, whence He gave him another 
flesh and blood which was built up of the Son, and then this creature, not of the Father, but the Son, enters heaven. 
For the Adamic flesh is of the Father, and returns whence it came, though had Adam not sinned his body would have 
remained immortal in Paradise. But Christ, compassionating our calamity, gave us a new body. Of the spirit who 

The Economy of Minerals. 95 

the liquid of whose substance — both of branches and stalk — is formally neither 
a water, nor an oil, nor a lute, nor a mucilage ; in fact, it can only be conceived 
as wood growing out of the earth, which is, nevertheless, not earth, though 
sprung therefrom. They are spread in such a manner that one branch is 
separated from another by an interval of two or three climates and as many 
regions : sometimes from Germany to Hungary, and even beyond. The 
branches of the different trees of the same kind are extended over the whole 
sphere of the earth, just as the veins in the human body are extended into 
various limbs far apart from each other. But the fruits put forth by the 
extremities of the twigs, by the nature of the ultimate matter, soon fall to 
the earth. *There is a momentary coagulation of them, and then at length, 
when all its fruit is shed, this tree dies and is utterly consumed by dryness, 
its offspring being left in the earth. Afterwards, according to its state of 
nature, a new tree appears. So, then, the first matter of minerals consists of 
water ; and it comprises only Sulphur, Salt, and Mercur}'. These minerals 
are that element's spirit and soul, containing in themselves all minerals, 
metals, gems, salts, and other things of that kind, like different seeds in a bag. 
These being poured into water. Nature then directs every seed to its peculiar 
and final fruit, incessantly disposing them according to their species and genera. 
These and like things proceed from that true physical science, and those 
fountains of sound philosophy from which, through meditative contemplation 
of the works of God, arises the most intimate knowledge of the Supreme 
Creator and of His virtues. To the minds and mental sight of true philoso- 
phers, no less than to their carnal eyes, the clear light appears. To them the 
occult becomes manifest. But that Greek Satan has sown in the philosophic 
field of true wisdom, tares and his own false seed, to wit, Aristoteles, Albertus, 
Avicenna, Rhasis, and that kind of men, enemies of the light of God and of 
Nature, who have perverted the whole of physical science, since the time 
when they transmuted the name of Sophia into Philosophy.* 


Concerning the \'ari.\tion of the Pri.mal M.atter of Minerals, in 

proportion to the different species and indivipuals thereof : 

also concerning the various colours, etc. 

We have before said that the primal matter exists in its mother, just 
as if in a bag, and that it is composed of three ingredients meeting in one. 

gives life cometh forth a living flesh, wherein is no death but life. This is the flesh whereof man has need, that he may 
become a new man/ and in [his flesh and in that blood, at the last day, shall he arise, and shall possess the kingdom of 
heaven with Christ. Now, this flesh which has its life from the spirit w.-is first born, without the generation of m.alc 
seed, from a daughter of .\braham. by promise, and became man by the Holy Ghost, So, also, we who aspire to the 
kingdoai mtist be bom again out of a virgin and faith, incarnated by the Holy Spirit. Thus man must to eternity be 
flesh and blood; thus is there adual flesh—that which is Adamic and is nothing, and that of the Holy Spirit which i£ 
yvnXiC—Pkiloiopkia Sttgax. Lib. IL, c. 2. 

* So high and so lofty is human wisdom that it hath in its power all the stars, the firmament itself, and universal 
heaven. And as the power thereof pervades all the earth, so also it extends over heaven. The Sun and Moon are its 
subjects. Even as the hand changes and compels the soil, so also the inner microcosmus compels the zenith to obedi- 
ence.— />< Pestr, Lib. II., c. a. 

96 The Hermetic and Alchemical ]]')'itings oj Paracelsus. 

But there are as many varieties of Mercury, Salt, and Sulphur as there are 
different fruits in minerals. For a different Sulphur is found in lead, iron, 
gold ; in sapphire, and other gems ; in stones, marcasites, and salts ; likewise 
a different Salt in metals, salts, etc. So, too, is it with Mercury : one kind 
exists in gems, another in metals. Besides, in respect of the composition of 
these, different individuals are found under the same species. Gold is some- 
times found, one specimen heavier or more deeply coloured than another : and 
so of the rest. Moreover, there are as many Sulphurs of gold. Salts, and 
diversities of Mercury of gold, and of the others, as there are greater and 
lesser degrees. Nevertheless, all which among them receives particularity 
from the subject always is comprised under the universality of one and the same 
Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, mysteriously comprehended in universal Nature. In 
this respect Nature may be compared parabolically to a painter, who from some 
few colours paints an infinite number of pictures, no one exactly like another. 
The only difference is, that Nature produces living pictures, but the artist only 
imitates these. He represents the same things to the eye; but they are dead 
things. Now, all natural colours proceed from the Salt of Nature^ in which they 
exist together with the balsam of things and coagulation. Sulphur exhibits the 
-substance of bodies and their building up; Mercurj', their virtues and arcana. 
God alone assigns life to all, so that from every one should be produced that which 
He, from all eternity, had predestinated to be thence produced, as He 
determined and willed that all should be. Whoever, therefore, wishes to 
understand the bodies of natural things, let him learn from natural Sulphur that 
which he may first of all have well understood, if he seeks natural colours as the 
foundation from Salt. But if he wishes to know the virtues of things, he must 
scrutinise the arcana belonging to the Mercury of that thing whose virtues 
he wishes to learn. All these matters does that one and the same 
Nature at once embrace in one, and separate ; at the same time distributing, 
removing, or completely blotting out the colours from such. Consider, I 
beseech you, this tiny grain of seed, black or brown in colour, out of which 
grows a vast tree, producing such wonderful greenness in its leaves, such 
variegated colours in its flowers, and flavours in its fruits of such infinite variety ; 
see this repeated by Nature in all her products, and you will find her so 
marvellous, so rich, in her mysteries that you will have enough to last you all 
vour life in this book of Nature w ithout referring to paper books. If God, then, 
shews Himself to our discernment in Nature so powerful and so wise, how 
much more glorious will He reveal Himself by His Holy Spirit to our mind if 
we only seek Him ? This is the way of safety which leads from below to above. 
This is to walk in the ways of the Lord, to be occupied in admiring His works, 
and to carry out His will, so far as is in us, or as it should and can be in us. 
This has been my Academia, not Athens, Paris, or Toulouse. After I had read 
many deceitful books of wise men I betook myself to this one alone, from 
which I learnt all that I write, wbich also I know to be tn-e. Still, I confess, 
there are many more things which I do not know, but which will surge up to 

Tlie Economy of Minerals. 97 

the surface in God's own time. There is nothing so occult which shall not be 
revealed when the Almighty wills it so to be. 

This, however, I know, that after me will come a disciple of this school, 
one who does not yet live, but who will disclose many things. 

Concerning the Natural Dispenser of Minerals, and His Ministers. 

In the manufacture of minerals by men for preparing them and adapting 
them for use, not one man alone, but many in succession, are required, and 
each of these has his own special gift and duty. Who is benefitted by a metal 
being dug from the bowels of the earth, unless it be its separator, preparer, 
or liquefactor? What is he, again, without the smith? He, too, is of 
no avail without some buyer, nor the buyer unless there be someone 
who knows how to adapt those metals for use. Nature does not 
need all these ; but still she needs her own people. Among these is, 
first of all, Archeus, the dispenser of minerals, who has ministers under 
him.* He himself, the minister of Nature, has the following : the first, who 
exhibits the corporeal matter into which the operation falls, namely, the 
mineral Sulphur, is this or that condition and nature ; a second, who fabricates 
the properties and virtues, and operates on the previously existing matter, say, 
for instance, Mercury ; a third, who, by compaction and coagulation, unites 
all the single portions together into one body, that is to say, the Salt, which 
is the confirmer of the work. When Sll these are brought together into one, 
and enclosed in an athanor, Archeus decocts them, exactly as the seed in the 
earth ; and not only so, but they are decocted mutually together, one with the 
other, in the following manner : The Sulphur submits its body to the other 
two, that they may do with it what they will, and lead to that end whereto is 
destined that which has to be done. Mercury is added with the properties of 
its virtues, and this is decocted by the other two. When all the decoctions of 
this kind are fulfilled, then, at length, the salt begins to operate on the other 
matters associated with it, and on itself. By first condensing, afterwards 
congealing, and, lastly, coagulating, it strengthens the work for its autumn 
and harvest, so that nothing is wanting except a harvester and a smith. 

Briefly, then, we have gone through the whole genealogy of minerals, 
it remains that we specially, but still concisely, hear the force and virtue of 
each in Alchemy and in Medicine respectively, so far as it is necessarj- to learn 
these for the aforesaid faculties. I would admonish my readers to put aside 
for awhile the mere dreams and opinions of others who romance about these 
things, until they see that they are only philosophers on paper, not in Nature, 
who have been taught by men like themselves, and with the same amount of 

• Archeus is Nature and the dispenser of things. — AtinotatioHts try Ljitvs dttos de Tnrtnro. The anatomy of the 
Art:heus is the anatomy of life. - Fragmenta Anatomitf. Archeus is the separator of the elements and of .all those 

things which exist in them, dividing each thing from the rest, and gathering it into its own pl.-\cc.— /?<■ EUmento Aqutr^ 
Tr.act II.. c. 1. 


98 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

learning', to think by rote and not by experience, while they shew themselves 
to others such as they really are. Though they may not care to see, I will 
still place them so that at least they may perceive the light and nature and 
life more easily, without being disturbed through the darkness of death. 
Beginning, then, from the first principles of minerals, which are Salts, we will 
run through each, that is to say, right up to the very end of the metals. 


Concerning the Virtues and Properties of Salts in Alchemy and 

IN Medicine. 

God, in His goodness and greatness, willed that man should be led by 
Nature to such a state of necessity as to be unable to live naturally without 
natural Salt. Hence its necessity in all foods. Salt is the balsam of Nature,* 
which drives away the corruption of the warm Sulphur with the moist Mercury, 
out of which two ingredients man is by Nature compacted. Now, since it is 
necessar)' that these prime constituents should be nourished with something 
like themselves, it follows as a matter of course that man must use ardent 
foods for the sustenance of his internal Sulphur ; moist foods for nourishing 
the Mercury, and salted foods for keeping the Salt in a facultj' for building up 
the body. Its power for conservation is chieflysel'ii li] Ihe liiLl that il Ireeps 
dead flesh for a very long time from decay ; hence it is easy to guess that it 
will still more preserve living flesh. Coming, at length, to its kinds, there 
are three which are considered specially useful for man's life. The first of 
these is Marine Salt, the second is Spring Salt, and the third Mineral Salt. 
Spring Salt is chiefly conducive to health ; in the second place, iSIineral Salt ; 
and, lastly. Marine Salt. This last and the first are decocted by Art, the other 
only by Nature. This and the Marine Salt are not comprised under the nature 
of muria (brine), but that which is decocted is first of all turned thereinto, before 
it is separated from the water into coagulated salt. There are, therefore, two 
descriptions of Salt to be put forward by us, one from muria, the other from 
wholly refined salt. But, first, consideration should be given to that condition 
which is common to every Salt. Where Salt has not been used with foods there 
is no correction ; and if tlie stomach receives those foods it is unable to 
digest them. There is in Salt an expulsive force, acting through the 
excrement or through the urine, and unless these are kept in their regular 
course and motion, all the vital faculties are prostrated in their endeavours 

* White vitriol, red vitriol, cuprine vitriol, rock alum, alumen plumosum, alumen scissum, alumen entali, alumen 
usnetum, sal gemm^, rock salt, mountain salt, sea salt, spring salt — all these species originate from the salt of the 
three prime principles, and arc subject to calcination, reverberation, or sublimation. Now, if all these things subsist in 
a proper proportion or, so to speak, essence, they are called by one universal name, liquor of Nature, or liquor of salt, 
or balsam of salt. Besides these, there are arsenic, realgar, ogertum, black auripigmcnt (that is, orpiment), antimony, 
mercury, asphalt. These, in like manner, are subject to calcination, reverberation, distillation, etc., and if they subsist 
wholly in one essence they .are called the balsam of Nature, the liquor of Mercury, or the balsam of Mercury. Finally, 
there are the various species of sulphur, petroleum, cajabe. pitch, etc., which are also subject to the same processes, and 
if they suHsist unseparated in a single essence they are called the tincture of Nature, liquor of ifulphur, or balsam of 
sulphur. — Ffagwenta Meiiica, No. 3, 

The \ Economy 0/ Minerals. 99 

and in their powers of expulsion. The blood is in its own nature salt, and 
does not receive unsalted nutriment. If it does, throug-h extreme hunger, 
sometimes receive such, it passes away to decay. In order that such a fault 
might be avoided, Salt has been appointed as an addition to alimentary foods, 
so that the natural outlets may not be obstructed, or the members be deprived 
of their due nutriment. Moreover, there lies hid in Salt a solvent faculty for 
opening the obstructions which accidentally occur in the pores of the skin, and 
driving them out by resolving them into urine. The urine is only the salt of 
the blood, that is, the salt from the natural salt which is associated with 
the microcosmic salt, and so they both act powerfully for the expulsion of 
the excrements. Now, this natural conjunction can only be made when 
tempered with a proper quantity of alimentarj- salt, otherwise through the 
stoppage they easily remain and adhere somewhere. Every physician ought 
to know the power there is in Salt as a medicine, especially when he wishes to 
purge the natural Salt. Let him more freely prescribe this, especially the kind 
that comes from gems, which, above all others, has the faculty of attacking 
and expelling this natural Salt. The operations of these three different kinds 
of Salt should be carefully watched in practice, a method which opens the 
eyes far better than any letter or description. 


Concerning Muri.\. 

I just now mentioned two kinds of Salt, Muria and dry Salt. First of all, 
Muria has the greatest power of drying up all superfluous moisture. It does 
more in one hour than dry Salt could effect in a month. Although this has 
been reduced to Muria, it has not the same power as the natural in curing 
moist gout, dropsy, moist tumours of the tibia, and other tumours as well, in 
a word, for consuming all unnatural leprous liquids. Its heat should be so 
tempered that a patient could sit in it as in a bath without injury. The proof 
of perfection in Muria is that an Qg,^ shall swim on its surface when thrown 
into it. It should be noticed that a bath of this kind is only adapted for stout 
people. People who are of a spare habit should not use it, as it dries up too 
much. If after one or two baths the tumours return, it would be best to live 
for a time in those places where the decoctions of Murise and Salt are made. 


Concerning Dry S.\lt. 
There are various species of dry Salts, such as the common sort used 
with food, that from gems, stones, and earths, and that which comes through 
the cones of congelated bodies. Note the common virtue of each. If any one 
of them be mixed with Sulphur and applied to wounds as a plaster, and then 
as a lotion, it keeps them from worms, and even if the worms have already 
been produced, it drives them away and prevents any more from coming. By 


loo TJie Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracehtis. 

cleansing alone, and without the use of any medicament, Nature heals 
wounds, unless any complication prove an obstacle to the free action of the 
natural balsam. In Salts of this kind is a great remedy for ulcers, scabies, 
and the like, if they are resolved in baths. The power of Muria is much 
stronger, and this can be increased by dissolving Salt in it. The same is useful 
for curing baldness, and other ailments of that kind, especially if these Salts 
are corrected by addition, or increased in power by the following method : 
Take equal quantities of dry Salt and Salt of Urine,* as much as you will, let 
them be calcined together for two hours, and let Muria afterwards be dissolved; 
or let them be put by themselves in a cold, damp place. They will exhibit 
artificial Muria very little less strong than the natural in external surgical 
cases, but much weaker in internal cures. The aforesaid Salts will never be 
found in any other things, even though the alcali be decocted from them. 
This Salt is not like those before named, but is called the alcali of natural 
things or Corporeal Salt, because it is fed by the salts of nutriment in the 
human body, or by the preceding, even the dry and specially nutritive ones. For 
Alchemy, the Water of Salt is made from the same kind of Salts calcined into 
a spirit in a vessel where gold is dissolved into an oil and separated from it so 
that it remains excellent and potable — Drinkable Gold. Before it arrives at 
this final condition, as we have heard from jewellers and ironmasters, it is an 
excellent artifice for gilding silver or iron, and would be a constant treasure 
if they only knew how to prepare it chemically. It should be remarked, too, 
concerning pure Salt, congelated by Nature alone either into cones or into the 
salt of a gem, that this is particularly adapted for the ordinary cementations 
of silver, and renders the metal malleable without the customary burnings. 
It does the same with copper by means of a cement reduced to a regulus. 


Concerning S.\lt Nitre. 

There is also another kind of salt which is called nitre. t It is composed 
naturally of the natural salt of animals' bodies, and the salt of nutriment in 
those bodies combined. One salt having thus been formed from two, the 
superfluity is decocted into urine, and, falling on the earth, is again decocted 
in due course. The two constituents are more and more closely united, so 
that from them results one single and perfect salt through the chemical separa- 
tion brought about by artificial decoction from its earth. It shews itself very 
clearly in the form of cones or of clods, provided it be thoroughly separated 
from the superfluous nutrimental Salt not yet digested by the animal decoction 

• Every urine is a resolved salt.— Z>c ^K(//(-/(J Urhitiruiti, Lib. II. Salt passes into urine. — /^^ Ttir/urer, Lib. 

I., Tract III., c. r, exprsiiio, 

t Nitre fornis in the pens and stables where cattle make water. For the earth whereon they make water is after- 
wards cooked and the salt nitre obtained from it. For all urine is salt. — Df Tar.firt}, Lib. I., Tract III., a/ino!ationes 
tH c 2. Nitre is excrement and the dead body of esile and nutrimental matter. And this dead body is that out of 

which putrefaction grows. — Fragmenta Medka, De Tararo Kitreo, It is an essential spirit and excrement of all 

salts, possessing a hermaphroditic nature.— /?r Ptstiliinte, Tract I. 

The Economy of Minerals. iO[ 

when it is driven off into the urine. In Alchemj- its use is very frequent. I' 
would be idle to recount how great was the violence which a first experiment 
demonstrated therein with disastrous result, when it was compounded with 
sulphur and formed into blasting powder, whence it has been deservedly called 
terrestrial lightning. In the same way, from the salt of the liquor of the earth, 
which is an universal natural balsam, by which all things arc built up in their 
special combinations, returning at length from this by resolution into the earth 
again — there is produced, as was stated above, a single salt, which afterwards 
percolating through the pores of the earth is coagulated in the form of cones 
of ice adhering to the rocks, from which circumstance it changed its name of 
Nitre into Saltpetre. Neither the one nor the other is particularly useful as an 
internal medicine, except in the way of reducing too obese bodies ; nor is it a 
ver)- safe remedy, unless the two are mixed with Salt of Copper, or else the 
three are subjected to a process of extraction, and formed into one body for 
employment in this special way. 


Concerning the III Effects of Nutrimental S.\lt. 

All salt used with food which has not been digested by the stomach, 
which also on being expelled has passed down into the intestine, unless it 
makes a thorough transit, generates colic and suffering in the bowels which 
are verj- difficult to cure. Its corrosive nature causes it sometimes to per- 
forate the intestines, as is shewn by anatomy. If, however, it remains un- 
expelled in the stomach, eructations and heartburns arise, with many other 
affections of the stomach. It sometimes happens, too, that the undigested 
Salt is coagulated in the mesaraic veins, forming a granular deposit, from 
which proceed many severe diseases which are little understood, and that not 
only in this particular part of the body but in others also, especially the urinary 
organs. Enough has been said on the different species of salts, their virtues 
and their faults. We now pass on to that salt which is more mineral in its 
character, and is named Vitriol. It excels all others by its utility, both in 
.\lchemy and in Medicine. 


Concerning Vitriol.* 

Nature produces from the bowels of the earth a certain kind of salt, named 
X'itriol, possessed of such virtues and powers as can scarcely be described to the 
full by any. In it are contained perfect cures for the jaundice, gravel, calculus, 

* An important \-ariation of this and the following chapters on Wtriol occurs in the Geneva folio. Concerning the 
LSE OF VITRIOLATED OIL IN Alchemv; and in like manner concerning its crude form. Byway of saying something about 
the hidden alchemical powers in Vitriol, 1 would first of all submit to you, concerning cru de vitriol, that ea ch separate 
kind of cr ude vi ir i ol m n k-ps copper out of iron. It is not the .\lchemist who does this, but Nature or Vitriol by the operation 
of the .\lchemist. In the light of Nature it is the subject of no small wonder to observe how any metal, as it were, 
puts off itself and becomes something else. It is really very much the same as if a woman should be produced from a 
man. In these matters, however, Nature has her own peculiar privileges conferred upon her bj* God, for the benefit of 

102' ■ The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

fevers, worms, the falling sickness, and many other diseases which are very diffi- 
cult to treat, and arising from obstructions, as we shall describe at greater length 
below. In both faculties, that is to say, in Medicine and in Alchemy, it pro- 
duces marvellous effects, varying according to the method of its preparation. 
As from one log of wood different images are carved, so from this body various 
most excellent medicines are prepared, not only for internal disorders but also 
for surgical cases, such as ringworm and leprosy. In a word, whatever other 
remedies are not able to effect against diseases, on account of their own weak- 
ness, this it does from the very foundation by removing the cause of the disease. 
Some of its powers it puts forth in a crude state, others when it is reduced to 
water, others when it is calcined, others when it is reduced to a green oil, 
others in the form of a red oil ; others, again, it possesses when in the form of 
a white oil. It assumes new powers with every fresh form of preparation 
which it receives. It can serve for a fourth part of all the diseases and all the 
drugs ever thought of. There is no need for the true physician to turn his 
eyes hither and thither. Like a modest maid, he can keep them fixed on the 
ground, for there, beneath his feet, he will find more power and wealth in this 
treasure of Nature than India, Egypt, Barbary, and Greece could bring him. 


Concerning the Species of Vitriol and the Tests of it. 

The species of Vitriol are as varied as the mines or sources from which it 
is extracted. The tests of its greater or less excellence vary in equal proportion. 
First, if it tinges an iron plate to the colour of copper, the more deeply it does 
so, the better it is considered. But this is the highest of all kinds. Secondly, 
when it is taken internally in a crude form it drives out intestinal worms better 
than any other medicine, and the more elTectually it does this the better it is 

man. I say this concerning transmutation in order to m.ike you understand how that envious philosopher, Aristotle, in 
llis philosophy, has no sure foundation, but is simply fatuous. I will lay before you, in due course, the recipe itself, so 
that in all parts of the German n.ation you may know how to make copper out of iron. From this power of transmuta. 
tion we can easily gather that many other transmutations are possible, though they are at present unknown to us. It 
cannot be denied that many arts are still occult, and that these are not revealed by God because we are not worthy of 
knowing them. Of course the change of iron into copper is not of the same importance as the change of iron into goRIr 
God manifests the lesser, but the greater is kept occult until the time of knowledge and of Elias who is to come. For 
these arts are not without their Elias. The following is the recipe for transmutation : Take raspings or filings of iron, 
without any other metal, sucli .is copper, tin, etc., one pound ; add quicksilver, half a pound. Put both into an iron 
pan or pot ; pour over them one measure of acctum and a quarter of a pound of vitriol, with one ounce and a half of sal 
armoniac. Let these be boiled together and constantly well stirred with wood. If the acetum be expended, pour in 
some more and add fresh vitriol. By tliis decoction the iron is transmuted into copper. If the copper is made it all 
passes away to tlie quicksilver. Having continued the decoction for ten or twelve hours, then separate as much of the 
quicksilver as is left from the iron, and wash it carefully so that it may be quite clean. Receive the quicksilver in a bag 
made of soft leather or cotton and squeeze it out. Then you will see an amalgam left. Let that amalgam expend 
itself, and you will find pure and good copper. Of this copper take half an ounce and the same quantity of silver. Let 
them pass into .a state of flux or liquefaction, and the silver will forthwith ascend to the sixteenth degree. And this is the 
method of proving that such copper is made from iron. It is not, however, true that the grades .are fixed. Put whoever 
can work well with regale will be abundantly rcw.arded. Everything in this operation depends on skill in working. This 
is where most operators fail. By the above-mentioned process you can always m.ake copper out of iron. I mention 
this to confirm the transmutation of one body into another. The nature of vitriol is such that if its colcothar be cal- 
cined it is at once, even with slight liiiuefaction, turned into copper. A remarkable cuprine nature is in it, and there 
is also an equally remarkable vitriolic nature in copper. If the copper be dissolved in aqua fortis and granulated, all 
the copper becomes vitriol. There is no more copper left. So, also, copper is made out of vitriol, and no more vitriol 

The Economy of Minerals. 103 

considered to be as a medicine. A third test is when it transmutes iron into 
copper. The more perfectly and the more rapidly it does this, the better 
should it be esteemed in both faculties, for there is the greatest affinity 
between these two metals. Nor is this remarkable when by means of borax 
water quicksilver is made in like manner from lead. There are other kinds of 
cachimiae which convert metals ; and besides these there is a fountain in 
Hungary, or rather a torrent, which derives its origin from Vitriol, 
nay, its whole substance is Vitriol, and any iron thrown into it is at 
once consumed and turned to rust, while this rust is immediately 
reduced to the best and most permanent copper, by means of fire 
and bellows. A fourth test is when its red colcothar, subjected to a strong 
fire, exhibits copper of itself. This is comparatively weak in Medicine, but of 
great excellence in Alchemy. We must not omit to speak of its colours. 
That which is altogether coerulean is not so strong in medicine as that which 
under the same colour has red and j^low spots mixed together. That which 
is of a pale sky blue colour should be selected before all others for the prepar- 
of the green and the white oil. That which inclines to a red or dark yellow 
colour is best for preparing the red oil from it. The last test is when with 
gall nuts it makes a very black and dark ink. This should be selected in 
preference to all the others. The species, therefore, are reckoned according 
to the tests. 


Concerning the Virtues of Vitriol, Crude or C.\lcined, in Medicine. 

For the most severe pains in the stomach and discomforts arising from 
the inordinate use of food or drink, exhibit crude Vitriol to the extent of six 
cometz or three drops, say, three grains. To weak patients it should be 
administered in wine or in water, to stronger ones in distilled wine. It purges 

remains, unless it be reconverted into vitriol by a sufficient quantity of aquafortis. Tliis kind of kinship between \-itriol 
and copper is remarkable. Whatever is of the nature of copper gives good vitriol. Thus verdigris gives good and 
_Jlighly graduated blue vitriol. Although for us to discuss these matters at any length would perhaps be ridicu- 
lous, still none cin deny that there is latent in vitriol a tincture, which is of much higher excellence than most people 
imafHne. Happy he who understands this matter \ Note other facts about the oil of vitriol. If the oil of quicksilver 
and this oil of vitriol be joined and thus coagulated according to their own special process, a sapphire of marvellous 
nature and condition is produced- It is not. indeed, the sapphire stone, but like it, with a wonderful tinge, concerning 
which I have much more to say. Hence it is e\'ident that stupendous secrets lie hidden in Nature and in the different 
creations of Nature or of God ; and it would be much more to our credit if we looked into these and investigated them, 
instead of indulging in revelry and debauchcrj-. At present the palm is given to debauchery-, until one-third pan of 
mankind or of the population of the world shall be killed, another shall be finished off by disease, and the remaining third 
only shall be saved and sur\ive. In the present condition of depravity the world cannot last or the arts flourish. It 
must needs be that the present condition and order of things go to destruction and be altogether eliminated, otherwise no 
good thing can be compassed. Then at last will flourish the Golden Age : that is, then at last man will use his intelli- 
gence and live as a man, not as a brute ; nor will he act the swine, or live in caves and dens of the earth. Since, then, 
I have so far communicated to you these facts about vitriol, with every good disposition. I now pray you all. that when 
>-ou see those unlucky and unhappy creatures suffering from critical disease, for the sake of your own conscience, for 
God's glory, and the love of your neighbour, you will seriously reflect and not despise or lightly esteem the gifts im- 
planted by God in \-itriol. Let love constrain you. so that by night and by day you may be occupied herein, and none 
be found taking his ease, but all ready to do anything for his neighbour's good. Will this not move you lawyers 'i 
Listen to what Christ says ; '■ Woe unto you, lawj-ers ! " This saying is not effete. Nor do you theologians place a 
stumbling block in the way, you who think so much more of your returns and your salaries than about your sick folk. 
These are they who pass by on the Jericho road. Be you like the Good Samaritan, and follow the example of his virtue. 
Then God will so enlarge your gifts that in helping the sick you shall suffer no lack. All that you need shall be given 
you. You only sell th'is treasure I 

I04 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

out every failing from the roots, driving it up and down. In arcana it is 
called Vitriol Grillus, or Grilla. Neither hellebore, nor colocynth, nor 
digridion purge so strongly or cure so perfectly as this, nor have they the 
same faculty for driving out worms. For curing the falling sickness, too, the 
purgation by Vitriol is of all methods the best. These properties accrue to it 
from its twofold nature, that is to say, its acetosity and its saltness. On this 
account it is a much nobler medicine than others. Its colcothar, or, as they 
call it, its red Caput Morttmm, should not be taken internally, unless as an 
adjunct to surgical treatment for putrid ulcers of the first grade of malignity ; 
but its oil may be taken for those of the second or third grade. Its medicinal 
virtues are contained in other medical books, as, for instance, in the treatise 
entitled De Naturalibus Rebus. Here we had intended only to treat 
and to bring to one focus what it does for Alchemy in the way of trans- 
mutation. Sometimes medical topics tempt one to stray from one's set 
purpose. Let us see, then, what Vitriol does in Alchemy beyond the 
transmutation of iron into copper, as we described above, giving the formula 
at the outset. Although, then, it is not so difficult a work to transmute iron 
into gold, God wills that the lesser operations shall be performed^firsty-aiid 
that the greater ones should remain occult until the Elias of the Art ar rives. 

All arts have some one person specially their own, as is understood in other 
arts. Now, take one pound of iron filing, without the admixture of any other 
metal, and half-a-pound of Mercury. Over these pour one measure of the 
strongest Acetum, with a quarter of a pound of Vitriol. Throw in an ounce 
and a half of Sal Armoniac. Boil all together, and stir constantly with a 
wooden spoon. As the Acetum wastes pour on fresh, and also Vitriol. After 
twelve hours let the chief part of the Iron which has been transmuted be 
entirely separated with Mercury from the other part of the Iron which has not 
been transmuted ; and when the Mercury has been pressed out by a leather, 
there will remain a paste of amalgam, and when this is reduced by fire it 
exhibits the purest copper. Half an ounce of this is at once mixed with an 
equal part of silver, six degrees being held back, though not fixed but ready 
to be fixed in regale, so that therefrom the industrious Artist may have 
moderate gain for food and clothing. Vitriol is also made from \'enus, 
dissolved by means of aquafortis and granulated. This does not return again 
to copper. So also from the colcothar of vitriol \'enus is made (as we have 
mentioned above among the tests), which is not brought back to vitriol of 
itself except by a special water. Verdigris, in like manner, exhibits a Spagyric 
Vitriol of highest degree. In Vitriol so great and powerful a tincture lurks as 
an inexperienced person could scarcely believe, though he can who under- 
stands its arcana. As often as Oil of Vitriol is mixed with Oil of Mercury, 
and both are coagulated together, they change to a stone of wonderful tint 
and condition, very like a sapphire. 

Having dealt with the Salts, let us now pass on to Sulphur. 

The Econoviy of Minerals. 105 


Concerning the Threei-old Sulphlk of Minerals. 

Sulphur should properly be called the resin of the earth, and in it are 
latent numberless virtues available in both faculties, though its crude form is 
useful in neither. Its arcanum alone, when cleansed from impurities, operates 
in a wonderful way, having beeij washed to that whiteness which is seen in 
snow, by means of the Isopic art. It has as many different virtues as it has 
variety of sources : for every metal or mineral contains Sulphur in itself. As 
we said above, under the similitude of chestnuts and other nuts, that minerals 
were likewise enclosed in their rinds, and that the chief excellence lay concealed 
in their nucleus, which is sustained and nourished by the external integuments, 
so with regard to Sulphurs, it must be understood that it is the interior one 
which excels the others, and is Spagyrically termed embryonated, on account 
of its specific origin, as being the Sulphur of gold, stone, etc. The external 
Sulphur, in which the embryonated lies concealed, is our mineral. There is 
also a third -kind, extracted from the nuclei of minerals or of metals, which 
cannot have a better name in the art than " animated " and " Spagyric." It 
is of universal application in both faculties. In order to better comprehension, 
the first Sulphur, which we have said to be a resin of the earth, as it were, the 
mother and the father of other sulphurs, we name universal. The second 
kind is where it assumes a metallic or mineral appearance, but it is now em- 
bryonated ; the third, which is repurged from these and exists Spagyrically 
pure from all superfluities, is Animated Sulphur. There are two conditions of 
-this embrj'onated Sulphur which are worthy of notice. One, passing from 
the fixed stage, is made volatile ; the other is a pure and living fire which 
destroys with equal facility a log of wood or a disease. The extraction of the 
embryonated Sulphur is brought about either by sublimation or by descent. 
But sometimes it is not found mixed naturally with other ingredients, so that 
being unable through its great subtlety to stand the heat of the fire in prepara- 
tions of this kind, it has to be extracted from its minerals by means of aqua- 
fortis, and afterwards coagulated. This, when set aside according to its true 
concordance, contains within itself a golden nature, on which account it is to 
be sought before all others in Alchemy, because it easily admits of fixation, 
nay, it fixes the gold in cements, and in other metals where it is not yet mature 
or volatile. But gold is vainly sought therefrom unless it shall have previously 
existed there by Nature. It contains no silver, but only gold, one containing 
more than another, as in the embryonate of Venus, of red talc, of gold or 
iron marcasite, these rarely lack gold. Now, whoever wishes to turn his 
hand to these things, let him first of all remember and carefully note to 
separate Sulphur of this kind from gold with the greatest activity, and cleverly 
withal, so that nothing shall perish with the gold. I could say more than 
this, but I must be silent. If it were not diametrically to oppose the will of 
God, it would be the easiest thing possible to make all rich alike by a very 

io6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

few words, and to fulfil the wishes of everybody. But since riches altogether 
lead aside the poor from the right path, taking away humility and piety, and 
putting pride and self-sufficiency in their place, together with petulance and 
incontinence, one would rather hold one's tongue, leaving poverty as a bridle 
against these faults in those who are at once poor and greedy of wealth. To 
come lo mineral Sulphur. The leader of our Art has directed his disciples to a 
recognition of this fact, that nothing can be generated from the woman with- 
out her husband. They ha\e seen, therefore, that this Art is the father which 
arranges all things. He has summoned the spirit of transmutation whereby 
the mineral Sulphur is joined to linseed oil, and thence, by means of decoction 
a certain form results in the shape of a liver or a lung, and from thence 
afterwards a twofold liquid, one as white as milk, thick and oily ; the other 
like oil, very red and as thick as blood ; but both of such a nature that one 
will not mix with the other. The white liquid sinks to the bottom, the red 
floating on the surface. Attempts have been made to go farther, and make a 
white tincture from the white liquid ; but to no purpose. I know that nothing 
has been done or can be done in this way, because the matter is weak and use- 
less for this Art. But any crystal or beryl placed therein at the proper time, and 
remaining there for three years at least, is transmuted into a stone very like a 
jacinth. Likewise a ruby, which has not been sufficiently tinted by Nature, is, in 
course of time, rendered so clear and bright that it shines by night like a natural 
carbuncle, and wherever it is placed it can be found at night without a light. 
The same result follows with a jacinth ; and in the sapphire the ccerulean 
colour is increased beyond the natural hue, with a translucent green tint 
inserted. It is also a most excellent tincture for other gems, as well as for 
Luna. If this be placed therein, it grows black, and lays aside the calx 
of Sol, though it be not fixed until it has arrived at its complete stage of per- 
fection. Enough on this topic. Whoever wishes to work with this tincture, 
must first learn by means of Alchemy carefully to accomplish its preparation. 
It is well nigh the most difficult of all alchemical operations so far as prepera- 
tion is concerned. This oil excels only in tints. In the greater virtues it is not 
so much to be trusted for acting, because there is a tincture of colour onlj- in 
it, not of virtue. Some perspns have tried also to extract tinctures from the 
metals. They have failed ; but it would not be well to set down here the 
cause of their failure. This, however, is very certain, whoever has the 
Tincture of Sol, will be able to bring the body of gold beyond its natural 
degree, that is to say, from twenty-four to the thirty-six, and beyond, so 
intensely that it cannot ascend higher, though it still remains constant and 
fixed in antimony and in every quartation. The Sulphur of Luna, too, exalts 
its own body to such a degree that Venus, with an equal weight of this 
Luna, is taken for the Lydian stone. The Sulphur of \'enus fixes copper, so 
that it will stand the test of lightning, but,- nevertheless, it does not tinge. 
With the Sulphur of Saturn [it is transmuted into] the best steel ; with the 
Sulphur of Jupiter, into excellent iron. So, too, tin is fixed with its own 

The Eco7iomy of Mhicrals, 107 

Sulphur, so that it stands lightning, and Saturn is strengthened and fixed by 
its own [sulphur], so that it no longer affords any ceruse, or minium, or spirit. 
The Sulphur of Mercur}- renders its own body malleable, so that it bears the 
ignition of Venus, but not its ashes. The Sulphur of Sol tinges Luna, but 
does not fix it. There occur also w*ith the other sulphurs transmutations of 
things put in them into some other bodies than their own. But this experi- 
ment does not turn out as desired. It should be remarked, meanwhile, that 
Sulphur demands a ver)- expert operator, not a mere boaster or charlatan. 


Concerning Arsenic used for Alchemy.* 

It seems right to connect Arsenic generically with Sulphurs rather than 
with Mercuries, and to treat it immediately after Sulphurs. Some old chemists, 
or rather sophists, labouring at chemistry, swelling with jaundice, that is, 
with desire of gold, and a sort of yellow dropsy, when they saw in arsenic the 
white Tincture of Venus, and the red tincture in the calamine stone, believing, 
too, that the true arcanum of the stone was contained in these, thought the 
white and red electrum were silver and gold until they found out the 
contrary by tests, and learnt that they had been engaged in a vain w^ork. And 
not content with that they went on perversely in order to arrive at fixation, and 
persevered until they had neither house nor possession left. They had wrought 
a transmutation in themselves rather than in the metals ! And what wonder ? 
They approached this work without judgment, and possessing no knowledge 
of minerals and metals, as so many of those who embark in the Art at the 
present day do. Since the time when the name of electrum given by the 
ancients passed into oblivion, there has forthwith followed the ruin of those 

■ In this case, also, the Geneva folio offers considerable variations from the text as it stands above. Concerning 
THE Alchemical Virtues in Arsenic— A certain name was invented and put forth by our ancestors, namely, 
electrum. Electrum is a metal proceeding from another metat, and unlike the metal from which it descends. For 

^example; Copper turns tOJKhitcjnetaL W hen it s redne&s is removed it Is called electrum. In like manner, from 

copper, by means of cadmia, is made orichalcum, and this is called red electrum. These different kinds of electrum 
certain alchemical sciolists and artists reckoned as silver, and sometimes took in place of gold : nor did they understand 
or believe anything else save that this was silver, and so that silver could be produced fiom copper. Omitting the name 
of electrum, they took it for silver or for gold, and did not leave off their Investigations so long as a house or a court 
remained. I point out this in order that error may be avoided, and that due consideration may be given to the qucs* 
tions, What is electrum ? what is gold ? and what U silver ? and that in tliis way no rash measures may be taken. 
Now, I will lay before you a certain medicament. Take the metal arsenic, prepared in a metallic way ; cement the 
same with Venus in the usual manner, and you will find a l.irge quantity of electrum in the copper. No one need incur 
great expense for thb substance, because it costs a good deal to make electrum. So, then, it is better to leave copper 
as copper in its own form. In no respect is its electrum better, but rather commoner. So by dissolving it in graduated 
water it leaves a cal.\. It is not that silver is produced, but electrum ; .ind it is rendered so subtle that nothing what- 
ever remains, but it vanishes, and because it is not fixed it is consumed. Thus not only in copper, but also in iron, tin, 
steel, etc., a residuum is left ; but nothing of a fixed character is present, and in this way many arc deceived. 
Eventually matters came to this crisis, that electrum lost its name and was called silver, whereupon there began for 
the alchemists dcstruciion, exile, miser>', and disappointed hopes. There are many recipes of this kind which it is not 
necessary- to recount. They are well known to artists who follow me in this chapter, who also have well weighed their 
own error in seeking it in vain elsewhere. There is a good deal of seduct'on for juniors to desert the method of their 
ciders, and when the pupil wishes to be more learned than the master, and no longer remains in the right path, but 
judges things for him elf, and is prepared to abide by his own opinion. All that comes of it is, he labours in vain, thus 
atoning for his fault and incurring grievous loss. The ancients called this substance electrum, and such is its proper 
name. The moderns call it silver— its improper name. Our forefathers avoided all loss because they knew what they 
were about ; the rising generation do not know, and so incur loss. It has been a constant custom in alchemy that 

io8 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

who changed that name into fictitious gold and silver. That has been the 
destruction ot modern chemists. To define Electrum : it is a metal made from 
some other by Art, and no longer resembling that from which it was made. 
For example : arsenical metal, prepared according to the form of metallic pre- 
paration, cemented with Venus in the accustomed manner, converts the whole 
copper into white electrum more worthless than its own copper. What need 
is there to deprave metals at great expense ? Would it not be better to leave 
the copper in its own natural essence, to keep one's money, and devote time 
and labour to a more useful work? The ancients called Electrum by its proper 
name; the moderns falsely call it silver. The ancients were not losers, because 
they knew the Electrum itself; the moderns, because they have no knowledge 
of Electrum, throw away their faculties, labour, and time. Now, since in 
Alchemy all mistakes are constantly propped up with some new hope, it was 
tried to fix Arsenic by means of reverberations for some weeks, and by other 
devices. Thence it ensued that the Arsenic became red and brittle like coral, 
but of no use in Alchemy except for Electrum, as was just now said. Then by 
descent and precipitation they effected nothing more than by their calcinations. 
Thus it happens that in Alchemy obstinate men are deceived because thej' do 
not learn thoroughly from the foundation all the terms of the Art. It is true 
that Arsenic does, in its own natural condition, contain gold ; and that this 
gold, by the industry of the artist, can sometimes be separated in a cement, 
or a projection, or otherwise, into silver, copper, or lead by attraction ; but it 
does not therefore follow that this is produced by his operations and his 
tinctures. It means only that the gold which was there before has been 
derived by a process of separation, as it generally is, from its ore. It is nearly 
always found golden, and very seldom lacks gold, as is the case with many 

investigations shall be made with persistent good hope. Hence operators have tried to fix arsenic, and to transmute it 
into another essence, on the chance that it may be, or may be rendere I, better, and prove of greater efficacy. Hereupon 
followed the reverberation of arsenic, and its circulation in a rcvcrberatory of reeds for some weeks, or by some smiiK-u- 
process. Arsenic has been rendered like crj^stal, red and beautiful, like red glass for its hardness, light weight, and 
fragility. There is no pKice for the virtues of this arsenic in medicine. It regards only electra, as has already been 
said. Moreover, it has been attempted to deal witli this, too, by another method of preparation, namely, by descent. 
By this method it is rendered red and yellow, and in potency is equivalent to the species already mentioned. Some 
have precipitated it, and it has approached, or even reached, a red colour ; and yet not all the operators in this way 
have reaped the fruit of their labours or arrived at the result ihey contemplated, but only at the electric stage of it, 
which, on account of their ignonince and inexperience, led many artists .istray. Wherefore it is necessary that every- 
one in these things should be farsighted. He who has not full knowledge and comprehension of all names 
does nothing, and the heads, however full of brains, do not get at the foundation of the matter. One thing is wanting 
to them for a foundation— to know electrum and other substances when they see them. Then they understand of them* 
selves whether they can progress with electrum or not. Nevertheless it often happens that arsenic is auriferous in its 
nature, and contains gold in it. Now, if an operator is skilled in separating gold from arsenic, whether by a cement or 
by some method of projection, or by another process, so that he can reduce that gold to some metal, such as silver, 
copper, or lead, without doubt he will find it to be gold, and of e.\cellent quality too. To follow this up so that .t 
tincture shall be produced, or it shall issue forth from a tincture, is nothing ; but the gold is in the arsenic, and the 
whole matter lies in depurgation, separation, and kindred processes, according as anyone has experience therein. 
Arsenic, especially, which comes from auriferous districts, or from gold, is rarely without gold. The only point of 
importance is that the sep.iration sh.ill be properly made. 1 know nothing more of arsenic .ind its species beyond what 
I h.ive put forw.ard ; at least, nothing which it is lawful and expedient to make known, whether with reference to 
medicine or to alchemical operations. Whoever has prudence ought to be sufficiently skilful for this purpose. If he 
has it not, let him altogether abstain. No faculty can subdue itself ; but failure must ensue if due order and a genuine 
mode of procedure have not been preserved. You should follow the guidance of your own judgment. The man who 
follows no other guide is not in a state of subservience to any. 

The Eco7ioviy of Minerals. 109 

other substances. So far, then, have I given concerning Arsenic what I know , 
or what it is advisable to write. Let everybody first of all diligently examine 
its name, so that he may understand. Otherwise error is apt to arise easily 
in both faculties, which is only at length discovered by the result. 


CoxcERNiNG Quicksilver. 

Having dealt with salts and sulphurs, we come to Quicksilver. This 
cannot be properly termed a metal, but rather a metallic water; but it is called 
a metal for this reason, because, by means of .\lchemy, it is brought to a 
solid substance and into a metallic colour, sometimes being fixed and some- 
times not fixed. It can only be known as the chief material of Alchemists, 
who are able from it to make gold, silver, copper, etc., which will stand the 
test. So, too, perhaps tin, lead, and even iron. It is of a wonderful nature, 
inscrutable save after great labour. In a word, it shews itself to be the first 
material of Alchemists in metallic degrees, and the chief arcanum in medicine. 
It is a water which wets nothing it touches, an animal without feet, and the 
heaviest of all metals. It consists of Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury. The first 
and last matter it discloses in liquefactions of the metals, especially those 
which liquefy by heat without fire, and in others by flux. 


Concerning Cachimi.b and Imperfect Bodies. 

There is another kind of mineral bodies which is not saline, nor is it a 
metal, but metallic ; such are marcasites,'' chiseta red and white, perfect and 
imperfect antimoniacs, arsenicals, auripigmenls, various talcics, cobleta, 
granata, gem-like bodies, etc. I say these are metallic bodies since they have 
chiefly the first metallic matter, and derive their origin from the first three 
metallic bodies, to which they fly, as it were, and are incorporated with them 
as metals, for instance, gold, silver, copper, iron, etc. But since together 
with them there is incorporated a metallic enemy, they can only be separated 

• Marcasites are to be found in all genera, whether you have regard to colour, brilliancy, form, or any other 
property. For they are nothing else than the superfluity of metals, that is, matter abundant in metals, being 
something which metals are unable to bear or contain within them, or convert into their own form. First of all, when 
the salts are separated from Ares (the occult dispenser of Nature^ a sep.-iration of metals follows. Out of these, firstly, 
marcasite is produced which is unfit to become a metal, and yet in that matter it so resides that at first out of Ares 
there grows that matter of the metals. And it is the first matter, consisting of three things, the spirit of salt, the spirit 
of mercur>*, and the spirit of sulphur, but in such a manner that these three are one. Of these all metals and minerals 
consist. These things being so ordered, .\rcheus (the occult virtue of Nature) institutes the first operation of metals, 
so as to produce them and distinguish them into their forms and natures. But before he deals with the metals 
themselves, he ejects the superfluity which abounds in salt, mercurj', and sulphur, .and purges the three, after 
which the superfluity emerges along a simple line into its own yliadum (chaos), and is at first divided into two genera, 
marcasites and cachimia: Here it is coagulated into a mineral, consisting of salt, sulphtir, and mercur>-. Yellow 
martiasite obtains its colour from the predominance of sulphur ; the white from the predominance of mercurj*. For 
sulphur and cachimix acquire their colour from s.ilt, for this Is derived from the spirit of salt, just as gravitj- is 
derived from mercurj* in all three. But if the separation be properly eff'ected, each of the minerals, that is to say 
mercury, sulphur, salt, settles in its own place. Of these three all minerals consist.— /J^ Elrviettto Aqua" 
Tract III., c. i. 

1 1 o The Hervietic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

by means of Alchemy when set free from the tjranny of this foe. There are 
different enemies of this kind which practise robbery against the metals, just as 
if anyone seeking refuge with a companion should be robbed in his house and 
killed by the very man whose help he asked. Some of those spoken of consist 
chiefl)' of Sulphur, as marcasites, chiseta, cobleta ; others in the body of Mer- 
cury, as arsenicals, auripigmentals, antimoniacs, etc. Others in Salt, as all 
belonging to talc. There are two colours of marcasites, the white and the 
yellow, according to the imperfect metallic Sulphur arranged in them, which 
also the_v need for many purposes. An imperfect metal is made from cobleta. 
This admits of liquefaction, and passes into a state of flux, is of a blacker 
colour than lead and iron, but of no brightness or metallic glitter; it barely 
admits of malleation, so that scarcely anything can be made from it. Its 
ultimate matter has not yet been discovered, nor the process of its separation. 
There is no doubt it is a promiscuous race from the male and female, as is 
the case in iron and steel, but these cannot be perfectly welded until some 
method of separation is discovered. There is another similar body called 
zinchinum ; not that which is commonly so known, but a peculiar kind in 
which \arious metals are found to be adulterated, of a liquefiable nature and 
not malleable. It differs much in colour from the others, of which the last has 
not yet been found. In its preparation it is almost as wonderful as Mercury 
itself. It avoids mixture with anything else, and remains a special glass much 
to be admired among minerals. Metallic grains are found also in torrents, 
and are called granates, on account of their outer form. They are liquefied and 
bear the hammer ; but still are not capable of being made into any implement. 
The properties of these bodies cannot be known unless they are revealed by 
Alchemy. Many contain adulterated metals, such as silver and gold, which 
flow to them, as they are accustomed to do to copper and to lead. They con- 
sist of a certain dense kind of Sulphur. Some granates of another kind are 
clear as crystal, and there is gold and silver in them.* 


Concerning Met.\ls free by Nature, Perfect .\nd Imperfect ; and 

FIRST concerning SaTURN, OR LeAD. 

Saturn has obtained a body the blackest and densest of all (though 
white, yellow, and rod inhere therem). Mercury a similar one, and Salt one 

• As in the generation of marcrwites, so in c.ichimias. The superfluity is ejected from the prime principles. Sotne^ 
times mercury-, sometimes sulphur, sometimes salt, will predominate, and that which predominates forms a mineral^ 
In marcasites sulphur and mercurj' prevail, as two very light things which first fly away, then coagulate, and become 
very hcav>-. After the superfluity more completely departs, there is more salt and less of the other principles, 
though they are not altogether absent. Thus originate cachimiae, tabulated and fissile, out of the nature of salt, which 
in sulphur and such mercury is of this property. It has all colours, white and red, receiving them from sulphur and 
mercur>- .as one or the other predominates. liut cachimia is more fixed .ind solid than niarc.lsite, by reason of its fixed 
salt. Colours, also, are fixed in it, so that it may receive no injury from the fire. Tluis marcasite is the superfluity 
abounding in the first matter of mel.als in Ares, which is separated by Archcus into Vliadinn. whence afterwards are 
generated almut thirty forms of marcasite and cachimiiE. all of which are, nevertheless, comprehended under two names. 
The multiplicity of these genera, which are all derived from one matter, is owing to the unequal manner in which the 
three prime principles are combined. —Ibid., c. 2. 

The Economy of Minerals. 1 1 1 

above all others fusible. By corruption it is easily reduced to its spirit, to 
white or yellow cerussa, to minium, and lastly, to glass, like the rest. Tin 
is made up of white fixed Sulphur and fixed Salt but of Mercurj- not fixed. 
And because it is fixed in body, not in Mercury, it easily loses its metallic 
fusion, the spirit passing away by the fire ; and when this is absent it is no 
longer a metal but an evanescent body. Iron and steel are not of the lique- 
fiable Sulphur, Salt, and Mercurj-, contrary- to tin and lead. Iron is coagulated 
into the hardest metal of all, and it marries itself : that is, two metals are 
found in one, steel the male, and the female iron. These can be separated 
one from the other, each for its special use. Gold is generated from the verv 
purest Sulphur, perfectly sublimated by Nature, purged from all its dregs and 
spurious admixtures, and exalted to such a transparency that no metal can 
corporeally ascend higher. This Sulphur is one part of the primal clement, 
and if .\lchemists could have this as something easily discoverable in its tree 
and root, they would be able with due cause to rejoice ; for it is the true 
Sulphur of the philosophers out of which gold is made, not that other gold 
out of which is made iron, copper, etc. This is its universal test. Its Mercury, 
too, is by Nature perfectly separated from all terrestrial and accidental super- 
fluity, transmuted separately into its mercurial part, and into extreme 
perspicuity, which Mercury of the Philosphers is the second part of the primal 
matter of gold, from which gold is generated. Lastly, Salt is the third part of 
the primal essence of gold, and of the tree from which gold is to be produced, 
^jAs roses from rose-seeds — gold which is brought to its supreme crystalline 
"y/^ brightness, and purified from all the acridity, acerbity, bitterness, darkness, 
and vitriolic nature of Salt, so that nothing of this kind appertains to it, now 
that it rejoices in its lucidity and transparency. 

When these three meet together in one, the gold is decocted into a mass, 
not, however, always of one and the same condition or degree. Nature 
exhibits thirty-two grains of gold, and these in Art become twenty-four grains 
in the highest grade of perfection. The cause of this is that the gold is 
nourished in its tree as a cow in its pastures, or an epicurean in his cook-shop 
and eating-house. Directly one of these leaves his feeding-place he grows 
lean, and so is it with gold ; it is diminished by eight degrees. And as some 
of these feeding-places are occasionallj- inferior, it happens that the degrees of 
the gold are deteriorated or diminished too ; so that Nature's sum total of 
twenty-six is reduced in .\rt to ten. The accidents, or rather the incidents, of 
the stars or of the elements sometimes hinder the generation of gold, so that 
it becomes ruder and less tractable in its nature. But it is especialh- in- 
equality in the weights of the three primals which has effect. Too great a 
portion of Salt renders it too pale. With too much Mercurj' it grows yellow, -^ 
and with a too plentiful supply of Sulphur it is rendered red. In Nature, just 
as much as in the work of man, errors occur by means of these hindrances ; 
but these can be removed by means of antimony, cements, and quartations. 
In Sulphur nothing should be looked for but a body, in Salt confirmation, but 


1 1 2 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

in Mercury all virtue, property, essence, and medicine, which do not exist 
anywhere else as it does therein ; but rather as in a dead body from which the 
spirit has departed, in which, however, we try to keep some of the elementary 
powers, as, for instance, the remains of the fire of wine in Acetum, though 
these are corrosive rather than nutritive or strengthening. Natural objects 
clearly shew that they are compounded of the four elements ; but beyond that 
the matter is occult. They are made up onl)- of the three we have spoken 
about, which possess a magnet common to them all. This, in the decoction 
ot the preparation, attracts to itself the trinity of essence. The old philoso- 
phers called this state esse, because the trinity acquires a condition of unity in., 
which the natural motion reposes and settles the degree. But that magnetic 
virtue should deservedly be called a fourth esse (not element) since it attracts the 
medicine to the Mercury in which it is found. In the ultimate separation, 
however, the Mercury loses most of its weight. All these matters being thus 
arranged bv Nature, the gold grows up to a tree, spreading forth first from 
the root by the trunk to its branches and twigs, on which flowers are produced 
(as we see on the earth), and when these fade the fruit is not always found at 
the extremities of the twigs, but sometimes a hundred paces farther off in the 
tree, occasionally in its verj' midst, or some degrees towards the surface of the 
earth. It will sometimes happen that nothing but Mercury is produced, when 
by its superfluity it has suppressed the other ingredients. If, however, the 
Salts preponderate, their corrosive nature, like so many worms, consumes the 
flowers of the tree. By the preponderance of Sulphur everything is burnt up, 
just as on earth by the too great heat of the sun. Copper is produced by the 
brown Sulphur, red Salt, and yellow Mercury decocted into a metal. This 
contains within itself its masculine element, that is, the scoria ; and if it be 
again reduced to a metal after separation, it returns to masculine copper, 
which can no longer be corrupted ; and the female will afford no scoriffi at all. 
On malleation and fusion they difl"er from each other only as steel and iron, and 
can be separated in the same way, so that two different metals are thence pro- 
duced. Silver is composed of white Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, naturally 
prepared and fixed to the highest degree of purity and transparency, next after 
gold, in ashes, not in antlTiiony, or in royal cement, or in quartation. The dif- 
ference of fixation between gold and silver can easily be learnt by considering 
that gold is masculine, and has the male virtues very strongly fixed, while 
silver, as the female, has them weaker. They are of one and the same primal 
matter, and differ as to colour and fixing in no other way than as the male and 
the female. The metals, then, are seven in number, exclusive of Mercurj-, 
namely gold, silver, tin, lead, iron, steel, and copper. The last contains within 
itself the male and female, when both are welded for use, and are not separated 
by Nature, as steel and iron are ; so that they are held as one, and since they 
possess the same malleability and power of being wrought, they are not com- 
monly separated, except when this is done chemically for purposes of the .Art. 
It should be remarked, too, that metals are not always found with their mascu- 

The Economy of Minerals. 1 1 3 

line and feminine portions separated by Nature, as is the case with gold, silver, 
iron, and steel, each by itself. Often the two are found together, as gold and 
silver in one metal, also steel and iron together, or tin and lead, the one not 
-hindering the other, or being separated one from the other. Sometimes two 
adulterated metals are found, as gold and silver naturally mixed with others, 
on account of their subtlety, especially when several of diverse primal nature 
meet in one body, just as we see on the earth different fruits engrafted on the 
trunk of one tree. 


A fitting treatise on the natural generation of metals was absolutely 
necessary in order that it might be understood what is meant by the 
regeneration of metals brought about through Alchemical Art. The opinion 
of all those who philosophise on this Art is that the Artist in this profession 
ought in all things exactly to imitate Nature. So, then, it was necessary to 
say and to understand how Nature works in the innermost parts of the earth, 
and what instruments she employs. Whoever has not understood in this way 
will be little likely to get at the knowledge by his own unaided endeavours. 
Let him who investigates this difficult and abstruse matter be not so much 
the disciple of Art as of Nature. 

Here ends the Ecoxomv of Miner.'.ls. 


IF any one denies that there is great efficacy in the Composition of Metals 
so far as relates to supernatural affairs, we will answer him, and bring 
forward so many proofs as shall support our own opinion and force him 
to subscribe thereto. For if the seven metals were, in just and due order, 
compounded, mixed together, and united in the fire, you must certainly hold 
that in one body were conjoined and linked together all the virtues of the 
seven metals. It has been seen good to call this body electrum. Its efficacy, 
power, and operations, moreover, shew themselves to be much greater, even 
supernaturally so, than exist in a. latent form grafted by Nature on metals in 
their rude condition. In those solid and rude metals are only those powers 
wherewith God and Nature herself have endowed them. Gold, indeed, is the 
noblest of all, the most precious and primary metal, if we rightly consider it; 
and we are not prepared to deny that leprosy, in all its forms, can be thereby 
removed from the human frame. Nor are we unaware that exterior ulcers and 
wounds are cured by copper and mercury. The other metals, too, have each 
their own excellences, and these not by any means to be despised ; but we will 
pass over these for the moment, since you will hear of them when we come to 
treat concerning the Life of the Metals. t But metals cannot be used in 
medicine without injury, unless they be first comminuted, altered, and, after 
being deprived of their metallic nature, transmuted into another essence. You 
can hope for little result from them unless the preparation which Alchemy 
teaches shall have preceded their administration ; that is, if you have not pre- 
viously reduced them to their arcana, oils, balsams, quintessences, tinctures, 
calces, salts, crocuses or the like, and then administered them to the patient. 
Moreover, the supernatural force or effect of the metals, even though it be pre- 
sent in them, will be of no avail unless you first prepare them according to 
our method in which we will instruct you. But we greatly desire that our 
electrum should bo compounded, since it can afford great and marvellous 
results in proportion as it is revealed by practice. If we consented to pass 

• A considerable portion of this tract belongs more properly to the section concerned with Hermetic Medicine, but 
it is inserted at this point for the further illustration of the subject of electrum, which is somewhat shortly discussed in 
the foregoing treatise. The work D^- Compositione Metatlorum is printed in separate form in the Basle 8vo, but it 
really constitutes the sixth book of the Archidoxis Mn^icir^ as they are found in the Geneva folio. 

\ %o^Ax as\\i^ Archidoxis Magkcp are concerned, this promise is net fulfilled. Possibly Paracelsus intended to 
carry his subject further than the seventh book, which is devoted to the sigils of the planets, and has nothing of a 
chemical nature. But possibly, also, a reference is intended to the first book Concerning the Nature of Things. 

The Composition of Metals. 1 1 5 

over its praises in silence, we should consider that we were doing it an injury : 
but since its operation and mighty power surpass belief, we deem it necessary 
to pronounce an eulogium on its virtues and efficacy. We will defer for the 
moment any nienlion of the rude and solid metals, since they admit of no 
comparison with our electrum. ^^If any appliance used for food or drink be 
made of this material and diligently watched, it will be impossible for any 
poison or drug to be placed in it, because in our electrum there is so much 
sympathy towards man through the force, efficacy, and influence of the planets 
and the stars of Olympus, that for very pity, and as though in difficulty, 
directly it is taken in hand it betrays the poison by breaking out into a sweat 
and projecting spots. For this reason our ancestors used to have their 
drinking-cups, dishes, and other utensils made of the said material. There still 
remain in our age many necklaces and ornaments, such as rings, bracelets, 
remarkable coins, seals, figures, bells, shekels, made out of this, which of old 
were hidden in the earth. When they were dug up nobody, or very few, under- 
stood them, and in their ignorance they gilded them over or tinged them with 
silver. It is just a mark of the ignorance of our age that it cares nothing 
for such objects as these. But God would not have it that such a mystery of 
Nature and such a great treasure of His own should be hid any longer, but 
that what had been hidden by the more than Cimmerian darkness of the 
sophists should now, after a long season, come to light again. We do not 
assume to exhaust the virtues of our electrum. The ribald genius of the 
sophists would be hurt ; the crowd of fools would be ofiended, and would 
receive what we said with idiotic laughter. Over and over again we have 
been on our guard against scandalising this impious crowd ; so to avoid such 
a result it will be safest to pass over these matters in silence. Not, however, 
that we can altogether pass unnoticed certain stupendous effects of our 
electrum ; since they came under our own eyes we shall be able to speak the 
more freely concerning them, without any suspicion that we are romancing or 
making up a story. We have seen rings, for instance, which removed all fear 
of paralysis or spasm from those who wore them on their fingers. These 
people, too, never suffered from apoplexy or epilepsy, if an epileptic patient 
put such a ring on the third finger, even though he be so overcome by the 
violence of the paroxysm as to be prostrated on the ground, he comes to him- 
self and gets up. 

Here, too, should be added something which we do not give from the 
report of others, for the same we have seen with our own eyes and know by 
experience. If the abovementioned ring be, worn on the third finger by a 
man in whom any ailment is latent and growing, so that it would presently 
break forth in an eruption, the ring would forthwith give an indication by 
bursting out in a sweat, and as if seized viith a sudden sympathy would put 
forth spots and become depraved in appearance, as we shall shew more fully 
in our book entitled "Sympathy." 

I 3 

ii6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Lastly, since I would not pass over or omit any word in favour of 
electrum, it is a preservation and an antidote against evil spirits. There is 
latent in it an operation and a conjunction of planetary influence which make 
us the more easily believe that the old Magi in Persia and Chaldeea 
attempted and accomplished much by its aid. If we sought to enumerate all 
the cases specifically, we should indeed enter upon a marvellous chronicle. 
Not, however, to give any occasion of offence or allow persons to make a 
handle of this, it will suffice to have touched the subject in few words. The 
Sophists, who are my deadliest enemies, would not hesitate to proclaim me 
Arch-Necromancer. But I cannot refrain from telling a miracle which 1 saw 
in Spain when I was at the house of a certain necromancer. He had a bell 
weighing, perhaps, two pounds, and by a stroke of this bell he used to 
summon, and to bring, too, visions of many different spectres and spirits. In 
the interior of the bell he had engraved certain words and characters, and as 
soon as the sound and tinkle were heard, spirits appeared in any form he 
desired. Moreover, the stroke of this bell was so powerful that he produced 
in the midst many visions of spirits, of men, and even of cattle, whatever he 
wished, and then drove them away again. I saw many instances of this, but 
what I particualarly noticed was that when he was going to do anything new, 
he renewed and changed the characters and the names. I did not, however, 
get so far as to induce this man to impart to me the secret and mystery of the 
names and characters. At length I began to speculate mote thoroughly about 
this circumstance ; and there came into my mind — ideas whicli we will pass 
over in silence here. There was more in that bell than one can put into 
words ; and of this be very sure, that the material of which it was composed 
was this electrum of ours. You will therefore have no difficulty in believing 
that Virgil's bell (Nola) was of such a kind as this. At its stroke all the 
adulterers and adulteresses in the king's palace were so excited and alarmed 
that suddenly, as if struck with lightning, they rushed over the bridge into the 
river. Think not this story a mere fable : the thing really happened. Nor 
be so dense as to hesitate as to whether such properties can exist. For if, as 
you know to be the case, a visible man can call another visible man to him by 
a word, and force him to do what he wants — when a mere word, without the 
aid of arms, can eff"ect so much, much more can it be that an invisible man 
can do this, since he commands both the visible and the invisible man, not by 
the aid of a word, but by the direction of his thought. The inferior always 
obeys the superior, and stands to him in the light of a subject. So, then, you 
will easily come round to our opinion if 3-ou settle it that the interior or 
invisible man is a kind of constellation or firmament. For he remains latent 
in the senses and thoughts of the exterior, visible man, and discloses or reveals 
himself only by imagination. Vou will concede, therefore, that there are stars 
in man and that their constellation is so arranged by the Olympian spirit that 
the man can be led and changed into quite another man. So, then, I say that 

The Composition of Metals. 1 1 7 

the same thing occurs with metals, namely, that things may be so constellated 
by celestial impression as to make the operation and virtue which Nature 
originally determined, really arise from the good aspect of the higher stars, 
and thus unfold itself, as is shewn in other books of the Archidoxis Magica* 
I will subjoin, if you wish, an illustration. Let any one reduce to an amalgam 
gold and mercun,-, making a conjunction of Sol and Mercury, but with a pre- 
ponderance of Sol. Let him mix and blend them, and soon, with little labour, 
the two metals will become fixed. With these, if you will, you can make a 
\\nzX.\>.x<i on Merciiriusvivus. That, again, can afterwards be increased and aug- 
mented with other Mercurius viviis under the same constellation. This is. indeed, 
a great arcanum of Nature. There will be a similar composition and union of 
gold or silver with mercury without this conjunction. For if gold be placed 
above mercur\', so that the white fume of the mercury touch and penetrate 
the body of the gold, the gold will be rendered fragile, and will melt with the 
greatest ease like wax. The process is the same with silver. 

This is the Magnesia of the Philosophers, in the finding of which Thomas 
of -Aquinum and Rupescissa and their disciples, though they worked hard, were 
unsuccessful. And let nobody think it an easy matter so to blend Mercurius 
vtvits in the fire with harder metals and those of tardier solution— as silver, 

• Moreover, it is altogether certain, and experimentally proved, that the mutations of time have singular force and 
operation, and this is especially the case when certain metals are melted and elaborated together. Further, no one can 
prove that the metals are devoid of life. Their oils, sulphurs, salts, and quintessences, which are the best reserv atives, 
have enormous power in nourishing and sustaining human life, and herein altogether surpass in strength all other 
simples, as, indeed, is entirely the case \s-ith all our remedies. How, if they were devoid of life, could they awaken in 
the diseased and half-dead members and bodies of men a fresh and vital strength, and at the verj- outset restore 
them ? . . . I therefore boldly assert that metals and stones, equally with roots, herbs, and fruits, have a life of 
their own, with this distinction, however, inasmuch as metals are prepared and elaborated according to time. The 
efficac>' of time is well-known, but we will speak only of those things which are difTicult, and not to be gr.-isped by the 
senses, but, indeed, are almost contrary to their evidence. Further, even signs, characters", and letters have their virtues 
and efficacies. Now, if the nature and property of the metal, as also the influence and operation of the heaven and of 
the sphere of the planets, the signification and formation of the characters, signs, and letters, together with the 
— "^observation of the times, days, and hours, harmonise and agree, why should not a sign or seal composed after this 
manner have iLs own force and operation ? And why, then, should not such and such a medicine, seasonably applied, 
benefit the head, another the vision, or a third the veins ? And especially in the case of those who dislike to take other 
remedies into the body. Vet none of these results are possible without the air of the Father of Medicine Himself, Jesus 
Christ, the one and true Physician. Objectors may say that words or char.ictcrs have no force, since they are mere 
siijns or figures, and that none at least can compare in efficac>' with the cross. But how is it that the serpent in 
Hcl«tia, .Mgovia, or Suavia, understands the Greek phrase Osy, Osyn, Os; . although in none of these countries is Greek 
so common that venomous reptiles can acquire it ? How Ls it that, the moment they hear the words, they draw in their 
tails, stop up their ears, and, contrary' to their nature, lie motionless, without doing harm to any man ? . . . By this 
it is shewn that characters, words, and signs have a recondite and latent force, not in the least opposed to Nature, nor 
anything to do with superstition. It is found that these words have the same effect when they are written on paper, and 
not uttered. So, also, let it not be considered incredible that a man should be cured by medicine, even when he does 
not take it internally, but carries it suspended like a seal from his neck. That even in dead things there Ls a certain 
(■.Tce, I prove by the example of the kingfisher, for if. when it is dead, you remove its skin, and hang it up. you will sec 
I'lat. although it is drj-. it will annually cast iLs old feathers and produce fresh ones of the same colour.— ^nrA;^.tM 
Magutr, Lib. I. For it is certain that in the very signs themselves of the planets, if they are harmonised and carried 
.ifwut in the required manner, according to a favourable hour and time, as regards their course, there reside great force 
.-.nd virtue. For none c-in deny that the superior stars and influences of heaven have verj- great weight in transient and 
mortal affairs If the superior stars and planets are able to control, rule, and sway according to their will the animal 
man. although he be made according to the image of God, and be endowed with life and reason, how much more ought 
they to rule an inferior thing, that is to say, metals, stones, ,and im-iges. upon which they impress themselves, or which 
they so occupy, with all their \-irtue and efficacy, after the manner of an influence, .as though they were substantially 
present, even .as they are in the firmament ? It is possible to man himself to bring these into a certain medium, wherein 
they m.ay effectually operate, whether this medium be a metal, a stone, or an im.agc. But this is most important of all : 
to know that the seven planets have greater force in nothing than they possess in their proper meuk.— /*/rf., 
Lib. VII • \ 

ii8 The Hermetic and Alche^nical Writings of Paracelsus, 

copper, gold, iron, and steel — that they may quickly liquefy. Many tinctures 
and Elyxeria [s-c) of metals are prepared thus for transmuting metals, as will 
be more copiously described in other books on Metallic Transmutations."''' 

The same is the case with common mercury, which with its fume penetrates 
all other metals, and, as it were, breaks through them, calcines them, and dis- 
poses them to its own nature. Metals will coagulate this by their fume. We 
assert that the most extreme heat resides in Mercury, and that it cannot be co- 
agulated except by extreme cold, which is seen to exhale copiously trom metals 
in the fire. Nothing affects metals in the fire save what is of extreme cold 
and unable to bear the vehemence of the fire. Such a metal is arsenic, which 
being liquefied ascends as a spirit from metals while they are in a state o{ flux. 

Moreover, do not lose sight of the fact that Mercury is a metallic spirit, 
and that every spirit is more powerful than a body. So is it with Mercury in 
reference to the other metals. Just as it is easy for a spirit to penetrate walls, 
so it is not difficult for Mercury to penetrate metals. 

How many are the wonderful operations and effects of Mercury o\\ the 
metals ! We cannot detail them all. But shall we send you away empty to 
some other source? We know from experiment that if Mercurius vivus be 
sublimated from some one of the metals which'has been several times calcined, 
and if then the calcinated metal which remains at the bottom be again reduced 
to Its metal, it is melted in the fire as easiU'as lead, though it were gold, silver, 
copper, iron, or steel, even if it be only applied to the flame of a candle like so 
much wax ; or as snow and ice melt before the sun. Afterwards by digestion 
for a certain time it can be changed into Mercury. We have mentioned this 

* The fourth book of the Archidoxis Mag-tceF h entitled, Concernitig the Transmutation of Metah aud their 
Timf. It is literally as follows ;— If you seek to change gold into silver, or any given metal into any other metal, have 
regard to the following tabulation. Nor is it of small moment so that you may be able to arrive at the end of your 
purpose more quickly and thoroughly. Scheme of the Transmutation of Metals.— To transmute Sol into 
Luna. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, or Mercur>-, begin with Luna occupying the sixth grade of Cancer, Taurus, Aries, 
Pisces, Aquarius, or Virgo, as the case may be, and always in the hour of that planet into which you wish to convert 
gold or any of the other metals, namely, Luna, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury. To transmute Saturn into Sol, 
Luna, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, or Mercury, begin with Luna occupying the twentieth grade of Leo, Scorpio. Cancer, 
Taurus. Pisces, or Virgo, as the case may be, in the hour of Sol, Luna, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, or Mercurj*. according lo 
the metal into which you would convert Saturn. To transmute Mercurj- into Sol, Luna, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or 
S.-xturn, begin with the Moon in the first grade of Leo, Virgo, Cancer, Taurus, Pisces, or Aquarius, as the case may be, 
in the hour of Sol, Luna, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn, according to the metal into which you would convert Mer- 
curj*. To transmute Luna into Sol. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, or Mercur>-, begin with the Moon in the twelfth 
grade of Leo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius. Aries, or Gemini, as the case may be, and in the hour of Sol, Venus, JLirs, 
Jupiter, Saturn, or Mercury, .^ccording to the metal into which you would convert Luna. To transmute Venus into 
Sol, Luna, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, or Mercury, begin with the Moon in the ninth grade of Leo, Cancer, Capricorn, 
Aquarius, Pisces, or Sagittarius, as thfi case may be, and in the hour of Sol, Luna, ^L^rs, Jiipitfr,»Saturn, or Mercury, 
according to the metal into which you would convert Venus. To convert Mars into Sol, Luna, Venus, Jupiter. Saturn, 
or Mercurj', begin with the Moon in the eighty-first grade of Leo, Cancer, Taurus, Sagittarius, Scorpio, or Virgo, as 
the case may be, and in the hour of Sol. Luna, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, or Mcrcuiy, according to the metal into which 
you would convert Mars. To transmute Jupiter into Sol, Luna, Venus, l\Lirs, S-aturn, or Mercur>', begin with the 
Moon in the third grade of Leo, Cancer, Libra, Virgo, Aquarius, or Pisces, as the case may be, and in the hour of So!, 
Luna, Venus, Mars, Saturn, or Mercury, according to the metal into which you would convert Jupiter. For example : 
If you w'ish to change gold into silver, make a beginning in the hour of the Moon, when the Moon occupies the sixth 
grade of Cancer. And so, likewise, understand the rest of this scheme for the conversion of metals. For all terrestrial 
affairs, occupations, and matters of business, are most conveniently and happily executed in harmony with the motions 
of the heavens and the planets. iFor all men. by the dis pensa tions of Almighty God, are ruled and led by the power 
and operation of the firmament, both as to health and disease. So is it TTecessaiy before all things to have regard to 
this operation in 'tne healing art. Simples verj* frequently push forth their virtues according to a certain rule of 

The Composition of Petals. 1 1 9 

fact in our book on the Resuscitation of Natural Thing's. This is the Mercury 
of the Philosophers. In this way you will prepare the Mercury of Gold, of 
Luna, of Venus, of Mars, of Jupiter, and of Saturn. Although in their books 
Arnold, .-Vristotle, and other philosophers boast about this, yet I am well assured 
that it was never prepared or seen by them. It will now be for you to keep 
this great secret and mystery of Nature, and to take care that it does not fall 
into the hands of my adversaries ; since it would be an indignity for them to 
get to know it. \A pearl or a precious stone will not please a goose, because 
the goose does not know its price and value. It would infinitely prefer a turnip. 
We may fitly say the same of the sophists. It is no injustice to conceal secret 
mysteries from them. Let us not seem to cast pearls before swine or give that 
which is holy to dogs, since God sternly forbids us so to do. 

But let us proceed to the practical work of our electrum, as we promised 
at the outset. ' We would have it prepared, compounded, and conjoined 
according to the revolution of the heaven and the conjunctions of the planets. 
'X We will proceed in this way. First, you must diligently observe the conjunction 
of Saturn and Mercury ; and, before this occurs, have ready the appliances you 
require. These are, fire, a cauldron, lead cut up into minute pieces, and 
Mercurius vints. Take care that nothing be wanting which the work in hand 
requires, or for lack of which the action may be hindered or retarded. Then 
when the conjunction is just going to take place, let the lead be melted in the 
fire, and be not quite hot when it shall have fused, lest the Mercury which you 
pour in escape, or, if the heat be too great, pass off in smoke. Let this be 
done at the very moment of conjunction. Take out suddenly the cauldron 
with the liquid lead ; pour in the Mercury, and afterwards let them both be 

Then there will be need of attention when the conjunction of Jupiter with 
Mercurj- or Saturn is about to take place, so that you may not be ignorant of 
the time or pass it by. Let everything 3-ou will want be ready to hand as I be<"ore 
admonished you. You must take care, before the actual moment of conjunction, 
to melt in one vessel fine English tin, and in the other lead with Mercury. At 
the moment of conjunction move the metals from the fire, slackening the heat 
a little, and pour all into one crucible. When they have coagulated into one 
body you will have three metals softer and more easily melting over the fire. 
When they are united let it not escape your notice that in the very first place 
these are to be dissolved and conjoined. Then notice when there is a con- 
junction of any of the other four planets — Sol, Luna, Venus, or Mars — with 
one of the three former, Saturn, Mercury, or Jupiter. Have all instruments 
and materials ready. Let them be dissolved singlj' first ; then when liquefied 
pour them into one at the verj- point of conjunction, and keep them. In a 
like way proceed with other metals which are to be joined and copulated with 
the former, until you have reduced and united all the seven according to the 
due conjunctions of the planets. So will you have prepared our electrum, 
concerning which enougfh has now been said. 




THE generation of all natural things is twofold* : one which takes place 
by Nature without Art, the other which is brought about by Art, that 
is to say, by Alchemy, though, generally, it might be said that all things 
are generated from the earth by the help of putrefaction. For putrefaction 
is the highest grade, and the first initiative to generation. But putrefaction 
originates from a moist heat. For a constant moist heat produces putrefaction 
and transmutes all natural things from their first form and essence, as well as 
their force and efficacy, into something else. For as putrefaction in the bowels 
transmutes and reduces all foods into dung, so, also, without the belly, 
putrefaction in glass transmutes all things from one form to another, from one 
essence to another, from one colour to another, from one odour to another, 
from one virtue to another, from one force to another, from one set of 
properties to another, and, in a word, from one quality to another. For it is 
known and proved by daily experience that many good things which are 
healthful and a medicine, become, after their putrefaction, bad, unwholesome, 
and mere poison. So, on the other hand, many things are bad, unwholesome, 
poisonous, and hurtful, which after their putrefaction become good, lose all 
their evil effect, and make notable medicines. For putrefaction brings forth 
great effects, as we have a good example in the sacred gospel, where Christ 
says, " Unless a grain of wheat be cast forth into a field and putrefy, it cannot 
bear fruit a hundred fold." Hence it may be known that many things are 
multiplied by putrefaction so that they produce excellent fruit. For 
putrefaction is the change and death of all things, and the destruction of the 
first essence of all natural objects, from whence there issues forth for us 
regeneration and a new birth ten thousand times better than before. 

Since, then, putrefaction is the first step and commencement of 
generation, it is in the highest degree necessary that we should thoroughlj- 

* There is another aspect in which generation is also twofold, as, for example, that of wood and other things talce-s 
place naturally out of seed. But the worms which destroy wood are the product of a monstrous spefm. Hence there 
arc two generations - nattiral and monstrous. Every sperm in living things has within it another sperm which is mon- 
strous, ,-ind can promote its likeness. There is also a monstrous sperm in all minerals. — Parngraf>hortitit Lib. II.. 
Par. IV. 

Concerning the Nature of Things. \ 2 1 

understand this process. Bui there are many kinds of putrefaction, and 
one produces its generation better than another, one more quickly than 
another. We have also said that what is moist and warm constitutes 
the first grade and the beginning of putrefaction, which procreates all 
things as a hen procreates her eggs. Wherefore by and in putrefaction 
ever)thing becomes mucilaginous phlegm and living matter, whatever it 
eventually turns out to be. Vou see an example in eggs, wherein is 
mucilaginous moisture, which by continuous heat putrefies and is quickened 
into the living chicken, not only by the heat which comes from the hen, but by 
any similar heat. For by such a degree of heat eggs can be brought to 
maturity in glass, and by the heat of ashes, so that they become living birds. 
Any man, too, can bring the &%% to maturity under his own arm and 
procreate the chicken as w-ell as the hen. And here something more is to be 
noticed. If the living bird be burned to dust and ashes in a sealed cucurbite 
with the third degree of fire, and then, still shut up, be putrefied with the 
highest degree of putrefaction in a venter equinus so as to become a mucilaginous 
phlegm, then that phlegm can again be brought to maturity, and so, renovated 
and restored, can become a living bird, provided the phlegm be once more 
enclosed in its jar or receptacle. This is to revive the dead by regeneration 
and clarification, which is indeed a great and profound miracle of Nature. 
By this process all birds can be killed and again made to live, to be renovated 
and restored. This is the very greatest and highest miracle and mystery of 
God, which God has disclosed to mortal man. For you must know that in 
this way men can be generated without natural father and mother ; that is to 
say, not in the natural way from the woman, but by the art and industry of a 
skilled Spagyrist a man can be born and grow, as will hereafter be described. 

It is also possible to Nature that men should be born from animals, and 
this result has natural causes, but still it cannot be produced without heresy 
and impiety. If a man have connection with an animal, and that animal, like 
a woman, receives the seed of the man with appetite and lust into its womb, and 
shuts it up there, then the seed necessarily putrefies, and, through the continuous 
heat of the body, a man, and not an animal, is born from it. For always, 
whatever seed is sown, such a fruit is produced from it. If this were not so it 
would be against the light of Nature and contrary to philosophy. Whatever 
the seed is, such is the herb which springs from it. From the seed of an onion 
an onion springs up, not a rose, a nut, or a lettuce. So, too, from corn comes 
corn ; from barley, barley ; from oats, oats. Thus it is, too, with all other 
fruits which have seeds and are sown. 

In like manner, if is possible, and not contrary- to Nature, that from 
a W'Oman and a man an irrational animal should be born. Neither on this 
account should the same judgment be passed on a w-oman as on a man, that 
is, she should not on this account be deemed heretical, as if she had acted 
contrary to Nature ; but the result must be assigned to imagination. Imagin- 
ation is very frequently the cause of this : and the imagination of a pregnant 

122 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

woman is so active that in conceiving seed into her body she can transmute 
the foetus in different ways : since her interior stars are so strongly directed to 
the fcetus that they produce impression and influence. Wherefore an infant in 
the mother's womb is, during its formation, as much in the hand and under the 
will of the mother as clay in the hand of the potter, who from it forms and 
makes what he likes and whatever pleases him. So the pregnant mother 
forms the fruit in her own body according to her imagination, and as her stars 
are. Thus it often happens that from the seed of a man are begotten cattle or 
other horrible monsters, as the imagination of the mother was strongly directed 
towards the embryo.* 

But as you have already heard that many and various things are gener- 
ated and quickened out of putrefaction, so you should know that from different 
herbs, by a process of putrefaction, animals are produced, as those who have 
experience of such matters are aware. Here, too, you should learn that such 
animals as are produced in and by putrefaction do all of them contain some 
poison and are venomous ; but one contains far more and more potent virus 
than another, and one is in one form, another in another, as you see in the 
case of serpents, toads, frogs, basilisks, spiders, bees, ants, and many worms, 
such as canker-worms, in locusts, and other creatures, all of which are pro- 
duced out of putrefaction. For many monsters are produced amongst animals. 
There are those monsters, too, which are not produced by putrefaction, but are 
made by art in the glass, as has been said, since they often appear in very wonder- 
ful form and horrible aspect ; frequently, for instance, with many heads, many 
feet, or many tails, and of diverse colours ; sometimes worms with fishes' tails 
or birds' wings, and other unwonted shapes, the like of which one had never 
before seen. It is not, therefore, only animals which have no parents, or are 
born from parents unlike themselves, that are called monsters, but those which 
arc produced in other ways. Thus you see with regard to the basilisk, which 
is a monster above all others, and than which none is to be more dreaded, 
since a man can be killed by the very sight and appearance of it, for it pos- 
sesses a poison more virulent than all others, with which nothing else in the 
world can be compared. This poison, by spnae unknown means, it carries in 

• Here, as elsewhere throughout his writings, Paracelsus lays special stress on the power exercised by the imagin- 
ation.— It is necessary that you should know what can be accomplished by a strong imagination. It is the principle of 
all magical action.— /.^^ Hesie, Lib. I. The imagination of man is an expulsive virtue.— A'c Pate. s. v. AddUatiienta 
m Lib. I. The imagination dwelling in the brain is the moon of the microcosm. — De PtstititaU^'Yx^^K II., c. 2, 
De Pyromanticn Pesie. All our sufferings, all our vices are nothing else than imagination. . . . And this im- 
agination is such that it penetrates and ascends into the superior heaven, and passes from star to star. This same 
heaven it overcomes and moderates. . . . Whatsoever there is in us of immoderate and inhuman, all that is an 
im.tginativc nature, which can impress itself on heaven, and, this done, hea\en has, on the other hand, the power of 
refunding that impression.—/?^ Festt, Additameitta in Lib. I., Prol. So, also, a strong imagination is the source cf 
both good and evil fortune.— Z>r Pesie. Lib. II., c. s. Any strong appetite, desire, or inclination nourished by the 

imagination of a pregnant woman can be and is often impressed upon the fatus. It is also possible for such a woman, 
by persistently thinking upon a wise and great man, such as Plato or Aristotle ; an illustrious soldier, such as Julius 
Cxsar or Barbarossa ; a great musician, like Hoff hammer ; or a painter, like Durer; so to work upon the plastic ten- 
dencies of her offspring, that it will exhibit similar qualities. But there must be something also in the mother which 
shall correspond to the .special talents which she h,-is imagined.— ^tf Origine Attirhoruiii Iiivisibilium, Lib. III. 
Im.'^gin.^tion can distort and deform the foetus, and in this manner many wonders are produced, when there are no 
physical peculiarities in the parent. — Ibid. 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 123 

its eyes, and it is a poison that acts on the imagination, not altogether unlike 
a menstruous woman, who also carries poison in her eyes, in such a way that 
from her very glance the mirror becomes spotted and stained. So, too, if she 
looks at a wound or a sore, she affects it in a similar way, and prevents its 
cure. By her breath, too, as well as by her look, she affects many objects, ren- 
dering them corrupted and weak, and also by her touch. You see that if she 
handles wine during her monthly courses it soon turns and becomes thick. 
Vinegar which she handles perishes and becomes useless. Generous wine 
loses its potency. In like manner, amber, civet, musk, and other strongly 
smelling substances being carried and handled by such a woman lose their odour. 
Gold, corals, and many gems are deprived of their colour, just as the mirrors 
are affected in this way. But — to return to my proposal of writing about the 
basilisk — how it carries its poison in its eye. You must know that it gets 
that power and that poison from unclean women, as has been said above. For 
the basilisk is produced and grows from the chief impurity of a woman, 
namely, from the menstrual blood. So, too, from the blood of the semen ; if it 
be placed in a glass receptacle and allowed to putrefy in horse dung, from that 
putrefaction a basilisk is produced. But who would be so bold and daring 
as to wish to produce it, even to take it and at once kill it, unless he had first 
clothed and protected himself with mirrors ? I would persuade no one to do so, 
and wish to advise every one to be cautious. But, to go on with our treatise 
about monsters, know that monstous growths amongst animals, which are pro- 
duced by other methods than propagation from those like themselves, rarely 
live long, especially near or amongst other animals, since bj' their engrafted 
nature, and by the divine arrangement, all monsters are hateful to animals 
duly begotten from their own likeness. So, too, monstrous human growths 
seldom live long. The more wonderful and worthy of regard they are, the 
sooner death comes upon them ; so much so that scarcely any one of them 
exceeds the third day in the presence of human beings, unless it be at once 
carried into a secret place and segregated from all men. It should be known, 
forsooth, that God abhors monsters of this kind. They displease Him, and 
none of them can be saved when.4.bey do not bear the likeness of God. One 
can only conjecture that they are shapen by the Devil, and born for the service 
of the Devil rather than of God ; since from no monster was any good work 
ever derived, but, on the contrary, evil and sin, and all kinds of diabolical craft. 
For as the executioner marks his sons when he cuts off their ears, gouges out 
their eyes, brands their cheeks, cuts off their fwgers, hands, or head, so the Devil, 
too, marks his own sons, through the imagination of the mother, which they 
derive from her evil desires, lusts^ and thoughts in conception. All men, 
therefore, should be avoided who have more or less than the usual numbers of 
any member, or have any member duplicated. For that is a presage of the 
Devil, and a certain sign of hidden wickedness and craft.* 

• A special treatise on this subject and cggnalc matters is found cliiewhere in the Geneva folio. It is, briefly, as 
follows. There are man>- monsters in the s*a which are not products of the original creation, but ar« bom from the 

124 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus, 

But neither must we by any means forget the generation of homunculi. 
For there is some truth in this thing, although for a long time it was held in a 
most occult manner and wath secrecy, while there was no little doubt and 
question among some of the old Philosophers, whether it was possible to 
Nature and Art, that a man should be begotten without the female body and the 
natural womb. I answer hereto, that this is in no way opposed to Spagyric 
Art and to Nature, nay, that it is perfectly possible. In order to accomplish it, 
you must proceed thus. Let the semen of a man putrefy by itself in a sealed 
cucurbite with the highest putrefaction of the venter eqidmts for forty days, or 
until it begins at last to live, move, and be agitated, which can easily be seen. 
After this time it will be in some degree like a human being, but, nevertheless, 
transparent and without body. If now, after this, it be every day nourished 
and fed cautiously and prudently with the arcanum of human blood, and kept 
for forty weeks in the perpetual and equal heat of a venter equiniis^ it becomes, 
thenceforth a true and living infant, having all the members of a child that is 
born from a woman, but much smaller. This we call a homunculus ; and it 
should be afterwards educated with the greatest care and zeal, until it grows up 
and begins to display intelligence. Now, this is one of the greatest secrets which 
God has revealed to mortal and fallible man. It is a miracle and marvel of God, 
an arcanum above all arcana, and deserves to be kept secret until the last 

sperm of fishes of unlike species coming together contrary to the genuine, order of Nature. Thus monsters are some- 
times found in the sea exhibiting the form of man, which yet have not been generated tx sodomia from men, but arise 
by the conjunction of diverse fishes. . . . Even among men monsters are sometimes found that remind us partly of 
a luiman being, and partly of an animal. This is a repellent subject, but requires to be fully expl:iined, that the fir-^t 
birth may be correctly understood. The same also takes place in the^eaJ There is, for example, the syren, of which 
the upper parts are those of a woman and the lower those of a fish. This does not form part of the original creation, hut 
is a hybrid offspring from the union of two fishes of the same kind, but of different forms. Other marine animals are 
also found, which, without corresponding ex.ictly to man. yet resemble him more than any other animnl. However, like 
the rest of the brutes, they lack mind or soul. They have the same relations to man as the ape. and are nothing but the 
apes of the sea. As often as they unite, marine monsters of this kind are produced. Another such monstrous generation is 
themonacluisor monk-like fish. Uut there are mnny genera of fishes, and many modes of generation, which do not always 
result from the sperm fauiilinr or customarj- to them, but happen in various other ways. For example, certain monsters 
are drowned in the sea, and are devoured by the fishes. Now, if a sperm, constituted in exaltation, were to perish by 
immersion, and, having been consumed by a fish, were again exalted within it. a certain operation would undoubtedly 
follow from the nature of the fish and the sperm, whence it may he gathered that the majority of marine animals which 
recall the human form are in this manner produced. Yet, having the nature of a fish, they live in the waters and rejoice 
therein. The maiinc dog, the marine spider, and the marine man are of this class. If they are generated in any other 
way, it must he set down to sodomia. liut there may be a third cause, namely, when spermatica of this kind acquire diges- 
tion, and by reason of this conjunction a birth takes place. . . . Monsters are likewise generated in the .-lir, from the 
droppings of the stars from above. For a sperm falls from the stars. The winds also in their courses bring many strange 
things from other rei;ions to which they are indigenous. The sperm of spiders, toads, and other creatures floalinjiin the 
air are resolved, and hence other living things are produced. In this way grasshoppers and other monsters are begot- 
ten, their generation being of one only and not of two. Such births are more venomous and impure than are other 
worms. Therefore, houses ought to be scrupulously cleaned, or else so constructed as not to favour the accumulation of 
much filth. For the air is efficacious against seeds dispersed in this manner. The earth is, however, the most fniitfu 
matrix of monstrous growths. There the animals both of land and sea congregate. The basilisk is generated from the 
sperm of a and a cock. The sperm of the cock uniting with that of the hen produces an egg. But if the cock emit 
his sperm without the hen doing likewise, the egg will be imperfect, and something will be generated unnaturally- 
There is another kind of basilisk, produced by the union, soa.otuiilcc. of a cock and a toad. After the same manner, 
lizards unite with geckoes, and the copulation produces a peculiar worm, partaking of the nature of each, and known as 
a dr.igon. The asp is another instance of this unnatural generation. . . . From all that has been set down wc may 
learn that whoever lives for his body alone is a basilisk, a dragon, and an asp, not, indeed, generated as yet, but mean- 
while moving alive until he dies. Vou can now understand the abominable manner wherein unnatural monsters are 
generated. For if a man lives in sperm, his very sperms turn into worms, .md remain worms, and in the day of the 
resurrection shall they be buried in the deepest parts of the earth, over which shall walk those who have risen. — De 
AnimalibHi nutis ex Sodomut. 

Concerning the N^attire of Things. 125 

times, when there shall be nothing hidden, but all things shall be made manifest. 
And although up to this time it has not been known to men, it was, neverthe- 
less, known to the wood-sprites and nymphs and giants long ago, because they 
themselves were sprung from this source ; since from such homunculi when 
they come to manhood are produced giants, pigmies, and other marvellous 
people, who are the instruments of great things, who get great victories over 
their enemies, and know all secret and hidden matters.* As by Art they 
acquire their life, by .\rt acquire their body, flesh, bones and blood, and are 
born by Art, therefore -Art is incorporated in them and born with them, and 
there is no need for them to learn, but others are compelled to learn from them, 
since they are sprung from Art and live by it, as a rose or a flower in a garden, 
and are called the children of the wood-sprites and the nymphs, because in their 
virtue they are not like men, but like spirits. ,_- .. 

Here, too, it would he necessary to speak about the generation of metals, 
but since we have written sufficiently of these in our book on The Generation 
of Metals, we will treat the matter very briefly here, and only in a short space 
point out what we there omitted. Know, then, that all the seven metals are 
born from a threefold matter, namely, Mercurj-, Sulphur, and Salt, but with 
distinct and peculiar colourings. In this way, Hermes truly said that all the 
seven metals were made and compounded of three substances, and in like 
manner also tinctures and the Philosophers' Stone. These three substances 
he names Spirit, Soul, and Body. But he did not point out how this was to be 
understood, or what he meant by it. though possibl)- he might also have known 
the three principles, but he makes no mention of them. I do not therefore say 
that he was in error, but that he was silent. Now, in order that these three dis- 
tinct substances may be rightly understood, namely, spirit, soul, and body, it 
should be known that they signify nothing else than the three principles, Mercurj', 
Sulphur, and Salt, from which all the seven metals are generated. For 
Mercur}' is the spirit. Sulphur is the soul, and Salt is the body. The metal 
between the spirit and the body, concerning which Hermes speaks, is the soul, 
which indeed is Sulphur. It unites those two contraries, the body and the 
spirit, and changes them into one essence. But it must not be understood 
that from any Mercurj-, and any Sulphur, and any Salt, these seven metals can 
be generated, or, in like manner, the Tincture or the Philosophers' Stone by 
the Art and the industry of the Alchemist in the fire ; but all these seven 
metals must be generated in the mountains by the Archeus of the earth, t The 

• Elsewhere P.-iraceIsus state<; that giants are bom from sj-Iphs, and dwarfs from pigmies. Of these monsters are 
produced, as, for example, nj-mphs and s>Tens. Albeit these .ire rare, they have appeared with suflicient frequency*, and 
in such a marvellous manner, that there can be no doubt of their existence. — jP*- Nywphis. PygmiiSy SttlamandriSy etc- 
With regard to the generation of homunculi there is also the following passage :— Porro hoc ctiam sciendum est.sodom. 
itas hujusomodi sperma quandoque etiam in os ejacul.-ui. Quod si in stomachum tanqU'im in mairiccm rccipiator, ex 
ipso ibi monstrum, aut homunculus, aut simile aliud generalur, ac inde morbi multi. iique diOiciles surgunt. tamdiv 
sxvientes, donee generatum excematur.— 23* Homujuulis *■/ Mcnstris- 

t As a sure and fundamental conclusion to those things which have been advanced. let it be notified to those who 
desire to be acquainted with the true essence and origin of metals, that our metals are nothing else than the most potent 
and best part of common stones— the spirit, gluten, grease, butter, oil, and fatness of stones, which, while still combined 

126 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

alchemist will more easily transmute metals than generate or make them. 
Nevertheless, live Mercury Is the mother of all the seven metals, and deserves 
to be called the Mother of Metals. For it is an open metal and, as it were, 
contains in itself all the colours which it renders up from itself in the fire ; 
and so also, in an occult manner, it contains in itself all metals which without 
fire it does not yield up from itself. But the regeneration and renovation of 
metals takes place thus : As man can return to the womb of his mother, that 
is, to the earth from which the first man sprang, and thus can be born again 
anew at the last day, so also all metals can return to quick mercury, can be- 
come Mercury, and be regenerated and clarified by fire, if they remain for forty 
weeks in perpetual heat, like a child in its mother's womb. Now, they are 
born, however, not as common metals, but as metals which tinge : for 
if, as has been said, Luna is regenerated, it will afterwards tinge all metals to 
Luna. So gold tinges other metals to Sol, and in like manner it must be 
\ understood of all other metals. Now, when Hermes said that the soul was 
the only medium which joins the spirit to the body, he had no inadequate con- 
ception of the truth. And since Sulphur is that soul, and, like fire, it hastens 
on and prepares all things, it can also link together the spirit and the bodj-, 
incorporate and unite them, so that a most noble body shall be produced. Yet 
it is not common combustible sulphur which is to be esteemed the soul of 
metals ; but that soul is another combustible and corruptible body. It cannot, 
therefore, be burnt with any fire, since it is itself entirely fire, and, in 
truth, it is nothing but the Quintessence of Sulphur, which is extracted by the 
spirit of wine from Reverberated Sulphur, and is ruby coloured and clear as 
the ruby itself. This is indeed a mighty and excellent arcanum for transmuting 
white metals, and for coagulating quick mercury into fixed and approved 
gold. Hold this in commendation as a treasure for making you rich ; and you 
should be contented with this secret alone in the transmutation of metals. Con- 
cerning the generation of minerals and semi-metals, no more need be known 
than we stated at the beginning concerning the metals, namely, that they are 
produced, in like manner, from those three principles. Mercury, Sulphur, and 
Salt, though not, like the metals, from these principles in their perfection, but 
from the more imperfect and weaker Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt, yet still with 
their distinct colours. 

The generation of gems takes place by, and flows out from, the subtlety 
of the earth, from the clear and crystalline Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt, also 

in the stone, are not good, not pure, not clean, and are altogether wanting in perfection. For this reason they are to 
be sought, found, and known in stones, and thence, also, must be separated and extr.icted by pounding and liquefaction. 
When this been effected they are no longer stones, but prepared and complete metals, agreeing with the celestial 
stars ; which stones, indeed, are secreted from the terrestrial stars. Furthermore, if anyone desire to investigate and to 
know minerals and metals, he should clearly realise that they are not always to be sought in the common and familiar 
minerae, nor in the depths of mountains, because they are vei-y often found more easily, and in greater abundance, upon 
the surface of the earth than in its bowels. For this reason, any stone that may offer itself to the eye, whether 
great or small, rock or flint, should be diligently examined as to its property and nature, for verj' often a small and 
d^pised pebble is of greater value than a cow. So, also, there is common dust and sand which are abounding fin Sol 
.tild Lunn. — Chirttrgia Minor, De Cortrijciurii, Tract \\.~ rttuclraii'. 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 127 

according to their own distinct colours.* The generation of common stones is 
from the subtlety of water, by the mucilaginous Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt. 
For all stones are produced by the mucilage of water, as also pebbles and sand 
are coagulated from the same source into stones, t This is patent to the eyes : 
for every stone placed in water soon draws the mucilage to itself. If, now, 
that mucilaginous matter be taken from such stones and coagulated in a 
cucurbite, a stone will be produced of the same kind as would of itself be 
produced and coagulated in the water, but after a long period of time. 

* The generation of gems in Ares occurs after tliis manner : \\Tien the gross genera of stones have been all 
extracted out of .\res, a certain subtlety remains, more diaphanous in iLs nature than are other stones, and out of this the 
.•\rcheus subsequently procreates gems after such a manner that hardness and very great transparenc>' are first prepared. 
Hence the gems are afterwards developed, each according to its own form and essence. \'erj' great subtlety and artifice 
are employed over this generation. — De EUmento Aqucr. Tract IV.. c. lo. 

t The body of every kind of stone is sulphtir, as that of metals is mercury'. The hardness is from s.-ilt. and the 
density from mercury. —/^irf. . c. 5. 





Concerning the Growth of Natlral Things. 

T is clear enough, and well known to everybody, that all natural things 
gro\y and mature by warmth and moisture, as is plainly demonstrated by 
the rain followed up with sunshine. None can deny that the earth is 
irendered fruitful by the rain, and all must confess that every kind of fruit is 
ripened by the sun. Since, then, by the Divine institution, this is possible to 
Nature, who will deny or refuse to believe that man possesses this same power 
by a prudent and skilful pursuit of the Alchemical Art, so that he shall render 
the fruitless fruitful, the unripe ripe, and make all increase and grow ? The 
Scripture says that God subjected all created things to man, and handed them 
over to him as if they were his own property, so that he might use them for 
his necessity, that he might have dominion over the fishes of the sea, the 
fowls of the air, and everything on the earth without exception. Wherefore 
man ought to rejoice because God has illuminated him and endowed him, so 
that all God's creatures are compelled to obey Him and to be subiect to Him, 
especially nil the earth, together with all things which are born, live, and 
move in it and upon it. Since, then, we see with our eyes, and are taught 
by daily experience, that the oftener and the more plentifully the rain moistens 
the earth, and the sun dries it again with its heat and glow, the sooner the 
fruits of the earth come forth and ripen, while all fruits increase and grow, 
whatever be the time of year, let none wonder that the alchemist, too, by 
manifold imbibitions and distillations, can produce the same effect. For what 
is rain but the imbibition of the earth ? What are the heat and glow of the 
sun other than the sun's process of distillation, which again extracts the 
humidity ? W'herefore I say that it is possible by such co-optation in the 
middle of winter to produce green herbs, flowers, and fruits, by means of 
earth and water, from seed and root. Now, if this takes place with herbs and 
flowers, it will take place in many other similar things too, as, for instance, 
in all minerals, the imperfect metals whereof can be ripened with mineral 
water by the industry and art of the skilled alchemist. So, too, can all 
marchasites, granites, zincs, arsenics, talcs, cachimiae, bismuths, antimonies, 
etc., all of which carry with them immature Sol and Luna, be so ripened as to 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 1 29 

be made equal to the richest veins of gold and silver, only by such co-oplation. 
So, also, the Elixir and Tinctures of metals are matured and perfected. 

Since, therefore, humidity and warmth mature all things and make them 
grow, let none wonder that, after a long time, in the case of a criminal on the 
gibbet, the beard, hair, and nails grow ; nor let this be taken for a sign of 
innocence, as the ignorant read it. It is only natural, and proceeds from 
natural causes. .As long as there is moisture in the body, the nails, beard, 
and hair grow ; and, what is more, in the case of a man buried in the earth 
itself, nails, beard, and hair grow up to the second year, or up to the time of 
the man's decay. 

It should be known, too, that many substances grow and increase perpet- 
ually in size, weight, and virtue, both in water and on land, in each of which 
they remain good and effective, such, for example, as metals, marchasites, 
cachymiae, talcs, granites, antimony, bismuths, gems, pearls, corals, all 
stones and clays. So also it can be brought about that Sol shall grow and 
increase in weight and in body, if only it be buried in land looking east, and 
be constantly fertilised with fresh human urine and pigeons' dung. ■> 

It is also possible for gold to be so acted upon by the industry and art of 
the skilled alchemist that it will grow in a cucurbite with many wonderful 
branches and leaves, which experiment is very- pleasant to behold, and full of 
marvels. The process is as follows : Let gold be calcined by means of aqua 
regis so that it becomes a chalky lime ; which place in a cucurbite, pouring in 
good and fresh aqua regis and water of gradation so that it exceeds four 
fingers across. Extract it again with the third degree of fire until nothing 
more ascends. Again pour over it distilled water, and once more extract by 
distillation as before. Do this until you see the Sol rise in the glass and grow 
in the form of a tree with many branches and leaves. Thus there is produced 
from Sol a wonderful and beautiful shrub which alchemists call the Golden 
Herb, or the Philosophers' Tree. The process is the same with the other 
metals, save that the calcination may be different, and some other aqua fortis 
may have to be used. This I leave to your experience. If you are practised 
in Alchemy you will do what is right in these details. 

Know also that any flint may be taken out of river water, placed in a 
cucurbite, and sprinkled with its own running water until the cucurbite is full. 
This may again be extracted by distillation, as long as a single drop ascends, 
until the stone be dry. Let the cucurbfte be again filled with this water, and 
once more extracted. Repeat this until the cucurbite is filled with this stone. 
In this way, by means of Alchemy, in a few days you will see that a very large 
stone can be made, such as the .Archeus of the waters could scarcely make in 
many years. If you afterwards break the cucurbite on a stone you will have a 
flint in the shape of the cucurbite, just as though it had been poured into the 
glass. Though this may be of no profit to you, still it is a very wonderful 




Concerning the Preservation of Natur.\l Things. 

IN order that a thing may be preserved and defended from injury, it is neces- 
sary that first of all its enemy should be known, so that it may be shielded 
therefrom, and that it may not be hurt or corrupted by it, in its substance, 
virtue, force, or in any other way suffer loss. A good deal depends upon this, 
then, that the enemy of all natural things should be recognised ; for who can 
guard himself against loss and adverse chance if he is ignorant of his enemy ? 
Surely, no one. It is therefore necessary that such enemy should be known. 
There are many enemies ; and it is just as necessary to know the bad as the 
good. Who, in fact, can know the good without a knowledge of the evil ? 
No one. No one who has never been sick knows how great a treasure health 
is. Who knows what joy is, that was never sad or sorrowful ? And who knows 
rightly about what God is, who knows nothing about the devil ? ^\'herefore 
since God has made known to us the enemy of our soul, that is, the devil. He 
also points out to us the enemy of our life, that is, death, which is the enemy 
of our body, of our health, the enemy of medicine, and of all natural things. 
He has made known this enemy to us and also how and by what means we 
must escape him. For as there is no disease against which there has not been 
created and discovered a medicine which cures and drives it away, so there is 
always one thing placed over against another — one water over against another, 
one stone over against another, one mineral over against another, one poison 
over against another, one metal over against another — and the same in many 
other matters, all of which it is not necessary to recount here. 

But it ought to be known how, and by what means, each several thing is 
preserved and guarded from loss : that many things, for instance, have to be 
kept for a long time in the earth. All roots, especially, remain for a long 
while in the earth fruitful and uncorrupted. In like manner, herbs and 
flowers and all fruits keep undecayed and green in water. So also many other 
fruits, and especially apples, can be preserved in water, and protected from 
every decay, until new apples are produced. 

So also flesh and blood, which very soon putrefy and become rancid, can 
be kept in cold spring water ; and not only so, but by the co-optation of 
renewed and fresh spring water they can be transmuted into a quintessence. 

Concerning the Nutnre of Things. 131 

and conserved for ever from decay and bad odour without any balsam. And 
not only does this process preserve flesh and blood, but (so to say) it preserves 
all oilier kinds of flesh and blood, and especially the body of man, from all 
decay and from many diseases which arise from decay, better than the 
common mumia does.* But in order that blood may be preserved of itself from 
decay and ill odour, and not as a quintessence ; and in order, also, to protect 
other blood, as aforesaid, you must use this process : Let the blood be 
separated from its phlegm, which moves of itself, and is driven to the surface. 
Draw off" this water by a dexterous inclination of the vessel, and add to the 
blood a sufficient quantity of the water of salt, which we teach you in our 
Chirurgia Magna how to make.t This water at once mingles with the blood, 
and so conserves the blood that it never putrefies or grows rancid, but remains 
fresh and exceedingly red after many years, just as well as on the first day ; 
which, indeed, is a great marvel. But if you do not know how to prepare this 
water, or have none at hand, pour on a sufficient quantity of the best and 
most excellent balsam, which produces the same effect. Now this blood is the 
Balsam of Balsams, and is called the Arcanum of Blood. It is of such great 
and wonderful virtue as would be incredible were we to mention it. Therefore 
you will keep this occult, as a great secret in medicine. 

In the conservation of metals the first thing to learn is what are their 
enemies, so that they may be thereby the better kept from loss. The principal 
enemies of metals, then, are all strong waters ; all aqua; regia, all corrosives 
and salts, shew their hostility in this circumstance, that they mortify all 
metals, calcine them, corrupt them, and reduce them to nothing. Crude 
sulphur shews its hostility by its smoke ; for by its smoke it takes away the 
colour and redness from Venus, and renders it white. From white metals, as 
Luna, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, it takes a't\^Sy their whiteness and reddens 
them, or induces in them a reddish colour. From gold it takes away the 
agreeable yellowness and golden tint, renders it black, and makes it as 
uncomely as possible. 

Antimony shews its hostility in this : that it spoils all metals with which 
it is liquefied in the fire, and with which it is mixed ; it deprives and robs them ; 
moreover, like the sulphur, it robs metals of their genuine colour and 
substitutes another. 

Quicksilver, on the other hand, exercises a hostile force upon the metals 
with which it is conjoined, in that it invades and dissolves them so that it 
makes an amalgam from them. Moreover, its smoke, which we call the soot 
of Mercury, makes all metals immalleable and fragile ; it calcines them and 
whitens all red and gold coloured metals. It is the chief enemy of iron and 

• According to one explanation : Mumia is man himself. Mumia is balsam, which heals wounds. — Paramirum - 
De Origint MorboniHi, Wh. II., c. 2. The virtues of all herbs are found in this Mumia. — ZJf Online Mertorui'i 
Invmbilium, Lib. IV. Whoever seeks opoponax will find it in Mumia (that is, in the Mumia which is man), and so 
also .ill other creatures whatsoever. — /^jV. Now, this is Mumia : If a man be deprived of life, then his flower bursts 
forth in potencies and natural arcana. - Ibtd. 

t This process will be found in the second footnote on p. 76 of the present volume. 


132 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

steel, for if common mercury touches a steel rod, or if the rod be 
anointed with mercurial oil, it can afterwards be broken like glass 
and cut off. This is indeed a great secret and must be kept strictly 
occult. In the same way, too, the magnet should be guarded and kept 
from Mercury, for it exerts hostility on it as on Mars. For every magnet 
which common mercury touches, or which is anointed with mercurial oil, or 
only placed in Mercury, never afterwards attracts iron.* Let no one be surprised 
at this ; there is a natural cause for it, seeing that Mercury extracts the spirit 
of iron which the magnet holds latent in itself. Wherefore also the spirit of iron in 
the magnet attracts the body of Mars to itself ; and this happens not only in 
the magnet but in all other natural things, so that the foreign spirit which is 
in an alien body, which is not of its own nature, always attracts a body 
agreeing with its own nature. This should be known not only of the magnet, 
but of all natural bodies, such as minerals, stones, herbs, roots, men, and 

After this it should be known that metals exercise hostility amongst each 
other, and mutually hate one another from their inborn nature ; as you see in 
the case of Saturn, which is the principal enemy of Sol, from its congenital 
nature. It breaks up all the members of gold, renders it deformed, weak, and 
destroys and corrupts it even to the death, more than it does any other metal. 
It also hates tin, and is an enemy of all the metals, for it renders them degen- 
erate, unmalleable, hard and unfit, if it be mixed with either of them in fire or 

Since, therefore, you have now heard about the enemies of the metals, 
learn, moreover, about their preservation and conservation, which guard 
the metals from all loss and corruption, and, in addition, strengthen them in 
their nature and virtue, while they graduate them more highly in colour. First, 
then, it ought to be known concerning gold that it cannot be better and more 
beautifully preserved than in boys' urine, in which has been dissolved sal am- 
moniac, or in the water of sal ammoniac alone. In these, with time, it acquires 
such a high grade of colour as cannot be surpassed. Silver cannot be better 
preserved and conserved than if it be boiled in common water or acetum in 
which have been dissolved tartar and salt. In this way any old silver, though 
blackened and stained, is renewed, if it is boiled thus. Of iron and steel the 
best and most useful conservative and preservative is fresh, not salted, lard 
from a gelded sow. This protects all iron and steel from rust if tliey are 
anointed therewith once every month. In like manner, if iron be liquefied 
with fixed arsenic, and occasionally reduced to a flux, it can be so renewed and 
fixed that, like silver, it never rusts. Copper can be conserved and preserved 
if only it be mixed with sublimated Mercury, or anointed with oil of salt, so 

• So, also, it is affirmed that if the m.ignet be steeped in garlic it will be deprived of its attractive virtue. — X)e 
Morbis Amentium, c. 5. Should anyone make use of a magnet while he is wearing a sapphire, it will effect 
nothing till the gem be removed. The same quality seems to reside in carabe, coagulate of gum, resin, and there- 
botin. — D( Feste, Lib. II.. c. 2. 

Concerning the Nature of 77iings. \ 33 

that for the future it gives forth no vitriol or verdigris, nor does it become of a 
green colour. 

Lead cannot be conserved better than in cold water, and in a damp place, 
such is its nature. But for the conservation of the magnet nothing is better 
than filings of iron or steel. If the magnet be placed in these, not only docs 
not its force decrease, but it grows more and more every day. 

As to the conservation of salts, and all those substances which are of k 
salt nature, and are comprised under the name of salt, of which there are more 
than a hundred, it is well to know that they must be kept in a warm and dry 
place, and guarded well from the air in wooden chests. They must not be placed 
on glass, stone, or metal. By these they are dissolved and turn into water 
and amalgam ; but this does not occur in wood. 

Moreover, you should learn the method of conserving certain waters and 
liquids by fneans ot pressed herbs, roots, and other fruits and growing things, 
which easily absorb all mustiness and mould just as if a skin were wrapped 
around them. Let these waters, or other liquids, be placed in a glass vessel, nar- 
row at the top and wider below. Let the vessel be filled to the top and then some 
drops of olive oil added, so that all the water or liquid may be covered. The 
oil will float at the top, and, in this way, will protect the liquid or the water a 
long time from mustiness or mould. No water or liquid, if it be covered w ith 
oil, can ever become mouldy or smell badly. In this way also two waters, two 
liquids, two wines, can be kept separately in one vessel, so that they shall not 
mix ; and not only two, but three, four, five, or still more, if only oil be between 
them, for they are separated by the oil as by a wall, which does not suffer them 
to be conjoined and united. For oil and water are two contraries, and neither 
can mingle with the other. As the oil does not allow the waters to mix, so, 
on the other hand, the water prevents the oils from blending. 

For the conservation and preservation of cloth and garments from moth, so 
that they may not eat them or settle in them, nothing is better than mastix, 
camphor, ambergris, or musk : but the best is civet, which not only preserves 
from moth, but drives away and puts to flight moths, with other worms, 
fleas, lice, and bugs. 

All timbers can be conserved, as in buildings or bridges, so that they shall 
never decay, whether they be in water, under water, or out of the water, in the 
ground, under the ground, or out of the ground, whether exposed to rain or 
wind, air, snow, or ice, in summer or winter, and moreover, preventing them from 
decaying or worms breeding in them when felled. The method of conservation 
in this case is that grand arcanum against all putrefactions, and so remarkable 
a secret that no other can compare with it. It is none other than the oil of 
sulphur, the process for making which is as follows : — Let common yellow 
sulphur be pulverised and placed in a cucurbite. Over it pour as much aqua- 
fortis as will cover four fingers across. Abstract this by distillation three or 
four times, the last time until it is completely drj-. Let the sulphur which 
remains at the bottom, and is of a dark reddish colour, he nl.-iccd in marble or 

134 T^^^ Hertnetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

glass and easily dissolved into an oil. This is a great secret in the conservation 
of timber so that it may never decay and may be protected from worms. For 
if sulphur be prepared as aforesaid, and turned into an oil, it afterwards 
tinges the timber which has been anointed with it so that it can never be 
-^ obliterated. Many other things, also, can be conserved and preserved from 
decay in this oil of sulphur, especially ropes and cables in ships and on the 
masts of ships, in chariots, fishing-nets, birdcatchers' and hunters' snares, and 
other like things which are being frequently used in water and rain, and would 
otherwise be liable to decay and break ; so also with linen cloths and other 
similar things. 

The conservation of potable things, too, should be noticed, under which 
we comprise wine, beer, hydromel, vinegar, and milk. If we wish to keep 
these five unharmed and in their virtue, it is necessary to know their chief 
enemy. This is none other than unclean women at the time of their monthly 
courses. They corrupt these things if they handle or have anything to do with 
them, if they look at them, or breathe on them. The wine is changed and 
becomes thick, beer and hydromel turn sour, vinegar is weakened and loses 
its acidity, milk also becomes sour and clotted. 

This, therefore, should be well known before anything is said specially 
about the conservation of one of these things in particular. Moreover, the 
chief preservative of wine is sulphur and oil of sulphur, by means of which all 
wine can be preserved for a very long time, so that it neither thickens nor is 
in any way changed. 

The means of conserving beer is by oil of garyophyllon, if a few drops of 
it are put in, so that one measure has two or three drops. Better still is the 
oil of benedicta garyophyllata, which preserves beer from acidity. The pre- 
servative for hydromel is the oil of sugar, which must be used in the same way 
as the oil of garyophyllon or the benedicta. 

The preservative of vinegar is oil of ginger, and of milk the expressed oil 
of almonds. These two must be used as described above. 

The preservative of cheese is the herb hypericon or perforata, which 
protects all cheeses from worms. If it be placed against the cheese and 
touches it, no worm is produced in it, and if some have been already produced, 
they die and drop out of the cheese. 

Honey has no special preservative, only it must be protected from its 
enemy. Its chief enemy is bread. If ever so small a quantity of bread made 
from flour be put or fall into it, the whole honey is turned into ants, and 
perishes entirely. 



Concerning the Life of Natural Things. 

NONE can deny that the air gives life to all corporeal and substantial 
things which are born and generated from the earth. But as to what 
and of what kind the life of each particular thing is, it should be 
known that the life of things is none other than a spiritual essence, an 
invisible and impalpable thing, a spirit and a spiritual thing. On this account 
there is nothing corporeal but has latent within itself a spirit and life, which, 
as just now said, is none other than a spiritual thing.* But not only that 
lives which moves and acts, as men, animals, worms in the earth, birds under 
the sky, fishes in the sea, but also all corporeal and substantial things. For 
here we should know that God, at the beginning of the creation of all things, 
created no body whatever without its own spirit, which spirit it contains after 
an occult manner within itself. For what is the body without the spirit ? 
Absolutely nothing. So it is that the spirit holds concealed within itself the 
virtue and power of the thing, and not the body. For in the body is death, 
and the body is subject to death, and in the body nothing but death must be 
looked for. For the body can be destroyed and corrupted in various ways, 
but not the spirit : for it always remains a living spirit, and is bound up with 
life. It also keeps its own body alive, but in the removal of the body from it, 
it leaves the body separate and dead, and returns to its own place whence it 
had come, that is to say, into chaos, and into the air of the higher and lower 
firmament. Hence it is evident that there are different kinds of spirits, just 
as there are different kinds of bodies. There are celestial and infernal spirits, 
human and metallic, the spirits of salts, gems, and marcasites, arsenical 
spirits, spirits of potables, of roots, of liquids, of flesh, blood, bones, etc. 
Wherefore you may know that. the spirit is in very truth the life and balsam 

veil or covering which enclose?; three principles— sulphur, salt, and mcrcurj'. -/'rtr.iw/VK///, Lib. I 
The life of the body is lire. — Dc- EnU Aitrorum, c. 6. There is a twofold life in man : there is the life of the soul, 
which proceeds from the nature of God ; but I speak here as a physician, and not as a theologian. There is also a life 
of the anim.-il kind, which is of air and fire, and the same is domiciled in the IxKly, which is c-irth and water. So 
is man dowered with an animal and a sidereal life.—/?* Festilitate^ Tract I. In another sense the life of man is said 
I be triplex— necroconiic., .ind salnitric. But this has reference to the animal life only ~Lib,r Azoth, Tluil 
which sustains the body is the life, but the life iLself is from God. and not from man. This life consists in four 
things - humours, complexions. nattH-al species, and gifts or %'irtues. - De C^riterationc Hoinhtis. 

136 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

of all corporeal things. Now we will go on to its species, and here will 
describe to you in detail, but as briefly as possible, the life of each natural 

The life, then, of all men is none other than a certain astral balsam,* a 
balsamic impression, a celestial and invisible fire, an included air, and a spirit 
of salt which tinges. I am imable to name it more clearly, although it could 
be put forward under many distinctive titles. Since, however, the chief and 
the best are here pointed out, we will be silent as to the rest and the inferior 

The life of metals is a latent fatness which they have received from 
sulphur. This Is shewn from their fluxion, because everything which passes 
into flux in the fire does so on account of its hidden fatness. Unless this were 
so no metal could be reduced to a fluid state, as we see in the case of iron and 
steel, which have the least Sulphur and fatness of all the metals, wherefore 
they are of a drier nature than all the rest of them. 

The life of mercury is nothing but inner heat and outer frigidity. That is 
to say, within it gives heat, but without it causes cold ; and in this respect it 
is aptly to be compared to a garment of skins, which, like mercury, causes 
both heat and cold. For if a garment of this kind be worn by a man, it 
warms him and protects him from the cold ; but if he wears the hairless part 
against- his naked body, it causes cold, and defends him from excessive heat. 
So \\. came about that in very ancient times, and it is even the custom still, 
that these coats of skin are worn both in summer and in winter, as much 
against the heat as against the xold ; in summer the hairless part is turned 
within, and the hairy part outside, but in the cold vi-inter season the hairy part 
is turned within and the hairless part outside. As it is with the garment of 
skins, so is it with mercury. 

The life of sulphur is a combustible, ill-smelling fatness. Whilst it flames 
and sends forth its evil odour it ma_\- be said to li\e. 

The life of all salts is nothing else but a spirit of atjua fortis : for when 
the water is abstracted from them, that which remains at the bottom is called 
dead earth. 

The life of gems and corjits is mere colour, which can be taken from them 
by spirits of wine. The life of pearls is their brightness, which they lose in 
their calcination. The life of the magnet is the spirit of iron, which can be 
extracted and taken away by rectified viiium ardens Itself, or by spirit of winel? 

The life of flints is a mucilaginous matter. The life of marcasites, cachy- 
inia;, talc, cobalt, zinc, granites, zwitter, vismat (ruile tin), is a metallic spirit 
oi antimony, which has the power to tinge. Of arsenicals, auripigment, 
orpiment, realgar, and similar matters, the life is a mineral coagulated poison. 

• The tlesh and bU>od uf mall nre preserved and susLiincd by .1 cert.'iin Iwlsam. Now. this haliiam i:. the hody of 
s;ih. So, therefore, hysalt is man preserved as by a balsam. — Dc Morbis Ta^tartts. c. at. The balsam of man exists 
alike in all his memliers, and is specialised therein-in the blood, in the marrow, in the bones, the arteries, etc.— 
I. /liriirxi'i '"^^^ff'ttf, Lib. V. 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 137 

The life of wavelike substances, that is to say, of the dung of men and 
animals, is their strong- and foetid smell. When this is lost they are dead. 

The life of aromatic substances, to wit, musk, ambergris, civet, and what- 
ever emits a strong, sweet, and pleasant odour, is nothing but that grateful 
odour itself. If they lose this the}- arc dead and useless. 

The life of sweet things, as sugar, honey, manna, fistula cassias, and the 
like, is a subtle sweetness, with the power to tinge ; for if that sweetness be 
taken away bj- distillation, or sublimation, the things are dead, fatuous, and 
no longer of any value. 

The life of resins, as caraba, turpentine, and gum, is a mucilaginous, 
glittering fatness. They all give excellent varnish ; when they no longer 
furnish this, and lose their glitter, they are dead. 

The life of herbs, roots, apples, and other fruits of this kind, is nothing 
else than the liquid of the earth, which they spontaneously lose if they are 
deprived of water and earth. 

The life of wood is a certain resin. Any wood that is deprived of resin 
is unable longer to flourish. 

The life of bones is the liquid of mumia. The life of flesh and blood is 
none other than the spirit of salt, which preserves them from ill odour and 
decay, and spontaneously, as the water b separated from them. 

But concerning the life of the elements there is this to be known. The 
life of water is its flowing. When it is coagulated by the cold of the 
firmament and congealed into ice, then it is dead, and all power of doing harm 
is taken from it, since no one can any longer be drowned in it. 

So, too, the life of fire is air, for the air makes the fire blaze more strongly 
and with greater impetuosity-. Some air proceeds from all fire, sufficient to 
extinguish a candle or to lift a light feather, as is evident to the ej-es. .All live 
fire, therefore, if it be shut op or deprived of the power to send forth its air, 
must be suffocated. 

The air lives of itself, and gives life to all other things. The earth, 
however, is of itself dead ; but its own element is its invisible and occult life. 




Concerning the Death of Natural Things. 

HE death of all natural things is nothing else but an alteration and 
removal of their powers and virtues, an overthrow of their potencies 
for evil or for good, an overwhelming and blotting out of their former 
^ nature, and the generation of a new and different nature.* For it should be 
known that many things which in life were good, and had their own virtues, 
retain little or none of that virtue when thej' are dead, but appear altogether 
fatuous and powerless. So, on the other hand, man)- things in their life are 
evil, but in death, or after they have been mortified, they display a manifold 
power and efficacy, and do much good. We could recount many examples of 
this, but that is altogether foreign to our purpose. Yet, in order that you may 
see that I do not write from my mere opinion, however plausible, but from my 
experience, it is well that I should adduce one example with which I will 
quiet and silence the sophists who say that nothing can be gained from dead 
things, nor anything ought to be sought or found in them. The cause of this 
assertion is that they value at nothing the preparations of the alchemists, by 
which many great secrets of this kind are discovered. For look at Mercury, 
live and crude sulphur, and crude antimony ; as they are brought from the 
mines, that is, while they are still living, how small is their virtue, how lightly 
and tardily do they exercise their influence. Indeed, they bring more evil than 
good, and are rather a poison than a medicine. But if, by the industry of a 
skilled alchemist, they are corrupted into their first substance and prudently 
prepared (that is, if the Mercury be coagulated, precipitated, sublimated, 
resolved, and turned into oil; the sulphur be sublimated, calcined, reverber- 
ated and turned into oil ; and, in like manner, Venus be sublimated, c:ilcined. 
reverberated, and turned into oil), you see what usefulness, what power and 
virtue, and what rapid efficiency they afford and display, so that none can fully 
speak or write of it. For their manifold virtues are not to be investigated, nor 
can any one search them out. Every alchemist, therefore, and every faithful 

• Death i§ ihc mother of tinctures, for tinctures proceed from the mortification of the body, in which the colours 
nrc contained, even as in a seed there are green, yellow, black, blue, and purple colours, which are, neverthe- 
less, invisible until the seed has perished in the earth, and till the sun has prepared and produced them, so that what 
wa-i first hidden from the senses is now revealed to ibein.— /?(• Icteriliis. 

Concerning the Naiuri of Things. 139 

physician, ought to seek into these three things during his whole life, and even 
up to his death should play with them and find his pastime in them. Most 
assuredly they will nobly compensate him for all his labour, study, and 

But let us come to particulars, and specially describe the death and morti- 
fication of each natural thing, what its death is, and in what way it is 
mortified. First of all, then, with regard to the death of man, it should be 
understood that, beyond a doubt, it is nothing else but the end of his day's 
work, the taking away his air, the evanescence of his balsam, the extinction of 
his natural light, and the entire separation of the three substances, body, soul, 
and spirit, and the return to his mother's womb. For since the natural earth- 
born man comes from the earth, the earth, too, will be his mother, into which he 
must return, and therein lose his earthborn natural flesh, so that at the last 
day he may be regenerated in a new, a heavenly, and purified flesh, as Christ 
said to Nicodemus when he came to Him by night. For, as we said, these 
words apply to regeneration. 

But the death or mortification of the metals is the removal of their bodily 
structure, and of the sulphurous fatness which can be removed from them in many 
ways, as by calcination, reverberation, resolution, cementation, and sublimation. 
But the calcination of metals is not of a single kind only. For one is produced 
by salt, one by mercury, one by strong waters, one by \.\\q fiiligo 7nercurii and 
quick mercur}-. Calcination by salt is when the metal is formed into very thin 
plates, and stratified and cemented with salt. Calcination by sulphur is when 
the metal is formed into plates, stratified and reverberated with sulphur. 
Calcination by strong waters is when the metal is granulated, resolved in aqua 
fortis, and precipitated therein. Calcination by \.\\& fiiligo meicttrii is brought 
about thus : Let the metal be formed into plates ; let the mercury be put into 
an earthen vessel, narrow at the top but broad below, and afterwards set on 
a moderate coal fire, w-hich should be blown a little until the mercury begins 
to smoke, and a white cloud issues from the mouth of the vessel. Then let 
the plated metal be placed on the orifice of the vessel. Thus the common 
mercury penetrates the metal and renders it as friable as a lump of coal. 
Calcination by quick mercury is when the metal is cleft into small particles, 
made into plates, or granulated, and formed into amalgam with mercury. 
Afterwards let the mercury be pressed out through a skin, and the metal 
will remain within the skin in the form of lime or sand. But beyond these 
mortifications of the metals, destructions and whitenings of their life, you must 
know that there are many other mortifications of the metals. For beyond the 
fact that all rusting of iron and steel is a death, there are others which are to be 
esteemed as more important. For instance, it should be known that all vitriol, 
or even burnt brass, is mortified copper ; all precipitated, sublimated, calcined 
■cinnabar is mortified mercury; all white lead, red lead, or j-ellow lead arc 
mortified lead ; all lazurius is mortified silver. So, also, all Sol, from which its 
tincture, quintessence, resin, crocus, or sulphur has been withdrawn, is dead, 


140 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

because it no longer has the form of gold, but is a white metal like fixed 

But now let us go on to lay before you by what means the mortification of 
the metals is brought about. First of all, it should be known concerning iron 
that it can be mortified and reduced to a crocus in the following way : Form 
very thin plates of steel, beat them red hot, and then extinguish them in 
vinegar made from wine. Keep on doing this until you see the vinegar has 
become very red. When \ou have enough of this red vinegar, pour it all out, 
and distil therefrom the moisture of the vinegar. Coagulate the residuum into 
a dry powder. This is the most excellent Crocus of Mars. There is, however, 
another way of making the Crocus of Mars which partly surpasses the former, 
and is carried out with much less expense and labour, thus : Stratify very thin 
plates of steel with equal quantities of sulphur and tartar. Afterwards 
reverberate. This produces the most beautiful crocus, which should be taken 
from the plates. 

In the same way you should be informed that if any plate of iron or steel 
be smeared over with aqua fortis, it renders also a beautiful crocus. Such is 
the result, too, with oil of vitriol, water of salt, water of alum, water of sal 
ammoniac, water of salt nitre, sublimated mercury, all of which mortify iron, 
and reduce it to a crocus ; but none of these methods is to be compared with 
the two mentioned above ; for the}- can only be vised in Alchemy and not in 
medicine ; so use in preference the first two methods, and avoid the rest. 

The mortification of copper, to reduce it to vitriol, verdigris, or burnt 
brass, can also be accomplished in various ways ; and there are various pro- 
cesses with this metal, too, but one is better and more useful than another. 
Wherefore it will be well to make a note of the best and most useful, and to 
say nothing about the others. The best, easiest, and most reliable method of 
reducing copper to vitriol is as follows : Let plates of copper be smeared with 
water of salt or of saltpetre, and hung or exposed in the air until the plates 
begin to become green. Wash off this greenness with clear spring water, 
dry the plates with a rag ; again smear the plates with water of salt or salt- 
petre, and again proceed as before, repeating the process until the water 
becomes quite green, or sends forth much vitriol to the surface. Then 
remove the water by tilting the vessel, or by drawing it off, and you will have 
an excellent medicinal vitriol. For Alchemy, there is no more beautiful, 
noble, or better vitriol than that which is made by aqua fortis, or aqua regis, 
or water of sal armoniac. Proceed thus : Let plates of copper be smeared 
with one of the aforesaid waters, and as soon as the greenness has been ex- 
tracted, and the plates have been dried, let the greenness be taken off with a 
hare's foot, or by some other means at pleasure, as white lead is scraped off 
leaden plates. Let them be again smeared as before, until the plates are 
enlirel)' consumed, and thence is produced a very beautiful vitriol, such as 
you cannot fail to admire. 

Water of saltpetre is made thus : Purify saltpetre, liquefy and pulverise it. 


Concerning tlie Nature of Thijigs. 141 

Afterwards dissolve it by itself in a vessel with boiling water. Thus you have 
water of saltpetre. Water of sal ammoniac is made as follows : Calcine sal 
ammoniac and resolve it in a case on marble. This is water of sal ammoniac. 

In order to make verdigris from copper there are several ways not 
necessary to recount here. We will therefore describe two only, with'a two- 
fold method of preparation, one for Medicine and the other for .Alchemy. The 
verdigris used in medicine admits of the ensuing process : Take plates of 
copper, and smear them with the following compound : Take equal 
quantities of honey and vinegar, with a sufficient quantity of salt to make the 
three together the consistence of thick paste. Mix thoroughly, and after- 
wards put in a reverberatorj-, or in a potter's furnace, for the same time as the 
potter bakes his vessels, and you will see a black substance adhering to the 
plates. Do not let this circumstance cause you any anxiety or detain you at 
all ; for if you suspend or expose those plates in the open air, in a few days 
the substance will turn green, and will become excellent verdigris, which maj' be 
called the balsam of copper, and is highly esteemed by all physicians. And 
this need not cause surprise, because the verdigris first becomes green in the 
air, and because the air has the power of transmuting a black colour into such 
a beautiful green. For here it should be known that, as daily experience in 
alchemy proves, every dead earth or caput mortutnn, as soon as ever it comes 
out of the fire into the air, immediately acquires another colour, and loses its 
own colour which it had assumed in the fire. The changes of these colours 
are very diversified. According to the material such are the colours pro- 
duced, though, for the most part, they flow from the blackness of dead earth. 
You who are skilled in .Alchemy see that everj- dead earth, flux of powder, or 
of aqua fortis, comes black from the fire, and the more ingredients there are 
in it the more varied are the colours displayed in the air. Sometimes they 
only appear red, as vitriol makes them ; sometimes only yellow, white, green, 
cerulean ; sometimes mingled, as in the rainbow or the peacock's tail. All 
these colours display' themselves after death, and as a consequence of death. 
For in the death of all natural things new colours appear, and they are 
changed from their first colour into another, each according to its own nature 
and properties. Moreover, we will sa)' about verdigris that which we 
dedicate to Alchemy. The process of its preparation is as follows : Form 
very thin plates of copper, which stratify on a large tile with equal portions of 
sulphur and tartar, pounded and mixed. Reverberate for twenty-four hours 
with a strong fire, taking care that the copper plates do not melt. Then take 
them out ; break the tile ; expose the plates to the air, with the matter which 
adheres to them, for a few days, and the matter on the plates will be con- 
verted into most beautiful verdigris, which in all strong waters, in waters of 
gradations, in cements and colourings of gold, tinges gold and silver with a 
deep colour. 

But in order that copper may become a:s ustum, which is also called the 
crocus of copper, the following process must be adopted : let copper be formed 

142 The Hermetic and Alcheviical Writings of Paracelsus. 

into plates, smeared with salt reduced into a paste with the best vinegar, then 
put on a large tile, placed in a blast furnace, and for a quarter of an hour burnt 
with a strong fire, but so that the plates may not melt. Let these plates, while 
still glowing, be extinguished in vinegar wherein sal ammoniac has been dis- 
solved — half an ounce in a pound of vinegar. Let the plates be again heated, 
and extinguished as before ; but continually scrape off into vinegar the scales 
which adhere to the plates after they have been extinguished, or else knock 
them off by beating the plates, or in any way you can. Keep doing this until 
the plates of copper are nearly consumed. Then let the vinegar be extracted 
by distillation, or let it evaporate in an open vessel, and let it coagulate into a 
very hard stone. Thus you will have the crocus of copper used in .\lchemy. 
Many persons commonly make cbs tisium, or the crocus of Venus, from 
Venus by the extraction of alcohol (others of vimim accfi), like the crocus of 
Mars ; but I much prefer this method. 

The mortification of Mercury, in order that it may be sublimated, is 
brought about by vitriol and salt. When it is mixed with these two and tlien 
sublimated it becomes as hard as crystal and as white as snow. In order that 
Mercury may be reduced to a precipitate,* nothing more need be done than 
calcine it in the best aqua fortis ; then let the graduated aqua fortis be 
extracted from it five times, more ot less, until the precipitate acquires a beautiful 
red colour. Sweeten this precipitate as much as possible ; and finally distil 
the rectified wine from it seven or nine times, or as often as necessary, until it 
burns in the fire and does not escape. Then you have the diaphoretic precipi- 
tate of Mercury. 

Moreover, here should be noted a great secret concerning precipitated 
Mercury. If, after its colouration, it be sweetened with water of salt of tartar, 
by distilling it until the water no longer ascends acid, but is altogether sweet, 
then you will have the precipitate as sweet as sugar or honey. This is the 
principal arcanum for all wounds and ulcers and the Gallic disease, insomuch 
that no physician need wish for better ; and it, moreover, brightens up 
despondent alchemists. For it is an augmentation of Sol, it enters into the 
composition of Sol, and by it gold is rendered constant and good. Although, 
then, much labour and toil may be required for this precipitate, it compensates 
for these and returns to you what you have spent. Moreover, you get 
sufficient gain from it — more than you could compass by the highest artifice of 
any kind. You ought, therefore, to rejoice over it, and to thank God and me 

• It is also st-ited that there is nothing in medicine to compare with precipitated mercury for the cure of icteritia.— 
Fragnunta Medicals, v. Annotationes in Lib. de Icteritiis, The medical preparation of the precipitate of mercurj-as 
a healing unguent has been boastfully claimed to their own credit by many persons, though they are all filched from 
the writings of the ancient artists and Spag>Tists. Vigo was not free from the disgrace of this falsehood. Precipi- 
tated mercury is certainly an ancient remedy, but has Iain hidden for a long time by the perfidy of physici.ans. All 
cavernous ulcers (except those of the eating and spreading kind) are completely cured by its use. But e.xperience 
teaches us that the oil of argent vive, when outwardly applied, has much greater efficacy.— Z>r Tu»iorilyus,etc., Morbi 
Gitllici, Lib. X. The bloodlike redness of the precipitate of mercury caused it to be ignorantly confused with the 
ruddy powder into which the sweet balsam of mercury is reduced when it is prepared without sublimation or calcination by 
means ofthe water of eggs.— /W</. Precipitated mercury of the metals is the reduction of the metals into their first 
matter, which afterwards is deposited below. - C/ti>-ur^t\i .\JiigKii, Dt- hii/Oitnmis in XorX^ Gallico, Lib. IL 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 143 

for it. But in order that Mercury may be calcined, I have already said that 
this must be done in sharp aqua fortis, which must be abstracted by 
distillation, and the precipitation is made. But in order that Mercury may be 
reduced to cinnabar,'" you must first of all mortify it, and liquefy it, with salt 
and yellow sulphur. Reduce it to a white powder, then put it in a cucurbite ; 
place an aludel above, and sublimate with great fluxion, as is customary. Thus 
the cinnabar ascends into the aludel and adheres to it, as hard as haematite. 

The mortification of lead, in order that it maj' be reduced to white lead, 
is two-fold, one for Medicine, the other for Alchemy. The preparation of 
cerussa for Medicine is as follows : Suspend plates of lead in an unglazed 
vessel over strong vinegar made from wine, the vessel being well closed so 
that no spirits may escape. Place the vessel in warm ashes, or, in winter, 
behind the fire. Then, after ten or fourteen days, you will find the very best 
cerussa adhering to the plates. Scrape this off with a hare's foot, and replace 
the plate over the vinegar until you have sufficient cerussa. The other 
preparation of cerussa for Alchemy is like the former, save that a quantity of 
the best sal ammoniac must be dissolved in the vinegar. In this way you will 
have a very beautiful cerussa, most subtle for purging tin or lead, or for 
removing whiteness from copper. But if we wish to make red lead out of the 
lead. It must first be calcined to ashes, and afterwards burnt laterallj' in a glazed 
jar, stirring it continually with an iron wire until it grows red. This minium 
is at once the best and the most valuable, and should be used in Medicine as 
well as in Alchemy. The other, which dealers sell in the shops, is of no 
use. It is made up only of the ashes which remain in the liquefaction of 
lead ore, and the potters buy it for encrusting vessels. Such minium is useful 
only for pictures, but neither for Medicine nor for .Alchemy. 

In order to reduce lead to a yellow colour a process is required not 
altogether unlike the preparation of minium. Here, too, the lead must be 
calcined with salt, and reduced to ashes. Afterwards it must be stirred 
continually with iron in one of the wide dishes used by those who test 
minerals, over a moderate coal fire, careful watch being kept lest the heat 
should be too great or the stirring neglected. Otherwise it would melt and 
produce yellow glass. In this way you will have excellent yellow lead. 

The mortification of silver so that lazurium. or some similar substance, 
may be produced from it, is brought about as follows : Let Luna be made 
into plates, mixed with Mercury, and suspended in a glazed jar over the best 
vinegar in which auratse have been previously boiled. Afterwards dissolve 
in it sal ammoniac and calcined tartar. In all other particulars proceed as 
directed in the case of cerussa. Then, after fourteen days, you will have the 
most precious and beautiful lazurium adhering to the silver plates, which you 
will wipe off with a hare's foot. 

" The physicians of Montepessulano and Salerno committed the error of supposing that cinnabar was different from 
mercurj', when it is clear that they are the same.— Z?^ 7 untoribus^ ttc.^ Morbi Galtici^ Lib. I., c. 8. Cinnabar i 
^xtracted from Saturn and >rars by mcins of mercury-. — /^;rf.. Lib. IIL. c. 7. 

1 44 Till Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

We do not deem it necessary here to repeat the method of mortifying 
gold so that it may be reduced to its arcana, as, for instance, to tincture, 
quintessence, resin, crocus, vitriol, and sulphur. These preparations are 
manifold, and for the most part we have already given such secrets in other 
books, as the extraction of the Tincture of Sol, the Quintessence of Sol, 
the Mercury of Sol, Sol Potabilis, the resin of Sol, the Crocus of Sol. 
These have been given in the Archidoxa and elsewhere. But the secrets 
omitted there we will impart here. These concern the vitriol of Sol* and 
the sulphur of Sol, which are by no means the least among such secrets, 
and, indeed, ought to delight every physician. In order to extract vitriol 
from Sol, proceed thus : Take two or three marks of pure gold, which 
form into plates and suspend above boys' urine, mixed with grape-berries, 
in a wide glass cucurbite closely sealed at the top. Bury this in a glowing 
heap of grape-berries, as they are taken from the wine-press, and let it 
stand there for a fortnight or three weeks. Then open it, and you will find a 
most subtle colour, which is vitriol of Sol, adhering to the plates of Sol. 
Remove this with a hare's foot, as you have been told in the case of the other 
metals — the crocus of Mars from the plates of iron, the vitriol of Venus and 
verdigris from the plates of copper, the cerussa from the plates of Saturn, 
the lazurium from the plates of Luna — all these being comprised under one 
process, but not with the same preparation. When, therefore, you have 
enough of this vitriol of Sol, boil it well in distilled rain water, stirring it 
continually with some sort of spatula. Then the sulphur of gold rises up 
to the surface like grease, which remove with a spoon. So also proceed 
with other vitriol. After the sulphur is taken away, evaporate that rain 
water to perfect dryness, and the vitriol of Sol will remain at the bottom. 
This you can easily resolve on marble in a damp place. In these two arcana, 
that is to say, the vitriol of gold and the sulphur of gold, a diaphoretic virtue 
is latent. However, we will not describe those virtues here, because we 
have sufficiently indicated them in the book on Metallic Diseases and 

The mortification of sulphur consists in taking away its combustible and 
foetid fatness, and reducing it to a fixed substance. This is accomplished in the 
following way : Take common yellow sulphur, reduced to a fine powder, and 
abstract from it the very acrid aqua fortis bj' a threefold distillation. After- 
wards sweeten the sulphur which remains at the bottom, and is of a black 
colour, with sweet water, repeating the process of distillation continually 
until nothing but sweet water proceeds from it and there is no more smell of 
sulphur. Reverberate this sulphur in a closed reverberator}', as in the case of 
antimony. Then it will become, at first white, afterwards, yellow ; thirdly, red 

• Artificial acids are from the ininerals of metals and cognate substances. But note here that what is usually called 
vitriolated acid is really vitriolated copper of Venus. For copper is vitriol. If, therefore, the acidity be extracted 
from copper, then he who uses it digests copper. It is the same with all the other vitriolates of metals. ... In all 
metals there are vitriolated .-icids. except in gold, which does not know vitriol. — D^ Mi^rhis Tarta*-eh. c. i6. 

Concerning the N^ature of Things. 145 

as cinnabar. When you have it in that form you ought to rejoice ; for it is 
the beginning of wealth for you. This reverberated sulphur tinges any 
silver very deeply so as to turn it into most precious gold, and the human 
body it tinges into its most perfect condition of health. Of so great virtue 
is this reverberated and fixed sulphur. 

The mortification of all salts, and whatever is of a salt nature, is the 
removal and distillation of their watery and oleaginous part, and besides of 
the spirit of salt ; for if these are taken away, they are called afterwards dead 
earth, or caput mortuum. 

The mortification of gems and corals is that they shall be calcined, subli- 
mated, and dissolved into a liquid, as the crystal. The mortification of pearls 
is that they be calcined and resolved in sharp vinegar in the form of milk. 

The mortification of the magnet is that it be smeared with oil of mercury 
or touched by common mercury. Afterwards it attracts no iron. 

The mortification of flints and stones is calcination. 

The mortification of marcasites, cachymiae, talc, cobalt, zinc, granites, 
zwitter, vismut, and antimony, is sublimation, that is, their being sublimated 
with salt and vitriol. Then their life, which is the metallic spirit, ascends 
with the spirit of salt. Let whatever remains at the bottom of the sublimatory 
be washed, that the salt may be removed from it, and you will have dead earth 
wherein is no virtue. 

The mortification of arsenicals, auripigment, orpiment, realgar, etc., is 
when they are made fluid with salt nitre, are turned to oil or liquid on marble, 
and fixed. 

The mortification of undulous things is a coagulation of the air. 

The mortification of aromatic substances is the removal of their good 

The mortification of sweet things is that they shall be sublimated with 
corrosives and distilled. 

The mortification of carabfe, resins, turpentine, and gum is their being 
reduced to oil or varnish. 

The mortification of herbs, roots, and the like is that their oil and water 
shall be distilled from them, the liquid squeezed out in a press, and afterwards 
the alkali extracted. 

The mortification of woods is their being turned into charcoal or ashes. 

The mortification of bones is their calcination. 

The mortification of flesh and blood is the removal of the spirit of salt. 

The mortification of water is produced by fire : for the heat of fire dries up 
and consumes all water. So the mortification of fire is by water ; for the 
water extinguishes the fire and takes away from it its force and eff'ectiveness. 

Thus you are sufficiently informed, in few words, how death is latent in 
all natural things : how they are mortified and reduced to another form and 
nature, as also what virtues flow from them. Whatever else is necessary to say 
we will set down in our book concerning the Resuscitation of Natural Things. 




Concerning the Resuscitation or Natural Things. 

HE resuscitation and reduction of natural things is not the least 
important in the nature of things, but a profound and great secret, 
rather divine and angelic than human and natural. I would, however, 
on this point be understood with the greatest discrimination, and in no other 
way than according to my fixed opinion, as Nature daily and clearly points 
out and experience proves ; so that I may not be exposed to the lies and mis- 
representations of my enemies the quack doctors (by whom I am constantly 
ill judged), as if I myself pretended to usurp some divine power, or to attribute 
that same to Nature which she never claims. Therefore, at this point, the 
most careful observation is necessary, since death is twofold, that is to say, 
violent or spontaneous. From the one, a thing can be resuscitated but not 
from the other. Do not, then, believe the sophists when they tell you that a 
thing once dead or mortified cannot be resuscitated, and when they make 
light of resuscitation and restoration ; for their mistake is great. It is indeed 
true that whatever perishes by its own natural death, or whatever mortifies by 
Nature according to its own predestination, God alone can resuscitate, or that 
it must be done by His divine command. So whatever Nature consumes man 
cannot restore. But whatever man destroys man can restore, and break 
again when restored. Beyond this man by his condition has no power, and if 
any one strove to do more he would be arrogating to himself the power of 
God, and yet would labour in vain and be confounded, unless God were with 
him, or he had such faith that he could remove mountains. To such a man this, 
and still greater things, would be possible, since Scripture says, for Christ 
Himself has said — " If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, and say to 
this mountain : Depart and place yourself yonder, it would do so and place 
itself there ; and all things shall be possible, and nothing impossible, 
to you." 

But let us return to our proposition. What is the difference between 
dying and being mortified, and from which of these conditions is resuscitation 
possible ? The matter is to be understood thus. Whatever dies by its own 
nature has its end according to predestination, and as the pleasure and 

Co}iter?iiug the Nature of T/thigs. 147 

dispensation of God arranges. But this, too, happens from different diseases 
and accidents, and herefrom there is no resuscitation, nor is there any preservative 
which can be used against predestination and the cognate end of life. But 
what is mortified can be resuscitated and revivified, as may be proved by many 
arguments which we will set down at the end of this book. So, then, there is 
the greatest difference between dying and mortifying, nor should it be thought 
that these are only two names for one thing. In very deed these differ as 
widely as possible. Examine the case of a man who has died by a natural 
and predestined death. What further good or use is there in him ? None. 
Let him be cast to the worms. But the case is not the same with a man who 
has been slain with a sword or has died some violent death. The whole of 
his body is useful and good, and can be fashioned into the most valuable 
mumia. For though the spirit of life has gone forth from such a body, still 
the balsam remains, in which life is latent, which also, indeed, as a balsam 

conserves other human bodies. So, too, in the instance of metals you see that 
when a metal has a tendency to die it begins to be affected with rust, and tliat 
which has been so affected is dead ; and when the whole of the metal is 
consumed with rust the whole is dead, and such rust can never be brought 
back to be a metal, but is mere ashes and no metal. It is dead, and 
death is in itself : nor has it any longer the balsam of life, but has 
perished in itself. 

The lime and the ashes of metals also are two-fold, and there is the greatest 
difference between these two. For the one can be revived and br.QugJit back 
to be a metal, but not so the other. One is" volatile, the other is fixed. One is 
dead, the other is mortified. The ash is volatile and cannot be brought back to 
be a metal, but only to glass or scori:e. But the lime of metals is fixed and can 
be brought back again into its own metal. If you would understand the 
difference and its cause, know that in the ash there is less fatness and more 
dryness than in the lime, and it is this which gives the fluxion. The lime is 
fatter and more moist than the ash, and still retains its resin and its fluxion, 
and more especially does it retain the salt which of its own special nature is 
capable of flux, and also makes all metals pass into flux, thereby reducing 
them. Hence it follows with the ashes of metals that they cannot be brought 
back into metals. The salt must be extracted ; then they are perfectly 
volatile. This is the chief point, and must be very carefully noted, since no 
little depends upon it. Among sham physicians a vast error is prevalent. 
In place of Sol Potabilis, the Quintessence of gold, the Tincture of gold, and 
so on, they have palmed off on men a leprous Calx of Sol, not considering the 
difference or the evils resulting therefrom. For two notable and necessary 
facts must here be observed, namely, that either calcined or pulverised Sol, 
when given to men, is congregated into one mass in the bowels, or passes 
out per nnum with the dung, and so is vainly and uselessly taken; or else by 
the great internal heat of the body it is reduced, so that it incrusts and clogs 

the bowels, whence ensue manv and various diseases, and at last e\en death. 


1 4^ llic Hermetic and Alchemical Wrilinos of Paracelsus. 

And as with Sol, so also in the case of other metals, you should take no 
metallic arcanum or medicament into the body unless it shall have first been 
rendered volatile, so that it cannot be brought back to its metallic condition. 
Wherefore the first step and beginning of preparing Aurum Potabile is this; 
afterwards such a volatile substance can be dissolved by spirit of wine, so 
that both ascend together, becoming volatile and inseparable. Just as you 
prepare gold, in the same way you prepare potable Luna, \'enus. Mars, 
Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury. 

But to return to our proposition, and to pro\e by illustrations and by 
adequate reasons that mortified things are not dead and compelled to 
continue in death, but can be brought back and resuscitated and vitalised 
by man, according to natural guidance and rule. You see this in the case 
of lions, who are all born dead, and are first vitalised by the horrible 
noise of their parents, just as a sleeping person is awakened by a shout. 
So the lions are stirred up ; not that they are sleeping in the same way — 
for one who sleeps a natural sleep would necessarily wake — but this is not 
the case with lions. Unless they were stirred up with this noise they 
would remain dead, and life would never be found in them. Hence it is 
understood that they acquire their life and are vitalised by that noise. You 
see the same thing in all animals, except those which are produced from 
putrefaction, like flies, which, if they are drowned in water so that no life 
could be discerned in them, and were so left, would continue dead, and never 
would revive of themselves. But if they are sprinkled with salt and placed 
in the warm sun, or behind a heated furnace, they recover their former life, 
and this is their resuscitation. , If this were not done they would remain 
dead. So you see in the case of the serpent. If it be cut in pieces, and 
these pieces be put in a cucurbite, and putrefied in a venter equimis, the 
whole serpent will revive in the glass in the form of small worms or the 
spawn of fishes. Now, if these little worms are — as they ought to be — 
brought out by putrefaction and nourished, more than a hundred serpents 
will be produced from the one, any single serpent being as big as the original 
one. This can be accomplished by putrefaction alone. And just as with the 
serpent, so manj- animals can be resuscitated, recalled, and restored. By this 
process, with the aid of nigromancy, Hermes and Virgil endeavoured to 
renovate and resuscitate themselves after death, and to be born again as infants, 
but the experiment did not turn out according to their intention and it was 

Let us, however, pass by these examples, and come to the practical 
method of resuscitation and restoration. It is advisable to begin with metals, 
because metallic bodies more frequently resemble human bodies. Know, then, 
that the resuscitation and renovation of metals are twofold : one brings back 
calcined metals by a process of reduction to their original metallic body ; the 
other reduces metals to their first matter. The former is a reduction to 
argeiUtim vivum, and sucli, too, is the latter process. Calcine a metal by means 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 149 

of the fiiligo Mcrcurii. Put this calx and a sufficient quantity of the quick- 
silver into a sublimatory, and let them stand for some time, until the two are 
coagulated into one amalgam. Then, by means of sublimation, elevate the 
Mercury from the calx. When elevated, pound it again with the metallic calx, 
and sublimate as before. Repeat this until the metallic calx liquefies over a 
candle, like wax or ice, and the thing is then done. Let this metal be placed 
in digestion for such time as may be required, and the whole will be changed 
into Mctcuriits vh'its, that is, into its first matter. This is called the 
Philosophers' Mercurius of Metals. Many alchemists have sought it. but few 
have found it. So is now prepared Mercurius viviis from all metals, namely, 
Mercurius of Gold, Luna, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. 

The resuscitation or restoration of calcined Mercury is produced by 
distillation in retorts. For only Mercurius vivus ascends into the cold water, 
and the ashes of Saturn, \'enus, or sulphur are left. But the resuscitation 
and restoration of sublimed Mercury is brought about in hot water. It is 
necessary, however, that it should first of all be very minutelj- pounded, so that 
the boiling water may resolve from it the spirit of salt and of vitriol, which it 
raises up with itself in the process of sublimation, and the Mercurius vivus 
runs together at the bottom of the water. If, now, such Mercurius vivus be 
sublimated anew with fresh salt and vitriol, and again be resuscitated in 
boiling water, and if this be repeated seven or nine times, it will be 
impossible to purify and renovate it more efFectuall)'. Preserve this as a great 
secret in Alchemy and Medicine, and rejoice over it exceedingly ; for in this 
way all the impurity and blackness and poisonous nature are taken away from 
Mercurv. The resuscitation, restoration, and renovation of Mercury cannot be 
accomplished without sublimation ; for unless after calcination it be sublimated 
it will never be revivified. Sublimate it, therefore, and afterwards reduce it 
as you would any other sublimated substance. 

The resuscitation of cinnabar, lazurium, aurum musicum, or precipitated 
gold, in order that they may be revived into Mercurius vivus, is effected as 
follows : Take any one of these substances, pound it very fine in a marble 
mortar, and make it into a paste with white of eggs and smegma. Then 
make pills, the size of a nut, which place in a strong earthenware cucurbite. 
At its orifice arrange an iron plate which has several little holes, and let it be 
fastened with lute. Distil by descent over a strong fire, so that it may fall 
into cold water, and again you will have Mercurius vivus. 

The resuscitation and restoration of wood is difficult and arduous ; 
possible, indeed, but not to be accomplished without exceptional skill and 
industry. The following is the method of its revival : Take wood which has 
been first of all carbon, then ash, and place it in a cucurbite with the resin, 
liquid, and oil of its tree, the same weight of each. Let them be mixed and 
liquefied over a gentle fire. Then there will be produced a mucilaginous 
matter, and so you will have the three principles together from which all things 
are born and generated, namely, phlegma, fat, and ash. The phlegma is 

150 The Hermetu and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Mercuriiis, the fat is Sulphur, and tlie ash is Salt. For that which smokes 
and evaporates over the fire is Mercury; what flames and is burnt is Sulphur; 
and all ash is Salt. Now, when you you have these three principles together, 
place them in a venter equinus, and putrefy for the time required by each 
respectively. If afterwards that matter be buried, or poured into a rich soil, 
you will see it begin to revive, and a tree or a little log will be produced from 
it, which, indeed, is in its nature much higher than the original one. 

This is really wood, and is called resuscitated, renewed, and restored 
wood. It was from the beginning wood, but mortified, destroyed, and reduced 
to coals, to ashes — to nothingness ; and yet from that nothingness it is made 
something, and is reborn. Truly in the light of Nature this is a great 
mystery, that a thing which had altogether lost its form, and had been 
reduced to nothingness, recovers that form and becomes something from 
nothing — something which afterwards is much nobler in its virtue and its 
efficacy than it had been at first. 

But, in order that we may speak generally concerning the resuscitation 
and restoration of natural things, this should be understood as the principal 
foundation — that to each thing may be again conceded that which had bjen 
taken from it and separated in mortification. It is difficult to explain this 
specifically here ; so we will .conclude this book, and in the following book 
make these things more clear with regard to the transmutations of natural 



Concerning the Tr.wsmltation of N.\tur.\l Objects. 

11" wc are to write concerning the transmutation of all natural objects, it is 
just and nece.s.sary that, in the first place and before all else, we should 
point out what transmutation is ; in the second place, what are the 
successive steps thereto ; and, thirdly, b\' what means, and in what manner, 
it is brought about. Transmutation, then, takes place when an object loses its 
own form, and is so changed that it bears no resemblance to its anterior shape, 
but assumes another guise, another essence, another colour, another virtue, 
another nature or set of properties : as if a metal becomes glass or stone ; if 
stone or wood becomes coal ; if clay becomes stone and slate ; hide, glue ; 
rag, paper ; and many such things. All these are transmutations of natural 
objects. After this it is most necessary to know the steps to transmutation, 
how many there are. There are not more than seven. For although some 
persons reckon a greater number, there are, of a truth, only seven principal 
steps ; the rest which may be included among the steps are comprised in these 
seven. They arc the following : 

Calcination, Slulimation, Solution, Putrefaction, Distillation, 
CoAGUL.\Tio.\, Tincture. 

If anyone ascends that ladder, he will arrive at so wonderful a place that 
he will see and experience many secrets in the transmutation of natural objects. 

The first step, then, is Calcination,* under which are comprised Rever- 
beration and Cementation. Among these three there is little difference so far 
as relates to Calcination. Here, therefore. Calcination is the principal step, 
for by Reverberation and Cementation many corporeal objects are calcined and 
reduced to ashes, especially metals. What is calcined is not on that account 
reverberated or cemented. By Calcination all metals, minerals, stones, 
glasses, and all corporeal objects, become carbon and ashes ; and this is done 
in a naked fi^e, strong, and exposed to the air. B)- means of this all 

^ One of the Fraementa Mettica contained in the fintt volume of the Genev.i folio, when explaining the proce^ of 
CAlcination from the stnndpoint o^ Heiinetic Medicine, ob^n'es that it is eminently necessary* for the physician who con* 
cerns himself «'ith AWhemy to uijderstnnd calcination and the virtue which resides therein. 


T 5 2 The. Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. \ 


tenacious, soft, and fat earth is hardened into stone ; but all stones are reduced 
to lime, as we see in the kiln of the lime burner and the potter respectively. 

Sublimation* is the second step, also very important for the transmutation 
of many natural objects. Under this are included Exaltation, Elevation, and 
Fixation! ; and it is not altogether unlike Distillation. P"or, as from all phleg- 
matic and waterv objects, water ascends in distillation, and is separated from 
its body, so, in the process of Sublimation, in dry substances such as minerals, 
the spiritual is raised from the corporeal, subtilised, and the pure separated 
from the impure. For in Sublimation many excellent virtues and wonderful 
qualities are found in minerals, and many things are fixed and become per- 
manent, so that they remain in the fire in the following way : Let the body 
which is sublimated be ground again and mixed with its own dregs. Let it 
be again sublimated as before, and let this be repeated until it sublimates no 
longer, but all remains in the bottom and is fixed. Thus it will afterwards 
become a stone and an oil when and as often as you wish. For if, having 
refrigerated it, you put it in the air, or in a glass vessel, it is there immediately 
resolved into an oil. If you once more put it in the fire it is again coagulated 
into a stone, which is of great and wonderful powers. But this consider a 
great secret and mystery of Nature, and do not disclose it to sophists. More- 
over, as in Sublimation many corrosives become sweet by the conjunction of 
the two natures, so, on the other hand, many sweet substances become 
sour or bitter ; whilst many bitter things are made sweet as sugar. Here 
it should be remarked, too, that every metal which is brought to a state of 
Sublimation by means of sal ammoniac may afterwards be dissolved into 
an oil in the cold, or in the air, and, contrariwise, may be coagulated to a 
stone in the fire. This is one of the greatest and most complete transmuta- 
tions in all natural objects, namely, to transmute a metal into a stone. 

The third step is Solution, under which term are comprised Dissolution 
and Resolution. This step frequently follows after Sublimation and Distillation, 
as, for instance, when you dissolve the matter which remains at the bottom. 
Solution, however, is twofold : one by cold, another by heat ; one out of the 
fire, the other in the fire. The cold process of Solution dissolves all salts, 
corrosives, and calcined bodies. Whatever salt and corrosive quality there niaj- 
be it resolves into an oil, a liquid, or water ; and this takes place in a damp 
and cold chamber, or otherwise in the air only, in marble or glass. For 
everything that is dissolved in the cold contains the sharp spirit of salt, which 
it often acquires and assumes in Sublimation or Distillation. And everything 
which is dissolved in the cold or in the air is again by the heat of fire changed 

• IJy sublimation the lower minerals are separated from those elements uhigh are the source of their poverty and 
baseness, but in addition to this, the process has many other virtues. For example, the sublimation of quicksilver has 
this operation, that even the air in its vicinity has a recreative effect. For in the air penneated by mercury- all the vir- 
tues of mercurj' are present. In like m.-uincr, the sublimation of arseni(j^ rele.Tses a fervid spirit into the attnospherc 
which cures quart.-m fever .ind other .icutc disexses. — iJ^ Mortis .'Hctalitcis. Tract III., c. 5. 

t Exaltation, conjunction, opposition, and kindred processes are not materially performed, but after a mode which 
is altogether spiritual. — Paramiriim. Tract III., c. 6. 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 153 

into dust or stone. But the Solution of heat dissolves all fat and sulphurous 
bodies ; and whatever the heat of fire dissolves this the cold coagulates into a 
mass, and whatever the heat coatjulatcs, this the air and the cold again dissolve. 
This also should be known, that whatever the air or the cold chamber dissolves, 
is of great dryness, and holds concealed within itself a corrosive fire. So what- 
ever is dissolved in fire, and by its heat, has in itself sweetness and cold, but 
not fire. Thus, and in no other way, is Solution to be understood. 

Putrefaction* is the fourth step, under which are comprised Digestion! and 
Circulation. Now Putrefaction is a very important step which might deservedly 
stand first, only that would be contrary to the just order and to the mystery 
which lies concealed here, and is known to very few. For these steps should 
follow one another in turn, as has been said, like the links in a chain, or the 
rounds of a ladder. Vox if one of the links of the chain were taken away, the 
chain would be broken and the captive would escape. .A.nd so, too, if one of 
the rounds of the ladder should be removed from the middle and put in the 
highest or the lowest place, the ladder too would be broken, and many would fall 
headlong from it and endanger their lives. So understand here that these steps 
follow one another in a just order ; otherwise the whole work of our mystery 
would be perverted, and all our toil and pains frustrated and rendered void. 
Putrefaction is of so great efiicacy that it blots out the old nature and transmutes 
everything into another new nature, and bears another new fruit. All living 
things die in it, all dead things decay, and then all these dead things regain 
life. Putrefaction takes away the acridity from all corrosive spirits of salt, 
renders them soft and sweet, transmutes their colours, separates the pure from 
the impure, and places the pure higher, the impure lower, each by itself. 

Distillation is the fifth step to the transmutation of all natural objects. 
Under it are understood Ascension, Lavation, Imbibition, Cohobation, and 
Fixation. By Distillation all waters, liquids, and oils are subtilised, the oil is 
extracted from all fat substances, the water from all liquids, and in all phlegmatic 
substances the oil and the water are separated. 

Moreover, many things in Distillation are fixed by Cohobation, especiallv 
if the substances to be fixed contain water within them, as vitriol does. When 
this is fixed it is called colcotar. Alum, if it«s fixed with its own water, is 

• Putrefaction is the handmaid of separation. — Modus Pharmacandt^ Tract I. Putrefaction is a new qualitative 
generation. — Df Modo Pharmacandi, Tract III. The firmament produces colours, co'rruptions. and digestions of 

nutriment, of nature, etc. .\nd putrefaction produces a succession of colours rapidly. — Ibid. All putrefaction is 

essentially and excessively cold. — De Tartaro,>. 11., Tract 11., c. 7. Putrefaction is the separation of virtue, and 
at the same time is almost a conservation. — De Saturatibus AqitU^ Lib. IV., Tract 2. 

t Digestion is putrefaction. — Z>^ Pestiiitaic, Tract I. By the process of digestion, what is bad and unprofitable 
in a substance is separated so that the substance remains in its essence, as it was created. In so far as it has become 
vitiated, digestion causes it to purge itself, so that it labours to return into its essence.— />* Tartaro. Lib. 11., Tract 
II., c. 2. Between digestion performed in the earth and the digestion which t.ikes place in the body of man, there is 
this difference, that the earth separates nothing, in the sense that it docs not cast out anything excremcntitiously ; it 
digests, putrefies, generates, and augments by the power and ministry of the stars. There is no excremcntal separation, 
but there is a separation of seed into salt, sulphiir, and niercurj'. Vet this is not precisely a deprivation of the earth, 
Ijecause the earth contains in itself salt, sulphur, and mercury. The earth, moreover, requires no nutrimcntal support after 
the manner of human beings, but the seed is sown in it just as the male seed is sown in the female womb. The earth 
generates, augments, and multiplies by me.ans of its own indwelling Archeus. — Dc PistilitaU. Tract II. 

154 TJie Hivnutic and Alchemual Writings of Paracelsus. 

called Zuccari. This, too, is resolved into a liquid, and if it be putrefied for a 
month it produces a water as sweet as sugar, which, indeed, is of great power 
and an excellent arcanum in medicine for extinguishing the microcosmic fire in 
men of a metallic temperament, as we write more at length in our books on 
Metallic Diseases.* And just as you have heard of vitriol and alum, so also 
salt nitre and other watery minerals can be fixed by cohobation. 

The process of Cohobation is that a caput mortuiim is frequently imbibed 
with its own water, and this is again drawn otT by means of Distillution. 
Moreover, in Distillation many bitter, sharp, and acrid things become very 
sweet, like honey, sugar, or manna ; and, on the other hand, many sweet things, 
such as honey, sugar, or manna, become sharp, as oil of vitriol or vinegar, or 
bitter,- as gall or gentian, or sharp, as corrosive. Many excrementitious things 
lose their excessive stench in distillation, since it passes out into the water. 
Many aromatic things lose their pleasant odour. And just as Sublimation alters 
things in their quality and nature, so does Distillation. 

Coagulation is the sixth step. There is, however, a twofold process of '- 
Coagulation, one by cold, another by heat ; that is, one of the air, another of ^ 
the fire. Each of these, again, is twofold, so that there are really four pro- \ 

cesses of Coagulation, two by cold, and two by fire. The Coagulations by . *' 

fire are fixed, the others by cold are not fixed. One, indeed, is produced only 
by common air, or without fire. Another is produced by the upper firmament 
of winter stars, which coagulate all waters into snows and ice. The Coagu-. 
lation by fire is produced by the artificial and graduated fire of the alchemist, 
and is fixed and permanent. For whatever such a fire coagulates, that 
becomes permanent. Another Coagulation is produced by the /Etnean and 
mineral fire in mountains, which, indeed, the Archeus of the earth rules ^ 

and graduates in much the same way as the alchemist ; and whate\er is - 

coagulated by such a fire is also fixed and constant, though originally Its 
matter was mucilaginous, and it is coagulated by the .Archeus of the 
earth and by the work of Nature into metals, stones, flints, and other bodies. 

But it shoidd also be known that fire coagulates no water or moisture, but . 
only Ihc liquids and juices of all natural things. For this reason no phlegm ^^ 
can be coagulated, unless it was originally a corporeal matter, whereto, f\^ 
indeed, it can be again restored by the industry of an experienced alchemist. -"^ 
So every mucilaginous matter or spermatic lentor can, by the heat of fire, be ,S 
coagulated into a body and corporal material, but cannot again be resDl\ed 

• Medicines are therefore clioseii wliich are free from coagulation, sncli .is alum, in which humidity and coagulation 
.siinullaneously exist. If these two be separated one from another, the quality withdraws into one place, and the element, 
in like manner, into another. Now, the element of alum is most akin to the element of water. For the element of water 
also consists iti its Hylc, as alum after its e.vcoction, and when it has been separated from its coagulates, it passes into 
its pure and proper clement, despoiled, however, of its medicinal arcana. But alum docs not suffer this privation. For 
water alone prevails .against the microcosmic fire. Whence the matter stands thus, that the atjuosity must he separated 
from the alum, and must he rectified therein till it is almost like sugar. The dose is one scruple. If the symptoms of 
the elementary disease again present themselves, they must be ag.ain extinguished as before. There are many such 
arcana, which I leave to the experience of the school of Vulcan, as it is impossible to enumerate them in this place. — /'^ 
ilorbU MelallkU. Lib. II.. Tract IV., c. 6. 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 155 

into water. And as you have heard concerninjj Coagulation, so know also 
concerning' Solution, namely, that no corporeal matter can be resolved into 
water unless it originally was water, and such is the case with all mineral 

Tincture is the seventh and last step, which concludes the work of our 
mystery, with reference to transmutation, makes all imperfect things perfect, 
transmutes them into their noblest essence and highest state of health, and 
changes them to another colour. Tincture, thcrcjorc, is the noblest viatter -with 
which bodies, metallic and human, arc tinged, translated into a better and far 
more noble essence, and into thei r suprem e healt h and pur itii. For a Tincture 
colours all things according to its own nature and its o\vn colour. But there 
are many and various Tinctures, and not only for metallic and human bodies, 
since everything which penetrates another matter, or tinges it with another 
colour or essence, so that it is no longer like what it was before, may be called 
a Tincture. So then there are manifold tinctures, that is to say, of metals, 
minerals, human bodies, waters, liquids, oils, salts-, all fat substances— in a. 
word, of all things which, with or without lire, can be brought or reduced ta 
a state of fluxion. For if the tincture is to tinge, it is necessary that the boov 
or material which is to be tinged should be open, and in a state of flux ; for 
imless this were so, the tincture could not operate. For it would be just as 
though one were to cast saffron, or some other colour, into coagulated water 
or ice ; it would not tint the ice so quickly with its colour as if one were to put 
it into other water. And, although it might tinge the ice, it would at the 
same time reduce it into water. Wherefore, metals also, which we wish to 

tinge, must be liquefied by fire, and freed from their coagulation. And here 
it should be known that the more hotly they are liquefied the more rapidlj- 
the tincture rinis through them, just as fermentation penetrates the whole 
mass and imparts acidity to it, and the better it is covered up. and the warmer 
the mass is kept, the more perfectly it ferments, and the better bread it gives: 
for fermentation is a Tincture of the farinaceous mass and of the bread.f 

* .Ml created things proceed from a coagulate, aiid afteru-ards this coagulate must pass into a liquid. From a liquid, 
then, all procreated things proceed, whether these be liquids or solids possessing a defined shape. Ftirther, the 
>olid can never be so perfectly liquefied as not to strive to return to its solidity. For example : salt, when it is dissolved 
in water, seeks to revert into its original state. It is the same with all other substances. Moreover, no solid is so com- 
pletely dis.solved but that it will actually return into its original shape, by means of the nature it retains. tJnderstand 
that any solid proceeds from one of the three principles— sulphur, mercury, and salt - whichsoever it may be. Sulphur / 
is never liquefied so completely as not to leave some solidity adhering to it. This is also the case with salt and 
mercury. attention must be paid to this solidification and dissolution. The one frequently prevails over the 
other. . . . Understand, therefore, of tilings in general, that they proceed from three principles ; l,nt that from 
which they proceed is a solid, as. for example, seed, earth, all fruits, and all growing things. Nothing exists which 
is not a solid. Uut this is not the solidification of which mention is made here, but is above it and was before it. 
For fruits were prodncetl from th.-tt liquid, and were again solidified. The result is that here a certain kind of generation 

^v takes place, and if it be not followed again by a second digestion, as in the digestion which ensued after the first 
dissolution into fruits, which finally remains becomes the principle of t.lrtar. ~At'ud F ragnirtttuni tii' Tartaiv, 

♦ The brutes themselves have an innate knowledge, good and l>ad. None the less has man. also, his tinctured 
knowledge, which is bad and good, being tinctured from the stoTN as regards his earthy nature and condition. In con- 
sequence of this n.lture a most supreme and exhaustive investigation of philosophy is permissible. The right and projter 
understanding of the animal condition of human nature is cont.iineU in an understanding of the tincture of the 
anim.1l man. Man has two tinctures, one. as regards his inferior being, frof^ the stsr^.. and ihe other, supernatural, 
from GaA.—De res:Uil,ile, Tract I. 

1 56 The Hermetic .and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

It is also to be remarked that some dregs are of a more fixed substance 
than their liquid, of a sharper also and more penetrating nature, as you see 
in the case of vimnn ardens, which is made from the dregs of wine, and in 
the case ol cerevisia ardens. which is distilled from the dregs of cerevisia ; and 
just as viittim aniens burns, and as sulphur is kindled, so, if from the dregs of 
acetuni another acetiiin should be distilled, as viniim ardens is commonly dis- 
tilled, there will be produced thence an acetum of so fier^' and acrid a nature, 
that it would consume all metals, stones, and other substances, like aquafortis. 

Moreover, tincture must be of a fixed nature, fluxible, and incombustible, 
so that if a little of it be thrown on an ignited plate of metal it will presently 
float like wax, and that without any smoke, and will penetrate the metal asy 
oil penetrates paper, or water a sponge, and tinge all metals to white and red, 
that is, in the case of Luna and Sol.* These are now the Tinctures of the 
metals, which must first of all be turned to alcohol by the step of Calcina- 
tion. Afterwards, by the second step of Sublimation, their own easy and 
gentle flux must be produced ; lastly, by the step of Putrefaction and Dis- 
tillation the Tincture is evolved, fixed, incombustible, and of changeless 

But the Tinctures of human bodies — whereby those bodies may be tinged 
into their supreme state of health, and all diseases may be expelled, that their 
lost powers and colours may be restored, and they themselves invigorated and 
renewed — are these : Gold, pearls, antimony, sulphur, xitriol, and the like, 
the preparations whereof we give in many other books, so it does not seem 
necessary for us to repeat them here. 

But concerning Tinctures nothing more need be written, seeing that every 
extracted colour may be called a Tincture, which, indeed, tinges with a per- 
manent colour things which do not enter the fire, or keep their colours fixed 
in the fire. All these things are in the hand and power of the dyer or the 
painter, who prepares them according to his own pleasure.! 

It is especially necessary, too, in this book to know the degrees of fire, 
which can be graduated and intensified in many ways, and each degree has its 
own peculiar operation, while no one gives the same result as another, as 
every skilful alchemist finds from his daily experience and the practice of his 
art. One is the live flaming fire which reverberates and calcines all bodies. 


* 1 call the tincture of gold the colour of tlie body itself, which. ifsepar.ited from the body, so a white Lotly 
remains, will be a perfect work. For colour and body are two different things, and for this reason admit of separation. 

hat is to say, the pure (the colour) is sep-tr-ited from the impure (the body). Unless this be done, all the labour will 
iVrn out useless. When, accordingly, this separation is accomplished, we must injnicdiately h.xsten to the clarification 

f the colour, and to the highest grade of e.\alt.ation. But the grade to which the tincture can be exalted is five limes 
double, that is. five times into five times twenty-four, for it cannot become more sublimated.— C/i/r«;y/Vi il/agttn. 
Part if., Tract III., c. j. 

t Tinctures operate approximately as follows : Just as you sec fire completely consume firewood and similar bodies, 
which, as gold, etc., have no figure of man, so we must believe that tinctures operate. Thus, as antimony purges away 
all the dross of gold, perfects it, and raises it to the highest grade by cement.ation, in like manner it becomes manifest 
that the tinctures themselves have obtained a nature similar to cement, inasmuch .as they perform operations com- 
pletely similar to those of the latter and of fire. The ancient artists marvellously wearied themselves at conjoining 
tinctures with fire, for they .'inticipated a medicine in their almost saci-ed conjunction, but all in vain. — /^rV/.. c. 8. 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 157 

Another is the fire of the candle and lamp, which fixes all volatile bodies. 
Another is the coal fire, which cements, colours, and purges metals from their 
scoriae, graduates more highly Sol and Luna, takes the whiteness from Venus, 
and, in a word, renovates all the metals. Another is the fire of an ignited 
iron plate, on which the tinctures of metals are probed, which also is useful 
for other purposes. In another way, scobs {i.e., alkali) of iron produces heat, 
in another way, sand ; in another, ashes ; in another, the balneum maris, by 
which many distillations, sublimations, and coagulations are produced. In 
yet another way operates the balneum roris, in which take place many solu- 
tions of corporeal things. Otherwise, again, acts the venter eqitinus, in which 
the principal putrefactions and digestions take place, and in another way 
operates the invisible fire, by which we understand the rays of the sun, which 
also is shewn by a mirror, or steel plate, or crystal, and displays its operation 
and effect, concerning which fire the ancients wrote scarcel)- anything. By 
this fire, indeed, the three principles in any corporeal substance can be separated 
on a table. Of so wonderful a virtue is this fire, that by means of it metals 
are liquefied, and all fat and fluxible things — all combustible things, indeed — 
can be reduced to carbon and ashes on a table, and without fire. 

Since, then, I have placed before you and disclosed the steps of Alchemical 
Art, and the degrees of alchemical fire, I will, moreover, point out to you, and 
describe generically, the various transmutations of natural objects. Before all, 
one should speak of the metals ; secondly, of stones ; thirdly, of various 
objects after their kind. The transmutation of metals, then, is the great 
secret in Nature, and can only be produced with difficulty, on account of the many 
hindrances and difficulties. Vet it is not not contrary to Nature or the will of 
God, as many falsely say. But in order to transmute the five lower and baser 
metals, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and Mercury, into the two perfect 
metals, Sol and Luna, you must have the Philosophers' Stone. But since we 
have already, in the seven steps, sufficiently unveiled and described the secrets 
of the Tinctures, it is not necessary to labour further about this, but rather 
rest satisfied with what we have written in other books on the Transmutations 
of Metals. 

But there are further transmutations of imperfect and impure metals, as, 
for instance, of Mars into Venus. This may be effected in diflFerent ways : 
Firstly, if iron filings are heated in water of vitriol ; or, secondly, if iron plates 
are cemented with calcined vitriol ; thirdly, if glowing iron plates are ex- 
tinguished with oil of vitriol. In these three ways iron is transmuted into the 
best, natural, and heavy copper, which, indeed, flows very well, and has its 
own weight as well as any native copper. Iron filing can also be reduced and 
transmuted as if into lead, so that it becomes entirely soft, like native lead, 
but it does not flow easily. Therefore proceed thus : Take some iron filing, 
and the same quantity of the best liquefying powder. Mix them ; place them 
on a tigillum in a blast furnace, make a strong fire, not so much as to melt the 
iron, but let it stand as if in a cement a whole hour. .Afterwards increase the 

158 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

fire vigorously, so that the iron may glow and melt. Lastly, let the tigillum 
cool of itself, and you will find a regulus of lead on the tigillum, as soft and 
ductile as native lead can be. 

But in order to transmute Venus into Saturn proceed thus : First of all, 
sublimate copper, and reduce it by fixed arsenic to a white substance, as white 
as Luna. Then granulate. Of this, and of good reduced powder, take the 
same quantity ; first cement, and, lastly pour into the regulus. when you will 
have the true leaden regulus. 

On the other hand, it is very easy to turn lead into copper, nor is any great 
skill required. This is the process : Calcine plates of lead in vitriol, or stratify 
with the crocus of Venus, cement, and, lastly, liquefy. Then you will see as 
much native lead as you please transmuted into good, heavy, and ductile 

If, now, such copper, or any other copper, be made into plates and stratified 
with tutia and calamine, cemented, and if, lastly, it be cast, it is changed into 
a splendid amber or red colour, like gold. 

If you wish to change Saturn into Jupiter, take plates of Saturn, and 
stratify with sal ammoniac, cement, and, lastly, cast, as above. So all its 
blackness and darkness are taken away from the lead, and it becomes in 
whiteness like the best English tin. 

As you have now heard in brief a summary of some transmutations of 
metals, so, moreover, know concerning the transmutations of gems, which, 
indeed, are various and by no means alike. For you see how great a trans- 
mutation of gems lies hid in oil of sulphur. Any crystal can be tinged and 
transmuted in»it, and in course of time graduated with distinct colours so as to 
become like a grained jacinth or ruby. 

Understand in like manner concerning the magnet. It can be transmuted 
into ten times its power and virtue in the following way : Take a magnet, and 
heat it in the coals to such a degree that it may be at a high temperature, 
but still not red hot. Extinguish this immediately in the oil of the crocus of 
Mars, which is made of the best Carinlhian steel, so that it may imbibe as 
much as it can take. Thus you will make a magnet so powerful that with it 
you can pull out the nails from a wall, and i^\> other wonderful things which a 
common magnet could never accomplish. 

Moreover, in the transmutations of gems, it must be known that the world 
is situated in the two grades of tincture and coagulation. For as the white of 
an ^^^ can be tinged with saffron, and afterwards coagulated into a beautiful 
yellow amber, with the dye of a pine into black amber, with verdigris into 
green amber, like the cyanean or Turkish stone, with green juice into the like- 
ness of an emerald, with lazuleum into a cerulean amber like sapphire, with 
Brazilian wood into a red amber like the grained jacinth or ruby, with a purple 
colour like amethyst, or with ceruse made to resemble alabaster — so all other 
liquids, and especially metals and minerals, can be tinged with fixed colours, 
afterwards coagulated, and transmuted into gems. 

Concerning the Nature of Thhigs. 159 

Similarly pearls, too, can be made entirely like true ones in appearance so 
that by means of their brightness and beauty they can scarcely be distinguished 
from genuine ones. Proceed thus : Purify as much as possible the white of 
eggs with a sponge. Into this put and mix some fair white talc, or pearl shell, 
or Mercury coagulated with Jupiter and reduced to alcohol. At the same time 
pound it in marble very fine, so that it becomes a thick amalgam, which must 
he dried in the sun or behind a warm furnace until it becomes like cheese or 
hepar. Lastly, from this mass make as many pearls as you wish, and fix 
them on hog bristles. Having thus bored them, dry them as you did the 
amber, and you have prepared them. If they do not shine sufficiently anoint 
them externally with the white of an ^%^, and again dry them. Thus they will 
become most beautiful pearls, like true ones in form though not in virtue. 

Almost in the same way corals are made by those who wish to deceive 
people as with the pearls just spoken of. Proceed thus : Pound cinnabar with 
white of eggs in a marble mortar for an hour. Afterwards dry it like potter's 
earth. Then form from thence pilules or small branches, as you will ; lastly, 
dry them thoroughly, and anoint them externally, as you did the pearls, with 
white of ^%%- Dry them again, and thus they will become like native coral in 
appearance, but not in virtue. 

It should also be known that the white of eggs by itself can'be coagulated 
into a very fine varnish, into which coagulation Luna or Sol may be put. 

There are many other and various transmutations, whereof I will tell vou 
briefly, and by the way, those which I know and have experimented on. First, 
learn that any wood, if at a particular time it be put in the water of the salt of a 
gem, is converted into stone in a manner calculated to cause woiltler. So, too, 
stones are transmuted into coals by .(^tnean fire, and these are called stone 

In the same way glue is made from hides, paper from linen rag, and silk 
is produced out of linen with a very sharp lixivium made from lime and the 
ashes of woad. If the downy parts are taken from feathers and dressed with 
this lixivium, they can be spun and woven like cotton. .\ny oil or spermatic 
mucilage can be coagulated into varnish ; any liquid into gum. All these are 
transmutations of natural objects : whereof we have now said enough, and 
therefore write our finis. 



Concerning the Separations of Natural Things. 

IN the creation of the world, the first separation began with the four 
elements, when the first matter of the world was one chaos. From that 
chaos God built the Greater World, separated into four distinct 
elements, Fire, Air, Water, Earth. Fire was the warm part, Air only the 
cold, Water the moist, and, lastly, Earth was but the dry part of the Greater 

Now, that you may learn our method in this Eighth Book as briefly as 
possible, you must know that we do not propose to treat herein concerning 
the Separation of the Elements in all natural things, since we have fully and 
perfectly taught concerning these arcana in our Archidoxa on the Separations 
of the Elements. But here we touch only on the separation of natural 
things,* where some one thing is singly, and by itself, materially and sub- 
stantially separated and segregated, when two, three, four, or more have 
been mingled in one body, and yet only a single matter is touched and seen. 
And here it frequently happens that corporeal matter of this kind can be known 
by nobody, nor be designated by an express name, until the process of separation 
is instituted. Then sometimes from a single matter two, three, four, five, or 
more, proceed, as by daily experience in Alchemy is made evident. By way 
of example for you, there is electrum, which by itself is not a metal, but still 
conceals all the metals in one metal and body. If this, by alchemical art, be 
anatomised and separated, all the seven metals, and these pure and unmixed, 
proceed from it, namely, gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, iron, quicksilver, etc. 

But in order to understand what separation is, you should know that it is 
nothing else but the segregation of one thing from another, whether two, 
three, four, or more have been mixed : I mean the segregation of three 
principles, as mercury, sulphur, salt, and the extraction of the pure from the 
impure, or of the pure and noble spirit and quintessence from the dense and 

• Sep.iration is grounded in heat, as in a faculty of digestion, whence, sometimes in one way, and sometimes in 
.^nother, the ultim.-^te matter is {oTXnd.—Modus Phannacattiil, Tract III. The office of the Archeus is the sequestra- 
tion of the pure from the impure.— Da Morhis Tartareis. c. 5. For unless there be separation in the greater world. 
there can be no metal, and unless there he separation in the smaller world, that is, in the microcosmos, which is man. 
there can be neither health nor disease, but an equable and perpetual disposition of all things. —Chiritrgia Magna^ 
Part III.. Lib. 2. 

Concerning ike Nature of Thmgs, i6i 

elemental body ; and the preparation of two, three, four, or more from one : 
or the dissolution and liberation of things linked and bound together, which 
are by nature adverse, and perpetually act contrariwise one to the other, and 
go on doing so until they mutually destroy each other. 

There are many and various modes of separation, all oi which are not 
known to us ; but those among the soluble natural elements which have been 
investigated by us shall here be set down and described according to their 

The first Separation of which we speak should begin from man, since he 
is the Microcosm, the lesser world, and for his sake the Macrocosm, the 
greater world, was founded, that he might be its Separator. But the 
separation of the Microcosm begins from death.* For in death the two bodies 
of man separate from each other, that is to say, the Celestial and the 
Terrestial, the Sacramental and the Elemental. One of these soars on high, ^^ 
like an eagle ; the other sinks down to the earth, like lead.f 

The elemental body decays and is consumed. It becomes a putrid corpse, 
which, being buried in the earth, never again comes forth or appears. But 
the Sacramental body, that is, the sidereal and celestial body, does not decay, 
is not buried, occupies no place. This body appears to men, and is seen even 
after death. Hence we have spectres, visions, and supernatural apparitions. 
From these the Cabalistic Art was elaborated by the ancient Magi, which is 
treated of more at length in the books on the Cabala.J 

After this separation has been made, then, by the death of the man, the 
three substances separate one from the other, that is to say, the body, the 
soul, and the spirit, each wending its way to its own place, as to the ark from 

• There are two kinds of death-one from the Vliadus, and one from the Ens. With that which comes from the 
Vliadus medicine may attempt to do battle ; with that which comes from the Ens it is useless to attempt to cope. — /?«' 
7ar/aro. comment, in Lib. II. 

t It has, therefore, seemed good to me that man should first of all be described according to his nature and con- 
dition, so that it may become more clearly intelligible what is to be sought in the mortal body, that is to say, mere 
mortality, and what also Is to be sought in the sidereal body, forsooth mere mortality. Afterwards we must become 
acquainted with the soul, which is by no means mortal, but is the eternal man. Vou must further know that the soul is 
f fles h and bloo d, and that it consists of flesh and blood, but that there is a twpfold flesh, namely, mortal and etcrn^. 
The mortal takes its essence from mortal ttSh ; the eternal is perfect flesh and blood unto life eternal. Therefore if 
man considers within himself who and what he is. .ind what will be his future condition, he will thence readily under- 
stand that in this body, incarnate from the Holy Spirit, he shall sec God, his Redeemer, and that whatsoever God 
our Redeemer operates in us. He doesTliroiigli ilie man of new generation, because that is not of a mortal but an 
eternal body. Only this body is secure from the deWI. The second is from Adam, .ind is like a seed in water. The 
other Ixxly is suitable for the performance of works Di\-inc. for a mortal body can accomplish nothing of those things 
which are celestial. It care*; only for things earthly and things of the firmament, and it produces men skilled only in 
natural light. Hence God ordains man to gain a wider experience from that which is naturally formed, to pass from 
one to the other, and to emulate Nature. For in a new body and a celestial philosophy is life eternal. Death is 
inherent in natural strength, but life, on the contrary, consists in eternal strength. The instruction of Nature is from 
the earth, and she knows not God. except that she admires the Creator in man. Nor yet does man recognise Gtxi 
according to Nature or in Nature. But he who is bom from on high is acquainted with supernal things. The first of 
these is Christ. All who are reborn in flesh and blood, conceived and incarnate from the Holy Ghost, do follow Him. 
and these s.ame have the knowledge of things above. For they are from Him who cometh from on high- Hence there 
are two instructions, one of the earth earthy, thft other from on high, which He imparts who also is from on high, from 
whom we derive, whose flesh and blood we are. etc. —Philoiophia Sagax, Lib. IL, c 2. 

t The sole work on the cabala which has been preserved in the name of P.aracelsus, is a short treatise, which forms 
a detached portion of the book entitled De Peitiiitate. It is not cabalistical in the sense which properly attaches to 
that term, nor does it exhibit any special acquaintance with that section of Jewish traditional literature to which it L. 
referred in name. In its general outline it seems to l)e fairly in harmony with the great body of cabalUiical cosmogony. 


1 62 The Hermetic and Alchcvikal Writings of Paracelsus. 

which it first of all came forth : the body to the earth, as the first matter of 
the elements ; the soul to the first matter of the sacraments ; and, lastly, the 
spirit to the first matter of the aerial chaos. 

What has now been said concerning" the separation of the Microcosm 
should also be understood of the greater world, which the mighty ocean has 
separated into three parts, so that the universal world is thus divided into 
three portions, Europe, Asia, and Africa. This separation is a sort of pre- 
figuration of the three principles, because they, too, can be separated from 
every terrestrial and elemental thing. These principles are Mercury, Sulphur, 
and Salt. Of these three the world is built up and composed. 

From this should be known the separation of the metals from their 
mountains, that is to say, the separation of metals and minerals. By the 
separation which is instituted in these, many come forth from one matter. 
You see that from minerals come forth metal, scorise, glass, sand, pyrites, mar- 
chasite, granite, cobalt, talc, cachlmla, zinctum, bismuth, antimony, litharge, 
sulphur, vitriol, verdigris, chrysocolla, cceruleum or lazulum, auriplgment, 
arsenic, realgar, cinnabar, fireclay, spathus, gyphus, tripolis, red earth, and 
other like things ; and then of each one of these the water, the oils, the 
resiris, the calx or ash, the Mercury, Sulphur, Salt, etc. 

Vegetables in their separation give waters, oils, juices, resins, gums, 
electuaries, powders, ashes. Mercury, Sulphur, Salt, etc. 

Animals In their separation give water, blood, flesh, fat, bones, skin, 
body, hair, Mercury, Sulphur, Salt, etc. 

Whoever, therefore, boasts to be a separator of such natural things, needs 
long experience, and perfect knowledge of all natural objects. Besides this, 
he must be a skilled and practised alchemist, to know what is or is not 

and it is briefly as follows. Earth, water, air. and fire have their origin from three things, which, however, are not to 
be regarded as of prior creation, for they are and have been fire, air, water, earth. The three have all proceeded from 
one mother. This mother was water. When the whole world was formed the Spirit of God was home over the waters, 
for by the word Fiat water was first created, and thence all other creatures, animate and inanimate. These three are called, 
truly, sulphur, mercurj-, salt. These, therefore, are the true principle, these the true matter, out of which all animals and 
man himself are formed. Thus for perfect generation in all things there are three things required — spring, summer, and 
autumn. This is especially the case in man himself. NoWj sulpliur, mercurj-, and salt recognize two rulers. S alt ha s 
the Moon, and is thereby governed. It is also a subject of water, in which it isdi^solved and liquefied. It is of autumn 
and winter. But t he Sun is king a nd lo rd of sulphur , which ft fervid, igneous, and dissolved in fire. Now, the^Sun is 
ilie ruler of spring and autumn. lint all tilings are nothing else save sulphur, mercury, and salt, which, further, are the 
most certain mark of ever>- true physician. S.ilt is the body of autumn and winter, and sulphur of spring and summer. 
Salt gives form and colour to all creatures ; sulphur gives body, increase, and digestion. These two are father and 
mother, from which mediating stars all creatures are produced. But mercury' ncedsdaily nourishment, and also 
augmentation from sulphur and salt. Know also that God has put much sulphur and salt into earth and water, and everj* 
creature, animate and inanimate, in water and earth, have their proper sulphur and salt, whence they receive nourishment 
and savour. Salt gives savour and form, sulphur odour and the power of putrefaction. The Sun and Moon assiduously 
labour to generate these three things copiously, and alS) to mature the same. The Sun and Moon are the parents of ail 
creatures, while sulphur and salt are the seed. The seed is brought by the parents, and the fcctus, which is mercurj-, 
is born. The manner of the nativity of cver^'thing has its analogies in the great world. When the death of winter ha< 
p.xssed, all things that are capable of receiving life are set in motion by the amenity of May, and all creatures are trans- 
ported with singular delight, even as a pregnant woman who desires to bring forth. Now, every individual being has 
assigned to it its own May for its conception and birth, its respective autumn, and its peculiar harvest. So are there 
various springs, summers, and autumns, according to the infinite varieties of creatures. The doctrine of the three prime 
principles recurs continually in the writings of Paracelsus, and is elsewhere treated at considerable length in the text of 
this translation. At the same time, the obscurity which involves the subject seems to warrant the citation of passages 
such as the above, not exactly to cast light upon the question, but to exhibit the primeval mystery of Paracelsican 
philosophy with all its available variations. 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 163 

combustible, what is fixed and what volatile, what does or does not pass into 
flux, and what thing is heavier than another. He must also have investigated 
in every object its natural colour, odour, acidity, austerity, acridity, bitter- 
ness, sweetness, its grade, complexion, and quality. 

Moreover, it is necessary to know the grades of separation, that they 
consist of distillation, resolution, putrefaction, extraction, calcination, rever- 
beration, sublimation, reduction, coagulation, pulverisation, lavation. By 
distillation, water and oil are separated from all corporeal substances. By 
resolution, metals are separated from minerals, and one metal from another, 
salt and fatness from others, and the light is separated from the heavier. By 
putrefaction, the fat is separated from the lean, the pure from the impure, the 
decayed from the undecayed. By extraction, the pure is separated from the 
impure, the spirit and the quintessence from their body, and the pearl from its 
dense body. By calcination are separated watery moisture, fatness, natural 
colour, odour, and whatever is otherwise combustible. By reverberation are 
separated colour, odour, inflammability, all moisture and wateriness, fat, 
whatever, in a word, there is in the substance which is fluxible or inconstant, 
and so on. By sublimation are separated from each other the fixed and the 
volatile, the spiritual and the corporeal, the pure from the impure, the Sulphur 
from the Salt, the Mercury from the Salt ; and the rest. By reduction, the 
fluxible is separated from the solid, the metal from its mineral ore, one metal 
from another, metal from ash, the fat from that which is not fat. By coagulation 
is separated moisture from mere humidity, water from earth. By pulverisa- 
tion are separated one from the other dust and sand, ashes and lime, the 
mineral from the animal and vegetable substance. All powders which are of 
unequal weight are separated by the process of jaculation, just as the chaff 
from the corn. By washing or ablution, ashes and sand are separated, the 
mineral from its metal, the heavy from the lighter substance, the vegetable 
and animal portion from the mineral, Sulphur from Mercury and Salt, Salt from 

But now, discarding mere theory, let us approach the pr.actical work of 
separation, and come down to special details. It must be remarked that the 
separation of metals is rightly the first of all. For this reason, therefore, we 
will treat of that first. 

Concerning the Separation of Metals from their Minerals. 
The separation of metals from their mineral ores can be effected in many 
ways, for instance, by ebullition or excoction, or by liquefaction with certain 
liquefying powders, as salt of alkali, litharge, sal fliixinn, fel vitri, ash, sal 
gemmze, saltpetre, etc. Put them into a vessel or dish, and let them liquefy in 
a furnace. Then the metal as a regulus will subside to the bottom of the 
vessel, but the matter of the mineral will float on the surface and will become 
ash. You must then work this metallic regulus in a furnace by means of a 
reverberatorv, until all the pure metal is liberated without any dirt or ash. In 


164 Tlie Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

this way, the metal is thoroughly digested and (so to say) refined or purged 
from all its dirt and scoria. Mineral ores of this kind will sometimes 
contain more than one metal, as is very often the case : for example, 
copper and silver, copper and gold, lead and silver, tin and silver, etc., may 
be found in one mineral ore ; and the sign of this circumstance will be 
apparent if the metallic regulus, after being dealt with in the reverberatory, be 
resolved in a small vat after the proper fashion and mode. W\ the imperfect 
metals in it are separated, such as copper, iron, tin, lead, and so they pass away 
in smoke together with the lead (of which there should be added twice as much 
as of the regulus), and then only fine silver and gold remain in the vat. A 
similar result is attained, too, if the metallic rex is liquefied and poured upon 
the lumps. By that method of fusion the intermixed metals are separated. 
That which is best and weightiest always sinks to the bottom, while the 
lighter mounts above. 

Two or three metals in admixture can also be separated in acrid and strong 
water, and one can be extracted from the other, and extended and resolved. 
But if both metals are resolved together, one of them in that resolution, as 
sand or calx, can be diverberated and depressed with salt according to the 
usual inethod, and so separated. 

Besides this, metals can also be separated by fluxion according to the 
following process. Reduce the metals to a state of flux. When this has been 
done, throw in for every pound of the metal one ounce of the most perfectly 
sublimated and refined sulphur. It will there be burnt, and in the course of that 
operation it will attract to itself, on the surface, one metal, the lightest, whilst 
it will leave the heavier at the bottom. Let them stand in this way until cool. 
So in the one regulus two metals will be found, not, as before, mixed together, 
but opposed to each other, and separated by the sulphur as if by a wall, even 
as oil cuts oflf two bodies of water, so that that they cannot join and be com- 
mingled. In the same way sulphur acts with these metals. .Sulphur, there- 
fore, is an arcanum, worthy of the highest esteem. 

Volatile and fugitive metals, such as gold and silver, if they are to be 
separated from their minerals, since they can neither be treated in the fire nor 
with strong waters, should be amalgamated, separated, and extracted by means 
of Menurius vivns. Afterwards the Mcrciirius virus must be abstracted and 
separated from the calx of the gold or silver by the grade of distillation. 

In this way, other metals, too, as gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, and 
substances prepared from these, as red electrum, white magnesia, aurichalcum. 
lead ashes, laton, casting brass, part with part, etc., and whatever trans- 
muted metals of this kind there are, must be abstracted and separated from 
their extraneous substances by means of Afcr-curius rtvus. For this is the 
nature and quality of Merciirius viviis, that it is amalgamated with metals and 
wholly united with them, but more quickly or more slowly with one than with 
another, according as the metal is more or less akin to its nature. 

In this scale the principal is fine gold, then fine silver, the third lead, the 

Concertiing tlie Nature of Things. 165 

fourth tin, the fifth copper, and the last iron. So among transmuted metals 
the first is part with part, then lead ashes, next laton, afterwards casting brass. 
then red metal, and lastly white. Mercury, for its part, does not take more than 
one metal with which it is amalgamated. Afterwards, that amalgam must always 
be vigorously pressed out by means of goat's skin or a cotton rag, of which a 
strip is to be inserted, by which means nothing but Mercurius vivus alone will 
pass over. The metal which was attracted will remain on the skin or the rag 
like lime, and you can afterwards reduce it to a metallic body, by liquefying it 
with salt of alkali, or some other substance. By this device Mercurius vivus 
is separated from all the metals more quickly and conveniently than by the 
method of distillation. By this process with Mercurius vivus, in the hands of 
a skilled and active alchemist, all metals can be extracted and separated one 
from another in turn, after their calcination and pulverisation. In the same 
manner, with very small outlay of labour, tin, too, and lead can be separated 
from copper, or from copper vessels, from iron and steel covered with tin, and 
this without any fire or water, solely by the amalgam of Mercurius vivus, as 
we have said. Again, gold and silver leaf, as also every metal after being 
ground or pounded, and written with pen or pencil on cloth, parchment, 
paper, leather, wood, stone, or other material, can be resolved with Mercurius 
vivus, but so that afterwards the Mercurius virus can again be separated and 
segregated from these metals. 

The separation of metals in aqua fortis, aqua regis, and similar strong 
corrosives, is effected in the following manner : Let the metal which is mixed 
and joined to another be taken and reduced into very thin plates, or most 
mmute portions. Let it be put into a separating vessel, and a sufficient 
quantity of common aquafortis be poured upon it. Let these stand, and both 
be macerated until all the metal is resolved into a transparent water. If it be 
silver, and contains gold in it, all the silver will be resolved into water, while 
the gold will be calcined and sink down to the bottom in the form of black 
sand. By this method the two metals, gold and silver, will be separated. 
But if you wish to separate the silver alone without distillation, and to drive 
that to the bottom like black sand, and to bring it back to calcination from its 
state of resolution, then put into that resolution a small copper plate, and 
thereupon the silver will sink in the water, and occupy the bottom of the glass 
vessel like snow, while it will begin gradually to consume the copper plate. 

The separation of silver and copper by means of common aquafortis is 
accomplished in the following way : Reduce the copper which contains silver, 
or the silver which contains copper within itself, into very thin plates, or into 
grains ; put it into a glass vessel, and add as much common aquafortis as 
necessary. In this way the silver will be calcined, and will go to the bottom 
in the form of white lime, while the copper will be resolved and converted 
into transparent water. If this water, together with the resolved copper, be 
abstracted through a glass funnel from the silver calx into a separate glass 
vessel, then the resolved copper can be reverberated with common rain or 

1 66 The Hermetic and Alchemical Wriiitigs of Paracelsus. 

river water, or with hot salt water, so that it will occupy the bottom of the 
glass vessel like sand. 

The separation of hidden gold from any metal is effected by the degree 
of extraction through aqua regis ; for this water does not approach for the 
purpose of resolving any metal but fine gold alone. 

This same aqua regis also separates fine gold from gilded clenodia. If it 
be smeared over these, it wipes away and sunders the gold. 

Moreover, also, two metals mixed together can be separated om from the 
other with a cement by the degree of reverberation, especially if they are not 
in a similar degree of fixation, as iron and copper. A metal which has very 
little fixation, such as tin and lead, is altogether consumed in the cement by 
the degree of reverberation. The more fixed any metal is the less is it 
affected or consumed by the cement. 

It should be known, too, that fine gold is the most fixed and perfect of 
all metals, and can be consumed by no cement. Next to this is fine silver. 
But if gold and silver be mixed together in one body, which is generally 
called " part with part," or if silver contains gold, or gold silver, in itself — if 
these mixtures, I say, be cemented and reverberated together, then the gold 
always remains entire and inviolate, while the silver is consumed by the , 
cement, and is extracted from the fine gold ; and so is copper from silver or 
iron, or tin from copper and iron, or lead from tin ; and so on in order with 
the others. 

Concerning the Separ.\tion" of Minerals. 

So far we have explained the separation of metals from their earth and 
matter, and of one metal from another ; and have shewn how it was to be 
done, using the greatest brevity consistent with accuracy, and following the 
alchemical art and practical experience. Now, next in order, it will be 
necessary also that we treat of those things out of which metals grow and 
are generated, such as are the three principles. Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt, 
and other minerals, among which is found the first essence of metals, that is, 
the spirit of metals, as is evident in marchasites, granites, cachimite, red talc, 
lazurium, and the like. In these the first essence of gold is found by the 
degree of sublimation. So, too, in white marcasite, white talc, auripigmcnt, 
arsenic, litharge, etc., the first essence of silver is found. In cobalt, zinctum, 
etc., the first essence of iron. In zinctum, vitriol, atramentum, verdigris, etc., 
the first essence of copper. In zinctum, bismuth, etc., the first essence of 
tin. In antimony, minium, etc., the first essence of lead. In cinnabar is 
found the first essence of silver. 

Concerning this first essence, it should be known that it is a fugitive 
spirit, still existing in a volatile state, as a child lies hidden in the w omb of 
its mother. It is sometimes assimilated to a liquid, sometimes to alcohol. 
Whoever, therefore, is anxious to have the prime essence of any body, and 
to separate it, needs great experience and knowledge of the Spagyric Art. 

CoHcernino the Nature of Things. 167 

If he has not diligently laboured in alchemy it will avail him nothing, 
and his labour will be in vain. How the first essence is to be separated from 
all mineral bodies has been sufficiently explained in the books of the Archi- 
doxis, and need not be repeated here. But as to the separation of minerals, 
it should be remarked that many things of this kind are separated by means 
of sublimation, as the fixed from the non-fixed, spiritual and volatile bodies 
from the fixed, and so throughout all the divisions, as is detailed in the case 
of metals. With all minerals the process is one and the same, through all 
the degrees, as the Spag^-ric Art teaches. 

Concerning the Separation of Vegetables. 

The separation of those things which grow out of the earth and are 
combustible, such as fruits, herbs, flowers, leaves, grasses, roots, woods, etc., 
is also arranged in many ways. By distillation is separated from them first 
the phlegma, afterwards the Mercury, after this the oil, fourthly their sulphur, 
lastly their salt. When all these separations are made according to Spag^ric 
.Art, remarkable and excellent medicaments are the result, both for internal 
and external use. 

But when laziness has grown to such an extent among ph3^sicians, and 
all work and every pursuit are turned only to insolence, I do not wonder, 
indeed, that preparations of this kind are everywhere neglected, and that 
coals stand at so low a price. If smiths could do without coals for forging 
and fashioning metals as easily as these physicians do without them in pre- 
paring their medicines, there is no doubt that all the coal merchants would 
have been before now reduced to extreme beggar)-. In the meantime, I extol 
and adorn, with the eulogium rightly due to them, the Spagyric physicians. 
These do not give themselves up to ease and idleness, strutting about with a 
haughty gait, dressed in silk, with rings ostentatiously displayed on their 
fingers, or silvered poignards fixed on their loins, and sleek gloves on their 
hands. But they devote themselves diligently to their labours, sweating 
whole nights and days over fierj- furnaces. These do not kill the time with 
empty talk, but find their delight in their laboratory. They are clad in 
leathern garments, and wear a girdle to wipe their hands upon. They put 
their fingers among the coals, the lute, and the dung, not into gold rings. 
Like blacksmiths and coal merchants, they are sooty and dirty, and do not 
look proudly with sleek countenance. In presence of the sick they do not 
chatter and vaunt their own medicines. They perceive that the work should 
glorify the workman, not the workman the work, and that fine words go a 
very little way towards curing sick folks. Passing by all these vanities, 
therefore, they rejoice to be occupied at the fire and to learn the steps of 
alchemical knowledge. Of this class are : Distillation, Resolution, Putrefac- 
tion, Extraction, Calcination, Reverberation, Sublimation, Fixation, Separa- 
tion, Reduction, Coagulation, Tincture, and the like. 

But how all these separations are made according to Spagyric and 

1 68 The Hervietic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Alchemical Art by the help of distinct degrees has before been said generally, 
and to repeat the same thing here anew is vain. To go on to specialities 
and briefly explain the practical method, let it be known that all cannot be 
separated by one and the same process ; that is to say, the water, spirit, 
liquid, oil, etc., from herbs, flowers, seeds, leaves, roots, trees, fruits, woods, 
according to the grade of distillation. 

Herbs require one process, flowers another, seeds another, leaves 
another, roots another, trees, stalks, and stems another, fruits another, 
woods another, etc. And in this grade of distillation the four degrees of 
fire have to be considered. The first degree of fire is the Balneum Maria. 
This is the distillation made in water. The second degree of fire is distillation 
made in ashes. The third is in sand, the fourth in free fire, as also distillation 
is generally made by aqua fortis and other violent waters. Herbs, flowers, 
seeds, and the like, require the first degree of fire. Leaves, fruits, etc., need 
the second. Roots, branches, and trunks of trees, etc., require the third. 
Timber and the like require the fourth. Each of these substances must be 
minutely cut up or pounded before being brought into the still. So much has 
been said as to the distillation of waters and vegetable substances. As regards 
the separation and distillation of oils the same process must be followed as we 
have spoken of in the separation of waters, except that, for the most part, 
they have to be distilled by descent. Thej' cannot, like waters, ascend in 
the still ; therefore, in this case the process has to be changed. Liquids, 
however, are not separated like waters and oils, by distillation, but are 
squeezed out from their corporeal substances under a press. And here it 
should be known that some oils, in like manner, just as liquids, are squeezed 
out from their corporeal substances and separated by means of the press for 
this reason, that they can bear scarcely any combustion or heat of the fire, 
but acquire therefrom an unpleasant odour. Of this kind are the oils of 
almonds, nuts, hard eggs, and the like. This also is to be noted, that all 
oils, if they are prepared or coagulated according to Spagyric and Alchemical 
Art, pour forth varnish, electuary, gum, or a kind of resin, which might also 
he called a sulphur ; and if the species left in the still were calcined and 
reduced to ashes, alkali could be extracted and separated from them with 
simple warm water alone. The ash which is left is called dead earth, nor can 
anj-thing more be produced or separated from it. 


It is necessary to preface the separation or anatomy <\i animals by 
shewing how the blood, flesh, bones, skin, intestines, etc., stand each by itself, 
and then how each is separated by Spagyric .Art. In this part the separations 
are principally l\nn-. The first draws forth from the blood a watery and 
phlegmatic moisture. For when the blood has been separated in this manner, 
according to the process handed down in the book on Conservations,* an 

• is. ihtf Pi-rset'i'Htiitii.i 11/ Xitturni Thhigi.~De Xttturn iiefiiiit. Hook III. 

Concerning the Nattcre of Thinos. 169 

excellent Mumia* comes forth, and a specific so potent that any fresh wound 
can be healed and consolidated in twenty-four hours by a single ligature. 

The second separation is tliat of fat from flesh. This fatness being 
separated from human flesh, a most excellent balsam is produced, allaying 
the pains of gout, of contraction, and others of a like nature, if the members 
affected be anointed with it while warm. It is also useful for convulsed 
tendons of the hands or feet, if they are daily anointed with it. It further 
cures the itch, and all kinds of leprosy. This, therefore, is the chief surgical 
specific, and of the very first efficacy in all accidents and wounds. 

The third separation is that of the watery and phlegmatic moisture with 
fatness extracted from the bones. For if these two are separated from human 
bones by Spagyric .Art, and according to the degree of distillation, and if, 
moreover, by the method of calcination they are reduced or burnt to a white 
ash, and if, lastly, these three be again united in the proper way, so that they 
are like to butyrus, there will be formed a wonderful arcanum and specific, with 
which you will be able, without pain, to entirely cure any fracture of the bones 
after binding them up only thrice, provided only that you treat the fracture by 
setting it according to the rules of surgical science, and then put on the 
specific in the form of a piaster. The same also thoroughly cures wounds of 
the skull, or any contusion of the bones, in the shortest possible time. 

The fourth and last separation is that of resins and gums from the skin, 
intestines, and tendons. For the resin is extracted and separated from these 
by the degree of extraction according to Spagyric Art, and wh°n coagulated 
in the rays of the sun it comes out as a clear and transparent paste. When 
this paste has been prepared, extracted, and separated from the human body 
according to the prescribed method, a most excellent styptic arcanum and 
specific issues forth, with which a wound or ulcer can be quickly healed and 
the lips brought together, just as two sheets of paper are stuck together with 
paste, if only you apply to the wound two or three drops of that resolved 
substance. This arcanum, too, is of singular efficacy for burns, and falling 
off or roughness of the nails, if it be spread over them with a feather. In 
this way the bare flesh will be covered over with a cuticle. 

Many other separations also of one thing or another might be recounted 
here ; but since we have made mention of them in other places, it would be in 
vain idly to repeat them now. 

• Mumia is that which cures all wounds, that is, sweet mercury'. For mcrcurj* is extracted hoth in a sweet and 
bitter form. The former is adapted to wounds and the latter to ulcers. Mumia is the liquor diffused through the whole 
body, the limbs, etc., with the strength that is required. It is divided .-is follows : in flesh, -i-cording to the nature of 
the flesh ; in bone, according to the nature of the bone ; in the arteries and ligaments, according to their nature ; and 
so also in the marrow, the veins, and the skin. Hence it follows that the mnntia of the flesh cures wounds of the flesh. 
the mumia of the ligaments cures wounds of the ligaments, etc. Thus the body which has sustained an injurj' carries 
its own cure with it ; the mumia of the aged, however, is deficient in virtue and strength. The corruption of the 
mumia, which is often occasioned by the mistakes of ignorant physicians, impedes the cure of wounds. . . . The 
nobler the animal organism is, by so much is the mumia of the organism enhanced in power ant' cflicacy. The medi- 
caments which benefit wotinds perform this operation by attracting the mumia to the place where its office is required. — 
Chirur^iil Miitor, Lib. I., c. I. 

1 70 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

Here it is only necessary to write down that which we have not mentioned 

But at last, at the end of all earthly things, will be brought about the 
final separation, in the third generation, on that great day whereon the Son 
of God shall come in His majesty and glory, and before Him shall be 
borne, not swords, chains, diadems, sceptres, and treasures, or other royal 
jewels, with which princes, kings, and Csesars bear themselves pompously, 
but His Cross, and crown of thorns, and nails piercing His hands and 
feet, and the spear with which His side was wounded, and the reed and 
sponge on which they stretched out that which they gave Him to drink, and 
the rods with which He was scourged and beaten. No crowd of horsemen 
with far sounding drums shall accompany Him ; but the four trumpets shall 
be blown by the angels towards the four parts of the earth, and at their 
tremendous sound all who are among the living shall be slain, and these 
together with the buried dead shall immediately rise again. 

For a voice shall be heard, "Jlise, ye dead, and come to judgment! " 
Hereupon the Twelve Apostles shall sit down on thrones prepared from the 
clouds, and shall judge the twelve families of Israel. In that place the Holy 
Angels shall separate the bad from the good, the cursed from the blessed, the 
goats from the sheep. Then the cursed shall be thrown down like stones and 
like lead ; but the blessed shall fly like eagles. Then from the tribunal of 
God shall issue forth a voice to those standing on the left hand, " Go away, 
ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared from eternity for Satan and the 
devils. For I was hungry and you did not feed Me ; I was thirsty and 30U 
gave Me no drink ; I was sick, and a prisoner, and naked, but you did not 
visit Me, did not set Me free, did not clothe Me. In a word, you were not 
touched with pity for Me. Therefore, here you shall meet with no pity ! " 
Contrariwise to those standing on the right side it shall say thus : " Come, ye 
blessed and elect, into the Kingdom of My Father, which has from the 
beginning been prepared for you and for all the angels. For I was hungry 
and you gave Me food ; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink ; I was a 
stranger ancf }ou received Me : I was naked and you clothed iSIe ; I was sick 
and you visited Me ; I was in prison and you came to Me. So will 1 receive 
you also into My Father's house, in which are the many mansions of the 
saints. You pitied Me ; and so I will pity you ! " 

When all these things are finished and done, all the elementary subjects 
shall return to the first matter of the elements, and shall be turned about for 
eternity, yet never consumed. On the contrary, all sacramental creatures 
shall return to the primal matter of the sacraments, that is, they shall be 
glorified, and in eternal joy they shall worship God their Creator, from 
uni\erse to universe, from eternity to eternity. .Amen. 





IN this book, our first business, as being about to philosophise, is with the 
signature of things, as, for instance, to set forth how they are signed, 
what signator exists, and how many signs are reckoned. Be it known, 
first of all, then, that signs are threefold. The first things signed man signs ; 
the second Archeus signs ; the third the Stars of the Supernaturals. In tfns 
way, then, only three signators exist, Man, Archeus, and the Stars. Moreover, 
it should be remarked that the signs signed by man carry with them perfect 
knowledge and judgment of occult things, as well as acquaintance with their 
powers and hidden faculties. 

The signs of the stars give prophecies and presages. They point out the 
force of supernatural things, and put fortli true judgments and disclosures in 
geomancy, chiromancy, hydromancy, pyromancy, necromanc}-, astronomy, the 
Berillistic art,t and other astral sciences. 

Now, in order that we may explain all the signs as correctly and as briefly 
as possible, it is above all else necessary that we put forward those whereof 
man is the signator. When these are understood you will more rightly attain 
to the others, whether natural or supernatural. For instance, it is known that 

- * Note with reference to the books /V datura Rermu. In most editions, seven books only are included under 
tbi» headings but the Geneva folio, from which the translation has been made, gives nine as above. In the other cases 
the treatises on Separations and Signatures are regarded as independent works. There can be no doubt that the 
classification adopted by the Geneva folio is correct, for in method and design these treatises arc inlegralty connected 
with the rest of the Nature oj Things. 

t Among the branches of astronomy there is one which is called Xigromancy. It has gained this name because it is ex- 
ercised by night rather than by day. This science is cvcrj-whcrc and by all rejected and cursed as diabolical, yet only by 
those who areignurant of it. For this science is a natural one, L'oru of the stars. IJut above all notice the property of beryls. 
In these arc beheld the past, present, and future. Let no one be surprised at this, because tlic constellation impresses 
the image and similitude of its influence upon the crj'slal in the likeness of that concerning which inquir>' is made. 
This must take place by a compulsion of the constellation, as is recorded in m.igic. As the splendour of the sun flows in 
upon the cr>-stal, so the constellation pours it from alwve upon the object. Moreover, all things which exist in Nature 
are known to the constellations, and when the stars are subject to man, he can bring them to such obedience that they 
favour his will. It is universally boasted concerning faith that it can many things. This is, indeed, not far 
from tlic truth, for Christ Himself hears witness to it. .\nd since faith is an operative principle it is evidently nothing. 
cl>c but a virtue and an efficacy. For \irtue works in a word, and words make the dead alive. In a similiar fashion, 
what else is there in thn stars than that by faith in Nature they are conquered ? And as by the word of faith the 
mountain is cast into the sea, know that it is owing to natural faith that by a word the stars arc brought down, so that 
they may perform their operation according to our imagination,.Xor be is wise who rules the stars — he is wise, I say, 
who can bring their virtues under his rule, for in this manner arc constituted visions in glasses, mirrors, waters, and the 
rest, according to the quality of the power, and of the union made in conception. — Explicatio Totius AstroHoniitr. 

1/2 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writiitgs of Paracelsus. 

Jews wear a yellow sign on their cloak or on their coat. What is this but a 
sign by whicli anybody who meets him may understand that he is a Jew ? So, 
too, the lictor is known by his parti-coloured tunic or armlet. So, too, every 
magistracy decks its ministers with its own proper colours and adornments. 

The mechanic marks his work with its peculiar sign, so that everyone may 
understand who has produced it. For what purpose does the courier carry 
the insignia of his master or his city on his garment, except that it may be 
clear he is a messenger, that he serves one or another, that he comes from one 
place or another, and so thus procures for himself a safe passage ? 

So, too, the soldier carries a sign or symbol, black, white, green, bkie, or 
red, that he may be distinguished from the enemy. Hence it is known that 
one is on the side of Caesar, or of the kings ; that one is an Italian, another a 
Gaul, etc. These are signs which relate to rank and office ; and many more 
of them might be enumerated. But, nevertheless, since we have proposed to 
ourselves to describe other signs of natural and supernatural things, we^will 
not overload our book with those signs that are foreign to our purpose. 

It is necessary more clearly to explain those signs which man affixes, and 
which lead to a knowledge, not only of rank, office, or name, but also of 
discrimination, intelligence, age, dignity, degree. Next in order, with regard 
to money, it should be remembered that every coin carries its proof and sign 
by which it may be known how much that coin is worth, to what power it 
belongs, where it circulates and is passed. Here comes in the German 
proverb : " Nowhere is money more acceptable than where it is struck." 

The same is to be understood of the customary signs which are affixed b)- 
jurors and those appointed for the purpose, after due inspection has been 
previously made. An instance of this is found in the cloths marked with 
distinguishing signs by which it may be known that on examination they have 
been found good and genuine. Why is a seal appended to letters except 
that there may be a certain force which none will dare to violate? The seal 
is the confirmation of the letter which gives it authority among men and in 
trials. A receipt without a seal is dead, useless, empty. 

In the same manner, by a few letters, names, or words, many things are 
designated, just as books which, though lettered outside with only one word, 
in that way signify their contents. 

Such, too, is the condition of the vessels and boxes in drug-shops, wliicli 
are all distinguished by peculiar names or labels affixed to them. If tiiat 
were not done, who could distinguish one from the other among so man)' 
different waters, liquors, syrups, oils, powders, seeds, ointments, and the like? 
In the same way, too, the alchemist in his laboratory marks with their own 
proper names and labels, all the waters, liquors, spirits, oils, phlegmata, 
crocuses, alkalis, powders, and then all the different kinds of these, one by one, 
so that he can select from among them whatever he wants. \\'itlunit tliis 
safeguard it is impossible to remember each separately. 

Thus also rooms and buildings constructed by men can be signed with a 

Concerni7io the Nature of Things. 173 

number, so that the age of any of them can be at once known by the first 
glance at the number affixed. 

I determined to lay these signs before you in order that when you had 
mastered these, I might be more readily understood by you in the rest, 
and that the meaning of each might be plainer and more evident. 

Concerning Monstrous Signs in Men. 

Many men come to the light deformed with monstrous signs. One man 
has a finger too many, another a finger too few ; and the same may be the 
case with the toes. Another brings with him from the womb a distorted foot, 
arm, back, or other member ; another has a weak or a hunched back. So also 
there are born hermaphrodites, androgyni, men, that is to say, possessing both 
pudenda, male as well as female, and sometimes lacking both. Of monstrous 
signs like this I have noted many, both in males and females, all of which are 
to be regarded as monstrous signs of secret sins in the parents. Hence has 
grown up the old proverb: "The more distorted, the more wicked"; and again : 
"lame limbs, lame works." These are signs of vices, and rarely denote 
anything good. 

Just as the hangman brands his sons with degrading signs, so also bad 
parents mark their offspring with mischievous supernatural signs that people 
may be more cautious when they see the example of wicked men who carry 
tho stigmata in their forehead or cheeks, or in defective ears, fingers, hands, 
eyes, or tongues. 

Each of these signs of infamy designates some particular vice. If there 
is a stigma burnt into the face of a woman, or if there be a lopping off of the 
ears, it, for the most part, indicates theft. Loss of fingers tells of cheating 
gamblers. The loss of a hand indicates violators of peace. That of two 
fingers points out perjury. The loss of an eye indicates that people engage in 
sharp and subtle crimes. The cutting off of the tongue designates blasphemers 
and calumniators. So you can recognise those who are called mamelukes, 
or deniers of the Christian religion, by a cross burnt into the heel of their feet, 
because they denied Christ their Redeemer. 

But let us dismiss these matters and return to the monstrous signs 
brought about by wicked parents. It should be known that all monstrous 
signs are not produced only by the progenitor, but frequently also from the 
stars of the human mind, which perpetually at all moments, with the Phantasy, 
Estimation, or Imagination, rise and set just as in the firmament above. 
Hence, through fear or fright on the part of those who are pregnant, many 
monsters are born, or children signed with marks of monstrosity in the womb 
of their mother. The primarj' cause of these things is alarm, terror, or 
appetite, by which the imagination is aroused. If the pregnant woman 
begins to imagine, then her bosom is borne round in its motion just as the 
superior firmament, each movement rising or setting. For, as in the case of 
the greater firmament, the stars of the microcosm also move by imagination. 

174 The Hervtetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

until there comes a sort of bounding, in which the stars of the imagination 
produce an influence and an impression on the pregnant woman, just as 
though one should impress a seal or stamp a piece of money. Whence those 
signs and birthmarks derived from the lower stars are called "impressions." 
About these matters many men have philosophised and tried to form from 
them a solid judgment, without being able to do so. For these things adhere 
to, and are impressed on, the foetus in proportion as the stars of the mother 
press frequently or with violence on the foetus, or the desire of the mother is 
not satisfied. If the mother, for instance, longs for this or that kind of food, 
and is unable to get it, the stars are, as it were, suffocated in themselves, and 
perish. That desire abides with the unborn child throughout all its life, so 
that it is impossible ever to satisfy it. The same reason explains other 
matters, too, which we must not discuss here at too great length. 


The signs of physiognomy derive their origin from the higher stars. This 
science of physiognomy was held in the highest esteem by our ancestors, and 
among the first by the heathens, Tartars, Turks, and the rest, whose custom 
it is to sell men and slaves; nor was it altogether lost among Christians. 
Many errors, however, which had not yet been perceived by anjone, crept in 
with it when every fool and every clown took upon himself to judge offhand 
about everything. It is inarvellous that these mistakes were not found out 
from the evil deeds and limited powers of the men themselves. 

Now if anyone at this point argues against us, saying, "The signs of 
physiognomy are from the stars, but no one has the power of compelling or 
urging on the stars," he does not speak amiss. Vet, this difference must be 
noted at the outset, that the stars compel one and do not compel anothe 
Vs This ought to be known, who it is that can rule and coerce the stars, and also"" 

\ who is governed b}- the stars. The wise man can dominate the srars, and is not 
subject to them. Nay, the stars are subject to the wise man, and are forced 
to obey him, not he the stars. The stars compel and coerce the animal man, 
so that where they lead he must follow, just as a thief does the gallows, a 
robber the wheel, a fisher the fishes, a fowler the birds, and a hunter the wild 
beasts. What other reason is there for this, save that man does not know or 
estimate himself or his own powers, or reflect that he is a lesser universe, and 
has the whole firmament with its powers hidden within himself? Thus man 
is called animal and unwise and the slave of all earthly things, when, never- 
theless, he received from God in Paradise the privilege of ruling over and 
dominating all other creatures, and not of obeying them. So it was that God 
created man last, when all other things had been made before him. This 
right was afterwards lost by the Fall. Vet, the wisdom of man was not made 
servile, nor did he lose his freedom. It is right, then, that the stars should 
follow him and obey him, not he the stars. And although he is the son of 
Saturn, and Saturn is his parent, still he can withdraw himself from him, and 

Concernmg the Nature of Things. i 75 

so conquer him that he becomes tlie offspring of the Sun, ;uid can thus subject 
himself to another planet, and make himself its son. It happens much in the 
same way to him as to the miner, who for a long time has hired out his labour 
to the master of the mines, and managed his department righteously at peril 
of his life. At length he holds this discourse with himself : " Are you going 
to spend all your life underground and endanger your body, nay, your very 
existence, by continuous labours ? I will seek release from mv master, and 
follow another where my life shall flow pleasantly on, where I shall have 
plenty of food and drink, where my garments may shine, where no work and 
much reward shall be given to me, and where 1 shall not be oppressed by the 
mountain overhanging me." In this way he can constitute himself lord where 
otherwise he would remain all his life a slave and mercenary, wasting away 
with hard labour and scanty food. 

Moreover, as you have now perceived that man rules the stars, and can 
free himself from a malignant planet and subject himself to another better one, 
from slavery pass by virtue to freedom, and rescue himself from the prison of 
an evil planet, so also the animal man who is the son of Sol, Jupiter, Venus, 
or Mercury, can withdraw himself from that benignant planet and subject 
himself to Saturn or to Mars. This man is like one who, fleeing from a 
college of religions, and being tired of their soft life, becomes a soldier, or in 
other respects a man of no esteem, who must afterwards spend all his life in 
pain and care. Such, too, is the rich man, who, out of mere levity, wastes 
all his goods unjustly, gambling, feasting, keeping evil company, until at last, 
when all is gone, he comes to want, and in miserable conflict with discreditable 
poverty he deservedly rouses laughter and contempt in all, so that you hear 
even from the boys in the streets : " Look at yonder worthless man, who, 
when he could have been master, scorned dominion and preferred to be a' 
slave, a beggar, a servant of servants, so that he cannot now even aspire to 
his dominion." It is to this that a bad star or a bad parent has led him. 
Had he not been foolish and wicked, he would not have left to the stars so 
unquestioned a dominion over himself, but he would ha\e struggled against 
them. And, although of himself he had not knov.n how to fight against his 
stars, yet he could have turned his mind to the examples of other men, 
thinking thus within himself : "See how rich this man was; but bv foolish 
and shameful enterprises he involved himself in mere poverty ! " .Again, 
"This or that man lived splendidly, and without any great bodily labour ; 
but, though having got good food and ample pay, he was not able to bear his 
fair fortune. Now he has to live frugally and sordidly. In place of wine he has 
to drink water, and whilst his daily labour increases his income is diminished." 
How often must such a man thus address himself : '■ What have I done ? How 
have I thrown myself headlong down by wasting prodigally the substance I 
had collected and acquired? Who will restore it to me? If I could onlv 
recover what I have lost, quite another mode of life should be begun, and so 
I would learn wisdom from my own loss, and compensate for my evil deeds 


I 76 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

by wiser counsel for the future." But it is well to know that nobody grows 
wise from his own loss. He who is wise has learnt wisdom from another's 
loss, not from his own. He who has wasted his substance once will waste 
it again. He who perishes once, perishes again. He who once throws the 
dice will throw them again. The man who has once thieved and cheated the 
gallows tries to steal a second time. So he thus thinks within himself : " My 
undertaking has succeeded once and again, why should it not succeed a third 
and a fourth time? If God has once restored what had perished, Ho will 
restore it a second and a third time. If in my first misery I have not been 
deserted, I shall not be in my second or my third." All this does the animal 
man who is the servant and slave of the stars ; who is swayed backwards and 
forwards by the stars like a reed in the waters. This is the reason why he 
has to spend his life in misery and so to die in dishonour. Who, then, would 
bear so disgraceful a slavery and not extricate himself from so squalid a 
prison? For by bringing to bear his own wisdom, and with the help of his 
star, anyone can free himself. Look at the matter thus : A fowler, relying on 
his own prudence, and by the assistance of his star conquering another star, 
has no need to pursue birds, for the birds will follow him, and though their 
nature rebel they will fly together to unaccustomed places. In like manner, to 
the fisherman at his ease and relying on his wisdom, the fishes will swim of 
their own accord, so that he can catch them witii his hands. The hunter 
exerting his wisdom by means of his star so collects the wild beasts that he 
has no need to pursue them ; they pursue him, contrary to the guidance and 
impulse of Nature. And so also with other living creatures. 

In order to grasp these things it must be remembered that stars are of 
two kinds, terrestrial and celestial. The former belong to folly, the latter to 
wisdom. And as there are two worlds, the lesser and the larger, and the 
lesser rules the larger, so also the Star of the Microcosm governs and subdues 
the celestial star. God did not create the planets and stars with the intention 
that they should dominate man, but that they, like other creatures, should 
obey him and serve him. And although the higher stars do give the in- 
clination, and, as it were, sign man and other earthly bodies for the manner of 
their birth, yet that power and that dominion are nothing, save only a 
predestined mandate and office, in which there is nothing occult or abstruse 
remaining, but the inner force and power is put forth through the external 

But to return to our proposition concerning the phvsical signs of men : 
know that these are twofold, like indeed in outward form, but dissimilar in 
power and effect. Some are from the upper stars oi heaven ; others from the 
lower stars of the microcosm. Every superior star signs according to birth 
up to mid-age. That signature is predestined, and is not without its own 
peculiar force. It is attested by a man's nature and condition of life. But 
whatever the lower star of the microcosm signs from birth has its origin from 
the father and the mother, as often as the mother affects by her imagination or 

Concerning i/ie Nature of Things. 177 

appetite, her fear or dread, the unborn child in her body with supernatural 
signs by means of their own close contact. These are called mothers' marks, 
or uterine marks. We have spoken of these before, so spare ourselves the 
labour of repetition, since it is our purpose to treat of physiognomical signs 
alone, among which we understand those signs of men the like whereof neither 
the father nor the mother have borne in their body. Of this class are black or 
grey eyes, too small or too large ; a long, crooked, or sharp-pointed nose ; 
hollows in the jaws, high cheekbones, a flat or broad nose, small or large 
ears, a long neck, an oblong face, a mouth large and drawn down ; hair thick 
or fine, abundant or scanty, black, yellow, or red, etc. Of these signs, if one 
or more appear in a man, be sure that he will not lack the qualities signified 
thereb)'. Only you must judge them according to the rules of physiognomy, 
and have had experience in the art of signature, according to which you can 
judge a man by outward signs. 

Descending, then, to the practical portion of our subject, let us repeat a 
few of these signs and their signification. 

Black eyes not only denote a healthy constitution, but also, for the most 
part, a constant mind free from doubt and fear, healthy and hearty, truthful 
and loving virtue. 

Grey eyes are the sign of a crafty man, ambiguous and inconsistent. 
Weak eyes denote good counsels, clever and profound deliberations, and so 
on. Bright eyes, which turn up, down, and to both sides, denote a false, 
clever man, who cannot be deceived, faithless, shirking work, desirous of 
ease, seeking to gain his livelihood in laziness, by gambling, usury, impurity, 
theft, and the like. 

Small eyes, somewhat deeply sunk, indicate weak sight, and often 
impending blindness in old age. .\t the same time, they denote bra\e men, 
bellicose, crafty, and adroit, factious, capable of enduring misfortune, and 
whose departure from life is, for the most part, of a tragic character. 

Large eyes denote a greedy, voracious man, especially if they project far 
out of the head. 

Eyes which are constantly winking indicate weak sight, a timid and care- 
ful man. Eyes which move quickly hither and thither, under the glance of 
men, indicate an amorous heart, provident, and of quick invention. 

Eyes continually cast down show a reverential and modest man. 

Red eyes show a bold, brave man. 

Glittering eyes, which do not move readily, point out a hero, a high- 
minded, brave, quick man, formidable to his foes. 

Large ears indicate good hearing, retentive memory, attention, diligence, 
a healthy brain and head. 

Depressed ears are a bad sign. For the most part they point out a man 
who is malicious, fraudulent, and unjust. They indicate bad hearing, treacher- 
ous memory, and a man who readily exposes himself to danger. 

178 The Hermetic and Alcheviical Writings of Paracelsus. 

A long nose curved downwards is a good sign. It denotes a strenuous, 
provident man, occult and cruel, but still just. 

A flat nose indicates a malignant man, false, lustful, untruthful, in- 

A pointed nose indicates a changeable person, given to mockery. 

•A. long nose shews a man slow in business, yet of good odour. 

Hollow cheeks denote a talkative, contemptuous, contentious person. 

An oblong chin, with a long face, shews an irritable man, one who is 
slow at his work. 

.\. cleft chin shews a faithful man, officious, of abstruse and diversified 
speech ; a man who says one thing and means another ; quick at anger, yet 
repenting of his passion ; ingenious and inventive. 

A large, wide mouth shews a gluttonous man, insipid, fatuous, shameless, 
and fearless. A small mouth indicates the contrary. 

Lips drawn together, when the upper is larger than the lower, shew an 
irritable man, pugnacious, courageous ; yet for the most part of heavy, un- 
chaste character, like a pig. 

Lips larger below shew a dense, stupid, slow person. 

Concerning the hair of the head or beard, the signs are not very plain, 
since experience teaches us that- this can be marvellously varied according 
as it is black, yellow, red, or white, and hoary, or curled. So, too, hair 
is rendered soft or hard according to people's wish. Hence it is that many 
persons, who are in other respects well-skilled in physiognomical science, are 
woefully deceived when they rashly pass judgment from the hair, imputing to 
the stars what should rather be ascribed to men. Still it cannot be denied 
that hair firmly fixed on the head shews good health, both of the head and of 
the whole body. This is why people who buy horses pluck their tails so as to 
judge of their soundness. So swine are judged by their bristles, fish from their 
fins and scales, a bird by its feathers, and so on. 

If the neck is unusually long, transcending the limits of Nature, it denotes 
a careful man, prudent and attentive. 

Broad shoulders and back shew a man who is strong for carrying and 
moving things. Muscular arms also shew a man who is strong and robust 
in beating, thrusting, throwing, and the like. 

Hard hands bespeak a laborious, mercenary man ; soft hands, the 

A short body and long legs denote a good runner, one who is easil)* 
satisfied with food and drink, but generally a man of somewhat short life. 

Large and conspicuous veins in a man below mid age signify that he 
is full of blood and bodily juices ; but above middle age they denote a sickly 
man who is still, however, vivacious. 

With reference to manners and gesture, a man cannot be so easily known 
or judged from these. Experience teaches us that these can be changed every 
moment, so as to deceive the signator, and lead him to an erroneous judgment, 

Concerning the Nahire of Things. i 79 

This is what astronomers hitherto have not observed with sufficient accuracy. 
The signator's business is not always to look at the manners and actions, but 
rather at other bodily signs which are fixed, and cannot by any artifice be 
counterfeited or changed. For if red hair, motion of the forehead and eye- 
brows, frequent agitation of the mouth, strong and deliberate step, and light 
spirits, indicate of necessity a generous, active man, or soldier, such as any 
one could easily shew himself by his own activity, and so stand better when 
put to the proof, and command higher pay, so, likewise, must judgment be 
passed on other manners which betoken wisdom, folly, truth, falsehood, fortune, 
victor)-, and the rest. 


Concerning the signs of chiromancy it should be held that they arise 
from the higher stars of the seven planets, and all of them ought to be learnt 
and judged from the seven planets. Now, Chiromancy is a science which not 
only inspects the hands of men, and from their lines and wrinkles makes its 
judgment, but, moreover, it also considers all herbs, woods, flints, earths, 
and rivers —in a word, whatever has lines, veins, and wrinkles. But neither 
is this science free from its errors, which astronomers have alleged against it. 
For they have assigned the fingers of both hands to the planets and the 
principal stars, when, notwithstanding, there are on one hand only five fingers 
but on both hands ten, while the planets are only seven in number. How 
can these things be made to agree ? Now, if there were seven fingers on 
each hand, then it might be possible to assign a finger to each of the planets. 
It happens, indeed, very often that a man only has seven fingers on his two 
hands, the others being lost by some accident. But still the stumps exist, 
and, moreover, the persons were not born in this way, so this matter has no 
relevance here. Besides, if it did so happen that a man was born with seven 
fingers either on one hand or on both, that would be a monstrous birth, not 
according to Nature, and therefore not to be assigned to the stars. So here, 
again, no comparison can be instituted. It would have been better, then, 
that the planets should cast lots and see which two ought to retire. This, 
however, could not be done, because the planets had neither dice nor lots up 
in the firmament ; so one wonders who took it upon him to allot the planets 
by name, giving the thumb to Venus, the index finger to Jupiter, the middle 

• It is a great error to suppose that chiromancy is concerned only with the hands, for it includes the significance of the 
lines upon the entire body. Nor is it confined to the body of man, for it deals also wth the trunks of trees, and with the 
tracery- upon the leaves of trees. E\-cr>- peculiarity of line, whether in leaves or in human hands, has its meaning. 
Xo man deserves to be called a doctor who is ignorant of chiromancy, because, for example, the presence upon the hand 
of those lines which are called tinea archilectce. indicate that the person will be likely to die of the colic ; but then 
there are certain leaves which possess corresponding lines, and these leaves are the cure of colic. So also the linta 
ancorn is the line of apoplexy, and this line is found in the acorus {i.f., the sweet flag), which is a medicine of 
apoplexy. . . . Thus by the same sign Nature indicates the existence of the disease and its remedy. But the 
phj-sician who is ignorant of the sign is ignorant of ever>'thing. But as physiognomy is both outward and inward, so 
there is an internal and external chiromancy, and that which is without is an evidence of that which is within. — ^i/i> 
Alii Libri de Fod^i^ricis Morhii, Lib. I. I have frequently indicated that chiromancy is the invenlress of arts, if it 
be cabalistic.illy tre.itcd.— /)/ f aU. Lib. II.. I'rr/. 


i8o The Hermetic arid Alchemical Writitigs 0/ Paracelsus. 

finger to Saturn, the ring finger or medicus to the Sun, and the little finger to 
Mercury. Meanwhile, Mars and the Moon were, so to say, banished. Would 
one be surprised, then, if in righteous indignation Mars bade his sons kill th.^t 
allotter, or keep up continual strife with him : or who would wonder if the 
Moon weakened his brain, or took his wits awaj' altogether ? And this is the 
first error which we say has been committed in chiromancy. 

The second mistake is this. It often happens that the original natural 
lines of the hands are changed by injuries or chance accidents, or become larger 
or smaller, or appear in other places. It is just as if a road were blocked with 
some obstacle, or covered by a mountain falling on it, or destroyed by an 
inundation. Men would make another road near it. So with the old lines 
of the hand. Sometimes when wounds or ulcers have healed, along with the 
new flesh new lines come into existence, and the old ones are altogether 
blotted out. In the same way, by hard work lines are obliterated, or those 
which were there originally enlarged. Then the same thing happens as with 
trees. If the growing tree puts forth many leaves, a number of them are cut 
off and the tree is enlarged in size. 

And now let us pass on to the practical part of this science of chiro- 
mancy, and in a few words disclose our opinion. I would have you know 
that, so far as relates to hands, I make no change therein, but I acquiesce 
with the observations and descriptions of the ancients. But in this practical 
chiromancy I have undertaken to write only of those matters which the 
ancients have not mentioned, as concerning the chiromancy of herbs, woods, 
stones, and the like. And first it should be remarked that all herbs, of what- 
ever kind they are, belong to one and the same chiromancy. If their lines 
are unlike, and appear greater or less in some than in others, this is through 
their age. VVe expressly avow that the chiromancy of herbs confers no other 
advantage beyond enabling us to know the age of any herb or root. 

Someone in arguing may urge and assert that no herb as long as it 
adheres to its root can be more than four or at the most five months old, that is, 
reckoning from May to autumn, after which time every herb perishes and 
drops away from its root. To this I answer that a unique virtue exists in 
the root, which is the first essence and spirit of the herb, from which the 
herb is born and sustained to its predestined time, and so is exalted right up 
to the production of the seed. And this is the sign or indication that the 
virtue goes back again into the root, and thus the herb withers. But as long 
as that spirit, which is the supreme force of the herb, remains in the root, 
every year that herb is renewed, unless it happens that the spirit is taken away, 
and withers along with the herb. Then for that herb there is no renovation. 
The root is dead, and no longer has life in it. But how that spirit is taken 
away with the herb from the root, or with the root from the earth, so that its 
virtue goes back either into the root, or from the root into the earth, must not 
be discussed in this place. It is Nature's sublime mystery, not to be put forth 
for the benefit of sophistical physicians, for whom such secrets are not only a 

Concerning the Nature of Things. i8i 

mockery but a cause of contempt. What we here omit we will give in 
the Herbar)'.* 

The youngfer and less full of years herbs are the more do they excel in 
their force and their faculties. For just as man is enervated by old age, and 
fails in his natural powers, so also is it with herbs. 

But in order to know vv'hat is the chiromancy, and what the age, of herbs 
and similar bodies, long experience is required, since the number of years is 
not written upon them but has to be divined solely by chiromancy, as we have 
said. Now chiromancy supplies, not numbers, not letters, not characters, 
only lines and veins and wrinkles, as a means of reckoning the age. The 
older anything is the larger and more visible are the lines exhibited, and the 
virtue and operation of the thing are less active. For as a disease of one 
month or one year is more easily cured than one of two, three, four, five 
months or 3-ears, so a herb of one year more quickly cures its disease than one 
of two or three years. And on this account for old ills young herbs and those 
which have fewer years should be given, but for recent ailments old herbs and 
medicines should be administered. For if old be joined to old, the blind leads 
the blind and both fall into the ditch. This is the reason why many medicines 
are inoperative. " They are in the body and they fill the limbs, but only as mud 
sticks to the shoes. Hence the diseases are often doubled. — 

Now here is a matter which, up to this time, has never been thought out 
by unskilled sophists, while by their ignorance the)' have lost more patients 
than they cured. The very first thing you physicians ought to know is that 
the medicine must always be younger than the disease, in order that it may 
get the better of it, and be stronger in expelling it. If the medicine be more 
powerful than the disease, the disease will be expelled, as fire will he extin- 
guished by water. If the disease be more powerful than the medicine, that 
■Tiedicine turns into a poison, and afterwards diseases are redoubled and made 
more severe. Thus, if the disease be of iron, the medicine must be steel. 
Steel cannot be conquered by iron. The more powerful conquers, the 
weaker is subdued. 

Although, therefore, it was no part of my original plan to write in this place 
anything about medicine, still, for the sake of true and genuine physicians, I 
could not pass bj- these matters in silence. 


Minerals and metals, apart from fire and dry material, show their indica- 
tions and signs which they have received at once from the Archeus and from 
the higher stars, each one telling its genus by differences of colour and of 
earth. The mineralof gold differs from the mineral of silver. So the mineral 
of silver differs from the mineral of copper. The mineral of copper differs 

• The Hfrharius Theofifirasti, concerning ihe virtues of her>>s, roots, and seeds, etc., will be found in the second 
volume of the Geneva folio. It is an incomplete treatise which discusses the virtues of black hellebore, persicaria, 
common salt, carduus angelictis, corals, and the magnet. The portions of this treatise to which reference is made 
.ibove. and asain upon p. i2o, arc .ipparcntly in the missing fragment*. 

1 82 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings oj Paracelsus. 

from the mineral of iron. So also that of iron from that of tin and of lead. 
And so with the rest. None can deny, then, that b_v means of chiromancy all 
minerals and metallic bodies of mines, which lie hid in secret places of the 
earth, may be known from their external signs. That is the chiromancy of 
mines, veins, and lodes, by which not only those things which are hidden 
within are brought forth, but also the exact depth and richness of the mine 
and yield of metal are made manifest.' Now, in this chiromancy three things 
afe necessary to be known, the age, depth, and breadth of the veins, as was 
said just now in the case of herbs. For the older its veins, the richer and more 
abundant in metals is the mine. On this subject one would reason that all 
metals, so long as they remain in their matrix, so long do they continually 
increase. Whence this, too, is clear, that any growing thing, even when 
placed outside its matrix, cannot grow less, but is thereupon increased, that 
is, multiplied, and goes on growing in substance, measure, and weight up to 
its predestined time. This predestined time is a third part of the destined 
age of all minerals, vegetables, and animals, which are the three chief genera 
of all terrestrial things. That which is still in its matrix grows until the 
matrix itself dies. For there is a predestined period of living and dying, even 
for the matrix, provided only it be subjected to the external elements. That 
which is not so subjected has no period, no terminus, other than the elements 
themselves have, together with which, at the last day, which is the eod of 
those elements, it will perish. Hence it follows that all things which are 
below the earth are in the least possible degree subjected to the elements. 
For they feel neither heat nor cold, moisture nor drought, wind nor air, by 
which they may be destroyed. Bodies so situated, therefore, cannot decay, 
nor do they gather rust and corruption, nor perish, so long as they remain 
below the earth in their own chaos. This relates so far to metals and stones, 
but it applies also to men, many of whom have supported themselves for a 
hundred years in mountain-caves, as did the giants and the pigmies, con- 
cerning each of which I have written a book.* 

• Men of abnormal height, who, however, are nalur-ally begotten, are distinguished by Paracelsus from another 
genus of giants who belong to a wholly different order of existence. Concerning the generation of giants and dwarfs, 
it is to be understood that giants are born of sylphs and dwarfs of pigmies. These beget various monsters, and it 
should be noted that both gi.ints and dwarfs are possessed of remarkable strength. They are not a tusus notHrtt, but 
arc the product of a singular counsel and admonition of God. They deserve consideration on account of the gieat 
achievements they accomplish. Moreover, being monsters, produced in a singular manner by God, they finish without 
offspring as to body and blood. Their parents have not the same kind of soul as themselves. They are the offspring of 
.animal men, and hence it follows that they have derived no souls from their parents, although they have performed 
many great deeds, have studied the truth, and h.ave accomplished many other things, from which the possession of a 
soul might be argued. God, had he so willed, could have endowed these creatures with souls, as is shewn by the union 
of man with God, and of the nymphs with man. Whatsoever good deeds they may perform they are not on that 
account partakers of salvation. While it is impossible to give a clear account of the way in which such monsters 
originate, it may be compared to the generation of erratic stars and comets in the firmament, and it is .actually the 

result of a bizat-re conjunction in the firmament of the Microcosm Pygmies, like other creatures of this 

kind, that is, like nymphs, sylphs, and salamanders, are not of the generation of Adam, though they bear the likeness 

of men, but .are equally diverse from humanity and from all animals Pygmies and ^tnxi are regarded 

as spirits, and not such creatures .as they appear. But it should be understood that they .are what they seem to be, 
namely, beings of flesh and blood. At the same time, they are as agile and swift as a spirit. They know all future, 
present, and past things, which are not present to the eyes themselves, but are hidden. Herein they serve man by 
revelations, premonitions, etc. They have reason in common with man, save only the soul. They have the knowledge 
and the reason of spirits, if we except those things which pertain to the nature of God. Endowed with such great 

Concerning the A\ituye of Tliinas. 183 

In pursuit of our present purpose, then, I pass on to a very brief 
practical exposition concerning the chiromancy of mines. The deeper and 
broader the veins are, the older they may be known to be. When the tracts 
of the veins are stretched to a very long distance, and then gape, it is a 
bad sign. For as the courses of the veins gape, so the mines themselves 
gape, which fact they indicate by their depth. .Although sometimes good 
mines are found with a very deep descent, they for the most part vanish 
more and more, so that they cannot be worked without great expenditure of 
toil. But where those veins are increased by other accessory ones, or in any 
other way are frequently cut off, that is a fortunate sign, indicating that the 
mines are good not only on the surface, but that they increase in depth and 
are multiplied, so that they are rendered rich mines, and yield most ample 

It is not altogether beside the subject that many metallurgists praise 
those mines whose course is straight down, and which verge from east to 
west. But then reasoning and experience in the mines themselves also teach 
us that very often veins which stretch from west to east, or from south to 
north, or, contrariwise, from north to south, abound in metal no less than 
others. No one vein, then, is to be preferred before another, nor is there any 
need of further discussion on this point. 

Then with regard to those signs which concern the colours of minerals 
and inner earth, one may dispose of them briefly. When miners come upon 
clayey soil, from which issues a vein of pure and fresh metal, that is a very 
good sign, indicating that the metal of which this is a vein is now not far off. 

In like manner, if the earth which is dug out lacks metal, indeed, but is 
fat, and of a white, black, clayey, red, green, or blue colour, then that, too, 
is a favourable sign of good metal lying hid there. Then the work which has 
been begun should be briskly carried on, and no pause be made in the digging. 
Metallurgists especially regard brilliant, glittering, and primarj- colours, as are 
green earth or chrysocolla, copper green, lazurium, cinnabar, sandarach, auri- 

powers, they lead and attract man to make experiments and to believe about Hint. Wherefore God halli produce'l 
them that man may learn from his acquaintance with them what great things God works in those creatures. Gnomes 
(i.r., pigmies) are like unto men, but of stunted stature. They are about half the size of man, or a little t.illcr. . . . 

The devil at times enters into gnomes and ministers unto them If the gnomes have once bound themselvc> 

to our service, ihcy abide by their bargain, but they require to be served in turn, and those things ought to be given to 
them which they request. If the pacts into which we enter with them are fullillcd on our part, they remain sure, 
constant, and faithful in their office, especially in obtaining money. For the gnomes abound in money, which they coin 
themselves. You must understand this as follows : The spirit has whatsoever it wishes, for if a gnome desires a certain 
sum of money, he obtains it and it. In this manner they give money to many men inhabiting the mountains to 
persuade them to go away again. The lot of man is very hard. To hope or to wish will profit him nothing, and he 
must work for all he wants ; but the gnomes have wh.ilever they seek without .any labour in getting or preparing 

it Concerning their d.iy and night, their sleeping and waking hours, the case is ex.actly the same with them 

as with men. Moreover, they have a sun and a firmament no less than we have, that is, the gnomes have the earth 
which is their chaos. This is to them only as our atmosphere ; it is not as earth to them in our sense. Hence it follows 
that they see through the earth just as do we through the air, and the sun shines for them through the earth as it doc> 
for us through the air. For they have the sun. the moon, and the whole firmament before their eyes. c\cn as have wc 
men. . . . The gnomes dwell in the mountain chaos in which they construct their dwellings. Hence it is that very 
often arches, caves, and other simitar constructions .-ire found in the earth, about a cubit in height, the work of these 

men, and their habitation The gnomes pass through solid rocks or walls like spirits, fcr all these things arc 

to them chaos, that is. nothing The more cr.xss the chaos, the more subtle is the creature, and vice Vfry>f. 

The gnomes have a crass chaos and arc therefore subtle. /V ryt^mtrU et Saiiitiiamtris. 

184 Till' Hermetic and Alchemical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

pigment, litharge of gold and silver, etc. Nearly every one of these points 
out some special metal and mineral. Copper green, chrysocolla, and green earth 
indicate generally copper. So, too, lazurium, or white arsenic, or litharge of 
silver, mark copper metal. So cinnabar and sandaracha point out sometimes 
gold, sometimes silver, or the two together in combination. In the same way, 
auripigment, red sulphur, or litharge of gold, for the most part portend gold. 
So, too, when chrysocolla with lazurium, or lazurium with chrysocolla and 
auripigment, are found mixed and combined, excellent and rich minerals are 
generally indicated. When stones and earths of a ferruginous colour are seen 
they certainly designate iron mineral. 

It should be remarked that it sometimes happens the Archeus of the earth 
occasionally thrusts forth, and, as it were, eructates from the lower earth some 
metal or other through a hidden burrow. That is a good sign when it appears. 
Diggers, therefore, should not relax their labours in face of such a sure and 
remarkable hope of hidden metal. If, moreover, slight metallic foliage, like 
talc, adheres to the stones or rocks, it is a sure and a good sign. 

Then as to coruscations. These should be carefully and closely watched. 
They are most certain signs that lodes of some particuliar metal exist, also of 
their extent, and of that special kind of metal. Here, too, it should be remarked, 
that metals of this kind have not yet come to perfect maturity, but are still in 
their first essence. In whichever direction the coruscation extends, in that 
direction also extends the metallic lode. 

Then, too, it must be known that the coruscation is threefold in colour, as. 
for instance, white, yellow, and red, for example, like white Luna. In this way 
all the metals which they indicate to us are recognised. A white coruscation 
points out white metals, such as tin, lead, silver. A red coruscation denotes 
red metals, like copper and iron. A yellow coruscation reveals golden metals. 
Add to this that a slight and subtle coruscation constitutes the best sign. It is 
just as you see in the case of trees ; where there are fewer flowers you get 
better fruit. So, too, small and subtle coruscations indicate subtle and 
excellent metals, and vice versa. In addition to this, it should be known that 
so long as these eff"ulgences appear, be they great or small, of this colour or 
of that, the metal is not yet perfect and matured in its ore, but still exists in its 
first essence, like the man's sperm in the matrix of the woman. 

Now let us explain what this coruscation is. It appears sometimes during 
the night in mines like scintillating fire, just as gunpowder, scattered in a 
long train and when lighted at one end, exhibits a protracted fire. In the 
same way, this coruscation, or scintillation, is borne along its own track, some- 
times from east to west, or, contrariwise, from vilest to east, from south to 
north, or rice versa. And so, a straight line drawn from any hour or part of 
the mountain map towards the nearest hour opposite, divides into two parts 
llie map which is marked off into twenty-four hours or parts. 

;\11 these coruscations, whenever they appear, afford most reliable indica- 
tions of metallic lodes, so that from them may he recognised the metals too 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 185 

as certain gifts of God coming out of the earth. For whatever God has 
created for the use of men that He has put in man's hands as a property, so 
that it should not remain hidden. And although He has created it hidden, yet 
He has added these particular outward signs leading to investigation. Here 
His marvellous predestination ought to be recognised. Just in the same way, 
men themselves, if they bury treasure, mark the place by the addition of some 
sure signs. They bury them at landmarks, or statues, or fountains, or some 
other object, so that, if need be, they themselves can find them again and dig 
them up. The old Chaldeans and Greeks, if in time of- war they feared siege 
and exile, buried their treasures, and only marked the place by proposing to 
themselves a certain fixed day, hour, and minute of the year. They waited 
until the sun or the moon cast a shadow there, and in that spot they hid or 
buried their treasures. This art they called Sciomancy or the Art of Shadows. 
From these studies of shadows many arts arose, and manj- occult matters 
were revealed, as, for example, the methods by which all spirits and sidereal 
bodies might be distinguished. These are the infallible cabalistical signs ; 
and should be carefully watched. 

You must take particular care, however, not to let yourselves be beguiled 
by di%'inations obtained through uncertain arts. These are vain and mislead- 
ing ; and among the first of them are the divining rods, which have deceived 
many miners.* If they once point out rightly, they deceive ten or twenty 
times. In like manner, no confidence should be placed in other deceitful signs 
of the devil, which appear by night or at unseasonable times, out of the way 
of Nature, such as are spectres, visions, and the like. Be sure that the devil 
gives these signs merely from fraud, and with intent to trick you. No temple 
is ever built where the devil does not have his chapel ; no chapel where he 
has not his altar. Good seed is never sown, but he sows tares along with it. 
That is the meaning of visions and supernatural apparitions, the same in all, 
be it in crystals, mirrors, waters, or the like. The ceremonial necromancers 
have foully abused the commandment of God and the light of Nature itself in 
this way. Visions, however, are not altogether to be rejected. They have 
their place, but only when produced by a different method. We are now no 
longer living in the first but in the second generation. By us Christians then, 
in our regenerate state, ceremonies and conjurations are no longer to be used, 
as the ancients used them in the Old Testament, for these people were living 
in the first generation. These men were foreshadowings for us who were to 
live under the New Testament. Whatever, therefore, the ancients, under the 
Old Testament, or the first generation, accomplished by means of ceremonies 
and conjurations, all these things, we Christians, who belong to the second 
generation, and live under the New Testament, ought to obtain by prayer, 
that is, we should seek it in faith by praying, knocking, and asking. In these 
three primary points consists the whole foundation of magical and cabalistical 

• Elsewhcr».'Panicelsus says that it is faith which turns and direcLs the divin.-uory* rod in the hand.--/?^ Origins 
Mrriorriirt hn'ssihifium. Lib. I. 

1 86 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writi7igs 0/ Paracelsus, 

science, by which we can gain all we desire, so that to us as Christians nothing 
shall be impossible. Having written, however, much about this in the book 
on Visions,* and other cabalistical institutions, I forbear to repeat it here. See 
how wonderfully, in His love for us, Christ, the Son of God, works in us, 
faithful Christians, by means of His angels, and how fraternally He associates 
with us. We are very angels, and members of Christ, since He is our head, 
that is, He lives in us, that so we may live in Him, as is handed down in the 
books on The Lord's Supper, f 

But to return to our subject of mineral signs, and especially to the 
coruscations from metallic veins. Know that as all metals which are still 
in their first essence exhibit their coruscations, that is, their signs, so also 
the Tincture of the Philosophers, which transmutes all imperfect metals into 
good silver or gold (white metals into silver, red into gold), removes all these 
particular signs, such as coruscations, if it be astrally perfected and prepared. 
For as soon as ever a little morsel of it is thrown into the fused metal, so that 
the two meet in the fire, a natural coruscation or brightness arises, just as 
fine gold or silver flashes in the vat or vessel, which is a sign that this gold 
or silver is free and purified from all admixture of other metals. But how our 
Philosophic Tincture is rendered astral is a thing that ought to be learnt. 
Every metal, so long as it lies hid in its first essence, has its own peculiar 
stars. Gold has the stars of the sun ; silver the stars of the moon ; copper 

* Natural sleep Is the rest of the hody, which recuperates its wasted energies. Now the day pertains to bodies, 
night to spirits ; bodies work in the day, spirits at night. The sleep of the body is the waking time of the spirit, for the 
two cannot operate together, being contraries, and mutually incompatible tilings. Whatsoever is done by the body during 
sleep is really performed by the spirit. For some speak and give answers in their sleep ; some arise and walk therein, 
but all tliis is done by the spirit governing the body. Hence it happens that if such a man be called by his name, he 
wakes up because the spirit in him is terrified by being called by the name of the man, for spirits are no less terrified by 
The voice of a man than are men by the voice of a spirit. The man in baptism receives a name, but not so the spirit. 
Therefore the spirit is terrified when the man is called. Hence sleep-walkers should by no means be left alone in their 
rooms, and this is especially the case witli those who are afllictcd by the Sagee, /.*•., divinatory spirits, because it is of 
great importance that such persons should be addressed by name, for thus all nocturnal divining spirits, and all 
formidable spectres, and all waking visions, are driven away and dispelled. But it should be noted, that all men. 
promiscuously, who talk in their sleep, are not thus to be invoked or shouted at. because they may be in comnnmion 
with a spirit whose voice is not heard, for, although the spirit voice may be much clearer than that of humanity, it is 
not audible commonly by humanity, for the material ear can be, and is, closed by the power of such an inielligence. as is 
well known to those who divine by nigromancy by means of the spirits of the air, who are intermediate spirits, neither 
precisely good nor e\il. No man holding such a conversation should be disturbed, so long as his accents are cheerful, 
but if he answers with trembling, fear, and consternation, tins is a sign of a bad apparition, and such a person ought to 
be awakened by shouting. Such conversations are not, however, always conducted with the bodily organs of voice on 
the part of the sleeper, but also with those of the spirit, in which case there is no audible sound, and this last kind of 
speech is not only more fre<]ucnt but of greater importance. It was profoundly investigated by the ancient Magi, who 
by this means could exti-act from tlie spirits of the departed a knowledge of those secrets which they had concealed 
from the whole world while they yet lived in the body. In this way they became acquainted with the mysteries of 
Alchemy, .^Ironomy, Astrology, Medicine, Theology', etc., namely, by direct conniiunication of their spirits with the 
spirits of^efoSc who had professed these sciences on earth. In order to acquire the arcane meihcd of communication 
with sui^lniclligences, the first requisite is lo implore by faith the mercy of God in the matter ; tlien we must, also with 
faith, ijiake an image of that man with whom we desire to comnuinicate. On the body of such image the name of the 
man must be written, and also the question to be asked. Put this image at night under your head and sleep upon it. 
That man himself will then appear to you spiritually, and will answer your questions, teaching you whatever he can. 
There is, however, a more certain and better manner. This dispenses with the image, and has recourse only to faith 
and imagination. No danger attaches to this experiment, but it requires great confidence in the validity of the 
operation. I have several times had practical evidence of its truth. - Ol Phihsophia, Tract V. 

t A work of Paracelsus, entitled De Ca'Uti Doiiiini^ exists in the Harleian collection among the MSS. of the British 
Museum. It is numbered 508, and is a large volume, very legiljly written. No printed copy is known to the present 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 187 

the stars of Venus ; iron the stars of Mars ; tin the stars of Jupiter ; lead 
the stars of Saturn ; quicksilver the stars of Mercury. As soon, however, as 
they have come to their perfection, and are coagulated into a fixed metallic 
body, their stars withdraw from every one of these, and leave their body 
dead. Hence it follows that all the bodies alike are dead and inefficacious, 
and that the unconquered star of the metals subdues all of them, converts 
them into its own nature, and so makes them all astral. For this reason, our 
gold and silver, which are tinged and prepared with our tincture, are much 
more noble and more excellent for the composition of medicinal arcana, than 
that gold itself which Nature generates in mines, and afterwards segregates 
from other metals. So also corporal Mercurius, made astrally from another 
metal, is much nobler and more fixed than common mercury. In the same 
way you may judge of other metals. I assert, therefore, that every alchemist 
who has the star of gold, turns all red metals into gold by tingeing them. So by 
the star of silver, all white metals are turned into silver ; by the star of 
copper, into copper ; by the star of quicksilver, into corporal Mercurj' ; and 
so with the others. How all these stars are prepared by Spagyric art, it is no 
part of our present purpose to declare. The explanation belongs to the book 
on the Transmutation of Metals. 

So far as relates to the true signs of these, I would have you know that 
our red tincture, which contains within itself the stars of gold, is of a sub- 
stance fixed above all consistency, of most rapid penetration, and deepest 
redness, its powder recalling the colour of the saffron, and its entire body that 
of the ruby. Its tincture is fusible as resin, clear as crystal, brittle as glass, 
but very heavy in weight. 

The white tincture, which contains the stars of Luna, is, in the same way, 
of fixed substance, of changeless increment, of consummate whiteness, fluid 
as resin, clear as crystal, brittle as glass, in weight like the adamant. The 
star of copper is of supreme citrine colour, like emerald, fusible as resin, and 
much heavier than its own metal. 

The star of tin is whiteflowing as re'sin, somewhat dark, and suff"used with 
a claylike colour. The star of iron is of remarkable redness, clear as 
granatum, fusible as resin, brittle as glass, of fixed substance, and much 
heavier than its own metal. The star of lead is like cobalt, black, but trans- 
parent, fluid as resin, brittle as glass, equal to gold in weight, heavier than 
other lead. The star of quicksilver is of a white, glittering colour, like snow 
in a deep frost, very subtle, penetrating, and of corrosive sharpness, clear, 
like cr}-stal, easily melted as resin, very cold to the touch, but extremely warm 
within the fire, volatile, moreover, and of a substance which easily flies before fire. 

From this description you will know the stars of the metals, and you 
will understand that for the preparation of either tincture, the red or the 
white, you must take at first, not the body of gold or of Luna, but the first 
essence of gold or of Luna. If a mistake is made at the outset, all the sub- 
sequent work and labour will be thrown awav. 

1 88 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Moreover, this fact applies to metals, that each of them in the fire puts 
forth some peculiar sigri by which it can be recognised. Among these are, 
sparks, flames, brightness, colours of the fire, smell, taste, etc. For instance, 
in the reverberation of gold or silver, the genuine sign is a brightness above 
the vessel or vat. When this appears, it is certain that the lead, and other 
accessory metals, have disappeared in the fumes, and so the gold and silver 
are thoroughly purified. Iron, which is completely fused in the furnace, sends 
forth limpid, clear sparks, which rise to a height. As soon as these appear, 
unless the iron be at once removed from the fire, it will be burnt up like straw. 

In the same way, every earthly body exhibits its own peculiar and distinct 
signs in the fire, whether it has any Mercury, sulphur, or salt, and of which of 
these three principles it has most. If it smokes before it bursts into flame it 
is a sign that it contains more Mercury than sulphur. If, on the other hand, 
it burns with a flame and blazes forth without any smoke, it is a sign that a 
good deal of sulphur, and no Mercury, or very little, lies hidden within it. 
This you see take place with fatty substances, as with fat itself, oil, resin, 
and the like. But if without any flame nothing goes forth through the fumes, 
it is a sign that much Mercury and very little sulphur exists therein. This you 
see take place with herbs, flowers, and the like ; and also with other vegetable 
substances and volatile bodies, such as minerals and metals, as yet in their first 
essence, and not yet mixed with corporeal sulphur. These send forth only 
smoke, and no flame. 

Minerals and metals which in the fire emit neither fume nor flame — that is, 
neither smoke nor blaze — shew an equal mixture of Mercury and sulphur, and 
a fixity and perfection beyond all consistency. 

Concerning Certain Particul.vr Signs of Natural and Supernatural 

We must novi', in due course, speak of some peculiar signs, concerning 
which nothing up to this time has been handed down. In this treatise 
it will be very necessary that you who boast your skill in the science of signa- 
tures, who also wish to be yourselves called signators, should rightly understand 
what we say. In this place we are not going to speak theoretically, but 
practically, and we will put forth our opinion comprised in the fewest pos^ 
words for your comprehension. 

First of all, know that the signatory art teaches how to give true ai 
genuine names to all things. All of these Adam the Protoplast truly an 
entirely understood. So it was that after the Creation he gave its ow^ 
proper name to everything, to animals, trees, roots, stones, minerals, metals, 
waters, and the like, as well as to other fruits of the earth, of the water, of 
the air, and of the fire. Whatever names he imposed upon these were ratified 
and confirmed by God. Now these names were based upon a true and intimate 
foundation, not on mere opinion, and were derived from a predestinated know- 
ledge, that is to say, the signatorial art. Adam is the first signator. 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 189 

Indeed, it cannot be denied that genuine names flow forth from the Hebrew 
language, too, and are bestowed upon each thing according to its nature and 
condition. The names which arc given in the Hebrew tongue indicate by their 
mere bestowal the virtue, power, and property of the very thing to which they 
belong. So when we say, " This is a pig, a horse, a cow, a bear, a dog, a fox, 
a sheep, etc.," the name of a pig indicates a foul and impure animal. A horse 
indicates a strong and patient animal ; a cow, a voracious and insatiable one ; 
a bear, a strong, victorious, and untamed animal ; a fox, a crafty and cunning 
animal ; a dog, one faithless in its nature ; a sheep, one that is placid and useful, 
hurting no one. Hence it happens that sometimes a man is called a pig on 
account of his sordid and piggish life ; a horse, on account of his endurance, for 
which he is remarkable beyond all else ; a cow, because he is never tired of 
eating and drinking, and his stomach knows no moderation ; a bear, because 
he is bigger and stronger than other people ; a fox, because he is versatile and 
cunning, accommodating himself to all, and not easily offending anybody ; 
a dog, beeause he is not faithful to anything beyond his own mouth, and shews 
himself unaccommodating and faithless to all ; or a sheep, because he hurts 
nobody but himself, and is of more use to anyone else than to himself. 

In the same way many herbs and roots have obtained their names. So 
the euphrasia or herba ocularis is thus called because it cures ailing eyes. The 
sanguinary herb is thus named because it is better than all others to stop 
bleeding. The scrofulary (chelidoniuin minus) is so called because it cures 
the piles better than any other herb. And so with m.any other herbs, of which 
I could cite a vast number, all of which were named on account of their 
virtue and faculty, as I have shewn more at length in my Herbary. 

Then, again, many herbs and roots got their names, not from any one 
inborn virtue and faculty, but also from their figure, form, and appearance, 
as the Morsus Diaboli, Pentaphyllum, Cynoglossum, Ophioglossum, Hippuris, 
Hepatica, Buglosum, Dentaria, Calcatrippa (consolida regalis), Perforata, 
Satyrion or Orchis, Victorialis, Syderica, Petfoliata, Prunella, Heliotrope, 
and many others which need not be recounted here, but separately in the 

The same is true as to the signs of animal matters, because, in like 
manner, from the blood and its circulation, from the urine and the circulation 
thereof, all diseases which lie hid in men are recognised. From the liver of a 
slaughtered animal all its flesh can be judged whether it is fit for food or not. 
For if the liver be not clear and of a red colour, but livid and yellow, rough 
and perforated, it is inferred that the animal was sick and that, on this 
account, its flesh is unwholesome. It is no marvel that the liver indicates this 
by natural signs. The origin of the blood is in the liver, and hence it flows 
forth through the veins over the whole body, and is coagulated into flesh. 
For this reason, from a sickly and ill-affected liver no healthy and fresh blood 
can be produced, just as from morbid blood no wholesome flesh can be 
coagulated. But, nevertheless, even without the liver, the flesh, as well as 

I go The Hermetic and Alcheviical Writings of Paracelsus. 

the blood, can be distinguished. If both are sound, they have their true and 
natural colour, which is purple and bright, with no extraneous colour, such as 
yellow or livid. These extraneous colours always indicate sickness and 

But, moreover, there are other signs which are worthy of our wonder, 
when, for example, the Archeus is the signator and signifies on the umbilical 
cord of the foetus by means of knots, from which it can be told how many 
children the mother has had or will have. 

The same signator signs the horns of the stag with branches by which its 
age is known. As many branches as the horns have, so many years old is the' 
stag. Since there is an addition of a new branch to the horn every year, the 
age of the stag can be set down as twenty or thirty years. 

So, too, the signator marks the horns of the cow with circles from -which 
it is knov.'n how many calves she has borne. Everj- circle indicates one calf. 

The same signator thrusts out the first teeth of the horse so that for the 
first seven years its age can be certainly known from its teeth. When the 
horse is first born it has fourteen teeth, of which it sheds two every year, so in 
seven years all of them fall out. For this reason a horse more than seven 
years, old can only be judged by one v.ho is very skilled and practised. 

The same signator marks the beak and talons of a bird with particular 
signs, so that ever)- practised fowler can judge its age from these. 

The same signator marks the tongues of pigs with blisters, hy which their 
impurity can be known. If the tongue is foul, so is the whole body. 

The same signator marks the clouds with different colour^, whereby the 
tempests of the sky can be prognosticated. 

So also he signs the circle of the moon with distinct colours, each one of 
which has its own special interpretation. Redness generally indicates coming 
wind ; greenness or blackness, rain. The two mixed, wind with rain. At sea 
this is a sign which generally portends tempests and storms. Brightness and 
clear whiteness are a good sign, especially on the ocean. For the most part 
they presage quiet and serene weather. 

So far we have confined our remarks to natural signs. With regard to 
supernatural signs this is a matter of special science and experience, as 
Magical .\stronomy and the like.* 

Now here it is most necessary to have certain knowledge. Hence proceed 
many arts, such as geomancy, pyromancy, hydromancy, chaomancy, and 

• Whatsoever Nature generates is formed according to the essence of the virtues, which is to be understood as 
follows ; According to the soul, the properly, and the nature of any man, the body is constituted. For this proverb is 
often quoted— the more distorted the more wicked. Adam was originally created in such a manner that he was 
without inherent vice of body or soul ; but when he distinguished between good and evil, Nature then commenced to 
mark each person according to his constitution. Adam was well pleasing to God before he knew good and evil ; but 
.tfterwards, God repented having made man. Man was therefore made subject to the rule of N.^ture, so that N.atiure 
treats him even as a flower of the field, which she marks, and so makes recognisable to all. Man also is marked like a 
flower of the field, so that one person can be discerned from another, after the same way that flowers and all growing 
things are distinguished each from each. And since there is nothing hidden in man but must be revealed, this must be 
made known by three dificrent methods— cither by the signs of Nature, or the proper mark, or by the judgment of 
God. Omitting the two latter, I will of the first, that is to say, the signs which are exhibited by Nature. It is 

Concerning the Nature of Things. 191 

necromancy, each of which has its own particular stars, and these stars sign 
in a supernatural manner.* The stars of geomancy sign or impress their marks 
on the terrestrial bodies of the whole world in many and various ways. They 
change the earth, produce earthquakes and landslips, make hills and valleys, 
bring forth many new growths, produce gamahei on nude figures and images 
having remarkable powers and potencies, which they receive from the seven 
planets, just as the shield or target receives the pellet or the dart from a 
slinger. But to know how these signs and images of the gamahei may be 
distinguished one from the other, and what they signify in magic, requires 
great experience and knowledge of Nature, nor can it be in any way perfectly 
dealt with here. But this must be noticed, that every stone or gamaheus pos- 
sesses only the power and properties of one planet, and so can be endowed only 
by that one planet. And though, indeed, two or more planets may be conjoined 
in earthly bodies, as In the higher firmament, nevertheless, one is oppressed 
by the other. For as one house cannot have two masters, but the one thrusts 
out the other, so is it here also. One remains master ; the other becomes a 
slave. Or as when one is keeping a house another comes upon him, thrusts 
him out by force, and makes himself master, arranging all things by his will 
and- pleasure, while the other is reduced to slavery, so also one star expels the 
other, one planet the other, one ascendant the other, one Influence another, 

known to all tli.-it if .1 seed be cast into the earth and concealed therein, the latent nature of that seed, at the proper 
lime, manifests it above the earth, and anyone may see clearly what manner of seed has Iain in that place. It is the 
same with the heart ((-tfr) and seed of man : out of that seed Nature produces a body so that anyone can see what kind 
of heart has been there. And, although there be a great difference between herbs or trees and men, yet art in man 
sufficiently demonstrates and proves those things. We men in this world explore all things which He hidden in the 
mountains by means of traces and external signs. For we investigate the properties of all herbs and stones by their 
signed sign {jsignum xignatitin). Similarly, nothing can He hidden in man which is not outwardly marked on him, 
for, as the physician has his own knowledge, so, also, the astronomer explores from the signed Ux sigimio). So now 
there are three things by which the nature of man and of ever>*ihing that grows is revealed : Chiromancy, which 
concerns the extremities, as, for example, the hands, the feet, the veins, the lines, and the wrinkles; Physiognomy, 
which regards the constitution of the face and the parts belonging to the head ; Proportion, which considers the 
condition of the whole body. These three should be combined : according to these three every created tiling can be 
recognised : by the physician, that is to s,iy, the remedy ; by the astronomer, that is, the man ; and by the metallurgist, 
that is, the myal. Such is the condition of the mother which manifests that which is latent in anything. He who is 
incapable of understanding these three things can be in no sense a natural philosopher, astronomer, or doctor, or kno\v 
anything of the arcana and mysteries of Nature. The foundation is in this, that all things have seed, and in seed all 
things are contained, for Nature first fabricates the form, and afterwards she produces and manifests the essence of the 
thing. Explicntio Toft'us Asironoviia. 

• The Lib.r fhi.osopkiiP, in a treatise De Arte Pr^sn^a. regards the varieties of sortilege discus<;cd in this book from 
a totally different standpoint. The four arts of Geomancy, Hydroniancy, Pyromancy, and Necromancy are thus 
noticed : Spirits which are (normally) unable to communicate visibly with men, have by lying .-irts invaded their 
imagination, and have raised up therein Geomancy. PjTomancj-, Hydromancy, and Necromancy, arts not invented from 
the light of Nature or of men, but instilled by spirits, who, by iheir frauds, after they had descried some one or other 
discoverer suitable for their purposes, then added fitting disciples to these, namely, cultivators and admirers of ihc 
said arts. The first discoverers were oLsessed*by the devil, and sought out through his power and instigation arts of 
lhi< kind. There are some, indeed, wlio, hiding the matter, affirm that they have been revealed from God ; but they are 
deceived, for God is not the author and teacher of inquiries into the future by means of such devices. He in no wise created 
us that we might devote ourselves to the investigation of what is to come, but ordered rather that, directing His attention 
to His commandments, wc should seek out the knowledge of Himself and His manifest will. It is, therefore, a false pretence 
that these arts proceed from God when they emanate from spirits alone. It is, indeed, true that the spirits extracted 
them from God, not from the devil. But weonthce.irth derive them from spirits, not from God. Now, communication with 
such spirits is forbidden, though they themselves neglect the mandate. It is equally forbidden to the spirits to leach these 
arts, but here, also, they pay no attention to the command. And this is the reason why they are silent and tell lies when 
it is least becoming to do so. Thus, in order that man may act disobediently towards God, and plunge into superstitions, 
they have devised the four above-mentioned methods for inquiring into the future. Geomancy is the art of points, 
h.iving sixteen signs and figures, which they liave arranged according to their property. To these they added translations, 
creia (x/r), form, points, and simiL-u- things, and have taught the erection of the whole figure, fixing certain rules by 
which each figure could be understood, each recognised in its own house, with a sufficient and necessary- inicrj-retation. 

192 The Her7neiic and Alchemical lVriti7igs 0/ Paracelsus, 

one impression another, and one element another. As water extinguishes fire, 
so one planet strikes out the property of the other and brings in its own. 
And so is it with their signs, which are manifold, and not only characters, as 
some think, but all those which are found in the entire map of the planets, 
that is, everything which is cognate with those pla-rfets or subject to them. 

To make myself more easily understood, let me add an example. To the 
planet Sol there belong the crown, the sceptre, the throne, all the royal power 
and majesty, all the domination, all the riches, treasures, ornaments, and 
paraphernalia of this, world. 

To the planet Luna are subject all agriculture, navigation, travelling, and 
travellers, and everything concerned with matters of this kind. 

To the planet Mars are subject munitions (as they call them), all breast- 
plates, cuirasses, spears, and all arms, with everything relating to war. 

To the planet Mercury are subjected all literary men, all mechanical in- 
struments, and every requirement of art. 

To the planet Jupiter are subject all judgments and laws, the whole 
Levitical order, all ministers of. the church, the decorations of temples, orna- 
ments, and whatever else belongs to this class. 

To the planet Venus are subject all things relating to m.usic, musical 
instruments, amator)'^ exercises, loves, debaucheries, etc. 

The method is as follows : They guide the hand and mark tlie points until a judgment is made concerning the proposed 
matter. But the spirits know exactly how many points are required to make a figure which will explain the matter. 
If their direction be right, the figure also is correct and valid. For example, suppose I ask who is standing at the 
door, and what kind of tunic dqes he wear? Take the seven colours, to each of which attribute a geomantic sign, 
and consult that figure. Then, whatever sign falb indicates tl:e colour. J^ow, if I knew what colour it were, but you did 
not know, I -might so direct your hand, forming certain points in one line that, by obliterating or wiping off, there would 
remain the colour red, and supposing the tunic itself was red, then you would reply rightly : It is a red tunic. But I knew 
that before,' and directed your hand to those points. The spirits do likewise with all the figures ; and, since they know 
all things, it is easy for them to describe the figures and to guide your hand. Every rhombus is described by guiding 
the hand. lathis manner Geomancy is constituted. Moreover, many superstitions are added thereto by men to augment 
it, as, for example, that it should be performed when the sky is clear and serene, or in the quiet and silence of night. 
Also, that you should not isperale for your own purposes. Again, that you should say such and such a prayer at the 
beginning, and commence undergood auspices, etc. All these are human superstitions : for, not knowing the foundation 
on which the art depend-i, they increase it, but it is as much an art as a superstition. Geomantia, as it «'as called at 
first, is so constituted that the ascendant is twofold— natural and of spirits. For the natural has its art, namely, 
Astronomy. The spirit has its Pyromancy. Accordingly, if a nativity be constituted out of thesta/sit is astrc^aomically 
erected. If it be made according to spirits it is Pyromancy. But Pyromancy consists in the spirit being connected 
with the ascendant, and it leads the infant for example, into whoredom, thefts, lies. And as the art comes forward 
and succeeds, the spirits suggest to astronomers that if a conjunction of this or that star takes place, say, this or that 
event will take place, not because Nature herself will ^accgmplish such things, but I myself will see to it, and, being 
everywhere, will bring about such and such effects ; but as no one can trace my actions, they will be imputed to the 
stars or the elements. Hence it comes to pass that people pay more attention to the stars than to God. This is an 
astute feat of tl:e devil. It is the spirits who cause the astronomical and other predictions to be fulfilled that the credit 
of tlie art may be sustained, so that m.en may be involved in errors and loss, while, intent on vain fantasies, they forget 
the true God. Their devices are favoured by their dupes, for in the case of twenty prophecies, if only one be fulfilled, 
ihey will never cease from inquiring until the ether nineteen lies have been fulfilled also. Meanwhile, they arc so 
deluded by the spirits themselves that they cannot arrive at the uwG/uniiafneniHi/:. F^r it is the property of spirits to 
lie. We have finished, then, with the foundation so far as they arc concerned. Now one thing is wanting, now another ; 
now the fault lies with the house, now with the exaltation, etc. In this discipline men have laboured for many thousands 
of years, nor have yet discovered the truth, which, indeed, is impossible to find, as the whole foundation is on falsehood. 
We now see for what reason astronomy is called P>Tomancy when the operation proceeds pyromantically. The same 
spirits make their way into the third element, that is, water. For Geomancy has been named from the earth, as if it 
arose from the nature of the eai-th. Nor without reason, for the earth also has its own heaven or stars ; but the'splrits 
who are pyromantically recognised have devised them. Similarly, in the element of water there is a star wherein the 
pyromantic spirits dwell who have instituted Pyromancy, chiefly in the times of the Greeks, who, being easily led into 
all manner of delusions, promptly subjected themselves to the spints. Pyromancy is an art consisting of signs and 
figures harmonising with the universal figure of the heaven. The process is as follows : Take a basin full of water, which 
set down, and notice the direction of the wavy movements as tlie water quiets down. Notice, also, the tremor, the rest. 

Concerning the N^aiure of Tlnngs, 193 

To the planet Saturn are subjected all those who work in and under the 
earth, as metallurgists, miners, sextons, well-diggers, with all the tools used 
by them. 

Pyromancy puts forth its signs by the stars of fire ; in common fire by 
sparks, flames, crackling, and so forth ; in mines by coruscations ; in the 
firmament by stars, comets, thunder and lightning, nostoch, and the like ; 
among spectres by salamanders, ethnic, and other similar spirits which appear 
in the form of fire. 

Hydromancy gives its signs by the stars of water, by waves, inundations, 
droughts, discolorations, lorindi, new floods, washing away of territory-. In 
magic and necromancy by nymphs, visions, and supernatural monsters in the 
waters and the sea. 

Chaomancy exhibits its signs by the stars of the air and the wind, by dis- 
coloration, the loss and destruction of all tender and subtle things, to which 
the wind is opposed, by shaking off and stripping flowers, leaves, fronds, 
stalks. If the stars of chaomancy are excited the Necromicae fall down from the 
upper air, and frequently voices and answers are heard. Trees are plucked 
up from the earth by their roots, and houses are thrown down. Lemurs, 
Penates, Undines, and Sylvans are seen. So also Tereniobin, Tronosia, and 
Manna fall upon the trees. 

Necromancy puts forth its signs by the stars of death, which we also 
call Evestra, marking the bojdy of the sick and those about to die with red, 
livid, and purple spots, which are certain signs of death on the third day 
from their appearance. They also sign the hands and fingers of rnen U'ith 
clay-coIoured spots, which are sure signs of something, good or bad, about 

and the bubbles. These four gi\-e four figures, and the figures give twelve. Near the figxu-es, rules and such things 
are found. Now, the spirit moves the bubbles, originates the shaking, the rest, the calm, according to the necessity of 
the sign, so that there may result a figure which indicates what is desired. Those, therefore, who have well-disposed 
spirits, to whom few things are forbidden, make good- sorcerers in the art. On the other hand, a^bad sorcerer has a mute 
and mendacious spirit. .A.mong spirits one may be more mute and lying than another. WTien, therefore, one sorcerer 
i^ said to be more certain than another, it does not follow that he has greater skill, for he may possess a more reliable 
spirit. Now, the spirits delight by means of vexing and deluding men to cause them to hate one another, and this, 
indeed, is their first object. Were the foundation of this art more closely investigated by men, it would be seen that 
it was a hoax of the spirits. Vet, t%'cn if men arrived at perfection in this art, what solid advantage would it 
confer on them but'a futile prediction and a pretext for wasting lime. Suppose I desire to marry, and consul t'an 'omen as 
to the result, even if I get an answer I shall be uncertain of its truth ; it is just as likely to speak falsely as truly. But i 
the prediction be fulfilled, it may be by the devil's arrangement. In any case, how will it help me? If I escape this evil, it 
v/ill take shape in another way. Consequently, no faith can be placed in these arts. In addition to the methods 
which have been already mentioned there Is Necromancy, which is the art of the air. And although others define differ- 
ently what is meant by Xecra. this is genuine — iliat it is the art of shades, for shades only arc in the air, and these things 
are known by the shades. . . . Some people, at night, see figures in the air, as in heaven sometimes figures appear 
which have acertain signification. This is Necromancy. ' Men appear walking in the air, the clash of arms is heard, etc. 
Wondrous shades .ire likewise occasionally visible in water. The cause of all these things is, that the spirits display what 
they wish according to their own pleasure. A part of their deception is to make men f:mc>- that the spirits must be propiti- 
ated by prayers, or compelled by force and conjuration to produce prodigies. New, all these things are sheer superstition. 
It is also thought that men can compel spirits, through God, to do this or that ; but it is highly displeasing to God that 
we should be occupied with such triflings, and the spirits are rejoicing meanwhile th.T,t, in opposition to God, we have 
become their accomplices. The prayers, conjurations, fasts, and other ceremonies arc nothing huta cloak to superstition. 
The pronunciation of various words is committed to mcmor>', but these are not the real names of the spirits, and they 
are altogether unimportant. For although each spirit his own peculiar name, yet they salute one another by difi'crent 
names at different times, and so make game of men. Now, concerning the natiu-c of shades, whatever is seen in a figure 
or image is to be considered such. He who is favoured by spirits sees many things, but otl^nkise, little or nothing. 
Did God permit it, these beings would be always in our midst, enticing us to desert God, and oKoic our mind to them. 
But if we CTrcfully regard what they have performed during a given year w:e shall see that it has been mere trifling, 
devoid of use and profit, destructive to body and soul, health and prop<;rty, praise and honour, in a word, disgraceful 
allurements, frauds, and devices, sprung from the root of lies itself 

194 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus, 

immediately to happen. When the stars of necromancy are moved, then the 
dead give forth miracles and signs, the deceased bleed, dead things are seen, 
voices are heard from graves, tumults and tremblings arise in the charnel-house, 
and the dead appear in the form and dress of the living, are seen in visions, 
mirrors, beryls, stones, and waters under different appearances. Evestrum 
and Tarames give signs by knocking, striking, pounding, falling, throwing, 
and so on, where only a disturbance or sound is heard, but nothing seen. All 
these are sure signs of death, presaging it for him in whose dress the spectres 
appear, or for some one in the place where they are heard. 

Concernmg these signs much more could be set down than has so far 
been said. But since these bring with them bad, hurtful, and dangerous 
phantasies, imaginations, and superstitions, which may be the cause not only 
of misfortune, but even of death, we pass them over in silence. We are for- 
bidden to reveal them, since they belong only to the ancient school and to the 
Divine power. So now we bring this our book to an end.* 

Here end the Nine Books concerning the Nature of Things. 

* In certain editions the following dedication is prefixed to the Nine Books containing the Nature 0/ Things.— 
Theophrastus Paracelsus gives greeting to the honourable and prudent gentleman. John Winckelstein of Friburg, his 
initimate friend and dearest brother :— It is right, O intimate friend and dearest brother, that 1 should satisfy your 
friendly and assiduous prayers and petitions which you have addressed to me in your several letters, and since, in your 
latest letters of all, you have earnestly and courteously requested that I should at length come to you, if it were 
consistent with my convenience, it is not meet for me to conceal from you, that this course is. by reason of various 
hindrances, impossible. But with regard lo the second request you have made 10 me, that I should furnish you with 
an excellent and clear instruction concerning certain matters, I neither can nor will refuse you, but am compelled to 
gratify you therein ; for I am well acquainted with your disposition ; moreover, I know that you hear and behold with 
delight anything that is fresh or marvellous in this art. I know, also, that you have devoted a great portion of your 
life to the arts, which have formed the chief element of your curriculum. Since, therefore, you have displayed, not only 
benevolence, but fraternal fidelity towards me, I am rightly powerless to forget either your fidelity or your benefits, but 
am indeed of necessity grateful, and, in case I should not see you in person again, I must leave a brotherly farewell 
to you and yours, as a memorial of myself. For herein I shall not only answer and clearly explain those points 
oncerning which you have consulted me and asked me in brotherly fashion, but will dedicate to you a special treatise 
on those points, which treatise I shall name Concerning the Nature of Things, and shall divide it into nine books. 
This work satisfies all your requests, and, indeed, more than you have requested of me, although you will greatly 
wonder at its matter, and will doubt whether things are just as I have described them. But do not so act, nor think 
that they are mere theories and speculations, whereas they are of practice and proceed from experience. And, in spite 
of the fact that I have not personally verified them all, notwithstanding, I both possess, have proved, and know these 
tilings by experience from and by means of other persons, as also from the light of Nature. But if in certain places you 
do not rightly understand what I say, and in one or more processes require of me a further explication, write to me 
secretly, and I will put the matter more clearly before you, and give you a sufficient instruction and understanding, 
although I do not believe that there will be any need for this, but that you will easily comprehend without it, since I 
know how richly you have been endowed by God with the arts and with good sense. Moreover, you know myself and 
my feelings, wherefore you will easily and quickly take my meaning. But, above all, I hope and am confident that you 
will look upon the present work, and will fittingly regard it as a treasure, will by no means publish it, but exclusively 
keep it in great secrecy for you and for yours, exactly as a hidden treasure, noble gem, and precious thing, which 
IS not to be cast before swine, that is, before sophists, contemners of natural blessings, arts, and secrets, which persons 
are not worthy to read, much less to have, know, and understand them. And, although this book be ver>' small, 
containing few and scanty words, yet it is full of many great mysteries, for herein I shall not write from speculation 
and theory, but practically from the light of Nature and experience itself, nor will I burden you and render it tedious 
by much speech. Wherefore, dearest friend and most intimate brother, >ince 1 have addressed this book out of love to 
you alone, and to no one else, I request you to keep the book as a precious and secret thing, and not lo part with it 
until your dying day. After death, in similar fashion, command your children and heirs to preserve it also in secrecy, 
furthermore, it is my special request that it should remain only in your family, and at no time become so public as to 
fall into the liands of sophists and mockers, who despise all things which do not agree with them, and co\er them with 
c.Mumny ; who also are pleased only with that which is their own, as is the c.ise with all fools ; who are pleased only 
with their own trumpets, but not with th.-xt of another ; and do hate all wisdom, regarding that as of small account 
and even as folly, which is greater than theirs, that is to say, what is in their own head, because it does them no good, 
nor do they know the use of it. One workman cannot use the tools of another, and so in the same way a fool can use 
no better instrument than his own key, nor is any sound sweeter to his ear than the tinkling of his own bells. 
Wherefore, dearest friend, be faithfully admonished, as I have entreated you ; do that which I expect of you, so sh.-UI 
you do well and rightly. Farewell, under the care of God. —Given at VilliUns, in the year 1537. 


TO extract Mercury from metallic bodies is nothing else but to resolve 
them, or to reduce them into their first matter : that is, running 
Mercury, such, in fact, as it was in the centre of the earth before the 
generation of the metals, namely, a damp and viscous vapour, containing 
invisibly within itself natural Mercury and sulphur, the principles of all metals. 
Such Mercury is of unspeakable power and possesses divine secrets. 

The reduction spoken of is made by mercurial water, which was not 
known to John of Rupescissa, or to others, however they may boast. It 
must, therefore, be carefully studied and treated with unwearied assiduity. 
Let the aforesaid mercurial water be thus prepared : — 

Take three pounds of Mercury sublimated seven times by Vitriol, Salt- 
Nitre, and Alum ; one pound and a half of Sal ammoniac, clear and white, 
three times sublimated from salt. Grind these well together, alcoholise them, 
and sublimate in a sublimatory by means of sand for nine hours. When the mass 
has cooled, remove the sublimate with a feather, and sublimate with the rest 
as before. Repeat this operation four times, until it will no longer sublimate, 
and in the bottom there remains a black mass of fluid like wax. Having 
cooled this, take it out ; grind it again, and imbibe it in a glass dish several 
times with the prepared water of Sal ammoniac. When it is spontaneously 
coagulated, imbibe it again and dry it, repeating this process nine or ten 
times, until it will scarcely coagulate any further. Grind it very small on 
marble in a damp place, and dissolve it into a beautiful oil, which j-ou must 
rectify from all its dregs and residuum by distillation in ashes. Carefully pre- 
serve this water, for it is by far the chief of all waters. Take eight ounces of 
it, and put in it plates of the purest gold or silver carefully cleansed, an ounce 
and a half in weight. Place this in a closed vessel for digestion over hot ashes 
during a period of eight hours. Then you will see your body at the bottom of 
the vessel transmuted into a subtle vapour or Mercury. Having made a solu- 
tion of the whole mercurial water, separate it, by sublimation in an alembic 
over a slow fire, from its first matter, and keep it carefully in a glass vessel. 
You will thus have the true Mercury of the body, the use whereof in desperate 

O 2 

196 The Herinetic a7id Alche?Jiual Writings 0/ Paracelsus, 

cases, provided only it be carefully employed, is marvellous and celestial*; 
and on that account, therefore, not to be revealed to unworthy persons. 

* For example, the red Mercury of Gold constitutes a good medicament for the cure of wounds and of the plague, 
that is, if it be reduced to a precipitate to prevent vomiting. This is accomplished by the upward separation of its 
laxative part. For in every preparation of gold the chief point Is to remove superfluity from it. In the plague there is 
no necessity for purging. Gold, however, is a laxative, a ionic, and an astringent. Take it away ; preserve the rest. 
The medicaments for the plague are divided into those used for the accidentia and those adapted for its cure. Understand 
concerning the cure that the spirits of gold and of gems are the best medicines whereby all plagues, wheresoever located 
in tlie body,' are most successfully healed. The principal is gold ; the second are gems, for gems are tonics and 
preventives. It should at the same time be remembered that all sores are, a^ far as possible, to be cured from within. 
For this reason there is no more excellent medicine — speaking of vulnerary- potions tban is internal Mumia No 
wound is properly healed from without. Internal Mumia is the perfect curative. Otherwise, there is no more sublime 
inc.irnative than gold '\x?,^t^ Frtign'.enium dt. Psite. 


THE Sulphur of the metals is an oiliness extracted from the metals them- 
selves, endowed with verj- many virtues for the health of man.'" Another 
sulphur is drawn from metals before they have undergone the fire, as 
from the golden and silver marchasites and others, which take rank and excel- 
lence according to the nobility of the mineral. So also is it drawn from the 
mineral of marchasite and cobalt, according to the nature and property of 

The more common mode of extraction is to take Acetum carefully dis- 
tilled, which has stood for twenty-four hours on a Caput Mortiium made out of 
distilled Vitriol, Salt, Nitre, and Alum, which also has itself been distilled by 
means of an alembic. This, I say, you must pour on the pulverised metallic 
body in a glass vessel so that it shall stand above it by the height of seven 
fingers. Then place it to digest in horse-dung for nine days. The coloured 
Acetum distil in the ashes until it comes to a superfluous oil, which )ou will 
rectify in a bath, or in the sun. Vou will then have the verj- truest Sulphur of 
the metallic body, which you will rightly use at your discretion. 

The extraction can also be made by means of a sharp and thoroughly 
separated lixivium. But other sulphurs are less suitable for the internal bodily 
use on account of the alkali of the ashes, out of which we make a clavcllated 
corrosive substance, and also on account of the lime of which such lixivia are 
composed. The Sulphur thus extracted can be washed with sweet water and 
precipitated. The subsequent digestion requires a double space of time. The 
lixivium also ought to be rectified from all earthy deposit by means of sublim.a- 
tion, so that such sulphurs may not be incorporated with it and become 
corrosive so as to cause injury to sick persons. It is to prevent this that 
the separation spoken of should be m.ade. So far concerning the crude 

But nov»-, these having been fused and depurated, you may draw forth 
their sulphur. There is no more certain, noble, or better way than b}' the 
water of salt or by its oil, prepared in the way I have clearly described in my 

* The Sulphur of Metals, and, indeed, Sulphur which can al&o be extracted from minerals, is said lo be of special 
utility in dropsy, for it is of a dr>-ing nature, and is, as it were, a sun, or solar heat, which disperses this rain of the body, 
and causes it lo pass off in vapour. — />^ Itydrop'-iu 

198 The Hermetic atid A /chemical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

treatise on Alchemy. Such a water extracts from the very foundations and 
roots their natural liquid out of all metallic bodies, or a sulphur and a crocus 
most excellent for all medicinal as well as alchemical purposes. It resolves 
and breaks every metal changing it from its metallic nature into some other, 
according to the different intention and industry of the operator. 


THE Crocus of the Metals is of four kinds : of the Sun, of Venus, of Mars, 
and of Chalybs. The best is that of Chalybs. It is extracted by rever- 
beration or by calcination, reducing the aforesaid bodies to dust. In 
like manner, filed iron is consumed by rust. The consumption of the rust is 
made by the imbibition of those things which produce rust, and by a decoction 
extracting the colour of rust. 

Take old Urine poured away from its deposit, several cups of it, in which 
dissolve three handfuls of ground Salt. When you have strained it, boil it 
and skim it carefully. In this again dissolve a handful of bruised Vitriol, 
with two or three ounces of bruised Sal Ammoniac, and then carefully skim 
again. With this liquid imbibe some filings, and boil until it can be 
pulverised. The dust thus produced reverberate over a powerful fire, 
continually stirring it with an iron rod, until it changes from its own colour to 
another, and at last into the hues of most brilliant violet. From this you can 
easily, with spirits of wine or distilled acetum, draw off the Tincture, and 
when it is extracted by separation of the elements you will collect what 
remains at the bottom of the glass, by means whereof you will be able to 
produce wondrous effects, both within and without the body. 

For making the crocus of \'enus, take one or two pounds of copper-rust 
carefully alcoholised, pour on it plenty of distilled Acetum, and stir it well 
three times ever}- day. Gently pour off the coloured .\cetuni, and thoroughly 
sublimate it in ashes until it is dr}-. Let this powder be afterwards washed 
nine times with warm water from all acridity, and then dried. You will then 
have the prepared Crocus of Venus, or Flower of Brass, from which, if you 
wish, you can easily extract an oil according to the instructions given in the 
great work on Surgerj-, where also its use is explained. 

The Crocus of the Sun should be extracted by the water of salt, whereby 
the metallic nature, or malleability, is destroyed. When the residuum has 
been washed with warm water, the Crocus can be extracted with spirits of 
wine ; and, this being again separated, the Crocus will remain at the bottom. 
This is changed into the liquid, or truest quintessence of the Sun, by means of 
elevation, and sublimating with five different grades of fire. With this vou 

200 The Hermetic and Alchemical Wfiiings of Paracelsus. 

can produce marvellous effects. But there is need not of a merely imaginary, 
but of an active and skilled, operator.* 

•The flow of blood from wounds can be stopped by means of the most skilfully reverberaied Crocus of Mars.— 
CKirurgia Magtin^ Tract II., c. lo. Moreover, the Crocus and Flower of Mercury may be successfully made use of 
for the cure of yAc^xi,. — Chirurgia Magna, Pars. III., Lib. V. The Crocus of Iron, if it be reduced by the 
reverberatorj'intoalcool, is supposed to cure the same ulcers that are successfully treated by the Oil of Iron, provided they 
have ceased to flow, and have readied their proper maturity.— Z>tf Tutnoi-ibus ei Pitsiulis MorbiGallici^ Lib. X. By 
artificers and mechanics certain arcana are discovered in the things which they daily use. Thus workers in brass have 
stopped the flow of blood with burnt brass, and have dried flowing wounds. Workers in iron have used their burnt 
iron, which is called Crocus of Iron, for wounds. Potters also have made some discoveries with what they call silver 
or golden litharge. Many are the inventions of the vulgar which have been called experiments ; many more, which 
need not be described here, such as minium, ceruse, and the like, have resulted from the various attempts of the 
alchemists upon various substances. — Chhntrgia Vulnrum, c. g. The Crocus or Flower of Copper, which is usefully 
applied to the cure of corrosive ulcers, is usually prepared in two ways, one oJ which is that the greenness is abstracted 
by means of distilled Botin, and the said Botin is then again extracted. Notwithstanding, the strength of Venus is 
feeble unless , vitriol be added to it. But I regard that as vitriol which is extracted from the body of Venus. — De 
Turner, et Clcer. Morhi G.iHici, Lib. X. 






N the beginning, Iliaster, which is nothing, was divided, thus giving and 
arranging the four elements.! It was eren as the seed from which springs 
the stem. What the seed gives forth it does not receive in the same form 
into itself again. But this liiaster again attracts to itself the four elements. 
Thus, that is dissolved and becomes what it was before the four elements were 
produced, provided only one year of the world has elapsed. The four elements 
are the growth produced from the liiaster. And the seed does not give those 
very things from which the infant is produced after this year of the world ; but 
the four elements are both mothers and daughters. Of this family nothing 
is found surviving after death ; but its end is the same as its origin ; and so 
whatever is in it perishes at the same time. Although another world follows 
after, which is the daughter of this one in name, still, it is not so in form, 
in essence, or the like. For this will not pass away, but will remain like the 

* The philosophy of Paracelsus concerning the generation of the four elements and concerning the three prime 
pnnciples, Sulphur, Mercurj-, and Salt, appears to have been regarded by himself and by his editors as an essential 
part of his doctrine and practice of alchemy. To include it in the first section of this translation is by no means 
outside the issues of Hermetic Chemistry. Paracelsus was not the first adept who regarded the process in the 
accomplishment of the Magnum Opus as offering a rigorous analogy* with the creation of the greater world. .-Ml 
alchemy insists on it. He who succeeded in accomplishing the Grand Magisterium, the confection of tlie Philosophers' 
Stone, became initiated thereby into the secret of the i^tysUrium Magnum; and, on the other baud, an exact 
comprehension of the true principles which obtained in the universal genesis, was enough to possess anyone with a full 
and practical illumination concerning the arcanum of philosophy. The cosmological philosophy of Paracelsus is the 
necessary complement of his alchemy, and whether or not their combined study is likely to throw light upon either, an 
opportunity must be offered to the student for the comparison of the two. The treatises which have been selected for the 
purpose are translated from the second volume of the Geneva folio, and the copious notes which have been added are 
derived from analagous writings which Paracelsus left unfinished, or which, for some other reason, have come down to 
us in an imperfect state. 

t When God determined to fonn the world and deliberated with His Divine Prudence concerning its nature and the 
manner of iu creation, He divided it into four parts or bodies, which he de:>igned to be the mother of all things, but 
subject to him whom God intended to create after His own image, even the man When, therefore, the matter 
had been deliberated on and decreed by God, the four said bodies were created— that is, heaven, earth, water, air. For. 
as the Scripture saith, heaven was created first, then earth, and subsequently the two others. Hence you must know 
that these four bodies, mothers, or matrices, exist that they may produce fruit, and furnish the nece^^itics for man's 
nourishment. Thus, for example, the earth brings forth its peculiar products, but it is man and not tlie earth who 
makes use of them. Similarly, heaven is a body, free by itself, whence fruits proceed simply for the use of man. 
— Liber MeUcrutH, Prcf. 

202 The Hermetic and Alchemical Wrili?igs of Paracelsus. 

soul, which is indeed made and created but not mortal. Such is also the lot 
of this world. 


Now, it is quite certain that the Eternal Father, who is not only the 
father of His own Son, but also of all things, mortal and immortal, per- 
manent and transitory, blessed and damned together, created Domor, that is, 
heaven and earth, the firmament and the water, to which He also gave His 
own Divine will. We will not further discuss this subject here, but the same 
things can be read in the Paramira.* He formed the natural from the non- 
natural. From that which had never perceived any nature, He pro- 
duced another nature, and following that nature He willed that yet 
another nature should be produced, whilst a year revolves, wherein His 
majesty Himself carries on the Divine rule, which man now moderates and 
possesses. Yet these primal natures differ, so that from the earth springs the 
pear-tree, from the sand the thistle, from the water cachiniitc, from the sky 
chaos, and from the fire snow. But seeing how wonderful these things are, 
and how unlike they seem to the first source from which they sprang, we 
ought to make it a matter of knowledge and of philosophy, that the element 
of water is not water only, but a mineral as well ; that the element of earth is 
not earth only, but a grape as well, and so with the rest. For that philosophy 
is vain which gives it out that the earth is an element, indeed, but not a nut, 
or that fire is an element, but not snow. So, too, those who say that the four 
elements exist in all and everything, advance mere nonsense. 


The earth is an element, and whatever is produced from it. So is the 
water and all produced therefrom. So then that is an element \\ iiich pro- 
duces, .-^nd an element is a mother, and there are four of them, air, fire, 
water, earth. From these four matrices everything in the whole world is 
produced. And the speech is inconsiderate of those who assert that an 
element is simply endowed with a complexion, warm, dry, cold, moist, or a 
compound of these. All these things are in all these four elements. You can 
^'- understand it thus : the earth is cold and dry, cold and moist, warm and dry, 

warm and moist. This is how matters stand. ^^'hatever thing which is 
warm and dry grows out of the earth, grows out of that which in the earth is 
warm and dry. Whatever is or is produced cold and moist, is produced from 
that in the earth which is of a similar nature. So also from fire four com- 
plexions proceed. Snow, for example, from that in the fire which is 
cold and drj'; and lightning from that in the fire which is warm and drj'. It is 
the same with the other two elements. I would have you then, at this point, 
before all to be advised not to determine the elements according to their com- 

• But more completely aiitl copiously in the treatise* and fragments of trealisc^^ from whieli the enM'.ing notes lia\e 
been rendered. 

Concerning the Generations of the Elements. 203 

plexions, but according to their forms, that is, what are the four matrices 
which they have within them. The earth is material, clayey, conglutinous. 
Such it is whether it be warm, dry, cold, or moist. The water is humid, 
sensible, tangible, but not corporeally, not materially. And such is the 
clement, whether it be cold or warm. The fire is a firmament, and is the 
element of fire, though it be in one place warm, in another cold. The air is 
a heaven which comprises all things, and is moist, warm, cold, or dry, as shall 
hereafter be set forth. 


Now, in order to advance towards the established principle witli regard 
to the elements, understand this. The Iliaster was originally distributed into 
four parts — the air, which is a heaven embracing all things ; fire, which is a 
. firmament producing day and night, cold and heat; earth, which affords fruits 
of all kinds and a solid foundation for our feet ; and water from whence are 
given forth all minerals and half the means of nutriment for living things. 

These nutriments are twofold, one found in air and fire, the other in earth 
and water. The two former nourish us as if spiritually and invisibly ; the 
two latter materially and corporeally. These four elements are divided into 
two classes. One is constituted of air and fire ; the other of earth and water. 
The air sustains fire, the earth water. Air and fire hold water and earth; 
while these two hold air and ftre. So then all things were created in due 
order, that the one might support, seek for, and nourish the other. Thus the 
Iliaster was divided into one domor, of which there are two globules, an outer 
and an inner, each enclosed with two elements. 

Beyond is nothing, so far as we know. Within is what we see, and 
touch, and what the light of nature suggests to us. He who created these 
things is not among us, but dwells without us. But He who was begotten 
of Him is amongst us. Still we must not philosophise further concerning the 
four elements than Nature teaches and points the way for us. 


In the beginning the body of the four elements was founded with that 
form and amplitude in which the heaven lies extended ; and it was made 
corruptible or perishable so far as the air surrounds it.' There was the throne 

* But now we must understand is tlie nature of the body of hcivcn. Earth, water, air have each 
their peculiar bodies, but, indeed, all the four bodies of the four elements are made of nothing, that is, they are 
made only by the Word of God. This nothing, whence is produced something, turns into substance and body, 
which body of all the four elements is distinguished into three species, so that the creative Jiat resulted in a triple 
body. Thus the earth and the other elements are all threefold. At the same lime, there is such a distinction 
between the elements that the four things are not one body. The air is one body, the earth is another, the 
water a third. So also would be heaven if these four had a like body. But the earth has three bodies, and so also 
have water, heaven, and air. and yet a piece of wood is one body, a metal another, a stone another, a sponge another. 
So also the four elements of bodies .ire distinct and though someone were to take lead and make of it minium, 
ceruse, gl.-iss, and spirit of Satdrn. So then, these three species are distributed into four elements, a peculiar body 
being assigned to each. To pay more exact attention to these numbers, God Himself chose three, and constituted 
all things"out of three, and separ.ited all three. For the origin of this number is unmedialely from God, the principle 

2o'4 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

of God and the centre of His Kingdom, from which centre the world was 
created, but so that it should be something mortal and perishable created by 
God. To rightly understand this you must know that from that centre the 
world arose and was made material. On this seat Christ hung from the cross ; 
on this seat sat the prophets ; it is the footstool of God. Here, therefore, 
material and corporeal things are made God, and His work, the centre of 
His Kingdom, and His throne. 

It should be known, then, at the outset, and before the philosophy itself 
is unfolded, that God has made the centre of His heaven, and even Himself, 
perishable. For as corporeally He is called the Son, so the world is His 
house. But although it be thus made and created, still we must believe that 
it will not perish as it was produced. Of man the heart will endure : of the 
world the flower will be permanent. 


As to the manner in which God created the world, take the following 
account. He originally reduced it to one body, while the elements were 
developing. This body He made up of three ingredients, Mercury, Sulpluir, 
and Salt, so that these three should constitute one body. Of these three are 
composed all the things which are, or are produced, in the four elements. 
These three have in themselves the force and the power of all perishable 
things. In them lie hidden the mineral, day, night, heat, cold, the stone, the 
fruit, and everything else, even while not yet formed. It is even as with wood 
which is thrown away and is only wood, yet in it are hidden all forms of 
animals, of plants, of instruments, which any one who can carve what else 
would be useless, invents and produces. So the body of Iliaster was a mere 
trunk, but in it lay hidden all herbs, waters, gems, minerals, stones, and chaos 
itself, which things the supreme Creator alone carved and fashioned most 

innhe Deity being three. Now, the word also was threefold, and the word is the beginning of heaven and earth and 
of all creature^. All things are synthesized in three, and there is nothing on earth which consists not of and in three, 
.ind is reduced again into that three. On the one hand, then, it is evident that e-tch creature can be distributed into 
three, c-ich in its place ; but, on the other hand, what they dogmatize concerning the four things or elements, to the 
effect that each thing consists of four elements— that is false; each thing, however, contains in itself one comple,\ion 
and not more, nor can it have any other element than that which it receives from its mother. For instance, every herb 
has only one element-^that is, of the earth ; every stone has one element— that is, of the water. But in addition to 
this it receives a complexion, frigid and humid, frigid and dry. warm and humid, warm and drj-. Yet that is not a 
whole element, but the element is the matrix, as water or earth. For instance, man is taken from the slime of the 
earth ; but the element is not slime, it is quintessence. Vet it again becomes an element, that is, it returns to the 
element with the distinction which subsists between an element and flesh. Hence the elements only recur into three, and 
these three arc the prime matter of the elements. However, the fashion of the prime matter of water, earth, air, and 
heaven is diverse, for the number three ccAistitutes only three species in reality, which three make a perfect body, and 
these s.ame are found by art in all bodies of Nature. These three are the first matter and have only one name. The 
first matter is as God ; and .as in the Deity there are three persons, so here each species is separate by itself as to its 
office, but the three offices are comprehended under the one name of the first matter. This first matter has been 
distributed by God among four parts or elements. Whatsoever resides in the first matter of the earth is being 
syjaratcd or has been separated into earth. The case is the same with the other elements. So, everj-thing has been 
ordained into its predestinated form, earth having been ordained to be earth, with its ofttce, and so of the rest. So .all 
things consist of one body, and yet there are four bodies, and the four elements are all distributed into four bodies, and 
are formed from one matter which is in itself triple, having been originally formed out of the word. The three first 
things are three parts, namely, fire, salt, and balsam. All bodies consist of these three- all elements and all fruits 
thereof. Earth is threefold in its body — fire, salt and bals.ani— while that which grows from it is similafly distributed 
into three species. The body of a tree b fire, salt, and balsam, and the things which are generated from b.alsam are 

Concerning the Generations of the Elements. 205 

subtly, having removed and cast away all that was extraneous. First of all 
He produced and separated the air. This being formed, from the remainder 
issued forth the other three elements, fire, water, earth. From these He 
afterwards took away the fire, while the other two remained, and so on in due 


The four fields, therefore, having been in this way set apart and separated, 
there remained also four storehouses for keeping the four elements, namely, 
the hot, the cold, the moist, the dry. Each of these was far from being un- 
important. First the air was arranged ; afterwards the fire ; then the earth ; 
and, lastly, the water, in the following way : From the air proceeded chaos, 
the throne, the chain, the foundation. From the fire, night and day, the sun 
and the moon. From the earth, trees and herbs, grasses and fruits. From 
the water, minerals and stones. Of these the succession was so arranged 
that from the superfluity was continually produced something else. For 
instance, from the Iliaster of the earth beech wood was extracted and the wood 
of apples removed. Each was disposed in its own place ; nothing being 
corrupted or intermixed. In water gold was separated from the rest of the 
metals, and afterwards the others also were removed in turn. In the fire, the 
cold withdrew from the heat, the light from the darkness. In the air, chaos 
was set in order for preserving all things, and for separating earth from 
heaven. These four Iliastri having been created and arranged according to 
elements, that is, according to the matrices of their fruits, the air was prepared 
before all else ; then afterwards the fire. These two were linked together in 
union. Afterwards the earth, too, and the water, being separated from the two 
former, were joined in one. These are now conjoined Iliastri. The air is by 
itself, and the fire. In like manner, also, the earth and the water. 

fire, salt, and balsam. It is the same with those fruits which have water for their matrix. It is the same with heaven, of 
which the fruits are the sun, etc. It is in like manner with snow and rain. The art, therefore, of Nature docs not, 
then, teach us how to extract anything out of fruits except fire, s.alt, and balsam, which also are so separated from one 
another by the force of fire that the fire, salt, and balsam become separate. Now, fire is also called sulphur ; salt, 
balm ; and liquor, mercury. It is necessary, however, that we should have a clear idea what an clement is. Now, man 
has a large body, containing many substances. But that which is the man himself, namely, soul and spirit, is a small, 
thing. The reason why the body is called man b because the man remains hidden in the body. So also the eye is a 
considerable part in man, but the force which sees is very small in respect of the eye. In like manner, the earth is 
called an element, whereas it is a rude body, and its true elem.ent is hidden therein, invisibly, like the spirit in man. 
It is the same with the other elements, which are, indeed, corporal, but are yet spirits according to their nature and 
substance. So often, then, as you hear that this or that proceeds from an clement, understand that it proceeds from 
the element itself, and not from its body. In man the tongue speaks and does not speak, for the spirit speaks in it, 

whose intimate permixture and union with the body causes it to be thought that the body docs cvcr>-lhing 

The odour of the box tree is the spirit of the box tree ; what there is else is its body. The soul of musk is in its odour. 
In corals the colour is the spirit. Thus, all fruits, like their element, have spirit as well as body, and the true fruit is 
not seen by the eyes. Vet there is a certain difference between the natural and the supernatural spirit, for the first is 
corporeal and material, subsisting in a corporeal body, but the second is altof;ethcr destitute of a body. The body of the 
natural spirit is clothed by Nature with another body of its own element. But concerning heaven it is to be noted that 
God has given it the name of firmament. The firmament is the heaven and its whole substance. The three other 
elements .ire included in the firmament, as the egg in its shell. By the demonstration of the name which He has given 
to it God teaches that He has endowed the firmament with power that it may be as a sure shell, wherein all the 
creatures of Nature are firmly contained. And, just as the yolk remains immovable in its place, whether the egg be put 
up or down, so is it with heaven. Wherever we dwell, we live at a high level or a low, and can call ourselves dwellers 
on high or dwellers below. For a circle has neither summit nor base. — Z.i5rr Mftearitjn^ c. 2. 

2o6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Wiitiiigs of Paracelsus. 

Thus it was that God made the material centre of His throne, and after- 
wards sundered it in three primal elements, from which constantly emerges 
everything that is born. Without these three, nothing in the four Iliastri can 
grow. But while they grow they are elements, and so, moreover, they lose 
their name of Iliastri and are called elements. 


These foitr elements were sundered into their own places and seats, so 
that none of them should be mixed. All these were removed, just as a 
sculptor when making a statue throws away what does not suit the intended 
image. So there are four elements, but only three primary ones ; three in 
the air, three in the fire, three in the earth, and three in the water. Every- 
where there is only a single triad of the primaries, that is, one Mercury in 
all, one Sulphur in all, one Salt in all. Yet they differ in their properties. 
Whatever is growing, herb, leaf, grass, or the like, was relegated to the 
earth. Whatever is mineral withdrew into the watej". Whatever is warm, 
cold, day, night, betook itself to the fire. Whate\-er is air spread itself out 
over chaos. And all these three are one, each in itself. It is just as when 
a stone is divided into four parts, and out of one is made a statue, out of 
another a pitcher, out of a third some other kind of a vessel, and out of 
the fourth a milestone ; yet all are stones, nay, all one stone, though divided 
into four portions. 

Of these Iliastri there are four, and no more ; these being sufficient. So 
God disposed the world in a quaternary. He was satisfied with this number, 
though He could have made eight parts. One portion of nutriment He 
conferred on the air, a second on the fire, a third on the earth, a fourth on 
the water. Nowhere was there any deficiency. 

And now it is further necessary that in the course of our philosophising 
we should go on to treat of these four under the name of elements, to tell of 
their possibilities and performances, and to state in what they excel. We 
will begin with the air, and conclude our philosophy with the water, adding 
such explanations as the nature of insensible things requires. 

The element of the air was appointed for no other purpose than to be 
the abode of the other three, each to be conserved, as it were, within its 
close in the following way.* The air encloses in itself every mortal thing, 

* The elements and all that exists are built upon the element of air, even as a house upon its foundations. We 
should philosophise, however, concerning that which sustains the air. This power is situated in the exterior part of 
the air in which the Triune God dwells, so ruling and sustaining the air that it does not yield, nor is broken. For it is 
impossible that perishable things should fall into the sphere of the imperishable. Moreover, it cannot fall, because all 
things tend upwards, nothing downwards, nor is there any bottom or profundity. For the air Is so compacted and con- 
firmed in its circle that it can no more be broken or dissolved than the external kingdom can perish till its time arrives, 
when it will collapse inward towards the centre, the air and stars rushing towards the globe of earth, and then tlie globe 
shall by them be so utterly consumed that not a single shall remain. For the manner of this destruction shall be 
such that nothing shall collapse outwardly from the circle, but all inwardly to the centre. And this is the highest secret 
of philosophy — that the circle rushes to the centre because there is no profundity outside. — Alius Libtr Primus 
Meteorum^ De EUmtnto Aeris, 

Concerning the Generations of the Elements. 207 

and shuts it off from what is immortal, as a wall divides a city from the 
fields. It strengthens the world and keeps it together, as a dam does a 
marsh. And just as there is nothing in an egg to one who looks at it from 
without, or outside the <iZg-, which agrees with what is inside, so the sky is a 
shell dividing heaven and earth, just as the egg-shell separates the ^^^ from 
what is outside it. The air, again, is like a skin in which is stored up a 
body, the whole world, to wit, and wherein the earth is contained and pre- 
served. The air, then, is this sky, a skin, or egg-shell, or wall, or mound, 
beyond which nothing can burst through, and within which nothing can 
break in. Moreover the air is breath, from which all draw their life. This is 
truly air itself, and puts forth the air which nourishes tKe four elements, and 
at the same time sustains the life of man. Without it none could live. 
Without this no element could advance, no wind could blow, no rain or snow 
could fall, no sun could shine, no summer could flourish, no water could flow, 
no earth could sustain. All this force proceeds from the air, and is attracted 
by the four elements. For as the lungs every moment inhale air, so does the 
earth, while the water and the fire each do the very same thing. That is a 
palpable error which lays it down that winds are caused by the air. They 
burst in upon us like poison, not as a means of life. The first element brings 
air, but fire gives the winds. 


From this same element, too, flows forth a power by which fire is joined 
to the air, so that it may not fall down. Thus it is like a chain which, 
without materiality or visibility, holds together and binds. This it does by 
means of its chaos, which it inserts between the pellicle and the earth. There 
is also a middle space extending from heaven to earth, in which are balanced 
the fire, the earth, and the water. And as the chicken is sustained in the 
^Si& by its albumen without touching the shell, so chaos sustains the globe 
and prevents it from tottering. This chaos is invisible, though it appears of a 
slight green tint. It is an intangible albumen, having the power and property 
of sustaining, so that the earth shall not fall from its position. As the 
chick in its albumen, so this globe of earth and water is balanced in the air. 
As a ship is borne up by the ocean, so is this globe by the air. It is one vast 
and marvellous albumen which invisiblj- supports the globe of earth and 
water. It bears up even the firmament itself, which is placed in it as the seed 
of the cucumber is placed in its mucilage. And as everj- morsel of flesh lies in 
its own liquid, or the generating seed in the sperm, so the stars lie in this 
albumen, and move therein like a bird in its flight. In no other way are they 
borne up than in what is clear from the illustrations which are named. There 
is at least only this difference : that the chaos is unlike the albumen or the 
sperm, in that it is impalpable and extremely subtle. Otherwise, in all its 
powers and energies it corresponds exactly to those things which have been 

2o8 The Hermetic and Alchemical WHtings of Paracelsus. 


While discussing the powers of this element, it should, moreover, be 
pointed out that the air and its chaos and the sky exist in a round form which 
is inherent in them. No one can point out or distinguish what is above or 
what is below. Let us give an example. If it could be brought about that 
one should be shutjjp within an ^%%, it would be impossible to know which 
part looked towards the sky and which towards the earth.* The rotundity 
prevents there being any "up" or "down." So we are prisoned within a 
shell, and do not know which is up and which is down. Walking over the 
whole world, we look up to the sky, and everywhere there is height, whilst 
at the same time everywhere there is depth. The cause lies in the rotundity 
of the globe and of the sky, and thus it is natural to every mortal body that 
all things grow in a threefold line, and not only man walks, but also trees, 
veins of metal, and springs take this course. As God created the circle of 
the globe and the sky, so he founded also the semicircle, the diameter and the 
meridian — a threefold line — and other similar ones. For in heaven and earth, 
in fire and water, are found all lines and all circles. Here, too, are the true 
Geography, Cosmography, and Geometry. By the elementary geography of 
the air are conserved the structures of the air, that is, the sun and moon, all 
the stars, the trees of the earth, and other things, as the minerals of the 
water and the rest. Here, too, beyond a doubt, is found the true basis of all 
geometry, where man stands like the straight line looking up to heaven. Of 
this geometry God alone is the artificer, the mason, the geometrician. From 
this line nothing falls away or emerges, be it v.-ater, fire, earth, tree, man, 
beast. All things tend towards this aerial geometry, which God made and 
graved as a mason does the statues on a tower. 


Now, as to the philosophy of the three prime elements, it must be seen 
how these flourish in the element of air. Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt are so 
prepared as the element of air that they constitute the air, and make up that 
element. Originally the sky is nothing but white Sulphur coagulated with the 
spirit of Salt and clarified by Mercury, and the hardness of this element is in 
this pellicle and shell thus formed from it. Then, secondly, from the three 
primal parts it is changed into two — one part being air and the other chaos — 
in the following way. The Sulphur resolves itself by the spirit of Salt in the 
liquor of Mercury, which of itself is a liquid distributed from heaven to earth, 
and is the albumen of the heaven, andthe mid space. It is clear, a chaos, 
subtle, and diaphanous. .'Ml density, dryness, and all its subtle nature, are 

• Air preserves the elements and all creatures, so that they may persist in their course and centre. Land and 
sea are the centre of a circle of which the air is the circumference. Earth and water constitute one glohe, resting on 
nothing, but free on all sides, being encompassed by the element of air, which is like a vast chaos, which conceals that 
which is called heaven by the ignorant. Within this chaos all creatures are included and involved. Between the 
circle of the air and the globe of earth and water which is at the centre, a sustaining operation intervenes, which may be 
compared to the albumen interposed between the shell and yolk of an tg%.—lifid. 

Concerniiig the Generations of the Elements. 209 

resolved, nor is it any longer the same as it was before. Siicli is the air. 
The third remnant of the three primals has passed into air, thus : If wood is 
burnt it passes into smoke. So this passes into air, remains in its air to the 
end of its elements, and becomes Sulpluir, Mercury, and Salt, which are 
substantially consumed and turned into air, just as the wood which becomes 
smoke. It is, in fact, nothing but the smoke of the three primal elements of 
the air. So, then, nothing further arises from the element of air beyond what 
has been mentioned. Many of the ancients and later writers, nay, even some 
now living, ascribe wind to the air, making out its cause to be the mobility of 
the sky. That is all nothing. It never reaches the sky ; and the air is by 
itself, coming forth from its element as smoke from wood. Whoever wishes 
to understand more clearly about it, and what its motion is, let him read 
about the properties of fire, where more is set down than can be here 





WE have spoken thus far concernH)<f the element of air, according to tlie 
position in which the elements have been arranged. The air is first 
in position ; next to it is the fire. These two constitute and sur- 
round the entire globe.* We shall next philosophise as to what concerns the 
element of fire. 

First of all, from the Iliaster were separated the air and the fire. After- 
wards these two were sundered the one from the other, so that the air 
occupied the first place, as we pointed out in the former book. The next place 
to this the fire occupied. By a process of separation, these two elements, air 
and fire, were divided. From the air were produced the heavens ; from the 
fire came forth the firmament. As in the air there is only chaos and nothing 
besides, so, in the element of fire we find nothing but heat and cold, light and 
darkness. But, whatever withdraws from the globe and from the air, is 
sustained in the element of fire. It is not, however, called the element of fire 
because it can only burn, as many have foolishly said. It is not the element 
of fire which burns, but that which burns and is contrary to it, is congelation. 
The element of fire is not by its constitution warm and dry ; the cold and the 
moist come from the element of fire. They are quite beside the mark, then, 
who seek the element of fire in the clement of earth or of water. Though 
these probably produce something of a warm complexion, still that warmth 
does not constitute the element of fire. This clement is not, therefore, called 
an clement because it is fire, but rather because in it the whole firmament 
subsists. It is an element from which should proceed day, night, brightness, 
white or red, rain, tempests, winds, and all impressions. It is also the place 
and portion of the four parts of creatures. Therefore it is called an element. 
For as the earth gives heat and cold together, though it be the element of 

'Fire and air constitute the chaos which encircles the globe of earth and water. The two superior elements send 
down their impressions upon the two inferior. Fire is disposed and digested hy God into the stars. -Ibid.^ c, 7. 

Concerning the Generations of the Elements. 2 i 1 

earth, so is it to be understood also of fire, ^'et there is a difference, because 
material fire is called an element when it is not really an clement. It is not 
even produced by the element of fire, but it is like elementary fire in that 
position when it looks towards the sun. So also the water is like the element 
of fire in a place where it rains. Material fire, which we use, is in the four 
elements; it is called Tristo, and exists in them thus : The element of water 
requires the element of fire for its operation. That fire remains in the element 
of water, and shews itself in steel and in those stones where it exists. So is 
it with the air, and so with the other elements. Each has its own Tristo 
within itsel/, as is demonstrated in the Nature of Things. So, too, the sun 
can shew its element in wood, can kindle and burn it, because it is of the 
same nature as that by which the element of fire moistens the earth with rain. 
As the element of fire moistens the earth, and it is its nature and property to 
do so, it kindles wood also by a mirror in the sun. The material fire is 
brought to the globe just as rain to the earth. Both come from one element 
divided as to their nature. But the fire which is extracted from stones and 
metals has penetrated thither from the sun by means of its own .'\res. As the 
earth is nourished by the sun, so is the one element by another. Of the three 
primaries. Salt could not coagulate unless the element of fire were in it. So 
, Mercury could not give a body unless it contained in itself the element of 
water. So neither is Sulphur without its terrestrial quality. The air is 
without material or body, impalpable. Therefore, of itself, like the other 
elements, it cannot give a body ; but it works together with it, as the rest do. 


Having thus far explained the separation of the two elements, fire and 
water, it remains to speak of their order, which is as follows :— Originally 
the distribution of them was made into the sun, the moon, and the other 
stars. Beyond these there is no element of fire. Whatever virtue they are 
endowed with beyond this is only trifling. This is more fully shewn in the 
treatise De Natura. Here it is sufficient to know that this element, the 
firmament, to wit, is nothing but stars. What these produce and send on the 
earth, as snow, rain, wind, hail, cold, heat, night, day, summer, winter, and 
the like ; all these things come from the element of fire, as an infant from its 
mother, or an apple from its tree. 

This element of fire is placed in the element of air. For as the water 

and the earth are comprised in one globe, so the fire and the air are mingled 

in one, neither injuring the body of the other. They move freely in the air, 

not leaning or propped up on any foundation. As birds fly in the air, so the 

sun moves in the sky, that is, in the air. For just as it is appointed that 

man walks on the earth, the bird flies in the air, the fish swims in the water, 

and the gnome lives within the earth, so has it been arranged concerning the 

elements, that one lies still, another flies, one is in this mode, another in that, 

not moving from one seat or place. Every star has its own special orbit, nor 


2 I 2 The Hennetic and Akhaiiical Wriihigs of Pai'acelsus. 

does one collide with another. For as no one man walks exactly like 
another, and yet there is one mode of progress for all, so is it with the stars. 
And as men by Nature are not precisely alike, neither are the stars ; so 
manifold is their nature and condition. On this topic one need not philoso- 
phise more deeply than to say that all these things are arranged and con- 
stituted bv fate. 



IN the first treatise it was stated that the primal Iliaster was furnished 
with all the colours, and with brightness and splendour all mingled to- 
gether. From thence the four elements were secreted. Herein shall be 
stated in due succession what was added or subjected to the element of fire. 
In the beginning the first element, that is to say, the air, was extracted from 
the Iliaster, and afterwards the element of fire. From this a separation was 
made. First of all the white brightness was drawn out, and therefrom was 
made a material body, the sun. Therein is all the white brightness of the 
element of fire, and besides this is no white brightness at all in the whole 
element. The red transparency was also extracted and transferred to the 
stars, that is, to the moon and the other stars, which were distributed into many 
parts. While the white brightness was conglob.ited into one form, the red 
brightness was divided into many parts. Hence now follow day and night. 
P'or since all the white brightness was coagulated into one globe, it will be 
day wherever that globe is. Where that globe is not, there is no white 
brightness, but it is night and'darkness ; for the red brightness transfers no 
light to the white brightness. Moreover, it must also be known that in the 
element of fire two natures exist, a warm and a cold one. Heat is universal 
in the white brightness, cokl in tlie red. .Ml fire which is warm is in the 
sun, and not in any element besides. All coldness is in the stars ; there is 
none in the sun. Hence it is clear that summer comes from the sun, winter 
and cold from the stars. In the sun is an expulsive heat, in the stars an 
expulsive cold — thus : The sun emits from himself heat to the earth by 
means of his rays. For just as the wind blows from its cave, or as from 
the ground a stalk rises above the earth, so heat goes forth from the sun 
over the trlobe. 

® All the clarity which in the element produces night is fierj- and twofold— white and red. The whttt'is from 
nercuryand'Salt. the red from pure sulphur. These two colours inhere in the three principles by re.xson of the pre- 
dominant fire in the substance. The same are divided, the red into one part, the white into ihc other. The first is 
distributed among nil the stars, the second into one only. But if the red, like the white, were compacted and digested 
into a single star, instead of into so many, the red splendour would be c«iually great with reference to redness as is the 
white with reference to whiteness. On the other hand, were the white star distributed after the manner of the red, 
there would be a faint and perpetual daylight. Such a perfect and condensed splendour would not illuminate the 
earth, but one weaker and more divided. The universal splendour of the mercury' lias, however, been concentrated 
from the three prime principles into one orb or star, which receives its motion according to the will of the Creator. The 
motion of this star takes pl.ace round the globe. When it radiates upon the earth there is day, but elsewhere night 
reigns, for all the brilliance of day is in it, and without its radiation there is no brilliance upon cartb. The red 
brilliance of the other stars is the light of the fire in red, only in sulphur, where there is no mercury or s.ilt.— Pr 
Mi^fon's- c. 32 

2 14 '^f^^ Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Heat is the fruit of the sun on the globe, and it has no other fruit. 
Hence it follows that the sun has two operations, a greater and a lesser heat, 
in this way. The sun divides his heat in two modes. Hence it is granted 
to the stars to lose their coldness. The matter stands thus : For us Germans 
if the sun is supreme his heat is greatest with us. Then the autumn and 
harvest are at hand. In winter the cold comes on, not because the sun is 
low and depressed (for it is the same sun which can by his rays shed heat 
ever^'where), but because his harvest is not then imminent as in June. All 
fruits are then in a state of repose, and have been harvested. But below 
us, in Ethiopia and other places which verge towards the antarctic pole, 
the sun is warm while with us he is cold, for this reason : because it is 
his harvest-time, but with us the fallow season. This fallow season he ' y'^ 
makes more or less. Ever)'thing which has to produce fruit needs rest and 
sleep ; and unless the sun were lying fallow, its heat would be equally 
intense with us in winter as it is in summer. 

In the meantime, while the sun is lying fallow, the harvest and autumn 
of the cold stars are substituted, so that during the whole year there shall be 
no sterility, but fruits shall be constantly produced. Now the snow falls, and 
the north wind blows. Then follow the east and the south winds, which are 
the attendants of the sun. Thus are produced winter and summer, night and 
day, and the whole year. In this w-ay is there transition from one autumn to 
.another through the year of the sun and the year of the stars. 

Moreover, on this subject it must he remarked that dryness and 
humidity occur thus : Dryness is in heal, that is, in the sun. There is no 
other dryness in the whole element of fire save that which the sun has in 
himself. Moisture is in cold, that is, in the cold stars, which are of red 
bri|fhtness. This is the true state of the case. Humidity cannot coexist with 
heat. Heat consumes all moisture and brings back dryness. Coldness never 
coexists with dryness. What is cold is dissolved if heat coagulates itself. 
Thus the element of fire is divided into two. In one is dryness, and this is in 
the sun ; in the other is -humidity, and this is in the cold. If coldness some- 
times seems to be dry, the dryness is only as when one sweats in the sun, 
where that moisture is quite foreign. So is that coldness foreign too. It is 
true, indeed, that a humid body on the earth can be dried by the stars, though 
not on account of their dry nature, but on account of their cold nature, 
whereby they are able to coagulate so tliat a thing seems dried up. Thus 
must their nature be understood as frozen water. Such, too, is the method 
of the sun for rendering. moist. By its heat it melts wax, so that it liquefies, 
as does tallow. But what has this to do with the matter? Nothing. These 
things are only given as illustrations. There is dryness, too, in the stars, for 
instance, snow, hoar-frost, sleet, hail, lightning and the like, as metals and 
stones coming thence. But what is the dryness of snow, which does not last? 
In what respect is a metal dry which returns to its original matter? And so 
of the sun. Where is his humiditv? It does not last. What Is it if, indeed. 

Concerning the Generations of I he lllements. 2 1 5 

he moistens fat ? Xo sooner lias he withdrawn than it is dry again. After- 
wards it is no longer moistened. It is the same, too, with fire. It dries wood 
so that it never afterwards grows damp again, that is, so long as it is ashes. 
But what does the star do? It wets Salpalla so that it never again returns 
to drj'ness, but always remains moist. The stars moisten the rain, which 
always remains moist, and is never again dried. Wherever it is poured out, 
wherever it breaks forth, it is always moist, always wet. So, that which is 
dry remains in heat ; what is wet, in cold ; dryness never grows wet, and 
moisture never grows dry. In like manner, lime remains lime ; glass, glass ; 
wine, wine, etc. 

But in order that the element of lire may be more thoroughly understood, 
we will, in the first place, describe the sun, the account of which is as follows : 
All heat is drawn together and rounded out into Magdalion. The whole 
white light is therein. Thus, then, white light and heat make up Magdalion, 
composed of ignited white Sulphur, congested into one body of noblest 
Mercury, pre-eminent over all the other elements, and coagulated by the 
most subtle spirit of salt. Out of these three the sun exists, so dry and so 
warm that there is place for no humidity, but it would all be consumed. In 
this way, both the daily rain and whatever water is poured out by the three 
other elements is consumed by the force of the sun, lest a too copious supply 
of water should cause inundation. So, then, the sun is the death of aqueous 
nature, both of the sea and of the Rhine, Danube, Nile, and Tiber. They are 
consumed by the heat of the sun so that they do not increase in volume. 
Death exists in all things for this very purpose, that they may not increase 
too much but may keep within bounds. So man has his own form of death, 
which is invisible. So dryness has its death, namely, water. So, too, the 
waters have their death, fire ; and it is not true to say, that what the fire 
consumes reappears elsewhere. It perishes entirely in its ov.n forn>. 

But the spirit remains, and this the sun consumes. It is the veritable 
death, consuming and taking away the other three elements — alike with man 
on the earth and with the bear in the cave. 

But now to philosophise more about the sun. It regulates its course by 
Divine providence, which decides when and how all things should exist. By 
this it is arranged that the sun going round the globe rounds out its circle for 
the sake of this autumn and harvest of the sun. In this course is nothing but 
day and night, summer and winter, light and darkness ; and the darkness 
which falls upon some lands is intercepted from others in due succession. 
From this impetus and motion no v%ind is aroused ; but the sun moves and 
proceeds just as a ball is driven along the surface of the earth, without any 
wind arising, or as a ship in the sea, which does not of itself generate any 
wind. So neither does the sun produce wind. It does not grow warm by its 
motion ; for, although the globe should roll on for a hundred years, it would 
not of itself grow warm. If it be warm, it must have been warm before. So 
the sun going upon its course is a globe, and may be compared to birds in its 

2i6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

mode of motion. It even diminishes heat, that is to say, if it be fallow. But 
its brightness remains always and under all circumstances. For Magdalion 
is fixed, and will remain from the -first point of time to the latest in one shape 
and appearance and one proportion of light, of Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury. 
These have onlj- one year of their fixation, which will endure from the first 
Iliaster to the last Iliaster, .wh£rein the world will be renewed. I say there is 
one year, the year of the sun. In like manner all the stars have fixity. That 
is the year of fire, or the stellar year, yielding place to the time of the year, 
as if to its own daughter. 

But, now, in due course, we must speak of the oilier stars in which exist 
coldness and red brightness, as, for instance, in the moon, planets, and the 
rest. In this red brightness is a different kind of rest from that in the sun. 
For the moon has no fallow season, but simply dies and departs. The seed 
only is left there, from which the new moon is born. And the generation is 
of such a nature that it gains its power of increase from the sun. Whatever 
grows does so by force of the sun's heat, and without that heat nothing 
grows at all. When, therefore, the Creator made the moon after such a 
manner as that she should wane and wax, He did it for tiiis purpose, that 
the moon, like seed, should be united with the sun, and should thence acquire 
her power of increase. Thus it is that she increases and comes to fulness, and 
then afterwards wanes. For whatever increases, the same also decreases. 
As man by disease wastes away and dies, so the decrease of the moon is her 
sickness even to death, wherein she passes away, leaving onlv her seed behind. 
The moon is, in fact, the phoenix of the firmament, from which, when it dies, 
a new one constantly Issues forth. So, in like manner, there are other stars, 
and they are made up of the redness of Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt. And 
there is a cold of Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt, too, which has its origin in that 
\irtue from which the sun, too, received its own. Thus it is that the moon 
has such strong influence over the earth on account of her coldness and her 
humidity. She is superior to all the other stars in this element of the coldness 
of fire. The other stars, too, are composed of these three primal elements ; 
but, still they are divided into nian\- parts. For the cold in the element ^:t'i 
fire is divided into a thousand essences and natiu'cs. Thus, in some stars are 
produced winds circling over the entire globe ; in others, snow, rain, and the 
like, ha\ c tlieir origin. In truth, so manifold arc they, tiiat manifold natures 
and virtues flow down from them to the earth ; and this could not otherwise 
be the case if there were but one Magdalion, like the sun, possessing only a 
single nature, heat. Therefore, in the stars there are many cold natures. 
Now, cold produces many more forms of effluence tlian heat. A warm man 
is a healthy man. A cold man is exposed to more misfortunes than twenty- 
warm ones. Since, therefore, cold has a nature which is contrary and opposed 
to the sun, the element of fire is divided into many stars, so that eacii \irtue 
should exist by itself without the impediment of another nature. From these 
come forth warm winds, warm showers, warm tempests, and the rest, 

Concerning the Generations of the Elements, 217 

coruscations, dragons, lancese, and the like. Vet, all these are cold fire, 
without ardour. On the other hand, what is warm and burns has its origin 
from accident, as the special chapters demonstrate. An entire section follows 
on the properties of the stars, as to the necessities they produce, and giving 
what is necessar)' for a description of their natures. 

Concerning Winds.* 

Through the course of the globe, there are scattered tlie windy stars whicli 
continually hx\\\v^ round their autumn and harvest. They surround Zedoch in 
a circle and at the same time embrace the globe above and below. As, there- 
fore, the firmament goes round the globe in its rotundity, and the round globe 
lies therein, so the stars consist in the circle of Zedoch, and the globes touch 
Zedoch in the midst. Two winds, therefore, proceed to the two sides, and 
separate above and below, that is, one part to the arctic and the other to the 
antarctic pole. These stars are actual stars of the winds, because they blow 
upon us annually, and have their own year, which is the year of the winds. 
The other stars of the winds blow above and below us, not according to the 
year, but sometimes they blow and sometimes tlicy do not, and infringe upon 
one region only, wherever that may be. The true stars ot the winds blow each 
according to its year continually, above and below, acroiss the whole globe, 
and are without hail, without lightning, without frost, ^vithout coruscation. 

* Since ihc meteorological principles have now been abundatitly explained and recognised, the next thing is to 
impart some information conccniing meteoric things generated, or tlicir generations. But we will first write of the rise 
or generation of the winds, proceeding from their predestined circles. There are four parts of the orb and circle of the 
winds ; one looks to the east, another to the west, a third lo the south, a fourth to the north. The manner of the 
circles is as follows. As in the middle of the firmament there are placed two elemenL*;, earth and water, and the 
clement of air stands between the element of heaven and the lower globe -as, I say, the earth is placed in the middle, 
and the heaven surrounds it completely, so there proceeds or advances a circle transversely on a level in the middle of 
heaven, earth, and water, similarly surrounding. . . . In the same way you will further note that heaven goes 
round the world with a certain circle. In this circle stand the mother of the winds, and the places whence arise the 
predestinated winds. If these are about to emerge from that circle, they blow upon the globe through the clement of 
air. IJut while they arc arriving at the rotundity of the terrestrial globe and dash upon it, it is possible that the winds 
may be either stirred up below the globe and impelled towards those who live below us, or may be driven above the 
globe to the dwellers on higher ; or again may be divided and driven in either direction through the heights and 
the depths of the globe. Thus the winds are impelled through the air beyond land and sea, and persist until they 
arc worn out by reason of the distance, the way, or the violent motion, etc. Each of these four parts has a nature 
peculiar and proper to itself, for the oriental part is warm and drj-, not being so on account of the sun, or because it 
occupies the east, but because such a nature is derived from the three prime principles. Therefore, also, in the true 
soutli-east wind and its satellites no other nature and operation are perceived than warm and dr^-. On the other hand, 
the west wind, by the setting of the sun. is cold and humid, not because it rL^cs from the west (for the complexion of the 
east and the west is one and the same), but because the matter of the winds has l>een created cold and humid in the 
west. From the north blow winds of a cold and dr>' nature, which they also impart to those regions, not that the winds 
arc so affected by the regions, but the regions receive that nature from the winds. The south wind is warm and 
humid, not because much water is accumulated there, or that moist and Iiumid places abound there, but because such 
is the peculiar nature of this wind, and it is imparted to the region that it occupies. For this Is to be observed, 
that the winds acquire no property from without, hut are tempered from themselves, and .ire not affected by their 
regions. The generations, therefore, of the winds are circular, from their proper nature. They are produced from their 
stars, and the stars are their mothers. Stars of this kind are innumerable in the four quarters From these all the 
winds proceed. For although winds are also stirred up by the stars of rain or hail, yet they are not enumerated with 
the circle or the four cardinals. And since we have already spoken of the place .ind dispersion of the winds, because 
they flow from the farthest heaven across sea and land, it must now Le added that those stars have the power of 
generating winds, and disposing of them according lo their nature and quality. As a tree puts forth its fruit out of its 
internal nature, which consists in wood and marrow, so also the same is to be understood of the stars. But the 
seed of the winds is the first matter of the three principles, salt, sulphur, and liquor. These three arc the mothers 
from which are born those foetuses which we call winds. In the northern quarters they are of a cold and dr>* 
nature ; in the south, w.irm and humid ; in the east, warm and dr>* ; in the west, cold and humid. For as is the 
n.iti'.rc of the thiee pri::>:iplc>, -^i arc their fruits. Moreover, you must k'low th.nt the wind-; arise from ihtir stars by 

2i8 The Hermetic and Alchemical lVriit7igs of Paracelsus. 

There are very many wliich surround the w hole Zedoch, like the Galaxy, and 
over against the Galaxy is Deneas. Concerning the elementary n;iture of 
these stars it may be said that they are all humid. Antiquity has gi\en to 
these four names which we retain, though not with the ancient interpretation. 
All those stars which are situated at the north throughout the entire Zedoch 
are called Boreas. Censeturis is dry and cold, yet not altogetlier dry. It is 
cold and congelated, that is, its humidity is coagulated, whence it appears dry. 
Zephyrus comprises the western stars, all being humid and cold, but not 
congelated. So it is that by comparison with these Boreas is accounted dry, 
on account of its congelation. The other stars in Zedoch, Eurus and Auster, 
are altogether cold. As soon, however, as the winds issue forth from their 
stars, they become warm by the sun whose beams they pass through, and thus 
they are held to be warm, which they are not by their own nature. Eurus is 
accounted di*y, but is not so. The sun consumes the humidity which it 
possesses until it comes to that moisture contained within it, which the sun 
'cannot take away. Auster is called humid, and is so because the sun does 
not take av/ay so much of its humidity as in the case of Eurus. That is pre- 
vented by the sea, which supplies to the sun sufficient moisture for its 
consumption. So Auster with its humidity bursts forth on us throughout the 
lower and the upper part of the globe. 

rule of time and season. For they retain the nattirc of the three principles. Tlie variaiions of their strength are in 
proportion to the distance they have travelled . . . Borcis is affected by the summer but not by the winter stars, 
and if it be impregnated with sulphur it produces sulphureous maladies ; if wiih s;dt, it dries up and cracks the skin. 
TIic south wind at its proper season, namely, in spring, is most healthful. These risings of the winds we arc able to 
prove by a terrestrial example. Water boiling in a jar emits a wind ; so do all boiling substances, whether drj^ or 
humid. Moist coction, as of water, produces a moist wind ; the dry coction which is known to the alchemists occasions 
a dry wind. There is no other generation of the winds than when the three principles are set in motion and driven to 
their work by Vulcan. This action produces wind, and imposes its oVn nature thereon, whether warm, cold, 
humid, or dr>-. We must understand that God lias cunstiluted a generation of llic of such a nature that the 
three principle*; should generate and produce all things in their places to which they were ordained by God. and 
should by their operations tend lowardj> the centre of the ear:h. Above all things, therefore, it is necessarj' that the 
three principles should be rightly recognised. These three princiijles are all of an igneous nature till they arrive at 
thfir operation, that is, at their ultimate matter. Sulphur is a fiic which burns ; salt nitre burns also ; and it is in like 
manner with mercur>'. Now, fire cocks wind, and in the generation of v.-inds the stars are vials and cucurbttes, con- 
taining in themselves meteoric sulphur, mercury, and salt, which operate in these phials by means of our ethereal 
Vulcan. From these ethereal operations ethereal works are produced, such as the winds. . • . From earthly 
examples we understand the operations of the firmament, not, indeed, according to one grade, for as the heaven is 
higher than the earth, so also is it stronger ; and as the heaven has more of clarity than has earth of grossncss, 
so much more sublimely graded and intense is its operation. That \\ hich is unseen by the eye is judged analogically by 
things which the eye beholds. But you must know that the hour and time of the generation of those winds must be 
fundamentally understood by .astronomy and all its branches. If the winds blow, they advance to places suited for 
them. Much concordance produces strong wind. To frequently concord and generate is frequently to excite winds. 
Many species and a strong Vulcan generate mighty and violent winds, which root up trees and demolish houses. For 
the wind is, according to its own nature, as corporeal, and substantial as stone or any matter hurled down from a 
great height. And although a stone is one body and wind is another, yet the latter is capable of great bodily 
destruction, for therein are invisible as well as visible corporeities created by God, diverse in appearance but equal in 
virtue. Concerning the origin of winds it is then to be concluded that they are generated in windy stars above, and by 
the operation of Vulcan they are matured at their proper time, w hen they dash forth into the centre of the globe, trans- 
forming all obstacles into their own nature and property. As Boreas coagulalcs, so the south wind dissolves, the 
east preserves, the west putrefies. They perform their operation according to their implanted nature. But if they 
blow at those times when their innate malice is removed from them and modified, they effect nothing of importance. 
Among other things, the wind exercises great force upon the waters of the sea, stirring up tempests, and so 
penetrating through everything that it enters through the depths of the sea into the earth itself, whence it again issues 
through mountains, caverns, etc. In this way tremblings of the earth are generated, although this is not the sole 
cause of such occurrences. Wind has the power of penetrating all stones, all metals, and all things without exception.— 
Liher MeU-yrntn, c. 5. 

Conceridug the Gejterations of the Elanents. 219 

As to how wind proceeds from the stars, this must be held to be the 
method. As the sun pours its heat on the world, so in these stars there is no 
other nature and property except to produce winds, which are decocted from 
Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt, and issue forth accordinj^^ to Adech. Their wind 
is daily, hourly, blowing gently and peacefully over the whole world. So 
the respective winds must he learnt in the course of our exposition as to the 
other windy stars. 


The following- is the theory concerning the stars in the firmament.* 
Every star has in it a certain amount of frigidity. This causes winds. 
Cold is the parent of all winds. But the nature of cold is that some 
cold produces winds with rain, some with snow, some with hail and the 
like. The truth is that all winds, intermittent and temporary, proceed 
not from Zedoch, but are collected from all quarters' out of particular stars. 
The mode in which all winds are generated is as follows : — By means of 
frigidity the stars periodically beget their own vacuum, which is manifold in 

• The philosophy concerning the stars in the firmament and, generally, concerning the constitution of heaven, 
is discussed elsewhere at greater length by Paracelsus, and in connection with the four elements, as follows : Of the 
dements it has been said that they are four. Man has need of these. But they are divided into four complexions, 
which arc by no means as the ancients have imagined them, as, for example, that the earth is cold and dr>*. This is 
w ithout foundation ; certainly in some places it is cold and dr>*, but in others it is cold and wet, while in yet others it is 
warm and dry. Nevertheless, it is an element, that is, the mother of fruits It is called an element, inasmuch as it is 
the mother of these things, not on account of the complexion. The case is the same with water. This is specified to 
be cold and humid. It ought certainly to be humid, but not equally cold. At the same time, that humidity is often dry 
and warm, by reason of the virtue. The body itself, in its corporal nature, is humid. The earth is dry, so that its fruit 
can be con-jcivcd in it ajid come forth from it. So. also, the heaven is not of one complexion, but of many complexions. 
It is not fire, but is understood as fire, beciusc it proceeds therefrom. The fire thereof is at times a water, at others a 
fire, now cold, now warm, etc. Wc mast consider, therefore, that the elements are only matrices, nor .ire they restricted 
to one complexion. For, as the offspring is, so is that which generated and produced it. Thus, a flammula proceeds 
from a flammula, and solatrum from solatrum. Accordingly, hearken concerning these things. It pcrt.iins to the earth 
to bear and sustain man and his dwelling-place, as also rocks, stones, sands, and all growing things. Hence it is clear 
that the earth is necessarily compact an<l solid, so as to be capable of bearing them. Consequently it is hard, and 
requires to be cut and ploughed. It is, in like manner, equally necessarj' for water to be moist, so that fish'es may 
move and swim through it, which can by no means take place on land. The same ought also to produce salt and 
stones. Now, all these things must be humid in their first matter, and must pass from huniidiiy into a coagulate. 
Hut that which is born from the earth has seed, that is, a dr^- body, such .as are seeds, roods, trees, etc. For all these 
things are dry and compacted from the first matter. I!ut in the first matter of water there is no compact botly. the 
whole being liquid. The matrix hereof is from the element of water. In this element grow those ultimate matters, the 
principle of which is liquid and humid. The third body is the air. This element has need of another kind of body, 
which must not be humid like water, or solid like earth. Out of this element whatsoever things are born have- 
their ingress in the body of the air. just as the fish in w.tter. Man has been surrounded by an aeriform vehicle that he ' 
may walk in it, as the fish moves in water. Thus the air also sustains all trees and whatsoever grows. It is necessary-, 
therefore, that the air should be a chaos; not earth, not water, but something perspicuous, diaphanous, impalpable, 
in\isible, so that the palp.ible and the visible may be insphercd (literally, touchea) by it, and may be seen through it 
as through glass. Furthermore, the he.iven is a body of this kind, not humid as the water, not perspicuous as air, nor 
solid as the e<trlh, but one of another essence, so that heaven is not. earthy, but is yet compact in its essence, not, 
however, with terrene compactness. It is also tenuous and permeable as water, but still is not water; it is likewise 
limpid and perspicuous without being air. It is most comparable to smoke, which is diverse from other bodies in 
respect of corporality and substance — that is. It is not like stone or wood, e.arth, w.iter, or air, but is a body without 
mixture or affinity with others. It is in like manner with he.iven. and the bodies which are bom therefrom arc at once 
bodies and not bodies, compact and not compact, permeable like water, >ct not water, perspicuous and impalpable as air, 
yet not air. Such a body is the sun, such i> the moon, and such are the other stars. He.iven is without complexion and 
the element of fire, and the matrix out of which fire is generated and grows. For as fire has a certain corporality, so 
have heaven and the stars, which take their nature and substance from he.iyen. Consider, therefore, that such corporality 
is derived from heaven, the peculiar quality thereof, and the very element of fire ; and whatsoever fire is about to do. 
the s.ime is performed liy heaven, whence fire proceed-^. But wc must make inquiry cjnccrning the colour of he.iven. 

2 20 Tilt Hermetic and Alchciiiical Writings of Paracelsus. 

character. Hut as to the winds, the following is the received theory. The 
stars have their own emunctories, by means of which they excrete those 
things produced in them to wliich the emunctories refer. The duration of the 
wind is as long as that required for the purpose of emptying. The stars 
Zedoch perform this process of emptying every day, and raise up winds in 
the world for moderating the heat of the sun and dispersing the cold in the 
frigid portions of the eartli. They mitigate both heat and cold, and are the 
most perfect moderators of summer and of winter alike. A\'hen these winds 
do not obviate such a result chaos is frozen just Hke water. The reason why 
water is frozen is that the winds of Zedoch do not penetrate it. They penetrate 
chaos, and therefore do not allow it to be frozen. There is wo other use of 
winds except to mitigate each season of the year, and to moderate their 
excesses, which might otherwise do damage. 

The common i-jature of all the stars comprised in the sky and the firnia- 
ment is that, every day, nay, every hour and moment, they exude. For the 
stars attract to themselves the heat of the sun, just as the fruits of the earth 
absorb the same. The solar heat causes the stars to be resolved from their 

That of e.-irth tends towards black. Whatsoever is of another colour therein belongs to muiera. So water has its ow n 
colour alike through all things. Its colour, however, has no name, for it is neither white, nor grey, nor blue, nor 
gree;i, and yet it can be called all these. Earth, too, is really neither black nor purple, and yet up to a certain point it 
corresponds with both. The case is the same with air. wliich is pure and pellucid in chaos, and yet is neither white, 
nor blue, nor citrine, etc., while it is still p^tially assimilated to these. So also heaven has its special colour- like blue, 
like red, like green, and yet none of the^^e colours is present therein otlierwise than apparently. For elementary bodies 
are so formed as to have no perfect coloijr by which they may be named. But the things which are produced from them 
have their distinct, determinate colours, and to these names can be given. Thus, many colours are produced from the 
elements, and they are therefore composed of many, even of tliat number winch they prodnce from themselves. From 
the earth proceed blue, red, black, etc., while from water all colours come forth, and so also from air and heaven. Accord- 
ingly, colours are collected from many into one, lieaped together and mixed, and such mixture produces no express, 
determinate, and dennite colour. Give heed to an example taken from heaven and its fruits. For ye sec that everything 
which grows from the earth has its palpable foot and root, as are trees and herbs, etc. lint the stars are the fruits of heaven, 
yet they do not put forth their roots in heaven, for they stand innnovable below the heaven, without any support or attach- 
ment. Larth and heaven are opposite in this respect - one yields its fruits with roots, the other without; one tends 
upwards, the other downwards, and as fishes rest upon nothing, and. without feet, swim about in the water, so in like 
manner, stars swim about in the heaven, that is, in the body of heaven, preserving that order which God has prescribed 
them, some moving at a liigcr.soine at alower,level,at different distances apart, and with a quicker or slower motion. The 
details of this question must be referred to astronomers, but this, at least, should be remembered, that he.avcn is a body 
which, like water, is capable of sustaining a swimming tiling, yet it is not water, but dry, while that which floats in it 
is also dry. It is not strictly swimming, but has analogy therewith ; it is not going or running, since it is not effected 
by hands or feet ; it is the miraculous work of God, and an element which contains and includes all the rest, and drives 
them in a round or a circle. The stars were born from heaven, and stand therein as if they flew like a bird through the 
air, according to the order and circle, even as God has destined and formed them to motion. Having been once formed, 
they henceforth remain for ever the same. The trees and fruits of the earth fall and are re-born. The stars can 
perish once only, namely, at the end of the world. Whatever else is formed in the elements is eaten away by mould, 
moth, and death. It is only the st.ars of the celestial heaven which remain in immunity, and yet their fruits rise and fall, 
as rain, snow, etc. But they have a unique and special colour, which is fiery. Thus, earth chiefly displays greenness, , 
though it has .also other colours. The sun is peculiar in colour, .and if the same be igneous, it is not after the manner 

of wood, but of an element Wc must repeat concerning fire that it has been enumerated as one of the 

elements, but with manifest absurdity. The earth, indeed, exhibits itself as an element, water in like manner, and 
so also air. But consider the fourth element. This cannot be fire, for it confers nothing elemental and no fruits upon 
man, nor does it possess any affinity with man, or vice vcrsny but it has an altogether fatal power, whereby the soul is 
separated from the body. It is, therefore, necessary- that heaven should be regarded as the fourth element, for this is 
akin to man, nor can man dispense therewith, he can dispense with fire and can live without it. The possibility 
of his dispensing with fire shews that it is not an element, but such rather is heaven which brings forth day and 
night, summer and winter, increasing all fruits, and helping the other elements. The Scripture states that God created 
tJic heaven and the earth first. In heaven are the other elements, and even as the jar is m.ide ready before the wine is 
pressed out, so the clement of he.ivcn is in reality the first element, which we ha%e here named for the fourth. — / ihcr 
AU'tcoriiHiy c. I. 

Concerning the Generations of th(^ Elements. 221 

frigfidit}'. This resolution is one and the same with that of a cold stone, 
which exudes on account of the vapour which it has acquired from Mercury, 
Sulpluir, and Salt. That vapour exists in all elementatcd bodies. For as 
man, by natural exercise and the process of excretion, purges the phlejjm 
from his nostrils, so do the stars also and all the elements undergo these 
excretions. This vapour flows down every day from the stars, and falls on the 
earth. During the day it is consumed by the sun. But by night it glides 
down to the earth before the sun rises, and is called dew. Through the 
winter, or during a cold autumn, it is frozen, and becomes hoar-frost. This 
is nothing else than the exudation of the stars in the whole firmament, which 
thus falls drop by drop. For as boiling water evaporates upwards towards 
the skv, or sends its dew on high, so the stars send their exudation down- 

CoxcrRNiNG Nnnui-.E. 

Nebula is nothing else but a vapour of this kind, differing from the 
former only in this, that while not yet quite matured, it is excreted by certain 
stars. When it falls to the earth like hoar-frost, it rests on the earth and the 
water, and is like smoke. It cannot be completely resolved into hoar-frost or 
dew. A certain part of the vapour passes into dew, the rest into nebula. 
Nebula is imperfect dew which has not yet fully matured. If it is thin it falls 
to the earth and vanishes. But if it is dense, but not yet prepared, it 
descends to a higher region of its own, where it is consumed by the sun. 
If, however, it be mixed with rain-clouds, then rain' is produced from it, but 
of a more subtle kind than other rain. \'ery often nebulae of this nature 
descend and produce a spell of rainy weather. F"or if the stars are rainy 
they cannot be resolved into dew, but only into nebula. But if sometimes 
they bring clear weather, the cause is that the nebula, being more subtle 
in its preparation, disappears on the surface of the globe.* 

• Earth is LLick, gross rough, clayey, impure, dirty, and nothing could be cruder. Water is more subtle, pure, 
and clear, so that the eye can penetrate far into its depths. The air is completely pellucid and intangible, so per- 
fectly puri^ed that nothing foreign can be seen in it. Heaven is, however, by far superior to the air, but, though it 
is the clearest of all the elements, it is yet a body, which is proved by the fact that its fruits arc bodies, such as rain, 
snow, hail, the thundcrlwlt, etc., for a body can only be generated from a body. But inasmuch as the heaven is more 
subtle than the earth, so .are its fruits in comp.arison. and not only in subtlety but in operation. We have said enough 
of the he.aven, but there remains something to be imparted concerning the st.ars and their risings. The stars bear the 
same relation to the sky as do trees to earth. But whereas trees have their roots in the earth, the stars are without 
foundation in heaven. The reason is this : trees do not need to be removed from the place where they are planted, but 
the stars must describe their orbit, for which reason they are separated from the heaven, while at the same time they 
are in the heaven. .-Vt the same lime, they do not remove from their own mansions any more than the tree from its 
garden. Now. so often as there is a new genus among trees, there is likewise a new genus among stars. The s.ime 
must be understood of herbs and all things that grow on the earth. Growing things correspond exactly to the number 
of influences and stars. Every genus corresponds to its like. But as some trees produce pears and others apples, so 
some stars yield rain, others snow, hail, etc., and in this fashion is generated whatsoever falls from heaven. The 
qualities which are specialised on earth exist more strongly in the heaven, liecause that element is superior to earthly 
things. And .as the magnet attracts towards itself, so also the stars attract in the heaven. Accordingly, as certain 
natures on earth are dr>' and others humid, so throughout the whole firm.ament some stars are drier than others. Con- 
cerning the operations of the stars, they are produced out of congenital properties, and they arise from the three prime 
principles. That meteorology is false which makes absurd statements about the heat of the sun, of its motion, or other 
modes of generation, m.ade by attr.action from the earth. There is no star which attfacts rain, and then again pours 
it down. The operation of rain proceeds from a nature congenital thereto. Even summer and winter are produced 
from the stars, the sun l)cing supreme among thost- dfthe rnlorific kind, which arise at the l>eg!nninc of summer, and 


Concerning Metals.* 

^y^HE metals which come from the upper regions derive their origin from 
J^ the seven planets. But these planets are manifold. There are many 
suns, many moons, many Marses, Mercuries, Jupiters, and Saturns. 
They are only called seven because they produce seven metals, and one kind of 
metal is ascribed to each planet. Those are not planets which the astronomers 
point out ; and they are in error when they assign these to the metals : nor 
are they unanimous among themselves in v/hat they do say. From these seven 
kinds of planets proceed the seven metals, and they are the same In the first 
three, just as in the element of water. The only difference is that in the first 
three they are volatile, not fixed, in their species. In this way the metals 
which are found do not stand the test of the lower metals. Neither, again, do 
the lower metals stand the test of the superior ones. There is not one and 

are strengthened by their own heat till they reach the supreme grade, when again they gradually fail. Then the 
winter stars rise in their turn, display their own nature, afterwards die out, and are succeeded by another summer. 
The varying cold of winter and the varj'ing heat of summer are occasioned by mutations in the potency of the 
respective stars. The moon is chief among the stars of winter, and is furnished with no small escort. Were the 
summer stars to fail, there would be no summer, for the sun, whether high or low, dispenses an even heal. Unless, 
therefore, the summer stars were to arrive, perpetual winter would prevail. The summer stars, however, derive their 
increment from the sun. So, also, we must not assign a diverse origin to day and night. The day arises from the 
light of the sun, but the night from the light of the moon. The dep.^rture of the sun by no means causes night. It Is 
the peculiar nature of certain stars to produce darkness, which is so gross tliat unless the moon interfered with her 
presence, nothing whatever would be \isiblc. Such a course, therefore, has God imposed upon the stars, that, going 
round the whole firmament, they retain their order and continual progress. For lest they should cease, or have a 
general holiday, God ha,> ordained that when some are absent, others arc present to fulfil their operations. So the 
nocturnal stars t.ike the place of the receding sun. The bodies of the three prime principles arc the cause of those 
bodies whence day and night proceed. Tlic sun is a perspicuous and diaphanous salt, clarified and extracted from 
these principles, being purified from all obscurity. Its brilliancy has been extracted from the mass of the first 
matter of heaven. And whereas that is a white brilliancy which has been digested into the sun, so has a red into the 
moon and stars. The transparency and perspicuity of the white were extracted in sulphur, salt, and liquor, to make 
the sun thereof. Afterwards the brilliance of the red was put into a body of sulphur. Thus salt is the body of the 
sun, sulphur that of the moon, while liquor is the body of darkness. -Jpid., c. 3. 

' Metallic natures also subsist in the element of fire, for as in hctvcn there arc stones, so also there arc metals, but 
differentiated beyond all recognition from those of earth. Fiery tlnniderbolts, with their corruscalions. are only 
metals, harder than all iron or steel, fluxiblc as copper, mixed with colours, and formed like a thunderbolt. Their fall 
is solely owing to some miraculous conjunction of elements, which produces them in bodily form. Many marvellous 
matters are carried up into the heaven and fall down to us. If it were possible for the stars of mercurj-, salt, and 
sulphur to be joined in a like copulation, several impressions of this kind would fall hourly. I'ut ilie disposition of 
things is not favourable herein. e.\rept in the c.^'^e of ih? thunderbolt.— ZJri' Mi-tccn's, I,ib. II. 

Concerning the Generations of the Elements. 22-^ 

the same ductility, or fliixibility, or hardness in the one as in the other. 
Neither are they uniform in colour ; there is a distinct difference in them. So, 
again, there is a volatile nature of this kind in the element of fire, which is the 
metallic operation and nature of all the seven stars, which also falls down from 
them to the earth at the same time, just like rain and similar effluxes. Many 
such metals lie under their own stars, some in .Asia, a few in .Africa, and fewer 
still in Europe. These stars do not reach our earth, so that these meials are not 
found amongst us. .All those grains, however, which are among the seven 
metals, and are rough in external appearance, come down from the stars, and 
not from the element of water. And all the metals which are coagulaled- 
without fire, and are rounded in shape like pulse, of whatever kind they are, 
have come down from the seven stars, whether they lie above them or not ; 
and the earth strikes against them just as rivers do. But where they are 
found is neither their source nor their root, but they come forth just like 
kidneys. Their origin is in the stars, and all have come down from thence. 
For there, in the element of fire, is no rudeness or density to mix itself up. It 
purges itself according to its own stars, and coagulates of itself purely and 
entirely. These metals, just like those in the element of water, exist in com- 
mixture with Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, save that the igneous metals have 
not a watery fixation, just as the aqueous metals have not a firmamental 

TEXT li. 

When, then, the three primals have completed their effect in the metallic 
star — as when, in the star of the sun, a composition has been formed of the 
Mercury of the sun with the solar Sulphur and Salt, then they are digested 
into a perfect metal, by .Adech, who shapes therefrom the form of his own gift. 
Then at length the star throws off its efflux, warm and liquefied, as if from 
some furnace. This is shaken in falling, is coagulated in the cold, and lights 
upon the globe. In the same way, also, the star of the moon makes a compo- 
sition of Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt. When these are brought to their effect 
(just as in the case of the sun) it casts them forth. The same thing takes place 
with Saturn, Mars, \'enus, Mercury, and Jupiter. It must be remarked, how- 
ever, that out of the seven kinds of the seven stars, each one embraces the 
three primals of one metal ; not as in the element of water, where in one Ares 
the seven are latent. The names of the seven metals, therefore, bear reference 
to the seven metals not of the earth but of the stars In the same way, too, 
many liquids fall down from the stars, being not yet m a state of coagulation. 
If the earth be moistened with these, a brightness rises thence like cachimiae, 
talcs, and sometimes marcasites, though it does not fully and perfectly arise 
from any of these, nor perfectly bears reference to the same. Hence it will be 
inferred that the superior metals excel those of the lower earth by many 
degrees, in goodness, in purity, and in nature, and so in all respects deserve 
greater praise. 

3 24 Tlic Hervietic and Alchonical IV) ifiiis^s of Parace/sits. 


Concerning Stones from Above.* 

In the same way there are also other stars which cast forth from them- 
selves gems, granates, and other forms of stones. For Sulphur, Salt, and 
Mercury in the element of fire possess a powerful force for generating gems. 
There are many stars which consist of ruby Sulphur, many of sapphire Salt, 
and many which are powerful in emerald Mercury. There are also stars 
which contain the primals of copper, vitriol, salt, or alum. Hence, many of 
this kind appear rainy. If these are prepared they manifest themselves; 
From these stars are generated sapphires of lazurium. There, Salt is the 
body, solidly coagulated with pure Sulphur and with the spirit of Mercury. 
In the emerald Mercury is the body, having the nature but not the body of 
copper. It has its colour but not its body from copper. In this way, all the 
colours of gems which proceed from fire are found in proportion to the nature 
and condition of the three primals which are found united in the ratio of 
colours in the metals. For instance, in copper there is redness. But these 
three primals, if they have not a metallic bod}-, become green. So, from 
silver, if the metallic body be wanting, lazurium is produced ; from iron, a red 
body ; from lead, the same ; from Jupiter, a clay-coloured one mixed with 
wliite ; from gold, a purple body ; from mercury, one that is saffron-coloured. 
In like manner, also, if only the Salt predominates, it produces various 
colours, such as are conspicuous in certain stones, purple or blue, either 
lightly or deeply impressed. Equally, too, that which comes only from 
Mercury is marked by many colours, saffron, red, etc. That which is from 
Sulphur has for its prevailing colours, white, red, saflVon, black, ccerulean, "'•Z 
and so on. These stones are ver)' rare, and those which are of a metalliir 
nature are exceedingly precious. Thus, the emerald is a copper stone ; the 
carbuncle or jasper is a golden stone ; the ruby and chalcedony are iron 
stones ; the sapphire lazurius is a silver stone ; the white sapphire is a stone 
of Jupiter; the jacinth is a mercurial stone. After this manner, then, stones 
are generated in their own stars, which closely adjoin the planets, and then 
are ejected, just as metals are ejected, and so are found in the ftiest parts of 
the earth, according to the ratio of their generation. 

• In the heigtit of ihe firm.-inicnt stand tlie tliree principles from which impressions arise. These are so high and 
so lofty that we cannot behold their form, and yet they have a form. We see. however, the green which is their 
colour. Hence it is gathered that in the element of fire generations of stone also take place. But where stones are 
generated thoy fall. Although this be considered wonderful, rare, and unheard of, it more frequently happens in the 
sea than with us. The generations of these stones take place .is follows. If the piinciples of thunderhohs arc present, 
any number of thunderbolts may be generated, for with every there is a stone. The matter of such stones exists 
first of all in an .tcrial condition, and is afterwards coagulated into an earthy one, so that the air can retain them no 
longer, and they ultimately fall to the earth. Furthermore, the matter of these stones may collect into one place in the 
absence of any tempest, but it will remain aerial until it comes in cont.act with a contrary nature, when it will at once 
Ivcgin to coagulate and to fall, even as a clot^d is precipitated downward in the form of ra\n.—IHd, 

Concerning the Generations of the Elements. 225 


Concerning Crystals and Beryls. 

Of crystals and beryls it should be known that they are generated from 
the snowy stars, which produce snow, in the following manner : In the snowy 
stars, the power of congelation is so strong that sometimes they are of a 
double nature ; that is, one and the same star contains within it both snow 
and congelation, and so becomes twofold. Now, a star of this nature, which 
has gained at the same time the power of congealing and also of producing 
snow, easily generates the crj-stal, the citrine, and the beryl. For, if snow 
falls, and frost accompanies it, and, moreover, a place be given to him on the 
globe where Boreas predominates, while the sun or the solar nature does not 
prevail strongly, then the water which is in combination with the snow is 
coagulated into a stone. Now, if this water is caught by an intense frost 
midway, while the snow is falling, stones are formed from it before they fall 
on the globe. Thus, large or small granules are found in proportion as the 
frost has caught the snow in falling. But, if this seizing has not been so 
sudden, the frost collects and drives together all the water contained in the 
snow, which, however, is not itself snow, into one centre towards the bottom 
of the earth, and when it is massed there, coagulates it into ice. This, 
however, does not again liquefy like other frozen bodies, nor is it dissolved, 
and that because it is derived from snow-water. Other waters, it is true, 
which are frozen, are partly snowy, but the snow is dissolved with them. 
Here, this should not take place, but the water is extracted from the snow. 
The fact that the snow remains, happens only through the snowy star, 
wherein, also, the power of congelation subsists, so, that, wherever they meet 
in one place on the earth, the snow is not liquefied, but goes on to the end of 
the intention or operation. In snows of this kind arje produced stones, such 
as crystals and the like, pure and dark together, for this reason, because S.S. 
of Mercury and Salt have clarified and purified themselves. Very often, too, 
crystals, beryls, and citrines of this sort, are found in places which are not 
snowy. The reason of this is, that they have been coagulated in the higher 
regions and have fallen down in that form. They are nothing but coagulated 
snow-water. But their shape and species and angularity are bestowed upon 
that in proportion as the Salt in them exists in a subtle or a dense state. 


Concerning the Element of Earth. 

Concerning the Earth, Per Se. 

TO philosophise concerning the element of earth, its matter was first 
made on the following principle : Its three primals were separated, as 
if out of the great Iliaster, from the two primal elements into another 
form and nature, so that in the beginning not only the element of earth, 
but the element of water was segregated, and these were after\vards joined 
together into one globe, which is the centre of the exterior elements. From 
these two elements, first the earth was completed, afterwards the water. But 
concerning the earth, it should be known that all the force and nature which 
lay hid in the Great Iliaster for nourishing not only man, but cattle, by means 
of food and other necessaries, were collected into the element of earth, and 
consisted of all trees, herbs, and other growths. But they were so divided 
from the other three elements that this virtue exists in the element of earth 
alone, and not in any other element. Therefore this Iliaster is peculiar to the 
element of earth so as to afford aliment. For this cause the earth is called, 
and is, an element, because therein consist all the force and power of nourish- 
ing things which are due to living beings. 


These three — Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury — are the earth, taken out of 
the great Iliaster, out of that nature which is the element of earth. For 
there the element and the three others were one Iliaster, in which the four 
elements existed. They were, however, divided one from the other, and the 
Iliaster was divided. Nevermore, then, can the four elements from hence- 
forth be joined or stand together, but each subsists separately by itself in its 
own place. Those, therefore, labour in vain who endeavour to separate the 
four elements, or to seek besides these a fifth essence. 

Concerning the Gerierations of the Elements. 227 

From these three primals, disjoined from the other elements, was the 
matter of the earth produced, in such form as it now is and is seen. And as 
the air was made heaven, the fire, the firmament, the water, the sea, etc., so 
did separation bring it about that this element should pass into matter and 
end in a globular form, and that in it should be included all the virtues of 
trees, herbs, fungi, so that from it should be procreated in the world all those 
genera which had been silently sown and had lain hid within it. 


In this element of earth was hidden the seed of wood, of roots, of herbs, 
of fungi, and also the force whereby the stem rises, and is formed and planted 
according to the will and pleasure of its cultivator. The seed is here 
invisibly proceeding from the nature of the element, which alone is that seed, 
as the abode and seat of the same, in which it is elaborated and prepared. 
But originally that force is separated into its own genus, so that the two do 
not remain joined in one, but each genus exists solely and separately, one in 
wood, a second in the herb, a third in fungus. Each of these, again, passes 
separately, this into cedar, that into anthos, this, again, into balsam, and that 
into botin.* Of herbs, too, one passes into mcligia, another into a lily with 
thorns — and so with the rest. But in order that this seed may be rightly 
understood according to its distribution, it should be remarked that in the 
separation of the great Aniadus the nature of trees was collected into one 
place, botin into a second, and ebony into a third. So, too, with others. 
Equally, too, the great Aniadus so disposed of herbs that into one portion 
of earth was cast grass, into a second trefoil, and into a third lavendula. 
For so to each land is given its own herb, and its own tree. We should 
pay attention to what has been the distribution made by the Aniadus. 


.As to why the .Aniadus thus fell among trees so that in one soil should 
be produced the orange, in a second the plum, in a third the fig, and in a 
fourth acorns, the cause may be supposed to have been that the fig and the 
orange require their soil to be of a peculiar kind which should be favourable 
to their increase, just as they also require an appropriate climate. If now the 

* In the botin, the pine, and the fir, there exist two kinds of sulphur — one passes away into coagulation, the other 
is sep.iratcd therefrom, and is not coagulated. From the sulphur which is su^eptible of coagulation, the wood of the 
trees is prepared, and the some abounds in salt. It is owing to this sulphur that wood bums, and it goes on burning so 
long as there is sulphur in it. Whatsoever remains is s,ilt, and this is in the form of ashes. .\nd that truly is salt which 
the sulphur in trees coagulates into wood, whence glass is made. For salt is fluid. And this glass is the ultimate matter 
of any salt of wood whatsoever. But the other sulphur which is not susceptible of coagulation gives terebinth, resin of the 
fir and pine, which inheres chiefly in the wood, and by reason of its subtlety penetrates through the pores outside the 
bark, either by liquefaction or by a natural resolution. The sulphur which is in botin is more subtle than the sulphurs of 
the fir or pine, while that of the pine is more subtle than that of the fir. But all three are of one generation, proceeding 
from the ^Vniadus. which is united through Mercurj-. The bark is nothing else but sulphur coagulated after the manner 
of resin, and it is educed into this form by the .\niadus. For it is a hard congealed sulphur. And as there is no outside 
in any body without hardness, so is the bark formed from the hardest parts of the sulphur which exists in a growing 
thing. The branches, the shoots, etc., as also the fruits, proceed, in like manner, from the .Aniadus, and derive their 
special form and character therefrom. This is to be understood also concerning other trees. — De Ettmtnto Terra, 
Tract 11.. Tex I. 


2 28 The Hermetic and Alchemical Wi-itings of Paracelsus. 

soil be unsuitable and the climate ill-adapted, the one fruit or the other cannot 
emerge, but its seed of necessity perishes and never bursts forth. For though 
it be present there and lie in the earth, it is, nevertheless, dried up by the 
climate and oppressed by the unfavourable constitution of the soil, which is 
varied by the variety of the climate, not by its own nature. For the soil is 
everywhere one; but varietj' and change accrue to it from the climate, which 
either encourages or impedes the growths themselves. The sun burns up the 
genus of lilies, or some other genus ; but this rarely happens, for the seed is 
ready to hand, which Nature produces from the tree or flower. This material 
seed is the cause why the sun cannot burn up the whole genus of this or that 
flower or tree, but allows it to come to a condition of vigour : unless perchance 
it happens that the force of the sun is less than suffices for fertility. Thus in 
the work of planting, herbs and trees are produced which, on account of the 
aforesaid defect in the soil, would not otherwise be forthcoming. 


But we must proceed with our philosophy of the earth. The fruits pro- 
ceeding from the element of earth are twofold. The earth either produces them 
of itself or by means of seed. In this way all growths are produced by the 
element out of the soil in two wa3's ; that is to say, either from the proper seed 
of the soil, or from seed entrusted to the earth. The proper seed is when the 
earth puts forth a herb which springs from itself. Seed that is sown is foreign 
and not proper. Here the gifts of herbs are twofold. Neither spelt, nor 
wheat, nor lily, nor pear-tree, nor anything of this kind, grows spontaneously 
out of the earth, but all have to be sown. Here the philosophy of this treatise 
is deep, to find out whence come those seeds which do not issue from the earth 
itself. If neitTier spelt nor wheat be sown, none of these things will be pro- 
duced. But herbage and grass do grow. Herbage and grass, therefore, are 
growths of the earth itself, not like apple trees and cherry trees. So there 
remains another philosophy by which we learn whence are produced spelt, 
whence apple trees and pear trees. You must know that the seeds of all these 
growths are propagated from Paradise, sown outside it, then planted and cul- 
tivated far and wide. These fruits of Paradise come to be understood in the 
same way as we understand that Christ was God and yet a mortal man. 


As to the method whereby the seed passes into its shoot, it must be 
known that the seed takes from the earth nothing more than its increment 
and formative power. The other is from Paradise, and is taught in the 
Paramirum.* But as to how much of an element is taken from the earth, 

• Everj' seed is threefold ; is, the seed is one, but three substances exist and grow therein. But even as the 
seed appears one, so are these three to be understood as one only. Ever>' thing is united in its seed, and 
not divided, but the same is a conjunction of unity. , An illustration may be t.tken from trees, which have their bark, 
their wood, and their roots, which are distinct in themselves, and yet co-exist in a single sttd.— Paramirufn , 
Lib. II., c. I. 

Concerning the Generations of the Elements. 229 

that may be understood from the fact that in the beginning the three primals 
of the earth mix with the seed, so that it tends towards the end destined 
for it, and becomes that which it is before. For the seed is that which is of 
itself, but not yet manifested. Out of this proceeds first the root ; from this, 
afterwards, the stalk. From the root and stalk issue forth the branches. 
From these three burst out the leaves. After this appear the flowers and 
fruits. This shoot or growth is formed by the great Aniadus, and is like a 
man. It has its skin, which is the bark. It has its head and hair, which 
are the root. It has its figure, its signs, its mind, its sense in the stalk, 
the lesion whereof is followed by death. Its leaves and flowers and fruit are 
for ornament, as in man hearing, vision, and the power of speech. Gums are 
its excrement, and the parasite is its disease. Philosophise as we will about 
its growth, this is nothing more than its Aniadic nature, which arranges all 
forms and directs them into their essence for which they were created. Its 
death and passing away are the period of its years. A pear-tree will stand 
for ten or twenty years. After that time it dies. Thus a shoot or a tree 
growing in the earth dies according to the time appointed for its death. Its 
decay is the element of fire. That is, fire destroys wood, leaves, grass. 
Whatever is left in the field decaying and passing into rottenness is consumed 
by the sun and the movement of the galaxy, so that it is no more left on the 
earth than as though it had never grown there, as happens to wood in the 
fire. Thus are growing things consumed and eaten away so that no relic 
remains, but all are removed like dust. The very remnants are so dispersed 
by a strong wind that not a fragment survives and remains at the expiration 
of a year. 


Since, then, trees, herbs, corn, and vegetables are produced out of the 
earth, the power of this element should before all else be learnt : because 
some growing things are food and aliment, as vegetables and fruits ; others 
are drink, as grapes and berberis ; others purge the body, like turbith, hellebore, 
and colocynth ; others strengthen it, as cinnamon, carraways, mace ; others 
have their virtue in the root, as parsnip and gentian ; others in the leaves, as 
pot-herbs and cabbage ; others in the flowers, as ox-tongue ; others in the 
fruits, as apples, pears, etc. ; others in the seeds, as pepper, nuts, and the like. 
Now, it is worth while to know how all these things take place. It is the 
Aniadus of the Earth who thus distributes them. The nutrimental virtues he 
arranges in three parts, the seed, the roots, the extremities. Thus the apple 
is a fruit on the tree because the Aniadus thrusts it forth, and shapes the fruit 
into the form of an apple, or a pear, or a fig, etc. In the nucleus is a species 
of seed, as in wine there is a species of drink. So, then, the Aniadus, before 
man, operates the first preparation, and man directs the second for his own 
convenience. After these, whatever is of a laxative nature degenerates into 
another growth, as into the mountain brook-willow, the rhabarbarus, or 

230 The Hermehc and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

hermodactylos. Whatever is of a sweet nature passes into sugar, foenogrsecum, 
liquorice root and flowers. Hence it is that pears and figs derive their sweet- 
ness, and bees their honey. Bitterness turns to amarissima, warmth to 
pepper and grains of Paradise, coolness into nenuphar and camphor. For 
as in the element of fire everything by itself is divided from another, so also 
the virtue of the element of earth is divided to its own growth. And yet it 
often happens that two or three natures link in a single substance. So in 
cassia there are heat, sweetness, and a laxative nature. In mace there are 
odour, goodness, and strengthening power. Such is the case with many others, 
and yet one does not on that account destroy the other. In the same way the 
power of the element of the earth either makes for health, as in the tare, in 
persica and gamandria : or it is of a consolidating nature, as in the comfrey 
and the red artemisia : or in the odour, as in the lily of the valley and narcis- 
sus : or in its stench, as in the dane-wort. These are all either produced from 
the Aniadus, or distributed for the use of those who live on the earth. In this 
way the mighty gifts are learnt, just as the virtues of the elements 'which have 
flowed down from the great Iliaster. 

* As out of the element of earth trees pass off into wood, so in the same element there is a certain sulphur which 
can be separated and passes off into food. Of this kind are vegetables and cereals. Dry and humid sulphurs .ire 
united, being the three principles duplicated according to nature and essence. One of these is for use, the other is not. 
Thus the avena is sulphur, but it is not edible. The seed, however, is edible. The non-esile sulphur is first of all 
developed into stalk, etc., and subsequently the esile sulphur is collected into the grains of the cereal. — Dc EUmento 
Ttrra, Tract III., Text \. 


Concerning the Element of Water with its Fruits. 


CONCERNING the element of water, the first things to be considered are : 
What is its origin, into what divisions it is broken up, and what the 
element \s per se. The element of water is a seed from Vie, bringing 
forth stalks and fruits, that is, water, and its fruits, such as stones and metals 
of various kinds. Concerning the seed of the element of water, it must be 
laid down that it is latent in its workshop, just as seed lies in the soil. From 
this workshop proceed the stalk and its branches and fruits, in this way. Out 
of this seed is produced the stalk, breaking out of the soil into the light, 
whilst it remains lying in the earth. For, as the element of earth bears its 
fruit in the body of chaos, so, in like manner, the earth is a body, which 
sustains growing things such as trees and fruits from the tree of the element 
of water. There is rio element but requires a body by which it may be 
sustained. Chaos bears impressions. The element of fire sustains the fruits 
of the earth, the earth bears up the fruits of water, the water those of the 
air. Thus, the fruits of each element are borne by some other element. Now, 
as from the seed of the element issues its tree, so its tree is a flowing stream, 
distributed throughout the whole earth. .-Ml things are one tree, with one 
origin, one root, from one stalk. And the streams of the whole globe are the 
branches of this one stalk. All the hugiour of the whole globe is Abrissach, 
which falls down from the branches of this tree, and pervades all the pores of 
the globe with its distillation. For, as the fragments from the fir-trees fall 
down from above to the earth, so these branches from the water fall down 
into the hollows of the earth. In this way takes place the generation of the 
element of water. All the water and all its fruits come forth from the element 
of water ; but they are not the element itself. The element itself is never seen 
by any, and yet, nevertheless, there is an element of water. From it emanates 
nothing but water. It is called an element on account of the water and its 
fruits, not on account of its own complexion and quality, just as is the case 
with the other elements. 

232 The Hermetic and A/c/iemical Wrilings of Paracelsus. 


But concerning' its course and goal, as also its seats and termini, the 
truth is, that the tree has its exit and end of itself, rises and falls, is produced 
and perishes. Thus, all water that flows forth from it is new, not old, and 
was never before seen. For, as the element of water lies in the middle of the 
globe, so, the branches run out from the root in its circuit on all sides towards 
the plains and towards the light. From this root very many branches are 
born. One branch is the Rhine, another the Danube, another the Nile, etc. 
So, there are also smaller branches, all born out of that root which rises from 
the seed, whence proceeds the element of water. And all the stalks belong 
to one tree, which is born of the root along a triple line in the circle of the 
outer firmament of the two elements, fire and air. So, then, the tree is 
distributed by this triple line over the universal globe, tending towards the 
light. So the stalk and its branches grow out from the centre of the globe 
until they reach the two external elements vi'here the line ends. It does not 
go on to its own body, or Yliadum. For, unless the Yliadum were so placed 
in that position, every tree would spring right up to the sky, extending itself 
further outside the earth than from above, where it is fixed in the earth. So, 
neither do the fruits of the element of the earth grow farther than to the 
prescribed limit of the Yliadum, which is the lower chaos of the earth, not 
occupying more of the earth than the height to which growing things rise. 
Chaos, therefore, is twofold. That which is above is the chaos in which fire 
is sustained ; and, unless the Yliadum were opposed, the element of earth 
would extend its fruits to the mid heaven. So, too, the element of water. 
The course and progress of the stalk of the tree is, that it goes on to its 
Yliadum above the plain of the earth, where its height ends. But how far 
it extends since it lies in its Yliadum, this must be sought from philosophj', 
because all the branches reach their Yliadum in the sea, where they ail meet. 
For, as there is one root, so is it compelled to reach one summit or canopy, 
which is the sea. The sea itself is of itself neither the stalk nor the tree, but, 
as it were, the canopy of the stalk, which is not first or proximately born from 
the root, but composed of the branches. Why it is salt, is on account of its 
position and because salt waters flow together into it, as will hereafter be 
shewn where we speak about the subject of salts. The cause of its ebb and 
flow is that all the fruits (or the humours) flow down by night, hut by day 
they swell to a height, that is, clissus. .Xnd this clissus in water is the same 
as in other fruits, increasing and decreasing, going and returning. 


Now, since it is well to know all these things, so their death, that is, 
their consumption, should be understood. Nothing is free from this con- 
sumption. It should be understood, then, that everything, when it comes to 
its Yliadum, is subject to putrefaction and is consumed. Putridity is a kind 
of consumption, and the passing away of that thing to which it appertains. 

Concerning the Generations of the Elements. 233 

so that it is consumed just as if it had never existed. This is the operation of 
its nature. As Nature produces things, so does she again remove them. .As 
the thing proceeds from nothing, so it returns to nothingness again. Hence 
it is clear that the element of water itself is subject to putrefaction or cor- 
ruption. If it comes to its canopy, that is, to the sea, it grows putrid and 
is consumed of itself, no extraneous agency being accessory thereto, but 
through its own nature and arrangement. As the fire consumes and extin- 
guishes itself, so, in like manner, does the water. This is the way, then, in 
which the tree of the element of water and its branches are distributed. 
What fruits lie hid in it remain to be seen, as also concerning their nature 
and the generation of the outgrowths. The nature and property of this 
element is that some of its fruits it bears within itself, others it casts out, 
and some it altogether throws away. It must also be separately learnt con- 
cerning this in how many modes of nature and essence its effluents and 
streams arise. But in order that all things born of water may be under- 
stood in its death, it should be realised that the branches, but not the fruits, 
pass away to their canopies. Concerning the death of fruits it should be said 
that they all flow into Drachum. In that hour they are consumed, as lastly it 
should be understood and held on the subject of Drachum. 


By way of simplifyng any study concerning the origin of fruits, we will 
consider that the following are the fruits of the element of water :* — Salts, 
minerals, gems, and stones. There are, therefore, four kinds of growths out 
of the seed of the element of water, in this way. Sweet water is the stalk. 
.'Afterwards its nature is manifold in the matrix. One matrix is of salt, one of 
minerals, one of gems, and, lastly, one of stones. t Each of these, again, is 
divided in a different way. For instance, there are three fruits of salt— salt, 
vitriol, and alum. And each of these has many genera ranged under it. 
There are many kinds of salt, many of vitriol, many of alum. J Some are 
metals, some marcasites, some cachimise. But even these, again, singly, 
admit of more kinds. There are seven metals, nine marcasites, twelve 

* The fruits of water are bom from the seed of .\res. Archeiu, who is the separator of the elements and of all 
things which lie in them, dindes one thing from the other, and collocates it into its place. In the seed of the element 
of water .\rcheus removes everj'thing, and ordains it into its Nedeon, for the Vliadum of the earth, separates the 
germs of salt from all other natures, and in like manner the germs of sweet water and things which are of an acid 
quality. When he has divided these things and educed them into Nedeon, the operation of Nedeon goes on into 
Vliadum. together with its maturation to which it is ordained. — Z?^ EUmento Agtux. s. v. De G^ruribus Salium. c. t. 

t Metals, minerals, and stones, while they are all generated out of water, do yet owe their development and per- 
fection to the element of earth. There is a twofold corruption of these substances— one which results from a too 
prolonged connection with the foreign element, and the proper corruption which takes place in their own element, even 
as the fruit at List passes into putrefaction on its own tree. — De Natiirtuibus Aquit, Lib. III. 

J For example, the origin of vitriol, as also of alum, is as follows. For as salt is extracted solely according to its 
own essence, so also are separated vitriol and alum. But the form which is manifested in salt, even as in vitriol and 
alum, is known from this, that all the fruits of the element of water are minerals, and share the nature of metals. 
But from all those things which arise out of salts, none is more akin to mineral virtue than vitriol, because the salts are 
minerals, and all minerals lie hidden in one mx'^ and Ares. But vitriol is the ultimate in the separation of minerals. 
It is followed as closely as possible by the separation of metals, of which Venus b the first. Hence vitriol adheres 
to the nature of Venus. It is partly salt and partly mineral. So in every vitriol there is copper, and by reason of this 

234 ^'^''^ Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

cachimiae. So in turn every metal by itself is manifold : as fixed gold and 
not fixed, fixed silver and not fixed, and Venus is both copper and zinc. Such 
also is the case with the others. So there is a vast variety of marcasites and 
cachimiae. As to their origin and progress, their autumn and the rest— as, 
for example, their harvest and ingathering — suffice it to say that all the fruits 
proceeding from the element of water are divided into their branches and 
trees. So salt has its own mode of egress, together with sweet waters, 
even to the boundary of its Yliadum. The same is the case with the rest. 
But with regard to their division and separation, all such fruits consist of one 
root, out of which each nature is separately born according to its condition. 
So from one seed is born one tree, and in this the wood, the bark, the fruit, 
the leaves are all separate, yet all are but one tree. So also from one root 
innumerable fruits are produced, but each fruit passes to its own Yliadum 
and triple line, as the founder has arranged. If, therefore, the distribution 
proceeds in this way, from Yle into its own stalk, and fruit is produced after 
its kind, then different things are found proceeding from the element of water 
— on one stalk salt, on a second a mineral, on a third something else. As, 
therefore, in the earth every seed produces its own fruit, so the seed of water 
is the seed of numberless things springing forth from it. Now, if these are 
brought to their Yliadum, and await their autumn-tide, then at length the 
autumn and harvest come for the fruit of every branch, which fruit is in 
itself of this autumn-tide and this generation. 

metallic affinity vitriolic salt is of venereal nature. Copper, in like manner, is combined with vitriol. Indeed, its 
generation instructs us that it is wholly vitriol. At the same time vitriol in itself remains a salt, and derives its body 
from the liquor of the metals. For this reason it acquires a certain fiery quality and brilliancy. .'Mumen, on the other 
hand, by no means affinity with metals, but is a free salt, consisting solely of acetosity, and having a body which is 
devoid of earthy quality, unlike vitriol, which arises solely from a permixture of metallic bodies. Hence it exhibits a 
similitude with marcasites and cachimix, which come forth in the first generation of metals. The medium which unifies 
and conglutinates copper with vitriol is a phlegma. — De EUmente Aqua, s. v. />«- Getieribjts Satium. 

Here ends the Philosophy of the Gener.\tio\ of Elements. 



[In the Geneva folio of 1658, which is by far the largest, as it is also the 
best, collected edition of the works of Paracelsus, there are many treatises 
included which conspicuously overlap each other ; and further, there are many 
treatises, independent in themselves, which are devoted to precisely the same 
subjects. For example, the Philosophla Sagax occupies, and at equal length, 
a similar ground to the Explicatio Totiits Aslronomice, and the latter is 
substantially identical with another astronomical interpretation included in 
this translation. It is much after the same manner that the Economy of 
Minerals corresponds to the Liber Mineralitim, but, having regard to the 
metallurgical importance which, from the Hermetic standpoint, attaches to 
both these works, it has been thought well to include in an appendix the 
treatise which here follows.) 


SINCE I have considered well beforehand, and come to the resolution of 
writing about minerals in general, all that relates to minerals, and 
everything bearing on the generation and nature of minerals, I would 
have you know before all else, that not a few persons have the priority of 
myself in publishing on the origin of minerals. When I read their works, I 
found that they were involved in many errors. As far as one can judge from 
their writings, they have never fully understood what the ultimate matter was. 
Now, if the ultimate matter be not understood, what, pray, will happen to the 
first matter? Whoever can describe the beginning will probably be certain 
about the end and ultimate. W'hat is a theologian who is ignorant of the 
end? What is an astronomer who is full of boasting, indeed, but without 
experience of light? Since, then, these authors are detected as in a state of 
hallucination about the end, that is, the ultimate matter, how will they be 
more worthy of credit about the beginning? I repudiate their writings and 
their letters ; this is not the foundation. But, in order that you may have 
proof positive in a short space as to my possessing much greater dexterity for 
writing about this matter than those my predecessors had, I will first of all 
explain to you the ultimate matter of minerals, so that you may plainly know- 
on what basis I treat this subject, and hence may more rightly understand 

238 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

what is the beginning. It is necessary that a physician should first be familiar 
with the disease with which he has to deal ; when he knows this, the method 
of treatment will spontaneously unfold itself. But to know a disease is the 
end, not the beginning. The art resides in the departure, not in the entrance. 
The entrance is dark and dubious ; the issue is evident. In this knowledge 
lies hid. I point out this, therefore, as the foundation, namely, that every 
matter must be thoroughly known at its commencement, so that it may also 
be more exactly understood for what purpose the matter has been framed. 
Now, if man ought to lay out before himself the works of God, and rightly 
use them, it is necessary that they should not be hidden from him ; otherwise 
he will be sure to abuse them. What good is an axe to a person who is 
ignorant of its purpose ? Let him hand it over to one who knows all about it. 
In the same way, whatever God has created ought to be in the hands of a 
man who knows how he ought to employ it. Men should know and learn 
these things, not mere trifles and phantoms conjured up by the devil. 

But when I propose to write about the origin of minerals, I shall do this 
not of myself, but from my experience, and by means of him from whom I 
m)self received it. What I said in my first paragraph, I here repeat, namely, 
that the last must be known before the first, and from the last the first should 
be understood. I make this clear from the example of Christ, who was not 
understood until He sent the Holy Spirit, who, at His coming, revealed all 
things. By Him we understand Christ, though He came after Christ. So, 
from the same ultimate, that is, by the Holy Spirit, we now understand both 
the Father and the Son. 

Now this fits in exactly with the philosophy of minerals, because the 
ultimate matter is made up of those things which teach the beginning of their 
mother, or of their birth. From them this birth must be understood. Already 
in other philosophic paragraphs I have named these three substances. Sulphur, 
Salt, and Mercury, as being the principle of all those things which spring from 
four matrices, that is, the four elements. In the generation of minerals it is 
necessary to explain that iron, steel, lead, emerald^ sapphire, flint, duelech, 
etc., are nothing else than Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury. Everything produced 
by Nature is frail and corruptible, and it can be ascertained by Art from what 
it has issued forth. And here is a proof from Nature, since those three 
substances just spoken of are in the air, no less than in other things, such as 
fire, balsam, mercury, etc. If, by the aid of Art you resolve steel, gold, pearls, 
or corals, you will still find Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury. When these are 
extracted by Art, nothing more of that mineral remains, but all is dissolved. 
Seeing, then, that the dissolution of substances reveals particularly what they 
are, and what is in them, you can gather that those things are three, namely. 
Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury. These three are the body, and everywhere there 
is one body and three substances. Concerning these three substances I will 
now begin my teaching, by which you may know that in the ultimate matter 
there are three substances, neither more nor fewer, and out of these three all 

A Book about Minerals. ■ 239 

minerals have been formed. Furthermore, how God created Nature shall also 
be stated. On this basis nothing shall be found lacking. 

In the beginning it pleased God to make one element — water — whereinto 
He infused the power of generating minerals, so that they might forthwith 
grow, and thus adapt themselves to human needs. Water, I say. He destined 
for this office, that it should be the Matrix of the Metals, by means of these 
three substances spoken of — namely, Fire, Salt, and Mercury. In this 
arrangement so much foresight and discrimination were observed that from 
the one element of water were produced metals, gems, stones, and all minerals. 
And though the fruit be unlike its parent, so God willed that each should be 
produced according to its own nature. One is a bird of the air, another a fish 
in the water. .And just as these differ one from the other, so do the natures of 
other created things. All these depend on the power of God, who willed that 
His good pleasure should be fulfilled in them. 

Now, it should first of all be realised that the element of water is the 
mother of all minerals, though water itself is utterly unlike these. So also is 
the earth related to wood, though earth is not wood. Nevertheless, wood 
comes from it. In the same way, stone, iron, etc., are from water. Water 
becomes that which of itself it is not. It becomes earth, which it is not. So 
is it necessarv for man also to become that which he is not. Whatever is 
destined to pass into its ultimate matter must necessarily differ from its 
beginning. The beginning is of no avail. 

Now, in water is the primal matter, namely, the three first substances, 
Fire, Salt, and Mercury. These have certain different natures in them, as 
will hereafter be pointed out. They have metals, they have gems, they have 
stones, they have flints, and many things of this kind. One is a metal, another 
a stone, another a flint. So in the sky, too, one is snow, another thunder, 
another the rainbow, another lightning. In like manner on earth, too, one 
thing is wood, another a herb, another a flower, and another a fungus. Such 
an artificer has God shewn Himself, the Master of all things, whose works no 
one is able to rival. He alone is in all things. He is the primal matter of all : 
He is the ultimate matter. He is all things. Then, when we come in due 
succession to explain minerals, we will, in the ensuing discourse, speak before 
all else concerning the properties of the matrix, that is, the element of water. 
The things whereof I write were supposed by the ancients to spring from the 
earth. Their meaning was good ; but the position was incapable of 
proof. In this point they were defective, as also in the materials for estab- 
lishing that proof. 

The principle, then, was first of all with God, that is, the ultimate matter. 
He reduced this ultimate matter into primal matter. It is just in the same 
way as the fruit, which is to produce other fruit, has seed. The seed is in the 
primal matter. So in the case of minerals, the ultimate matter is reduced to 
the primal, as in the case of seed. The seed here is the element of water. God 
determined that there should be water. Then He conferred upon it, besides 

240 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writing's of Paracelsus. 

this nature, that it should produce the ultimate matter, which is in water. 
This water He subjects to special preparation. That which is metallic He 
separates into metals and arranges each metal separately b)' itself. That 
which belongs to gems He also digested into its own nature. That which is 
stony in like manner. The same is the case with marcasites and other 

Moreover, if God created time — harvest for the corn and autumn for the 
fruits — He also appointed its own special autumn for the element of water, so 
that there might be a certain harvest and definite autumn for all things. So, 
too, the water is an element, is the matrix, the seed, the root of all minerals. 
The Archeus is he who in Nature disposes and arranges all things therein, so 
that everything may be reduced to the ultimate matter of its nature. From 
Nature man takes these things and reduces them to their ultimate matter. 
That is, where Nature ends man begins. The ultimate matter of Nature is 
the primal matter of man. So, then, by an admirable design, God has 
appointed that the primal matter of Nature should be water, which is soft, 
gentle, and potable. Yet its offspring or fruit is hard, as metals or stones, 
than which nothing is harder. The very hardest, therefore, derives its origin 
from the very softest — the fire from the water — in a way beyond the capacity 
of man to grasp. But when the element of water becomes the matrix of 
minerals, this is not beyond the capacity of Nature. God has produced a 
wonderful offspring from that mother. You judge a man by his mother. 
Every one has his own special feelings and properties, not according to his 
bodily organization, but according to his nature. Thus all metals according 
to their body are water, but according to their special properties they are 
metals, stones, or -marcasites. In no other way can reason grasp that these 
things are diverse in substance and in body. 

Thus, then, God created the element of water, that it might be the 
element of all metals and stones ; and He separated it from the other three 
elements into a peculiar body which was not in the air, in the earth, in the 
sky, but was something special, different from these. This he placed on the 
lower globe so that it might he above the earth and occupy the cavity in the 
earth where it lies. He founded it with such wonderful ingenuity that 
together with the earth it should carry men, who might walk and move upon 
it. And the first thing which moves our wonder in this respect is that it 
surrounds and encircles the globe and yet does not fall away from its 
appointed station ; so that the part lying under us is turned upwards just as 
we are, and in the same way hangs suspended downwards. Then our wonder 
is increased, seeing that the bed or pit of this genuine element, at its centre 
of greatest depth, is quite bottomless, so that the water receives no support 
from the earth on which it lies ; but it stands freely and firmly in itself like 
an Q^%., nor does anything fall away from the shell ; and this is a clear 
miracle of God. 

Now, in this element are the generations of all metals and stones, which 

A Book about Miner-als. 241 

exhibit themselves under multifarious natures and forms. Moreover, as you 
see, all fruits grow out of the earth into the air, and none of them remain in 
the earth, but go out of it and separate themselves from it, so, growing out 
of the water, there go forth metals, salts, gems, stones, talcs, marcasites, 
sulphurs, etc. — all proceeding from the matrix of this element into another 
matrix, that is, into the earth, where the water completes its operation, but 
the root of minerals is in the water, as the root of trees and herbs is in the 
earth. But they are brought to perfection above the earth, and pass on to 
their ultimate matter, which is entirely in the air. 

In like manner is completed on the earth that which grows in the water. 
So, then, when the root is in the water the growth takes place on the earth, 
and hence the doctrine of those writers is clearly erroneous who advance the 
the opinion that minerals grow out of the earth, and that all these minerals, 
how many soever they be, recognise the earth as their mother. This idea is 
worth nothing. Indeed, nothing grows from the earth save leaves, grasses, 
woods, herbs, and the like. Everything else is from the water. Otherwise, 
by the same method of reasoning, it might be said of the growing things of 
the earth that they grow in the air since they live in the air ; but this is clearlj- 
fallacious. Their roots are found in the earth, and hence we learn that their 
origin is in the earth, but their perfecting in the air. In the same way, that 
which originates in the water acquires its perfection in the earth. The growth 
of minerals follows the same course, convincing us that they are aqueous, and 
proceed from the water, existing in the water as the primal matter of those 
same minerals, just as all fruits of the earth are generated in the earth, and 
after the predestined period they burst forth into harvest, or autumn, and 
generate that which is in them. When a root of this- kind is born, it first 
rises into its own special tree, that is, its body, from which the particular 
mineral, metal, or other growth, should be produced in the earth. In like 
manner, also, the nut or the cherry does not spring straightway out of the 
earth, but first of all the tree is produced, and afterwards the fruit ; so, also, in 
the water Nature first puts forth a tree, which is the aqueous body, and this 
afterwards grows out into the earth ; that is, it occupies the pores of the 
earth, just as the tree fills the air. When this tree is now put forth into the 
earth, the^fruits are forthwith born, congenital with the tree, according to 
their nature and condition. Here the metal grows in its own special kind, 
there some sort of salt is produced, there again some genus of sulphur breaks 
forth, and elsewhere some sort of gem is protruded. And, just in the same 
way as many cherries or pears are found on one tree, so similar fruits of the 
water are found at the extremities, and, as it were, on the shoots of the trees 
appertaining to the element of water. Again, like as some trees put forth 
many fruits, and others only few, so, in this case too, there is a similar 
property, nature, and condition. Trees of this kind, therefore, should first 
be sought, and afterwards their fruits. Thus, the rustic who pursues his 
culture in the element of water will be taught and instructed, as the husband- 


242 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

man who plies his craft in the soil is taught how he should pursue his 
husbandry and where fruits must be found. 

Careful attention, too, should be given in this method of generation, so 
that the illustration from the earth may hold good — in this way : There are 
some trees which bear their fruit, not nakedly, but under mixed conditions. 
The chestnut, the nut, and other similar growths, have a bark, thorny in 
appearance, and inside another, while, lastly, a thin skin encloses the kernel. 
So, in like manner, there are metals, also, and minerals lying hid in flesh and 
skin, such as are the ore of iron, the ore of silver, and so on. These have to 
be removed in order that, after separation, the desired fruit may be extracted. 
On the other hand, there is another kind which puts forth its fruits nakedly, as 
cherries, plums, grapes. From these nothing is thrown away, but all is 
useful and good. So in the aqueous fountain are found pure and naked silver, 
gold, coral, carabe, and the like. These are all so arranged by Nature that 
there may be different sorts of trees and of barks, in which the mineral lies, 
which also depend upon the variety and division of water, climate, and 
geographical positron. That which lies hid within has to be extracted from 
the bark or shell, just as in the case of fruits. And yet further, as you see in the 
kernel a body and the kernel itself, so be well assured that, similarly, in the 
element itself there is a body and a spirit, so that the body has first to be sought 
for, and then the spirit in the body. Now, it is the spirit that makes the body, 
and so it makes also the mineral (or the nutriment). The mineral has one body, 
the fruit another. That is the same as saying that, although there may be 
gold in a body, and the body is worthless, because impure, and it must be 
separated by the goldsmith, so gold has a body which is not impure. There 
are two bodies. In the second is incorporated the fruit of the mineral, which 
need not be separated from that gold. So then the fruits are first developed 
out of the element into a tree, afterwards into a bodj', and within the first 
shell that which is precious and good. Just as man is a twofold body, a dense 
body which is worthless, and within this another body which is good, so is it 
with all growths. Whatever God has created He perfects its corporality by a 
similar process. He has made man in one way, a tree in another, and a stone 
in another. But He made man more carefully, because He would that man 
should be created in His own likeness, so that eternity, in which other created 
things have no share, might reside in man. 

The same judgment is to be passed concerning the death of elements, 
because water has its own death no less than other things. Indeed, water is 
its own death, eating into, strangling, and consuming its own growth. We 
have proof of this in the earth. That which grows from it returns to it and 
perishes, so that no part of it any longer survives. So yesterday perishes and 
no man will ever see it again, and it is in like manner with the night past. 
In like manner also pass away all things born of the earth, which return to the 
earth, and are consumed by it, and yet it is not heavier by half an ounce then 
It was yesterday, nor is it heavier to-day than it was a thousand years ago. 

A Book about Minerals. 243 

Its weight remains one and the same. God has gifted His elements with this 
peculiarity, that they should give fruits and consume their superfluities, but 
whither those superfluities have gone no man knows, any more than he knows 
whither yesterday has gone. In like manner, the element of water is its own 
de'atli, inasmuch as it consumes and mortifies its own fruits. That death is in 
the great centre and terminus of water, the open sea,Jnto which all water flows. 
Whatever passes hereinto dies and decays, passing away even as wood is con- 
sumed in the fire. And as, year by year, new fruits emerge from the earth, 
while the old ones perish, so, every day new minerals are begotten, be they 
metals, marcasites, gems, stones, salts, or springs. These all come forth girt 
about with death, as an infant who brings along with it death bound up with 
life. Bj- the same method of reasoning, metals, too, bring with their own he- 
ginning their own death too, and they die in the terminus of the water, that 
is, in the open sea. The Rhine, the Danube, the Elbe, and other rivers are 
not the element itself; they are its fruits. The element is in the open sea. 
It is that out of which all grow and into which all must perforce return, and 
thus they acquire death whence life is allotted to them This death will be 
more fully described hereafter in distinct paragraphs, when it is pointed out 
separately how each mineral comes into being and dies. 

Now, with regard to the tree of the element of water, mark this. When 
Nature is about to put forth any growth into the world — be it gold, silver, 
copper ; be it gem, emerald, sapphire, granate ; be it a spring, sweet or 
brackish, warm or cold ; be it coral or marcasite — she then raises up, 
from the element of water, a tree on the earth, so that its root is fixed in 
the centre of the sea (or of the matrix). That tree sends forth its seed 
into the earth, and spreads forth its branches. Know, therefore, that its 
stock has the form of a liquid, which is not water, oil, bitumen, or mucilage. 
It has the appearance of wood produced from the earth, but still it is not 
wood, nor seed (or stock) and yet it is of the earth, and each has its own body. 
That liquid is the stock, and its branches are that same liquid, just as a tree 
is wood, and its branches are like in kind. So, then, the mineral tree is 
formed into a body of this kind, and afterwards divided into its ramifications, 
so that one branch very often extends from another into a second or third, 
running out and separately extending itself to a space of twenty, forty, or 
sixty miles. One branch turns to the German Alps, another to Lungia, 
another to the Valley of Joachim, and another to Transylvania. Such is its 
distribution throughout the whole world. In this way innumerable trees are 
interwoven, wherever the earth extends. As trees grow forth in this fashion, 
one after another on all sides, their extremities extend to the uttermost parts 
of the earth. Sometimes they crop up to the surface of plains under the open 
sky ; sometimes' they remain in the earth according to the nature and condi- 
tion which is special to each tree. Hence it follows that at the extremities of 
the branches the nature of the element of water pours forth its fruits on the 
earth. .As soon as ever these fruits drop on the earth they are at once coagu- 

244 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

lated, and there is produced from every such tree just what should be produced 
in proper kind and quantity. When its fruit has been completely shed, that tree 
withers and dies within itself. It perishes like all other things, and itself 
passes on to the consummation where all things find their end ; while, lastly, 
according to its nature, a new growth emerges thence. 

From this you may learn that the primal matters of all minerals are put 
together in water, and that this primal matter is neither more nor less than 
Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, which are now made the soul, spirit, and true 
essence of the element. These three substances contain within them all 
metals, salts, gems, and the like. And when, at the predestined period, it is 
about to beget those fruits which it cannot help producing, then each genus 
and species gives birth to that which is like itself. Thus, if any person had 
different seeds, as many as ever the world produces, mixed together in a bag, 
and if he were to cast these forth, or to sow them in a garden, Nature, being 
equal to the occasion, would by-and-by allot to each its own fruit, bringing 
every separate seed to its own vigour and perfection vi'ithout injury to the 
others. Exactly the same is it with the element of water, as though this were 
the bag filled with seeds of all kinds to be sown. Here, too, every genus and 
species is brought to its own nature and perfection. God, according to His 
marvellous plan, has gifted the four elements with these miracles of creation. 
These are the elements from which issue forth fruits destined for the service of 
man. Every different kind has been created by God. By such investigations 
as these the mighty works of God are explored and understood. 

Surely, therefore, that philosophy is worthy of all praise which puts 
forward only the works of God for our consideration. E\ery man is bound to 
learn all he can about these, so that he may know what, and how much, his 
Creator has done for his sake- 
True, the enemy has intruded and sown his tares in this philosophy. Such 
as this are Aristotle, Albertus, and Avicenna, with their accomplices, who are 
mere tares of the field. That enemy bursting in has devastated everything 
and begotten other noxious philosophers whose system is destitute of all 
knowledge of Nature, and is without any foundation at all. Lacking all light 
of experience, such philosophy violates in the most disgraceful way the light 
of Nature. Its professors are the busy-bodies who, mixing themselves up 
with all good things, exhibit themselves to the devil as sons of perdition. 

So far, you have heard that the primal matter is conjoined in the matrix 
as in a bag, being compounded of three parts. As many as are the fruits, so 
many are the different kinds of Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury. There is one 
kind of Sulphur in gold, another in silver, another in iron, another in lead, 
tin, and so on. So, there is one kind in the sapphire, another in the emerald, 
another in the rub}', crysolite, amethyst, magnet, etc. Furthermore, there is 
a different kind in stones, flint, salts, fountains, and the rest. And there are 
not only so many Sulphurs, but so many Salts. There is one Salt in metals, 
another in gems, another in stones, another in salts, another in vitriol, another 

A Book about Minerals. 245 

in alum. Such, too, is the case with Mercury. There is one Icind in metals, 
another in gems, and so on as before. Yet these things are still only three. 
One essence is Sulphur, one Salt, one Mercury. Add to this, that all these 
are still more specially divided. Gold is not one but manifold, as also a pear, 
an apple, is not one but manifold. There are, therefore, just as many 
Sulphurs of gold, Salts of gold, Mercuries of gold. The same remark 
applies to metals and gems. As many sapphires as there are, some more 
valuable, others more common, so many Sulphurs of sapphire, Salts of 
sapphire, and Mercuries of sapphire are there. The same is true of turquoise 
and all other gems. All these things Nature holds, as it were, as in one 
closed hand, from which she puts forth every separate kind, the best and 
noblest that she has. Thus, she contributes metals to one genus, and divides 
that genus into other and vatious species, all comprising metals. In this way 
the three primals are to be understood, namely, that they embrace as many 
created species as grow ; and yet they are only composed of one Sulphur, one 
Salt, and one Mercury. As a painter with one colour depicts numberless 
figures and forms, no one of which is like another, so Nature is like that 
painter. In this alone they differ; Nature produces these things with 
life, while the painter produces only dead ones. Nature's productions are 
substantial ; the painter's are mere shadows. 

Then again, the reasoning about colours leads to a similar conclusion. 
On that head, notice this brief information, that all colours proceed from Salt." 
Salt gives colour, gives balsam and coagulation. Sulphur gives body, 
substance, and build. Mercury gives virtues, powder, and arcana. So these 
three ought to be combined, nor can one exist without the other. God gives 
life to those whom He has predestined to derive it from these as it has seemed 
good to Him. Now Nature herself extracts the colours from the Salt, giving 
to each species that colour which is suitable. The body which is appropriate to 
each it takes from Sulphur. Thus, too, the necessary virtues are derived from 
Mercury. So, then, whoever wishes to learn the bodies of all things must 
before all else make himself acquainted with Sulphur. Again, he who desires 
to know colours must seek his knowledge from Salt. He who wishes to learn 
virtues let him scrutinise the secrets of Mercury. So he will have laid the 
foundation for examining the mysteries of every growing thing as Nature has 
infused these mysteries into each separate species. But 3'ou should know that 
Nature has mixed up such bodies, colours, virtues, one with the other ; yet 
with a little efibrt it is possible for any one who will, and to whom God gives 
the power, again to separate them, to form, colour, and endow them. Vou 
see and know how- it wakens our wonder when from a dusky black seed 
emerges a tree adorned with its bright and joyous colours, with leaves, fruits, 
and flowers. This mystery of Nature, as it exists in flowers, is so sublime 
and great that no one can fully investigate it. God is very much to be ad- 
mired in His works, and from the contemplation of these one ought not to with- 
draw by night or day, but constantly to take delight in the study of them. 
This is in the truest sense to w^alk in the ways of God. 

246 The Hermetic arid Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Moreover, it will be in consonance with my subject, and of practical use 
as well, if I advise you in one course of the order observed in this book about 
minerals. This order is different to that which has been pursued by others. 
First the metals will be treated, and these are not of one kind but distributed 
according to their own essences and also according to the uses which they 
supply for men. Some of these are fragile, others durable, and in proportion 
they are subservient to human convenience. So, also, some gems are useful 
to man not m their metallic form, but in order that they may be worn, or 
minister to human health. Such as these are the sapphire, the magnet, the 
cornelian, etc. These are created in a special form, so that a man may be 
able easily to carry them about with him. Then, again, there is another kind of 
stones which man does not use as he uses a metal or a gem, but which he 
employs for building houses or other receptacles necessary for human life. 
Further still, another genus is composed of Salts, of more than one species, 
which are neither metals, nor gems, nor stones, which also are useful for 
purposes which are subserved neither by metals, gems, nor stones. Moreover, 
a special order has been assigned to springs, some of which do good to the 
internal organs of the body, others help it externally. Some are warm and 
others cold, some acid whilst others are sweet. There are so many different 
species that one could not exhaustively define them. There are also different 
kinds of marcasites, two, for example, coloured like gold and silver. But 
there are very many species in which God has held several things in reserve, 
which also are put in man's hand that he may seek what he will, and extract 
from them whatever God has conferred upon them. There are also things 
that belong to a different genus ; talc, of which there are four sorts, red, 
white, black, and clay-coloured. This genus comprises neither metals, gems, 
stones, salts, springs, nor marcasites, but something special and by itself. It 
gives also sand, with a supply of silver. Of this more need not be said than 
that it is useful for buildings and for making cements. There is also another 
genus given to us, namely, sulphureous minerals, of which there are two, the 
clay-coloured and the black ; and there are also carabge. 

There are more of this nature, and especially one genus which is allied to 
no other, in which the health of men is to be found, and it can also be applied 
to external uses Besides this there is another genus not like the above-men- 
tioned, namely, corals. Of these the red and the white are well known. 
Other colours arc also found, and forms such as are described in the 
paragraphs devoted to the subject Moreover, after these there remains 
another genus, beyond what is natural, which, by the will of Nature, becomes 
an instrument of various forms and properties, as the eagle-stone and the 
buccinae, cockles, patellae, etc. The origin of these from the element of the 
water, you can find in my succeeding paragraph. From the element of water, 
too, many kinds of fruits are produced ; and though I shall only describe 
those which are known to me, I have found out much more, because the lower 
globe and the higher sphere, in all their parts, above, below, and on every 

A Book about Minerals. 247 

side, are crammed with such as have been mentioned. I should, therefore, be 
fully competent to write about these. But still it is true that many are hidden 
in the world about which I know nothing. Yet neither do others know them. 
It is, indeed, true that many and various things are about to be revealed by 
God, concerning which none of us has hitherto even dreamed. F ?r it is true 
that nothing is so occult that it shall not at length be made manifest. Some 
one will come after me whose great gift does not yet exist, and he will 
manifest this. 

You should know, however, that there are three parts in this Art, to 
which the perfections of minerals are compared. These three artifices in the 
nature of the element are congenital with the three primals. For as man has 
his gifts in the arts, by which he excels, so also Art affords to them in the 
matter of the three primals. And it should next be understood that no man 
can bring to perfection any thing or any work by himself, without some one 
to help him. No one is superior to another save that man alone who knows 
how to conjoin what should be conjoined. Iron ore, for example, is ready to 
hand. But what can it do of itself? Nothing, unless there be added one who 
will fuse and prepare it. Secondly, this is nothing without a smith to forge it. 
This, again, is of no practical use unless there be someone to buy it and to 
apply it to its purposes. Such is the condition of all things. The same thing 
likewise occurs in Nature, where it is not one thing only which makes a 
mineral. Others must be added, analogous to the fuser, buyer, seller, and 
user. If Nature does not supply this work, she deputes it to man, as the 
primal matter whose duty it is to supply what is lacking. Nature, nevertheless, 
has need of a dispenser, who will arrange and set in order what ought to be 
joined together, so that what should be done may find accomplishment. One 
is ordained by God for this conjunction, and that is the Archeus of Nature. 
He afterwards requires his operatives to co-operate with him, to fashion the 
thing, and bring it into that condition for which it is appointed. Hence it 
follows that three things must be taken which reduce every mineral to its 
appointed end. These are Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury. Those three perfect 
all things. First of all there is need of a body in which the fabrication shall 
be begun. This is Sulphur. Then there is necessary a property- or virtue. 
This is Mercury. Lastly, there is required compaction, congelation, unification. 
This is Salt. Thus at last the thing is brought about as it should be. But it 
is not every Sulphur which is a body for gold, nor every Mercury for its virtue, 
nor every Salt for its unification ; but just as there are many blacksmiths, one 
doing this thing, another that, so also here. God, therefore, has appointed 
that the .Vrcheus should set in order those things which are to be conjoined, 
just as a baker, cooking bread, joins together what has to be joined, or a vine- 
dresser seeks out and joins what has to be joined for the purpose of cultivating 
his vineyard. Everything is appointed to its own purpose, and everything 
finds out what is necessary for its own special purpose. Now, if the Archeus 
has his lead ore, and it be necessary to form a tree in gold, iron, jacinth. 

248 Tlie Hcrtnetic and Alchemual Writings of Paracelsus. 

granate, duelech, marble, sand, cachimia, or what not, then he takes and com- 
btnes the three simples. Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, which are of this nature, 
and do serve his purpose. ' Afterwards he casts them into his Athanor, where 
they are decocted, as seed in the earth. They are decocted again in such a 
way that Sulphur may add its body, in which the operation consists. They 
prepare it according to their judgment for that which it ought to be or to 
become. Next, out of the other two Mercury is decocted for its properties, so 
that those may be present which ought so to be. When these decoctions have 
.been made, there follows, lastly, conservation, which is brought about by 
means of Salt. In this way all is coagulated ; that is, the Salt first unifies, next 
congeals, and lastly, coagulates. Now it is strengthened, so that already the 
autumn is ready and he is at hand who is to beat out the metal. Let this 
brief account suffice for every generation of metals, namely, in what way they 
are conjoined. Concerning each one separately, how it is to be dealt with, 
instruction shall be given in the particular chapter. And this teaching, indeed, 
concerning minerals is necessary in order that everything may be more rightly 
and plainly understood, and that you may not be led away bj' the deceits of 
the old writers and their followers. They are puffed up with vast self-esteem, 
and are only approved by those like them, who are as unskilful as themselves, 
but do not take their ease quite so much, hoping that they may search into 
and gather these things, by more exact study. 


Concerning the generation of metals, you may be assured that there 
is a great number and vast variety of them. A metal is that which fire 
can subdue, and out of which the artisan can make some instrument. 
Of' this class are gold, silver, iron, copper, lead, tin. These are called 
metals by every one. But there are also, besides these, certain metals which 
are not reckoned as metals, either in the writings and philosophy of the 
ancients nor by the common people, and yet they are metals. To these 
belong zinc and cobalt (which are subdued and forged by force of fire), as 
also certain granates (accustomed to be so called) of which there are many 
kinds, themselves also metals. But many more are those which up to this « 

time are not as yet known to me, as are many diff'erent sorts of marcasites, iJfjA/lfW 
bismuths, and other cachimia;, which produce metals, but of kinds not yet 
known. Only the principal ones are known, which are more ready and con- 
venient for use, such as gold, silver, iron, copper, tin, lead. The rest are 
pretty completely neglected, and nobody cares about their properties — neither 
the smith nor the ironworker, the tinman, brazier, or goldsmith. Neverthe- 
less, these metals are for other operators, not yet born. No one is competent 
lo learn save in one way and by a single art. The assertion that quicksilver is a 
metal has no truth in it. It belongs to another class of minerals ; not being /J y, 
a metal, a stone, a marcasite, or a sapphire, etc. It is a peculiar growth of 
Nature, gifted witTi its own body like the rest, and provided with its pro- 


A Book about Minerals. 249 

perties. The custom is passing away, too, of arranging seven metals for the 
seven planets. From this it arose that, not having full knowledge of metals, 
people reckoned quicksilver as one of them. According to their comparison 
of Things, gold is Sol, silver is Luna, copper is Venus, lead Saturn, and tin 
Jupiter. But come, arrange these things. If j-ou join Venus and copper you 
will soon see how they square and agree with one another. Join and compare 
lead with Saturn, and notice what happens. Compare tin and Jupiter, and 
see what fruit will arise. Such philosophy is nothing but rubbish and con- 
fusion. Not the slightest vestige of any foundation or light appears in it. 
Such remarks are merely barbarou's, and not philosophy at all. Of the same 
kind is the assertion that quicksilver is Mercury. Compare the complexion, 
nature, working, quality, properties, and various virtues and essences', and see 
how they square one with another and agree. They are quite incongruous. 
One has not the least likejiess to the ujther. It is true that the Philosophy 
of Plants has arranged seven herbs according to the seven planets ; but these 
are the mere dreams of phj'sicians, with no stability or power of proof in them. 
.\ccording to them, mercurialis is Mercury, heliotrope Sol, and lunaria Luna. 
But do you think- you " Fathers "—that you can fly away to the sky and 
have the power of comparing earth with heaven without any astronomy or 
philosophy, when you cannot even get a glimpse of what lies hid in so 
common a growth as the heliotrope? This distribution, therefore, should be 
" admitted by nobody, but ought to be relegated to those who do not judge 
ficcording to the light of Nature, but by their own long stoles. The chapter 
on metals teaches you that those metals are six in number, so far as thej' are 
known to me, and I have given them above. To these are added a few others 
— some three or four -which are known to me, and the number and species 
whereof shall be given in due course. I think it very likely that a large 
number still remain. For by provings of the metals, many proofs present them- 
selves which are metallic, that is, they are reckoned according to the nature 
of the six metals, though they do not altogether agree thereto ; so that I 
should augur from this that a great number of metals still remain. Every 
mineral can be thoroughly known and discriminated if subjected to a sufficient 

With regard to the generation of Gold, the true opinion is that it is 
Sulphur sublimated to the highest degree by Nature, and purged from all 
dregs, blackness, and filth whatever, so transparent and lustrous (if one may 
say so) as no other of the metals can be, with a higher and more exalted' 
body. Sulphur, one of the three primals, is the first matter of gold. If 
.Alchemists co'uld find and obtain this Sulphur, such as it is in the auriferous 
tree at its roots in the mountains, it would certainly be the cause of effusive 
joy on their part. This is the Sulphur of the Philosophers, from which gold 
is produced, not that other Sulphur from which come iron, copper, etc. This is 
a little bit of their universality. Moreover, Mercurj-, separated to the highest 
degree, according to metallic nature, and free from all earthly and accidental 

250 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

admixtures, is changed into a mercurial body with consummate clearness. 
This is the Mercury of the Philosophers which generates gold, and is the 
second part of the primal matter. The third part of the primal matter of 
gold, or of the tree from which gold ought to grow, as a rose from a 
rose-seed, is salt, crystallized to the highest degree, and so highly separated 
and purified from all its acridity, bitterness, acetosity, aluminous, and vitriolic 
character, that it no longer has anything of the kind appertaining to it, 
but is carefully illuminated in itself to the very supreme point, and advanced 
to the highest transparency of the berj-l. These three ingredients in con- 
junction are gold, which is decocted in the way of which we have already 

Moreover, the genus of gold is not single, but manifold. Its grade is not 
one onl)-, but Nature of herself gives thirty-two degrees to the finest gold. In 
our Art, twenty-four degrees are found for establishing the best gold. The 
cause of this is that gold in its tree is like a cow in the pastures, or like 
Epicurus in the kitchen. As soon as he has gone out all vigour and animation 
become fallen and diminished. So is it with gold : because if it be reduced so 
as to be the first matter of man, then, as if gone out of its kitchen, it at once 
loses eight out of the thirty-two degrees to which allusion has been made. 
But there are diversities in the kitchens, too, some being better and others 
worse. Accordingly as the gold falls into this one or the other, so it is 
either increased or diminished in degrees from twenty-six degrees as a maxi- 
mum down to ten degrees as a minimum. The grades below this are too pale 
and not recognisable. For it is the nature of gold to be either light or dense. 
This happens from some impediment which occurs from the stars or other 
elements which aid in the decoction. As one man is more dense or more 
subtle than another, so neither does gold always attain its complete grade, 
principally for this reason that too much body, or Salt, or Mercury, has been 
added, fi-om which fault and error are sure to arise. Too much Salt causes 
too great paleness. Too inuch Mercury makes the gold too much the colour 
of corn. Too much .Sulphur confers excessive redness. .And it must be re- 
membered, too, that sometimes the weights are unequally divided. Nature 
sometimes errs as well as men. If this happens, the grade is unequal. It 
reaches a point from twelve to twenty-four. Hut if the superfluous weight be 
removed (as it can be by Art), say, by antimony, by quarta, as it is called, by 
regal cement, or by other means, the irrelevant weights are removed and the 
twenty-four degrees remain. Let not the Alchemist, then, attempt rashly to 
graduate gold, which is done in this way. For the weight in excess is unfit 
to assume its degree and to be reduced to a just standard. But what is not 
good of its kind cannot be exalted. Yet it may be that gold which is too 
pallid in its decoction may be graduated. But a principal item rf knowledge 
with regard to this is that it does not lose its body in regale, antimony, and 
quarta. Indeed, it persistently retains both its colour and its weight. This 
is a property of good gold. 

A Book about Minerals. 2%\ 

Gold becomes white by Sulphur in the manner already detailed. But the 
other two, Mercury and Salt, are white, and of a golden nature. These so 
tinge a sulphurous body that it loses its redness and grows white. Sulphur 
takes the tint of other colours. For though the whole be red, or white, or 
clay-coloured, its colour is changed by the tincture which is composed of 
Mercury and Salt. When, therefore, the body is Sulphur, the tincture of 
.Alchemy can easily change its colour. It is necessary, however, in this case, 
that the other tincture, the Alchemical to wit, should tinge the Mercury and 
Salt from whiteness to redness. In this way gold assumes the colour which 
it ought to have. And it should be realised that there are complexions in gold 
and in other metals, just as there are in man himself. 

Another fact which should be accepted is that the white complexion also is 
changed by corporal transmutation. So also is redness. These two colours 
separately inhere in redness. Yellowness inheres in vihiteness ; and these are 
subject to the primary colours. This transmutation can be effected by means 
of Alchemy, but under the condition that it shall be directed to the complexions, 
and that it shall first of all be tested in man, so that one shall be made of a 
melancholy or a sanguine temperament, just as cattle ma}' be made black or 
white, and that by a tincture. Nature, indeed, in her mineral working, 
acts exactly as she does with man in his generation. In the same way man 
also ought to act in the generation of Nature, as being superior to Nature 
in this respect, if only Nature has gifted him with the astral mysteries of the 
arts. This method of treatment, however, I now relegate to astronomy. 

.Attention also must be paid to the fact that at this juncture Nature takes 
the lead in matters of the kind described. In Sulphur there is nothing save 
a body, in Salt nothing, only in Mercury. Sulphur and Salt are so far avail- 
able that the one gives the body in which is gold, the other adds strength. 
In what relates to the nature, force, and virtue, all this is due to Mercury. 
Whatever property there is in Sulphur belongs to all alike. There is nothing 
in it except body where Mercury is not present. So in Salt. But know that 
Salt is a balsam, and conserves Mercury so that its virtues and properties 
shall not putrefy or decay. Thus, this virtue is incorporated with gold, and if 
it be separated after coagulation in Salt it cannot be detected by Art, as 
neither can the properties of Sulphur be discovered. But all these are readily 
found in Mercury. So when .Art separates, it deserts the bodj-, nor takes anj' 
heed of its medicine. In like manner, it deserts Salt, together with its 
medicine. And although the body has some influence as a body, and Salt as 
Salt, still, these medicines must not be sought therein, but only in Mercurj-, 
whi6h contains all things. For this is the raiiomilc of creation, that in all the 
outgrowths from the four elements of Nature, not only are those things 
present which are of themselves seen and understood, but these also contain 
within them the magnet which, in decoction and preparation, attracts to itself 
the essences of the three primals, that is, the Quintessence, as the ancients 
term it, though they ought rather to call it the quart-essence. For the mineral 

252 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

consists of three ; and besides these there is the magnet, which is a medicine. 
The magnet has attracted this and it is found in Mercury. But Mercury itself, 
too, in its ultimate separation, loses much of its weight. 

When Nature is thus prepared and lead to such increase, at first the 
gold becomes a tree after its kind. This spreads itself, and afterwards are 
generated the branches. The flower follows ; then the fruit. The flower 
in the earth, like that in any other tree, is at the extremity. And as the 
flower is at the extremity, and the nucleus too, while yet immature, so there 
is the same method observable in the generation of gold and of all metals. 
When the flower falls the fruit is born in its place. This, it is true, does 
not always burst forth where the flower had stood, but this is the nature of 
the auriferous tree, that the fruit flourishes sometimes at the distance of 
several hundred ells in the interior of the tree itself, some straightway in the 
open air, and others midway between the two. There is thus some diff'erence 
amongst auriferous trees, the natures of which vary one from the other. 
Hence they are found distributed in different ways, just as their own peculiar 
mode of growth is assigned by God to other trees. 

Besides, with regard to gold, this fact also deserves to be well weighed, 
namely, that it is sometimes overloaded with impediments, so that occasionally 
nothing takes place except a generation of Mercury. If this takes place, it 
leads one astray. If corrosive salts fall on the flowers, they are eaten away, 
just as the actual flowers on trees are eaten by worms. The gold, too, is 
chilled by Mercury or burnt by Salts. There are many mishaps of this kind. 
The earth, and the firmament, and the air may destroy it. Unless these, are 
fruitful they bring forth no good. As trees are burnt up by a blazing sun, so 
here also it takes place in the water. The light of philosophy teaches us all 
these matters, and they are abundantly established by experience. The 
minerals of gold, therefore, and others, are forced to submit to hindrances of 
this kind. There is nothing in existence which is not occasionally shaken 
with its tempests. But there are other impediments which are wont to effect 
the degree. Of this class are cachimiae, resins, and other marcasites, which 
insinuate themselves into the workings, and send forth their tinctures. .All 
these are rejected in the .Art. 

Concerning Silver. 

Silver is generated from white Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, which, being 
most subtly prepared and rendered transparent, have been restored to a 
fixed nature, thai is, they are fixed from their special nature nearest to gold in 
a fire oi ashes, but not with antimony, regale, and quarta. Here is the differ- 
ence in fixation between gold and silver, in this respect, that gold is male and 
possesses masculine virtues, while silver is female and is possessed of feminine 
virtues. Herein lies the difference between the fixation of gold and of silver. 
Since gold is male it can bear more fixation, but silver less. Thus the matter 
of silver is comprised in its primals, as is the case with a woman. Gold 

A Book about Minerals. 253 

and silver, indeed, are of one and the same primal matter ; but the same 
distinction supervenes as exists between a man and a woman. 

Concerning Jove. 
OF the generation of Jove it should be known that it is produced from 
fixed white Sulphur, fixed Salt, and from Mercury that is not fixed ; and for 
this reason, because Jupiter is fixed according- to body, but not in the sub- 
stance of Mercury. It loses all its fusion and malleability. Afterwards it 
ceases to be a metal ; for the metallic spirit is separated therefrom by Art. 
As soon as ever this has been done, it is nothing else but white Sulphur, and 
Salt, and dried Mercury. 

Concerning Saturn. 

Saturn is born from a black, sulphurous, and dense body bevond all other 
metals. On account of its density it consists of the thickest Mercury and the 
most fluid Salt, so that there is received into Saturn the most fluid body of 
Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury. These same, moreover, are the three most dense 
natures of all the metals. If this metal be dissolved and ceases to be lead, it 
becomes ceruse, spirit of Saturn, lead ochre, and finally glass. It consists 
of three colours, the lemon colour it gets from Sulphur, and the white from 
Mercury. It gets its spirit from Salt, and from all together its vitreous 
nature, just as all the metals have. 

Concerning Iron and Steel. 

On the other hand, iron is generated from the least fluid Sulphur, Salt, 
and Mercury, being the very opposite of tin and lead. It is coagulated into a 
hard metal, and copulated in itself. For two metals are joined together in 
one, iron and steel. Iron is feminine and steel masculine. This conjugation 
resembles that of gold and silver, that is to say, the male and female grow 
together. They can, therefore, be in their turn separated, the female to her 
sex, the male to his. The female can be applied to her uses, and the male to 
his in like manner. 

Concerning Venus. 

Copper is generated from purple Sulphur, red Salt, and yellow Mercury. 
If these three colours be mixed with one another, copper is produced. 
Now, copper contains within itself its own female element, that is, its scoriae. 
If these are separated by Art, and the body reduced, it comes out male. The 
nature of each constituent is such that the male does not suffer itself to be 
again destroyed, and the female no longer emits scoriae. They differ from one 
another in fluxibility and malleability, as iron and steel differ. If that separa- 
tion be made, and each consigned to its own nature, two metals are produced, 
differing altogether in essence, species, and properties. 

Such and so many in number are the metals, as I have reckoned them 
up, namely, gold, silver, tin, lead, iron, steel, female copper, . and male 

254 The Hermetic atid Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

copper. Thus thej' are eight in number. But if — as cannot be the case — 
iron and steel, and male and female copper respectively, are reckoned each as 
one metal, there would be only six, and the arrangement would be incon- 
venient. There are seven well-defined and publicly known metals : gold, 
silver, tin, lead, iron, steel, and copper, the last being reckoned as one metal, 
since the male and female are wrought together and not separated, as they 
ought to be. 

Of IVIixed Metals. 

You perceive, from what has been already said, that the male is not 
always solitary without a consort, but often they co-exist, as in the cases of 
gold and silver, iron and steel, which grow together in one working, from 
which each retains its own special nature, but still they are mixed so that one 
does not impede the other, nor are they of their own accord separated one 
from the other. Such, too, is often the case with tin and lead. But where they 
are thus joined no good result ensues from them. The)- do not square into 
one body ; but it is better that each should be separated into its own body. 

Concerning Spurious Metals. 

Metals can be adulterated. Only gold and silver mix with the other 
metals, for the reason that they are the most subtle. Only, therefore, when 
such a primal matter is present, does each grow up together by itself. It may 
easily be that six or seven different fruits shall be grafted together on the 
same tree ; and there is the same marvellous kind of implantation here in 

Concerning Zinc. 

Moreover, there is a certain metal, not commonly known, called zinc. It 
is of peculiar nature and origin. Many metals are adulterated in it. The 
metal of itself is fluid, because it is generated from three fluid primals. It does 
not admit of hammering, only of fusion. Its colours are different from other 
colours, so that it resembles no other metals in the condition of growth. 
Such, 1 say, is this metal that its ultimate matter, to me at least, is not yet 
fully known. It does not admit of admixture ; nor does it allow the fabrica- 
tions of other metals. It stands alone by itself. 

Concerning Cobalt. 

Moreover, another metal is produced from cobalt. It is fluid like zinc, 
with a peculiar black colour, beyond that of lead and iron, possessing no 
brightness or metallic sparkle. It is capable of being wrought, and is 
malleable, but not to such an extent as to fit it for practical use. The ultimate 
matter of this substance has not as yet been discovered, nor its method of 
preparation. There is little doubt that the male and female elements are joined 
in its constitution, as in the case of iron and steel. They are not capable of 
being wrought, but remain such as they are, until Art shall discover the 
process for separating them. 

A Book about Minerals. 255 

Concerning Graxates. 
Besides these, there is another peculiar metal which is found in streams 
and marshes, in the form of a seed like a large or small bean. It is founded 
and wrought by itself, but not so as to fit it for making instruments. It is of 
no practical use, nor is it known what properties it comprises. Unless 
Alchemy shall disclose its nature, it is not likely to be made clear at all. It 
allows many mixtures of silver and gold, which penetrate it as they do 
copper or lead. It is produced from citron-coloured Sulphur. 

Note.— Concerning Gems. 
There are other transparent granates in the form of crystal, wherein are 
latent both silver and gold. 

CoNi ERNiNG Quicksilver. 

There is, moreover, a certain genus which is neither liammered nor 
founded ; and it is a mineral water of metals. As water is to other sub- 
stances, so is this with reference to metals. So far it should be a metal as 
.'\lchemy reduces it to malleability and capacity of being wrought. Commonly 
it has no consistence, but sometimes it has. The right opinion about it is 
that it is the primal matter of the Alchemists, who know how to get from it 
silver, gold, copper, etc., as the event proves. Possibly also tin, lead, and 
iron can be made from it. Its nature is manifold and marvellous, and can 
only be studied with great toil and constant application. This, at all events, 
is clear, that it is the primal matter of the Alchemists in generating metals, 
and, moreover, a remarkable medicine. It is produced from Sulphur, 
Mercur)^ and Salt, with this remarkable nature that it is a fluid, but does not 
moisten, and runs about, though it has no feet. It is the heaviest of all 
the metals. 


So far, then, all the metals have been thus described, up to the point that 
they are known to me, according to their substance and origin, following that 
guide, and based upon that foundation, which is supplied by the ultimate 
matter. By means of this the first three are found out, what is their species, 
and whence they are derived. Indeed, the generation of the others cannot be 
explained in any way save by experience, which is finally proved by the 
primal matter in Vulcan. In this way none can err. 

Concerning Cachimi^, that is, the Three Imperfect Bodies. 

.Attention should be paid to a certain genus of minerals which is, indeed, 
of a metallic nature, but is not a metal. The things which belong to this 
genus possess peculiar qualities, of which I shall give several instances. For 
example, all marchasites, which are multifold, red and white, as also pyrites, 
which are also multifold, white and red, and of another genus than 
marchasites. There are, moreover, the genera of antimony, which are many, 
perfect and imperfect ; next the varieties of arsenicalia. To these also pertain 

256 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

talcs, auripigments, and many cachiiniaj of this kind, which differ with the 
regions in which thev are found. Concerning' these we must set down that 
they are to a certain extent metallic, in that they have a proximate metallic 
first matter, and descend from the first three metallic principles. Metals such 
as gold, silver, copper, lead, etc., are incorporated with them. But because 
they incorporate also a metallic foe, nothing can be extracted from them 
without alchemy ; but these same foes are of great capacity. These are 
generated in the following order : Marchasites, pyrites, antimonies, cobalts, 
talcs, auripigments, sulphurs, arsenicalia. I am acquainted with all of these. 

General Recapitulation concerning Generation. 
This chapter and text is entitled Concerning the Three Imperfect Bodies 
for this reason, that it is concerned with a metallic growth which bears the 
same relation to metals as tumourous fleshly excrescences bear to natural 
flesh, as the fungus bears to the herb, or the ape to the man. Of these things 
some are in the body of sulphur, as marcasites, pyrites, cobalts ; others are in 
the body of mercury, as antimony, arsenicalia, and auripigment ; yet others 
are in salt, as talc. 

Of the Generation of Marcasites. 

Marcasite is of two colours, citrine and white, metallic and brilliant. 
It is generated from imperfect metallic sulphur, which is destined to become 
marcasite by a natural necessity. 

At the conclusion of the Book about Minerals there follows in the 
Geneva folio a brief fragment which is concerned with the three prime prin- 
ciples in their connection -with man. It is entitled an 

Autograph Schedule by Paracelsus. 

There are, then, in human beings only seven planets ; four of which arc 
bodies per se, not forming part of anything else. There are also other 
minerals, those of the three primals to wit, which come from Sulphur, Mer- 
cury, and Salt, and are specially called mineral, because they are either 
themselves minerals or form parts of minerals. There are two minerals, and 
several parts, which enter partially into their composition. Gold, for instance, 
bears with it three parts, Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury ; and all species com- 
prised under minerals are made up of these three parts. Every planet has a 
perfect Yliadus. The other parts have not the same, as, for instance, sal 
gemma;, forming a species, not a part ; a marcasite is a species, cachimite 
is a species. But spirits have species in them, as the salt of a gem has 
Arsenic, fixed Sulphur, and liquid Mercury. The Yliadus, however, differs 
from the former Yliadus, because the former has his substance and mineral 
perfect. Minerals have such species; not a manifest body as planets have. 
Wherefore the Yliadus is to be understood in a twofold sense, one referring 
to the body, and one to the spirits. The corporal Yliadus is partaker with 
the spirits of the Yliadus ; but the spiritual is not partaker with the former. 


[The alchemical importance which attaches to a proper conception of the 
four so-called elementar)- substances is explained in .i note appended to the 
Philosophy of Paracelsus Concerning the Generation of Elements. The origin, 
nature, and operation of the three prime principles are, however, of no less 
moment. As these principles are evidently to be distinguished from salt, 
sulphur, and mercury of the vulgar kind, it is requisite to accentuate the 
distinction by contrasting at some length the references to the principles 
which are contained in the text of the present volume with the knowledge 
exhibited by Paracelsus on the subject of ordinary salt, sulphur, and mercury. 
The treatise concerning the first of these substances, which has been here 
selected for translation, is derived from a collection entitled De Naturalibtts 
Rebus, which will be found in the second volume of the Geneva folio.] 



GOD has driven and reduced man to such a pitch of necessity and want 
that he is unable in any way to live without salt, but has most urgent 
need thereof for his food and eatables. This is man's need and 
condition of compulsion. The causes of this compulsion I will briefly explain. 
Man consists of three things : sulphur, mercury, and salt. Of these consists 
also whatever anywhere exists, and of neither more nor fewer constituents. 
These are the body of every single thing, whether endowed with sense or 
deprived thereof. Now, since man is divided into species, he is therefore 
subject to decay, nor can he escape it except in so far as God has endowed 
him with a congenital balsam which also itself consists of three ingredients. 
This is salt, preserving man from decay ; where salt is deficient, there that 
part which is without salt decays. For as the flesh of cattle which is salted 
is made free from decay, so also salt naturally infused into us by God 
preserves our body from putrefaction. Let that theory stand, then, that man 
consists of three bodies, and that one of these is salt, as the conservative 
element which prevents the body born with it from decaying. As, therefore, 
all created things, all substances, consist of these three, it is necessary that 


258 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

they should be sustained and conserved by their nutriments each according to 
its i<ind. Hence, also, it is necessary that all growths of the earth should 
gather their nutriment from those three things of which they consist. If they 
do not, it is inevitable that these first creations perish and die in their three 
species. These nutriments are earth and rain, that is, liquid. Herein there 
are threefold nutriments. In sulphur is its own sulphur, in mercun,- its own 
mercury, and in salt its own salt. Nature contains all these things in one. 
So from this liquid, which is the nutriment of natural things, natural salt is 

Hence by parity of reasoning it is clear that man himself also must be 
nourished in the same way : that is to say, that his sulphur must receive 
nutri mental sulphur, mercury its nutrimental mercury, and the congenital 
salt its nutrimental salt, wherebj', from these three, man may be sustained 
and conserved in his species. Whatever burns is sulphur, whatever is humid 
is mercury, and that which is the balsam of these two is salt. Hereupon 
depends the diversity of human aliments. Man has need of ardent foods for 
the sustentation of his sulphur ; he wants moist foods for keeping up his 
supply of mercury, and eats salt to cherish his nature of salt. If this order be 
violated, that species in the body perishes, whichever species is neglected ; 
and when one part perishes the rest perish with it. This order must be kept 
in due series. The Academics know nothing of this philosophy, a fact not be 
wondered at, since in other matters they neither know nor can do anything. 

Now, all the world over, there are ardent foods such as flesh-meat, fish, 
bread, etc. So there are humid foods, as springs, flowing streams, seas. 
In like manner, there is salt everywhere. These things are distributed over 
the whole world, so that everywhere the supply of them is ready to hand. 

Now, with regard to the nature of man, the following should be accepted. 
The reason man desires food is on account of his sulphur. Why he needs 
drink, whether it be water or wine, is on account of the mercury ; and the 
reason of his desiring salt is on account of his salt in himself. These facts are 
little known, but nevertheless nature does crave for these things. And this is 
not the case with men only ; but animals, too, become fatter, stronger, more 
useful, and more healthy with salt than without it. If the due quantity of salt 
be not supplied, some defect arises in one of the two species, so that the 
animal decays and dies. Its nature is no longer supported by those necessary 
aliments which it requires. The condition of man is similar. Without nutri- 
ments of this kind he cannot live. The appetite of the nature with which he 
is born requires some satisfaction proportioned to his need. It is reported, 
indeed, that in certain newly-discovered islands men prepare no food cooked 
with salt, nor supply such food to their animals, but it is quite certain that 
their own nature and that of their cattle needs the salt water of the sea, and 
that they have cooked their food mixed with this. Nature never rests at ease, 
but constantly catches at and seeks for that which its necessity and use 
require, and thus compels cattle, not to mention man, to lick salted things. 

Concerning Sail and Substances comprehended nndcr Salt. 259 

For ourselves, custom and necessity alike prescribe that we eat salt in 
our food. Such an ordinance is natural and prudent. In this way three 
nutriments meet ; that is to say, salt and food in one, and with these a third, 
namely, drink. B}- these nature is nourished and sustained. 

I have said of salt that it is the natural balsam of the li\ing body. 
That is, so long as the body lives, so long- the aforesaid salt is its balsam 
against putridity. By this balsam the whole body of man, as well as that of 
other creatures, is kept and conserved. But if there accrue to man any decay 
or — if I may so term it — any cadaverousness, as in the disease called Persian 
fire, the reason is that. Now, if everything in creation is to be dissolved, it 
is clear that even the very balsam itself contains the elements of dissolution, 
and when once this dissolution begins, its strength and power increase. If 
the balsam is dissolved or corrupted (and the various modes in which this may 
take place are given in my Theory of Medicine), then forthwith corruption and 
decay begin, according to the mode in which the salt has been corrupted. If 
the salt has not undergone corruption, then neither the external nor the 
internal body of man decays. Hence we must conclude that salt is like a 
balsam in man ; and that the natural salt which man eats is his food and 
aliment. I have discussed the subject of salt at some length, for the sake of 
securing fuller intelligence of the matter. Putting aside, therefore, the idea 
of a natural balsam, I would point out, moreover, concerning the salt in food, 
how it is an aliment, and with what gifts it is endowed by God, both for 
preserving the health of men and for warding off many diseases. But since 
nothing is so good as not to have some evil combined with it, it remains 
for us to recount the evil there is in salt, so that in this way the good and 
evil may be conjoined, and the one separated from the other. The nature and 
condition of salt are verj' remarkable. If salt can preserve the dead body or 
corpse, much more will it preserve the live flesh. If by its power and efficacy 
salt preserves the dead body from worms, much more the living body, and for 
this reason, that it is not only an aliment, but a necessary food and a medicine 
useful for old and young alike. Salt must be supplied to all. 

But there are three kinds of salt. There is sea salt, which is salt of itself, 
not salted by others. As wine differs from water, so the sea in its nature 
differs from other waters. Other waters are sweet ; this is salt. Secondly, 
there are some springs which are sweet yet salt at the same time. These have 
a special nature, insomuch as they have that nature not in common with the 
sea, but of themselves contain a different kind of salt. Thirdly, there are also 
mineral salts, with the appearance of a stone, of a different kind from other 
metals or minerals. The best salt is from springs. Next comes that from 
minerals. Tiie harder it is the better. Then there is sea salt. .And as salt is 
divided into many kinds, so also is it sundered into many and various proper- 
ties distinct from one another. As to the way in which salt is prepared, there 
is no need to discuss that subject here, since it is clear enough. Neither is this 
the place to describe how it grows. That topic belongs rather to the Book on 


26o Tlie Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

the Generation of Minerals. My intention is to enlarge upon the virtues and 
vices of salt. In this case there is no need to speak of sea-salt. Whatever is 
written about v.-hite salt applies also to sea salt. Of rock salt not decocted again 
it is not treated here so much as of salt wiiich has been so decocted. All salt, 
which is prepared either from water, or out of a saline and mineral, preserves 
the common order and virtue of salt ; for the strongest foundation is in liquid. 
Sea-salt and rock-salt do not become liquid. But salt which is decocted 
passes into a liquid before it is separated from the water into coagulated salt. 
The description of salt, then, is twofold. One is that of salt from liquid ; the 
other of salt which is entire and definite. 

It should be known at the outset that this is the nature of every salt in 
its kind ; it is a corrective of foods. When salt is defective food is not 
corrected. For example : if the stomach takes food which has no salt, its 
decoction is languid, and its assimilation imperfect. From salt proceeds an 
expulsive force in the excrement and the urine. If these two functions do not 
proceed regularly, and the expulsions are not genuine, everything is wasted. 
Moreover, if the food is not properly salted, it is certain that those liquids in 
man which take nothing unsalted cannot be fed. The blood becomes dis- ■ 
organised. Where salt is not incorporated or united \\ith the food it is 
not attracted by the blood. Whatever is sluggishly and faintlv attracted 
occasions decay in the blood. Now, in order to avoid this, and for the sake 
of those particular members, foods should be salted, so that they may not be 
deprived of their due nutriment. Moreover, there is a solvent power in salt. 
If an}' obstructions of the pores or other accidents arise, salt takes away or 
removes these, so that they pass away in the urine. Urine is the salt of the 
blood ; that is, it is the salt of natural salt. Natural salt is united with 
nutrimental salt, and that conjunction causes the excrements to be expelled. 
If, however, salt is not supplied in due mode and sufficient quantity, a natural 
conjunction cannot be effected. Now, let ever)- physician know that, since 
natural salt is wont to issue forth or be expelled by means of salt, the use of 
salt should be so much the more frequent. It is a great advantage if the salt 
called sal gemmae is used, as being much more available than all other salts 
for expelling the natural salt. It is peculiarly the duty of physicians, there- 
fore, not to neglect the three species of salt and the operations of each, but 
diligently to use them. 

I have said above that the description of salt is twofold, one as a liquid 
the other as a solid or dry substance. Concerning the liquid, note this fact, 
that all salt dries up every description of humour that proceeds from the body. 
Nevertheless, the liquid itself in one hour has more effect than the dried salt 
would have in a whole month ; so much more of a drying nature is there 
against superfluous humours than in dry salt. Even if dry salt be reduced it 
is not of equal excellence, as you will learn in its addition and correction. It is 
accordingly of great importance that the liquid of salt should be correctly- 
described. If the liquid be prepared of such a consistency that it will bear up 

Concerning Salt and Substances comprehended under Salt. 261 

and sustain a vessel or an egg when thrown into it, its virtue is as follows : 
whatever diseases are produced from humours, infesting the natural 
humours, these are purged when the liquid is exhibited. Of this class 
are moist gout, dropsy, humid tumours, and legs swollen by the influx of 
humours. To speak summarily, whatev'er leprous humour not existing 
naturally it touches, it consumes. It produces such effect in this way : 
the liquid itself is like a warm bath or hot springs. If it be so re- 
frigerated that the patient can sit in it, he should wash in it as is cus- 
tomary in hot springs, and the like. This, however, should be done on the 
advice of a prudent physician, as to how long and to what extent the treat- 
ment should be continued. Thus those humours are absorbed, the feet cease 
to swell and are reduced to their natural condition. A sound and firm nature 
consists in a dry body, not a fat, adipose, and humid one. A dry and muscular 
body is the best and healthiest. Whatever bodies are not so constituted, but 
are fat, humid, and flaccid, should all be washed in that bath ; thus they will 
be dried and become healthy. But if it happens that after a bath of such 
kind in progress of time the superfluous humours again invade the body after 
an interval, care should be taken that the patient spend his life and dwell near 
salt springs. A long life is better than a short one, and the pleasures of this 
world must not be considered. What diseases are of a kind to need this 
treatment you must learn from physicians. 

But now, turning to dry salt, it should be known at the beginning that 
there are several different kinds, as common table salt, clear salt, sal gemmae, 
rock salt, earth salt, and sal stiriatus. Whatever be the case with these, it 
should be known that any kind of salt put into water and used for washing 
wounds, preserves them from putrefaction and from worms, and so effect- 
ually removes any worms which may have been produced, that none are 
ever generated again. If wounds are kept pure and clean, they are 
healed by the operation of Nature herself, even if they are very severe, 
provided only they have not assumed a poisonous aspect, in which case, 
for the most part, not even a balsam does any good. So also in virulent 
ulcers salt is a singular remedy. Besides this, if salt be put into a bath, 
and a patient washes therein, he is freed from all sorts of scab. In this 
respect the liquid is more powerful, for it is a potent cure of scab and itch. 
And here, too, should be noticed the possibility of correction by which dry salt 
may be to a certain extent reduced to this form. 

Salt is useful in many other cases than we have so far recapitulated in 
external diseases of the body. . So many virtues be hid in the use of salt. In 
conclusion, it should be remarked that in process of time the liquid removes 
and cures baldness and mange. 

Correction and .\ddition o\ the subject of a Second Time Correcting 

AND Reducing Dry Salt. 
The following is a recipe for correcting and reducing back again dry 
salt : Take common salt and the sail of urine in equal quantities. Let them 

262 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

be calcined according to the rules of Alchemy for two hours. Afterwards let 
them be resolved in a cell in the usual manner. Thus you will have the reduced 
liquid. This is of such powerful virtue that in surgical cases it differs little 
from the true liquid of salt. For internal disarrangements of the body it is 
much slower in operation. In applying and administering it you will observe 
the method first mentioned. It should be known, also, that no additipn is ad- 
visable, since the virtues peculiar to salt are found in no otheV substance. 
The less salt there is in other things the fewer similar virtues can be found ; 
and therefore every accessory preparation is useless. If alkalis be decocted 
these are not a genus of salt, that is, they are not salt, but alkali. There is a 
difference between salt and alkali in that alkali is natural salt in bodies derived 
from the three species. But salt is nutrimental, feeding and nourishing even, 
alkali. Therefore, no addition can be made, or any other correction, save onlv 
that the salt should be kept by itself without any addition, as was said on the 
subject of calcination. The same is true concerning the water of salt, which 
is distilled into a spirit from the calcined substance. This spirit resolves gold 
into an oil. But if it be again extracted and carefully prepared, potable gold 
of the most excellent character will be the result. But if without such ex- 
traction the gold be resolved, then it is a most subtle object of art for gold- 
smiths in gilding, and a constant and priceless treasure to other artificers for 
the same purpose. But, nevertheless, they must be skilled in Alchemy for the 
work of preparation. 

Concerning clear salt, sal stiriatus, and the salt of gems, the fact is that these 
are most of all adapted to Alchemy, so that silver can be cemented in them 
after the common mode. In these salts, any Luna, that is, silver, becomes very 
malleable, and without the aid of fire is wrought almost as easily as lead is. 
It is also the best purifier of copper if it be reduced to a cement. 

Besides the conditions of salt already mentioned, one other property 
remains. It is this. In whatever place the urine of men or animals is deposited, 
there salt nitre is afterward produced. The urine being collected and prepared • 
.so as to form another salt, is called salt nitre. Now, salt nitre is salt formed 
from the natural corporeal salt and the salt of food. If these two are joined 
in man they expel from him what is superfluous by means of the urine, which 
is nothing else than natural, corporal, and nutrimental salt meeting with other 
humours. Now, if the urine be excreted into nitre, and stand for some time, 
then the spirit of salt meeting together in its operation, prepares one salt out 
of two, and that, indeed, of a peculiar kind. This the Alchemists afterwards 
extract from the nitre, clarify by alchemical art, and separate that which is not 
salt from the salt which has been produced. That they clarify again, and then 
the salt nitre manifests its conditions. In the preparation, however, a separ- 
ation of the salt may be brought about, so that the true and genuine salt may 
again be extracted from a certain part, and the rest mixed with the salt of the 
nitre. Now, the reason why the genuine salt can be again extracted by decoc- 
tion is, that this salt is not digested in man or in the animal, but is passed out 

Concerning Salt and Substances comprehended under Salt. 263 

in a crude state, so that it can be detected as such. But that which has been 
digested is mixed, and, as one may sa)', incorporated with the corporeal salt 
so that afterwards it cannot be separated, but passes into the form of salt 
nitre. Xo salt in the universe is like this one. Alchemy found it lying hid in 
nitre, reduced it to the form of a coagulated salt, and then evolved the latent 
virtue from it, only for purposes of Alchemy and the manual art. They tried 
to distil sulphur and salt nitre together, but this could not be accomplished on 
account of the violent chemical action produced. Having accomplished this 
afterwards by the addition of carbon, the Alchemists discovered gunpowder, 
and gradually so augmented this by nev^' inventions that now it breaks 
through walls like a thunder-bolt. Hence it is with good reason called ter- 
restrial lightning. By means of this salt many of the arcana in Alchemy are 
brought about which need not be described here. We have not yet got at the 
true foundation or any good end. It is best, therefore, not to write on 
this subject at all, so that no one may be led astray. 

But, so far as relates to the art of Vulcan, it cannot be denied that great 
secrets be hid there. This subject relates in no way to the health of men, but 
purely to igneous preparations, which demand a chapter to themselves. The 
nature of man is indeed wonderful, since, from the body of man or brute, 
simply from its excrements, and by an internal motion, such a generation is 
contrived that when it proceeds from living beings- it is so violent against life 
that nothing more destructive can be imagined. It destroys man's life with 
such swiftness that no defence is sufficiently strong against it. But these 
matters must be referred to metaphysical science in the Paramirum. 

In the beginning of this chapter I said that Nature had incorporated salt 
in the liquid of the earth. From this salt all growing things have proceeded, 
and it is the balsam of salt which I have mentioned. It should be known, too, 
that from this salt another salt is found also in the earth, and like salt nitre. 
For Nature having pores, cavities, and cataracts in the earth, deposits in them 
stalactites and long dependent growths with the form and appearance of salt. 
If these are taken and prepared by the art of salt, they put forth two kinds of 
salt, table salt and salt nitre. It is called saltpetre, because it adheres to rocks, 
from which circumstance the name originates. Salt nitre and saltpetre, how- 
ever, are distinguished by a certain difference. In the probation of salt the 
nature of each can be easily discriminated. A certain difference, too, can 
be observed in the species and powers of salt, so far as they relate to health 
and other matters. At the same time, I do not think it advisable that the salt 
which is formed from the salt nitre and saltpetre for food should be given 
man to eat,' unless you wish to make him lean and dried up. Otherwise, it is 
very useful for gunpowder. It acquires another spirit, a different nature and 

Now, one must speak of the losses and injuries of salt, for it is well to 
write of the evil as well as the good. Let this be understood concerning salt, 
that if it be not digested it is driven from the stomach through the intestines, 

264 The Hermetic and Alcketiiical Writhigs of Paraceistis. 

and in its transit causes so severe a colic and bowel complaint that it can 
scarcely be cured even by the most careful treatment. It acquires such a 
strong corrosive force that it seems as though it wished to eat away all the 
intestines. It has been often discovered by -anatomy that a separated salt of 
this kind has produced perforation of the bowels. 

Besides this, if it remains in the stomach it causes craving, heat of 
stomach, and other ailments, all of which arise from crude salt adhering to 
the orifice of the stomach. In the case of these patients the physician must 
take great care to observe whether that salt has proceeded from salted, 
smoked, or dried foods. Salt is not added in equal portions to every kind of 
food ; and this circumstance should be diligently considered by the physician. 

It also happens sometimes that this salt enters the mesenteric veins, and 
is there granulated and constipated, whence arise many unusual diseases, not 
only local but extending over the whole body. The same may also occur in 
those parts to which the urine penetrates on its passage to the emunctories. 
All this we leave to be weighed by the prudent physician. 

Now, therefore, we will conclude as to the matter of salt in its kind. We 
thought it should be specially described, as it is a German growth. Many 
more things could be said of it here, but they are not all relevant, and many 
of them would be injurious, so that I have been unwilling to discuss them. 
What seemed to me useful I have done my best to impart as the result of my 


[The treatise which follows constitutes the seventh chapter De Natural 
ibus Rebus, and may be compared with The Eeonomy of Minerals, c. 17. It 
is an addition of considerable importance to the Hermetic Chemistry of 


GOD created the resin of the earth and endowed it with many unspeakable 
qualities, not only for remedying diseases, but also for alchemical 
operations. Other virtues also are conspicuous in sulphur, which 
is a resin of the earth. It will be suitable, then, not only to discuss the 
medical virtues of sulphur, but also to treat of its alchemistical and other uses. 
Much has been written and published on the subject of sulphur, but no one 
has ever yet reached the source of its true power. Many authors have 
undertaken to describe everything, but they understood nothing. They piled 
up heaps of matter, but deduced nothing from the source as a good writer 
should do. They did not understand the subject themselves ; and though 
ambition led them to keep on compiling books, those books were without 
spirit or life, in fact, a mere dead letter. 

I, as an experienced man, will lay before you what I have learnt about 
sulphur, and what is comprised in it as regards medicine, alchemy, and in 
other respects. Unless God Himself interposes and hinders, the operations 
of sulphur are stupendous, so that the natural light in man cannot sufficiently 
admire them. If God does not hinder, any defect is in the artificers, who 
handle their sulphur so that the result does not correspond to its innate virtue. 
When every simpleton is made a doctor and every trifler poses as an 
alchemist, this fact accounts for science not being brought out into open light. 
And the foundation is that so many arcana and powers of both faculties are 
contained in sulphur, that they cannot be thoroughly investigated by any — 
because, I repeat, such excellent virtues are latent therein, they are deservedly 
the subject of universal wonder. After long experience gained in both 
faculties, these powers of sulphur were discovered and understood by me, 
and I realised that scarcely any exist which are superior to them, or which 
can even be compared to them in medicine and in Alchemy. Sulphur confutes 
.Aristotle when he says that the species of things cannot be transmuted. 

266 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Sulphur transmutes them ; and if Aristotle were ahve at the present day, he 
would be completely put to the blush and made ashamed of himself. 

One who practises as a physician or an alchemist does not use Sulphur as 
it exists per sc, but rather as it is separated into its arcanum, and so cleansed 
from its impurity that it becomes in its virtue whiter than snow. This is 
accomplished by Ysopus, that is, the art of separating, which was anciently- 
called the Ysopaic art in Alchemy and in all kinds of sequestration. Even 
when crude, it is remarkable for common use and for all external purposes. 
Hut, in order to be quite accurate in explaining Sulphur, I will differentiate 
it first according to its nature. It is not produced from one matrix, but from 
many. Hence it has diverse modes of operation, and comprises many natures, 
differing one from the other. These I will detail separately, so that no physician 
may make any mistake, and so that it may be clearly known what is its use in 
medicine, and also how far it is serviceable for Alchemy. When these points 
are established I will go on to specify its dail}- uses. So, then, when we shall 
have explained accurately and in due order its use in medicine, in Alchemy, 
and in other respects, all its operations will be understood by everybody, so 
that they will be able to handle it without danger of error. 

Concerning the Kinds of Sulphur. 

As often as you get new metal, so often you get sulphur ; because no 
metal is without sulphur. Every metallic body consists of three things, 
sulphur, salt, and mercury. In the perfection or generation of metals, how- 
ever, the superfluous sulphur is removed. You see a nut generated, not 
•AWCv^Xy per s.e, but with a skin and a shell, and you know that these are super- 
fluous save for the embryonic conservation of the kernel, as is explained in the 
treatise concerning generation. I adduce this illustration to shew that there 
are as many kinds of sulphur as of metals, each bearing relation to the nature 
of its own metal. And this is true not only of metals, but of stones. There 
are as man}- kinds of sulphur as of stones. All bodies having their own sub- 
stance are made up of the three constituents just mentioned. On this account 
they have an embryonated nature. Hence arise difterent names of sulphur, 
for example, the embryonic sulphur of gold, silver, sapphire, marble, etc. 
The sulphur is distinguished by the name of the embryo, which arises from the 
generation of a single product, be it metal or stone. Nor do I speak of 
metals and stones only, but also of all the different corporalities, such as 
vitriol, alum, marcasite, bismuth, antimony, etc. Each of these comprises an 
embryo, which takes its name according to the speciality of its own genera- 
tion. For instance, the embryonate sulphur of Mars is different from the 
embryonate sulphur of \itriol or of jaspis. The same holds good concerning 
growing bodies of the earth, as woods, herbs, and the like, each of \\hich 
contains in itself a sulphur of this kind. 

One thing should here be mentioned. It sometimes happens that embiy- 
onal sulphur of this kind produces metals of fair quality, gems pure and 

Conceiyiing Sulphur. 267 

bright, and other matters of like nature, because in that generation whereby 
they are produced, something is united therewith which is, as it were, a 
certain spirit of that body. And not only the spirit, but with that same also 
a corporality, but a subtle and ephemeral one, which cannot sustain any fire. 
Apart from the Vulcanic operation it is produced in those metals whence it 
arises, in gold from gold, in lead from lead. Similar preparations are also 
sometimes made in the sulphureous embryos of gems, by \\hich are separated 
mutually from one another dead sulphur, of a weak character, and a precious 
stone, latent in it, all which things have been discovered and investigated by 
art. But this stone was like that from which it was produced, granate from 
granate, hyacinlhus from hyacinthus. Relegating these things, however, to 
the alchemical process, we will here point out only what experience has taught 
and confirmed in the science of finding out secrets of this kind. Let the 
alchemist, therefore, in investigations of this nature, give his attention to 
finding out the embryo, lest by chance he light upon something else. Let so 
much be said, then, concerning one kind of sulphur, as to its origin. Besides 
this there is another generation of sulphur, per se. This I will now describe, 
and will set forth its virtues in medicine, Alchemy, and other arts. 

Sulphur, then, has still another generation, and one peculiar to itself, 
without any embryonic nature and condition, so that it is a thing growing by 
itself, like a beech or an oak, separated from other substances by its own 
special genus. This is called mineral sulphur. This sulphur is a mineral /«■;- 
se. And as the Vulcanic art teaches how to separate minerals so that the 
true body may be taken away from the false, — as silver or iron from its ore, — 
so also in mineral sulphur there is a body which is extracted, as tin from its 

That body is mineral sulphur. Of this sulphur there are many different 
kinds, no one exactly like another. Thus you see in all those things in which 
Nature abounds for us, that the genus is distributed not into one but many 
species. There is not only one lead, one copper, one gold. So, there is not ^ 
only one sulphur ; since one sort is of a higher, another of a lower grade, or 
they have more or less of transparency and clearness. For this reason medical 
properties also should be sought therein. .And this difference should be 
especially kept in view by alchemists, so that the particular species which is 
sought may forthwith be found. From this, it is sufficiently clear what are the 
different kinds and conditions of sulphur, and how they are to be recognised. 
But beyond these, I should wish you to know of another kind which is a 
special secret, as follows : — In alchemical separation, gold is dissolved from 
its corporality, as also silver, everj' metal, and gems, from all which the 
sulphur withdraws, is prepared, and extracted. Of this kind are the sulphur 
of gold, the sulphur of jaspis, the sulphur of vitriol, etc. .And in truth, 
various secrets are here used ; but this sulphur is so excellent an arcanum that 
nothing like it can be put forward, nor, indeed, ought to be in this place since 
this matter relates to Vulcan. So, thus far, we have put forward a triple 

268 The Hermetic and A Ichcmical Writings of Paracelsus. 

sulphur. Of these three, I will point out how they are useful to the phj-sician, 
the alchemist, and the soap maker respectively. 

Concerning E.mbryonated Sulphur. 

Concerning embryonated sulphur it should be known that it has different 
virtues according to that from which it is derived, that is, from its generators. 
Let us use an illustration to explain our meaning. A Ti\xX,per se, is simply the 
kernel. But the kernel contains in itself an integument which corresponds to 
the nut. As in foods, the kernel differs from its integument ; so do their virtues 
differ. Over against this, again, a dry shell is produced, which is of a nature 
altogether different from the nut. As the bodies differ, so do their properties. 
Over this, finally, grows a green rind or bark, where the same diversity is once 
more observed. The chestnut, for example, has these two coatings. And as 
the chestnut differs from the bark when masticated in the mouth, so do the 
properties differ. I say this in order that you may understand how embryon- 
ated sulphur is also a similar impurity from its embryo and differs from its true 
products by as wide an interval as its form, essence, substance, and corporality 
differ. The virtue of the nut is not to be looked for in the shell ; so neither is it 
in embryonated sulphur that one must seek the virtue of gold, silver, tin, copper, 
emerald, or jacinth ; but another virtue must be selected for medicine. Many 
virtues are hidden in these sulphurs, each differing from the other. This, also, 
which now we are going to say should be noted before all else, namely, that 
with all these sulphurs the spirit of arsenic blends, more subtly in one than in 
another. As is that which is generated, so also is that arsenic sometimes like 
realgar, sometimes like auripigment, sometimes like crystalline, etc. I ad- 
duce these facts in order that you ph}sicians may understand that jxiu ought 
to be naturalists — not sophists — so that you may know natural substances, 
and discover what is this arsenic in embryonated sulphur, so that you may not 
treat men as though you were robbers. They only know the sulphur of the 
hucksters' shops. They would not even know that if they had not heard it 
talked about. Yet, all these things ought to be known thoroughly from Nature 
herself, if we would net lend ourselves to robberj-, but would have a good 
conscience towards God. You Academicians think nothing of this, content 
with one thing — if money flows into your pockets. Yon care nothing for God, 
the Creator of yourselves and of all Nature. 

Moreover, note this with reference to the embryonated sulphur of the 
metals. It can be clearly seen how it firml}- conserves and restores its own 
particular member. For all the seven members require minerals only, and no 
other remedies for their ailments. Thus the sulphur of gold is beneficial to 
the heart, the sulphur of silver to the brain, the sulphur of copper to the 
kidneys, the sulphur of lead to the spleen, the sulphur of- iron to the gall, the 
sulphur of tin to the liver, the sulphur of quicksilver to the lungs. But all 
these avail in one disease only, as in the suffocation of these members, if there 
be a flux of humours in thcni which threatens such suffocation. .Although 

Concerning Sulphur. 269 

among the ancient and rival physicians no recipes are found against sufFoc- 
ations of this kind, still they one and all decline learning how to prepare these 
embryonatc sulphurs, and to administer them to their patients when necessity 
requires. I write here, therefore, concerning this one sole virtue, because no 
medicine has been found for suffocations, which is able to do what these 
metallic embryonated sulphurs do. As to their other virtues, these will be 
dealt with under the head of mineral sulphur. They suit all operations ; but 
the metallic are stronger than the mineral sulphurs, and must be used with 
greater caution. 

Moreover, there are also the sulphurs of gems in which precious stones 
lie as a chestnut within its thorny bark. The constitution of eagle-stones is 
well known. In the same way, also, all gems are by Nature enclosed in some 
thing which is their embryonate. In that embryonate, sulphur lies hid. When 
this is extracted you have no less virtue than in the stone itself, not, indeed, 
for wearing, but for using in place of medicine. So it is well known that in 
the sapphire is concealed the virtue of removing anthrax, and reducing it to 
an eschara above all other corrosives, and yet without any corrosion. Of the 
same nature is its sulphur, if, indeed, it be extracted from the body and be 
used as a plaster. Laid on thus, it produces the same effects. And this is the 
case not only with anthrax, but also with cancer and Persian fire, especially 
at the beginning, if it breaks forth with an abscess. Care must be taken, 
therefore, that from those gems which we Germans have we extract the 
virtues which are applicable to these special uses. If you have these virtues 
in gems you will have them also in sulphur, with the same mode of operation. 
They are not, it is true, equally strong in the sulphur, but still they are there. 
The application, separation, and gradation cause it to accomplish the same 
result. The correction and gradation alone tend thereto, otherwise none of these 
results could be brought about. As in the beginning, I took an illustration 
from the difference of the shell and the kernel in a nut, so is it to be under- 
stood here. But if the kernel of the nut be corrupted or dissolved, so that it 
is no longer useful for food, the nut still has the same properties as its shell. 
Let us take a further illustration. Suppose the kernel is burst, and an alkali 
formed from it, then, in like manner, the shell becomes an alkali too, and both 
tinge with a black colour those substances which were not previously black. 
When, therefore, I say that the virtue of the embryonate' is like that of the 
generated, I would be understood thus, if the generated be dissolved and 
reduced to a Vulcanian preparation. The same must be understood of all the 
embryonates of gems and the rest. 

But with regard to embrj'onated sulphurs in cachimia;, such as marchasites, 
antimony, talc, etc., it should be known that if they are extracted from their 
bodies and from the matters adhering to them, they produce a similar clear 
and bright sulphur. In proportion as the degrees hereof are graduated in the 
operation, the operation itself and the virtue answer to that degree. As this 
is extracted, so are all other embryonates, of which there is more to be said in 

270 The Hermetic atid Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

their alchemical operation, which cannot properly be recounted here. But the 
virtue is this, that it rivals those which are generated if it be corrupted in 
the preparation. Secondly, they are specially useful in all phlegmatic cases, 
especially in phthisis, peripneumonia, empyemata, and every kind of cough. 
Whatever can be naturally supplied in any way, that this sulphur brings to 
its condition. I have no greater desire or longing than that the state of the 
world to-day, among its princes, kings, and magnates, may be the same as it 
was \\\ the time and age of the Magi. Then the virtues in all things would 
so shine forth that all men would admire God, being such a profound artificer 
as He is, since He has hidden so many miracles in Nature, in order that man 
may trace them out. The Magi passed away, and the drunkards rushed into 
their place, and now nothing remains but whoremongers, mockers, robbers, 
and thieves. One ought to grieve from the heart that there is to-day no Magus 
flourishing among princes, but all things on every side have degenerated into 
mere trifling and ineptitude, while wolves sit at our councils, and have the 
masterv, who by their exactions and their usuries make more than enough 
gain for themselves and their lords. This fate awaited the Science of the 
Secrets of Nature, that after the passing away of the Magi, or of Magic, all 
the sciences also perished together by the same fate ; and in their place arose 
scribes with long garments, and rapacious wolves, who, swaying all rights by 
their me're nod, threw all things into a state of terrorism. What shall I 
say ? The arts have perished, and in their place a den of robbers has been 

Next in order, concerning the embryonated sulphur in vitriol and its cog- 
nates, which are species of vitriol. Know this, that they all produce a wonder- 
ful sulphur when animated bodies are separated from their embryonates, as 
from salt, from the sal gemmae, from different species of alum, from vitriols, 
etc. Here I will lay down a general rule for you, namely, that all sulphurs 
formed from vitriolated salts are stupefactive, narcotic, anodyne, and sleep- 
producing, with this special property, however, that here the somniferous 
condition is so placid and gentle that it is free from all harm, and does not act 
as an opiate, as is the case with henbane, pepper, mandragora, etc., but safely, 
quietly, clTectually, yet without evil consequences. Such a sleep-producing 
stupefactive, therefore, decocted, prepared, and corrected by Nature herself, 
is worthy of the highest praise. Phvsicians are agreed that soporifics of this 
kind produce many wonderful effects. In opiates, on the contrary, there is so 
much poison that, except in the form of a quintessence, they cannot be used ; 
and the more confidence should be placed in this present soporific, since we 
know that there are many diseases which are not curable without anodynes, 
and of which the whole remedy has been placed by God in these anodynes. 
This is the reason why I write the more carefully about this sulphur. How it 
is found and prepared is described in the alchemical process. Here, howe\er, 
concerning this same sulphur, it may be mentioned that of all the productions 
of vitriol it is the best known extract, because it is fixed of itself. Then, too. 

Concerning Sulphur. 271 

it has a certain amount of sweetness in it, so that poultry will eat it. It sends 
them to sleep for some time, but they wake up by-and-bye without feeling any evil 
eflfects from it. Concerning^ this sulphur there cannot be two opinions ; in all 
diseases curable by anodynes, without any ill effect, it lulls all passions, soothes 
all pains, reduces all fevers, and prevents the severe symptoms of every disease. 
This ought to be the first remedy and preventive in ail ailments, being followed 
up by the quintessence as a tonic. What other means can raise physicians to 
a higher position, beyond nil Apollos, Machaons, Hippocrates, and Polydores ? 
And this is called the philosophers' sulphur, because all philosophers aim at these 
results — to prolong life for many centuries, to make men live in health and 
resist disease, and they have found this faculty in its highest degree in this 
sulphur. That is why they have given it this name. Give your utmost 
attention that you may learn how to graduate, separate, and purify it. 

Besides this there is another kind of embrj onated sulphur in wood. This 
sulphur is only fire, which none can kindle save in wood, which also perishes 
with the wood. This sulphur exists in all substances which are wooden, or 
which in burning can be reduced to ashes. It is vegetable, not fixed, and 
available only for those substances which have to be prepared by fire. 
Everyone knows that this sulphur indicates the virtue of other sulphurs in that 
way. As it is itself fire, consuming all things, so every sulphur is an invisible 
fire consuming diseases. As fire consumes wood visibly, so does the other 
invisibly. For this reason the element of fire is a great arcanum in all 
diseases. Whatever physician has not this element of fire in its arcanity — 
if I may coin that word — cannot boast that he is a true and tried physician. 
He is a mere tyro, and pilferer of people's purses. One may now say, 
then, that sulphur is the element of fire. But if you contend that sulphur 
is fire in its medicinal effect, you must take care that it be reduced to its 
proper volatility, so that it may vanish like flame, that is, it shall be so sub- 
tilised that it will leave its own body, and its own body is separated from it, 
because it is not an element of fire. The sulphur being reduced to subtlety 
and volatility, then at length the consuming body must be consumed, that, 
namely, which is not fixed by Nature. So diseases are not fixed ; but the 
body is fixed against the element ; and the element of fire, at least, is opposed 
to that which is not fixed against it, that is, it is opposed to diseases. Now, 
if sham physicians had acted thus, if this our philosophy had found a place 
and acquired development in the schools of medicine, while the triflers and 
mountebanks, with their blind eyes, were banished, there is no knowing 
what position might have been reached, while these people would have avoided 
any number of homicides of which they have been guilty by their rashness. 
In the meantime, since they have no consciences, what can one do but let them 
pose as sham physicians ? But whoever wishes to be a true physician must 
hunt out the \irtues of the elements in natural things. There he will find, 
not only truth, but how to cure his patients. There are, then, two kinds of 
embryonated sulphur, one fixed, but made volatile, the other pure fire. That is' 

272 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

to say, one is living fire, the other insensible fire. Each, however, the 
sensible as well as the insensible, has a like consummation, the one in wood, 
the other in diseases. 

Concerning Mineral Sulphur. 

The following is a brief dissertation on mineral sulphur. Of the mode 
of separation from its scoria it is not necessary here to speak. This is treated 
of in the book on "The Generation of Minerals." It is well, however, to 
know something of its virtues. It must not be used in" its crud^ form for 
medicinal purposes, but has to be separated from its faces. In this way it is 
a remarkable medicine, if it be raised in the second or third degree from aloes 
and myrrh. It is an excellent preservative in the plague, in pleurisy, in all 
abscesses and putridities of the body. Taken in the morning it prevents the 
pestilence for that day, or pleurisy, or abscesses, especially if it be prepared 
according to the following prescription. Rec. Of purified sulphur as above 
described,. Ix. ; of Roman myrrh, ji. and a half; best aloes [aloe eputtciis), l\. ; 
oriental saffron, Jss. (half). Mix and make into a powder. Moreover, if 
it be elevated several times from vitriol (the oftener the better), it then takes 
into itself the essence and virtues of vitriol. In this way it is a preservative 
in all fevers, and a curative in every kind of cough, whether recent or of long 
standing. It is also a preservative against the falling sickness, and a curative 
in childhood. If it be taken daily it preserves the health, and prevents any- 
thing untoward from happening. In business and commerce it is a corrective 
of wine, so that it remains sound and uncorrupted, and is wholesome for those 
who drink it. It must not, however, be used in a crude state. It is so 
powerful a preservative for wine that it leaves nothing impure in the wine, but 
drives it all out. If wine is treated herewith it does not produce gravel or 
calculus, apoplexy, abscesses of any kind, fluxions, coughs, fevers, etc. 
Nothing can be found like it, or of equal efficacy with it, when it is pre- 
pared. It is not without reason, therefore, that I here sound its praises. If 
one had time, a very few pages of this our writing would suffice to establish 
this point in discussion with the academic doctors. Pearls are not to be cast 
before swine ; and these would rather see people sicken and die than yield a 
jot of their opinion, although they are not able to be of the slightest use to the 
sick. But to return to mineral sulphur : observe once more that it must not 
be used in a crude state, but prepared. The more carefully it is prepared, the 
better it turns out ; at length it throws off all its dregs and poisonous 
character, and everything in it that is useless retires from it ; what remains is 
a pearl of price and the most desirable of medicines. 

Crude sulphur has the property of bleaching red colours with its fumes. 
It turns red roses into white ones. If it be used medicinally in an elevated 
state it produces whiteness, but only externally. Moreover, it should be 
observed that there are several kinds of sulphur, differing in colour. There 
is, for instance, the yellow, the yellowish, that which is red in a greater or 

Concerning Sulphur. 273 

less degree, purple, black, white, ash-coloured ; but of these colours none is 
any use except the yellow. 

The more yellow sulphur is, and the more it inclines to gold colour, the 
better and more wholesome it is. The others contain a good deal of arsenic, 
realgar, etc., and so are avoided in medicine. But so far as concerns 
alchemy, these others are better on account of the ingress which they have 
through such spirits of realgar. 

Moreover, it is worth mentioning that this sulphur removes skin diseases 
and other external affections of the body. In these cases the coloured 
sulphurs are better than the yellow, on account of their subtle arsenical 
spirits. If these sulphurs are sublimated with vitriol, alum, sal gemmae, sal 
plumosum, etc., several times, they become so subtilised that they completely 
eradicate skin disease and ring-worm. This treasure is so precious because 
it removes externally those blemishes which have an internal origin. As the 
magnet attracts iron to itself, so that it moves from its position and does not 
remain where it was, so here are magnetic powers which cannot be altogether 
explained. A single experiment in the Vulcanic art opens up these marvels of 

God has supplied medicine in sufficient quantity. The blindness lies in 
the fact that no one attempts their preparation, so that the useless may be 
separated from what is useful. They think it suffices if, like apothecaries, 
they jumble a lot of things together and say "Fiat unguentum." This has 
been so far esteemed learning : and the world has returned to such a condition 
that medicine is mere trifling, and not, as it once was, an art or a science. 
It is not the artists in medicine, but the mere sophists, who have the pre- 
eminence. Vet, if medicine were handled by artists, a far more healthy 
system would be set on foot. Note, then, with regard to sulphur, that when 
it is granulated it is a most useful medicine for man, not, indeed, taken 
internally, but exhibited externally, even in the form of fumes. In this way, 
as we have said, it preserves and conserves, with the addition of some grains 
of juniper, rosemar}', etc. 

Concerning Metallic Sulphur : that is, Sulphurs prepared from the 

Entire Metals. 

Alchemy has devised certain arts and modes whereby metals are drawn 
out of their bodies, so that they are no longer metals but a certain destroyed 
matter which has lost its former condition. On this subject it should be 
remembered that every metal is made up of three constituents, salt, sulphur, 
and mercur}-. Since these three, then, are the primal material of the metals, 
it follows from hence that these three can be destroyed and dissolved and so 
subjected to art, that they can be reduced to another essence and transmuted. 
This destruction having been made, the three primals can be still further 
separated by art, so that the sulphur remains solitary and by itself, as does 
the salt, and the mercurv respectively. We will speak here of the sulphur, 


274 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

leaving the other two on one side. Sulphur is separated from other metals in 
this very way. Whatever forces I have assigned to sulphur generally, these 
also exist in the metallic sulphurs ; and the more so because the metal has 
acquired a special nature from that which makes it a metal. Of these virtues 
some are conferred on sulphur, so that the metallic is more excellent and 
more noble than other sulphurs. And the physician ought to know that all 
the virtues of sulphur are present in this kind of sulphur, graduated to their 
very highest degree (if I may so say), and endowed with the condition of the 
metal. Hence, sulphur acquires from gold the virtues of gold, from silver the 
virtues of silver, from iron the virtues of iron. Whatever iron does, what- 
ever the crocus of Mars does, whatever the topaz of iron does, all these same 
things the sulphur of iron does. In like manner is it with the sulphur of 
castrum, of lead, and of other metals. Every physician, therefore, should 
get possession of these sulphurs. The dose of them is small, but the effect is 
marked. These should convince the physician that God has set a remedy 
over against every disease. It this be true, the physician should be produced 
by magic, whereby he may understand all the secrets of Nature. Thus it will 
be made clear that Nature has such resources as to heal even the lepers. The 
phj'sician who is unacquainted with magic is a mere tyro, and will remain 
such so long as he lives. It is a difficult matter to have understood medicine, 
and to have visited its innermost shrines, at all events for those who are un- 
acquainted with the Cabbala and with magic. 

Concerning the Alchemical Virtues of Sulphur : and First Concerning 

Embryonated Sulphur. 

The extraction of embryonated sulphur is brought about by sublimation, 
and sometimes by descent, if the sulphur be properly ripened and there be a 
plentiful supply, without the admixture of other bodies. Sometimes, if it be 
too subtle, it will not admit of sublimation or descension, but must be ex- 
tracted with strong waters, so that by means of other bodies it may be 
reduced to water and then coagulated again from the water. There are many 
kinds of these strong waters, which we will not recount here, but they should 
be of such a kind as not to take away or change the power of the sulphur. 
For if they be extracted by art, according to their own concordance, they will 
not, indeed, be golden, but in alchemy they will be very convenient sulphurs 
for other preparations. They admit of fixation, and so produce in- cements a 
volatile subtle gold in metals, in such a way that they bear separation in 
strong waters and put forth their gold. Otherwise, from this sulphur nothing 
can be hoped for in alchemy, unless it be extracted, according to its con- 
cordance, from those things in which it is latent, and afterwards be fixed. If, 
as is often the case, it contains gold, that is discovered by fulmination. It is 
likewise so fixed for retaining all volatile gold that it cannot otherwise be re- 
strained, nor is it taken in separation on account of its tenuity of subtle corpor- 
ality. Many processes have, indeed, been tried for making a tincture out of. 

Concerning Sulphur. 275 

sulphur. These have not succeeded, because there is no tincture in it. It is, 
therefore, labour in vain. Unless gold were contained therein, nothing can be 
sought there, nor ought it to be attempted that gold should be produced in 
other bodies. There is none of a silver character, onlj' golden, and one kind 
more so than another. As far as concerns antimony, red talc, gold, marcasite, 
etc., they are rarely deficient in gold. Whoever wishes to treat this, let him 
take care to separate the sulphur so subtly that nothing shall depart from the 
gold. And unless God opposes (for He does not wish all to be rich, and 
Himself knows the reason why goats have not longer tails), much could be 
here imparted in few words. But since riches lead the poor man astray, and 
take away his modesty and humility, adding haughtiness and pride in their 
place, therefore it is better to be silent and let these people remain poor. 

Concerning Mineral Sulphur. 

Next in order I will impart to you some marvels, though I am aware 
that this discourse concerning the wonderful use of sulphur in alchemy will be 
unacceptable to many. It is known to all that the spirit of the sciences does 
not take holiday, but works constantly and unremittingly, that it may hunt 
out and discover those facts in the secret things of Nature which God has 
hidden. With this spirit there goes together for the most part another bad 
and false spirit, not only in this art, but in others too, even those which regard 
the soul. But concerning this false spirit I keep silence. The devil, indeed, 
mixes himself up i^n all matters, but I make no remark on his deceits. For 
the sake of this mineral sulphur the alchemical art has made many attempts 
to form something from it which shall be more than sulphur. Now this itself 
is a miracle — to make something more out of a thing than the thing of itself 
is. This, however, God has allowed to be done by art. Now, since this 
would be the ver)- potency of art, the great Master of the art Himself has, by 
superintending the art, made experiment as to what can be formed from 
sulphur, and how ; something which is not in the sulphur itself, but, however, 
can be obtained from it. The woman by herself cannot beget children, but 
she begets them with the man. If this begetting is to be accomplished it 
must be by means of two. Here art is the man and the father who brings all 
things to perfection. But now that stage of the operation has been reached 
when the spirit of transmutation has given its prescription for making the 
liver or lung from the oil of flax and sulphur. The distillation of this liver or 
lung is manifold. But it is found out by operating that this liver is given by 
milk, which differs in no respect from common milk, but is thick and fat. It 
also gives a red oil, like blood. This milk and that blood have not con- 
founded their colour and essence in the process of distillation, but these have 
remained distinct and separate, the white subsiding to the bottom and the red 
ascending to the top. Art, it is true, has urgently sought to form silver out 
of the white or the milk and gold out of the red. But I am certain that this 

has never been able to be done, either by the ancients or by those of more 


2/6 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

recent times. I say, therefore, that the milk is dead, and nothing is con- 
tained in it. 

But concerning this red oil, which gives the liver-mark. Any crystal 
or beryl which has been previously well polished, if it be placed in this 
oil for some time, namely, for three years, becomes a jacinth. If there 
be placed in it a ruby which is not highly graduated, in a space of nine 
years it becomes so clear and bright that it shines in the darkness like 
a burning coal, and can be seen everywhere. This has been proved experi- 
mentally. Alchemists, indeed, have tried to make a carbuncle of it by placing 
a jacinth of good quality for some time in the oil. But my experience 
says that this cannot be done. And this colouring does not take place 
only in the ways that have been mentioned; but the same oil tinges a 
sapphire also a blue colour, mixed with green. In the same way it colours 
other gems. Over glass and similar substances it has no power. But it so 
exalts gems that they attain their highest degree of excellence, a higher one, 
indeed, than that to which they could be exalted by Nature. Concerning other 
gradations and colourings of gems nothing more has been heard or written than 
that the red blood of sulphur colours and tints them. And here observe that 
all silver, if it be placed therein and left for a due time, by-and-bye grows black, 
and deposits a calx of gold, which until the proper season is not fixed, but is 
a volatile and immature substance. If, however, it reaches its proper limit, 
by its own despatch it hastens on other things, about which I must not say 
more here. So, then, remark concerning sulphur, that if it be duly graduated, 
the more subtle, beautiful, high, and quick in operation it is, the higher and 
greater will be the result. In this way metals and stones are formed. Let 
him w-ho is about to make the attempt not think, but be sure, that he can do 
it. For this is the most perilous work of all in alchemy, needing for its 
accomplishment great experience and continual practice. It should not depend 
on mere hearsay, but on manifold practice. Of the virtues themselves and 
how they are graduated, I cannot say anything. I speak of the colourings 
only, that they should be exalted to the highest degree. But that this should 
take place in colours I do not think possible. This is a tincture not of virtue, 
but of mere colour. 

Concerning the Use of Sulphur of the IMetals in Alchemy. 

I have several times in this chapter mentioned sulphur prepared from the 
decomposed metals, and added something as to their use in medicine. So far 
as relates to alchemy, I would have you know that many have tried to extract 
from it a tincture with which they should change things from one tint to 
another. This has not been successful, for a reason not to be mentioned here. 
But whoever has the sulphur of gold can by means thereof graduate other gold 
from 24 to 36 grains or more, so that gold cannot mount any higher, whilst 
it abides and remains in antimony and quartarium. But the sulphur of silver, 
too, so exalts silver in its whiteness, that if copper and silver are mixed in 

Concerning Sulplnir. 277 

equal proportions, they cannot be discriminated by the needle or the Lydian 
stone, but both seem to be equally pure and choice silver. In the same way, 
by the sulphur of copper, the metal copper can be brought to such a state that 
it is proof against lightning, even though it be not graduated, and retains its 
own colour. From the sulphur of Mars is made the best and most excellent 
steel. From the sulphur of Jove, the best tin, which will bear the lightning. 
From the sulphur of Saturn is made fixed Saturn, which gives neither white 
lead, nor minium, nor any other spirit. The sulphur of quicksilver reduces 
quicksilver to such a point that it can be wrought with the hammer, and bears 
the fire as well as copper does. The ashen fire, however, it does not bear. 
This is the power exercised by the sulphur of the metals over its own special 
metals. This is per se. If the sulphur of gold is applied to silver it colours it, 
but has no power of fixation ; and this is always the case with the transmut- 
ation of sulphur into some other metal. 

So far, then, you have learnt how many kinds there are, and what are the 
nature, properties, and essence of sulphur. Whoever wanted to say all that 
can be said about sulphur would consume a great deal of paper. The subject 
demands a careful workman, a ready and skilled artist, one who does not 
shout or traffic in trifles, who does not deal with his art by mouth and tongue 
only, but puts it to the test of work itself. Miracles will abound for such an 
one. He who knows nothing about sulphur is a man of no worth, unskilled 
both in philosophy and medicine, and conscious of none of Nature's secrets. 



IN the year 1582 an octavo edition of the Archidoxorum Libri Decern was 
published in Latin at Basle, and included several other treatises of 
^reat importance, some of which are absent from the Geneva folio. 
Among these there is one upon the Mercuries of the Metals, which fills a 
somewhat curious lacuna in the writings of Paracelsus, as there is no other 
extant work attributed to him which treats individually of Mercury, while 
concerning Salt and Sulphur there is an abundance of material which not a 
little embarrasses selection, It is entirely devoted to experiments, and it will 
be consequentlv of the more value to practical students of early chemistry. 

.\ Little Book con' the Mercuries of the Met.vls, bv the Gre.\t 

Theophr.\stus Paracelsus, most Excellent Philosopher 

AND Doctor of both Faculties. 

Extract aquafortis out of 4 lbs. of salt nitre, with 3 lbs. of green vitriol, 
lii. of alum, and Bi. of sal ammoniac. After it has subsided with a little 
copper, dissolve in this water §1. of crude sal ammoniac, which has pre- 
viously been slightly pounded. Let there be hence produced aqua regis 
through V. In this water dissolve gii. of gold, which has previously been 
well and most exactly purged by antimony. .After the dissolution has 
taken place let the calx subside ; effect separation by drawing off the aqua- 
fortis ; and then reduce the calx by washing to a sweet condition. For this 
purpose wash six or seven times with sweet water until no sharpness of the 
aquafortis any longer remains. Subsequently dry the calx over a slow fire, 
weigh it, and you will find that a third part of the weight has been extracted. 
Thereunto add an equal proportion of very finely pounded sulphur, a double 
quantitv of vitriol, and white calcined tartar to the weight of all the aforesaid 
things. Pound all of them very finely, place in a glass vessel, and pour upon 
the top exceedingly strong vinegar, together with salt water, so that aqueous 
matter may swim upon the top to the height oi two fingers, more or less. 
Seal the vessel effectually, and place it in a cupel, or alchemistic furnace, for 
thirty days. The furnace must not be of sufiicient heat to burn the finger 
when placed therein. At the expiration of the time specified break the glass, 
when the matter will be in the form of washed silver, or calx of silver which 

The Mercuries of the Metals. 279 

is friable into small grains. Mercury, meanwhile, is not visible. Therefore 
place the said matter in a mortar, and pound with a wooden pestle, for Mer- 
cur)' is compelled by pounding. Let this process continue until Mercury shall 
become complected, and a live matter, or bod)-, shall have been produced. 
Nevertheless, it is not so quickly produced or composed as Mercury of Saturn. 
Next cleanse the remaining matter with fresh and clear water ; dry it perfectly ; 
and you will have Mercury of the Sun, when the gold will be no longer fixed 
but voluble, and can be sent through the corium, whereby any impurity which 
may chance to remain is separated. 

Mercury of the Moon. 

Let silver be reduced to thin plates, in such a wa)' that it may be easily 
removed, and at the same time well purified. Sprinkle one of such plates 
with strong vinegar, and set aside in a humid place for a short space of time, 
until it becomes completely blue. Then dissolve with aquafortis separated 
by the separation of solution, and after it subsides, and the aquafortis has 
been afTused but not sweetened by washing, and dried gradually, pour vinegar 
again upon the calx, and then separate until the whole becomes completely 

Then take gii. of mountain or mineral cinnabar ground to a very fine 
powder, and afterwards |i. respectively of calx of silver, cinnabar, alumen, 
sulphur, and vitriol. When ground subtly place all these in ajar, including 
the calx of silver, which ought to sink to the bottom. Furthermore, cover 
the surface of the matter, or compound, at the top of the jar, with welding 
sand, such as the workers in iron are accustomed to use. Afterwards place 
this jar, mouth downward, on the top of another jar, which must be filled 
with pure water, and hidden in- the earth by descent. About the upper jar 
kindle a slow fire, and increase it more and more until the whole of the said 
upper jar shall become white with heat. Let it cool a little, and the Mercury 
of the Moon will be found in the lower jar. Let the jar remain for two hours, 
more or less, at a white heat, and thus out of gii. of the Moon is produced 
si. and a half of Mercury, which is altogether like crude Mercury. This is 
again pressed through the corium, so that the pure may be separated from 
the impure. 

Mercury out of Venus. 

Take copper reduced to thin plates and purged to the utmost of all dross. 
Divide it into small particles, and confect with salt on a tigillum, layer upon 
layer. Seal the upper orifice of the tigillum, so that nothing may evaporate. 
Place the said tigillum on the hottest part of a brick furnace for nine da3-s. 
Then take out the copper, when it will be of red colour approaching black- 
ness. Pound it with salt in a mortar as soon as it has been removed from 
the tigillum. Macerate the powder in strong wine, and let there be added 
to each 5v. of subtly ground arsenic, si. and a half of copper. Leave 
each of these together for the space of fifteen days. Let the measure of wine 

28o The Hermetic and Alchefnical Writings of Paracelsus. 

be sufficient to swim over the powder to the height of two straws. When 
removed there will remain an excellent, brilliant, whitish calx. Wash this 
in fresh spring water. 

Take of the Calx, Jii. 

of Sulphur, sii. 

of Gluten of Sulphur, Jii. 

of Vitriol -\ 

of Arsenic r each 5ss. 

of Alum J 
Mix each of these, when very finely pounded, with half a measure of the best 
vinegar. Let them all be distilled through the alembic until no further water 
can be extracted. Then add fire, remove the water, and there will collect on 
the side of the top of the alembic a white powder. This is the Mercury of 
Venus. Sprinkle this upon hot water, and it will flow together. It is 
sufficient if the cucurbite be at a white heat. From one pound of Venus 
Vn. and a half of Mercury are obtained ; such Mercury is altogether thin 
and subtle, and is so soluble that it escapes in boiling water. Wherefore the 
said water is only tepid. 

Mercury out of Mars. 

Reduce Mars into coarse filings, but avoid chalybs, wherefore filings de 
calcaribus are the best. Take thereof ten pounds, and sprinkle well with salt 
water ; leave for ten days or longer — the longer the better. Afterwards wash 
Mars in such a fashion as to avoid separatnig the turbidity. At length the 
water becomes clear, for the turbidity sinks to the bottom in the form of a 
red viscosity. Separate the water gradually by straining ; keep the matter ; 
dry it so that no excremental or gross part may remain. Take of this viscid 
matter 3 v., of pounded sulphur Bxxx., compound delicately to the form of 
fine flour. Place it in the tigillum. Seal up securely, so that nothing may 
escape, and let the tigillum glow for an hour. Then let it cool, break it, and 
a grey powder will be found. Add thereto Bi. of spume of glass, gss. of sal 
ammoniac, and 5v. of vitriol. Place on a smooth stone in a humid spot, and 
the water will flow out. But leave it for ten days ; crush it in the hands, and 
you will have live Mercury, which is Mercury of Mars. Out of ten pounds of 
Mars one drachm and a half will be obtained. It is black and dull in colour. 

Mercury of Jupiter. 

Jupiter is calcined in the following fashion : Take filings corresponding 
in grossness to the back of a knife. Place in good distilled vinegar for twelve 
hours. Dry, and there will adhere a whitish cuticle. Remove this carefully 
with the hare's foot and set it apart. Again moisten, and again dry the 
filings ; separate a similar cuticle a second time, and repeat this process till 
there is enough of the white calx. This take, and subject to all the processes 
to which the Calx of Lead is subjected, but avoiding the addition of Succinum, 

The Mercuries of tlie Metals. 281 

or white vitriol. Put green copper rust in place thereof, and the work will be 
accomplished. Jupiter does not yield so much Mercury as Saturn, for one 
pound of the metal produces less than Ivi. 

Mercury of Saturn. 

Take Villarensian Lead, or any other in which there is no silver, otherwise 

it must be purg'ed in the following manner : If it has been calcined, let the calx 
boil for two whole hours in a lixivium composed of willow ashes, in which have 
been first dissolved one ounce of alumen and eight ounces of salt. In coction 
it is purged of all sulphur and other viscous matter. Calcine this lead in the 
following manner with salt : Melt the lead, pour it into a wooden receptacle, 
mix it well with common salt, and it will be reduced to a powder like sand. 
Cleanse the salt away ten or twelve times, till no saltness remains in the lead. 
Dry the calx gradually by continual agitation. When it has been dried, 
produce water as follows : Take of white vitriol, otherwise called succinum, 
five ounces, and one measure of vinegar, to six pounds of calx of lead. 
Dissolve the vitriol in vinegar. Sprinkle the calx of lead with this water, or 
perfectly saturate, or so place the calx in water that it protrudes above it. 
Leave it for thirty-six hours, so that it becomes an ashen-coloured powder. 
Then take a light marble vessel, the larger the better. Put it obliquely in a 
humid place, or in a wine cellar, and in front of it so place a wooden 
receptacle that it will receive whatever shall flow out. Calx of lead may be 
dissolved with three measures thereof. Again take this water and add to it 
a small quantity of fresh matter, which will concrete in the form of flour at 
the bottom. Place it in a similar marble, put a copper operculum over it, and 
make a small charcoal fire at the top of the operculum. When the said 
matter receives the heat Mercury comes forth ; the fire is preserved in good 
order and grade until no more of the calx of lead remains. Therefore, 
Mercury of Saturn which flows into that wooden receptacle should be well 
washed and purified, so that if perchance crude Saturn flows down at the 
same time, as often happens, the same may be separated. From ten pounds 
of Saturn are made eight pounds, and often eight pounds and a half, of 
Mercury. Note. — Let not the fire in the operculum be too great or fierce, for 
otherwise much crude matter of Mercury will flow down at the same time. 
To the said marble apply a copper operculum corresponding to the size 
of the marble, which operculum should be at its sides and ends of the height 
of a spithmia, and should be shaped like a frying-pan. Let the front part 
be open for the passage of the Mercury. Then take greyish powder made 
from lead, together with succinous matter, and add to it the following 
water : 

Take of Alum, \\. 

of Salt Nitre, sii- and ss. 

of Mountain Verdigris, Jss. 

of Rock Salt, Eii. 

282 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Pound these substances minutely, saturate with stale wine, then distil, and 
there will proceed water of yellowish colour (golden, or crocus). To this 
water add semi-vitrified calx of lead, and the calx will sink at the bottom. 
Afterwards gradually pour off the water. Set the same apart, because it 
never turns putrid, and a centenarius of fire should therefore be maintained 
in an equal and moderate grade. If the crude Mercury flow forth at the 
same time, it remains after passing through the corium, and must be cooked 
out from the rest, for another confection, and thus thou hast Mercury of 
Saturn by the most simple way. 



IN the year 1581 a Congeries Paracelsicce Chemicc de Transtnutaiionibus 
Metallorian appeared in octavo at Frankfort. In the notes to the 
Aurora of the Philosophers, Concer)iing the Spirits of the Planets, and 
elsewhere, some references have been already made to this work, which ante- 
dates by nearly a centurj- the Geneva edition of the writings of Paracelsus. 
As its title indicates, it attempted to collect and digest into a single method- 
ical treatise the whole substance of alchemy, as taught and practised by 
Paracelsus. While in many respects the digest was passably well done, and 
affords a tolerably representative notion of the opinions and experiments of 
Theophrastus, it is perhaps needless to say that, as it was included in the 
compass of a small volume, it is really very meagre. There is, however, one 
point in which it may be of value to the student. The Congeries is, in all 
probability, an adaptation of autograph manuscripts, and where its readings, 
which is by no means invariably the case, can be distinguished from editorial 
interpolations and extensions, they may be useful in so far as they varj- from 
the readings of the Geneva folio and some other less carefully supervised 
editions. Perhaps, after all, the value, such as it is, of this point, is likelj' to 
be appreciated only by that very small circle of readers who believe that in 
ancient practical alchemy there are chemical secrets hidden which are unknown 
to the chemistry of to-day. For these the importance of a perfect text of the 
old alchemical processes, whether in the case of Paracelsus or in that of any 
other recognized master, is no doubt very high. In the present instance, the 
difficulty of distinguishing between the text and its editor, in so far as there 
are substantial variations, makes it needless to tabulate the readings, and the 
purpose of this appendix is of a far less pretentious character. There are a 
few paragraphs in the Congeries vi\)\z\\ it has not been found possible to identify 
in the collected editions of Paracelsus, or at least they offer very conspicuous 
differences, and these it is desirable to cite. The first has regard to the 
erection of the philosophical furnace, which The Aurora of the Philosophers 
affirms it is difficult to describe, at least as regards its form, while the specific 
direction contained in the third treatise, Concerning the Spirits of the Planets, 
only partially corresponds to what is stated in the following excerpt, which 
constitutes the fourth chapter of the Congeries Paracelsicce Chemia. The 

284 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

editorial argument which follows is also worth inclusion, as it is concerned 
with a matter which, in more than one instance, must have struck the reader 
of the present translation, namely, that it is not altogether easy, in every case, 
to harmonize Paracelsus with himself. 

Concerning the Visible and Local Instruments : and first of 


Before we come to the matter, we must describe in order all the instru- 
ments, both actual and local, which are required in this art. We have said 
that the first actual instrument is the fire. The first local instrument is the 
furnace, designated by the ancients under the alchemical name of athanor. 
This takes the place of the uterus in spagyric generation. 

Hermes Trismegistus, though he was not the inventor of this art, no less 
than Paracelsus in spagyric medicine, deserves to be called its restorer. 

He asserts that this spagyric work, in which human philosophy reaches 
its extreme point, originated in the meditative contemplation of the greater 
world, intimating that the spagyric athanor ought to be constructed in exact 
imitation of the heaven and earth. In order to exercise the ingenious it will 
not be amiss to examine this comparison, and I think I shall be able thereby 
to profit my readers. 

No philosopher will deny that the sun generates a sun like itself ; but it 
is not every one who will acknowledge that this fcetus exists in the centre : 
least of all will those disciples of the philosophers who have no other 
knowledge of the Actnsean fire than that which comes from the fleshly eye, 
just like rustics in this respect. This terrene sun of the lower, or elementary, 
machinery is kindled by the fire of the higher sun. Just in the same way the 
centre of our matter is kindled by the centre of our world, or athanor, which 
is a fire, discharging after a manner the function of the natural sun. 

Who does not see — I ask you, my brethren — that the form of the whole 
created universe has the similitude of a furnace, or, to speak more respect- 
fully, the form of that which contains the matrix of a womb — the elements, 
that is to say, in which the seeds of the sun and the moon, cast down by the 
stars in their different influxes, are decayed, concocted, and finally digested for 
the generation of all things ? These things are transparently clear, I will not 
say to philosophers, but even to boys, wherefore we will not insist upon them 

Let us come, then, to the construction of our athanor. 

First let a furnace be built seven spans in height, and let the rounded 
interior be the height of one span, the lower part a little broader than the upper 
part inside, and let it be polished, so that the coals, when put in, may not 
stick through the roughness of the surface, but may be able easily to fall down 
through the grating while they are being burnt. To equalise this let there be 
two or three holes, with which two or three lateral or uterine furnaces — or, if 
you like, a single one — shall correspond : the breadth of the mouths should be 

De Transmutationibus Metallorum. 285 

four fingers. To every furnace let a brazen vessel be fitted, and these are to 
be filled with water. Let the others be shut up ; as the egg in the hen, so is 
the glass in its uterus for the work of the magistery. Then, when you are 
going to work, and all has been carefully prepared, having broken coals into 
pieces the size of walnuts, or a little larger, fill up the turrets with these and 
kindle the fire at the door beneath ; but let the top be kept shut, so that the 
coals at the top or in the middle may not be kindled, thus stirring up a heat 
that shall destroy the whole work, and burn everything together. When the 
heat shall appear to exceed what is proper, it can be controlled by applying a 
small brick or tile to the mouth ; on the other hand, if it be too slack, let 
the coals be stirred up with an iron rod beneath the grating. The fire can be 
still more readily controlled by registers (which are called governors). 
Experience teaches the uses of those things which are necessary in prepa- 
rations before you have arrived at this stage. The fire, then, having been 
regulated to a just proportion, as Nature teaches in all things, the heat will 
cause a fermentation, and by-and-bye this will affect the matter lying hid in 
the &g%. 

Henceforwards, just as the sun in the great universe shines, illuminates, 
and gives life to the rest of the stars and to the elements, so the spagyric fire, 
illuminating its athanor, with all the instruments, and warming the sea-bath, 
acts just like a hen which hatches its animated Q%^. 

But I hear a giant roaring like a lion against the furnace, and seeking 
Paracelsus to devour him. "See," says he, "how he contradicts himself! 
Just now he told us, and that with considerable severity, not to build a fire 
with coals ; now he is teaching the use of coals for this art of his ! " You 
have touched the matter, no doubt, but only in the same way as )-ou have 
judged that the other writings of Paracelsus are contradictor)'. Open the 
other eye, my one-eyed friend, or you will act the part of a blind man passing 
a judgment about colours. Can you not see what is the meaning of this 
particle — simple and without middle meaning — added to the interdiction of 
coals ? Do you not see how Paracelsus, though dead, answers you and his 
other calumniators in his living works, saying — " You, who adjudge me to 
err, yourselves err, even when judged by yourselves. Have I not often 
admonished you, and those like you, envious people that you are, in almost all 
my works, not to pass over even a little word which you have not thoroughly 
appropriated, lest the same thing happens to you, giants, fighting with my 
pigmy homunculus, as formerly happened to Goliath fighting with the boy 
David ? Take care, I say, lest you collide with this stone of ours as the great 
mysten,', and sink down with it to the abyss whereto you would consign 
me ! " Thus seems Paracelsus to thunder forth in his tomb. We must not, 
my brothers, speak unfairly of the dead, even of those whose deserts were 
small. Let them all remain at rest, and all await their deeds. It is easy to 
carp, but to avoid judgment to-day is difficult ; at the last it will be impossible. 
What are you which I am not, or what am 1 which you are not ? -Again, 

2 86 Tlie Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

what has happened to both of us save that which may occur to another, 
namely, to err ? We are all men ; and error happens to men more than it 
does to brutes without reason, who are stirred solely by the promptings of 
Nature. I confess that I err in very many things, and you err. It is yours 
to confess it, and mine to admonish, not to judge. Be it your duty, as it is 
mine, not enviously to disclose those things of your brothers which have not 
been duly done, before that, with a certain amount of modesty, you have 
admonished him according to the discipline of true philosophy, otherwise 
neither you, nor he, nor I, if we act in a contrary manner, are worthy of the 
name of philosophy. But this philosophic discipline (alas, that it should 
be so !) is impugned even by the most learned : and so much has the dogma 
of heathen philosophers prevailed, being at the present day very celebrated 
among these people, that they do not take a comprehensive glance at what is 
without and within ; they display nothing beyond a mere ambition for honour 
and renown. This is the chief end of their study' and toil. Hence it has 
come about that everybody tries to get credit for- himself by tripping up or 
blackening the character of somebody else. But these wretched people do 
not consider that no great ill can be done which will not incur a greater 
punishment still, at least if we are all foolish together, and nobody even 
approaches wisdom. Many are wise, a few very wise, who still preserve no 
medium. Let us look to it, then, lest what we parade as wisdom may, even 
in this our day and generation, be turned by the good God into open folly, 
and that through our own efforts. If, then, we have erred at all, and our 
own conscience tells us that we have done so, by which error on our part it 
seems only too likely that we may mislead others, let us in the presence of 
God and men retract, and that without reserve. The wisest of men are ever 
ready to acknowledge their common error, but stubborn men and fools are 
not ready to do this. Every made course seems the straight road for them, 
and vice vcrsd. 

The following passage appears as a sequel to the Treasure of Treasures, 
which, in a somewhat modified form, occupies the thirteenth chapter of the 
Congeries. It may be entitled 

The Phcenix of the Philosophers. 

The exposition of the cabalists has, under the name of the Phcenix, that 
it is the Flying Eagle, whose feathers fly without the wind, and bear the body 
of the phcenix to its nest, in which is nourished the element of fire. Its 
young peck out their mother's eyes with their beak, and there is produced a 
whiteness in its separated sphere. In this consists the life of its heart and 
the balsam of its intestines. According to the Cabalists this refers to the 
sulphur of cinnabar, to which Paracelsus alludes. Very lately, when electrum 
was being treated, I referred the reader to cinnabar, and not without cause, 
since it has the greatest affinity therewith. What is cinnabar but a composition 
or mixture of two minerals, sulphur and quicksilver ? What, too, is electrum 

De Transmutationibjts Metalloy-um. 287 

but a mixture of two or more, whether minerals or metals ? The sulphur of 
Sol, therefore, joined artificially with philosophic Mercurj' of Luna,— why 
should not this be electrum, why not cinnabar? Whether each is made by 
Nature or by chemistry, the component parts do not differ. 

The last citation which it will be necessary to make is the fifteenth 
chapter of the Congeries. It is an exceedingly concise abridgment of the 
fifth book of the Archidoxies as regards the section on the Stone of the 
Philosophers, and it is inserted at this point as an illustration of the method 
of the editor. It is called 

A Very Brief Process for Attaining the Stone. 

I neither am nor wish to be a teacher or a follower of that Stone which 
is taught in different ways by very manj'. Leaving, therefore, this process 
for its attainment, I have proposed to describe in very few words that which 
has been discovered by me through practice and experience. This, no less 
than the other, affects the bodies of men, though it is not prepared by the ' 
same process. Take, then, mercury, otherwise the element of mercurj^, and 
separate the pure from the impure. Afterwards let it be reverberated even to 
whiteness, and sublimate this with sal ammoniac until it is resolved. Let it 
be calcined and dissolved again, and digested in a pelican for one month, 
being afterwards coagulated into a body. This is no longer burnt, or in any 
way consumed, but remains in the same condition. The bodies penetrated 
by it are permanent in the cineritium, so that they vcannot be reduced to 
nothing or be altered ; but it takes away, as we have often said, all super- 
fluous qualities both from sensible and insensible things. 

Although I have here set down a very brief way and process, it requires 
long labour, and one that is involved in many intricate circumstances ; 
demanding, at the same time, an operator who is unassailable by fatigue, and 
in the highest degree diligent and expert. 



IN the nineteenth chapter of his Ritiiel de la Haute Magic, Eliphas Levi 
observes that "amongst the rare and precious books which contain 
the mysteries of the Great Arcanum, there must be placed in the first 
rank the Chemical Patlr^vay, or Mainial of Paracelsus, which contains all the 
mysteries of demonstrative physics and of the most secret cabala. This 
manuscript work, unique and priceless, exists in the library of the Vatican. 
A transcription of it was made by Sendivogius, and this was made use of by 
Baron Tschoudj- for the compilation of the Hermetic Catechism contained in 
his work entitled The Burning Star. This catechism, which we point out to 
instructed cabalists, as a substitute for the incomparable treatise of 
Paracelsus, contains all the veritable principles of the great work, after so 
satisfactory and explicit a manner that a person must be absolutely wanting 
in that quality of intelligence which is requisite for ocultism if they fail to 
attain the absolute truth when they have studied it." The manuscript to which 
reference is made in this interesting citation, is still an unedited treasure, 
although, as will be seen in the next appendix, there has been at least one 
Manual attributed to Paracelsus, which has been in print for four centuries. 
In the absence of the Vatican treatise, the student who desires to make 
acquaintance with a work of Paracelsus which adepts in the Art of Alchemy 
seem to prefer before all published writings of the same author, must make 
shift with the Hermetic Catechism, as suggested by Eliphas Levi. He will 
find it an exceedingly, succinct, and simple presentation of the fundamental 
alchemical theories. Though it may not initiate the reader, whatever the 
quality of his intelligence, into the mystery of the Great Arcanum, it is, in 
its way, very lucid and direct. Whether this merit belongs to Paracelsus or 
his interpreter, is an unprofitable subject of speculation in the absence of 
the original text, which few persons have had the opportunity or disposition to 
to consult. The work of Baron Tschoudy was published in two volumes at 
Hamburg, in 17S5, and later on there was another edition at Paris. Having 
regard to its period, it is a sensible, though somewhat romantic, attempt to 
trace back Free Masonry to its historical origin, while, over and above this, 
it constitutes a valuable hand-book of the analogies which subsist between that 
system and Hermetic science, more especially Alchemy. The catechism itself, 

A Short Catechism of Alchemy. 289 

which is tlie most important section of the Burning Star, teems with 
analogies of this kind, wiiich, of course, are the creation of the editor, and 
are suppressed in the translation which follows, in part because they exceed 
the intention of the present work, and in part for other reasons. 

A Short Catechism of Alchemy 

Founded on the Manual of Paracelsus preserved in the 

Vatican Library. 

Q. What is the chief study of a Philosopher ? 

A. It is the investigation of the operations of Nature. 

Q. What is the end of Nature ? 

A. God, Who is also its beginning. 

Q. Whence are all things derived ? 

A. From one and indivisible Nature. 

Q. Into how many regions is Nature separated ? 

A. Into four palmary regions. 

Q. Which are they ? 

A. The dry, the moist, the warm, and the cold, which are the four 
elementary qualities, whence all things originate. 

Q. How is Nature differentiated? 

A. Into male and female. 

Q. To what may we compare Nature? 

A. To Mercury. 

Q. Give a concise definition of Nature. 

A It is not visible, though it operates visibly; for it is simply a volatile 
spirit, fulfilling its office in bodies, and animated by the universal spirit — the 
divine breath, the central and universal fire, which vivifies all things that 

O. What should be the qualities possessed by the examiners of Nature ? 

A. They should be like unto Nature herself. That is to say, they should 
be truthful, simple, patient, and persevering. 

Q. W^hat matters should subsequently engross their attention ? 

A. The philosophers should most carefully ascertain whether their 
designs are in harmony with Nature, and of a possible and attainable kind ; if 
they would accomplish by their own power anything that is usually performed 
by the power of Nature, they must imitate her in every detail. 

Q. What method must be followed in order to produce something which 
shall be developed to a superior degree than Nature herself develops it. 

A. The manner of its improvement must be studied, and this is invariably 
operated by means of a like nature. For example, if it be desired to develop 
the intrinsic virtue of a given metal beyond its natural condition, the chemist 
must avail himself of the metallic nature itself, and must be able to discrim- 
inate between its male and female differentiations. 


290 The Hermetic and Akluiincal Writings 0/ Paracelsus. 

Q. Where does the metallic nature store her seeds ? 

A. In the four elements. 

Q. With what materials can the philosopher alone accomplish anything? 

A. With the germ of the given matter ; this is its elixir or quintessence, 
more precious by far, and more useful, to the artist, than is Nature herself. 
Before the philosopher has extracted the seed, or germ, Nature, in his behalf, 
will be ready to perform her duty. 

Q. What is the germ, or seed, of any substance ? 

A. It is the most subtle and perfect decoction and digestion of the sub- 
stance itself; or, rather, it is the Balm of Sulphur, which is identical with the 
Radical I\Ioisture of Metals. 

Q. By what is this seed, or germ, engendered ? 

A. By the four elements, subject to the will of the Supreme Being, and 
through the direct intervention of the imagination of Nature. 

Q. After what manner do the four elements operate ? 

A. By means of an incessant and uniform motion, each one, according 
to its quality, depositing its seed in the centre of the earth, where it is sub- 
jected to action and digested, and is subsequently expelled in an outward 
direction by the laws of movement. 

Q. What do the philosophers understand by the centre of the earth ? 

A. A certain void place where nothing may repose, and the existence of 
which is assumed. 

Q. Where, then, do the four elements expel and deposit their seeds? 

A. In the ex-centre, or in the margin and circumference of the centre, 
which, after it has appropriated a portion, casts out the surplus into the 
region of excrement, scorias, fire, and formless chaos. 

Q. Illustrate this teaching by an example. 

A. Take any level table, and set in its centre a vase filled with water; 
surround the vase with several things of various colours, especially salt, taking 
care that a proper distance intervenes between them all. Then pour out the 
water from the vase, and it will flow in streams here and there ; one will 
encounter a substance of a red colour, and will assume a tinge of red ; another 
will pass over the salt, and will contract a saline flavour ; for it is certain that 
water does not modify the places which it traverses, but the diverse charac- 
teristics of places change the nature of water. In the same way the seed 
which is deposited by the four elements at the centre of the earth is subject to 
a variety of modifications in the places through which it passes, so that every 
existing substance is produced in the likeness of its channel, and when a seed 
on its arrival at a certain point encounters pure earth and pure water, a pure 
substance results, but the contrary in an opposite case. 

Q. After what manner do the elements procreate this seed ? 

A. In order to the complete elucidation of this point, it must be observed 
that there are two gross and heavy elements and two that are volatile in 
character. Two. in like manner, are dry and two humid, one out of the four 

A Short Catechism of Alchemy. 291 

being actually excessively dry, and the other excessively moist. They arc also 
masculine and feminine. Now, each of them has a marked tendency to 
reproduce its own species within its own sphere. Moreover, they are never in 
repose, but are perpetually interacting, and each of them separates, of and by 
itself, the most subtle portion thereof. Their general place of meeting is in 
the centre, even the centre of the Arc/icus, that servant of Nature, where 
coming to mix their several seeds, they agitate and finally expel them to the 

Q. What is the true and the first matter of all metals ? 

A. The first matter, properly so called, is dual in its essence, or is in 
itself of a twofold nature ; one, nevertheless, cannot create a metal without 
the concurrence of the other. The first and the palmary essence is an aerial 
humidity, blended with a warm air, in the form of a fatty water, which adheres 
to all substances indiscriminately, whether they are pure or impure. 

O. How has this humidity been named by Philosophers? 

A. Mercury^ 

Q. B}' what is it governed ? 

A. By the rays of the Sun and Moon. 

Q. What is the second matter ? 

A. The warmth of the earth — otherwise, that dry heat which is termed 
Sulphur by the Philosophers. 

Q. Can the entire material body be converted into seed ? 

A. Its eight-hundredth part only — that, namely, which is secreted in 
the centre of the body in question, and ma\-, for example; be seen in a grain 
of wheat. 

Q. Of what use is the bulk of the matter as regards its seed ? 

A. It is useful as a safeguard against excessive heat, cold, moisture, or 
ariditj', and, in general, all hurtful inclemency, against which it acts as an 

Q. Would those artists who pretend to reduce the whole matter of any 
body into seed derive any advantage from the process, supposing it were 
possible to perform it ? 

A. None ; on the contrary, their labour would be wholly unproductive, 
because nothing that is good can be accomplished by a deviation from natural 

Q. What, therefore, should be done ? 

A. The matter must be effectively separated from its impurities, for 
there is no metal, how pure soever, which is entirely free from imperfections, 
though their extent varies. Now all superfluities, cortices, and scorias must be 
peeled off and purged out from the matter in order to discover its seed. 

Q. What should receive the most careful attention of the Philosopher ? 

A. Assuredly, the end of Nature, and this is by no means to be looked 

for in the vulgar metals, because, these having issued already from the hands 

of the fashioner, it is no longer to be found therein. 


292 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Q. For what precise reason ? 

A. Because the vulgar metals, and chiefly gold, are absolutely dead, 
while ours, on the contrary, are absolutely living, and possess a soul. 

Q. What is the life of metals ? 

A. It is no other substance than fire, when they are as yet imbedded in 
the mines. 

Q. What is their death? 

\. Their life and death are in reality one principle, for they die, as they 
live, by fire, but their death is from a fire of fusion. 

Q. After what manner are metals conceived in the womb of the earth ? 

A. When the four elements have developed their power or virtue in the 
centre of the earth, and have deposited their seed, the Archeus of Nature, in 
the course of a distillatory process, sublimes them superficially by the warmjh 
and energy of the perpetual movement. 

Q. Into what does the wind resolve itself when it is distilled through 
the pores of the earth ? 

A. It resolves itself into water, whence all things spring ; in this state 
it is merely a humid vapour, out of which there is subsequently evolved the 
principiated principle of all substances, which also serves as the first matter 
of the Philosophers. 

Q. What then is this principiated principle, which is made use of as the 
first matter by the Children of Knowledge in the philosophic achievement ? 

A. It is this identical matter, which, the moment it is conceived, receives 
a permanent and unchangeable form. 

Q. Are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, the Sun, the Moon, etc., 
separately endowed with individual seed? 

A. One is common to them all ; their differences are to be accounted for 
by the locality from which they are derived, not to speak of the fact that Nature 
completes her work with far greater rapidity in the procreation of silver than 
in that of gold, and so of the other metals, each in its own proportion. 

O. How is gold formed in the bowels of the earth ? 

A. When this vapour, of which we have spoken, is subhmed in the 
centre of the earth, and when it has passed through warm and pure places, 
where a certain sulphureous grease adheres to the channels, then this vapour, 
which the Philosophers have denominated their Mercury, becomes adapted and 
joined to this grease, which it sublimes with itself; from such amalgamation 
there is produced a certain unctuousness, which, abandoning the vaporous 
form, assumes that of grease, and is sublimised in other places, which have 
been cleansed by this preceding vapour, and the earth whereof has con- 
sequently been rendered more subtle, pure, and humid ; it fills the pores of 
this earth, is joined thereto, and gold is produced as a result. 

Q. How is Saturn engendered ? 

A. It occurs when the said unctuosity, or grease, passes through places 
which are totally impure and cold. 

A Short Catechisvi of Alchemy. 293 

Q. How is Venus brought forth ? 

A. She is produced in localities where the earth itself is pure, but is 
mingled with impure sulphur. 

Q. What power does the vapour, which we have recently mentioned, 
possess in the centre of the earth ? 

A. By its continual progress it has the power of perpetually rarefying 
whatsoever is crude and impure, and of successively attracting to itself all 
that is pure around it. 

Q. What is the seed of the first matter of all things ? 

A. The first matter of things, that is to say, the matter of principiating 
principles is begotten by Nature, without the assistance of any other seed ; in 
other words, Nature receives the matter from the elements, whence it sub- 
sequently brings forth the seed. 

Q. What, absolutely speaking, is therefore the seed of things ? 

A. The seed in a body is no other thing than a congealed air, or a humid 
vapour, which is useless except it be dissolved by a warm vapour. 

Q. How is the generation of seed comprised in the metallic kingdom ? 

A. By the artifice of Archeus the four elements, in the first generation of 
Nature, distil a ponderous vapour of water into the centre of the earth ; this 
is the seed of metals, and it is called Mercury, not on account of its essence, 
but because of its fluidity, and the facility witli which it will adhere to each 
and every thing. 

Q. Why is this vapour compared to sulphur? 

A. Because of its internal heat. 

Q. From vihat species of Mercury are we to conclude that the metals 
are composed ? 

k. The reference is exclusively to the Mercury of the Philosophers, and 
in no sense to the common or vulgar substance, which cannot become a 
seed, seeing that, like other metals, it alread)- contains its own seed. 

Q. What, therefore, must actually be accepted as the subject of our 
matter ? 

A. The seed alone, otherwise the fixed grain, and not the whole body, 
which is differentiated into Sulphur, or living male, and into Mercury, or 
living female. 

Q. What operation must be afterwards performed ? 

.A. They must be joined together, so that they may form a germ, after 
which they will proceed to the procreation of a fruit which is conformed to their 

Q. What is the part of the artist in this operation ? 

A. The artist must do nothing but separate that which is subtle from 
that which is gross. 

Q. To what, therefore, is the whole philosophic combination reduced? 

A. The development of one into tvio, and the reduction of two into one, 
and nothing further. 

294 The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. 

Q. Whither must we turn for the seed and life of metals and minerals ? 

A. The seed of minerals is properly the water which exists in the centre 
and the heart of the minerals. 

Q. How does Nature operate by the help of Art ? 

A. Every seed, whatsoever its kind, is useless, unless by Nature or Art 
it is placed in a suitable matrix, where it receives its life bj' the coction of the 
germ, and by the congelation of the pure particle, or fixed grain. 

Q. How is the seed subsequently nourished and preserved? 

A. By the warmth of its body. 

Q. What is therefore performed by the artist in the mineral kingdom ? 

A. He finishes what cannot be finished by Nature on account of the 
crudity of the air, which has permeated the pores of all bodies by its violence, 
but on the surface and not in the bowels of the earth. 

Q. What correspondence have the metals among themselves ? 

A. It is necessary for a proper comprehension of the nature of this 
correspondence to consider the position of the planets, and to pay attention to' 
Saturn, which is the highest of all, and then is succeeded by Jj,ipiter, next by 
Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and, lastly, by tiie Moon. It must be observed 
that the influential virtues of the planets do not ascend but descend, and ex- 
perience teaches us that Mars can be easily converted into Venus, not Venus 
into Mars, which is of a lower sphere. So, also, Jupiter can be easily trans- 
muted into Mercury, because Jupiter is superior to Mercury, the one being 
second after the firmament, the other second above the earth, and Saturn is 
highest of all, while the Moon is lowest. The Sun enters into all, but it is 
never ameliorated by its inferiors. It is clear that there is a large corres- 
pondence between Saturn and the Moon, in the middle of which is the Sun ; 
but to all these changes the Philosopher should strive to administer the Sun. 

Q. When the Philosophers speak of gold and silver, from which they 
extract their matter, are we to suppose that they refer to the vulgar gold and 

A. By no means ; vulgar silver and gold are dead, \\ hile those of the 
Philosophers are full of life. 

Q. What is the object of research among the Philosophers? 

A. Proficiency in the art of perfecting what Nature has left imperfect in the 
mineral kingdom, and the attainment of the treasure of the Philosophical Stone. 

Q. What is this Stone ? 

A. The Stone is nothing else than the radical humidity of the elements, 
perfectly purified and educed into a sovereign fixation, which causes it to 
perform such great things for health, life being resident exclusively in the 
humid radical. 

Q. In what does the secret of accomplishing this admirable work consist ? 

K. It consists in knowing how to educe from potentiality into activity 
the innate warmth, or the fire of Nature, which is enclosed in the centre of the 
radical humidity. 

A S/iorf Cfitechism of Alchemy. 295 

Q. What are the precautions which must be made use of to guard against 
failure in the work ? 

A. Great pains must be taken to eliminate excrements from the matter, 
and to conserve nothing but the kernel, which contains all the virtue of 
the compound. 

O. Why does tliis medicine heal every species of disease ? 

A. It is not on account of the variety of its qualities, but simply because 
it powerfully fortifies the natural warmth, which it gently stimulates, while 
other physics irritate it by too violent an action. 

Q. How can you demonstrate to me the truth of the art in the matter of 
the tincture ? 

A. Firstly, its truth is founded on the fact that the physical powder, being 
composed of the same substance as the metals, namely, quicksilver, has the 
faculty of combining with these in fusion, one nature easily embracing another 
which is like itself. Secondly, seeing that the imperfection of the base metals 
is owing to the crudeness of their quicksilver, and to that alone, the physical 
powder, which is a ripe and decocted quicksilver, and, in itself a pure fire, can 
easily communicate to them its own maturity, and can transmute them into its 
nature, after it has attracted their crude humidity, that is to say, their quick- 
silver, which is the sole substance that transmutes them, the rest being nothing 
but scoria; and excrements, which