Greverus

From the Theatrum Chemicum, Volume III, Strassburg, 1613.
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"Behold, my beloved son, the harvest-time desired by you has come. Rejoice and render immortal thanks to God Eternal, because he allowed us to be able to understand those things, and directed my words, so that I arrived at a true and clear statement of the idea. And you, my son, adore that God submissively, so that, when you have made a beginning with the investigation, it will please him to reveal those two hidden secrets, just as you - who apply yourself assiduously to the study of the much exalted Philosophy - are also worthy to participate in the very select courses of this sacred banquet, and as you are also worthy of being able to gather the golden apples of the Hesperides in the garden of Tantalus, first having made the always watchful dragon unconscious, as the legends urge. But, as that garden is fenced in by an extremely strong wall, the question has to be put: "In what way can you enter the garden? And how do you recognize the tree bearing the golden apples? And in what way do you gather them?"

Oh, beloved son, did you not see that that garden is laid out on a very high and lonely mountain, the foot of which is always surrounded by the noise caused by the fighting forces of disharmonious winds, and which, as an insatiable chaos, fosters a struggle between coldness and heat. The middle part of the mountain, however, has red and black dragons, which wage a never ceasing fight with the insatiable chaos and the winds. That fight is without end, because, when the fury of the red dragons is inflamed by the increasingly agitating opposites of the winds, they themselves perish by their own glow and the chaos takes their dead bodies in. Nevertheless this eternal struggle knows no rest, because the red dragons, doomed to death, are succeeded by black dragons, which, they themselves also breaking out into rage, are inflamed and perish like the red dragons, while - as is said - others succeed them immediately. But this struggle never ends in all eternity, for neither chaos nor winds are finite nor does the offspring of the black dragons ever disappear. Nevertheless does the guardian and master of the mountain collect the black dragons' offspring at regular intervals and sends them to the centre of the mountain. The top of the mountain, however, shows a threefold change in one single year. In winter it blazes with glowing sparks, like the Etna; in spring, however, the top is flooded with stagnant, hot pools and marshy reedlands, while the entire fire of the winter is hidden. In summer, however, when the waters of the hot swamps are quite dried up, the ashes of things, of which it may be assumed that they were burnt by the wintry fire, appear to be still tepid, although the fiercest heat is gone. In autumn the remainders of the ashes disappear again and very fine sand comes in their stead, which is glowing-hot, it is true, but certainly not red-hot; I think that it is the remainder or the very bottom of the waters that flooded the summit in spring-time.

In this mountain, my son, I think you have seen the royal gardens of the Hesperides; in those gardens the golden and silver roses grow and from there come the purple-coloured apples, the golden and the silver ones, and they bear fruit annually.

The access to this garden, however, is difficult, but the entrance still more difficult and much more difficult is the gathering of the golden or silver apples themselves. For the behaviour of the mountain is of such a nature that nobody is admitted, who has not experienced the wintry cold first. Therefore you also have to approach it in winter, and you must not be intimidated by the cold, for you will scarcely be able to stand the heat prevailing at the entrance. On the top of the mountain you will come upon a very high tower, the guardian of the garden; the tower has two parapets, which are both situated in a blazing fire. He who wants to enter this garden, has to conquer above all the bulls, which blow fire out of their nostrils and has to go through the gate and the fiery parapets. This requires enormous efforts, and one risks one's life. This is such an immense task that one is not ready to force one's way through before the end of the winter. However this may be, the danger that is imminent because of so much fire and such an enormous blaze is not slight. Therefore he who wants to enter must try go get the medicines which Medea once gave to Jason, when the latter tried to enter the garden. Beloved son, if you do not succeed in finding these medicines, exert yourself to find a way by your own industry, by which you can go through the afore-mentioned menaces. For if you only go past them and not through them you will never be allowed to enter the garden. But although I was filled by an overwhelming yearning after the garden, and saw that I could not pass the flames without danger, I did not want to go away before I had seen whether perhaps somebody would come who would show me the way to pass, or whether the blaze might be extinguished. And when nobody came after me and the winter was already wearing away quickly, the tower suddenly began to move strongly, the blaze began to decrease and was quite extinguished some moments later, and tower and parapets had dissolved, as it were, and had disappeared, and when that had happened, I immediately ran to the garden, whilst it was still the same season as when the tower still stood; and I was not at all astonished by the things I had seen happening. But when I had nearly entered the garden, I was cut off from the entrance by stagnant, hot waters on all sides.

The garden was surrounded by a diaphanous wall, strong as iron, and was in the middle of the stagnant, hot waters. But the garden as well as the water were surrounded in their turn by brickwork outside the wall. I saw, however, three steps of a narrow road, along which I hoped to find admittance and, without losing time, I began to follow them, whereupon the brickwork opened before me. And when I was on the first step, I was compelled to stand still for some time, because I was struck by a horrible smell of decomposition. The heat agreed with the tepid warmth of a rotting process. When this had passed I obtained admittance to the second and the third step, where there was something all the time which detained me, even so that, when I thought I was already quite near the garden, there took place an enormous trembling of the mountain, by which the waters disappeared and a deep ditch, surrounded by a brick wall remained; the bottom of the ditch was ablaze with the glowing ashes. In the middle of it was a garden, and three roads from the ditches led to it, having different degrees of heat, which increased in heat in proportion to their distance from the garden. I strained every nerve, till, already on the point of climbing the earthen bank of the third road, I felt another mountain shock, which enveloped the glowing ashes in a dark haze, from which scorching hot sand appeared, which surrounded the garden with a bank on all sides. My expectations were strained to the utmost, as to whether I was near the end of my ordeal; and it turned out to be true. For, as I perceived the enchanting flowers of the garden from the bank and saw miracles so great that I may not speak about them, I was so thunderstruck by utmost astonishment that I scarcely noticed in what way an old man led me into the garden. This same old man carried seven keys in his hand, with which, I think, he himself opened the bolts of the gates of the garden, while I stood on the bank, dumb with astonishment. This old man led me to the tree with the golden apples, in order to let me venerate the tree. A dragon was lying near the tree, which had been killed just before and by whose blood the golden apples were affected. I was burning with desire to gather the golden apples; the old man knew this and while he surveyed me calmly he said: "Son, lay aside the seductions of earthly desires, for this fruit is only given to Divine Spirits."

His words made me tremble from head to foot, for I had never heard such a voice; I was, as it were, changed by this voice and I got the impression that my consciousness had broadened considerably. It seemed to me that the old man changed his shape; he became a very exalted and, as it were, terrible figure, and I perceived that he was not the gardener whom I had seen just before, but the master of the garden himself. A strong fear came over me that I would be punished for my audacity of having ever thought of penetrating the garden of such a mighty master in a cunning way.

And while, full of doubt, I considered several things and was alternately under the spell of my fear and then filled with desire and hope, he himself stretched out his hand and gathered some golden apples, and whilst he looked in turn at the apples and at me he said: "This Garden is the Garden of happiness and wisdom, and we have laid it out for man's sake and in order to exclude irrational beings we have surrounded it with a wall as strong as iron; we saw that it was threatened by the guile and ruses of man; there is no admittance for anyone of the thinking beings, except for the righteous, the innocent, the modest and the good; and we ourselves attract those. And when we observe that they are persevering and steadfast we finally usher them in here after the ordeal is over, and after we have bestowed upon them gifts of this nature, we let them go again quietly." With these words he handed me the apples he had picked. I threw myself upon the earth before his face in deepest veneration and adoration, and deeply rejoicing I put the apples into my pocket. When I was on the point of thanking him he said: "My son, this is not all, follow me"; and he led me to a work-room, which was purified, the dragon's blood that had bespattered the golden apples having been removed, and after he had taken a slightly sparkling whitish powder out of a wooden box, he handed part of it to me with the words: "This powder blots out every stain, and resuscitates any dead; go away, keep the secrets hidden, purify the moistened (earth) with fire and powder, work the earth and sow what is purified, and let it thrive and sprout and may your earth give you ample fruit." When he had spoken these words, he disappeared from sight. But I was thunderstruck and dazed, and when I came home after that, it seemed to me as if I awakened from sleep, for, nearly exhausted by the long journey and tired by the work, I threw myself onto my bed, and I should truly have believed that I had only seen everything in a dream, if I had not had the golden apples and the powder in my hand, and moreover, such a sharp recollection of all words spoken to me. But, however that may be, whether I really was in the garden then or was only led to it in a vision or saw it in a dream, the name of him be blessed to all eternity, who has seen fit to reveal to me such awe-inspiring mysteries of nature, and has not kept his gift from me, unworthy sinner. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be praised, blessed and exalted, the only God in all eternity, Amen.

Conclusion

My son, here you have the whole process of our work in your hands, without any disruption and without any superfluity and summarized by a competently written eloquence. Therefore, prepare your heart, that you may find favour in God's eyes. For it is a gift of God and it contains the secret of the indivisible unity of the Holy Trinity. O most precious of all sciences, you are the theatre of the whole nature and its anatomy, the earthly astronomy, the truth of God Almighty, the proof of the resurrection of the dead, the example of the remission of sinners, the unmistakeable proof of the future Last Judgement and the mirror of eternal bliss. Truly, no science is more exalted than this one; for this one science contains all sciences, without being included in one of them itself.

But, thanks, praise and honour to You only, O ineffable Majesty, because you have not kept your grace from me and have revealed the secrets of your most hidden works to me; therefore your sacred name be praised to all eternity. Amen.

An unwise man will not get to know these things

and a fool will not understand them.

A sack of cummin belongs to a parrot and hay to a cow."


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