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The Alchemy Academic Forum 151-200

From August 13th 1996, the Alchemy forum was restructured and the messages were sequentially numbered prefixed with the letter A. This is an unedited extract of messages 151-200.
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Subject: A0151 Aristotelian philosophy and alchemy

Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 09:04:45 -0500 (EST)

Another link in the "natural philosophy" chain of alchemy:
Aristotle's notion of purposeful development.

If you follow Aristotle at all--as so many did from Hellenistic times to
the present--you believe that all things are in a state of purposeful deve-
lopment towards perfection. Therefore, the alchemist is hastening the
natural process that would occur anyway (provided there were no external
agents to halt that process).

Deborah Harkness

Subject: A0152 Alchemy and prana and kundalini

Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 09:40:26 -0500 (EST)
From: Peggy

How does alchemy relate to the eastern way of
raising kundalini, and eastern thought regarding

Seems to me they may be working with the same
energies, in different ways.

Any thoughts on this?


- Peggy -

Subject: A0153 Secrecy and danger

From: Matthias Zeiner
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 96 15:58:19 +0700

>From: Marcella Gillick
> I would like however to raise the question as to WHY
>Alchemy remains such a secret? -

In my understanding practical alchemy has almost nothing in common with
chemistry or laboratory work.

The true object of the alchemical art, as the good treatises repeat again
and again is some kind of cosmic energy, power or force field. It has been
known to many ancient civilisations and is described by different names,
eg. chi, prana, od, first matter, ros coeli, spiritus mundi, orgone etc.
This force field is said to be the universal life energy that enables
matter to exist contrary to the destructive action of entropy. It's origin
is, according to the ancient texts, in the sun.

The task of the practical alchemist is to use and manipulate this universal
force field for different purposes. An abuse of these subtle energies could
have incalculable and catastrophic consequences and that is one of the
reasons why the very few initiates so strongly kept their knowledge

Matthias Zeiner

Subject: A0154 Secrecy and danger

From: Adam McLean
Date: 19 Sep 1996

Matthias Zeiner writes regarding secrecy:

> An abuse of these subtle energies could
>have incalculable and catastrophic consequences and that is one of the
>reasons why the very few initiates so strongly kept their knowledge

In what way. I really cannot understand what "incalculable and catastrophic consequences" can result. Please explain further.

Adam McLean

Subject: A0155 Bruno and Geber's secrets

From: William Hollister
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 17:08:52 +0100

It may be fair to change the word "secrecy" to "enigma," but I am still
wondering about all the spies who seemed to work elaborate political
conspiracies while traveling as alchemists. Reading Yates' Art of Memory, I
was led to believe that behind the work of Giordano Bruno hides an "enigma"
of hermetic memory wheels. But now I am reading another book about Bruno
(Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair by John Bossy -- 1995) and I am
learning that the mnemnotechnical genius may have been a dilligent spy
working for Queen Elizabeth under the name, Henry Fagot. This is the first
time that I have read something that concretely argues for a political
intrigue behind a man associated with alchemy.
The enigma that lurks behind the "Shadows" of Bruno's art may be nothing
other than a Renaissance cold war "Secret."

I don't know if Bossy's book has been given any credibility, but certainly
it is I am once again wondering what secrets are behind the people loosely
associated with Bruno, thinking at the moment of the Bohemian aristocracy
who R.J.W. Evans in "Rudolf II and his World" (Oxford 1973) mentioned as
studying with Bruno. I doubt it was only Bruno's enigma that got him
skewered in Venice in 1600.

This is one example of a genuine secret that remains to be uncovered from
one era of European history.

Another political secret may be found in "Geber." In the 900s there was an
Islamic alchemist named Jabir ibin-hayan. I have no thorough information
about him, but I unearthed the following:

> He was involved in the Abbasid revolution - the
>Abbasid dynasty overthrew the Ummayyids, if I remember correctly. He writes
>of the 'Imam' as the philosophers' stone transforming metals, but may
>really have been writing about an 'Imam' as a religious leader (as in Imam
>Khomeini) transforming Islamic society.

I agree that there is no great conspiracy hiding under the surface mixture
of modern alchemy, but certainly there are fragments of specific secrets
that remain to be considered.

William Hollister

Subject: A0156 Secrecy and danger

Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 19:17:37 -0700
From: Torrey Waag

True alchemy is a secret because the deeper experiences of the alchemist
cannot be conveyed in words. If I say to you, duality is illusion, you may
agree with the words, but if you haven't experienced the unity of all
things, the truth remains a secret.

Alchemy can be dangerous during the Nigredo, the blackening, when the old
self is cast off, blackened, charred, burned, and the new has not yet
arrived. At this point one's illusions about reality and personal identity
are gone and thus the pain is real. One's ability to function in society is
diminished if not eliminated. This pain is a necessary part of the process
of the Nigredo, of blackening the personal identity, yet if one is stuck
here through mistake or lack of a teacher, the danger of years wasted is

Torrey Waag

Subject: A0157 Secrecy - the language of the birds

Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 19:49:43 -0700
Michael Prescott

>'Language of the birds' in all my reading of alchemical texts
>Fulcanelli states "Today we find its [The language of the birds]
>character... in the language of the gipsies". I must confess I cannot
>believe that we need to study Romany in order to understand alchemy. It is a
>long tradition to evoke or resort to 'gipsies' as carriers of a secret
>knowledge, as in their supposed transmission of tarot cards (which is
>actually a conceit of late 18th century / early 19th century French
>occultism and appears to be without any foundation in fact.)

Whether it is factually or historically true is irrelevant;
whether the author who wrote it BELIEVED it to be true is a
significant insight into the mindset of the author.

These books are NOT to be read as technical tomes;
the purpose is put you (the reader) in contact with the mindset
of the author and the period. In many ways, you can consider
a book to be the epitath or tombstone of the author, which by
extension makes a library a graveyard -- of sorts.
Both areas, of which, engender solemn and respectful behavior
when visiting...

As for Language of the Birds -- like Elias Artiste,
it is a recurrent theme, but only if you look for it:

Hollandus regarding the Rose Solis (SunDew):
"Some Latin writers call it Lingua Avis or Bird's Tounge...
it has greate virtue... where there is poison the glass will
instantly shatter... If anyone carries this herb...the enemy
will not have power over the individual, but must, in fact surrender..."

I guarentee you he is not talking about the plant, which in itself
is interesting enough as a transitional lifeform: a plant-becoming-animal.
Various resources on the NET will give you insight in to SunDew (Drosera).

R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz: Memoirs P56-61
"The beginning and end are the same; between them lies the passage from
one to two, with two being a new one. ... It's no use with words, better listen
to the language of the birds for notions such as these. ... Also known as
the Language of the Gods, bien entendu. The Hermetic cabal, not to be
confused with the Hebrew Kabbala, which is a tradition. Tradition is a
surrender, a betrayal. ...

The only usable sign is a signature. ... There is an essential aspect which
cannot be transmitted. ... The Oeurve is not the discovery of a technique,
it is the perception of an existing process. ... There is no use
addressing the
analytic mind with Hermetic language; it can do very little with it. Therefore
the language of the birds, not spoken, only heard."

Gustav Meyrink: Angel of the West Window (a must read -- for the mindset)
"In the realm where your destiny is decided you do not ask to know.
You must act without knowing ... It was the sum of all questions, wisdom and
magic that was hidden within you, but that you did not know you possessed."

Certainly there is no clear link between lingua avis and the repeated
occurance of the Raven in Hermetic cryptzoology but is worth pondering
the following:

Meyrink also makes allusion to the Corvine Appendix (Raven's Tail):
" That is the mystical bone .. It contains the mystical salt of life that does
not decay in the earth. From this comes the Jews' talk of the resurrection of
the body at the last judgement -- but they misunderstand ...
And by what sign by which I know this, Doctor Dee? In spite of your Latin
and all your learning, ... I will tell you then: because the bone shines with
a light that others cannot see..."

As Raven Poe's quoth: Nevermore.

Subject: A0158 The Language of the Birds

From: Sean Blosl
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 21:32:49 -0080

To be honest, I'm not sure if this has any relevance.

The director Peter Brook spent a number of years working on a play
called, "The Conference of the Birds". The play was built off of a
poem by the sufi poet Attar (The conference of the Birds).
The work of the play consisted of a breaking down of language
to arrive at a more direct communication between the audience and the
performers. A search to find a commonness in all languages. From what
I understand, they put work into finding links between tones and
sounds that come from the voice and the intuitive messages that are
communicated. (Phonetic cabala?)
I don't know if Attar and Brooks' "Conference of the Birds" has
any relation to Fucanelli's "Language of the birds" but there could
be a parallel there.

More information can be found in:
"Conference of the Birds"
the Story of Peter Brook in Africa, by John Heilpern

"The Shifting Point"
theatre film and opera, by Peter Brook

Sean Blosl

Subject: A0159 Secrecy and danger

From: Simon R Knight
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 05:50:36 0000

> From: Adam McLean
> Date: 19 Sep 1996
> Matthias Zeiner writes regarding secrecy:
> > An abuse of these subtle energies could
> >have incalculable and catastrophic consequences and that is one of
> >the reasons why the very few initiates so strongly kept their
> >knowledge secret.
> In what way. I really cannot understand what "incalculable and
> catastrophic consequences" can result. Please explain further.

In a book called "Man Or Matter" by "Ernst Lehrs", there are
indications of the dangers inherent in the manipulation of matter.
Lehrs descibed the electrical field polarities of natural substances,
as appearing in a form which is the reverse of that one might expect,
from the alchemical polarities of the substances involved. This
intriging field reversal which occurs when two alchemically polar
substances interact, is described as natures way of "preventing
those chain reactions" that man is already seeking to set lose at
natures lower border.

That an intentional or unintentional interference in natural
protective processes, may prove dangerous, is well highlighted here.
Some may see a relationship with the phenomenon refered to as
"room temperature fusion". Without a deep understanding of the
processes occurring at a nuclear level within alchemical materials,
many alchemists must surely be like children, with little more than
intuition to guide them safely through their experiments. Reports of
explosions within the laboratories of respected alchemists, suggest
that alchemy can sometimes be chemically dangerous. Fulcanelli is
attributed to have been the one who appeared and gave a stern warning
to a nuclear scientist, regarding the direction science was going,
and the dangers that attended their work.

Aside from the chemical and nuclear (radiation) dangers that may be
considered to exist in alchemical experimentation, there may well be
others which have rarely been addressed. Although it may be a life's
work to create the philosophers stone, this is not neccesarily true
concerning gold. Metals were said to transmute to silver and gold, by
contact with the smallest amounts of the stone, "by virtue of it's
perfection". The stone is clearly a substance to be ingested,
compared to which goldmaking is a side show. Gold itself, may not be
that difficult to manufacture by other methods. An ability to
perceive nature in a qualitative way, may well lend itself to
experimentation upon gold itself. The consequences for the global
economy were gold to suddenly drop in value, would be catastrophic,
and could be considered as one of the dangers of alchemy. From a
review of certain literature, there is ample evidence to show that
transmutations into gold, have occurred and are occurring in nature,
by presently unknown means.

On a last note, isn't the stone itself described as "a veritable
poison", if ingested in the wrong quantity! How many alchemists have
died from such an error? Alchemy would seem to be like every other
branch of science, where the greatest danger is always arises from the
absence of a true knowledge.

Simon R Knight

Subject: A0160 Alchemy and prana and kundalini

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 02:01:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: fred hatt

>How does alchemy relate to the eastern way of
>raising kundalini, and eastern thought regarding
>Seems to me they may be working with the same
>energies, in different ways.
>- Peggy -

I am only an ardent amateur of philosophy, but Peggy's comment inspires me
to say some of what I have been thinking about these things. Comments welcome.

Alchemical and tantric concepts are definitely related. Tantric and taoist
yoga, sex magic, and medicine of the subtle body are directly related to
Indian and Chinese alchemy. The Hermetic cosmology of elements and
qualities and correspondences is remarkably like taoist and yogic scientific
systems. The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, a foundation stone of
western alchemy, reads like a missing chapter of Lao Tzu. Hermes' the One
can be seen as the Tao, and the Fire that is separated from the Earth and
partakes of the powers of above and below could be the life energy - the
prana or ch'i in Asian terms. Images of fountains, flowers, and serpents
are associated with both the raising of kundalini and the birth of the
philosophers stone.

Relating to recent discussions here, my feeling is that the cryptic and
complex nature of the texts is related to an oral tradition teaching method
and is a way of training the 'beginner's mind'. Magical training in many
cultures has this aspect, from the initiation of Yoruban Ifa diviners to the
Koans of Zen. The 'thought experiments' of today's theoretical physicists
have some of this quality too. Exercise the imagination with wondrous and
baffling puzzles and you hone its power. Creation can only be perceived
through one's own active creativity.

But neither Eastern nor Western alchemy was all internal. My feeling is
that the magnum opus of alchemy was practiced as a form of art (before art,
science, magic, healing, and craft were severed). Performed in a sealed
vessel, it was a physical demonstration of the spiritual nature of matter
itself, proving that raw matter contains a mutable, adaptable, evolvable
essence, and that that essence responds both to cosmic forces and to the
power of the artist's imagination as projected in prayer and work.

Today most people would find such a philosophy mystical, but alchemy was
obviously a practical philosophy in its time, applied in many different ways
by many of the elite. But it was practical as a general system of of
changes, as well as a way of self-transformation. If it remained
obsessively fixated on producing a physical philosopher's stone, it clearly
had lost its practicality and its soul, just as a yogin who becomes obsessed
with acquiring siddhis or paranormal powers has lost the path of yoga.

fred hatt (

Subject: A0161 Alchemy and prana and kundalini

From: Sean Blosl
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 03:18:52 -0080

From Fred Hatt:

>But neither Eastern nor Western alchemy was all
>internal. My feeling is that the magnum opus of
>alchemy was practiced as a form of art (before art,
>science, magic, healing, and craft were severed).

Do you know of a book that deals with this particular subject?

Sean Blosl

Subject: A0162 Secrecy - the language of the birds

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 08:51:41 -0500 (EST)
From: Peggy

"Birds are the eyes of God."

So "language of the birds" makes sense from this point-of-view. If you,
Adam, say the phrase has no historical or academic relevance for
alchemy you must be right -- but its still a good phrase and IMO taps
into the sort of thinking necessary to pursue higher truths.

- Peggy -

Subject: A0163 Query on Theosophers

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 10:50:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: Arthur J Versluis

Dear All,

A recent discussion on another list of Boehmean theosophy in the nineteenth
and twentieth century reminded me of a couple people about whom I've been able to discover very little biographical information, and I wonder if anyone here would know sources to which I could turn. One of these is J.W. Hamilton-Jones, editor of Bacstrom's Alchemical Anthology, (Watkins, 1960),[as I recall also available in a shabby photocopy edition masquerading as a reprint, much more recent]. Anyone at least know when he was born and when he died?
The other fellow is Karel Weinfurter, author of Man's Highest Purpose: The
Lost Word Regained, evidently originally in German. Now this one is also hard
to trace from here in the states; were I back in Germany, I could probably find
something about Weinfurter relatively easily, but here, even at a relatively
large university library, German biographical sources aren't accessible. If
anyone has access to biographical information on either of these folks, please
send it along. You could send it to my email address below, or to the list if
it others are interested.

So far as the dangers of alchemy are concerned, there are historical
examples of people dying or injuring themselves in the laboratory; indeed, I
know of at least one relatively recent practitioner who was partially blinded
in work gone awry.

In any event, my thanks to anyone who has access to information on these
Hamilton-Jones or Weinfurter and shares it.

best wishes

arthur versluis

Subject: A0164 Language of the Birds

From: Marcella Gillick
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 16:33:51 +0000

I don't suppose that the Enochian Language could be the 'language of
the birds'?
One of the references to Enoch I came across (the Enoch that was
Adam's grandson, that is) was that he was the last human to
understand and speak the 'language of angels'. I make the connection
simply because birds and angels seem to be quite interchangeable in
Maybe not relevant to this thread at all, but Joseph Cambell, in
one of his 'Masks of God' books - 'Primitive Mythology' - talks about
the Siberian shamans who wear bird costumes (to this day) and talk to
their spirits 'in a strange, squeaky voice'. He also quotes The Buriats
of Lake Baikal who tell of the Great Spirit, Sombol-Burkhan, who,
when moving over the waters, saw a water-fowl swimming with its
twelve young. "Water-bird," he said, "dive down and bring me earth -
black soil in your beak and red clay in your feet." The bird dove,
and Sombol-Burkhan scattered first the red clay on the water and then
upon it the black soil; after which he thanked the bird. "You shall
ever live," he said, "and dive in the water."

With very best regards
Marcella (

Subject: A0165 Secrecy - the language of the birds

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 09:53:59 -0500
From: George Leake

[edited for brevity]
>Don Foster wrote regarding secrecy in alchemy:
>>The traditional alchemists used a kind of phonetic cabala to communicate
>>(see Fulcanelli's "Mystery of the Cathedrals"). This was known as "the
>>language of the gods" or the "language of the birds"...

>From: Adam McLean
>I don't really understand this at all. I have never come across the
>'Language of the birds' in all my reading of alchemical texts. So, I looked
>up this 'Language of the birds' in Fulcanelli's 'Mystery of the
>Cathedrals'. The relevant section is on page 44. I must confess I don't
>really understand what Fulcanelli is saying here, or actually how one can
>practically apply this 'Language of the birds' to our understanding of
>alchemical texts.
>One of the more significant use of 'birds' in an alchemical text (leaving
>aside their appearance in emblems) is Michael Maier's 'Jocus severus' ['A
>serious joke, or earnest game'], 1617, in which an assembly of birds is
>convened to decide who among them is the best. This is a thinly disguised
>satire in Maier's best style. I wonder the person who wrote the Fulcanelli
>books was not here reworking Maier's joke.

*perhaps the lesson here is the same one I got from reading Foucault's
Pendulum--one should be as critical about what one accepts as what one
rejects--maybe there's also something there about not taking it all so
seriously too...

George Leake

Subject: A0166 Secrecy - the language of the birds

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 12:04:51 -0400 (EDT)
From: Claude Gagnon

Dear Mr. McLean,

I can just agree completely with your hypothesis that Fulcanelli was
probably re-making Maier's joke on birds. It seems very plausible.
What does Dom Pernety write on birds and is there any reference in van Lennep's
recent Catalogue? Of course you have looked at them; I do not have them
right now at my hand.

Your academic forum is very interesting and it is a good idea to have
named it *academic*; it makes it invisible for many adventurers. Thank
you once again.

Claude Gagnon

Subject: A0167 Request for publications

From: calhhh

Dear forum members :

I would like to request your assistance, specially to those of you
with access to excelent bibliographic records, in helping me obtain
a copy of the publications by Grasset d´Orcet in Revue Britanique
(at the end of last century) by the title of "Etude sur le Songe de
Poliphile" and of the same author "Materiaux Criptographiques" (this
last publication also apparently reprinted in 1983 (B. Allieu & A. Barthelemy).

Any advice on how to obtain a copy of both texts, either directly or
through this forum will be inmensely appreciated ...


Subject: A0168 Cheap Car Fuel

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 11:58:37 -0700
From: Art Kompolt

It has been reported that high-school dropout from a remote Indian village
claiming that he can make cheap car fuel by boiling a tea-like leaf in
water. Ramar Pillai, aged 34, demonstrated this week this fuel before the
Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, India. A professor said: "It
goes against all the laws of thermodynamics".

At the demonstration, Ramar Pillai asked an official to toss a handful of
leaves into a pail of water. He added a little lemon juice and salt, a few
drops of gasoline and a test tube of undisclosed chemicals. Within minutes,
the brew separated into layers with a yellowish liquid rising to the top.
The yellowish liquid was poured into a reporter's motorbike. The reporter
said that the motorbike ran smoothly.

Ramar Pillai said that he found the special leaf by observing that a plant
burst into flames when sparks from a camp stove touched them. He said that
it took him 10 years searching for the plant to determine which was the
special plant.

He claims to have been kidnapped and tortured in an attempt to obtain his

Keep looking in the news media for a follow up on this story.

* Art Kompolt *
* Applications Manager *
* S-MOS Systems *
* (408) 922-0200 x3334 *
* *

Subject: A0169 Dangers in alchemy

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 16:23:55 +0000
From: Matthew Phillips

Adam politely responds to my strawy material:

> If I may, I will respond to the substantive portions of your argument (which
> prove actually to be composed of a rather strawy material):

Matthew restrains himself:
Probably my argument was inadequate- but my original motivation of
allowing honest if naive inquiry to continue seems to have been
vindicated by no less than eight messages suggesting that "danger in
alchemy" was actually something worth consideration.

This is the original message I responded to:
> >>I would like however to raise the question as to WHY
> >> Alchemy remains such a secret?
> >It is a secret because it is dangerous.

> In these remarks I can barely recognise the subject I have studied for the
> last thirty years. I don't see how alchemy is a secret. It is as well
> documented as most domains of human knowledge. There is certainly no lack of
> material to investigate.
> How can alchemy be dangerous? I just don't understand this remark. Unless
> someone is stupid enough as to go drinking sulphuric acid, in what way can
> it be dangerous?
> These seem just pointless romanticisations, that do not lead us any closer
> to ou subject.

I was especially responding to the perhaps overly incredulous statement:
"How can alchemy be dangerous?" and the very last sentance quoted above.
Our past eight (or so) messages regarding the dangers of alchemy would
seem to throw a bit of question onto Adam's incredulity in these
regards. Does Adam now see where there might be some danger in alchemy?
Aren't the occassional existence of dangerous, poisonous materials apt
to make an occassionally dangerous and/or poisonous situation? Or do
they become safe and nice when entering the rarified, intellectual realm
of Alchemy Academic? <----rhetorical question

Secrets: insofar as the documentation which exists in abundance this
suggests a non-secretive situation, so I'm generally with Adam here. On
the other hand, I'd be willing to listen to contrary opinions given they
were backed by some logic and scholarship.

You'll excuse my ironic sense of humour, as always.

Yours in the Great Work,
Matthew Phillips

Subject: A0170 Dangers in Alchemy

Date: 21 Sep 96 02:04:15 EDT
From: Steve Kalec

Adam McLean has said,
> I question the broad statement that Alchemy is dangerous.

For myself I believe that our Art is truly as they say a blessed and
noble Art.
I believe also that practicing of the true Art of transmutation is the practice
of the a highest of magic. What can be higher than the separation of the Sulphur
(Soul) and Mercury ( Spirit ) from the Salts ( Body ). The ascending of the Soul
to higher vibrational levels , and the re-descending along with the power and
the glory of that which is above ,and the purification of the lower through the
reunification of these to arrive at new and more noble and purer substance
or subject. I would agree that the Idea of " dangerous" as a broad statement
would question how a positive and creative process that uplifts, cleanses ,
purifies, heals and transmutes one's being into a more noble and golden
being infused with the Divine essence, be at all even at the least bit dangerous.

To me however, if we consider the various steps in the Work, such as
preparing the subject by fermenting, putrefying, distilling, calcining ,
coagulating ect., a certain element of danger does exist if the practitioner is
ill prepared because of the lack of understanding as to the expectations
and control over the inner manifestations that will occur during the process.
We are constantly warned by the Alchemists that a slow and even heat is
what is desirable in our distillation.

We are warned over and over that once our secret Fire is found to be careful
with it and never to raise it above the point where our stove cannot contain it.
It seems to me that if such warnings are given then the dangers exists. The
forces that we are working with are very subtle psychic forces as seen from
outside but are very powerful and transforming ones when dawned on and felt
from within. There is no secret to the fact that the mercurial vital force can
emerge and manifest suddenly and violently. To me it would seem that it
would be very beneficial to the practitioner to know what to expect and how
to deal with this when encountering such manifestations. There are many
an unfortunate ones that have sought professional help because they
could no longer deal with the continuing intensity of the inner heat and
the anxiety and the fear of loosing all control because of the dimming of the
light of the original ego due to the onrush of the emerging intensity of the
light of the Higher Self. No one can tell me that the so called Blackening is
nothing to fear, it is rather a dreadful situation however Blessed it might be.

The warnings are quite clear in many alchemical writings that care
should be taken in the transmutation processes , that they should not be
Helmond in ( Alchemy Unveiled ) states ,
" therefore the spirit should not be urged too much, because it is a
fleeting substance, which would otherwise break the receptacle and would flee."
I am of course here thinking and assuming inner spirit and vessel as Self.
Clearly if the spirit of one's self is lost then this is a dangerous situation. I'm not
a psychiatrist but I would think here the possibility of a scitzophranic

If there is no potential danger in the practice of inner alchemy then
maybe someone can explain to me what the following warning is all about.

"Because, when your heat surpasses the natural measure, then you have
aroused the wrath of the moist Natures, and they will stand up against the
Central-Fire, and this will stand against those, and in the chaos a dreadful
disruption will occur. The sweet Spirit of Peace ( the true eternal fifth Being)
will leave the Elements and will leave you and them behind in confusion, and
will not join this materia again, as long as they are in your cruel destructive
hands. Be aware ! Do not become Satan's apprentice,whose only aspiration is to
spoil and destroy. I speak the truth from experience. " -- ( Eugene,
Philaletha, Magica Adamica ).

I am greatly encouraged and extremely happy when I hear of knowledgable
Alchemists as Adam , that after over thirty years of studying Alchemy he has not
encountered any serious dangers with it. Nothing pleases me more than to hear
such things. Maybe he has had the fortunes of being well prepared either through
his diligent studies and or being blessed with an honest and sincere teacher to
guide him in his quest. But for some of us the inner journey has been at times
scary and the long sought for manifestations extremely overwhelming, and so we
do heed well the warnings .

Steve Kalec

Subject: A0171 Secrecy - the language of the birds

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 00:53:24 -0500
From: Alex Isidoro

I think that the language of the birds also called the diplomatic
language is slang. Fulcanelli refers mostly to French slang since French
was the official diplomatic language in Europe up to the beginning of
the XX century.

Whether French or not, any local slang always has very colorfull and
spicy images
that are difficult to translate because they contain a complete context
hard to communicate outside a group that lives it (like the Monthy Pyton
fans, or Start Trekkers language: KAPPLAH!).

The old French slang is now an integral part of the French popular
culture. Popular language contains popular wisdom ;-).

Here are two examples of French slang words. I realize that these are
not good examples for a puritan US audience, but they are the only
coming to my mind.

The female cat (La chatte), for example, sometimes refers to like female
attributes, while a "hot rabbitt" (Un chaud lapin) refers to a very
active male. Rabbitts also live underground between tree roots ...
Finally (Drole d'oiseaux) "funny birds" means weird peoples ... like us.


Subject: A0172 Aristotelian philosophy and alchemy

Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 01:24:04 -0500
From: Alex Isidoro

>all things are in a state of purposeful development towards perfection.

If this historical process unfolds majestically toward the end you
suggest can you tell what is that perfection ?


Subject: A0173 General questions on alchemy

Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 02:02:28 -0500
From: Alex Isidoro

> From: Marcella Gillick
> Alex, I've never heard of Fulcanelli's oaktree, never mind his
> rabbits or the sparse grass,

I told you it was very simple ...

He has the rabbitt, She has the sparse grass. Where do rabbitts live ?

He, the oak, is solidly established on Her, the Earth.

Alchemy is for simple-minded peoples, it belongs to the poor-in-spirit,
the populace.

(Sorry about the delay in responding, I was busy changing scars into
stars. I other words, I lost my job ... to find another one that pays
more and got a promotion in the process ... I struck gold, maybe I am an
alchemist after all.)


Subject: A0174 Zosimos

Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 02:25:25 -0400
From: Flamel

Since the texts of Zosimos are somewhat difficult to come by, I thought I
would contribute to the Forum by putting up some passages from Zosimos so
that you can have some idea how these old texts are composed. Zosimos, as
has been noted, was a pagan and a Gnostic, influenced by Christianity, but it
is difficult to tell how far that influence goes. The first passages are
from a short treatise, entitled _Concerning the true Book of Sophe, the
Egyptian, and of the Divine Master of the Hebrews and the Sabaoth Powers_.
The treatise deals with the "Sabaoth Powers" or angel powers, the Book of
Sophe, and with the Lord of the Hebrews, probably Jehovah, the Jewish God,
though one can't be too sure of this as there was such a muddle of opinions,
convictions, religions and philosophies in the 3rd century, that one can't be
too sure of anything. A short comment follows the passage in order to add
some clarity and place the passage in a context.

The treatise begins:

"...There are two sciences and two wisdoms, that of the Egyptians and that of
the Hebrews, which ltter is confirmed by divine justice. The science and
wisdom of the most excellent dominate the one and the other. Both originate
in olden times. Their origin is without a king, autonomous and immaterial;
it is not concerned with material and corruptible bodies, it operates,
without submitting to strange influences, supported by prayer and divine

This passage is Zosimos' introduction into the art of alchemy. Note the
interesting remark that this wisdom has nothing to do with material and
corruptible bodies. The task of alchemy is admittedly to transform chemical
matter, corruptible bodies into incorruptible bodies. Yet Zosimos expressly
states this is not the case, it is rather an entirely immaterial process,
supported by prayer and divine grace, which must necessarily be present. Of
course, one finds this formula expressed throughout the literture of alchemy
up to the late Middle Ages. Again and again one reads, the art cannot be
brought to completion unless divine grace intervenes. There must, so to
speak, be a miracle.

The text continues:

"The symbol of chemistry is drawn from the creation by its adepts, who
cleanse and save the divine soul bound in the elements, and who free the
divine spirit from its mixture with the flesh."

Here the kernel of alchemistic doctrine is expressed. The word "symbol" is
not used here in the real sense of a symbol, but means rather "idea." The
idea of chemistry, its central conception, is said here to have been drawn
from the creation. The creation, as it is reported in Genesis, should in a
sense be imitated in the chemical process. This same idea is found in other
texts, though it is not lways the Genesis version of the creation (the Greek
alchemists would know this through the Septuagint) which is referred to, but
often the idea of the creation of the world by the gods or by nature. The
alchemists copy the proces of creation, in order to reach the original
intentions of the creator, and thus to find a means of transforming and
ennobling nature. Zosimos tells us here exactly what is to be achieved by
the divine art: the anima mundi, the divine soul and spirit, are bound in
matter, and they should be freed from this prison. From the ancient text you
can see what was happening to these people, who were working with a physical
matter which was totally unknown to them. All that we now know about
chemical matter was unconscious to them - it was a great mystery to them - by
which they were completely fascinated. And they assumed that a divine soul
lay sleeping in this prison.

This idea may have originated in a Gnostic myth: the Demiurge manifesting
himself in matter, through his animating breath. As man is filled with the
Pneuma, so matter is filled with the divine essence. Creation has, so to
speak, got the Divine Being into difficulties, for he is hung up in matter,
bound to her, and he suffers from his imprisonment, and therefore must be
freed. The great enthusiasm of the alchemist was an expression of the way he
saw his role as that of a redeemer. He undertook the work of redemption in
the materia, in that he set the divine spirit - a piece at least of the Deity
- free from its prison. In most other religions, in Christianity for
instance, this process is reversed. Our souls are bound in our bodies, and
we suffer from the prison of the flesh; and a Saviour came down from Heaven
in order to free our immortal souls from this miserable plight. But from
Zosimos we learn that the alchemists turn the tables, they themselves are the
saviours of matter; it is the meaningful, metaphysical task of man to
undertake the divine work of freeing God from his bound condition, and to
lead him back to his original perfection and incorruptible condition.

This is a very important idea in the history of ideas, but it is a
projection. It is not really to be found in the materia. The alchemists
stared into the dark unknown hole of the materia, until their own unconscious
psychical background became visible in it. It was his own psychical
condition which appeared to the alchemist in the materia; he saw the divine
being which lay bound in himself. But as he saw this in the materia, he
worked on the materia in order to free the divine being; and therefore, but
only in a projected and symbolic way, he did the thing which should really be
done in himself. We assume the old alchemists did not know this, yet texts
exist where the author is by no means so naive as we think; he recognizes the
character of the projection and is apparently quite aware that the work was
really done on himself. What makes Zosimos so interesting is that he appears
to have an awareness of this factor.

The text continues:

"As the sun is, so to speak, a flower of the fire and (simultaneously) the
heavenly sun, the right eye of the world, so copper when it blooms - that is
when it takes the color of gold, through purification - becomes a terrestial
sun, which is king of the earth, as the sun is king of heaven."

We have here a number of analogies drawn between the sun and the fiery
flower, the "golden flower," which appears in the chemical process. The
golden flower appears in the fire; i.e., it is preserved and blossoms in the
fire, instead of being destroyed. The equation is sun=gold, and gold shines
in the dark. The sun, as the right eye of the world, is an Egyptian idea,
the eye of Horus. And as the sun is the King of Heaven so the copper, though
it is base metal, when it receives the color of gold becomes the king of the
earth. In Latin texts this gold is even called the _deus terrestris_, the
god of the earth. This idea is again a projection: it is the ignoble, dark,
corrupt and rejected quality in man, which contains the imprisoned soul.
This base part of man is capable of transformation, and can be raised into a
sun; just as the text says that copper can become gold and a god of the
earth. This gold, which alchemy tries to produce, is not ordinary gold, but
philosophic gold, something exceedingly mysterious and goes by innumerable
names. The thing, which is to be produced, is really indefinable, though it
is possible to speak of gold, for instance, as an analogy, because, and
speaking philosophically, the brighest thing appears in the darkest place of
the soul, just as gold is found in the darkest depths of the earth.

The text continues:

"2. The following are the perfect tinctures which communicate the true color
of the sun: that of Democritos and the monad which communicates the Scythian
comaris [komaros=strawberry tree], the perfect [tincture] of the [silver]
like that of Isis, made known by Heron; this is the perfection of the sun."

In this passage Zosimos intends to describe the tinctures which will give the
quality of the sun to base matter. The monad is the unity, often expressed
as "to hen," the one. This monad communicates the "Scythian comaris." This
is a strange concept in ancient alchemy. It is the "theion" [divine], and
"arsenicon" [male]; the divine and the male together make the monad. But
theion is also sulphur and so this comaris is sulphur and "arsenic." But man
at that time did not know arsenic, this term was only used later to designate
a chemical substance. When they spoke of arsenic in antiquity they were
speaking of the male, and we have no idea what they understood by that.

The word "comaris" did not come from a Greek root but from a Syriac root,
Komar, which means "priest." Indeed, Berthelot contains a text by a cetain
Comarius, an Archpriest. We can assume that the "comaris" in Zosimos' text
also means a mystical monad, on one side the prescription of Democritos, and
on the other, the Monad, the divine and the male.

The tinctures have the quality of penetration, and the alchemists always
attempted to find the tincture, or coloring matter, that would dye lead,
silver, copper, iron, etc., right through, in order to give them the perfect
color; because they assumed that gold was essentially characterized by its
color. These alchemists spoke of the "tinctura auri" and the process of
transformation was also sometimes referred to as a process of dyeing, and
many other terms belonging to the technique of dyeing were used: dipping,
coloring matter, [bapheion], and the term baptismal water also appears: an
immersion in the font, which transforms or changes the color of the baptized.

This treatise then continues with a whole series of recipes. What began
mystically, ends in nonsensical recipes. It is incredibly confusing, just as
is another treatise of Zosimos, "Concerning apparatus and ovens." Ovens and
furnaces played an important role in ancient times as heating methods with
wood were unreliable. The next important treatise by Zosimos is his
"Commentaries on the letter Omega" which I'll have to leave for another time.


Subject: A0175 Dangers in Alchemy

From: Adam McLean
Date: 21 Sep 1996

Regarding Steve Kalec's message A0170 Dangers in Alchemy

Steve Kalec quotes Thomas Vaughan regarding the dangers inherent in alchemy:

>If there is no potential danger in the practice of inner alchemy then
>maybe someone can explain to me what the following warning is all about.

"Because, when your heat surpasses the natural measure, then you have
aroused the wrath of the moist Natures, and they will stand up against the
Central-Fire, and this will stand against those, and in the chaos a dreadful
disruption will occur. The sweet Spirit of Peace ( the true eternal fifth Being)
will leave the Elements and will leave you and them behind in confusion, and
will not join this materia again, as long as they are in your cruel destructive
hands. Be aware ! Do not become Satan's apprentice,whose only aspiration is to
spoil and destroy. I speak the truth from experience. " -- ( Eugene,
Philaletha, Magica Adamica ).

However, this is not what Thomas Vaughan intended by these sentences (quoted here out of context) from the conclusion of his book.

This above statement is preceded by the sentence

"Thou has resolved with thy self to be a Cooperator with the Spirit of the living God, and to minister to him in his worke of generation. Have a care therefore that thou doest not hinder his work:"

Note this ends with a colon and the text quoted by Steve Kalec follows immediately after. If you care to read this section in context then you will see that Thomas Vaughan is here saying that if one sets oneself against Nature then one will reap destruction. He is stating in a very lofty way that if one does not follow the 'Magica Adamica' - part of which is the art of alchemy, then dangers result. Thus Vaughan is here not referring to the dangers of alchemy but to the (today quite widespread view) that interference with Nature will lead to dangers and destruction (repeating in a sense the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise.)

Actually the above quoted text is rather corrupt. In the original 1650 edition we have:

"Take heed, therefore, lest thou turn Partner with the Devil, for it is the Devil's design from the beginning of the world, to set Nature at variance with her self, that he may totally corrupt, and destroy her"

Vaughan sees the work of the alchemist as cooperating with Nature not set against Nature. The danger he refers to, is that human beings work against Nature.

It is easy to lift quotations out of their context to make a point, politicians and journalists do this every day, but the scholar must try to keep the context, read the extracted phrase against the text it is extracted from. If you read Thomas Vaughan's books, you will see that he is very positive about alchemy and hermetic philosophy - not warning us about the dangers of alchemy. It is a sad irony that he is reported to have died from inhaling mercury fumes, from outer poisoning not from practicising inner alchemy.

Adam McLean

Subject: A0176 Secrecy - the language of the birds

Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 10:09:55 +0000
From: Elliot Diamond

There is a "shamanic" song that goes:
I circle around
I circle around
The boundaries of the earth,
wearing my dark winged feathers as I fly.

This refers to ancient thought of birds "flying"in the breath of the
creator or one, sensing and seeing and possibly fortelling the future.
They were/are flying in the vessel of the universe and drinking of the
vortex of the energy. The language transcends the spoken word and
possibly becomes the reflection of their senses.

Many traditions honor the senses and the bird and the language of their

Subject: A0177 Is alchemy dangerous?

Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 18:37:23 +0300
From: Gerard

Found in George Ripley's "Twelve gates of Alchemy":

Gate one - Calcination

(this is a free translation from French, maybe somebody can post the
original english)

.....But it is a difficult thing to resist bare feet against the spur made
of iron or steel, like several have done, when they undertook things so
great they couldn't comprehend...


Subject: A0178 Commentaries on the letter Omega [Zosimos]

Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 22:52:46 -0400
From: Flamel

The treatise, "Commentaries on the letter Omega," by Zosimos is one of the
most remarkable texts in the alchemical literature of antiquity. The Greek
letter for Omega, W, looks like a head and a neck, it is a _stoikheion_,
meaning a letter or element. The text begins:

"The element Omega is round, it consists of two parts: it belongs to the
seventh zone, that of Saturn in the language of the corporeal beings."

At that time Saturn was the most distant planet. The element Omega is also
the last letter of the Greek alphabet; and belonged to the zone of Saturn in
the "language of corporeal beings," presumably that of human beings, inasmuch
as they are corporeal beings.

"In the language of incorporeal [beings] it is something different which
cannot be interpreted. Nikotheos, the hidden one, alone knows it."

Incorporeal beings are presumably spirits, or ghosts, immaterial beings and
things; in so far as the element Omega is immaterial, it cannot be expressed.
In other words, on the one hand it is Saturn, lead, on the other, something
totally different, inexpressible. Only Nikotheos knows what it is, and
Zosimos describes him in another passage as the "one who cannot be found."
Porphyry speaks of Plotinus as the adversary of Nikotheos, and from which we
learn he was the founder of a Gnostic sect and left a book, _Apokalypseis_
[Revelations], behind him (ca. 244 CE, a contemporary of Zosimos). Nikotheos
is also mentioned in the Coptic Codex Brucianus, a Gnostic text. Nikotheos
is spoken of there as one of those who were raised to Heaven where he saw
inexpressible things. In the same passage the author writes that there are
things concerning Heaven which cannot be expressed by a tongue of flesh.
This is the idea of the Omega element being lead in the language of
corporeal beings, and inexpressible in the language of incorporeal beings.
The fact that matter includes something which cannot be formulated by a
human tongue is clearly expressed here; something which is a tremendous
mystery, connected with metaphysical things. Here again we are dealing with
a projection, because what we cannot express, what we cannot grasp or know,
is naturally the unconscious. There is no other source that we can prove

Zosimos continues:

"So, in the speech of corporeal beings, this element is called ocean, the
origin and seed of all the gods."

The whole world of substances originated in this dark unknown element, which
is concealed in lead, and which is called "ocean," the place of origin, in
corporeal language. One can find similar conceptions to this Omega element
in other alchemical texts. We can imagine the "Omega element" as Zosimos
describes it: as something round, as related to Saturn, and that Saturn, that
dark maleficus, has something to do with lead. The Omega element is
connected also with the ocean, the sea, the mother, and the origin of all
living beings. This element is considered the universal mother, the place of
origin. Such ideas appear abstruse to us. In this century, these ideas of
the "origins of chemistry" are slowly being realized as full of psychological
projection - they were really psychology rather than real chemistry, a
science which was then completely unknown.


"These are the determinants of the language of corporeal beings."

This refers to Zosimos' earlier designations where the outward appearance of
this element can be described as the ocean or as lead.

"Under the name of the great and indescribable element Omega is to be
understood: the description of the apparatus of the divine water, of the
simple as well as the highly ingenious and of all ovens in general."

Here Zosimos introduces the fact that this element is the secret of
chemistry. We may assume that the old alchemists worked with such an
element, or at least were under the impression that they were doing so.

The text goes on:

"Zosimos benevolently explains this to Theosebeia."

This may be an interpolation of some copyist. Many texts of Zosimos, as has
been noted in an earlier post to the Forum, are addressed to this Theosebeia,
and he begins them simply: "O woman." She was his soror mystica, his
spiritual friend. The name, Theosebeia, "worshipper of God," was most
probably a name which she received at her baptism into the mysteries. Note:
Zosimos was a Gnostic pagan, not a Christian.


"The suitable [kairkai] tinctures, O woman, have made my book on the ovens

He says that his book on the ovens - his commentary on the letter Omega is
part of his book on the ovens - has been made ridiculous in some way,
presumably by another book, which he wrote himself, about the suitable
tinctures, but we do not know what this refers to exactly.

"In fact many authors, blinded by their own daemons, have amused themselves
about the right tinctures, and have not regarded the book on ovens and
apparatus as being in accordance with the true facts."

Note that he does not say that these authors have ridiculed or criticized his
book from their own conscious position, but on account of their daemons.
Zosimos seems to be saying that everyone has a daemon in himself that
whispers criticisms and opinions to him; in this case, Zosimos thinks in a
misleading way. This ancient idea belongs to popular superstition; a good
example from antiquity was the daemon of Socrates. Such a daemon was by no
means necessarily evil, it was rather something between a divine being and a
spirit. One could modernize this passage by translating it as "their own
mind," though that would invite misunderstandings. Man in antiquity
differentiated between man's "daemon" and his "own mind." This is correct
psychologically. It is the difference between reflecting about a book and
giving my own criticism, and having a hunch about it. I prepared the
criticism, but the hunch "drops into me," into my head from above, as it
were. We are apt to identify with our hunches, and instead of saying "an
idea came to me," we say "I thought," when we have done nothing of the kind
but something has happened to us. To be psychologically correct, we should
differentiate between these two things carefully. In this text, Zosimos is
careful to do so. He does not attribute their criticisms to the authors but
to their daemons. Some of these daemons were deceitful or malevolent, so
they made the authors say stupid things.

The text continues:

"No words can convince them about the truth, if they are not inspired by
their own daemon."

Zosimos says it is of no use to formulate the truth convincingly, it must be
told to people by their own daemons. This has always been a great
psychological truth - one cannot tell people the most important things, it
simply does not penetrate; unless at the same time, by the grace of God, the
truth drops in as a sort of hunch, and then it is usually accompanied by the
conviction: "I thought that myself!"

"Through an unfavorable fate they distorted in their speech that which they
had received, to the detriment of the art and of their own success, so that
two different contrary meanings were given by the same words. They only
grant a point with reluctance, when forced thereto by the demonstrations,"
i.e., through proofs during the experiments, "even concerning things which
they had understood before. Such authors should not be recognized by God or
the philosophers. When the time of the operations had been fixed to the last
detail, and when the daemon had favored them physically,"

The operations are the chemical experiments and, in order to succeed, the
experimenter must be favorably disposed by his own daemon; i.e., the
psychological conditions which produce useful and helpful hunches must be
present. Today we might say that he must have the support of the
unconscious, for if the unconscious is against him, he will be hindered by
every kind of obstacle and will get no helpful hunches. In those days they
expressed the same thing by talking of daemons.

Continuing with the passage:

"they still hesitate to admit a further point, and forget all the former
obvious things. Everywhere they were forced to obey the Heimarmene
[compulsion of the stars; that which is allotted, destiny], in the things
already said, and in their opposites, without being able to imagine anything
different to the Heimarmene in relation to physical things."

This is an extraordinary passage. The Heimarmene plays a great role in Stoic
philosophy. It was understood that from birth man was dependent on his
astrological constellations, that he had no freedom but must live his
horoscope down to the bitter end. It is this blueprint which is given to man
as he comes down to earth through the sphere of the planets. He is entirely
dependent in this world on the impressions which he received from the stars,
he must live according to them till the end of his days, and can only do and
think that which is written in the stars. The horoscope must be fulfilled,
it is simply man's evil, or perhaps good, destiny. One cannot go beyond it,
unless he is redeemed in a mystical manner by a redeemer or through
initiation into certain mysteries, whose goal is to free one from this
compulsion. One aspect of this idea is found in the Church's doctrine of
original sin; man can only be redeemed from original sin through baptism and
the other sacraments. This is a parallel to the ancient conception of the

Zosimos says here that these adversaries of his can only think as the stars
command them, they cannot imagine anything beyond this, they have to accept
what good or bad fortune hands to them, and they can only speak and
understand corporeal language. They know nothing of incorporeal language or
of symbols. They work with lead, for instance, and for them it is just lead,
whereas to the philosopher, it is the symbol for something quite different,
something which cannot be expressed and which transcends our understanding.
Human beings have always expressed incomprehensible things by symbols. The
word "symbol," in its right sense, is never used for something which we know,
it always stands for a mystery, something unknown, something that cannot be
fully expressed.

I hope you are getting an impression of the unusual way in which such texts
are composed. They are not utter nonsense or completely indigestible. It is
not my intention to explain it, only to demonstrate the strange ideas the
texts of Zosimos contain and the allusions we meet in them. I will complete
this short excerpt in the next post. Your comments are welcome.


Subject: A0179 Commentaries on the letter Omega [Zosimos]

Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 12:05:59 -0400
From: Jeffrey

Dear Flamel,

I enjoyed your presentation of the writings of Zosimos and your very
interesting commentary which I will give some more consideration too. I hope
you continue to make such presentations. You have probably looked at Jung's
commentary on the visions of Zosimos which are quite interesting and
valuable. I find Zosimos to be one of the more fascinating of alchemists.


Subject: A0180 Artephius

Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 12:08:00 -0400
From: Jeffrey

Does anyone know the origins of the Secret Book of Artephius? I know it is
supposed to go back to the 12 century, but is it of Arabic origins? Any info
would be appreciated.


Subject: A0181 Alchemy and the Divine Language (was language of birds)

Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 12:42:53 -0500 (EST)
From: Deborah Harkness

RE: the language of birds and the Enochian language

The language of birds is not the so-called "Enochian" of John Dee IMHO.
The relationship between the language of gypsies, the language of birds,
and the language of angels is the interest (in the early modern period,
especially) for reclaiming the original language of creation (God SAID
let there be light...). Cabala was of interest because it offered the
hope of reconciling conflicting passages in Genesis (linguistic) and
Wisdom (mathematic) regarding the ordering principle of the cosmos.

The mastery of the language of creation would have been of interest to
any alchemist interested in replicating/hastening that process in the
alchemical process. For one of the most comprehensive treatments of
this idea with specific links to alchemy, See Giovanni Pantheus, 'Voarchadumia
contra alchimiam', which was one of John Dee's favorites.

Deborah Harkness

Subject: A0182 Secrecy - the Language of the Birds

Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 11:22:49 +1000
From: Don Foster

In my experience, the Language of the Birds is anything but a joke or
'play upon words', but is in fact a major key to deciphering and truely
understanding the obscure and enigmatic writings of much of the
traditional tracts; also an aid in recognizing the difference between
core important tracts and scurrilous, deliberately misleading and
worthless tracts, which are many.

The experienced students of practical alchemy are in agreement that
Fulcanelli was a modern adept and that his "Mystery of the Cathedrals"
gives them major insight into the Great Work. Fulcanelli spends much
time at the start of his book clearly indicating that in order to
comprehend his writings and that of the great authors, then an
understanding of this "phonetic cabala" is essential to penetrating the
great maze that is alchemy.

This opinion is backed up by two other adepts of the twentieth century,
namely the contemporary of Fulcanelli, French alchemist and
Egyptologist, R. A. Schwaller De Lubicz, and the little-known American
adept Adiramled, who also places an enormous emphasis on this lingua
avis in order to penetrate The Mystery. My first teacher, Frater
Albertus emphasized the Language of the Birds (Gods) or L.G. and my
subsequent teacher has given me much further insight into its use as a
tool for understanding.

Many other earlier adepts such as Glauber and Jean d'Espagnet spoke of
the essential understanding of L.G. for the elucidation of alchemy,
although not referring specifically to L.G. by name. For example, the
following extract from "The Hermetic Arcanum" by Jean d'Espagnet.....

14. As for the matter of their hidden Stone, Philosophers have written
diversely; so that very many disagreeing in Words, do nevertheless very
well agree in the Thing; nor doth their different speech argue the
science ambiguous or false, since the same thing may be expressed with
many tongues, by divers expressions, and by a different character, and
also one and many things may be spoken of after diverse manners.

15. Let the studious Reader have a care of the manifold significations
of words, for by deceitful windings, and doubtful, yea contrary speeches
(as it should seem), Philosophers wrote their mysteries, with a desire
of veiling and hiding, yet not of sophisticating or destroying the
truth; and though their writings abound with ambiguous and equivocal
words; yet about none do they more contend than in hiding their Golden

What then is this 'phonetic cabala' or language matrix, and how do we
apply it in practice? Learning this "language" (land guage) is only
partly an intellectual process and there are several guidelines to look
for and apply with the mind. However, once these guidelines are
understood and integrated, the unconscious and intuitive parts of the
psyche then start to recognize links and meaning almost automatically as
certain tracts are re-read with an "open", non-analytical mind. This has
to be experienced to be understood, and is not self-delusion or fanciful

The following are example guidelines. This is not exhaustive, but an aid
to finding some illumination in tracts which were previously totally
enigmatic :-

1. Consider the basic meanings of words and phrases.....
eg. "My yoke is easy, but my burden is LIGHT."
"He who CASTS the first stone,...........

2. PREFIXES. eg. Cover / DIScover

3. ROOT ORIGIN OF WORDS. A basic knowledge of Latin, Greek and Hebrew
roots is very helpful. eg. Origin = Ora/Aura - Gin/Gen, literally means
the GENeration of gold or of something precious.

4. WORDS SOUNDING THE SAME but of different spelling. The phonetics of
words becomes more important than their spelling. Looking for a common
meaning among words sounding the same or very similar.
eg. Rain / Reins (2 meanings.. kidneys + Horses' reins) / Reign / Rey
(Spanish) / Ray / Pray / grain / drain / crane (2 meanings) / rhine /
brain / spray / stray / strain / prey / quarry (2 meanings) / terrain /
urine / train, etc..... common meaning associated with RADIATION or that
which radiates from a source.

Mire / Mirror / Maya (Sanscrit) / Mirth .... common association with
delusion, reflection, lost in unreality.
This guide often holds when crossing language and transcultural
barriers, ie. similar sounds can often have similar root meanings in
French, Sanscrit, Norwegian, English, Creole, whatever.

5. Words or SOUNDS Within Words.....
eg.1. -ar- ....... pertaining to fire and that which radiates upwards.

Non-exhaustive word list... aries, aryan, arabian, arak, arid, area,
arena, arson, arsenal, art, artist, artery, arthroma, arthritis,
arthrosis, article, arms, armour, ardour, arbour, arch, archer, arrow,
architect, ark, argent, arsenic, car, carrot, cart, carcer, carcinoma,
czar, earth, ear, farina, fart, garfish, garrot, harbour, hear, heart,
hearth, hart, hark, harm, harmony, incarcerate, incinarate, mars,
marshal, market, mark, park, part, party, para, pare, pear, raj, rajah,
ra, ram, rare, rarify, smart, spar, spark, star, start, stark, starch,
tartar, tart, target, war, warm, swarm, etc.

eg.2. -or-, -ore-, -our-, -aur-, -augh-, -oar-, -aw-, -ory.... meaning
pertaining to something precious, of great value, gold, light, central.

Non-exhaustive list of words.... ore, oar, awe, aura, aurora, aural,
aurum, auditory, auger, ardour, absorb, arbour, bore, boar, calor,
colour, core, coeur, courage, corn, cork, corona, coronet, court,
caught, course, c'or, coral, chore, chorus, door, d'or, dolor, adore,
dorado, floor, fort, flora, fortune, furor, gore, glory, harbour, hoary,
horse, implore, juror, janitor, jailor, l'or, lore, law, labour,
laboratory, mentor, more, maw, naught, knaw, organ, orgasm, oratory,
orb, orbit, port, poor, porch, roar, raw, rubor, sailor, scorch,
slaughter, shore, store, story, spore, sore, tor, tora, toro, torso,
torch, tumour, valour, wor, whore, ordeals,

6. Basic letter sounds which have distinct meanings as well as
unconscious archetypal associations. An example is the 3 Hebrew Mother
letters of Shin (S)(Fire), Aleph (A)(Air) and Mem (M)(Water). The
M..sound is universally used beginning many words associated with water,
nourishment, the receptive, the feminine, mother, matter.... check this
out for yourself.
Do you think the Big-M sign on some establishments might have some
unconscious suggestion of nourishment universally?

The letter X is associated with fixation, to raise vibrations, fusion of
opposites, radiation, materialization, to increase, crucifixion, union
of above with below, crossed wires.
The letter C is associated with concentration, focussing, en-closing,
concentering..... hence core, coeur, c'or, court(4 meanings), caught,
crab, cancer, carcer, carcinoma, corps, corporation, carraige, car,
coral, corral, crown, coronet, corn, cork, chorus, etc.

7. Words nearly sounding the same AND associated words.
eg. Evaluation / Reevaluation / Revelation
Word / Ward / World. Crow / Crown / Crone.
Disciple / Discipline. Table / Tablet / Stable. Vase / Urn.
Vein / Venous / Venus / Vain.

8. Polarity Within Words.
eg. Male / Female. Bath / Bathe.

9. Combinations of the above.

If these guidelines above are applied only in an analytical fashion,
little illumination is forthcoming, and it does all become a word game
or 'play upon words'. But when the right side of the brain uses this
knowledge intuitively, increasing realisations and understanding occurs,
and it needs to be understood that alchemy is also about the WORD,
sound, language, creation, evolution, awareness, consciousness. It is
the fountainhead of ALL knowledge and art.

Don Foster

Subject: A0183 Alchemy and prana and kundalini

Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 00:12:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: fred hatt

>From: Sean Blosl
>>From Fred Hatt:
>>But neither Eastern nor Western alchemy was all
>>internal. My feeling is that the magnum opus of
>>alchemy was practiced as a form of art (before art,
>>science, magic, healing, and craft were severed).
> Do you know of a book that deals with this particular subject?

This is my own personal reading of the evidence in the ancient alchemical
literature itself, influenced by a lot of years of study of magical
philosophy, particularly the traditions of Taoism, Hermetism, Indian and
Tibetan Tantra, and Yoruban Ifa. I'm using the word 'art' not in the modern
sense but in the sense in which it is frequently used in the alchemical
literature. Today the word 'art' suggests certain specific kinds of
creative pursuit which are usually considered to be divorced from practical
considerations. Anciently the word seems to have a more general meaning. I
think it suggests that alchemy can never be reduced to a cut-and-dried
procedure, but must be seen as a gift of God which is developed through
love, devotion, and practice, in other words, as a talent manifested in
beauty. The mix of mythology, theology, craft-knowledge, nature-lore,
initiatory and invocatory ritual, and emphasis on personal character are not
so many veils, but are intertwined at the root. All are essential to the
Hermetic way. The other magical systems I have studied all have a similar mix.

There is an excellent chapter in Julius Evola's 'The Hermetic Tradition'
contrasting the ancient and modern world-view. A radical shift in
consciousness and sense of relation to the world has come about in modern
times (since the so-called 'age of reason', Cartesian duality, and
'scientific method'). Modern language, philosophy, and scientific practice
value specificity and clear separation between things. The ancients were
far more oriented toward generalities, their systems of understanding were
designed to be broad and all-encompassing, and magical practices in
particular involved erasing the boundaries between the self and the world.
I have encountered very little academic writing on this point, but I feel it
is a key to unlocking an understanding of much ancient and indigenous wisdom.

fred hatt (

Subject: A0184 Connaitre les produits chimiques par "Prolabo"

Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 22:25:53 +0100
From: Christian, Daniel Dumolard

[Christian Dumolard gives us some information on ways of getting information on chemical substances through the French Minitel system - A. McL]

A tous les amis du Forum,
La societe parisienne " PROLABO " possede depuis plusieurs annees un serveur
minitel (a la norme V23) GRATUIT, (mais je pense qu'il ne faut pas abuser)
joignable au numero suivant :
(+33) 16-1-36 05 03 59 .
( la numerotation telephonique francaise changeant en octobre, ce numero
sera a modifier)

Il est convenable de s'identifier, mais ce n'est pas obligatoire.
Il y a un restriction pour consulter ce serveur (qui est meme ouvert le
dimanche), il faut faire une recherche du produit en indiquant SON NUMERO
dans le catalogue "Prolabo", mais le catalogue peut se commander une fois
pour toute !

Je peux faire le relai, eventuellement, si vous ne trouvez pas de catalogue.
Envoyez moi le nom des produits qui vous interessent et je vous indiquerez
les numeros ou vous donnerez carrement les resultats de recherche, au choix.

A titre d'exemple, voici ce que donne une consultation sur le "Salpetre", en
rentrant son numero de reference " 26863 ".

---------> exemple en "copies d'ecran" :

Pour trouver le produit PROLABO que vous
recherchez, nous vous proposons trois
modes de sélection:
1. Par le CODE du produit
2. Par le numéro CAS du produit
3. Par le numéro EINECS du produit
Tapez votre demande puis ENVOI.


Mise à jour:02.02.1994 Version:
1 Voir la fiche à l'écran
2 Faites-vous télécopier la fiche
Pour une visualisation correcte de la
fiche et si votre minitel est ancien,
vérifiez qu'il supporte un affichage
sur 80 colonnes : tapez GUIDE.
Tapez un n° puis ENVOI. .
Autre recherche produit par SOMMAIRE.

[There follow a number of pages of detailed chemical information on Potassium Nitrate - A. McL.]

Christian et Daniel DUMOLARD

Subject: A0185 The Language of the Birds

Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 10:57:18 -0400
From: Russ House

I am able to discern from a number of examples in Don Foster's posting
(partly quoted below) that Don and I have studied the Language of the Birds
with the same teacher. Don's summary and examples offer some excellent
keys. Don indicates that "my subsequent teacher has given me much further
insight into its use as a tool for understanding." We could say that in
this language, the name of the teacher is "bearer of the Art". In fact,
others on this forum have also studied with the same teacher.

Indications of this same method appear in the works of George Washington
Carey and Inez Eudora Perry, such as "The Zodiac and the Salts of
Salvation". Other than the references cited by Don, I have also seen two
lessons entitled "Alchemistical Regeneration" and "The Opening of the 7
Seals" from a series called "Disciplina Arcani" which seems to have
originated with some esoteric/gnostic school whose identity is not known to

The playing with words can be of interest, but it must be kept in balance,
lest one enter a realm of pure speculation and pseudo-illumination that only
helps to build castles in the air. Holding one's head in the clouds is
useful, if the feet remain firmly on the ground. The insights that come
from these clues must be tested in a practical way to see that they are in
conformity with Nature.

As a possible exercise, make a list of words with the sound or "ur" or "or",
such as ornament, aura, organ, color, urine, tincture, aurum, ore, etc.
Then bORe into the cORe of the wORds fOR mORe. This sound should give an
indication of something precious, akin with solar gold, masculine in
principle. According to Perry, "In Hebrew, Ur, the root of Uranus, means
light; also fortress or castle... All the Hebrew names commencing with Ur
have some interpretation relative to light. Uriel means fire of God; Urija,
flame of Jehovah; the Uriah, light of Jehovah."

Russ House

>From: Don Foster
>In my experience, the Language of the Birds is anything but a joke or
>'play upon words', but is in fact a major key to deciphering and truely
>understanding the obscure and enigmatic writings of much of the
>traditional tracts; also an aid in recognizing the difference between
>core important tracts and scurrilous, deliberately misleading and
>worthless tracts, which are many.

>This opinion is backed up by two other adepts of the twentieth century,
>namely the contemporary of Fulcanelli, French alchemist and
>Egyptologist, R. A. Schwaller De Lubicz, and the little-known American
>adept Adiramled, who also places an enormous emphasis on this lingua
>avis in order to penetrate The Mystery. My first teacher, Frater
>Albertus emphasized the Language of the Birds (Gods) or L.G. and my
>subsequent teacher has given me much further insight into its use as a
>tool for understanding.

> .. (( a series of examples, citations were in the original posting which I

Subject: A0186 The zen of Zosimos

Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 12:21:56 -0400
From: Flamel

What remarkable things the old alchemist Zosimos wrote seventeen centuries
ago. His words are living words. They are alive and pregnant with meaning.
Indeed, they still can speak to us today. That's very impressve indeed.
From his numerous writings, you have the sense that he seems to have worked
on the art, on the one hand, from mystical speculations, philosophy and
Gnosis, and on the other, from experiments with chemical substances. His
most significant philosophic fragments are to be found in his treatise on
apparatus and ovens. There is not much there about apparatus and ovens, but
it contains his alchemistic philosophy whose origins are much older than
Zosimos - they go back to the Greek philosophy of nature, Stoic philosophy,
Hellentistic syncretism, and Gnosticism. From the previous fragments posted
one gets the sense that Zosimos was very interested in the particular
attitude of mind which was advisable, really indispensable, to enable the
alchemist to carry out the opus. From these texts themselves one can
appreciate the remarkable spiritual endeavor that originated in the lives of
these people and in their epoch. Before returning to a few more
representative passages from Zosimos' commentaries on the element Omega, what
follows instead is a short digression from some other writings of Zosimos on
the mental state or zen of the alchemist (This post is meant to dovetail the
recent discussion on the thread on the "Language of the Birds"). Zosimos

"One must ask God for instruction, for men do not impart this science."

This type of remark, that the most important things come from God, can be
found throughout the literature of alchemy. For example, a post on the
"Language of Birds" thread refers to this idea as "L.G."

Zosimos writes further:

"Do not explain such a possession to anyone but be sufficient unto thyself,
for fear that in speaking thou shouldst destroy thyself. And silence teaches
the art."

And further:

"The science and the wisdom come from olden times. Their origin is without
royal flavor. It follows its own laws and is immaterial. It does not seek
anything from material or transitory substances. It operates without outer
influences, supported by prayer and grace. The symbol of chemistry is
founded on the creation of the world,"

The alchemist, according to Zosimos, takes the creation as his model, he
creates a cosmos in his opus (the American poet Walt Whitman makes use of
this metaphor).

"for those, who rescue and purify the divine soul imprisoned in the elements,
and especially for those who separate the divine spirit from the flesh in
which it is entangled. As there is a sun, flower of the fire, a celestial
sun, right eye of the world, so also will copper when it has been transformed
into a flower, through purification, become an earthly sun, which is King on
the earth as the sun is King in the heavens."

"When thou discoverest our treasures, leave the gold to those who would
destroy themselves."

Writing to Theosebeia, his spiritual friend, Zosimos says:

"Do not allow thyself to be led astray, O woman... and do not wander about,
when thou art seeking God. But remain quietly seated in thine own home, and
God will come to thee; He, who is everywhere and nowhere. He is not confined
in the nethermost region, like the demons. Relax thy body, calm thy
passions, resist the temptations of desire, anger, sorrow and the twelve
moirai [fatalities] of death."

The goddeses of fate, that is, the twelve signs of the zodiac through which
the sun runs its course, were known as the twelve moirai. They represent the
constellations by which man is governed. A specific time contains the
corresponding qualities which bring about certain fates, and in antiquity
this was known as the "moirai," the fatal goddesses of death. The individual
under Heimarmene, the compulsion of the stars, is under the power of death
and is mortal. From this state the redeemer frees man. The spiritual
endeavor of these people was towards liberation from the Heimarmene - really
from one's heredity and one's innate character. Expressing this old idea in
modern language, we would say one ought to realize that one is an imperfect
human being in need of redemption. Armed with this insight one might change,
and say afterwards that one had become an entirely different person. This is
the old idea Zosimos is expressing. Continuing, he writes:

"With this attitude, thou wilt call the Divine Being to thee. And thus will
He come, He who is everywhere and nowhere. Without being called upon, bring
thy sacrifices, but not advantageous ones which nourish and please them, but
such as destroy them and drive them away."

The "they" probably refer to the "moirai," though this is far from clear.
Sacrifices are made to them, but not such as would please and nourish them,
i.e., the sacrifices must not strengthen the original condition of man, they
should rather destroy their power. The sacrifices are presumably the
alchemical opus.

"That is those [the sacrifices] that Membres proposed when he appealed to
Solomon, and especially those which Solomon himself described, according to
his own wisdom."

Membres or Jambres is an Egyptian magician (see Ex.7:11 and II Tim. 3:8), one
of the sorcerers who cast his rod down before Pharaoh where it became a
serpent. Zosimos refers to a treatise attributed to Jambres or Membres,
which may have existed in his time, where certain sacrifices may have been
proposed. Solomon is the old king of Israel, and this may refer to treatises
attributed to him. He was considered a great magician, and in the time of
Zosimos, Solomon was regarded as an important authority in the areas of magic
and of alchemy in particular.

"In proceeding thus, thou wilt obtain the suitable, authentic and natural

The suitable gifts for sacrifice, then, are the right tinctures which must be
given to the gods in order to propitiate them. It must the right tinctures,
for the wrong ones may have a bad influence. The text has now moved back to
chemistry and out of the realm of philosophic speculation. The idea is that
if the work was carried out correctly the gods would help the alchemists to
find the right tinctures. Tinctures were dyes, the dyes which could color
the elements with which the alchemists were working. They assumed, for
instance, that the essence of gold depended on the color, that iron, lead, or
silver could become real gold if correctly dyed. Continuing, Zosimos writes:

"Work in this way till thou hast wholly perfected thy soul (or, till thou art
perfected in thy soul)."

The soul in many texts presumably refers to the human soul, to the soul of
the chemist himself, but the meaning here is ambiguous. The same words,
"anima" and "psyche," are also used for the soul of the substances. A divine
soul was said to live in the substances. Natural substances contained, as
their innermost essence, the divine spark of the Deity, the scintilla, the
divine spark. In that one transformed these substances, the soul became
transformed, in the substances and in the alchemist. It is one and the same
soul, the same divine spark, in nature as in man. Zosimos goes on:

"But when thou knowest it to be perfected, then beware of the physical in the
materia, and, descending to the Poimandres, and having been immersed in the
krater, ascend at once to thine own kind."

This passage seems to refer to a philosophic sect, so to speak, the sect of
the Poimandres. Poimandres is a shepherd or leader of men (f.i., see the
early Christian work, "The Shepherd of Hermas"). The Poimandres in Zosimos,
though a good shepherd, is not Christ, but a pagan mystagogue, a teacher of
initiants, that is a mediator or savior. As mentioned previously, Zosimos
was not a Christian, but apparently belonged to some cult which had a
baptismal rite consummated in the so-called krater. This was a sort of
vessel used for mixing, in which one mixed wine and water, and, in that
people dipped themselves in it, a kind of plunge bath. The people who
belonged to this cult, like the candidates for baptism in the early church,
immersed themselves in order to become "renatus," to be born into a new
childhood. Through the plunge into the krater, they were dyed by the divine
tinctures and were transformed in a miraculous way. In this way they came to
their original self, back to their divine nature, an idea which we are also
familiar with in Christianity, in Judaism (f.i., the mikvah), and in Zen
(f.i., the koan of Joshu's Mu), though the ideas of Zosimos appear to be
largely under the influence of the Gnostic literature of the time.

The vessel, in which a dyeing process or transformation through baptism takes
place, is a fundamental idea in alchemy down through the centuries. The 'vas
hermetis' is one of the central components of the alchemical apparatus. This
vessel had to be carefully sealed during the operation so that no foreign
bodies could enter and no content could escape.

The term "Poimandres" refers to Hermes himself, the two are closely related.
The same term is used, in connection with the divine vessel of
transformation, in the _Corpus Hermeticum_. There we find an old legend that
the creator of the world made men imperfectly, they could not walk upright
and they were "anoi," without understanding, unconscious. But some among
them longed for consciousness and God took compassion on these, and created a
vessel which he filled with "Nous." Nous like Pneuma means mind, spiritual
mind or spirit. God filled this vessel with spirit and sent it down to
earth, so that those, who yearned for consciousness, could dip themselves in
it. The word "baptisma" is also used for substances which are to be dyed,
and is connected with the idea of dipping.

These brief passages represent the advice of Zosimos to his spiritual friend
Thoesebeia. They are, we assume, the instruction of an old master to his
pupil as to how she should proceed in the art. They give us a glimpse into
the inner meaning of the alchemical opus, and the mental state or zen, so to
speak, that Zosimos thought indispensible for the work of transformation.


Subject: A0187 Secrecy - Language of the Birds

From: calhhh
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 13:34:45 -0400

Dear Adam and forum members :

During the last few days, I have read the passionate discussion
over if ALCHEMY comprises secrecy and/or dangers and also about
what has been described as the Language of the Birds. There have been
heated arguments pros and cons to which I will humbly add the
following considerations :

1) I must begin by saying, as I have said before both on this forum
as well as by private email, how much I appreciate the enormously
valuable and time consuming effort that Adam has done in order to
bring into existence the Alchemy Virtual Library and this forum,
without which a lot of us would not have had access to many alchemical
works that have come to enrich our studies and experiences. Many
times we take our access to such a fountain of knowledge for granted,
and indeed even feel the right to criticize in harsh terms what should
or not include, or how it should be handled. Perhaps because of this
even Adam seems to have grown a little intolerant, and in my humble
opinion, both sides of the argument have made sarcastic comments that
do not contribute at all to the truly ACADEMIC discussion of the matters
in hand. I myself Adam, must confess of being Romantic, in the sense
of my passionate Love for our Art, but that does not neccesarily means
that I do not consider necessary to view and evaluate all sides of
an issue with seriousness, hard facts and all, but also with certain
open mindeness and tolerance. So Adam, let us all become more patient,
understanding that as it happens to all Orchid lovers, myself included,
sometimes we must wait long in order to view the miraculous beauty of
full blossom of one of our rare species .. But enough of constructive
criticism ...


Contrary to what has been mentioned, the term LANGUAGE OF THE BIRDS
(At least in the Spanish translation that I have available at this
moment), was used by Fulcanelli repeatedly in both his books. He
even was quite explicit as to what he referred by that, so I will
quote (sorry for the rapidly and poorly done translation of its
text back into english) out of the THE PHILOSOFICAL ABODES,
Section VI : Hermetic Qabalah

" ... Without abandoning completely the linguistic artifices, the old
masters, in their compilement of their treaties, utilized above all the
hermetic qabalah, which they named LANGUAGE OF THE BIRDS, of the
gods, gaya, science of gay knowledge. In this manner, they could hide from
the populace the principles of their science, envolving them with a qabalistic
apparel. This is something unquestionable and very well known. But what
generally is ignored is that the language from which the authors took their
terms is the archaic greek, mother language of the plurality of Hermes
disciples. The reason why the qabalistic intervention is not noticed is due
precisely to the fact that our language proceeds directly from the greek.
In consequence, all the chosen vocables chosen in our language to define
certain SECRETS, as they have their orthographic or phonetic greek
equivalents, it is enough to know well these, in order to discover right
away the exact sense, restablished, of them."

He then goes to argue why our language's true origin is greek instead of
latin, and further ahead says :

" ... The LANGUAGE OF THE BIRDS is a phonetic language, based only in its
assonance. Therefore the orthography is not taken into account at all,
thereby its rigour acts by itself as a brake to the curious spirits and it
makes for them unacceptable all speculation realized beyond the grammatical

"... This means that the sense of the sacred books is absolutely not
literal, and that it results indispensable to know how to find within its
spirit through the qabalistic interpretation, as it is customary to do in
order to comprehend the alchemical works. The rare authors that have spoken
about the language of the birds, attribute to it the first place in the
origin of the languages. Its antiquity would remount to Adam, whom would
have used it to impose, under God's order, the appropiate names to define
the characteristics of all beings and things created. "

Fulcanelli gives several concrete examples through his works of how the
phonetic similarities of given words, tend to show us their "intended"
meanings by the artists .


Adam is absolutely correct in saying that a vast amount of documentary
records exist regarding ALCHEMY, perhaps more than many other "established"
sciences, however in my humble opinion it is clear, that the quantity of
existing bibliography does not guaranteed the possibility of understanding
its true teachings or procedures, when it comes to the operative part of
the Royal Art. In this sense Alchemy is full of secrets, or if we prefer
mysteries. In order to fully understand alchemy, all sincere seekers must
find the KEY to the true meanings of what the Adepts have written in their
works. The lack of common, concrete, and publicly open evidence for either
the transmutatory part of its procedures or the Alkahest, its proof in
itself of at least the difficulty of its understanding, which in my opinion
will only be acquired through the assistance of a teacher, or through a
lot of ORA, LEGE et LABORA, preferably as the song goes, with a
"little help from our friends" from the other side ...:-). Sorry if it
does not sound too scholarly ...

I do not mean to say that we all must learn ancient Greek, but indeed
a lot of study, research, comparison and prayer, must be used while
seeking the Light that will lead us to true knowledge. This is without
a doubt a Spiritual Science and as such should be treated, Science and
Spirituality, walking hand in hand.

I will quote certain phrases again from THE PHILOSOPHICAL ABODES
(Section VIII- Alchemy and Spagyria)

"...With its confused texts, enamelled by the qabalistic expressions, the
books continue to be the efficient and genuine cause of the gross scorn that
we mention. Since despite the warnings and censorships of its authors, the
students are obstinate in reading them according to the sense that common
language offers. They do not know that these texts are reserved for the
initiates and that it is indispensable in order to comprehend them well, to
have the SECRET KEY.
Therefore, the first thing it must be work upon is in finding this key."

"...Let us not forget that it is an esoteric science...."

And then he cites BATSDORFF, at the beginning of his work 'Le Filet
d'Ariadne', in this terms :

"any prudent man must, in first place, learn the Science, if he can; that is
to say, the principles and the means by which to operate, instead of using
foolishly his time and his riches ... Therefore, I beg to those who read
this book to give faith to my words. I tell them once again, that they will
never learn this sublime science through the books, and that it can not be
learn except by divine revelation, that is to say what is called Divine Art,
or else by means of a good and faithful master, as there are only a few,
since there are not many to whom god has given this grace, and even less who
teach it."

Alchemy indeed is not an easy path to travel, precisely because it is full
of wonderful (secrets) mysteries, which the Seeker must learn to unravel
prior to being admitted in the Temple of Wisdom. I know this may sound as a
romantic expression, but to those of us that have spent long nights among
retorts and books in our lab-oratories, it will come as no surprise that
romanticism and LOVE for our science it is a necessary ingredient, and in
a sense a PRIMA MATERIA in order to persist with faith until hopefully that
day when God, however we conceive him to be, bathe us with his Grace.

Hopefully my English was good enough to express what I meant.

Love to all,



Mon Sep 23 23:02:00 1996
Subject: A0188 The Language of the Birds

Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 14:21:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Sean Blosl

"One day the birds of the world,
those we know and those that
nobody knows, all gathered
together for a great conference."

-conference of the birds

Subject: A0189 The Language of the Birds

From: Adam McLean
Date: 23 September 1996

Are there any other references in alchemy literature to the 'language of the birds', or is Fulcanelli the only source?

I don't mean bird symbolism in general, birds of Hermes, etc, which are common in alchemical texts, but some reference to a secret 'language of the birds'.

Adam McLean

Tue Sep 24 08:52:39 1996
Subject: A0190 The Language of the Birds

From: calhhh
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 18:35:33 -0400

>From: Adam McLean
>Are there any other references in alchemy literature to the 'language of the
>birds', or is Fulcanelli the only source?

Fulcanelli mentions that there only a few authors who spoke about this
language and among them he mentions specifically :

1) He mentions that Cyrano Bergerac was quite aware of this tradition; as
it is evident in the work in reference when "a new habitant of a world close
to the Sun, has someone explain to him what is the hermetic qabalah"...
(L'Autre Monde, Histoire comique des Etats et Empires du Soleil. Paris,
Bauche, 1910; J.J. Pauvert, Paris, 1962)

2) Fulcanelli also mentions another book by the same author called "HISTORY
OF THE BIRDS", where during the narration he makes some oak trees speek in
the universal language, making also an alusion to the language of the druids ..

3) He also mentions that this Language, by means of the hermetic qabalah,
was quite known in Egypt, at least by the sacerdotal class, and he cites the
LEIDEN PAPYRUS : "I invoke thee, the most powerful of gods, you that all
have created; to You, born of yourself, whom can see everything without
being seen .. I invoke you by the name that you possess in the LANGUAGE OF
THE BIRDS, in that of the hieroglyphs, in that of the Jews, in that of the
Egyptians, in that of the cinocephalus..., in that of the hawks, in the
hieratic (sacerdotal) language."

4) He goes further to mention that even the INCAS of Peru until the Spanish
conquest spoke a general (universal) language and a cortesan (diplomatic)
language, since this latest one, reserved only to a few, had a double and
profound meaning.

Just as an interesting note I will mention that a few months ago, there have
been some discoveries regarding this sacerdotal language of the INCAS
that confirm Fulcanelli's reference.

I will be on a trip for a few days, but when I come back I will look up to
see if I can find additional references of other authors that may refer
to this most intriguing LANGUAGE OF THE BIRDS.


Subject: A0191 The Language of the birds

Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 20:01:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Pablo Bermudez

Fulcanelli clearly afirms that there must be no confusion on the meaning of
the Language of the birds, explicitly describing it as a sacred "technic" used
by old cultures to express certain knowledge.

He makes a clear distinction between the Jewish Kabala, which means
tradition and the term cabala, derived from the Latin caballus. He found the
lost key of this language, known as Language of the Gods or Language of the
birds. He even afirms that Jonathan Swift knew it deeply and practiced it
in a particular way.

Continuing with his study of this language, he says it is "the mother of all
the rest, the language of the philosophers and the diplomats."
It is the one Jesus revealed to his apostles, by sending them the Holy Spirit.
This language is the one that shows the mystery of all things, without the
veil of the most deep truth. The Incas used to call it Language of the
court, which gave the diplomats the key to a double science, the sacred
science and the profane science. Fulcanelli even mentions that Rabelais,
used it in his tale Gargantua and Pantagruel.
The tradition afirms it was spoken before the tower of Babel, and after it's
construction was lost by men.
The Greek mythology afirms that Tiresias had a perfect knowledge of the
Language of the birds, taught to him by Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom. He
shared it with Thales of Miletus, Melampo and Apollonius of Tyana.

He even uses this secret language to decipher various alchemic and esoteric
hieroglyphics when studing Gothic Cathedrals. It seems to work using the
phonetic cabala by playing with sounds and the position of certain letters.
After his deciphering, he reads the new age prophecy which transcribed goes
something like this: It is written that life will refuge [find shelter] in a single space"
(Il est ecrit que la vie se refugie en e seul espace).

There is some more info I'll be looking for in order to complete this idea

Subject: A0192 The Language of the Birds

From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 96 12:15:57 +0300

>From: Russ House
>... In Hebrew, Ur, the root of Uranus, means
>light; also fortress or castle...

The etymology of the Greek "Ouranos" is presumably Indo-European, and
it corresponds with the Sanscrit " varun.a" ("fish"; through "n." I try to
reflect the Sanscrit orthography); Varuna's function was "the Lord of waters"
in the sense of "the Lord of the (primordial) ocean", and his counterpart
in the Greek mythology is Poseidon. Then, the connection of Ouranos with
light is a secondary or tertiary phenomenon.

Leo Kokun

Subject: A0193 The Language of the Birds

From: Marcella Gillick
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 12:16:22 +0000

I apologise in advance if I am wasting the forum's time with this
post - I have a feeling it may be relevant, but am not at all sure.

In response to: A0190 The Language of the Birds
>From: calhhh
>2) Fulcanelli also mentions another book by the same author called "HISTORY
>OF THE BIRDS", where during the narration he makes some oak trees speek in
>the universal language, making also an alusion to the language of the druids ..
>3) He also mentions that this Language, by means of the hermetic qabalah,
>was quite known in Egypt, at least by the sacerdotal class, and he cites the
>LEIDEN PAPYRUS : "I invoke thee, the most powerful of gods, you that all
>have created; to You, born of yourself, whom can see everything without
>being seen .. I invoke you by the name that you possess in the LANGUAGE OF
>THE BIRDS, in that of the hieroglyphs, in that of the Jews, in that of the
>Egyptians, in that of the cinocephalus..., in that of the hawks, in the
>hieratic (sacerdotal) language."
>4) He goes further to mention that even the INCAS of Peru until the Spanish
>conquest spoke a general (universal) language and a cortesan (diplomatic)
>language, since this latest one, reserved only to a few, had a double and
>profound meaning.

May I take this opportunity to thank you 'Calhhh' for post No. 187
which I found particularly informative and clarifying.

When I read the above I was immediately reminded of a book I read a
while back (at the time without suspecting any 'alchemical' content).
At a fresh glance however, I wonder..... I refer to, and quote from:
'The Christian Druids' by John Minahane, Sanas Press, Dublin 1993:
ISBN 0-9522582-0-X.
Minahane is primarily relying on the 'Auraicept na n'Eces'
(The Textbook Of The Poets), which is part of the ancient
manuscript The Book of Ballymote. The Auraicept we have today is a
revised edition produced in the middle or second part of the seventh
centuary by one Cenn Faelad MacOilella, whose essential theme is
that the Irish language was invented in a strange and wonderful way at
the Tower of Babel, as the fourth-ranking language on earth after
Hebrew, Greek and Latin, but that it (Irish) is the richest in
the world bar none (his argument is based on additional letters,
double meanings and flexible vowels). Minahane carries this argument
forward and gives many examples of Irish verses which he logically
translates to show a multitude of different unconnected meanings -
this was considered the 'magic' of the druids. Not wanting to take
the forum's time up with something not very relevant, I will only
quote a couple of translated verses from the Auraicept na n'Eges
(which word itself can be translated, depending on the way its
written, to: Err-aicept - Chariot-fighter; Ur-Ai-Capta - Freshly
caught poem; Aur-Recepta - Receipt of Gold):-

"Question, why is Gaedilg called the chosen language?
Not difficult! Because it was culled out of every language;
and every hyperdark sound in every language,
a place was found for it in Irish since it has a capacity beyond
every lanugage.
-Question then, did Irish exist before it was chosen?
Not difficult! It did indeed, sure the other seventy two languages
wouldn't be there if it hadn't.
Question, what land was Gaedel born in?
Not difficult! In Egypt. -
And in what place in particular?
Not difficult! In the plain of Desire in the south-western province.
- Which poet of the school took responsibility there?
Not difficult! Gaedel sone of Etheor, sone of Toe,
son of Baracham of the Greeks of Scythia.
Question, how much did he bring back of it?
Not difficult! The whole of it except for what the poets added
on by hyperbarkening after it had come to Fenius.

They asked the philosopher (Fenius) to choose for them from the many
languages one that no one else would have but which would be theirs
alone; and so The Chosen Language was invented for them, with its
tributary languages: The Language of Fenius, and The Iron Language,
and the Language Interspersed between the Principal Vowels, and The
Secret Language of the Poets through which each of them speaks to the
others, and the Ordinary Language which is used by everyone in all
the various tribes."
And the following translated poem, which Minahane takes from 'The
Dindsenchas' (another ancient poet's textbook):

"The four birds of Baile came to Rath Cairpri, haunting Cairbre
"Come, come!" said two of them, "Go, go!" said the other two.
For seven times fifty nights they were singing spells at him,
and no matter what house in Ireland Cairpre went to
they would come after him.
Cairbre told this to his druid whose name was Bicne.
"From what direction do they call you?" asked the druid.
"From between me and the sunrise," Cairpre said.
And after that a tree was collected from every wood
in Ireland for the druid;
And he could not chant his spells over any of them,
Till a tree was brought to him out of the Wood Forthought,
And he chanted his spell over that.
And that 'herus'-tree was uplifted over the woods of Ireland,
And it trapped those birds on its branches,
And there was no more gibing at Cairpri after that.
"A noble high-rising tree is the Herus, Bicne!" said he,
And to his successor he passed on this duty, that
Whenever he could not decide on some dark-meaning question
which the men of Ireland posed him he should consume
Some of its fruit, corn, fish, milk, or chestnuts.
And this is how Hirarus got its name."

I will finish (finally!!!) here with a little example of how the same
words (albiet with grammatical changes, but would phonetically sound
the same) can be interpreted differently:-

is mithid a thircail no a thiscail do theinid.
it is time to remove (or take) it from the fire.

is mithid a hairchail no a thoiscel do theinnid.
One must crack open its additional quality or its secret narrative.

Apologies for the long post
Marcella (

Subject: A0194 The language of the birds - other sources

Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 15:48:25 +0200
From: Maurizio Nicosia

> Are there any other references in alchemy literature to the 'language of the
> birds', or is Fulcanelli the only source?

Probably Fulcanelli is the only source in alchemy literature. I can't
be sure of that, but certainly Adam McLean has reason when he affirms: "I
have never come across the 'Language of the birds' in all my reading of
alchemical texts".

But it is true also that Fulcanelli does not refer to alchemical texts,
rather to the mythical world once explained as an hermetical-alchemical key
by Dom Pernety, Maier and Fludd (and others). In a note of 'The
mysteries...', Fulcanelli renders explicit this way of interpretating,
writing that Apollonius of Tyana is a "*mythical-hermetical* image of the
compost". In this book Fulcanelli substantially affirms that the
language of the birds is the language of the disclosure.

Some years later, in 'Les demeures...', in a chapter on hermetic cabala
(phonetic, and not Jewish Qabalah), Fulcanelli specifies: "The language
of the birds is a phonetic language, based only in its assonance.
Therefore the orthography is not taken into account at all.." (Thank
You, Calhhh, I've saved time and surely your translation is better than
mine). He appends: "The rare authors that have spoken about the language
of the birds, attribute to it the first place in the origin of the
languages. Its antiquity would remount to Adam.." (Thank You, Calhhh).

Later he underlines in italic, quoting Cyrano de Bergerac: "THIS IDIOM IS THE
INSTINCT OR THE VOICE OF THE NATURE". A simple definition, and clear.

All the Fulcanelli's sources are mythical or historical, not
alchemical. The most ancient Fulcanelli source is the Egyptian
Papyrus of Leyden, he quotes it also: "I invoke YOU with the name who YOU
have in the language of the birds..." ('Les demeures..'). In 'The
mysteries..' he cites Tiresias, Melampus, Taletes [Thales of Miletus] and Apollonius of

Tiresias is the androgyne who lives "seven, eight or nine times the
life of a man", emphasizes Fulcanelli. Melampus, in Greek "the
black-feet man", has received the gift of divination because, finding a
dead *snake*, he prepared for it a funeral... pyre. The sons of the snake,
grateful, purified his ears with the tongue, so he understood the
language of the birds and that of all animals (Apollodorus, I, 9, 11; J.
R. Frazer, 'The language of the animals', in the 'Archaelogical Review',
I, 1888).

Apollonius of Tyana, the Pythagoric thaumaturge who knows all the human
languages and that which men don't say, also (Philostratus, I, 19),
"arrives to understand the language of the animals to conformity with
the way of the Arabians. ... It is diffused in fact, between the
Arabians, the faculty of understanding the birds, which give vaticinies
as the oracles; and they understand the voices of the word-devoid's
beings eating the hearth of the *snakes*, according anyone; eating the
liver of them, according others" (Philostratus, Tà ès Tyanéa 'Apollonion,
I, 20).

The Fulcanelli's references are precise. Excepting by chance, Taletes.
In ancients sources I don't find references to the language of the birds
and Taletes. At Fulcanelli's time, and now also, the unique casket of
biographical notes and philosophical fragments of Taletes' philosophy
was (and is) H. Diels, 'Die Fragmente der Vorsokraticher..', (Berlin,
1903, '06-10, '12 & '22, publishing date of 'The mysteries..'). For the
biographies, the most important is that of Diogenes Laertius.

Presented by Diogenes as philosopher and astronomer, Taletes
distinguishes himself by his conception of life and death: "He said that
the death does not differ from the life in nothing. A man said him: «And
You, why don't die You?» - «Because there isn't any difference»
(Diogenes, ad vocem, 35; in Diels). A little portrait not different from
Tyresias (the usual long livers..). A curious note on Taletes is due
to Aristotles, also in Diels: "Taletes has perhaps supposed that the
soul is something able to move it, if he said that *the magnesia stone
is furnished of the soul since it moves the iron*" (Aristotles, 'de
anima', A 5. 411 a 7).

If there are not 'language of birds' references to Taletes, which I have not
found, we can suppose that the Taletes' quotation would be
Fulcanelli's mistake. We can suppose also that the mistake is
deliberate, it is a note out-scored, an underlining. Neverthless we
certainly have to suppose that Fulcanelli at least will use the phonetic
cabala or birds' language. Much frequently Fulcanelli speaks of the
Magnesia of Sages. In the following chapter to the language of the
birds, he says: "The verb aìro (Greek) means to take, to pick... to attract...
Therefore aìren (Greek) is the magnet... Our Magnesia. In Provencal
dialects, the iron is named aran and iran (and iron in English, I add),
according various inflections. It is the masonic Hiram, the divine Aries
(Ram), The architect of the Temple of Salomon.."

I allow oneself to continue the reading of this
'phonetic-ethymological-lyrical' piece. Fulcanelli has in his mind the
Taletes of Aristotles and perhaps a Stephanus of Alexandria's piece on
Magnesia, which Holmyard ('Alchemy', 1957, Chapter II) has the merit to
quote. Reflecting on these pieces, Taletes, Stephanus, Fulcanelli,
emerges a clear, operative indication. And it is that which Fulcanelli
emphasizes: "..Taletes (for first..), Melampus and Apollonius of Tyana,
fictitious personages whose names eloquently speak of the Science..
and so clearly that we don't need to analyse in these pages" ('The

'The mysteries..' is dated 1922. Nine years late, a well-known writer,
unmanageable and 'refractory' to Hermetism, Alchemy, and Fulcanelli,
signs an article in 'Le voile d'Isis' (1931, November) on the language
of the birds. His name is René Guénon. He does not mention Fulcanelli,
of course, but "various traditions..".
It is evident which he has 'excavated' the Fulcanelli's sources,
finding, through Philostratus, the beloved Arabians.

His article is important. It attests the persistence of the legend,
transmitted by Philostratus, in the Koran. Guénon quotes the XXVII° Sura
(Chapter), 15: "And Salomon.. said: «Oh, Men! We are being instructed to
the language of the birds (ullimna mantiqat-tayri)..»"...

In the mythical and religious world therefore, to speak the language of the
birds is equivalent to know the mysteries of.. Nature, her profound
arcana, her abysses. It is equivalent to find again the lost word, the
Paradise lost ("Its antiquity would remount to Adam.."). That comports
the consequent development of the divinatories and restores faculties.

But on that (the language of the birds), Alchemy is silent.

The silence, however, is golden.

Best regards,

Maurizio Nicosia

Subject: A0195 The Language of the Birds

Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 08:06:28 -0700
From: Tom Willard

In the Prolegomena to the Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, Elias Ashmole
writes that "the Magicall or Prospective Stone ... enables Man to
understand the Language of the Creatures,. as the Chirping of Birds,
Lowing of Beats, &c."

Nihil Sine Numine

Subject: A0196 Alchemical Seminar in Chicago

Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 10:32:02 -0400
From: Russ House

Perhaps an upcoming seminar near Chicago would be of interest to some forum
members. Mr. Jean Dubuis of France, founder of L.P.N. (now inoperative),
and author of its courses, will present lectures Oct. 18-20. The content
will be largely concerning a new course in esotericism that he is
developing, although he may also speak on the path of animated mercury
(e.g., Philalethes and Flamel) and a way of Urbigerus. The seminar is
sponsored by The Philosophers of Nature.

Complete details are available at


Russ House
The Philosophers of Nature _/_/_/ _/_/_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/_/ _/ _/_/_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/
tel: 708.682.3938 _/ _/ _/ _/ _/_/
fax: 708.665.2364 _/ _/_/_/ _/ _/

Subject: A0197 The language of the birds - other sources

Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 18:32:37 +0100
From: William Hollister

I found the following in Holmyard's 1957 alchemy (republished 1990 by Dover):

"[13th century Albertus Magnus] quotes, without disbelief, a story to the
effect that if a crow's eggs are boiled and then put back into the nest,
the bird will fy off to the Red Sea and return with a stone on contact with
which the eggs become raw again. If a man puts this stone into his mouth he
can understand the language of birds."

Since it appears that Albertus was familiar with Geber, this seems to be
the bridge to a sufi idea that also found its way to that Peter Brook play
mentioned earlier.

Subject: A0198 St. John's Crystal Gold?

Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 11:20:54 -0500
From: William Kurtzweg

Greetings all,

Might anyone know, or be familiar with, the
expression "St. John's Crystal Gold?" I believe
that I'd come across this reference quite some
time ago in A.E. Waite's "Occult Encyclopedia,"
and seem to recall it was (perhaps) connected with
herbal alchemy(?). I've yet to encounter this
reference in any other alchemical works, hence
I've no context for this expression. Is it an
allegory, an herbal preparation, perhaps both of
these? Does anyone have any ideas about this?

William Kurtzweg

Subject: A0199 Language of the Birds - de Lubicz

Date: 24th Sep 1996
From: Adam McLean

Regarding Fulcanelli whose name has cropped up recently on the forum in connection with the 'Language of the Birds', does anyone have any views on the Andre VandenBroeck book 'Al-kemi: A Memoir - Hermetic. Occult, Political and private aspects of R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz', Inner Traditions/Lindisfarne 1985. I am assured by a close friend that Andre VandenBroeck is an entirely trustworthy and genuine person.
During an 18 month period he was told by de Lubicz that Fulcanelli's published writings were actually appropriated from manuscripts written by de Lubicz.
The book goes on to give some detail of de Lubicz's relationship with Fulcanelli. I really don't have enough knowledge of the French hermetic milieu to be able to comment on this, and I would like to hear other people's views on this book.

De Lubicz appears to be a rather closed and manipulative personality and may indeed have embroidered his tales of Fulcanelli which he told to VandenBroeck. If Fulcanelli's 'Le Mystere des Cathedrales' was actually mostly de Lubicz's work, then it appears rather strange that when de Lubicz is telling VandenBroeck of the 'Language of the birds' (pages 57-58), he uses almost the exact words and sequence of images and thoughts as are in 'Le Mystere...' If these were actually his own ideas then we might expect him to express them afresh, from some new perspective he had added to his experience of these ideas over the years. But here we have the old phrases -

"What is it? It is the use of the common idiom to say the unsayable. It is a cant, a jargon, God's 'argot' and his children's; the birds sing it and the rest of nature too. It is never spoken, but has been understood at all times and in all places."

"It had been completely neglected tfor centuries, had practically disappeared although you find echoes in Swift, Bergerac and others."

Any views on de Lubicz?

Adam McLean

Subject: A0200 St. John's Crystal Gold?

Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 12:57:13 -0700
From: Tom Willard

Presumably a reference to Revelation 21:18.

Nihil Sine Numine