Joannes Agricola - Treatise on Gold
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This powder must afterwards be reverberated, closed, in a steady fire, day and night for 13 weeks. the heat must be such that the gold neither flows nor melts. In the heat the gold will stew in its own juice, so that it will thereafter in the second dissolution drop its earth and metallic slime. After that, take one-third of the subtle gold calx and pour its own water over it. It is a crystalline, transparent, mineral water, quite pure and delicate, which Paracelsus calls the Green Lion and Basil, Aquam Solventem (Dissolving water). Take nine parts, everything closed in a phial, let it circulate for three weeks in a vapor-fire, and the gold will turn into oil, leaving its slime and earth behind. Regarding this metallic earth, its virtue is to dry in surgery and also to heal, especially every fluid damage. This preparation is done according to the chymical and not to the common method.
Aside from the rational soul, God has made no more wonderful creature than gold. It is such an excellent body that does not know anything of destruction from any element. Therefore it was called by the Arabs fortitudo omnis fortitudinis (strength of all strengths). But for a long time it had only been misused, and nobody could believe that God had enclosed a medicine in this wonder-creature. The ancient Greeks only used it for the luxury of their life. This was only because they did not know the noble Art of Chymia, which can prepare it into a medicine. For this reason the Arabs reflected a little more deeply on this matter and discovered that in it there must lie a great power and a Universal Medicine.
Avicenna, Geber, Arnold of Villanova and similar witnesses can be found now and again, which all goes to prove that gold is the very noblest subject in the whole world. This has not only been confirmed by the philosophers and physicians but its test and effect have proven the truth of what they stated. Just as the aforementioned Arnold of Villanova cured with it the King of Naples, who had suffered from lepra and restored him to full health. If I wished to name all the sick WHO WERE CURED BY GOLD; IT WOULD RESULT IN A BIG, IMMENSE WORK. Let those see to it how they can one day take the responsibility for writing against their conscience and negating everything the learned physicians have left in their writings and experience has proven true, of whom Eratus is not one of the least. He issued a public treatise or dialogue against it, and as nothing could be found in it but wrong assumptions and hypothesis, it is not worth answering it, although he has already been refuted by many and his worthless arguments have been pointed out to him. Of such men the whole country is full nowadays. They do not wish to admit that there are such mighty virtues in gold and other metals, though experience has taught us differently. Those fellows can never answer for it, for they are doing violence to God and Nature, while they should thank God profusely for this noble subject and not only use it out of greed, vanity, and arrogance - because it was not created for that purpose - but rather for the maintenance of man and his body which is subject to all kinds of diseases. In gold there is such a congenial combination of elements that it must incontestably follow that the very best medicine can be prepared with it, provided we ourselves apply us and do not begrudge a little effort.
We could actually have patience with those people if they only kept their opinions to themselves, but they must be blamed for so greatly playing down and slandering those wonderful medicines before others. They speak of them like the blind man of colors, just as recently an old, otherwise quite experienced physician told me to my face that metallic medicines are pure poison. But when I asked by what principle he could prove it, he replied that they were altogether harmful to man because of their poisonous origin. I had to laugh and did not consider this reasoning worthy of an answer. I only said that no old woman would have so little intelligence that she could not refute that reasoning. Therefore it is totally wrong to revile and slander those noble medicaments, which they do not understand. Cardanus and Scaliger were also of that opinion. Nevertheless, Cardanus had to admit willy-nilly that he had seen an important test made with potable gold. Scaliger, likewise, changed his opinion after he got better informed.
If only our cocky critics would do the same! Then many a man would work harder in this work than he does, and many more secret things would be revealed which stay unpublished due to the slandering. True, it would be unfair to stick all arcana on the nose of the ungrateful world. Therefore the true philosophers have not without reason depicted gold by a circle with a point in the center ( ), thereby showing its great perfection. They also compare it to the heavenly sun, for just as the sun refreshes all sublunar things with its heat, so gold likewise refreshens all human organs, especially the heart. And just as the sun is the king of the planets, so gold is the king of metals, and the heart is the king among the human organs. These three have a great affinity for each other. Only the external look of the gold rejoices the heart of the misers, and in order to obtain gold enough they are using all kinds of means, also against their conscience. They often resort to such means as cost them their health and life, and they do not pay attention to it no matter how great the danger may be.
Now we will turn to the preparation of aurum potabile (potable gold). A great deal could here be said of the true potable gold, and there is hardly any chymist, yes, hardly any common laboratory worker, who would not know a special and secret preparation. In addition, many a man utters such nonsense that one must rightly laugh at it, and we can now and then also read about such fantasies. Yet all are very much mistaken, just as I recently saw someone who wanted to prepare potable gold with ear wax! Regarding that, I think it would have been much better if he had taken monkey wax. Then, someone tried to make potable gold with pigeon dirt, but it remained gold as before, and the dirt also remained what it had been. There is indeed nothing in the world so crazy that one does not find people who dare process it to gold according to their fool's head. They boast a great deal about it, but finally the unhappy ending shows up their foolish beginning. This is certain and true: gold may be prepared as anyone wishes, without the universal menstruum of the ancient ones - it is yet not the ancients' aurum, for their gold is a different gold.
I can imagine that Basil Valentine means antimony by the term Grey Wolf - much less Paracelsus. Although many call antimony the Grey Wolf, it is only to be understood figuratively and is only enigmatically true. Is it that antimony, or the Grey Wolf, refines gold and adds a beautiful lustre to it? But how does it help the Philosophical Work? For all philosophers admit unanimously that their gold is no common gold. Yes, their gold dissolves gold. If then it is not common gold, how can it be processed through antimony? Common gold is dead and powerless, unless it be dissolved through the prima materia out of which it was born, and be born a second time. Only then will it really become Philosophical Gold and aurum potable, a small dose of which can drive away all sicknesses in a short time.
Yet this must not be understood as if I wanted to deny all the gold's virtues. No, because experience proves that common gold has mighty effects in many sicknesses. The gold of Hermes, however, and that of other philosophers is a medicine that cures all sicknesses, no matter where they come from. Like fire it penetrates the whole body, cleansing it of all superfluities and restoring it to the highest degree of health. Whoever achieves it is extremely happy. On this preparation many tons (?) of gold have been squandered, while nothing has been accomplished except thereby learning to distill a little. That is why artificial furnaces, instruments, and glasses have been invented, so that, if the ancients were now to raise again and see them, they would not know for what purpose to use them. It is undeniable that the Art has advanced so much that Hermes himself would be surprised and could not do what modern Artists do. But this is what we are lacking: that we can nevertheless not achieve what they knew, as we can further read in Sendivogius.
Without doubt, in his Liber de Tinctura Physicorum (Book of Physical Tinctures) Paracelsus understands quite a different Green Lion than the author imagines, for it is not born in the general manner of lions but appears ex sputo Lunae (out of the spittle of Luna), which was likewise invulnerable. The philosophers have written entire books about it. Especially in the Rosarium it is often said that there are three things that do the work, Leo viridis (Green Lion), aqua foetida (evil-smelling water), and fumus albus (white steam). This Green Lion has made many men crazy, nam illa viriditas vertitur in aurum nostrum (for that greenness changes into our gold). So we hear clear enough that the Green Lion is quite another thing, but each interprets the philosophers' sayings according to his understanding. If we then ask what the philosophers really meant thereby, they stand there not knowing whether to say white or black.
This Lion quarrels with the Dragon and is wounded and devoured by it, because of which the Dragon must also burst. But when they putrefy together, a sweet medicine results, like that of Samson's lion, which can cure all diseases.
It is regarding this Lion that many wonderful and beautiful processes have been undertaken with gold, many dangerous sicknesses cured by it, but nevertheless it is also true that it is quite unlike the true Philosophical Gold, and that it cannot be compared with it at all. Even if the gold were prepared in such a way that it could never again be reduced into a body - which can be done, and many boast about it although the proof is surely lacking - it is still only a Particular medicament and no such a Universal one as the true philosophers' potable gold should be. Thus all philosophers say that their gold is not yet corporeal or in a metallic body, either by Nature or through fire, but that it is soft, does not resemble gold either in substance or external form, and that it contains its own water by which it is dissolved without the addition of anything else. This water must never be separated from it but stay with it forever, and it is coagulated with it. These seem to be sheer paradoxes but in truth they are pure apodictica and no fantasy, as many may think they are.
For the water of the philosophers is also their gold, which dissolves and coagulates itself, also their only menstruum acetum acerrimum (most acid), and not the spirit of wine or another corrosive water as Augurellus understood Lully's Solvent Water or Mercury, when he wrote about in Lib. I, Chrysopae.
Whoever does not find these properties in his gold is no doubt far from the right way and cannot hope for a good ending of his work, may he labor as hard as he likes. For gold is water and yet is none, but it can easily be turned into water if the Artist wishes. Many a man might think that these are odd notions, namely, that the gold of the philosophers is simultaneously their menstruum, solvent water, and Mercury, and yet it is the pure truth. It can and must not be otherwise, anyone may believe it or not. Aside from this, the highest truth remains that if its own water does not remain with it, the gold is worth very little. Many will think that that must be a strange gold that can dissolve other gold. Yes, it dissolves itself, and it is the Dragon that devours and revives itself. It is the Phoenix that burns itself and rises from the ashes much more beautiful than before. For if gold is sown into its field, it grows and multiplies itself, bringing a thousandfold fruit for the maintenance of man's life.
But where this water can be found is kept very secret by the philosophers. They say that it must be fetched from India. True, it is easiest to get it in India, as the best gold mines are there. Experience has shown us, however, that an Indian crow brought this water to Germany in its pouch and poured it on a mountain. Thus a fountain is said to have sprung up from it which provides enough of this water, and at present it is as easy to obtain it in this country as in India. One has to be careful, however, to find the right fountain, as there are many other fountains around it that contain poison. The water is precisely of the kind which Pegasus (a winged horse that caused the stream Hippocrene to spring from Mount Helion with a blow of his hoof) beat out of Parnassus with its hoof, or which the mountain Nostacris in Arcadia (typist: please note that it is Arcadia and not Akkadia) pushed out of a rock and which cannot be kept in any other vessel than the horn of a horse.
Each may reflect himself on what this strange water may be. Let it suffice to say where this water can be found and what qualities it has. And I will add something one has to carefully note about this water and by which it can be recognized: It lights and burns itself, simultaneously burning the gold. This may well be the fiery means whereby Moses burnt the Golden Calf to ashes and gave of it to drink to the children of Israel in that water. If you cannot find this water which burns itself and turns into red ashes, you may surely believe that you will achieve nothing in this secret. It is gold and at the same time water and fire. It is hot and cold, like Jove's Hammonius fountain, moist and dry, it wets and dries again.
True, the author thinks in this process that we should pour our own crystalline-mineral water on it, but he does not indicate what kind of water it must be, or if gold contains in itself, or if it is to be obtained from another source. Many have been laid astray by this water, so that they achieved little with this process. Even if they had obtained this mineral-crystalline water - which is made by two different processes - and had added it to the gold, it is yet not the right handle and the right key for opening this strong lock and house, even if it were broken down ever so subtly into its atoms. For as long as it is not processed in such a way as to be dissolved into its prima materia, it is not the true philosophical dissolution. The author's mineral water will never accomplish this, even if it were left mixed with it in the digestion till Doomsday. It does not do anything the gold except that it gets calcined. Finally it separates again from it, which the Philosophical Water never does, as has already been said. If it has once mingled with gold or silver, it cannot be separated from either in all eternity. Both become one single water, the water of life and health, rendering all creatures fertile. It is like the water in the country near Suessa (town in Latium) which renders those fertile who drink of it, be they men or women. If, on the contrary, a woman, cow, dog, or sheep drinks of the river Aphrodisios, it makes them infertile. This water, however, also makes old withered trees fertile again, if it is poured to their core through a hole drilled into them and the hole is again tightly closed with a plug.
The author instructs us to let the water circulate with the gold for three weeks, but before doing so it has to be reverberated for 13 weeks, which is a long and tiresome work. It is also dangerous, as in reverberating we can easily overlook that it flows back again into a body, when a great deal of calx is produced. If this happens, the previous pains and labor are totally lost. Therefore I cannot advise any beginning laboratory worker to spend much time and work on this process - reverberating requires much labor and coal. He may well think that this process is quite philosophical, but it is as common as the others that are now and then found in the authors of books on alchemy. Of those processes Ulstadius has many in his work Coelum Philosophorum (The Heaven of the Philosophers), from which one can take some, just as Libavius has compiled a whole hodgepodge from other authors. Likewise, D. Andreas Brentius, though the works of Brentius must not all be despised. They contain very fine manipulations which I myself have used in part.
Before this, I also prepared it according to the author's instructions. When it was ready, I finally coagulated it. The mineral water of which he speaks evaporated, leaving me only a fine subtle gold calx which I added to silver in flux. It tinged it into gold, but I had little gain from it as I obtained no more gold than I had used in the preparation. Pains, labor, Aqua Regis, and other expenses were lost. Nor could I tinge with it as the gold had not been radically opened, much less perfectly. In that condition it cannot give more to its needy neighbor than it has itself. If, however, it had entered its mother's womb a second time in a good Nicodemic manner and had been born again, it could have brought fruit a hundred fold, as Sendivogius expressly writes in his Alegoria, at the end of his twelve treatises. Many indeed read it but the least number of them understand it, believing that if only they could bring gold into a liquid form, they would have a tincture. Yes they may well get a tincture but it is no good, and the Artist will not be able to get rid of his hunger with it. Yes, he will in addition be obliged to add of his own gold and lose it, and this work is not for any poor fellow, as one does not obtain a good medicine with it.
But whoever hopes to get rich thereby is greatly mistaken and is led astray. I, too, was struck in this error at the beginning of my laboratory work and believed the dissolved gold would immediately become the Philosophers' Stone - but what I did get is not worth boasting about. Even so, I learned many a good thing from it by experience. Nevertheless, it is not to be despised completely. It is a rudimentary beginning and the proof that the transmutation of metals is no poem, as many pretend, or that it is the devil's work. They shout so much and so loud about the transmutation that it would not be surprising if the whole world had become deaf from it. This, however, is done without understanding, because they speak according to their lights and believe that because they do not succeed, it is also impossible for others.
It is and remains indeed a genuine Art, whether you or I know it or not. I have seen with my own eyes, at two different places, how to transform tin into good gold, and in great quantity. Once it was done by an Englishman in Salzburg, in my presence and that of a medical doctor. I myself took the gold to the mint and had Ducats made of it. It was not only gold to all appearance, as the sophists are used to make, but the stablest gold in all tests. After that, I saw such gold in Italy, in a convent where a monk transmuted two pounds of lead into the best gold by means of a few grains of some red powder.
Whoever does not wish to believe those experiments, let him read Hoghelande, Elias the Artist, and others. Then the light will shine into his eyes, unless he has no eyes like the moles. It is customary to say: Manus nostrae oculatae sunt, credunt quod vidunt (Our hands have eyes and believe what they see). If one also does not believe those, I do not know what advice to give, since Thomas says: If I see the marks of the nails, I will believe. So many people have seen it, and yet it is not believed. Such a person must have a stubborn coarse donkey brain, not worth looking at a sincere Philosopher, far less speaking and conversing with him. The hide of ignorance stays in front of those fellows' eyes, and although we tell them ever so often that so many proofs have been given at various places - and that that gold is still there at this moment - they will nevertheless say that it was not natural but was done as a work of the devil who, they say, did some bedazzlement, thus cheating people.
Yes, those fellows may well have been blinded by the devil, rendering them incapable of seeing what wonders God has put in Nature. And this objection is not valid: that God alone can change Nature. That is indeed true and will remain true. To this one should reply that the Philosophers do not alter Nature in the least, for then it would follow that an ox would turn into a man, a man into a wolf, as happens with the Laps through sorcery. They only remove the accidents of the metals to be transformed, as they differ not by species but solely by their accidents.
This is mighty thoroughly discussed in Quercetanus Contra Aubertum. What is lacking in my treatise, the kind reader may discover in that work. I only touch upon the truth in a few words and prove that the transmutation of metals is true and has its foundation in Nature. Of course, I do not wish to force anyone to believe me - the Art remains true irrespective of whether you believe in it or not - and by your not believing it is neither balled over nor destroyed.
Now then, as we do not deal expressly with it, we do not wish to stop further at this but return to our process, examining our potable gold more closely and seeing how we can usefully apply it as a medicine. We will also consider how it can be separated without danger and be liberated from the strong fetters in which it had been caught. As God has closed it so tightly, a mighty treasure must doubtlessly lie hidden in it, and to prevent thieves from robbing it and causing damage with it, the Lord God has preserved it so carefully, and it is rightly called Lillium inter spinas (the lily among thorns).
In the vegetables (plants) there are no such great virtues. Therefore they have no such strong fetters. Experience shows that they rarely retain their powers more than a year. Then their virtue evanesces, as may be seen in old seeds. Then their multiplying power is extinguished, and such corn never rises and brings fruit. Gold, however, and the higher minerals never suffer, and if gold were to lie for a thousand years in water-rotten earth, it would not lose any of its power. Likewise Mercury. Acrid fumes do not harm it much, but it passes through them like a brave hero, without detriment to its capability, not heeding any danger. This cannot be said of any vegetable, be its name what it may. It is solely the right key that is lacking, and this key is also the bride for whom one dances. Whoever finds this key must fervently thank Gold for it in his heart every day, for he will posses everything his heart may desire.
But returning to the author's crystalline-mineral water, his key - it is prepared of vitriol and tartar, and with it he says he opens the firm fetters of gold. There is probably something to it, but it does not do the opening. It is far too weak, it cannot enter the chamber where the treasure is hidden but must stay outside. But this it does: it makes the gold very subtle and turns it into the very finest atoms, so that it can thereafter be made potable and its enormous virtues can be extracted. This is not done by the crystalline water alone. There exist various other menstrua to achieve it, as will be shown in the following process and my Notes. They will accomplish precisely what the author's water is supposed to do, and this process does not require as much time in reverberating and digesting, consequently will save much expense. And you are not struck with any one author's process, especially as you have understood from the discussion led until now that this is not the kind of menstruum of which the Philosophers write.
I esteem them equally highly - you can use one or another - but nevertheless it cannot be denied that one is better than another. One is much easier, more akin to human nature, and not so corrosive. The sharp corrosive spirits mix so much with the gold that they cannot easily be removed, as I have already indicated. It happened to me myself that I could not remove them by any means except through reduction. f those menstrua I say that you should guard and beware of, for they spoil the good and turn a teriac into a poison. Consequently, gold cannot be taken into the body without danger, of which Penotus also reminds us and warns us against, saying: If the gold solutions to be put or dripped on silver, they must be red and not black, which the common solutions nearly all are. They are not to be despised or discarded, as Quercetanus also requires, just as other chymists whom one should rightly follow.
I must relate that I recently saw some clear water at a friend's. It transformed filed gold - not dissolved in Aqua Regis - into a bloodred liquid through a good digestion. After it stood in digestion for one month, the water disappeared and the gold rose in the glass as if some fermented paste were rising, which was a pleasure to see. When it was given stronger fire afterwards, it settled down again, and the glass looked as if some gold leaf had laid in it. Nothing rose anymore. It was fixed and stable. My friend opened the glass and weighed it, it had increased in weight due to the menstruum. He poured some more of the water over it and set it back, closed, in digestion. The gold united again with it and was as red as blood and quite fireproof. When it was taken out, I took two grains and put them into a glass of warm wine. It dissolved very quickly and tinged the wine bloodred, which was amazing to see. The wine became somewhat sweet from it. I am of the opinion that if ever a right tincture was prepared from gold, this was it.
I can truthfully say that during my lifetime I have seen much regarding the preparation of potable gold, and have also experienced as much myself as any man of my age, but nothing more beautiful has come to my attention. One could not notice any suspicion of any corrosive in the menstruum, but it was quite pleasant in taste, almost like wine about to become somewhat "hard". Gold melts in it like butter near a fire or in the hot sun. Nor did it leave any White Earth in the solution, as the solutions for the magistery generally do. It was a thick, red liquid and finally a powder, at first brownred, the bloodred. But whether it could do anything in the transmutation of metals, I cannot say, for I have not tried it, nor have I seen it tried. y friend only gave me a little of it, which I afterwards used for the sick - to my great astonishment, because it was especially effective in extremely serious and dangerous sicknesses.
But what kind of water this was and of what it consisted, the practitioner did not tell me at the time. I can quite easily believe, however, that it must be made of a substance closely akin to gold. I have concluded so, because when I put just one drop of this water in a silver spoon, it soon resulted in a golden tincture, many hundred times more beautiful than the rubedo (redness) or sulphur of antimony. Although the latter also tinges silver, it is not quite pure but blackish-yellow. This one, however, was as pure as if a goldsmith had gilded it, and yet the water was as clear and white as crystal.
If, then, someone knew its prima materia, I believed, he would not be far from the Universal Menstruum, since it dissolves gold without any violence. This is a characteristic of a true philosophical menstruum, as Sendivogius and others attest to, for like associates with like. Although he was otherwise my great friend, I could not persuade him to entrust me with the composition of this water. When I asked him about it, he always replied that I had seen enough, and if I opened the eyes of intelligence just a little, I would certainly find it and know what qualities it has. They would show me if I was right or wrong. If I had been smart, I would secretly have made a projection to try if this tincture was also effective in the tingeing of metals. I would then have been sure that this was the true Menstruum and Philosophical Mercury. But it is said: Cogitationes posteriores sapientiores, or God did not want me to know it yet but wants to be ever implored for it. It looks as if it were a mean thing but in truth it is the greatest secret of all Nature.
This I consider a sure potable gold, for nothing corrosive was used in its preparation but everything went on quite smoothly, and the solution and final coagulation were like blood. Of course, one can find some solutions that also turn out red, but the menstruum used is somewhat sharp. It is the reason why Angelus Sala was moved to state in his Aphorisms that it is impossible to change gold into a liquid without a corrosive. This applies to the proceedings of the common laboratory workers, but it does not follow that it is impossible to find in Nature a menstruum capable of dissolving gold without Violence and suspicion of corrosion and reverting it into the prima materia. Because Angelus Sala did not know or believe, should it therefore not be true! It is not right of such a chymist simply to make such a statement, for if I and someone else do not know something, does it therefore follow that it does not exist in Nature?
Garzias ab hortis mentions in his Indian Observations that the Indians have a water in which gold will soften, so that it can then be formed by hand into anything they wish. Afterwards it will again become hard as before, which is no small wonder. He does not say, however, if it is a natural water or one prepared artificially. Be that as it may, it would seem that it could not be a corrosive water, otherwise the gold would not only become soft but it could in addition not be thus manipulated by hand. What will Sala reply now?
I do not doubt that this water is prepared by Art, but it is done from a substance that loves gold and has a special affinity for it, or else it could not achieve such a feat. Thus H.D. Laurenbergius also relates that he knows such a water that gently melts gold without any suspicion of corrosives, like ice in hot water. If then this is true - and there is no doubt it is - it must certainly follow that gold, without Sala's objection - can be opened and reduced into its prima materia without a corrosive. Whoever is endowed by God with so much good fortune that he can accomplish this, may well thank Him and be happy that he has such a treasure which cannot be paid with any amount of gold, for no sickness can be so severe that he cannot cure it, and he will thus become a wonderworker through it.
Aside from this unique water, nothing can be found that could accomplish this, no matter what it is called, be it spirit of salt or wine - it does not do it. But this should not be understood as if I wanted to reject all preparations of potable gold. Not at all. This writing is only to indicate that there are two dissolutions of gold. One is done quite gently and without violence through melting, whereby the gold is so much dissolved that it can never again be changed into a Body. This is the philosophical, natural, and friendly dissolution. The other is done in various ways with different menstrua and calcinations, by Mercury, Sulphur, various salts, etc. It is called violent because gold is thereby not changed into the prima materi but only into extremely fine atoms, and through them gold can again be reduced.
Yet, aside from the Universal Menstruum, there still exist other means to bring gold so far that it can never be smelted into another Body. This has its special reasons, but it does not follow that gold has been changed into the true prima materia. Even so, a fine medicine has been made with it, as will be seen later in my Notes. I consider it highly and have also often used it to great advantage in my practice. One must take care, however, not to be tempted by the multiple processes, thus achieving no more than a leprous gold calx and doing more harm than good. Those who do that would do much better to leave gold in peace. Although they know and have read that gold contains a powerful medicine, they do not know how to deal with it properly. If the shells can be removed and the core extracted, one has an arcanum with which nothing in Nature can be compared, as has already been mentioned above where it is written that gold is constituted in such a way that it cannot be destroyed by any element.
But someone might here object: "I hear much talk and discussion about it, and you only open your mouth wide but do not put anything into it, or you want to wash the pelt, but without wetting it. Therefore I cannot achieve a right preparation and am getting quite confused or even suspicious, for the process of Poppius is boring and obscure, and I cannot trust other processes - of which one can now and then find whole fodders - especially as I hear that the dissolution is so hard to handle".
To this I reply: It is indeed true that many written things can be found in almost all books and that nevertheless hardly anybody can reach the desired goal, and that in the end effort, labor, and expenses are lost, as I have myself experienced not once but frequently. Thus I had at first put so much faith in Libavius that I believed his words were nothing but Gospel truths. I worked according to the processes he had compiled but achieved nothing but the sowing of effort and the reaping of misfortune. Even when I burnt myself several times, I did not want to stop because I could not imagine that such a man could have written and published so many untested things - especially because he examined and severely censured other men's works.
What I found to be true, however, is very little, and my Vulcan (fire) would in no way go along with such precepts. Therefore, I did not obtain enough to bring forth a louse. Of such writers there are more. They write either too obscurely or in a veiled manner, so that even Oedipus could not guess their meaning, or their processes have only sprung from their own brain and have never been tested. This has spoiled many a natural talent and scared it from working in the laboratory. It would be better if they stopped writing.
So that the beginning laboratory worker and kind reader do not also waste work, time, and money, as I did, I will here indicate a process which I have worked with my own hands and also found good for my patients in many sicknesses. Just as in the following processes I will not present anything that I have not performed myself, assisted by my collaborators. I will honestly report what they accomplished in various diseases, hoping that young students about to begin their practice will be greatly served by it. I do not remember that similar book with such a method has seen the light of day, for in the practice one can see what a specific medicine can do. Now we will proceed with our process for making potable gold.
Take some of the best purified gold, as much as you like, have a goldsmith laminate it very thin, the thinner the better. Cut it as big as a Thaler (old coin like the Dollar), the cut round pieces from a stag's antlers, as big and thick as half a Thaler, take a cement can no wider than the pieces of antlers or half a Thaler, so that only the pieces fit in. One can also make it of good clay, as one pleases. At the bottom of the can put one finger's width of sand or gypsum, which is better. On it put a piece of antlers, upon that a piece of your gold, above it again a piece of antlers, then again gold. Put everything layer upon layer, as the chymists say, till the can is full or till you have used all your gold. Again, put gypsum upon it till the can is quite full, close the can with good lute, let it dry, then set it in a medium strong cementing fire, at first very gentle, then finally so strong that the can will well glow for one hour or four. Let it cool, open the can, and you will find the gold calcined almost flesh-colored.
This work must be repeated three times. The gold will become quite soft and can be pounded and rubbed. Now mix it with calcined antlers and reverberate it on a cupel but not too strongly, for a whole day. The gold will turn almost the color of bricks. Then it is correctly and well calcined, and you may be sure that you cannot get a better calcination. It will become so subtle that it can easily be used in medicines for several sicknesses without any further preparation, for this calx is sweet and not contaminated by any corrosives.
Upon this beautiful pure calx pour the following prepared menstruum. It will extract its tincture in a few hours like blood, leaving its metallic slime behind. Pour the menstruum off, pour fresh one upon it till all of the tincture is extracted and nothing but a dead earth is left. Nor is that to be thrown out, because it has a special power for drying and cleansing all discharging damages, so that they heal all the sooner. Distill your menstruum down to dryness through sand, and a purple-colored tincture will be left in the glass. Upon that pour a good spirit of wine. How that is to be correctly prepared will be found further on in the Treatise on Tartar. Better, use some quintessence of salt. How to make that will also be taught under its title. Set it closed to digest and it will extract a yet purer tincture. Distill the spirit of wine to half, and you will have a wonderful potable gold. Or, if you pour some quintessence of salt over it, you can leave it such as, without distilling it and use it as a medicine, because the essence of salt is by itself a fine medicine, also without gold, as will also be shown in its proper place.
Even if this potable gold is one of the best kinds there are and does its share with glory in many sicknesses, it can still be processed higher, so that one grain accomplishes more than ten do otherwise. Although this preparation looks bad, it is quite philosophical, and as can be seen, does not contain anything corrosive. Neither Salt, Mercury nor Sulphur is added to this calcination, and although it is said that the volatile salt of stag's antlers (carbonate of ammonia) calcines gold, it is true but is no harmful corrosive. By itself it is a wonderful poison-eliminating medicine, which can be taken into the body without harm or damage. In addition, it does not mix with gold in such a way as to stay with it, as the corrosive spirits are want to do - which may be seen by its taste and weight - but the glowing disappears, leaving the gold behind pure and only calcined. I am of opinion that a better calcination cannot be found in the common works than this. Therefore a student may follow it quite assuredly, provided he knows just a little of how to deal with the fire, so as not to make it too hot and smelt the gold into a Body. If he did, all his work and trouble would be lost. If he prevents the smelting, he has already won, and thereafter the subsequent work will proceed without trouble and hindrance.
How this potable gold is to be heightened in its virtue, I will also show. Whoever cares, can do it, he will not regret it. Although it requires some time, it is yet a wonderful work and help in need. Therefore the physicians can see hereby how sincerely I am operating and that I do not hide the manipulations needed to obtain such a medicine or, as others do, withhold what is most necessary and keep silent about it.
Take therefore 1 lb. of the best purified live Mercury (how it has to be prepared will subsequently also be indicated in its chapter), pour over it 1 lb. of the best rectified oil of vitriol, let it digest closed till the Mercury is altogether dissolved. Distill the oil from it quite strongly and finally give it so much fire that it can sublimate up, then it will rise very white and crystalline. Some black feces will be left at the bottom of the glass. Pour those off as they are good for nothing, remove the sublimate, put it back in a retort and pour the oil of vitriol over it. Let it dissolve again, and when this is done, again distill the oil off it and sublimate the Mercury. It will rise even more beautifully than before. You must repeat this work till the Mercury appears bright, transparent, and clear as crystal. Then it is well prepared for this purpose.
Now take 2 Lots of it, and 1 Lot of the previous liquid or potable gold, mix them well, enclose them together in a phial,set that in a vapor fire, and in 20 days, at most 25 days, it will turn quite black and look like melted pitch. Thereafter set it in ashes or sand, and it will become grey-white-yellow and finally red like blood and transparent like a ruby. Thus you will get a medicine like which there is none better in virtues, and it is a true panacea for use in almost all sicknesses, especially where strength is required. It does its effect without any discomfort and almost through imperceptible perspiration, as will be shown in the description of its operation.
After the calcination of the gold, I thought of a special menstruum. Now I will also show you how it is to be prepared to make the work and the process perfect. It depends on the best manipulation, and this is what is to be done: Take a good amount of boy's urine, distill it to half, pour away what is left, and put the distillate again in a retort. Again distill it to half, and do this work three times. With the subtle spirit a beautiful, transparent, shining salt will rise. Rinse all the salt with the spirit out of the alembic, weigh this spirit, mix it with the same amount of the best spirit of wine, let it gently putrefy together for 8 days, then distill it, and you will have a wonderful menstruum for all metals, minerals, and precious stones. With this you can obtain the true tincture of gold.
Do not believe that you will get a better and surer process in authors, though they talk a lot about it and every small shopkeeper praises his goods. Finally you will nevertheless discover for whose benefit their singing is. You must not ask or doubt if this process works or not. You have already heard from me that I do not want to write anything that my eyes have not seen or my hands have not worked, for I do not take these processes from mute books, as many have done. I wish to make a gift to and serve the studying youth with what Vulcan (fire), has given me. Writing is no art nowadays, but to invent processes and verify them in the fire is difficult, and it often happens that one must say, "of that we could not think". If now there is one who does not learn anything by my labors, he will understand and learn it much less from other writings, let him be assured of that.
We must now also explain how and for what this noble medicine is to be used, and how we can apply it to advantage. First, this potable gold is a special treasure and arcanum for keeping the human body from many sicknesses. It greatly strengthens the heart and all spirits. Administer 5 grains of it in water at room temperature. It goes through the body like smoke and preserves it, so that it can be kept from all possible sicknesses till the end of life. It is truly a great blessing of God not having to spend one's life on the sickbed. Wealthy people should have it specially prepared for them to assure them of good health in addition to their wealth. Of what use are riches and property to a man if he is sick, lame, and in bad health, and does not enjoy either food or drink? Truly, health is better than all wealth. Whoever despises those remedies despises God's goodness, for God has not only created money and properties for the sustenance of man but has also given the medicines, so that man might be better equipped for his profession. But I know many who would rather hang themselves than spend 100 Thalers for their health, and they are living so miserably that they are of no use either to themselves or to others. I consider this a great punishment of God.
For example, I have known some rich sows in this country who said that they would rather be sick than poor. Although they were rich enough, they did not get so much enjoyment from their wealth that they could eat one morsel with delight in a full quarter of a year, because of their sicknesses. Oh! May God preserve us from such "hospital wealth!" I would rather guard cows than lead such a miserable life with so many riches, since no man knows that he must finally leave all his belongings here, being unable to take anything along with him from this world. They must be fools, yes, maniacs, to have such thoughts. The body has indeed been created in the likeness of God. Although money and assets are also a great gift of God, the body is yet more than all that and has only been created for the purpose of being maintained and of serving our fellowman with it. Whoever then wants to end his life in good health till God calls him, can achieve it by this arcanum and frequent praying to God.
It is a special medicine for the stroke which it helps enormously. It does not put the physician to shame, unless the stroke affected the heart immediately and finished it. Otherwise, if there is still a little hope left, it does its work amazingly well.
I tried it for the first time on a noblewoman in Polten, Austria, and found it to be good. There lived a noble widow who had a sanguinary complexion and was full-blooded. She fainted at dinner, fell over, let hands and feet flop down, and began a death rattle. Her attendant saw that it was a stroke. Just at that time there was no physician in town, and as I had some business with Herr von Greuss in Walde - which is located not far from the town Polten - the patient's servant at once came there and asked Frau von Greuss for advice. She immediately left to see the widow, and I accompanied her.
When we arrived, we found that she was lying there without consciousness and movement, rustling all the time. I opened her mouth with a wooden instrument and poured some of the potable gold into her in some water of lilies of the valley. I sat her upright and gave her the dose once more, seeing to it that she kept it down, which was the case. Meanwhile, I had her rubbed very strongly with towels. After about half an hour she moved her eyes. I felt that the spirits were ready to return and put some sneezing powder made of lilies of the valley and tobacco into her nose through a quill. all at once she began to sneeze and opened her eyes, but she could not yet recognize anyone, nor could she speak. I now took some teriac, mixed it with a few drops of this potable gold, and after again opening her mouth with the instrument, I coated her upper palate with it. This I did once every half hour, and thus almost the whole night went by. Toward morning I again gave her 6 drops in water of lilies of the valley. Thereafter she became alive again, in one instant so to speak, at the surprise of all present, although she had trouble lifting her arms. I put some more teriac on her palate and opened a vein for her in the morning. Her blood was so thick that it could hardly get out of the vein. She felt increasingly better and also began to speak. I had the following decoctum made for the external members and had her rubbed with it.
decoction Rx. Rad. Aaronis
Enulae camp. a. j Lot.
Urticae minor, ji Lot.
Mastichis an. j. Lot.
Aloe succtrinae, ji. Lot.
Piperis longi, jii.
Salviae acut. an., ji. Lot.
Flor. Lavendul., ji. Lot.
Sem. Erucae an. ji. Lot.
I had these boiled for her in white wine and had her arms and legs vigorously rubbed with it. She recovered thus her health in three days and lived thereafter hale and healthy for a few more years. I had to leave one or three doses of this potable gold with her which she was going to keep as a special treasure and use only in case of emergency. Afterwards, everybody wanted to know with what I had cured this dangerous sickness. I could tell of more such cures, but one is enough. I only relate this to show what potable gold can do and how it was applied, so that a practitioner can do the same in a similar case, unless special circumstances require a different procedure. It is therefore not without reason that I describe and report the circumstances so carefully.
If one requires a strong tonic in epidemic diseases, such as in pestilential and spotted fevers, it can be this potable gold, for it not only strengthens the heart powerfully but also drives the poison out through perspiration. Thus it cleanses all the blood of infection, as I have experienced in many places with many persons. When in June and July of 1613 there was a strong outbreak of the pestilential fever in Morea, also called Peloponnesus, in the town of Modon and other places, including Candia, and people frequently died of it, I and my travelling companions survived and preserved ourselves from that poison with this potable gold. I have also cured many Turks of this sickness, which afterwards was greatly to my advantage in the course of my peregrinations in oriental places. Because of it, I received good recommendations from one place to another, so that I could promote my planned travels and finish them the sooner, as I was not only escorted safely but also made some honest money thereby. Whoever, therefore, is infected with such a contagious disease, let him not wait but take 7,8,9, drops of this potable gold in some spirit of citrus fruit. It will immediately cause the perspiration to flow and bring peace to the heart. As a prevention, take 5 drops early in the morning, once a week, and thereupon perspire a little. Those who have no spirit of citrus fruit may take it in a little wine.
It is an excellent remedy for palpitations and chlorosis, which mostly trouble young girls. Nothing better can be found in Nature, as it does away with the complaints in a few days. Some time ago, I cured a young girl of 14 years in Leipzig. She was so greatly troubled by this sickness that she could no longer walk through her room. I did not give her more than 3 doses of 6 drops each time, in extract of balm.
Her symptoms disappeared, her menses occurred, and thus she recovered her health. It is an excellent remedy for activating the menses. To such persons one gives, four days before the New Moon, 5,6,7,8 drops in either extract of balm or extract of saving (red cedar, juniper). If necessary, the body can be cleansed with the common purgatives. To do this, there is nothing better than the following pills. As a special arcanum, they remove the obstructions of the uterus, and not many like them can be found.
FOR THE MENSES
Rx.Extract. ex Baccis Lauri
Flor. Centaur. min.
Calendulae an. ji. Lot.
Sabinae an. j. Lot.
Olei Sabinae j. Lot.
Borrac. Vener jii. Lot.
Mass. pil. Aloe phang. ji. Lot.
fiat massa pilularum cum oleo cinamoni. (for the pills).
Of this one gives morning and evening one scruple in one go, at the usual time. This composition is recommended for everybody. Following this, one gives the potable gold. It is said that wealthy women have these two arcana in their family medicine-chest, enabling them to prevent many a misfortune. It is indeed put so clearly before their eyes that they cannot go wrong.
In the case of a difficult birth, I know nothing better. It does not only accelerate the living birth but also the still birth and the afterbirth. At this one might be surprised. I saw it happen in 1612 with a Countess in Styria. She had been in labor for three days and as a result was exhausted. The child in her was dead, and everybody expected her to give up the ghost. Her husband did not spare any means. As I found myself about the same time at the Inn of that locality and heard how everybody lamented and felt sorry for the Countess I opened my travelling medicine-chest and sent her 10 drops by the innkeeper's wife, to be taken only in a little wine. As soon as she had taken it, she was in labor pains again, although they had already stopped completely. After about a quarter of an hour, the baby was born and the afterbirth followed. Thus the woman was kept alive. Her husband soon came to me at the inn, asking if I was the man who had sent something to drink to his wife. I said yes, and he asked me to do him the favor of driving home with him, as he wanted to show his gratitude to me. And as my advice was further required, I was ready to give it.
I drove to his home with him and spent the night there. I was taken to the woman in childbed. She was so weak that she could not speak. I gave her 9 more drops in a little Malvasian (wine) and ordered her to be kept alone during the night, though care should be taken that she did not sleep too deeply. She rested very well and gently. When she awoke toward morning, she asked for me. I went to her and she thanked me, saying that next to God I was her life's extension. She begged me to stay with her for eight days, but as my travels did not permit it, I excused myself. Then she pulled a diamond ring from her finger and gave it to me. Her husband, with great thanks and joy, rewarded me very generously, and I stayed there for another half day. The Countess was feeling fine, and so I was graciously allowed to leave and also acquired - let there be no envious talk about it - a famous reputation. My name has become honorably known in all Austria, where physicians are somewhat more highly esteemed than in this country.
For cancer it is a powerful remedy, as it takes it out from the center to the circumference, provided one does not wait too long before it spreads into all the veins and corrodes them. If it reaches that stage, we cannot hope for a cure, but if it has not got the upper hand, it can well be cured with this medicine. Thus, in 1619, I had as a patient a wealthy woman who had previously tried many things. I also tried for three months but it did not help her, nor did the remedies which had done much for others - they were all in vain. Therefore I proposed to make potable gold for her, as I knew no other remedy for her cure. She was glad that I could suggest yet another remedy and procured to this end 5 Lots of fine gold. I prepared it according to the prescribed process and gave her 5 drops in a little warm wine three times a week. But she had to perspire a little after each time she drank it, as it is a diaphoreticum (perspiration-inducing) all by itself, even without any other means.
When had taken the potable gold for some time, it greatly purified her blood, so that it became noticeable: the cancer did not eat further all around as it did when she used the other medicaments. It stood still and cleared up. Likewise, the woman's pain became less day after day. On the outside I only put Sal Saturni (salt of lead) in it. The pain stopped altogether, but the cancer did not disappear quite so fast. She, however, did not pay any attention to it but moved about as she pleased, taking care of her household as before. She had no further complaints to the end of her life and lived after this cure for six more years. She was a woman 46 years of age.
This cure should be well remembered, for most physicians consider cancer incurable. But why is it considered incurable? Not because of actual malice or a defect in the medicine, but only because of the physicians' laziness. They do not wish to prepare those medicines, as will be shown further in another place.
In the same year, in Leipzig, I cured a wealthy man of his dizzy spells. he could not safely go down a star without someone walking next to him and holding him firmly to prevent him from falling. This was so serious that he once fell from his chair. Because of his frequent dizziness he was afraid of a stroke. To him I also gave this potable gold, but only once a week, and I prescribed for him a solution with which he had to wash his head once every eight days. After the washing, I also prescribed for him a balsam which he had to rub on the upper spinal cord, both temples, his nose and nape. In this way he was cured of this sickness with the help of God, at the age of 55. The solution, however, was prepared as follows:
Rx. Rad, paeoniae
Zedoriae an. j. Lot.
Flor. primulae veris
Rosar. rub. an. ji. Lot.
Salviae an. j. Lot.
Succiniam j. Lot
Everything to be boiled into a lixiviate.
With this he had to wash his head and quickly dry it again at a coal fire.
The balsam was prepared from the following oils and used as written above:
Rx. Olei Mosch. per expression, facti jii. Lot.
Caryophyll. an. ji. Lot.
Citri an. ji. Lot.
Succini albi an. ji. Lot.
Ambrae gris. an. ji. Lot.
Ladani opt. jii. Lot - to be mixed according to the Art to prepare the balsam.
This balsam cannot only be used to great advantage for dizzy spells but also for strokes and other serious head disorders, as will be further reported in another place.
If you wish to use this potable gold for the maintenance of your health, take 8 drops within 14 days in a perspiration-inducing liquid, and perspire somewhat thereafter. It is always better perspire a little after taking the medicine than to use it such as without anything else, for in sweating the blood is cleansed and everything impure is eliminated with the perspiration. Children, however, must take it only once in 4 weeks, and only 3 drops in one go. Likewise those who are over 50 years of age. Those who are over 60 can use it once in 14 days, because in old age bad moistures collect which must be driven out. In this way man can be kept hale and healthy to his last hour.
I knew a winegrower in Croatia. That man was 136 years old, at least, as he told me, and looked like someone about 60. He had a grandson whom I also saw, aged 72 years. He admitted that as long as he could remember he had never been sick, because he still tended to his vineyards in his great age, was hoeing there, and did all his work as well as a youngster, and not even one finger was hurting him. He related to me many stories of the Turks which had taken place in Croatia, and the man had such a remarkable memory that I could not wonder enough at it. I asked what was the reason that he had grown so old and had always been in good health. He told me he had some earth which he dug up on a special mountain, that he was taking a pinch of it every morning in a tablespoon of brandy, and that that had kept him so long - in addition to God. He showed it to me. It was red as blood and like grease and stuck on one's fingers. I took it to be sealed or Lemnian earth or solar fat (axungia Solis), as there were various mines in the same locality.
As I had no time to go myself to the mountain with the man - for it was a good two miles away - not very far from the Turkish fortress of Petrinja - I could not obtain any of it to take along with me to test it to see if a Solar Spirit (Spiritus Solis) was hidden in it. But it must undoubtedly have been a solar spirit, else it would not have had such power. And this was especially noteworthy: If this earth was put in brandy, it melted almost completely in it. It is sure that Hungary and the kingdoms belonging to it had been especially rich in various goldish ores - and it is almost everywhere - but they cannot all be cultivated due to the Turkish danger. I had seen in Sohl that the Turks had invaded the country and taken away with them over 200 miners, men and women. One hears of that everywhere in the Walachia and in the Croatia, and in those places there still lies hidden a great treasure. When one gets to Macedonia and Thrace, especially around Philippopl, one can find the terra sigillata (sealed earth) at various places in different colors, red and white, which are also used by the Turks for various sicknesses. I myself have collected some of it and brought it back with me to Germany. I do not relate these stories without a special reason, for they prove that there is a special power in the solar spirit of gold for maintaining life, strengthening and increasing the vital spirits, thus obtaining the desired health. Therefore Geber says not unjustly: In the Sun and the Salt of Nature is everything. Now enough said of this for this time. We will proceed further to other preparations.
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