Letters 11-20 of SendivogiusLetters 1-10 . Letters 21-30 . Letters 31-40 . Letters 41-55.
His most certain dear companion and by all philosophers not only Pagans but also and more evidently by all Christian philosophers received for a certain Truth, that God the great architect of all things did create the whole material world (for this we are now only to speak of and not of your antetype or intellectual world) out of nothing and in Time, yet not so that all your parts of this world thus directly were created, but only your first Matter, and that she hath been produced out of meer nothing, out of which afterwards the most principle bodies and that they by way of separation were produced and out of them were made all kinds of mixed bodies and that by way of composition.
Gods Providence is to be admired and adored, which in your very beginning hath proposed to Nature and Art in this Exemplar viz: that in all things to be produced, or which already produced are to be meliorated the opereration should begin with solution and end with coagulation.
Therefore it is most apparent to every man apprehension, that in your creation of all things, divers middle or subalternate degrees have intervened, by which your first and more single bodies or beings are to become material principles of things more compound, yet not so as those beings which became more compound bodies had directly forms and really distinct from the your former, so that they could not throw off these forms and others should remain, no, not so, but that your last form given to your mixture doth and must contain most eminently your first ones, not to be divorced from them.
But how great such before named degrees might be, this is not yet agreed on among Philosophers.
The common schools do admit but three degrees, viz: Creation of the Matter, Distinction of the Elements, and out of there Conformation of all Mixed Bodies.
But the Cabal which from God hath recieved your Light of undoubted Truth, and knows your genuine sense of your [placed] Genesis, and keeps with Her, its true interpretation, she, though she doth admit three divers acts of creation equal to the forsaid acts received in the common schools viz:
1. A Production of Matter out of Nothing which probably is Creation.Yet in general as to those middle Degrees the Cabala doth teach many more and will have them acknowledged and allow in such Order as presently shall follow.
Brussels, 24th April, 1646.
God then dear companion did in your begining create your matter out of nothing, but altogether without any form (as Pseudo-Philosophers do fancy it, very indirectly) but in the form of a primordial Water, your element or more properly to be called the first Principle. Hence most Part of the Philosophers and not without Reason do hold, but one Element to be, to which they do attribute the primordial Properties, namely Power active and passive. To which they they have added three primordial active, viz: Hylem, or the Body; Archoum, or your Soul; and Azoth or a middle between both and as it were a Servant of one and to the Other, which is your universal Spirit. Last of all they have assigned four primordial instuments for all Actions and Passions viz: the four first Qualities. This is the first and fundamental Degree of the first Genesis.
Brussels, 29th April, 1646.
Secondly dear companion God hath separated and divided this primordial water in four Parts, or Regions by a mystick, as it were Distillation, which Parts are called Elements though to speak properly they are not Elements, but rather Parts of the foresaid Element; yet because they have a small different Affection from the former primordial Element, according to which Affection every divided Part hath his more intensive Quality above the others more [remiss] symbolical Qualities joined, therefore are they still called Elements, being stilled Elements elementated none of which suffers any thing from the others joined to him in her Radix or Offspring viz: as to that State and Condition in which they were created first.
But when once the man having sinned came to be troubled and to mourn your Habit and first State of all things made for his use and subjected to him, began to be corrupted and went from day to day to be more corrupted as I have taught in my Treatise de Sulphur.
But your Archeus residing in everyone's Center is called the elementary Element.
The property of these Elements by God so constituted are chiefly that they should be in a continual Conflict amongst themselves because of their disymbolical Qualities and incompatability of their contrariety, for this end their own substance from whence by means of your symbolical and agreeing qualities, other Substances should spring forth of a middle sort fitted for the second Genesis, which partly do retain the nature of the Elements, partly that of your mixtum as it shall appear hereafter.
Wherefore the said Elements are called your principating Principles of Things.
But into these Principles no mixtum can possibly be resolved except by God's Power, because, as is said before the last form cannot be drawn back, that it should be become such a one as the Form was of your first single compounding Elements and on the contrary neither can they at once at least not alltogether coalesce into one compound or mixture, because of the Repugnancy of the said contrary Qualities, which without a Medium cannot be brought to an agreement, to abide together; [eve] said, All, for some of them viz: such whose domineering Qualities do not strive together may be physically united in one natural Compound namely in principated Principles.
And this is the second Degree of Creation.
Brussels, 3rd May, 1646.
Thirdly God hath exalted a fifth Essence (as the call it) of the said Elements that is to say God hath as it were by a mystical Rectication separated the purer Parts of them out of which he hath made the Heavens and Stars, not by way of Composition or (to say properly) coagulation which for the most Part founds a Union, but by way of concretion or condensation. For the Heavens are made out of the most purified Part of the Elemental Water, but the other Stars out of the most purified Part of the Air, the others out of the purified Part of the Fire, others lastly out of the most subtle and smooth Parts of the Earth.
This Doctrine is demonstrated by the sole natural Light. For there is no man so void of Sense, but that he can judge, seeing the Moon to be opaque and not lucid of itself, but to borrow her Light from the Sun, that she needs must be earthy. For the Earth is only opaque, so contrary the Sun to be fiery, because splendent and lucid of itself. For it is alone the Fire that shines of itself and give Light and heat to other Bodies, for the Light is a Property flowing from its Essence and is always [concomitant] to it, though it doth not always appear, because of the Interposition of other dark and opaque Bodies and Substances. Hence it is that Fire often is signified by the Name and Light and contrary Light by the name of Fire. So in Genesis when the Creation of the Fire is expressed by the name of Light, and by the like Reasoning it may be concluded that many pale Stars are aireal and like unto transparent Bodies that receive their Light from the Sun like unto Glass or rather as if air do, which if it were not so the Stars could not impart their influences now hot, because of the Predomination of hot Planets now Cold, by the Accession of cold Stars to this lower Region, neither could they cause such divers Mutations in subjected Bodies while those Qualities which belong to the Elements do only proceed from the Elements and are communicated wheresoever they are met with; see here of our Harmony committed to the case of Briscius to see it printed.
The affections of the coelestial Stars and Orbs are that they incessantly do move according to their proper Motions and so continue to the End of the World equally in respect to themselves, but unequally with respect to other Stars, at least the most part of them moving; and that for this Purpose that according to their various configurations they should also send forth various Irradiations and have various Influences into the lower Bodies and to concur as universal and upper causes to all natural Motions and Actions, as also Generations and conceptions as well universal or primordial as particular (of which we shall treat presently) and lastly to all Mutations and Alterations of Time and Weather, Durations, Commensurations and of many such other effects. And with this the Solution and Separation of the first Matter, is absolved.
Follows the Composition, or so to speak properly, the Coagulation of things, that is the Union as hath been said before of several different Parts. And this shall be our next matter to be treated of. In the mean time.
Brussels, 9th May, 1646.
Fourthly then God hath united and brought together Conflavis, the principated Principles, or the upper mixture which are Bodies of a middle Substance, between the Elements, and the lower mixture. And these are; First Sulphur a substance made out of Fire and Air cojoined and coagulated by a Heat common to both.
2. A compound out of Air and Water by the help of Moistness symbolizing with both.e
3. Mercury made out of Water and Earth, by the agent of Cold proper to both.
The chief Properties of these Principles are divided in common and singular.
The common are to be the highest principiated Principles and to be the medium to join the Extremes in the mixture, viz: that by their means and intervention, the disagreeing Qualities of the Elements (which otherwise are incompatable) might agree in each Family's mixture. For it seems that the symbolizing Qualities in any mixed Bodies might be able to reconcile contrary and repugnant Qualities; yet according to God's Laws given to Nature it was inconvenient that contraries should stand together and be suddenly conjoined without some previous Leauge of Friendship made in the intrinsecal parts of the mixtum.
And to this that such a Diversity of Temperaments and such various complexions and constitutions could not have been any other but this way effected; at least not in things of a firm constitution and of long Duration. The singular Properties we will explain in the next.
Brussels, 15th May, 1646.
The particular or singular Properties of the aforesaid divers Principles are chiefly to be considered.
1. The chiefest of Sulur are these. To be the Seat of natural Heat. To receive immediately hot and fiery Impressions and influences of the coelestial Bodies and to impart them to the other parts of the Body it resides in; to contain the Scent and Tincture of all things, and to receive also the actions of Scent and Tincture of all other mixtures.
2. Of Salt are these to be the Radix of Coagulation and Coagulability in all things. For it doth incorporate, coagulate, or consolidate all other Principles: To open the Pores of other Bodies being applied with a Due Quantity of Mercurius whose Salts moving in which the Compass and Connection of the homogeneal Parts doth consist the on the other Hand receiving more powerful actions of other Salts, they might yeild to the Dissolution of the Parts of its own Body; To preserve and keep the Taste of tasteful things and to communicate it to other Bodies, and also to receive reciprocally it's communication from others.
And truly any Part of an animal that wants its salt must needs [to] lose both taste and feeling. For it is the Salt which purges and is purged in all Motions of our appetites, lastly to receive moist and hot influences.
3. Of Mercurius are these. To be the seat of radical Moisture, to keep and to nourish it in all things. To give everywhere all cold and Moist impressions and again to suffer the actions of agents of like quality, viz: cold and moist and to distribute to the same amongst the other parts of its body wherever he lies hid. To dissolve Salt and to help it in order to the solution of all other solid Bodies. These are the particular Properties of the principated Principles of the highest Ranks. Hereafter we will come to other things.
Brussels, 21st May, 1646.
Fifthy dear companion God hath framed out of the three said, two other principiated Principles, of secondary mixture; viz: Nature's Sperm and the monstruia of the World, which do retain as well as the Properties of the former Principles as their first Names mainly Sulphur and Mercury. For Sulphur is called Sperma and Mercurius menstruum. But besides the forenamed Properties these have also got new ones, to wit from their own new Temperament. For Sulphur which before was naturally hot because of its innate Heat is now above that become coagulative the fixative being mixed with Salt. And from hence it is called by the Philosophers living Sulphur. And Mercury which before cold is now become hot and moist and better digested by the accession of congealed air which he hath received from the Salt. Hence he is also called living Mercury. The Properties which do follow the form substantial of these are likewise common and singular or particular.
The common are; to be mixture subalternate viz: of the second or middle Ranks.
The singular are first of Sulphur.
To contain itself the seeds as well primordial as secondary (of which hereafter) yet not all at once or confusedly everywhere, but distinct and determinate Ones according to the nature and condition of Places, in which as in Nature's Kidneys and spermatic vessels they receive their last Digestion and Determination and hereby are multiplied. Therefore it is called the sperma natura, the Sulphur vivium may introduce the seed into a proper Matrix and there let it lye to this Purpose that there they might fulfil their Office for Generation (whence the Radix of masculine Faculty is attributed to him) That from elsewhere it might attract the mercurial spirit out of the menstruum. And from thence it hath the name of Magnes Chalybs and such like.
2. Of Mercurius. That he in an eminent Manner do contain the forsaid Mercury which is more digested and nearest disposed to receive the Actions and Fermentations of the seeds, i.e.: that he may be converted and coagulated according to their Intention or Inclination and lastly that he with food and like food be transmuted into the substance of all Nourishing Things. From whence he hath the Name and Title of menstruum mundi.
Brussels, 6th June, 1646.
Sixthly out of these two dear companion God hath made one Principle which likewise retains the name of Mercurius and though in him be joined and physically imitted without Distinction as well as the forenamed two principles as Mercurius himself yet because the signatures of Mercurius do more abound in him and also appear to the Senses viz; the waterish Humidity, and the fine and subtil Earth being thoroughly mixed with the Water it is rather called Mercurius than either Salt or Sulphur. Yet according to the Diversity of Degrees of its natural Digestion which he undergoes he changes names, signs, and even Nature, and gets the property of Salt. And at another Time when he comes nearer to living Sulphur digestion, it assumes also to himself the name, Essence, and Faculty of Sulphur. But so long as it remains in the State and Temperament of Mercury it is only called Mercurius. Therefore He hath the Name of Proteus and that is of Hermaphroditical partaking of masculine and femminine Nature and many such other Nick names he hath given him by Philosophers.
Its Properties are these:
1. That it is the last Principiated Principle, viz: the nearest Matter out of which as well in the first as second Genesis all mixtures are made and multiplied, with the joined Action of the Seeds, as well primordial as particular that by Way of Fermentation of divers Nature according to his various Disposition as also various Intention of the deed in manner as shall be said by and by.
2. That out of his common Substance it may give nourishment and Augmentation or Increase, to all things that are conceived and produced. Hence it is also called the Mother and womb of all things, by the Philosophers, who have given him besides divers other Names according to the Diversity of Functions which he performs, as well active as passive: But his chief Name by which we shall call him hereafter shall be spiritis universalis, because that though he hath a Body and most efficacious Soul, yet because his Body is most subtle and almost wholly spiritual he is rather to be called by the name of Spirit than by that of Corpus or Body. And because that his Soul also, or Archaeus doth not appear to the Senses he is rather to be called Spirit than Anima or Soul. Now all of these Principles principiated, though they are of greater composition than the principiating Principles or the Elements, yet they are ranged amongst the single Bodies. For Truly their condition is like to that of the Elements, viz: That no Corpus mixture can be resolved again into them, so as that they may be brought to their former singleness which the had before they came under a specific form of a mixture to be determined in whatsoever Family it be, so that the substantial Form of the said mixture they could not put off and lay aside whatever Pseudo-Chymists may argue against it. The Confirmation of which Doctrine they themselves do daily evidence in contradiction to their Opinion when they testify and hold that the medicinal Faculties rising from their Principles viz: only Sulphur, Salt and Mercury do remain and really exit in the same species as they had in their Bodies mixed from whence they came without any Difference, only that (as they think they had a more intense Degree there than here which Identity of Faculty it is impossible they should have if they did not keep the substantial Form of the mixture. For those Faculties are inseperable accidents which always remaining in and with the said Bodies, do clearly evince that there must also remain the same, their Form substantial. And truly if the said principles could be reduced back again to their primitive singleness the last form substantial must then be reduced to Nothing or by simplification the form must remain in suspence and subsist without any subject which naturally is impossible.
Neither is against my Doctrine that no Generation can happen without the Distraction of the form: For in mixtures the Generation of One is but the Corruption of another Form, being that in the same Instant that the old form is destroyed, a new one is introduced, either of the same or of an higher Degree of Composition as the former of the mixture, was, but next of a more single and lesser Degree of Composition as it had before , so that the Subject of the former form should suffer Damage, and could be said, that it had wanted one moment, its component Degree for a Mixture and that it had been reduced back again to a more single complete form substantial, which condition is necessary for the supposed annihilation of Forms, which we do contradict.
We say a complete Form for there are some Forms substantial incomplete, as for example the rational Soul which being separated from its Subject and Matter loses a Degree of the State of its Composition.
But though an absolute Separation of those said Principles cannot be given, yet it cannot be denied, but that in some sort one improperly so called can be given. For daily Experiments of Distillation do evidence such Separation in which substances in some Manner in Singleness answering that of the said Principles are deprehended and in the same Number, but in a retrograde Order, Yea it is necessary it should be so. For otherwise we should in vain search for the Sulphur of Gold and Silver the necessary Ferment for the Lapis Philosophorium.
Brussels, 6th June, 1646.
Seventh and lastly dear companion God hath made out of the said last Principle as the nearest and immediate Matter all those inumerable Mixtures, so many as there are in the World in all three Families animal, vegetable, and mineral with their infinite Species appertaining to each Family and in the following manner.
Namely out of a Portion of the said universal Spirit being digested unto a Sulphureal Temper. He hath made all those innumerable Seeds, of all Families, Genera and Species according to his inexhaustible Treasure of Ideas, as well in the Air as in the Water and Earth, out of which Seeds (but not all; for that he hath left many empty) and with the said universal Spirit only Mercurally digested He hath formed Individuals divers in Sex, viz: masculine and feminine, commiting to the one secondary and particular Seed for the Multiplication of the Species and to the other the menstruum and [Aglen] the proper material Principle for generation of its Species. And lastly he hath given to those Individuums amongst almost infinite Properties this principle one also that they could multiply their species in the said Man and Woman which that it may clearer be demonstrated you are to know.
That multiplication of Species is by God constituted to be either primary or secondary of which in the next.
Brussels, 9th June, 1646.
The primary of primitive Multiplication dear companion is that same which happens by the Power and action of the aforesaid primordial Seeds.
The secondary is which happens by the Power and actions of particular Seeds of some of the precedent particular Individuals of which chiefly this present Discourse doth touch.
Both have their common Terms or Intentions.
The first Term is, when only Seed and menstruum are multiplied i.e., when the foresaid universal Spirit is by the Seed assimilated and converted into its own Nature or by the menstruum into another menstruum like him. The second Term is, when the Species is multiplied i.e., when the universal Spirit is fermented and converted not as before into Seed or Menstruum, but into and Individuum of some Species according to the Inclination and Radix of particular or primordial Seed and by these two Terms Generation is perfected.
The Third is, when the produced Individuum is perfectly nourished and augmented, according to the Condition of his Nature not by the Action of the Seed but by odour of Form substantial, which Term doth not concern Generation.
Those three Terms are performed by the Man in the Wife but divers ways. For the first of the Third or last Term are done disjunctly and not reciprocally or by concurrence. Therefore properly to speak they cannot be said to happen in the Man and Woman, that is, by concurrent Action of the Man and Wife. For their functions are either common or private.
Common are, that they go together and copulating.
Private are and first the Mans.
That he contain in him the Sperma.
The Woman, that She contain the Menstruum and receive from the Man the Sperma or Seed, giving to it its due Menstruum as well for Conception of a new Individuum as for its Nutrition.
Both Ways of multiplication with the three Terms and Intentions do become and belong to all the three foresaid Families of the Mixture (notwithstanding the gainsaying of common Philosophy) but not in the same Manner. For the primary Multiplication belongs properly to Minerals according to which their daily Multiplication underground doth proceed. It belongs also to Vegetables being that many of them are daily this way produced though not so very many neither so frequently nor so easily as happens to Minerals, especially if we do speak of perfect Vegetables and not Excrements. Bust lastly the same becomes least the Animals, because that seldom and almost none of the Animals ae at any Time brought forth in this Manner of Production at least no the perfect Ones.
And therefore the secondary Multiplication doth most properly belong to the animals; but yet that it is frequently amongst the vegetables though not so frequent as amongst the Animals. But to Minerals it happens seldom, yea never without the assistance of Art, neither do these Ways of Multiplication equally and in the same circumstances belong to all three Families because there is great Difference between them, because of the Diversity of their Faculties which my next Epistle shall notify.
Brussels, 15th June, 1646.
If you have problems understanding these alchemical texts, Adam McLean now provides a study course entitled How to read alchemical texts : a guide for the perplexed.