Coelum Philosophorum also called the Book of Vexations
By Phillipus Theophrastus Paracelsus
THE SCIENCE AND NATURE OF ALCHEMY,
AND WHAT OPINION SHOULD BE FORMED THEREOF.
Regulated by the Seven Rules or Fundamental Canons according to the seven commonly known Metals; and containing a Preface with certain Treatises and Appendices.
COELUM PHILOSOPHORUM: PART I.
THE SEVEN CANONS OF THE METALS.
THE FIRST CANON: CONCERNING THE
NATURE AND PROPERTIES OF MERCURY.
All things are concealed in all. One of them all is the
concealer of the rest their corporeal vessel, external, visible, and
movable. All liquefactions are manifested in that vessel. For the vessel is a
living and corporeal spirit, and so all coagulations or congelations enclosed in
it, when prevented from flowing and surrounded, are not therewith content. No
name can be found for this liquefaction, by which it may be designated; still
less can it be found for its origin. And since no heat is so strong as to be equalized
therewith, it should be compared to the fire of Gehenna. A liquefaction of this
kind has no sort of connection with others made by the heat of natural fire, or
congelated or coagulated by natural cold. These congelations, through their
weakness, are unable to obtain in Mercury, and therefore, on that account, he
altogether contemns them. Hence one may gather that elementary powers, in their
process of destruction, can add nothing to, nor take away anything from,
celestial powers (which are called Quintessence or its elements), nor have they
any capacity for operating. Celestial and infernal powers do not obey the four
elements, whether they be dry, moist, hot, or cold. No one of them has the
faculty of acting against a Quintessence; but each one contains within itself
its own powers and means of action.
THE SECOND CANON: CONCERNING THE NATURE AND
PROPERTIES OF JUPITER.
that which is manifest (that is to say, the body of Jupiter) the other six
corporeal metals are spiritually concealed, but one more deeply and more
tenaciously than another. Jupiter has nothing of a Quintessence in his
composition, but is of the nature of the four elementaries. On this account this
liquefaction is brought about by the application of a moderate fire, and, in
like manner, he is coagulated by moderate cold. He has affinity with the
liquefactions of all the other metals. For the more like he is to some other
nature, the more easily he is united thereto by conjunction. For the operation
of those nearly allied is easier and more natural than of those which are
remote. The remote body does not press upon the other. At the same time, it is
not feared, though it may be very powerful. Hence it happens that men do not
aspire to the superior orders of creation, because they are far distant from
them, and do not see their glory. In like manner, they do not much fear those of
an inferior order, because they are remote, and none of the living knows their
condition or has experienced the misery of their punishment. For this cause an
infernal spirit is accounted as nothing. For more remote objects are on that
account held more cheaply and occupy a lower place, since according to the
propriety of its position each object turns out better, or is transmuted. This
can be proved by various examples.
The more remote, therefore, Jupiter is found to be from
Mars and Venus, and the nearer Sol and Luna, the more "goldness" or
"silveriness", if I may so say, it contains in its body, and the
greater, stronger, more visible, more tangible, more amiable, more acceptable,
more distinguished, and more true it is found than in some remote body. Again,
the more remote a thing is, of the less account is it esteemed in all the
respects aforesaid, since what is present is always preferred before what is
absent. In proportion as the nearer is clear the more remote is occult. This,
therefore, is a point which you, as an Alchemist, must seriously debate with
yourself, how you can relegate Jupiter to a remote and abstruse place, which Sol
and Luna occupy, and how, in turn, you can summon Sol and Luna from remote
positions to a near place, where Jupiter is corporeally posited; so that, in the
same way, Sol and Luna also may really be present there corporeally before your
eyes. For the transmutation of metals from imperfection to perfection there are
several practical receipts. Mix the one with the other. Then again separate the
one pure from the other. This is nothing else but the process of permutation,
set in order by perfect alchemical labor. Note that Jupiter has much gold and
not a little silver. Let Saturn and Luna be imposed on him, and of the rest Luna
will be augmented.
THE THIRD CANON: CONCERNING MARS AND HIS
The six occult metals have expelled the seventh from them,
and have made it corporeal, leaving it little efficacy, and imposing on it great
hardness and weight. This being the case, they have shaken off all their own
strength of coagulation and hardness, which they manifest in this other body. On
the contrary, they have retained in themselves their color and liquefaction,
together with their nobility. It is very difficult and laborious for a prince or
a king to be produced out of an unfit and common man. But Mars acquires
dominion. with strong and pugnacious hand, and seizes on the position of king.
He should, however, be on his guard against snares; that he be not led captive
suddenly and unexpectedly. It must also be considered by what method Mars may be
able to take the place of king, and Sol and Luna, with Saturn, hold the place of
THE FOURTH CANON: CONCERNING VENUS AND ITS
The other six metals have rendered Venus an extrinsical
body by means of all their color and method of liquefaction. It may be
necessary, in order to understand this, that we should show, by some examples,
how a manifest thing may be rendered occult, and an occult thing rendered
materially manifest by means of fire. Whatever is combustible can be naturally
transmuted by fire from one form into another, namely, into lime, soot, ashes,
glass, colors, stones, and earth. This last can again be reduced to many new
metallic bodies. If a metal, too, be burnt, or rendered fragile by old rust, it
can again acquire malleability by applications of fire.
THE FIFTH CANON: CONCERNING THE NATURE AND
PROPERTIES OP SATURN.
Of his own nature Saturn speaks thus: The other six have
cast me out as their examiner. They have thrust me forth from them and from a
spiritual place. They have also added a corruptible body as a place of abode, so
that I may be what they neither are nor desire to become. My six brothers are
spiritual, and thence it ensues that so often as I am put in the fire they
penetrate my body and, together with me, perish in the fire, Sol and Luna
excepted. These are purified and ennobled in my water. My spirit is a water
softening the rigid and congelated bodies of my brothers. Yet my body is
inclined to the earth. Whatever is received into me becomes conformed thereto,
and by means of us is converted into one body. It would be of little use to the
world if it should learn, or at least believe, what lies hid in me, and what I
am able to effect. It would be more profitable it should ascertain what I am
able to do with myself. Deserting all the methods of the Alchemists, it would
then use only that which is in me and can be done by me. The stone of cold is in
me. This is a water by means of which I make the spirits of the six metals
congeal into the essence of the seventh, and this is to promote Sol with Luna.
Two kinds of Antimony are found: one the common black by
which Sol is purified when liquefied therein. This has the closest affinity with
Saturn. The other kind is the white, which is also called Magnesia and Bismuth.
It has great affinity with Jupiter, and when mixed with the other Antimony it
THE SIXTH CANON: CONCERNING LUNA AND THE
The endeavor to make Saturn or Mars out of Luna involves
no lighter or easier work than to make Luna, with great gain, out of Mercury,
Jupiter, Mars, Venus, or Saturn. It is not useful to transmute what is perfect
into what is imperfect, but the latter into the former. Nevertheless, it is well
to know what is the material of Luna, or whence it proceeds. Whoever is not able
to consider or find this out will neither be able to make Luna. It will be
asked, What is Luna? It is among the seven metals which are spiritually
concealed, itself the seventh, external, corporeal, and material. For this
seventh always contains the six metals spiritually hidden in itself. And the six
spiritual metals do not exist without one external and material metal. So also
no corporeal metal can have place or essence without those six spiritual ones.
The seven corporeal metals mix easily by means of liquefaction, but this mixture
is not useful for making Sol or Luna. For in that mixture each metal remains in
its own nature, or fixed in the fire, or flies from it. For example, mix, in any
way you can, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, Sol, and Luna. It will not
thence result that Sol and Luna will so change the other five that, by the
agency of Sol and Luna, these will become Sol and Luna. For though all be
liquefied into a single mass, nevertheless each remains in its nature whatever
it is. This is the judgment which must be passed on corporeal mixture. But
concerning spiritual mixture and communion of the metals, it should be known
that no separation or mortification is spiritual, because such spirits can never
exist without bodies. Though the body should be taken away from them and
mortified a hundred times in one hour, nevertheless, they would always acquire
another much more noble than the former. And this is the transposition of the
metals from one death to another, that is to say, from a lesser degree into one
greater and higher, namely, into Luna; and from a better into the best and most
perfect, that is, into Sol, the brilliant and altogether royal metal. It is most
true, then, as frequently said above, that the six metals always generate a
seventh, or produce it from themselves clear in its esse.
A question may arise: If it be true that Luna and every
metal derives its origin and is generated from the other six, what is then its
property and its nature? To this we reply: From Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars,
Venus, and Sol, nothing and no other metal than Luna could be made. The cause is
that each metal has two good virtues of the other six, of which altogether there
are twelve. These are the spirit of Luna, which thus in a few words may be made
known. Luna is composed of the six spiritual metals and their virtues, whereof
each possesses two. Altogether, therefore, twelve are thus posited in one
corporeal metal, which are compared to the seven planets and the twelve
celestial signs. Luna has from the planet Mercury, and from Aquarius and Pisces,
its liquidity and bright white color. So Luna has from Jupiter, with Sagittarius
and Taurus, its white color and its great firmness in fire. Luna has from Mars,
with Cancer and Aries, its hardness and its clear sound. Luna has from Venus,
with Gemini and Libra, its measure of coagulation and its From Saturn, with
Virgo and Scorpio, its homogeneous body, with gravity. From Sol, with Leo and
Virgo, its spotless purity and great constancy against the power of fire. Such
is the knowledge of the natural exaltation and of the course of the spirit and
body of Luna, with its composite nature and wisdom briefly summarized.
Furthermore, it should be pointed out what kind of a body
such metallic spirits acquire in their primitive generation by means of
celestial influx. For the metal-digger, when he has crushed the stone,
contemptible as it is in appearance, liquefies it, corrupts it, and altogether
mortifies it with fire. Then this metallic spirit, in such a process of
mortification, receives a better and more noble body, not friable but malleable.
Then comes the Alchemist, who again corrupts, mortifies, and artificially
prepares such a metallic body. Thus once more that spirit of the metal assumes a
more noble and more perfect body, putting itself forward clearly into the light,
except it be Sol or Luna. Then at last the metallic spirit and body are
perfectly united, are safe from the corruption of elementary fire, and also
THE SEVENTH CANON: CONCERNING THE NATURE OF
SOL AND ITS PROPERTIES.
The seventh after the six spiritual metals is corporeally
Sol, which in itself is nothing but pure fire. What in outward appearance is
more beautiful, more brilliant, more clear and perceptible, a heavier, colder,
or more homogeneous body to see? And it is easy to perceive the cause of this,
namely, that it contains in itself the congelations of the other six metals, out
of which it is made externally into one most compact body. Its liquefaction
proceeds from elementary fire, or is caused by the liquations of Mercury, with
Pisces and Aquarius, concealed spiritually within it. The most manifest proof of
this is that Mercury is easily mingled corporeally with the Sun as in an
embrace. But for Sol, when the heat is withdrawn and the cold supervenes after
liquefaction, to coagulate and to become hard and solid, there is need of the
other five metals, whose nature it embraces in itself Jupiter, Saturn, Mars,
Venus, Luna. In these five metals the cold abodes with their regimens are
especially found. Hence it happens that Sol can with difficulty be liquefied
without the heat of fire, on account of the cold whereof mention has been made.
For Mercury cannot assist with his natural heat or liquefaction, or defend
himself against the cold of the five metals, because the heat of Mercury is not
sufficient to retain Sol in a state of liquefaction. Wherefore Sol has to obey
the five metals rather than Mercury alone. Mercury itself has no office of
itself save always to flow. Hence it happens that in coagulations of the other
metals it can effect nothing, since its nature is not to make anything hard or
solid, but liquid. To render fluid is the nature of heat and life, but cold has
the nature of hardness, consolidation, and immobility, which is compared to
death. For example, the six cold metals, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mars, Venus,
Luna, if they are to be liquefied must be brought to that condition by the heat
of fire. Snow or ice, which are cold, will not produce this effect, but rather
will harden. As soon as ever the metal liquefied by fire is removed therefrom,
the cold, seizing upon it, renders it hard, congelated, and immovable of itself.
But in order that Mercury may remain fluid and alive continually, say, I pray
you, whether this will be affected with heat on cold? Whoever answers that this
is brought about by a cold and damp nature, and that it has its life from cold
the promulgator of this opinion, having no knowledge of Nature, is led away
by the vulgar. For the vulgar man judges only falsely, and always holds firmly
on to his error. So then let him who loves truth withdraw therefrom. Mercury, in
fact, lives not at all from cold but from a warm and fiery nature. Whatever
lives is fire, because heat is life, but cold the occasion of death. The fire of
Sol is of itself pure, not indeed alive, but hard, and so far shows the color of
sulphur in that yellow and red are mixed therein in due proportion. The five
cold metals are Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus, and Luna, which assign to Sol
their virtues; according to cold, the body itself; according to fire, color;
according to dryness, solidity; according to humidity, weight; and out of
brightness, sound. But that gold is not burned in the element of terrestrial
fire, nor is even corrupted, is effected by the firmness of Sol. For one fire
cannot burn another, or even consume it; but rather if fire be added to fire it
is increased, and becomes more powerful in its operations. The celestial fire
which flows to us on the earth from the Sun is not such a fire as there is in
heaven, neither is it like that which exists upon the earth, but that celestial
fire with us is cold and congealed, and it is the body of the Sun. Wherefore the
Sun can in no way be overcome by our fire. This only happens, that it is
liquefied, like snow or ice, by that same celestial Sun. Fire, therefore, has
not the power of burning fire, because the Sun is fire, which, dissolved in
heaven, is coagulated with us. Gold is in its essence threefold: 1) Celestial
and dissolved, 2) Elementary and fluid, 3) Metallic and corporeal.
THE END OF THE SEVEN CANONS.
COELUM PHILOSOPHORUM: PART II.
CERTAIN TREATISES AND APPENDICES ARISING
OUT OF THE SEVEN CANONS.
GOD AND NATURE DO NOTHING IN VAIN.
THE eternal position of all things, independent of time,
without beginning or end, operates everywhere. It works essentially where
otherwise there is no hope. It accomplishes that which is deemed impossible.
What appears beyond belief or hope emerges into truth after a wonderful fashion.
NOTE ON MERCURIUS VIVUS.
Whatever tinges with a white color has the nature of life,
and the properties and power of light, which causally produces life. Whatever,
on the other hand, tinges with blackness, or produces black, has a nature in
common with death, the properties of darkness, and forces productive of death.
The earth with its frigidity is a coagulation and fixation of this kind of
hardness. For the house is always dead; but he who inhabits the house lives. If
you can discover the force of this illustration you have conquered. Tested
liquefactive powder. Burn fat verbena. Recipe: Salt nitre, four
ounces; a moiety of sulphur; tartar, one ounce. Mix and liquefy.
WHAT IS TO BE THOUGHT CONCERNING THE
CONGELATION OF MERCURY.
To mortify or congeal Mercury, and afterwards seek to turn
it into Luna, and to sublimate it with great labor, is labor in vain, since it
involves a dissipation of Sol and Luna existing therein. There is another
method, far different and much more concise, whereby, with little waste of
Mercury and less expenditure of toil, it is transmuted into Luna without
congelation. Any one can at pleasure learn this Art in Alchemy, since it is so
simple and easy; and by it, in a short time, he could make any quantity of
silver and gold. It is tedious to read long descriptions, and everybody wishes
to be advised in straightforward words. Do this, then; proceed as follows, and
you will have Sol and Luna, by help whereof you will turn out a very rich man.
Wait awhile, I beg, while this process is described to you in few words, and
keep these words well digested, so that out of Saturn, Mercury, and Jupiter you
may make Sol and Luna. There is not, nor ever will be, any art so easy to find
out and practice, and so effective in itself. The method of making Sol and Luna
by Alchemy is so prompt that there is no more need of books, or of elaborate
instruction, than there would be if one wished to write about last year's snow.
CONCERNING THE RECEIPTS OF ALCHEMY.
What, then, shall we say about the receipts of Alchemy,
and about the diversity of its vessels and instruments? These are furnaces,
glasses, jars, waters, oils, limes, sulphur, salts, saltpetres, alums, vitriols,
chrysocollae, copper-greens, atraments, auri-pigments, fel vitri, ceruse, red
earth, thucia, wax, lutum sapientiae, pounded glass, verdigris, soot, testae
ovorum, crocus of Mars, soap, crystal, chalk, arsenic, antimony, minium, elixir,
lazurium, gold-leaf, salt-nitre, sal ammoniac, calamine stone, magnesia, bolus
armenus, and many other things. Moreover, concerning preparations,
putrefactions, digestions, probations, solutions, cementings, filtrations,
reverberations, calcinations, graduations, rectifications, amalgamations,
purgations, etc., with these alchemical books are crammed. Then, again,
concerning herbs, roots, seeds, woods, stones, animals, worms, bone dust, snail
shells, other shells, and pitch. These and the like, whereof there are some very
far-fetched in Alchemy, are mere incumbrances of work; since even if Sol and
Luna could be made by them they rather hinder and delay than further ones
purpose. But it is not from these to say the truth that the Art of
making Sol and Luna is to be learnt. So, then, all these things should be passed
by, because they have no effect with the five metals, so far as Sol and Luna are
concerned. Someone may ask, What, then, is this short and easy way, which
involves no difficulty, and yet whereby Sol and Luna can be made? Our answer is,
this has been fully and openly explained in the Seven Canons. It would be lost labor
should one seek further to instruct one who does not understand these. It would
be impossible to convince such a person that these matters could be so easily
understood, but in an occult rather than in an open sense.
THE ART IS THIS: After you have made heaven, or the sphere
of Saturn, with its life to run over the earth, place on it all the planets, or
such, one or more, as you wish, so that the portion of Luna may be the smallest.
Let all run, until heaven, or Saturn, has entirely disappeared. Then all those
planets will remain dead with their old corruptible bodies, having meanwhile
obtained another new, perfect, and incorruptible body.
That body is the spirit of heaven. From it these planets again receive a body
and life, and live as before. Take this body from the life and the earth. Keep
it. It is Sol and Luna. Here you have the Art altogether, clear and entire. If
you do not yet understand it, or are not practiced therein, it is well. It is
better that it should be kept concealed, and not made public.
HOW TO CONJURE THE CRYSTAL SO THAT ALL
THINGS MAY BE SEEN IN IT.
To conjure is nothing else than to observe anything
rightly, to know and to understand what it is. The crystal is a figure of the
air. Whatever appears in the air, movable or immovable, the same appears also in
the speculum or crystal as a wave. For the air, the water, and the crystal, so
far as vision is concerned, are one, like a mirror in which an inverted copy of
an object is seen.
CONCERNING THE HEAT OF MERCURY.
Those who think that Mercury is of a moist and cold nature
are plainly in error, because it is by its nature in the highest degree warm and
moist, which is the cause of its being in a constant state of fluidity. If it
were of a moist and cold nature it would have the appearance of frozen water,
and be always hard and solid, so that it would be necessary to liquefy it by the
heat of fire, as in the case of the other metals. But it does not require this,
since it has liquidity and flux from its own heat naturally inborn in it, which
keeps it in a state of perpetual fluidity and renders it "quick", so
that it can neither die, nor be coagulated, nor congealed. And this is well
worth noticing, that the spirits of the seven metals, or as many of them as have
been commingled, as soon as they come into the fire, contend with one another,
especially Mercury, so that each may put forth its powers and virtues in the endeavor
to get the mastery in the way of liquefying and transmuting. One seizes on the
virtue, life, and form of another, and assigns some other nature and form to
this one. So then the spirits or vapors of the metals are stirred up by the heat
to operate mutually one upon the other, and transmute from one virtue to
another, until perfection and purity are attained.
But what must be done besides to Mercury in order that its
moisture and heat may be taken away, and in their place such an extreme cold
introduced as to congeal, consolidate, and altogether mortify the Mercury? Do
what follows in the sentence subjoined: Take pure Mercury closely shut up in a
silver pixis. Fill a jar with fragments of lead, in the midst of which place the
pixis. Let it melt for twenty-four hours, that is, for a natural day. This takes
away from Mercury his occult heat, adds an external heat, and contributes the
internal coldness of Saturn and Luna (which are both planets of a cold nature),
whence and whereby the Mercury is compelled to congeal, consolidate, and harden.
Note also that the coldness (which Mercury needs in its
consolidation and mortification) is not perceptible by the external sense, as
the cold of snow or of ice is, but rather, externally, there is a certain amount
of apparent heat. Just in the same way is it with the heat of Mercury, which is
the cause of its fluidity. It is not an external heat, perceptible in the same
way as one of our qualities. Nay, externally a sort of coldness is perceptible.
Whence the Sophists (a race which has more talk than true wisdom) falsely assert
that Mercury is cold and of a moist nature, so that they go on and advise us to
congeal it by means of heat; whereas heat only renders it more fluid, as they
daily find out to their own loss rather than gain.
True Alchemy which alone, by its unique Art, teaches how
to fabricate Sol and Luna from the five imperfect metals, allows no other
receipt than this, which well and truly says: Only from metals, in metals, by
metals, and with metals, are perfect metals made, for in some things is Luna and
in other metals is Sol.
WHAT MATERIALS AND INSTRUMENTS ARE REQUIRED
There is need of nothing else but a foundry, bellows,
tongs, hammers, cauldrons, jars, and cupels made from beechen ashes. Afterwards,
lay on Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, and Luna. Let them operate
finally up to Saturn.
THE METHOD OF SEEKING MINERALS.
The hope of finding these in the earth and in stones is
most uncertain, and the labor very great. However, since this is the first mode
of getting them, it is in no way to be despised, but greatly commended. Such a
desire or appetite ought no more to be done away with than the lawful
inclination of young people, and those in the prime of life, to matrimony. As
the bees long for roses and other flowers for the purpose of making honey and
wax, so, too, men apart from avarice or their own aggrandizement should
seek to extract metal from the earth. He who does not seek it is not likely to
find it. God dowers men not only with gold or silver, but also with poverty,
squalor, and misery. He has given to some a singular knowledge of metals and
minerals, whereby they have obtained an easier and shorter method of fabricating
gold and silver, without digging and smelting them, than they were commonly
accustomed to, by extracting them from their primitive bodies. And this is the
case not only with subterranean substances, but by certain arts and knowledge
they have extracted them from the five metals generally (that is to say, from
metals excocted from minerals which are imperfect and called metals), viz., from
Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus, from all of which, and from each of
them separately, Sol and Luna can be made, but from one more easily than from
another. Note, that Sol and Luna can be made easily from Mercury, Saturn, and
Jupiter, but from Mars and Venus with difficulty. It is possible to make them,
however, but with the addition of Sol and Luna. Out of Magnesium and Saturn
comes Luna, and out of Jupiter and Cinnabar pure Sol takes its rise. The skilful
artist, however (how well I remember!), will be able by diligent consideration
to prepare metals so that, led by a true method of reasoning, he can promote the
perfection of metallic transformation more than do the courses of the twelve
signs and the seven planets. In such matters it is quite superfluous to watch
these courses, as also their aspects, good or bad days or hours, the prosperous
or unlucky condition of this or that planet, for these matters can do no good,
and much less can they do harm in the art of natural Alchemy. If otherwise, and
you have a feasible process, operate when you please. If, however, there be
anything wanting in you or your mode of working, or your understanding, the
planets and the stars of heaven will fail you in your work.
If metals remain buried long enough in the earth, not only
are they consumed by rust, but by long continuance they are even transmuted into
natural stones, and there are a great many of these; but this is known to few.
For there is found in the earth old stone money of the heathens, printed with
their different figures. These coins were originally metallic, but through the
transmutation brought about by Nature, they were turned into stone.
WHAT ALCHEMY IS.
Alchemy is nothing else but the set purpose, intention,
and subtle endeavor to transmute the kinds of the metals from one to another.
According to this, each person, by his own mental grasp, can choose out for
himself a better way and Art, and therein find truth, for the man who follows a
thing up more intently does find the truth. It is highly necessary to have a
correct estimation of stars and of stones, because the star is the informing
spirit of all stones. For the Sol and Luna of all the celestial stars are
nothing but one stone in itself; and the terrestrial stone has come forth from
the celestial stone; through the same fire, coals, ashes, the same expulsions
and repurgations as that celestial stone, it has been separated and brought,
clear and pure in its brightness. The whole ball of the earth is only something
thrown off, concrete, mixed, corrupted, ground, and again coagulated, and
gradually liquefied into one mass, into a stony work, which has its seat and its
rest in the midst of the firmamental sphere.
Further it is to be remarked that those precious stones
which shall forth-with be set down have the nearest place to the heavenly or
sidereal ones in point of perfection, purity, beauty, brightness, virtue, power
of withstanding fire, and incorruptibility, and they have been fixed with other
stones in the earth.
They have, therefore, the greatest affinity with heavenly
stones and with the stars, because their natures are derived from these. They
are found by men in a rude environment, and the common herd (whose property it
is to take false views of things) believe that they were produced in the same
place where they are found, and that they were afterwards polished, carried
around, and sold, and accounted to be great riches, on account of their colors,
beauty, and other virtues. A brief description of them follows:
This is a green transparent stone. It does good to the eyes and the memory. It
defends chastity; and if this be violated by him who carries it, the stone
itself does not remain perfect.
black crystal called Adamant or else Evax, on account of the joy which it is
effectual in impressing on those who carry it. It is of an obscure and
transparent blackness, the color of iron. It is the hardest of all; but is
dissolved in the blood of a goat. Its size at the largest does not exceed that
of a hazel nut.
an iron stone, and so attracts iron to itself.
Pearl is not a stone, because it is produced in sea shells. It is of a white color.
Seeing that it grows in animated beings, in men or in fishes, it is not properly
of a stony nature, but properly a depraved (otherwise a transmuted) nature
supervening upon a perfect work.
a yellow, transparent stone. There is a flower of the same name which, according
to the fable of the poets, is said to have been a man.
Is a stone of a celestial color and a heavenly nature.
Shines with an intensely red nature.
A solar stone, shining by its own nature like the sun.
Coral Is a
white or red stone, not transparent. It grows in the sea, out of the nature of
the water and the air, into the form of wood or a shrub; it hardens in the air,
and is not capable of being destroyed in fire.
Is a stone made up of different colors, occupying a middle place between
obscurity and transparency, mixed also with cloudiness, and liver colored. It is
the lowest of all the precious stones.
stone shining by night. It is found among rocks.
Is a stone of a purple and blood colour.
Is a stone which appears like fire by night, and like gold by day.
a white stone, transparent, and very like ice. It is sublimated, extracted, and
produced from other stones.
As a pledge and firm foundation of this matter, note
the following conclusion. If anyone intelligently and reasonably takes care to
exercise himself in learning about the metals, what they are, and whence they
are produced: he may know that our metals are nothing else than the best part
and the spirit of common stones, that is, pitch, grease, fat, oil, and stone.
But this is least pure, uncontaminated, and perfect, so long as it remains
hidden or mixed with the stones. It should therefore be sought and found in the
stones, be recognized in them, and extracted from them, that is, forcibly drawn
out and liquefied. For then it is no longer a stone, but an elaborate and
perfect metal, comparable to the stars of heaven, which are themselves, as it
were, stones separated from those of earth.
Whoever, therefore, studies minerals and metals must be
furnished with such reason and intelligence that he shall not regard only those
common and known metals which are found in the depth of the mountains alone. For
there is often found at the very surface of the earth such a metal as is not met
with at all, or not equally good, in the depths. And so every stone which comes
to our view, be it great or small, flint or simple rock, should be carefully
investigated and weighed with a true balance, according to its nature and
properties. Very often a common stone, thrown away and despised, is worth more
than a cow. Regard must not always be had to the place of digging from which
this stone came forth; for here the influence of the sky prevails. Everywhere
there is presented to us earth, or dust, or sand, which often contain much gold
or silver, and this you will mark.
HERE ENDS THE COELUM PHILOSOPHORUM.