Alchemical Traditions, 9-10




Turris Philosophorum

Christopher A. Plaisance


p. 329 set of elements including salt

p. 329

"The ... triad of sulphur, mercury, and salt was, by Paracelsus and those who followed him, correlated to man's three constituents of soul, spirit, and body." (PER, 173-191, cap. 1, para. 19)

p. 329, fn. 19

"Although Paracelsus s generally regarded as the first to add salt to the sulphur-mercury dyad, the addition in fact precedes him.

{Deriving from lore by Avicenna, the Canones Yeoman (in Ch:CT) accepteth 4 al-chemic spirits, including that of orpiment and that of sal ammoniac. "This bears some resemblance to the Paracelsian doctrine of three principles ... : salt, sulphur and mercury." (MH:DA, s.v. "Chaucer, Geoffrey", p. 84).}

" " " "

... see CHEAK, Light Broken through the Prism of Life : Rene' Schwaller de Lubicz and the Hermetic Problem of Salt (PhD dissertation, University of Queensland, 2011), 1-55, especially 36-40".

PER = Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke : Paracelsus : Essential Readings. Berkeley : North Atlantic Bks, 1999.

Ch:CT = Chaucer : Canterbury Tales.

MH:DA = Mark Haeffner : Dictionary of Alchemy : From Maria Prophetessa to Isaac Newton. Aquarian Pr, 1991. [reprint Aeon Bks, 2004.]

p. 336 al-chemic glorification of secret adutery

"As the two -- alternatively described as ... sulphur and quicksilver, the king and queen, etc. -- were ... a gendered pair, the offspring of their union was typically portrayed as a hermaphrodite.

{Herm-aphroditos is offspring of secret adultery between (GM 18.d) Aphro-dite (who is married to Hephaistos) and Hermes. Inasmuch as the Renaissance al-chemists employ the word "quicksilver" as a code-term for god Hermes, therefore "sulphur" must be a code-term for goddess Aphro-dite, such terms enabling concealment of devotees of pagan religion -- al-chemists concurring with other Renaissance luminaries in their intent to promote an adultery-glorifying cult whereto they were tenaciously adhaering. [written 31 May 2018]}

Paracelsus describes the alchemical hermaphrodite : 'Summarily, then, the matter of the Philosopher's Stone is none other than ... the ... true hermaphrodite Adam ...'" (quoted from P:APh, vol. 1, p. 66).

{Prior to the separation (as rib) of H.awwah (Eve) from >adam, he had had a praevious wife, namely goddess Liliyt (LB, p. 34). Reference by Paracelsus to the Philosophers' Stone as associated with prior-to-partition body of >adam could indicate his secret worship of Liliyt epitomized in the code-term "Philosophers' Stone". [written 31 May 2018]}

P:APh = Paracelsus : The Aurora of the Philosophers. In :- Arthur Edward Waite (transl.) : The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Aureolus Theophratus Bombast, of Hohenheim, Called Paracelsus the Great. London : James Elliot, 1894. vol. 1, pp. 48-71.

{The Aphro-dite cult of the al-chemists would be distinct from the other adultery (not secret, however) cult, the one (as yet widely flourishing in Italy) involving men known as "gigolo" : for, the litteral meaning of \gigolo\ is 'a woman's male dance-partner'; since Aphro-dite never danced, this other cult must be devoted to a different goddess, surely Ariadne; for, Daidalos "had built Ariadne a dancing-floor there [at Knossos/Gnosos], marked with a maze pattern in white marble relief" (GM 98.u, vol. 1, p. 342).}

p. 339 athanor 'oven' {set of mutually cognate S^emitic \N_R\ words, evidently relating to Qartwelian (Kolkhian) myth (written 7 June 3018)}

"The word 'athanor' originates from the Arabic ... (al-tannur), meaning 'oven'." {In the myth from Kolkhis, "fire-breathing brazen-footed bulls" (GM 152.e) are a sort of animate furnace;

{\Tannuwr\ ('oven for baking bread', according to DWA, p. 118b) is derived from Strong's 5135 (>aramaic) \nuwr\ 'fire',

but when Iason is protected by the crocus "flower",

related to <arabiy \nawrah\ 'a blossom' (DWA, p. 1183a),

he is able to "yoke" them,

and to <arabiy \niyr\ 'yoke' (DWA, p. 1189a),

so that they "ploughed" (GM 152.g).}

and to Strong's 5215 \niyr\ 'ploughing'.}

DWA = Hans Wehr : A Dictionary of Written Arabic. 4th edn. 1979.

{That the yoke involved is "adamantine" (GM 152.g) would indicate that this al-chemic feat is accomplished in the diamond-body (one of the types of subtle body attained by Taoist methods of dream-yoga), evidently under patronage of the Heruka ('little adamantine'; relating to Skt \hira\ 'diamond') deities (of Bodish vajra-yana, praesumably of Bon, or else of Hos, provenience -- the religious-denomination name \HOS\ relating to Latin \HAUS-\ 'to draw water', \hauritorium\ 'bucket' [L&Sh:LD, pp. 842c-843b] of the Manikhaian wheel-of-buckets cosmology). The term "diamond" would indicate a dream-world wherein everything is concurrently constantly grossly shifting from-one-color-to-another; just as the apparently color of light, refracted by a faceted-cut diamond, is constantly shifting when the diamond is being moved relative to observors viewing it (especially in bright sunlight).}

L&Sh:LD = Lewis & Short : Latin Dictionary. 1879.

pp. 344-5 structure of athanor homologous with vehicle of the spirit

p. 344

"in ... Paracelsus' Anatomia corporum adhuc viventium ['Anatomy of bodies as-yet living'] ... the 'fornace anatomica' ('anatomical furnace') is described ... .

p. 345

In ... the correlation between the structures of the athanor and man, Burchardt is keen to note that ... the structure of the athanor reflects the super-physical structures that comprise man. Burchardt specifically notes that the athanor's 'threefold envelope' ... refers ... to the ascending scales of spiritual envelopes. This ... rests heavily on the Neoplatonic ... (pneumatic vehicle), and its noeric and noetic superiors, a series of enveloping vessels which aid the soul both in its descent into matter and ascent back to the gods" [fn. 87 " Cf. John F. FINAMORE, Iamblichus and the Theory of the Vehicle of the Soul, American Classical Studies, 14 (Chico : Scholars Press, 1985)."]

p. 345 the 4 archangels repell sicknesses

"In Robert Fludd's (1674-1637) Medicina catholica (Universal Medicine) there is an illustration of a tower besieged by the four winds ... . The tower is identified as 'homo sanus' ('a healthy human;), who is under attack from four different kinds of illness -- represented by demons -- that ae borne on the winds. The quarters of the tower are depicted as being defended by the four archangels."

p. 348 schematic of the cosmos as a circular tower

"Deriving from what he described as a visionary dream, Edward Kelley (1555-1597) crafted a schemata [read : "scheme"] as a circular tower comprised of 'four sumptuous and belligerant Castles' ... -- quite similar in design to Fludd's anthropic castle ... . ... different portions of the castle are inhabited by all of the different hierarchies of his and Dee's 'Enochian' angels -- including the trumpeteers, ensign bearers, seniors, princes, and kings ... ."

pp. 349-50 cosmos repraesented as a furnace

p. 349

"the 'fourneau cosmique' ('cosmic furnace') of Le Vray et Methodique Cours de la Physique Resolutive, in which the athanor appears as a tower, ... is described as something which 'comprehends the zodiac and forms a sphere, that ... represents the celestial signs ... .

In a similar ... sense -- is the illustration that accompanies Thomas Norton's (c. 1433-c. 1513) Tractatus chymicus ... . This abstracted image ... is composed of God, the angels, .. etc., ...

p. 350, Fig. 22

Thomas Norton's stylized athanor representing the archetypal, angelic, ... and infernal spheres".

p. 351, Fig. 24 In "Janus Lacinius, Pretiosa Margarita novella (sixteenth century)" there is depicted, surrounded by 3 concentric walls (perhaps repraesenting the walls around the Kekropia at Athenai), a tree (cf., planted at the Kekropia, "the first olive tree" : GM 16.c, vol. 1, p. 60) having at its base a fire (thus, similar to the Burning Bush on mt H.oreb) having on each side of it a human figure (perhaps Mos^eh with the spirit of the tree; or else Boreas with Oreithuia : on the "slope of" the Kekropia, GM 48.b, vol. 1, p. 171).

pp. 351-2 castle repraesenting a furnace

p. 351

"In a castle that represents the philosopher's furnace, Lady Alchimia dwells in state with her consort, the Athanor King ... ."

[p. 351, fn. 99 "Madeleine Pelner COSMAN and Linda Gale JONES, Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, 2 vols. (New York : Facts on File, 2008), II, 472. Cosman and Jones identify the manuscript source as Cod. Pal. Lat. 1066 in the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana."]

p. 352

A more complex image involving a full-sized tower is found in the sixteenth century Pretiosa Margarita novella ... . In this ..., ... a fire in the centre of a three tiered tower ... is a clear reference to the athanor's fire."

p. 354 A depiction from :- George Ripley& Richard Carpenter : Emblematic Alchemy in English Verse, with an English Version of the Vision Mystica of Arnold of Villanova (Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale Univ, Mellon MS 41) : a tree having on it a serpent-tailed person ("the ever-watchful dragon Ladon to coil around the tree as its guardian" : GM 133.a), with various persons each standing foot-deep in one or the other of 2 balnea (water-baths -- these 2 baths likely repraesenting (1) the location of the Garden of the Hesperides nigh unto "gushing springs which spurted forth ambrosia" (DCM, s.v. Hesperides"), and (2) how "after this Labour", Hera-klees "stamped his foot and made a stream of water gush out" : GM 133.f), each whereof is enclosed by a wall also enclosing the tree (for, Atlas "built solid walls around the orchard" : GM 133.c). Furthermore, because the Hesperides "sang in chorus" (DCM, s.v. Hesperides"), a feathery-winged angel (so as to remind of chants chanted by choirs of angeloi in Christian heaven) is depicted in the lower of the 2 balnea. Possibly the feathers depicted in the mouth of Sunface may repraesent how Pha[h]ethon flew too close to the sun, causing the loss of his feathers; he may be considered as one of the "fallen angeloi", who were cast out of heaven (LG:LB, p. 34) on account of their refusal to pay "reverence and homage" (LG:LB, p. 33) to >adam Qadmown : >adam Qadmown was of titanic stature, similar to Antaios who was "sixty cubits" tall (GM 133.i) and "feasted on the flesh of lions" (GM 133.g -- "Blessed is the man who eateth lion" : Gospel according to Philippos); his ribs became "cracked" (GM 133.h) similarly as a rib was extracted from the thorax of the sleeping >adam. [written 8 June 2018]

LG:LB = Louis Ginzberg : Legends of the Bible. Konecky & Konecky, Old Saybrook (CT).




Heinrich Khunrath

Hereward Tilton


pp. 412-4 the 3 heavens

p. 412

"Khunrath's Paracelsianism -- ... 'heaven' (Hebrew shamayim) {a grammatically dual noun}, which is threefold in its structure ... .

... angels in the uppermost, third or empyrean heaven ... .

Beneath the empyrean heaven lies the firmament (raqiya shamayim) or second heaven, ...

a 'solid arch' more durable than diamond,

{Arches arch from-pilastretop-to-pilastretop in the Manikhaian depiction of the divine cosmography indicating the circular arcade (also shewn in "layer five" of 8 "Subterranean Layers" : "PMC", p. 87) surrounding the known universe -- constrast the unarched circular arcade of Stonehenge, and at (PHCC, p. 559) Aiguptian Thebai.}

in order that it supports {sic! read "support" (a conative subjunctive)} the upper waters {"waters which are above the firmament"} ... .

p. 413

Beneath the firmament lies a 'great empty space' ... .

{"a vast emptiness and no holiness at all" (RTL); otherwise translated (B&ZV) "Emptiness! Emptiness! ... No holiness at all!"}

p. 414

The first or inferior heaven ... interpenetrates ... the material sublunary world ... ."

PHCC = William Williams : Primitive history, from the Creation to Cadmus. Chichester : J. Seagrave, 1789. "Supplement of Emendations", re p. 361.

"PMC" = Zsuzsanna Gula`sci & Jason BeDuhn : "Picturing Mani’s Cosmology". BULLETIN OFTHE ASIA INSTITUTE, n.s. 25 (2011): 55-105.

RTL = Tao Yu:an : Records of the Transmission of the Lamp.

B&ZV = Thich Thien-an : Buddhism and Zen in Vietnam : In Relation to the Development of Buddhism in Asia. Charles E. Tuttle Co, Rutland (VT).

p. 415 according to De vita : quintessence of the spiritus mundi; sparks of the anima mundi

"the Ficinian spiritus mundi ... is described in Ficino's De vita as ... the quintessence ... which acts as an alll-pervasive medium allowing the generative power of the anima mundi ... to act upon the lower, grosser world. ... This power is to be found in the lower world in the form of

fiery sparks of the world soul,

{"[p. 390] With his fall, Adam's soul ... itself shattered, splintering into a multitude of soul-sparks,"

which need the heavenly water (spirit) {"The Spirit of the Gods [Ruwh. >lohiym {grammatical plural}] moved upon the face of the waters" (B-Re>s^iyt 1:2).} as their vehicle in order to be united with ... matter (body)."

which now must be uplifted by the individual men and women who are vivified by them. ... However, certain sparks ... are restored by man's redirecting his natural bodily instincts ... . ... According to the Lurianists, ... the performance ... is only fully efficacious ... if it is accompanied by ... mystical contemplations [p. 391] that map ... onto the realm of the Partsufim and intend the unification of the various masculine and feminine aspects of the divine." (SPh&PsP, pp. 390-1)}

SPh&PsP = Sanford L. Drob : Symbols ... : Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Jason Aronson Inc, Northvale (NJ), 2000.

{To "intend the unification of the various masculine and feminine aspects of the divine" would be to intend to restore the primordial status of deathlessness, for, (Eu-angelion kata Philippos)

"When Eve was in Adam there was no death."}

"Gospel of Philip - NHC II, 3".

p. 418 philosophers' stone's production of genius & of cheerfulness

"with regard to the psychoactive properties of the Khunrath's aurum potible or Philosophers' Stone, in the Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae (1609) we are told that it 'stimulates genius' and 'promotes a perpetual cheerfulness'."

pp. 419-20 psychedelic substance enabling hearing of praeternatural "mighty music"

p. 419

"elements of Khunrath's oeuvre appear to belong to an early psychedelic literature emerging in the wake of Paracelsus' discovery of diethyl ether. Hence another prominent description of an [viz., this particular] inhaled entheogen ... with Khunrath's acquaintance, John Dee. This is the so-called Angelical Stone, which according to Ashmole [1651, Bi verso] 'affords the apparition of Angells, and gives a power of conversing with them, by Dreames and Revelations'. Purportedly the highest form of the Philosopher's Stone, the Angelical Stone was described at length by Dee's fellow courtier Edward Dyer (1543-1607) in his manuscript [1562]. ... Dyer specifically states [1562, pp. 63 verso-64 recto] that

it is the 'most heavenly and fragrant smells' of the Angelical Stone that 'ravish the senses' and grant 'the apparition of most blessed and glorious angels'.

{This is an irrealistic, figurative laudation, intended merely to entice persons to sample it. A modern-day correlative would be a litterary composition lavishly asserting that LSD can, by means of its most heavenly and fragrant of favors, so ravish the senses as to grant the apparition of most blessed and glorious deva-s and asura-s.}

What is more {wondrous to experience}, the

p. 420

Angelical Stone is so subtle and fine a substance that it can neither be seen, nor felt, 'yett you may sensibly hear itt with your aeriall gates making a noyse or sound in the body of man'."

{Such an invisible, impalpable substance (to wit, a gas) even causeth hearing of praeternatural sounds when taken bodily (viz., inhaled) through one's "aeriall gates" (nostrils), and thus must be an entheogenic order of psychedelic eucharist.}

Ashmole 1651 = Elias Ashmole : Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. London : Nathaniel Brooke.

Dyer 1562 = Edwardus Generosus [Edward Dyer] : Epitome of the Treasure of all Wells.

p. 419, fn. 221 psychedelic substance enabling hearing of praeternatural "mighty music" {Cf. the divine music to be witnessed at played the divine Caran.a musicians at the divine court of god Brahma in that God's Heaven, expounded (in the litterature of the Radha Swami religious society) as audible during trancing, or (in the litterature of the Ekankar religious society) as audible during dreaming.}

"for a description of 'the mighty music of the triumphal march into


{"place where there is nothing" in the Tao-Te C^>in; \s`unyata\ 'emptiness, voidness' of Maha-yana metaphysics}

see Oliver Wendell HOLMES, 'Mechanism Thought and Morals', in Pages from an Old Volume of Life : A Collection of Essays (1857-1881) (Boston : Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1892), vol. 4, 260-314."


Aaron Cheak (ed.) : Alchemical Traditions from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde. Numen Bks MMXIII, Melbourne (Victoria), 2013.