a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


Hermetic Arcanum - first 30 chapters

[from ]

 The following is roughly the first quarter of the Hermetic Arcanum.  This
 is an old alchemical text giving the process of making the Philosopher's
 stone.  It is uncopyrighted, so feel free to pass it around as you will.

 The text comes from a re-publishing from 'The Alchemical Press' in 
 Edmonds, Washington.  The title page says 'The Work of an Anonymous 
 Author, PENES NOS UNDA TAGI' 'Edited by SAPERE AUDE'.  But the 
 cover says it's by Jean d'Espagnet.

Subject: Hermetic Arcanum - first 30 chapters (medium length)

  The following is roughly the first quarter of the Hermetic Arcanum.  This
  is an old alchemical text giving the process of making the Philosopher's
  stone.  It is uncopyrighted, so feel free to pass it around as you will.

               The Hermetic Arcanum
                           Canon I

  The beginning of this Divine Science is the fear of
  the Lord and its end is charity and love toward our
  Neighbour;  the all-satisfying Golden Crop is properly
  devoted to the rearing and endowing of temples and
  hospices;  for whatsoever the Almighty freely bestoweth
  on us, we should properly offer again to him.  So also
  Countries grievously oppressed may be set free;
  prisoners unduly held captive may be released, and
  souls almost starved may be relieved.
    2. The light of this knowledge is the gift of God,
  which by His will He bestoweth upon whom He
  pleaseth.  Let none therefore set himself to the study
  hereof, until having cleared and purified his heart, he
  devote himself wholly unto God, and be emptied of all
  affection and desire unto the impure things of this
    3. The Science of producing Natures grand Secret,
  is a perfect knowledge of universal Nature and of Art
  concerning the Realm of Metals;  the Practice thereof
  if conversant with finding the principles of Metals by
  Analysis, and after they have been made much more
  perfect to conjoin them otherwise than they have been
  before, that from thence may result a catholic Medicine,
  most powerful to perfect imperfect Metals, and for
  restoring sick and decayed bodies, of any sort soever.
    4. Those that hold public Honours and Offices or be
  always busied with private and necessary occupations,
  let them not strive to attain unto the acme of this
  Philosophy;  for it requireth the whole man, and being
  found, it possesseth him, and he being possessed, it
  debarreth him from all other long and serious employ-
  ments, for he will esteem other things as strange, and
  of no value unto him.
    5. Let him that is desirous of this Knowledge, clear
  his mind from all evil passions, especially pride, which
  is an abomination to Heaven, and is as the gate of
  Hell;  let him be frequent in prayer and charitable;
  have little to do with the world;  abstain from company
  keeping;  enjoy constant tranquility;  that the Mind
  may be able to reason more freely in private and be
  highly lifted up;  for unless it be kindled with a beam
  of Divine Light, it will not be able to penetrate these
  hidden mysteries of Truth.
    6.  The Alchymists who have given their minds to
  their well-nigh innumerable Sublimations, Distillations,
  Solutions, Congelations, to manifold Extraction of
  Spirits and Tinctures, and other Operations more
  subtle than profitable, and so have distracted them-
  selves by a variety of errors, as so many tormentors,
  will never be inclined again by their own Genius to the
  plain way of Nature and light of Truth;  from whence
  their industrious subtilty hath twined them, and by
  twinings and turnings, as by the Lybian Quicksands,
  hath drowned their entangled Wits:  the only hope of
  safety for them remaineth in finding out a faithful
  Guide and Master, who may make the Sun clear and
  conspicuous unto them and free their eyes from
    7.  A studious Tyro of a quick wit, constant mind,
  inflamed with the study of Philosophy, very skillful in
  natural Philosophy, of a pure heart, complete in
  manners, mightily devoted to God, though ignorant of
  practical Chymistry, may with confidence enter into
  the highway of Nature and peruse the Books of the
  best Philosophers;  let him seek out an ingenious and
  sedulous Companion for himself, and not despair of
  obtaining his desire.
    8. Let a Student of these secrets carefully beware
  of reading or keeping company with false Philosophers;
  for nothing is more dangerous to a learner of any Science,
  than the company of an unskilled or deceitful man by
  whom erroneous principles are stamped as true, whereby
  a simple and credulous mind is seasoned with false
    9. Let a Lover of truth make use of few Authors,
  but of the best note and experienced truth; let him
  suspect things that are quickly understood, especially
  in Mystical Names and Secret Operations;  for truth
  lies hid in obscurity;  for Philosophers never write
  more deceitfully - than when plainly, nor ever more
  truly - than when obscurely.
    10. As for the Authors of chiefest note, who have
  discoursed both acutely and truly of the secrets of
  Nature and hidden Philosophy, Hermes and Morienus
  Romanus amongst the Ancients are in my judgement of
  the highest esteem;  amongst the Moderns, Count
  Trevisan, and Raimundus Lullius are in greatest
  reverence with me; for what that most acute Doctor
  hath omitted, none almost hath spoken;  let a student
  therefore peruse his works, yea let him often read over
  his Former Testament, and Codicil, and accept them as
  a Legacy of very great worth.  To these two volumes
  let him add both his volumes of Practice, out of which
  works all things desirable may be collected, especially
  the truth of the First Matter, of the degrees of Fire,
  and the Regimen of the Whole, wherein the final Work
  is finished, and those things which our Ancestors so
  carefully laboured to keep secret.  The occult causes
  of things, and the secret motions of nature, are demon-
  strated nowhere more clearly and faithfully.  Concern-
  ind the first and mystical Water of the Philosophers he
  hath set down few things, yet very pithily.
    11. As for that Clear Water sought for by many,
  found by so few, yet obvious and profitable unto all,
  which is the Basis of the Philosophers Work, a noble
  Pole, not more famous for his learning than subtilty of
  wit, who wrote anonymously, but whose name notwith-
  standing a double Anagram hath betrayed, hath in his
  Novum Lumen Chymicum, Parabola and Aenigma, as
  also in his Tract on Sulphur, spoken largely and freely
  enough;  yea he hath expressed all things converning it
  so plainly, that nothing can be more satisfactory to him
  that desireth knowledge.
    12. Philosophers do usually express themselves more
  pithily in types and enigmatical figures (as by a mute
  kind of speech) than by words;  see for example,
  Seniors Table, the Allegorical Pictures of Rosarius,
  the Pictures of Abraham Judaeus in Flamel, and the
  drawings of Flamel himself;  of the latter sort, the rare
  Emblems of the most learned Michael Maierus wherein
  the mysteris of the Ancients are so fully opened, and
  as new Perspectives they present antiquated truth, and
  though designed remote from our age yet are near unto
  our eyes, and are perfectly to be perceived by us.
    13. Whosoever affirmeth that the Philosophers grand
  Secret is beyond the powers of Nature and Art, he is
  blind because he ignores the forces of Sol and Luna.
    14. As for the matter of their hidden Stone, Philoso-
  phers have written diversely;  so that very many
  disagreeing in Words, do nevertheless very well agree
  in the Thing;  nor doth their different speech argue the
  science ambiguous or false, since the same thing may
  be expressed with many tongues, by divers expressions,
  and by a different character, and also one and many
  things may be spoken of after diverse manners.
    15. Let the studious Reader have a care of the mani-
  fold significations of words, for by deceitful windings,
  and doubtful, yea contrary speeches (as it should seem),
  Philosophers wrote their mysteries, with a desire of
  veiling and hiding, yet not of sophisticating or destroy-
  ing the truth; and though their writings abound with
  ambiguous and equivocal words; yet about none do
  they more contend than in hiding their Golden Branch.

     Quen tegit omnis
   Lucus; et obscuris claudant convallibus umbrae.

   Which all the groves with shadows overcast,
   And gloomy valleys hide.

  Nor yieldeth it to any Force, but readily and willingly
  will follow him, who

   Maternas agnoscit aves,
   . . geminae cui forte Columbae
   Ipsa sub ora viri coelo venere volantes.

   Knows Dame Venus Birds
   And him to whom of Doves a lucky pair
   Sent from above shall hover bout his Ear.
    16. Whosoever seeketh the Art of perfecting and
  multiplying imperfect Metals, beyond the nature of
  Metals, goes in error, for from Metals the Metals are to
  be derived;  even as from Man, Mankind;  and from an
  Ox only, is that species to be obtained.
    17. Metals, we must confess, cannot be multiplies
  by the instinct and labour of Nature only;  yet we may
  affirm that the multiplying virtue is hid in their depths,
  and manifested itself by the helf of Art:  In this Work,
  Nature standeth in need of the aid of Art;  and both do
  make a perfect whole.
    18.  Perfect Bodies as Sol and Luna are endues
  with a perfect seed;  and therefore under the hard crust
  of the perfect Metals the Perfect Seed lies hid;  and he
  that knows how to take it out by the Philosophers
  Solution, hath entered upon the royal highway;  for -

     In auro
   Semina sunt auri, quamvis abstrusa recedant

   In Gold the seeds of Gold do lie,
   Though buried in Obscurity.

    19.  Most Philosophers have affirmed that their
  Kingly Work is wholly composed of Sol and Luna;
  others have thought good to add Mercury to Sol;  some
  have chosen Sulphur and Mercury;  others have attri-
  buted to small part in so great a Work to Salt mingled
  with the other two.  The very same men have professed
  that this Clear Stone is made of one thing only, some-
  times of two, or of three, at other times of four, and of
  five;  and yet though writing so variusly upon the
  same subject, they do nevertheless agree in sense and
    20.  Not that (abandoning all blinds) we may write
  candidly and truly, we hold that this entire Work is
  perfected by two Bodies only;  to wit, by Sol and Luna
  rightly prepared, for this is the mere generation which
  is by nature, with the help of Art, wherein the union of
  male and female doth take place, and from thence
  an offspring far more noble than the parents is brought
    21.  Now those Bodies must be taken, which are of
  an unspotted and incorrupt virginity;  such as have
  life and spirit in them;  not extinct as those that are
  handles by the vulgar;  for who can expect life from
  dead things;  and those are called impure which have
  suffered combination;  those dead and extinct which (by
  the enforcement of the chief Tyrant of the world) have
  poured out their soul with their blood by Martyrdom;
  flee then a fraticide from which the most imminent
  danger in the whole Work is threatened.
    22.  Now Sol is Masculine, forasmuch as he sendete
  forth active and energizing seed;  Luna is Feminine or
  Negative and she is called the Matrix of Nature, because
  she receiveth the sperm, and fosteresth it by monthly
  provision, yet doth Luna not altogether want in positive
  or active virtue.
    23.  By the name of Luna Philosophers understand
  not the vulgar Moon, which also may be positive in its
  operation, and in combining acts a positive part.  Let
  none therefore presume to try the unnatural combina-
  tion of two positives, neither let him conceive any hope
  of issue from such association;  but he shall join
  Gabritius to Beia, and offer sister to brother infirm
  union, that from thence he may receive Sols noble
    24.  They that hold Sulphur and Mercury to be the
  First Matter of the Stone, by the name of Sulphur they
  understand Sol;  by Mercury the Philosophic Luna;  so
  that he attempt not to work without Mercury and Luna
  for Silver;  nor without Mercury and Sol for Gold.
    25. Let none therefore be deceived by adding a third
  to two: for Love admitteth not a third; and wedlock is
  terminated in the number of two;  love further extended
  is not matrimony.
    26.  Nevertheless Spiritual love polluteth not any
  virgin;  Beia might therefore without fault (before her
  betrothal to Gabritius) have felt spiritual love, to the
  end that she might thereby be made more cheerful, more
  pure, and fitter for union.
    27.  Procreation is the end of lawful Wedlock.  Now
  that the progeny may be born more vigorous and active,
  let both the combatants be cleansed from every ill and
  spot, before they are united in marriage.  Let nothing
  superfluous cleave unto them, because from pure seed
  comes a purified generation, and so the chaste wedlock
  of Sol and Luna shall be finished when they shall enter
  into combination, and be conjoined, and Luna shall
  receive a soul from her husband by this union;  from
  this conjunction a most potent King shall arise, whose
  father will be Sol and his mother Luna.
    28.  He that seeks for a physical tincture without Sol
  and Luna, loseth both his cost and pains: for Sol
  afforded a most plentiful tincture of redness, and Luna
  of whiteness, for these two only are called perfect;
  because they are filled with the substance of purest
  Sulphur, perfectly clarified by the skill of nature.  Let
  thy Mercury therefore receive a tincture from one or
  other of these luminaries;  for anything must of necessity
  possess a tincture before it can tinge other bodies.
    29.  Perfect metals contain in themselves two things
  which they are able to communicate to the imperfect
  metals.  Tincture and Power of fixation;  for pure
  metals, because they are dyed and fixed with pure
  Sulphureto wit both white and red, do therefore perfectly
  tincture and fix, if they be fitly prepared with their
  proper Sulphur and Arsenic:  otherwise they have not
  strength for multiplying their tincture.
    30.  Mercury is alone among the imperfect metals, fit
  to receive the tincture of Sol and Luna in the work of
  the Philosophers Stone, and being itself full of tincture
  can tinge other metals in abundance;  yet ought it
  (before that) to be full of invisible Sulphur, that it may
  be the more coloured with the visible tincture of perfect
  bodies, and so repay with sufficient Usury.
    31.  Now the whole tribe of Philosophers do much
  assert and work mightily to extract Tincture out of
  gold : for they believe that Tincture can be separated
  from Sol, and being separated increases in virtue
  but -

   Spes tandem Agricolas vanis eludit aristis.

   Vain hope, at last the hungry Plough-man cheats
   With empty husks, instead of lusty meats.

  For it is impossible that Sols Tincture can at all be
  severed from his natural body, since there can be no
  elementary body made up by nature more perfect than
  gold, the perfection whereof proceedeth from the strong
  and inseparable union of pure colouring Sulphur with
  Mercury;  both of them being admirably pre-disposed
  thereunto by Nature;  whose true separation nature
  denieth unto Art.  But if any liquor remaining be
  extracted (by the violence of fire or waters) from the
  Sun, it is to be reputed a part of the body made liquid
  or dissolved by force.  For the tincture followeth its
  body, and is never separated from it.  That is a delu-
  sion of this Art, which is unknown to many Artificers
    32.  Nevertheless it may be granted, that Tincture
  may be separable from its body, yet (we must confess)
  it cannot be separated without the corruption of the
  tincture: as when Artists offer violence to the gold
  destroying by fire, or use Aqua fortis, this rather cor-
  roding than dissolving.  The body therefore if despoiled
  of its Tincture and Golden Fleece, must needs grow
  base, and as an unprofitable heap turn to the damage
  of its Artificer, and the Tincture thus corrupted can
  only have a weaker operation.
    33.  Let Alchymists in the next place cast their
  Tincture into Mercury, or into any other imperfect body,
  and as strongly conjoin both of them as their Art will
  permit;  yet shall they fail of their hopes in two ways.
  First, because the Tincture will neither penetrate nor
  colour beyond Natures weight and strength;  and
  therefore no gain will accrue from thence to recompense
  the expense and countervail the loss of the body
  spoiled, and thus of no value;  so -

   Cum labor in damno est, crescit mortalis egestas.

   Want is poor mortals wages, when his toil
   Produces only loss of pain and oil.

  Lastly, that debased Tincture applied to another body
  will not give that perfect fixation and permanency re-
  quired to endure a strong trial, and resist searching
    34.  Let them therefore that are desirour of Alchemy,
  and have hitherto followed imposters and mountebanks,
  found a retreat, spare no time nor cost, and give their
  minds to a work truly Philosophical, lest the Phrygians
  be wise too late, and at length be compelled to cry out
  with the prophet, Strangers have devoured his strength.
    35.  In the Philosophers work more time and toil than
  cost is expended: for he that hath convenient matter,
  need be at little expense; besides, those that hunt after
  great store of money, and place their chief end in wealth,
  they trust more to their riches, than their own art.
  Let, therefore, the too credulous tyro beware of pilfering
  pickpockets, for while they promise golden mountains,
  they lay in wait for gold;  they demand bright gold
  (viz., money beforehand), because they walk in evil and
    36.  As those that sail between Scylla and Charybdis
  are in danger from both sides: unto no less hazard are
  they subject who pursuing the prize of the Golden
  fleece are carried between the uncertain Rocks of the
  Sulphur and Mercury of the Philosophers.  The more
  acute students by their constant reading of grace and
  credible Authors, and by the radiant sunlight, have at-
  tained unto the knowledge of Sulphur, but are at a stand
  at the entrance of their search for the Philosophers
  Mercury; for Writers have twisted it with so many
  windings and meanderings, involved it with so many
  equivocal names, that it may be sooner met with by the
  force of the Seekers intuition, than be found by reason
  or toil.
    37.  That Philosophers might the deeper hide their
  Mercury in darkness, they have made it manifold, and
  placed their Mercury (yet diversely) in every part and
  in the forefront of their work, nor will he attain unto a
  perfect knowledge thereof, who shall be ignorant of any
  part of the Work.
    38.  Philosophers have acknowledged their Mercury
  to be threefold; to wit, after the absolute preparation of
  the First degree, the Philosophical sublimation, for
  then they call it Their Mercury, and Mercury
    39.  Again, in the Second preparation, that which by
  Authors is styled the First (because they omit the First)
  Sol being now made crude again, and resolved into
  his first matter, is called the Mercury of such like
  bodies, or the Philosophers Mercury;  then the matter
  is called Rebis, Chaos, or the Whole World, wherein
  are all things necessary to the Work, because that only
  is sufficient to perfect the Stone.
    40.  Thirdly, the Philosophers do sometimes call
  Perfect Elixer and Colouring Medicine - Their Mercury,
  though improperly;  for the name of Mercury doth only
  properly agree with that which is volatile; besides that
  which is sublimated in every region of the work, they
  call Mercury: but Elixir - that which is most fixed
  cannot have the simple name of Mercury;  and therefore
  they have styled it Their Mercury to differentiate it
  from that which is volatile.  A straight way is only
  laid down for some to find out and discern so many
  Mercuries of the Philosophers, for those only -

   - Quos aequus amavit
   Jupiter, aut ardens evexit ad aethere virtus.

   - Whom just and might Jove
   Advanceth by the strength of love;
   Or such who brave heroic fire,
   Makes from dull Earth to Heaven aspire.

  41.  The Elixir is called the Philosophers Mercury
  for the likeness and great conformity it hath with
  heavenly Mercury;  for to this, being devoid of elemen-
  tary qualities, heaven is believed to be most propitious;
  and that changeable Proteus puts on and increaseth
  the genius and nature of other Planets, by reason of
  opposition, conjunction, and aspect.  In like manner
  this uncertain Elixir worketh, for being restricted to no
  proper quality, it embraceth the quality and disposition
  of the thing wherewith it is mixed, and wonderfully
  multiplieth the virtues and qualities thereof.
    42.  In the Philosophical sublimation or first prepar-
  ation of Mercury, Herculean leabour must be undergone
  by the workman; for Jason had in vain attempted his
  expedition to Colchos without Alcides.

   Alter in auratam nota de vertice pellem
   Principium velut ostendit, quod sumere possis;
   Alter anos quantum subeas.

   One from on high a Golden Fleece displays
   Which shews the Entrance, another says
   How hard a task youll find.

  For the entrance is warded by horned beasts, which
  drive away those that approach rashly thereunto, to
  their great hurt;  only the ensigns of Diana and the
  Doves of Venus are able to assuage their fierceness, if
  the fates favour the attempt.

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races