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Ripley's First GateBack to Twelve Gates . Back to Ripley's works.
CALCINATION - THE FIRST GATE
Calcination is the purgation of our stone,
And restoration also of its natural heat.
Of radical humidity it looseth none,
Inducing solution into our stone most mete.
Seek after philosophy I you advise
But not after the common guise,
With sulphur and salts prepared in diverse ways.
Neither with corrosives, nor with fire alone,
Nor with vinegar, nor with ardent water,
Neither with the vapour of lead,
Our stone is calcined according to our intent.
All those who to calcining so be bent,
From this hard science withdraw their hand,
Till they our calcining better understand.
For by such calcining, their bodies will be spoiled,
For it diminishes the moisture of our stone.
Therefore when bodies to powder be burnt,
Dry as ashes of tree or bone,
Of such calxes then will we will have none,
For moisture we multiply radical,
In our calcining, diminishing none at all.
And for a sure ground of our true calcination,
Work wisely only kind with kind.
For kind to kind has appetite and inclination.
He who does not know this, in knowledge is blind,
And may wander forth as mist in the wind,
Knowing never with profit where to alight,
Because he conceives not our words aright.
Join kind to kind therefore as reason is,
For as every young shoot answers its own seed,
Man begets man, a beast a beast, likewise,
Further to treat of this there is no need.
But understand this point if you will succeed,
Each thing is first calcined in its own kind,
This well concealed fruit therein shall you find.
And we make calx unctuous both white and red,
Of three degrees or our base be perfect,
Fluxible as wax, else stand they in little stead.
By right long process as philosophers do write,
A year we take or more for our respite.
For in less space our calxes will not be made,
Able to tinge with colour that will not fade.
And for thy proportions you must beware,
For therein may you be beguiled.
Therefore so that your work will not be marred,
Let your body be subtly filled with Mercury,
As much then so subtiled,
One of the Sun, two of the Moon,
Till altogether like pap be done.
Then make the Mercury four to the Sun,
Two to the Moon as it should be,
And thus your work must be begun,
In figure of the Trinity,
Three of the body and of the spirit three,
And for the unity of the substance spiritual,
One more than of the substance corporeal.
By Raymond's repertory this is true Proportion,
There who choose to look.
The same my Doctor did show to me,
But three of the spirit Bacon took,
To one of the body,
For which I lay awake many a night before I knew it.
And both be true, take which you choose.
If the water also be equal in proportion to the earth,
With heat in due measure,
From them shall spring a new young shoot,
Both white and red in pure tincture,
Which in the fire shall ever endure.
Kill you the quick, the dead revive;
Make trinity unity without any strife.
This is the surest and best proportion,
For where is least of the part spiritual,
The better therefore shall be solution,
Than if you did it swell with water,
Your earth overglutting which loses all,
Take heed therefore to the potter's loam,
And make you never too wet your womb.
That loam behold how it is tempered,
The mean also how it is calcinated,
And ever look you bear this in mind,
That never your earth with water be suffocated.
Dry up your moisture with heat most temperate,
Help Dissolution with moisture of the Moon,
And Congelation with the Sun, then you have done.
Four natures into the fifth so shall you turn,
Which is a nature most perfect and temperate,
But hard it is with your bare foot to spurn,
Against a bar of iron, or steel newly sharpened,
For many do so which be infatuated,
When they such high things take in hand,
Which they in no way do understand.
In eggs, in vitriol, or in blood,
What riches they go there to find.
If they Philosophy understood,
They would not in working be so blind,
To seek Gold and Silver out of their kind.
For like as fire is of the burning principle,
So is the principle of gilding likewise.
If you intend therefore to make,
Gold and Silver by craft of our philosophy,
Take neither eggs nor blood,
But Gold and Silver which naturally Calcined,
Wisely and not manually,
A new generation will be brought forth,
Increasing their kind as does everything.
And if it were true that profit might be,
In things which are not metalline,
In which be colours pleasant to see,
As in blood, eggs, hair, urine or wine,
Or in mean minerals dug out of the mine,
Yet must that element be putrefied and separated,
And with elements of perfect bodies be disposed.
But first make rotation of these elements,
And into water your earth turn first of all,
Then of your water make air by levitation,
And air make fire, then I will call you a Master,
Of all our secrets great and small.
The wheel of Elements then you can turn about,
Truly understanding our writings without doubt.
This done, go backwards, turning the wheel again,
And presently turn your fire into water,
Air into earth, else you will labour in vain.
For so to temperament is brought our stone,
And Nature's contractions, four are made one,
After they have three times been circulated,
And also your base is perfectly consummated.
This under the moisture of the Moon,
And under the temperate heat of the Sun,
Your Elements shall be incinerated soon,
And then you have the mastery won.
Thank God your work was then so begun,
For there you have one true token,
Which first in blackness will be shown to you.
That token we call the Head of the Crow,
And some men call it the Crow's bill,
Some call it the ashes of Hermes tree,
And thus they name it after their will,
Our Toad which eats his fill of the earth,
Some name it by that which it is mortified,
The spirit with venom intoxicated.
But it has an infinity of names, I say,
For it is named after each thing that is seen to be black,
Till the time it waxes white,
Then it has names of more delight,
Called after all things that be full white,
And the red likewise after the same,
Of all red things does take the name,
You are now within the first gate,
Of the Castle where the Philosophers dwell.
Proceed wisely that you may win,
And go though more gates of that Castle.
This Castle is round as any bell,
And gates it has yet eleven more,
One is conquered, now to the second go.
The end of the First Gate.
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.
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Emerald tablet of Hermes
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