In our URL " Fulcanelli - Dry Way " we described in detail who Fulcanelli was, as described by Geneviève Dubois in the excellent book " Fulcanelli Dévoilé ", Editions Dervy, 91, bd Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris. Fulcanelli is the pseudonym of Jean-Julien Champagne. At that time, he frequented the Wonderful Bookstore, property of Pierre Dujols, where a famous alchemists group congregated that included René Schwaller de Lubicz, Henry Coton Alvart, Jean-Julien Champagne, Celli and still others. Pierre Dujols was Coton's master and friend of Champagne. It was after the Pierre Dujols' death, that Jean-Julien Champagne took possession of his alchemical manuscripts and cut off his relationship with Dujols' wife.
Jean-Julien Champagne delivered the manuscripts of "Les Demeures Philosophales" to his disciple Eugène Canseliet to publish them under pseudonym of Fulcanelli, without telling him that they originated with Pierre Dujols. Eugène Canseliet always called Champagne " my Master ". To summarize: Jean-Julien Champagne comes to be known as Fulcanelli to Canseliets and Boucher´s eyes, but it was always Pierre Dujols that was behind everything.
In the Fulcanelli texts there is writing by Schwaller, Coton and Champagne. There was also much more of Pierre Dujols, because without any doubt, he was the center of whole Schwaller group. There was a "cabal" made with the purpose of passing off Jean-Julien Champagne for Fulcanelli.
Everything this was confirmed for us in " Fulcanelli Devoilé ", a book authored by Mme. Geneviève Dubois, to whom we are thankful.
With this small introduction, we will discuss of one of most famous Fulcanelli's book The Dwellings of The Philosophers.
There is no doubt that this book (the French edition is actually two books) is the better known and the most appreciated by the students of alchemy worldwide. It was there that we started as many others did before us, and as things inevitably will happen, we lost years trying to unveil what those alchemists (mainly Pierre Dujols) had written in symbolic language.
Pierre Dujols was a scholar with great knowledge of Greek, Latin, mythology, and both symbolic and operative alchemy. His writings are practically based in the alchemical symbology leaving practical laboratory work in second place.
Eugène Canseliet, who acquired the writings of Dujols from Jean-Julien Champagne, also became a good scholar of Latin and Greek in later years, although at that time he was the "boy " of the Fulcanelli group.
His knowledge is obvious in his books, especially in " L'Alchimie Expliquée Sur Ses Textes Clasiques " (which we consider his best book). In this work the Master describes symbolically, and with unusual charity, the modus operandi of the antimony dry way for who have already some knowledge of and experience in the Art.
The Dwellings of The Philosophers is the opposite in tone, being a book where several alchemic paths (the wet way and the way of amalgams) are described in a mixed up fashion such that for the beginner it is a true labyrinth without exit.
But even so, it is cited frequently by the students of the Art in the several lists of alchemy. Everyone seems to be accepting the interpretation that seems the most adequate, because they taking text literally, but these interpretations really have no value in the practice of the operations.
The Dwellings of The Philosophers, as already we have implied, is an amalgam of the several alchemic paths; sometimes intentionally contradictory, dispersed throughout the whole book without sequence. It arranges everything around the symbolic descriptions that had been made of the sculptures or images found in the Dwellings visited by the authors.
We know that Pierre Dujols, Champagne and Canseliet had worked in the antimony dry way. The Dwellings of The Philosophers is predominantly a symbolic description of this alchemical path.
Understanding this book is far from easy for those who don't know the symbolism. It is almost impossible for those who do not know the dry way modus operandi to find the sequence of that Work in the book.
As in many other books about alchemy where the symbolism overlaps the practice, the authors of this text have not been very charitable. The books greatest virtue is the erudition of main author Pierre Dujols in giving the many invaluable symbolic descriptions. The bibliography is also a precious compass that points us to several excellent books of other classic alchemists that are essential for further studies of the Art.
The authors don't hide this difficulty in the interpretation of alchemy books, as we see in the following texts of the English edition of The Dwellings of The Philosophers, Archive Press and Communications, Boulder.
Pg.65. « Alchemy is obscure only because it is hidden. The philosophers who wanted to transmit the exposition of their doctrine and the fruit of their labours to posterity took great care not to divulge the art by presenting it under a common form so that the layman could not misuse it. Thus, because of the difficulty one has of understanding it, because of the mystery of its enigmas and of the opacity of its parables, the science has come to be shut up among reveries, illusions, and chimeras.
In fact these sepia-toned old books are not easily penetrated. To try to read them the way we read ours would be a mistake. Nevertheless, the first impression we receive from them, as strange and confusing, as it may seem, remains vibrant and persuasive. Beyond the allegorical language and the abundance of ambiguous nomenclature, we fathom in them this ray of truth, this profound conviction born from certain facts, duly observed, and which owe nothing to the whimsical speculations of pure imagination. »
Pg.103. « In summary, alchemical science, of an extreme simplicity in its materials and its formula, nevertheless remains the most unrewarding, the most obscure of all, by reason of the exact knowledge of the required conditions and the required influences. There is its mysterious side, and it is towards the solution of this most difficult problem that the efforts of all the sons of Hermes converge. »-
The methods of veiling the science have remained, to this day, effective. All the efforts of the alchemy students who read Fulcanelli converge in this way but, unhappily, in most cases, aren't enough to get through the interpretation of the symbolism in the texts and to the matter of adapting the interpretations to the practice. This is often because of having preconceived ideas that make understanding more difficult, and taking the "said philosophical speculations " as the true (albeit incorrect) interpretation of the texts.
The previous reading of other alchemy books and the consequent false confidence in incorrect alchemical knowledge will contribute to error, as is related in the following text:
Pg.141-142. « And so beware of introducing, in your observations, that which you think you know, for you would be forced to conclude that it would have been better to learn nothing rather than to have to unlearn everything.
This is perhaps superfluous advice, since putting it into practice demands the application of an unyielding will, of which mediocre people are incapable. We know how costly it is to exchange diplomas, seals, and parchments for the humble mantle of the philosopher. At age twenty-four we had to drain this chalice filled with a bitter beverage. Heart-wounded, ashamed of the errors of our young years, we had to burn the books and the notebooks, we had to confess our ignorance, and as a modest neophyte, decipher another science on the benches of another school. And so, it is for those who had the courage to forget everything that we take the trouble to study the symbol and to strip its esoteric veil. »
As you will see from the page numbering in The Dwellings of The Philosophers nothing follows a logical sequence that it allows you to study it easily. That was exactly the research work we proposed to do. Rereading the texts, we realized we have more than thirty years worth of familiarity with the French edition and still needed to place them in the dry way sequence that was the one that Fulcanelli and his disciple Canseliet practiced. Even so many less instructed students in the Art have not admitted the necessity of this painstaking work, because they don't really understand the texts.
The only reason this undertaking was possible for us was that several years ago, we had successfully completed the dry way up to the stage of "the Eagles" or sublimation. Like most who attempt it, at this point we took the wrong path at this point, due to our mistakes in speculation as to the texts meaning.
At this point, we will start by describing the Secret Fire salt description, according to the dry way. This description was done in one of Canseliet's forewords, and it was the most sincere and charitable writing that we found in the whole book. The Dwellings of The Philosophers' author (or authors) includes descriptions of the so-called secret fire that refers to other alchemical paths, but in an obscure way. Apparently the practical aspect of the path described, or the salt itself, was not clearly understood by them.
In the beginning of our studies in alchemy, we thought that the secret fire would be universal; common to all alchemical paths. After many years of practical experience, we have found that this is a grave misconception. In practical alchemy, the secret fire is the agent that catalyses separation or dissolution (dry or wet) of the substances involved, therefore, it will be different in each path.
Canseliet's foreword, French edition, pg.32-33 (English edition, pg. 538-539)
«Among the salts which prove capable of entering into the composition of the philosophical and secret fire, saltpetre would seem to hold an important place. At least its etymology seems to make it presumable. For the Greek word nitron - nitron - which designates potassium nitrate, commonly called nitre, comes from uiptv - nipto - or uizj - nizo -to wash; we know that philosophers recommend that we wash with fire. All their purifications, all their sublimations are made with the aid of fiery washings, "laveures" as Nicholas Flamel writes it. Furthermore, saltpetre, when acting in contact with matters in fusion, while "fusing" is partially transformed into potassium carbonate; it "alkalizes". The carbonate used to be called salt of tartar and tartar translates into the Greek as truz - trux -meaning wine lees, scoria, sediment. The root of his noun is the verb trugj - trugo - to dessicate, to dry, which expresses the very action of fire and could furthermore be compared, in a very suggestive fashion, to the popular French "truc" which has the meaning of a hidden process, of subtle or adroit means, a trick. The trick of the work would then reside in the application of the salt of tartar resulting from the attack on niter, regarded as the substance or one of the composing elements of the secret fire which alchemists so rigorously guarded in their treatises.»
Certainly this is a charitable description of the secret fire of the dry way, as written by Canseliet in one of the forewords to "Les Demeures Philophales".
For those who have some knowledge of Spagyrics, and know how to prepare these two canonical salts, understanding this text will be extremely easy. In being charitable to those who dont have the knowledge or experience to understand this text, we can explain that this secret fire is composed of two different salts, one of which is nitre and the other being the vegetal salt of wine - these two are combined in equal parts. These two salts will have to be spagyricaly treated and crystallized with dew to become canonical and suitable for the Work as the Art of the dry way demands.
Having gained knowledge of the dry way secret fire, we will need to know what will be the mineral subject of this path. We have often seen and verified many polemics in the alchemy lists about the identification of the mineral subject of the dry way.
As with the secret fire, earlier in our studies we thought that there would be a universal matter in alchemy, common to all methods. This mistake was also due to reading the Fulcanelli works. In reality it is not like this: each alchemy path implies a suitable matter. In the wet way the matter or subject is different than in the dry way and there are various wet ways that use different subject materials.
Now we will explore the dry way prima material or subject mineral, as it is described in The Dwellings of The Philosophers, for the purpose of its identification for neophytes in the Art.
Pg.120-121. « Its traditional name, the stone of the philosophers, is descriptive enough of the body to serve as a useful basis for its identification. It is, indeed, genuinely a stone, for, out of the mine, it shows the external characteristics common to all ores. It is the chaos of the sages, in which the four elements are contained, but in a confused, disorganized manner. It is our old man and the father of metals, which owe their origin to it, as it represents the first earthly metallic manifestation. It is our arsenic, cadmia, antimony, blende, galena, cinnabar, colcothar, aurichalcum, realgar, orpiment, calamine, tutia, tartar, etc. All ores, through the hermetic voice, rendered homage to it with their name. It is still called black dragon covered with scales, venomous serpent, daughter of Saturn, and " the most beloved of its children." This primal substance has seen its evolution interrupted by the interposition and penetration of a filthy combustible sulphur, which coats its pure mercury, holds it back, and coagulates it. And, though it is entirely volatile, this primitive mercury, materialized by the drying action of the arsenical sulphur, takes the shape of a solid, black, dense, fibrous, brittle, crushable mass rendered, by its lack of utility, vile, abject, and despicable in the eyes of man. Yet, in this subject - poor relative of the metal family - the enlightened artist finds everything that he needs to begin and perfect his Great Work, since it is present, say the authors, at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the Work. Therefore the Ancients have compared it to the Chaos of Creation, where elements and principles, the darkness and the light, were one and the other confounded, intermixed, and unable to mutually interact. For this reason they symbolically depicted their matter in its first being as the image of the world which contained in itself the materials of our hermetic globe or microcosm, assembled without order, without form, without rhythm or measure.
Our globe, reflection and mirror of the macrocosm, is therefore nothing but a small part of the primordial Chaos, destined by divine will for elementary renewal in the three kingdoms, but which sets of mysterious circumstances has oriented and directed toward the mineral kingdom. Thus given form and specified, subjected to the laws ruling the evolution and the progression of minerals, this chaos, which has become a body, contains in a confused manner the purest seed and the closest substance there is to minerals and metals. The philosopher's matter is therefore of mineral and metallic origin. »
For those who have some knowledge of mineralogy, identifying the subject mineral is very easy, because its physio-chemical characteristics have been described here. These characteristics are confirmed by the allegory and symbology but, for that, you will need to have knowledge of alchemical symbology, acquired from other books.
Fulcanelli says that our subject is a mineral parent, a "poor cousin" in the family of metals, that saw its evolution interrupted by the interposition and penetration of infectious and combustible sulphur that imposes upon its pure mercury, holding and coagulating it. That it is Saturn's son, volatile, solid, black, fibrous, fragile, friable, whose lack of utility makes it vile, abject and worthless to the eyes of the men.
This description of the mineral subject would be more than enough for some of you to identify the dry way mineral subject.
However, we will go to a very suggestive Philalethes' text: The Marrow of the Alchemy for help with its identification:
The Marrow of the Alchemy
« The Substance which we first take in hand is a mineral similar to Mercury, which a crude Sulphur doth bake in the Earth; it is called Saturns Child, which indeed appeared vile to sight, but is glorious within; It is sable coloured, with Argent Veins appearing intermixed in the body, whose sparkling line stains the connate Sulphur; It is wholly volatile and unfixed, yet taken in its native crudity, it purged all superfluity of Sol; it is of a venomous nature, and abused by many in a medicinal way; If its Elements by Art be loosed, the inside appears very resplendent, which then flowed in the Fire like a metal, although there is nothing of a Metalline king more brittle. »
Also Philalethes in The Marrow of the Alchemy says that our mineral subject is Saturn's Son, that is sable in colour (sable in heraldry is the black colour) with silver-plated veins, whose sparkling body is spotted by an innate sulphur, volatile and that in its native crudity it purges the Sun of its superfluities.
But, still let us see what Canseliet says of it in "Les Demeures Philosophales" foreword, so that we can identify, with precision and without doubts, our subject:
Pg. 21. (English edition, pg. 531) « We shall meditate on the startling cabalistic relationship, established by our Master, between the hare and the raw matter of the Great Work, "scaly, black, hard and dry," of which the cruciferous ball, proliferating in the midst of the revealing foliage and restored to its linear diagram, provides the graphic symbol characteristic of ancient treatises. It is the mark of the Earth, be it, as we have said, the primordial Chaos of the alchemical Creation or the macrocosmic globe which is part of the seven planets of the astrologers Sky. »
Canseliet, beyond confirming for us that our matter is black, scaly and dry, as we already knew, he referred to the "cruciferous ball" or "macrocosmic globe" such as Fulcanelli does in the description of the subject mineral in pages 120 - 122. " For this reason they symbolically depicted their matter in its first being as the image of the world which contained in itself the materials of our hermetic globe, or microcosm, assembled without order, without form, without rhythm or measure ".
For the attentive student and those who are moderately well versed in metallurgy and alchemical symbology, our subject mineral imposes knowledge of itself with so much evidence that it is practically impossible not to know what that mineral is.
Beyond the mineral subjects physio-chemical characteristics that are evident, we have been shown clearly that it is a mineral sulphide, black, fragile, friable, and fibrous, whose brightness is spotted by a combustible sulphur. We have also been shown that it has the properties to purge (to clean) the Sun (gold) of its superficialities such as it was taught in ancient spagyrics treatises, as well as in Basil Valentine's Twelve Keys of Philosophy. In the First Key, this author also says us that it is represented by a cruciferous globe that represents the world.
Any alchemy student that has consulted a simple table of the spagyrical symbols (see in our URL) will verify that the symbol cruciferous globe corresponds to antimony. Our mineral subject in this path, we shall say with the utmost honesty and charity, without the desire to hide anything or lead anyone astray, is antimony, in its mineral form, stibnite.
Pg.204. « It suffices to point out that the dragon is chosen as the hieroglyphic representative of the crude mineral matter with which we must begin the Work. That is to indicate its significance, the care that we must bring to the study of the outer signs and of the qualities likely to make its identification possible, to help us recognize and distinguish the hermetic subject among the many minerals which nature places at our disposal. »
The evidence, as we already said, is imposed in such a way that it leaves no room for doubt. Some alchemy students, however, say that Fulcanelli affirms peremptorily, as we will see in the following texts, that antimony is not the subject of our Art but in the end, relates that Philalethes teaches us that is not properly a mineral, etc. but a substance with the mineral characteristics described above.
Pg.235. « If Basil Valentine gives philosophical mercury the nickname of pilgrim or traveller (stiideux) because it must, says he, go through six celestial cities before fixing its residence in the seventh; if Philalethes affirms it is our only path (stidic - stibia), this is not sufficient to invoke that these masters claimed to designate common antimony as the generator of philosophical mercury. This substance is too far from the perfection, from purity, and the acquired spirituality of the humid root or metallic seed - which one could anyway not find on earth - to be genuinely useful to us. The antimony of the sages, raw matter directly extracted from the mine, "is not properly mineral, and even less metallic" as Philalethes teaches us, but without partaking of these two substances it is something between one and the other. It is not corporeal however, because it is entirely volatile, it is not spirit because it liquifies like metal in fire. It is therefore a chaos which stands in stead of mother to all metals. »
The analogy that Fulcanelli uses is the pilgrim or traveller " because it has " says Valentine, " to cross six celestial cities before fixing residence in seventh ". In our opinion, and in the face of overwhelming evidence, and as described in the First Key of the Twelve Keys of Philosophy, Valentine notes that Saturn is the seventh alchemical planet, and that it has as a goal to purify the gold in a Cupel with Saturn (lead) after having been purified by antimony or cinereous Wolf.
Pg.233. « These considerations, based upon an exact correspondence of words have not escaped the old masters or modern philosophers, who, backing them up with their authority, have contributed to spread this unfortunate error, that common antimony was the mysterious subject of the art. Unfortunate misunderstanding, invincible obstacle against which hundreds of seekers have run. »
We saw that Philalethes in The Marrow of the alchemy identifies our mineral as being antimony ore (stibnite) and therefore, these Fulcanelli comments no make sense here.
They are affirmations that Fulcanelli does contradict the descriptions of the mineral subject and its characteristics as clearly stated before. This appears to be a way of intentionally leaving many students in doubt, inducing in them error that makes the texts difficult to understand. As Canseliet says:
Canseliet's Foreword, p22, "Les Demeures Philosophales " (English edition, pg. 532).
« Let us say it straightforwardly: The matter of the alchemical work offers itself, even imposes itself, with so much evidence that there is no author, be he the most sincere, who has not become "envious," who has not silenced, veiled or falsified the choice, going as far as writing the common name of this truly predestined subject and finally declaring that it is not it.»
Reading these pertinent comments, no doubt should remain that in some alchemy books, from classic or contemporary authors, the behaviour is very similar to this: to give only a symbolic name to the matters, a name that is difficult to understand, or to described it using its true name and tell us later that it is wrong. This was what happened here.
We know already what the dry way mineral subject is, but we still lack the knowledge of the second matter that will allow to perform the Separation. By that, we mean the separation of the mercury or starred regulus (little king) of the raw mineral or black Dragon. After the Separation, then it is possible to extract the Sulphur or Adamic earth.
Pg.125-126. « This spiritual fire, given form and materialized in salt, is the hidden sulphur, since during its operation it is never made manifest or perceptible to our eyes. And yet this sulphur, as invisible as it may be, is not an ingenious abstraction or a doctrine stratagem. We know how to isolate it, how to extract if from the body that conceals it, by an occult means and in the appearance of a dry powder which, when it is in that state, becomes improper and without effect for the philosopher's art. This pure fire, of the same essence as the specific sulphur of gold but less digested, is, on the other hand, more abundant than that of the precious metal. This is why it easily unites with the mercury of minerals and imperfect metals. Philalethes affirms that it is found hidden in the belly of Aries, or the Ram, constellation which the sun crosses in the month of April. Finally, to even better designate it, we will add that this Ram, "which hides within itself the magical steel," ostensibly bears on its shield the image of the hermetic seal, the star with six rays. So it is in this very common matter, which may seem merely useful to us, that we must look for the mysterious solar fire, a subtle salt and spiritual sulphur, a celestial light diffused in the darkness of the body, without which nothing can be done and which nothing could replace. »
Fulcanelli, in this text, isn't charitable enough for alchemy students in his description of the second matter. But for those who already have some knowledge of our Art, it is enough. It becomes clear when he says: " So it is in this very common matter, which may seem merely useful to us, that we must look for the mysterious solar fire "
In the following pages, Fulcanelli was more charitable and relates, in almost plain language, the common name of the second matter.
Pg.273. « Here he no longer describes the physical appearance, but rather the preparation of the same subject. To reveal a secret of this magnitude and this significance would be to overstep the limits which are imposed on us. Therefore, we shall not attempt to comment in clear language, as we have done up to now, on the ambiguous and rather allegorical sentence of Flamel. We will merely attract your attention on this iron stiletto, whose secret property changes the intimate nature of our Magnesia, separates, orders, purifies and assembles the elements of the mineral chaos. To successfully perform this operation, one must know the affinities of things, have a lot of skill, and perform a lot of work, as the Adept leaves us to understand
Among metallic bodies, the one containing the highest proportion of fire, or latent light, is iron. The ease with which internal fire, through shock or friction, can fly out in the form of brilliant sparks is well known. It is important to communicate this active fire to the passive subject: only it has the power to modify its cold and sterile complexion by rendering it fiery and prolific. »
The attentive and sagacious investigator will easily gain knowledge of the second matter, which united to our mineral by the secret fire will allow the separation, from the mineral subject, the Mercury or starred regulus that will be purified later.
After Separation, the matter is transformed into Caput and later into Adamic earth, from which will be extracted alchemical Sulphur.
We could explain in this operation detail (that will have to be made in a refractory mud crucible, using a gas oven with temperatures between 800 and 1000º C) because we performed it several times. This, however, in not our goal here: our goal is only to demonstrate to Fulcanelli "lovers" that frequently they erroneously interpret The Dwellings of The Philosophers, and that Fulcanelli describes mainly the dry way, which was performed without success by his disciple Canseliet.
Pg. 152-153. « If you want to possess the griffin - which is our astral stone - by tearing it from its arsenical gangue, take two parts of virgin earth, our scaly dragon, and one part of the igneous agent, which is that valiant knight armed with the lance and the shield. Arhx, (Ares), more vigorous than Aries, must be in a lesser quantity. Pulverize and add the fifteenth part of this pure, white, admirable salt, washed and crystallized several times, which you must necessarily know. Intimately mix it; and then, following the example of the painful Passion of Our Lord, crucify it with three iron nails, so that the body dies and can then be resurrected. This done, drive away the coarsest sediments from the corpse, crush and triturate the bones; mix the whole thing on a slow heat with a steel rod. Then throw into this mixture half of this second salt, extracted from the dew that fertilizes the earth in the month of May, and you will obtain a body clearer than the preceding one. Repeat the same technique three times; you will reach the matrix of our mercury, and you will have climbed the first rung of the ladder of the sages. When Jesus resurrected the third day after his death, a luminous angel clothed in white alone occupied the empty sepulchre
However, if it suffices to know the secret substance represented by the dragon in order to discover its antagonist, it is essential to know the means that sages employ in order to limit, to temper the excessive ardour of the belligerents. For want of a necessary mediator - for which we have never found a symbolic interpretation - the ignorant experimenter would be exposed to grave dangers. Anxious spectator of the drama which he would have imprudently unleashed, he could neither control its phases nor regulate its fury. »
Pg. 153-154. «When perceive a noise resembling that of boiling water in the vessel - a hollow rumbling of the earth, whose entrails fire is tearing out - be ready to fight and maintain your composure. You will notice smoke and blue, green and violet flames accompanying a series of quick detonations
Once the effervescence has passed and calm has bee restored, you will be able to enjoin a magnificent spectacle. On a sea of fire, solid islands form, float on the surface, moving slowly, taking and leaving an infinity of vivid colours, their surface puffs up, bursts in the centre, causing them to resemble tiny volcanoes. Then they disappear, being replaced by pretty green transparent balls revolving quickly, rolling, hitting one another, and seeming to chase one another, in the midst of multicoloured flames and the iridescent reflection of the incandescent bath.
In describing the difficult and critical preparation of our stone, we have neglected to speak of the effective cooperation which certain external influences must provide. »
In the Separation, ratio of the different matters referred to by Philalethes and Flamel are a little different than those described by Fulcanelli, being nine parts of our Dragon or Saturn's Son and four parts of the valiant noble-man armed with spear and shield, or to be charitable, of Mars and the fifteenth part of the secret fire or double salt.
Flamel's Le Bréviaire
«You will seek, first, to take the first-born child of Saturn that is not the vulgar, 9 parts, of the steel sabre of the warring God, 4 parts. Makes these to rubify in a crucible. When it is red and melted, pour inside the 9 parts of Saturn, as I told you. This will eat the other quickly: clean very well the faecal dregs that arise to the top of Saturnia with nitre and tartar, for four or five times. It will be good when you see an astral sign like a star over the regulus.»
As you can see, Flamel was much more charitable that Fulcanelli in the description of the ratios of the matters and the molten compound composed of the two salts (one being nitre and the other tartar or vegetable salt of wine).
Pg.220. « And our two principles one of which bears the cross and the other the lance which will pierce his flank are an image, a reflection of the Passion of Christ. Just like Him, if they must resuscitate into a new clear, glorious, and spiritualised body, they must together climb their Calvary, suffer martyrdom, endure the torments of fire, and die of a slow agony at the end of a long hard fight .»
In this text, Fulcanelli describes summarily the matters or the two principles, one of which has the cross (the cruciferous globe) and the other the spear (the armed noble-man of spear and shield) that can penetrate flank. In the battle between these two principles, and under the torments of the fire will be reborn a new glorious and spiritualised body that is the starred regulus, or our mercury, that will be purified later at least three times.
Pg.320. « We have previously stated that the outer mark allowing the certain identification of this water is a starred and radiant shape which coagulation caused to appear on its surface. Furthermore the astral signature of the mercury, as it was common to call the mark in question, asserts itself with even more clarity and vigour as the animation progresses and becomes more complete. »
Pg.154. « And the earthly star, occult torch of our nativity, will be the proving mark of the blessed union of heaven and earth, or as Philalethes writes, of "the union of superior virtues in inferior things". »
Pg.259. « By using the dry path, represented by the earthly road followed at first by our traveller, one can successfully but progressively exalt the diffuse and latent virtue, transforming into activity that which was only potential. The operation is completed when, on the surface, appears a shining star, formed of rays emanating from a single centre, prototype of great roses of our gothic cathedrals. »
The text is very clear: it needs no explanation. Fulcanelli referred clearly to the star that appears on the surface of the Starred regulus or Mercury after the Purifications.
For an expect alchemist who has worked this path, at least to the Eagles, it can easily be perceived that the Master omits the Purifications modus operandi. It is from these purifications that the philosophical Vitriol or Green Lion arises that enables the process of the Eagles or Sublimations.
We looked in vain through the whole book, in the hope of finding a text that symbolically describes this operation, but we did not find it. It could possibly have escaped our scrutiny. Be that as it may, you should know that after the Separation one must engage in mercurial Purifications with the purpose of making the mercury or martial regulus even purer, and to get the precious philosophical Vitriol. In this operation the Star will clearly appear, signifying, as Fulcanelli says, the success of this operation.
After the mercurial Purifications will follow the Eagles or Sublimations, considered the Second Work, with the goal of the attainment of the stage called the Remora which is the Third Work of the antimony dry way.
Pg.405. « The long operation which permits completion, the progressive turning into a paste, and the final fixing of the mercury offers a great analogy with sea crossings, and the tempests which greet them. This rather rough and swelling sea represents, on a smaller scale, the constant and regular boiling of the hermetic compost. The bubbles burst on the surface and constantly succeed each other; heavy vapours fill the atmosphere of the vase; turbid, opaque and blackish blue clouds darken the sides of the vessel, and condense into droplets trickling down on the effervescent mass. »
Pg. 405-406. « This phenomenon of absorption and coagulation of the mercury by a much smaller proportion of sulphur seems to be the first cause for the fable of the remora, the little fish to which popular imagination and hermetic tradition attributed the capability of stopping the largest of ships in their progress. »
The Sublimations or Eagles is a very refined operation made at a stable temperature of about 500º C that requires much dexterity and ability from the artist. Fulcanelli approaches this operation very synthetically but, however, he says that the ratio of sulphur is less than mercury one, but he omits which salt is used in this operation. Canseliet in his book L'Alchimie Expliquée Sur Ses Textes Classiques is more charitable and tells us that the salt used in this operation is the Vitriol or Green Lion extracted from the Mercurial Purifications.
Advancing more in this explanation would raise the veil of this complex operation that detained us for some years due to the lack of suitable laboratory conditions for the work.
Pg.182. « It is also, according to the version of The Cosmopolite, the fish without bones, echeneis, or remora, "which swims in our philosophical sea," and about which Jean-Joachim d'Estinguel d'Ingrofont affirms that "once you possess the small fish named Remora, which is very rare if not unique in this great sea, you will no longer need to fish but only to ponder about the preparation, the seasoning, and the cooking of this small fish." Although it is preferable not to extract it from the environment in which it lives - leaving it, if need be, enough water to maintain its vitality - those who had the curiosity of isolating it could verify the accuracy, the veracity of the philosophical assertions. It is a very tiny body - in relation to the volume and the mass from which it comes - with the external appearance of an often circular, sometimes elliptical, double-convex lens. Of an earthy rather than metallic appearance, this light button, not fusible but very soluble, hard, breakable, friable, black on one side, whitish on the other, violet at its breaking point, has received several names relative to its form, its coloration, or to certain of its chemical idiosyncrasies. »
Fulcanelli here describes the Remora that is the end part of the Third Work. Many artists have failed the final cooking stage, Canseliet included.
As we stopped at the Eagles, we will not be able to make an honest and informed comment resulting from our experience.
Finally, Fulcanelli describes for us the physical-chemical characteristics of the Philosophers Stone. We cannot honestly confirm that he has described these characteristics because he made the Stone and is speaking from experience, or if he is retelling the description contained in other alchemy books.
Pg.137-138. « Let us leave aside these processes and tinctures. Above all, it is important to remember that the philosopher's stone appears in the shape of a crystalline, diaphanous body, red in the mass, yellow after pulverization, dense and very fusible, although fixed at any temperature, and which its inner qualities render incisive, fiery, penetrating, irreducible, and incalculable. In addition, it is soluble in molten glass, but instantaneously volatilizes when it is projected onto molten metal. Here, in one single object, are gathered physiochemical properties which singularly separates it from a possible metallic nature and render its origin rather nebulous. A little reflection will get us out of our difficulty. The masters of the art teach us that the goal of their labours is triple. What they seek to realize first is the universal Medicine or the actual philosopher's stone. Obtained in a saline form, whether multiplied or not, it can only be used for the healing of human illnesses, preservation of health, and growth of plants. Soluble in any alcoholic liquid, its solution takes the name of Aurum Potabile (although it does not even contain the least atom of gold) because it assumes a magnificent yellow colour. Its healing value and the diversity of its use in therapeutics makes it a precious auxiliary in the treatment of grave and incurable ailments. It has no action on metals, except on gold and silver, on which it fixes itself and to which it bestows its own properties, which, consequently, becomes of no use for transmutation. However, if the maximum number of its multiplications is exceeded, it changes form and instead of resuming its solid crystalline state when cooling down, it remains fluid like quicksilver and definitely non-coagulable. It then shines in darkness, with a soft, red, phosphorescent light, of a weaker brightness than that of a common night light. The universal Medicine has become the inextinguishable Light, the light giving product of those perpetual lamps, which certain authors have mentioned as having been found in some ancient sepulchres. Thus radiant and liquid, the philosopher's stone is not likely, in our opinion, to be pushed farther; desiring to amplify its igneous quality would seem dangerous to us; the least that could be feared would be to volatilize it and to lose the benefit of a considerable labour. Finally, if we ferment the solid, universal Medicine with very pure gold or silver, through direct fusion, we obtain the Powder of Projection, third form of the stone. It is a translucent mass, red or white according to the chosen metal, pulverizable, and appropriate only to metallic transmutation. Oriented, determined, and specific to the mineral realm, it is useless and without action in the two other kingdoms. »
Already we saw a Philosophers Stone's photograph in the Kamala Jnana's Dictionaire de Philosophie Alchimique which has physical characteristics like those described by Fulcanelli in this text.
In this text, he speaks of suitable " external influences " for the execution of the antimony dry way as well as other alchemic paths. In the following text Fulcanelli and his disciple Canseliet describe briefly what we can understand to be external conditions or influences on alchemical operations. The unusual nature of the heading causes us to wonder if it could have been these adverse external influences that contributed to Canseliets failure to achieve the Great Work during the Remora coking or the end of the Third Work
Pg.88.« For the alchemists, the spirits are real influences, although they are physically almost immaterial or imponderable. They act in a mysterious, inexplicable, unknowable but efficacious manner on substances submitted to their action and prepared to receive them. Lunar radiation is one of these hermetic spirits.»
Pg.154. « In describing the difficult and critical preparation of our stone, we have neglected to speak of the effective cooperation which certain external influences must provide
Nevertheless, so as to satisfy as far as possible the legitimate curiosity of seekers, we shall say that, without the absolute harmony of the higher with the lower elements, our matter, lacking astral virtues, can be of no use. Before it is put to work, the body on which we operate, is more earthly than heavenly. »
Canseliet's Foreword, French edition, pg. 50. (English edition, pg. 549) « What apparatuses, what complicated techniques, infinitely, apart from chemical receivers, solely to detect ultra-violet radiations, under the auspices of electricity! Thus in physico-chemical laboratories, one was able to recognize, that among the sidereal sources of both the invisible and chemical radiance, the nightly firmament is formed, which, by clear and serene weather, powerfully irradiates in the midst of the violet ray. Probably it remains to imagine the extent to which the nature and conduct of the ray can change, which fringes the spectrum at its dark and cold extremity, when, issued from the sun, it arrives on earth, after having been subjected to the effects of the moon. Yes, then, nonwithstanding the ability it requires, the "knacks" of alchemy seem of this great and astounding simplicity, always proper to the operations of nature »
Some of Fulcanelli's students have questioned if the Master (Jean-Julien Champagne) had achieved the Great Work. Geneviève Dubois, in her book Fulcanelli Dèvoilé, tells us that Champagne would not have died without materializing the dream of a lifetime; the Philosophers Stone. The same is true of Pierre Dujols.
However, in the Patrick Rivière's book Fulcanelli, Editions de Vecchi, he tells us that Canseliet made a transmutation in the Sarcelles Gas plant of lead into gold, following the instructions of his Master, proceeding from a particular work of Vigenère and not with the Philosophers Stone.
In the same book he says that in that time Fulcanelli he had still not acquired the Philosophers Stone, and that he finally materialized it in absolute secret, having finished the last Multiplication and the Great cooking in the year of 1922. He consequently decided to perform the transmutation of base metal into gold as the tradition demands. He says that the success was undisputed and therefore he decided to repeat the experiment in the presence of privileged witnesses such as Eugène Canseliet, Jean-Julien Champagne and a friend alchemist Gaston Sauvage. The projection was also made in the Sarcelles Gas plant.
Fulcanelli, Patrick Rivière, pg.39 and 40:
« During year 1920, Eugène Canseliet was employed in accounting at the Sarcelles Gas plant. The Georgi Company gave him a small space on the floor where he was installed. He installed there a modest laboratory, where he could dedicate his leisure to all the sorts of alchemical operations. Its in there that it carried out the following year, obviously by recommendation of his master, the achievement of a more archimique than alchemic process, considered by Blaise de Vigenère ancient author of "the Traité du feu et du sel", and based on the over melting of the common lead.
He achieved this "small particular" and obtained a real success which delighted and filled of satisfaction Fulcanelli.
It cannot be conceived (wrote the young disciple), before having tried it, the deep change that slow digestion and the permanent melting provoke, in the composition of the apparently simple bodies. Although its internal structure and its appearance seem not to have significantly changed, it can be perceive rapidly, during subsequent operations, how much indeed, they have been chemically changed. A very simple method, but in agreement with the example given by Nature, as well as the rules of the Great Art, which makes particularly easy the extraction of the specific Saturn's mercury... (Achimie, Eugène Canseliet, editions J. J Pauvert, Paris.)....
During this time, Fulcanelli, which still did had the Philosophers Stone yet, finished the Great Work in the most absolute secret in his Parisian residence. Having achieved during the year of 1922 the last consecutive multiplication of the great cooking he decides to make the famous and final transmutation of vile metal into gold as demanded by the tradition. The success leaved no doubt and he decides to renew the experience in the presence of privileged witnesses: its disciple Eugène Canseliet, Jean-Julien Champagne and chemist friend, Gaston Sauvage which was working for the Rhône-Poulenc group. The projection occurred at Sarcelles gas plant, in the room where his young disciple had installed his modest laboratory. It is somewhere in this last place that it went to be made the accomplishment, under of the master management. The small chimney providing of an excellent exhaust in the middle of this small-improvised laboratory. Fulcanelli took out of a tube three small reddish coloured fragments that Eugène Canseliet coated with wax and project into fusing lead inside the crucible. After some time, he poured out into the mould to seen the effect: the gold was of the most beautiful brightness! The transmutation was perfectly achieved, in the most intense emotion felt for the young disciple as if it could imagine...
After this, the master left. He chose to disappear, in that way respecting the tradition followed before him by numerous Adepts of the hermetic science. »
This story, as told by Patrick Rivière in his book Fulcanelli, seems very strange - he is admitting that Fulcanelli wasn't Jean-Julien Champagne. And if Canseliet was " the beloved " disciple of Fulcanelli, why did he not achieve the Great Work? Certainly a Master would not hide from his preferred disciple the secret of the Great Work, only possibly some little details for its final manifestation.
In summary, we will say that in Fulcanelli, there have been omitted some very important operations of the antimony dry way, such as the first one that it is the Purge followed by the Assation. Only after these preliminary operations can the Separation be made.
Here it is brothers and friends in Art - the symbolic antimony dry way description made by Fulcanelli in The Dwellings of The Philosophers. Only a few alchemists will be do it in its proper sequence, and that would require that they already have experience at least to the Second Work.
As we said in the beginning, Fulcanelli, in The Dwellings of The Philosophers, expands upon the symbolism to the detriment of the practice, and therefore, it is propitious for the so-called "philosophical speculations" of those who intend to give to these texts interpretations that have nothing to do with alchemical reality.