Prima Materia

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Prima Materia

Post  Arcanium on Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:35 pm

Hey as I said in my first post I'm new to alchemy and was wondering if anybody could explain the Prima Materia to me.
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Re: Prima Materia

Post  BeautifulEvil on Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:24 pm

There are many prima materia's in alchemy work.

Here's an excerpt from this site: http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/~alchemy/prima_materia.html

Prima materia, prime matter, like the goal of the alchemical process has various definitions, with no one definition considered prominent. This is because alchemists had personal definitions of prima materia. Many definitions even contradicted one another. They range from lead, iron, gold, quicksilver, salt, sulphur, vinegar, water, fire, earth, water of life, blood, poison, spirit, clouds, sky, dew, shadow, sea, mother, moon, dragon, Venus, microcosm, and so on. It is not surprising that Ruland's Lexicon gives fifty synonyms and more could be included.

Of course, they're leaving out quite an interesting substance: urine. Wink

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Re: Prima Materia

Post  monkeyblood on Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:35 pm

.....now thats complicated and confusing for the beginner....can it be narrowed down authoritatively....as an absolute beginner could you tell me the importance of the prima materia....when you've worked it out what is it used for?

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Re: Prima Materia

Post  BeautifulEvil on Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:39 pm

.....now thats complicated and confusing for the beginner....can it be narrowed down authoritatively....as an absolute beginner could you tell me the importance of the prima materia....when you've worked it out what is it used for?

Heh, I went through this same stage at the beginning. The prima materia can generally be regarded in a philosophical sense as "chaos" or "darkness." As the first paragraph of genesis (which is an alchemical riddle). "The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of god was moving over the waters, and god said let there be light."

Light was created from chaos or darkness, that's really one of the big occult secrets.

In a laboratory or practical alchemy sense, the prima materia varies in regards to which alchemical process one carries out. It may be urine, it could be gold, it could be dirt, it could be carbon, etc.

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Re: Prima Materia

Post  Arcanium on Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:30 pm

So you suggest experimenting with various things. BeautifulEvil I saw your thread on the White Stone and I'm interested in carrying out the experiment, any suggestions.
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Re: Prima Materia

Post  BeautifulEvil on Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:53 pm

Arcanium, that thread is actually fairly old and may be filled with inaccuracies and errors on my part. In retrospect, I should probably post another message in the thread stating the errors and then giving the corrected processes. Hollandus has a seperate text dedicated to the urine process (you can view it here: http://www.rexresearch.com/alchemy5/hollopus.htm).

However, don't take my word for it! I've been piecing stuff together over many years, and on the surface some of it may not make much sense. There are other ways to create this "white powder," but some of those methods may not be suitable for a beginner.


Last edited by BeautifulEvil on Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:12 am; edited 1 time in total

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John Dee

Post  harveydent on Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:44 am

Have you read Dee's works regarding the Stone? He and Edward Kelly set out at one time to try to recreate it with from what I understand varied degrees of success.

Your right they did indeed have a lot of names for things, thus to disguise their art from the uneducated and non-philosophical I suppose, but yay, I wax too lyrical on such matter's, in closing just like to point out that they used the astrological names of planets to describe the material they where working with, hence mars was iron, sol was gold and luna was silver.

It was considered a noble art, youd have to be noble to pursue it today with the cost of such materials!

Nothing is written in stone, heh, that profound statement obviously came from an ingrate who'd never seen the emerald tablet or tax audits from summeria written in stone some 3000 years ago.

Check this link, a guy is doing alchemy in his kitchen with some rosemary, extracting the salts.
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/steve_kalec.html

Excellent place to start. Wink

Urine makes an excellent night light!

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Re: Prima Materia

Post  BeautifulEvil on Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:46 pm

Urine makes an excellent night light!
Haha, quite an astute one! Urine can be processed into white phosphorus, which then gives off a decent amount of light with greenish tint to it.

This can be done by distilling urine until the urine in the distillating flask is fully dry (you're left with a mixture of phosphate, and other salts). Then carbon and sand is added, and distilled under heat. The distillate is bubbled under distilled water, and this produces white phosphorus. When the water is removed and the material dries, it begins to emit a glow, and can even explode. White phosphorus is HIGHLY HIGHLY toxic, and is perhaps the second most dangerous element (aside from cesium).

This procedure can be done from any material that contains a decent amount of phosphate salts, including bones and such. I will say this: the white powder produced from the urine process is not white phosphorus.

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Re: Prima Materia

Post  Arcanium on Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:18 am

Cool. Thanks everybody. I appreciate all the help.
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Re: Most dangerous element.

Post  harveydent on Sun Apr 06, 2008 2:36 pm

I thought some of the most dangerous where the following;

Potassium Permanginate,
Nitro-Glycerine,
Ammonium Chloride,
Ammonium Nitrate,
Sodium Chlorate,
Potassium Chloride,
Chlorine.

(All the ones that go BANG or you shouldnt lick your fingers with after having handled!)

I'll add white phosphorus to the list, didnt know it was toxic, just thought it gave you a good woosh when thrown on the fire. Wink But you are of course correct it does bad things to your liver...

I'll stick it in their along with Uranium, Mercury and Anthrax! LOL

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Prima Materia

Post  Necrontyr on Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:40 am

Am i right in my understanding, if i say that Prima Materia is essentially a base substance (a "raw material" of sorts), that is processed alchemically? And, dependant on the alchemic formula (is this the correct term?), can be various materia, such as the afore-mentioned urine, or soil, etc?

>N<
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Re: Prima Materia

Post  spectre on Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:04 pm

Here are some quotes from modern alchemists about the issue:

Robert Allen Bartlett makes a diagram where he places Prima Materia at the top symbolized by Yin-Yang which divides below into Celestial Salt (Fixed) and Celestial Niter (Volatile). Fixed then splits into Earth and Water and Volatile into Air and Fire. Earth and Water recombine into Salt, Water and Air into Mercury and Air and Fire into Sulphur. But this is very metaphysical and theoretical, for an example I see that Salt seems to be Cold (Earth, Water), Mercury Wet (Air, Water) and Sulphur Hot (Air, Fire) but I ask what then would be Dry (Fire, Earth)?

He basically considers Prima Materia to be a metaphysical concept of "the One", from which all other principles come from and doesn't mention it much throughout the book.

We live in a vast ocean of energy and everything seen and unseen is a part of it. The alchemists called this energy the Celestial Fire, Prima Materia, the First Matter, Chaos and many others. Everything around us, though it seems separate and different from ourselves is One only One. All is from One is the First Law of Hermetics.
but he also mentions an actual physical element:
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, a true First Matter, and is the first carrier of the Fire while Nitrogen possesses the most oxidation states of any element and is said to "coagulate matter."

He mentions urine

Urine -- "Held in contempt by most people, but esteemed by the wise." There are many secrets hidden in urine.

Basically he seems to consider it to be the same as the Celestial Fire.

Manfred M. Junius

In the beginning, the Divine Principle divides into an active and a passive part: Prima Energia and Prima Materia, called Purusa and Prakrti in Sanskrit, Yang and Yin in the Chinese tradition, Sulfur and Mercury in hermetic philosophy.

The original Mercury is also called Chaotic Water, Abysmal Water, Divine Water, Eternal Water, Silvery Water, Ocean, Great Sea of the Philosophers, Primordial Humidum, Indeterminate Principle of Individuals, Philosophical Basilisk, Feminine Principle.
In its function as opposite of the original energy-the latter is also represented as the dot in the circle (sun symbol)-the original Mercury is also portrayed as a moon or Diana and is therefore represented by the moon symbol.

In its function as opposite of the original energy-the latter is also represented as the dot in the circle (sun symbol)-the original Mercury is also often portrayed as a moon or Diana and is therefore represented by the moon symbol.

The original energy is the Noncreated Fire or the Inner Fire. It is also called the Word of God above the waters, or Dragon's Head, Sun, Original Fire, Original Energy, Formative Principle, Male Principle, or simply Sulfur. Its symbol is the dot in the circle, manifesting within the Prima Materia (Circle). The symbol of the Prima Materia is simultaneously the symbol of the Void, the Nothing, which can give birth to everything.

The Bible describes this process in the following words (Genesis 1:2-4):

And the Earth was without form and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face the waters [=Prima Materia=Circle]. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

He also mentions the metaphysical concept of "the One" in relation to Prima Materia:

A Divine Principle, which manifests as a union of Prima Materia (primordial matter) and Prima Energia (primordial energy). The two Principles represent a reality and form the foundation of creation. The first part of the diagram [the One] is occasionally also simply called Prima Materia in alchemy.

Johannes Isaac Hollandus in his work Opera Vegetabilia:

Therefore, let my child be aware that the first matter of everything in the world has been Mercury; since water existed before there was even time, and the Spirit of the Lord rested on it. But what kind of water was it?..... No, but it was a dry, slimy water into which God set His earth, which was His Sulfur, so that the earth coagulated the water, and there arose from it the four Elements which had been locked in these two by command of God and His supreme Will.

Dennis William Hauck

The First Matter is the moste nebulous concepts in alchemy and very difficult to define in everyday terms. The Lexicon of Alchemy (Matin Ruland, 1612) lists over eighty definitions ofr the First Matter (Materia Prima). The alchemists themselves never fully agreed on what it was, and there are at least two hundred different descriptions in the literature....

The reason the First Matter is so hard to describe is that it is everything and it is nothing. It is the primordial chaos, the infinite cornucopia from which the myriad of all created things emerges. With this primordial chaos is contained the germ or seed of potencies of all things that ever existed and of all that ever will exist in the future. It is the Anima Mundi (Universal Soul) and the very body of nature.

He then also mentions that the symbol of Prima Materia is the Yin&Yang symbol and the Ouruborus (serpent biting its tail).

C.G. Jung talks about many different symbols of the Prima Materia (such as Chaotic Waters or Mercurius) but he associates it with our Unconsciousness. He also makes association with the Nigredo (Blackening) phase in Alchemy that I haven't seen done by the other authors above:

The alchemists understood the return to chaos as an essential part of the opus. It was the stage of the nigredo and mortificatio, which was then followed by the "purgatorial fire" and the albedo... The unconscious is both good and evil and yet neither, the matrix of all potentialities.

In order to enter into God's Kingdom the king must transform himself into the prima materia in the body of his mother, and return to the dark initial state which the alchemists called the "chaos".
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Re: Prima Materia

Post  BeautifulEvil on Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:19 am

Good post spectre, and very nice usage of references!

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Re: Prima Materia

Post  Israel on Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:01 pm

Necrontyr wrote:Am i right in my understanding, if i say that Prima Materia is essentially a base substance (a "raw material" of sorts), that is processed alchemically? And, dependant on the alchemic formula (is this the correct term?), can be various materia, such as the afore-mentioned urine, or soil, etc?

>N<

First I'll say that spectre's post was excellent.

From what I've read so far, Pima Materia is not just any base material as these things can also be broken down to further matter. The easiest way to describe it that I can think of is (if you're a Star Wars fan) "the force". It flows through us just as we flow through it. A preacher once told me, similar to Hauck's quote above, that "God is everything, and yet He is nothing". The essence being that everything is composed of and composes "God", yet no single thing is "God". For lack of a better adjective, the Universe.

This is also known as the Quintessence, "fifth element".

There was also a reference to hydrogen being considered a Prima Materia, and while I'm not studied enough to argue with an adept, I'm going to suggest another theory. It comes from my personal theory that I've dubbed the "Perpetual Motion Universe", which is an evolution of the Big Bang Theory. In nature there are four fundamental forces - not just the four elements. The four principle forces are the strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, electromagnetic force, and gravity. At the beginning of the Universe the accumulation of all of these forces were combined into a subatomic sized globule. Something made the strong nuclear force split from the other three, and these other three soon followed suit. Within this subatomic globule was all of the potential matter we now find within the Universe - this is pre-hydrogen. My search for this dark energy that allegedly split the four fundamental forces is equivalent (I think) to the attainment of the Prima Materia.
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Re: Prima Materia

Post  Necrontyr on Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:26 pm

So, in essence, the Prima Materia is more of a concept, describing the "inter-relatedness" of everything in the universe? To say that I, as a human being, despite being composed of different PHYSICAL elements, have the same "essence" as an ounce of sand, or wood, or anything? That essence being the thing that binds the universe, that everything has in common?

>N<
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Re: Prima Materia

Post  BeautifulEvil on Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:47 pm

So, in essence, the Prima Materia is more of a concept, describing the "inter-relatedness" of everything in the universe? To say that I, as a human being, despite being composed of different PHYSICAL elements, have the same "essence" as an ounce of sand, or wood, or anything? That essence being the thing that binds the universe, that everything has in common?

That's a good way to think about it. The Prima Materia is really everything, but yet no one single thing. Various different Prima Materia's have their own specific "energy" signatures that they impart on this one essence or universal energy. We must always be concerned with the signature of the energy we're working with, and in this way we can choose appropriately which Prima Materia we will use as the starting source for a Stone.

Also, it should be noted that the quantity of this one essence varies in different in all matter. There's not really an equal amount in all things, but all things which exist as matter MUST contain some quantity of this essence or universal energy. It really is something we all have in common.

This is really how I think about it, but others tend to have different views on this subject. It's really an interesting one I think.

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Re: Prima Materia

Post  Israel on Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:00 am

Necrontyr wrote: To say that I, as a human being, despite being composed of different PHYSICAL elements, have the same "essence" as an ounce of sand, or wood, or anything?
>N<

Talk about burning away your ego, hunh? It gives you a whole new perspective on life when you realize that, just like that piece of wood, your a carbon based life form.
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Re: Prima Materia

Post  spectre on Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:18 pm

I watched a video of a Christian pastor who was criticizing other Christians that always want it the easy or soft way, praise God and pray for blessing but at the same time diminish the role of Christ's plight and brokenness (a symbol similar to the mortification in Alchemy).

He said that the brokenness was essential and that Christ was controversial because of this broken-aspect and because his truth irritated the soft interior of men, he irritated their soul.

He made the analogy with the clam that makes a pearl. Its soft interior (soul) is irritated by the sand (truth) but as it struggles with the sand it will produce a pearl in the end.

I think it's an excellent analogy that can be applied to Alchemy. The sand is the Prima Materia, which contains a hidden spirit, the Pearl is the culmination of the Great Work. The irritation of the soft-clam is the starting point; its mortification or nigredo, what the pastor called necessary brokenness and suffering.
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