The Animation of Mercury

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The Animation of Mercury

Post  BeautifulEvil on Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:19 pm

This has been my particular focus for the past month or two, and I'm wondering what some of our other members have to say on the subject.

Principally, the quotations are from the early to late 1670s, focusing specifically on making regulus of iron and antimony to further produce a philosophic double mercury that was animated by several distillations and subsequently caused swelling and putrefaction in gold.
I believe this is the most common method for animating mercury. Then we have the way of the divine cinnabar (Robert Bartlett mentions this in his book). I'd like to know his source material.

Mix the mercury with an equal amount of native sulfur in a mortar, grinding it together well. The matter will turn black during this process, forming mercury sulfide. Examine the matter closely with a magnifier. There should be no tiny globules of mercury remaining. Grind with additional sulfur if there are.

The resulting black mass is a crude form of cinnabar, which is the sulfide ore of mercury. We can proceed with the black variety of cinnabar or we can improve this matter by sublimation to obtain the beautiful orange variety of cinnabar which is best.

Now mix the cinnabar (black or orange) with an equal weight of iron filings and place this into a strong retort for distillation. As with the Star Regulus of Antimony, the iron will take up the sulfur from the cinnabar. Mercury metal will be reduced and begin to distill over. Some operators recommend using a 50 / 50 mixture of Star Regulus and iron filings for this distillation. In both cases, it is the subtle essence obtained from the iron itself that is the key.

He also mentions a "slow" way of animating mercury using a small amount of powdered gold and a large amount of mercury. He heats this in a closed flask for six months total (40c for first three months, 60c for last three months).

The simplest method is to use native gold alone with the purified mercury. Use a form of pure native gold such as gold nuggets or gold dust as obtained by panning in a river. The
gold is reduced to a powder by grinding with salt and vinegar into a paste. Wash out the salt and let the gold dry. To twenty nine parts of purified mercury, add 1 1/4 parts of gold powder and grind them into a fluid amalgam. Wash the amalgam with water until it is clean and bright. Wipe the surface with a piece of paper towel until dry, then place the dried amalgam
into a tall, strong glass vessel and seal it well. Let this matter digest at about 40°C for three months. After three months, increase the temperature to 60°C and continue digestion for another three months.

Let's get some discussion going on this very interesting substance.

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It will be seized and plunged into the Tub, Forced to drink waters poisoned by sulfur.
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Re: The Animation of Mercury

Post  kerkring on Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:34 pm

BeautifulEvil wrote:This has been my particular focus for the past month or two, and I'm wondering what some of our other members have to say on the subject.

Principally, the quotations are from the early to late 1670s, focusing specifically on making regulus of iron and antimony to further produce a philosophic double mercury that was animated by several distillations and subsequently caused swelling and putrefaction in gold.
I believe this is the most common method for animating mercury. Then we have the way of the divine cinnabar (Robert Bartlett mentions this in his book). I'd like to know his source material.

Mix the mercury with an equal amount of native sulfur in a mortar, grinding it together well. The matter will turn black during this process, forming mercury sulfide. Examine the matter closely with a magnifier. There should be no tiny globules of mercury remaining. Grind with additional sulfur if there are.

The resulting black mass is a crude form of cinnabar, which is the sulfide ore of mercury. We can proceed with the black variety of cinnabar or we can improve this matter by sublimation to obtain the beautiful orange variety of cinnabar which is best.

Now mix the cinnabar (black or orange) with an equal weight of iron filings and place this into a strong retort for distillation. As with the Star Regulus of Antimony, the iron will take up the sulfur from the cinnabar. Mercury metal will be reduced and begin to distill over. Some operators recommend using a 50 / 50 mixture of Star Regulus and iron filings for this distillation. In both cases, it is the subtle essence obtained from the iron itself that is the key.

He also mentions a "slow" way of animating mercury using a small amount of powdered gold and a large amount of mercury. He heats this in a closed flask for six months total (40c for first three months, 60c for last three months).

The simplest method is to use native gold alone with the purified mercury. Use a form of pure native gold such as gold nuggets or gold dust as obtained by panning in a river. The
gold is reduced to a powder by grinding with salt and vinegar into a paste. Wash out the salt and let the gold dry. To twenty nine parts of purified mercury, add 1 1/4 parts of gold powder and grind them into a fluid amalgam. Wash the amalgam with water until it is clean and bright. Wipe the surface with a piece of paper towel until dry, then place the dried amalgam
into a tall, strong glass vessel and seal it well. Let this matter digest at about 40°C for three months. After three months, increase the temperature to 60°C and continue digestion for another three months.

Let's get some discussion going on this very interesting substance.

He could have gotten some information from the Philosophers of Nature (PON)material on mineral alchemy, it is also mentioned there IIRC. The PON people tried to decipher various texts and supposedly had inner contacts that helped them, maybe you can find to source in the lessons on Mineral Alchemy. PM me if you don't have them.

Update:
It appears to come from PON Mineral Alchemy Vol. 4 around p70. And is attribued to COELUM PHILOSOPHORUM by S. BACSTROM with commentaries by PON.

cheers,

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Re: The Animation of Mercury

Post  pierre on Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:34 am

kerkring wrote:
BeautifulEvil wrote:This has been my particular focus for the past month or two, and I'm wondering what some of our other members have to say on the subject.

Principally, the quotations are from the early to late 1670s, focusing specifically on making regulus of iron and antimony to further produce a philosophic double mercury that was animated by several distillations and subsequently caused swelling and putrefaction in gold.
I believe this is the most common method for animating mercury. Then we have the way of the divine cinnabar (Robert Bartlett mentions this in his book). I'd like to know his source material.

Mix the mercury with an equal amount of native sulfur in a mortar, grinding it together well. The matter will turn black during this process, forming mercury sulfide. Examine the matter closely with a magnifier. There should be no tiny globules of mercury remaining. Grind with additional sulfur if there are.

The resulting black mass is a crude form of cinnabar, which is the sulfide ore of mercury. We can proceed with the black variety of cinnabar or we can improve this matter by sublimation to obtain the beautiful orange variety of cinnabar which is best.

Now mix the cinnabar (black or orange) with an equal weight of iron filings and place this into a strong retort for distillation. As with the Star Regulus of Antimony, the iron will take up the sulfur from the cinnabar. Mercury metal will be reduced and begin to distill over. Some operators recommend using a 50 / 50 mixture of Star Regulus and iron filings for this distillation. In both cases, it is the subtle essence obtained from the iron itself that is the key.

He also mentions a "slow" way of animating mercury using a small amount of powdered gold and a large amount of mercury. He heats this in a closed flask for six months total (40c for first three months, 60c for last three months).

The simplest method is to use native gold alone with the purified mercury. Use a form of pure native gold such as gold nuggets or gold dust as obtained by panning in a river. The
gold is reduced to a powder by grinding with salt and vinegar into a paste. Wash out the salt and let the gold dry. To twenty nine parts of purified mercury, add 1 1/4 parts of gold powder and grind them into a fluid amalgam. Wash the amalgam with water until it is clean and bright. Wipe the surface with a piece of paper towel until dry, then place the dried amalgam
into a tall, strong glass vessel and seal it well. Let this matter digest at about 40°C for three months. After three months, increase the temperature to 60°C and continue digestion for another three months.

Let's get some discussion going on this very interesting substance.

He could have gotten some information from the Philosophers of Nature (PON)material on mineral alchemy, it is also mentioned there IIRC. The PON people tried to decipher various texts and supposedly had inner contacts that helped them, maybe you can find to source in the lessons on Mineral Alchemy. PM me if you don't have them.

Update:
It appears to come from PON Mineral Alchemy Vol. 4 around p70. And is attribued to COELUM PHILOSOPHORUM by S. BACSTROM with commentaries by PON.

cheers,



Hi, the method that Robert Bartlett mentioned is purely chemical: if you want to sublimate mercury philosophically must do so with cinnabar and natural iron sulfate as taught Alexander the great. So you get the sublimate of mercury in the form of a kind of snow that also can be used in the way of amalgam, such as secret fire, along with the regulus martial of antimony and gold.

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Re: The Animation of Mercury

Post  BeautifulEvil on Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:00 pm

It appears to come from PON Mineral Alchemy Vol. 4 around p70. And is attribued to COELUM PHILOSOPHORUM by S. BACSTROM with commentaries by PON.
Thanks for finding a reference to it. I have the mineral alchemy courses, but I haven't studied them thoroughly.

----------

if you want to sublimate mercury philosophically must do so with cinnabar and natural iron sulfate as taught Alexander the great. So you get the sublimate of mercury in the form of a kind of snow that also can be used in the way of amalgam, such as secret fire, along with the regulus martial of antimony and gold.
Hi Pierre, thanks for the tips. I would much rather like to stay away from some of the more active mercury sublimates (volatile salts of mercury). Some of them are quite dangerous, and very poisonous. I have no problem working with common mercury/quicksilver, but when you start bonding them with chlorides or sulfates things begin to become complicated. Cinnabar is one of the less reactive mercury salts (the sulfide decreases reactivity greatly), but it's still dangerous if you don't use common sense while working with it.

I didn't know Alexander the Great performed alchemy (we are talking about the famous Macedonian conqueror right?). Do you have a reference to this particular work? I'm curious!

I suppose this is one of the best kept secrets of alchemy, and thus I would be fooling myself if I thought it would be easy to produce. If I must work with dangerous mercury salts, then so be it, but I would rather like to find a slightly less dangerous path.


Last edited by BeautifulEvil on Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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It will be seized and plunged into the Tub, Forced to drink waters poisoned by sulfur.
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Re: The Animation of Mercury

Post  pierre on Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:17 pm

BeautifulEvil wrote:
It appears to come from PON Mineral Alchemy Vol. 4 around p70. And is attribued to COELUM PHILOSOPHORUM by S. BACSTROM with commentaries by PON.
Thanks for finding a reference to it. I have the mineral alchemy courses, but I haven't studied them thoroughly.

----------

if you want to sublimate mercury philosophically must do so with cinnabar and natural iron sulfate as taught Alexander the great. So you get the sublimate of mercury in the form of a kind of snow that also can be used in the way of amalgam, such as secret fire, along with the regulus martial of antimony and gold.
Hi Pierre, thanks for the tips. I would much rather like to stay away from some of the more active mercury sublimates (volatile salts of mercury). Some of them are quite dangerous, and very poisonous. I have no problem working with common mercury/quicksilver, but when you start bonding them with chlorides or sulfates things begin to become complicated. Cinnabar is one of the less reactive mercury salts (the sulfide decreases reactivity greatly), but it's still dangerous if you don't use common sense while working with it.

I didn't know Alexander the Great performed alchemy. Do you have a reference to this particular work? I'm curious!

I suppose this is one of the best kept secrets of alchemy, and thus I would be fooling myself if I thought it would be easy to produce. If I must work with dangerous mercury salts, then so be it, but I would rather like to find a slightly less dangerous path.


Hi, BE.

Working with the cinnabar is quite risky, because if you breathe the vapors of sublimate of mercury, which may result in mercury clot in the bloodstream and body fluids. Alexander on the beginning of his path, sublimates the cinnabar through the common salt and iron sulfate or roman vitriol from pyrite.

Alexander does it this way:

"Get a pound of pure mercury from the mine. On the other hand, Roman vitriol and salt-burned, grind in a mortar and mix intimately. Put these two materials into a glass width of glazed earthenware, the low heat until the matter begins to melt and become liquid. Then take your mercury ore, put it in a long-necked and drip, drop by drop on the vitriol and salt in the merger. Stirred everything with a wooden spatula until the mercury has been devoured and not left traces of it. When have completely disappeared, dried the matter to low heat overnight. The next day morning take the matter well drained and finely grind on a stone. Put the substance sprayed on the container aludel called Sublime, to sublimate according the art. Put the capitel and spread the joints with putty philosophical so that Mercury can not escape. Place the aludel on your stove so that it can not move and it can not bend down and remain well right, then ignited a fire very smooth for four hours to remove moisture from the mercury and vitriol; After the evaporation of moisture, increasing the fire so that the pure white matter and mercury are removed from their impurities, and this for four hours; you'll see whether this is sufficient introducing a wooden rod in the Sublime through the top opening, making it descend to the matter, and feel if the white matter of Mercury is superimposed into the mix. If this happens, remove the dipstick, closes the hole with putty to the capitel that mercury can not escape, and increases the fire so that the white matter of mercury is raised on the stool, until aludel; This for four hours. Finally heated with wood for fire, it is necessary that the bottom of the container and the residue put red; continues while there is some remaining white mercury adhering to the stool. Force and violence of the fire concluded separately. Then removes the heat and allow to cool the furnace and the area overnight.
The next day remove the container from the oven, remove the putty with caution so as not to smudge the Mercury, opens the appliance; if you find a white matter, sublimated, pure, Compact and heavy, you've succeeded".


This is the most common philosophic method that many masters used to sublimate the mercury.

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Re: The Animation of Mercury

Post  BeautifulEvil on Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:48 pm

Thanks for posting that Pierre. We are talking about the famous Macedonian conqueror right (Alexander the Great), or is it another Alexander?

Working with the cinnabar is quite risky, because if you breathe the vapors of sublimate of mercury, which may result in mercury clot in the bloodstream and body fluids.
Very true, but with proper distillation equipment the risks can be minimized. Mercury is dangerous no matter what, and only experienced alchemists/chemists should work with such a substance. Death is very likely in worst case scenarios. Just a disclaimer I thought I should mention.

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It will be seized and plunged into the Tub, Forced to drink waters poisoned by sulfur.
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Re: The Animation of Mercury

Post  Dizardos on Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:27 pm

Yes, the conqueror Alexander the Great is also great because of his alchemical skills.

An interesting quote from Wikipedia (even though it might not be the most professional source):

"It was Aristotle, though, who gave Alexander his most famous and important tutoring. The philosopher from Stageira was the foremost thinker of the period. A student of Plato, who in turn had been a student of Socrates, he now extended the illustrious chain by taking on Alexander as a student of his own.

Aristotle trained the youth in rhetoric and literature, and stimulated his interest in science, medicine and especially philosophy, which formed the greater part of his lessons. These took place outdoors in relaxed informality, probably after the manner of Socrates, but with more ordered and scholarly content. Aristotle's influence played a considerable role in forging Alexander's renowned bibliophilia. His gift to his student, a copy of the Iliad, came to be one of the young king's most-prized possessions and was always kept, along with a dagger, under his pillow. The text, annotated by Aristotle, came to be known as the "casket copy", so called because it was so large as to be kept in a casket. Quite how practical (and, indeed, possible) it was for Alexander to sleep with it beneath his pillow is a contentious matter."

In this context it is not hard to see how Alexander of Macedon was able to create such an empire. While the library was erected after Alexander's death, Alexander surely left behind an imprint of what it should be. Another quote from Wikipedia:

"According to the earliest source of information, the pseudepigraphic Letter of Aristeas, the Library was initially organized by Demetrius of Phaleron, a student of Aristotle under the reign of Ptolemy Soter."

The library of Alexandria is a fine testament of the power of the Philosophers. Diocletian had to burn the Library in order to conquer Egypt for as long as the Library stood, Egypt was able to create all the wealth it wanted and was thus as good as invincible. I realize that there are many different accounts of the destruction of the Library. Not that I have extensively researched this subject and I could indeed be wrong, but I trust the source.
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Yet another Alexander reference...

Post  deviadah on Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:32 pm

As pharaoh, he [Alexander the Great] gained access to all the treasures of Egypt, including the whereabouts of Hermes’ (Akhenaten's?) tomb. Convinced it was his destiny to reveal the ancient secrets, Alexander immediately headed across the Libyan desert to an ancient temple at Siwa near where the tomb was located. According to Albertus Magnus and others, that is where Alexander found the Emerald Tablet.

Alexander took the tablet and scrolls he found in the tomb to Heliopolis, where he placed the scrolls in the sacred archives and put the Emerald Tablet on public display. Construction of the city of Alexandria to house and study the Hermetic texts was begun immediately, and he assembled a panel of priests and scholars to prepare Greek translations. According to esoteric historian Manly P. Hall, the mysterious Emerald Tablet caused quite a stir. One traveler, who had seen it on display at Heliopolis, wrote: "It is a precious stone, like an emerald, whereon these characters are represented in bas-relief, not engraved. It is esteemed above 2,000 years old. The matter of this emerald had once been in a fluid state like melted glass, and had been cast in a mold, and to this flux the artist had given the hardness of the natural and genuine emerald, by his art."

When Alexander left Egypt, it has been suggested that he took the original tablet with him and hid it for safekeeping before going on to conquer Babylonia and India. Meanwhile, copies of the tablet became primary documents at Alexandria, and according to some reports, scholars issued revised Greek translations in 290 BC, 270 BC, and 50 BC. Several papyrii in the British Museum mention a canon of Egyptian teachings that included the writings of Hermes that was still in existence at the time of Clement of Alexandria (around 170 CE). Fortunately, before Alexandria's libraries were destroyed in successive burnings by the Romans, Christians, and Muslims, copies of the Emerald Tablet had made their way into Arabia and from there eventually reached Spain and Europe.

After Alexander died from a fever on his return from India, his body was interred in a tomb somewhere in the Egyptian desert, although to this day, no one knows where. Yet someone did discover the hiding place of the Emerald Tablet. It is said that a brilliant Syrian youth named Balinas found it hidden in a large cavern just outside his hometown of Tyana in Cappadocia. It was Balinas who absorbed the tablet’s teachings and once again brought them to light in the Western world. The youth became known as Apollonius of Tyana (after Apollo, Greek god of enlightenment and brother of Hermes). Respected for his great wisdom and magical powers, Apollonius traveled throughout the world and eventually settled in Alexandria. - source
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Re: The Animation of Mercury

Post  BeautifulEvil on Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:40 pm

Wow, that adds a whole new dimension to things. Thanks for the information guys.

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Re: The Animation of Mercury

Post  deviadah on Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:41 pm

I created a spin-off topic here:

Alexander the Great


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Re: The Animation of Mercury

Post  pierre on Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:42 am

BeautifulEvil wrote:Thanks for posting that Pierre. We are talking about the famous Macedonian conqueror right (Alexander the Great), or is it another Alexander?

SORRY, I HAVE COMMITTED A RUDE ERROR. ALEXANDER THE GREAT IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF THIS TEXT, BUT ALBERTUS THE GREAT.
SORRY FOR THE MISTAKE


Pierre

Working with the cinnabar is quite risky, because if you breathe the vapors of sublimate of mercury, which may result in mercury clot in the bloodstream and body fluids.
Very true, but with proper distillation equipment the risks can be minimized. Mercury is dangerous no matter what, and only experienced alchemists/chemists should work with such a substance. Death is very likely in worst case scenarios. Just a disclaimer I thought I should mention.

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Alexander the Great

Post  horticult on Thu Jan 01, 2009 5:42 am

Alexander the Great is supposed to saw an unicorn. I think that unicorn is a symbol for a living spirit, mercury. Funny thing is, although the unicorn is not existing, you can read about 2 hunting methods how to catch him Wink . I think it can be found for instance in Borges. Btw this chap is a genius, if you do not know him read e.g. his Aleph or Tlon, you will be bewildered. It is rather strange, how the South American authors are highly educated.
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