John Reid's Course on Practical Alchemy - Chapter 8.
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Preparing Archaeus of Water
Properly collected water contains within it the universal flame of life. We have already seen the reasons for this in the chapter concerning the three essentials. By correctly applying the laws of the art one can rectify water so highly that it will act as a menstruum in all three kingdoms. The process is a simple one, but it requires much time and patience.
We begin by collecting what I call the condensed star light. But what is the manner of this collection? All of the philosophers have been reticent on this point. Let us visit once more the cathedrals of Fulcanelli. Two things struck me about the subject of the Mercury when reading his book. One was the fact that Mercury seemed to be intimately connected with the wood of the oak tree. Secondly, the description of the material used for gathering the water was that of a magnet. Anyone who has bothered to work through the experiments in this book will realize that the water-soluble salts obtained from plant ash are very hygroscopic. They in fact do draw the moisture of the atmosphere to themselves like a magnet. A little bit of research into the constituents of oak, tells us that when oak is incinerated its ash contains copious amounts of potassium salts in the form of potassium carbonate. Potassium salts are one of the most hygroscopic salts available. Therefore it seems only natural that we would use the magnet that is the most efficacious in the vegetable kingdom to attract this sulfurous fire from the sky. In using these salts we are indeed determining the universal Sulfur collected to the plant kingdom. When this sulfur or seed is added to the ovum it will immediately determine it and start the process of fermentation.
In order to collect this water place 100 to 500 grams of plant salts that have gone through at least three purifications. Place the salts in a very thin layer inside a glass dish, take the salts outside on a clear spring night around 10 pm. Be sure to elevate it off the ground by about six inches. The dish should be in a cleared spot with no trees or other obstructions over it. This is of necessity to allow for the clear transmittal and absorption of the stars radiant energy. It would also be wise to cut away or trim back any tall grass that is in the area where you intend to leave the dish. In the morning immediately after the first rays of the sun show, go out and collect your dish. In it you will see that the salts have all tuned or begun to turn into a viscous oily liquid. DO NOT touch this liquid with your hands or any metal object. If you do so you will loose that which you seek to gain. Pour the oily liquid immediately into a distillation flask and assemble the distillation train. Using a vacuum and gentle heat, exhale off the liquid. Let the apparatus cool and immediately pour the water in the receiver into an amber-colored jar and tightly seal it. Place the jar in a cool dark spot, or a refrigerator, until later.
Our next task requires us to collect rain, snow, hail, or dew before it hits the ground. We will need at least two to five gallons of this precipitation to complete our work. Of all the above forms of precipitation the best is rainwater that fell during a thunderstorm. One should do the collecting in a glass bowl or a plastic one. Once collected take the water inside and filter (thaw first if necessary). In this day and age it is a good idea to distill this water at least one time; in this way we remove the pollutants and acids that fell from the atmosphere with the water. As with the first water you collected be sure also not to touch this water with a hand or steel. Divide the water evenly among separate large containers of glass or plastic, leaving at least half their volume empty. Pour into each the same amount of your Universal Sulfur. Cover the containers with cheesecloth or filter paper. Our aim is to create a barrier to dust and other contaminants while maintaining a passageway for the free flow of air. The containers should then be placed in a dark, isolated place that will maintain the heat at around 38 degrees C. Here the water should remain until putrefied. You will be able to tell that this is accomplished when a tan-to brown-colored, spongy, slimy matter appears in your water. It will fall to the bottom of the container when the fermentation is complete.
If gallon containers were used for the fermentation we will have approximately 1500 ml of water to work with from each container. Pour all of this putrefied water into a 2000 ml exhalation setup. Our aim is to sweat the elements of the water over one at a time. The first 375 ml of water that comes over is called Fire of water. It is stored in a tightly sealed mason jar marked as such. The second 375 ml of water that comes over is called Air of water. It is stored too as the first and marked appropriately. The third 375 ml is called Water of water and it too is stored in a tightly sealed jar. The last water to come over is the Earth of water. It is somewhat less in quantity than the previous fractions, partly because it contains the undistillable sediment. Distill over all of the water you can without burning the sediment. That which remains will be of a honey-like consistency. Decant this and dry gently under a sun lamp. This substance is called the Universal Gur. It is used in many advanced works in alchemy. This substance in fact is said to contain the seeds of life for all three of the kingdoms of nature. Store this substance in a tightly sealed jar for later use.
We now must separate each of the four elements into their three essentials. Each of the 375 ml will be separated into three divisions of 125 ml of liquid. For the Fire element, we would call the first 125 ml of liquid the Sulfur of Fire of water. The second 125 ml would be called the Mercury of Fire of water. The last 125 ml of water would be called the Salt of Fire of water. This three fold separation is also performed on the remaining three elements of the water namely the Air, Water, and Earth. In the end, we will have twelve different divisions of our water each with its own nature and efficacy for different works.
The joining of these waters together can be done in one of two ways. We can either pour all of the Mercuries from the different elements together, then all of the Sulfurs, and finally the Salts. We would then pour the combined Mercuries into the combined Salts and then add the combined Sulfurs. Or we can unite the three essentials of one element together, i.e., pour the Mercury of Fire of water onto the Salt of Fire of water and then add the Sulfur of Fire of water. We would do this for the remaining three elements. Once all four of the elements were reconstituted we would then pour the Fire into the Air. These two would then be added to the Water and the three added to the Earth.
This separation, purification, and cohobation should be carried out on our remaining quantities of water. When all is completed store these waters in amber-colored bottles. Screw the tops on tightly and then seal them with wax.
It is interesting to note that each of these waters can be used separately for different tasks in the laboratory. I am sure their manifold uses could fill a volume in itself. For example, one can, through repeated distillations, rectify one of these waters so much that it will begin to act on metals. One of the twelve waters seems to retard the spoilage of herbal tinctures, while another speeds it up. Another of the twelve waters extracts more soluble salts from plant ash than does the others and so on. Also each of these waters has a specific effect on the human organism. The key to their uses are to be found in the varying PH of the water. (Those who desire to know the PH readings as well as which water will perform a certain task will have to do the work themselves or wait for my next book.)
We now have our properly collected and prepared celestial water. Who can deny that it is from this water that we shall derive all the different manifestations of our matter. Or as the ancients have said: " And as all things were produced from One by the mediation of One, so all things are produced from this one thing by adaptation."