HTML Scrolling Menu

Ripley's Sixth Gate

Back to Twelve Gates.


Of Congelation I need not much to write,
But what it is, I will to you declare.
It is the induration of soft things of colour white,
And the fixation together of spirits which are flying,
How to congeal, you need not much to care,
For Elements will knit together soon,
So that Putrefaction be kindly done.

But Congelations be made in divers ways,
Of spirits and bodies dissolved to water clear,
Of salts also dissolved twice or thrice,
And then congealed into a fluxible matter;
Of such congealing, fools fast do clatter,
And some dissolve, dividing the Elements manually,
And congealing them after to a dry powder.

But such congealing is not to our desire,
For unto ours it is contrary,
Our congelation dreads not the fire :
For it must ever stand in it unctuous,
And so it is also a tincture so bounteous,
Which in the air congealed will not relent to water,
For then our work were spoiled.

Moreover congeal not into so hard a stone,
As glass or crystal, which melteth by fusion,
But so that it like wax will melt anon
Without blast: and beware of delusion,
For such congealing accords not to our conclusion,
As will not flow, but run to water again,
Like salt congealed, then labour you in vain.

Which congelation avails us not a deal,
It longeth to multipliers, congealing vulgarly,
If you therefore wish to do well,
(So that the medicine shall never flow kindly,
Neither congeal, without you putrefy it first)
First purge, and then fix the elements of our stone,
Till they together congeal and flow anon.

For when your matter is made perfectly white,
Then will the spirit with the body be congealed,
But of that time you may have long respite,
Or it congeal, like pearls in your sight,
Such congelation be you glad to see,
And after like grains red as blood,
Richer than any worldly good.

The earthly grossness therefore first mortified,
In moisture blackness is engendered;
This principle may not be denied,
For natural philosophers so say, I declare,
Which had, of whiteness you may not miss;
And into whiteness if thou congeal it once,
Then have you a stone most precious of all stones.

And like as the moist did putrefy the dry,
Which caused in colour blackness to appear,
So the moist is congealed by the dry,
Engendering whiteness shining with might full clear,
And dryness proceeding as the matter whitens,
Like as in blackness moisture does him show,
By colours variant always new and new.

The cause of this is heat most temperate,
Working and moving the matter continually,
And thereby also the matter is altered,
Both inward and outward substantially,
Not as do fools to their sophistical sight;
But in every part all fire to endure,
Fluxible, fixed and stable in tincture.

As Physic determines of each digestion,
First done in the stomach in which is dryness,
Causing whiteness without question,
Like as the second digestion causes redness,
Completed in the liver by temperate heat,
Right so our Stone by dryness and by heat,
Is digested to white and red complete.

But here you must another secret know,
How the Philosophers child in the air is born,
Busy you not to blow at the coal too fast,
And take this neither for mockery or scorn,
But trust me truly, else is all your work forlorn,
Without your earth with water be revived,
Our true congealing you shall never see.

A soul it is, being betwixt heaven and earth,
Arising from the earth as air with water pure,
And causing life in every lively thing,
Incessant running upon our four fold nature,
Enforcing to better them with all its cure,
Which air is the fire of our Philosophy,
Named now oil, now water mystically.

And by this means air which we call oil or water,
Our fire, our ointment, our spirit, and our Stone,
In which one thing we ground our wisdoms all,
Goes neither in nor out alone,
Nor the fire but the water anon.
First it leads out, and after it brings in,
As water with water, which will not lightly twin.

And so may water only our water move,
Which moving causes both death and life
And water to water doth kindly cleave,
Without repugnance or any strife,
Which water to fools is nothing rife,
Being without doubt of the kind of the Spirit,
Called water and that which leads out.

And water is the secret and life of every thing
Of substance found in this world,
For of water each thing has its beginning,
As is shown in women, when they are unbound,
Of water called Albumen, which passes before if all be sound,
First from them running,
With grievous throes before their childing.

And truly that is the most principal cause,
Why Philosophers charge us to be patient,
Till in time the water be dried all to powder,
With nourishing heat, continual, not violent;
For qualities be contrary of every element,
Till after black in white be made a union,
Of them for ever, congealed without division.

And furthermore, the preparation of this conversion,
From thing to thing, from one state to another,
Is done only by kindly and discrete operation of Nature,
As is of sperm within the mother;
For sperm and heat, are as sister and brother,
Which be converted in themselves as nature can,
By action and passion at last to perfect man.

For as the bodily part by nature was combined,
Into man, is such as the beginner was,
Which though it thus from thing to thing was altered,
Not out of kind, to mix with other kind did pass,
And so our matter spermatical within our glass,
Within itself must turn from thing to thing,
By most temperate heat only nourishing it.

Another natural example I may tell you,
How the substance of an egg by nature is wrought
Into a chicken without passing out of the shell,
A plainer example I could not have thought,
And their conversions be made till forth be brought,
From state to state, the like by like in kind,
With nourishing heat : only bear this in mind.

Another example here also you may read,
Of vegetable things, taking consideration,
How every thing grows of its own seed,
Through heat and moisture, by natural operation,
And therefore minerals be nourished by the administration
Of radical moisture, which was their beginning,
Not passing their kind within one glass.

There we turn them from thing to thing again,
Into their mother the water when they go,
Which principle unknown, you labourest in vain.
Then all is sperm ; and things there be no more,
But kind with kind in number two,
Male and female, agent and patient,
Within the matrix of the earth most orient.

And these be turned by heat from thing to thing
Within one glass, and so from state to state,
Until the time that nature does bring them,
Into one substance of the water regenerate:
And so the sperm with his kind is altered,
Able in likeness his kind to multiply,
As does in kind all other things naturally.

In the time of this said natural process,
While that the conceived sperm is growing
The substance is nourished with his own menstrual,
Which water only out of the earth did spring,
Whose colour is green in the first showing;
And from that time the Sun hides his light,
Taking his course throughout the North by night.

The said menstrual (I say to you in counsel)
The blood of our green Lion and not of vitriol,
Dame Venus can the truth of this tell to you,
At the beginning, to counsel if you call her,
The secret is hid by Philosophers great and small,
Which blood drawn out of our green Lion,
For lack of heat had not perfect digestion.

But this blood called our secret menstrual,
Wherewith our sperm is nourished temperately,
When it is turned into the corporeal faeces,
And so become perfectly white and very dry,
Congealed and fixed into his own body,
Then decocted blood to sight it may well seem,
Of this work named the milk white diadem.

Understand now that our fiery water thus sharp,
Is called our menstrual water,
Wherein our earth is loosed and naturally calcined,
By congelation that they may never twine,
But yet to congeal more water you may not hesitate,
Into three parts of the acuate water said before,
With the fourth part of the earth congealed and no more.

Unto that substance therefore so congelate,
The fourth part put of crystalline water,
And make them then together to be disposed,
By congelation into a miner metalline,
Which like a new slipped sword will shine,
After the blackness which first will show,
The fourth part then give it of water new.

Many imbibitions it must have yet,
Give it the second, and after the third also,
The said proportion keeping in your wit,
Then to another the fourth time look you go,
Therefore pass not the fifth time and the sixth,
But put two parts at each time of them three,
And at the seventh time five parts must there be.

When you have made imbibition seven times,
Again you must turn your wheel,
And putrefy all that matter without addition,
First abiding blackness if you will do well,
Then into whiteness congeal it up each deal,
And after by redness into the south ascend,
Then have you brought your base to an end.

Thus is your water then divided into two parts,
With the first part the bodies be putrefied,
And to your imbibitions the second part must go,
With which your matter is afterward denigrated,
And soon upon easy decoction albificated,
Then is it named by Philosophers our starry stone,
Bring that to redness, then is the sixth gate won.

The end of the Sixth Gate.

If you have problems understanding these alchemical texts, Adam McLean now provides a study course entitled How to read alchemical texts : a guide for the perplexed.