CONCERNING COSMOLOGY, ANTHROPOLOGY, PNEUMATOLOGY, MAGIC AND SORCERY, MEDICINE, ALCHEMY AND ASTROLOGY, PHILOSOPHY AND THEOSOPHY
by Franz Hartmann, M.D. (Author of "Magic")
© 1891, by United States Book Company
© 1902 by The Metaphysical Publishing Co.
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"The beginning of wisdom is the beginning of supernatural power." -- PARACELSUS
EXTRACTED AND TRANSLATED FROM HIS RARE AND EXTENSIVE WORKS AND FROM SOME UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS
SECOND EDITION, REVISED AND ENLARGED (THIRD IMPRESSION)
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO. LTD.
Table of Contents:
• 1. The Life of Paracelsus
• 2. Explanations of Terms
• 3. Cosmology
• 4. Anthropology
• 5. Pneumatology
• 6. Magic and Sorcery
• 7. Medicine
• 8. Alchemy and Astrology
• 9. Philosophy and Theosophy
Paracelsus did not read or write much. He says that for ten years he never read a book, and his disciples testify that he dictated his works to them without using any memoranda or manuscripts. On taking an inventory of his goods after his death, a Bible, a Biblical Concordance, a Commentary to the Bible, and a written book on Medicine were all the books that could be found in his possession.
It is true that it is very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to understand the writings of Paracelsus without possessing a certain amount of spiritual insight and intuition. The writings of Paracelsus deal especially with metaphysical and not with corporeal things. Thus, for instance, when he speaks of "Sulphur," he, like other Alchemists of his times, refers to a certain active energy or form of the will, for which even modern science has not yet invented a name, and for which the term "Sulphur" is a symbol, in the same sense as "Mercury" is a symbol for intelligence, "Salt" for substance, "Venus" for love, and so forth. One would therefore vainly inquire at the chemist's shop for the "sulphur" of Paracelsus... with the knowledge of spiritual mysteries and secret powers of Nature, the meaning of the symbols representing those things has also been lost.
Few of the works of Paracelsus were printed during his lifetime. Those that were printed consist of his seven books, "De Gradibus et Compositionibus Receptorum et Naturalium," Basel, 1526; and of his "Chirurgia Magna," printed at Ulm, 1536. The rest of his writings did not become known publicly until after his death, and it is to be regretted that his disciples and followers delivered them in such a state of confusion to the printer, that frequently entire pages were missing, and it was very difficult to put those that were to be had into some order.
Separate editions of the works of Paracelsus were published by Hieronymus Feierabend in Frankfurt, by Arnold Byrkmann in Cologne, and by Peter Barna in Basel. Simultaneously a great many spurious prints and writings, falsely attributed to Paracelsus, were put into circulation, as appears from a note by Antiprassus Siloranus, who says that Paracelsus wrote 35 books on Medicine, 235 on Philosophy, 12 on Politics, 7 on Mathematics, and 66 on Necromancy. If we remember that Paracelsus was engaged in literary labours for only fifteen years, it appears self-evident that Siloranus referred in his note to all the books and papers that were put into circulation, and attributed to Paracelsus by the public.
John Huser, doctor of medicine at Grossglogau, undertook a critical examination of such works, on the request of the Archbishop Prince Ernst of Cologne [LC: The protector of Roman Catholicism in northwestern Germany]. He collected with great labour all the autographs of Paracelsus and the original manuscripts of his disciples, such as could be found; he put them into order, and revised and published them at Cologne in a general edition during the years 1589 and 1590.
"A strong will subdues a weaker one, and therefore the first necessary condition for the purpose of producing magic effects is the development of the will."
"The sun radiates heat and attracts the vapours of the earth, and likewise the heart of man attracts the 'humidum menstrui,' which is a poisonous planetary exhalation of the Microcosm of woman."
"The witches and evil spirits, moreover, use certain invisible and poisonous elements, taken from spiders, toads, and other villainous creatures, and use them in combination with the menstrual blood for evil purposes; but it is not advisable to publish the secret how this is done. We will, however, say that sometimes they make an image of a person in wax, and tie a rag, soiled with the menstrual blood, around it, and add the Mumia of the carcass of some animal -- preferring one of an animal that has died of an ulcer and by using their evil imagination they throw the evil spell upon the person whom the image represents, and in this manner they poison his blood and cause him to die."
"Man possesses a magnetic power by which he can attract certain effluvia of a good or evil quality in the same manner as a magnet will attract particles of iron. A magnet may be prepared from iron that will attract iron, and a magnet may be prepared out of some vital substance that will attract vitality. Such a magnet is called the 'magnes microcosmi,' and it is prepared out of substances that have remained for a time in the human body, and are penetrated by its vitality. Such substances are the hair, the excrements, urine, blood, &c. If it is desirable to use the excrements, they are to be dried in a shadowy, dry, and moderately warm place until they have lost their humidity and odour. By this process all the Mumia has gone out of them, and they are, so to say, hungry to attract vitality again. If such a magnet is applied to a part of the patient's body, it attracts and absorbs vitality from that part in the same manner as a sponge absorbs water, and it will thereby allay the inflammation existing in such a part, because it attracts the superabundance of magnetism carried to that place by the rush of the blood. The Mumia coming from the body of a person continues to remain for a while in sympathetic relationship (magnetic rapport) with the Mumia contained in such a person, and they act magnetically upon each other. If, therefore, the Mumia is extracted from a diseased part of a person by a microcosmic magnet, and the magnet mixed with earth, and an herb is planted into it, the Mumia in the magnet will be extracted by that plant, and lose its diseased matter, and react in a beneficial manner upon the Mumia contained in the body of the patient; but it is necessary that the selected plant should be one which bears the signature of the disease with which the patient is affected, so that it will attract the specific influence from the stars. In this way diseased elements may be magnetically extracted out of a person and inoculated into a plant. This is called the transplantation of diseases; and diseases may, in a similar manner, be transplanted into animals that are healthy and strong, or the virus be transferred upon other persons; and many practices of sorcery are based upon that fact. In this way diseases can be cured in one person and caused to appear in another; love between two persons of the opposite sex may thus be created, and magnetic links be established between persons living at distant places, because there is only one universal principle of life, and by it all beings are sympathetically connected together."
"The plants used for the transplantation of diseases bear the signatures of the diseases whose names are added. In cases of ulcers and wounds the Mumia may be planted with Polygonum persicaria, Symphytum officinal, Botanus europeus, &c. The plant is to be brought for a while in contact with the ulcer, and then to be buried in manure. As it rots, the ulcer heals. In toothache the gums should be rubbed with the root of Senecio vulgaris until they bleed, and the root is then to be replaced into the earth; or a splinter may be cut out of a blackthorn or willow after the bark has been lifted up. Pick the gums with that splinter until they bleed, and replace the splinter into the tree and tie the cut in the bark up so that it will heal. In menorrhagia uterina, the Mumia should be taken from the groins and planted with Polygonum persicaria. In menorrhoea difficilis, Mentha pulegium is used. In phthisis pulmonalis the Mumia may be planted with an orchis in the vicinity of an oak or cherry tree, or the Mumia be planted directly into such trees. The (fresh) urine of a patient should be heated in a new pot over a fire, and an egg boiled in it. When the egg is hard boiled, some holes should be made into the egg, and the urine boiled down until the pot is dry. The egg is then to be put into an ant-hill; the ants will eat it, and the patient recovers. In atrophy of the limbs the Mumia is taken from the upper and lower joints of the diseased limb, and planted with an oak or cherry tree. Diseases can also be cured by transplantation, if the diseased part is covered for a while with a piece of fresh beef, until the sweat enters into it, and the beef is then given to a cat to eat."
Everything in Nature has a threefold aspect. The highest aspect of alchemy is the regeneration of man in the spirit of God out of the material elements of his physical body. The physical body itself is the greatest of mysteries, because in it are contained in a condensed, solidified, and corporeal state the very essences which go to make up the substance of the spiritual man, and this is the secret of the "Philosopher's Stone." The sign in which the true alchemist works is the Cross, because man roots with his material elements in the earth, penetrates with his soul through the animal forces of Nature, while his higher nature reaches above the animal creation into the realm of immortality.
Alchemy is described by Paracelsus as an art in which Vulcan (the fire of Nature) is the active artist. By this art the pure is separated from the impure, and things are made to grow out of primordial matter (A'kasa). Alchemy renders perfect what Nature has left imperfect, and purifies all things by the power of the spirit that is contained in them.
"If you want to make the sphere of Saturn run in harmony with earthly life, you may put all the planets therein. Let it all run until the heaven of Saturn entirely disappears; then will the planets remain. They will have died in their corruptible bodies and taken an incorruptible perfect body. This is the life and spirit of heaven which causes the planets to live again and become corporified as before."
The remedy by which, according to Paracelsus, rejuvenation (regeneration) could be accomplished is not a compound of chemical substances, but an Arcanum, "an invisible fire, which destroys all diseases." It is also called the Red Lion, and is said to be a red ethereal fluid, capable of transmuting all inferior metals into gold, and having other wonderful virtues. Paracelsus says: “Be careful not to take anything from the lion but the rose-coloured blood, and from the white eagle only the white gluten. Coagulate (corporify) it according to the directions given by the ancients, and you will have the tinctura physicorum."
"The compositions of the astra of metals produce wonderful effects. If we make a composition of seven metals in the proper order and at the proper time, we will obtain a metal which contains all the virtues of the seven. Such a composition is called 'electrum.' It possesses the virtues of the seven metals that enter into its composition, and the electrum is one of the most valuable preparations known to secret science. The ordinary metals cannot be compared with it on account of its magic power."
"Many wonderful things can be made of this electrum, such as amulets, charms, magic finger-rings, arm-rings, seals, figures, mirrors, bells, medals, and many other things possessing great magic powers, of which very little is publicly known, because our art has been neglected, and the majority of men do not even know that it exists. The electrum is antipathetic to all evil influences, because there is hidden in it a heavenly power and the influence of all the seven planets. Therefore the Egyptians and Chaldeans and the Magi of Persia used it against evil spirits, and made great discoveries by its use. If I were to tell all I know about the virtues of the electrum, the sophists would denounce me for being the greatest sorcerer in the world."
"I will, however, say that I have known a person in Spain who possessed a bell made out of the electrum, and weighing about two pounds, and by ringing that bell he could cause various kinds of spectres and apparitions to appear, and they would obey his commands. Before using the bell he always wrote some words or characters on its inside. He then rang the bell, and immediately the spirits appeared in such a shape as he ordered them to take. He was even able to attract by the sound of that bell the spectres of men or animals, or to drive them away when they were not wanted; and whenever he wanted another spirit to appear he wrote some other characters on the inside of that bell. He refused to tell me the secret of these words and characters, but I meditated about it, and found it out myself."
"You need not be surprised to hear that such things are possible, because everything is possible, if it is consistent with natural laws. One man may call another man by his name, and order him to do certain things, and if the latter respects the former, or is awed by his superiority, he will obey his order without being forced to do so with a weapon or stick. On invisible beings the will of man has still more effect, and an inferior being can be made to obey the will of a superior one by the force of the mere thought of a word, because the lower is subject to the higher, and the inferior to the superior, and what else is the will but a power hidden in the thought (mind) of man, and becoming active through his imagination."
"The electrum magicum is prepared as follows: -- Take ten parts of pure gold, ten of silver, five of copper, two of tin, two of lead, one part of powdered iron, and five of mercury. All these metals must be pure. Now wait for the hour when the planets Saturn and Mercury come into conjunction, and have all your preparations ready for that occasion; have the fire, the crucible, the mercury, and the lead ready, so that there will be no delay when the time of the conjunction arrives, for the work must be done during the moments of the conjunction. As soon as this takes place melt the lead and add the mercury, and let it cool. After this has been done, wait for a conjunction of Jupiter with Saturn and Mercury, melt the compound of lead and mercury in a crucible, and in another crucible the tin, and pour the two metals together at the moment of such conjunction. You must now wait until a conjunction of the sun with either one or both of the above-named planets takes place, and then add the gold to the compound after melting it previously. At a time of a conjunction of the moon with the sun, Saturn, or Mercury, the silver is added likewise, and at a time of a conjunction of Venus with one of the above-named planets the copper is added. Finally, at a time of such a conjunction with Mars, the whole is completed by the addition of the powdered iron. Stir the fluid mass with a dry rod of witch-hazel, and let it cool."
"Of this electrum magicum you may make a mirror in which you will see the events of the past and the present, absent friends or enemies, and what they are doing. You will see in it any object you may desire to see, and all the doings of men in daytime or at night. You will see in it anything that has ever been written down, said, or spoken in the past, and also see the person who said it, and the causes that made him say what he did, and anything, however secret it may have been kept."
"Human beings may come into existence without natural parents. That is to say, such beings grow without being developed and born by a female organism; by the art of an experienced spagyricus (alchemist). The generatio homonculi has until now been kept very secret, and so little was publicly known about it that the old philosophers have doubted its possibility. But I know that such things may be accomplished by spagyric art assisted by natural processes. If the sperma, enclosed in a hermetically sealed glass, is buried in horse manure for about forty days, and properly 'magnetised' it begins to live and to move. After such a time it bears the form and resemblance of a human being, but it will be transparent and without a corpus. If it is now artificially fed with the arcanum sanguinis hominis until it is about forty weeks old, and if allowed to remain during that time in the horse-manure in a continually equal temperature, it will grow into a human child, with all its members developed like any other child, such as could have been born by a woman; only it will be much smaller. We call such a being a homunculus, and it may be raised and educated like any other child, until it grows older and obtains reason and intellect, and is able to take care of itself. This is one of the greatest secrets, and it ought to remain a secret until the days approach when all secrets will be known."
Paracelsus has been reproached for his belief in the possibility of generating homunculi; but a deeper insight into the processes of Nature will show that such a thing is not necessarily impossible. Modern authorities believe it to be not impossible. Moleschott thinks that we may perhaps yet succeed in establishing conditions by which organic forms can be generated; Liebig is of the opinion that chemistry will yet succeed in making organic substances by artificial means. Goethe says in his "Faust": --
"And such a brain, that has the power to think,
Will in the future be produced by a thinker."
Where no germ is present such a generation would certainly be impossible; but chickens can be artificially hatched out, and perhaps homunculi may be developed. There seem to be some historic evidences that such things have been accomplished, as the following account will show: --
In a book called "The Sphinx," edited by Dr. Emil Besetzny, and published at Vienna in 1873 by L. Rosner (Tuchlauben, No. 22), we find some interesting accounts in regard to a number of "spirits" generated by a Joh. Ferd, Count of Kueffstein, in Tyrol, in the year 1775. The sources from which these accounts are taken consist in masonic manuscripts and prints, but more especially in a diary kept by a certain Jas Kammerer, who acted in the capacity of butler and famulus to the said Count. There were ten homunculi or, as he calls them, "prophesying spirits" preserved in strong bottles, such as are used to preserve fruit, and which were filled with water; and these "spirits" were the product of the labour of the Count J. F. of Kueffstein (Kufstein), and of an Italian Mystic and Rosicrucian, Abbe Geloni. They were made in the course of five weeks, and consisted of a king, a queen, a knight, a monk, a nun, an architect, a miner, a seraph, and finally of a blue and a red spirit. "The bottles were closed with ox-bladders, and with a great magic seal (Solomon's seal?). The spirits swam about in those bottles, and were about one span long, and the Count was very anxious that they should grow. They were therefore buried under two cart-loads of horse-manure, and the pile daily sprinkled with a certain liquor, prepared with great trouble by the two adepts, and made out of some ‘very disgusting materials.' The pile of manure began after such sprinklings to ferment and to steam as if heated by a subterranean fire, and at least once every three days, when everything was quiet, at the approach of the night, the two gentlemen would leave the convent and go to pray and to fumigate at that pile of manure. After the bottles were removed the 'spirits' had grown to be each one about one and a half span long, so that the bottles were almost too small to contain them, and the male homunculi had come into possession of heavy beards, and the nails of their fingers and toes had grown a great deal. By some means the Abbe Schiloni provided them with appropriate clothing, each one according to his rank and dignity. In the bottle of the red and in that of the blue spirit, however, there was nothing to be seen but 'clear water'; but whenever the Abbe knocked three times at the seal upon the mouth of the bottles, speaking at the same time some Hebrew words, the water in the bottles began to turn blue (respectively red), and the blue and the red spirits would show their faces, first very small, but growing in proportions until they attained the size of an ordinary human face. The face of the blue spirit was beautiful, like an angel, but that of the red one bore a horrible expression."
"These beings were fed by the Count about once every three or four days with some rose-coloured substance which he kept in a silver box, and of which he gave to each spirit a pill of about the size of a pea. Once every week the water had to be removed, and the bottles filled again with pure rain-water. This change had to be accomplished very rapidly, because during the few moments that the spirits were exposed to the air they closed their eyes, and seemed to become weak and unconscious, as if they were about to die. But the blue spirit was never fed, nor was the water changed; while the red one received once a week a thimbleful of fresh blood of some animal (chicken), and this blood disappeared in the water as soon as it was poured into it, without colouring or troubling it. The water containing the red spirit had to be changed once every two or three days. As soon as the bottle was opened it became dark and cloudy, and emitted an odour of rotten eggs."
"In the course of time these spirits grew to be about two spans long, and their bottles were now almost too small for them to stand erect; the Count therefore provided them with appropriate seats. These bottles were carried to the place where the Masonic Lodge of which the Count was the presiding Master met, and after each meeting they were carried back again. During the meetings the spirits gave prophecies about future events that usually proved to be correct. They knew the most secret things, but each of them was only acquainted with such things as belonged to his station: for instance, the king could talk politics, the monk about religion, the miner about minerals, &c.; but the blue and the red spirits seemed to know everything. (Some facts proving their clairvoyant powers are given in the original.)"
"By some accident the glass containing the monk fell one day upon the floor, and was broken. The poor monk died after a few painful respirations, in spite of all the efforts of the Count to save his life, and his body was buried in the garden. An attempt to generate another one, made by the Count without the assistance of the Abbe, who had left, resulted in failure, as it produced only a small thing like a leech, which had very little vitality, and soon died."
"One day the king escaped from his bottle, which had not been properly sealed, and was found by Kammerer sitting on the top of the bottle containing the queen, attempting to scratch with his nails the seal away, and to liberate her. In answer to the servant's call for help, the Count rushed in, and after a prolonged chase caught the king, who, from his long exposure to the air and the want of his appropriate element, had become faint, and was replaced into his bottle not, however, without succeeding to scratch the nose of the Count."
It seems that the Count of Kufstein in later years became anxious for the salvation of his soul, and considered it incompatible with the requirements of his conscience to keep those spirits longer in his possession, and that he got rid of them in some manner not mentioned by the scribe. We will not make an attempt at comment, but would advise those who are curious about this matter to read the book from which the above account is an extract. There can be hardly any doubt as to its veracity, because some historically well-known persons, such as Count Max Lamberg, Count Franz Josef v. Thun, and others, saw them, and they possessed undoubtedly visible and tangible bodies; and it seems that they were either elemental spirits, or, what appears to be more probable, homunculi.
It seems to be useless to quote any more alchemistical prescriptions of Paracelsus, or of any other alchemist. To the uninitiated they are unintelligible; while the initiated, having the light of the spirit for his teacher, will not require them. But those who condemn the ancient occultists for their supposed ignorance and superstition would do well to remember that it requires a vastly greater amount of credulity to believe that great reformers in science and men possessed of wisdom, such as Paracelsus, Johannes Tritheim, Van Helmont, and others, should have consented to write whole volumes of such intolerable rubbish as such writings would certainly be if they were to be taken in a literal meaning, than to believe -- as is actually the case -- that great spiritual truths were thus hidden behind allegories that were intended to be understood only by those who possessed the key in their own hearts.
He objected strongly to the use of ceremonies that were made for the purpose of attracting spirits by means of planetary influences. He says: "Whatever comes from the astral 'spirits' is sorcery. Such spirits are false, and we do not believe in them; but we believe in the power of that wisdom which rules heaven, and by which all the mysteries of Nature may be known. Sorcery has been called magic; but magic is wisdom, and there is no wisdom in sorcery. True science knows everything."
"Three spirits, united in one, live and act in man; three worlds, united into one, throw their rays upon him; but all three are only the reflection, image, or echo of one primordial creation. The body comes from the elements, the soul from the stars, and the spirit from God. All that the intellect can conceive of comes from the stars."
"The earth, the animal kingdom, and physical man are subject to the government of the stars; but the spiritual man rules over the stars and over the elements, and conquers the worlds without and the world within by the wisdom that comes from God. Stones, plants, and animals obey the government of the mind, and man should obey the will and wisdom of God. The individual terrestrial life should correspond to the laws governing the universe; man's spiritual aspirations should be directed to harmonise with the will and wisdom of God. If this is attained, the inner consciousness will awaken to an understanding of the influences of the stars, and the mysteries of Nature will be revealed to his spiritual perception."
By "stars" (astra) Paracelsus does not refer to the physical bodies of the planets, but to mental states existing in the Cosmos, and which are represented by the stars.
Johannes Tritheim, Abbot of Spanheim, one of the greatest alchemists, theologians, and astrologers, a learned and highly esteemed man, makes some remarks in his book (printed at Passau, 1506) that may help to throw some light on the perplexing subject of alchemy. He says: "If you wish to succeed in such a work you must know how to separate spirit and life in Nature, and, moreover, to separate the astral soul in yourself and to make it tangible, and then the substance of the soul will appear visibly and tangibly, rendered objective by the power of the spirit."
[Notice. I wish to warn the reader, who might be inclined to try any of the alchemical prescriptions contained in this book, not to do so unless he is an alchemist, because, although I know from personal observation that these prescriptions are not only allegorically but literally true, and will prove successful in the hands of an alchemist, they would only cause a waste of time and money in the hands of one who has not the necessary qualifications. A person who wants to be an alchemist must have in himself the "magnesia," which means the magnetic power to attract and "coagulate" invisible astral elements. This power is only possessed by those who are "Initiates." Those who do not know what this expression means are not "reborn" (or initiated), and it cannot be explained to them. But he who is initiated will know it, and needs no instruction from books, because he will know his instructor.]
The object of existence is to become perfectly happy, but permanent happiness can be obtained only by attaining permanent good. The highest a man can feel and think is his highest ideal, and the higher we rise in the scale of existence and the more our knowledge expands, the higher will be our ideal. As long as we cling to our highest ideal we will be happy, in spite of the sufferings and vicissitudes of life. This is to be accomplished only by the overcoming of the illusion of separate existence and the awakening of the soul to the essential unity of all things.
"It is not a faith in the existence of a historical Jesus Christ that has the power to save mankind from evil, but a faith in the Supreme Power (God), through which the man Jesus was enabled to act, and through which we also may act when it becomes manifested in us. The rock upon which the true (spiritual) church is founded is not to be found in Rome nor in Protestantism, nor in the realm of fancy, but in the power of faith. It is the Word of Wisdom from which you should learn. If your faith is not in your heart, but in forms and ceremonies, and if you cling to these forms you may know that your heart is evil. I do not say that images should not be made, and that the suffering of Christ should not be represented in pictures. But the saints are in heaven, and not in the wood out of which an image is carved. Each man is himself nearest to his own god."
"I contradict your old fathers because they wrote for the body and not for the soul; they wrote poetry, but not theosophy; they spoke flatteries instead of telling the truth. They were teachers of fashions and usages, not teachers of eternal life. The mere imitation of the personal usages of the saints leads to nothing but damnation. The wearing of a black coat, or the possession of a piece of paper signed by some human authority, does not make a man divine. It may be said that the personal behaviour of a clergyman does not affect the truth of what he teaches; but a clergyman who does not act rightly does not possess the truth, and therefore cannot teach it."
"Man is a materialised thought; he is what he wills. To change his nature from the mortal to the immortal state he must change his material mode of thinking, and even rise above the sphere of thought. He must cease to hold fast in his thoughts to that which is illusory and perishing, and hold on to that which is eternal. The visible universe is a thought of the eternal mind thrown into objectivity by its will, and crystallised into matter by its power. Look at the everlasting stars; look at the indestructible mountain-peaks. They are the thoughts of the universal mind, and they will remain as long as the thoughts of that mind do not change. If we could hold on to a thought we would be able to create. But who but the enlightened, who live above the region of mentality in the kingdom of spirit, can hold on to a thought? Are not the illusions of the senses continually destroying that which we attempt to create? Men do not think what they choose, but that which comes into their mind. If they could control the action of their mind by rising above it, they would be able to control their own nature and the nature by which their forms are surrounded."
"There is no god, no saint, and no power in which we can put any confidence, faith, or trust for the purpose of our salvation, except the power of divine wisdom acting within ourselves. Only when man realises the presence of God within himself will he begin his infinite life, and step from the realm of evanescent illusions into that of permanent truth. The realisation of eternal truth is caused by the 'Holy Ghost,' this being the light of self-knowledge, the spirit of truth. No man can create within himself that light, nor drag the spirit of truth down to his level, nor push himself by his own will into that light; he can only wait in peace until that spirit descends and becomes manifest in his soul. Thus the acquisition of wisdom consists in passively receiving the light from above, and in actively resisting the influences from below which hinder its manifestation."
"God cannot become manifested in man as long as there exists in him the delusion of "self," because that "self" is a limited thing, which cannot grasp the infinite indivisible reality. For this reason "love" -- that is to say, the abandonment of "self" -- is the beginning of wisdom. This doctrine, however, is generally misunderstood. It does not teach that I should merely desire nothing for myself; but it teaches that there should be no conception of "I" in my mind that loves or desires anything. Only when that illusion of "self" has disappeared from my Heart and mind, and my consciousness arisen to that state in which there will be no "I," then will not I be the doer of works, but the spirit of wisdom will perform its wonders through my instrumentality."
"In this also exists the difference between divine love and 'altruism.' Altruistically inclined persons are usually not selfish, but possessed by the idea of 'self.' Not from God, but from their own illusion of selfhood, are their works emanating. They are themselves the doers of their works, and are proud of their own goodness and wisdom; but their good works, being the product of an illusion, are illusive, and therefore impermanent. The altruistic humanitarian sees in other human beings his brothers and sisters; but God, dwelling in the soul of the wise, sees in every vehicle of life and in every creature His own divine self."
"That which a man writes is not created by him, but it existed before him, and will exist after him; he only gives it a form. Therefore that which he writes is not his but another's; he is only the instrument through which truth or error expresses itself.
"If we could extract the fire of life from the heart without destroying the heart, and draw the quintessence out of inanimate things, and use it for our purpose, we might live forever in the enjoyment of health, and without experiencing any disease. There are some substances in which this quintessence is contained in greater quantities than in others, and from which it can more easily be extracted. Such substances are especially the herb called melissa and the human blood."
"To make the Primum Ens Sanguinis, take blood from the median vein of a healthy young person, and let it run into a warm bottle that has been weighed upon scales, so that the exact quantity of the blood used will be known. Add to this blood twice its quantity of alcahest, close the bottle, and permit it to remain in a moderately warm place for about fourteen days, after which the red fluid is to be separated from the sediment, filtered, and preserved. This is the Primum Ens Sanguinis."
The celebrated Alcahest is an universal medicine whose preparation was also known to Helmont and to some Rosicrucians. It was considered by them as one of the greatest mysteries. It is prepared as follows: -- "Take freshly prepared caustic lime, if possible still warm; powder it quickly in a dry place, and put it into a retort. Add as much absolute alcohol as the powder will absorb, and distil the alcohol at a moderate heat, until the powder in the retort is left perfectly dry. The distilled alcohol is now to be poured again upon the lime, and distilled, and this operation repeated ten times. Mix the powder with the fifth part of its own weight of pure carbonate of potash. This must be done very quickly and in a dry atmosphere, so that it will not attract any moisture. Insert the mixture of the two powders into a retort and heat it gradually, after putting about two ounces of absolute alcohol into the recipient. White vapours arise from the powder, and are attracted by the alcohol, and the heating is to be continued as long as this takes place. Pour the alcohol from the recipient into a dish, and set it on fire. The alcohol burns away, and the alcahest remains in the dish."
One of the greatest sympathetic remedies of Paracelsus, for the possession of which he was envied a great deal, and the preparation of which he kept very secret, was his Zenexton. His disciple, Oswald Sroll, in his "Basilica Chemica," pp. 210-213, describes its preparation as follows: -- "Make an instrument of good steel, by which you may cut some small tablets of the size of a penny, and whose composition will be given below. The instrument consists of two discs, which can be connected together by a middle piece in the shape of a ring, forming a hollow space between the two discs, and the latter are provided with handles. Upon the inner side of one disc is engraved a snake, and the inner side of the other represents a scorpion, so that the substance which is to be put into the hollow space between the two discs will receive the impression of the snake on one side and of the scorpion on the other. The instrument is to be made at a time when sun and moon are together in the sign of Scorpion. By this process the upper bodies will be joined to the lower ones in an inseparable sympathetic union."
"The substance of which the tablets are made is prepared as follows: -- Take about eighteen live toads, dry them by exposing them to the sun and the air, and powder them. They must be dried very quickly, else they will rot. Take a number of menstrual cloths from young girls; white arsenic, auro-pigment, half an ounce of each; roots of Diptamus albus and Tormentilla erecta, of each three drachms; one drachm of small pearls; red corals, pieces of hyacinths and smaragds, half a drachm of each; oriental saffron, forty grains; and a few grains of musk and amber. Powder all fine, mix it all together, and make a paste out of it with rosewater and gum-tragacanth. Make a paste out of it at the time when the moon is in the sign of Scorpion, cut into tablets, and seal them with the instrument. Dry the tablets, cover them with red silk, and wear them by a string around your neck, but they ought not to touch the bare skin. Such an amulet protects the wearer against the plague, sorcery, poison, and evil astral influences; it draws poisons out of the body, and absorbs them entirely."
C. von Eckartshausen speaks in his "Disclosures of Magic" (1790) about the Adepts as follows: "These sages, whose number is small, are children of light, and are opposed to darkness. They dislike mystification and secrecy; they are open and frank, having nothing to do with secret societies and with external ceremonies. They possess a spiritual temple, in which God is presiding. They live in various parts of the earth, and do not meddle with politics; their business is to do as much good to humanity as is in their power, and to drink wisdom from the eternal fountain of truth. They never quarrel about opinions, because they know the truth. Their number is small. Some live in Europe, others in Africa, but they are bound together by the harmony of their souls, and they are therefore as one. They are joined together, although they may be thousands of miles apart from each other. They understand each other, although they speak in different tongues, because the language of the sages is spiritual perception."
"Thus may man enter into sanctification; he may communicate with perfect beings in the spiritual kingdom, and be instructed and guided by them. He will be a true child of God. All Nature will be subject to him, because he will be an instrument to carry out the will of the Creator of Nature. He knows the future, the thoughts and the instincts of men, because the mysteries of eternity are open before him. But the plans of the worldly-wise will come to nought. That which took the followers of false science centuries to accomplish will be wiped out by a single stroke of the finger of God, and a nobler generation will come, which will worship God in spirit and in truth."
-- The Life of Philippus Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim Known by the Name of Paracelsus and the Substance of his Teachings, by Franz Hartmann, M.D.