Anna Kingsford-‘About The Association Of The Metals With The Planets’

From Stephan Michelspacher’s’ ‘Cabala, Spiegel der Kunst und Natur, in Alchymia’. Augsburg, 1615.


‘It is not idly or without meaning that the Metals have become associated with the Planets and with their divine Patrons. Chemistry is, as its radical implies truly the dark or secret art, Chemia, at once which is black or hidden, and that which, being black or hidden, and therefore of the same nature, sees. Plutarch tells us that by the word ‘Chemia’ the seeing pupil of the eye is designated, and we know that the eye is the mystic organ. Chemistry, therefore, is that art by which, rightly interpreted, we may discover hidden matters and read the planets and stars. It is in the science of Chemistry that the doctrine of Correspondences is first unfolded.


From the researches of Chemistry, or Dark Art, we obtain the Philosopher’s Stone, so called because Chemistry deals with Minerals, whereof the Stone is the type. And the same art applied to organic life, yields us the Elixir Vitae, so called because the study of this science deals with juices and essences. For all tissues in the organic world is but blood coagulate. In the mineral kingdom the metallic Radix first presents itself in the experimental process; and seeing that in Metals, as said Geber, is less perfection than in animals, we can the more freely perfect them. For those things in which Life dominates over corporeal consistency are endued with greater and nobler perfection, namely, that which subsists according to Mind and Soul.


In brief, the theory of the dark or secret art is the theory of Transmutation applied to all things; that is, that the key which opens one of Nature’s doors doth open all, and that by Transmutation of terms every Riddle may be solved. Saith Arnold de Villanova in his ‘Speculum’: ‘There abides in Nature a certain pure Matter (Substance), which, being discovered and brought by Art to perfection, converts to itself proportionally all imperfect bodies that it touches’ And Friar Bacon says: ‘Species are not transmuted, but their subject-matter rather.’ Therefore, the first work is to reduce the body into water (that is, ‘Mercury’), and this is called Solution, which is the Foundation of the whole art. Form is ephemeral and phenomenal. Subject-Matter is eternal and noumenal, and applies to all bodies alike.’


Thus, as in the mineral kingdom the Formal Light produces Gold, so in the vegetable kingdom it produces the Elixir of the Wise. And what is this Water, or Mercury, into which all things are reducible, but the heavenly Ether or Hera, Mistress of Gods and Men? This also is the Generator, or Protean Water, of all things, the which is symbolized by the silver-footed Thetis, Mother of Achilles. For her spouse, Peleus, only won her as his bride by holding her fast in his embrace throughout her many transformations, by which she sought to elude and deceive him. But in all her manifold forms she remained the same, and he knew it, and was not deceived; nor did he relinquished his grasp of her. So he won her, and she bore him the hero Achilles, the conqueror of Troy.


Now is not the whole tale of the Trojan War Alchemic? For it all arose out of that Apple of Discord flung upon the marriage-table of Peleus and Thetis. Peleus is the Seeker after Truth, the Philosopher or Lover of Wisdom in its Virgin Essential; and when at last he has discovered the Alchemical Secret, he begets by this knowledge the Force which is alone able to subvert the stronghold of Materialism. This war costs the hero his life, it is true, but not before he has slain Hector, the terror of the true doctrine; and he dies because on one spot only he was vulnerable and mortal. His heel was his Judah. Achilles is the typical Solar hero, whom the Sons of darkness slay, and who rises again and mounts to heaven, regenerate.


All these Alchemic myths are but parables of the incessant strife between Materialism and Spiritualism. Of the same kind, too, is that which tells how Ixion desired to embrace the true Hera, or original Life, and instead was deluded by a cloud which he took for the Goddess. In like manner are the Materialists deluded who have deified Matter in the place of the Spirit, and flatter themselves that they have penetrated to the inmost secret of things, taking an illusion or phantasm for the reality they cannot attain.


Now, the alchemists say that the true and Archaic Water is divided in four parts, or hypostatic relations, called Elements. And in the ‘ Golden Treatise’ of Hermes it is said that the third part of this Water is coagulate, but the rest are the Weights of the Wise-to wit, Mind and Soul: ‘All the sciences of the world’, he says, ‘are comprehended in this hidden wisdom, and this and the learning of the art consists in these wonderful hidden elements. Our Stone is from many things and of various colors, and composed of four elements, which we ought to divide and dissever and segregate, preserving the Water(Substance) and the Fire dwelling therein (Spirit) which is the four elements’. And Again: ‘Know that the hen’s Egg is the greatest help with respect to the proximity and relationship of the Matter (Substance) with Nature; for in it there is a spirituality and conjunction of elements, and an earth which is golden in its tincture’. So, this Alchemic Stone is therefore the Yolk of the Egg and the Sun of the System, and the leaven in the midst of the measures of Meal. And how, after the reiterated statements of the Alchemists, shall any say that man is not fourfold?


But we find in the Alchemic process that the art of Transmutation is not without loss. There is a base residue which is not transmuted. For not withstanding the Adepts say that metals and all things in the world derive their origin therefrom, yet in all there is some impurity, and therefore a certain weight is lost in transmuting them; but in Gold there is none, but the Formal Light is wholly swallowed up in it without residue. For although all metals have their origin from thence, yet nothing is so friendly to it as Gold (the Soul); it is even like a mother to it, as saith Sendivogius. Out of it also Gold is itself produced.


The manner of treating metals for transmutation is by sublimation, or, as it is sometime called, fixation, operated over and over again. This Hermetic sublimation is said to change the matter by meliorating, urging on life to its primal state. (Here again is the fable of Thetis and Peleus.)


So there is Somewhat, which is refuse and dross, and returns to the eighth sphere. Nine months is the child of the human race carried in the womb before it comes to perfection. And, as ‘Scipio’s Dream’ (Cicero) tells us, Man passes through nine spheres or cycles of evolution. He is quickened, or made living, in the sixth; in the seventh he is perfected and viable, and may be born alive; but nine is the number of the consummation. In the early months of gestation Man is not truly a man, but only an embryo, in the likeness of a fish, a reptile, or a beast-his initial stages.’



by Anna Kingsford.

Extract from: ‘Life of Anna Kingsford’,

by Edward Maitland.

From page 219 to 221 up.

More about Anna Kingsford and the Hermetic Society:

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