Hollandus - Hand of the Philosophers

1. The Thumb : First look at the thumb on which stands the crown next to the moon, one quarter old. By this is meant saltpetre. For just as the thumb vigorously finishes off the hand, saltpeter does in the Art Alchemia, for he is the King and Lord of all salts. He is the mill through which everything must be ground. His nature is elsewhere sufficiently described. (KNO3)

2. Index: The second sign and secret of the philosophers is the Star with six points, standing above the foremost finger next to the thumb. It is compared to Roman Vitriolo, because no work that is to be perfect can be completed without vitriol; for it is the greatest and strongest salt after saltpeter. Its nature is described. (H2SO4)

3. The Middle Finger: The third sign of the philosopher’s Hand is the Sun, standing above the third finger. By it, Sal Ammoniacum is designated, for apart from saltpeter and vitriol, no thing more powerful is found than *. That is why it is the third secret.(NH4-Cl)

 4. The Ring Finger: The fourth sign of the philosophers is the Lantern, standing above the fourth finger of the Hand, whereby Alum Roche is indicated; for without alum, no perfect work can be accomplished, because it is required for the Red and the White. It has an astonishing nature and the most subtle Spiritus. It is described elsewhere. ( KAl(SO4)2*12H2O )

5. The Little Finger: The fifth secret and sign is the Key of the philosophers, standing above the little finger. Simultaneously, it is the lock of the hand. That is why the key is standing on it. By it, common salt is designated, for salt is the Key in this Art. (NaCl)

 6. The Middle of the Hand: The sixth secret sign is the Fish. It stands in the middle of the Hand and signifies Mercury, for without Mercury, or the fish, nothing can be done. He is the beginning, the middle and the end, and he is the priest who must marry everything. And he is the male and the seed; he is the water out of which all metals have originated; and he is the principal (factor) of all Arts, and the greatest of all secrets.

7. The Palm: The seventh sign of the philosophers is Fire. By this Sulphur is indicated. It is the earth and beginning of all metals. It is the female who brings forth the fruit. For no seed can grow unless it be first thrown into fertile soil. Then beautiful fruit will come from it. Thus it also happens tat when a pure Mercury is joined to a pure Sulphur, it brings forth pure fruit. Thus, they are man and woman, father and mother, fire and water, seed and earth. This is sufficient about the seven secret signs of the philosophers. He who understands well this Hand and its sign, and can work with it, will derive joy from it. Now follows the Preparation.