Stacewicz's Path of the Black Dragon

The Path of the Black Dragon
By Tomas Stacewicz

© Tomas Stacewicz 2010

[...] the dry way uses the vulgar fire (reaches very high temperatures approximating 1000°C); takes days to finish; it concerns Stibnite (Antimony sulphide); it was perpetuated by Basil Valentinus, Cyliani and Fulcanelli.

The amalgams way uses both the vulgar fire from the furnace (Athanor) and glassware; it concerns Stibnite (Antimony sulphide). it was followed by Nicholas Flamel and Eirenaeus Philalethes, and Jean Dubuis.

[...] the wet way uses glassware and a “secret fire” (heat from chemical reactions which reaches temperatures way below 500°C), the process of the wet way is more prolonged and take months
[...]there are several matters used with the wet way, such as the Vitriol (Sulphate salts) and the Red Dragon, or Cinnabar (Mercury sulphide)[...]; the Wet Way of Vitriol was lead by Basil Valentinus and that of Cinnabar by Kamala Jnana and Roger Caro.

This essay mainly concerns with the so-called “Dry Way of Antimony” [...] in the preparation of the Black Dragon it must be subjected to a process of Separatio or Solve. This is done by adding three more matters, namely Mars and a “Double Salt” composed of Tartar [KCO3] and Nitre [KNO3] . The Nitre is an animal salt or saltpetre blended with dew (which naturally contains a nitrate; the Salt of Dew). The traditional Salt of Tartar is sometimes called “potash” or potassium and is a vegetable salt. Together our Nitre and Tartar constitutes our Salt, which is a Double Salt. This is used together with the purified Stibnite during the process of Separation. But before the Separation the Stibnite must be properly prepared to create the “Antimony of the Sages”, which is done through Assation and Purgation.

The initial preparation of the Stibnite is through a process that is described by Canseliet and Solazaref, and by the latter referred to as the “Philosophical Assation”. The reason behind this is that metals taken from the mine or bought in a shop are dead and have to be “reincruded”, i.e. brought back to life. [...].

Next comes a process called the Purgation or simply “Purge”, where the Stibnite is purified of its silica using a refractory clay crucible put into a furnace and through a “distilation per descensum”. The greatest problem with the Purge or Purgation is that the alchemist needs to know exactly the suitable temperature for Stibnite ore purgation, so that the Sulphur isn’t burnt away. This of course requires lots of experience of metallurgy.

[Both] the dry and amalgams paths start off with the same preparation and separation in creation of the so-called “Martial Regulus of Antimony”. We may now proceed with it, having prepared and purified the Stibnite ore through Assation and Purgation for it to become the Antimony of the Sages. The Antimony, being finely grinded, is now placed inside a refractory clay crucible. Next the alchemist puts a quantity of finest and very old Mars, also grinded to a fine powder. [...] the Double Salt, finely grinded, is also to be joined according to specific ratios of quantity, which are partly described in the works of the ancient Masters of the Art, such as Flamel and Philalethes.

The crucible is sealed with a lid and placed inside the furnace. A heat resistant cover, with a chimney hole, is placed onto the opening of the furnace with which to contain the heat. The temperature is now supposed to reach almost 1000°C during the process of Separation of the Martial Regulus from the Antimony. Or to be more specific, the Regulus is separated from the Antimony with the assistance of Mars and the Double Salt. When all reaches the desired temperature and is melted the compound or alloy is then poured into a stainless steel mould with a conical shape.

After cooling the waste material is gently removed from the solidified matter with a hammer. The result is the so called Martial Regulus of Antimony, also called the “Starry Regulus”, or using Fulcanellis own words “Astral Stone”, “Celestial Water”, “Alkehest”, and “First Mercury”. These wastes left after the creation of the Regulus are in Alchemical parlance called the “Caput Mortum” and from this is the Sulphur extracted, which is called “First Adam” by Fulcanelli.

In the last part of the first stage of the Great Work the Martial Regulus or Mercury is to be put through a process of Mercurial Purification. This basically means that the Regulus or Mercury is put into the crucible anew, heated to the melting point when it is again poured into the conical mould to cool off, while Adam melts over the Starry Regulus to create a thin enamelled layer. When cooled it creates a scoria called “our Vitriol”. And this process of Purification is repeated two or three more times to reflect the three days between the crucifixion and resurrection of the Christ. The three nails used in the crucifixion mentioned above echo this process of purification by Mars. Each time this is repeated the Regulus takes a more shining or starry appearance, likened to the Mercury. This is a reference to the glorius body of the Christ after his resurrection, but also to the star that guided the magi (alchemist) at the birth of Jesus. In this purified state the First Mercury has been transformed into the “Philosophical Mercury”. This matter now produced is also called the “mirror of art”, a term understandable by looking at the image of the purified Regulus shining like a mirror.

In each of these Purifications the thin enamelled layer or Vitriol created changes its colour and in the 3rd or 4th Purifications takes the form of a clear substance.

Thus far the Alchemical work upon the Black Dragon or Stibnite is similar in the Dry Way of Fulcanelli and Canseliet, and in the Amalgams Way of Flamel and Philalethes alike. But as the latter now proceed with a wet or humid processes, the path of Fulcanelli, as taught by Canseliet, continues to proceed with the Dry Way using ovens and crucibles. Thus we now proceed with the second part of the Great Work or Coagula, which constitutes the Eagles or Sublimation of the Alchemical Sulphur and Mercury, together with the Green Lion. This process is sometimes also called the preparation of the “Rebis”. The end result of this is the so-called “Remora”. Remora, or “suckerfish”, is a fish that reputedly is very hard to catch and therefore serves as a good metaphor for the difficulty of this process and where most fail in the work. It was mentioned already by Michael Sendivogius.

According to Canseliet Adamic Red Earth is placed at the bottom of the crucible. Next is placed the Philosophical Mercury, also called Eve in Fucanellian parlance. When the desired temperature is reached the Red Earth will give away its Sulphur, which will rise and blend with the Philosophical Mercury above it, which in turn will start to melt and rise to the surface. These melted parts of the Philosophical Mercury is called the “ocean” in which the blackish fish Remora is suppose to swim. When the melted Mercury blends with the Green Lion it becomes golden and when cooled produce the Remora.

Thus the resultant of the Eagles process will be the fish Remora. Its blackish colour has also given it the name of “Black Crow” according to Fulcanelli. The third and last part of the Great Work concerns Coction or cooking of the Remora with the “Secret Fire”, or Golden Salt. This is the digestion process that supposedly all have failed since the days of Fulcanelli as it constitutes the most difficult phase of the work. This process is supposed to eventually result in the Philosopher’s Stone.