“These Three Treatises of Art – namely Alchemy for the Behmenist Adept, The Little Alchemical Farmer and The Lead of the Wise and Its Dual Species – have been translated by Russell Yoder. Two of the three are presented in English for the first time, while the third is presented anew for the first time since the 18th century.
Alchemy for the Behmenist Adept
Alchemy for the Behmenist Adept (or, Idea Chemiæ Bohmianæ Adeptæ): The Preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone According to Jacob Bohm (Amsterdam, 1690) is a rare and significant attempt to systematise Jacob Boehme’s Hermetic corpus. Drawing upon the High Dutch Philosopher’s works – including Aurora: Die Morgenröte im Aufgang, The Threefold Life of Man, De Signatura Rerum (or, Signature of All Things), Mysterium Pansophicum (or, Earthly and Heavenly Mystery and the Image of the Soul), Mysterium Magnum, Clavis, and Sixty-two Theosophic Epistles – Alchemy for the Behmenist Adept is concerned with “the preparation of the great Wonder-Stone of the Wise, the signs and colour which appear in the Work, their force and effect, and what commonly and especially to take heed of while at work …”
The Little Alchemical Farmer
A sublimely humourous pastorale, The Little Alchemical Farmer (or, Der Kleine Bauer) succinctly illustrates the familiar adage that “when the novice or apprentice is ready the Master appears.” Encountered on the path “between two Mountains,” this “fine old Farmer” is a keeper of high Mystery who generously expounds upon the crude ‘Second Matter’ and the conjunction of the red and white Star-flowers (the ‘red man’ and ‘white woman’) to become “the Prima Materia ‘of all metals’.” Before vanishing into the Mountain itself, this elderly ‘country gentleman’ describes the origin and root of all metals, the ignorance of the senses and the importance of prayer, “the white Mercurial Lily-sap” (‘Azot’ or ‘Gluten Aquilae’), and “[t]he sulphuric, incombustible, fixed, red lily juice” (‘Laton’ or ‘Leo Rubeus’), and emphasises that although “from the nature of these [white and red] flowers, precious stones and pearls grow forth,” the “highest object [of concern] is to further knowledge of God, and long life, and recovery from all diseases.”
The Lead of the Wise and Its Dual Species
A Treatise entitled ‘The Lead of the Wise and Its Dual Species’, with Selected Notes, from Compass of the Wise (Compendium of the Golden and Rosie Cross) by Adam Michael Birkholz (Berlin, 1782) elaborates upon Saturn – that “fiend, foe, and death of all metals” who is also “their resurrection and life” – and the spirit of this “child-eater, father, brother, sister, destroyer of all planets, friend and enemy …” In addition to describing this “right philosophical water of separation, which by its sharpness cuts all metals and minerals,” The Lead of the Wise and Its Dual Species discusses the properties of “our raw philosophical matter,” the principal Key to the work (“our magical fire”), the female Gold or Suns, the prophet Ezekiel, “the Boneless Fish [‘Euhmais’] which swims around in the philosophical seas,” the preparation of the philosophical ferment of leaven, the amalgamation of “the true philosophical gold … with a Mercury of Saturn,” and significantly more.”