Axioms of Alchemy: Tools and Principles of Transformation on All Levels

Franz Hartmann


1. Simple Methods

2. Suffering

3. Nature Aided

4. Nature Amended

5. Nature vs. Nature

6. Motion in Nature

7. Similar Effects

8. The Medium

9. Reduction

10. The Unripe

11. Calcination

12. Mortification

13. Death and Life

14. Augmentation

15. Multiplication

16. Uniting Seeds

17. A Pure Womb

18. Fire and Heat

19. The Boiling

20. Water

21. Resolution

22. True Principles

23. Art Begins

24. Hermetic Art

25. The Arcanum

26. The Stone

27. Being   Mercurial

28. Seed of Metals

29. Perfect Metals

30. Making Subtle

31. The Corpora

32. Solution

33. The Seed

34. Moist Fruit

35. Affinities

36. Attraction

37. Impotent Seeds

38. Active Heat

39. Moderate Fire

40. One Vessel

41. Closed Vessel

42. Completion

43. Nurse the Stone

The Axioms of Alchemy

  1. Whatever may be accomplished by a simple method should not be be attempted by a complicated one.

There is only one Truth, whose existence requires no proof, because it is of itself proof enough to those who are capable of perceiving it. Why should we enter into complexity to seek for that which is simple? The sages say: Ignis et Azoth tibi sufficiunt (the Fire and the First Matter are sufficient). The body is already in your possession. All that you require is the Fire and the Air.

  1. No substance can be made perfect without long suffering.

Great is the error of those who imagine that the Philosopher’s Stone can be hardened without being first dissolved; their time and labor is wasted.

  1. Nature must be aided by art whenever she is deficient in power.

Art may be the handmaid of nature, but cannot supplant her mistress. Art without nature is always unnatural. Nature without art is not always perfect.

  1. Nature cannot be amended except in her own self.

The nature of a tree cannot be changed by trimming the branches or by the addition of ornaments; it can be improved only by improving the soil upon which it grows or by grafting. These are operations of art.

  1. Nature enjoys, comprehends, and overcomes Nature.

There is no other actual knowledge than the knowledge of self. Every being can only truly realize its own existence but not that of any element entirely foreign to it.

  1. He who does not know motion does not know Nature.

Nature is the product of emotion. At the moment in which eternal motion should cease, all Nature would cease to exist. He who does not know the motions that are taking place in his body is a stranger in his own house.

  1. Whatever produces the same effect as is produced by a particular compound is similar to the latter.

The One is greater than all the rest of the numbers, for from it an infinite variety of mathematical magnitudes may be evolved. Yet no change is possible without the all-pervading presence of the One, whose qualities are manifest in its manifestations.

  1. No one ran pass from one extreme to another except through a medium.

An animal cannot became divine before it becomes human. That which is unnatural must become natural before its nature can become spiritual.

  1. Metals cannot be changed intoother metals without havingbeen first reduced to First Matter.

The self-will, opposed to the divine Will, must cease before the divine Will can enter into the heart. We must become unsophisticated, like children, before the wind of wisdom can speak in our mind.

  1. The unripe must be assisted by the ripe.

Thus Fermentation will be induced. The Law of Induction rules in all departments of nature.

  1. In the Calcination, theCorpus(body) is not reduced but augmented in quantity.

True asceticism consists in giving up that which one does not want after having received something better.

  1. In alchemy nothing can bear fruit without having first been mortified.

The Light cannot shine through matter unless the matter has become sufficiently refined to allow the passage of its rays.

  1. That which kills produces life; that which causes death causes resurrection; that which destroys creates.

Nothing does come out of nothing. The creation of a new form is conditioned by the destruction (transformation) of the old one.

  1. Everything containing a seed may be augmented but not without the assistance of Nature.

It is only through the seed that the fruit bearing more seeds comes into existence.

  1. Each thing is multiplied and augmented by means of a male and a female principle.

Matter produces nothing unless penetrated by power. Nature creates nothing unless impregnated by Spirit. Thought remains unproductive unless rendered active by Will.

  1. The virtue of each seed is to unite itself with each thing belonging to its own kingdom.

Each thing in Nature is attracted by its own nature represented in other things. Colors and sounds of a similar nature form harmonious units; substances that are related with each other can be combined; animals of the same genus associate with each other; and spiritual powers unite with their own kindred germs.

  1. A pure womb gives birth to a pure fruit.

Only in the innermost sanctuary of the soul will the mystery of the spirit be revealed.

  1. Fire and heat can only be produced by motion.

Stagnation is death. The stone thrown into the water forms progressively radiating circles, which are produced by vibrating motion. The soul that cannot be moved cannot be elevated, and it becomes petrified.

  1. The whole method is begun and finished by only one method: the Boiling.

The great Arcanum (Secret of Secrets) is a celestial spirit, descending from the sun, the moon, and the store, and which is brought into perfection in the saturnine object by continuous boiling until it attains the state of sublimation and power necessary to transform the base metals into gold. This operation is performed by the Secret Fire. The separation of the subtle from the gross must be done carefully, adding continually Water, for the more earthly the materials are, the more must they be diluted and made to move. Continue this process until the separated soul is re-united with the body.

  1. The entire process is accomplished through nothing else but Water.

It is the same Water over which the Spirit of God moved in the Beginning, when darkness was upon the face of the deep.

  1. Each thing comes from and out of that into which it will be resolved again.

That which is earthy comes from the Earth; that which belongs to the star is obtained from the stars; that which is spiritual comes from the Spirit and returns to God.

  1. Where the true principles are absent, the results will be imperfect.

Mere imitations cannot produce genuine results. Merely imaginary love, wisdom, and power can only be effective in the realm of pompous illusions.

  1. Art begins where Nature ceases to act.

Art accomplishes by means of Nature the which Nature is unable to accomplish if unaided by art.

  1. The Hermetic art is not attained by a great variety of methods, for the Stone is only One.

There is only one eternal, unchangeable Truth. It may appear under many different aspects; but in that case it is not the Truth that changes, it is we who change our modes of conceiving of it.

  1. The substance of which theArcanumis prepared should he pure, indestructible, and incombustible.

It should be pure of grossly material elements, indestructible by doubt, and incapable of being burned up in the fire of passion.

  1. Do not seek for the seed of the Philosopher’s Stone in the Elements.

Only at the center of the fruit is the seed to be found.

  1. The substance of the Philosopher’s Stone is mercurial.

Those that are wise are seeking for it in the Mercury of their lives; the fool seeks to create it out of his own empty brain.

  1. The seed of the metals is in the Metals, and the metals are born of themselves.

The growth of the metals is very slow, but it may be hastened by the addition of patience.

  1. Use only perfect metals.

Crude Mercury, such as is usually found in civilized countries, is perfectly useless for this work, just as worldly wisdom is foolishness in the eyes of the Lord.

  1. That which is hard and thick must be made subtle and thin by Calcination.

This is a very painful and tedious process because it is necessary to remove even the root of evil, and this causes the heart to bleed and tortured Nature to cry out.

  1. The foundation of this art is to reduce theCorpora(body)into the Argentum Vivum (Quicksilver or the Living Mercury).

Solutio Sulphuris Sapientium in Mercurio (The sulfuric solution produces mercurial wisdom). A science without life is a dead science; an intellect without spirituality is only a false and borrowed light.

  1. In the solution, the solvent and the dissolved must remain together.

Fire and Water must be made to combine; thought and love must remain forever united.

  1. If the seed is not treated with warmth and moisture, it will be useless.

Coldness contracts and dryness hardens the heart, but the Fire of divine love expands it, and the Water of thought dissolves any residue.

  1. The Earth produces no fruit unless moistened repeatedly.

No revelation takes place in the darkness except through the Light.

  1. The moistening takes place by the Water with which it has the closest affinity.

The body itself is a product of thought, and has therefore the closest affinity with the mind.

  1. Everything dry naturally tends to attract the moisture that it requires to become complete in its constitution.

The One, from which all things me produced, is perfect; and therefore all things contain within themselves the tendency and possibility for perfection.

  1. A seed is useless and impotent unless it is put in its appropriate matrix.

A soul cannot develop and progress without an appropriate body, because it is the physical body that furnishes the material for its development.

  1. Active heat produces in that which is moist blackness; in that which is dry, whiteness; and in that which is white, a yellowness.

First comes mortification and Calcination, and afterwards the golden glow produced by the Light of the Secret Fire illuminating the purified soul.

  1. The Fire must be moderate, uninterrupted, slow, equal, moist, warm, white, light, all-embracing, enclosed, penetrating, living, inexhaustible, and the same one used by Nature.

It is the Fire that descends from heaven to bless all mankind.

  1. All operations must take place in only one vessel without removing it from the Fire.

The substance used for the preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone should be collected only in one place and not be dispersed in many places. If the gold has even once lost its brightness, it is difficult to restore it.

  1. The vessel should be well closed, so that the Water may not run out of it nor the Air escape. It ought to be hermetically sealed, because if the spirit were to find a place to escape, the power would be lost. And furthermore should it be closed, so that nothing foreign and impure can enter and become mixed with it.

There should always be put at the door of the laboratory a sentinel with a flaming sword to examine all visitors, and to reject those that are not worthy to be admitted.

  1. Do not open the vessel until the moistening is completed.

If the vessel is prematurely opened, most of the labor is lost.

  1. The more the Stone is nursed and nourished, the more will it increase.

Divine wisdom is inexhaustible; limitation exists only in the capacity of the form to receive it.