Living Silver. This is one of the most common yet delightfully descriptive titles for the Universal Mercury, the Omniscient mode of the One-Substance, AIN SUPh AUR. The primal image is that of a substance exuding living, glittering, shimmering intelligence. Its Latin gematria offers some interesting correlations. The spelling of Argent-Vive totals 111. This equals letter-name Aleph, אלף, symbol of the Life-Breath, assigned to the eleventh path on the Tree and titled the 'Scintillating Intelligence.' The path proceeds from Kether, the first outward expression of the Third Veil of the Absolute, AIN SUPh AUR.
Kether, the Root of Air, is also identified with the Mercury principle of 'Mercury, Sulfur, Salt.' Mercury is the Omniscient aspect of the Triune One-Thing. All these hints point to a living, loving intelligence. The Hebrew word for 'wonderful,' פלא, phela, totals 111. Interchange the same letters to obtain אפל, aphel, 'darkness, obscurity.' The Greek word οικια, oikia, meaning 'house, abode, residence,' equals 111 in Greek gematria. Assemble all these images and we may say concerning Argent Vive; that the Abode of Darkness, which lies within each of us, is the living Wonderful Love, within whom we live, move and have our being. Merely close the eyes and turn deep within. After long, ardent, patient concentration, meditation, study and prayer, the darkness now seen behind the eyes will begin to scintillate and shimmer when Isis begins to lift her Veil.
Of this Abode of Darkness the Egyptian High Priests proclaimed 6000 years ago: "Behold, our God is a Black God, too brilliant for mortal eyes!" The Hebrew phrase אחד הוא אלהים, achad hua elohim, translates 'One, He is God,' and totals 111. Everything in the manifest universe is made of this Living Silver. אבן חן, ahben-chen, also valued at 111, translates as 'Gracious or Precious Stone'. Does this need explanation? Another spelling of the Living Silver in the Latin accusative, Argentum Vivum, contains letter value 166. This gematria equals Dominus Noster, 'Our Lord.' In light of all the above, this too needs no elaboration. In Chapter I of Aesch Metzareph, the author curiously assigns:
"Yesod is Argent Vive. For to this, the name "Living" is Characteristically given; and this Living Water is in every case the Foundation of all Nature and of the Metallic Art."1
Argent Vive attached to the ninth sphere, Yesod, could not be considered incorrect. Argent Vive is the Foundation of all. We truly must reach into the Vital Soul to find it, since there is where we experience it first-hand. Besides, where would it not be? More commonly, however, do sages, philosophers and alchemists equate Argent Vive with Universal Mercury and the first Sephirah, Kether. The Three Principles of the Divine Essence, MERCURY, SULFUR and SALT equal Kether, Chokmah and Binah respectively. In eastern yoga philosophy these are: SATTVAGUNA, RAJASGUNA and TAMASGUNA. May I suggest checking out all these capitalized terms within the Glossary section on this site. Also, please, read the fourteenth chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, any translation or even a couple different ones, concerning the latter three. By so doing may we appreciate more clearly Roger Bacon's message in his Mirror of Alchemy, wherein the third chapter he states:
"...THAT ALL METALS ARE ENGENDERED BY ARGENT-VIVE AND SULFUR...Of the aforesaid two, all metals were made, neither does anything cleave unto them, or is joined with them, nor yet changes them, but that which is of them, and so of right we must take ARGENT-VIVE and SULFUR for the matter of our Stone. Neither does ARGENT-VIVE by itself or SULFUR by itself beget any metal, but of the commixtion (sic) of both, diverse metals and minerals are brought forth. Our matter, therefore, must be chosen of commixtion of both ARGENT-VIVE and SULFUR."2
Bacon's insistence, and ours, pays off when we come to realize that the action of Sulfur (rajasguna) upon Argent-Vive (Mercury and sattvaguna) will certainly suppress our natural tendencies toward Salt (tamasguna). Knowledge (Mercury) and Desirous Action (Sulfur) toward that which is upward and within will act to purify all those old tendencies of the lower, separative, subconscious self (Salt).
If Sulfur combines with Salt, it suppresses Mercury. We are left to steep in sensation-seeking habit patterns from seven interior metals that have dragged us into this separative depth from our Father initially. It is necessary to combine the action of both Mercury and Sulfur in each metal.
Reading, studying and thinking about the united life without doing the work toward that end is futile. Sulfur is still acting upon Salt-ish tendencies (our desires are still into other stuff). Prayer, meditation and desire for salvation without studies will not result in the enlightenment which we can achieve by the expanded use of intellect and reason. We have multi-level evolution within our being that brought us to levels where the combined energies of who we are, presently, may catapult us toward who and what we may become. United.
1 Von Rosenroth, Knorr, Aesch Mezareph. Notes and explanations by W.W. Westcott. London: Neptune Press, no date, pg. 11.
2 Bacon, Friar Roger, The Mirror Of Alchemy. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1992, pg. 9.