Mr. A. E. Waite has recorded this concerning Arsenic:
"It is stated, or supposed to be stated, in one of the Sibylline verses, that the name of the matter whence the philosophical Mercury is extracted consists of 9 letters. Of these, four are vowels and the rest consonants. One of the syllables is composed of three letters, the rest are of two. Hence it was concluded that Arsenicum was the name in question, more especially as philosophers affirm their matter is a deadly poison. However, the matter of the stone, according to other authorities, is not arsenic, though it is the matter of which Arsenic and all mixed bodies are formed. Nor can the Mercury of the Sages be extracted from arsenic, for arsenic is sold by apothecaries and the minera of Mercury is found everywhere. Sometimes it refers to the volatile principle of the sages, which performs the office of female; it is their Moon, their Venus, their vegetable Saturn."1
The italics are terms to which may be referrenced. First may it be pointed out that Arsenic, with capitol ‘A,’ is the true Alchemical Arsenic for the purpose of this explanation. Lower case ‘a’ arsenic is the physical poison. It cannot be stressed enough that what the sages are referring to in all their writings has nothing whatever to do with anything outside their own spiritual and physical natures. This is all an inner process. The physical laboratory, the Athanor, is our physical body. Those hell-bent in actual physical laboratories, concocting potions and elixirs for eventual spiritual unfoldment are quite literally preparing their own physical deaths. History is full of the nameless individuals who thought they could extract some sort of essence from actual mercury, lead, sulphur, or arsenic, and breathed those fumes. These people died very slow, very uncomfortable deaths. All true sages tell us repeatedly that they are not speaking of any of the physical substances named. Some zealous students think this is a deliberate blind on the adepts' part, so that no one will attempt the experiments. I urge those who would know this Art to meditate, to think and to read between the lines we inherited from Masters who have actually accomplished this Great Work. THIS IS NO BLIND! An anonymous Sage wrote in Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King:
"Let those who aim to purify Mercury by means of salts, faeces, and other foreign bodies, and by strange chemical processes, understand that though our water is variously composed, it is yet only one thing, formed by concretion of diverse substances of the same essence...It may thus be very properly described as chaos, or the mother of all metals. From this chaos I can extract everything - even the Sun and Moon - without the transmutatory (sic) Elixir. It is called our Arsenic, our Air, our Moon, our Magnet, and our Chalybs; these names representing the different stages of its development, even unto manifestation of the kingly diadem, which is cast out of the menstruum of our harlot."2
Both quotations tell us that chemical arsenic is not the matter itself, but that Alchemical Arsenic is the matter, that is, the manner by which the True Substance may be extracted, mixed and formed. In terminology of Spiritual Alchemy, Arsenic is a coagulant; a fixation, a concretion of a substance into a physical form. Indeed, in physical chemistry, real arsenic poisoning brings death to the physical body by the coagulation, constriction or restriction of the cells of a vital organ such as the heart.
The Sage above informs us that there is only one thing, one essence, one substance...one vital life-force in all the universe, AIN SUPh AUR or the Universal Mercury. This is the substance of interest to the alchemist. By itself it is an ever vibrating, volatile, all pervading, super-conscious, electro-magnetic, radiant energy. Through Art the Adept Alchemists may successfully coagulate the volatile Limitless Light down into the very cellular structure of their physical bodies. They do this with the aid of the coagulant, Alchemical Arsenic. Again, this is not the arsenic of physical chemistry which brings death to the physical body. We must look much deeper into the writings of the sages. We are told it is of one essence, Sun and Moon may be extracted, that it "performs the office of female," and that it is Moon, Venus and Saturn.
The Latin, Arsenicum, totals 93 in Latin Cabala Simplex. Qabalists teach that if we turn to one of the oldest alchemical texts, The Emerald Tablet, there is part of a passage which translates, "The Sun is its Father, the Moon its Mother." In the Latin it reads, "Sol est Pater, Luna Mater." Total letter value of Luna Mater is 93. The Moon, the personal subconsciousness of the Adept, and the Mother, Universal Subconsciousness, are both substance aspects of the One-Thing, "diverse substances of the same essence." This substance aspect on the Tree of Life is Binah, the Great Mother and Sea. The Father is Chokmah, within whom is Sol, the Life-Force called Chiah. The Life-Force impregnates AMA, creating AIMA, via the path of the ‘Luminous Intelligence,’ to which is assigned Venus and the Empress of Tarot (see APAS). Also keep in mind that the sages often call their First Matter, Venus.
The substance of universal subconsciousness, and imagination, induced by the Father, have something to do with the concentration of AIN SUPh AUR into outward physical form. The concentrative ability within Binah is one reason for Saturn assigned to that sphere on the Tree. The Saturnine quality (the basic function of Binah) is the feminine principle that restricts, limits, finitizes or coalesces Light Substance into outward, visible, physical form. The whole sentence in the Emerald Tablet from which the partial quote is taken, reads: "The Sun is its Father, the Moon its Mother, the Wind carries it in its belly, its nurse is the Earth."
The Wind is Alchemical Air (see AIR). The Earth is us, our bodies. Qabalists suggest this all could be paraphrased: "The Limitless Light, put into the Mother Substance by the Father as Prana in the Air we breathe, is incorporated into our Earth bodies." This is exactly what an alchemist does in the ATHANOR (see same). Every physical cell is coagulated AIN SUPh AUR. Adepts know this as the truth, and it is acted upon by subconsciousness through the functions of the Moon, Venus and Saturn force-centers on the surface of the Glass Vessel, our Aura. These three chakras are predominantly feminine, "which perform the offices of female." The combined operation of these three metals is the Arsenic of the wily wisdom writers; the ‘matter’ or manner by which "all mixed bodies are formed."
The function of the female within us, basic psychological sciences tell us, is to nurture, to coagulate, to make finite or tangible...to make solid, and bring into physical manifestation. If Hebrew letters could serve as substitutes for these three chakras, the substitutes would be: Tau for Saturn; Daleth for Venus; and Gimel for the Moon. Together these letters spell תדג, thaydeg, the root form for Hebrew words meaning 'exemplification' and 'incubation'. The Adept imagines (Venus Chakra) his whole physical body comprised of AIN SUPh AUR, the Universal Mercurial Mother Substance. Automatic subconsciousness (Moon Chakra) acts upon these images by incubating the physical body with the fiery essence gathered and coagulated into the very blood of the body by the feminine form-maker (Saturn Chakra).
We can do this now by using ‘our Arsenic’ powers together with studies, meditations and prayers, to purify our inner metals and to prepare our physical bodies for the ‘Day of Grace’ which surely will come if ‘our Sulfur’ is made white. The combined action of all seven, purified metals in the Adept's body allows that Yogi to disintegrate and re-integrate a physical body in any environment within the universe. This is the adept's, and our, Divine Heritage, returning the King to His Throne. The Greek η Κληρονομια, he kleronomia, means 'the Heritage', and its letters sum to 407, that of ת ד ג, the three Hebrew letters for the Saturn, Venus and Moon chakras. The use of crude Arsenic to coagulate images of lack, loneliness, fear, sickness, and all manner of ill happenstance in our lives will certainly bear painful witness, "more especially as philosophers affirm their matter is a deadly poison." This is as open and clear as this message can be. Please take heed.
1 Waite, Dr. Arthur E., A Short Lexicon of Alchemy. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1990, pg. 11.
2 Anonymous, Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1984, pg. 8.