This is 'bath,' the Latin gematria of which is 60. This is the same value as Hebrew letter Samech, meaning 'prop,' and assigned to Sagittarius and the Temperance Tarot Key. Sagittarius, the ninth zodiacal sign, is assigned to one step toward manufacture of the Philosophers' Stone as listed in Manly P. Hall's Secret Teachings of All Ages. This step is called INCINERATION (see same) and has much to do with the Secret Fire that heats the Bath. Another word, בחן, bakhan, adds to 60 and means 'tried by fire.' With different vowel points the term becomes, 'in Grace.' Both imply a trial-grading process through the step Incineration which transpires In Balneo (the Latin term totals 64 and is more direct in meaning). Sal Aqua, Salt Water, equals 64, as does נוגה, nogah, Hebrew for 'Venus.' Salt Water and Venus have long been terms for the First Matter.
Balneum is the play of that First Matter within the limits of the GLASS VESSEL (see same) as Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt (super-, self-, and sub-consciousness respectively). We also see Balneum Mariae, the 'Bath of Mary'; Balneum Maris, 'Bath of the Sea'; Balneum Naturae, 'Bath of Nature'; and Balneum Roris, the 'Bath of Dew, or Moisture.' These last four are partly explained by Mr. A. E. Waite in A Short Lexicon. Inadvertently he hit upon a couple valid points. Recorded under Balneum Maris is: "Circulation in the Philosophic Egg." Under Balneum Naturae Mr. Waite wrote: "Eugenius Philalethes says that this is really the philosophical fire." Both quotations are accurate descriptions, but more may be gleaned through the gematria of Balneum Mariae, 'Mary's Bath.' In the esoteric sense 'Mary' is subconsciousness. Its numeration is 103, that of two other Latin ideas, Coagula and Subjectum. Coagula is that "circulation (creating a coagulation) in the Philosophical Egg." It is also known as the White Liquor and behaves like a smoke, cloud or the ‘powder’ recorded in Cant. 3:6 as אבק, abek (103).
Other Hebrew schools of Kabbalah might name this auric oval surrounding the physical and astral bodies כלי, kli, the 'vessel,' basically. After having developed this 'vessel' to some degree, the aspirant encapsulates a portion of Ain Suph Aur to be cleansed by pulling down light about the Subjectum. The Hebrew כלי, kli, sums to 60, that of balneum. The Subjectum, within the Glass Vessel, is the body and self-consciousness of the alchemist. Balneum Roris, 'Bath of Dew,' is most enlightening (see DEW OF HEAVEN). Its number, 131, is that of Gluten Aquilae (see GLUTEN OF THE EAGLE). All this helps us to understand Paracelsus' dictum with regard to the whole alchemical process: "The Blood of the Red Lion and the Gluten of the White Eagle is sufficient for our work." The prepared blood in the physical body of an alchemist is joined by the work of the White Liquor in the metaphysical vehicle. This is also understood as the combination of the ‘red’ and the ‘white,’ the Rose and Lily, or Pingala and Ida (see IDA). In The One Hundred Alchemical Aphorisms of Baro Urbigerus, #92 is descriptive of the Bath:
"As soon as the first imbibition is made, you will see a great alteration in your vessel; for there will be nothing seen but a cloud, filling the whole space of the vessel, the fixed being in controversy with the volatile, and the volatile with the fixed. The volatile is conqueror at the beginning, but at last by its own internal fire, conjoined with the external, both are united, and fixed inseparably together."1
Under the investigation of INCINERATION (see same), Philalethes mentions that the Philosophical Fire volatilizes, that is, excites or agitates the Subjectum. 'Agitation' is אבקת, abeqeth, translated as 'powders' in Cant. 3:6. Its gematria, 503, equals that of רגש, ragash, 'to be excited, agitated.' The space within the Glass Vessel appears cloudy as steam in a bath. The corpuscular light, appearing like beads of sweat, has a glittery effect on the inside surface of the Vessel. Some sages call this fourth dimensional consequence, ‘fishes eyes.’ The Bath is created from the super-conscious side. What is occurring here is a cleansing process in profoundly deep levels of the subconscious that cannot be reached from our self-conscious level. If successful, the previously separated REBIS (see same) becomes joined, where "both are united and fixed inseparably together." Dr. John Dee, allegedly, explained the fire in the moisture (see BURNING WATER) in The Secrets of John Dee:
"Our Fire is a Corrosive fire, which brings a Cloud about our Glass or Vessel, in which Cloud the beams of our fire is hidden. To be short, the philosophers call this Agent their Bath, because it is moist as Baths are, but in very truth it is no kind of Bath, but a moist subtle fire and purely natural, but the Excitation of it is Artificial. This Excitation or preparation is a very trivial, slight, ridiculous thing: nevertheless all Secrets of Corruption and generation are therein contained."2
The “secrets of corruption and generation” is a purging process deep within subconsciousness from Incineration, the Red Work. It is affected by the re-channeled energy of the reproductive force. The “artificial excitation” of this moist, Martial fire is created by meditation, "a very trivial, slight, ridiculous thing." Refer to HERMETIC SEAL and HUMIDITY.
1 Urbigerus, Baro, One Hundred Alchemical Aphorisms. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1986, pg. 16.
2 Dee, Dr. John, The Secrets of John Dee. Ed., Intro. and commentary by Gordon James. Edmonds, WA: Holmes Publishing Group, 1995, pg. 40.