Defining some terms or phrases in classical alchemy is not entirely an easy procedure. Many different terms were used to identify the same process. With Humidity we come to one such term. Therefore I would ask the reader to re-read all the definitions: BALNEUM, GLASS VESSEL, HEN'S EGG, HERMETIC SEAL and IRON in conjunction with HUMIDITY. Each of these six definitions serves as a key unlocking the other five. Since we are delving primarily into ideas of the fourth dimension, printed words are simply not adequate. Those given glimpses into that realm are not confused by the many terms, symbols, and metaphors. With the combined imagery from all the expressions above, however, a yearning consciousness may comprehend the inner import while the subconscious mind slowly digests and reflects on an outer course of life toward attainment and reunion. In The Mirror of Alchemy, Roger Bacon quotes Aristotle:
"Aristotle says, in the Light of Lights, that Mercury is to be concocted in a three-fold vessel and that the vessel must be of most hard Glass, or (which is better) of earth possessing the nature of Glass."1
“Our Glass” is our human aura, it is three-fold since it is composed of Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt (Super-, Self- and Sub-consciousness) which co-mix and play within its limits. The space or area between the physical body-yolk and the Glass 'shell,' philosophers compare with the White of an egg, the albumin. Alchemist Sir George Ripley advises us concerning the white water or liquor:
"...keep this water by itself in a glass well stopped...this liquor is called our blessed liquor, to be kept in a Glass Vessel very close stopped...keep pure by itself, it being called the basis and foundation of the work, Mars, our white fixed earth, or philosophers' Iron."2
Within the Hermetically Sealed limits of the Glass Vessel, the rechanneled reproductive force from purified Iron, the Mars center, directs heat into the White Liquor. This Liquor slowly turns from “water” into a humid, white, smoke-like humor, called Humidity. This is the Bath wherein the Virgin Seed of Sulphur maturates the yolk. It actually appears like this from a fourth dimensional view. It is sometimes seen in this three-dimensional world by clairvoyants. Alchemical writers describe the glittery effect of corpuscular droplets of light on the inside surface of the Glass Vessel as “fishes’ eyes.” The Humid Bath creates a moist heat, a sweat, on the inside surface of the aura. Of this, alchemist Nicholas Delphinas wrote and illustrated in The Book of Lambspring. Under figure XIV is the caption:
"Here the Father sweats profusely, while oil and the true tincture of the sages flow forth from him."3
In the picture a Crowned King lay convalescing or sleeping in a cubical, canopied bed. The canopy suggests a cube of space, 'something inner.' This is the stage after Saturn has swallowed his child (see Hebrew letter, Th, TAU). Text accompanies the illustration:
"Here the Father sweats on account of the Son, and earnestly beseeches God, Who has everything in His hands, Who creates, and has created all things, to bring forth His Son from His body, and to restore him to his former life. God hearkens to his prayers, and bids the Father lie down and sleep. Then God sends down rain from heaven to the earth from the shining stars. It was a fertilizing, silver rain, which bedewed and softened the Father's Body. Succour us, Lord, at the end, that we may obtain Thy gracious gift."4
The DEW OF HEAVEN (see same) is the "fertilizing, silver rain." The Yaqui Indian discipline describes this as the “thread-like energy field.” The Dew comes from the stars, which Qabalists call Masloth, the Highway of the Stars, Chokmah and the Virgin Sulphur. When AIN SUPh AUR, the Universal First Matter outside the Glass Vessel, matches or aligns with the threadlike light-fibers inside the aura, perception is achieved, as it is explained within the Yaqui Sorcery teachings. But it is in perfect agreement with the western alchemical traditions. In The One Hundred Alchemical Aphorisms, Baro Urbigerus states under Aphorism 41:
"Our mercurial water has such sympathy with the astrums, that, if not kept very close, and hermetically sealed, it will in a very short time, like a winged serpent, fly away in a wonderful manner to its own sphere, carrying along with it all the elements and principles of metals, and not leaving so much as one single drop, or the least remainder, behind."5
The light-fibers within and without the Vessel are the same. What we do through the alchemical process (more accurately, what is done for us and to us by Almighty God) is gather up and close off a portion of the Limitless Light and separate it from the vast, volatile, boundless expanse. The separated portion receives a cleansing because the First Matter, in its original state, is a citrine “gross, vile substance.” The moist heat of the rechanneled reproductive force 'bathes' or washes the Subjectum within the Vessel. This magnetizes the light-fibers within. The aura is changed. When it is changed sufficiently, energy is re-aligned. If we do not Hermetically Seal the cocoon-aura we have created through sexual continence, we have no 'hard Glass' edge to our Vessel and all energies dissipate into the vast unknown. This is described as the “steam, vapors or smoke” escaping from the vessel prematurely. It is exactly what happens to some of our most brilliant, creative images that conform to cosmic law, for example. We get an Idea out of Akasha, the Universal Subconscious Mind-Stuff, equally diffused throughout space. Rather than keep silent concerning the image, and begin to work it ourselves, we brag our ideas indiscriminately and lose the energy momentum to bring the idea through the planes into physical effect. We drop the project after having given it a boost of our personal energy which we dissipated. It fades back into Akasha to be picked up by another life receptive and energetically inclined enough to make it real in the world of form. Then we brag later that we thought of that idea first. Sexual incontinence dissipates the creative energy needed which heats the bath within Glass Vessel’s limits. The aura literally collapses temporarily.
The whole process of the Bath, Hermetic Seal, Hen's Egg, et al, is impeccably illustrated in Plate XI of Splendor Solis by Solomon Trismosin. Central to the scene is a bearded man (super-consciousness, the King) with reddened skin from the heat of the bath. The Holy Spirit is perched upon his head. The bath appears oval to our subconscious eye in the two-dimensional illustration. A small glass vial collects the oil, the Chylus, Lac Virginis. Another male, a personification of the self-conscious mind, feeds the flame under the bath with bellows (breath, meditation, aspiration). The most important detail in the picture is the Hebrew letter NUN, scribed on the bellows. Letter NUN is equated with the astrological sign Scorpio. This is the rechanneled reproductive energy that feeds the whole bath with a moist heat. Some modern commentators have equated Humidity with Imagination. While this may not be exact enough, it certainly is not entirely false. Hebrew letter NUN, assigned the twenty-fourth path on the Tree, is called the 'Imaginative Intelligence.' Astute alchemists, through years of study, would have noted this hint and interpreted it accordingly. Most people equate sexual continence with chastity, and that with celibacy. It is sexual economy, for a period, which is necessary at this stage. Those of us with high energy as the norm need not be too concerned with sufficient quantities for the Bath. Those of us with low energy simply need to conserve more and over a longer period. The Bath period may take anywhere from one to three and a half years within the cocoon. Some of us need strict sexual abstinence through that period. It is the squandering of the sex force, as we may squander money that is of concern here. While idle, recreational or abusive sex may be extremely depleting, the unconditional, genuine love between opposite genders may and can summon more energy. Tantric Yoga teachings are testament to this. A life of total celibacy is not necessary, and certainly not always desirable. Many masters in this Art were married and had children. The surest way to achieve total celibacy, if that is the objective, is to master the giving and receiving of unconditional love with the opposite gender through the succession of physical lives. When we evolve to the level of the Christ Consciousness, with the Perfected Stone of the Wise within the pineal gland, physical sex couldn’t possibly stimulate the imagination in that direction. It is not that the physical sex act is immoral or evil, quite the contrary. But it would again pull Intent out from eternal fourth dimensional awareness and back into this world’s thick wheel of illusion. It is the esoteric significance behind the biblical allegory of Samson and Delilah in the Book of Judges. It would be similar to trading all our genuine, hard-earned cash savings in the bank for a bundle of counterfeit currency in the hand. Such a Perfected Master, male or female, is no longer interested in courtship and physical sex with the opposite gender. The will and the desire simply do not lean in that direction. The Master, with the Christ Consciousness fully matured in the body of Jesus, would not, and indeed could not conceive the idea of running off to marry a Mary Magdalene or anyone else and to birth progeny. To debate the point whether The Christ in Jesus historically married someone in this world is to demonstrate our ignorance concerning what the Divine Christ level of consciousness really represents!
The three reciprocal paths on the Tree of Life offer the clearest symbolism toward the union of opposites. These three stages of human reciprocal love are stages of energy that lead to Divine Love.
1 Bacon, Friar Roger, The Mirror Of Alchemy. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1992, pg. 16.
2 Ripley, Sir George, Five Preparations of the Philosopher's Mercury. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1989, pg. 7.
3 Delphinas, Nicholas Barnaud, The Book Of Lambspring. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1986, pg. 33.
4 Ibid., pg. 32.
5 Urbigerus, Baro, One Hundred Alchemical Aphorisms. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1986, pg. 8.