Metallum is the Latin translated as Metal. It also translates as Mineral. This makes perfect sense since all metals are of a mineral base. Philosophers were equally sure of the power of minerals in building 'inner metals.' Metallum sums to 85, that of יסודה, yesodah, the feminine form of 'Yesod, Basis, Foundation,' and the ninth sphere on the Tree. Throughout classical alchemical writings a healthy physical body is hinted to be the basis or foundation of this Art. The primary objective of alchemists was, and is, HEALTH, not wealth. The only physical laboratory intimated in genuine alchemical manuscripts is the human body. Two passages in Splendor Solis allude to this primary consideration. A discourse on the Stone’s origin is blatantly clear in the First Treatise:
"The Philosopher's Stone is produced by means of Greening and Growing Nature. Hali the Philosopher says thereof: ‘This Stone rises in growing, greening things.’ Wherefore when the Green is reduced to its former nature, whereby things sprout and come forth in ordained time, it must be decocted and putrefied in the way of our Secret Art. That Art may be aided, what Nature decocts and putrefies, until she gives it, in due time, the proper form, and our Art but adapts and prepares the Matter as becomes Nature, for such work provides also, with premeditated Wisdom, a suitable vessel."1
A suitable, healthy physical body is the vessel, and the yolk within the Philosophers’ Egg, the Glass Vessel. Health is attained through the delicate balance of vitamins and minerals from vegetables. In this day and age it is almost impossible not to get healthy if we so desire. We have multiple vitamins of every sort, the Homeopathic and Naturopathic sciences, and foodstuffs today that were wholly unavailable back in those alchemical centuries when the old philosophers and sages wrote these manuscripts. All but about the most dire congenital maladies can be assuaged significantly through some concerted efforts from the self-conscious level. The wise selection of foodstuffs, decocted and putrefied by DIGESTION (see same), is then charged with Lac Virginis. All is finally aerated with Prana in the bellows. This is the bulk of the physical transmutation process, the "Gross Work" hinted at by the wisdom writers. Then the vessel is finely honed through visualization during DISSOLUTION (see same). Sun and Moon do the rest. In the Third Treatise, Trismosin presents the idea again in the First Parable:
"God created Earth plain and coarse, and very productive of Gravel, Sand, Stones, Mountains and Valleys, but through the influence of the planets, and the working of Nature, the Earth has been changed into many forms."2
Here he accents the importance of mineral substances, charged by organs, glands and nerve centers that the 'interior planets' influence. The best Hebrew work on Alchemical Processes is the Bible. In Genesis 2:7, Moses allegedly wrote:
“Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Whether God had sat on the ground making man out of mud pies, as many translators of the literal texts would have us believe, is not the point here. The biological sciences have well made known to those cognizant how the Creative Principal has elolved the cosmos and this planet into the consciousness of homo sapiens-sapiens. In the Masoretic Text 'dust' is spelled, עפר, ophir. 'Ophir' is also the place where Solomon is said to have derived all his 'gold.' To derive is not to dig up or to mine. עפר totals 350, the same value of שכל, sakel, translated as 'Intelligence' or 'Consciousness.' Earth's dust, which any modern, physical scientific branch of knowledge would tell us is inanimate, is actually consciousness itself to any esoterist. It is latent life bulging with potential. Jean d'Espagnet expands the quotation from Genesis in The Hermetic Arcanum:
"God created Adam out of the mud of the Earth, wherein were inherent the virtues of all the Elements, of the Earth and Water especially, which do more constitute the sensible and corporeal heap: Into this Mass God breathed the breath of Life, and enlivened it with the Sun of the Holy Spirit."3
All the above quotations and the gematria point toward a full, healthy and complete animal body-consciousness as the necessary prerequisite for a foundation within which the Stone is then manufactured. The body-vehicle is fabricated from mineral substances, the dust of the earth. Of the countless mineral foodstuffs, there are twelve basic minerals of particular importance in the Alchemical Process. The balance of these twelve is sometimes difficult to maintain in some regions and calls for some conscious effort; Art, on the artificer’s part. Esoterically they correspond to the twelve zodiacal signs, and may therefore be considered part of the twelve-stepped process toward manufacture of the Living Stone. I would refer the reader to Dr. H.L. Cornell’s The Encyclopedia of Medical Astrology, published by Samuel Weiser, Inc. The twelve cell salts are listed with their corresponding signs under Zodiac Salts, page 957. Included is a suggested method to maintain their balance within the body. More complete information may be procured from any reputable health-food outlet. Make the conscious effort to follow up with these hints. The rewards are indescribable.
1 Trismosin, Solomon, Splendor Solis. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., LTD. Reprinted by Yogi Publication Society, no date, pg. 17.
2 Ibid., pg. 25.
3 d'Espagnet, Jean, The Hermetic Arcanum. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1983, pg. 23.