Thomas Vaughan declares throughout his writings that there is no Quintessence, no fifth principle; that the term is a misnomer. Jacob Boehme explains there is only one element, and that the four common elements are only qualities of one undifferentiated element. Qabalists declare this single element to be their אין סוף אור, AIN SUPh AUR, the Limitless Light. It is a universally dispersed, invisible Sea of Awareness, whirling about concentrated points in the ethers, compacting to form stars and suns. Says Boehme in The Threefold Life (within Hartmann’s Jacob Boehme: Life and Doctrines):
"The stars are a quintessence, a fifth form of the elements, and so to say, the life of the four...Fire, air, water, and earth have issued from the center of nature, and consisted in the ignition of one substance. Since that ignition took place they appear in four forms, which are called "elements;" but they are still interiorly, and in reality there exists, only one. There are not four elements in heaven, but only one; but all four states are contained therein."1
An alchemist calls this star-fire the Virgin Sulphur, yet is it guised under the term, Universal Mercury. Dr. Franz Hartmann says of it in the vocabulary of occult terms in The Secret Symbols:
“There is a fifth element, which is the spiritual Quintessence (the Mercury) of all things. Each element may be considered from a variety of aspects. Each element constitutes, so to say, a world of its own, with its own inhabitants; and by a combination of those elements under various conditions, an endless variety of forms is produced.”
Quinta Essentia sums to 158 by Latin Cabala Simplex. Some Hebrew terms with this value may help to identify the all-inclusive substance. מופלא, mauphela, 'wonderful' or 'admirable' are names given the Intelligence of Kether, the Crown and the primary sphere on the Tree. IHVH, ALHINV IHVH, יהוה אלהינו יהוה, 'Jehovah, Our God Jehovah,' and מים חיים, mim chaim, 'Living Waters,' each sums to equal Quinta Essentia, the very essence of our living God. Some Latin terms translated as Quintessence include vis, meaning 'power, strength and force.' Flos translates as 'best' or 'prime' of a blossom's essence. Flos is also used as 'glory, crown and nectar.' Medulla is the 'marrow, middle or center' of that which is. Who could deny that any of these qualities describe the Limitless Light? The Latin gematria of these terms opens a labyrinth of metaphysical speculation wonderful to ponder.
Vis equals 45. The spelling of Tetragrammaton in the Formative World (Yetzirah) is IUD HA VAV HA, which sums to 45. Note this in conjunction with Dr. Hartmann's quotation above concerning the production (formation) of a variety of forms. אדם, 'Adam'; Deus, 'God'; homo, 'man'; and valle, 'field, valley or vale,' each sums to 45, and all point directly to the Quintessence as the essential nature of both God and Mankind, and specifically, mankind's field of personality, the arena of the Great Work. Flos equates to 46 in Latin gematria, the same as ros, 'dew.' This is the Dew of Heaven mentioned frequently in alchemical writings, and defined in greater detail elsewhere in this work. Medulla sums to 60. The Hebrew letter, Samech, meaning 'prop or support'; the phrase, בחן, ba-chen, 'in Grace'; and balneum, 'bath,' each sums to 60. Bath refers to the watery subconscious in the Center or Marrow of our consciousness, where we find our Support. It is also where, if 'in God's Grace,' we may actually perceive the Quintessence as the Living Waters hinted under the gematria 158 above. Best, perhaps (at least in the universal subconscious language of pictorial symbolism), the Quintessence may be represented simply by the eight-spoke wheel; a spark-like star, a living asterisk that radiates in all directions from a central point, completely filling the encompassed field.
1 Hartmann, Dr. Franz, The Life And Doctrines Of Jacob Boehme. New York: Steinerbooks, 1977, pgs. 172, 173.