A Short Lexicon of Alchemy by A.E. Waite offers a simple yet profound definition:
"Tartar, a name applied to the Mastery at the White Stage."1
When we consider how genuine philosophers derived the metaphor Tartar for alchemical purposes, their simple brilliance becomes evident. Physical tartar is the salty deposit formed on the inside of wine vessels. Synonymous with blood in alchemical writings, wine is the vehicle for alchemical Tartar deposits within our bodies. The Secret Vessels inside our body are the glands and organs, which, when healthy, secrete subtle essences or deposits into the blood stream. This Alchemical Tartar is 'picked up' via the bloodstream by other glands and organs needing the vitamins and minerals for renewal. All the vessels then grow to function optimally through the process. Healthy vital organs are the foundations of the 'gross physical work'. WHITE WORK (see same) is primarily the work of subconsciousness. Perpetual self-maintenance of the body is a subconscious process. The definition above could not be clearer in this light. Consider these passages from The Secrets of John Dee:
"This Salt is not set down in the book of Minerals, but is generated of a vegetable seed, but its Creator has put such virtue into it, that it bears a wonderful love and friendship unto Metals, making them malleable. It purges Luna unto a whiteness and incorporates into her such additionals which are convenient for her; being digested for a time with Minerals or Metals and then sublimed and vilified, they all come unto a quick Mercury. Many mysteries lie hid in it. It is a good remedy either outwardly or inwardly in Medicine."2
Tartar deposits are generated of the foodstuffs (vegetable seed) we digest; the more vegetables, the better. Healthy 'vessels' aid meditation and turn the Sulfur mode in the Force Centers to their Mercury. Again Dr. Dee allegedly wrote:
"First you must note that the Philosophers Tartar is not the Vulgar Tartar, wherewith the Lock is opened, but it is a Salt which comes from the Root and is the only Mystical Key for all Metals and is prepared thus."3
In addition to essences from sensible food, Tartar is derived by the inhalation of Prana from the atmosphere into the Bellows. The “Root” above is AIN SUPh AUR, borne upon the atmosphere and fixed into our cellular consciousness by Aeration and Meditation. The process above, so important, is repeated by Dee under 'The Preparation of the Water,' Universal Water, that is:
"First you are to know that the Tartar of the philosophers, whereby the Lock is unlocked, is not like unto common Tartar as many do think; but it is another Salt and springs from one root and this is the only Key to open and to dissolve Metals and is prepared as follows."4
He then continues on with the preparation of AURUM POTABILE (see same). In two of the quotations above Dee is telling us point blank that physical tartar is not even to be considered in any operation. These admonitions are ubiquitous in the sages' writings, but physical laboratory alchemists seem adamant that these must be deliberate blinds, and continue with poisonous concoctions. The final, genuine and most important ingredient of Aurum Potabile is Lac Virginis, the Virgin's Milk, which is also induced into the blood stream subconsciously. The whole confection Dee designated the amalgama.
Common dictionaries define an amalgam as an alloy of mercury mixed with another metal or metals. What could be a better metaphor in the alchemical writings for Tartar and its preparation? In Middle English and Medieval Latin, tartar and tartarum were used interchangeably. The gematria of the first puts us on the direct path. Its value at 70 is also that of יין, iin, 'wine' in Hebrew, and that of the Latin vinum. When blood vessels come to our largest internal organ, the liver, the essences help purify our blood while strengthening the liver organ itself. They rejuvenate the very instrument cleansing our blood of toxins. Tartarum sums to 100, that of Hebrew letter Qoph. Its path on the Tree is titled 'The Corporeal Intelligence' in the Book of Formation. This is the body building intelligence at the cellular level during sleep – again, a subconscious process.
Recapping, Tartar is prepared in the Athanor beginning with ingestion of sensible foodstuffs, co-mixed with the Virgin's Milk, aerated in the bellows with Prana to blend Universal Mercury with essences from other 'metals.' All of this is performed in Balneo, heated by the re-channeled Mars Force. The entire amalgama traverses the veins and arteries to the frontal lobe of the brain into the pineal gland, commingling with brain sand, to ultimately gel the confection into a Gum. The completion, if we are deserving, is blessed by the Almighty with the rising of the Serpent Power. This fuses the Gum into the Transparent Stone of the Wise. Finally, in light of all the above, we could now hardly mistake Nicholas Flamel’s simple sagely advice from his Summary of Philosophy:
"Lest any one therefore should err, there are in the veins of Lead some fixed grains or particles of fine Sol and Luna in its substance of nourishment."5
Clearer concerning Tartar and the physical laboratory work Nicholas Flamel could not write. Sole praise to our Great God Almighty for this simple miracle!
1 Waite, Dr. Arthur E., A Short Lexicon of Alchemy. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1990, pg. 40.
2 Dee, Dr. John, The Secrets Of John Dee. Ed., Intro. and commentary by Gordon James. Edmonds, WA: Holmes Publishing Group, 1995, pg. 144.
3 Ibid., pg. 149.
4 Ibid., pg. 162.
5 In an appendix to: Urbigerus, Baro, One Hundred Alchemical Aphorisms. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1986, pg. 21.