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Alchemy is a term that encompasses various of disciplines. For some it was a hermetic science that aims at understanding the cosmos, Nature and man, and how transformation or transmutation can be accomplished in a spiritual way. For others it was a blend of a spiritual understanding of creation with the creation of new material substances in the laboratory. Alchemy also was used to make base metals look like silver and gold, an art in itself, but also used for counterfeiting and deceiving monarchs. Of course, there were also those who sought to transmute base metals into silver and gold, which often ended in their poverty. Alchemists like Paracelsus used alchemy for the preparation of medicines, and were searching for a universal medicine that could cure all diseases, and prolong life.
With the split between science and religion, the interest in alchemy slowly dwindled in the past few centuries. However, some scientists still held to the old beliefs and practiced the laboratory art. One such man was the Frenchman Armand Barbault (1906-1974), who wrote L'or du millième matin (Gold of a Thousand Mornings), published in 1969. On publication, Barbault enraged the scientific community by crossing the line between science and magic as if it did not exist.
Barbault was one of those rare individuals who delved into laboratory alchemy combined with hermetic/spiritual practices. Not only did he have results, but he wrote plainly about it. He replicated an old alchemical work through his own interpretation. It is not something for the would-be alchemist, but it gives us a deeper understanding of what some alchemical practices were about. His aim was to develop a universal medicine, sometimes called potable Gold among alchemists.
Originally, Barbault was a scientist, an engineer at the Société Radiotechnique, specialized at the time in research and the application of the electron tube. He then became a member of the Alexis Carrel Institute in Paris, section biotypology.
He became interested in astrology in the 1940s, and became one of the most prestigious French astrologers, with a clientele made up of bankers, political leaders and ladies of society. His interest in astrology was important as it played a great role in his alchemical practice. In 1950, he published his courses in the form of 13 booklets, Les Bases naturelles de l’Astrologie, then Symbolisme et analogie dans l’art divinatoire in 1952.
He began to read alchemical works, such as from Cyliani, Paracelsus, Basil Valentin, and studied in depth the work of Mutus Liber. This would forever change his life.
Barbault was primarily inspired by the alchemical work Mutus Liber, the Mute Book, published in La Rochelle, in 1677. It was reprinted numerous times since then. It consist mainly of illustrated plates. The name of its author is Altus, but this is a synonym. Some researchers claim that three people were involved in creating this manuscript. The original edition of 1677 can be found at e-rara. There is a PDF download button in the right column.
Mutus Liber, first plate
The following is a summary of Barbault book Gold of a Thousand Mornings. The book contains a lot more details that presented here.
Barbault considered astrology as very important in the alchemical work, and he used it constantly.
Barbault believed that the very first thing to take into account is the alchemist's horoscope, to see if he has any chances to succeed in alchemical work. His horoscope was positive in this regard, and he first established a small laboratory in Paris in 1938, but had to abandon his work when the war broke out. After the war, in 1947, Barbault left behind his career and clientele, and with his wife he went to the fields of Alsace, where there were still places left of untouched purity, necessary to start the alchemical process. The following year, he published a booklet with the result of his first works on the Elixir of Long Life and the Philosopher's Stone.
Barbault's horoscope as it appears in his book.
His horoscope can also be found online.
The Alchemist's Wife
Equally important is the alchemist's partner. In Mutus Liber, it is the alchemist and his wife who perform all the operations together. For Barbault it was his second wife Jacqueline whom he married at the end of WWII. She worked closely with him, especially in the spiritual/psychic operations.
Detail from one of the plates of Mutus Liber
Alchemy dictates that one needs to be a diligent observer of nature, able to give attention to the smaller details of natural phenomena. This includes energies which are invisible to us. These are the universal etheric or fluidic forces which take part in the life processes of plants and animals. It is important to know that the invisible life forces operate differently in the morning than at night. They achieve their most powerful effects in the spring and at sunrise. The alchemist's aim was to capture these life forces, condense them and encapsulate them in a substance. Such a preparation could regenerate the human body. The alchemists called it Universal Medicine or Elixir of Long Life.
Following Nature, from Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier, 1618
The ancient observed the different phases of plant life throughout the year, and this also applies in the alchemical process. In alchemical emblems and text, the signs of the zodiac sometimes show up. Barbault stresses that the signs of the zodiac have nothing to do with the constellations of the same name. Sidereal astrology defines the signs relative to the apparent backwards movement of fixed stars. In tropical astrology, most commonly used, the signs have the same position as when this system was first established in Babylonian times some 2000 years ago, and were never adjusted as the signs were changing their position. Alchemists were using the tropical zodiac, which can only be seen as a division of the year into twelve section, and corresponding to the cycle of plant life. Barbault gives a detailed description of how the plant life forces withdraw, emerge and blossom during the year.
Basing himself on Mutus Liber, Barbault also draws our attention to dew formed on plants in the morning, and evaporating thereby showing a special force that rises up in contrast to a rain drop that falls down.
Obtaining the Prima Materia
Alchemists have always been obscure what the Prima Materia, or First matter is. It is the starting point of the alchemical work, but its identify was never fully disclosed. It is said that it draws in and fixes the life energies in its center during the alchemical process.
Based on astrology, on August 3rd, 1947, Barbault went for the first time with his wife to the chosen lawn in order to inspect the ground and fix the exact point at which to take the Prima Materia at a later time. During that time etheric forces would intensify.
For Barbault this was not some simple dirt, but living earth, seized from the ground by a very special process belonging to the sphere of High Magic. It is physically earth, but charged with the forces of life. This requires preparations such as rules of purity and hygiene, and the avoidance of maleficent forces, and the accumulation of psychic energy. For the same reason, that part of the ground from which the Matter will be taken is itself prepared, encircled and isolated from outside currents. Magic through and through.
The aim is to capture the etheric energy in the earth, which in normal circumstances would return to the earth at the moment the sample was taken out of the ground.
Barbault's wife, being psychic, was able to visualize in an altered state the spiritual forces in the earth at the chosen spot:
"My companion was at this time in a state of high exaltation. She existed for long periods in a trance-like condition and carried out her functions as guide in the fullest possible manner. It was she who chose the exact location for the acquisition. When she had almost reached the spot, she was ordered to take another thirteen paces forward. This she did. She had in her hand a large peasant's stick. On reaching the indicated place she threw the stick into the ground in front of her with such force that it shattered into three pieces."
She then perceived the etheric energies in the ground as living colors in the form of globes. For two weeks, up to the new moon, they would be daily at the spot observing the evolution of the colors. Barbault called this the formation of the Germ, what would lead to the birth of the Stone. His wife perceived the constant transformation of the colors/energies, but also had visions of a battle between a lion and fearful beasts which were determined not to abandon the philosophic germ. These are symbols for the earth not wanting to give up the etheric energies, but eventually this was overcome.
In 1948, on the 15th of February, night of the new moon in Aquarius, when the etheric forces were at their peak, a cloth of earth was taken to serve as the Prima Materia from beneath the lawn, from a depth of 10 cm, by hand, and with the necessary magical preparations.
Cleansing and purification of the First Matter
The First Matter must first be cleansed of all foreign bodies, such as small stones. It is washed by dew collected during the first few days of spring. It is then dried and pulverized.
Nourishing the First Matter
Gradually small plants, buds and a thousand other natural items are added to the Prima Materia. It is important to use very young plants, full of sap and dew. This mixture is left to steep slowly at a low temperature until a deposit is formed. The mixture is then gently heated in a specially prepared alembic, ensuring that the temperature never rises above 40°C. In this way, one can begin very slowly to feed the Matter, moistening, leaving to stand in the cold, then drying and so on, without breaks, for weeks, months or even years, depending on the goal in sight and the method adopted. Gradually, one chooses stronger and stronger plants.
Mutus Liber, collecting dew. The ram and bull indicate that the dew should be collected during these astrological signs, Aries and Taurus, or April and May.
In Mutus Liber, we see that the alchemist and his wife are gathering dew on sheets hung in a meadow, and they are gathering the dew by wringing out the cloths. As a variation to this, Barbault arose early each morning to drag sheets across the grass in order to collect the precious dew. This allows for more dew to be collected than with sheets hung over the grass. The dew is then poured into glass vessels.
The glass vessels of dew, with plant sap added, are brought to 40°C for 40 days to let the mixture ferment, and then placed in cold storage. The mixture of plant sap and dew is called the Virgin's Milk, as it is used to feed the First Matter. The matter concentrates the (vegetable) salts and retains the etheric forces to an ever-increasing degree.
There are some rules when collecting the plants who would yield not only their sap and juices but also the vital, life-giving fluid whose energy value will be crystallized in the preparations.
To gather the plants, Barbault used astrology as with all operations in his work (and always at sunrise), but he also based himself largely on Herbarius - recherches sur le cérémonial usité chez les anciens pour la cueillette des simples et des plantes by Armand Delatte, published in 1936. The title translates as Herbarius, research on the ceremonial used by the ancients for the gathering of herbs and magic plants. This book is a collection of information on the ceremonial practices which the ancients used in gathering both ordinary plants and also those reputed to be magical.
To begin with, the alchemist has to possess particular gifts of perception and sensibility so that he not only sees a plant but perceives its power, its psychic vigor and the intensity of its vital fluid. For this reason he needs to undergo rites of purification. The plants plants need to be from those areas not soiled by man and by chemical agents, and of high vitality. After preparing the spot ceremonially, the alchemist installs a makeshift piece of apparatus allowing him to gain the vital forces of the plant without touching it with his fingers and without the plant touching the ground. This is to prevent the vital energies from returning to the ground. The plants are then put in a baked-clay or glass vessel together with dew. After the plants have been taken, an offering needs to be placed to prevent the gnomes and astral entities from stealing the vital energies from the plants taken. The vessels are then hermetically sealed and held at 40°C as mentioned earlier.
Armand Barbault and his son Andre gathering dew and plants.
For three years, Barbault worked with successive processes of moistening, nourishing, fermentation, resulting in the earth in the vessel becoming ever-richer. This led to the first degree of Putrefaction, or corruption. The earth in the vessel gradually becomes black since the corrupted organic remains mix with the earth produces a sort of humus. Eventually it leads to the third degree of corruption, or Absolute Black. Then the Matter is called the Philosopher's Peat. The entire process took Barbault 12 years.
Regenerated peat. After several months' work
heating and moistening the
Once the Philosopher's Peat is obtained, it is incinerated and becomes the Major Leaven. The Major Leaven is a saline powder which contains all the salts originating in the vegetable substances whose combustible parts have disappeared during incineration. The salts, liberated by this separation of compounds, contain the life forces. These are imprisoned from now on and cannot be rec1aimed by nature.
In test tubes, ash is placed with dew added and powdered gold (10% of the weight of ash). This mixture is boiled at 150° and 200°C, alternately 4 hours on and 4 hours off. The liquid then takes on the color of gold. No scientist could give him an explanation of why this golden color appeared.
"Having obtained this powder enriched with salts and other extremely active particles, the First Medicine can be made. Into a glass tube with a few cubic centimeters of the new powder is added a few grams of powdered gold. After several hours of cooking, the gold imparts its color to the preparation. Once the mixture has settled, one can in fact see the dew at the top become gold in color."
This liquid is what is called by the alchemists the Potable Gold, or Vegetable Gold, or Flower of Gold.
Barbault showing his son Andre the Potable Gold elixir.
Clinical tests in the laboratory spectrum analysis of the liquid showed the complete absence of anything toxic or radioactive in the obtained liquid or liquor. Furthermore, the tests have never revealed the existence of the added gold. This corresponds with the theories of the ancient alchemists who thought that gold possesses a soul and a body and that this soul contains in itself the medicinal and therapeutic properties of the metal. The soul of gold is its color.
Barbault speculated that the physical gold metal powder changed into a higher vibrational state that is not detectable with scientific instruments. It is this higher vibrational gold that impart the golden color to the liquid.
This higher vibrational state that is not detectable by scientific instruments might be the same as Ormus discovered by David Hudson. You can find more information on the internet.
Barbault gave his Potable Gold liquid to some doctors who obtained some cures with their patients. He also tried to work with some laboratories, but they didn't seem that interested, primarily because the process would take too much time, and was too costly.
If you want to read Barbault's book, containing all the details of his work, there is an online copy available at Internet Archive. You can download it is different formats.