I recommend the reader, before going further, to reread the first two parts of this article, for a more in-depth understanding of the topic.
The concepts of “Magnetic Aura” and Vibrational Therapy were the basis of many procedures of Alchemical Medicine, to which I will refer in an attempt to make clear the “Principle of Analogy”, which I believe is the best internalizable aspect of the ancient therapeutic approach.
Specifically the basic principle of Alchemical Medicine is that illness represents the physical, material part of a primitive fluidic disorder, that is, a true “illness of the soul”, capable of producing pathological psycho-somatism.
According to the alchemical idea, for example, sulfur vapors could heal an ulcer, projecting the antiseptic properties of the sulfur-matter onto the unconsciously altered thoughts of the patient – as we would say today.
In the same way, poultices of ivy leaves and breadcrumbs, applied to the sexual organ of the impotent person, produced the power of life and generative capacity, adding to the power of the soul that “quantum” of “homologous matter” -in energetic sense – capable of integrating compromised physical function.
To understand the principles of Hermetic Medicine, we must therefore take into account its interest in the interiority of man, without limiting ourselves to considering only the physical aspects of the disease. The Fluidic or Astral Body was an almost tangible reality for the alchemist, which could be acted upon in many situations to re-establish a stable and lasting balance in the patient.
Unfortunately, many recipes for prodigious healing have been lost in the mists of time. Yet, in some ancient manuscripts, translated into terms understandable for contemporary man, there are traces of an ancient knowledge intended for the few capable of understanding, among the many symbolic figures, the simple and impenetrable meaning of alchemical notions.
The idea of a “Fluid Body” (or Astral Body), repository of the neuro-vegetative sensitivity of the human being, was at the origin of numerous Alchemical Medicine procedures, based on the extreme sensitivity of this “Second Body”.
Since the Astral Body was the agent of the healing processes, in the case of a serious wound the alchemists used to apply a balm rich in vital force to it, in order to provide the patient’s Astral Body with the elements for its repair.
In other cases, extraordinary healings were obtained by resorting to the so-called “Therapeutics by Sympathy”, thanks to the idea that the Astral Body (Energy Field) has the ability to be projected outside the physical body and remain imprinted in various substrates.
For example, if you take a few drops of the patient’s blood and place it in contact with a liquid rich in vital force, the patient’s Astral Body, in empathic connection with the fluid linked to the blood, will absorb the healthy energy and its state of vigor will improve.
Another example of Therapeutics by Sympathy is offered to us by the folk medicine of the so-called Rural Healers and by an ancient procedure for treating toothache. A fragment of bark was removed from a tree, a small splinter of wood was taken and the affected gum was pricked with it. Then the splinter, stained with infected blood, was placed under the bark of the tree, which was put back in place and sealed with beeswax.
The principle of the practice was that the vital energy of the tree could be transmitted to the Astral Body of the patient, through the subtle fluidic connections that connected the patient’s body to the blood that dipped the splinter. Those who have even recently attempted the experiment with the right amount of faith assure that the effect is guaranteed.
Even contact with the Astral Body of an energetic and healthy person could bring benefit to the sick person, allowing him to obtain healing. Bacon, in his Letter on the Nullity of Magic, assured that: “Healthy and well-built young people comfort and enliven with their presence, and this is due to the sweet emanations of their healthy and delightful vapors”.
It is also said in the Holy Scriptures that David, now old and ill, regained his strength thanks to his servants, who brought him every evening a young and attractive girl who slept next to him.
I imagine that many readers, stressed by modern life, would overcome their natural distrust of ancient Medicine if they could resort to this ancient alchemical recipe!…
One of the cornerstones of Hermetic Medicine was, as has been said, the “Principle of Analogy”, which originated from the idea of a substantial unity of Nature.
If there are myriads of bodies in the One, the alchemists maintained, that is, in the Thought of God, which is the Form and Essence of himself, one must also accept the principle that relationships exist between all things. We must therefore have faith in the various forms of Analogy, which establish a network of connections between all the Creatures of the Universe.
“What is above is equal to what is below” claimed the famous “Emerald Tablet”, attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. That is, according to the alchemists, there would be close analogous relationships between the Macrocosm and the Microcosm, between the Planets and the human body. For example, the heart would correspond to the Sun, the brain to the Moon, the spleen to the planet Saturn, the lungs to Mercury, the kidneys to Venus, the bile ducts to Mars, the liver to Jupiter.
According to the ancient conception, when the unstable balance between the different planetary influences on the body was altered, disease occurred in the organ that corresponded to the debilitated Planet.
In this case the cure consisted in applying remedies full of the influence of the weaker Planet to the sick person, with the aim of compensating in a certain way for its action. This was achieved by using extracts of plants charged with the influence of the deficient Planet: for example, sunflower extracts could be used, which corresponded to the Sun; or palm, which corresponded to the Moon.
Medicine based on the so-called “Signatures” was more widespread than therapeutics based on the correspondence between man and Planets. In short, the alchemist therapist had to look for the plant, flower, leaf or fruit that had a shape similar to that of the diseased organ, believing that, based on the law of Analogy, they could serve as a remedy.
Thus, for headaches the poppy capsule was recommended, for the intestines the Convolvulaceae, for the uterus the fruits of Sabina. Pistachios were associated with the testicles, considered powerful aphrodisiacs; while coffee beans, which had the same shape as the lobes of the brain and heart, were believed to have a stimulating effect on these organs. Finally, the bean, which resembled kidneys, had a powerful diuretic effect.
The Signature theory was extended not only to the shape of the organ, but also to the type of disease. Kidney stones, for example, were treated with stones known as Lapis Citrinus or Lapis Iudaicus; jaundice with Saffron, leprosy with strawberries, sores with Hypericum or St. John’s Wort, whose leaves are perforated; hemorrhages with the Hematite stone or with Dragon’s Blood.
The Signature technique was therefore inspired by alchemical theories: “Nature delights in Nature”, to use an aphorism attributed to Democritus. It was then sufficient to extend this concept to the animal kingdom, to arrive at the so-called “Opotherapy“.
Gerolamo Cardano claimed that mare’s milk, hare’s uterus and goat’s testicle cured sterility. Paracelsus recommended ox gall extract for cirrhosis and ox spleen extract against amenorrhea.
Crollius proposed pig brain against madness, pulverized worms against helminthiasis, deer lung against lung diseases. Finally, Paracelsus himself advocated the use of blood serum to stop bleeding, introducing the concept of “serotherapy” which is still valid today, which was therefore not entirely foreign to the alchemists.
Poisons, Kircher stated, can be healed by the same snakes that have bitten them. And Crollius added that the crushed spider heals the wound it has produced, and the scorpion its sting. It is the same concept, dear to alchemists, of “Similia cum Similibus curantur”, which we have already considered in relation to Homeopathy.
I will remember that Kremmerz, a great expert in Homeopathy, practiced Opotherapy very effectively, applying with great skill ancient recipes and others invented by him. Quite recently, some of his followers have ventured into the production of opotherapeutic remedies, which he assures are certainly effective in numerous pathologies.
In conclusion, the aspect that differentiates the therapeutics of the ancient alchemists from modern medicine consists in the fact that today’s doctor administers his drugs by focusing only on their physiological action, without resorting to the concept of “fluid agent”.
On the contrary, medieval alchemists prescribed their remedies in order to act on the Astral Body of the sick person. To achieve this goal, they first proceeded with the purification of the material principles of the medicine (Sulphur, Salt and Mercury) from their waste, which Paracelsus defined as “phlegm” or “Caput Mortuum”.
They subsequently endowed the purified medicine with an “Astral Body” (the “Mumia” of Paracelsus), powerfully enriching it with vital force, the true custodian of the therapeutic properties of the compound.
In other words they obtained the “quintessence” of the drug, which thus became much more active and powerful than the native medicine, defined as “mixed” due to its high content of impurities.
An example is given by ethyl alcohol, which in the eyes of alchemists was a true quintessence, as it contained the properties of wine, much more condensed. Instead, the residue of distillation, i.e. waste matter, is the simplest representation of “phlegm” or “Caput Mortuum”.
Other examples of Quintessences were the so-called “Tinctures”, such as the Tincture of Gold and Silver, but also of other metals, each with its own specific therapeutic peculiarities.
For example, the Gold Tincture was indicated for the treatment of heart diseases, while the Silver Tincture was specific for brain diseases, such as epilepsy, paralysis and hydrocephalus. Many other Quintessences were extracted from medicinal plants and used in various pathologies, representing objects of study for Spagyric Medicine.
END OF THE THIRD PART