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The Clavicle

Raymond Lully

A treatise also known by the name of The Universal Key, in which, plainly spoken, is
everything that is necessary to carry out the Great Alchemical Work.

The present treatise, Clavcula Apertorium, was translated by Albert Poisson from the Theatrum
Chemicum. The Portuguese and English translation by Rubellus Petrinus. English translation
correction by Frater Parush.

Raymond Lully


Raymond Lull, philosopher and Catalan alchemist, was born in Palma, Majorca, in the year of
1235, being the son of a very wealthy family. His contemporaries called him illuminatus. He
wrote more than two hundred and fifty books in his life. He lived a turbulent life to the age of
thirty-one years and, because of a violent and unhappy passion, he radically changed his life;
returning to Palma, in 1266, to take up an ascetic and virtuous life after distributing his goods
among its children.

He travelled a great deal. In 1277 he was in Montpelier where wrote several books and, in 1286,
he was to Rome. From there he went to Paris, where he also wrote several works, continuing his
alchemical studies, having known there the famous alchemist, Master Arnold Villeneuve. In the
year of 1291, at thirty-six years of age, he went to Tunis to preach, which proved to be
controversial with the Muslims there, whereafter the sultan ordered him arrested. He then
escaped from prison and embarked to Naples, where he lived several years giving lectures. He
went back Rome to speak with Pope Celestine V. From 1299 he preached to the Jews of
Majorca, Cyprus, Syria and Armenian. He returned to Italy and France, through which he
travelled from 1302 to 1305, writing and often speaking in public. He passed then to England,
lodging in Saint Catalina's hospital, where he wrote an alchemical work. It is very well-known
that he performed a transmutation for King Edward III, of mercury and tin into gold, from which
the monarch minted coins called raymondins, or noble roses.

In 1307 he went preaching to the Moors again and he visited Hipona, Alger and Bughiah, where
he preached in the public square. The infuriated people wanted to kill him, then he was saved by
the mufti, but he was arrested and held for six months, at end of which he embarked for Italy. On
its arrival, the ship was wrecked, but he survived. Nevertheless after this he returned to Africa,
journeying again to Bughiah to preach in the desert for ten months. Tired of hiding, on June 30,
1315, he went to preach in a public square but the people stoned him. His body, barely alive, it
was picked up by some Genoese and they took him to a ship. He died within view of Palma.
They buried him in that city, in the San Franciscan church, where today you can still visit his

The Clavicle is one of Raymond Lullys more important alchemical works. In the same manner
as other great alchemists of the past, like Albert the Great in the Compound of the Compounds,
Basil Valentine in the Will and Last Testament and Nicholas Flamel in the Breviary, the Master
wrote this work in plain language, which it was not and still is not usual to do.

Nevertheless, the alchemists who were his contemporaries could only understand this language,
or the wise and studious persons, amongst which there were also noblemen. To the general
populace, though, lack of instruction hindered an accurate knowledge of the work.

In spite of all our actual knowledge, in trying to understand this work, even with its plain
language, it continues to be, as formerly, a veiled work for most people. This is true also for
those that have high academic qualifications exclusively in chemistry.

In order to understand this work, it is absolutely necessary to know the spagyric terminology of
that time, that is, the common names of materials, of the vases and utensils and of the modus

It is at this point that we will have to begin for those that are interested trying to carry out
Raymond Lully's alchemical work.

Finally, we do not want to finish this foreword without giving some useful advice to the children
of the Art: all the materials referred to in this alchemical work, if they are to be of any worth to
the labour, in our understanding, need to be canonical, that is to say, to be as much as possible of
natural origin and prepared as the Art demands.

The vitriol should be extracted from the small artificial lakes of pluvial water, which filters down
through the pyrite or chalcopyrite mines outside to the open ground. The cinnabar, from natural
mercury sulphide as well as the respective common quicksilver. The nitre, should be taken from
animal origin, or revivified. The common salt, just as it comes extracted from the saltpan. The
tartar should be taken from wine and prepared according to the Art and, finally, the spirit of
vinegar must be distilled from strong wine vinegar.

Rubellus Petrinus

I call this work a Clavicle because without it is impossible to understand any of my other books,
which collection embraces the entire Art, since my words are obscure to the ignorant.

I have written numerous treatises, very extensive, but divided and obscure, as one can see form
the Testament, where I speak about the origins of nature and of everything that links with the art,
and where I submitted that text to the hammer of the Philosophy. The same thing I did with my
book Of the Mercury of the Philosophers, in the second chapter: Of the fecundity of the physical
minerals and, similarly, with my book Of the Quintessence of the gold and of the silver,
similarly, at last, also with all my other works where the art is treated in a complete way, I
always hid the main secret.

So then, without that secret, nobody can enter into the philosophers' mines and do anything of
use. Therefore, with the help and permission of The Almighty, if it pleases Him for me to reveal
the Great Work, I will speak here about the Art without falsehood. You yourself must take care
of revealing this secret to the wicked; do not communicate it except to your closest friends,
although, you should not reveal it to anybody, because it is a gift of God, that He presents to
those who seem good to Him. He who possesses this secret will have an eternal treasure.

Learn then, to separate the perfect from the imperfect. The Sun is the father of the metals, the
Moon is their mother, though the Moon receives its sunshine from the Father. Upon these two
planets the whole Magistery depends.

According to Avincena, metals cannot be transmuted until after they have been reduced to their
first matter, which is correct. So, you will need to reduce the metals firstly to Mercury; but I
don't speak here of common volatile mercury, I speak of the fixed Mercury, because vulgar
mercury is volatile, full of phlegmatic frigidity, it is indispensab le that it is reduced by the fixed,
hotter, drier Mercury, endowed with qualities contrary to that of vulgar mercury.

Therefore I advise you, oh my friends that you do not work with the Sun and the Moon, except
after having reduced them to their first matter, to Sulphur and the philosophers' Mercury.

Oh my children! Learn from me how to attend to this venerable matter, because I will tell you
now, on my word, if you cannot extract the Mercury of metals, you will travel this path in blind
obscurity and in constant doubt. Therefore, oh my children, I adjure you to precede to the light
with open eyes and then you will not tumble as those who are blinded by their perdition.




We say: the vulgar mercury cannot be the Mercury of the Philosophers, because vulgar mercury
cannot stand up to the fire, except with the help of a Mercury different from it, corporeal, that is
hot, dry and more digested. Therefore, I say that our physical Mercury is of a hotter nature and
more fixed than the vulgar mercury. Our corporal Mercury turns into a fluid that doesn't wet the
hands; when it joins to the vulgar mercury, they unite and they penetrate so well through the aid
of their bonds of love, that is impossible to separate one from the other, as if they were water
mixed with water. Such is the law of the Nature. Our Mercury penetrates the vulgar mercury and
mixes with it, drying its phlegmatic humidity, removing its frigidity, which becomes as black as
coal, and, finally makes it precipitate as a powder.
Notice, then, that vulgar mercury cannot be used in the place of our physical Mercury, which
possesses a natural heat in the proper degree; for that reason, our Mercury communicates its own
nature to the vulgar mercury.

Besides, our Mercury, after its transmutation, transforms impure metals into pure metals, that is
to say, into the Sun or Moon, as we have demonstrated in the second part of our Practice. But it
produces something more notable still, transforming vulgar mercury into a medicine, capable of
transmuting imperfect metals into perfect ones also.

It transforms vulgar mercury into true Sol and true Luna, better than the ones, which are taken
from the mine. Notice, also, in that our physical Mercury can transmute a hundred times and
more, to infinity, anything that is possessed of common mercury, unless it is lacking.

Also, I desire that you know another thing. Mercury doesn't combine easily, and never perfectly,
with other bodies, if these be not taken previously to their natural origin. Therefore, when you
want to unite Mercury with Sol or Luna, you will need, before anything else, to reduce those
metals to their natural origin, that is to say to their common mercury, and this done with the help
of their bond of natural love; then will the Male join to the Female.

Thus, our Mercury is active, hot and dry, while the vulgar mercury is cold, wet and passive as
with the female that stays at home, in a moderate heat, in the cool darkness. Thus, are those two
mercuries black as coal; there is the secret of their true dissolution. In this way, they join to each
other, in such way that is almost impossible to separate them. They come, then, into the form of a
very white powder and they engender male and female children, through their true bonds of love.
Those male and female children multiply infinitely, according to their species, with an ounce of
the projection powder, the red elixir, you can produce Sol to an infinite degree and will
transmute into the Luna all types of metal taken out of the mine.



Take an ounce of Calx of Luna cupelled; calcine it according to the way described in the end of
this work concerning the Magistery. This Calx should be ground into a thin layer of powder on a
porphyry plate. You will imbibe this powder two, three or four times a day with good oil of
tartar, prepared in the way described in the end of this work; then, you will dry it in the sun. You
will continue, like this, until that the said Calx has absorbed four or five portions of the oil,
taking for a unit of measurement the amount of Calx used; you will grind the powder on the
porphyry as I have explained, after having dried it, because it is reduced in this way more easily
to a powder. When it has been well powdered it is introduced to a matrass with a long throat.

You will then add our fetid menstruum made with two parts of rubifyed vitriol and one part of
nitre; you will have distilled this menstruum seven times and having rectified it well, separate it
from its earthy sludge in such a way that, finally, the said menstruum is a completely clean and
pure essence.
Then, lute the matrass and put it on a charcoal fire at ash heat, until you see the matter boil and
dissolve. Finally, it will be distilled at ash temperature, until the whole menstruum has passed
over, and then the matter is let to cool.

When the vase is completely cold, open it, and place the matter in another clean vase, (cucurbit),
with its helm attached. Everything should then be placed on ashes in an oven. When the lute of
the vase is dry, warm it, first slowly, until all the water of the matter on which you operate has
passed over into the recipient.

Then increase the fire to completely dry the matter and to exalt the fetid spirits that will pass
through the helm and into the recipient. When you arrive at this point, let the vase cool,
decreasing the fire little by little. The matrass now cooled, remove the matter, which you should
reduce to subtle powder on the porphyry plate. You will now place this subtle powder in a
ceramic vessel well fired and carefully glazed. Then, you will pour on boiling tap water stirring
the mixture with a very clean stick until that the mixture is as thick as mustard.

Stir with a rod, until you see appear some globules of mercury in the matter; very soon there will
be a great amount of it appear, according to your use of the perfect body, that is, of Luna. When
you have a great amount, pour boiling water on several times, stirring until that the whole matter
is reduced to a body similar to common mercury. The earthy sludge will be removed with the
cold water. It can be collected dried after filtering through a cloth and then you can pass it
through a chamois, after which you will see admirable things.



In the name of the LORD. Amen.

Take three gros of pure Luna in thin sheets; make an amalgam with four gros of common
mercury well washed. When the amalgam is made, place it in a small matrass that has a throat of
a foot and a half long.

Take, afterwards, our Mercury extracted from the lunar body and place it on the amalgam made
from the perfect body and common mercury; lute the vase with the best lute possible and leave it
to dry. Having done this, shake the matrass strongly to mix well the amalgam and mercury.
Then, place the vase where you have the matter in a small oven on a charcoal fire; the heat of the
oven should not be more then that of the sun when it meets with the sign of the Lion. A stronger
heat would destroy your matter. Continue at this degree of fire until the matter becomes as black
as coal and as thick as pap.

Maintain the same temperature until the moment that the matter takes on a dark grey colour;
when it appears grizzly grey, increase the fire a degree, which will likely be twice as strong; it
should stay like this until the matter begins to lighten and become a splendid whitish colour.
Increase the fire a degree more and stay at this third degree until the matter is whiter than snow
and reduced to a powder, which is whiter and purer than ash.
You will have, then, the Calx Vive of the Philosophers and its sulphurous ore, which the
philosophers have hidden so well.



This Calx converts an infinite amount of common mercury powdered white, which can be
reduced true silver when it joins to any other body, for example Luna.



Take, now, the vase containing the matter, add to it two ounces of well washed and dry common
mercury; lute it carefully and attach again the receiver where it was previously. Regulate and
govern the fire according to the first, second and third degrees, as previously explained, until
everything is reduced to a white powder; you can, in this way, increase your Calx infinitely.



Having prepared, thus, a great amount of our Calx Vive or ore, take a new crucible without its
cover; put into it one ounce of pure Luna and, when it is melted, add to it four ounces of your
powdered agglomerate in small pill sized bits. The small balls should weigh, each one, half an
ounce. They will be added one by one into the melted Luna, in a violent fire, until all the pills are
melted; then increase the fire more, so that everything mixes perfectly; it all will be poured,
finally, into a mould.

You will have then, five ounces of silver more pure than the natural; you can then multiply your
physical ore, as you desire.



Reduce to Mercury, as was said previously, your Calx Vive extracted from Luna. That is our
secret Mercury. Take four ounces of our Calx and extract the Mercury of Luna, as you did
before. You will take, at least, three ounces of Mercury that you will put in a long throated small
matrass, as was previously indicated.

Make, then, an amalgam of one ounce of true Sol with three ounces of common mercury and
place it on the Mercury of Luna. Shake strongly to mix well. Then lute the recipient carefully
and place it in an oven, regulating the fire in the first, second and third degrees.
In the first degree, the matter will become as black as the coal; then it is said that there will
appear an eclipse of the Sol and of the Luna. This is a true conjunction that produces a son, our
Sulphur, full of temperate blood.

After this first operation, continue with the fire of the second degree, until that the matter is grey.
Then - to the third degree of fire, until the moment that the matter appears perfectly white.
Increase, then, the fire, until the matter turns as red as cinnabar and is reduced to red ash. You
can reduce this Calx to a very pure Sun, accomplishing the same operations that were carried out
with Luna.




After its first resolution our Stone multiplies a hundred parts of prepared matter and, after its
second, one thousand. It will multiply - dissolving, coagulating, exalting and fixing our matter
that it may be increased indefinitely in quantity and in quality.

Take a little of our white ore, dissolve it in our fetid menstruum, which is called white vinegar in
our Testament, in the chapter in that says: "Take some good very dry wine, add Luna, that is to
say, the green Water and C., or be nitre..." But we are not yet finished; take four ounces of our
Calx vive and dissolve them in our menstruum; you will see it become a green water. In a
separate container, in thirteen ounces of the same fetid menstruum you will dissolve four ounces
of well washed common mercury and, when a dissolution is achieved, you will mix the two
solutions; place them in a hermetically sealed vase, and leave them to digest in horse dung thirty
days, afterwards distilling in Maries bath, until no more passes over. Distil with a charcoal fire
again, in order to extract the oil. The matter that will remain will be black. Take this and distil
long hours on ashes, in a small oven. When the vase is cold, open it and pour in the water that
before was distilled in balneum. Wash the matter well with the water. Distil, then, the menstruum
in balneum; take all of the water that passed over, add it to the oil and distil on ashes, as was
previously said. Repeated that operation until the matter lies in the matrass bottom black as coal.

Son of our science, then you will have the crow 's head that the Philosophers search so much for,
without which the Magistery cannot exist. Therefore, oh my son, remember the last supper of
Our Lord Jesus Christ that died, after which he was buried and resurrected on the third day in the
light of the eternal everlasting world. Learn oh my son that nothing can live until first it has died.
Take, therefore, your black body, calcine it in the same vase for three days and then leave it to
Open it and you will find a spongy and dead earth that you will preserve until it is necessary to
unite the body to the soul. You will take the water that was distilled in Maries bath and you will
distil it several times, until it is well purified and reduced to a crystalline mass.

Imbibe, then, your body, that is the black earth, with its own water, wetted little by little heating
everything until the body is white and sparkling. The water, which vivifies and it clarifies, it will
have then penetrated the body. Having luted the vase, you will then heat it violently for twelve
hours, as you would if sublimating common mercury. Cool the vase, and once opened you will
find your white matter sublimated. It is our Sealed Earth, it is our sublimated body elevated to a
high dignity, it is our Sulphur, our Mercury, our Arsenic, with which you will heat up our Gold.
It is our ferment, our Calx vive, that engenders itself the Son of the fire that is the philosophers'



Place this matter in a strong matrass and pour on an amalgam made with the Calx vive of the
first operation, in which we reduced the silver. This amalgam is made with three parts of
common mercury and one part of our Calx; you will mix it and you will heat it on ashes. You
will see the matter become agitated; you will then increase the fire and, in four hours, the matter
will be sulphurous and white. As soon as it has been fixed, it will coagulate and it will fix the
Mercury. One ounce of this matter will transmute a hundred ounces of mercury into the true
medicine. Afterwards, it will act on a thousand ounces, and so forth.



The Multiplied sulphur can be taken, and placed in a matrass and you may pour on the oil that
remained after the separation of the elements.

Add the oil until the sulphur is soft. Then, you may melt it on ashes, heating to the second and
third degrees, taking it to a complete whiteness. Then, you may open the vase and you will see a
plate of crystalline matter. In order to be sure of your product, place a fragment on a hot plate
and if it melts without producing smoke, it is well made. Then, project one part on a thousand
parts of mercury and it will be completely transmuted into Silver. But if the medicine becomes
infusible and does not melt, put it in a crucible and pour on the oil drop by drop, until that the
medicine melts like wax. Then it will be perfect and will transmute a thousand parts of mercury,
and more-so infinitely.



In the name of the LORD, take four ounces of the above mentioned plate of crystalline matter
and dissolve it in the Water of the Stone that you have preserved. When the dissolution is
complete, put it to ferment in a balneum marie for nine days. Then take two parts in weight of
our red Calx and add it to them in the vase, to ferment again for nine days. Afterwards, you will
distil in balneum in an alembic, afterwards on ashes, regulating the fire in the first degree until
the matter turns black. This is our second dissolution and our eclipse of Sol with Luna, the sign
of the true dissolution and of the male's conjunction with the female.

Increase the fire to the second degree, so that the matter becomes yellow. Afterwards, increase
the fire to the fourth degree, until the matter melts like wax and is hyacinth colour. It is, then, a
noble matter and a real medicine that cures all diseases and transmutes quickly all crude metals
into pure gold, better than the natural gold.

We give thanks to our Saviour who, in the glory of heaven, reigns as one and three, in eternity.



We have declare that everything contained this work is true, because we have seen it with our
own eyes, operated on it ourselves and touched it with our own hands. We are going, now,
without allegories, to summarize our Work.

We had taken the Stone that we have spoken of, sublimated it with the help of the nature and art
and reduced it into Mercury. To this Mercury we did add a white Body that is of a similar nature
and cooked them until we had prepared the true ore.

This ore we did multiply according to our will. The matter we did again reduce to Mercury that
we did dissolve in our Menstruum until the Stone was volatile and separated from all the
elements. Finally, we purified the body and the soul perfectly. A natural and temperate heat will
allow us, afterwards, to obtain the conjugation of the body and of the soul. The stone will turn
into an ore. We continued the fire, until that the matter was white, which we denominate Sulphur
and the philosophers' Mercury. It is then that, through the violence of the fire, the fixed becomes
volatile and the volatile it was be deprived of its crude beginnings and was sublimated to become
whiter than snow. We did reject what remained in the bottom of the vase because it is of no good
for anything. We did take, then, our Sulphur, that is the oil about which I have already spoken,
and did multiply it in an alembic, until it was reduced to a powder whiter than snow. We fixed
the powders, multiplied them in the way of the art, with our Water, until when tested with the
fire they melted, without smoke, like wax.

It is necessary, then, to add the water of the first solution. Everything then being dissolved, it will
join anything yellow, that it is the gold, it will unite and the whole spirit will be distilled.

Finally, we did warm it in the first, second, third and fourth degrees of fire until the heat causes
the true hyacinth colour to appear and the fixed matter melts. You may project this matter on a
thousand parts of common mercury and it will be transmuted in fine gold.


Take one ounce of fine cupeled Luna and three ounces of mercury. Amalgamate, heating the
silver in thin sheets firstly in a crucible and adding thereafter the mercury; stir everything with a
rod while continuing to maintain the heat. This amalgam will be placed, afterwards, in vinegar
with salt; everything will be ground with a pestle in a wooden mortar, washing and removing the
sludge as you go. Cease when the amalgam is perfect. Then, wash it with hot clean tap water and
press it through a very clean cloth.

What is left in the cloth, being the essential part of the body, you will mix with three parts of salt,
grinding well and washing. It should finally be calcined for twelve hours. It will be ground again
with salt, and this repeated three times, renewing the salt each time.

Then, the matter will be powdered in such a way as to obtain an fine powder. It will be washed
with hot water until all the salt flavour has disappeared. Finally, clean it with a cotton filter. Then
it will be dried and you will have a white Calx. You can then place it aside in a sealed jar, so that
humidity does not alter it, in order to be ready as soon as it is necessary.




Take good tartar, whose facets are shining, calcine it in a reverbatory oven for ten hours;
afterwards, place it on a marble-stone, after having ground it, and leave it in a wet place where it
will turn into an oleaginous liquid. As soon as it is completely liquefied, pass it through a cotton
filter. Preserve it carefully; it will be good for imbibing with your Calx.




Take two pounds of vitriol, one pound of nitre and three ounces of cinnabar. The vitriol will be
rubified and powdered, after add to it the nitre and the cinnabar, grind together all these materials
and pour them into a well-luted alembic.

This will be distilled firstly on gentle fire, as is necessary, in a manner they know who have
already performed this operation. The water will distil abandoning its sludge which will be left in
the bottom of the cucurbit. You will have, in this way, an excellent menstruum.


Take three pounds of rubified Roman vitriol, a pound of nitre, three ounces of cinnabar; grind
these substances, together, on marble. Then, place them in a big solid matrass, adding to it Spirit
of wine and place them for fifteen days in the horse dung. Afterwards it should be distilled
gently, so that all the water passes into the receiver. Then you should increase the fire until that
the helm becomes white, afterwards letting it become cool. Seal the receiver with wax well

We observe that this menstruum should be rectified seven times, rejecting the residue every time.
Only after this will it be good for the work.


Weight measures

Scruple - Old weight measure corresponding to 1,296g.

Grain - Weight Measure corresponding to 0,0648g.
Gros - Old measure the equivalent in weight to 3,55g.
Pound - Unit of equivalent mass for 453,59g. (England).
Lot Old German weight measure equivalent to 14,17g.
Mark - Old weight measure for gold and silver, corresponding to 16,6g.
Ounce - Equivalent weight measure to 28,349g.