The Book of Lambspring,
A Noble Ancient
Concerning the Philosophical Stone;
Rendered into Latin Verse by
Nicholas Barnaud Delphinas,
Doctor of Medicine, a zealous Student
of this Art.
The term philosopher in past centuries meant
a person who studied Nature, science, mythology, and above all man.
Art was a term used
for the alchemical art, or the Great Work.
I am called Lambspring, born of a Noble
Family, and this Crest I bear
with Glory and Justice.
Philosophy I have read, and thoroughly
The utmost depth of my teachers' knowledge
have I sounded.
This God graciously granted to me,
Giving me a heart to understand wisdom.
Thus I became the Author of this Book,
And I have clearly set forth the whole
That Rich and Poor might understand.
There is nothing like it upon earth;
Nor (God be praised) have I therein forgotten
my humble self.
I am acquainted with the only true foundation:
Therefore preserve this Book with care,
And take heed that you study it again
Thus shall you receive and learn the
And use this great gift of God for good
O God the Father, which art of all the beginning and end,
We beseech thee for the sake of our Lord
To enlighten our minds and thoughts,
That we may praise Thee without ceasing,
And accomplish this Book according to
Direct Thou everything to a good end,
And preserve us through Thy great mercy.
the help of God I will shew you this Art,
And will not hide or veil the truth from
that you understand me aright,
You will soon be free from the bonds
For there is only one substance,
In which all the rest is hidden;
Therefore, keep a good heart.
Coction, time, and patience are what
If you would enjoy the precious reward,
You must cheerfully give both time and
For you must subject to gentle coction
the seeds and the metals,
Day by day, during several weeks;
Thus in this one vile thing
You will discover and bring to perfection
the whole work of Philosophy,
Which to most men appears impossible,
Though it is a convenient and easy task.
If we were to shew it to the outer world
We should be derided by men, women, and
Therefore be modest and secret,
And you will be left in peace and security.
Remember your duty towards your neighbour
and your God,
Who gives this Art, and would have it
Now we will conclude the Preface,
That we may begin to describe the very
truly and plainly set it forth in figures,
Rendering thanks to the Creator of every
Hereunto follows the First Figure,
"Study it again and again": a mere
intellectual interpretation is not sufficient, one must gain understanding
by contemplating the text and images.
The emphasis on directing one's attention to
God, or Jesus Christ can be found in several alchemical manuscripts.
It is an important part of the Great Work, because after all it
about discovering our divine essence. That is the object of the
direction of our awareness.
"For there is only one substance":
in spite of the multitude of symbols, like mercury, salt and sulfur,
the alchemists keep on repeating that there is only substance to
work on, and that is the alchemist himself.
The alchemical process is very simple: it is
the purification of oneself, nothing else. Of course, 'normal' people
don't understand this.
Be warned and understand truly that two fishes
are swimming in our sea.
The Sea is the Body, the two Fishes are Soul
The Sages will
That two fishes are in our sea
flesh or bones.
Let them be cooked in their own water;
they also will become a vast sea,
of which no man can describe.
Moreover, the Sages say
That the two
fishes are only one, not two;
They are two, and nevertheless they are
Body, Spirit, and Soul.
Now, I tell you most truly,
Cook these three
That there may be a very large sea.
the sulphur well with the sulphur,
And hold your
tongue about it:
Conceal your knowledge to your own advantage,
shall be free from poverty.
Only let your discovery remain a close
The body is compared with a sea/water, because
when one direct one's attention inwards, like in meditation, the
inner awareness is alike a vast sea with no boundaries.
It is the soul and spirit that needs to be
Although we make a
distinction between body, soul and spirit, there is only one you,
although one can look at oneself in these three apparent different
Here you straightway behold a black beast in
The Sage says
That a wild beast is in the forest,
Whose skin is of the
If any man cut off his head,
And give place to a snowy white.
well the meaning of this head:
The blackness is called the head
of the Raven;
As soon as it disappears,
A white colour is
It is given this name, despoiled of
When the Beast's black hue has vanished in a black
The Sages rejoice
From the bottom of their hearts;
But they keep it a close secret,
That no foolish man may
Yet unto their Sons, in kindness of heart,
partly reveal it in their writings;
And therefore let those
who receive the gift
Enjoy it also in silence,
would have it concealed.
Putrefaction is the stage of blackness, the
blackness one encounters when the eyes are closed.
The dragon is a symbol for the untamed energies
in oneself, especially the thoughts.
When one has cleaned up all the chaos in one's
mind, and purified one's awareness, then eventually a clarity arises
that can be compared with a shining light, or whiteness as the alchemists
called it. An actual spiritual light can also be perceived. This
is the stage of Albedo.
Hear without terror that in the forest are
hidden a deer and an unicorn.
In the Body there is Soul and Spirit.
That two animals are in this forest:
beautiful, and swift,
A great and strong deer;
They are concealed in the forest,
shall that man be called
Who shall snare and capture them.
The Masters shew you here clearly
That in all places
These two animals wander about in forests
(But know that the
forest is but one).
If we apply the parable to our Art,
We shall call the forest the Body.
That will be rightly and
The unicorn will be the Spirit at all times.
The deer desires no other name
But that of the Soul; which name
no man shall take away from it.
He that knows how to tame and
master them by Art,
To couple them together,
And to lead
them in and out of the forest,
May justly be called a Master.
For we rightly judge
That he has attained the golden flesh,
And may triumph everywhere;
Nay, he may bear rule over great
A deer is a symbol for thought because it is
swift and runs around like thoughts.
The unicorn is a symbol of one pointedness
of mind. The fixation on clear pure awareness of self.
The unicorn is the Spirit because the Spirit
is the center of our being, and on this we hold our one pointed
The deer, or thoughts,
is part of the soul.
Here you behold a great marvel --- two lions
are joined into one.
The Spirit and Soul must be united in their
do faithfully teach us
That two strong lions, to wit, male and
Lurk in a dark and rugged valley.
These the Master
Though they are swift and fierce,
And of terrible
and savage aspect.
He who, by wisdom and cunning,
and bind them,
And lead them into the same forest,
it may be said with justice and truth
That he has merited the
meed of praise before all others,
And that his wisdom transcends
that of the worldly wise.
Usually the lion is
taken for the male, active principle in the Great Work, but here
we have two lions as symbols for both Spirit and Soul. in this sense,
we could take the lion as symbol for the emotions (from the soul)
and feelings (from the Spirit). Emotions and feelings can indeed
be very strong and savage, but they need to be tamed and guided.
A wolf and a dog are in one house, and are
afterwards changed into one.
The Body is mortified and rendered white, then
joined to Soul and Spirit by being saturated with them.
writes from Persia
That a wolf and a dog are in this field,
Which, as the Sages say,
Are descended from the same stock,
But the wolf comes from the east,
And the dog from the west.
They are full of jealousy,
Fury, rage, and madness;
One kills the other,
And from them comes a great poison.
But when they are restored to life,
They are clearly shewn to
The Great and Precious Medicine,
The most glorious Remedy
Which refreshes and restores the Sages,
render thanks to God, and do praise Him.
Once one has become aware of the inner energies
of Soul and Spirit and purified them, then the awareness of these
inner energies has to be brought into the bodily awareness, into
our every day consciousness.
The "wolf from
the east" is the symbol for the Fixed, and the "dog from
the west" is the symbol for the Volatile. The Fixed and the
Volatile are two aspects of the continuous process of distillation
and purification. By this one has to understand the alternate direction
of attention to the inner, more subtle energies (volatile) and awareness,
and the outer, physical, bodily awareness (fixed).
This surely is a great miracle and without
any deception - that in a venomous dragon there should be the great
The Mercury is
precipitated or sublimed, dissolved in its own proper water,
and then once more coagulated.
A savage Dragon
lives in the forest,
Most venomous he is, yet lacking nothing:
When he sees the rays of the Sun and its bright fire,
scatters abroad his poison,
And flies upward so fiercely
That no living creature can stand before him,
Nor is even the
Basilisk equal to him.
He who hath skill to slay him, wisely
Hath escaped from all dangers.
Yet all venom, and colours,
In the hour of his death.
His venom becomes
the great Medicine.
He quickly consumes his venom,
devours his poisonous tail.
All this is performed on his own
From which flows forth glorious Balm,
With all its
Hereat all the Sages do loudly rejoice.
Meditation is like dissolving your ordinary
awareness (earth) into a larger more subtle inner awareness (water),
which we then try to bring back into our body, what is expressed
by the term 'coagulation'.
The venomous dragon, usually depicted as Ouroboros,
the dragon biting his own tail, is a symbol of the matter, or the
Stone, or mercury, that is the inner energies of the mind, when
they are circulating in the vase, that is, during the entire process
of meditation, or any other spiritual practice. originally it is
poison because the mind is originally full of impurities, but by
continuous work or practice, they get refined and purified, and
thus they become medicine, and will heal both body and soul.
We hear two birds in the forest, yet we must
understand them to be only one.
The Mercury having been often sublimed, is
at length fixed, and becomes capable of resisting fire: the sublimation
must be repeated until at length the fixation is attained.
A nest is
found in the forest,
In which Hermes has his brood;
fledgling always strives to fly upward,
The other rejoices to
sit quietly in the nest;
Yet neither can get away from the other.
The one that is below holds the one that is above,
not let it get away from the nest,
As a husband in a house with
Bound together in closest bonds of wedlock.
also do we rejoice at all times,
That we hold the female eagle
fast in this way,
And we render thanks to God the Father.
Even when the mind has been purified, one must
continue the process, because one has to arrive at a state where
this purified, clear awareness remains constant. This is the ultimate
fixation as the alchemists expressed it, when the Matter, the Stone,
Mercury is totally resistant to fire, that it, it cannot be altered
anymore by any outside influence. One is completely stable in clear
The two birds that
cannot get away from each other are both the physical awareness
and the inner awareness that are now joined and form a unity.
Here are two birds, great and strong - the
body and spirit; one devours the other.
Let the Body be placed in horse-dung, or a
warm bath, the Spirit having been extracted from it. The Body has
become white by the process, the Spirit red by our Art. All that
exists tends towards perfection, and thus is the Philosopher's Stone
In India there
is a most pleasant wood,
In which two birds are bound together.
One is of a snowy white; the other is red.
They bite each
other, and one is slain
And devoured by the other.
both are changed into white doves,
And of the Dove is born a
Which has left behind blackness and foul death,
And has regained a more glorious life.
This power was given
it by God Himself,
That it might live eternally, and never die.
It gives us wealth, it preserves our life,
And with it we
may work great miracles,
As also the true Philosophers do plainly
Here is another example of continuing the process
of purification which brings body and spirit together.
The white color is the state of Whiteness or
Albedo, the first attainment of clear awareness. The red color the
next state of Redness or Rubedo, when this clear awareness is 'fixed,
that is, the alchemist is able to maintain it.
The dove is a symbol of the State of Albedo,
the phoenix of Rubedo.
When the state of Rubedo
has been attained, and clear awareness is being maintained, then
one has manifested one's divine self, from which all wealth, health
and miracles come from.
The lord of the forests has recovered his kingdom,
and mounted from the lowest to the highest degree. If fortune smile,
you may from a rhetor become a consul; if fortune frown, the consul
may become a rhetor.
Thus you may know that the Tincture has truly
attained the first degree.
Now hear of
a wonderful deed,
For I will teach you great things,
the King rises high above all his race;
And hear also what the
noble lord of the forest says:
I have overcome and vanquished
I have trodden the venomous Dragon under foot,
I am a great and glorious King in the earth.
There is none greater
Child either of the Artist or of Nature,
I do all that man can desire,
I give power
and lasting health,
Also gold, silver, gems, and precious stones,
And the panacea for great and small diseases.
Yet at first
I was of ignoble birth,
Till I was set in a high place.
To reach this lofty summit
Was given me by God and Nature.
Thence from the meanest I became the highest,
to the most glorious throne,
And to the state of royal sovereignty:
Therefore Hermes has called me the Lord of the Forests.
From here on are instructions for adepts, that
is, those who have successfully completed the Great Work, and attained
a fixed clear awareness of Self at all times. Very few people will
ever arrive at this stage.
However, it is not all that can be attained.
At this state one is
truly a King, master of himself, inside and outside. The purified
mind vivified with the divine spirit, is the source of health and
A salamander lives in the fire, which imparts
to it a most glorious hue.
This is the reiteration, gradation, and amelioration
of the Tincture, or Philosopher's Stone; and the whole is called
In all fables
we are told
That the Salamander is born in the fire;
the fire it has that food and life
Which Nature herself has
assigned to it.
It dwells in a great mountain
Which is encompassed
by many flames,
And one of these is ever smaller than another
Herein the Salamander bathes.
The third is greater, the
fourth brighter than the rest -
In all these the Salamander
washes, and is purified.
Then he hies him to his cave,
on the way is caught and pierced
So that it dies, and yields
up its life with its blood.
But this, too, happens for its good:
For from its blood it wins immortal life,
And then death
has no more power over it.
Its blood is the most precious Medicine
The same has not its like in the world.
this blood drives away all disease
In the bodies of metals,
Of men, and of beasts.
From it the Sages derive their science,
And through it they attain the Heavenly Gift,
Which is called
the Philosopher's Stone,
Possessing the power of the whole world.
This gift the Sages impart to us with loving hearts,
we may remember them for ever.
Augmentation is also called Multiplication.
The alchemist basically repeats the process but this time with the
purified Matter, Mercury, Stone, in order to augment in quality
The Fire is the Spirit itself, the divine essence
in every man. The salamander here is the symbol of that divine essence
in its fiery, active, living quality.
So, the salamander,
the Spirit, is cleansed even more, this time with fire, which is
active concentration. This brings about another transformation after
which one is truly immortal, in the sense that death cannot become
to the body, because the body itself has been transmuted.
The father and the son have linked their hands
with those of the guide: know that the three are body, soul, and
Here is an
old father of Israel,
Who has an only Son,
A Son whom he
loves with all his heart.
With sorrow he prescribes sorrow to
He commits him to a guide,
Who is to conduct him whithersoever
The Guide addresses the Son in these words:
hither! I will conduct thee everywhere,
To the summit of the
That thou mayest understand all wisdom,
That thou mayest behold the greatness of the earth, and of the
And then derive true pleasure.
I will bear thee through
To the gates of highest heaven.
The Son hearkened
to the words of the Guide,
And ascended upward with him;
There saw he the heavenly throne,
That was beyond measure glorious.
When he had beheld these things,
He remembered his Father
Pitied the great sorrow of his Father,
said: I will return to his breast.
The father is the body, which of course like
the soul, the son, that inhabits it.
The guide is the divine spirit, or divine essence,
in the person, that now can take the soul to any place in the universe.
The divine spirit can now shift its awareness
away from the body, and roam the universe from the physical level
to the astral words, to the mental realms, and to the spiritual.
But eventually one
longs to be back into the physical body again.
Another mountain of India lies in the vessel,
which the spirit and the soul - that is, the son and the guide -
Says the Son
to the Guide:
I will go down to my Father,
For he cannot
live without me.
He sighs and calls aloud for me.
Guide makes answer to the Son:
I will not let thee go alone;
From thy Father's bosom I brought thee forth,
I will also
take thee back again,
That he may rejoice again and live.
This strength will we give unto him.
So both arose without
And returned to the Father's house.
When the Father
saw his Son coming,
He cried aloud, and said: -
The spirit and soul have left the body and
are in the more subtle realms.
The body cannot live
without the vivifying Soul and Spirit.
Here the father devours the son; the soul and
spirit flow forth from the body.
My Son, I
was dead without thee,
And lived in great danger of my life.
I revive at thy return,
And it fills my breast with joy.
But when the Son entered the Father's house,
took him to his heart,
And swallowed him out of excessive joy,
And that with his own mouth.
The great exertion makes the
The soul which has
been purified greatly and vivified with the divine essence, enters
the body again, but this enhanced energy has a great impact on the
Here the father sweats profusely, while oil
and the true tincture of the sages flow forth from him.
Here the Father
sweats on account of the Son,
And earnestly beseeches God,
Who has created everything in His hands,
Who creates, and
has created all things,
To bring forth his Son from his body,
And to restore him to his former life.
God hearkens to his
And bids the Father lie down and sleep.
sends down rain from heaven
To the earth from the shining stars.
It was a fertilizing, silver rain,
Which bedewed and softened
the Father's Body.
Succour us, Lord, at the end,
may obtain Thy gracious Gift!
The body itself undergoes changes.
The rain from heaven refers to the Golden Rain
from Greek mythology (Jupiter and Danae; and the birth of Minerva
from Jupiter's head; although here it is called a silver rain.
It is the experience
of the influx of divine energies that transform the physical body.
Here father and son are joined in one so to
remain for ever.
Father is here changed
Entirely into limpid water,
virtue of this water alone
The good work is accomplished.
There is now a glorified and beautiful Father,
And he brings
forth a new Son.
The Son ever remains in the Father,
the Father in the Son.
Thus in divers things
untold, precious fruit.
They perish never more,
By the grace of God they abide for ever,
and the Son, triumphing gloriously
In the splendour of their
Upon one throne they sit,
And the face of the
Is straightway seen between them:
He is arrayed
in a crimson robe.
This is the unification
of the body and the spirit, which by a transfiguration become one
and the same, and transcend the laws of Nature.
invisible king of the world,
To the only true and immortal
Be praise and glory
Now and evermore.