The Sixth Day
by Jack Courtis
Herewith our work on this story was performed, and we (after the Virgin with her blue bird again departed from us) were called up through the hole to the sixth story, where we were mightily troubled. For in the midst, there sat a little altar and in every way it was like unto that King’s hall above described. Upon which stood the six aforementioned particulars, and he himself (the bird) made the seventh. First of all the little fountain was set before him, out of which he drunk a good draught. Afterwards he pecked upon the white serpent until she bled mightily. This blood we were to receive into a golden cup, and pour it down the bird’s throat, who was mighty averse from it. Then we dipped the serpent’s head in the fountain, upon which she again revived, and crept into her deaths-head, so that I saw her no more for a long time after. In the meantime, the sphere turned constantly on, until it made the desired conjunction. Immediately the watch struck one, upon which there was a movement to another conjunction. Then the watch struck two. Finally, while we were observing the third conjunction, and the same was indicated by the watch, the poor bird of himself submissively laid down his neck upon the book, and willingly suffered his head (by one of us thereto chosen by lot) to be smitten off. Howbeit he yielded not one drop of blood, until he was opened on the breast, and then the blood spun out so fresh and clear as if it had been a fountain of rubies. His death went to the heart of us, and yet we might well judge that a naked bird would stand us in little stead. So we let it rest, and removed the little altar away and assisted the Virgin to burn the body (together with the little tablet hanging by) to ashes with fire kindled at the little taper; afterwards to cleanse the same several times, and to lay them in a box of cypress wood.
On the 6th level, the bird is added as the 7th object, to the others on the altar. This paragraph should be read very carefully, because it describes the process of transformation in great detail. We must reach our own individual understanding. However, note the death and burning of the phoenix. Its resurrection is inevitable. Further, the process is timed by 3 astrological conjunctions. This demonstrates the unity of the Above with the Below.
Here I cannot conceal what a trick I and three more were served. After we had thus diligently taken up the ashes, the Virgin began to speak thus: "My lords, we are here in the sixth room and have only one more before us, in which our trouble will be at an end, and then we shall return home again to our castle, to awaken our most gracious Lords and Ladies. Now albeit I could heartily wish that all of you, as you are here together, had behaved in such manner, that I might have given you commendations to our most renowned King and Queen, and you should have obtained a suitable reward, yet because, contrary to my desire, I have found among you these four (herewith she pointed at me and three more) lazy and sluggish labourers and chymists. Yet according to my good-will to all and every one, I am not willing to deliver them up to punishment; however, that such negligence may not remain wholly unpunished, I will thus concerning them, that they shall only be excluded from the future seventh and most glorious action of all the rest, and so too they shall incur no further blame from their Royal Majesties." In what mood we now were at this speech I leave others to consider, for the Virgin so well knew how to keep her countenance, that the water soon ran over our baskets, and we esteemed ourselves the unhappiest of all men. After this the Virgin by one of her maids (whereof there were many always at hand) caused the musicians to be fetched, who were with cornets to blow us out of doors with such scorn and derision that they themselves could hardly sound for laughing. But it did particularly afflict us that the Virgin so vehemently laughed at our weeping, anger and impatience, and that there might well perhaps be some among our companions who were glad of this our misfortune.
CRC plus 3 others are singled out as lazy and are to be removed from the rest of the candidates. This is to conceal their true status. We should remember that in the Fama Fraternitatis, CRC begins the Rosicrucian Order with himself and 3 others.
But it proved otherwise, for as soon as we were come out at the door, the musicians bid us be of good cheer and follow them up the winding stairs. They led us up to the seventh floor under the roof, where we found the old man, whom we had not hitherto seen, standing upon a little round furnace. He received us friendly, and heartily congratulated us, that we were hereto chosen by the Virgin; but after he understood the fear we had conceived, his belly was ready to burst with laughing, that we had taken such good fortune so heinously. "Hence," said he, "my dear sons, learn that man never knoweth how well God intended him." During this discourse the Virgin also with her little box came running in, who (after she had sufficiently laughed at us) emptied her ashes into another vessel, and filled hers again with other matter, saying she must now go cast a mist before the other artist’s eyes. We in the meantime should obey the old lord in whatsoever he commanded us, and not give up our former diligence. Herewith she departed from us into the seventh room calling our companions to her. Now what she first did with them, I cannot tell, for they were not only most earnestly forbidden to speak of it, but we too by reason of our business, dared not peep on them through the ceiling.
CRC is now on the 7th and highest level. He is led there by the 12 musicians and this reminds us that the 12 Disciplines must always be with us. Significantly, the feminine principle departs and the final process is in the hands of the masculine principle.
But this was our work. We were to moisten the ashes with our fore-prepared water until they became altogether like a very thin dough, after which we set the matter over the fire, until it was well heated. Then we cast it thus hot as it was into two little forms or molds, and so let it cool a little (here we had leisure to look for a while upon our companions through certain crevices made in the floor). They were now very busy at a furnace, and each was himself working to blow up the fire with a pipe, and they stood thus blowing about it, as if they were herein wondrously preferred before us. And this blowing lasted so long until our old man roused us to our work again, so that I cannot say what was done afterwards. We having opened our little forms there appeared two beautiful bright and almost transparent little images, the like to which man’s eyes never saw, a male and a female, each of them only four inches long, and that which most mightily surprised me was that they were not hard, but limber and fleshy, like other human bodies, yet they were lifeless; so that I do most assuredly believe the Lady Venus’s image was also made after some such way.
The Great Work now produces a new polarity in the form of tiny male and female beings. Being 4 inches long, reminds us of the perfection of the 4 elements. They are still lifeless because they lack a Divine Spark.
These angelically fair babes we first laid upon two little satin cushions, and beheld them a good time, until we were almost drunk with the exquisiteness of the object. The old lord warned us to forbear, and continually to instill the blood of the bird (which had been received into a little golden cup) drop after drop into the mouths of the little images, from whence they apparently to the eye increased; and whereas they were before very small, they were now (according to proportion) much more beautiful, so that worthily all illuminators of manuscripts ought to have been here, and if honest, they would have been ashamed of their art in respect of these productions of nature. Now they began to grow so big that we lifted them from the little cushions, and were willing to lay them upon a long table, which was covered with white velvet. The old man also commanded us to cover them over up to the breast with a piece of the fine white double tarrata, which because of their unspeakable beauty, almost went against us. But that I may be brief, before we had in this manner quite spent the blood, they were already in their perfect full growth. They had gold-yellow curled hair, and the above-mentioned figure of Venus was nothing to them. But there was not yet any natural warmth, or sensibility in them. They were dead figures, yet of a lively and natural colour, and since care was to be taken that they grew not too great, the old man would not permit any more to be given them, but quite covered their faces too with the silk, and caused the table to be stuck round about with torches. Here I must warn the reader that he imagine not these lights to have been of necessity, for the old man’s intent hereby, was only that we should not observe when the soul entered into them, as indeed we should not have taken notice of it, in case I had not twice before seen the flames. However, I permitted the other three to remain in their belief, neither did the old man know that I had seen anything more. Hereupon he bid us sit down on a bench over against the table.
This paragraph should also be read carefully for an understanding of the process. We shall not fully appreciate it until we have reached the same stage as CRC. Note that the point of the process is to bring the soul into the body.
Presently the Virgin came in too with the music and all furniture, and carried two curious white garments, the like to which I had never seen in the castle, neither can I describe them, for I thought that they were pure crystal, but they were gentle, and not transparent, so that I cannot speak of them. These she laid down upon a table, and after she had disposed her virgins upon a bench round about, she and the old man began many legerdemain tricks about the table, which was done only to blind us. This (as I told you) was managed under the roof, which was wonderfully formed, for on the inside it was arched into seven hemispheres, of which the middlemost was somewhat the highest, and had at top a little round hole, which was nevertheless closed, and was observed by none else. After many ceremonies, there came in six virgins, each of which had a large trumpet, which were rounded with a green, glittering, burning material like a wreath.
This room has 7 hemispheres. The topmost has a small hole that only CRC notices. There are 7 vertical paths on the Tree of Life. The topmost ends at Keter and above that, is the AIN SOF AUR. No wonder the hole is closed up.
The old man took one, and after he had removed some of the lights at top, and uncovered their faces, he placed one of the trumpets upon the mouth of one of the bodies in such manner, that the upper and wider part of it was directed just against the aforementioned hole. Here my companions always looked upon the images, but I had other thoughts, for as soon as the foliage or wreath about the shank of the trumpet was kindled, I saw the hole at top open, and a bright stream of fire shooting down the tube, and passing into the body, whereupon the hole was again covered, and the trumpet removed. With this device my companions were deluded, so that they imagined that life came into the image by means of the fire of the foliage, for as soon as he received the soul he twinkled with his eyes, howbeit he scarce stirred. The second time he placed another tube upon its mouth, and kindled it again, and the soul was let down through the tube. This was repeated upon each of them three times, after which all the lights were extinguished and carried away. The velvet carpets of the table were cast together over them, and immediately a travelling bed was unlocked and made ready, into which thus wrapped up they were born, and so after the carpets were taken off them, they were neatly laid by each other, where with the curtains drawn before them, they slept a good while.
The guardian of the mysteries uses a trumpet 3 times on each body, to bring it to life. Only CRC sees the bright stream of fire coming from the hole in the roof. We can infer that the Divine Spark (stream of fire) comes from the AIN SOF AUR and it energises the 3 vehicles of consciousness of the man and woman.
Now was it also time for the Virgin to see how our other artists behaved themselves. They were well pleased because, as the Virgin afterwards informed me, they were to work in gold, which is indeed an ingredient of this art, but not the most principal, not even the most necessary and best. They had also a part of these ashes, so that they imagined no other but that the whole bird was provided for the sake of gold, and that life must thereby be restored to the deceased.
Whereas CRC had been bringing the king and queen to life, the other initiates had been making gold. Here is a subtle point. Most alchemists believe that gold making is the highest form of their Art. It is not. In fact, CRC and his 3 companions have performed the Great Work.
Meantime we sat very still, attending when our married couple would awake. Thus about half an hour was spent. For then the wanton Cupid presented himself again, and after he had saluted us all, flew to them behind the curtain, tormenting them so long until they awaked. This happened to them with very great amazement, for they imagined no other but that they had hitherto slept from the very hour in which they were beheaded. Cupid, after he had awaked them, and renewed their acquaintance one with another, stepped aside a little, and permitted them both somewhat better to recruit themselves, meantime playing his tricks with us, and at length he had the music played merrier. Not long after the Virgin herself came in, and after she had most humbly saluted the young King and Queen (who found themselves somewhat faint) and kissed their hands, she brought them the two aforementioned curious garments, which they put on, and so stepped forth.
Finally, it is Cupid who awakens the couple. Again, we should be careful not to misunderstand this as mere sentimentality. A profound kosmic principle is involved. Why should the couple think they had been asleep since their beheading? Is this a reincarnational memory?
There were already prepared two very curious chairs, wherein they placed themselves, and so were by us with most profound reverence congratulated, for which the King in his own person most graciously returned his thanks, and again re-assured us of all grace. It was already about five o’clock. They could no longer stay, but as soon the chief of their furniture could be laden, we were to attend the young Royal Persons down the winding stairs, through all doors and watches unto the ship, in which they embarked themselves, together with certain virgins and Cupid, and sailed so mighty swift that we soon lost sight of them, yet they were met (as I was informed) by certain stately ships. Thus in four hours time they had made many leagues at sea. After five of the clock the musicians were charged to carry all things back again to the ships, and to make themselves ready for the voyage.
The royal couple and all their possessions are conveyed down the 7 levels of the tower into the ships and they depart. Cupid goes with them. It seems fairly clear that Cupid is an animating principle.
Because this was a lengthy chore, the old lord commanded forth a party of his concealed soldiers, who had hitherto been planted in the wall, so that we had taken no notice of any of them, whereby I observed that this Tower was well provided against opposition. Now these soldiers made quick work with our stuff, so that no more remained further to be done but to go to supper. Now the table being completely furnished, the Virgin brought us to our companions where we were to carry ourselves as if we had truly been in a lamentable condition, and forbear laughing. But they were always smiling one upon another, howbeit some of them too sympathized with us. At this supper the old lord was with us too, who was a most sharp inspector over us, for none could propound any thing so discreetly, but that he knew how either to confute it, or amend it, or at least to give some good document upon it. I learned most by this lord. It would be well if each one would apply himself to him, and take notice of his procedure, for then things of this world would not so often go awry.
The old guardian gives profound instruction to all his students, during a form of "last supper".
After we had taken our nocturnal reflection, the old lord led us into his closets of rarities, which were here and there dispersed among the bulwarks. We saw such wonderful productions of Nature, and other things to which man’s wit in imitation of Nature had invented, that a year would be insufficient to survey them. Thus we spent a good part of the night by candlelight. At last, because we were more inclined to sleep than see many rarities, we were lodged in rooms in the wall, where we had not only costly good beds, but also extraordinarily handsome chambers. This made us the wonder why we were the day before forced to undergo so many hardships. In this chamber I had good rest, and being for the most part without care, and weary with continual labour, the gentle rushing of the sea helped me to a sound and sweet sleep, for I continued in one dream from eleven of clock until eight in the morning.
The instruction continues until CRC finally goes to sleep and dreams for 9 hours. Why 9? There are 9 sefirot that are metaphysical and are therefore perceived as if in a dream. Only the 10th sefira, Malkhut is objective, that is, here and now and perceived in "waking" consciousness.