By Marie-Louise von Franz
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Next page > < previous page page_48 next page > Page 48 profound study of the texts and with a certain probability have been able to make out which Greek words might mean which substance, since in some cases there is a little description showing that they have such and such an effect, from which the chemist could deduce that a certain definite substance was indicated. But in the case of a number of other words, for instance Kobathia which I translated as "green stone" and the word which I did not translate but left as "magnesia" though it is not what we mean now by magnesia, we really do not know what they mean; we are pretty sure they refer to some cooked chemical substances, but they are so paradoxically described in the different texts that we cannot be certain.
One cannot just take those two metals and unite them, but must also consider and wait for the astrological constellation and pray to those planet gods, and if these things are also in order, then the chemical operation might work. Taking the astrological constellation into consideration is what is meant by this idea of kairikai baphai. Kairos therefore at that time and in this connection means the astrologically right time, the time when things can turn out successfully. The alchemist is the man who must not only know the technique, but must always consider these constellations.
That is the communis opinio of the scientists, but it might be older. If you read what has been written about these books you will find it said that they were most probably written in such and such a century, but that they were certainly based on older texts, which implies some uncertainty. So let us say the Hellenistic time. To those among you who might have the original text, I want to say that I am not using the French but my own translation. You will remember the famous battle in which Seth blinded Horus, and that Horus cut off Seth's testicles, and you know that later both were cured by the moon god Thoth, and even cooperated < previous page page_43 If you like this book, buy it!
Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology (Studies in Jungian Psychology) by Marie-Louise von Franz
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