Friday, October 19, 2018

Dr. Browne's Ethereal Salt




Once considered to be the 'ultimate oddity’ of Thomas Browne's collected writings, the miscellaneous tract Musaeum Clausum (Sealed Museum) is now seen as clear evidence of the physician-philosopher possessing a versatile imagination along with a sly sense of humour in his last years.

Ever the consummate literary showman, Browne announces to an unknown correspondent that his Musaeum Clausum consists of, ‘some remarkable Books, Antiquities, Pictures and Rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen by any man now living'. [1]

The first section of Musaeum Clausum is a scholastic wish-list of books rumoured to exist which Browne would like to read, such as the writings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius translated into Spanish. Browne's one-line inventory of book-titles anticipates the Argentinian magic realism author Jorge Luis Borges who declared that, 'to write vast books is a laborious nonsense. Much better is to offer a summary, as if those books actually existed.'

Musaeum Clausum's ‘Rarities of Pictures’ features exotic locations such as the Arctic and Desert, historical events, including sieges and sea-battles, physiognomic coincidences, random reproductions and optical art. In 2016 the North Sea magic realism artists, Peter Rodulfo and Mark Burrell each produced a highly-polished artwork from the skeletal sketches of  'Rarities of Pictures'. [2]

In the final section, 'Antiquities and Rarities of several sorts' Browne lampoons some of the improbable artefacts of doubtful provenance collected by the undiscerning of his era. He also subtly mocks the outlandish claims of those engaged in alchemical experiments, with his own bizarre curio in the curtain-falling ‘rarity’ of-

'A Glass of Spirits made of Æthereal Salt, Hermetically sealed up, kept continually in quick-silver; of so volatile a nature that it will scarce endure the Light, and therefore only to be shown in Winter, or by the light of a Carbuncle, or Bononian Stone'.

Before revealing the medical nature of Dr. Browne’s ‘ethereal salt’ and exploring the labyrinthine symbolism of salt in alchemy, it's worthwhile looking a little closer at  Browne's curio, as it names two of the 'deities' closely associated with alchemy, Hermes and his counterpart, Mercurius.

The term 'hermetically sealed up' is a great example of how the opaque language of the alchemystical philosophers metamorphosed into early chemistry terminology. The term originates from the Egypto-Greek god Hermes and his magic ability to seal treasure chests so that no-one could access their contents. In the early days of the chemical process of distillation, the ability to make an airtight seal was highly valued and the secret of the seal was a  closely guarded one.

Hermetic philosophers such as Browne believed in the wisdom of the mythic Hermes Trismegistus, even after it was proved the Corpus Hermeticum originated from the early Christian era, and was not penned by the legendary Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egyptian times. Browne boldly states his subscription to the tenets of Hermetic philosophy in  Religio Medici thus - ‘The severe schools shall never laugh me out of the philosophy of Hermes'.[3]

The very title Musaeum Clausum may itself allude to a Hermetic publication. As a keen bibliophile Browne kept up-to-date with forthcoming publications and may well have known that the alchemical anthology Musaeum Hermeticum, which first saw light in 1625 was reprinted in Latin in 1678.

'Glass' in Browne's curio is synonymous with the alchemical apparatus of the Vessel, Vas, or philosopher's egg. Its modern chemistry equivalent would be the distillation retort. [4]

The word clausum is closely associated with alchemy, C.G. Jung reminding us that - ‘The vas bene clausum (well-sealed vessel) is a precautionary measure very frequently mentioned in alchemy’. Jung also reminds us in words applicable to both the inner, psychic process within the alchemist (i.e. the mind/ vessel) as much as the  outer, physical world and experimental process in the laboratory, stating - ‘The adept must always take care to keep the Hermetic vessel well sealed, in order to prevent what is in it from flying away'. [5]

Hermes lends his name not only to the solitary figure of the spiritual searcher, the hermit, but also to winged Mercury, the 'trickster-god' of communication, thieves and traders, who either assisted the adept with revelation or thwarted him in his search for gold. Known today as mercury, Quicksilver was so named from its seemingly living properties, ('quick' being an early English word for alive or living). Because of its peculiar properties, being a liquid metal which contracted and expanded when exposed to cold and heat, as capable of division as easily as reunifying itself, the chemical substance of mercury acted as play-dough upon the imagination of the alchemist when experimenting with its properties in the laboratory.

The alchemist's encounter with the numinous through unconscious psychological projection upon substances and processes whilst engaged in experiment are well-illustrated in Browne’s declaring in Religio Medici -

‘I have often beheld as a miracle, that artificial resurrection and revivification of Mercury, how being mortified into thousand shapes, it assumes again its own, and returns into its numerical self’. [6]


From the ancient Greek Pythagoreans who called the sea the 'tear of Kronos', because of its 'bitter saltness' to the late Renaissance chemist and alchemist Johannes Baptista Van Helmont (1579-1644) who believed that volatile salts composed the vital spirit or the breath of animals and plants, Salt has featured in the speculations of philosophers, alchemists and early modern chemists alike.  Indeed, it has been said that 'salt chymistry' is pivotal to the study of the inter-relationship between chemistry, natural history, physiology and medical sciences in the early modern period. [7]

Salt is the only mineral rock which is eaten by man. Its a substance which man valued enough to risk his life and labour in dangerous mining conditions in order to acquire.  One of the oldest and most ubiquitous of all food seasonings; salt has a dual nature—preserving and corrupting, its also a disinfectant, a component of ceremonial offerings, and was once a unit of value exchange. During the Roman era, salt was  used as a currency with the custom of paying soldiers in pieces of compressed salt (the word ‘salary’ originates from salārium, ‘salt money’) hence the phrase - ‘to be worth one’s salt’. Man’s relationship to salt has generated enormous poetic and mythic meanings, not least when  it was promoted in  importance by the alchemist-physician Paracelsus.

Above all others, it was Paracelsus (1493-1541) with his advocation of chemical-based alchemy who influenced the development of medicine during the Renaissance and beyond. Paracelsus urged physicians to investigate nature in order to discover new  properties in the mineral, botanical and animal kingdoms whose extracted ‘essences’ could be potentially useful for healing. In Paracelsus’s voluminous writings there can also be found a moralist and theologian as profound and radical as the Reformation figure of Martin Luther (1483-1546). Taking his cue from the Persian alchemist, Rhazes (854–925 CE) who suggested that metals contained a third, salty component, Paracelsus added to the alchemical duality of sulphur and mercury a third element, salt, perhaps in imitation of the Christian Trinity. Paracelsus maintained that everything is made out of philosophical mercury, sulphur and salt, though without abandoning the ancient Greek schemata of the four elements, effectively giving alchemists two schemata to play, speculate and base their experiments upon.

Paracelsus stressed the importance of salt in the alchemical triad, which greatly influenced his followers for over a century after his death. Thomas Browne's edition of Paracelsus, entitled Opera Medico-Chimica, is dated Frankfurt 1603. The Paracelsian physician Martin Ruland's Dictionary of Alchemy (Lexicon Alchemiae 1612) which was once also in his library, lists a bewildering number of salts, including Sal Sapientia, the salt of the wise. Ruland’s advocacy of Salt  includes his stating-

'Therefore, he that understands the Salt and its solution possesses the wisdom of the ancients. Therefore, place your whole reliance on the Salt. Count nothing else of importance. For Salt by itself is the most important secret which all the Wise have thought proper to conceal'. [8]

Astoundingly Ruland even asserts - 'The Salt of the Philosophers is the Stone of the Philosophers', as well as mentioning  a 'Salt of Universal Harmony'. [9]

Paracelsus’s promotion of salt, along with its multifaceted qualities and many symbolic associations, attracted various alchemystical philosophers and early chemists to philosophize upon and experiment with salt, sometimes mixing philosophy, religious insight, medicine and laboratory work indeterminately, as in Johann Glauber's De Salium Natura (On the Nature of Salt, 1658).

In one of the six door-step sized volumes of the alchemical anthology Theatrum Chemicum (The Chemical Theatre, 1612) in Browne's vast library, the physician-philosopher would without doubt have had his curiosity aroused when reading-

'But if Thales of Miletus chose to call that stone of Hercules, the magnet, an animate thing, because we see it attract and move iron, why shall we not likewise call salt, which in wonderous wise penetrates, purges, contracts, expands, hinders, and reduces a living thing?’  [10]

while in the alchemical anthology 'The Rose-Garden of the Philosophers' (Rosarium Philosophorum, c.1550) one reads-

'Who therefore knows the salt and its solution knows the hidden secret of the wise men of old. Therefore turn your mind upon the salt and think not of other things; for in it alone (i.e. the mind) is the science concealed and the most excellent and hidden secret of all the most excellent and most hidden secret of all the ancient philosophers’. [11]

C.G. Jung reminds us - 'Whenever an alchemist speaks of “salt”, he does not mean sodium chloride or any other salt, or only in a very limited sense. He could not get away from its symbolic substance, and therefore included the sal sapiente in the chemical substance.  [12]

'Salt was considered to be an arcane substance by the sixteenth and seventeenth-century alchemists, in ecclesiastical as well as alchemical usage, salt is the symbol for Sapientia and also for the distinguished or elect personality, as in 'Ye are the Salt of the earth'.  [13]

'Salt was associated with Christ through the sal sapientiae association. In antiquity salt denoted wit, good sense, good taste, etc., as well as spirit. Cicero for example remarks: “In wit [sale] and humour Caesar.....surpassed them all."  [14]

This philosophical aspect of Salt features in what is one of C.G. Jung’s most memorable sayings. Juxtaposing two of salt's primary attributes, namely, its bitterness with sal sapiente, the salt of the wise, to make the profound spiritual observation-

'Tears, sorrow, and disappointment are bitter, but wisdom is the comforter in all psychic suffering. Indeed, bitterness and wisdom form a pair of alternatives: where there is bitterness wisdom is lacking, and where wisdom is there can be no bitterness'. [15]

In Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646-72) Browne notes the place of salt in folklore, in religious ceremonies and the Bible. Salt also features in Pseudodoxia in the chapter entitled Of Crystal and in several of Browne's 'chymical operations', including an experiment as to whether magnetism increases or decreases in fresh or saline water.

It when speculating upon the origins and causes of colour that Browne displays his familiarity with the Paracelsian triad of alchemy, stating - ‘The Chymists have laudably reduced their causes unto Sal, Sulphur, and Mercury'. [16]

As a medical doctor Browne knew, as he states in Pseudodoxia - 'there being in everything we eat, a natural and concealed salt, which is separated by digestions, and doth appear in our tears, sweat and urines, although we refrain all salt, or what doth seem to contain it’. [17]

Well-informed of events in the medical world, Browne certainly also knew of the success his contemporary Johann Glauber (1604-1670) had with salt. The German-Dutch alchemist and chemist Johann Glauber was the first to produce salt extracted from Hungarian spring water. This naturally occurring salt is water soluble, has a bitter taste, and is sometimes used in medicine as a mild laxative; it's also used in dyeing. Glauber's salt, the common name for sodium sulfate, occurs as white or colorless crystals which upon exposure to fairly dry air effloresces, forming a powdery  sodium sulfate. Glauber’s production of sodium sulfate, which he called sal mirabilis or "wonderful salt", was an effective but relatively safe laxative and a popular alternative to purging (emptying the digestive tract being a treatment for many diseases) which brought him fame and the honour of it being named "Glauber's salt".

Browne was aware of Glauber's Salts not only from his owning an edition of Glauber's De Salium Natura  but also from his eldest son Edward Browne (1644-1708) who visited 'old Glauber in Amsterdam in 1668, and dutifully informed his father of the fact in his travel correspondence. [18]

Alchemist-physicians such as Paracelsus and Glauber paved the way for future advances in medicine in their experiments with the properties of salt. The medical world first began using saline around 1831. Today saline solution, a mixture of sodium chloride in water has several uses. Applied to an affected area its used to clean wounds and to treat dehydration from illnesses such as gastroenteritis and diabetic ketoacidosis, as well as to dilute medications given by injection. In alternative medicine the light which is emitted by crystal rock lamps is believed to have therapeutic benefits. Its also known today that an excessive consumption of salt in one's diet can be the cause of many serious medical conditions, including high blood pressure.

Its in Pseudodoxia Epidemica that clues to the true nature of Dr. Browne's 'ethereal salt' can be found. Adhering to the Paracelsian principle of the three primary substances of nature, namely sulphur, mercury and salt, Browne writes-

'For beside the fixed and terrestrious Salt, there is in natural bodies a Sal niter referring unto Sulphur; there is also a volatile or Armoniack Salt, retaining unto Mercury; by which Salts the colours of bodies are sensibly qualified, and receive degrees of lustre or obscurity, superficiality or profundity, fixation or volatility. [19]


Dr. Browne's 'ethereal Salt' may well allude to none other than medicinal smelling salts for Sal volitalis, the alchemist's name for ammonium chloride named here by Browne as  'Armoniack Salt', is the main component of smelling salts. Chaucer knew of sal ammoniac, and mentions it  along with sublimed mercury, vitriol, saltpetre,  arsenic and brimstone in his Canon Yeoman's Tale.

An early form of smelling salts or sal ammoniac was known as Salt of hartshorn (ammonium carbonate). Hartshorn salt, or simply hartshorn, also known as baker's ammonia was used in the seventeenth century as a forerunner of baking powder, but there can be little doubt that Browne’s interest in a Sal Volitalis, would be of a medical nature and not for baking.  One can be confident that Dr. Browne's 'ethereal salt' is smelling salt, for in his commonplace notebooks there can be found a number of notes on how to prepare harthorn, the active ingredient for the manufacture of Sal Volitalis.

'As is observable in gums, hartshorn...... Wherein it is presumable the water may also imbibe some part of the volatile salt.... in half a pint of jelly of hartshorn there is not above two drachms......Much hartshorn is therefore lost in the usual decoction of hartshorn in shavings and raspings, where the greater part is cast away.......The calcination of hartshorn by vapour of water is a neat invention, but whether much of the virtue be not impaired, while the vapour insinuating into the horn hath carried away the tenacious parts and made it butter' [20]

Smelling salts release ammonia gas, which triggers an inhalation reflex, irritating the mucous membranes of the nose and lungs, effectively rousing someone who has fainted or suffered a shock, back into consciousness. In an age of violent social change and Civil War, when news of fortunes and lives lost was frequent, there'd have been call for Dr. Browne to revive those who had fainted from bad news, during pregnancy or even from excessive blood-letting.

In alchemy Volatilis, the Latin word for flying, was how the alchemists described the vaporous fumes rising from their distillation vessel. In alchemical symbolism the fixed and the volatile are depicted as a pair of birds, one wingless, the other with wings, that is, one bird able to fly, the other grounded and 'fixed'. Keeping the contents of the Vessel (i.e. the mind)  'fixed' was one of the alchemist's great challenges, and often disaster struck during their 'chymical operations' and their endeavours came to nothing.

C.G. Jung recognised that the inner, psychic process within the alchemist and the outer, ongoing experimental process in the laboratory often cross-referenced and transformed each other; the 'volatile essence'  being preserved in the vessel, i.e. the psyche and its precious content of individuation was vulnerable to 'flying away' -

‘The volatile essence so carefully shut up and preserved in the Hermetic vessel of the unio mentalis could not be left to itself for a moment, because this elusive Mercurius would then escape and return to its former nature, as, according to the testimony of the alchemists, not infrequently happened’. [21]

Browne’s fixation upon the Quincunx in The Garden of Cyrus (1658) may be interpreted psychologically as none other than a symbol of wholeness, the Unio mentalis or United Mind of the alchemists. The Quincunx assumes a spiritual significance in The Garden of Cyrus as if Browne's personal mandala, the symbol being an agent through which he was permitted divine revelation, a glimpse into Nature's highest arcana, through Unio mentalis or United Mind, which Jung defines as the union of spirit, stating - 'The quinarius or Quinio (in the form of 4 + 1 i.e. Quincunx) does occur as as symbol of wholeness (in China and occasionally in alchemy) but relatively rarely'. Astoundingly Jung even states of the Quincunx pattern - 'This is a symbol of the quinta essentia, which is identical with the Philosopher's Stone'. [22]


'An Alchemist being tempted by Luxury' c. 1580

It's possible that Thomas Browne had someone specific in mind when conjuring his image of a volatile and 'ethereal salt'. The alchemist Sir Robert Paston, resident at Oxnead Hall, some dozen miles north of Norwich (not quite Browne’s neighbour geographically) wrote to him about his laboratory experiments in April 1669 -

Honoured Sir,
On Saturday night last, going into my laboratory, I found some of the adrop (that had been run four or five times in the open air, and every time its aetherial attracted spirits drawn from it) congealed to a hard candied substance......Upon about half a pound of this I cohabated some of its aetherial spirit, which it notwithstanding tinged red, and I am now drawing it again, for I think I had better have exposed it in its consistence to the open air again.....and by grinding, exposing, and distilling, it may at last go a white and spiss water, such an one as philosophers look after, or at least be fit to receive, and to be actuated with (....) and saline parts of the aetherial spirit, when that operation comes in hand if  it affords us any that way. [23]

And again in September 1674-

'I have little leisure and less convenience to try anything here, yet my own salt will set me on work, having now arrived to this that I can with four drachmes of it dissolve a drachme of leaf gold...  I am going to seal up two glasses, one of the menstruum with gold dissolved in it, and another of the menstruum per se, and to put them in an athanor, to see if they will putrefy, or what alteration will happen. I have at Oxnead  seen this salt change black as ink, I must, at the lowest, have an excellent aurum potable, and if the signs we are to judge in Sendivogius’ description be true, I have the key which answers to what he says, that if a man has that which will dissolve gold as warm water doth ice, you have that which gold was first made in the earth'. [24]

In his brilliant study on the 17th century painting known as The Paston Treasure Spike Bucklow notes-

'Paston was assisted in his laboratory by Thomas Henshaw (1618–1700) (who used the pen-name "Halophilus" meaning ‘salt-lover’). Together they  attempted to discover a formula for the fabled "red elixir", another name for the philosopher's stone, which alchemists believed could transmute base metals into gold'. [25]

‘So, Sir Robert's recipe for 'Manna' was playing with extraordinary potent cosmic forces. It all hinged upon a mysterious salt that mediated between the 'fixed' and the 'volatile'. Clues to the exact identity of that salt lay hidden in the maze and opinions varied. Brickenden gave Sir Robert details of 'a salt for infinite health and riches' that could be gathered from drops of dew gathered in May. But many, including Charles II's alchemist, thought the 'universal salt' was gunpowder's key ingredient - saltpetre. Sir Robert's recipe for making salt,  Spiritus salis, was evidently important because he wrote it in Latin. [26]

Like Robert Paston who suffered a  'whirlpool of misfortunes’, Browne in his old age may, for want of a better description be described as a ‘disappointed alchemist’ that is, one who devoted less time on alchemical experiment and more time in prayer and meditation. As Spike Bucklow perceptively puts it-

'Alchemy was not suddenly found to be ‘wrong’, but the Norwich science of Arthur Dee, Thomas Browne and Robert Paston was quietly sidelined by the London science of the Royal Society. The differences were mainly social and political. The Norwich practitioners read signs, like Polynesian canoeists, Yarmouth fishermen and Navy tars, the London practitioners started to use instruments and charts, like naval officers'. [27]

The Paracelsian neologism 'Spagyrici' inscribed on Browne’s coffin-plate supplies the true nature of Browne’s alchemy. As ever, Martin Ruland, a physician who served the esoteric-loving Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, assists our enquiry.  Ruland's Lexicon Alchemiae (1612)  includes definitions of -

SPAGIRIA - 'The Spagyric Art, is that which treats of the separation of the pure from the impure, so that after the refuse matter has been rejected, the virtue which remains can operate. It is the Art of Distilling and Separating'.

and of the moral character of the spagyrist  -

SPAGIRUS– 'Any man who can separate the true from the false, set the good apart from the bad, and the pure from the impure, rejecting duality and cleaving to unity'. [28]

Technically speaking, Browne was a spagyricist, that is, one who believed that the calcined essences of plants could be useful in medicine. Historically speaking, the spagyrics were active just before the iatrochemists, the true beginning of purely chemical medicine, as opposed to those searching for hidden 'quintessences'  extracted from the natural world.

Browne’s continental medical education acclimatised him towards Paracelsian medicine to a far greater degree than many of his British contemporaries. Some have suggested  he was unsympathetic to Paracelsian medicine, but the long list of books by continental Paracelsian physicians, an edition of the complete works of the Swiss physician listed in Browne’s library, the Paracelsian neologism 'Spagyrici’ inscribed upon his coffin-plate, and the many references to the Swiss physician in Browne’s writings, all suggest otherwise. Although often critical of mystical aspects of Paracelsian thought, Browne was a follower of Paracelsus, a highly-critical follower, but follower nonetheless.

An even closer analogy to Browne's science than Paracelsus, can be found in the ideas of the Belgian chemist, alchemist and physician Jan Baptist van Helmont (1580-1644). Van Helmont, like Browne, is a transitional figure in the history of science. Though Van Helmont was skeptical of specific mystical theories, dismissing much of Paracelsian mysticism, nevertheless he refused to discount magical forces as a valid explanation for some natural phenomena. Van Helmont, like Browne regarded all science and wisdom to be a gift from God. Browne's estimate of Van Helmont along with Paracelsus, can be seen in his stating in his late work Christian Morals -

'many would be content that some would write like Helmont or Paracelsus; and be willing to endure the monstrosity of some opinions, for divers singular notions requiting such aberrations'. [29]

Evidence of Browne's joining the ranks of 'disappointed alchemists' can be gleaned from his late writings. Because of its alleged Egyptian origins alchemy was sometimes known as ‘Cleopatra’s Art’ amongst many other names. Browne concludes The Garden of Cyrus in disappointment at ever being unable to achieve the alchemical feat of palingenesis, that is, the revivification of a plant from it ashes.

'And though in the bed of Cleopatra can hardly with any delight, raise up the ghost of a Rose'.

Its interesting to note that the funeral ashes of Urn-Burial are 'answered' by an abundance of flowers in bloom in The Garden of Cyrus. 

Committed throughout his life to the Christian faith, Browne endorsed Christianity above alchemy as a philosophy for developing one’s inner self, when, making allusion to alchemy as 'Vulcan’s Art' he states in his late work Christian Morals-

Vulcan’s Art doth nothing in this internal Militia: wherein not the Armour of Achilles,  but the Armature of St. Paul,  gives the Glorious day. [30]

Browne's real alchemy is in the word, in particular the sonority, rhythm and symbolism of his 1658 discourses Urn-Burial and The Garden of Cyrus with their plexiform relationship in polarity, truth and imagery. Together they are Browne's literary philosopher's stone, of which one critic perceptively notes -

'Mystical symbolism (of this kind) is woven throughout the texture of Browne's work and adds, often subconsciously, to its associative power of impact....there is nothing vague or wooly about Browne's mysticism,...Every symbol is interrelated with the overall pattern'. [31]

Although the diptych discourses Urn-Burial and The Garden of Cyrus (1658) appear as if two identical, white, crystalline substances, when empirically sampled they differ sharply; Urn-Burial  is discovered to be the bitter salt of Christian Stoicism, a sprinkling of which is essential for spiritual well-being in the face of disease, suffering, death and the grave. (Indeed, Salt is mentioned in Urn-Burial in Browne's description of adipocere, or grave wax, his solitary credited scientific discovery). In complete contrast, the 'light' half of the diptych The Garden of Cyrus is fructose sugar, with its excited rush of ideas, playfulness and sweet delight in nature. 

Today we may be skeptical of the scientific credentials and achievements of alchemists such as Paracelsus, Sir Thomas Browne or Sir Robert Paston and take their science cum granis salis, with a pinch of salt; nevertheless, their collective spirit of enquiry paved the way for future generations of scientists; we may therefore agree with Virginia Woolf -

'Few people love the writings of Sir Thomas Browne, but those who do are the salt of the earth’.












 Part 2 to follow - Of the Carbuncle and  the Bononian Stone.

Notes

[1] 'Ultimate oddity' from C.A. Patrides 'Approaches to Sir Thomas Browne': The Ann Arbor Tercentenary Lectures and Essays edited by C.A. Patrides  pub. University of Missouri 1982.

A manuscript of Musaeum Clausum was found amongst the papers of the Collector and Natural philosopher Walter Charleton (1619-1707). It may have been written for him for his delivering the Harveian Oration at the Royal College of Physicians in the late 1670's.

[2] See    Four 'Rarities in pictures' from Dr. Browne's Musaeum Clausum

[3] Religio Medici  Part 1:12
[4]  Haeffner : Dictionary of Alchemy Aquarian Press 1999
[5] C. G. Jung Collected Works vol. 12:219 and  vol 14: paragraph 200
[6] Religio Medici 1:46

[7] ‘The Salt of the Earth: Natural Philosophy, Medicine, and Chymistry in England, 1650-1750 (History of Science and Medicine Library) Anna Marie Roos Brill 2007

[8] Ruland Lexicon Alchemiae. Listed in Browne's library p.22 no. 119

[9] Ibid. Other books by Paracelsian physicians in Browne's library include Theodore Turquet de Mayerne (S.C. page 25 no. 98, page 51 no. 103,104) Joseph Duchesne (S.C. page 33 no. 8 page 34 no. 63) Alexander Suchten (S.C. page 51 no. 128) Petrus Severinus (S.C. page 18 no. 50 page 20 no. 23, 24, 25, 26) John French (S.C. page 51 no. 118) Johann Glauber (S.C. page 43 no. 10) and Gerard Dorn (S.C. page 25 no. 118)


[10] C.W 9 ii: 143 Jung quoting Chrysippus Theatrum Chemicum vol. 1 listed in Sales Auction Catalogue page 25 no.124
[11]  C.W  12:359
[12]  C.W  9 ii:247
[13]  C.W  9 i :575
[14]  C.W  14 :324
[15] C.W 14: 330 C.G. Jung's Mysterium Coniunctionis : An Inquiry into the separation and synthesis of psychic opposites in alchemy (1955-56) includes his most detailed writings on salt., in particular Chapter 5  p.183 - 239

[16] The index to Kevin Killeen's highly recommended paperback edition, the Selected writings of Thomas Browne (21st-Century Oxford Authors OUP paperback  edition 2018) With a great introduction and index which lists over 30 references to salt in Browne's writings.

Browne's experiments with salt and snow Bk. 2 chapter 1 Of Crystall.  Experiment with magnetism and salt water Bk. 2 ch.2 Concerning the Loadstone.
  
[17]  P.E. Book 4 chapter 10
[18] Johann Glauber De Salium Natura S.C. page 43 no. 8 Amsterdam 1658 Keynes Selected correspondence letter no. 22  dated 22nd September 1668
[19]  P.E. Book 4 chapter 10
[20] Wilkins  1835 edition Commonplace notebook
[21]  C.W14:742
[22] C.W.  18: 1602 and C.W. 10:738 (in 'Flying Saucers a Modern Myth')
[23]  Wilkins 1835 edition
[24] Ibid

[25] The Anatomy of Riches:Sir Robert Paston's Treasure Spike Bucklow Reaktion Books 2018. Highly recommended.

[26] Ibid.
[27] Ibid.
[28]  Martin Ruland's Lexicon Alchemiae  (1612) Sales Catalogue p. 22 no 119
[29] Christian Morals  Part 2:5
[30]  Christian Morals Part 1:24
[31] Peter Green  Sir Thomas Browne Writers and their work no. 108 Longmans, Green and Co. 1959

See also

Paracelsus and Browne

Carl Jung and Sir Thomas Browne

Notes on Pictures

*  Photo:  A Salt Crystal magnified
*  Alchemical symbols for Sulphur, Salt and Mercury.
*  Painting: -  'The unconscious Patient'.
Rembrandt's early oil painting, is one of a set of five depicting the senses completed c. 1624 or 1625. They are  among his earliest surviving works, and are identical in size. The Sense of Smell shows a physician reviving a swooning woman by placing a handkerchief soaked in a volatile salt under her nose, in order to rouse her into consciousness. It was reidentified in 2015. The whereabouts of the painting representing the sense of taste remains unknown.

*  Painting: 'An Alchemist  being tempted by Luxuria'  anon. circa 1580
* Photo - Alchemical flower Stand with four tubes and glowing flower of fern.       Dina Belenko Photography


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