The 4 elements – Homer’s FIRE or SKY.
Of the sky and its influences
After the separation of chaos, the sky became the subtlest being, the most incomprehensible and the most elevated, a very subtle, light, pure, volatile water vapor; cause for which it rose to the top, and took the highest place: it is the subtlest part, the most crowded with life and active power.
Reason why heaven is the first agent and father of all things, the masculine seed, soul and life-giving liquor, nectar, ambrosia, an air, a subtle water and a volatile earth.
Heaven and air, as we said above, do not have their emanations from above, but from below to the terrestrial and aquatic spheres, in accordance with the Creator’s absolute will. As the former defer their emanations downward, so do water and earth defer theirs upward to the air and sky.
The sky, as the most unstable, heats up because of its perpetual motion, ignites, begins to boil, to give vapors, to sweat and to exhale in an imperceptible and invisible way, everything it does not need for its consistency. Since it is meant to emanate its vapors and influences downward and not upward, this vapor descends into the nearest sphere that is air: and since this is neither too thick nor too thin, it allows itself to be taken up there, mixed, united and coagulated with the subtle vapor of the air digests and circulates on one side and the other with perpetual motion, until united intimately together, they are proper to unite with the lower emanations of earth and water, to procreate and regenerate the universal seed, or the spirit of the world, or the chaotic water. Thus, once the sky has crept into the air, the air is also disposed and made its own to be united with water, which is its closest element.
Therefore, an amateur should not imagine that it takes a long time for heaven to unite with air, nor air to unite with water and earth: as soon as they meet, the union is made, because they prepare for it more and more, path by path, by the extension and attenuation of their parts, by circulation or movement; then they intimately mix together and unite, in their meeting, like smoke with smoke, and water with water. Since this quadruple conjunction of the sky, air, water, and earth, is done with a clear and subtle vapor, a mist, or smoke in the manner of vapor; it is easy to understand that one vapor or smoke very easily creeps in and mixes with another and one water with another; especially when all these parts are naturally placed there, which are of one and the same matter and have one and the same origin.
Someone may ask whether the sky, with its continuous emanations, loses nothing of its quantity and strength; for of course it seems impossible for a thing to give continuous emanations without losing much of its substance and strength, if they are not replaced by others: all like a man, who sweats strongly and continuously, could not fail to become weak and dejected.
It is easy to answer this difficulty; the knot goes to be untied with the following thoughts and considerations.
It is no less certain than visible to our eyes that this great space, which is between heaven and earth, is continually filled with vapors, mists, fumes, and exhalations; that these vapors, however little they condense, resolve themselves into rain, snow, dew, galaverna, and hail, at the same instant; and that afterwards the exhalations from below and above begin again: so that there is no interruption in the production of these vapors, to which we give the general name of air.
Anything that evaporates or exhales has in itself a tendency to attract its like to itself. When that which has been attracted is mixed in its substance, and has passed through all its constituents; it is naturally forced to evacuate its superfluous or excrement by the ways intended for it: as also a man, when he is in a place where his respiration is not free, or which is exhausted by sweats, is obliged, under pain of losing his life, to take air, some food, some drink, and to draw them to him as essences analogous to him; and this with a natural desire and force that leads him to replace his dissipations, to refresh his body and fortify his life.
But just as everything he takes in, whether of air, food or drink, does not in totality come to form the substance of his life; he eliminates the superfluous by the avenues intended for it, the subtler by sweats, the less subtle by urine, snot and spit, and the coarser by feces and vomit. When he has gotten rid of these things, he naturally recovers the attraction of fresh air, food, drink, and again makes it a superfluous, or excrement to push him out again.
Now, as air, food, and drink, change in man entirely in species and nature, and are totally transmuted and changed by the human archeo into man’s own substance: to the extent that the excrement does not really give the slightest indication of the previous nature of air, food, and drink: but that everything is of an entirely different figure, and that it is impregnated with the human substance and its vital spirits, that is, with a volatile salt, as analysis proves: in the same way the sky, air, water, and earth replace their diminutions with parts that are similar to them: the sky receives the vapors rising from below to above, which on the way have been prepared, subtilized to the highest point, and drawn through the region of the air, up to the firmament, and thence higher to replace the emanations of the sky; the sky takes as much of them as it needs, changes them in its nature, and when it is satiated with them, expels the superfluity or excrement with a natural impulse into the firmament and the air; the air thus becomes satiated with them, thickens itself by the vapors that come without discontinuity from above and below, resolves the superfluity into rain and dew, and pushes them as an excrement to the lower sphere of water, the water also discharges its thick superfluities, and gives them to the earth; the earth overflows and is also satiated with its influences, and throws out the superfluous parts of this water by means of the central and natural heat it contains, resolves them back into vapors, exhalations, mists and smoke, and pushes them thus into the air. This change of increase and decrease, of attraction and expulsion was communicated to nature by a very wise order of the Creator, to continue it thus until the world ends by his will.
An amateur sees now and clearly that everything must take its sustenance from what it rejects; but only after alteration has preceded it. What we call excrement, or excretions, again become our nourishment; man eats bread and fruit, drinks wine, beer, etc., from which he makes his excrement, which is brought back to the fields; grain is sown there, and so grows again of nourishment from his own excrement: the same a tree that loses its leaves in winter, they fall to the earth, rot, and become a juice that slips into its roots, fattens and nourishes again the tree from which it came out.
It is by observing all these things that one will know the higher and the lower of Hermes, the golden chain of Homer, the ring of Plato, and that one will be convinced that one thing transmutes into another and becomes again, by the vicissitude of things, the same or similar to what it was before.
It is not difficult to conclude, since everything was one and the same matter, from which everything took its origin, that one thing must necessarily be changed by regression into the same, from which it took its principles; everything having been water, it must also return all to water, since water was its first principle. Now apply this rule to everything that will follow in this treatise; this will be no small advance for our Art. Let us now examine, according to the order of subjects, what is air.