The Signature of All Things

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The Signature of All Things

By Jacob Boehme

Signatura Rerum- Chapter VI


1. All life, growth, and instigation consist in two things, viz. in the lubet, and then in the desire; the lubet is a free will, and as a nothing in comparison to nature; but the desire is as a hunger: In the desire arises the moving spirit, viz. the natural, and in the lubet the supernatural, which yet is nature's, 1 but not out of its own property, but out of [or from] the property of the desire.

2. The desire is the instigation of the essence, viz. an hunger, and the lubet is the hunger's essence, 2 which it takes into itself; for the desire is only an hungry will, and it is the natural spirit in its forms; but the lubet is out of the liberty: For God is without desire as concerning his own essence, inasmuch as he is called God; for he needs nothing. All is his, and he himself is all.

3. But he has a lubet-will, and he himself is the will, to manifest himself in the lubet; yet in the lubet which is free, without affection, no manifestation can be effected, for it is void of desire; it is as if it were nothing in respect of nature, and yet it is all; but not according to the desire, viz. according to nature, but according to the satisfying of nature it is the satisfying of the hungry desire, viz. of nature; it freely and willingly gives itself into the hunger of nature; for it is a spirit without essence and desire, wholly free as a nothing; but the desire makes it essential [or materialises] in itself, and that according to two properties, viz. one according to the eternal liberty, which is free from the source; and the other according to the desire, which gives a vegetative life, viz. a growing, or a giving forth of itself.

4. The free essence is, and gives an oil, and the desire's property gives a life of the oil; the oil is a light, and the desire's property gives to the light the essence, viz. the fiery property, so that the light shines, as is to be seen in the fire and light, and the free lubet remains yet a free will in itself, but gives its meekness, viz. a free resignation into the desire, that it comes to essence and lustre: Its will is only good, it has no other desire but only to be good, meek, and pleasant; there is also no other possibility therein; for it 1 is as a nothing, wherein no disturbance or source can be, but it is the meekness itself.

5. But seeing it cannot be a nothing, by reason that it is a cause and beginning of the desire, therefore it gives itself freely, as the sunshine freely gives itself into every property; and the desire conceives [or takes] this free lubet, viz. the lustre or shining of the abyss of eternity into itself, and makes it in itself into essence according to its property; so much property as is in the desire, so much also there is of essence: And we are to consider, that when the free lubet gives in itself into the hunger of the desire, that the desire then makes out of the free lubet's property a similitude according to the liberty, which is as if it were nothing, and yet is; this is a water and oil.

6. But seeing the desire, that is, the hunger, is filled with the free lubet, it makes its own property in the essence of the liberty also into essence; its essence is water, and the essence of the free lubet is an oil. Thus a twofold property arises in one only spirit, viz. a fiery [property] according to the property of the desire, and a joyful or lucid property according to the liberty.

7. The fiery gives 2 in its essence, viz. in its water a sharpness from the austere desire, which is saltish, or a salt; and from the fiery anguish a brimstone, from whence in the impression and creation of the world, are made stones, earth, and metals; so also the elements and stars, all according to the forms in the desire; and the oleous property gives its meekness, viz. a love-lubet, wherein the fiery is impressed with the desire, and makes corporality: And the oleous gives itself out in its meekness, and makes the vegetable life, viz. a springing and growing in the fiery impression, whereinto the fire must give its essence and instigation, viz. the vehement compunction 3 in the attraction of the desire, which is the separator in the corporality, viz. the distinguisher, carver, and cause of the essence and multiplicity [or variety].

8. Philosophers have called this form Mercurius, from the anxious inciting sphere, which is the cause of all life and motion, and a faber in the oily and watery property.

9. Thus we are to search and find out the great mystery, how there is an oil, brimstone, and salt in everything, and how they arise; for God has made all things out of nothing, and that same nothing is himself, viz. a love-lubet dwelling in itself, wherein there is no affection: But now the love-lubet would not be manifest, if it remained one in the stillness without essence, and there would be no joy or moving therein, but an eternal stillness.

10. But seeing 1 he introduces himself into essence through the desire, his eternal stillness becomes an essence and working power, and that with two properties, viz. in an oil, in which the working power is a good spirit according to the property of the love-lubet, which resists the desire's wrath in the brimstone, salt, and poisonful Mercury, and appeases and heals his poisonful hunger with the pleasant meekness; that which Mercury destroys with the raging sphere 2 of his own property, that the lubet of the love-oil does again heal: And thus there is good and evil in each life, and yet there is no evil in anything, unless the good, viz. the love-oil famishes in its own lubet, which falls out in the forms of the impression of the hunger of the desire.

11. That is, if the hunger-spirit does in its own forms too much impress itself [long, or imagine] after itself, and too eagerly hunger after its own manifestation, it cannot take the free lubet, which appeases its hunger, into itself; for nature's property must be sincerely bent and inclined to the free lubet's property, viz. to God's love-ens, and wholly direct its hunger after love; and then the hunger receives the love into itself, and makes the same essential in itself, and is no longer a famished dark hunger, which rages in itself, and raves as a poisonful Mercury; but the hunger becomes a love-desire, which is called God's nature, and the hungry fiery [desire] is called God's anger; and in the outward nature it is called a fire, but in the inward world's property, where the desire does act with energy in the property of the free lubet, this desire is called the divine desire, wherein the fiery love burns, and from whence the joyfulness proceeds; for the free lubet does therefore give itself into the austere desire, that it may bring forth a fiery love, viz. a joyfulness, which could not be in the still lubet; for where there is a stillness there is no joy, or motion.

12. Now the free lubet, viz. God's property, manifests itself through the fiery property, and the fiery property makes the free lubet's essence, viz. the oil which arises in the impression of the desire into a light or lustre; for the austere desire gives the anxious darting flash, viz. a sulphureous spirit, and the meekness of the oil gives its love into it, and dispels that which was drawn into it, viz. the darkness, and manifests the eternal liberty, viz. the nothing, and this is now the seeing.

13. For when the fire-splendour tastes the sweetness of the light, then the fire's desire reaches after the meekness, and the meekness of the free lubet is as a nothing wholly incomprehensible: Now the hunger of the desire comprehends its own essence and devours it, and makes it to nothing; this is the darkness, which is the hunger's essence, which the fiery hunger devours through the property of the light, or free lubet: As we see, that as soon as the light shines it deprives the darkness of its power; therefore God is a Lord over all beings, for he is the eternal Power and Light: A similitude whereof we see in the sun, that it is lord of the darkness and of all essences, and rules whatever grows, lives, and moves in this world.

14. Further, we are to consider of the manifold salts, how they take their rise in the original, and separate into many properties. In the original of the impression, viz. in the verbum fiat, a twofold salt does arise: The first is spiritual, and gives the sharpness in the essence of the free lubet; it is a severising, or a sharpness of the powers: The other salt is the sharpness of the impression, according to the property of the astringent austerity which is the anguish in the impression, that is, brimstone, and the essential property is water.

15. The water is the senseless mortal property of the salt; and the sulphureous, which is from the anguish, is the property of the quick salt; for it has the sting of motion, viz. the Mercury in it, which makes life's form, and yet the brimstone is not the salt, but it is the anguish in the impression, which also comes to be corporeal.

16. The salt is the sharpness in brimstone as to the astringency; the salt causes the anguish to be corporeal; and so salt dwells in the brimstone, and is the brimstone's sharpness, and preserves the brimstone in the corporeal essence, and also the spirit of the brimstone, that it falls not to dust: The salt impresses the powers of the anguish, and the impressed life is the mercurial life; the same is the life of the anguish, viz. of the brimstone, and separates the materia according to the forms to nature, and the materia of the free lubet into two essences, viz. into a watery and oily, and then into a corporeal.

17. The corporeal is twofold; both according to the darkness and the light: According to the property of the austere desire it makes in the watery [property] a sand, or stony nature, from whence the stones have their original; understand out of the sulphureous, viz. out of the brimstone's water.

18. The other property, as to 1 the mortification in the salnitral flagrat, is the common running water; the other corporeal [water] is the metalline body from the free lubet's property in the impressed form; and from the watery property (where the brimstone is in the water) it produces trees, herbs, and all whatever grows in the earthly property, viz. in the mortified or dead substantiality, which yet has a life without sense, 2 viz. a vegetative.

19. The oily property is also twofold according to the impression; viz. one part forces again into the liberty to be free from the wrath of the impression, which is the good spirit, viz. the light in the oil; the other part yields itself into the anguish of the brimstone, and remains in the corporality, and unites and applies itself in each thing, according to the salt-property of the thing; as in a fiery salt, it is fiery; in a bitter salt, it is bitter; in an astringent, astringent, etc.

20. The first property according to the light is sweet in all things, and the other property of the oil is according to the form, viz. the taste of the thing, let it be either sweet, sour, astringent, sharp, or bitter, or how it will; as it is to be found out and known in herbs: In some it is a bitter poison, and in some again a healing of the poison; but if the poisonful property be broken by Mercury in the oil of meekness, then the love of the light inclines itself also into the oil, for the original of both is from one will, but it is altered in the impression: As the devil, when he was an angel, changed himself into a poisonous devilish property, and Adam out of an heavenly into an earthly [property].

21. Whatever grows, lives, and moves in this world, consists in Sulphur, and Mercury is the life in Sulphur, and the salt is the corporeal being of Mercury's hunger, though the body is manifold; according as the property of the brimstone and salt is, according to the same property is also the ingrafted oil, which springs up all along in the power; for the oil makes the power [or virtual influence] in each thing. In the oil of the impression, viz. in the impressed oil, is the other oil, viz. the spiritual, which gives us light, but it has another principle; it receives no other source into it but the lubet of love; it is divine essentiality: Therefore God's own essence is nigh unto all things, but not essentially in all things; it has another principle, and yet inclines itself to all things; as far as the thing has anything of the divine property in it, it receives virtue from the divine property, be it either a vegetable or animal; for there are herbs and trees, and also creatures to be found, in which something of the divine power is couched, with which in the magical cure the false magic, viz. the corrupt evil oil can be resisted, and changed into a good oil.

22. All sharpness of taste is salt, let it be whatever it will in this world, nothing excepted; and all smell proceeds from the brimstone, and Mercury is the distinguisher in all motion [or affection], both in the smell, power, and taste; but I understand by my Mercury the sphere of the birth of all essences, as is before mentioned; not a dead Mercury, but a living one, viz. the strongest, according to the property of the dry poison, etc.

23. Now it behoves the artist and physician to know these things, else he cannot cure any sickness or disease, unless he hits on it by chance, if he knows not wherewith the oil is poisoned in the body, and what kind of hunger Mercury has in the sickness, and after what he hungers; for if he may obtain 1 the salt according to the property of his hunger (after which he is desirous) with such an oil as he fain would have, then is the sickness over very soon; for he turns his oil again into the property of the love of the light, whereupon the life begins again to shine bright.

24. For every disease in the body is nothing else but a corruption or poisoning of the oil, from which the life's-light burns or shines; for when the light of the life shines or burns clear in the oil, it expels and drives away all poisonful influences and operations, as the day expels the night.

25. For if the oil, out of which the life burns, be infected [or inflamed] with a poisonful Mercury or salt, let it be done either from the constellation, or salt of meat, viz. from a contrary source, whereby a loathing [or nauseous detestation] arises in the oil, which the oil would always spew out, which Mercury helps; then Mercury eagerly troubles and perplexes itself in the sulphureous fire more and more, and continually labours to drive forth the abominate, but does only inflame itself in itself in this austere endeavour, and more and more enkindles its inward form, whereupon the oil grows more dark and poisonful, until at last the oil becomes wholly waterish and earthly, and then the light, and also the fire, extinguishes, and Mercury with the sulphureous spirit departs from it, as when a candle is put out; thus Mercury passes out with the sulphureous spirit in death's baneful steam, 1 until he also be famished; for a time he may help himself in the sidereal body, which passes along with it; but when Mercury in the spirit of the great world has consumed and starved its property, then is the temporal life wholly gone; for as soon as the light of the vital oil extinguishes, the elemental body falls down into putrefaction, viz. into the fiat, from whence it came to be; and then this time ends in the creature, which is the death, dying, or departure; and from thence there is no deliverance or return, unless the heavenly divine Mercury does once more move itself in him, which yet cannot be, except there has been a good property of the oil in him, viz. from the divine essentiality: In this property, which is capable of 'the divine essentiality, the light does only enkindle itself again.

26. For the divine essentiality, or this heavenly Mercury, changes the dead oil again into his, and becomes its life; for the outward Mercury, which has ruled the life, returns not again, it has only been for a time a mirror of the eternal, but he is changed into another source; for being suffocated, he passes again into the mystery, from whence he at first proceeded in the creation of the world, and the body also goes into the same mystery.

27. Thus it remains, and belongs yet to another motion of the Deity, viz. to a separating, where the evil, wherein the death was, shall be separated from the good, and the verbum fiat shall restore and bring forth that which has fallen into it in death.

28. The physician is to know, that in the strongest Mercury, which is most poisonful, the highest tincture lies, but not in Mercury's own property, which must be broken; 2 for his own property, even from the centre, is the anxious poisonful life: But he has another property in him, viz. an oil from the light, whereby he is so strong and potent, which is his food and preservation; if this may be separated from him, it becomes a tincturing and mighty enkindling of all obscured lives, viz. of all diseases and sicknesses; for in this oil lies the joyful life, and it is an hunger after life, viz. that it might enkindle the weak, and lift it up on high.

29. In a toad, viper, or adder, or the like poisonful beasts, worms, or insects, the highest tincture is to be found, if they are reduced into an oily substance, and the wrath of Mercury separated from them; for all life, both external and internal, consists in poison and light, as we understand, that the wrath and anger-fire of God is a cause of the divine joyfulness: The like also we are to know is externally; for all life that is void of the poisonful Mercury is mort, and an abominate, 1 and accounted as dead.

30. Now Mercury is an enkindler of the fire, and every moving life consists in the fire; and though some creatures dwell in the water, yet fire is their life, viz. the poison-gall, wherein Mercury manages the life; but the water in the gall is a poison, wherein an oil is hid, in which the life in Mercury does burn and shine; of which thou hast a similitude: If in a creature there be a strong poisonful Mercury, of a dry quality, that creature is strong, bold, courageous, and potent, which has also a clear oil in it; for the fiery property of the Mercury consumes the waterish, but if its fat be enkindled, it yields a clear light; much more would it be, if the watery property were separated from the oleous.

48:1 Of or belonging to nature.

48:2 Being, materia, or food.

49:1 Understand the free will.

49:2 Affords, produces, or makes.

49:3 Or raging sting.

50:1 Or when.

50:2 Or furious wheel.

52:1 According to, or after.

52:2 Dumb.

53:1 Can but get.

54:1 Sting.

54:2 Or taken from him.

55:1 Or loathsomeness.



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