Aurum nostrum non est aurum vulgi Rosarium philosophorum
I will propose you a similitude of gold. The ethereal heaven was shut from all men, so that all men should descend to the infernal seats, and be there perpetually detained. But Jesus Christ opened the gate of the ethereal Olympus, and has now unlocked the kingdoms of Pluto, that the souls may be taken out; when by the co-operation of the holy spirit in the virginal womb, the virgin Mary did by an ineffable mystery and most profound sacraments conceive what was the most excellent in the heavens and on the earth; and at length brought forth for us the saviour of the whole world, who out of his super abundant bounty shall save all who are able to sin, if the sinner turn himself to him. But she remained an untouched and undefiled virgin: whence mercury is not undeservedly compared to the most glorious saint the virgin Mary. For mercury is a virgin because it never propagated in the womb of the Earth and metallic body, and yet it generates the stone for us; by dissolving heaven, that is, gold, it opens it, and brings out the soul; which understand you to be the divinity, and carries it some little while in its womb, and at length in its own time transmits it into a cleansed body. From whence a child, that is, the stone, is born to us, by whose blood the inferior bodies being tinged are brought safe into the golden heaven, and mercury remains a virgin without a stain, such as is was ever before. Liber de Arte Chymica attributed to Marsilio Ficino
Before the Winter Solstice the primal matter has passed through the decomposition of Scorpio and Sagittarius and it has became black and still but inside the black matter the seed of gold is sleeping waiting to ferment under the increasing warmth of the fire. At the Winter Solstice the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn, ruled by Saturn. The lead is the metal attributed to Saturn. It’s a bright silvery metal, very dense, soft and malleable. Therefore lead among metals is the symbol of the prime matter and of chaos from which the work of Nature produces the gold.
The rearing Capricorn
Ancient greeks thought that Earth was surrounded by the waters of Oceanus, the ocean stream at the Equator in which floated the habitable hemisphere. At Winter Solstice the Sun reaches the southern altitude on the horizon and then he starts again to climb up the sky. The sign which the Sun enter at Winter solstice, Capricorn, is depicted as a bicorporeal monster: half body, the lower one, is a tail of a fish; the upper half is the body of a goat. In this image is perfectly symbolized the double nature of the Capricorn which is partly plunged into the water of the Oceanus close to the equator but ready to climb the heights of the sky as a goat jumps up to the mountain top.
Zeus and the goat Amalthea
… then let us call to witness the priests of Cyprus who set up common altars to Helios and Zeus; but even before them let us summon as witness Apollo, who sits in council with our god. For this god declares: “Zeus, Hades, Helios Serapis, three gods in one godhead!” Hymn to the King Helios – Emperor Julian
The ancient greeks also tell us the story of the Zeus’ birth. Since Cronus swallowed all of his children immediately after birth, her consort Rhea, Zeus’ mother, gave the infant Zeus to Amalthea to hide him from the voracious Cronus in a cave on a mountain in Crete and in exchange she gave to Cronus a stone wrapped to look like a baby. Amalthea, in Greek “tender goddess”, was the nurturer goat-nymph of Zeus.
The goat Amalthea fed Zeus with her milk but Zeus, even as a child, was powerful and full of strength and in playing with his nursemaid accidentally broke off one of her horns. Zeus gave to the broken horn the divine virtue to provide unending nourishment, as the foster mother had to the god.
As the Sun is born in the Cave of the World and nourished in Capricorn, so Zeus is born from Rhea and Cronus and nourished by the goat Amalthea in the cave of mountain Ida away from the danger of Cronus’ voracity. As the Christ is born in the cave from the Virgin Mary and is brought in Egypt, Khem, the black land, away from the envy of Herod who wants to kill him, so the seed of gold is born in the Nigredo of the primal matter and nourished by the gentle increasing fire untouched by the vitriolic solvents and it develop in the Philosophical Stone which is incorruptible and fixed. The Philosopher Stone, the Elixir or Projection Powder is the Cornucopia, the boundless Sommum Bonum.