8. Two Birds Great and Strong
1556 Manuscript at Zentralbibliothek Zürich:
HERE ARE TWO BIRDS, GREAT AND STRONG – THE BODY AND SPIRIT; ONE DEVOURS THE OTHER.
Let the Body be placed in horse-dung, or a warm bath, the Spirit having been extracted from it. The Body has become white by the process, the Spirit red by our Art. All that exists tends towards perfection, and thus is the Philosopher’s Stone prepared.
1607 Manuscript at Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg:
1678 Included in the Musaeum Hermeticum, published by Lucas Jennis in Frankfurt
In India there is a most pleasant wood,
In which two birds are bound together.
One is of a snowy white; the other is red.
They bite each other, and one is slain
And devoured by the other.
Then both are changed into white doves,
And of the Dove is born a Phœnix,
Which has left behind blackness and foul death,
And has regained a more glorious life.
This power was given it by God Himself,
That it might live eternally, and never die.
It gives us wealth, it preserves our life,
And with it we may work great miracles,
As also the true Philosophers do plainly inform us.