|N ingenious man with much seriousnes propounded the Question above, viz: Whether he should obtain the Philosopher's Stone? or, that Elixar by which such wonders are performed? that there is such a thing in being I verily believe; that it may be attained...
| ... I am as confident: but as it is a blessing beyond all blessings upon earth, so I hold, that it is given but to very few, and to those few rather by revelation of the good Angels of God, then the proper industry of man. This Question must admit of this manner of proposall: Whether the knowledge of the querent is so able, or he so cunning, as to produce to effect by his Art what he desires? 
The querent is signified by the ascendant, and Mercury Lord thereof; his knowledge by Mars, Lord of the ninth, and the aspects which may be cast unto him from other planets.
I find Mars Lord of the Querent's Science in a cadent house, but in his own Terme and Face.
Mars is in a square aspect both of Mercury and Saturn, and they and he in fixed Signes, they in the Terms of Saturn, falling into the ninth house; I find Mercury lately Retrograde and in square of Mars, now moving slowly in his direct motion, and applying againe to a second square of Mars: From hence I judged the querent had formerly spent some time in the search of this admirable Jewell the Elixar, but in vaine and to no purpose; his second application by square happening not long after, while Mercury was in Gemini, and in his own Terms, intimated a stronger desire, greater hopes and resolution to endeavour once more the attaining of the Philosophers Stone, but I advised the querent to decline his further progresse upon that subject; and in regard of the former reasons, advertised him how incapable he was, and the improbability of the thing he intended, according to naturall causes, and advised him to desist: I also said, that he erred in his materials or composition, working upon things terrene or of too grosse and heavy a substance, part of which judgement I collected by Mercury his square unto Mars, part by the affliction of Mercury, his intellective part by the proximity of Saturn, both cohabiting in an earthly Signe, for in any operation where Mercury is corrupted, there the fancy or imaginative part is imbecill; but where the Lord of the Work it self is unfortunate (as here Mars Lord of the ninth is,) there the groundwork or matter it selfe of the principall part of the operation is defective, as here it was: and that the Gentleman should think I spoke not in vaine, I acquainted him, he had more necessity to cure himself of a Consumption he was entring into ...
| ... (nay entered) then of advancing his paines further in the scrutiny of this Laborinth.
For seeing Mercury Lord of the ascendant and Saturn in conjunction in Taurus, Saturn being Lord of the sixt, of evill influence naturally, and finding Mars afflicting Mercury out of the twelft, and Mercury not receded from, but applying to a further evill square of Mars, no Fortune interjecting his benevolent aspect betwixt Mercury and the two Infortunes, but that he stood single of himselfe without any assistance, and thereby was incapable of resisting their malevolent influence. I advised to have a care of his health speedily, &c.
10:45 a.m, 27 May 1647 OS, London
Jupiter day, Mercury hour
from sextile of Mercury
to conjunction of Jupiter
- End -
|The Philosopher's Stone refers to a state of perfection in alchemy whereby one achieves the power to turn base metals into gold. This is more than a purely physical accomplishment, for it requires perfect harmony and understanding of the spiritual, intellectual and terrestrial. At a spiritual level, it relates to the ability to transform the dross of Saturn's lead to the pure shining clarity of the Sun's gold. Lilly accepts such a thing is possible but avoids debate over the precise nature of the Philosopher's Stone by framing the question in such a way that it answers whether or not the querent will attain the level of alchemical perfection that he himself expects. It is recommended that you read David Plant's article Lilly and the Alchemist for a discussion on the role of alchemy and the factors that underlie Lilly's handling of this chart.
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|Lilly, unusually, refers to Mercury and Saturn as falling into the 9th house, even though they are less than 5 degrees from the 10th house cusp. This may be an oversight, or he has chosen to ignore the 5 degree rule to stress the relevance of the question to 9th house matters.
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|Lilly considers the relevancy of this aspect, even though it doesn't perfect until after Mercury has changed signs.
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|Mercury, moving into its own sign, describes the querent as developing a stronger will to accomplish what he seeks.
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© Transcribed and annotated by Deborah Houlding, 2004