Alchemy Index

Roger Caro: The Complete Great Work Photographed

Photographs by Kamala-Jnana (FAR+C -- Superior of the Temple of Ajunta)

Commentaries on the Photographs by Roger Caro

Translated by Casey Oken III

Copyright Roger Caro
Editions R. Caro

A Crow’s Head Publication

Sovereign Sanctuary of the FAR+C
Ajunta, 15 September 1968
Office of the Imperator

Preface ~

It is a joy for me to give my testimony to the magnificent fulfillment of our great friend, Roger Caro.

Never was such an arduous task executed with so much patience, tenacity, sureness, and competence.

A Puzzle constituted by 40 loose color photographs, disordered and without caption, was solved and commented upon with mastery. This was a titanic undertaking, for to restore the correct order it was first necessary to learn the secrets of the Magistry --- at least in theory; for who wouldn’t be astounded by the superb result obtained when one has before one’s eyes Pleiade Alchimique, and above all the 508 quotations contained in Concordances Alchimiques, which places all the valid authors, both ancient and modern, in parallel, phase by phase, thus placing the Great Work in a favorable light.

All of the preceding demonstrates a rare hermetic knowledge. Consequently, how would Our Order have been able to remain indifferent before such an unselfish work? So it is with one accord that our Supreme Council --- upon my request --- permits you to publish the Complete Great Work Photographed.

These photographs, which were formerly taken by our deceased and much-missed son, Kamala-Jnana, during the course of an alchemical experiment at Ajunta, could only be published by you, my dear Grand master. Also, do not stop yourself because of financial or other considerations. Go ahead, you have the faith, you have the knowledge, you know what must be done to succeed. Go then, and continued to sow the good seed. Don’t let yourself stop for anything, and remember always that God accords success only to his predestined --- the others, the complicated, will have eyes which don’t know how to see and ears which don’t know how to hear.

That these photographs and their commentaries touch as many of the chosen as possible is my most fraternal wish. Seekers can be delayed no longer, for you have said all, written all, and shown all.

God bless you, my dear Grand Master. Our Order is proud of you.

May Peace be upon you, in you, and around you.

A.J. D’Ossa

Introduction ~

We will surprise no one by saying that a great number of seekers have asked us for the photographs which should illustrate the Siphra Di Tzeniutha. These 40 pictures, announced at the end of the Dictionary of Alchemical Philosophy by Kamala-Jnana, fascinate the adepts of the Great Art. Today, placed in chronological order, they are a true feast for the eyes of an Alchemist; a symphony of colors marking now the dry way of the Great Work, for what a job to regroup and methodically reorder this heap of scattered films, and give each of these a caption both valuable and audible to the Children of Light.

Well, all that is no more than the past, a dark past, with neither glory or fame; a past made of sleepless nights, or of sleep troubled by a thought always in perpetual motion. This past lasted from 1961 to 1967 --- six years of researches and readings --- but in 9 months (thanks to our cards and notes) we had done all the spadework. Still, the light should illuminate the details only a great many months after, and progressively.

Today everything is in order. A college of 20 adepts, under the chairmanship of the venerable Imperator of the FAR+C, has willingly given its unanimous consent to the appearance of the present work -- certainly a modest one given its bulk and the number of its pages, but so great and weighty with information.

May the Alchemical Temple of Ajunta see here our fraternal gratitude, for sincere seekers will find (thanks to this approbatur) a new source of information to master and in which to rejoice. What does it matter to us that a color plate (like those contained in the Dictionary) costs 75,000 old Francs altogether, and that there be 43 in the present work, since the hour is come to reveal that which is hidden.

This sovereign R+C missionary of 83 years (younger and more active than many young people) has said to us, "Go forward, do not let anything stop you". His wish is an old order. The Complete Great Work Photographed is off the presses. May heaven thus accord its graces to the future 250 possessors of these plates. That too is our dearest wish.

Roger Caro

N.B. --- The present work is the last public alchemical contact connecting our present Imperator and the Sons of Science.

Number 1 ~ This is a laboratory-oratory corner of the Temple of Vrehappada (*1). Upon the stone table will be seen all that is indispensable to the Alchemists, and above all it will be observed that there is no Common Fire for two reasons:

(a) because the reconstruction of the ore and the fabrication of the Salt have already been done;

(b) because no transmutation is being done.

Outside of these two cases, Common Fire is proscribed.

Number 2 ~ The author executes the Separation of the three bodies using solely the salty Fire and the energetic Fire (2) It is in this that the three bodies obtained are similar but not identical to those sold in commerce. The former are living bodies, while the latter are dead, killed by the Common Fire of the furnaces.

Number 3 ~ This is the representation of an oak. No one can deny that, "sound" or "rotten", it be of a beautiful green, as Fulcanelli indicated: "The first magnetic agent before being used to make the Alkahest (*3) is called the Green Lion, not so much because it possesses a green color"... In effect, isn’t it the ash (of rotten oak, covered with moss, lichen, and saltpeter) which is most rich in Philosophical Salt [Potassium carbonate]?

Numbers 4 & 5 ~ Thus placed to show clearly to the seeker the difference existing between the two products coming from the two methods of separation: Number 4 comes from a separation produces by a gas fire; Number 5 comes from a separation produced by the Natural Fire of the Salt and the Energetic Fire [grinding]. Number 4 is whitish, without life, whereas Number 5 is bright red, it lives, one feels that the fire has penetrated it, has pulled the marrow from it.



Numbers 6 & 7 ~ Moreover, Nos. 6 and 7, which are the enlarged ends of each retort, show you in a perfect way the superposition (by density) of the two recovered liquids. Salt above, Mercury below; the Sulfur having remained with the impurities in the bottom of the retort for the reasons published by Kamala-Jnana in his Dictionary of Alchemical Philosophy, p. 37. We will not repeat it here.



Number 8 ~ This is a sample of the First Matter, a sample of this ore which contains in its breast the Sun and Moon of our Philosophers, as well as the Salt in an infinitesimal dose. Hermes, Paracelsus, Albert the Great, J.-B. Porta, etc., have called it cinnabar, either designating it overtly by its name or describing the method of making it artificially. Certain reader believed that the Master Kamala-Jnana refuted this ore categorically. This is not true at all; Kamala-Jnana simply said it should not be treated like the industrial ore. It is thus that it is analogous but not equal, similar but not identical. One can see the differences in photographs Number 4, 5, 6, and 7.


Number 9 ~ We begin the Solve phase. This photograph, which appears in the Dictionary of K.-J. in black-and-white (p. 67) is here presented in color. This is the very beginning of the chemical reaction.


Number 10 ~ If, instead of the citrine color (sometimes verging on dark chestnut) one obtains "suddenly" the appearance of Number 10 (orange liquid), all should be redone. The flowers (of Sulfur) would be burned, as Synesius says. However, so that we be well understood, we specify that the color citrine (Number 9) is the starting color; after a few brief moments the color darkens very rapidly, which is a good sign.


Number 11 ~ After cooling, the "newly married" matter tends to settle down. It darkens chiefly at the end of the 1st "Philosophic Month" (which, for convenience, will henceforth be designated by "P.M." (*4)


Number 12 ~ During the course of the 2 nd  P.M., it resembles a leopard skin (not that of a tiger or panther). Put it back on the fire in the 3rd P.M, the body continues to darken and presents a dazzling appearance. One would say a rain of stars, or fireworks.


Number 13 ~ During the course of the 4th P.M., the body continues to darken and presents a dazzling appearance. One would say a rain of stars, or fireworks.


Number 14 ~ During the course of the 4th P.M., after cooling, the matter becomes more brown, more compact, soft like very fine sand; its surface is flat.


Number 15 ~ From time to time the Energetic Fire animates it again, the matter fills the flask and one can begin to see some golden, oily traces flowing along the sides.


Number 16 ~ Finally, at the end of the 5th P.M., the Oil of Saturn is clearly perceived. Here the liquid is brought to the left side of the flask.


Number 17 ~ At the beginning of the 6th P.M., the Oil of Saturn increases in quantity and the matter clearly turns black. A gold coloration surrounds in meniscus the top of the liquid. St. John calls it "honey", others call it the "Golden Crown"; still others "halo" or "nimbus", or "Diadem of the King". Note that the liquid is of a very clear red.


Number 18 ~ Towards the middle of the 6th P.M., the matter is black and the liquid is blood red.


Number 19 ~ At the end of the same month, the least boiling of the liquid provokes a faery of colors. This is the Peacock’s Tail. The matter is quite black and the blood very red.


Numbers 20 & 21 ~ These photographs form a pair. The Artist has cut off the Crow’s Head; that is, has removed the upper part which covers the black portion. From this moment, the flask will remain permanently open (save during the imbibitions). Moreover, the artist will let the collected liquid decant. When the blood is clarified, he will place it carefully into a hermetically sealed flask (as the liquid is very volatile) and will keep it sheltered from light and heat. It will be noted that the liquid, red when in a compact mass, becomes golden when spread out. This is the true tincture of Potable Gold, the Quintessence or Universal Medicine.



Number 22 ~ The 7th and 8th P.M. show the vegetative phase. Upon contact with the humidity of the air, the matter (containing one or several granulations) changes to green, a type of mold being the cause of it. Note moreover that very often (when there is but little superfluity) no granulation appears, they are placed in a body, but, their composition remaining the same, the stone preserves all its value.


Number 23 ~ Here begins the first "washing", as the good Flamel says. It is the 9th P.M. and the dejecta are naturally green. The matter will lighten more and more, month after month.


Number 24 ~ This shows the fourth washing, being the 12th P.M.


Number 25 ~ As can be seen with the 7th bath, the 15th P.M., the color white is obtained --- a beautiful lunar white.


Number 26 ~ This shows a portion of the White Stone unmultiplied but fixed; that is, dry, and therefore without any transmutational value. We are at the end of the 15th P.M.


Numbers 27 & 28 ~ With these photographs we tackle the first imbibitions with the Seal of Hermes. The Stone is adult and its milky nourishment is stopped in order to give it a bloody, meat diet. (*5)



Numbers 29, 30 & 31 ~ We thought it a good idea to publish these three photographs (taken by Master Kamala-Jnana) in order to properly show the phenomenon that is sometimes obtained during the course of the citrine color phase. Some small, salty crystals seem to spring up in the top of the neck of the flask. We use the expression "spring up" because in fact they spring up, grow, and lengthen day after day. A flask broken for demonstration shows the crystalline formation in the upper part of the flask, while the yellow granulations are seen very clearly at the bottom of the vessel (Number 30). We are now in the 16th and 17th P.M. [Dragons’ Teeth]




Numbers 32 & 33 ~ From the yellow we pass along to the orange. We will go from the 18th to the 21st P.M., since this degree of fire requires four months of coction.



Number 34 ~ Finally from the orange to the red we will pass from the 22nd  to the 24th P.M. Here it will be noted that the Stone, at the end of Coagula, still carries some traces of impurity. Thus it cannot be use din this form. In this state St. John calls the Stone "False Prophet", for it has all the appearances of the finished Stone, but none of its virtues. To perfect it, the last cycle, known as Multiplication, must be brought to its end.


Number 35 & 36 ~ These photographs show us two phases of this operation which lasts about two P.M. With Multiplication we are in the 25th and 26th P.M. The Stone is fixed and finished.



Numbers 37, 38, & 39


To these 26 P.M. (which represent solely Solve, Coagula, and Multiplication), we should add the two P.M. required for Preparation. That gives us a total of 28 P.M. We hasten to add, however, that these 28 P.M. represent an order of magnitude. In practice the operations of the Great Work can vary between 26 and 31 P.M.

Here are the causes influencing the number of months of coction as indicated by the Philosophers: "Know that the blackness lasts 40 or 42 days at least" (Turba).

"But the matter is sometimes fixed in more time and sometimes in less". (Synesius)

"We are shown that from green to white there are seven to nine months; from orange to red to four months; from yellow to orange three to four months"... ("The Zodiacal Life of Moses" in Pleiades Alchemique, p. 129)

Why these possible alterations? Several factors are responsible: first of all, the quality of ore employed --- one lot will be more pure than another. If it contains a lot of impurities, purification will take longer.

The quality of the ash (more or less rich in potassium carbonate); that of the lime (more or less thirsty) (*7), the humidification of the Salt which can render it more or less active; finally and above all, our "wrong moves". It is these that are the principle causes of the variations in the time of the coctions. When they are not the causes of our failures. It is in these helping hands given at the opportune moment that Alchemy is truly revealed as an art.

This finesse of manipulation is not taught, it cannot be taught because the artist always works on an ore of different quality and in a changeable environment; it is quite evident that, ore for ore and material for material, the degree of temperature of the room also plays a great role; the Stone will be fixed more rapidly in summer or in a warm location than in winter or in a cold, wet place. Practice thus breaks away from theory. And it is exactly because so many essential factors escape seekers that we are able to affirm that only the predestined succeed.

Above all it should not be believed that we write to discourage the neophytes -- on the contrary, it is our aim to inform them-- and as the proverb says, "One forewarned man is worth two". How many true seekers (on the right track) fail exactly for not having thought of one of these causes. Also, to repeat the thought of Clemenceau cited by Ermeion and Nr. Palinga-Dhara in their "Explication of the Emerald Table" (p. 214 of Alchemical Concordance) (*8), we will say, "There are some people who know everything but understand nothing".

In Alchemy this thought could not be more true; that is why we sometimes say to disciples of Vrehappada  to whom we are introduced, "The Temple (if you be worthy of it) will teach you the entire theory, down to the finest details -- but it will rest only with God to give you the practical, chemical success of the Great Work".

It is, moreover, in the light of this principle, "Many are called, but few are chosen", that we have not hesitated to publish the present work and the color plates representing the Magistry. (*9) We know that all our writings, all our publications will be understood only by those who know how to remain simple -- and experience shows us, alas, there are not many who do. Let us hope fervently all the same that by hint of placing our friends on guard against the tendency to confuse and complicate everything, the chosen will be very numerous this time.

Number 40 ~ That said, we will pursue our photographic series by showing an ingot of silver obtained by Kamala-Jnana by means of his White Powder multiplied three times. (*10)


Number 41 ~ This shows a mass of gold hammered, burnished, and cut to show clearly that the entire mass is transmuted and not just tinted on the surface. The red spot (somewhat fuzzy, in the foreground) indicates the quantity of Solar Powder (*11) it took to achieve the transmutation of the mass of gold (Transmutation effected by Kamala-Jnana in 1959 before 12 disciples of the Alchemical Temple of Ajunta).


Number 42 ~ This is the golden Tincture, the true Quintessence. Red in compact mass, it is golden in color when spread thinly. The deposit at the bottom of the flask will be noted here. It indicates that the Artist is decanting his medicine. Only the clarified part will be kept. This Quintessence has the power to congeal flowing mercury and has a nauseating odor. It is corrosive. As medicine, the ancient Philosophers tell us that no more than two drops in two spoonfuls of water, broth or milk are taken.


Number 43 ~ Finally, we show the two elixirs: the red and the white. They are made from leaves of silver or gold rolled very thin and coming from the transmutations. They offer the appearance of the liquor called "Eau-de-Vie" of Dantzig, with its specks of gold in suspension; only the Elixir of the Alchemists contains a living metal and not a dead body. Personally, we are convinced that this liquor of Dantzig called "Eau-de-Vie" (and presenting the same appearance as the Elixir of the Sages) was most certainly the Solar Elixir presented by some Adept passing through the court of the King of Poland or Prussia. Since incapable (and for good reason!) of using the true and medicinal gold of the Adepts, Dantzig has continued by tradition to manufacture an "Eau-de-Vie", but with gold from the mines. In any case, if this liquor is not the Elixir of the Sages, it is no less flavorful to taste.


We will finish this present work by wishing anew that there be many chosen among the numerous called, so that they reach, if not the "chemical" success of this Work, at least its theoretical understanding. This will already be a success since this theory is nothing else than the synthesis of wisdom. Take care not to forget that the chemical manipulations have but a single goal: to be used for verification of Alchemical truths, and not for enrichment.

Notes ~

(1) Run by a group of French alchemists
(2) Two of the Alchemists’ "Secret" fires.
(3) The name given by Paracelsus to the "Secret Fire".
(4) PM are symbolic units of time used to show the durations of the various phases of the Great Work.
(5) The "Seal of Hermes" is then name of the Crow’s Head and the Oil of Saturn (Number 17). As it is red in color, it is sometimes called "blood". The "milky nourishment" here referred to is the Salt, which is white.
(6) "La Vie Zodiacale de Moise" in Pleiade Alchimique, R. Caro, ed.
(7) Quicklime is hygroscopic.
(8) "Explication de la Table d’Emeraude" in Concordances Alchemiques, R. Caro, ed.
(9) The Great Work.
(10) Powder removed during the Coagula which has the power to transmute base metals into silver.
(11) The powdered Philosophers’ Stone.

Postscript ~

By Theophoreonai (Hierophant Major of the Temple of Vrehappada)

It is for us a distinguished honor to add the final period to this publication, which constitutes a document unique in the history of mankind. For the first time, and thanks to the authorization he received from the Supreme Council of the Temple of Ajunta, our Grand Master, Roger Caro, has presented to the seeker into the Art of Alchemy a succession of 40 photographs, in color, representing the different phases in the accomplishment of the Magistry, and which were taken by our much missed Kamala-Jnana. It took the consummate science of the author first to place them in order and then to comment upon each of them in several concise sentences, of which the set marks the route of the Son of Light, from Preparation through Multiplication.

Pleiade Alchimique and Concordances Alchimiques have given the theory in plain language; the present document will guide the seeker in the practice and will keep him from all false steps if he keeps strictly to the teaching given.

"The one who is Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the ‘works of God’ advises the angel of the church of Laodicea ‘to buy an eyesalve to anoint your eyes that you may see" (Rev. 3: 4, 18). You now have this eyesalve, and know that the way which is indicated to you is the only one which should be followed, the one which has remained unchanged since Hermes.

Amen is a Hebrew word which signifies that which is true and certain. As our Lord is Amen, the Truth and the Life, what is more certain guarantee of the truth and authenticity of the document presented here could be given you than the seal appended to the end of the Preface by our venerable Imperator, A.J. D’Ossa. The present Postscript completes the circuit begun by him at the beginning of the work, and that is why our feeling is strong in evoking this image of the Oroboros which resumes periodically the complete Magistry and which reunites us with the one of whom we revere the great Wisdom and immense spirit of charity which make of him a second St. Vincent de Paul. Alone, our brothers who suffer and the ill-favored know him, and they know him well.

In your labors, seek not to avoid the planned areas of rest or they will be condemned irrevocably to failure. The Sacerdotal Way is reserved for a very few of the Chosen. But when you will have understood the theory completely and all the operational phases while be known to you in all their detail, when you know all, be conscious of two other truths: Think not that with the sum of knowledge you will have acquired success that will obligatorily crown your labors. Indeed, we have spoken at the beginning of the Art of Alchemy. Alchemy is very much an Art, and a difficult Art which demands dexterity, attentive care and patience. The realization of the Magistry is the function of numerous parameters that cannot be defined in a book. Our Grand Master Roger Caro has, for example, explained to you the reasons for which the total duration of 28 Philosophical Months can vary to a greater or lesser extent. It is necessary to add here that one of the fundamental conditions of success is the respect for the seasons in the method of increasing the fires for the different coctions, as well as the adaptation of the theoretical proportions of the three constituents of the mixture to the degree of actual purity of each.

Finally, since the present work treats only of the practice of the Art, when you will have acquired the capacity which can allow you to hope to hold in your hands the perfect red Stone, don’t forget that Our Father alone accords this privilege to his Chosen, to those who practice the virtues that St. John develops in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelations; dogged work, John develops in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelations: dogged work, perseverance, and above all purity, the spirit of Charity, poverty, and assistance to the poor. Therefore, "The one who will be victorious will possess these things and I will be his God and he will be my Son" (Rev., 21: 5-7). With all our heart we say to you: Be worthy, Son of Our Father, by your Faith, your Purity, and your Charity.

"Blessed are those who wash their garments in the Blood of the Lamb, in order that they have right to the Tree of life" (Rev. 22: 14).

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