Georg von Welling

Opus Mago-Cabalisticum et Theosophicum

Including (therein)
The Origin, Nature, Characteristics and Usage of Salt, Sulphur and Mercury
Described in Three Parts, and Among Several Odd Mathematic, Theosophic, Magic and Mystic Materials, the Production of Metals and Minerals on the Ground of Nature will be Illustrated, including the Main Key (Haupt-Schluessel) to the Work as a Whole, and Various Strange Mago-cabbalistic Figures.
In addition, there will be provided: A Treatise on Divine Wisdom and a Special Appendix of a Number of Very Rare and Precious Chemical Ingredients.
Third Edition.
Frankfurt and Leipzig: the Fleischer Bookstore, 1784 [First Edition: 1735]

This translation is © Arthur Versluis, and may not be reproduced without express written permission. Thomas Achternkamp translated the first passages; the whole was edited by Arthur Versluis.


In the First Part:
Ch. I: On the Origin of Common (gemein) Salt.
Ch. II: On the (uranfaenglich) Original World.
Ch. III: On the Fall of Lucifer and the Divorce (scheidung) Caused By It; or, the Creation of (the) World.
Ch. VI: On the Sabbath, the Completion and Abolition of All Times, the Eternal Silence and Gentle Calm Joy in God’s Eternal Empire.

In the Second Part, of Sulphur
Ch. I: On the Origin and the Production of the Divine (himmlisch) Sulphur and the Earthly Sulphur.
Ch. II: On the Use of Earthly Sulphur.
Ch. III: On the Nature, Good and Usage of Divine Sulphur.
Ch. IV: Of the State of Man after His Passing-Away (Death) and of the Metamorphoses of his Decomposing Body into the Undecomposable One Having been Created in (the Garden of) Eden; as well as the Nature of the Condemned Undecomposable Bodies from the Principio of Darkness.
Ch. V: On the Imprisonment (Einkerkerung) of the Old Snake; as well as of the First Resurrection of the Empire of the Saints.
Ch. VI: Of the Release of the Devil from his Prison (Kerker) and His Final Exile (Verstossung), of the Last and Final Trial (Judgement Day), the Other Death, and of the Location of the Hells.
Ch. VII: The Vision (Offenbarung) Through Which St. John was shown on the island of Patmos what the Church of Christ Experiences and Will Experience to its End.

In the third part, on the Mercury.
Ch. I. On the Origin of Divine and Earthly Mercury
Ch. II. On the Good and Use of Divine Mercury
Ch.III. On the True and Natural Astrology (Astrologia).
Ch. IV. On Religion and the Clear Words of the Holy Bible and the True Mago-cabbala That has been Built on Biblical Grounds.
Ch. V. On the Reversal (Wiederumkehrung) of Darkness into the Creative Light of its Origins.
Ch. VI. On the Invisible Creatures within the Elements.
Ch. VII. On the Grandness, Figurativeness and Incomprehensibility of God.
Ch. VIII. Explanation of Proverbs VIII.27.
Ch. IX. Explanation of Genesis I.6-9.
Ch. X. On the Mercury of the Wise, or the Main Key to the Work as a Whole.

The Eternal Wisdom: in Which it is Made Mention ...
Ch. I. Of the Eternal Wisdom: What and Who She is in itself.
Ch. II. Of the Ones Who Love Wisdom: Who and How Blissful They Are.
Ch. III. By What Means and in What Way to Achieve Wisdom.

The Appendix:

A Discourse on the Stone of Wisdom (Stein der Weisen).
Alchemical Questions of the Universal (Universali) and the Particular (Paricularibus).
PLAEI: Song of the New-born Chymic King.


Georg von Welling

Opus Mago-Cabalisticum et Theosophicum

The Opus Mago-Cabalisticum et Theosophicum is an important and influential esoteric work that has never been translated into English. Included here are its table of contents, and selections from the first chapter, on salt, and an excerpt from "A Little Tractate on Eternal Wisdom," which was appended to the Opus. The entire Tractate may be found in the forthcoming Wisdom's Book: The Sophia Anthology, edited by Arthur Versluis. The table of contents and the selections from the first chapter were translated chiefly by Thomas Achternkamp, but were edited by Arthur Versluis.Born in Schwaben, Bavaria, in 1652, Georg von Welling worked as director of the Baden-Durlacher Office of Building and Mines until 1723, and died in 1727 in Frankfurt. Welling was primarily known for his book whose short title is Opus Mago-Cabalisticum, [1735] and which influenced numerous subsequent authors, including Goethe, who perused it during his alchemical studies. The title suggests a great deal about the contents, which certainly have as much to do with magic as theosophy, as much to do with Agrippa, elemental spirits, alchemy, and arcane diagrams as with Böhmean cosmology. These selections are included because they influenced George Rapp, founder of the American Harmony Society, as I detail in my article "Western Esotericism and the Harmony Society," in Esoterica I(1999)i: 20-47.

- Arthur Versluis -



It is astounding how many notions of the origin and of the first creation of salt (that is: of plain kitchen salt, which is the true origin of all other salts as they are referred to) have been coined: and such among scholars as well as among non-scholars, and (I) dare say there are as many opinions as there are as heads about this point, which in fact is not one of the least important, but is, so far as the origins of natural things, the first and most imminent (point) in the scheme of this whole world, and therefore worthwhile to be seriously considered - meaning that one should set aside the prejudices and what some scholar wrote about this in his study without true knowledge and thorough research and that one should instead should investigate its true origin and material creation (materielle Erzeugung).

Because to condense from this or that salt a spirit (spiritum) is just

not the way to judge its true origin and nature. Moreover, this does not yet mean that it has been created materially and physically by God Almighty and that it has been preserved in the world-sea (Welt-Meer) and that from there it has been driven through subterranean channels (that resemble veins) and is found through the earth globe as whole. It can be excreted (separated) from water by means of fire and thus becomes visible for us to see.

2. Among reasonable people there can be no doubt about the fact that the salt as we consume it, has been brought to us through subterranean channels and through the process of heating has been separated from its watery properties. Alas, this does not prove its origin sufficiently.

3. And in order to set aside all alien opinions (fremde Nennungen) on this aspect and to make way for the truth emerging from the foundations of nature, we want to have a look at salt as it appears to our eyes: thereof (of salt) we have three types which actually could be considered one and the same, being (1) common, (2) stone and (3) sea salt, which with regards to their nature are about the same thing, although differing in detail and shape. One could think of introducing a fourth type, too, which would be the plain salt of mother earth (soil), albeit even this one can be cleaned (refined) easily, which will make it look like the other salts mentioned above, so that really all of them are of the same nature. It has a cubic shape, which is typical for earthly bodies. Concerning the form: it is actually transparent - and the more it is freed of alien parts, the more transparent it is and, in addition, so liquid and runny that it transcents virtually all other bodies. It has a sour taste, even penetrating, and is of very dry consistency, although in itself it is nothing but a salt, as will be proved further on. Thus, we have illustrated its major features.

4. We will now have a look at its (the salt's) father and mother, as we choose to put it here, which we will have to discern, so that finally we may be able to recognize it (salt) for what it is in itself.

5. Moses teaches us in Gen. Ch. I in which he illustrates the creation of the whole world that the almighty God created in the beginning "Schamajim veeth haarez, that is, the original waters came first and then the earth. Here Moses sets the spiritual glowing waters first, and not without reason, because they are the origin of all things, created by God the lord, or (they are) the origin of origins, which in its true nature is almost unrecognisable to us, as his strange (wundersam) name makes us recognise; because Moses, or rather the Holy Spirit through Moses, calls this extension "Schamajim" which is a composed name which the oldest Rabbis - those who have been trained and educated on and in the true Cabbala described as being created by combining fire and water. To us, following the literal meaning, this seems to be a strange and miraculous mixture indeed. How can it be possible to combine two elements so very different from each other? But this is nevertheless the truth of it, albeit the glowing water or the watery fire without which no creature can live can be recognised by only a few of us, although being eagerly looked for by many.

Now, to describe this in all its spheres (Sphaera), is not our aim; besides, it would require a more experienced writer than us to fulfill a task like that. But yet we do not want to conceal the least which we have been taught by the Eternal Light, in order to get to to the anticipated goal, namely to the original (urstaendischen) creation of the ordinary salt, the same being here the sea- or stone salt as well as the mild salt of the earth, because all other "salia" as well as all "Vitriola" (vitriols) do not belong in this context, since they may be polluted by metallic parts, in the same way that "Saltpeter" is a

creation composed of sour and fluent parts, as will be proved in the following chapters. But the "Alcalina" are the closest to our regular salt, as will be proved in another place.

6. It has been stated before that the almighty God in the beginning has created the heavens, Shamajim, as the origin of origins, or the element of elements, namely the glowing waters. This Moses continues by putting into words how "veeth haarez" and the earth, which was the second Qualitas Sequndaria, came into existence.


Selections from

Chapter III

On the Means and Ways of Attaining Wisdom

It may come to pass by the grace of God that someone through reading the foregoing may be moved to seek after Wisdom and on this account ask: Through what means and ways is she most easily reached? We answer with the words of the Apostle Jakob, who said I/5: But if you lack Wisdom, ask of God, who who simply gives to one, and denies no one, so he will give her to you. And this is also the first and virtually only way that the wise have followed in every age, to attain Wisdom, clearly visible in their testimonies: Thus in Sirach: "While I was still young, before I was tempted, I sought Wisdom without fear with my prayer. I raised my hands to heaven; there my soul was illumined by Wisdom." And Solomon wrote: "Therefore I asked and was given cleverness; I called, and to me came the spirit of Wisdom."

But it behooves us to remark that this prayer for Wisdom: First, must be no mere mouthing, but must come from the whole heart; because thus writes Solomon [Proverbs II/3, 4]: So you with diligence call and pray therefore; seek her like silver, and hunt after her as after hidden treasure; because so you will recognize the

fear of the Lord, and find God's knowledge; because the Lord gives Wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. And in Sirach: I long after her earnestly, with my whole heart: O God my father, and Lord of all good, you who have made all things through your Word, and have prepared mankind through your Wisdom, that he should be lord of all creatures, his might from you, that he should rule the world with holiness and righteousness, and direct with a right heart. Give me the Wisdom who surrounds your throne, and do not throw me out from among your children. Send her from your holy heaven, and out of the throne of your glory; send her, that she might be by me, work with me, that I may know what pleases you: because she knows everything and understands; and let her lead me in my work properly, and guard me through her glory, so you will accept my works. [Chapter 5] Second, such prayer must also take place in faith, as Jacobus writes: He asks but in faith and doubts not, because a doubter thinks he will not receive something from the Lord; on which account Christ also said: "Everything that you ask in your prayer, believe only that you will receive it, and you will." [Matt. XI/24] For without faith it is impossible to please God; because whoever wants to come to God, he must believe in that which he seeks in order to receive a reward.

Third, such prayer must be accompanied by rightly heart-felt love-longing, namely thus: that we imagine Wisdom in our heart and mind, as an infinite precious treasure, in whose lack we are most unfortunate, but in whose possession are most highly blessed and fortunate, and would remain so in time and eternity, and on this account our love and longing constantly leads us into her and our heart strives after her, so that we run after her as the noble treasure, in all our steps always wanting to come nearer, until finally she lets us find her, and our yearning longing after her is stilled; then this heartfelt request of the suffering is heard by the Lord [Psalm 10/17].

And this request has the holy one promised [to fulfill], that they should receive. [Matthew VII/7] But it is important here to know and good to remark that this prayer of the heartfelt love-request, or the longing, yearning, and groaning of the spirit in love (if I may express it so) is to be classed not so much with the mouth as with the heart. For this outward mouth-prayer can only take place in certain places and at certain times and hours. Only this inward spirit or heart-prayer can occur at all places and times and hours, at some times more passionately than others, according as God moves the longing and yearning of our spirit, and likewise come to adopt an exact collection of our minds and thoughts in solitude and stillness; then the solitude and stillness is a good helping-means to turn in toward oneself, and come to this inward heart and spirit-prayer, on which account then also the beloved holy one [Christ] asserts [lit: besohlen: to sole!] that when we want to pray, we should go into our little room and close the door and pray to our Father in secret, so the Father will see us in secret, and reward us openly. Hence he himself also often, when he would pray, retired to a mountain, into the wilderness or otherwise a solitary place, and there raised his heart to God. Which example and commandment of the holy one we must also follow, when we want to reach the true spiritual prayer and through this the true Wisdom. For God is a spirit, and those who pray to him must do so in spirit and truth. [John IV/24]

* * * * *

The word "seek" means so much: it means that one hasn't got something, and desires it, everyone knows; the more precious and costly a thing is, and the dearer we wish to have it, the more our earnestness and diligence in applying ourselves to seeking; and because Wisdom is the most precious and love-worthiest good, whose absence is the highest misfortune, but possessing her is and remains the highest blessed happiness in time and eternity, so we

must then search with the greatest of earnestness and diligence; and now in order that this come to pass and our earnestness and diligence and longing be kindled, so we must 1. imagine in our hearts and minds the highest and love-worthiest good (as in fact it is) and hold and treasure her as riches, as Solomon did, as when he wrote: [Book Wisdom VII/8] "I hold her more precious than kingdoms and principalities, and riches I hold for nothing compared to her. She is comparable to no jewel, and all gold is compared with her less than sand, and silver cannot be compared with her. I loved her more than health or beauty, more even than light: For the illumination from her cannot be extinguished." 2. We must win her and her beautiful love, choose her for our own treasure, offer her our love and whole heart, with firm intent: in order to suffer and endure everything for her. 3. We must also really and in fact not only give up the world and its delights, but also ourselves, with all we have and possess, deny ourselves, and long to do only her will, and accept her in all ways, that she might be wellpleased, and thus 4. follow her completely, in order that we may lead a virtuous life and through holy grace rectify all our works and life, in order that we may do like her in each step, nearer and nearer, until finally after she has tested us enough, and has found worth, lets us find and takes us as a young beautiful bride of her bridegroom, and unites with us in eternal love.

Then certainly, whoever has love of God and his Wisdom or Christ, he also keeps the law, but where one keeps the law, there is a holy life. But whoever leads a holy life, he is near God, and such a man fears nothing more than offending God, and he would a thousand times rather die than do the least thing with knowledge and will against God; which is then a pure fear of the Lord, as glorified in the holy Scripture, in Psalm CXI/10, for instance: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom; the fear of the Lord brings life, and lengthens one's days. [Prov. X/27, XIX/23] The fear of the Lord

is the true divine service; a blessed garden; a crown of Wisdom; a source of life. [Sirach I] Which we then want to have the highest praise for. So this can be seen as an external means of the attaining of Wisdom, in so far as this concerns namely the knowledge and working of natural things, held and used in proper measure in the fear of the Lord: 1) Company and conversation with the wise, devout, learned. 2) Reading the books of holy, reverent and wise people. 3) A solitary, still kind of life free from cares and in this an exact observation and examination of nature and natural things, so that one, when opportunity is at hand, enquires and researches using different arts and ways to test; in which arts and ways then also the ancient Wise engaged, not only in all useful arts and sciences whose works and purposes in human life are not only necessary and useful, but also in research into the heart, or the most inward [aspects] of nature and natural things; thus nothing in all of nature remained hidden to them, as we have already pointed out in the description of the master of the Book of Wisdom, as written in Chapter VII. God has given me certain knowledge of all things, so that I know how the world was made and the power of the elements; time's beginning, ending, and middle; how the day waxes and wanes; how the time of the year changes, how the year goes; how the stars appear; the art of taming wild animals; how the wind storms; and what people have in mind; the many kinds of plants and the power of roots. I know everything secret and hidden, for Wisdom who is master of all arts, taught me. Indeed, see so far as the ancients through prayer and diligence in the knowledge of nature were brought; and because [they recognized] sickness and poverty as the two aggravating evils that attach to human existence, they sought to find in nature whether there might be something capable of overcoming such evil. And they found a certain thing which they named their Stone, or the Stone of the Wise, with which they could

not only overcome all illnesses, and transmute all lesser metals into gold or silver, but also worked other unbelievable wonders, and thus they attained the crown of all arts and sciences, the prize of God and his Wisdom, as the Mistress of all arts and sciences.

Now after we have been briefly instructed in the means and ways of Wisdom, so we encounter a very dangerous error-way, in which many sincere souls may be caught. For when goodwilled souls hear that they must seek God and Wisdom, they think that they ought not seek and find this high good in themselves in their own innermost soul-ground, but rather go out and seek God and his kingdom here and there, by outward ceremonies and shadow-works, in temples and among other men and books, and seek thus the living among the dead, and want to have life from the dead, which can never be found there, and so it comes about that they never find what is right and essential in themselves, but rather become exhausted in the struggle and become imprisoned by such things, when such things if used rightly, could have served the right life.

* * * * *

And these are the easiest, most certain, and proven means and the correct way to attain Wisdom, which the Lord in his light has let be known, and through which all wise that have lived in the world have come to Wisdom: now anyone who treads this path and uses these means to come to Wisdom is certain not to rue his troubles; then Wisdom is beautiful and present and gladly lets herself be seen by those who love her, and lets those who seek, find, indeed, meet her, and gives herself to be known by those who gladly have her. Whoever would gladly soon see her will not have many troubles, and will find her waiting before his door. Yea, she gives herself, and seeks those who are worthwhile, and appears to him gladly along the ways, and looks out for him, so that she meets him. [Book Wisdom VI] Alone, without fear of the Lord, faith,

prayer, love, and a holy life it is wholly impossible to gain her company. Wisdom does not come to a soul weighed down with evil, and dwells not in a body overcome by sins. [Book Wisdom I/4] But she gives herself to holy souls, and makes God's friends and prophets. [Book Wisdom VII/27] She prepares them through her purifying love's-discipline, as God wants her to, and all are sent his good service and works: which she also wants for all those who read this!

We could here certainly still say much more: But because the kingdom of God does not consist in words, and we are certain that Wisdom will herself inwardly teach those who sincerely seek to follow her further everything else that remains to be said, so we want to advise the beloved and sincere reader with the cordial wish that he, with the clever salesman [Matth. XIII/45] given the fine and precious pearl, may keep it in his eternal possession, to his great joy, enlivening, and delight in time and eternity. Yea! Amen! So be it. Amen!