The “treasure hard to attain,” whose presence was suspected in the dark prima materia, is symbolized by the

alchemists in various ways. Christopher of Paris, for instance, says that the chaos (as prima materia) is the work of all-wise nature.

Our understanding {intellect us), aided by the “celestial and glowing spirit,” must transform this natural work

of art—chaos—into the celestial nature of the quintessence, and into the life-giving (vegetabilis) essence of heaven.

The precious substance is potentially contained in this chaos as a massa confusa of all the elements rolled into one, and man must diligently apply his mind to it so that “our heaven” may come into reality (ad actum).

Johannes (irassetis quotes the view that the prima materia is the lead [plumbum) of the philosophers, also called the “lead of the air” (an allusion to the inner opposite).

This lead contains the radiant white dove (fig. 178), called the “salt of the metals.” The dove is the “chaste, wise, and rich Queen of Sheba, veiled in white, who was willing to give herself to none but King Solomon.”

According to Basilius Valentinus, the earth (as prima materia) is not a dead body, but is inhabited by a spirit that is its life and soul.

All created things, minerals included, draw their strength from the earth-spirit.

This spirit is life, it is nourished by the stars, and it gives nourishment to all the living things it shelters in its womb.

Through the spirit received from on high, the earth hatches the minerals in her womb (cf. fig. 163) as the mother her unborn child.

This invisible spirit is like the reflection in a mirror, intangible, yet it is at the same time the root of all the substances necessary to the alchemical process or arising therefrom (radix nostrorum corporum). ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 442