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Prima Materia 2 LbNA #58253

Owner:mandala Contact
Plant date:Jan 31, 2010
Location: Tilden Park
Found by: fleetwood7
Last found:Feb 3, 2010
Last edited:Sep 20, 2015
Prima Materia 2

Boxactive Feb 3, 2010
by CompassRose
Location: Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA [MapQuest] [Yahoo! Maps] [Google Maps]
Plant Date: January 31, 2010
Last Modified: June 3, 2011

(Note: you can also view this listing on where my trailname is CompassRose)

This letterbox is in the same general area as my Prima Materia letterbox, and the themes are linked, although, except for determining the starting location, none of the clues are. You might want to do these together. You can pick up the clues to find both boxes on the very same walk. I recommend getting the clues for the 2 boxes separately, to keep from confusion: going uphill, get the clues for Prima Materia, coming downhill, get the ones for Prima Materia 2. This box has a store bought stamp.

Update: June 3 2011, the letterbox and its correlated geocache, which is about 40 ft from it, are in fine condition in the same place I planted them. Note that both are under bushes, and quite accessible.

IN alchemy, prima materia refers to the base material that becomes transformed, through the alchemical process, into gold. Alchemy, particularly as plumbed psychologically by Carl Jung, holds fasincating insights into the transformation of the "base material" within our psyches, to the gold of our divine awakening.

This is an about 2.0 mile letterbox quest in a beautiful setting with some spectacular views, hopefully leading you to a place where you'll have a laugh near the end. The endpoint itself has some tremendous views. For this quest, you will need a compass, preferably a sighting compass such as the SIlva baseplate with mirror (availble for as little as $21 at REI) or a military lensatic compass: I recommend the Cammenga Military Tritium Lensatic COmpass model 3-H, at
NOTE: All compass bearings involved in this cache involve MAGNETIC NORTH, not true north, so you don't have to worry about taking declination into account.
You don't need to be precisely accurate with your bearings: if you are within 9 degrees you should be okay using the crosschecks.
You'll need to know how to take bearings and establish your position by triangulation. You will first go to one place to gather clues, then to another place to find the letterbox, and you'll be coming upon a geocache in the process since this letterbox hunt is an extension of my geocache, listed on You'll start by following the same clues as for the geocache. After the geocache ends, there is an extra part for letterboxers, leading to a letterbox with log, stamp and gift cards at the end, which geocachers don't get to enjoy (unless they're boxers too...)

Read the clue for Prima Materia letterbox to know where to begin.

Now, as for Prima Materia box, go out of the parking lot and bear left, heading uphill along the road to where you come to a fork in the road. Go right and see a gate. Go past the gate on this paved trail that winds up the hill, past two wooden water towers. Go on around another bend and then uphill, along a level area, and on until you come to a fork in the trail (about 1/2 mile). Bear left here and continue on the paved path heading uphill. You will now be looking for two thin, 3 ft tall orange stakes labelled "SURVEY MARKER." Standing just trailside of the northern marker, take a compass sighting to the radio tower to the west.
A = first digit of this bearing
B = second digit of this bearing
C = third digit of this bearing
Crosscheck: A + B + C = 6

Also while you are at this location, use your compass to determine the directional orientation of either wall of the building in front of you, whose orientation can be established from the trail. Curious, isn't it? Anyone knowing why this is, let me know. Of the two bearings that give the directional orientation of the wall, take the 3-digit bearing DEF which fits these crosschecks:
Crosscheck: D + E + F = 9 and E - D = 7, where:
D= first digit of this bearing
E = second digit of this bearing
F = third digit of this bearing

Continue on up the trail to the summit. Note the first telephone pole to your right. Go over to it. Stand next to it on the east side. Turn east and notice the peak of a place named after the Devil. Take a compass bearing (2 digits) to the peak. If you happen to be here on a foggy day when the peak is not visible, you can use the bearing you got for this same place from Prima Materia letterbox, as it's only off by 1 degree. H here will be the E from Prima Materia, less one.
G= first digit of this bearing
H = second digit of this bearing
Crosscheck: G + H = 14
From this same spot, also take a compass bearing to the shorter telephone pole to the south.
I = first digit of that bearing
J= second digit of that bearing
K = third digit of that bearing
Crosscheck: I + J + K = 12

Continue to the southeast, and count the number of curious looking galvanized metal chutes sticking out of all sides of the southernmost building. (Go all the way around to check all 4 sides). These chutes are 1 ft wide and 1/4 circle each.
L = number of such chutes.

Location of Letterbox
You are now ready to determine the location of the final cache using the clues you have gathered.

To find it:
Return to where you parked your car. From here, walk to the road named Lomas Cantadas which goes to Orinda. Walk east along this road. Find the place where:
(1) THe compass bearing to a radio tower in the southeast direction is DJB.
(2) The compass bearing to a radio tower to the south (closer than the other tower) is IGB.
(3) The compass bearing to the telephone pole to the east is (J + L)(L-1) (eg a two-digit bearing the first of which is J+L, the second digit is L-1). (Note: you should be able to see the whole pole clearly)
(4) The compass bearing to the center of the "saddle" in the 3-4 ft rock to the right is AJ(L-1) degrees.
(5) ALong a compass bearing of D(G-2)B, the peak of a 1 foot high rock will be seen to line up with a red and white metal fence post.
Note that bearings taken to more distant objects help you get into the general area, but don't fix your position as well as bearings to nearer objects. Hence use #1 and #2 above to get in the general area, then 3, 4 and 5 to get a tight "fix."

ONce you find that point along the road, then take a bearing of DAF, and walk in that direction.
You will be looking for an amusing example of alchemical "base material": in this case, something appearing to be a type of natural object that people generally have no interest in and avoid contact with. If you have done Prima Materia letterbox, you'll know what to look for.
You will not need to go beyond the fence to find the geocache.
When you find the geocache, you can either open it and sign the log, or, if you're not a geocacher and don't like geocaching, you can give it the evil eye and hiss at it and continue on for the next stage to the letterbox.
NOw for the letterbox: (a "pace" equals one adult step)

Standing by the ugly pile
Know that though it take a while
And quite a bit of courage
At last a treasure may emerge
From what in us we like the least
Look up to 90, face due east.
Take paces five and then again
Take yourself another ten
Come to an object two by one
Now turn to 34 and you shall see
An orange oval 4 paces far from thee
Beneath it lies the red-winged lion, lapis sun.