The Hermetic Arcanum

38.  Philosophers have acknowledged their Mercury to be threefold; to wit, after the absolute preparation of the First degree, the Philosophical sublimation, for then they call it "Their Mercury," and "Mercury Sublimated."

39.  Again, in the Second preparation, that which by Authors is styled the First (because they omit the First) Sol being now made crude again, and resolved into his first matter, is called the Mercury of such like bodies, or the Philosophers' Mercury; then the matter is called Rebis, Chaos, or the Whole World, wherein are all things necessary to the Work, because that only is sufficient to perfect the Stone.

40.  Thirdly, the Philosophers do sometimes call Perfect Elixir and Colouring Medicine --- Their Mercury, though improperly; for the name of Mercury doth only properly agree with that which is volatile; besides that which is sublimated in every region of the work, they call Mercury: but Elixir - that which is most fixed cannot have the simple name of Mercury ; and therefore they have styled it "Their Mercury" to differentiate it from that which is volatile.

41.  The Elixir is called the Philosophers' Mercury for the likeness and great conformity it hath with heavenly Mercury; for to this, being devoid of elementary qualities, heaven is believed to be most propitious; and that changeable Proteus puts on and increaseth the genius and nature of other Planets, by reason of opposition, conjunction, and aspect. In like manner this uncertain Elixir worketh, for being restricted to no proper quality, it embraceth the quality and disposition of the thing wherewith it is mixed, and wonderfully multiplieth the virtues and qualities thereof.

42.  In the Philosophical sublimation or first preparation of Mercury, Herculean labour must be undergone by the workman; for Jason had in vain attempted his expedition to Colchos without Alcides.

For the entrance is warded by horned beasts which drive away those that approach rashly thereunto, to their great hurt; only the ensigns of Diana and the Doves of Venus are able to assuage their fierceness, if the fates favour the attempt.

50.  Argent vive is so defiled by original sin, that it floweth with a double infection; the first it hath contracted from the polluted Earth, which hath mixed itself therewith in the generation of Argent vive, and by congelation hath cleaved thereunto; the second borders upon the dropsy and is the corruption of intercutal Water, proceeding from thick and impure water; mixed with the clear, which nature was not able to squeeze out and separate by constriction; but because it is extrinsic; it flies off with a gentle heat. The Mercury's leprosy infesting the body, is not of its root and substance, but accidental, and therefore separable from it; the earthly part is wiped off by a warm wet Bath and the Laver of nature; the watery part is taken away by a dry bath with that gentle fire suitable to generation. And thus by a threefold washing and cleansing the Dragon putteth off his old scales and ugly skin is renewed in beauty.

51.  The Philosophical sublimation of Mercury is completed by two processes; namely by removing things superfluous from it, and by introducing things which are wanting. In superfluities are the external accidents, which in the dark sphere of Saturn do make cloudy glittering Jupiter. Separate therefore the leaden colour of Saturn which cometh up out of the Water until Jupiter's purple Star smile upon thee. Add hereunto the Sulphur of nature, whose grain and Ferment it hath in itself, so much as sufficeth it; but see that it be sufficient for other things also. Multiply therefore that invisible Sulphur of the Philosophers until the Virgin's s milk come forth: and so the First Gate is opened unto thee.

52.  The entrance of the Philosophers' garden is kept by the Hesperian Dragon, which being put aside, a Fountain of the dearest water proceeding from a sevenfold spring floweth forth on every side of the entrance of the garden; wherein make the Dragon drink thrice the magical number of Seven, until having drunk he put off his hideous garments; then may the divine powers of light-bringing Venus and horned Diana, be propitious unto thee.

53.  Three kinds of most beautiful flowers are to be sought, and may he found in this Garden of the wise: Damask-coloured Violets, the milk-white Lily, and the purple and immortal flower of love, the Amaranth. Not far from that fountain at the entrance, fresh Violets do first salute thee, which being watered by streams from the great golden river, they put on the most delicate colour of the dark Sapphire; then Sol will give thee a sign. Thou shall not sever such precious flowers from their roots until thou make the Stone; for the fresh ones cropped off have more juice and tincture; and then pick them carefully with a gentle and discreet hand; if the Fates frown not, this will easily follow, and one White flower being plucked, the other Golden one will not be wanting; let the Lily and the Amaranth succeed with still greater care and longer labour.

59.  Keep up and couple the Eagle and Lion well cleansed in their transparent cloister, the entry door being shut and watched lest their breath go out, or the air without do privily get in. The Eagle shall snap up and devour the Lion in this combination; afterwards being affected with a long sleep, and a dropsy occasioned by a foul stomach, she shall be changed by a wonderful metamorphosis into a coal black Crow, which shall begin to fly with wings stretched out, and by its flight shall bring down mater from the clouds, until being often moistened, he put off his wings of his own accord, and falling down again he be changed into a most White Swan. Those that are ignorant of the causes of things may wonder with astonishment when they consider that the world is nothing but a continual Metamorphosis; they may marvel that the seeds of things perfectly digested should end in greatest whiteness. Let the Philosopher imitate Nature in his work.

62.  The material means of the Stone are of divers kinds, for some are extracted out of others successively: The first are Mercury Philosophically sublimated, and perfect metals, which although the be extreme in the work of nature, yet in the Philosophical work they supply the place of means: of the former the seconds are produced; namely the four elements, which again are circulated and fixed: of the seconds, the third is produced, to wit, Sulphur, the multiplication hereof doth terminate the first work: the fourth and last means are leaven or ointments weighed with the mixture of the things aforesaid, successively produced in the work of the Elixir. By the right ordering of the things aforesaid, the perfect Elixir is finished, which is the last term of the whole work, wherein the Philosophers' Stone resteth as in its centre, the multiplication whereof is nothing else than a short repetition of the previous operations.

63.  The operative means (which are also called the Keys of the Work) are four: the first is Solution or Liquefaction; the second is Ablution; the third Reduction; the fourth Fixation. By Liquefaction bodies return into their first form, things concocted are made raw again and the combination between the position and negative is effected, from whence the Crow is generated lastly the Stone is divided into four confused elements, which happeneth by the retrogradation of the Luminaries. The Ablution teacheth how to make the Crow white, and to create the Jupiter of Saturn, which is done by the conversion of the Body into Spirit. The Office of Reduction is to restore the soul to the stone exanimated, and to nourish it with dew and spiritual milk, until it shall attain unto perfect strength. In both these latter operations the Dragon rageth against himself, and by devouring his tail, doth wholly exhaust himself, and at length is turned into the Stone. Lastly, the operation of the Fixation fixeth both the White and the Red Sulphurs upon their fixed body, by the mediation of the spiritual tincture; it decocteth the Leaven or Ferment by degrees ripeneth things unripe, and sweeteneth the bitter. In fine by penetrating and tincturing the flowing Elixir it generateth, perfecteth, and lastly, raiseth it up to the height of sublimity.

64.  The Means or demonstrative signs are Colours successively and orderly affecting the matter and its affections and demonstrative passions, whereof there are three special ones (as critical) to be noted; to these some add a Fourth. The first is black, which is called the Crow's head, because of its extreme blackness whose crepusculum sheweth the beginning of the action of the fire of nature and solution, and the blackest midnight sheweth the perfection of liquefaction, and confusion of the elements. Then the grain putrefies and is corrupted, that it may be the more apt for generation. The white colour succeedeth the black wherein is given the perfection of the first degree, and of the White Sulphur. This is called the blessed stone; this Earth is white and foliated, wherein Philosophers do sow their gold. The third is Orange colour, which is produced in the passage of the white to the red, as the middle and being mixed of both is as the dawn with his saffron hair, a forerunner of the Sun. The fourth colour is Ruddy and Sanguine, which is extracted from the white fire only. Now because whiteness is easily altered by another colour before day it quickly faileth of its candour. But the deep redness of the Sun perfecteth the work of Sulphur, which is called the Sperm of the male, the fire of the Stone, the King's Crown, and the Son of Sol, wherein the first labour of the workman resteth.

65.  Besides these decretory signs which firmly inhere in the matter, and shew its essential mutations, almost infinite colours appear, and shew themselves in vapours, as the Rainbow in the clouds, which quickly pass away and are expelled by those that succeed, more affecting the air than the earth: the operator must have a gentle care of them, because they are not permanent, and proceed not from the intrinsic disposition of the matter, but from the fire painting and fashioning everything after its pleasure, or casually by heat in slight moisture.

66.  Of the strange colours, some appearing out of time, give an ill omen to the work: such as the blackness renewed; for the Crow's young ones having once left their nest are never to be suffered to return. Too hasty Redness; for this once, and in the end only, gives a certain hope of the harvest; if therefore the matter become red too soon it is an argument of the greatest aridity, not without great danger, which can only be averted by Heaven alone forthwith bestowing a shower upon it.

67.  The Stone is exalted by successive digestions, as by degrees, and at length attaineth to perfection. Now four Digestions agreeable to the four abovesaid Operations or Governments do complete the whole work, the author whereof is the fire, which makes the difference between them.

68.  The first digestion operateth the solution of the Body, whereby comes the first conjunction of male and female, the commixtion of both seeds, putrefactium, the resolution of the elements into homogeneous water, the eclipse of the Sun and Moon in the head of the Dragon, and lastly it bringeth back the whole World into its ancient Chaos, and dark abyss. This first digestion is as in the stomach, of a melon colour and weak, more fit for corruption than generation.

69.  In the second digestion the Spirit of the Lord walketh upon the waters; the light begins to appear, and a separation of waters from the waters occurs; Sol and Luna are renewed; the elements are extracted out of the chaos, that being perfectly mixed in Spirit they may constitute a new world; a new Heaven and new Earth are made; and lastly all bodies become spiritual. The Crow's young ones changing their feathers begin to pass into Doves; the Eagle and Lion embrace one another in an eternal League of amity. And this generation of the World is made by the fiery Spirit descending in the form of Water, and wiping away Original sin; for the Philosophers' Water is Fire, which is moved by the exciting heat of a Bath. But see that the separation of Waters be done in Weight and Measure, lest those things that remain under Heaven be drowned under the Earth, or those things that are snatched up above the Heaven, be too much destitute of aridity.

Here let slight moisture leave a barren Soil.

70.  The third digestion of the newly generated Earth drinketh up the dewy Milk, and all the spiritual virtues of the quintessence, and fasteneth the quickening Soul to the body by the Spirit's mediation. Then the Earth layeth up a great Treasure in itself, and is made like the coruscating Moon, afterwards like to the ruddy Sun; the former is called the Earth of the Moon, the latter the Earth of the Sun; for both of them are beget of the copulation of them both; neither of them any longer feareth the pains of the Fire, because both want all spots; for they have been often cleanseth from sin by fire, and have suffered great Martyrdom, until all the Elements are turned downward.

71.  The Fourth digestion consummateth all the Mysteries of the World, and the Earth being turned into most excellent leaven, it leaveneth all imperfect bodies because it hath before passed into the heavenly nature of quintessence. The virtue thereof flowing from the Spirit of the Universe is a present Panacea and universal medicine for all the diseases of all creatures. The digestions of the first work being repeated will open to thee the Philosophers secret Furnace.

72.  The whole Progress of the Philosophers' work is nothing but Solution and Congelation; the Solution of the body, and Congelation of the Spirit; nevertheless there is but one operation of both: the fixed and volatile are perfectly mixed and united in the Spirit! which cannot be done unless the fixed body be first made soluble and volatile. By reduction is the volatile body fixed into a permanent body, and volatile nature doth at last change into a fixed one, as the fixed nature had before passed into volatile. Now so long as the Natures were confused in the Spirit, that mixed spirit keeps a middle Nature between Body and Spirit, Fixed and Volatile.

73.  The generation of the Stone is made after the pattern of the Creation of the World; for it is necessary, that it have its Chaos and First matter, wherein the confused Elements do fluctuate, until they be separated by the fiery Spirit; they being separated, the Light Elements are carried upwards, and the heavy ones downwards: the light arising, darkness retreats: the waters are gathered into one place and the dry land appears. At length the two great Luminaries arise, and mineral, vegetable and animal are produced in the Philosophers' Earth.

74.  God created Adam out of the mud of the Earth, wherein were inherent the virtues of all the Elements, of the Earth and Water especially, which do more constitute the sensible and corporeal heap: Into this Mass God breathed the breath of Life, and enlivened it with the Sun of the Holy Spirit. He gave Eve for a Wife to Adam, and blessing them he gave unto them a Precept and the Faculty of multiplication. The generation of the Philosophers Stone, is not unlike the Creation of Adam, for the Mud was made of a terrestrial and ponderous Body dissolved by Water, which deserved the excellent name of Terra Adamica, wherein all the virtues and qualities of the Elements are placed. At length the heavenly Soul is infused thereinto by the medium of the Quintessence and Solar influx, and by the Benediction and Dew of Heaven; the virtue of multiplying ad infinitum by the intervening copulation of both sexes is given it.

76.  In the work of the Stone the other Elements are circulated in the figure of Water, for the Earth is resolved into Water, wherein are the rest of the Elements; the Water is Sublimated into Vapour, Vapour retreats into Water, and so by an unwearied circle, is the Water moved, until it abide fixed downwards; now that being fixed, all the elements are fixed. Thus into it they are resolved, by it they are extracted, with it they live and die; the Earth is the Tomb, and last end of all.

83.  The Circulation of the Elements is performed by a double Whorl, by the greater or extended and the less or contracted. The Whorl extended fixeth all the Elements of the Earth, and its circle is not finished unless the work of Sulphur be perfected. The revolution of the minor Whorl is terminated by the extraction and preparation of every Element. Now in this Whorl there are three Circles placed, which always and variously move the Matter, by an Erratic and Intricate Motion, and do often (seven times at least) drive about every Element, in order succeeding one another, and so agreeable, that if one shall be wanting the labour of the rest is made void. These Circulations are Nature's Instruments, whereby the Elements are prepared. Let the Philosopher therefore consider the progress of Nature in the Physical Tract, more fully described for this very end.

84.  Every Circle hath its proper Motion, for all the Motions of the Circles are conversant about the subject of Humidum and Siccum, and are so concatenated that they produce the one operation, and one only consent of Nature: two of them are opposite, both in respect of their causes and the effects; for one moveth upwards, drying by heat; another downwards, moistening by cold; a third carrying the form of rest and sleep by digesting, induceth the cessation of both in greatest moderation.

85.  Of the three Circles, the first is Evacuation, the labour of which is in extracting the superfluous Humidum and also in separating the pure, clean and subtle, from the gross and terrestrial dregs. Now the greatest danger is found in the motion of this Circle, because it hath to do with things Spiritual and makes Nature plentiful.

86.  Two things are chiefly to be taken heed of in moving this Circle; first, that it be not moved too intensely; the other, that it be not moved for too long a time. Motion accelerated raiseth confusion in the matter, so that the gross, impure and undigested part may fly out together with the pure and subtle, and the Body undissolved be mixed with the Spirit, together with that which is dissolved. With this precipitated motion the Heavenly and Terrestrial Natures are confounded, and the Spirit of the Quintessence, corrupted by the admixture of Earth is made dull and invalid. By too long a motion the Earth is too much evacuated of its Spirit, and is made so languishing, dry and destitute of Spirit, that it cannot easily be restored and recalled to its Temperament. Either error burneth up the Tincture, or turneth it into flight.

87.  The Second Circle is Restoration; whose office is to restore strength to the gasping and debilitated body by Potion. The former Circle was the Organ of sweat and labour, but this of restoration and consolation. The action of this is employed in the grinding and mollifying the Earth (Potter-like), that it may be the better mixed.

88.  The motion of this Circle must be lighter than that of the former, especially in the beginning of its Revolution, lest the Crow's young ones be drowned in nest by a large flood, and the growing world be drowned by a deluge. This is the Weigher and Assayer of Measures, for it distributeth Water by Geometrical Precepts. There is usually no greater Secret found in the whole practice of the Work than the firm and justly weighed Motion of this Circle; for it informeth the Philosophers' infant and inspireth Soul and Life into him.

89.  The Laws of this Circle's motions are, that it run about gently: and by little and little, and sparingly let forth itself, lest that by making haste it fail from its measure, and the Fire inherent be overwhelmed with the Waters, the Architect of the Work grow dull, or also be extinguished: that meat and drink be administered by turns, to the end there may be a better Digestion made, and the best temperament of Humidum, and Siccum; for the indissoluble colligation of them both is the End and Scope of the Work. Furthermore see, that you add so much by Watering, as shall be found wanting in assaying, that Restoration may restore so much of the lost strength by corroborating, as Evacuation hath taken away by debilitating.

90.  Digestion, the last Circle, acteth with silent and insensible Motion; and therefore it is said by Philosophers, that it is made in a secret furnace; it decocteth the Nutriment received, and converteth it into the Homogeneous parts of the body. Moreover, it is called Putrefaction; because as meat is corrupted in the Stomach before it passeth into Blood and similar parts; so this operation breaketh the Aliment with a concocting and Stomach heat and in a manner makes it to putrefy that it may be the better Fixed, and changed from a Mercurial into a Sulphurous Nature. Again, it is called Inhumation, because by it the Spirit is inhumated, as a dead man buried in the ground. But because it goeth most slowly, it therefore needeth a longer time. The two former Circles do labour especially in dissolving, this in congealing although all of them work in both ways.

91.  The Laws of this Circle are, that it be moved by the Feverish and most gentle heat of Dung, lest that the things volatile fly out, and the Spirit be troubled at the time of its strictest Conjunction with the Body, for then the business is perfected in the greatest tranquillity and ease; therefore we must especially beware lest the Earth be moved by any Winds or Showers. Lastly, as this third Circle may always succeed the second straightways and in due order, as the second the first: so by interrupted works and by course those three erratic Circles do complete one entire circulation, which often reiterated doth at length turn all things into Earth, and makes similarity between opposites.

119.  Thus thou hast all things necessary to the First Work, the end whereof is the generation of two sorts of Sulphur; the composition and perfection of both may be thus finished.

The Practice of the Sulphur.

Take a Red Dragon, courageous, warlike, to whom no natural strength is wanting; and afterwards seven or nine noble Eagles (Virgins), whose eyes will not wax dull by the rays of the Sun: cast the Birds with the Beast into a clear Prison and strongly shut them up; under this let a Bath be placed, that they may be incensed to fight by the warmth, in a short time they will enter into a long and harsh contention, until at length about the 45th day or the 50th the Eagles begin to prey upon and tear the beast to pieces, which dying will infect the whole Prison with its black and direful poison, whereby the Eagles being wounded, they will also be constrained to give up the ghost. From the putrefaction of the dead Carcasses a Crow will be generated, which by little and little will put forth its head, and the Heat being somewhat increased it will forthwith stretch forth its wings and begin to fly; but seeking chinks from the Winds and Clouds, it will long hover about; take heed that it find not any chinks. At length being made white by a gentle and long Rain, and with the dew of Heaven it will be changed into a White Swan, but the new born Crow is a sign of the departed Dragon. In making the Crow White, extract the Elements, and distil them according to the order prescribed, until they be fixed in their Earth, and end in Snow-like and most subtle dust, which being finished thou shalt enjoy thy first desire, the White Work.

120.  If thou intendest to proceed further to the Red, add the Element of Fire, which is not needed for the White Work: the Vessel therefore being fixed, and the Fire strengthened by little and little through its grades, force the matter until the occult begin to be made manifest, the sign whereof will be the Orange colour arising: raise the Fire to the Fourth degree by its degrees, until by the help of Vulcan, purple Roses be generated from the Lily, and lastly the Amaranth dyed with the dark Redness of blood: but thou mayest not cease to bring out Fire by Fire, until thou shalt behold the matter terminated in most Red ashes, imperceptible to the touch. This Red Stone may rear up thy mind to greater things, by the blessing and assistance of the holy Trinity.

121.  They that think they have brought their work to an end by perfect Sulphur, not knowing Nature or Art, and to have fulfilled the Precepts of the secret are much deceived, and will try Projection in vain; for the Praxis of the Stone is perfected by a double Work; the First is the creation of the Sulphur; the Second is the making of the Elixir.

122.  The aforesaid Philosophers' Sulphur is most subtle Earth, most hot and dry, in the belly whereof the Fire of Nature abundantly multiplied is hidden. Therefore it deserveth the name of the Fire of the Stone, for it hath in itself the virtue of opening and penetrating the bodies of Metals, and of turning them into its own temperament and producing its like, wherefore it is called a Father and Masculine seed.

123.  That we may leave nothing untouched, let the Students in Philosophy know that from that first Sulphur, a second is generated which may be multiplied ad infinitum: let the wise man, after he hath got the everlasting mineral of that Heavenly Fire, keep it diligently. Now of what matter Sulphur is generated, of the same it is multiplied, a small portion of the first being added, yet as in the Balance. The rest, a tyro may see in Lullius, it may suffice only to point to this.

124.  The Elixir is compounded of a threefold matter, namely, of Metallic Water or Mercury sublimated as before; of Leaven White or Red, according to the intention of the Operator; and of the Second Sulphur, all by Weight.

125.  There are Five proper and necessary qualities in the perfect Elixir, that it be fusible, permanent, penetrating, tincturing, and multiplying; it borroweth its tincture and fixation from the Leaven; its penetration from the Sulphur; its fusion from Argent vive, which is the medium of conjoining Tinctures; to wit of the Ferment and Sulphur; and its multiplicative virtue from the Spirit infused into the Quintessence.

126.  Two perfect Metals give a perfect Tincture, because they are dyed with the pure Sulphur of Nature, and therefore no Ferment of Metals may be sought except these two bodies; therefore dye thy Elixir White and Red with Luna and Sol; Mercury first of all receives their Tincture, and having received it, doth communicate it to others.

127.  In compounding the Elixir take heed you change not or mix any thing with the Ferments, for either Elixir must have its proper Ferment, and desireth its proper Elements; for it is provided by Nature that the two Luminaries have their different Sulphurs and distinct tinctures.

128.  The Second work is concocted as the First, in the same or a like Vessel, the same Furnace, and by the same degrees of fire, but is perfected in a shorter time.

129.  There are three humours in the Stone, which are to be extracted successively; namely, Watery, Airy, and Radical; and therefore all the labour and care of the Workman is employed about the humour, neither is any other Element in the Work of the Stone circulated beside the humid one. For it is necessary, in the first place, that the Earth be resolved and melted into humour. Now the Radical humour of all things, accounted Fire, is most tenacious, because it is tied to the Centre of Nature, from which it is not easily separated; extract, therefore, these three humours slowly and successively; dissolving and congealing them by their Whorls, for by the multiplied alternative reiteration of Solution and Congelation the Whorl is extended and the whole work finished.

130.  The Elixir's perfection consisteth in the strict Union and indissoluble Matrimony of Siccum and Humidum, so that they may not be separated, but the Siccum may flow with moderate heat into the Humidum, abiding every pressure of Fire. The sign of perfection is that if a very little of it be cast in above the Iron or Brazen Plate while very hot, it flow forthwith without smoke.

Let three weights of Red Earth or of Red Ferment, and a double weight of Water and Air well ground up be mixed together. Let an Amalgama be made like Butter, or Metalline Paste, so that the Earth being mollified maybe insensible to the touch. Add one weight and a half of Fire; let these be transferred to the Vessel and exposed to a Fire of the first degree; most closely sealed; afterwards let the Elements be extracted out of their degrees of Fire in their order, which being turned downwards with a gentle motion they may be fixed in their Earth, so as nothing Volatile may be raised up from thence; the matter at length shall be terminated in a Stone, Illuminated, Red and Diaphanous; a part whereof take at pleasure, and having cast it into a Crucible with a little Fire by drops give it to drink its Red Oil and incerate it, until it be quite melted, and do flow without smoke. Nor mayest thou fear its flight, for the Earth being mollified with the sweetness of the Potion will retain it, having received it, within its bowels: then take the Elixir thus perfected into thine own power and keep it carefully. In God rejoice, and be silent.

132.  The order and method of composing and perfecting the white Elixir is the same, so that thou usest the white Elements only in the composition thereof ; but the body of it brought to the term of decoction will end in the plate; white, splendid, and crystal-like, which incerated with its White Oil will be fused. Cast one weight of either Elixir, upon ten times its weight of Argent-vive well washed and thou wilt admire its effect with astonishment.

133.  Because in the Elixir the strength of Natural Fire is most abundantly multiplied by the Spirit infused into the Quintessence, and the depraved accidents of bodies, which beset their purity and the true light of Nature with darkness, are taken away by long and manifold sublimations and digestions; therefore Fiery Nature freed from its Fetters and fortified with the aid of Heavenly strength, works most powerfully, being included in this our Fifth Element: let it not therefore be a wonder, if it obtain strength not only to perfect imperfect things, but also to multiply its force and power. Now the Fountain of Multiplication is in the Prince of the Luminaries, who by the infinite multiplication of his beams begetteth all things in this our Orb, and multiplieth things generated by infusing a multiplicative virtue into the seeds of things

134.  The way of multiplying the Elixir is threefold: By the first: R, Mingle one weight of Red Elixir, with nine times its weight of Red Water, and dissolve it into Water in a Vessel suitable for Solution; the matter being well dissolved and united coagulate it by decoction with a gentle Fire, until it be made strong into a Ruby or Red Lamel, which afterwards incerate with its Red Oil, after the manner prescribed until it melt and flow; so shalt thou have a medicine ten times more powerful than the first. The business is easily finished in a short time.

135.  By the Second manner. R, What Portion thou pleasest of thy Elixir mixed with its Water, the weights being observed; seal it very well in the Vessel of Reduction, dissolve it in a Bath, by inhumation; being dissolved, distil it separating the Elements by their proper degrees of fire, and fixing them downwards, as was done in the first and second work, until it become a Stone; lastly, incerate it and Project it. This is the longer, but yet the richer way, for the virtue of the Elixir is increased even an hundred fold; for by how much the more subtle it is made by reiterated operations, so much more both of superior and inferior strength it retaineth, and more powerfully operateth.

136.  Lastly, take one Ounce of the said Elixir multiplied in virtue and project it upon an hundred of purified Mercury, and in a little time the Mercury made hot amongst burning Coals will be converted into pure Elixir; whereof if thou castest every ounce upon another hundred of the like Mercury, Sol will shine most purely to thine eyes. The multiplication of White Elixir may be made in the same way. Study the virtues of this Medicine to cure all kinds of diseases, and to preserve good health, as also other uses thereof, out of the Writings of Arnold of Villa Nova, Lullius and of other Philosophers.

Magnificent and Select Tract on the Philosophical Water

It is first necessary for the mercury to be purified of its outer dampness and earthliness, but this must not be done with harmful and destructive things which would destroy its noble, fruitful, green and fertile nature. Avicenna, Arnoldus, Geber, Raymundus in codicillo and other philosophers state that mercury is best purified through the sublimation of commonly prepared salt. The sublimate is dried and mixed with Sal Tartari, is ground per retortam, then cut up. This must be done several times. In this way the mercurius will be rid of its outer dampness and foecibus. This purgation, says Bernhardus at the end of his epistle, does not harm the mercurius because the hot water and the salt do not penetrate it.

But you must understand my son, that while the mercurius is a uniform and inseparable substance and essence, we cannot completely purify its outer whiteness, for its earthy impurity lies hidden in its innermost depths and it cannot be separated from it by any method of sublimation, how ever many ignorant people have the audacity to suggest this. For this reason the following method must be used. The mercurium vivum purgatum must be freed from the bonds with which Nature ties it so securely to the earth. These bonds must be loosed and it must be returned to its very first essence, namely a sulphuric, spiritual water, without the addition of any foreign bodies in the world, as Rogerius Bacon testifies to under the title ‘De Mercurio’, and as Raymundus also says in the ‘Theorica’ of his testament: Unless it is putrified in this way and dissolved, the menstruum will not be worth a fig. But when the living mercury, purified of all foreign bodies, has been freed of its bonds, and returned to its original water, then we can purify it inwardly and separate the spiritum from the water and its earthliness by distillation.

The philosophers have spoken in secret words about the separation, in a way that a hard-headed man would not easily understand. They have written of it mysteriously and in a figurative manner in their description of the distillation of wine that the spirit of wine is mixed with a great deal of water and worldy earthiness. But the dry spiritum, or spirit of wine, can be separated from all phlegmatic moisture and worldy earthliness by artificial distillation. In other words, the whole spiritum is separated from the water o the wine, and the water from the earth. And so the yeast, through whose calcinations its own white salt is extracted, remains. This is married again with the spiritu and distilled again several times until all the sal nitri has then gone into the lid of the distilling vessel with the spiritu. In this way the power of the spiritus is greatly strengthened and heightened by the sal. Truly, the philosophers have given us a remarkable figurative description, which we should also follow in the description of the water of mercury.

For when the latter has been dissolved, we should do exactly as was done to the wine: By the sublimation of the water (or phlegma) from the spiritu, the spiritum is separated from the earth, the earth is rectified and married again to the spiritu, and they are distilled again and again until both substances are to be found in the lid of the distilling vessel.

Of all the philosophers, none has written better and more clearly on this subject than Raymundus Lullius, in his ‘Testamento Novissimo’ and also in his first testament ‘In Libro Mercuriorum, libro Q. Essentia’ in which he explains clearly and at length that after the putrefaction, separation and distillation of the philosophical spirit of wine, the spiritual water is mixed and distilled again with its earth, and they are both put over the alembic together. He also explains that this philosophical wine or mentruum is heightened and strengthened with its own salt. And also you must also understand that this water, menstruum or philosophical spirit of wine dissolves its own corpus or living mercurium into the original essence or water, and is then multiplied ceaselessly through the putrefaction and the distillation. What is said of the extract of this water is confirmed by Arnoldus de Villa Nova when he says: It is a substance full of foul smelling vapours and which contains a gross moisture. From this substance the artist separates the philosophical moisture which is easy to work with and which is as clear as tears. The Q. Essentia lives in is metallic form in this substance. It causes no discomfort to the metals, and the tincture of the whole metal can be gathered in it. For it contains Nature’s Argenti Vivi, and the nature of sulphuris.

On the subject of the distillation of this menstruum or water ‘Rosarius Philosophorum’ says that you should take great care that the dishes in which you wish to purify your spirit are made of glass, so that the spirit can find no place to escape through, for it often slips quickly through the holes in dishes. And once the red spirit has escaped all the artist’s work is in vain. The red spirit is what the philosophers call blood and menstruum. So take care with your dishes and with any cracks in your dishes, so that you can catch the dry spirit with its blood in a receptable, without letting its power escape. Store it carefully until you begin to work on it. But seeing the distillation is more important than reading about it, and none can become a Master without having first been a pupil. For this reason take great care over your work. Using a receptacle distill the element at first over a gentle fire, and when it has been distilled off, put it aside and replace it with another receptacle. Make sure all the cracks are tightly sealed so that the spirit cannot escape. Make the fire a little stronger. A dry yellow spiritus will rise into the lid of the distilling vessel. Keep the fire burning steadily for as long as the spirit is yellow. Then, when the alembic begins to turn red, make the fire a little stronger, and keep it at this temperature until the red spirit and the blood have been completely distilled off and are floating in the lid of the distilling vessel like clouds in the sky. As soon as the red spirit is distilled off, the lid will turn white. Stop as soon as this happens. You now have the two elements air and water in the receptacle, and you have separated the right matter.

    As you will see, you now have the primam materiam metallorum in which corpora can be reduced. []But, my son, the greatest secret of all is how to free the stone or mercurium vivum from the natural bonds with which it is bound to the laws of Nature, that is, how to dissolve it and return it to its original water. For if this did not happen, all our work would be in vain, for we could not separate and extract the true spirit or liquid essence which dissolves all corpora. [] But take note, my dear son, of what I am about to tell you, and of how the philosophers have left an account for those who understand their books, namely, that this water cannot be prepared using strange methods in the world, but rather, it can only be prepared using natural means; together with Nature and from nature. These words are bright and clear to those who understand, so this time I will not explain it openly, but I will write it down in a special little tract, but as a memorial I will add here the following verses:

Take one that is fresh, pure, living, white and clear,
Tie its hands and feet well
With the strongest rope you can find
So that it dries and is choked
In the House of Putrefaction,
As Nature has shown us.
By this same harmonious Nature
It will be dissolved and it will rise to the original essence.
It is a living, spiritual spring
Which flows clearly and brightly from Heaven.
It eats its own flesh and blood
In order to multiply.

    Whoever succeeds, with God’s help, in attaining this blessed water should thank God, for he has in his hands the key which will open the closed locks of all metal chests, and can take gold, silver, precious stones, honour, power and good health. This blessed water is called the daughter of Pluto by the philosophers, it has strength and power over all reassures. It is also called the white, pure, tender and unspoiled maid of Beja and without it no birth or blending can occur. For this reason the philosophers have married this tender and pure maid to Gabrico, so that they bear fruit, and when she was joined with Gabricus, he died. Beja swallowed and consumed him in her great love, as Arisleus tells in his ‘Practica’: The spring or Fontina is like a mother to the king, for she draws him to her and kills him. But through her the king is resurrected again and he joins himself fast to her, so that no man can harm him. This is why the philosopher says that Gabricus is more precious and worthy and dear to the world than Beja, but he can bear no fruit alone.

The philosophers have called this maid and blessed water by many thousands of different names in their books. They call it heaven, a heavenly water, a heavenly rain, a heavenly thaw, a May thaw, water of Paradise, an aqua fortis and an aquam Regis, a corrosive aquafort, a sharp vinegar and liquor, also Quintam essentiam vini, a waxy green juice, waxy mercurium, green water and Leonem viridis, quicksilver, menstruum or blood. They also call it urine and horse piss, milk and virgin’s milk, water of arsenic, silver, Luna or Lunae water, woman, a female seed, a sulphuric steam and smoke, a fiery, burning spirit, a deathly all-penetrating poison, a dragon, a scorpion which eats its young, a hellish fire of horse dung, a sharp salt, sal armoniacum, a common salt, a lye, a viscous oil, the stomach of an ostrich which eats and digests all things, an eagle, a vulture and hermetic bird, a vessel and Sigillum Hermetis, a melting and calcinating oven, and innumerable other names of animals, birds, plants, waters, juices, milks and blood, etc. They have used all these names and written of it figuratively in their books. They have suggested that such a water is made of these things, with the result that all ignorant people who have searched for it in these things, have not found the desired water.

Waite - Collectanea Chemica - On The Philosophers Stone

On The Philosophers Stone

Take any herb which is potent in medicine, and either extract the tincture with spirit of wine, or distil in the common way; reserve the distilled water, or tincture, when separated from the feces, for use. Then take the feces, or Caput Mortuum, and calcine it to a calx. Grind this to powder.

That done, take the water, or tincture, and mix them together; distil again, and calcine, forcing the moisture over by a retort, in a wary process, calcining and cohobating the spirit on the salt till it attains a perfect whiteness and oily nature, like the finest alkali, commonly called Flemish.

As your salt requires it in the process, have in readiness more of the extracted tincture, or distilled spirit, that you may not work it, viz., the salt, too dry; and yet proceed cautiously, not adding too much of the moisture, so that the dealbating, or whitening, may keep visibly heightening at every repetition of the process. Frequent experiments may enable you to push it on to a redness, but a fine yellow is the best of all; for the process tends, in its perfection at this period, to a state of dryness, and must be managed with a strong fire. By following these directions, you have here the two tinctures in the Vegetable Kingdom, answering to the white and red tinctures in the mineral.

You have, by carefully following our directions above, procured the tinctures, white or yellow, in the Vegetable Kingdom. The yellow is more efficacious if the work is well performed; either of them, by being exposed in the air, will soon run into a thick, essential oil, smelling very strong of the plant, and the virtues of any quantity may be concentrated by often repeating the circulation. But you have no need of this, unless for curiosity, there being in your tinctures a real permanent power to extract the essential virtues of any herb you may require on immersion only, where the essential salt and volatile spirit, together with the sulphureous oil, are all conjoined, floating on the top of your tincture, and the terrestrial feces precipitated to the bottom; not as in distillation, or extraction of the tincture with alcohol, while the stalk and texture of the plant are entire; no, this Vegetable Tincture devours the whole substance of the plant, and precipitates only the earthy particles acquired in its vegetation, which no degree of calcination could push to an alkali, without its essential salt.

Such is the virtue of our Vegetable Tincture; and if the operation be never so often repeated with different herbs, it loses nothing of its virtue, or quantity or quality, casting up the virtues of whatever herb is immersed, and precipitating the earth as before when both are easily separated and the medicine preserved for use.

Let a medicine, thus prepared, be examined, and the principles by which it is extracted, with the general methods of preparation; if the distilled water for instance, of any aromatical or balsamic herb, be took, common experience will convince us that nothing but its volatile parts come over the head; but take the Caput Mortuum, and it will calcine after this process, and afford an alkali, which proves itself to be an essential salt by its pungency, and will, in the air, run to an oil, which is its essential sulphur. If you take the tincture extracted with alcohol, it is the same, only the more resinous parts of some herbs may enrich the extract, and the volatile sulphur giving the color and scent, be retained, which escapes in distillation; but the potent virtue or soul of the herb, if we may be allowed the expression, goes to the dunghill. It is the same if the expressed juice of the herb is used; and if taken in powder, or substance, as it is sometimes prescribed, but little of its virtue, beyond its nourishing quality, can be communicated to the patient, except as a bitter or a vermifuge, in which cases, perhaps, it is best by way of infusion.


Of the Metallic Tincture

All true philosophers agree that the First Matter of metals is a moist vapor, raised by the action of the central fire in the bowels of the earth, which, circulating through its pores, meets with the crude air, and is coagulated by it into an unctuous water, adhering to the earth, which serves it for a receptacle, where it is joined to a sulphur more or less pure, and a salt more or less fixing, which it attracts from the air, and, receiving a certain degree of concoction from the central and solar heat, is formed into stones and rocks, minerals, and metals. These were all formed of the same moist vapor originally, but are thus varied from the different impregnations of the sperm, the quality of salt and sulphur with which it is fixed, and the purity of the earth which serves it for a matrix; for whatever portion of this moist vapor is taking along its impurities, is soon deprived of heat, both solar and central, and the grosser parts, forming a mucilaginous substance, furnish the matter of common rocks and stones. But when this moist vapor is sublimed, very slowly, through a fine earth, not partaking of a sulphureous unctuously, pebbles are formed; for the sperm of these beautiful, variegated stones, with marbles, alabasters, etc., separates this depurated vapor, both for their first formation and continual growth. Gems are in like manner formed of this moist vapor when it meets with pure salt water, with which it is fixed in a cold place. But if it is sublimed leisurely through places which are hot and pure, where the fatness of sulphur adheres to it, this vapor, which the philosophers call their Mercury, is joined to that fatness and becomes an unctuous matter, which coming afterwards to other places, cleansed by the afore-named vapors, where the earth is subtle, pure, and moist, fills the pores of it, and so gold is made.

But if the unctuous matter comes into places cold and impure, lead, or Saturn, is produced; if the earth be cold and pure, mixed with sulphur, the result is copper. Silver also is formed of this vapor, where it abounds in purity, but mixed with a laser degree of sulphur and not sufficiently concocted. In tin, or Jupiter, as it is called, it abounds, but in less purity. In Mars, or iron, it is in a lesser proportion impure, and mixed with an adjust sulphur.

Hence it appears that the First Matter of metals is one thing, and not many, homogeneous, but altered by the diversity of places and sulphurs with which it is combined. The philosophers frequently describe this matter.

Sendivogius calls it heavenly water, not wetting the hands; not vulgar, but almost like rain water. When Hermes calls it a bird without wings, figuring thereby its vaporous nature, is it well described. When he calls the sun its father and the moon its mother, he signifies that it is produced by the action of heat upon moisture. When he says the wind carries it in its belly, he only means that the air is its receptacle. When he affirms that which is inferior is like that which is superior, he teaches that the same vapor on the surface of the earth furnishes the matter of rain and dew, wherewith all things are nourished in the vegetable and animal kingdoms. This now is what the philosophers call their Mercury and affirm it to be found in all things, as it is in fact.

Of the Second Matter, or Seed in Metals

[] indeed, the first principles of revealed religion are demonstrated from the whole process, for the seed of metals is shown in corruption, and raised in incorruption; it is sown a natural body, and raised a spiritual body; it is known to partake of the curse which came upon the earth for man's sake, having in its composition a deadly poison, which can only be separated by regeneration in water and fire; it can, when it is thoroughly purified and exalted, immediately tinge imperfect metals and raise them to a state of perfection, being in this respect a lively emblem of that seed of the woman, the Serpent Bruiser, who, through His sufferings and death, hath entered into glory, having thenceforth power and authority to redeem, purify, and glorify all those who come unto Him as a mediator between God and mankind.

Such being our motives, we can no longer be silent concerning the seed of metals, but declare that it is contained in the ores of metals, as wheat is in the grain; and the sottish folly of alchemists has hindered them from adverting to this, so that they have always sought it in the vulgar metals [] therein acting as foolishly as if a man should sow bread and expect corn from it, or from an egg which is boiled hope to produce a chicken. Nay, though the philosophers have said many times the vulgar metals are dead, not excepting gold, which passes the fire, they could never imagine a thing so simple as that the seed of metals was contained in their ores, where alone it ought to be expected;[]

[]we shall go on to observe that the ores of metals are our First Matter, or sperm, wherein the seed is contained, and the key of this art consists in a right dissolution of the ores into a water, which the philosophers call their mercury, or water of life, and an earthy substance, which they have denominated their sulphur.

The first is called their woman, wife, Luna, and other names, signifying that it is the feminine quality in their seed; and the other they have designated their man, husband, Sol, etc., to point out its masculine quality.

In the separation and due conjunction of these with heat, and careful management, there is generated a noble offspring, which they have for its excellency called the quintessence or a subject wherein the four elements are so completely harmonized as to produce a fifth subsisting in the fire, without waste of substance, or diminution of its virtue, wherefore they have given it the titles of Salamander, Phoenix, and Son of the Sun.

Of the Dissolution and Extraction of the Seed in Metals.

[]the mercury, which is the metallic seed, is attainable from all [metals], and is easier to be extracted from lead, which is confirmed by the true adepts, advising us to seek for the noble child where it lies in a despised form, shut up under the seal of Saturn;

[]Suppose, then, an artist would extract a mineral mercury from the ores, and chooses an ore for his subject. He can only assist Nature in the process by stirring up a central heat, which she includes in everything not already putrefied, as a root of its life, in which it is increased. The medium by which this central heat is put in motion is known to be putrefaction; but the ores of every kind are found to resist putrefaction in all known processes extant. They may, indeed, when they have been fluxed in the fire, contract a rust from the air, which is a gradual decomposition of their substance, but this is only the natural decay of a dead body, not the putrefaction of its sperm for the purposes of propagation; and we are sensible from the heat of furnaces which is required to flux the ores, and the slowness of their decay when deprived of their seminal qualities, by fluxation, that a heat which would destroy the seed in vegetables may be necessary in the first stages of putrefaction for the ores, as they will bear a red fire without being fluxed or losing anything but their sulphureous and arsenical impurities; in short, a matter in itself as much extraneous to the seed of metals, as the chaff to the wheat; wherefore, a careful separation of these by roasting, or otherwise, is deservedly reckoned among the first operations for the putrefaction of ores, and the rather because that which has been calcined, by having its pores opened, is rendered attractive, both of the air and other menstruums proper for its decomposition.

Let the artist, therefore, by fire and manual operation, separate the impure qualities from his subject, pounding, washing, and calcining, till no more blackness is communicated to his menstruum, for which pure rain water is sufficient. It will be seen on every repetition of this process, that what fouls the water is extraneous and the ore yet exists in its individual metallic nature, except it is fluxed by a too intense heat, in which case it is no longer fit for our purpose; therefore fresh ore is to be used.

The matter being thus prepared, its central fire will be awakened, if it is treated properly, according to the process for extracting quicksilver from its ores, by keeping it in a close heat, which is continued without admission of the crude air, till the radical moisture is elevated in the form of a vapor, and again condensed into a metallic water, analogous to quicksilver.

This is the true mercury of the Philosophers, and fit for all their operations in the Hermetic Art.

Of the Separation and Further Treatment of our Philosophical Seed.

The Putrefaction of our subject being thus completed, it exists under two forms; the moisture which was extracted, and the residuum, being our Philosophical Earth. The water contains its seminal virtue, and the earth is a proper receptacle, wherein it may fructify. Let the water, then, be separated and kept for use; calcine the earth, for an impurity adheres to it which can only be taken away by fire, and that, too, of the strongest degree; for here there is no danger of destroying the seminal quality, and our earth must be highly purified before it can ripen the seed.

This is what Sendivogius means when he says: Burn the sulphur till it becomes Sulphur incombustible. Many lose in the preparation what is of most use in the art; for our mercury is corrected (healed) by the sulphur, else it would be of no use.

Let, therefore, the earthy part be well calcined, and return the mercury on the calcined earth; afterwards draw it off by distillation; then calcine, cohere, and distill, repeating the process till the mercury is well corrected by the sulphur, and the sulphur is purified to a whiteness, and goes on to red, a sign of its complete purification, where you have the Philosophical Male and Female ready for conjunction.

Of the Union or Mystical Marriage in the Philosophical Process.

The seed and its earth being thus prepared, nothing remains but a judicious conjunction of them together; for it too much moisture prevails, the philosophical egg may burst before it can go through the heat necessary for its hatching. To speak without a figure. Our subject must now be enclosed in a small glass vial, made strong enough to bear a due heat, which is to be raised gradually to the highest degree: the best form for this vessel being that of an oil flask, with a long neck; but these are much too thin in substance for this operation. In such a vessel the mixture is to be sealed hermetically, and digested so long till it is fixed into a dry concretion; but, if, as we observed, the moisture should predominate, there is great danger of the vessel bursting, with a vapor which cannot be concentered by the fixing quality in the matter. The intention is, nevertheless, to fix our subject in the heat, and so render its future destruction impossible.

On the other hand, if the dry, fixing quality of the sulphur exceeds so as not to suffer an alternate resolution of its substance into vapors, and a re-manifestation of its fixing quality, by causing the whole to subside in the bottom of the vessel till the matter again liquefies and sublimes (which Ripley has well described), there is danger of the whole vitrifying; and thus you shall have only glass instead of the noble tincture. To avoid these two extremes it is very proper that the purified earth be reduced by manual operation to an impalpable fineness, and then its corrected mercury must be added, incorporating both together till the earth will imbibe no more. This operation will require time, with some degree of the artist's patience; for however the humidity may seem disproportionate, on letting it rest awhile, a dryness on the surface of your matter will show that it is capable of imbibing more, so that the operation is to be repeated till it is fully saturated, which may be known from its bearing the air without any remarkable change of surface from dry to humid; or, on the contrary, if so, the conjunction is well made, which is farther confirmed if a small portion be spread upon a thin plate if iron, heated till it flows gently like wax, casting forth the moisture with heat and again absorbing it when cold, so as to return to the former consistence; but if a clamminess ensures it is a sign you have exceeded in the quantity of humidity, which must be extracted by distilling again and repeating the process till it is right.

Your sulphur and mercury being thus united, put them into a glass vial, before described, in such a quantity as to take up one-third of its contents, leaving two-thirds, including the neck, for the circulation of your matter.

Secure the neck of your vial with a temporary luting at the first, and give a gentle heat, observing whether it sublimes and fixes alternately. If it easily sublimes and shows a disposition, at intervals, to subside at the bottom of the vessel, all is well conducted hitherto; for the moisture will first be predominant, which the sulphur can only perfectly absorb as the heat is increased for the perfect ripening of our Paradisiacal Fruit. Therefore, if it manifests a too early disposition for fixing, add more of the corrected mercury till Luna rises resplendent in her season; she will give place to the Sun in his turn. This would be the language of an adept on this occasion, only suggesting that the female quality in our prepared seed is first active, while the male is passive, and that it is afterwards passive while the male is active, such being the case in all vegetation; for every germ which is the first rudiments of a herb or tree, is predominant in moisture, and then only becomes fixed when it is fully concocted in the seed.

Of the Further Treatment and Ripening of our Seed.

This is deservedly called the Great Work of the Philosophers; and the artist having done his part hitherto, must seal up his glass hermetically, an operation which every maker of barometers knows how to perform.

The glass is then to be put into a furnace with a proper nest contrived for its reception, so as to give a continual heat from the first to the fourth degree, and to afford the artist an opportunity, from time to time, of inspecting every change which his matter assumes during the process, without danger of damping the heat and putting a stop to its perfect circulation. A heat of the first degree is sufficient at the first, for some months, in which method much time may be lost by a young practitioner, till he knows how to handle his matter from experience; but then he is not so liable to be disappointed with the bursting of his vessel or the matter vitrifying.

Of the Further Process to the Ripening of our Noble Seed.

Our vessel being warily heated at the first for fear of its cracking, an ebullition of the contained matter is brought on, so that the moisture is alternately circulated in white fumes above, and condensed below, which may continue for a month or two, nay longer, increasing the heat gradually to another degree, as your matter discovers a disposition for fixing, by the vapor continuing at longer intervals condensed, and rising in a lesser quantity, of an ash color, or other dark shades, which it will assume as a medium to perfect blackness, the first desirable stage in our harvest. Other colors may be exhibited in this part of the work without danger, if they pass transiently; but if a faint redness, like that of the corn poppy, continues, the matter is in danger of vitrifying, either from an impatient urging of the fire, or the moisture not being sufficiently predominant. An ingenious artist can remedy this by opening his vessel and adding more of the corrected mercury, sealing it up as before; but a novice would do much better to prevent it by governing his fire according to the appearances of his matter, with judgment and patience, increasing it if the moisture manifests its predominancy too long, and slacking if the dry prevails, till such time as the vapors become dark; and after they have continued for some time at rest, a pellicle or film on the matter shows its disposition for fixing, retaining the vapor captive for some time, till it breaks through at different places on its surface (much like the bituminous substance of coal in a soldering fire), with darker clouds, but quickly dissipated, and growing less in quantity, till the whole substance resembles molten pitch, or the aforesaid bituminous substance, bubbling less and less, resting in one entire black substance at the bottom of your glass. This is called the blackness of black, the head of the crow, etc., and is esteemed a desirable stage in our philosophical generation, being the perfect putrefaction of our seed, which will ere long show its vital principle by a glorious manifestation of Seminal Virtue.

A Further Description of the Process.

When the putrefaction of our seed has been thus completed, the fire may be increased till glorious colors appear, which the Sons of Art have called Cauda Pavonis, or the Peacock's Tail. These colors come and go, as heat is administered approaching to the third degree, till all is of a beautiful green, and as it ripens assumes a perfect whiteness, which is the White Tincture, transmuting the inferior metals into silver, and very powerful as a medicine. But as the artist well knows it is capable of a higher concoction, he goes on increasing his fire till it assumes a yellow, then an orange or citron color; and then boldly gives a heat of the fourth degree, till it acquires a redness like blood taken from a sound person, which is a manifest sign of its thorough concoction and fitness for the uses intended.

Of the Stone and its Uses.

Having thus completed the operation, let the vessel cool, and on opening it you will perceive your matter to be fixed into a ponderous mass, thoroughly of a scarlet color, which is easily reducible to powder by scraping, or otherwise, and in being heated in the fire flows like wax, without smoking, flaming, or loss of substance, returning when cold to its former fixity, heavier than gold, bulk for bulk, yet easy to be dissolved in any liquid, in which a few grains being taken its operation most wonderfully pervades the human body, to the extirpation of all disorders, prolonging life by its use to its utmost period; and hence it has obtained the appellation of "Panacea," or a Universal Remedy.

Of the Transmutation.

When the artist would transmute any metal --- for instance, lead --- let a quantity be melted in a clean crucible, to which let a few grains of gold in filings be cast; and when the whole is melted, let him have in readiness a little of the powder, which will easily scrape off from his "stone," the quantity inconsiderable, and cast it on the metal while in fusion.

Immediately there will arise a thick fume, which carries off with it the impurities contained in the lead, with a crackling noise, and leaves the substance of the lead transmuted into most pure gold, without any kind of sophistication; the small quantity of gold added, previous to projection, serves only as a medium to facilitate the transmutation, and the quantity of your tincture is best ascertained by experience, as its virtue in proportioned to the number of circulations you have given after the first has been completed.

For instance: when you have finished the stone, dissolve it in our mercury again, wherein you have previously dissolved a few grains of pure gold. This operation is done without trouble, both substances readily liquefying. Put it into your vessel, as before, and go through the process. There is no danger in the management, but breaking your vessel; and every time it is thus treated its virtues are increased, in a ratio of ten to one hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, etc., both in medicinal and transmuting qualities; so that a small quantity may suffice for the purposes of an artist during the remaining term of his life.

Marsilius Ficinus - Liber de Arte Chemica

Now let us descend to the praxis, which we will divide into two works. In the first mention shall be made of the first solution, and of separation and distillation. In the second we will treat of conjunction and fixation, where consideration will be had of the most secret augmentation, which you will find in no book in the world. But here I have a mind to bring in the degrees of all the work wholly. For first we compound, the compound we putrefy, the putrefied we dissolve, the dissolved we divide, the divided we cleanse, the cleansed we unite, and so the work is accomplished.

Some also of the more modern have thought, that solution may be made in a shorter time if a long pounding or grinding of the gold by itself were first made by a certain mill or in a mortar. First therefore let the copper be purified with common salt prepared or with any other fitting thing, that its most subtle substance may be had. Let some parts of this purified water be mixed very well with one part of the most fine Gold, reduce into leaves or thin spangles, and let them be put in a long glass with a hollow belly, stopped with little pieces of cloth, and with the sign of the cross, and let the glass be covered with ashes, up to the superficies of the water, and let a very small heat be given, that the matter may not seem to ascend, but remain live with the gold, and let that equally balance heat be kept so long a while, until in the water of mercury there out upon it a certain vaporous and subtle earth, which in a wonderful colour is wont to be known when it is to be extracted.

The copper being at length extracted, you shall distill the water, in which there is the soul of gold or the metallic mercury of gold, with a slow heat, so that three core minutes may be counted between drop and drop. And that distilled water is called, our living water, which enlivens all bodies, and is composed of two natures: understand spirit, soul, and ferment, because the spirit is the seat of the soul, and its retaining bond. And this water is called by many names, the most sharp vinegar, lune, the woman's sperm, or the feminine menstruum, heaven, mercury, the hair of the red man, that is, the spirit of Sol, that is of gold: But the Sulfur is called the body, the male Sol, the male sperm, earth and mercury.

We ought therefore to join two waters, the Sulphur of Gold, and the soul and body of its Mercury, Sol and Lune, the male and female, two sperms, heaven and earth, and two, as I may say, Argent vives, and out of which alone the philosophers say their stone is made; which pitiful fellows mistake for crude mercury. But that mercury is all metals, male and female, and an hermaphrodite monster in the very marriage of the soul and the body, which I call solution; and the putrefaction of the philosophers. The earth of gold is dissolved by its own spirit, which you shall discover in these proportions. The body must be dissolved in the subtlest middle air: The body is also dissolved by its own heat and humidity; where the soul, the middle nature holds the principality in the colour of blackness all in the glass: which blackness of Nature the ancient Philosophers called the crows head, or the black sun.

Of the augmentation it self of the stone, both of the ancients and the modern Philosophers: and it is concluded that there is but one day and one night. Again seven days from the seven lords of the world.
It now pleases me, O son of wisdom, to bring that physical pinnacle into the happy work. Then move the oars, spread the sails abroad, give a swift and prosperous wind, the safe haven is to be looked for. After our stone is made white, we call it our begotten son: though now a child it is a perfect man, consisting of a body and soul; yet it is not able to get another progeny, unless it be first bred up with a nourishment of its own nature, until it arrives at an age mature for generation. We have received from these ancient philosophers, who operated in Nature only, that their living water was divided into two parts. Who when they had with one part of the water attained to the fixed whiteness, they rubefied it with the other part of the water which was reserved, or perhaps with fire alone. Others in the red stone, because it hath ascended to the highest degree, and cannot be increased by itself, have begun again those works, which they accomplished before, dissolving that redness with the other part of the water, which they had reserved, they again reduced it into the first essence, as I may say. And they worked almost in all things as from the beginning, but truly with a greater industry both of the fire and of the labours: and I believe this repetition to be the truer and the greater augmentation.

Wherefore also the first philosophers used a longer time in finishing the stone. Which their successors and posterity used to end in the course of a year, so that they augmented the white stone (by which they would tinge into silver) with a lunar sperm throughout the whole, or by adding to it other spirits, namely white ones drawn out of tin, and lead by sublimation. Moreover they rubified the white stone with the solar sperm, or other reddish spirits out of iron and copper. And this you may judge was done not amiss, since those inferior bodies have much tincture in them. If so be you should take what is the more perfect out of those bodies and should add it to the more perfect body, what doubt is there that the whole would be made perfect? And such like inferior bodies are called spirits when we say: Dissolve the body, that is the stone already made, and join the spirits. They are also called children when we say: children play with the stone, when they make it greater in weight and virtue. Whence also we in other works know the urine of children of four years old to be the water of the four inferior bodies; which since it is called the aqua fortis of the Philosophers, is said to dissolve gold: out of which things we do not deny but that a certain stone is made.

The mineral stone we distinguish in three ways. The stone of the Philosophers is made out of gold alone and Nature alone; and that is the more sublime; which is by the philosophers reported to cure all sicknesses. The second is the simple stone, when the root only, and the sulfur of gold or silver is in the end augmented by the spirits of the inferior bodies. Where these weights set down in the lesser Turba are discussed: One to three, or two to seven, wanting only a golden or a silver sulphur.

The three red spirits are reduced to the golden, the three white ones to the Silver sulphur. Now there are two sulphurs and seven spirits out of which the number nine proceeds and is made up: Concerning which most men have even unto this day, made foolish comments. We say that the sulphurs of all the metals with their spirits make up the third stone. It is by the most prudent in philosophy thus determined that the stone can tinge innumerable parts. That every spirit is multipliable, but no body. And since our stone is made extremely volatile, and as I may say, spiritual and all fiery, and nourished in the fire by a long decoction, and very often repeated by very many solutions and coagulations, why may you not believe that that stone can tinge innumerable parts? If you with judgement do inwardly apprehend the way of Nature and her admirable properties. The more often you shall have dissolved it into the white Sol, and again coagulated, the more it will tinge. Also the more wives a man shall have taken, the greater issue he will have.

And a certain philosopher says this: If you shall have given it tincture, it will tinge as you would have it. Which may also be seen in corn and seed, since out of one little grain many are produced, out of which often repeated, there uses to arise at length a rich crop. Nor will this be a lesser argument, if to the sun and moon first conjoined you add their children; that is, the inferior planets, and the planets are the lords of the world, who govern all this mighty mass. What should hinder it, but that the stone composed of all ye metallic things may by tinging the whole world. The same is also manifest concerning the stone out of Gold only, because Sol is the Lord of the other planets, and the rest of the planets take from him a golden lustre. From whence it may be concluded that there is but one day and one night in the whole age of the world. Again seven days from the seven planets, and those days one day; because the sun is one: the brightness of the sun, is day, which shining on you, all trouble and calamity does fly away from you.

Mix the masculine prince with Mercury in a twelfth proportion in respect of the prince. Put it to a slow fire and continue it, until the mercury dissolving the bodies there appear aloft. A Venus swimming, which extracts until nothing of the body remains in the bottom, and you have the first part of the physical work. The second part of the work is sulphur, put that in a glass without water, and by distilling the water of the body, in which there is the soul of Lune. Join this water with the sulphur, and permit a many times, one to arise sometimes with the other, sometimes to be depressed: until Venus shall have conceived her water, which is done in a most white color, and you have the elixir to the white. The third part of the work is: You shall make citrine with a strong fire, the most white, earth which you have obtained: afterward you shall rubify it by the force of fire, and it is the elixir to the red.

Of another way of working: Still I have a mind to contain in short, and with admirable art that divine knowledge. Dissolve the body, take the Sulphur, cleanse it, sublime the spirit, join the spirit with the sulphur, and you will have the physical art. In every perfect alchemical work, though never so small, it is necessary to have the spirit and sulphur of Gold. The spirit tinges with a golden colour. The sulphur gives the weight of Gold, and coagulates. If it wanted either, the work would be nothing. Then say and speak the greatest truth, that all the secret of Nature lies hid in the Venus of the physical Gold. Wherefore it is wont to be called the coagulation; when it is said: take that coagulum from the body, and you have a magistery, than which there is not a greater in Nature. Likewise cleanse the coagulum, and destroy the impediment, and you will tinge. But because a dirty cloth, not compared to sulphur, cannot be washed without water. To wash is to dissolve, to dissolve is to purify, the water is mercury, it is the key. It alone does open the body, and whitens the sulphur, which being whitened, it recedes with uncleanliness. I would say you were admirably learned if you should be able to remove it, the uncleanliness, it is the impediment and eternal death. Wherefore it shall not go to heaven, as above in chapter 14 I have plainly demonstrated. And I say unto you by God the creator of heaven, it is one of the greatest secrets. Furthermore, the very knowledge of the stone is no other thing than the purification of the earth, or of Nature. The earth cannot be cleared from feces and purged, unless through the middle or center it shall have received the water unto itself. And this comprehends the whole art in short, if you have understood Nature.

[]the Questions put by Illardus the Necromancer to the devil, concerning the stone of the Philosophers:

In what time can the stone be brought to an end?

Twelve months are necessary from the first day of the beginning. In thirty days and earth is generated out of lead, or the nature of the earth makes lead grow. In one hundred days argent vive grows in water. In sixty days complete there grew an air out of tin complete. In the other days of the year, fire grows from gold. In the moment of the year ending, the soul, the middle nature, descends from heaven into this earth, and mortifies the superior and inferior powers. The image of a manifold victory to consume the war in the heart of the belly of them, even to the perpetual judgement of fire.

Alchemical Processes

1. Ablation
The separation of a component by removing the upper part, sometimes by skimming it off the surface or by wicking it up using a feather or cloth.
2. Albification
The making of the matter in the alchemical work become white.
3. Ablution
The purification of a substance by successive washings with a liquid.
4. Amalgamation
Formation of an amalgam, or alloy, of a metal with mercury. This term is sometimes extended to mean any union of metals.
5. Ascension
When the active or subtle part rises up in the flask, usually by heating.
6. Assation
The reduction of a substance to a dry ash by roasting.
7. Calcination
The breaking down of a substance by fierce heating and burning usually in an open crucible.
8. Cementation
Acting upon a substance by mixing it in layers with a powdered (often corrosive) material, such as lime. This mixture is then be made to react and weld together by heating to a high temperature in a cementing furnace.
9. Ceration
The making of a substance to soften and appear like wax. This is often accomplished by continually adding a liquid and heating.
10. Cineration
The reduction of a substance to ashes by heating.
11. Circulation
The purification of a substance by a circular distillation in a pelican or closed distillation apparatus. Through heating the liquid component separates, is condensed and descends again to the substance in the flask.
12. Coadunation
Another term for coagulation.
13. Coagulation
The conversion of a thin liquid into a solid mixture through some inner change, as with the curdling of milk. This can be accomplished by a variety of means - by the addition of a substance, by heating or cooling.
14. Coction
The cooking or heating of a substance at a moderate heat for an extended period.
15. Cohobation
The frequent removal of the moist component of a substance by heating. Often the moist component (or some other liquid) is added and the process continued.
16. Colliquation
The conjuction or melting together of two fusible substances.
17. Coloration
Tinging a substance by adding a dye or coloured tincture. Colouring can by either by tinging the whole body or by producing a surface coating.
18. Combustion
The burning of a sustance in the open air.
19. Comminution
The reduction of a substance into a powder, either by grinding, pulverising, or forcing it through a sieve.
20. Composition
The joining together of two different substances.
21. Conception
The marriage or union of the male and female aspects of substances.
22. Concoction
The cooking or heating of a mixture of substances at a moderate heat for an extended period.
23. Congelation
The conversion of a thin flowing liquid into a congealed thick substance, often by heating.
24. Conglutination
The conversion of a substance into a gluey mass, often by a putrefaction.
25. Conjunction
The joining of two opposite components, often seen as the union of the male and female, the subtle and gross, or even the elements.
26. Contrition
The reduction of a substance into powder only by means of fire.
27. Copulation
A conjunction, or joining of two opposite components, seen through the metaphor of the union of the male and female, or the union of the fixed and the volatile.
28. Corrosion
The eating up of a substance by an acid, alkali or corrosive material.
29. Cribation
The reduction of a substance to a powder by forcing through a sieve or mesh.
30. Crystallization
The formation of crystals out of a solution of the substance usually in water, either by their gradual formation from the liquid, or by evaporation of the liquid.
31. Dealbation
The making of the black substance of the alchemical process become brilliant white.
32. Decoction
The digestion of a substance in the flask without the addition of any other material.
33. Decrepitation
The crackling and spliiting apart of substances, for example common salt, on heating.
34. Deliquium
The reduction of a solid placed in a damp place to a liquid by its absorbing water from the air.
35. Descension
When the subtle or active part of a substance is made to go down to the bottom of a flask, rather than ascend as a vapour.
36. Dessication
The drying or removal of all the moisture in a substance.
37. Detonation
The explosive burning of substances on heating, for example substances mixed with nitre.
38. Digestion
The slow modification of a substance by means of a gentle heat.
39. Disintegration
The breaking down or dissociation of a substance into different parts.
40. Dispoliaration
The dissolving or transforming of a dead substance into a liquid.
41. Dissociation
The breaking down or disintegration of a substance into different parts.
42. Dissolution
The dissolving or transforming of a substance into a liquid.
43. Distillation
The separation of a volatile component from a substance by heating so as to drive off the component as a vapour which is condensed and collected in a cooler part of the apparatus.
44. Divapouration
An exhalation of dry vapours from a substance, which can occur at different degrees of heat.
45. Division
The separation of a substance into its elements.
46. Ebullition
An effervescence produced through fermentation.
47. Edulceration
The washing of a salty substance till all the salts are removed.
48. Elaboration
The general term for the process of separating the pure from the impure, and leading a sustance towards perfection, which can be done through a variety of means and processes.
49. Elevation
The raising of the subtle parts of a substance upwards, away from the bodily residues, into the upper parts of the vessel.
50. Elixeration
The conversion of a substance into an elixir.
51. Evaporation
The removal of the watery part of a substance by gentle heating, or being left a long time in a dry place.
52. Exaltation
An operation by which a substance is raised into a purer and more perfect nature.
53. Exhalation
The release of a gas or air from a substance.
54. Expression
Extraction of juices by means of a press.
55. Extraction
The preparation of the subtler and purer parts of a substance, usually by macerating it in alcohol. The extract can then be separated from the residue.
56. Fermentation
The rotting of a substance, usually of an organic nature, often accompanied by the release of gas bubbles.
57. Filtration
The process or removing the grosser parts of a substance by passing through a strainer, filter or cloth.
58. Fixation
The make a volatile subject fixed or solid, so that it remains permanently unaffected by fire.
59. Foliation
The making some substances puff up in layers, like leaves lying on top of one another, usually undertaken by heating.
60. Fulmination
The preparation of a fulminate or explosively unstable form of a metal. Sometimes applied to any process in which a sudden eruptive event occurs.
61. Fumigation
The alteration of a substance by exposing it to a corroding smoke.
62. Fusion
The joining of powdered substances together, or the conversion of a substance into a new form, by means of an extremely high degree of heat, sometimes using a flux.
63. Glutination
Turning a substance into a gluey, glutinous mass.
64. Gradation
The gradual purification of a substance, often through a series of stages.
65. Granulation
The reduction of a substance to grains or powder. There are various means of doing this - pounding, grinding, using thermal shock by heating and rapid cooling, and many others.
66. Grinding
The reduction of substances to a powder, usually through the use of a mortar and pestle.
67. Humectation
A process by which humidity is given to the substance, usually not by the direct additon of liquid, but by a gradual process of absorbing moisture.
68. Ignition
The self-calcination of a substance by it burning itself in a crucible.
69. Imbibition
The feeding of a process by the gradual and continuing addition of some substance.
70. Impastation
When the matter undergoing putrefaction thickens or congeals into the consistency of molten black pitch.
71. Impregnation
The alchemical process is sometimes paralleled with the gestation of a child. Thus impregnation follows from the union or copulation of the male and female, and leads to the generation of a new substance.
72. Inceration
The making of a substance into a soft waxy consistency, usually by combining it with water.
73. Incineration
The conversion of a substance to ashes by means of a powerful fire.
74. Incorporation
The mingling of mixed bodies into a conglomerate mass.
75. Ingression
This occurs when substances combine in such a manner that they cannot afterwards be separated.
76. Inhumation
To bury under the earth, sometimes used to mean any process that buries the active substance in a dark earthy material. Also applied to placing a flask in the warm heat of a dung bath.
77. Liquefaction
The turning of a solid material into a liquid, either by melting or dissolving.
78. Lixiviation
The oxidation of sulphide ores by exposing them to air and water. This forms vitriols.
79. Luting
The sealing of a flask or other apparatus through the use of a lute, or resinous paste which once applied sets hard and produces an airtight seal.
80. Maturation
A general term applied to identify the appearance of a degree of perfection in the work.
81. Melting
The reduction of a metal or substance to a liquid through heating.
82. Mortification
Here the substance undergoes a kind of death, usually through a putrefaction, and seems to have been destroyed and its active power lost, but eventually is revived.
83. Multiplication
The operation by which the powder of projection has its power multiplied.
84. Precipitation
The descent of a substance out of a solution. The precipitate descends to the bottom of the flask.
85. Preparation
The process by which superfluous substances are removed from the matter and that which is wanting is added to it.
86. Projection
The throwing of a ferment or tincture onto a substance in order to effect a transformation of the substance.
87. Prolectation
The separation of a substance into a subtle and more coarse part by the thinning or rarefaction of the subtler parts of the substance, rather than the coarsening of the earthy part.
88. Pulverisation
The breaking down of a substance to smaller fragments through being repeatedly struck with a blunt instrument, such as a hammer, or mallet.
89. Purgation
The purging or purifying of a sustance by it casting forth a gross part.
90. Putrefaction
The rotting of a substance, often under a prolonged gentle moist heat. Usually the matter becomes black.
91. Quinta Essentia
The making of a quintessence, or highly elevated form of a substance.
92. Rarefaction
The making of a substance extremely subtle or thin and airy.
93. Rectification
The purification of the matter by means of repeated distillations, the distillate being again distilled.
94. Reiteration
The repetition of a process, particularly applied to circular distillation, in which the distillate is returned to the vessel, and the process continued for many cycles.
95. Resolution
This occurs when substances which are mixed together become violently separated by being placed into a solution. Thus milk is in this sense resolved by vinegar. This process is similar to coagulation.
96. Restinction
Here a substance at white heat is brought to perfection by being quenched in an exalting liquid.
97. Reverberation
An ignition or calcination at a high temperature, in a reverberating furnace.
98. Revivification
The bringing of a mortified matter back to life, or reactivating it.
99. Rubification
The making of the matter in the alchemical process from white to red.
100. Segregation
The separation of a composite substance into its parts.
101. Separation
The making of two opposite components separate from each other. Often alternated with the conjunction process.
102. Stratification
An operation which produces layers in the substance in the flask.
103. Subduction
The separation of abstraction downward of the subtle part, as in filtration.
104. Sublimation
This occurs when a solid is heated and gives off a vapour which condenses on the cool upper parts of the vessel as a solid, not going through a liquid phase. An example is sal ammoniac.
105. Subtilation
The separation of the subtle part of a substance from the gross.
106. Transudation
This occurs if the essence appears to sweat out in drops during a descending distillation.
107. Trituration
The reduction of a substance to a powder, not necessarily by the use of grinding, but by the application of heat.
108. Vitrification
The making of a substance into a glass but strong heating and sometimes the addition of lime.
109. Vitriolification
The making of a vitriol. Most often from a metal by the direct action of oil of vitriol, but sometimes by a more indirect route.

Alchemical Substances

Aes cyprium. Cyprian brass or copper.

Antimony. From latin 'antimonium' used by Constantinius Africanus (c. 1050) to refer to Stibnite.

Aqua Ardens - Methanol sometimes confused with Aqua vitae by initiates. Distill good wine five times. Place the ascentate in a pelican. Put the pelican in a fermenting bed of fimus equinis. Allow to circu-late. The liquid will separate into a lower turbid layer and a sky blue liquid.

Aqua Fortis - nitric acid, can be formed by 2 parts saltpetre in 1 part (pure) oil of vitriol (sulfuric acid). (Historically, this process could not have been used, as 98% oil of vitriol was not available)

Aqua Ragia/Spirit of turpentine/Oil of turpentine/Gum turpentine - turpentine, formed by the distillation of pine tree resin.

Aqua Regia (Latin: "royal water") - a mixture of aqua fortis and spirit of salt.

Aqua Tofani - arsenic trioxide. Extremely poisonous. AsO3

Aqua vitae/Spirit of Wine - ethanol, formed by distilling wine

Auric Hydroxide - formed by precipitation by potash from gold dissolved in aqua regia.

Bismuth (German: Wismuth)


Blue Vitriol/Bluestone - A mineral; copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate.; Cupric sulphate.

Brimstone (from German Brennstein 'burning stone'). Sulphur.

Butter of Antimony. White crystalline antimony trichloride. Made by Basil Valentine by distilling roasted stibnite with corrosive sublimate. Glauber later prepared it by dissolving stibnite in hot concentrated hydrochloric acid and distilling. SbCl3

Butter of tin. Hydrated stannic chloride.; hydrated tin(IV) chloride.

Cadmia/Tuttia/Tutty - probably zinc carbonate.

Calamine - zinc carbonate.

Calomel/Horn Quicksilver/horn mercury - mercury(I) chloride, a very poisonous purgative formed by subliming a mixture of mercuric chloride and metallic mercury, triturated in a mortar and heated in an iron pot. The crust formed on the lid was ground to powder and boiled with water to remove the calomel.

Caustic marine alkali. Caustic soda. Sodium hydroxide. Made by adding lime to natron.
Caustic Soda/Caustic Marine Alkali - sodium hydroxide, formed by adding lime to natron. NaHCO3

Caustic potash/Caustic Wood Alkali - potassium hydroxide, formed by adding lime to potash.

Caustic volatile alkali. Ammonium hydroxide.

Caustic wood alkali. Caustic potash. Potassium hydroxide. Made by adding lime to potash.

Chalk - a rock composed of porous biogenic calcium carbonate. CaCo3

Chrome green - chromic oxide and cobalt oxide.

Chrome orange. Mixture of chrome yellow and chrome red.

Chrome red - basic lead chromate - PbCrO4+PbO.

Chrome yellow/Paris Yellow/Leipzig Yellow - lead chromate - PbCrO4.

Cinnabar/Vermilion - refers to several substances, among them: mercury(II) sulfide (HgS), or native vermilion (the common ore of mercury).

Cobalt. Named by the copper miners of the Hartz Mountains after the evil spirits the 'kobolds' which gave a false copper ore.

Common salt. Sodium chloride.

Copper Glance - copper(I) sulfide ore. Cuprous sulphide ore.

Corrosive sublimate - mercuric chloride, formed by subliming mercury, calcined green vitriol, common salt and nitre.

Cuprite - copper(I) oxide ore. Red cuprous oxide ore.

Dutch White - a pigment, formed from one part of white lead to three of barium sulfate. BaSO4

Flowers of antimony - antimony trioxide, formed by roasting stibnite at high temperature and condensing the white fumes that form. SbO3

Flowers of sulphur. light yellow crystalline powder, made by distilling sulphur.

Fool's gold - a mineral; iron disulfide or pyrite, can form oil of vitriol on contact with water and air.

Fulminating gold. Made by adding ammonia to the auric hydroxide formed by precipitation by potash from metallic gold dissolved in aqua regis. Highly explosive when dry.

Fulminating silver - silver nitride, formed by dissolving silver(I) oxide in ammonia. Very explosive when dry.

Galena - lead(II) sulfide. Plumbic sulphide. Chief ore of lead.

Glass of antimony - impure antimony tetroxide, formed by roasting stibnite. A yellow pigment for glass and porcelain. SbO4

Glauber's Salt - sodium sulfate. NaSO4

Green Vitriol - a mineral; iron(II) sulfate heptahydrate.; Ferrous sulphate.

Gum Arabic - gum from the Acacia tree.

Gypsum - a mineral; calcium sulfate. CaSO4

Horn Silver/Argentum Cornu - a weathered form of chlorargyrite, a glass like ore of silver chloride.

King's Yellow. A mixture of orpiment with white arsenic.

Lapis solaris (Bologna stone) - barium sulfide - 1603, Vincenzo Cascariolo

Lead fume - lead oxide, found in flues at lead smelters.

Lime/Quicklime (Burnt Lime)/Calx Viva/Unslaked Lime - calcium oxide, formed by calcining limestone.

Litharge. Reddish-yellow crystalline form of lead monoxide, formed by fusing and powdering massicot.

Liver of sulphur. Complex of polysulphides of potassium, made by fusing potash and sulphur.

Luna cornea. The soft colourless tough mass of silver chloride, made by heating horn silver till it forms a dark yellow liquid and then cooling. Described by Oswald Croll in 1608.

Lunar caustic/lapis infernalis - silver nitrate, formed by dissolving silver in aqua fortis and evaporating.

Lye - potash in a water solution, formed by leaching wood ashes.

Marcasite. Mineral form of Iron disulphide. Oxidises in moist air to green vitriol. Fe(SO4)2

Marine Acid Air - gaseous form of hydrochloric acid.

Massicot. Yellow powder form of lead monoxide. PbO.

Mercurius praecipitatus - red mercuric oxide.

Milk of sulphur (lac sulphuris). White colloidal sulphur. Geber made this by adding an acid to thion hudor (lime sulfur).

Minium or Red Lead. Triplumbic tetroxide. Formed by roasting litharge in air. Scarlet crystalline powder. Pb3O4

Mosaic Gold - Golden-yellow glistening scales of crystalline stannic sulfide, formed by heating a mixture of tin filings, sulfur and sal-ammoniac.

Naples yellow/Cassel yellow - oxychloride of lead, formed by heating litharge with sal ammoniac.

Natron. Native sodium carbonate. NaCO3

Nickel. Named by the copper miners of Westphalia the 'kupfer-nickel' or false copper.

Nitrum flammans. Ammonium nitrate made by Glauber.

Oil of Vitriol/Spirit of Vitriol - sulfuric acid, a weak version can be formed by distilling green vitriol or blue vitriol. H2SO4

Orpiment. Auri-pigmentum. Yellow ore of arsenic. Arsenic trisulphide.

Pearlash - formed by baking potash in a kiln.

Pearl white. Basic nitrate of bismuth, used by Lemery as a cosmetic. BiNO3

Philosophers' Wool/nix alba (white snow)/Zinc White - zinc oxide, formed by burning zinc in air, used as a pigment.

Plumbago - a mineral; graphite, not discovered in pure form until 1564.

Potash/Salt of tartar - potassium carbonate, formed by evaporating lye. KCO3

Powder of Algaroth. A white powder of antimonious oxychloride, made by by precipitation when a solution of butter of antimony in spirit of salt is poured into water.

Purple of Cassius. Made by Andreas Cassius in 1685 by precipitating a mixture of gold, stannous and stannic chlorides, with alkali. Used for colouring glass.

Pyrites. Mineral form of iron disulphide. Stable in air.

Quicklime. Calcium oxide.

Realgar. red ore of arsenic. Arsenic disulphide.

Regulus of antimony

Resin of copper - copper(I) chloride, Cuprous chloride. Made by Robert Boyle in 1664 by heating copper with corrosive sublimate.

Rouge, Crocus, Colcothar. Red varieties of ferric oxide are formed by burning green vitriol in air.

Sal Ammoniac. Ammonium Chloride. Described by Geber.

Sal Petrae (Med. Latin: "stone salt")/Salt of Petra/Saltpetre/Nitrate of potash - potassium nitrate, typically mined from covered dungheaps. KNO3

Salt/Common salt - A mineral; sodium chloride, formed by evaporating seawater (impure form). NaCl

Salt of Hartshorn/Sal Volatile - ammonium carbonate formed by distilling bones and horns.

Sal volatile, Spirit of Hartshorn. Volatile alkali. Ammonium carbonate made from distilling bones, horns, etc.

Slaked Lime - calcium hydroxide. CaOH

Soda ash. Sodium carbonate formed by burning plants growing on the sea shore.

Spirit of box/Pyroxylic spirit - methanol, distillation of wood alcohol. CH3OH

Spirit of Hartshorn - ammonia, formed by the decomposition of sal-ammoniac by unslaked lime.

Spirit of Salt/Acidum Salis - the liquid form of hydrochloric acid (also called muriatic acid), formed by mixing common salt with oil of vitriol.

Spiritus fumans. Stannic chloride, discovered by Libavius in 1605, through distilling tin with corrosive sublimate.

Stibnite. Antimony trisulphide. Grey mineral ore of antimony.

Sugar of Lead. Lead acetate, Made by dissolving lead oxide in vinegar.

Sweet Vitriol - diethyl ether.

Thion hudor (Zosimus refers to this as the 'divine water' or 'the bile of the serpent'). A deep reddish-yellow liquid made by boiling flowers of sulphur with slaked lime. Lime Sulfur.

Tin salt. Hydrated stannous chloride.

Turpeth mineral - hydrolysed form of mercury(II) sulfate. Yellow crystalline powder.

Venetian White. Mixture of equal parts of white lead and barium sulphate.

Verdigris. The green substance formed by the atmospheric weathering of copper. This is a complex basic carbonate of copper. In more recent times the term 'verdigris' is more correctly applied to copper(II) acetate, made by the action of vinegar on copper.

White arsenic - arsenious oxide, formed by subliminating arsenical soot from the roasting ovens.

White lead - carbonate of lead, a toxic pigment, produced by corroding stacks of lead plates with dilute vinegar beneath a heap of moistened wood shavings. (replaced by blanc fixe & lithopone)

White vitriol - zinc sulfate, formed by lixiviating roasted zinc blende.

Wismuth. Bismuth.

Wood-ash or potash. Potassium carbonate made from the ashes of burnt wood.

Zaffre. Impure cobalt arsenate, left after roasting cobalt ore.

Zinc Blende - zinc sulfide.