Table of Contents
Arsenic & Gur
Anon. ~ Hydropyrographum Hermeticum
Anon. ~ A Magnificent & Select Tract on Philosophical Water
Anon. ~ The Book of the Science of Bkrtnth
Anon. ~ An Anonymous Treatise on the Philosophers' Stone
Anon. ~ The Crowning of Nature
Anon. ~ Rosarium Philosophorum
Anon. ~ The Tomb of Semiramis
Aristeus ~ Turba Philosophorum
R. Bacon ~ The Mirror of Alchemy
R. Bacon ~ The Root of the World
S. Bacstrom ~ Lapis de Tribus
A. Besant & C. Leadbeater ~ Occult Chemistry
D. Beuther ~ The Transmutation of Base Metals into Gold and Silver
W. Bloomfield ~ Bloomfield’s Blossoms
P. Bonus ~ The New Pearl of Great Price
A. Coudert ~ Alchemy ~ The Philosophers’ Stone
R. W. Councell ~ Apologia Alchemiae
J. Cremer ~ The Testament of Cremer
M. Crosland ~ Historical Studies in the Language of Chemistry
Cyliani ~ Hermes Unveiled
J. Dee ~ Rosicrucian Secrets
G. Della Porta ~ Hermetic Treatise
J. Duchesnes ~ Treatise on Metallic Medicine
A. Eleazar ~ Aesch Mezareph
J. Espagnet ~ Arcanum, or the Grand Secret of Hermetics
H. Fictuld ~ Aureum Vellus
B. Figulus ~ A Golden & Blessed Casket of Nature’s Marvels
Fulcanelli ~ The Mystery of the Cathedrals
Fulcanelli ~ The Dwellings of the Philosophers
Geber ~ The Sum of Perfection
Geber ~ The Invention of Verity, or Perfection
J. Grashof ~ The Greater & Lesser Edifyer
C. Grummet ~ Sanguis Naturae
J. van Helmont ~ Arca Arcani Artificiosissimi Apertae
Hermes ~ Tractatus Aureus de Lapidus Physici Secreto
E. Hitchcock ~ Alchemy & the Alchemists
J. Hollandus ~ A Work of Saturn
J. Hollandus ~ Opuscula Alchymica
J. Hollandus ~ The Cabala
J. Hollandus ~ De Lapide Philosophorum
R. Ingalese ~ They Made the Philosophers Stone
Pope Jean XXII ~ The Art of Transmutation
F. Jollivet-Castelot ~ The Chemical Manufacture of Gold
C. Jung ~ Mysterium Coniunctionis
J. Juran ~ Hyle and Coahyl
A. Kirchweger ~ The Golden Chain of Homer
F. Libavius ~ Commentariosum Alchemiaem
R. Lully ~ Apertorium
R. Lully ~ Testament
A. Magnus ~ Compound of Compounds
A. Magnus ~ Libellus de Alchemia
P. de Mirandola ~ On Gold
B. Mookerjee ~ Rasa-Jala-Nidhi
Morienus ~ A Testament of Alchemy
J. Needham ~ The Theoretical Background of Elixir Alchemy
R. Nelson ~ A Novel Preparation of Arsenic Pentoxide
I. Newton ~ Verses at the end of B. Valentine's Mystery of the Microcosm
H. Nollius ~ The Chemist’s Key
E. Nowell ~ Certain Chemical Works with True Practice
Olympiodorus of Alexandria
Ostanes ~ The Book of Ostanes
T. Paracelsus ~ Aurora of the Philosophers
T. Paracelsus ~ The Revelation of Hermes
T. Paracelsus ~ The Economy of Minerals
R. Patai ~ The Jewish Alchemists
Pearce the Black Monk ~ Upon the Elixir
A.-J. Pernety ~ Treatise on the Great Art
A.-J. Pernety ~ Dictionaire Mytho-Hermétique
E. Philalethes ~ Preparation of the Sophic Mercury
E. Philalethes ~ Ripley Revived
E. Philalethes ~ An Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King
E. Philalethes ~ A Short Manuduction to the Celestial Ruby
P. Ray ~ History of Chemistry in Ancient & Medieval India
Rhasis ~ The Light of Lights
G. Ripley ~ The Epistle unto Edward IV
G. Ripley ~ Medulla Alchimae
C. v. Rosenroth ~ Kabala Denudata
M. Rulandus ~ A Lexicon of Alchemy
S. Saltzal ~ Fountain of Philosophical Salts
W. v. Schroeder ~ Instructions Regarding the Art of Transmutation
L. de St-Didier (A. Toussaint) ~ Hermetic Triumph
B. Trevisan ~ Verbum Dismissum
Urbigeris ~ Aphorisma Urbigeris
B. Valentine ~ Triumphal Chariot of Antimony
T. Vaughan ~ Aqua Vitae: Non Vitis
A. de Villa Nova ~ Lucidary
A. de Villa Nova ~ Rosarium Philosophorum
A. Waite ~ Paracelsian Lexicon
J. Webster ~ Metallographia: Or, An History of Metals
Zosimos ~ On the Evaporation of the Divine Water
The Ars Brevis revealed by Myriam and other alchemists is most intriguing and appealing. Yet, many aspiring alchemists have died in vain due to their carelessness, ignorance, and haste in this operation, which apparently involves Arsenic. There is no margin for error: arsenic is very toxic. A single bubble of arsine (the hydride gas) can be fatal. It behooves you to be familiar with inorganic chemistry and literature such as J.W. Mellor's Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic & Theoretical Chemistry (IX), Chemical Abstracts, Merck Index, etc., particularly as concerns arsenic trioxide, arsenious acid hemidydrate and the trichloride.
Arsenic is the alchemical child of Gur, a mysterious terrestrial gel that is extremely rare today, insofar as very few people are aware of its existence; fewer still search for it, and find it. In ancient times, Gur often was found in mines (especially in lead mines), but the modern practice of explosive blasting prevents its manifestation. It has been called Gur only in a few books. Nature can and will make a gift of Gur to her Lovers, but you must be prepared to collect and seal it in a clean glass vessel, and use it immediately (add gold and heat). Sendivogius (or, Seton, if you prefer), states in The New Chemical Light: "In the winter this unctuous vapor is congealed by the frost". This is true, as I have found it thus (presented to me by the Earth). Otherwise, Gur also fits the description given by Dioscorides for "chalcanthon", and by Pliny for "atramentum sutorium" (vitriol, ferrous sulfate), from which Sulfur Trioxide (the Philosophical Mercury of Albertus Magnus) can be prepared by dry distillation, if you choose to explore in that direction.
Anon. ~ Hydropyrographum Hermeticum
This Virgin and blessed Water the Philosophers named in their Books with many thousand names; they call it Heaven, Celestial Water, Celestial Rain, the dew of Heaven, May-dew, Water of Paradise, parting Water, Aqua Regis, a corrosive Aquafort, sharp Vinegar, Brandy, Quintessence of Wine, growthful green juice, a growing Mercury, a viridescent Water, and Leo Viridis, Quick Silver, Menstruum, Blood, Urine, Horse-piss, Milk, and Virgins Milk, white Arsenick, Silver, Lune, and juice of Lune... [&c.]
Anon. ~ A Magnificent & Select Tract on Philosophical Water
...The philosophers have called this maid (Beja) and blessed water by many thousands of different names in their books. They call it heaven, a heavenly water, a heavenly rain... milk and virgin's milk, water of arsenic, silver, Luna water, woman, a female seed, a sulphuric steam and smoke, a fiery, burning spirit, a deathly all-penetrating poison, a Basilicum, which kills all things, a poisonous snake, a poisoned worm, a dragon...
Anon. ~ The Book of the Science of Bkrtntb
Appendix (Vocabulary) ---
'alam ~ zarnikh [A. arsenic]...
alumin ~ [I. alumina, alumina] ~ zarnikh; orpimento...
lutemetalium, limasinas, orpimento ~ zarnikh...
qatami'a ~ tusi'ah [I., tutty, white arsenic]...
sadaraqah [I., sandaracca, realgar] ~ sandarus [A. sandarac, red arsenic]...
sandariai ~ burnt orpiment or burnt arsenic...
isawres ~ arseniqo saruf [I., arsenico, H. saruf, burnt]...
itutiyah [A.] ~ tutty, white arsenic...
zarnikh [A., arsenic]...
Anon. ~ An Anonymous Treatise on the Philosophers' Stone
Now the aforesaid Subjectum is of such a nature that it, our Magnesia, doth not only contain a small proportioned quantity of the universal Spiritus Vitalis in itself, but also hath some of the heavenly power condensed and compressed within it. Many who found it were so intoxicated by its fumes that they remained in their place and could no longer raise themselves.
Anon. ~ The Crowning of Nature
Impregnation --- We must know that when the Earth is a little made white, there it is termed Pregnation, because then the Earth is Impregnated. For when the Earth is joined with an imperfect body, it is called Our Earth, because the Earth is the Mother of all the elements, and this is that which they term [unidentified alchemical symbol], when the Earth begins to retain with it somewhat of Arsenic, or Our Salt, or Argent vive, for then it is called a Conception, because the male acts towards the female, because the Mystery of the Philosophers is nothing else but the male and female and their conjunction.
Water coming to them, that is Arsenic or Our Salt, which increases much in the Earth and is augmented and comes out when the Earth is dealbated, then it is called a Pregnation, because the Earth having conceived goes away pregnant.
Anon. ~ Rosarium Philosophorum
Out of the Lucidary of Arnoldus --- ...But the powder ascending upwards from the faeces is ashes extracted from ashes, and earth sublimed and honoured, but that which remains beneath is ashes of ashes, and the lower ashes is to be condemned and disposed as faeces and dross. Make, therefore, a difference between the clear and bright thereof, because when it is most white and ascends like snow then it will be accomplished. Gather it, therefore, warily that it fly not away in fume, because it is a good thing to be sought for, a white foliated earth, congealing that which is to be congealed and cleansing that which is to be cleansed, and purifying Arsenic and white Sulphur, of which Aristotle says that it is the best thing the Alchemists can take, that of it they may make Silver...
Senior --- Sulfur and Arsenic are not the true medicine of this magistery, because they neither accomplish nor effect fully, as hath been sufficiently known of all the lesser minerals…
Of the Salt of the Philosophers --- And when it was white they called it Arsenic, and by the name of every white thing, and also Virgin’s Milk, and when it was red they called it Sulfur, and Jacinth, and by the name of every red thing…
Of the Double Difference of Minerals --- But mineral bodies are specially distinguished into two parts. That is to say, into a metallic part and a mineral part. Into a metallic part, that is, into metals which draw their original from Mercury, and into a mineral part which does not come from Mercury. An example from metals - Sol, Luna, Jupiter, and Mars has its mixture of gold and silver. An example from minerals --- Salts, Inks, Alums, Arsenic, Auripigment. All metals are ductile and liquefiable which draw their original from Mercury, because the matter of them, out of a watery substance mixed with an earthy substance, by a strong commixtion that the one cannot be separated from the other, wherefore that watery substance is congealed with cold more after the action of heat and therefore they will be more fabrile or ductile, and the water only is not congealed but only with the earthly dryness which alters the wateryness, when as there is no unctuous moisture in them, because the congealing of them is of earthly dryness. Therefore they are not easily dissolved unless by the vehement action of the heat in them, according to which they are most easily commixt. But there are lesser and and middle minerals which take not their original from Mercury, and of these are Salts which easily melt in moisture, as Alum, simple Salt, Salt Armonick, stony Salt and all kinds of salts. And surely they have virtue in them. Neither do they easily melt with moisture only, as Auripigmentum, Arsenic and Sulphur, when as the wateryness of sulphurous bodies is mixed with slimy earth, by strong commixtion, with the fervency of heat, until they be made virtuous and then they are coagulated of cold.
That it is Impossible for the Lesser Metals to be made Artificially ---...For many of the ignorant sort have laboured and do yet labour in these vegetable and sensible things, where they have found out no truth, but certain humilities which we will declare to the ignorant that they may avoid the deceits. For they have extracted a long time out of these things, afterwards to be spoken of, which they call artificial Argent vive and oils and waters, which they named the four elements, namely water, earth, air, and fire, and Salt Armonick, Arsenic, Sulphur and Auripigmentum, which they could have bought cheaper in the market and had sooner brought it to pass.... And there are other Alchemists labouring in lesser minerals, that is to say in four Spirits as in common Sulphur, Arsenic, Auripigmentum, and Salt Ammoniac being desirous to make a tincture but this they cannot do as is manifest by the definition of the tincture...
Of the Rejoicing or Springing or Sublimation of the Soul --- The second sublimation is extraction, because it is in it, of the nature of the fifth essence separated from the elemental faeces. But I call the fifth essence a tincting spirit wherein washing is necessary, that the unctuousness of Arsenic, or the oily nature of the purest unctuousness, which bound by his faeces, may be extracted by it, which faeces suffer it not to be sublimed.
Anon. ~ The Tomb of Semiramis
And concerning the dignity of both the Luminaries, Lully, that Star of Spagyrick Philosophy, in his Book, P. M. 28 saith, Two are more pure than the rest, namely Gold and Silver, without which the Work cannot be begun or finished, because in them is the purest substance of Sulphur perfectly purified by the ingenuity of Nature, and out of these two bodies prepared with their Sulphur or Arsenick, our Medicine may be extracted, and cannot be had without them.
Aristeus ~ Turba Philosophorum
16th Dictum --- Know, also, that the arcanum of the work of gold proceeds out of the male and female, but I have shown you the male in lead, while in like manner, I have discovered for you the female in orpiment... Now, therefore, I have notified to you the power of orpiment, which is a woman by whom is accomplished the most great arcanum...
50th Dictum --- Pandolphus: The philosophers have ordered that quicksilver should be taken out of cambar, and albeit they have spoken truly, yet in these words there is a little ambiguity, the obscurity of which I will remove. See then that the quicksilver is sublimed in tabernacles, and extract the same from Cambar, but there is another Cambar in sulphur which Belus hath demonstrated to you, for out of sulphur mixed with sulphur, many works proceed. When the same has been sublimed, there proceeds from the Cambar that quicksilver which is called Ethelia, Orpiment, Zendrio, or Sanderich, Ebsemich, Magnesia, Kuhul or Chuhul, and many other names...
52nd Dictum --- This is the quicksilver which is indeed extracted from all things, out of which all things are produced, which also is pure water that destroys the shade of copper. And know ye that this quicksilver, when it is whitened, becomes a sulphur which contains sulphur, and is a venom that has a brilliance like marble; this the envious call Ethelia, orpiment and sandarac, out of which a tincture and a pure spirit ascends with a mild fire, and the whole flower is sublimated, which flower becomes wholly quicksilver...
The Book of El-Habib says that the virtue of eternal water is that of a spiritual blood. It is identified with aeriform water, azure water, and water of sulphur. It is also primal sulphur. When boiled, it transforms the male (arsenic) into silver, and afterwards into gold. It is also said that copper is water of silver, which, after preparation, becomes eternal water... [10th Dictum, footnote by Arthur E. Waite]
Moses: The quicksilver out of cinnabar (argentum vivum cambar)... is the Magnesia, while the quicksilver of the auripigmentum or orpiment... is the Sulphur which ascends from this mixed compound material. You must, therefore mix that thick thing with the Fiery Venom, and let it putrefy, and diligently pound it until a spirit is produced which is hidden in that other spirit; then it will become a tincture for everything that you wish. [Julian Ruska: Turba Phil. (Berlin 1931)]
Roger Bacon ~ The Mirror of Alchemy
Chapter III. Out of What Things The Matter of Elixir Must Be More Nearly Extracted --- And if we should take one of the seven spirits by itself, as Argent-vive, or Sulphur alone, or Argent-vive and one of the two Sulphurs, or Sulphur-vive, or Auripigment, or Citrine Arsenicum, or red alone, or the like: we should never effect it, because since nature does never perfect anything without equal commixtion of both, neither can we: from these therefore, as from the foresaid Argent-vive and Sulphur in their nature we are excused. Finally, if we should choose them, we should mix everything as it is, according to a due proportion, which no man knows, and afterward decoct it to coagulation, into a solid lump: and therefore we are excused from receiving both of them in their proper nature: to wit, Argent-vive and Sulphur, seeing we know not their proportion, and that we may meet with bodies, wherein we shall find the said things proportioned, coagulated and gathered together, after a due manner. Keep this secret more secretly...
Our quicksilver is the clearest water, and our arsenic is pure silver, and our sulphur is pure gold; and in these three things is constituted total perfection.
R. Bacon ~ The Root of the World
30. Now let us return to the black matter in its vessel, continually closed. Let this vessel, I say, stand continually in the moist fire, till such time as the white colour appears, like to a white moist salt. The colour is called by the philosophers arsenic, and sal armoniac; and some others call it, the thing without which no profit is to be had in the work…
Sigismond Bacstrom ~ Lapis de Tribus
Take good crude antimony and native orpiment 1/4 lb or as much as you like. Powder each finely by itself, and mix the powders. Beware of the dust.
Put the mixture in a globe glass with a long neck. Place your glass deeply buried in the sand, so that the best part of the globe is under the sand, but the whole neck remains free. Your furnace must stand under a chimney. Then light your fire which increase gradually. After the humidity has evaporated, put a bit of soft clay upon the opening of the neck of the glass and press it in gently.
Increase your fire, until the sand and glass grow so intensely hot, that the powders melt together in the globe.
When you see this let the substance continue melting until the whole has become of a fine deep red fluid massa. At the later end of the operation, the iron sand pot must become red hot in the bottom.
When you have obtained the red fluid mass in fusion, take the fire out immediately, that the glass may cool gradually.
The next day, break the glass and you will find a fine red transparent ruby glass, called Lapis de Tribus because it consists of antimony, arsenic, and sulphur.
Note – Of you admit the air into the neck of the glass, the mixture takes fire, and you run great risk of your life; therefore be careful. It is done in 4 hours time. This glass is very volatile.
(I have given you some of it in a red powder, which, if you melt, it becomes a red glass again.)
One W. Cornelius de Winter from Amsterdam who was in London about the year 1775 comunicated this and what to do with it to W. Lantz.
Cornelius de Winter working the process of Myriam prophetissa, not as she told her process to Aros, King of Egypt, but in the following manner, had attained a tinging powder upon silver, as he told W. Lentz, and recommended this to him, until he should fid something of greater consequence, and W. Lentz gave it to me. I have never tried it.
The Process of Cornelius de Winter with te foregoing Lapis de Tribus for the Short Way.
Take 3iv of Lapis de Tribus in powder and 3J of fine gold in leaves. Mix these in a mortar by rubbing. Let it melt together in a covered crucible and suffer no coals to drop in. When the crucible begins to grow red hot, the mixture melts and at last inflamed, and the Lapis de Tribus fumes away and evaporates. When you find the Lapis evaporated, take the crucible out and let it cool, but do not breathe the poisonous fumes.
Take the gold calx out. Weigh it and mix it anew with 4 parts of fresh powdered Lapid de Tribus, by rubbing it in a glass. Put the mixture into a new crucible. Melt again and keep it in the fire, until the Lapis de Tribus is again evaporated. Repeat the same operation, with 4 parts of fresh Lapis and your gold calx is well opened for a further operation.
Cornelius de Winter said to W. Lentz, "You may proceed in this manner with silver, copper, or iron, and open and volatilize them by means o the Lapis de Tribus, sooner than the gold, and not that one single melting of four parts of the lapis to open part of fine silver in leaves, or of a Crocus Martis, or Veneris, opens and greatly volatilizes silver, iron or copper in one single operation. You are also to note that you fire must not be excited by the blast. It must not be a melting, but only a calcining fire. Otherwise your volatilized metals fly out of the crucible, and you keep the empty nest".
The Lapis de Tribus has a power to volatilize all metals, gold and silver not excepted, either by the first, second or third operation, according to their natural volatility or fixity, and highly subtilizes them and reduces them into a mercurial principle, which mercurialized metals can be employed in labors of great consequence, as experience will teach you. I tell you the truth, but beware of the mercurial fumes.
"I have made a Tincture in Via Sicca from this foundation, more than once at Amsterdam, and although it acts only on a few parts of silver, yet it is very profitable, as it can be accomplished very well in 3 or 4 days’ time, but this is not the brass founder’s work, by any means", said de Winter.
Take of the whitest and clearest river pebbles you can get, a pound or more, and powder them finely in a clean iron mortar, and sift your powder perfectly fine.
Of this fine pebble powder, take 3/4 lb, and good yellow litharge powdered and sifted, one lb. Mix the two powders. Put them into a new crucible covered, and melt the mixture to a glass in the wind furnace. When done take the crucible out and let it cool. When cold, break the crucible and powder your glass and sift it.
Now take one part of Lapis de Tribus in powder and mix it with 4 parts of the pebble glass by rubbing them well together in a glass mortar. Melt these substances in a new crucible for 5 or 6 hours, so as to keep the matter in constant fusion. Then take the crucible out, break it, and when cold, poweder it, and your glass will look tinged with yellow or orange. Weigh it, and mix it again, 4 parts of this tinged glass with one part of fresh de Tribus. Melt again, in a new crucible constantly covered, for 5 or 6 hours. You can very well accomplish 2 meltings in a day. Repeat this a third time, and your obtained glass ought to be of a fine orange colour. This is already a kind of Tincture, which if you melt it with silver, it enriches the silver with atoms of fine gold, and if you separates such silver with aqua fortis, the black calx, which falls, when washed, dried, and melted with borax, proves to be fine gold of 24 carats, but this is not all.
Take your orange coloured opaque glass, weigh it, and powder and sift it. Take of this 4 parts, say drachms, in proportion, as you have opened gold, which you have prepared at first, one part or drachm of fresh Lapis de Tribus, and one 3 of your opened mercurialized gold, and mix the whole diligently in a porphyry or glass mortar. You must rub full 2 hours, and do not breathe the dust. Melt this composition in a new covered crucible during 6 hours continual fusion, yet without any blast or violence, as fusion is enough.
When the time is past, take out the pot and let it cool. Break the crucible and separate the glass, which does now look of a deeper red, like a new brick.
Powder and weigh this glass. Take thereof 4 parts, and add one part of fresh lapis de Tribus in powder. Mix the two powders diligently and melt them again in a new covered crucible for 6 hours time, keeping the matter in constant fusion. When cold, you will find your glass deeper in colour than before.
Repeat this fusion a third time (which from the beginning, is now the sixth melting, adding to 4 parts of this red glass, one part of fresh Lapis de Tribus and proceed carefully, as you did before, but Note: ---
1. If any coals fall into the pot, the operation is spoiled, which has happened to me in the beginning:
2. By the repeated fusions and fixations by the violent way, adding each time a 1/5 part of fresh Lapis de Tribus, i.e., one part of the lapis to 4 parts of the fixed glass, your tinged glass becomes more and more penetrating, more fusible and more fixed.
I durst not go beyond 6 or 7 fusions, as the glass does at last run through the pores of the red hot crucible. In this manner I once lost all my treasure.
6 or 7 fusions may be safely done.
This red glass is a genuine Tincture upon fine silver. After 6 fusions, it tinges sometimes 10, sometimes 12, sometimes 20 parts of silver in fusion into fine gold of 24 carats. I could never make it twice alike, the reason of which I cannot penetrate. It is profitable enough, but no so profitable, as Myriam said to King Aros. At least I could never find it so.
Annie Besant & Charles Leadbeater ~ Occult Chemistry
Arsenic --- Atomic No. 33. Once more there is no central globe. Funnels: All six funnels are alike, and there are not two separate segments. Arsenic resembles Aluminum in having eight internal sub-divisions in the funnels, and the ovoids which form the top ring are identical with those in Aluminium save for the minute differences that in Aluminium the ovoids stand the reverse way from those in Arsenic. In Arsenic the top and bottom triplets in the top ovoids point downwards and the middle one upwards, in Aluminium the opposite is true. The total in one Arsenic funnel is 225 Anu.
Arsenic = 6 [Al.9' + 8 (2N9 + Al.9)] ~ 6 funnels of 225 Anu = 1350 Anu ~ Number weight 1350 ¸ 18 = 75
David Beuther ~ The Transmutation of Base Metals into Gold and Silver
In what follows in this report, as indeed in all reports on natural philosophy, it is the lack of knowledge about this process, which in fact does not pertain to a universal idea, but in particular might find a major use in the knowledge of the universal nature of this material, despite some abuse and misleading statements. When, however, attention is paid only where the philosopher’s gold. The philosopher’s mercury, mercuric ores, the electro-minerals of Paracelsus, red cinnabar ore and white arsenic (which of all of them alone, only the true material, and sulfur and mercury is that material, is separable in a salt) are concerned, it is implied from what was said that he indicated what he ascribed to the Art and to method of operation and how he showed the preparation and testing of the same, so that he would be able, when finally chosen for that purpose by God, to know immediately the proper and most practical method to use and to readily show that all of his processes were different, even though quite similar to one another…
Moreover, the principle preparation of one or another of the ingredients from the universal material had already been carried out, as had become clearly evident from the above-mentioned work of Kunkel, page 580, which reads, "The white arsenic powder is no longer prepared for the Elector of Saxony and unfortunately, the whole Art rests upon it...
This white arsenic powder, black sulfur, and other material which all refer to the prime universal material mentioned now and then in his process. He who knows how to make this same white material can make his process successful, while others cannot.
While it must be a general rule in this work, as stated by Arnold de Villa, and again on page 66, that only a few minerals, along with white arsenic and burning sulphur, which were to be made at the same time, are needed, as Geber had said: "There is only one mineral, one medicine, one digestion; and in this our entire work consists, to which we add nothing unfamiliar, or take anything away, without removing excess impurities therefrom in the process”.
William Bloomfield ~ Bloomfield's BlossomsThen father Tyme & I by favour of these men,Petrus Bonus ~ The New Pearl of Great Price
Such sightes to see, passed foorth toward the campe
Where wee met Disguised philosophers ten,
With porfiries & morters, ready to grind & stamp;
Their heades shakeing, their hands full of the cramp;
Some lame spasums, some febull, wann, & blind,
With arsneck & sulphur, to this art most unkind.
Nuncupatory Discourse --- Lacinius : But is this knowledge not also sought by learned men, nobles, princes, and even by kings?
Bonus: Yes, but the motive which prompts them all is an illiberal love of gold. Their hearts are as hard as the flints which they wish to change into the precious metals, and they are as ignorant withal of the elementary facts of nature as the poorest laborer. The consequence is that they fall an easy prey to impostors and itinerant charlatans, and spend their lives in foolishly experimenting with arsenic, sulphur, and all manner of solvents. Thus, instead of learning to prepare the Stone, they dissipate their money, and have empty pockets for their pains.
Reasons Apparently Militating Against the Reality of Our Art: Reason Fifteenth --- If gold and silver could be evolved out of any metallic substance, they could be prepared most easily out of that which is most akin to them; but as it is impossible to prepare them out of their first principles, viz., quicksilver and sulphur, they cannot be evolved out of metals specifically different from them. For it is clear that out of these two matters all metals are derived and generated; orpiment, sal armoniac, and secondary spirits like marcasite, magnesia, and tutia, being all reducible to these two primary forms. There are seven spirits in Alchemy, the four principal ones, quicksilver, sulphur, orpiment, and sal armoniac, and the three secondary and composite spirits, marcasite, magnesia and tutia; but sulphur and quicksilver include them all. The Stone would have to be obtained either from the metals or from these spirits.
If gold and silver could be evolved out of any metallic substance, they could be prepared most easily out of that which is most akin to them; but as it is impossible to prepare them out of their first principles, viz., quicksilver and sulphur, they cannot be evolved out of metals specifically different from them. For it is clear that out of these two matters all metals are derived and generated; orpiment, sal armoniac, and secondary spirits like marcasite, magnesia, and tutia, being all reducible to these two primary forms. There are seven spirits in Alchemy, the four principal ones, quicksilver, sulphur, orpiment, and sal armoniac, and the three secondary and composite spirits, marcasite, magnesia and tutia; but sulphur and quicksilver include them all. The Stone would have to be obtained either from the metals or from these spirits.
Chief Difficulties of Alchemy: Tenth Cause of Difficulty --- The Sages appear to vary quite as much in their descriptions of the substance from which this Stone is elaborated. In order to mislead the ignorant and the foolish, some name arsenic, some sulphur, some quicksilver, some blood, some eggs, some hair, some dung, etc., etc. In reality, there is only one substance of our Stone; nothing else upon earth contains it; it is that which is most like gold, and from which gold itself is generated, viz., pure quicksilver, that is, not mixed with anything else, as we shall shew further on. The substance of Alchemy --- though called by a perplexing variety of names --- is the substance of Nature, and the first substance of metals, from which Nature herself evolves them. Were it otherwise, it would be impossible for Art to imitate Nature.
An Excellent Introduction to the Art of Alchemy: Chapter I. The Matter of the Philosopher’s Stone --- Note: Hence, fixed sulphur retards fusion and liquefaction in metals, and entirely prevents it where its quantity exceeds that of the quicksilver. The latter is the case in iron, and the said metal is, therefore, not fusible. The fact we are taught by experience, for when we desire to make fixed sulphur, we must calcine it, and that which is calcined is not susceptible of fusion. But sulphur which is not fixed accelerates fusion, as we see in the case of arsenic, which is of the nature of sulphur, and brings about the fusion of red-hot iron. That it is the sulphur which prevents fusion, we see from the fact that when miners smelt ore, there ascends a sulphureous vapour before fusion takes place, and if we collect this substance in a vessel, it is found to resemble orpiment. But both its smell and its properties shew that it consists largely of sulphur…
Though in his book on The Coagulation of Mercury by Precipitation he [Geber] says that this medicine is elicited from metallic bodies with their sulphur and arsenic, he really means the same thing, but he expresses himself somewhat obscurely...
Concerning the Ferment --- If the Mercury were coagulated by some foreign (non-metallic) substance, it would not be of the slightest use, since in Nature only homogeneous things will combine. The coagulation by means of arsenic and common sulphur, though they are mineral substances, tends only to corruption.
The Epistle of Bonus of Ferrara --- Know, then, that our arsenic or auripigment is composed by Nature of sulphur and quicksilver, as it is found in its original natural state. When arsenic is sublimed, it often happens that there comes out of it quicksilver in small globules like grains of millet, as every experimental chemist will tell you. This quicksilver is identical with ordinary quicksilver, which may be seen from the fact that it alone of all metallic substances will mingle with quicksilver, while the quicksilver retains all its own peculiar properties and qualities. Hence we conclude that in the composition of arsenic there is quicksilver. In the same way, we call sulphur the tincture of redness properly and by virtue of its own nature; quicksilver is the white tincture, as all Sages tell us. But if we project arsenic or realgar upon liquid copper, it will tinge that metal with a white colour like the whiteness of the Moon; this colour shews the presence of quicksilver. In all properly purified metals we find the nature of quicksilver rather than of sulphur; for sulphur exists in quicksilver in an occult manner.
Common sulphur is specifically different from arsenic, but belongs to the same genus. Similarly, all sulphur, and everything that belongs to the same species with sulphur, has the property of coagulating quicksilver; and sometimes succeeds in imparting to it a red colour, and sometimes fails to do so.
We said above that when arsenic is sublimed it gives out globules of quicksilver like grains of millet, which is identical with ordinary quicksilver. For this reason the Sages have endeavored, by a congruous digestion, to coagulate the same quicksilver with itself, even as gold is coagulated by its intrinsic power. Arsenic, says Geber, has the two metallic first principles, sulphur and quicksilver, combined, and by their means may itself be designated as the first principle of Nature, in virtue of their properties and qualities. In the same book he says that the fetid spirit and living water, which is also called dry water, are the first principles of Nature. There can be no transition from the softness of quicksilver to the hardness of metals, except in some intermediate substance. Hence neither quicksilver by itself, nor sulphur by itself, is the first principle of Nature, but some intermediate matter which contains both. The quicksilver extracted from sulphur and arsenic is, however, more proximately the substance of our Medicine than the same sulphur and arsenic when they remain as they are.
The arsenic to which Geber refers as the third principle of Nature in the generation of metals is a compound of quicksilver and sulphur, and possesses the virtue and power of both. It cannot be properly called sulphur, nor yet quicksilver, and thus it is true that there are only two principles of Nature. Nor is this arsenic, which has quicksilver for its matter and sulphur for its active potency, in any sense a thing superfluous, but is a sufficing principle of nature in the generation of metals. Hence the quicksilver of which we speak is not common quicksilver, nor is our sulphur common sulphur; but there is in our quicksilver an occult homogeneous sulphur, and it is by means of this inward sulphur that all our changes are accomplished.
Therefore, do not suppose that any compound but the one I have mentioned is the right substance of our Art, and forebear to spend your labour I vain upon magnesia, marchasite, tutia, antimony, or any other heterogeneous material. Our sulphur is the vital agent which digests and perfects our quicksilver; but the sulphur of marchasite, for instance (as Geber tells us), is only degrading and combustive; in the separation thereof the quicksilver of marchasite is left dead at the bottom of the vessel, and must afterwards be sublimed by fire. Again, we do not find in the composition of gold, or of any other metals, anything that suggests or resembles marchasite. Though arsenic and marchasite are generated from nearly the same elements, their diversity of form has combined and developed those elements in a widely different manner, since the same substance, if differently digested, receives a different form. This is sufficiently patent from the fact that different limbs are generated from the same substance. As with marchasite, so it is with tutia, magnesia, and all other like substances. Thus, through many mistakes, and by a process of elimination, we at length, through the grace of God, arrive at the substance which we firmly believe to be the right one. This short exposition must suffice for the present.
Of The Spirits --- There are three mineral spirits: quicksilver, sulphur and arsenic. Arsenic is hot and dry, of great virtue and potency, yet lightly esteemed. It burns up all other bodies. There are two kinds of arsenic, one is of a pale white, the other red. The red is combustive, the white is solvent, and useful for the Tincture; with quicksilver it makes silver. It has a fiery nature, and sublimes quickly. This spirit we strive to render corporeal and fixed, in order that it may permanently colour our substance. It has great affinity for vinegar...
A. Coudert ~ Alchemy: The Philosophers Stone
It is also an unfortunate fact that in the initial stages certain poisons do produce beneficial effects. Arsenic, for example, improves the appetite, increases growth and stimulates the production of bone marrow. Up to the very end the victim of arsenic poisoning consumes his food with a fair appetite. Because arsenic produces a mild dilation of the blood vessels, it was prescribed as an aphrodisiac regularly in India and Europe well into the 19th century and even appeared in an aphrodisiac preparation listed in the 1957 edition of the British Encyclopedia of Medical Practice....
In some cases, errors in translation or copying led to dangerous results. The Byzantine Greek Nicolaus Myrepsus compiled a book of remedies, using Arabic sources. He mistranslated the Arabic "darsini" (cinnamon) for arsenic. The mistaken belief that large doses of arsenic had beneficial medicinal properties threatened alchemists and their patients until the 17th century...
Most of the negative evidence was accumulated by alchemists who continued to believe in the possibility of transmutation. One convinced adept, for example, left an anonymous record of 104 alchemical recipes he had methodically tested... In the midst of all these failures he does record one success: a silver recipe using arsenic. Somehow this worked, for beside it the adept wrote, "gewinnt man vil silber darpei."
R.W. Councell ~ Apollogia Alchymiae
Section II. Modern Criticism --- In order that the statements of modern critics may be assessed at their proper value, a list is here given of things which Ripley, endorsed by Eirenaeus, says are useless, and even injurious in the work. Other eminent alchemists, in their candid moments, warn students against using these and many other ingredients: Antimony (not worth a mite), amalgams, acids, ardent and corrosive waters, arsenic, orpiment...
Section III: The Speech of the Philosophers --- In his Short Way and Repetition, Basil Valentine gives the following seriatim illustration of the work, viz.: a crowned lion, a crowned eagle, a crowned serpent without wings, an uncrowned flying dragon, a crow or raven, a peacock, a swan, a pelican, feeding its brood with its own blood. The crowned lion, eagle and serpent are transmuted; they are of the process. Basil Valentine described his process, as if done out of ordinary gold; but this metal he did not use as his base; for, as he says, it would require about ten pounds weight of the vitriol of gold to do so. But as gold is the ultimate product or offspring, therefore, it is permissible to call the parent, or sire, gold also. This substance the philosophers called immature or unripe gold, or the "Green" Lion. In the second stage of the work --- the analysis of the green lion --- a white salt ascends, like snow, and adheres to the sides of the vessel, "much like sublimate," as Ripley says. This is their Eagle, Sublimate, Arsenic, Sal Alembroth, Sal Ammoniac, Nitre, Sea salt, ergo Aphrodite or Venus, Sulphur of Nature, Icarus, etc. Its importance cannot be exaggerated.
John Cremer ~ The Testament of Cremer
Chapter I. How to Prepare the Living Water which Constitutes the Life of Our Art --- Take three oz. of tartar of good claret, strong and pure. Add to it five oz. of Petroleum, two oz. of living sulphur, two oz. of orange coloured Arsenic, three oz. of Rabusenum, two oz. of willow charcoal. Mix and distil all these ingredients in the "bath of Neptune," in a well-stoppered glass jar. Let this jar be about one cubit high, and carefully closed to prevent any of the spirits or smoke from evaporating. When you see it turn of a pale colour, take it out of the furnace, and let it cool. You ought to be able to prepare it in about four days. Be careful not to inhale its smell, for it is deadly poison. This water should be kept in a stout well-stoppered glass jar, and used according to the directions given in the following chapters. The other water should be twice distilled out of the urine of an unpolluted youth of eighteen; if he be polluted, the water will have no vitality. [Rabusenum is a certain red substance and earth coming forth with water, which flows out of minerals, and is brought to perfection in the month of July in a glass jar exposed to the heat of the sun for 26 days. --- (N.B.: Vitriol) ]
Maurice P. Crosland ~ Historical Studies in the Language of Chemistry
Allegory and Analogy --- …It is rather disconcerting, for example, to encounter a ‘green lion’ which is explained as referring to orpiment. [Allegoriae Sapientium, Distinction 20; Theatrum Chem., V]
Secret Names --- Two historians of alchemy, Ruska and Wiedemann have compiled a list of the secret names given by Arabic alchemists to common chemical substances… Realgar and orpiment were mentioned variously as ‘the two brothers’, ‘the two kings’, or the ‘two friends’.
Colour as a Basis for Chemical Names --- …Metal sulphides too were sometimes referred to in a similar way, and we read in the alchemical lexicons that ‘red sulphur’ is arsenic (sulphide) and ‘black sulphur’ is antimony (sulphide)…
Cyliani ~ Hermes Unveiled
At this point the old man said: "Behold, now I have doubled mercury in my possession. Now I own it --- white lily, powder of adamantine, chief central poison of the dragon, spirit of arsenic, green lion, incombustible spirit of the moon, life and death of all metals, moist radical, universal dissolving nutriment, true menstruum of the philosophers, which without doing any damage or harm reduces metal to first matter."
John Dee ~ Rosicrucian Secrets
Of Arsenick --- Arsenick is in the kindred of Mercury and Antimony as a bastard in a family may be. Its whole substance is poisonous and volatile, even as the former two; in its external colour to the eye it is white, yellow and red, but inwardly it is adorned with all manner of colours, like to its metals, which it was fain to forsake, being forced thereunto by fire. It is sublimed per se without additions and also in its subliming there are added several other matters as occasion requireth. If it be sublimed with Salt and Mars, then it looks like a transparent crystal, but its poison stayeth still with it, unfit to be joined or added to metals and it hath very little efficacy to transmute any metals.
The subterranean Serpent bindeth it in the union of fire, but cannot quite force it that it might serve for a Medicine for man and beast. If it be further mixed with the Salt of a Vegetable Stone, which is with Tartar, and is made like unto an oil, it is of great efficacy in wounds which are of an hard healing. It can make a coat for deceitful Venus, to trim her handsomely, that the inconsistency of her false heart may be disclosed by her wavering servants, without gain, with her prejudice and damage. When Antimony and Mars are made my companions, saith Arsenick, and I am exalted by them to the top of Olympus, then I afford a Ruby in transparence and colour like unto that which cometh from the Orient and I am not to be esteemed less than it. If I am proved by affliction, then I fall off like a flower which is cut off and withers, therefore nothing can be made of me to fix any metal or tinge it to any profit.
Gambiasta Della Porta ~ Hermetic Treatise
We can also extract Gold out of Silver, and not so little but it will pay your cost, and afford you much gain. The way is this: Put the fine filings of Iron into a Crucible that will endure fire, let it glow red hot, and melt: then take artificial Chrysocolla, such as Goldsmiths use to solder with, and red Arsenick, and by degrees strew them in: when you have done this, cast in an equal part of Silver, and let it be exquisitely purged by a strong vessel made of Ashes: all the dregs of the Gold being now removed, cast it into water of separation, and the Gold will fall to the bottom of the vessel, take it: there is nothing of many things that I have found more true, more gainful or, more hard: spare no labour, and do it as you should, lest you lose your labour…
Joseph Duchesnes (Quercetanus) ~ Treatise on Metallic Medicine
Chapter XII: Preparation of the Arsenic --- Arsenic is equal to Mercury, both in its property of whitening and in the occult virtues of its nature, that is why Paracelsus reiterates in his Librum de l'Aurore about Mercury and all its preparations, and takes in its place arsenic well prepared and well purified of all its impurities. For the purification and preparation in the manner of the Philosophers, take equal parts of crystalline arsenic and of good vulgar sandarac, powder them and put them in a retort with a quantity of common water, and give the fire of distillation till the water has just gone over and taken with it all the blackness and impurities of the arsenic, and everything that can sublimate has issued, then, when you open your retort, you will find that all the sublimate to be false white flour, which is all the impurity of the arsenic, and at the bottom you will find all the good substance in the form of a beautiful crystalline regulus. After it is prepared in this way, it can sublimate with antimony and vitriol instead of sublimated Mercury, and thus make the Triad of Paracelsus.
To prepare the arsenic again with greater strength, separate the powdery substance from the ore by sublimation with Mars...
Sublimation of Arsenic --- Take good strong arsenic and fix it by calcination with saltpeter according to the art. Take of this calcined arsenic 6 ounces with as much good sublimate, and 4 oz of common salt, prepared or decrepitated, put everything in a sublimation furnace or in a proper flask in an ash-fire, and when the moisture has completely vanished, plug it with cotton, continuing and augmenting the fire of sublimation by degrees till the sublimate has completely risen into the neck of the vessel, it will happen in 12 hours if you manage the fire correctly. Finally, expose the phial or the flask to the air, so that it breaks of its own and you can separate your materia all the better. Take this sublimate and resublimate it another 3 or 4 times with fresh materia. This is to give it a coagulative impression and the white tincture of arsenic, which is a great secret. When this sublimate has been prepared in this way, mix it with half the powdered tartar, adding some vinegar and always proceeding as is done in the reunification of cinnabar. Thus you will prepare a Mercury with this sublimate which, when clean and purified, is preferable to the vulgar in all kinds of chemical operations.
Rabbi Abraham Eleazar ~ Aesch Mezareph
By the Fornicators are understood the (Masculine) Arsenical Sulphur, and the (feminine) dry water unduly mixed, together in the Mineral.
By the Spear of Phineas is meant the Force of iron acting upon the matter to cleanse it of Dross: By which Iron, not only is the Arsenical Sulphur killed, but also the Woman herself is at length mortified; so that the Miracle of Phineas may be fitly applied here...
...Then on top of the Glass, thou shalt have a White Matter, which is the Prima Materia or tingeing Arsenic, being the living Water of metals, which all Philosophers call Dry Water, or their Vinegar. Let it be purified thus: Take of the Crystalline Matter sublimed; Let it be ground upon a marble, with an equal part of Calx of Luna, and let it be put into a Vial sealed, and set in a Sand bath again, the first two hours with a gentle Fire, the second with a stronger, and the third with one yet more violent, and increased till the Sand will hiss, and our Arsenic will be sublimed again, the starry Beams being sent forth...
Jean Espagnet ~ Arcanum, or The Grand Secret of Hermetic
Perfect Metals containe in them two things, which they are able to communicate to the imperfect, Tincture and Fixation (for those, because they are dyed and fixed with pure Sulphur, to wit, both white and red, they doe therefore perfectly tinct and fix) if they be fitly prepared with their proper Sulphur and Arsenick, otherwise they have not strength of multiplying their tincture.
Hermann Fictuld ~ Aureum Vellus
In the same way, Athamas and Nephele, through their nuptial and royal bond, begot two royal children, Phryxos and Helle, that is, a solar sulphur and a royal mercury. They were born in the kingdom of Thebes, that is, the higher elements. Some other planets, for their part, and especially Jupiter, had sent a contrary current, that of their feelings and emotions, which were like those of cruel stepmothers and of the mob of priests; under the action of this current of arsenical mercury and sulphur, the children left their dwelling in the higher regions. As if bathed in a shower of holy gold, they had to come down with the Golden Fleece, the great golden Ram, through the air region, down to the etheric earthly cold, upon the earth, and they enjoyed a wonderful welcome in the latter's three principles and elements, that is, in the kingdom of Colchis. Here, misfortune has doubly struck Phryxos and Helle; it fell upon a vast area in such a way that, through a divine curse, that most noble mass (that was the universe) was changed into a despicable wilderness, the faces of the earth, under the influence of these sulphuric and arsenical spirits.
Benedictus Figulus ~ A Golden & Blessed Casket of Nature's Marvels
Concerning the Philosopher's Stone --- This Virgin and Blessed Water have philosophers in their books called by a thousand names, as a Heaven, Celestial Water, Heavenly Rain, Heavenly or May Dew, Water of Paradise, Aqua Regia... White Arsenic, Silver... [&c.]
Fulcanelli ~ The Mystery of the Cathedrals
Paris (1) --- The first magnetic agent which is used to prepare the solvent --- designated, by some, Alkahest --- is called the green Lion, not so much because it is green in colour as because it had not yet acquired those mineral characteristics, which in chemistry distinguish the adult state from the nascent one. It is a green and sour fruit, compared with the red, ripe fruit. It is metallic youth on which Evolution has not yet worked, but which contains the latent germ of real energy, which will be called upon to develop later. It is arsenic and lead in respect to silver and gold…
Bourges (2) --- The enigma itself consists in two inscriptions: RERE, RER, which do not seem to have any meaning. Each of them is repeated three times on the concave back of the niche…
What, then, is this RER? --- We have seen that RE means a thing, a matter; R, which is half RE, will mean a half thing or a half matter. RER, then, is the equivalent of a matter increased by half of another or if itself. Note that it is not here a question of proportion, but of a chemical combination independent of relative quantities. In order to make myself better understood, let me give an example. Let us suppose that the matter represented by RE is realgar, or natural sulphur of arsenic. R, half RE, could then be the sulphur of the realgar or its arsenic, which are similar or different according to whether you consider the sulphur and the arsenic separately or combined in the realgar. In this way the RER will be obtained by augmenting the realgar with sulphur, which is considered as forming half the realgar, or with arsenic, which is seen as the other half in the same red sulphide.
Fulcanelli ~ The Dwellings of the Philosophers
The Salamander of Lisieux (II) --- This substance, at once positive and negative, passive containing its own active agent, is the basis, the foundation of the Great Work. Of these two natures, taken separately, the one which plays the role of the feminine matter is the only one indicated and alchemically named on the corbel bearing the overhang of a second-story beam [at the Manor of Lisieux]. The figure of a winged dragon can be seen, its tail curled into a ringlet. The dragon is an image and symbol of the primitive and volatile body, true and unique subject upon which one must first work. The philosophers have given it a multitude of diverse names besides the one under which it is commonly known. This has caused and still causes so much difficulty, so much confusion, to beginners, and especially to those who are little concerned with principles and do not know how far the possibility of nature can be expanded. In spite of the general opinion averring that our subject had never been named, we assert on the contrary that many books name it and that all describe it. However, while it is mentioned by the good authors, it cannot be said that it is underlined or expressly shown; it is often encountered classified among the bodies that have been rejected as improper or alien to the work. This is a traditional technique used by Adepts to divert the lay people and to hide from them the secret entrance to their garden.
Its traditional name, the stone of the philosophers, is descriptive enough of the body to serve as a useful basis for its identification. It is, indeed, genuinely a stone, for, out of the mine, it shows the external characteristics common to all ores. It is the chaos of the sages, in which the four elements are contained, but in a confused, disorganized manner. It is our old man and the father of metals which owe their origin to it, as it represents the first earthly metallic manifestation. It is our arsenic, cadmia, antimony, blende, galena, cinnabar, colcothar, aurichalcum, realgar, orpiment, calamine, tutia, tartar, etc. All ores, through the hermetic voice, rendered homage to it with their name. It is still called black dragon covered with scales, venomous serpent, daughter of Saturn, and "the most beloved of its children". This primal substance has seen its evolution interrupted by the interposition and penetration of a filthy combustible sulphur, which coats its pure mercury, holds it back, and coagulates it. And, though it is entirely volatile, this primitive mercury, materialized by the drying action of the arsenical sulphur, takes the shape of a solid, black, dense, fibrous, brittle, crushable mass rendered, by its lack of utility, vile, abject, and despicable in the eyes of man. Yet, in this subject -- poor relative of the metal family --- the enlightened artist finds everything that he needs to begin and perfect his Great Work, since it is present, say the authors, at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the Work…
The Salamander of Lisieux (V) --- From the combat that the knight, or secret sulfur, engages with the arsenical sulfur of the old dragon, is born the astral stone, white, heavy, shining as pure silver, and which appears to be signed, bearing the imprint of its nobility, its stamp esoterically translated as the griffin, a sure indication of the union and peace between fire and water, between earth and air. However, we should not hope to attain this dignity from the first conjunction. For our black stone, covered with rags, is soiled by so many impurities that completely freeing it from them is extremely difficult. For this reason it is important to submit it to several levigations (which are Nicolas Flamel’s lavueres or fire purifications), so as to progressively cleanse it from impurities and from heterogeneous and tenacious stains which encumber it, and to see it take on, with each one of these fire purifications, more splendor, more polish, and more brilliance…
If you want to possess the griffin --- which is our astral stone --- by tearing it from its arsenical ganque, take two parts of virgin earth, our scaly dragon, and one part of the igneous agent, which is that valiant knight armed with the lance and the shield. Ares, more vigorous than Aries, must be in a lesser quantity. Pulverize and add the fifteenth part of this pure, white, admirable salt, washed and crystallized several times, which you must necessarily know. Intimately mix it; and then, following the example of the painful Passion of Our Lord, crucify it with three iron nails, so that the body dies and can then be resurrected. This done, drive away the coarsest sediments from the corpse; crush and triturate the bones; mix the whole thing on a slow heat with a steel rod. Then throw this mixture half of this second salt, extracted from the dew that fertilizes the earth in the month of May, and you will obtain a body clearer than the preceding one. Repeat the same technique three times; you will reach the matrix of our mercury, and you will have climbed the first rung of the ladder of the sages. When Jesus resurrected the third day after his death, a luminous angel clothed in white alone occupied the empty sepulchre...
Louis d’Estissac (III) --- As for the second body --- passive and feminine --- Louis d’Etissac had it represented under the shape of a harelipped gnome, equipped with breasts, head covered with a scaly helmet. We already knew from the descriptions left by classical authors that this mineral substance as it is extracted from its mine is scaly, black, hard, and dry. Some have called it leprous. The Greek lepis, lepidos (scale), has among its derivative the Greek lepra (leprosy), because this frightful infection covers the epiderm with pustules and scales. And so it is essential to drive away the coarse and superficial impurity from the body by removing its scaly envelope (lepizo), an operation which we easily realize with the aid of the active principle, the agent with the grooved helmet. Taking as an example Moses’ gesture it will suffice to sharply strike this rock (lepas) of arid and dry appearance three times in order to see the mysterious water that it contains, spring forth. It is the first solvent, common mercury of the sages, faithful servant of the artist, the only thing he needs and that nothing can replace according to the testimony of Geber and of the most ancient Adepts. Its volatile quality which allowed philosophers to assimilate this mercury to the common hydrargyrum, is moreover emphasized on our bas-relief by the tiny lepidoptera wings (Greek lepidos-pteron) affixed to the shoulders of the symbolic monster. However, in our opinion, the best name that authors have given to their mercury seems to be Spirit of Magnesia. For they call magnesia (Greek magnes, magnet) the coarse feminine matter which attracts by an occult virtue the spirit enclosed beneath the hard shell of the steel of the sages. The latter, penetrating like a burning flame into the body of the passive nature, burns, consumes its heterogeneous parts, drives away the arsenical (or leprous) sulfur, and animates the pure mercury it contains and which appears in the conventional form of a liquor both humid and igneous --- the fire water of the ancients --- which we call Spirit of Magnesia and universal solvent.
The Castle of Dampierre IX (Panel 6) --- An ivy plant is represented coiled around the trunk of a dead tree whose branches have all been cut by human hands. The inscription which completes this bas-relief bears the words: .INIMICA.AMICITIA. (The Enemy Friendship).
The anonymous author of the Ancienne Guerre des Chevaliers (Ancient War of the Knights) in a dialogue between the stone, the gold and the mercury has gold say that the stone is a worm filled with venom and accuses it of being the enemy of man and metals. Nothing is more true; so much so that others reproach our subject to contain a frightful poison whose very odor, they insist, would suffice to cause death. Yet it is from this toxic mineral that the universal medicine is made, which no human illness can resist, no matter how incurable it is thought to be. But that which gives it all its value and makes it infinitely precious in the eyes of the sage is the admirable virtue it possesses, of revivifying metals that have been reduced and molten and of losing its poisonous properties by granting them its own activity. And so it does appear to be the instrument of resurrection, and of redemption of the metallic bodies, dead by violence of a reducing fire, the reason for which it bears in its coat of arms, the sign of the Redeemer, the cross.
Preface to the 2nd Edition (Eugene Canseliet) --- Let us say it straightforwardly: The matter of the alchemical work offers itself, even imposes itself, with so much evidence that there is no author, be he the most sincere, who has not become “envious”, who has not silenced, veiled or falsified the choice, going as far as writing the common name of this truly predestined subject and finally declaring that it is not.
Geber ~ Of the Sum of Perfection
Part II --- Chapter VI ( Of the Reasons of Men denying the Art supposed in Arsnick, and their Refutation) --- But others judging this Stone must necessarily be found in the same [Sulphur], and its Compeer, Arsnick, and more profoundly intent on the Consumation of the Work, do not only by a Sublimation cleanse the burning Sulphureity, but also endeavor to remove the Terrestreity, leaving the Flight (or Volatility) in it. These in like manner, coming to Projection, find a Delusion in it; because their Medicine adheres not stably in those very Bodies, but successively, and by little and little vanisheth, leaving such a Body in its former Condition. Hence these also, condemning Art, argue like the former; and to them We answer, as We did to the First, affirming the Art, and that We know it to be, because We have seen and touched the Verity thereof.
Part III --- Chapter III ( The Division of what are to be spoken, touching the Three Principles, viz. Sulphur, Arsenick, and Argentivive ) --- Now, having finished our Universal Discourse of the Natural Principles of Metals; it remains, that we here give a peculiar Chapter to each one of the Principles. Therefore, seeing they are Three, viz. Sulphur, Arsenick, and Argentivive; the fist shall be of Sulphur, the second of Arsenick, and the third of Argentivive…
Part III --- Chapter V ( Of Arsenick )--- It now remains that we at present speak of Arsenick. We say it is of a subtile Matter, and like to Sulphur; therefore it needs not be otherwise defined than Sulphur. But it is diversified from Sulphur in this, viz. because it is easily a Tincture of Whiteness, but of Redness most difficultly: and Sulphur, of Whiteness most difficultly: but of Redness easily. Of Sulphur and Arsenick there is a twofold Kind, viz. Citrine and Red, which are profitable to this Art; but the many other kinds not so. Arsenick is fixed as Sulphur; but the Sublimation of either is best from the Calx of Metals. Yet Sulphur and Arsenick are not the perfective Matter of this Work: for they are not compleat to Perfection; yet they may be an help to Perfection in the Case. But the Lucid and Scaly, and Scissile must be taken.
Geber ~ Of the Invention of Verity, or Perfection
Chapter VII ( Of the Preparation of Arsnick ) --- After its Compeer Arsnick is beaten to Powder, it must be boyled in Vinegar, and all its combustible fatness extracted, and then it is dryed. Then R. of Copper, lib. 1, of Allom calcined 1/2 a pound, and of Common Salt prepared as much as of the Allom. Mix these with your Arsnick prepared, and having ground all well together, moisten the Mixture with distilled Vinegar (that it may be liquid) and boyl the same, as you did in Sulphur; and then sublime it in an Aludel (without an Alembeck) of the height of one Foot. Gather what ascends white, dense, clear, and lucid, and keep it, because it is sufficiently prepared for the Work.
J. Grashof ~ The Greater & Lesser Edifyer
Magister Degenhardus, Lullius and Matthesius, in his Serpa Concione 3, write that the material of the metals should be like buttermilk before it hardens into a metallic form, and that it can be spread like butter. They call it GUR, and I have found it myself in mines where Nature has made lead. And if one is also able to make such a material here above the earth, then that should be a sure sign not only that one has the right Materia, but also that one is undoubtedly on the right path. This I can make, praise be to God, with my own hands. When left in warmth an hour it goes into a state of putrefaction, so that it turns black, then reddish, and finally red-brown. The philosophers call it Lac Virginis, the Milk of the Virgin. Thus, if one puts a little Salis Metallici in our water, it becomes like a white milk, and if one puts a lot therein, then it turns thick like butter and can be spread like fat or a similar substance. I have thought it well to mention this, in order that you may harbor no doubts concerning the Materia, and this will be proven to you with the help of the only Creator.
De Generatione Mineralium et Vegetabilium --- If one takes the ore and digests and matures it with hot, corporeal fixed species that are engendered from the conjunctions of the sun, such as antimony, vitriol, arsenic, etc., then one obtains a correct and powerful shower of blood. Since this not only matures the immature gold, but also transmutes the other immature metals, such as lead, tin, copper and iron, and turns them into gold or silver while they are still in blossom, and thus easily affected, they should be placed in an oven that is proper for them. There the flower will be matured and made enduring in a short time, although Nature would have taken a long time on them, due to her weak digestion. Thus such ores can very often now give forth their spiritual, immature gold as mature, corporeal and fixed, as I have said, and, indeed, much more of it than Nature could have perfected... One must be careful to digest these properly and preserve a tempered heat, which is not destructive, but rather natural and fostering of perfection; for, truly, if one wants to perfect the ore in great amounts, this requires a special diligence and understanding…
Christopher Grummet ~ Sanguis Naturae
Chapter IV --- But the Artist, who endeavors to set upon this work, must know that every Body is dissolved by a sharp Spirit, and made volatile with a Spirit; and if the Spirit be so prepared by the help of the Body, our Mercury is prepared, which purifies, washes, and fixes and incerates itself, till at last it attains to the highest Subtility and purity, and sublimes itself from the bottom of the Vessel into white Stone. This must be separated from its Feces, by sublimation and reduction; and then will be prepared the Foliated Earth more white than Snow, which after its due Decoction, coagulates and fixes vulgar Mercury, and transmutes every imperfect Body into true Luna. This most precious Whiteness is our Arsenic, an incomparable Treasure, which above all other things the Philosopher needs. This Sulphur must be calcined, till it be converted into a dry and very subtile powder; which Powder must be imbibed with the white Oil of the Philosophers divers times, till at length it flows like wax and then there will be prepared the White Stone, whereof one part Tinges a Thousand parts of any Metal, into true Silver.
Johann Baptista van Helmont ~ Arca Arcani Artificiosissimi Apertae
Therefore it is to be known, that Nature hath her passages and veins in the Earth, which doth distill Waters, salt, clear and turbulent. For it always observed by sight, that in the Pits, or Groves of Metals, sharp and salt Waters do distil down. While therefore those water do fall downwards, (for all heavy things are carried downwards) there are sulphureous vapours ascending from the center of the Earth, that do meet them. Therefore if the waters be saltish, pure and clear, and the sulphureous vapours pure also; and that they embrace one another in their meeting, then a pure Metal is generated; but in defect of purity, an impure Metal: in elaborating of which, Nature spreadeth near, or about a thousand years, before that she can bring it to perfection; which cometh to pass either by reason of the impurity of the salt Mercurial waters, or of the impure sulphureous vapors, When these two do embrace each other, shut ip close in the rocky places; then of them a moist, thick, fat vapour doth arise by the operation of natural heat, which taketh its seat where the air cannot come (for else it would fly away) of which vapour then a mucilaginous and unctuous matter is made, which is white like Butter; which Mathesius doth call Gur, which may be clam’d like Butter; which I also shew in my hand, above the Earth, and forth of the Earth. TheLabourers in the Groves do often find this matter which is called Gur; but of it nothing can be prepared, because it is not know what was the intention of Nature in that place; for a Marchasite, as well as a Metal, might equally have been made of it.
Hermes ~ Tractatus Aureus de Lapidus Physici Secreto
Chapter 1, Section 5 --- Take of the humidity, or moisture, an ounce and a half, and of the Southern Redness, which is the soul of gold, a fourth part, that is to say, half an ounce, of the citrine Seyre, in like manner, half an ounce; of the Auripigment, half an ounce, which are eight; that is three ounces. And know ye that the vine of the wise is drawn forth in three, but the wine thereof is not perfected, until at length thirty be accomplished...
Chapter 2, Section 5 --- Return then, O my Son, the coal being extinct in life, upon the water for thirty days, as I shall note to thee, and henceforth thou art a crowned king, resting over the fountain, and drawing from thence Auripigmentum dry without moisture. And now I have made the heart of the hearers, hoping in thee, to rejoice, even in their eyes, beholding thee in anticipation of that which thou possesseth…
Commentary (Barrett) --- Hermes signifies the first manifested resplendence of the vital tincture; the well is, as the catholic spirit of life, inexhaustible; at the bottom, or center rather, of which subsists the occult Causality of all; even from this, the true efficient wheel, is drawn, according to tradition, that auripigment of philosophers which is the multiplicative virtue of their stone.
Chapter 2, Section 7 --- Know thou, my son, that the fat of our earth is sulphur; that sulphur is auripigment, siretz, or colcothar; of which auripigment, sulphurs, and such like, some are more vile or mean than others, in which there is a difference or diversity. Of this kind also is the fat of glewy substances; to wit, of hair, nails, hoofs, and sulphur itself, oil of Peter, and the brain or marrow, which is auripigment…
Commentary (Barrett) --- Hermes alludes to her in part to the various manifestations of the spirit in this natural life, and the vegetable growth of it in animal bodies. The occult luminous principle of life, and the vegetable growth of it in animal bodies. The occult luminous principle of vitalization he calls sulphur, auripigment, &c, hiding it also under a variety of other covertures.
Section III --- O permanent watery Form, creatrix of the royal elements! who, having with thy brethren and a just government obtained the tincture, finds rest. Our precious stone is cast forth upon the dung-hill, and that which is most worthy is made vilest of the vile. Therefore, it behooves us to mortify two Argent vives together, both to venerate and be venerated, viz., the Argent vive of Auripigment, and the oriental argent vive of magnesia...
In this way our prepared material is also called male and female, active and passive. So Zimon says, in The Crowd: "Know that the secret of the work consists in male and female, i.e., an active and a passive principle. In lead is found the male, in orpiment the female...
Ethan Allen Hitchcock ~ Alchemy & the Alchemists
"The work," says one, "while yet crude, is called our water permanent, our lead, our Saturn, our Jupiter; when better decocted, then it is argent, then Magnesia, and white sulphur; when it is red, it is called auripigment, coral, gold, ferment, or stone, a lucid water of celestial color."
I am not defending this mode of writing, but I affirm that the whole subject of Alchemy is man. But each writer, for the most part, designates him by a word of his own choosing; hence one writes of Antimony, another of Lead, another of Zinc, another of Arsenic...
Johannes Isaac Hollandus ~ A Work of Saturnia
Now, my Child, why is Saturn as fluxible as Wax ? By reason of its' abounding Sulphur, which is therein; for I find no fluxibleness or fusibleness in anything saving in Sulphur, Mercury and Arsenick, and all these three are in Saturn; so that Saturn is quickly fluxible, but all these three are cleansed with it from their uncleanness.
And do you not know, that the Philosophers call their Stone Arsenick, and a white thing; and they say their Sulphur is incombustible; they call it likewise a red thing, all this is Saturn, in it is Arsenick; for Luna is principally generated of a white Sulphur, as is plainly taught in the Book of Sulphur, and all Arsenick is internally red as Blood, if its' inward part be brought outwards, as is demonstrated in the Book of Colours. Saturn stands almost in the degree of fixed Luna. So that in it there is a red Sulphur, as you see, when its internal is placed outwards, it will be red as Ruby; there are no Colours but in the Spirits, so that there is in it a red and a yellow Sulphur. In it is Mercury, as may be seen, for Mercury is extracted out of Saturn in a short time, and with it little labour.
So that all three are in Saturn, but they are not fixed therein, but they are clean, pure, incombustible, fluxible as Wax; in it are all things which the Philosophers have mentioned. They say, our Stone is made of a stinking menstruous thing: What think you, is not Saturn digged out of a stinking Earth? For divers are killed with the ill Scents and Vapours where Saturn is digged.
J. I. Hollandus ~ Opuscula Alchymicaia
Chapter 86: The Twenty-Fourth Work of Arsenicum --- Now I will teach my child how to make the white Stone from arsenic. Take arsenic, 4 or 5 lbs; powder it finely; then take alum, egg chalk, calamine and common salt, all dried at a gentle fire, that is, 2 parts of common salt to 1 part of each of the others. Pound them well together, and for every 4 lbs of arsenic, take 8 lbs of the other matters. Mix them together and put them into a sublimation vessel; sublimate the arsenic. Pound what has been sublimated among its faeces, and sublimate it again. Repeat it once more. Now mix the arsenicum sublimatum with as much fresh matter as your arsenicum weighs; sublimate it and repeat 3 times. After this, sublimate again 3 times with as much fresh matter. Then your arsenic will become clear, white and transparent like crystal. Dissolve that in aqua fort, made of alum, egg chalk, calamine and saltpeter, as much as all the others weigh together. Dry them to the point of dusting, put them into a distillation pot and distill as one normally makes aqua fort. Put the caput mortuum, powdered, back into the pot, pour your aqua fort again on it, distill for 36 hours till nothing drips any longer. After this, keep it glowing for another 36 hours; repeat that again, rectifying it with its caput mortuum. It is achieved with the third distillation. With this dissolve your sublimated arsenic, draw the water off, and sublimate the arsenic again; and again dissolve it in the said water. Do this 3 times, each time dissolving in fresh water.
Chapter 87 --- Now take as much silver as the weight of the arsenic, dissolve it in common aqua fort, and beat it down. Wash this chalk with common water of its saltiness, and dry it on a moderate fire. Take this calx Lunae and the prepared arsenic, pound them together on a stone, put them into our sublimatorium, and sublimate them of the chalk, at first heating fairly strongly, so that the distillation pot stands there in a soft glow, for 2 hours. Then let it cool down, and remove the sublimate; again pound it with its fecibus, and set it again to sublimate as before. Do this 4 times, and you have sublimated all the spirit or quintessence of the silver with the arsenic. Then put the faeces of the silver to reverberate or calcinate in the sublimation furnace, for 4 days and nights, in a soft glow not too hot or it would melt and spoil everything.
Then take it out, put it into your stone jar, pour distilled wine vinegar on it, set it in the balneum for 4 days and nights, and proceed in every way as I have taught above in the work of antimonium, when I instructed you how to prepare the salt, earth, or corpus. Subsequently, pound it together intangibly on a stone, and for that take twice as heavy of our burning blessed water to the White. Put everything together into a fixing glass, seal it hermetically, put it on a furnace in a dish with ashes, and again give moderate fire, and everything will dissolve into pure water, also rise and fall, until it stays fixed as a crystalline, clear oil, which is a perfect Elixir. It translates mercury and tin into true silver. Put this into a glass ampule or egg, seal it, set it for 40 days and nights in a tripod, and it will coagulate into the Philosophers’ Stone, whose projection is very great. The very same work which you have done with silver you can also do with tin, and the projection will be equally high. Thank God and be charitable to the poor.
J. I. Hollandus ~ The Cabala
Chapter II --- My child should know, as has been said before, that the Salts are of many different kinds, namely of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, and Luna, and that each of them can become a salt…
From this note that Jupiter would well be fixed and stable of it had all 3 Principles without any lack thereof. But let that be as it may, it is nevertheless not due to this cause alone, as Jupiter still has these other two deficiencies which cause it to be unstable in the fire. Of these the first and greatest deficiency is that, although it contains Salt and Sulphur, it lacks the Salt of Sulphur, which is called Philosophical Realgar by its proper name. And although the common man calls it only Arsenicum, be it yellow, white, or red, it is nevertheless nothing but the spirit of the Sulphur of Jupiter, although it is a fixed or stable Realgar or arsenic. The white Realgar comes from Venus and Jupiter, the red Realgar from mercury.
J. I. Hollandus ~ De Lapide Philosophorum
You should also know that the oil of all things in the world separates from its earth in the fire, except that of minerals and metals, because their oil stays with the earth in the fire and does not separate from it. If it does separate, the earth rises together with it, as their oils cannot be separated from the earth, which can be done with other things. They knew well that if they wish to follow Nature, they needed such oils to increate and make their spirit and dry earth liquid. They found them in sulphur and auripigment, but ten times more in mercury. In this way the art of ceration was invented…
Luna has two sicknesses, like other imperfect metals, but its two sicknesses do not go to the inmost root as do those of the other imperfect metals. One sickness is the combustible sulphur, the other is cold and humidity. The first sickness is eliminated with arsenic and washing. Know that the substance of arsenic is so strong that it burns and destroys all bodies. The same is done by auripigment and sulphur; these three are of one nature.
When arsenic and auripigment are disembodied and cleansed of their impurity, density, and wild unfixed spirits, and you take the idle spirit, then with this spirit you will drive away the combustibility of the sulphur of metals by calcining, washing, purging, reiterating. Consequently, arsenic and auripigment are comparable to theriac. For if the poison in the theriac is not prepared, it will kill man; but when it is prepared, it drives the poison out. Likewise arsenic and auripigment.
Richard Ingalese ~ They Made the Philosophers' Stone
This element is not called mercury always. It had different names in different languages. In the time of the Arabians it was frequently called arsenic, which is not the arsenic of medicine, but another name applied to mercury.
Pope Jean XXII ~ The Art of Transmutation
To Make Silver --- Take a pound calcined tartar and boil three pounds of common water until it dries almost half: and then distill by the felt, and int the water put two ounces of borax: then take a pound of salt and a pound of lime as you have done of tartar, by making each have two ounces of borax, then take two ounces of arsenic realgar, two ounces, of orpiment, four ounces and mix well together: then leave by half and put a hand inside the lime water and let dissolve all those inside and repel water space of four hours and then have four ounces of filings of Mars, new lime and half an ounce of fine Luna, dissolve in each common water and when everything is dissolved mix the two waters together very well, then separate your water, and keep your faeces: then take waters above with your faeces of Mars and Moon and mix together, and then evaporate over low heat, stirring frequently, then add five or six ounces of copper melted and prepared within glass, it will be good and soft silver.
Francois Jollivet-Castelot ~ The Chemical Manufacture of Gold
By means of catalytic action I have succeeded in manufacturing gold chemically by acting on silver with arsenic and antimony sulfides, tellurium, and tin. The process gives a very high yield which has already been confirmed by several chemists...
I made a mixture composed of chemically pure silver and 1 gram of chemically pure orpiment and placed it in 36° nitric acid for several months cold and then brought it to ebullition. The liquid was kept at the boiling point for several days. A small quantity of the material became detached at this point and formed a pulvurent black deposit. When no further action took place, I decanted off the solution and collected the insoluble residue. This residue was attacked by aqua regia at the boiling point until it was almost completely dissolved; the liquor when decanted and filtered was analyzed and gave all the characteristic reactions for gold. (December 1925)
I acted on 22 grams of pure silver... and on 3.5 grams of pure orpiment... The mixture was heated to about 1600° C. In a metal smelting furnace for about three quarters of an hour. The residue obtained was again melted with the addition of orpiment. After having hammered for half an hour and remelted with the addition of small quantities of orpiment every ten minutes, it was withdrawn.
After cooling and the addition of chemically pure antimony sulfide, it was again put back into the furnace, small quantities of orpiment being thrown in every five minutes. The residue obtained had a dark metallic tint. After hammering it became slightly golden.
The residue dissolved in pure 36° nitric acid first cold and then hot, gave an abundant pulvurent deposit. This deposit after being washed and treated with ammonia to dissolve the arsenic and antimony salts was completely dissolved in aqua regia. The liquor then being chlorinated and filtered was subjected to the usual reagents of platinum and gold...
I submit the hypothesis that the arsenic acts as a catalyst and the sulfur as a ferment in this transmutation...
Carl Jung ~ Mysterium Coniunctionis
…In the face of huge numbers every thought of individuality pales, for statistics obliterate everything unique. Contemplating such overwhelming might and misery the individual is embarrassed to exist at all. Yet the real carrier of life is the individual. He alone feels happiness, he alone has virtue and responsibility and any ethics whatever. The masses and the state have nothing of the kind. Only man as an individual being lives; the state is just a system, a mere machine for sorting and tabulating the masses. Anyone, therefore, who thinks in terms of men minus the individual, in huge numbers, atomizes himself and becomes a thief and a robber to himself. He is infected with the leprosy of collective thinking and has become an inmate of that insalubrious stud-farm called the totalitarian State. Our time contains and produces more than enough of that ‘crude sulfur’ which with ‘arsenical malignity’ prevents man from discovering his true self.
I was tempted to translate arsenicalis as ‘poisonous’. But this translation would be too modern. Not everything that the alchemists called ‘arsenic’ was really the chemical element As. ‘Arsenic’ originally meant masculine, manly, strong, and was essentially an Arcanum, as Ruland’s Lexicon shows. There arsenic is defined as an ‘hermaphrodite’, the means whereby Sulphur and Mercury are united. It has communion with both natures and is therefore called Sun and Moon. Or arsenic is ‘Luna, our Venus, Sulphur’s companion’ and the ‘soul’. Here arsenic is no longer the masculine aspect of the arcane substance but is hermaphroditic and even feminine. This brings it dangerously close to the moon and the crude Sulphur, so that arsenic loses its solar affinity. As ‘Sulphur’s companion’ it is poisonous and corrosive. Because the arcane substance always points to the principal unconscious content, its peculiar nature shows in what relation that content stands to consciousness. If the conscious mind has accepted it, it has a positive form, if not, a negative one. If on the other hand the arcane substance is split into two figures, this means that the content has been partly accepted and partly rejected; it is seen under two different, incompatible aspects and is therefore taken to be two different things…
Jacob Juran ~ Hyle & Coahyl
Gur --- Its sign, however, is this: in the caves of the mountains where the workers labor and dig our gold or silver, a white oil drips out and when it has disappeared in the ground in which there is this Cohyle or the seed and the beginning of the gold, there will be something glowing from the earth like a tear or like a white blood, and like a tear of a plant or a grapevine when they are cut, and it is similar to drops of light water in its seeping out, and after a day or night it will coagulate and be similar to the saliva of the mouth or the milk or water foam. And after a certain time when you see it, you will find it slightly reddish and this redness will increase every day, and when it is redder than coagulated blood, but not yet hard as stone, but soft and like a salve and cream, then the gold in it is completed, but not yet stable in the heat of the fire, and it will not be stable until it coagulates and becomes similar to a hard rock, and this is the word of King Saba, which he talks about in his book Kaba Thabiban, the oil, the butter of the wise. It is a bird in the world and it is white like snow, and it is the bird of all birds since it doesn’t fly underneath the sky and above the earth like other birds, but it comes down from the height of the sky into the deepest abysses in the interior of the earth, and its flight goes through stone and ground, through rock and the abysses of the sea; this bird in reality is the Phoenix of the Wise and alchemists, and if it doesn’t join with the mother of the gold in the earth and this become white and slightly stable, then the alchemists will not be able to complete it in a long time except if it comes down every day and flies into the interior of the earth and hides and unites with the mother of the gold, and when you first see it you will compare it with the seed of men, and its face, if white, will turn red after some time, and it will be soft as butter or a salve; but when its softness changes the gold is born and stable in fire. This Cohyle has no name, just like the Cohyle of the first way has none. But the experienced of those working inside the mountains when they find this Cohyle, they answer and say we have preceded the birth of the son and the completion of the gold because, see, the son is received, and due to our hurry we have found no gold… my son, choose this Cohyle, the butter of the wise men; you can find when it is red like blood, choose it, because with it you will hurry to its end, and if it is white like saliva of the mouth, choose it because with it you will understand even more; therefore when possible choose the red one and the white one, but choose it soft like a fatty substance…
In our opinion, the word GUR is not a German but a Hebrew word... Our matter, then, so writes the author of this process, is one single thing, but of two substances, subject to Saturn, and surrounded by his circle, wherein is found the Humidum Radicale, and a fixed grain of gold, still unhurt, quite alive, with soul and spirit, and it is a congealed vapor and a white coagulated juice, which nature itself has given up, or sublimated, in the Mineris Sol & Luna, heavy by weight, of a metallic kind and quality, and yet not a metal in itself. It can be spread like lard, or a very subtle amalgam, it attaches itself everywhere to the walls, like fat, quite glistening. In every viscous sulphur, or water, there lies hidden in its center a Centrum Concentratum, meaning: The salt of Nature, which is the light of the world, and the true Materia Prima gold.
As proof, take as much of this subject as you like, pour upon it twice distilled dew water, the first time as is, the next time through a dozen double-fine blotting papers, as is correctly taught and shown in the Fama Hermetica mense Februario. Once distilled, let it stand for a few days in digestion, stirring it somewhat every day. Then, out of this subject will extract itself the hidden Centrum concentratum, or Sal Naturae: When this extract has cooled down, filter it, and when the moisture has evaporated from it through a dozen double-fine blotting papers, one will see this Sal Naturae and Lumen Mundi so beautiful, splendid and glistening as the stars at the firmament are always glittering and glistening. But if it is further treated philosophically, it can even be turned into a brightly shining oil.
Often one breaks and finds also cobalt, which contains little or almost no metal. But by digging further in the pits, one will find the same white coagulated metallic juice. It is formed plentifully in nearly all mines, especially where there is gold and silver, but that which is mined in Hungary is to be preferred to all others. Our earth is gold and silver, but not the natural and common. It is of one thing and root. Astrum gerit masculinum et femininum genus tamen exinde persublimationem Archael fit crystallus, qui habit naturam aquae, cum quaignis et Sulphur redigenda sunt in gratiam. Miners do not heed it, nor is it of use to them in their work. It is generally called by them: aurum immaturatum, seu astrum Solis, semen Solis, metal seed, also sometimes Arabian gold. When they find such matter, they say, we have come too early or too late, dicitur etiam. Before it congeals into a metallic form, it is like butter and can be spread like butter. The first matter of metals is not Mercurius vivus, but a sticky, sulphurous vapor, and a viscous water, in which viscous water the three Principia: Sal comm., Sulphur and Mercury are gathered. This matter is known to all true philosophers, and it is the true Agens and Patiens.
Anton Kirchweger ~ The Golden Chain of Homer
Note here that Arsenic is a subtil dry mercury for the formation of the red metals chiefly. Modestin Fachs and Tugel believe Arsenic to be unripe Luna, and Luna to be fixed Arsenic. Tugel confirms it by experiment: Lead from Mercury, Tin from Arsenic, Silver from Arsenic, Iron from Mercury, Copper from Mercury, and Mercury from Arsenic...
My teachings will repel many and they will be astonished when they learn that I prepare the gold with arsenic...
Sulphur removes all the poison from arsenic and antimony. If a man were to reflect on the true prime origins of gold and other metals, or if he were to take the Mineram Solis, which is one with the other metals, he could immediately change it back into its prime matter. From this the reader learns of the properties of arsenic, how quickly its poison can be removed and thus it is transformed into a better substance.
The first constituent of all marcasites and metals is arsenic. In what mineral or metal can we find common quicksilver except very rarely and accidentally? Instead, you will find Arsenicum and sulphur in each of the aforementioned, be it little or much, but usually in quantity.
See Jo. Agricola in Popp. Nuremburg 1681, 4, P. II, Tr. de Arsenico, P. 997, where it is written: "Without a reason, one should not be surprised that this mineral is so closely related to Sulphur, that they are almost sprung from one spring, but in their effects they are almost opposites... It is a King of Medicine when it is corrected, one grain or less of it has the most salutory effect in countless diseases. It is penetrating and tinges the blood and vital spirit so intensely that it becomes capable of dispersing even the most pernicious enemy from the body; which other medicines, lacking this power, can never accomplish. Therefore, you must search in every way to find out how its poisonous nature can be allayed...".
Isn’t it by experience that we know that gold and silver buried under the earth are aroused when the salty moisture of the earth wakens the sour spirits of gold and silver into action; that is why one has found only their electra or even only some dust instead of gold and silver. When therefore gold and silver have been put in places where many arsenical or marcasitical vapors evaporate, they are sooner destroyed by Nature. We can see this in the Art, which must necessarily follow Nature in just these steps, when we melt sulphur, arsenic and marcasite together and let them flow, then put glowing gold into it, so that the gold turns into all powder which is then immediately dissolved by the salts or salty vapors or spirits and reduced to its first nature.
Likewise with metals or minerals: the medicine or tincture does not intend to heal the sulphur, arsenic or marcasite, but the metals, and even if it were thrown upon sulphur, arsenic or marcasite, it would not turn them into pure gold and silver, but into a pure solar or lunar nature. Therefore, such a solarized sulphur, arsenic or marcasite can also be made into gold or silver by digestion and maturation, but not into pure gold and silver as metals are transmuted by casting and melting, etc.
Gur --- The portion of the earth which the corrosive [vapor] has been unable to dissolve completely, is made subtle, dirty, and greasy in part. Alchemists call it a metallic gur, or the first matter of metals, but wrongly so, because it is the first and nearest matter to sulphur and arsenic. When arsenic becomes marcasite, that then is the very nearest matter to metals, because metals spring directly from marcasite and not from this gur which is only the distant matter of metals. This gur or dirty substance is made ever finer by the rising corrosive vapors and is more and more dissolved. And the more it becomes subtle, the more it congeals the corrosive within itself, and that makes it sulphurous and arsenical. This arsenic is increasingly ripened into marcasite, and the marcasite in turn into metal. Such is the progress of metals, which we intend to show ever more clearly.
When the vapors rise into the cracks and crevices of the rocks, they turn into water because of their condensation (while more and more rise unceasingly). This water contains the intermingled spirit of salt and saltpeter, which spirit is known by all alchemists to be corrosive. Here, however, in the center, it is surrounded and diluted by much Phlegma and water. Such spirits adhere to rocks and earth by their sharpness, corrode and dissolve them, make them subtle, swollen, sticky, greasy and dirty, and turn them into a moist gur which lies between the rocks and the earth like meat interlarded with bacon. But often it penetrates outside due to the swelling and adheres to the walls, as may be seen in old galleries and mines. The more dissolved and refined such dissolved earth becomes through vapors and salty spirits, the more it swells, pressing and driving out the remaining moisture by this swelling. In turn, this moisture runs back to the center or elsewhere into other corners and holes of the earth. This swollen earth or gur now has no peace, because the continually rising and subsequent vapors are attacking it ever more, adhere to it, congeal and coagulate with the earth; and the more such corrosive vapors follow, the more fiery, sulphurous the earth becomes. The more sulphurous it becomes, the higher it swells, and more moisture it drives off, and becomes the drier the longer it lasts. The drier it becomes, however, the more the sulphurous component part loses its combustibility and thereby acquires the name of mercury, or rightly, arsenic, which has originated in the sulphurous acidity. It no longer burns, but is still volatile. This volatility, however, is gradually more bound by the central heat between the stones, and thereby congealed and coagulated, so that it is transformed into a marcasite. If the digestion or earthy central heat is strong, the marcasite is congealed into a metal; but if it is weak, it remains what it is or becomes a marcasite or arsenic choke-damp, or pyrite.
Now one must know that when nature has got so far that she had made sulphur or arsenic, she has already filled the crevices and chasms and dissolved and caused so much earth to swell that the crevices are full to the brim. Then the earth does not admit any more vapors or moisture, and is no longer in dissolution. Now begins the dessication, fixation and coagulation, and passes from there to a metallic nature or fixity.
Just as the earth and rock are the mother and foundation, or the vessel, of minerals in which fossil ore bodies are made, so the vapor is their food. Vitriol or vitriolic gur is the root, sulphur and arsenic the stem, marcasite the flower or blossom, metals, the seed, the completed birth and offspring.
That vitriol is first born of sulphur and arsenic can be proven by gur, if it is lixiviated, filtered and coagulated. Then one finds a vitriolic salt after the kind of earth that has been dissolved. That sulphur or arsenic originate in this way, can be seen during dismemberment. When the Acidum or the sour vapor is driven by fire, it distills first. It is followed by the flowers of sulphur, then the arsenic, then the volatile marcasite. The fixed marcasite flows into a regulus and slag. That marcasite is made from arsenic, can again be seen in dismemberment, because bismuth and antimony driven into flowers are quite arsenical and volatile, and also have the total nature and quality of arsenic.
Libavius ~ Commentariosum Alchymiaem
( T ) Here paint a swan swimming on the sea and spewing out of its mouth a white fluid. This swan is the white elixir, the white chalk, the arsenic of the philosophers, common to both ferments...
Raymond Lully ~ Apertorium
Two are more pure than the rest, namely gold and silver, without which the work cannot be begun or finished; because in them is the purest substance of sulphur, perfectly purified by the ingenuity of Nature. Out of these two bodies, prepared with sulphur and arsenic, our medicine may be extracted.
Raymond Lully ~ Testament
But our Secret Philosophical Water is compounded of three Natures, and it is like to a Mineral Water, in which our Stone is dissolved, and therein it is terminated, Whitened and rubified. For it is not joined to the work, unless essentially moistening the parts of the dissolved Stone, whose Phlegm preserves the whole Work from combustion, by means of the Artist’s Industry.
But know that all its substance, that is the phlegmatical, is by decoction separated from the whole Compound, but our Phlegm is the middle substance, and the first Water of Mercury, in which the beginning of the Stone is, that is, its dissolution, neither does it enter with it, although they embrace one another with the Bond of Nature, unless as a Phlegm moistening the parts of the things, and note generating or augmenting; Whence the radical moistures are the essential parts of the Stone imbibed in the things themselves, of which alone the parts of the thing consist, therefore by it, it is augmented and nourished. But it is the truly germinating Nature, which the more it is decocted by the Phlegm, in its Vessel, by a Fire forcing is the more ingrafted into all and every one of the Parts, it is adorned, and so made fitter that manifold Fruits may be generated out of it: For this is called the middle nature, and the Stone, Mercury, Arsenick, and the noble spirit partaking of both extremes, the White Sulphur and the Red, binding up Mercury an converting it into better Silver than that of the Mine…
Albertus Magnus ~ Compound of Compounds
The Arsenick is of the same nature as the Sulphur; both tint to red and to white. But there is more humidity in the Arsenick, and it sublimes less rapidly over the fire than the Sulphur.
One knows how well Sulphur sublimes quickly and how it consumes all the bodies, except God. The Arsenick can unite its dry principle with that of the Sulphur, they temper each other, and once united, one separates them only with difficulty, their tincture is toned down by this union.
“The Arsenick”, says Geber, “contains much of the Mercury; it can also be prepared like it”. Know that the Spirit hidden in the Sulphur, the Arsenick and the animal oil, is named by the philosophers The White Elixir. It is unique, miscible with the volatile substance, from this one we extract the red Elixir; it unites with the melted metals, thus as we have experimented with it, it purifies them. Not only because of the aforementioned properties, but also because there is one common proportion between its elements…
According to philosophy, the Elixir also is called Medicine, because one assimilates the body of metals in the body of animals. Also we say that there is a hidden Spirit in the Sulphur, the Arsenick and the oil extract of the animal substances. It is that spirit for which we search, with whose aid we will tint all the imperfect bodies to perfection. This Spirit is called Water and mercury by the Philosophers. “The mercury”, says Geber, “is a medicine composed of the dry and the humid, the humid and the dry”. You understand the succession of operations: extract the earth from the fire, the air from the earth, the water from the air, since the water can resist the fire. It is necessary to mark well these teachings, they are Universal Secrets.
None of the principles which enter into the Work have strength by themselves; for they are linked in the metals, they cannot be perfected, they are not very fixed. Each lacks two substances, one miscible with the metals in fusion, the other fixed which enables it to coagulate and fix. Also Rhases said: “There are four substances which change in season: each one of these is composed of the four elements and takes the name of the dominant element. Their marvelous essence was fixed in one body, and, with this last, one can nourish the other bodies. This essence is composed of water and of air, combined in such a way that the heat liquefies them. Here it is: a marvelous secret. The minerals employed in Alchemy must, in order to serve us, have an action upon the melted bodies. The stones we use are four in number, two tint to white, the two others to red. Also: the white, the red, the Sulphur, the Arsenick and Saturn have only that one same body! But in this single body, what obscurities! And at first it is without action upon the perfect metals”…
I will add that from the four imperfect bodies, one can extract all. As for the manner of preparing the Sulphur, the Arsenick, and the Mercury most highly acclaimed, one can bring it forth here.
Indeed, when in this preparation we heat the spirit of the Sulphur and of the Arsenick, with the acid waters or the oil, for in extracting this volatile essence, the oil or unctuosity, we raise them above that which is superfluous to them; it leaves the volatile force and the oil, these things alone are those which are useful to us; but they are mixed in the acid water which served us in purifying, there is no means of separating these, but at least we are rid of the useless. It is necessary therefore, to find another means to extract from these bodies in order to obtain the water, the oil, and the very subtle spirit of the Sulphur which is the true very active Tincture for which we search…
Of the Purification of the Spirits --- The purification of spirits consists in the removal of all superfluities, but without the corruption of essentials. There are three kinds of spirits, mineral, vegetable, and animal. The mineral spirits, again, are properly three: sulphur, quicksilver, and arsenic, which operate naturally in metals, and to which metals, prepared by Art, are naturally joined. Of these, sulphur is the great active, quicksilver the great passive principle, while arsenic represents the secondary operations of quicksilver; but all three unite in the composition of the Elixir…
Of Arsenic --- Arsenic is a mineral body composed of earth and water; it is oleaginous, like sulphur, but having more earth than oil, and containing a more gross and earthy sulphur. Its purgation for the first sublimation is by means of substances which dry up and consume its oleaginous superfluity, which is the first humidity. The aqueous superfluity, which is the second humidity, must be evaporated.
In God’s name, take ponderous, lucid, red or yellow arsenic, pound small with an equal weight and a half of iron or copper filings; sprinkle with vinegar, dry, place between layers of its sediment over a fire, till there be no more steam, close up vessel, increase fire more and more till all is sublimed; cool, collect what appears outside the sediment, place between new layers, in each case about the thickness of one inch; sublime as before, till it is white, pure, crystalline, and free from all humidity and superfluity. This may be done by means of five or six sublimations; dissolve , and then coagulate, as in the case of sulphur, whether for the white or red. Arsenic is of less potency in the coagulation of Mercury than sulphur, but it is possible to extract from it an igneous virtue.
Albertus Magnus ~ Libellus de Alchimia
10. The Four Spirits of Metals Which Color --- Note that the four spirits of metals are mercury, sulphur, auripigmentum or arsenicum, and sal ammoniac. These four spirits color metals white and red, that is, in Gold and Silver: yet not of themselves, unless they are first prepared by different medicines for this, and are not volatile, and when placed in the fire burn brilliantly…
15. What is Auripigmentum and What is its Origin? --- Auripigmentum is a mineral stone and is made thus. Earthen dung pits in the bowels of the earth through long processes of decoction transform it into the substance of auripigmentum. Its viscosity is twofold: one is fine and the other coarse: one is freed through washing and decoction in urine; another through sublimation, as stated below.
Addition. Auripigmentum is active and burning, unless whitened. After sublimation it may whiten copper into a species of silver: this is done by adding two parts of sal ammoniac to four of rock salt, placing the latter on top of the former, and repeating the process three times until you are satisfied.
16. What is Arsenicum? --- Arsenicum is a subtle substance of a sulphurous color and occurs as a red stone [Realgar]. By nature it is like auripigmentum: the flowers are white and red. It is easily sublimed and is whitened in two ways: through decoction and sublimation.
33. What is Fixation and in How Many Ways are Bodies Fixed? --- Fixation is the appropriate tempering of a volatile substance in fire. It was devised so that every coloring, and every alteration is perpetuated in another and is not changed: for bodies, whose perfection has been diminished through calcinations, are fixed when they are freed from corrupting and volatile sulphureity. Sulphur and arsenicum are fixed in two ways: one method is the repetition of their sublimation from one state to another, or until they achieve stability. Spirits are also fixed in another way, either with the solutions of metals or with oil of tartar, as I shall say below.
Addition. Take sublimed mercury, an equal amount of sal ammoniac, and sublime seven times, or until melted, let the stone remain at the bottom; crush it and expose to damp air so it will become a liquid. Soak metallic arsenicum in this water, dissolve in distilled vinegar, and distill seven times, or congeal, and dissolve, and a stone will result.
Metallic arsenicum is made by melting one part of arsenicum with two parts of white soap. Another procedure is given in Geber’s Liber Fornacum: where you may read it if you wish. Either sublime mercury, or sulphur, or prepared arsenicum, or several of these, at the same time, along with sal tartarum or saltpeter, or sal ammoniac. Do this many times until they remain fixed, then extract with warm water.
39. How is Auripigmentum Whitened? --- You should grind auripigmentum and boil it one day in vinegar, and another in urine. Then add to it a like amount of black iron powder, mix well, then sublime, doing everything as I taught concerning sulphur, and it will become white.
Addition. Auripigmentum is called yellow arsenicum. Auripigmentum is prepared from vinegar and salt until it rises clear; there is no better way of purifying it. Rhases says the same elsewhere: salt is the best of all for this preparation.
40. How is Arsenicum Whitened? --- Arsenicum is of the same nature as auripigmentum, but it is not necessary to boil it. Therefore, grind well and imbibe with strong vinegar (Roger says with distilled vinegar, as you will see, when he speaks of the calcinations of bodies) two or three times, or four, and dry as many times. Then it can be reserved as a powder which will be suitable for calcining bodies. But if you wish to sublimate, grind well by itself and add to it the same amount of black iron powder. Sublimate seven times or more, following all I have taught concerning mercury, and it will be whiter than snow.
Fr. Pico Della Mirandola ~ Upon Gold
I have experienced the truth of this matter often in various ways...
Nor shall I omit to mention what a certain poor man told me occurred to him during sleep, which he soon proved by experiment. When he was anxious and did not know where to turn to bear his hunger, for he was oppressed by very high taxes, by a foreign treasury and by a large number of children, he went to sleep and saw a certain heavenly being whose name is in the catalogue of the saints, who taught him the art of making gold in riddles and then hinted at the water he should use for making gold; he used it, at first by himself, to make gold, not a great weight, however, but enough to feed his family, and he also made gold twice from iron, from orpiment three or four times, and by experiment he therefore proved to me that the art of making gold is not an empty one, but truthful...
Bhudeb Mookerjee ~ Rasa-Jala-Nidhi
Haritalam (Orpiment) --- Haritalam, properly purified, cures phlegm, vataraktam, poison, excess of air, and fear from ghosts. It stops menstrual discharge, is soothing, pungent, and produces a warm effect on the system. It increases the appetite and cures leprosy...
Evils of Using Haritalam, not properly purified --- Haritalam, not properly purified, shortens life and gives rise to an abnormal excess of phlegm, air, spermatorrhea, gonorrhea, inflammation, boils, and contraction of the limbs. It should therefore be purified very carefully...
Test of Incinerated Haritalam --- Haritalam is considered to be properly incinerated, if it does not emit any smoke when put upon the fire; otherwise it is to be considered un-incinerated.
Merits of incinerated haritalam: (1) Incinerated haritalam cures 80 different kinds of disease due to an abnormal excess of vayu (viz., paralysis, etc.)...
(2) Haritalam may be used in asthma, bronchitis, leprosy, ringworm, itches, carbuncle, and diseases due to an excess of vayu.
Transformation of base metals into gold by Haritalam --- Haritalam is to be rubbed with the juice of rudanti. Copper leaf, smeared with this haritalam, turns into fine gold. The leaf of a metal consisting of 16 parts of silver and 12 parts of copper is to be smeared with an amalgam made of haritalam, mashikam, hingula, manas-shila, and mercury, all rubbed together for three days with the juice of kakamachi, the weight of these metals being 3/2 part of the leaf, which is to be heated after it is so smeared. The product is gold...
Morienus ~ A Testament of Alchemy
Now consider what an authority said, that this magistery is customarily accomplished with a single matter. Attend well to this and apply yourself to it, and you will find no contradictions among the natures which you will perceive. Know that sulfur and orpiment burn, but do not long withstand combustion. Quicksilver always long withstands combustion, while all substances which approximate the nature of fire burn quickly. Thus you may expect best results from something which burns quickly in the fire and is reduced to coals...
But that which prepares this body is blood, or virgin's milk, for it unites and joins all the various substances and properties into one body, it being only necessary to apply to them a gentle heat that long continues at the same degree, neither increasing nor decreasing... Now the foul earth readily receives the white sparks and prevents destruction of the blood, or air, or virgin's milk, during decoction. But such is the blood's strength that it must be broken in order to promote rather than impede, and this is done after whatever still dark of the confused minerals has been whitened, thus accomplishing the full fruit of this magistery, the truth of which you may well not at first have seen. That is in sum the secret of your operation, as I have condensed it and set it forth for you...
The philosophers referred to the impure body as lead. The purified body is tin. The green lion is glass and almagra is latten, although it may have been called red earth earlier. And blood is orpiment, and foul earth is foul sulfur. Eudica is apart from all these and is called glaze, or the dregs or impurity of glass. The red vapor is red orpiment, the white vapor quicksilver and the yellow vapor yellow sulfur.
Joseph Needham ~ The Theoretical Background of Elixir Alchemy
(iii) Time as the Essential Parameter of Mineral Growth --- The protean metalline metamorphoses of the Huai Nan Tzu book were avoided by later alchemists, who accepted much more straightforwardly the archaic idea of the gradual perfection of minerals within the terrestrial matrix. Here the idea is expressed with pristine simplicity in one of the most influential of all alchemical writings, the supplementary instructions (chueh), probably of the early Sung, which now accompany the Han Yellow Emperor’s Canon of the Nine-Vessel Spiritual Elixir:
Realgar occurs in the same mountains as orpiment, and is formed by the transformation of orpiment. (This latter) great medicine of heaven and earth (i.e., of the natural order) is called 'doe yellow' (tzhu huang). When eight thousand years have passed, it transforms into realgar, the variant name of which is 'imperial male seminal essence (ti nan ching). After another thousand years have passed it transforms into yellow gold, with the variant name 'Victuals of the Perfected (or Realized) Immortals’ (chen jen fan)...
Among the scriptures taken down by Yang Hsi, Thao had also found actual instructions for alchemical preparations. Two of these formulae still exist in their entirety. One, called Thai-Shang Pa-Ching Ssu-Jui Tzu-Chiang (Wu-Chu) Chiang Shêng Shen Tan Shang Ching (Exalted Manual of the Eight-Radiances Four-Stamens Purple-Fluid Crimson Incarnation Numinous Elixir, a Thai-Shang Scripture), is preserved in the Shang-Chhing Thai-Shang Ti Chün Chiu Chen Chung Ching (Ninefold Realised Median Canon of the Imperial Lord, a Shang-Chhing Thai-Shang Scripture); a work otherwise devoted to techniques for encountering various deities in meditation --- making them appear from within one's body, from the sun and moon, and from inside unusually coloured clouds that conceal the immortals as they travel through the sky. The elixir recipe itself, for all its twenty-four ingredients and 104 days of heating, is clearly phrased in the language of the laboratory, and could be carried out in one today. The ingredients are given elaborate cover-names, but all are defined in notes recording oral instructions (khou chüeh) ascribed to the first Patriarch of Taoism, Chang Tao-Ling (+2nd century): e.g. Crimson Tumulus Vermilion Boy (chiang ling chu erh = cinnabar, HgS), Elixir Mountain Solar Animus (tan shan jih hun = realgar, As2S2), Arcane Belvedere Lunar Radiance (hsüan thai yüeh hua = orpiment, As2S3). The formula is not dissimilar on the whole to later alchemical recipes in terminology and technique...
Examples of spatial orientation have already appeared in several of the documents above. Alchemical specifications of location were so tied conceptually to temporal correspondences that they are practically never found in isolation. One of the very few exceptions is particularly interesting because it is early, its context is medical, and it is concerned implicitly but unmistakably with emplacing the reactants within the reaction-vessel in such a way as to create a microcosmic configuration. This is not an alchemical elixir but a 'Panaceal Sublimed Yellow Powder' (kuang chi fei huang san), prescribed for sores and ulcerations in one of the great medieval compendia of medical prescriptions, Wang Thao's Wai Thai Pi Yao (Important Medical Formulae and Prescriptions revealed by a provincial governor) of +752. That its ultimate source was alchemical is more than likely. Yoshida Mitsukuni has pointed out, similarities to a recipe in the Thai-Chhing Shih Pi Chi (Records of the Rock Chamber; a Thai-Chhing Scripture --- before +806), a practical collection of alchemical and iatrochemical formulae with Mao Shan associations. What Wang Thao says is as follows:
Take: Laminar malachite (tshêng chhing) Magnetite (tzhu shih), Orpiment (tzhu huang) Realgar (hsiung huang), Fibrous arsenolite (pai yü shih) Cinnabar (tan sha), one ounce of each. Grind the above six ingredients to fine powders, and emplace them according to the colour correspondences of the directions: laminar malachite to the east, cinnabar to the south, white arsenolite to the west, magnetite to the north, and realgar in the central position. Two earthenware urns (wa wêng) are coated inside with yellow clay two or three times in order to make (a lining) five- or six-tenths of an inch thick. Then place powdered orpiment in the bottom. Combine and sieve the other ingredients and put them on top, afterwards laying (the other) half of the orpiment on top as a cover. Spread clay closely on the joint (between the two vessels, the mouths of which are now joined); and do not allow any of the chhi to leak out...
Not long after Wu Wu's time someone who was trying to reason out the best possible way of making a container represent an egg hit upon the unsurpassable solution: he used a hen's egg itself. This may have come earlier, as early as the +9th century, but more probably it was a little later, in the Southern Sung. The 'Complete Compendium on the Lead-Mercury Perfected Treasure' (Chhien Hung Chia King Chih Pao Chi Chhing) by Chao Nai-An, cites 'Secret Directions for the Yellow Sprouts Great Elixir' (Huang Ya Ta Tan Pi Chih). One stage of the preparation goes as follows:
Orpiment, 1/2 ounce, Sal ammoniac, and White arsenic, 1/4 ounce each. First grind the orpiment; then grind the arsenic and sal ammoniac separately, fine as flour. Take an egg and make a hole in it. Get rid of the yolk but keep the white. Spread half the arsenic and sal ammoniac on the bottom inside the egg; put the orpiment in the middle, and half the arsenic and sal ammoniac to cover it. Take somewhat less than half an egg-shell to cover the hole, and seal it on with iron oxide solution (chiang fan shui) which has been mixed (with the egg-white?). Then take a pound of minium (huang tan) and an iron reaction-vessel (ting). Put half the minium into the vessel and place in its centre the medicines in the egg. Then cover them with the rest of the minium, applying a little pressure. Fill the vessel with lime (shih hui, evidently raw) and lute it tightly. Using half a pound of charcoal, heat it gently in an ash bath. When it is taken out it will be finished. For each ounce of pai hsi (zinc or tin) use a piece the size of a red mung bean (hsiao tou). First melt the metal, and when it is liquid project the medicine upon it. Pour it out and wait for it to cool. It will then be the colour of gold.
Exactly what form of aurifaction was taking place here is not immediately obvious. The reagents heated together were arsenic trisulphide, ammonium chloride (or carbonate), arsenic trioxide, ferric oxide, lead tetroxide and calcium oxide, with or without, as the case may be, a protein as source of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen. Whether or not the tin or zinc was tinged golden only superficially is not clear from the description: if so, arsenical and other sulphides might have done just as well by themselves (cf. pt. 2, p. 252 above). If, on the other hand, copper was meant though tin or zinc actually stated, then a uniform-substrate golden alloy of arsenical copper could easily have been produced by projection as described (cf. pt. 2, p. 223 above).
Robert Nelson ~ A Novel Preparation of Arsenic Oxides from Orpiment / Realgar
Since the beginning of metallurgy, arsenic trioxide has been prepared by oxidation of ores and collected from the chimneys of furnaces. Arsenic pentoxide has been prepared by reduction of the trioxide by nitric acid.
Presented here is the first alternative method for preparation of arsenic oxides, particularly the pentoxide. The technique is simple, safe, efficient, and requires only a reflux apparatus.
Orpiment or realgar is pulverized and treated by heating with ammonia water to liberate the sulfides from ganque. The dissolved and suspended sulfides are decanted and the ganque is treated again with ammonium hydroxide, decanted, and washed. The ammonium solution-suspensions are combined, nitric acid is added to form a suspension of ammonium nitrate, and excess acid is added to form a clear solution.
The mixture is heated until the sulfides are decomposed and a white precipitate of oxides has formed. Continue heating for several hours to ensure complete reaction.
The reaction mixture is decanted or filtered, washed, and dried to yield arsenic trioxide and pentoxide. The trioxide is separated from the pentoxide by sublimation. The crude mixture can be converted completely to pentoxide by further treatment with nitric acid.
Isaac Newton ~ Verses at the end of B. Valentine's Mystery of the Microcosm
The soot of melting houses is my name
Being a noysome fierce & poys'nous steam
I can pretend unto no further might
Since I my body have forsaken quite
Therefore no man as once twas heretofore.
Can now attain my body to restore
But whensoere with dextrous art & skill.
My noysom venom you shall tame & kill
Then man & Beast may both be cur'd by me
And oft from dangerous sicknesses set free.
Els I am poyson still & so remain
Putting rash heads & hearts to deadly pain.
Yet take good heed you rightly me prepare
To watch & ward me having a due care
Henry Nollius ~ The Chemist's Key
He that knows not how to fix Arsenic, to take away the corrosive nature of sublimate, to coagulate sulphureous spirits, and by a convenient specifical Medicine to break and analyze stones in the greater world, will never in the body of Man allay and tame the Arsenical spirits of the Microcosmic Salt, nor quite take away the venomous indisposition of the Sulphur, nor dissolve the Stone in the bladder, and drive it out being dissolved. It is a noble, safe and pious course we examine and try the force and virtues of Medicines upon Microcosmical substances, before we apply them to our fellow creatures, and the rare fabric of Man.
Edward Nowell ~ Certain Chemical Works With True PracticePreface.Olympiodorus of Alexandria ~
…Likewise do learn our mineral spirits three
From whence they rise, Arsenick of which being one,
The other Sulphur, ye last Mercury.
The Fuming Spirits chiefest of our Stone
One of those poisonous with his piercing breath
Congeals Quicksilver to a solid Earth…
Of True Principles.
11. Our Arsenick doth of these participate
Wherefore Hermaphrodite we do it call
But of itself no Metal may beget
Our Tin and Lead are Salts ethereal
Mars and Venus two fumes from Sulphur rise
The which from Vitriol dissolved comes..
The True Work.
…This Lead dissolve like butter somewhat soft,
Dissolve in Balneo what will thence arise.
When fire of Sand will rise two fumes aloft
A White, and Red, called Arsenick of the Wise.
The Faeces black, calcine in fire you may
Till they be White or else look somewhat Grey…
… This White leaved Earth, divide it into two
And in one part the Soul again must grow
This Soul is Arsenic which likewise divide
From greatest part sever, the white from Red
Into fixed Oils with fire let them be fried
Which are the Lights, true Leavens for our Bread…
… Our Stone being raw we water call wherein contained is
Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus our filth of Silver cleaned
Which being in Quicksilver, Magnesia I do mean
White Sulphur we do call it but being boiled red
Is Gold, Coral, and Orpiment and Leaven for our bread…
To The Deriders of Alchemy.
… Not common brimstone or Quicksilver crude
But foliate Earth and Arsenick to conclude,
Of which by long concoction we do frame
A Powder Red which Elixir name…
First Tincture, Coloring Copper White by Means of Arsenic, as follows:
Arsenic is a kind of sulphur which volatilizes quickly; that is to say, volatilizes over the fire. All substances similar to arsenic are also called sulphurs and volatile bodies. Now the preparation is made thus: taking 14 ounces of lamellar arsenic the color of gold, cut it into pieces, grind it so as to reduce it to particles as fine as down; then soak it in vinegar for 2 or 3 days and as many nights, the material being closed up in a glass vessel with a narrow neck, carefully luted at the top at the top so that it shall not be dissipated. Shaking once or twice a day, do this for several days; then, emptying the vessel, wash with pure water, only just until the odor of vinegar has disappeared. Guard the most subtle part of the substance; and do not let it be thrown out with the water. After allowing the mass to dry and contract in the air, mix and pulverize it with five ounces of salt of Capaddocia [common salt].
Now the use of the salt was devised by the ancients to avoid the arsenic sticking to the glass vessel. This glass vessel is called asympoton by Africanus. It is luted with clay; a glass cover in the shape of a cup is placed above. At the upper part, another cover envelopes the whole; it is fastened tightly on all sides, so that the distilled arsenic may not be dissipated.
Then distill it repeatedly and pulverize it, until it became white; thus we obtain a white and compact alum. Then melt the copper with some hard Nicean copper; then take some of the flower of soda and throw it into the bottom of the crucible 2 or 3 parts to flux it. Next add the dry powder (sublimed arsenic), with an iron ladle; put in the amount of one ounce to 2 pounds of copper. After that, put into the crucible for each ounce of copper a little silver, with a view to making the color uniform. Then throw into the crucible again a small amount of salt, Thus you will have a very fine alloy. [ M. Berthelot ~ Collection des Anciens Alchimistes Grecs ]Ostanes ~ The Book of Ostanes
And others have said that arsenic itself is the stone of the nations, of little worth, and rejected and cast out of doors and into the dunghills and sewers… [Berthelot ~ Moyen Age III]Theophrastus Paracelsus ~ The Aurora of the Philosophers
Being therefore moved with compassion towards the well-meaning operators of this art, I have determined to lay open the whole foundation of philosophy in three separate arcana, namely, in one explained by arsenic, in a second by vitriol, and in a third by antimony; by means of which I will teach the true projection upon Mercury and upon imperfect metals.
Chapter IX. Concerning Those Who Have Sought The Stone In Minerals --- Now, here note that Nature has distributed its mineral sperm into various kinds, as, for instance, into sulphurs, salts, boraxes, nitres, ammoniacs, alums, arsenics, atraments, vitriols, tutias, haematites, orpiments, realgars, magnesias, cinnabar, antimony, talc, cachymia, marcasites, etc. In all these Nature has not yet attained to our matter; although in some of the species named it displays itself in a wonderful aspect for the transmutation of imperfect metals that are to be brought to perfection.
Chapter X. Concerning Those Who Have Sought The Stone And Also Particulars In Minerals --- Some have taken arsenic several times sublimated, and frequently dissolved with oil of tartar and coagulated. This they have pretended to fix, and by it to turn copper into silver. This, however, is merely a sophistical whitening, for arsenic cannot be fixed unless the operator be an Artist, and knows well its tingeing spirit. Truly in this respect all the philosophers have slept, vainly attempting to accomplish anything thereby. Whoever, therefore, is ignorant as to this spirit, cannot have any hopes of fixing it, or of giving it that power which would make it capable of the virtue of transmutation. So, then, I give notice to all that the whitening of which I have just now spoken is grounded on a false basis, and that by it the copper is deceitfully whitened, but not changed.
Now the sophists have mixed this counterfeit Venus with twice its weight of Luna, and sold it to the goldsmiths and mint-masters, until at last they have transmuted themselves into false coiners --- not only those who sold, but those who bought it. Some sophists instead of white arsenic take red, and this has turned out false art; because, however it is prepared, it proves to be nothing but whiteness.
Chapter XI: Concerning the True & Perfect Special Arcanum of Arsenic for the White Tincture --- Some persons have written that arsenic is compounded of mercury and Sulphur, others of earth and water; but most writers say it is of the nature of Sulphur. But, however that may be, its nature is such that it transmutes red copper into white. It may also be brought to such a degree of perfection as to be able to tinge. But this is not the way pointed out by such evil sophists as Geber in The Sum of Perfection, Albertus Magnus, Rhasis and Polydorus; for these writers, however many they be, are either themselves in error, or else they write falsely out of sheer envy, and put forth receipts whilst not ignorant of the truth. Arsenic contains within itself three natural spirits. The first is volatile, combustible, corrosive, and penetrating all metals. This spirit is crystalline and sweet. The third is a tingeing spirit separated from the others before mentioned. True philosophers seek for these three natural properties in arsenic with a view to the perfect projection of the wise men. But those barbers who practice surgery seek after that use in the cure of wounds, buboes, carbuncles, anthrax, and other similar ulcers, which are not curable save by gentle means. As for that tingeing spirit, however, unless the pure be separated from the impure in it, the fixed from the volatile, and the secret tincture from the combustible, it will not in any way succeed according to your wish for projection on Mercury, Venus, or any other imperfect metal. All philosophers have hidden this arcanum as a most excellent mystery. This tingeing spirit, separated from the other two as above, you must join to the spirit of Luna, and digest them together for the space of thirty-two days, or until they have assumed a new body. After it has, on the fortieth natural day, been kindled into flame by the heat of the sun, the spirit appears in a white brightness, and is endowed with a perfect tingeing arcanum. Then it is at length fit for projection, namely, one part of it upon sixteen parts of an imperfect body, according to the sharpness of the preparation. From thence appears shining and most excellent Luna, as though it had been dug from the bowels of the earth.
Theo. Paracelsus ~ The Revelation of Hermes
This spirit in its fiery form is called a Sandaraca, in the aerial a Kybrick, in the watery an Azoth, in the earthly Alcohoph and Aliocosoph. Hence they are deceived by these names who, seeking without instruction, think to find this Spirit of Life in things foreign to our Art. For although this spirit which we seek, on account of its qualities, is called by these names, yet the same is not in these bodies and cannot be in them. For a refined spirit cannot appear except in a body suitable to its nature. And, by however many names it be called, let no one imagine different spirits, for, say what one will, there is but one spirit working everywhere and in all things
Theo. Paracelsus ~ The Economy of Minerals
Chapter XVIII. Concerning Arsenic used for Alchemy --- It seems right to connect Arsenic generically with Sulphurs rather than with Mercuries, and to treat it immediately after Sulphurs. Some old chemists, or rather sophists, labouring at chemistry, swelling with jaundice, that is, with desire for gold, a sort of yellow dropsy, when they saw in Arsenic the white Tincture of Venus, and the red tincture in the calamine stone, believing, too, that the true arcanum of the stone was contained in these, thought the white and red electrum were silver and gold until they found out the contrary by tests, and learnt that they had been engaged in a vain work. And not content with that they went on perversely in order to arrive at a fixation, and persevered until they had neither house nor possession left. They had wrought a transmutation in themselves rather than in the metal! And what wonder? They approached this work without judgment, and possessing no knowledge of minerals and metals, as so many of those who embark in the Art at the present day do. Since the time when the name of electrum given by the ancients passed into oblivion, there has forthwith followed the ruin of those who changed that name into fictitious gold and silver. That has been the destruction of modern chemists. To define Electrum: it is a metal made from some other by Art, and no longer resembling that Form from which it was made. For example: arsenical metal, prepared according to the form of metallic preparation, cemented with Venus in the accustomed manner, converts the whole copper into white electrum more worthless than its own copper. What need is there to deprave metals at great expense? Would it not be better to leave the copper in its own natural essence, to keep one's money, and devote time and labor to a more useful work? The ancients called Electrum by its proper name, the moderns falsely call it silver. The ancients were not losers, because they knew the Electrum itself; the moderns, because they have no knowledge of Electrum, throw away their faculties, labour, and time. Now, since in Alchemy all mistakes are constantly propped up with some new hope, it was tried to fix Arsenic by means of reverberations for some weeks, and by other devices. Thence it ensued that the Arsenic became red and brittle like coral, but of no use in Alchemy except for Electrum, as was just now said. Then by descent and precipitation they effected nothing more than by their calcinations. Thus it happens in Alchemy obdurate men are deceived because they do not learn thoroughly from the foundation all the terms of the Art. It is true that Arsenic does, in its own natural condition, contain gold, and that this gold, by the industry of the artist, can sometimes be separated in a cement, or a projection, or otherwise, into silver, copper or lead by attraction, but it does not therefore follow that this is produced by his operations and his tinctures. It means only that the gold which was there before has been derived by a process of separation, as it generally is, from its ore. It is nearly always found golden, and very seldom lacks gold, as is the case with many other substances. So far, then, have I given concerning Arsenic what I know, or what it is advisable to write. Let everybody first of all diligently examine its name, so that he may understand. Otherwise error is apt to arise easily in both faculties, which is only at length discovered by the result.
Raphael Patai ~ The Jewish Alchemists
The green suspita mentioned in connection with gold had given rise to various interpretations. The Zohar commentary Nosose Orot explains: "It is called in Arabic zarnikh [arsenic], and in La'az orpimento, and it causes men's hair to fall out." Later commentators explained it as "green copper which is called allatun". Robert Eisler, in a 1925 article on the terminology of Jewish alchemy, emended the reading of the word to susepta, and suggested that it stood for the Greek sussepte, meaning decayed or putrefied gold...
Pearce the Black Monk ~ Upon the Elixir
In Arsenick sublimed there is a way straight...
Realgar and Arsenick I defende...
Dom Antoine-Joseph Pernety ~ Treatise on the Great Art
When the Mercury of the Sages is mixed with silver and gold, it is called the Electra of the Philosophers, their brass, their latten, their copper, their steel: and in operations, their venom, their arsenic, their orpiment, their lead, their latten which it is necessary to whiten: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, the Moon and the Sun...
Alphidius teaches us that this matter, or this White Smoke, is the root of the Art, and the Quicksilver of the Sages... The Philosophers have given it, among other names, those which follow: White Copper, Lamb, Spotless Lamb, Albathest, Whiteness, Alborach, Holy Water, Heavy Water, Talc, Argent-Vive, Coagulated Mercury, Purified mercury, Silver, Zoticon, Arsenic, Orpiment, Gold, White Gold, Azoch...
Dom Antoine-Joseph Pernety ~ Dictionaire Mytho-Hermétique
Arsaq --- Arsenic.
Arsaneck --- Sublimated arsenic. Also called Arcanec, & Artanech (Johnson).
Arsenic --- in terms of Hermetic Chymistry, is taken to be now the mercury of the Wise, now the materia wherefrom it be drawn, & again for the materia in putrefaction. Certain having discovered in the verses of one of the Sybils, that the name of the materia from whence is taken the philosophic mercury, was composed of nine letters, whereof are four vowels, the rest consonants, whereof is one syllable composed of three letters, and the rest of two, believed they had discovered that materia in the name Arsenicum, the more so in that the Philosophers hold their materia to be a poison of the most dangerous nature; but the materia of the stone is the very same as that whence are formed arsenic & the others compounds, & the mercury of the wise is not drawn from arsenic; for arsenic is sold by Apothecaries and Druggists, and the ore of mercury is everywhere to be found, in the woods, in the mountains, in valleys, in water, on earth, & in all lands. Philalethes & various other Philosophers gave also the name arsenic to their materia in putrefaction, for it is then a poison most subtile & of the greatest violence. At times also by arsenic they understand their volatile principle, the which does office as the female. It is their Mercury, their Luna, their Venus, their vegetable Saturne, their Green Lion, &c. This name, arsenic, comes of the fact that it blanches their gold, as does vulgar arsenic blanch copper.
Arsenic of the Wise --- It is the Mercury of the Wise; again, the material from whence is drawn the Philosophic Mercury; again, the materia of the Hermetics when that it has come to the black; again, the sulphur or male seed & agent. Certain do by this name intend the salt that is link betwixt Sulphur & Mercury, and which, all three, are the principles of nature & of all compounds.
Incombustible Arsenic of the Wise --- The Stone of the Hermetics perfected unto the white.
Eirenaeus Philalethes ~ Experiments for the Preparation of the Sophic Mercury
(1) The Secret of the Philosophick Arsnick --- I took one part of the Fiery Dragon, and of the Magnetical Body two parts; I prepared them together by a strong Fire, and in the first fusion there was made about eight ounces of the true Arsnick.
(2) The Secret of Preparing the Mercury with His Arsenick, for the Separating its Faeces --- I did take one part of the best Arsnick, and I made a marriage with two parts of the Virgin Diana into one Body; I ground it very fine, and with this I have prepared my mercury, working them all together in heat, until that they were most exquisitely incorporated: then I purged it with the Salt of Urine, that the Faeces did separate, which I put away.
(5) The Secret of the just Preparation of the Sophic Mercury --- Every single preparation of the Mercury with its Arsnick is one Eagle, the Feathers of the Eagle being purged from their Crow-like blackness, make it to fly the seventh flight, and it is prepared even until the tenth flight.
(6) The Secret of the Sophic Mercury --- I have taken the proper quantity of the Mercury, and I mixed it with its true Arsnick, to wit, about four ounces of Mercury, and I made a thin commixed consistence; I purged it after a due manner, and I distilled it, and I had a pure Body of Lune, whence I knew that I had rightly prepared it: afterwards I added to its weight of Arsnick, and I increased its former weight of Mercury, in so much that the mercury might prevail to a thin flux, and so I purged it, to the wasting of the blackness almost to a Lunary whiteness: then I took half an ounce of the Arsnick of which I made a due Marriage, and there was made a temperature like Potters Loam, but a little thinner; I purged it again, after a due manner, the Purgation was laborious: I made it with the Salt of Urine, which I have found to be the best in this Work.
(9) A Threefold Tryal of the Goodness of the Prepared Mercury --- Take thy Mercury prepared with its Arsnick of seven, eight, nine or ten eagles, put it into a Phial, and thou shalt lute it with the Lutum Sapientiae: place it in a Furnace of Sand, and let it stand in an heat of Sublimation, so that it may ascend and descend in the Glass, until it be coagulated a little thicker than Butter: continue it unto a perfect Coagulation, until it be as white as Silver.
Eir. Philalethes ~ Ripley Revived
An Exposition upon Sir George Ripley’s Third Gate --- Note then that Sublimation, which otherwise is called Separation, Division, Ascension and Descension, is the Key of the Work; it is placed for the third Gate, and yet it is the last and the first; the last it is called by Ripley, and I to Echo his Voice assure thee it is the first and last.
And as the Key of all our Operations is Separation, so the Key to it is our true Mercury, truly prepared and proportioned as it ought to be. Now the proportion of thy Water, is in reference to its internal additional Sulphur, which is added by the Philosopher; which is done by successive Eagles, which are made by our Philosophical Arsnick, the number of which ought to be seven. The darkness vanishing, and the light appearing, after many showers, before the flight of each Eagle, our Water being thus actuated, is by Acuation purged, and then it becomes powerful in dissolving the Body, which will be done with a fewer number of eagles, or a greater, but with 7 or 9 most desiredly.
This actuated Water is also the Instrument which doth move the gold to putrefie, which no other Agent in the World can do; for by this the Body is ground, softened and mollified, the pores of it are softened, and the Sulphur invisible is set at liberty, which causeth the Body to rot, change colours, and at length become black like unto melted Pitch.
But if thou omit any of the number of eagles, or fail in the goodness of thy Arsnick, or err in the preparation of the Water with thy Arsnick, either in Conjunction, or Purification, or Digestion, or any other errour, of which experience will warn thee, do not then expect that the most exact Regimen of heat of thy external Furnace will do the Work.
An Exposition upon Sir George Ripley's Preface --- And now indeed if any be ignorant, let him be ignorant; I know not what more to say, and not transgress the silence of Pythagoras. I have told you that our matter is two-fold, crude and fixed; the fixed is by Nature perfected to our hands, and we need only to have it made more then most perfect, which Nature alone could never perform; nor is there any thing that can thus exalt Tinctures, but our dissolving Water, which I told you floweth from three Springs; the one is a common Well at which all draw, and of which Water many use; this Well hath in it a Saturnine drossiness, which make to Waters unuseful; these frigid superfluities are purged by two other Springs, through which the Water of this Well is artificially caused to run: these Springs make but one Well, whose Waters appear dry, the humidity being sealed; the Well it self is surrounded by an Arsenical Wall, the slimy bottom abounds with the First Ens of Mineral Salt and Sulphur, which acuate the Water of the first Well, whose primary quality is Coldness; being thus actuated, it becomes so powerful a Menstruum, and so pleasant to the Metals, that for its peculiar Vertue it is chosen for to be the Bath of the Sun and Moon.
An Exposition upon Sir George Ripley’s Fifth Gate --- If then thou accend this heat so much as that it predominate, it will not then dissolve the Bodies, as thou expectest, but contrariwise burn the Flowers before they are extractd from the depths of their marrow: this thou mayst easily do, either if thy Arsnick be not made as it ought, or else the number of Eagles exceeded, or the proportion of thy Water to thy Body not agreeing to the number of Eagles, or thy Glass not well proportioned to thy Matter; it will easily burn, if thy Glass be too big, for so the moisture will so much be dispersed about the Concave, that it will not return before the earth below be left too dry. I have given Rules easily to avoid all these inconveniences.
And on the other hand, be sure that thou do not erre in too little heat; let thy Water have Fire enough within it, to make a true division and corruption, which if either thy Arsnick have sufficient Fiery virtue, or if the union of this and thy Water be not well attended, but slightly performed, or the Purgation of thy water be not thoroughly made each eagle, for so two or three eagles may not add the virtue of one, or if thy number of eagles be not just, or thy proportion of quantity be not duly observed...
Pray then to God, that he would be propitious unto your studies and labours, in giving thee the true knowledge of this secret Mystery; it is the gift of God, I have holpen thee what I can, but venture not to practice barely upon my words, for know that what I have only hinted, is far more then what I have discovered; and what I have declared to thy first apprehension most openly, hath yet its lurking Serpent under the green Grass, I mean some hidden thing which thou oughtest to understand, which thou being Cock-sure at first blush wilt neglect; but yet it will bite thee by the heel when thou approachest to practice, and make thee begin again, and it may be at last throw away all as a man desperate: for know that this is an Art very Cabalistical, and we do study expression such as we know will suit almost with any mans fancy, in one place or other; but be sure to take this Maxim from one who knows best the sence of what he hath written: Where we speak most plainly, there be most circumspect, for we do not go about to betray the Secrets of Nature; especially then in those places which seem to give Receipts so plain as you would desire, suspect either a Metaphor, or else be sure that something or other is supprest, which thou wilt hardly without Inspiration ever find of thy self, which in tryal will make all thy confident knowledge vanish; yet to a Son of Art, we have written that which never heretofore was by any revealed.
Eir. Philalethes ~ An Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King
Chapter II. Of the Component Principles of the Mercury of the Sages --- It is called our Arsenic, our Air, our Moon, our Magnet, and our Chalybs: these names representing the different stages of its development, even unto the manifestation of the kingly diadem, which is cast out of the diadem of our harlot. Learn, then, who are the friends of Cadmus; who is the serpent that devoured them; what the hollow oak to which Cadmus spitted the serpent. Learn who are the doves of Diana, that overcome the green lion by gentleness: even the Babylonian dragon, which kills everything with its venom. Learn, also what are the winged shoes of Mercury, and who are those nymphs whom he charms by means of his incantations.
Eir. Philalethes ~ A Short Manuduction to the Celestial Ruby
Therefore you must take Care that you don’t Err in this first Entrance, for the Work is spoiled unless you be wary here. The common Errors on this Operation are many and various; Firstly, of them who know not what is to be Calcined, but seek the Principle of Gold-making in Extraneous things. Some bring in for their Material Principle, those things which are not of the same Imposition with Metals, such are Borax, Alloms, Attrement, Vitriol, Arsnick, Seeds of Plants, Wine, Vinegar, Urine, Hair, Blood, Gums, and the Rosins of the Earth; some do endeavor (such is their Blockishness) to Generate Salts of every kind, out of the flame, I pass by these understanding nothing at all in this Art…
P. Ray ~ History of Chemistry in Ancient & Medieval India
Chapter II. Chemistry in Rasaratnasamuchchaya --- Talaka (orpiment) is of two kinds: the one is of a leady structure, the other is found in balls or cakes and is of golden color... and bright. It is purified by being digested in the juice of cucumber and the alkaline water of the ashes of sesamum, or in lime water.
Talaka is to be rubbed with buffalo's urine and thrice macerated in the decoction of Butea monosperma of the consistency of honey, and then to be roasted in a covered crucible and powdered. This operation is to be repeated twelve times. Then it is fit to be used in medicines. [Most likely a sulpharsenite of potash is formed in the process]
Manassila (realgar) is mixed with one-eighth part of its weight of iron-rust, molasses, bdellium and clarified butter, and then enclosed in the koshthi apparatus and strongly heated, when it yields its essence...
All the gems with the exception of diamond are killed when roasted eight times with a mixture of realgar, sulphur and orpiment, rubbed in the juice of Artocarpus lakoocha.
Dhatuvada --- In the Himalaya, there is a very good and well-known plant called kustha (Costus speciosa), from the leaf of which drops towards the earth a fluid having a colour like bright gold... Pure orpiment is to be rubbed with this oil for 20 days. The former is killed thereby and loses its volatility. The eight metals in the molten state being treated with this orpiment, acquire the power of transmutation...
Rhasis ~ The Light of Lights
Of the Spirits --- There are three mineral spirits: quicksilver, sulphur, and arsenic. Arsenic is hot and dry, of great virtue and potency, yet lightly esteemed. It burns up all other bodies. There are two kinds of arsenic, one is of a pale white, the other red. The red is combustive, the white is solvent, and useful for the Tincture; with quicksilver it makes silver. It has a fiery nature, and sublimes quickly. This spirit we strive to render corporeal and fixed, in order that it may permanently colour our substance. It has great affinity for vinegar.
This spirit must be cleansed, sublimed, and exalted; then it will do what no man would think possible. Take pallid arsenic, pound well into powder, place in a glazed pot, pour over it four times as much clear strong vinegar. When most of the arsenic is dissolved, after three days, place over a gentle fire, steam off the liquid, take it out, place in a dish, wash well of all saltness with pure water, and dry in the sun. Place again in a glazed pot, pour over it four times its quantity of water of alum, and let it evaporate over the fire. Put in an aludel, add twice its quantity of common purified salt, close the vessel, and seal it up carefully. Sublime cover fire from morning till noon. Cool, open the vessel, and you will find in it a brilliant substance. Place it in a glass vessel, pour over it its own quantity of water of alum, and leave for eight days. Take up what floats on the surface, put it in a small narrow-necked bottle, coagulate, and you will find a crystalline stone; keep until necessary to use, and see that it is free from dust. If you digest this arsenic with milk or oil of bitter almonds, and afterwards with water of alum, it will be very brilliant and beautiful in the sublimation; and then it dissolves very easily. If arsenic be cooked with olive oil, and then with water of atrament, it will be found in the sublimate brilliantly red and easily soluble. Red arsenic, when its ferment is added, makes glad the heart of the Alchemist; but it is not so easily dissolved as white flaky arsenic. Hence you should use the later for dissolving and sublimation. To sublime with quicksilver, cook in the manner described one pound of arsenic with one ounce of quicksilver.
Of Sulphur --- The decoction of sulphur is the same as that of arsenic. But as sulphur has much air, as well as much hotness and dryness, it is not easily sublimed. To effect this purpose, cook it well, and dissolve it; you will then be on the road to perfection. Without the three substances which I have mentioned, there can be no silver or gold, arsenic being best for silver, and sulphur for gold. Some say that if sulphur be mixed with living calx, it can be easily sublimed; but I do not wish you to waste your labour. Know, however, that arsenic is more valuable in the Lunar, and sulphur in the Solar work. Sulphur is partly white without, and partly red within. Of arsenic the opposite holds good…
Of Gold --- The Sages call gold the product of the sun. When it is perfect, the fire cannot hurt it, but rather intensifies its colour. If you wish to make gold, you must ferment it, or all your labour will be in vain. Moreover, the ferment must be pure. Nevertheless, it does not require much purification, since it is in itself sufficiently pure, but it must be prepared so that it may be easily incorporated and fermented, and for this purpose it must be calcined as we will shew further on.
Beat pure gold into thin leaves; then take red arsenic, pound, add a third part of common salt (i.e., one-third part of the arsenic), take seven ounces of steel filings, pound the three together; take a small, new, glazed pot, put a little of this powder at the bottom of the pot; over it place a plate of gold, cover the plate with more powder, and so fill up with alternate layers. Take another glazed pot, put in one pound olive oil, boil over a gentle fire, add four ounces of clear yellow sulphur; remove at once from the fire, stir with an iron rod till the sulphur is melted, and allow to cool. Add some of this oil to the contents of the other pot; simmer over gentle fire, till absorbed; add more, place again on the fire, and so on, little by little, till all the oil has been absorbed. Then leave it on the fire till quite dry. All this can be done in 24 hours. Stop up the pot with the clay of Sages; next morning, place the pot among the coals of a gentle fire, so that it is entirely covered, from 6 to 9 a.m.. Take pot, cool, break it, pound its contents; afterwards pound the gold, place the whole in dish, add sweet and clear water, and stir it. When the powder has settled at the bottom, remove the water (for it is salt); add more water, till the powder has quite lost its saltness. Dry it in the sun, or by a fire, place in a small pot, stop up with clay, place in furnace for the space required for baking bread. Then rejoice, for you have pulverized and fermented gold…
Of Silver --- Silver, though composed in the same way, is not quite so pure or well digested as gold, and suffers from two kinds of humidity, sulphureous and phlegmatic, or evaporant. Yet silver may be properly purified by fire; but if being cooked with common sal and orpiment, it grows black, while there is no blackness in the salt or the orpiment, this is a sign that it is suffering from the first humidity. The sign of the second humidity is diminishment in the fire. By purification and digestion it can be transmuted into gold, for its infirmity is of a negative kind.
The following is the best way of changing silver into gold… Take thin plates of [pure] silver, five pounds of arsenic, and one ounce of steel filings; pound them well together. Take some of this powder, cover with it the bottom of a pot, put over that place a silver plate, over that some more of the powder, and so fill the pot with alternate layers of plates and powder. Let there be powder over the top of all. Place on a slow fire, over the coals, pour over it strong vinegar, and leave it from 6 to 9 a.m.. Let the moisture evaporate, stop up with clay of Sages, and plunge pot among red-hot coals; keep up a powerful fire or 12 hours. Then open the pot (after cooling), separate the silver from the powder, pound in mortar, wash with clean water in a dish. Dry in the sun. Add to the powdered silver equal quantities of sal armoniac, of sublimed coagulated quicksilver, and of white sublimed arsenic; pound, put in a bottle, pour over it four times as much water of alum, and leave for two days. Plunge bottle up to neck, which should be narrow, in a pot full of ashes; the bole should be unstopped ill its contents are coagulated. Then stop it up, and place over fire for 24 hours. Let it cool, and then break bottle; if anything be sublimed up to the neck, combine all together; pound its contents, place in glass vessel, pour over it twice as much water of alum, and leave for 8 days, shaking it twice or thrice every day. Skim off what floats on the surface into a small narrow necked bottle; evaporate the liquid from the remaining faeces, add one-half ounce of it to 20 ounces of copper, and it will become the purest silver. Coagulate the contents of the bottle in a pot full of ashes, then add one-half ounce of it to 250 ounces of copper, 150 ounces of tin, or 50 ounces of lead, and you will witness a wonderful transformation. There is another way of carrying out this operation, but here is the most efficacious, and however the coagulated substance the preparation of which I have described may be obtained, it has the property of transmuting larger or smaller quantities of copper, tin or lead into the most irreproachable silver.
Of Arsenic --- Arsenic is a mineral body composed of earth and water; it is oleaginous, like sulphur, but having more earth than oil, and containing a more gross and earthy sulphur. Its purgation for the first sublimation is by means of substances which dry up and consume its oleaginous superfluity, which is the first humidity. The aqueous superfluity, which is the second humidity, must be evaporated.
In God’s name, take ponderous, lucid, red or yellow arsenic, pound small with an equal weight and a half of iron or copper filings; sprinkle with vinegar, dry, place between layers of its sediment over a fire, till there is no more steam, close up the vessel, increase the fire more and more till all is sublimed; cool, collect what appears outside the sediment, place between new layers, in each case about the thickness of one inch; sublime as before, till it is white, pure, crystalline, and free from all humidity and superfluity. This may be done by means of five or six sublimations; dissolve, and then coagulate, as in the case of sulphur, whether for the white or red. Arsenic is of less potency in the coagulation of Mercury than sulphur, but it is possible to extract from it an igneous virtue.
George Ripley ~ The Epistle unto King Edward IVFor then both Body and Spirit also both Oil and Water,G. Ripley ~ Medulla Alchimia
Soul and Tincture one thing both White and Red,
After Colours variable it containeth what so men clatter;
Which also is called when he hath once been Dead:
And is revived our Marcasite, our Magnet, and our Lead,
Our Sulphur, our Arsenick, and our true Calx vive...
Another way, by which the Body of gold is Elixirated by the power of the Fire against Nature, which is thus. Dissolve the Body of pure Gold in the Fire against Nature, the same fire being well rectified Arsenick as the manner is; from which Gold being to dissolved into a Citrine, clear and shining Water, without any Heterogeneity or Sand remaining, let the water be abstracted, till the Body does remain in the bottom of the Glass, like a fixt Oyl...
Christian Knorr von Rosenroth ~ Kabala Denudata
Chapter 3 --- About metallic things R. Mordecai wrote: Let the red mineral of silver be taken, let it be ground most finely, then add to six ounces of it an ounce and a half of the calx of Luna. Let it be placed on a sand bath in a sealed vial. Let it be given weak fire for the first eight days lest its radical humidity be burnt up. In the second week, one degree stronger, and in the third, yet stronger; and in the fourth so that the sand should not be red hot, but that when water is dripped upon it, it should hiss. Then on top of the glass, you will have a white matter, which is the materia prima, the dyeing arsenic, the living water of the metals, which all philosophers call dry water, and its vinegar. This is how it is purified: Take some of this sublimated crystalline pure matter. Let it be ground on marble with calx of Luna in equal parts. Let it be put in a sealed vial, again in sand, in the first two hours with gentle fire, in the second with stronger, in the third yet more violent, and increased until the sand will hiss: and our arsenic will again be sublimated, with starry rays being sent forth. And since a large quantity is required of this, augment it thus: Take some of this six ounces, and of the purest filings of Luna one ounce and a half, and let it be an amalgam, and let it be digested in a sealed vial in hot ashes, until all the Luna is dissolved, and converted into arsenical water. Take of this prepared spirit one ounce and a half, put it in a closed vial of hot ashes, and it will ascend and descend; which heat should be continued until it no longer sweats, but lies at the bottom, having the color of ashes. Thus the matter is dissolved and putrefied. Take of this ashy matter one part, and of the aforementioned water half a part, mix them and let them sweat in a glass as before, which will happen in about eight days. When, thereafter, the ashy earth begins to whiten, take it out, and let it be imbibed with five washings of its lunar water, and be digested as before. Let it be imbibed the third time with five ounces of the same water, and coagulated as before, for eight days. The fourth imbibition requires seven ounces of the lunar water, and once the sweating is ended this preparation is finished.
Now for the white work. Take of this white earth twenty-one drachmas. Of lunar water, fourteen drachmas. Of the calx of purest Luna, ten drachmas. Let them be mixed on marble, and committed to coagulation until they harden. Imbibe it with three parts of its own water, until it had drunk up this potion, and repeat this until it flows without smoke on a glowing copper plate. Then you will have a tincture for the white, which you can increase in the aforementioned manner. For the red, calx of sol, a stronger fire must be applied. And this is a work of more or less four months. Thus says he. This should be compared with the writings of the Arab philosopher, in which he describes the arsenical material in more detail...
By the Spear of Phineas is meant the Force of Iron acting upon the Matter to cleanse it of Dross: By which Iron, not only is the Arsenical Sulphur killed, but also the Woman herself is at length mortified; so that the Miracle of Phineas may be fitly applied here...
Martinus Rulandus ~ A Lexicon of Alchemy
Aes Hermetis --- is the same as Mercury. It is also Solar Dust, the Head of the Raven, our copper, citrine earth, the thing containing and the thing contained, our lead. Mirerius calls it Gold extracted out of Metals; it is also termed Venus; Vitriol; Orpiment; Arsenic; Money; the Soul; the Green Lion; Green Water, because it germinates; Permanent Water; Wine; Blood. But it is truly and properly an imperfect body, not yet prepared, and in its original state.
Alernet --- Orpiment.
Aquala --- Philosophical Arsenic.
Arsag --- Arsenic.
Arsaveile --- Sublimed Arsenic. Called also Arcanec and Artanec.
Arsenic --- Incombustible Arsenic of the Philosophers --- the Hermetic Stone perfected to the white degree.
Arsenic of the Philosophers --- The Mercury of the Wise --- otherwise, the matter from which this Mercury is extracted. It is also the Hermetic Matter when it has reached the black stage, and the Sulphur or active and masculine seed. Some also understand by this term that Salt, which is the bond between Sulphur and Mercury, and is one of the three principles of Nature, and of all composites.
Arsenicum is the Greek Nitre, Effulgence of Metals; Salt of Metals, and of Saturn. Called also Artanek, or Artanech... It is also Luna, and our Venus. According to Geber, it is Sulphur's companion. It is the soul, the hermaphrodite, the means whereby Sulphur and Mercury are united. It has community with both natures, and is, therefore, called Sun and Moon.
Artaveck, Artaneck --- Arsenic, of which there are three species: White, Yellow, and Citrine. Yellow orpiment, golden dye; crystalline arsenic. Item: Red Greek Sandaraca which is of two kinds, rough and manufactured; the former was a red arsenic mixed with brimstone, the latter a kind of vermilion.
Auripigmentum is Orpiment, Arsenical Earth... It is a native metallic substance, and is found in combination with Sandarac [yellow Orpiment]. It is covered with a crust, and glitters with a gold colour. In its fundamental nature it is a certain kind of sulphur, and is, so to speak, a terrestrial excrement in the caverns of the earth, which in the long process of time is turned into Orpiment... The Arabs, however, confound Sandarac with Arsenic, and, in fact, give the name of Arsenic indiscriminately both to Sandarac and Orpiment, and, distinguishing only their variety according to colour... Orpiment is also the Blood of the Stone. The Turba calls it the female which we use to color the Sun and to cook with Mercury. It is, however, genuine Sulphur. Quicksilver Orpiment is Sulphur which rises from the composition...
Cal --- Philosophical Arsenic, or the Matter of the Chemists, not only during the period of its dissolution, when it is a virulent poison, but also when it has arrived at the white state.
Cerusa --- i.e., Rust of Lead, White Lead, the Psimytim, Psimytion, or Aphidegi, of the Greeks, a Poisonous Body, according to Dioscorides and Nicander, which is cold and dry in the second degree... It should be noted that there is some confusion both of names and ideas in regard to this substance. Sandaracs, or Sandaracha, is a kind of red colour; there are two species, rough and manufactured; the former was a red arsenic mixed with brimstone, otherwise red orpiment; the second was a kind of vermilion…
Chambar --- Poison, the fruit of Poison, or Magnesia. The Turba says: It is the White Stone, and calls it Orpiment, Zendrio, Abaemech, Chalul. But when it has become white and innocuous, then it is called Lead, Exobmich, Magnesia, Martech, White Copper.
Disposition --- A Philosophical Confection so-called by Maria, but Trevisan terms it Weight or Proportion, and others name it Composition. It is a synthesis of the three principles philosophically combined. In his Vade Mecum, Philalethes says that we must take one part of the red or the white body, which answer to the male, two or three parts of arsenic, which fulfils the office of the female; and four parts or more, up to twelve, of the sea-water of the Sages; the whole, being well mixed, must be placed in the vase, which must be well sealed, and the vase placed in the athanor, where it must be subjected to the required regimen.
Eloanx --- is Orpiment.
Elome --- is Orpiment.
Falcanos --- Otherwise Arsenic; vulgarly Orpiment.
Filum Arsenicale --- i.e., Sublimed Arsenic.
Fuligo Metallorum --- Properly Arsenic, but it often signifies Mercury.
Fumus Rubeus --- is Orpiment. It is also called Gold because it is bright.
Gaza Fumi --- i..e., Crystalline Arsenic.
Gold: Its Artificial Production --- It is not only by the common operations of mining and digging in the profundities of the earth that it is possible to obtain Gold. It is quite within the powers of Art to imitate Nature in this matter, for Art perfects Nature in this as in many other things. We propose to provide in this place an account of a formal experiment, the worth of which has been tested over and over again, and has in fact become little less than familiar among operators in the pursuit of the Grand Work. In order to perform it a large crucible must be provided, and it must be of such a quality as will be able to resist the action of intense heat. This crucible must be set over a burning furnace, and at the bottom of the vessel there must be strewn Powder of Colophony (a kind of resin) to about the thickness of the little finger. Above this undermost layer there must be another layer of Fine Powder of Iron --- that is, the Finest Iron Filings --- which shall be of the same thickness. Subsequently, the filings must be covered with a little Red Sulphur. Then the fire in the furnace must be increased till the iron filings have passed into a liquid condition. The next operation is to throw in Borax --- that kind which is made use of by goldsmiths for melting gold. To this must be added a like quantity of Red Arsenic, and as much Pure Silver as will be equivalent to the weight of the Iron Filings. Let the entire composition undergo coction by driving the furnace, taking care at the same time not to inhale the steam, on account of the arsenic in the vessel. Take then another crucible into which, by inclining the first vessel, you must pour the cocted matter, having previously stirred it effectually with an iron spatula. Proceed in such a manner that the composition will flow into the second crucible in a purified state, and devoid of recremental matter. By means of the Water of Separation, the Gold will be precipitated to the bottom. When it has been collected, let it be melted in a crucible, and the result will be good Gold, which will repay all pains and expense which have been devoted to its production. This chemical secret is contained in the ‘Hermetic Cabinet’, and the facility with which the experiment can be performed has led many persons to undertake it. The authority cited in support of it is no less than that of the most learned Basil Valentine, who also affirms that the operation of the Grand Work of the Philosophers can be performed in less than three or four days, that the cost should not exceed three or four florins, and a few earthen vessels are sufficient for the whole experiment.
Guma Paradisi --- Orpiment.
Hernec --- The Orpiment of the Philosophers.
Kibrius or Kebrick --- is Arsenic.
Lapis Philosophicus --- Sublimation of the Stone:…Turba says: Sublimate Chambar of Mercury; thus Sulphur becomes mixed with Sulphur, and is called Ethelia, Orpiment, Zendrio, Chulul, Magnesium, and under many other names is his white nature set forth… The Redness of the Stone:… When it is red, it is called Heaven, Gold, Red Sulphur, Carbuncle, and has the names of everything that is red and costly between heaven and earth, such as… Red Orpiment of the Philosophers… The Whiteness of the Stone:… It is also called… by the names of all things that are white --- Salt, Alum and Marble, Crystal, Ethelia, Alba, white Silver Litharge, Arsenic, Nitre… The Digestion of the Stone:… When the mixture is completed, it is called… Orpiment…
Lempnias --- Some call this Orpiment, but wrongly, for it is a Red Sigillated Earth.
Lempnias Lempnia --- i.e., Orpiment.
Leo Citrinus Foliatus --- Orpiment.
Marcasita Alba --- White Marcasite, i.e., White Arsenical Pyrites.
Mercury --- is mentioned everywhere, in every alchemical work, and is supposed to perform everything. Everybody wastes his brain and his money in endeavoring to produce a quantity of it… it is also called… Orpiment [etc.]…
Ozo --- i..e., Arsenic.
Pompholix --- Concerning this substance and the varieties of the same, see Dioscorides, who seems to confound Pompholix, Spodon, and Antispodon. In the first place, Pompholix is the same as that which is called white nothing or nil by vendors of medicines. Hence the proverb that nothing is good for the eyes They also call it White Pompholigum, which is coarser. On the other hand. Spodium is what the chemists call Black Pompholix… Pompholix is a Metallic Ash, which produced upon the tops or walls of furnaces, or of huts where there are extinguished furnaces. This Ash varies with the metals and the place of production. Grey Pompholix is obtained from Pyrites rather than from Stone… That which adheres to the tops and walls of furnaces Spodion. On the other hand, that which hangs from the top is Pompholix differing from the first in whiteness and polish. Dioscorides states that difference is specific, not generic. Spodon is: (1) Black, (2) Heavy, (3) Full of Straws, (4) Swept from the floors of Laboratories.
Pompholix is White like a Bubble, or like that Greek vessel of globular shape from which it obtains its name. It is fat, light, and pure, and is produced on the top of furnaces. There are, however, properly speaking, two kinds of Pompholix:
1. Somewhat thick, and of a copperish hue. Its proper name is grey nothing.
2. Exceeding white, of the highest polish. Produced either in perfecting Copper, when the Cadmia purposely strewn upon the surface is rubbed off; or from Cadmia melted by means of bellows. Dioscorides gives a lengthy description of the method. The thin and very light matter which finds its way to the top of the furnace and adheres to the walls and roof is Pompholix, but the heavier substance which betakes itself to the lower parts is Spodion.
Dioscorides gives us further information as to genuine and adulterated Pompholix, the method of washing it, its virtues as an astringent, cooling, purifying, obstructing, and drying agent. He describes its torrefaction or roasting, and tells us from what substances it is preferably obtained --- namely, Gold, Silver, Lead, and Brass. Next to Pompholix from Cyprian Ore comes Pompholix from Lead. Pliny endorses these statements. Galen ascribes more powerful virtues to Pompholix than to Spodion.
Indeed, Pompholix has a combination of virtues. Under Cadmia we have mentioned that Cadmia Botryitis, or Grape-shaped Cadmia, is called Arabian Tutty. Accordingly, that of Alexandria is called Dry or Solid. But Botryitis Cadmia is not the same substance as Cadmia, to which the Arabs and Serapion testify. For the Spodion here treated of is Tutty and a matter of importance. Botryitis is not Tutty. Dioscorides mentions Spodion and not Tutty. What is called Tutty by the Arabs and Pompholix by the Greeks is by us termed Spodion. Avicenna testifies to this fact. We can use Botryitis Cadmia instead of Tutty, that is, of Spodion, if it has been prepared. The difference between Botryitis and Capnitis Cadmia, and between Pompholix and Spodion, which are all made of the same material, depends upon the places where they are made. Cadmia Botryitis is made or deposited on the walls or the highest roofs of the furnaces. On the other hand, Capnitis is, properly speaking, obtained from the edges of the furnaces. Genuine Pompholix, or White Nothing, an exceedingly light Metallic Ash, is produced on the tops of furnaces, or even on the tops of the huts in which the furnaces are situated. If obtained from the mouth of the furnace, it is Cadmic Capnitis; if from the sides and roofs, it is Pompholix; that which adheres to the walls is Spodion. Young students should diligently observe these points. The Arabs distinguish two varieties of Tutty: Native Tutty --- White, Green, or Citrine --- found among minerals on the shores of the Indian Ocean; also Manufactured, of which we treat here. Observe also that besides the Sooty Spodion of Serapion, Dioscorides, Pliny, and Galen, who says: I have never used Spodion, because I have always found Pompholix in abundance…
Pompholix --- (1) The Soot which is collected in Compartments of Furnace; (2) Pompholix from Silver; (3) Slimy, sticking to the walls where Silver is separated from bead. Yellow, Poisonous, Crystalline Arsenic; (4) From Mansfeld Copper; (5) That which is collected where Silver is separated from Copper; (6) Obtained from Furnaces where White Lead is smelted; (7) Purest White. Best Crystalline Arsenic; (8) That which is Solidified from Pieces of Stone roasted when Copper is cooked; (9) White Pompholix, termed by the Metallurgists White Nothing.
Pompolix, Tutty, and Spodius --- are one and the same.
Pompholix Lursa --- Crystalline Arsenic.
Quebricum --- is, according to some, Arsenic, but, according to Stephanus, it is Sulphur.
Realgar --- Red Orpiment. Realgar is properly a Mineral Smoke, which has something of the nature of Orpiment, or Arsenic. Metaphorically, it is that poison of the body which generally is the cause of Ulcers. It is of four kinds, corresponding to the four elements, so there is the Realgar on the Surface of Water, the Arsenical Realgar of the Earth, the Terebinthine Realgar of Air, and that Saturnine Conjunction which is the Realgar of Fire.
Sal Factitium --- There is Tragesium Salt, Arsenical Salt, or Sublimated Arsenic…
Sandaraca, otherwise Erythace --- A Food for Bees. As to its production, see Pliny (1. 11, c. 7). But in this place we are dealing with a native metallic substance, which the Germans call Orpiment, Realgar, Arsenical Orpiment, Red Sulphur, Fire Sulphur, Red Orpiment. It is hot and dry in the second grade.
Sandarac is a Metal and a Purple Earth. It is found in the same metals as Native Orpiment, of which there is a species resembling this in smell, substance, and properties, though it differs in colour, corresponding therein to Cinnabar, which is red. Hence Pliny says that Arsenic is a compound of the same matter as Sandarach, meaning Orpiment by Arsenic…
Sandaracha --- Orpiment, Crystalline Arsenic, Yellow Orpiment. There are four species: (1) native Sandarach, Yellow Orpiment; (2) The artificial named Vitruvius, the Sandix of the Greeks, Minium, Red Lead.
Sanderich --- Lunar Spittle, White Ore, White Magnet which attracts iron, Yellow Orpiment --- the thing we seek --- Realgar, Minium, Spirit which makes Red, also a White Sandarach.
Sandix --- A Wild Herb, Red Earth, Philosophical Paul, Red Orpiment.
Sanguis --- Blood is Orpiment, that is, the Stone which is not yet perfect, the Philosophical Water which gives life and unites, according to Morien...
Sira --- Orpiment.
Soot of Metals --- Arsenic.
Speculum Album --- Precipitated Arsenic.
Speculum Citrinum --- Citrine Arsenic.
Spiritus Chymicae --- The Spirits of Chemistry are seven in number: (1) Black Quicksilver; (2) Red Sulphur; (3) Yellow Orpiment; (4) Green Sal Ammoniac. These four are living as they come from the ore, or dead when they are melted. Marcasite, Bismuth, and Tutty (out of Venus and Mercury) complete the list, and are called spirits, because they admit of elevation, and because they escape fire.
Spodos --- (1) Ash-coloured Soot, heavier than Pompholix. A grayish-black, Crystalline Arsenic; (2) Yellow Crystalline Arsenic, from the refining furnaces of metals…
Sulphur --- Sulphur is the seed of the stone, and is of two kinds --- an external, whereby the internal is born in Mercury, which, being earthy, combustible, useless, is removed as menstrual water from a child. The internal Sulphur is the power which makes and prepares the body and cannot be separated from it, because it is inherent, congenital in its very heart and substance. It is originally white, becomes red by means of heat, just as food in the belly by means of the liver, and is the form of the matter, the soul and ferment of the stone, the husband, the king, and bridegroom --- Red Arsenic, Burnt Ashes, our Gold [etc.]…
Sulphur Rubeum --- Arsenic.
Terra Rubea --- i.e., Orpiment.
Thaphneus --- A Cleansed and Purged Medicine, a Preparation of Arsenic (?).
Ventus Rubeus --- Red Orpiment.
Virgin --- The Moon or Mercurial Water of the Sages, after it has been purified from the unclean and Arsenical Sulphurs with which it has been combined in the mines…
Water --- Arsenical Water. The Green Lion of the Philosophers. [N.B.: --- Orpiment in ammonia water].
Yridis, or Yride --- That is, Orpiment.
Zanere --- Orpiment.
Zarnich --- That is, Orpiment, called also Zarnec, Zarneck, and Zarne.
Zericum --- That is, a kind of Arsenic.
Zernic --- The Orpiment of the Philosophers.
Solinus Saltzal ~ Fountain of Philosophical Salts
Behold, now I have doubled mercury in my possession: Now I own it --- white lily, powder of adamantine, chief central poison of the dragon, spirit of arsenic, green lion, incombustible spirit of the moon, life and death of all metals, moist radical, universal dissolving nutriment, true menstruum of the philosophers, which without doing any harm reduces metal to first matter. This is the true water for sprinkling, in which the living seeds of metal inhere, and from which other metals can be produced...
William von Schroeder ~ Instructions Respecting the Art of Transmutation
Plinius in his 33 Book of Natural History, says: that there exists a process whereby Gold is made by means of orpiment, a process which invited the Emperor Caligula, a prince very covetous of Riches, to cause some men to work a great quantity of orpiment; by which operation perfect Gold was procured, but so small a quantity that the Emperor had reason to repent of his avarice...
It is yet fresh in memory, that not long ago a Hollander, a goldsmith, of the name of Sommer resided in Vienna, who fixed out of a Tincture of mercury into pure Silver.
I have made the Experiment with my own hands; I have seen his Medicine under two forms... I have once seen the operation of preparing the Medicine, which was performed in 16 hours, in a strong fire, in the open air, on account of the poisonous fumes.
The Basis of the Medicine was a fixed Arsenic, which fixation, I found, had been made with Borax in a crucible...
In regard to the Most Universal Subject out of which Raymundus Lully, Bernhardus Trevisanus and Basilius Valentinus have made the most Universal Tincture, it is called Electrum Immaturatum...
Note further that Sulphur and Mercury or Sulphur and Arsenic are the first seminal principles of all the metals. These two principles are certainly the most heterogeneous and most natural Keys to dissolve the metals radically, in order that death and Regeneration may follow.
When such a Regulus is melted, it imbibes all the Metals, which you put into it, and those metals, when afterwards treated and distilled... form a metallic oil in the same manner as if you had used Regulus Antimony-Mars. The Regulus of Realgar or Orpiment absorbs metals quicker than the Regulus of Antimony, and renders the metals more volatile...
[ Sigismund Bacstrom's Notes (1797) ] --- Baron Schroeder called his subject an unripe Electrum, so does Paracelsus who names it Electrum Minerale Immaturatum. Auripigmentum as well as Cinnabar and Antimony is an Immature Electrum, where the first metallic principles are found.
Limojon de St. Didier (A. Toussaint) ~ Hermetic Triumph
Eudoxus --- These expressions should not seem strange to you, the Philosophers themselves call their Stone dragon, and serpent, which infects all things with its venom. Its substance in effect, and its vapour, are a poison, which the Philosopher knows how to change into an Theriac by the preparation, and by coction. The stone also is the Enemy of Metals, since it destroys them, and devours them. The Cosmopolite says that there is a metal, and a steel, which is as the water of metals, which has the power to consume the metals, that nothing but the radical moisture of the sun and of the moon can resist it. Take care however, not to confound here the Stone of the Philosophers, with the Philosophical Stone; because if the first like a veritable dragon, destroys, and devours the imperfect metals; the second as a sovereign medicine, transmutes them into perfect metals, and renders the perfect more than perfect, and fit to perfect the imperfect.
Bernhard de Trevisan ~ Verbum Dismissum
All this business then is nothing else but to create Sulphur of Nature and reduce the composition to its First Matter of the Metallick kind, for as Albertus saith in his Book of Minerals; “We must not so much alter or distance our Stone from the nature of Metals”. Know then that this Compound is the substance out of which ought to be drawn the Sulphur of nature by comforting it, and nourishing it in joining to this substance the Mineral Virtue, to the end it may be made a new Nature stript from all its Sulphureous terrestreity and corruption and all phlegmatic humidity, hindering digestion. It is further to be observed that according to the divers alterations or change of the one and the same Matter in digestion, divers names are imposed on it by the Philosophers according to its divers complexions, some have called it a coagulating pressure, some Azoc, Arsenic, others Album and tincture illuminating all bodies, some have called it, Philosophical Egg, for a Egg is composed of three parts, viz., Shell, White, and the Yolk, so is compounded out Philosophical Egg, or Body, Soul and Spirit. Although in truth our Stone is but one thing according to Body, Spirit and Soul, but according to the divers reason and intentions of Philosophy, is now called one Thing, and then another, which Plato meant when he said, “The Matter flows infinitely or always, if the Form stay not its flux”, so is it Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity, for there is Body, Soul and Spirit. There is also Sulphur, Mercury and Arsenick, for the Soul breathing, that is casting out its Vapours by Arsenick Works in conjoining Mercury of which philosophers say that the property of Arsenick is to breathe, or respire, the property of Sulphur is to coagulate or congeal Mercury, nevertheless this Sulphur, this Arsenick and this Mercury are not those the vulgar think of which are not those venomous Spirits the Apothecaries sell, but the Spirits of the Apothecaries are those vulgar Spirits, theirs are more of imperfection and corruption, to prejudice rather than repair imperfect Metals. Wherefore it cannot give perfection and incorruption to them, which perfection ought to be given by our Medium, Vainly therefore do those Sophisters work, who endeavor to make the Elixir, from such venomous Spirits full of corruption. For certainly, in no other thing is lodged the Truth of the Sovereign subtility of Nature, but in the three matters above said, to wit, Sulphur, Arsenick and Mercury Philosophical wherein the reparation and total perfection of Bodies that are to be purged, lodges, only all the Philosophers have imposed divers names on our Stone….
This Sulphur so sublimed, no whiteness in the world exceeds it, for it is divested of all corruptible things, and is a new nature, a Quintessence arising from the pure parts of the four Elements. T'is the Sulphur of Nature, Arsenic, not burning, the incomparable treasure, the Joy of Philosophers, and the Delight so much desired by them, the White, Clear and Foliate earth, the Bird of Hermes, the Daughter of the Great Secret, and the new White Black Bird whose Feathers exceed Crystalline Brightness, White as Snow, of clean subtility and agility...
Another translation (by Patrick Smith) --- Know therefore that this Compote is that Substance from which the Sulphur of Nature must be withdrawn by comforting and nourishing, by putting the mineral Virtue into this Substance, so that finally a new Nature is made, stript of all superfluous and corrupting terrestreities, and of all phlegmatic humidities, which hinder the Digestion. At which point it is to be observed that, according to the diverse alterations or mutations of one same Matter in its Digestion, diverse names are imposed on it by the Philosophers; and according to different tempers, some have called this Compote coagulating or thickening Rennet, while others have names it Sulphur, Arsenic, Azote, Alum, Tincture illuminating all Bodies, and the Egg of the Philosophers: For as an Egg is composed of three things, namely, of the shell, the white and the yellow; likewise our physic is composed of Body, Soul, and Spirit, although our Stone is indeed one same thing, according to the Body, the Soul, and the Spirit; but according to diverse reasons and intentions of the Philosophers, it is presently called one thing, and anon another; which Plato has us to understand when he said that the Matter flows endlessly, that is to say, always, if the form does not arrest its flux.
Thus it is a Trinity in Unity, and a Unity in Trinity; because there are Body, Soul and Spirit; there are also Sulphur, Mercury and Arsenic: for the Sulphur, breathing, that is to say, casting out its vapor into Arsenic, operates by coupling the Mercury; and the Philosophers say that the property of Arsenic is to breath, and that the property of Sulphur is to coagulate, to congeal and to arrest the Mercury. Yet this Sulphur, Arsenic and mercury are not those venomous Spirits which the Apothecaries sell; but they are the Spirits of the Philosophers which should give our Medicine; whereas the other Spirits can give nothing for the perfection of Metals.
It is therefore in vain that labor those Sophists who make their Elixir from such venomous Spirits filled with corruption. For certainly the truth of the sovereign subtlety of Nature is in no other thing, than in these three Things --- viz., Sulphur, Arsenic, and Philosophic Mercury --- in which alone is the reparation and complete perfection of the Bodies, which must be purged and purified.
Urbigeris ~ Aphorisma Urbigeris
The imperfect metals contain two factors which they can impart to the imperfect: tincture or fixation. For some, because they are tinged with a pure Sulphur, that is, with a white and red one, and are fixed, can therefore also tinge perfectly if they are prepared with their own Sulphur and Arsenic. Otherwise, they do not have the power to augment their tincture.
Basil Valentine ~ Triumphal Chariot of Antimony
Against these I do in a special manner exclaim and protest, against these, I say, who (ignorant of Preparation) exhibit Poison to Men: for Mercury, Auripigment, Antimony, and such like, are venoms in their Substance, and unless rightly prepared remain Venoms. Yet after a Legitimate Preparation all their Venenosity is broke, extinguished and expelled, so that no part of them remains, but what is Medicine, which resists all internal Venoms, although most deeply rooted, and radically destroys the same. For Venom, being in such a manner prepared, as it can no longer hurt, resists all Poison, which is not as yet prepared, and so very well prepares and subjugates it, as it is compelled with the same to put off its own venomous Nature.
Thomas & Rebecca Vaughan ~ Aqua Vitae: Non Vitis
The Whole Art --- There is one universal way, that is all, and it is made as follows, nor by any other way. Take water from the bath and congeal it with its prepared sulphur, proper and briny. Sublime the congealed air, after the fluid has been first cast off, and you will have sal ammoniac of the philosophers.
Now: Take our arsenic; let it flow through resin, and be rarified in its chambers with moderate fire. Grind what has been rarified with caustic magnesia, and concoct it into cinnabar.
Of this Cinnabar, Join one part with a half part of our sal ammoniac; and let the mixture be thickened with proper phlegm, and distilled with a bare flame, and it will be made. This is sophic mercury, and the universal menstruum, and first philosophical water, without which nothing is made…
Arnold’s Stone from the Juice of Three Herbs --- Take sublimated arsenic, or its spittle. Grind it with calcinated magnesia, dissolved, dried, and extracted, as you know. Add congealed mercury, as follows.
Dissolve mercury in aqua fortis and draw out; decoct it in cold distilled water, and then draw out, and sublime. Because it will settle, dissolve in distilled vinegar, draw out, and dry. Then join with sulphur and arsenic, and it will be made…
Various and True Ways to the First Metallic Water --- The accustomed method is, That calcinated juice be ground with sublimated arsenic or with white precipitated powder…
Our Mineral Tartar Fixes all sublimated spirits and makes wonderful things with ammonia, mercury and arsenic…
Arnold de Villa Nova ~ Lucidary
...But the powder ascending upwards from the faeces is ashes extracted from ashes, and earth sublimed and honoured, but that which remains beneath is ashes of ashes, and the lower ashes is to be condemned and disposed as faeces and dross. Make, therefore, a difference between the clear and bright thereof, because when it is most white and ascends like snow then it will be accomplished. Gather it, therefore, warily that it fly not away in fume, because it is a good thing to be sought for, a white foliated earth, congealing that which is to be congealed and cleansing that which is to be cleansed, and purifying Arsenic and white Sulphur, of which Aristotle says that it is the best thing the Alchemists can take, that of it they may make Silver...
An example from minerals: Salts, Inks, Alums, Arsenic, Auripigment --- All metals are ductile and liquefiable which draw their original from Mercury, because the matter of them, out of a watery substance mixed with an earthy substance, by a strong commixtion that the one cannot be separated from the other, wherefore that watery substance is congealed with cold more after the action of heat and therefore they will be more fabrile or ductile, and the water only is not congealed but only with the earthly dryness which alters the wateryness, when as there is no unctuous moisture in them, because the congealing of them is of earthly dryness. Therefore they are not easily dissolved unless by the vehement action of the heat in them, according to which they are most easily commixt. But there are lesser and middle minerals which take not their original from Mercury, and of these are Salts which easily melt in moisture, as Alum, simple Salt, Salt Armonick, stony Salt and all kinds of salts. And surely they have virtue in them. Neither do they easily melt with moisture only, as Auripigmentum, Arsenic and Sulphur, when as the wateryness of sulphurous bodies is mixed with slimy earth, by strong commixtion, with the fervency of heat, until they be made virtuous and then they are coagulated of cold…
For many of the ignorant sort have laboured and do yet labour in these vegetable and sensible things, where they have found out no truth, but certain humilities which we will declare to the ignorant that they may avoid the deceits. For they have extracted a long time out of these things, afterwards to be spoken of, which they call artificial Argent vive and oils and waters, which they named the four elements, namely water, earth, air, and fire, and Salt Armonick, Arsenic, Sulphur and Auripigmentum, which they could have bought cheaper in the market and had sooner brought it to pass...
And there are other Alchemists labouring in lesser minerals, that is to say in four Spirits as in common Sulphur, Arsenic, Auripigmentum, and Salt Ammoniac being desirous to make a tincture but this they cannot do as is manifest by the definition of the tincture...
Arnold de Villa Nova ~ Rosarius
Chapter II. Whence the Physical Stone is Extracted --- Our physical Stone, or Medicine, may be obtained from all metals; but it is found in the highest perfection in gold and silver. Without the Sun and its shadow, the Moon, we can have no tingeing quicksilver, and he is foolish who attempts to accomplish our Magistery in their absence. On the other hand he who knows how to tinge quicksilver with the Sun and Moon is in possession of our arcanum which may become red sulphur, but at first is called white sulphur. Gold is the father, and silver the mother of the proximate substance of our Stone, for out of these bodies, prepared with their sulphur or arsenic, is our medicine elicited. It may, indeed, be possible to derive it from other bodies, but it is found nearer to the hand, and more easily, in quicksilver, which is the father of those lights and the root of all metals. Of this were they all made, and into the same all of them return. That which is now our Stone is not quicksilver, but once formed part of it, and it is this which imparts to it its brightness, preserves it from combustion, and is the cause of its perfection. Do not work with anything except Mercury and the Sun for the Sun, and Mercury and the Moon for the Moon.
Arthur E. Waite ~ Paracelsian Lexicon
Arsenic --- The arcane sense of the term refers it to the Mercury of the Philosophers, and at times to the matter of the philosophers when in the stage of putrefaction. It is stated, or supposed to be stated, in one of the Sibylline verses, that the name of the matter whence philosophical Mercury is extracted consists of nine letters. Of these, four are vowels and the rest consonants. One of the syllables is composed of three letters, the rest are of two. Hence it was concluded that Arsenicum was the name in question, more especially as the philosophers affirm that their matter is a deadly poison. However, the mater of the stone, according to other authorities, is not arsenic, though it is the matter of which arsenic and all mixed bodies are formed. Nor can the Mercury of the Sages be extracted from arsenic, for arsenic is sold by apothecaries and the minera of Mercury is found everywhere. The name has been given by some other writers to the matter in putrefaction, because then it is a most subtle and violent poison. Sometimes it refers to the volatile principle of the sages, which performs the office of female. It is their Mercury, their Moon, their Venus, their vegetable Saturn, their green Lion, etc. The arsenic of the philosophers whitens gold, even as the common arsenic whitens copper.
Fuligo Mercurii --- The fuligo Metallorum is properly arsenic in alchemical symbolism, but it often stands for Mercury.
Ogertum or Ogertinum---i.e., Orpiment.
Yliadum, Yliadus Yleidus, etc. --- The interior spirit which informs the members of every body. Outwardly it generates health, but inwardly disease in humanity. It also leads on to the crisis in diseases. Disease is the resolution of Yliadus. The reason of this seems to be that the interior spirit contains many species of salts. The resolution of arsenic in the body causes plague; the resolution of ogertinum, or orpiment, causes pleurisy…
John Webster ~ Metallographia: Or, An History of Metals
III. Of the Generation of Metalls, and whether they Grow, and have Vegetability --- The author of Arcae Arca. [Theatr. Chym.] from Lully and Mathesius tells us this… ‘That the matter (viz. of Metals) before it be coagulated into a metallick form, is like unto Butter made of the Cream of milk, which may be clamed or spread as Butter, which he (he meaneth Mathesius) calleth Gur, which I also (saith the Author quoted) have found in the Mines, where Nature hath produced Lead’. To ratifie this, and to put it forth of doubt, I shall relate what I my self have found, and how have some pounds of it by me. Inquiring after this Gur of all persons that I could hear of that wrought in Mines, there could some of them tell me, that often in the sudden breaking of some Stone, there would be a liquor spurt forth bright and shining, which they regarded not, because they knew no use nor benefit to be made of it, nor knew how to save or keep it. At last, meeting with an ingenious young man, whose Father had all his days been experienced in working in the Mines of Lead in Darbyshire, and he therein also had been trained up from his young years: one whom I had formerly much imployed in seeking and procuring for me, several sorts of Oars, Minerals, Stones and Earths, wherein I had found him very faithful and diligent; and discoursing with him about what liquid juices or waters he had ever observed in digging in the Mines, and instructing him in all that I understood of such things, according as I had read in Paracelsus, Helmont, or other writers, he thought the thing might be feasible. So according to my directions, providing himself with some wooden dishes to take with him, it was not very long ere he brought me a large quantity, found in a trench; where the he got good store of Lead Ore, such as the Miners account the best for their purpose; that is, such as will most easily run, or melt, and yield the most Lead: the description of which I shall here give as fully as I am able. It was (as he most faithfully affirmed) when he first broke the hard stone in which it was enclosed, some of it especially very thin and liquid, so as he could hardly preserve it; and the other as soft as Butter, and the inmost part of that he brought was as soft as Butter, to my touch and feeling, and the outside more hard; for the longer it lay to the air, the harder it grew. It was of a grayish or whitish colour, and would spread with ones finger upon a table, or smooth piece of wood, as like Butter as could be, but not so fatty, or greasie: and as Helmons saith, was like unto soft soap, but most of it something harder, for he had brought it near two miles to me, and though he had made haste, yet it had hardened by the air in the way. He also brought divers pieces of the hard grey stone, in whose holes and cavities it lay, and some of it in the midst, little pieces of lead, bright and pure Ore. So that if a man may give any reasonable conjecture, one would verily imagine tat the piece of Lead inclosed in this soft matter, did in continuance of time, change, or ripen it into its own Nature; which I will not positively affirm, but commend it to further trial and inquiry, for there had need be any careful experiments, before an Opinion be raised from the. But I remember that the Colliers and those that seek for Coal-mines, find in their boring or other working, such matter as they call Crow-stone, Coal-stone, and Soap-stone; the last of which is a black substance like fat Clay, and which (as the Gur) spread like Butter, but will soon harden in the air, into an hard mater that will hardly be cut with a knife, and somewhat harder then the other by: which both make me more and more admire the skill and knowledge of Paracelsus and Helmont, and to wonder at our ignorance in these things.
An observation agreeable to this (as I conceive) that I have related of mine own experience, is that of Helmont, which he gives us thus… ‘For it often happeneth that a Mine-man in the Pits breaking stones, the wall is opened and shews a chink from whence a water hath flowed of a somewhat whitish greenness: which by and by hath thickened, like soft Soap (I call it Bur) and forthwith the soemwhat greenish paleness being changed, it groweth yellowish, or whitish, or more fully greenish. This I would have the Reader to consider seriously of, in comparing it with the former relation; and to note, that whereas he calls it Bur, I suspect the Print is false, and that it ought to read Gur.
Zosimos ~ On the Evaporation of the Divine Water
Taking the orpiment, whiten it in the following manner. Make a fatty paste, of the size of a small very thin mirror, pierce it with small holes, in the manner of a sieve, and place above it a small receptacle, well adjusted, containing some sulphur. Put into the sieve some arsenic, as much as you wish. After having covered it with another receptacle, and having sealed the points of junction, after two days and two nights you will find ceruse [usually white lead; here, arsenic trioxide]... This is the construction of the apparatus.