Alchemy Index

A Lexicon of Alchemy


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DACH --- A species of Rock.

DACTILETUS --- is Meadow-Saffron, or Daisy. Also the timeless.

DAIB, DEHEB, DEHEHEB, DEAD --- Names of Gold.

DANITI --- A Weight of six barleycorns.

DANK --- A Weight of six grains.

DANSIR, or DENSIR --- is Sand.

DARAM --- is Gem, jewel, etc.

DARAN, or DAMATAN --- is Gama. [Unknown.]

DASAT --- That is Lime, Birdlime, or Misletoe.

DAURA, HELLEBORE --- Winter Aconite. Others say that it is Gold-leaf.

DEBESSIS --- i.e., Tortoise-shell.

DECIMAR --- is Lead, used for paying taxes.

DECUMA --- Decade.

DECUMANUS --- A tenth part.

DEGEGI --- i.e., a Hen.

DEHEN --- in Arabic, Zaic, or Zaich, is called Oil by every one, i.e., it is oil extracted from olives.

DEHENE --- i.e., Blood.

DEHENES, or DUENES --- i.e., Atrament.

DEHENEZ, DUENEC, DUHENEC --- Names of Roman Vitriol.

DELIQUIUM --- A melting or flowing down, is the cold bath or solution of the chemists. Any coagulated substances are exposed upon glass or marble slabs either in a cold chamber, a well, or in a chamber of frigid air, when the same bodies, by reason of the surrounding temperature, and by the- aid of the external moisture, are resolved into liquid, and flow and distil into a vase beneath. Calcined Ashes, Salts, and bodies which are largely composed of Saline matter, are the most easily operated on in this way. But all bodies which melt in the cold can again be coagulated by heat.

DELIQUIUM IN AERE --- Melting in air, is the Liquefaction of a concrete substance, which is accomplished by impregnating it with external humidity, dissolving its dry nature, so that the whole flows. The resolved matter is called liquor, and has an aqueous consistence. (Albeit, when, as sometimes occurs, limestones are dissipated by atmospheric or aqueous heat, this process is not called Equation, nor is that which results from it liquor.) Melting, or Deliquium, is of two kinds: Vaporous and Embaptic.

The Vaporous Process is that whereby the matter, having been educed into a subtle powder, is exposed to the decomposing action of the air, and is dissolved by humectation into liquor. This corrupting air is warmer or colder, according to the nature of the subterranean waters. And unless the thing is capable of being dissolved by itself, it is laboriously reduced to the nature of a Salt, or something of that kind, this being principally effected by calcination, or by restoration to a dry state, which absorbs the external moisture with avidity, and is soon saturated. It is necessary to overcome the coherent tenacity, and to induce the crumbling quality of Salt.

The Embaptic Process is that by which the matter is immersed in moisture and kept there till it is melted. This is done in two ways. For the matter is either placed first in a vase, which is then immersed in the moisture in such a way that the moisture does not itself touch the matter, or it is gradually permeated by a very subtle sweat, such as would work through a vessel of wax, or an ox bladder, and is taken out when the melting is completed. This process, if the moisture be warm, as is frequently the case, serves the purpose of a bath. In the second method, the matter is wrapped in a linen cloth, or else, without any covering, is immersed in the same moisture. The liquid may be either cold, which answers for the dissolution of saccharine matter, sap, etc. In other cases, it is in need of heating, as is the case with manna, and those substances which have a tenacious, sticky fattiness or sap. The humour, which is the medium of the solution, should be of such nature that, if requisite, it can be easily separated again, and it should add nothing to what it dissolves, unless it is necessary that it should do so.

DEM, or DEHIN --- is Blood of Man.

DEMENSUM --- Slacking of Lime.

DEMENSUM DUPLICATUM --- is Double Measure. Might be also a Two-edged Tool.

DEMETIRI --- To Measure out.

DEMOTIVUS LAPSUS --- is Sudden Death.

DENEQUAT --- i.e., Borax.

DENODATIO --- i.e., Dissolution.

DENS PILI --- A small Vein. (In Mining.)

DENSES --- Wedges.

DENTES AXIS --- A Knob, Lift, or Tappet.

DENTES PILI --- The Boundary of a Gorge.

DERSES --- is the Secret Smoke or Vapour of the Earth, out of which every tree is born and grows.

DERUET --- i.e., Vernix.

DESCENSIO --- Distilling. Or ---

DESCENSIO --- is the name of a process whereby a thing becomes less noble, as when the sun becomes Mercury. Afterwards we call it falling and refining, when the vapour again descends, so that the water drawn from the earth is again poured upon it. The sediment remains in the glass.

DESCENSIO, DESCENSION --- is a process by which the subtler parts of any matter are caused to settle, or go down. It is warm or cold.

The Warm Descension (vulgarly, Distillation by Descension) is the distillation in an inverted vase of the liquor dissolved out of bodies. It is in this way especially that all kinds of trees, bones, and other substances, the liquor of which is too heavy to ascend, are dissolved. And it is done in this manner. I take a clay cucurbit, and place therein certain portions of the substances that are to be dissolved; and these, lest they fall out when the cucurbit is inverted, I cover with some bigger pieces, or sticks, transversely arranged. The preliminaries being thus dealt with, I fit another cucurbit, in which there is a little water, to the inverted one, in such a way that the upper one shall be exactly suited to the orifice of the lower; but, at the same time, between them I arrange a strong plate of iron of concave shape, pierced with holes, to receive the falling fragments, and prevent them from getting into the vessel below. Lastly, I encrust the firm structure with the best clay; I place the vessel in its furnace; and set the receiving vase in sand or ashes, so that, safe from the fierceness of the fire, it may receive most easily the deposited moisture.

DESCENSIO FRIGIDA --- the Cold Descension is that process by which the liquor descends, being resolved in cold. This is Deliquefaction or Filtration.

DESCENDUM, or DESCENSORIUM --- An Oven Or Chemical Furnace into which liquid goes down when separated from the gross matter.

DESCENDERE --- is to Liquefy, or to Melt together.

DESCENDERE GRADIBUS SAXO INCISIS --- To go down Steps cut out of a Rock.

DESERERE FODINAM --- To Abandon a Mine.

DESTILLATIO --- is Purging or Clarifying.

DESTILLATIO, DISTILLATION --- is a process in which the essence is extracted in the form of a liquid, and is brought away condensed in the form of drops, from the vessel containing the matter, into a receptacle placed underneath. It is necessary that the matter to be distilled shall be resolvable into a moist condition, whether such moisture be added from without, or be inherent in it. Some matters are exceedingly vapourous, and some have oleaginous spirits. Hence if they are not naturally capable of distillation, they must be rendered so by art. Distillation has been invented chiefly for extracting essence, yet, at the same time, it serves for abstractions, purgations, and similar processes.

Distillation by Ascension is performed when the extract, before it is distilled, is sublimed into a kind of vapour. The operation should be continuous, from beginning to end, for if broken off at any point, that which is left can with difficulty be induced to ascend.

Distillation by Descension is performed when the moisture is drawn forth and distilled downwards without elevation.

Distillation by Inclination is when the vase containing the matter is inclined on one side, with the mouth downward. When the vessel used is a retort, as occurs often, the process is called distillation by the retort. Sometimes also it is called distillation by descension, because there is a slight elevation, and afterwards a very strong reflux downward, or because the spirit is most urgently brought down again, and, without an alembic, descends coagulating in the bending.

DEVEXUM VEL DECLIVE MONTIS --- The Declivity of the Mountain.

DIAMASCIEN, DYAMASSIEN, or DELIATITEOS --- i.e., Flower of Copper.

DIAPENCIA --- is the Plant Alchimilla.

DIAPHANUM --- Any substance which shines transparently.

DIAPHORETICUM --- Promoting Perspiration.

DIASATYRION --- is a confection which excites venereal desire.

DIATAETIS --- An Innate Art Or Nature.

DIATESSADELTON --- is Precipitated Mercury.

DIENEZ --- are Spiritual Essences which inhabit large stones.


DILUTUM --- Lye manufactured by means of Earth.


DIONYSIUS LAPIS --- The Stone called Dionysius is a gem which takes its name from Bacchus, and is either black or dark ruddy, mixed or sprinkled with ruddy spots or blemishes. When rubbed, it has the flavour and smell of wine. It is said to check drunkenness, by dissolving and expelling the fumes which cause intoxication. A precious gem, concerning which consult Pliny (1. 37, c. 10), Solinus (Polyhist., c. 40), Albertus in his Lapid., and other writers.

DIPHRYGES or TUTTY --- is divided by Dioscorides (1. 5, c. 69) into three chief species. The first is native mineral Tutty, which is found in Cyprus, and is extracted only in the form of mud or slime. A pit is made in the mud, and that which is taken out is allowed to dry in the sun, and is then burnt by means of lighted faggots placed round it. And it is hence called Diphryges, i.e., twice burnt. The native Tutty is in appearance not unlike Chalcanthis. It is a humour, like mud flowing through channels. It is believed that it is obtained only in Cyprus. However, a similar substance of yellow colour, approaching misy, is found in the caves of Goslaria. But it is not so shining, or so much like the colour of dry leaves. It comes from its own earth. It is occasionally utilised by surgeons. If it be Islebian Pyrites and not that fissile stone or slate which is called "Pig", it is certainly the first species of Tutty. There is also another species of native Tutty found in the pits of Islebia, and it is called Barleystone. So, if the matter be considered, we have two species of native Tutty.

The second species recognised by Dioscorides is manufactured Tutty, also of two kinds. The first is nothing but the dregs of Purified Copper, just as manufactured Molybdena (Lead Ore) is the dregs of Silver, as already shown. It is made at the same time as Flower of Copper, by the obfusion of water, and it is found sticking to the lower part of the furnace when the copper has been removed; it has the astringency and flavour of copper. For the rest, whether in our own day Tutty is produced at the same time as Flower of Copper, the coppersmiths may best be consulted. The other species of manufactured Tutty is obtained when pyrites is burnt in a furnace until it becomes red. Dioscorides relates that this species is by some affirmed to be derived only from copper ore which has been dried in the air and subsequently burnt in the pits. And this species is adulterated with burnt ochre. The adulterated and genuine kinds may, however, be distinguished by their taste. Tutty which has been burnt out of true pyrites or its substance, has the taste of copper and verdigris; it is astringent and drying to the tongue. On the other hand, burnt ochre has no such taste or virtue. Concerning these species of Tutty, consult Pliny (1. 34, c. 13). Serapion (lib. Agg. s. v. Diphrygis). Tutty is most useful in medicaments; it is astringent, purgative, eradicating, drying, consumes execrescences, and assists the healing of ulcers. But unfortunately nothing of the virtues of Tutty is known now to surgeons, nor is it included in the pharmacopia. To such a degree are things excellent contemned by the stupid. O that such like substances were again brought into use among our physicians! But I tell my tale to deaf ears.

The species of Tutty:

1. That which remains at the bottom of the furnace after the copper has flowed out.

2. That which is produced from consumed Pyrites. Slag from the furnace.

3. That which comes from burnt Copper Ore, otherwise from Cuprine Stone.

4. Mansfield Slate.

5. That which is deposited in deep vessels and furnaces.

DIGESTIO --- A Change of any Substance into another by a process of natural coction.

DIGESTION --- is simple Maturation, by which an uncooked matter is digested in a digestive heat. The true digestion is after the pattern of that process to which food is made subject in the stomach, a corresponding warmth which restores dissipated energy. So do things which are intractable become, by digestion, more apt and amenable to processes. And if there be anything present which is semicocted, it is brought to the condition of those which are perfectly digested, so that afterwards there may be more abundantly a harvest of essential virtue derived therefrom. This name Digestion is used sometimes for elaborations, and, in another terminology, it is called Maceration, also Nutrition, as when slag was formerly said to be nourished, i.e., steeped (macerated) in vinegar. The coarse part or thick juice is, as it were, subdued, and made smooth; and not only does it increase in essence, but it can be easily separated from its inert dregs. For maceration has a certain penetrating, fortifying and cleansing power.

Digestion may also be described as a chemical operation, or process, by which any matter is ameliorated unto the separation of the pure from the impure. It sometimes stands for the glass vessel or furnace in which this magisterium is performed.

Digestion is, otherwise, Subtilisation, the dissolution of a crude matter in a digesting heat. It is also Putrefaction and Extraction.

Digestion is performed in the athanor by the filling of the turret of the athanor with coals to the top, kindling the fire in the furnace, and increasing the heat by the use of the poker, or the register, thus transmitting the warmth of the fire to the athanor. But after what rule this heat is to be conducted, when it should be diminished and when increased, the philosophers are not unanimous. Some contend that what they term the operation of nature should be imitated, and that it should be continuous and equable from first to last. Others would distribute it in grades, beginning with a white heat, passing to golden, and thence to a most deep red. To which view we ourselves incline, basing our opinion on numbers of authorities, and on many weighty reasons, and leaving its alternative to those who have originated it.

DISCESSUS --- Discession, or Separation, is performed when the essential potencies of a substance are separated and disjoined by the action of solvent heat. This is done by exhalation and resolution of composites. Separation by the first process occurs when a component part is so attenuated that it passes into a spirit. And that is chiefly termed exhalation when a substance is liberated and set free into the air. When it is intercepted, the process is called Distillation, or Sublimination ; which operations serve sometimes in place of exhalation. There is exspiration, i.e., exhalation, from things moist and from things which steam.

DISCRETORES --- Separaters of Ore.

DISCUS SOLIS --- is Quicksilver extracted out of Gold.

DISPOLIARE --- Dissolution of dead matter.

DISTILLATIO --- Distilling, Humid Elevation, is that process by which the more subtle humid parts, elevated into an ethereal consistence, and collecting on the cold roof of the alembic, are condensed into moisture, and pass off in drops through a pipe, to be received in another vessel. It is performed after this manner The matter to be distilled is put into a cucurbit, of sufficient amplitude and not of less height (for the height occupies the artificers in vessels and the amplitude controls the height); thereupon is placed a great alembic, which easily receives the ascending spirit and resolves it into moisture. Afterwards, on account of the matter that is to be elevated, a fire is prepared, which shall be adequate to the business, and contiguous to the receptacle of the moisture which is to be treated. The latter, however, is to be well shielded at all points from the flame, which must be graduated until all the humidity has passed through the alembic. We may take an instance from vegetable substances. I fill a cucurbit a third part full of fresh roses, and place it in a cold water bath. Afterwards, I fill an alembic with the leaves of red roses, from which the useless thorns have been removed, and place it over the cucurbit; then I make a fire of the branches contiguous to the receptacle, and to the juncture of the vessels. The moisture ascending occupies the alembic; the tincture is extracted from the roses, and, condensed into water, distils rose-red into the receptacle. It is to be noted that, if the thorns are not removed, it is impossible for the water to have the pure rose-red tint. I keep up the continuous heat until no further moisture rises up, and the roses in the alembic have become white. I have cited this because of the artifice whereby the tincture is extracted from roses by their own moisture. This method of elevation is very much in use. For we avail ourselves thereof when we extract or elaborate anything by means of the bladder, as also when we elevate a substance by means of an alembic joined to a cucurbit.

Oblique Distillation and Elevation are performed when a moist substance is elevated in a vase inclined obliquely. This kind of distillation is also performed with a retort.

DISTRACTIO --- is a Disintegration which takes place after two manners known as Separation and Calcination. The different constituents are separated, though each remains intact. It is a separation of things which naturally heterogeneous, and has nothing to do with disjoining substances possessing affinity for each other.

DISTRIBUTOR --- A Divider.

DIVAPARATIO --- is an Exhalation in the form of dry vapours, for the chemists have both a dry and humid spirit. The process is performed by various degrees of heat, and takes place in a vessel which may be like a boiling-pan, frying-pan, cucurbit, etc., according to the nature of the substance treated.

DIVERTALLUM --- is Generation of the Elements-that which is produced from metals.

DIVINATION --- is an uncertain Presage, or Prediction, which is interpreted by reflection after the judgment of a private light, as when it is said : My mind or heart for tells this and that to me; or : This the angel, my spirit, indicates.

DOAL --- i.e., Sol. Called also Elemptis.

DOLET --- i.e., Red Vitriol, or Red Atrament.

DOMICILIUM --- is Brine, Salt held in Solution.

DRACATIUM --- i.e., Saturn.

DRACO --- is Mercury, also the Black Raven, or the Black on the Floor. It devours the tail, drinks the mercury. It is called Salt and Sulphur of the Dragons. It is the Earth from the body of the Sun. It is killed when it loses the soul [i.e., the earth is killed], and rises again when the soul returns. The Dragon devours the mercury, like a poison, and dies; again drinks it and is made living. If he puts off all impurities he becomes white and truly living. This is also called the Woman who kills her Husband, and is herself killed in return.

DRACONITES, DRACONTIAS, or DRACHATES --- is a Precious Stone which Pliny represents (1. 37, c. 11), as also Solinus (c. 33), to be found in the brain of serpents, but unless it is removed while they are alive, it will never become a precious stone, by the inbred malice of the animal who, conscious of death approaching, destroys the virtue of the stone. Therefore the head is removed from dragons while asleep, and thus the gem is secured. The energy of the living soul is imparted to many things which the corruption of death in the humours impairs. The colour of the Draconite is white; it drives away all poisonous animals and cures envenomed bites. It is much affected by Eastern kings, for in the East there are many serpents. Our own Chelydrus and watersnake sometimes have gems in their heads, as I have myself seen; these may be called Draconites by analogy. Such stones may perchance grow from the brain, or, as others say, from the foam which these creatures make by rubbing one against the other in Spring-time; or again from the foam which they produce with their hissing, and which is hardened by the sun. I have seen pyramidal Draconites of this kind, both black and cerulean in colour. Albertus testifies that he beheld a Draconite taken from a serpent like our Chelydrus, which was of an opaque black, surrounded by a pale ring, and having a very beautiful outline of a serpent on the surface. These species also drive away venomous animals and heal poisoned wounds.

The Syphar, i.e., the Old Skin, or Slough, of our Chelydrus, has medicinal virtues. It wonderfully heals complaints of the posterior and falling of the womb, when these parts are fumigated therewith. Also the skin of the eft or lizard, which is very rarely found, because it is eaten by the animal itself (even as the peacock devours his own dung, which to man is so valuable), is good for the falling sickness.

DRACUNCULUS, CRASSATELLA, OPHIOGLUSSUM --- are names of wild adder's tongue.

DRAGANTUM --- the vulgar Zeg, is Vitriol.

DRAGANTUM, or DRAGANTIUM --- is Spanish Vitriol.

DRAGANTUM --- is a Gum; some say it is Vitriol. There are four kinds-Indian and Arabian, which are yellow, Cyprian, which is green. The fourth (terra Francisca), is black Atrament.

DUAMIR --- A Medical Preparation, good against the bite of serpents.

DUBELECH --- is a concave Abscess, generally running with matter.

DUBEL COLEPH --- is a Composition of White Coral and Amber.

DUCTARII FUNES --- Leading Strings.

DUELECH --- is a species of Tartar in the human body, a Porous Stone, dangerous and very painful.

DUENECH --- Azoth of the Stone; Green; then he begins to grow.

DUENECH --- is Antimony.

DUENEGE --- Green Vitriol.

DUENEZ, or DAENECK --- i.e., Iron Filing.

DULCEDO SATURNI --- is Altey, or Ceruse. White Lead.

DUNEQUER --- Borax.

DURDALES --- are Corporeal Spirits which inhabit trees.

DUO FRATRES --- The two brothers, Saturn and Jupiter --- Venus and Mars --- Gold and Silver --- Edar and Michati.

DUUMVIRI JURATI --- Guards of mountain mines.

DYOTA --- is a circulatory Vessel, having two ears or arms. The lower part is like a cucurbit, whereupon is placed an alembic, having a channel at the top, through which water can be poured. In a convenient place, there are curved beaks, conveying the condensed moisture from the top into the cucurbit. See sections which treat of the alembic and cucurbit. (It is to be noted that as in the ancient writings of Gebir, so here, these descriptions are hard to understand.)

DYOTRA --- is a small perforated lath, or small wooden tablet, furnished with a handle, and pierced through the side, so that we can examine the condition of the work and of the fire, without injuring the eyes, by simply looking at them through this object.

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