White Elixir


White elixir also known in alchemy as the “white stone” or “white rose” is the “medicine” is attained during the lunar stage of the opus alchymicun and had the power to change base metals into silver. A.G.H


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 305

Virgin’s milk


Virgin’s milk, in alchemy, is the pure white texture created by the albedo and which could transform based metals into silver. The term is also applied to the white philosophical mercury–mercurial water or “water of life”–known as Mercurius. A.G.H


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 299



Virgin is a term or symbol in alchemy used to express the feminine aspect of the prima materia. It can also express the feminine nature of the Mercurius, sometimes portrayed as hermaphroditic. A.G.H


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 299



Rubedo, in alchemy, is the final or “reddening” stage of the opus alchymicum which is characterized by the reddening of the white matter of the stone that was purified during the albedoprocess. In he coniunctio or chemical wedding between King Sol and Queen Luna, the white stone is now ready to reunited with the spirit and is given form through the reddening process of “rubification.” Alchemists refer to this as “blushing,” meaning the philosopher’s stone has been attained. A.G.H


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 249

The recipes


The early alchemists had recipes listing ingredients or techniques by which they made metals. The basis for many of these recipes was to introduce to base metals properties which the metals lacked. Today this is unreasonable, genuine gold no matter the length that it is heated never changes color. However, it must be said, that modern jeweler’s gold would not pass this test because it usually contains certain amounts of copper, and therefore will change color. But the early alchemists, it must be remembered were not knowledgeable of this fact concerning true gold. Also, these alchemists were not aware that each metal has a specific gravity or weight. No other metal can match it. Therefore, these alchemists figured if through a process they got a metal appearing like gold or silver, they had produced the metal.

The processes usually involved one of two techniques: either preparing white or yellow alloys by fusion or coloring the metal’s surface. Their reasoning for doing this was that if another metal had the property of whiteness or yellowness, that property could be removed from that metal and inserted into the metal which lacked the property. Color was considered an “activity” of the metal, its pneuma or spirit. By adding a color which the metal lacked, the alchemists considered that they were giving it spirit, enriching it. Needless to say, white metals were easier to come by because there are many more white alloys with similar densities as silver but fewer yellow ones, all of which are less dense than gold.

Most attempts at this were unsuccessful, but there were exceptions were the coincidences of color between the reagent and the product that seemed to support the rule. In the case of producing silver white alloys of various metals were generally used. These were usually alloys containing copper, silver, and arsenic. In this particular recipe it was indicated that if copper was “whitened,” its alloy with silver would not have a dark color. In another recipe named “Making of Silver with Tutia” the alloy preparation contained silver, lead, zinc, and copper. All alchemists of the age did not regard the whitening of copper the making of genuine silver, but it is a prime example of altering the color of a metal. Again one must be reminded most true alchemists took their art seriously and were honest, but their primitive methods left much room for charlatans.

The apparent successes in making gold were much easier to come by. The early recipes of the alchemist generally included these four methods:

The making of yellow alloys of base metals, much like brass.
The preparation of debased gold.
The superficial coloring of metals or alloys.
A series of very complex processes in which distilled liquids were employed or in which metals were subjected to the actions of vapors.

Most of these methods were employed in the production of brassy alloys of copper, tin, and zinc, which in modern times are called ormula, oroide, Mannbein gold, and so on, and were certainly known to Greek alchemists. Although zinc in metallic form was not known then, these alloys were prepared from smelting mixtures of other metals or their ores with cadinia, a mixture of metallic oxides containing various proportions of zinc found as deposits in flues of smelting furnaces. It is highly unlikely any of these methods produced a single ounce of gold that a goldsmith would accept, but the yellow appearance gave hope for success.

The most successful attempt at making gold was called “doubling” gold, which doubled the weight of gold. (See Doubling According to Moses) Greek alchemists knew it as diplosis. It basically was supported by the fact that while silver lends a greenish tent to gold, and copper a reddish tent, the admixture of both silver and copper hardly changes its tent at all. Most likely the alchemist did not think that he was falsifying gold, rather he saw the gold as acting as a seed which, nourished by the copper and silver, grew at their expense until the entire mass was gold. Some preparations of alloys in this manner today are legal on the European Continent; just as are 18-carat and other gold-copper alloys are in Great Britain. A.G.H.


Taylor, F. Sherwood. Alchemists, Founders of Modern Chemistry. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 30-35

Quintessence Meaning


Quintessence (Latin, quinta essentia, “fifth essence or element”) is in Pythagorean mysticism the fifth element or spirit that fills the universe generating its life and vitality. Quintessence encompasses the other four elements considered by ancient alchemists, fire, air, water, and earth; therefore, it is ‘pure essence’ essential for life. In Hinduism it is known as akasha; in alchemy azoth, or the transcendental philosopher’s stone.

Although the term Quintessence was widely used by alchemists during the Middle Ages, this concept is much older and we would have to refer to Classical Greece where Empédocles began to speak of a fifth perfect element existing in all things.


The quintessence is perfection itself, the philosopher’s stone, the elixir of life that is only possible once a state of purity is reached and transmutation is achieved in gold, which does not necessarily refer to metal, since the quintessence resides in all things that exist on Earth.


Solomon defined it in the following terms:

Fifth being of a mixed thing … Like a very subtle soul drawn from its body and from the superfluity of the four elements by a very subtle and very perfect distillation, and by that means it is spiritualized, that is, it becomes very spiritual, very subtle , very pure, as incorruptible, astral and celestial …


However, not only Solomon and Empedocles tried to explain the Quintessence, throughout history many alchemists and even friars tried to study, understand and unveil the Quintessence.

The French alchemist Cyliani said that the Quintessence was:

Care should be taken not to lose the slightest portion, since it is the true quintasencia of the common regenerated gold, in which the three principles that are associated …

In the tenth century of our era, Hugo de Santalla in his De secretis naturae defended the

“existence of a primordial element in the form of heat or igneous spirit, of subtle material consistency, which would be present throughout the universe, providing it with movement, communicating its parts, and that it would be able to both form and decompose any natural substance. “

In the XIV century Paris rises as a city of vital importance in the studies of a Quintessence, thanks to the development and publication of texts Textus alkimie published in Paris around the year 1325, as well as the Liber super textum hermetis.

Regardless of who has created and / or developed the theory, the quintessence is then understood as the true nature of things in their purest and most perfect state and therefore, difficult to achieve and even to see.


From a cosmic point of view, Quintassence can be termed as dark matter or antigravity. Of course, few scientists have been able to agree on the existence of this “fifth element” and since it is something that can not be seen or touched, it is difficult to be accepted from skepticism. However, from the point of view that is defined, the quintessence is an energy that resides in all things and of a purity impossible to equal by any terrestrial element.


Other meanings are:

  • In physics: the Dark energy form (Theory).
  • The essence of a thing. The most representative example or representation of a thing. The ideal.


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 242

Queen Luna


Queen Luna in alchemy is the embodiment of the receptive female principle possessing the qualities “cold and moist” giving rise to the albedo or white elixir which can transmute base metals into silver. This female principle receives the male qualities “hot and dry” symbolized by King Sol to dissolve the metal into its original creative matter of prima materiaA.G.H


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 241

Prima materia


Prima materia, prime matter, like the goal of the alchemical process has various definitions, with no one definition considered prominent. This is because alchemists had personal definitions of prima materia. Many definitions even contradicted one another. They range from lead, iron, gold, quicksilver, salt, sulphur, vinegar, water, fire, earth, water of life, blood, poison, spirit, clouds, sky, dew, shadow, sea, mothermoon, dragon, Venus, microcosm, and so on. It is not surprising that Ruland’s Lexicon gives fifty synonyms and more could be included.

Besides these definitions, which are partly chemical and mythological, there are the philosophical ones which have deeper meanings. For instance, in the treatise of Komarios one finds the definition of “Hades.” In Olympiodorus the black earth contained the “accursed of God.” The Consilium consigii says the father of gold and silver, their prima materia, is “the animal of earth and sea,” or “man,” or “part of man,” that is his hair, blood, and so on. Dorn, student of Paracelsus, said prima materia was “Adamica,” which coincides with Paracelsus’ limbus microcosmicus. The materials of the stone are none other than sulphur and Mercuricus. Alchemists assumed man could complete the work of the prima materia because he possessed a soul. Not so stated, but assumed believed, the soul came from God, therefore, man was capable of doing God’s work–alchemists function as God. Further works testify that the prima materiamay be anything and may become anything. Mylius described prima materia as the elementium primordiale, the “pure subject and unity of forms.” Prima materia is further described in the Rosarium as the “root of itself.” Therefore, because it roots in itself it is autonomous and dependent on nothing.

Paracelsus, in his Philosophia ad Atheninses, declared this unique materia a secret having absolutely nothing to do with the elements. It fills the entire regio aetherea, and is the mother of the elements and every created thing. Paracelsus’ definition is strictly scripturally based. He described it mysterious, prepared by God in such a way that there will be nothing like it again. It was corrupted beyond reparation, presumably by the Fall of Adam, and cannot be returned to.

The description which Jung gives to the works of Paracelsus and Dorn clearly identifies the reason or reasons why Middle Age alchemy took on a religious atmosphere. Not only did Paracelsus reconcile his professional views with his own Christianity, but he instilled them in alchemical thought. Using the Bible, Paracelsus and others, connected prima materia to God; “before Abraham was made, I am.” (John 8:58) Since prima materia is supposedly the stone, also, this also demonstrated the stone is without beginning or end. Jung noted many Christians hearing this would not believe their ears, but it was plainly stated in the Liber Platonis quartorum, “That from which things arise is the invisible and immovable God.” It must be admitted that probably just a few philosophers pressed to this extreme conclusion, but even its aspect makes their veiled allusions more transparent. Even though most of alchemical thought seems absurd in comparison to modern scientific thinking, it should not be forgotten that the Middle Ages greatly influenced present culture.

One should remember that the important difference between the alchemists and chemists was that the former looked back while the latter looked forward. The alchemists thought those before them, the ancients, had the secrets of the art; all they had to do was discover these secrets, which, perhaps, was part of their goal or quest. For the future chemists, as well as other scientists, their goal lied in discovering secrets of the future. When examining this difference and comparison one readily sees that most of the world population is still on the alchemical path. Most people cling to religious beliefs which at best give them superficial comfort just as the stone did for the alchemists. Most people are Paracelsan, they pray to God to heal them when sick but go to the physician to prescribe medicine to cure them. Paracelsus sought to keep his religious beliefs but was intelligent enough to initiate modern medicine.

One could say that current thinking that we are all gods because we have the spirit of God within us held by some, especially nature worshippers, possibly originated from alchemical thought. The English alchemist Sir George Ripley (c. 1415-1490) wrote, “The philosophers tell the inquirer that the birds bring us the lipas, every man has it, it is in every place, in you, in me, in everything, in time and space.” “It offers itself in lowly form [vili figura]. From it springs our eternal water [aqua permanens].” Ripley said prima materia is water, the material principle of all bodies, including mercury. It is the hyle, stuff, mater, which God brought from the chaos. It is the black earth which Adam was made of and which he took with him from Paradise. Since this prima material contained water it also contained fire, as both were said to be within the philosopher’s stone; therefore, it is believe the stone always existed coming from Paradise too.

This is why, this author thinks, that Jung said the Middle Ages influenced modern society. Perhaps not in the alchemical sense because modern chemistry and other sciences have proven to be more effective, but in the social-religious sense, it must be reiterated that Western culture is still on an alchemical path. Most Western societies seek to perfect themselves through a religion which has failed for thousands of years. Religious leaders resemble the alchemists in thinking those before them had the answers when religious history is lavished with stories of thieves, liars, murderers, those committing adultery, and so on. Religion has not changed human behavior, and thanks to the Devil it does not have to.

Even though, allegorically speaking, most if the world is on the alchemical path it is still not too late to follow the lead of Paracelsus; he recognized both good and bad in nature and used it to promote good. He acknowledged this when his critics said his medicines were poisonous. His response was that all things are poisonous; it’s the dosage that matters. Although Jung demonstrated the similarities between alchemy and psychology, he never denied the pitfalls of each, the bad points that must be confronted and worked out. In this confrontation there is no easy answer or magic bullet, no prima materia or philosopher’s stone. It is time to recognize the world is the hermaphrodite stone which man lives on. The world is both good and evil, both life and death; how man uses the world will determine the outcome of both the world and man. Man can continue seeking the stone in eternal heavenly salvation for himself, or he can, like the chemist, discover new ways in which everyone can live peacefully. The dosage or stone lies in the actions of humankind. A.G.H.


Jung, C. G. Psychology and Alchemy. 2nd. ed. (Transl. by R. F. C. Hull). “The Collected Works of Jung” Vol. 12. Bollingen Series XX. Princeton, NJ. Princeton University Press. 1970. pp. 317-327.

Philosophical tree


Philosophical tree was a frequently used representation by medieval alchemists of the opus alchymicum. The tree at times was made to represent the various stages of the alchemical process. This could be the prima materia, capable of transforming and refining metals through various stages. In some instances the tree was displayed growing on the earth’s crust and others as a tree on an island surrounded by ocean. The tree has seven branches representing the seven planetary metals with its roots and trunk nourish by the mercurial sea. A.G.H


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 231

Philosophical sulphur


Philosophical sulphur, in alchemy, is the fiery masculine hot dry seed of metals. Different from ordinary sulphur, it is an abstract principle relating to qualities of matter providing material structure and form as well as representing the principle of growth. A.G.H


Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 231