“Compound Of Compounds” by Albert Magnus, 1260





It has been observed that the nature of metals, such as we know it, is, generally speaking, generated by Sulphur and Mercury. It is only the different coctions and digestions that makes for the variety in the metallic species. I myself have observed that in a single vessel, which is, in a single vein, nature produced several metals as well as silver here and there. We have clearly stated in our “Treatise on Minerals” that the generation of metals is in fact circular, each one of them easily going from one to the next like in a circle; neighbor metals have similar properties; and this is the reason why silver is transformed into gold more easily than any other metal.

It suffices, as it were, to alter in silver its color and weight, which is easy. Because an already compact substance is most easily increased in weight. And given that it contains yellowish white sulphur its color will be as easily changed.

The same happens with the other metals. Sulphur is, one might say, their father, and Mercury their mother. This stands even more truly if we say that in conjunction, Sulphur represents the father’s sperm and Mercury represents the coagulated menstruum that forms the substance of the embryo. Sulphur, like a father, cannot perform a generation just by itself.

Therefore, like the male engenders its own substance mixed with the menstrual blood, so does Sulphur engender with Mercury, but by itself alone it produces nothing. With this comparison, we intend to show forth that the Alchemist should first of all extract from the metal the speciousness Nature has given it and then proceed as Nature did with Mercury and Sulphur prepared and purified, always following Nature’s example.



The first principle is above all volatile and fiery; it is found in the external parts of Sulphur because of the extreme volatility of its elements that easily evaporate and consume the bodies it contacts.

The second principle is phlegmatic, also known as watery; it is found immediately upon the former. The third is radical, fix, adhering only to the internal parts. This one is general and cannot be separated from the others without breaking the whole building apart. The first principle will not stand the fire; being combustible, is consumed by fire and calcine the substance of the metal from where it gets its heat; it is therefore not only useless as also harmful to the end we are after. The second principle only makes bodies wet, does not engender and is therefore useless to us. The third is radical, penetrates every particle of the matter that owes it its essential properties. One must therefore break the latter free of the first two principles so that its subtlety might be used to produce a perfect compound.

Fire is nothing but vapor of sulphur; this vapor of Sulphur well purified and sublimated makes white and more compact. Thus the skilled alchemists usually take from Sulphur its two superfluous principles by mean of acid washings like lemon vinegar, bitter milk, the milk from she-goats and child’s urine. They purify it with lixiviation, digestion and sublimation. Lastly it must be rectified by being resolved, so that it keeps nothing but a pure substance containing the active force that is perfectible and close to metal. We are now in possession of part of our Work.


Mercury encloses two superfluous substances, earth and water. An earthly substance has something to do with Sulphur, and fire rubifies it. The watery substance has a superfluous humidity.

Mercury easily lets go of its watery and earthly impurities through sublimations and very acid washings. Nature separates it in its dry state from Sulphur and robs it from its earth through the heat of the Sun and the stars.

Nature obtains in this way pure Mercury, completely free of its earthy substance that no longer contains any foreign element. Then she unites it to pure Sulphur and produces at last in earth’s womb the pure and perfect metals. If both principles are impure, so are the metals. This is the reason why in mines one finds different metals, which is explained by the different purification and digestion of their principles. This depends on the coction.


Arsenic is of the same nature as Sulphur, both have something red and something white, but there is more humidity in Arsenic so that it takes longer to sublimate in fire.

It is known how fast Sulphur is sublimated and how it consumes every body except gold. Arsenic will unite its dry principle to Sulphur; they temper each other and once united are not easily separated; its tincture is softened by this union.

“Arsenic – says Geber – contains more mercury and can therefore be like the latter prepared.” Know that the spirit concealed in Sulphur, Arsenic and animal oil is called by the philosophers white Elixir. It’s unique, mixable in the fiery substance from which we extract the red Elixir; they unite with the fusing metals, as we have experimented, purify them, not only due to the already quoted properties but also due to the fact that there exists a common proportion between their elements.

Metals differ among them according to the purity or impurity of their first matter, which is Sulphur and Mercury, and also according the degree of the fire that engenders them.

According the philosopher, the elixir is also called medicine, because it makes the body of metals resemble the body of animals. We also say that there is a hidden spirit in Sulphur, arsenic and the oil extracted from animal substances. This spirit we seek, with which assistance we tinge every imperfect bodies in perfect ones. This spirit is by the philosophers called Water and Mercury. “Mercury – says Geber – is a medicine composed of dry and humid, humid and dry.” Understand well the sequence of these operations: you extract the earth from the fire, the air from the earth, the water from the air, because water can stand the fire. One has to observe these teachings, as these are universal arcanes.

None of the principles that participate in the Work has power by itself because they are chained in metals, they cannot be perfected, and they aren’t any longer fix.

They lack two substances: one that can be mixed with metals in fusion and the other fix that can be coagulated and fix. This is why Rhasés said: “There are four that change over time; each one of them is composed of four elements, and takes the name of the one that rules over it. Its marvelous essence has been fixed in a body with which one can feed other bodies. This essence is made of a combination of air and water, in such a way that heat will liquefy them. Here is a wonderful secret. To be of use to us, the minerals employed in Alchemy must have an action over the bodies while in fusion. The stones we employ are four: two of them tinge in white and the other two in red. Even when the white, the red, the Sulphur and Saturn have none but a unique and same body. But in this sole body how many things are obscure! And yet it has no action over perfect metals.”

In imperfect bodies there is acid water, bitter and acre, which is necessary to our Art. Because it dissolves and mortifies the bodies and afterwards brings them back to life and rebuilds them.

Rhasés says in his third letter: “Those who seek our Entelechies ask where the elemental water-bitter comes from. And we reply: from the impurity in metals. Because water contained in gold and silver will not dissolve, on the contrary it coagulates and fortifies because it does not contain any impurity like the other perfect bodies.” For this reason, Geber says: “Gold and silver are calcined and dissolved in vain because our Vinegar comes from four imperfect bodies; this is the mortifying and solvent spirit that mixes the tincture of all bodies we use in our work. We need no other water and all the other spirits do not concern us in our matters.”

Geber is correct: we cannot do anything with a tincture fire modifies, on the contrary it is required that fire gives it excellence and strength so it can be united to metals in fusion. It must be fortified, fix, and despite fusion be united to metal.

I will add that from these four imperfect bodies everything can be extracted. As for the aforementioned way of preparing Sulphur, Arsenic and Mercury we can discuss it here.

In fact, when in this preparation we heat the spirits of sulphur and arsenic with acid waters or oil in order to extract the fiery essence, the oil and greasiness, we extract the superfluous in them; we’re left with the fiery force and the oil, the only useful things to us, but they remain mixed with the acid water we employed to purify, and they cannot be separated; at least we get rid of the useless. It is necessary then to find a way to extract from these bodies the water, oil and subtlest spirit of sulphur, which is the true, tincture very active that we seek. We we’ll work then on these bodies separating through distillation their natural components and this way we’ll get to the simpler parts. There are some who ignore the composition of the Work and work only with Mercury, claiming it has a single body, soul and spirit which is the first matter of gold and silver. One has to reply that although the philosophers say the Work is made of three things, namely the spirit, body and soul which are extracted from a single one, one cannot nevertheless find in one thing what is not there. Now Mercury lacks the red tincture so it cannot suffice in forming the body of Sol; with it alone it would be impossible to succeed in the Work. Luna by itself is not enough and nevertheless this body is, so to say, the foundation of the work.

In any way it is worked and transformed, Mercury will never be able to constitute the body. They also say: “There is in Mercury a red sulphur that conceals in itself the red tincture.” Wrong! Sulphur is the father of metals; one will never find it in Mercury, which is a female.

A passive matter will not fertilize by itself. Mercury does contain some sulphur but as we’ve said before it’s terrestrial sulphur. Lastly let us remark that sulphur will not bear the fusion; as a result, one cannot extract the Elixir from a single body.



Fire generates death and life. A light fire dissects the body. Here is the reason: when fire contacts the body puts in motion the element in the latter that resembles it.

This element is natural heat. It excites the fire firstly extracted from the body; there is conjunction and the radical humidity in the body rises to the surface while fire operates in the outside. When this radical humidity that before united the proportions in the body goes away the body dies and gets resolved. Every part of it is separated from each other. Fire acts like a cutting instrument. Although it dissects and contracts by itself it won’t be able to do it without a certain inclination. Especially if the body is compact like an element is. The latter lacks an agglutinant mist that would separate after the body’s corruption.

All of this can be made through Sol because it is of a hot and wet nature regarding all other bodies.



There are four elements on the Stone: 1st to decompose; 2nd to wash; 3rd to reduce; 4th to fix. On the first regimen the natures are separated because without division and purification the conjunction cannot take place. While on the second regimen the separated elements are washed, purified and again taken to its primal state. On the third our Sulphur is transformed in the ore of Sol, Luna and the other metals. On the fourth every body previously extracted from our Stone are now united, rearranged and fixed so that they’ll remain conjoined.

Some say there are five degrees in this Mastership: 1st to resolve the substances in their first matter; 2nd to have our earth, which is our black magnesia, resemble the nature of Sulphur and Mercury; 3rd to make the Sulphur as close as possible to the ore of Sol and Luna; 4th to make of several things a white Elixir; 5th to completely burn the white elixir and color it like cinnabar and from there proceed to the red Elixir.

In short, there are those who count four degrees in the Work, those who count three and those who count only two. The latter count in this way: 1st beginning of the work and purification of the elements; 2nd conjunction.

Note this well: the matter of the Stone of the philosophers is cheap; it is found everywhere; it’s greasy water like the Mercury one extracts from the earth. Our greasy water is to be found in all places, even in latrines, as some philosophers claimed, and then some fool took it literally and decided to look for it in excrements.

Nature operates on this matter by taking something off it, its earthly principle, and then adding something to it, the Sulphur of the philosophers, which is not the common sulphur but an invisible one, tincture of the red. In truth I say it is the spirit of roman vitriol. Prepare it as follows: take the saltpeter and the roman vitriol, two ounces each; pulverize them finely in a mortar. Aristotle is therefore right when he says on his “Fourth Book on Meteors”: “Every alchemist knows that it is not possible in any way to change the form of metals unless these are reduced to their first matter.” Which is not easy, as we shall see.

The Philosopher says one cannot go from one end to another without going through the middle. On one end of our Stone we find two luminaries, gold and silver, and on the other the perfect elixir or tincture. In the middle philosophical burning water, purified by nature, cooked and digested. All these things are nearer to perfection and are thus preferable to bodies of a more remote nature. Just like through heat ice transforms into water, because it was water before, so do metals resolve in their first matter, which is our Burning Water. Its preparation is described in the following chapters. It alone is able to reduce every metallic body to its first matter.



In the name of God, take an ounce of mercury extracted from the mine. On a separate task, take roman vitriol and calcined common salt, pulverize them and mix them closely. Place both matters on a large dish of enameled earthenware, on a gentle fire, until the matter starts melting and liquefying. Then take your mineral mercury; put it on a long necked vessel and pour it drop by drop over the vitriol. Revolve it with a wooden spatula until all mercury is devoured and no trace of it remains. When all of it is gone, dissect the matter with a gentle fire overnight. On the morning of the next day you shall take the well-dried matter and pulverize it finely over a marble stone. You shall then place this powdered matter on a sublimatory vessel we call aludel, so that you may sublime it according to art. You shall place the alembic and seal every joint with lutum sapientum, so as to keep the mercury from escaping. You shall place your aludel in an oven and dispose it so that it will not lean over but remains straight; then make a gentle fire for four hours in order to extract the humidity of mercury and vitriol; after it evaporates, make your fire stronger so that the white and pure matter of mercury becomes detached of its impurities and this for four hours also; may you wish to know when it is done all you have to do is to put a wooden stick in the sublimatory vessel’s head opening and make it descend up to the compound and then feel if the white matter of mercury is on top of the mixture. If this is the case then take the stick out, close the aludel’s opening with lutum sapientum so that the mercury won’t come out and make your fire stronger in such a way that the white matter of mercury will raise over the faeces up to the aludel, and this for four hours. Heat at last with firewood so that a flame comes up and the bottom of the vessel as well as the residue become red; keep on like this until there is nothing but a little amount of white substance adhering to the faeces. The strength and violence of the fire will soon separate it. Cease then your fire and let your oven and matter cool down overnight. In the morning of the next day take your vessel out of the oven, take the lutum off with precaution so that the mercury will remain untouched and open the device; if then you find a white matter, sublimated, pure, compact and heavy, you were successful. But if the sublimate is spongy, light and porous, take it out and start the sublimation again over the residue once again mixing it with ground common salt; operate with the same vessel and oven, on the same degree of fire as before. Open then the vessel and see if your sublimate is white, compact and dense, pick it up and put it aside carefully, so that you may use it when you need it in order to finish the Work. But if it is not as required yet, then you’ll need to start over until you have it pure, compact, white and heavy.

Note well that through this operation you strip Mercury of its impurities. First of all you take off it its superfluous humidity and secondly you make it free from its earthly impure parts that are left behind in the faeces; you have thus sublimate it into a clear and semi-fix white substance. Put it aside as I have told you.




Take two pounds of roman vitriol, two pounds of saltpeter and one pound of calcined alumen. Pulverize them well, mix them perfectly and place them on a glass alembic; distill according the rules, sealing well the joints so that the spirits won’t run away. Begin with a gentle fire and then a little stronger. Heat it then strongly so much as to make the device turn white and the spirits distil. Cease your fire and let the oven cool down; put this water carefully aside, because it dissolves Luna and separates it from gold, calcines Mercury and the flowers of Mars; it transmits a brownish color to skin which is difficult to remove. This is the first water of the philosophers and it is perfect to the first degree. You shall prepare three pounds of this water.


In the name of God, take one pound of the first water and dissolve four lots of pure and colorless salt ammoniac; as soon as it is dissolved the water changes color and acquires different properties. The first water was greenish, dissolved Luna and had no action over Sol; but as soon as it is mixed with salt ammoniac it acquires a yellow color and dissolves gold, Mercury and the sublimated sulphur, and transmits skin a yellow color. Keep it well because it will be used at once.


Take one pound of second water and eleven lots of sublimated Mercury (through the action of vitriol and salt) well prepared and pure. You shall pour bit by bit your Mercury over the second water. Afterwards you shall seal the vessel’s opening to prevent the spirit of Mercury from escaping. You shall place your vessel on tempered ashes; the water will soon start to act upon Mercury, dissolving and assimilating it. You shall leave your vessel on warm ashes; there shall not be excess of water and it is necessary that the whole of the sublimated mercury be dissolved. The water acts by imbibitions upon Mercury until it dissolves it.

If the water cannot dissolve the whole of the Mercury take what’s left on the vessel’s bottom and dry it with a gentle fire, pulverize it and dissolve it again on a new quantity of second water. You shall join all dissolutions on a perfectly clean glass phial that you shall completely seal with wax. Carefully put it aside. Because this is our third water, philosophical, thick, perfect to the third degree. It is the mother of the Burning Water that reduces every body to its first matter.



Take mercurial third water, perfect in third degree, and have it putrefy on horse-dung, in a long necked vessel well sealed, for fourteen days.

Let it ferment; the impurities will fall down to the bottom and the water turns from yellow to a reddish color. At this point you shall take your vessel out and place it on ashes on a gentle fire; attach to it an alembic and its receiver. Begin distilling slowly.

What passes through, drop by drop, is our burning water, very clear, pure, heavy, Virginal Milk, very acre Vinegar. Maintain your fire sweetly until all the burning water has been quietly distilled; now cease your fire, let the oven cool down and place aside your distilled water with care. This is our Burning Water, Vinegar of the Philosophers, Virginal Milk that reduces all bodies to their first matter. Countless names have been given to it.

Here they are the properties of this water: one drop over a hot copper blade immediately penetrates it and leaves on it a white stain. Over hot coal it turns into smoke. In the open air, it will congeal and look like ice. When one distills this water the drops won’t follow the same path but each one goes through one side. It doesn’t act upon metals like corrosive Aqua Fortis that dissolves them, but reduces to Mercury all bodies that it bathes, as you soon shall see.

After putrefaction, distillation and clarification the water is pure and perfect, free from every sulphurous, fiery and corrosive principle. It is not a corroding water, it does not dissolve the bodies; instead it reduces them into Mercury. It owes this property to the Mercury firstly dissolved and putrefied to the third degree of perfection. It no longer has in it faeces or impurities. The last distillation separated them; the black impurities were left on the alembic’s bottom. This water’s color is blue, clear and reddish; put it aside because it reduces every calcined and putrefact bodies to their first radical or mercurial matter.

May you wish to reduce with this water the calcined bodies, this is how you should prepare them: take a mark of any body you wish, Sol or Luna; gently file it. Finely pulverize these filings on a marble stone, with prepared common salt. Separate the salt, dissolving it in hot water; the pulverized calx will fall down to the bottom of the liquid; decant it. Dry the calx, and three times imbibe it with oil of tartar, each time letting the calx completely absorbs the oil; afterwards place this calx in a small vessel; over it pour the oil of tartar in such a way that the liquid has a thickness of two fingers; close then the vessel and put it to putrefy in horse-dung, for eight days; then take the vessel, decant the oil and dry the calx. Having come this far, put an equal weight of the calx and our Burning Water; close the vessel and put it in digestion on a gentle fire until all of the calx is converted into Mercury. Carefully decant then the water, collect the bodily Mercury and put it in a glass phial; purify it with water and common salt; dry everything according to the rules, put it on thin linen and squeeze it to drops. If everything passes it is well. If any part of the amalgamated body remains behind because of the dissolution not being complete put this residue on a new quantity of blessed water. Know then that the distillation of this water must be in Balneum Maria; the air and fire shall be distilled on warm ashes. The water must be extracted from the humid substance alone; the air and fire must be extracted from the substance and not from any other.


It is less mobile and slower than the other is; it leaves traces of its fix body on fire, a drop of it on a red-hot blade leaves a residue behind.

Multiplication of the Philosophical Mercury

As soon as you have your philosophical Mercury, take two parts of it and one of the filings already mentioned; make an amalgamate, pulverizing everything together until it is perfectly united. Put this amalgamate in a vessel, seal it well and put it on ashes in a moderated fire. Everything shall be converted to Mercury. This way you will be able to increase it ad infinitum, because the volatile quantity always surpasses the fix quantity, endlessly augmentantes it communicating to it its own nature and always sufficiently providing.

Now you know how to prepare the burning water, you know the degrees and properties, the putrefaction of metallic bodies, its reduction in first matter, the endless multiplication of the matter. I have clearly explained to you what all philosophers carefully concealed.


It is not common quicksilver; it is the first matter of the philosophers. It is a watery element, cold, moist, it is a permanent water, the spirit of the body, greasy vapor, Blessed Water, Aqua-Fortis, Water of the Wise, Vinegar of the Philosophers, Mineral Water, Dew of the Celestial Grace; much more names it has and although different they all designate one and the same thing which is the Mercury of the philosophers; it is alchemy’s strength; it alone can be used to produce the white tincture, the red, etc.

Take then in the name of Jesus Christ, our venerable M…Water of the philosophers, primitive Hylé of the wise; it is the stone to you revealed on this treatise, it is the matter of the perfect body as you have guessed. Place your matter on an oven in a proper vessel, clear, transparent, round, that you will hermetically seal, in such a way that nothing can come out.

Your matter shall be placed on a plane bed, lightly warm; leave it there for a philosophical month; you shall keep an even heat, such as to make the matter’s sweat sublimate until it stops sweating, that noting goes up any longer, nothing comes down and it starts to rot, to suffocate, to coagulate and become fix as a result of the fire’s constancy.

No more of the smoky aerial substance will rise, and our Mercury will be left in the bottom, dry, free from its humidity, putrefact, coagulated, converted into a black earth that is called black Crow’s Head, earthly element.

As soon as you have done this, you will have made the true sublimation of the philosophers, during which you have gone through all the mentioned degrees: sublimation of Mercury, distillation, coagulation, putrefaction, calcination and fixation in a single vessel and a single oven, as I have told you.

In fact, when our stone is on its vessel and rises, then there is ascension or sublimation, but when afterwards it falls again to the bottom, there is distillation or precipitation. Further along the way, after sublimation and distillation, our Stone begins to putrefy and coagulate: it’s putrefaction and coagulation; it is at last calcined and fix though the deprivation of its watery radical humidity: it’s calcination and fixation; all is done through the simple fact of heating on a single oven and a single vessel, as has been said.

This sublimation is, according to the philosophers, a true separation of the elements: “the work of our stone is no other than the separation and conjunction of elements; because in our sublimation the watery element, cold and moist, is converted into a hot element. Its implied that that the separation of elements in our stone is not the common, but a philosophical one; our single sublimation very perfect is truly sufficient for the separation of elements; in our stone there is nothing more than the form of two elements, water and earth that contain in themselves virtually the other two elements. Earth virtually contains Fire, cause of its dryness; Water virtually contains Air, cause of its humidity. It is therefore quite clear that if our Stone contains in itself no more than the form of two elements it nevertheless virtually conceals all four of them.”

Another philosopher has also said: “There isn’t such a thing as the separation of the four elements of our stone, as some fools think. Our nature conceals a greatly occult arcane where strength and power, earth and water, are to be found. It conceals two other elements, air and fire, but these are neither visible nor tangible, they cannot be depicted, nothing unveils them, their power is ignored, being nevertheless manifested through the other two, earth and water, when fire changes colors while in the coction.”

Thus by the grace of God you are now in possession of the second component of the philosophical stone, a black Earth, Head of the Crow, mother, hearth and origin of every other color. From this earth, as from a trone, everything is born. This earthly and dry element has taken countless names on the philosophers books, as it is also called Filthy Brass, Black Residue, Bronze of the Philosophers, Nummus, Black Sulphur, Male, Spouse, etc. Despite this endless variety of names, it is nevertheless always the same thing, extracted from a single matter.

As a consequence of this humidity deprivation, caused by the philosophical sublimation, the volatile has been converted in fix, the soft in hard, the watery in earthly according to Geber. This is nature’s metamorphosis, the water becoming earth, according the Turba. It is also the transforming of cold and humid resemblances in bilious and dry ones, according the doctors. Aristotle said the spirit had taken a body, and Alphidius that the liquid became sticky. The occult has become manifest, said Rudianus on his “Book of Three Words”. One can now understand the philosophers when they say: Our Great Work is nothing more than a permutation of natures, an evolution of elements. “It is quite clear: through this humidity deprivation we dry the stone, the volatile becomes fix, the spirit corporeal, the liquid solid, the fire becomes water and the air earth. We have thus changed the true natures according to a certain order, we had the four elements turning round in circle and permutated natures.”

May God be eternally praised. Amen.

With God’s permission, let us now follow to the second operation, which is the whitening of our pure earth. Take two parts of fixed earth or Crow’s Head; pulverize it finely and carefully on a perfectly clean mortar, add to it one part of the Philosophical Water that you know (it is the water you kept). Dedicate your efforts to uniting them, imbibing little by little the dry earth with water until the former has satisfied its thirst; pulverize and mix it so well that the union of body, soul and water is perfect and intimate; having done this, you will place it on perfectly sealed vessel and on a even bed, lukewarm and evenly heated so that when it sweats it will set its entrails free of the liquid it drank. You will thus leave it there for eight days until the earth whitens partially. Then you’ll take the stone, you’ll pulverize it and imbibe it again with Virginal Milk until its thirst has been satisfied; then you’ll put it back on its warm bed so that it is dried, sweating as before. You shall repeat this operation four times always following this outline: imbibition of the earth with the water until they’re perfectly united, desiccation and calcination. In this way you will have sufficiently baked the earth of our greatly precious stone. According to this order: coction, pulverizing, imbibition with water, desiccation and calcination, you have sufficiently purified the Crow’s Head from the foetid black earth, you have guided it to the whiteness through the strength of fire, heat and the Whitening Water. Pick the white earth and keep it, because it is a precious gift; it’s the white foliaceous earth, White Sulphur, White Magnesia, etc. Morienus speaks of it when he says: “Putrefy this earth with its water, so that it becomes purified and with the help of God you will finish the Work.” Hermes also says the Azoth washes brass and casts off its impurities.

On this last operation we have reproduced the true conjunction of the elements, because water was united to earth and air to fire. It is the union of man and woman, male and female, gold and silver, of the Dry Sulphur and the Celestial Water impure. There also was resurrection of the dead bodies. Thus a philosopher has said: “Those who can’t kill and resurrect would better leave this art.” And somewhere else: “Those who know how to kill and resurrect will profit from our science. The one who knows both will be a Prince of the Art.” And another philosopher said: “Our Dry Earth will be fruitless unless it is imbibed with Rain Water. Our Dry Earth’s thirst is great; as soon as it started to drink it drank up to the faeces.”

Another one claims: “Our Earth drinks the Fertilizing Water that it longed for, satisfies its thirst and then produces hundreds of fruits.” One might find countless quotations similar to this on the philosophers’ books, in the form of parables so that the unworthy will not understand them. By the grace of God you now possess the White Foliaceous Earth prepared to suffer the fermentation that will give it strength. The philosophers have also said: “Whiten the black earth before adding to it the yeast.” Another says: “Sow your gold in the White Foliaceous Earth…and it will return a hundredfold fruit.” Glory to God. Amen.

Let us now follow to the third operation, which is the fermentation of the white earth. One has to animate the dead body and resurrect it, in order to multiply its strength ad infinitum and turn it into the state of the White Elixir that transmutes Mercury in perfect and true Luna.

Remember the yeast cannot penetrate a dead body unless through the mediation of the water that consumes the wedding and binds the white earth with the yeast. Therefore in every fermentation the weight of each thing must be observed. Thus if you want to ferment the White Foliaceous Earth so that you may be able to transform it in white elixir that conceals an excess of tincture, you’ll need to take three parts of White Earth or Dead Foliaceous Body, two parts of Burning Water that you kept aside and one and a half part of yeast. Prepare the latter in such a way that it may be reduced into a white calx, light and fix, if you’re making the white elixir. In case you’re going to make the red elixir use gold calx instead, prepared quite yellow according to Art. No other yeast besides these exists. Silver’s yeast is silver itself and gold’s is gold, do not look for it elsewhere. The reason for this is that these are luminous bodies that communicate to other bodies the true redness and whiteness. Their nature is similar to that of the purest Sulphur of matter, of stones’ species.

Therefore you should extract each specimen of its species and each kind of its kind. The work in white aims to whiten, the work in red aims to redden. Above all do not mix both works or you’ll fail to do anything profitable.

Every philosopher says that our Stone is composed of three things, namely, body, spirit and soul. Well then: the white foliaceous earth is the body, the yeast is the soul that gives life unto it and the intermediate water is the spirit. Gather these three things together in wedding, pulverizing them finely together over a clean stone, in such a way that by doing this their finest particles are united, so as to form a confuse chaos. When from all of it you have made a single body, place it in a special vessel that you shall put on a warm bed, so that this mixture becomes coagulated, fixed and white. You shall then take this blessed white stone, pulverize it finely on a perfectly clean stone and imbibe them with one third of its weight of water, so that you may calm its thirst. Afterwards you will put it back into the idoneous vessel on its tempered and warm bed, so that it starts sweating, giving back its water and finally you shall let its entrails desiccate. Repeat this often until that by this procedure you have obtained our excellent White Stone, fix, that penetrates the most intimate parts of bodies, flowing like the fix water when placed on fire, transmuting the imperfect bodies in pure silver, in everything similar to natural silver. Note well that if you repeat often these operations on their given order: dissolve, coagulate, pulverize, bake, your medicine will be greatly better and its excellence will increase manifold. The more you work the Stone in order to increase its virtue, the greater will be the result of the projection on imperfect bodies. In such a way that if after an operation one part of the Elixir converts one hundred parts of no matter what body of in Luna, after two operations it transmutes one thousand, after three ten thousand, four one hundred thousand, five one million and after six thousands of millions and this in an endlessly sequence ad infinitum. Because of it all adepts praise the philosophers maxim on the preservation in repeating this operation. If one imbibition were enough there wouldn’t be so much saying about it. Praised be God for this. Amen.

May you wish to convert this Glorious Stone, this White King that transmutes and tinges Mercury and all imperfect bodies as well in true Luna, may you wish, I say, to convert it in Red Stone that transmutes and tinges Mercury, Luna and every other metal in true Sun, this is how you should operate:

Take the White Stone and divide it in two parts; one of it you shall augmentate to the state of white elixir with its White Water, as said before, in such a way that the former for ever contains in it the latter. Put the other part in the philosophers’ bed, clean, transparent and round, placing everything in a digesting oven. You shall increase you fire up until that by its strength the matter be converted in stone very red that the philosophers call Blood, Purple Gold, Red Coral and Red Sulphur. When you see this color and it is as red as dried calcined saffron then you shall joyfully take the King, place it preciously aside. If you wish to convert in tincture of the highly powerful Red Elixir, transmuting and tingeing Mercury, Luna and every other imperfect metal in true Sun, have three parts of it ferment with one and a half part of pure gold in a light calx very yellow and two parts of solidified Water. Make a perfect mixture according to Art until you cannot any longer tell its elements apart. Place it back into the vessel on such a fire that makes it grow ripe in order to transmit perfection to it. As soon as the true Red Bloody Stone appears you shall gradually add to it your solid Water.

Gradually increase your digesting fire. You shall increase its perfection by reiterating the operation. Each time is necessary to add solid Water (that you kept) that suits its nature; it multiplies its potency ad infinitum without changing its essence in any way. One part of Perfect Elixir in the first degree projected over one hundred parts of Mercury (washed with vinegar and salt, as you must know) placed on a crucible in a gentle fire until vapors rise will transmute it immediately in true Sun, better than natural. Same thing happens when replacing Mercury with Luna.

For each degree of greater perfection of the Elixir is like that of the White Elixir, until finally it will be able to turn into Sol endless quantities of Mercury and Luna. You are now in possession of a precious arcane, and infinite treasure. Because of it the philosophers say: “Our Stone has three colors: black in the beginning, white in the middle, red in the end.” A philosopher claims: “Heat, acting at first over the moist, generates blackness, its action over dryness generates whiteness and upon this redness is produced. Because whiteness is nothing but the complete deprivation of blackness. The white strongly condensed by the strength of fire produces the red.” “All of you that investigate this Art” – another wise man said – “when you see the white appear in the vessel, know that the red is concealed in this white. It is left to you to extract the red from the white and for this to happen, one has to heat strongly until the red shows up.”

We now thank God, sublime and glorious Sovereign of Nature, who has created this substance and gave it a property not to be found in any other body. And this is that when placed on fire, it fights it and resists it strongly. Every other body is instead exterminated by fire, or run away from it.

Keep my words, remember well the many mysteries they conceal, because on this short writings I have gathered and explained the most secret things in alchemy; all was said simple and clearly, nothing was omitted, everything was briefly indicated and God is my witness that you will never find in the books of the philosophers a better explanation than this. For this reason I beg you, do not trust this treatise to no one, do not let it fall upon impious hands, because it conceals secrets of the philosophers of all times. Such a quantity of precious pearls must not be given to pigs and unworthy men. If nevertheless that happens I pray to God All Mighty that you will never be able to end this divine Work.

Blessed be God, one in three persons. Amen.