Patrons of the Sacred Art

Can't log in? Contact Us

OPEN TO REGISTER: Click HERE if you want to join Alchemy Forums!

+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 1 of 1

Thread: A Dictionary of Alchemical Substances and Processeses

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    In the moment...
    Blog Entries

    A Dictionary of Alchemical Substances and Processeses

    This is a Phoenix-thread from the old site.

    I take no credit for this list, and there is also another one here.

    The separation of a component by removing the upper part, sometimes by skimming it off the surface or by wicking it up using a feather or cloth.

    The purification of a substance by successive washings with a liquid.

    Aes cyprium
    Cyprian brass or copper.

    Cold, dry and melancholic.

    The making of the matter in the alchemical work become white.

    Formation of an amalgam, or alloy, of a metal with mercury. This term is sometimes extended to mean any union of metals.

    From Latin antimonium used by Constantinius Africanus (c. 1050) to refer to Stibnite.

    Argentum cornu
    A glass like ore of silver chloride. Also called Horn Silver.

    Aqua Fortis
    Geber made this strong water, or nitric acid, by distilling Green Vitriol with saltpetre and alum. When pure it is also a colourless liquid, but is often tinged brown by dissolved nitrogen oxides which also give it a peculiar smell. It reacts vigorously with most metals, but Gold will withstand its action. It is also a powerful oxidising agent, and will react with most substances.

    Aqua Regia
    A mixture of one part Nitric acid (Aqua Fortis) and three or four parts hydrochloric acid (Spirit of Salt). It was called the ‘King’s water’ because it was able to corrode and dissolve the king of metals, Gold.

    Aqua tofani
    Arsenious oxide. Extremely poisonous. Used by Paracelsus.

    When the active or subtle part rises up in the flask, usually by heating.

    The reduction of a substance to a dry ash by roasting.

    A bright yellow ore of Arsenic used as a pigment under the name of King’s
    (or Opriment) Yellow. Arsenic Trisulphide.

    Blue vitriol or bluestone
    Cupric sulphate.

    Sulphur. From German Brennstein ‘burning stone’.

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

    Butter of tin
    Hydrated stannic chloride.

    Also called Tuttia, or Tutty, and was probably zinc carbonate.

    Zinc carbonate.

    The breaking down of a substance by fierce heating and burning usually in an open crucible.

    Mercurous chloride. Purgative, made by subliming a mixture of mercuric chloride and metallic mercury, triturated in a mortar. This was heated in a iron pot and the crust of calomel formed on the lid was ground to powder and boiled with water to remove the very poisonous mercuric chloride.

    Caustic marine alkali
    Caustic soda. Sodium hydroxide. Made by adding lime to natron.

    Caustic volatile alkali
    Ammonium hydroxide.

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

    Acting upon a substance by mixing it in layers with a powdered (often corrosive) material, such as lime. This mixture is then be made to react and weld together by heating to a high temperature in a cementing furnace.

    The making of a substance to soften and appear like wax. This is often accomplished by continually adding a liquid and heating.

    Calcium carbonate.

    Chrome green
    Chromic oxide.

    Chrome orange
    Mixture of chrome yellow and chrome red.

    Chrome yellow
    Lead chromate.

    Chrome red
    Basic lead chromate.

    Chrome yellow
    Lead chromate.

    The reduction of a substance to ashes by heating.

    Mercuric sulphide. The main ore of Mercury, from which the metal is extracted by distillation. It is a heavy red powder. Mercuric sulphide. When used as a pigment it is called Vermillion.

    The purification of a substance by a circular distillation in a pelican or closed distillation apparatus. Through heating the liquid component separates, is condensed and descends again to the substance in the flask.

    Another term for coagulation.

    The conversion of a thin liquid into a solid mixture through some inner change, as with the curdling of milk. This can be accomplished by a variety of means - by the addition of a substance, by heating or cooling.

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

    The cooking or heating of a substance at a moderate heat for an extended period.

    The frequent removal of the moist component of a substance by heating. Often the moist component (or some other liquid) is added and the process continued.

    The conjuction or melting together of two fusible substances.

    Tinging a substance by adding a dye or coloured tincture. Colouring can by either by tinging the whole body or by producing a surface coating.

    The burning of a sustance in the open air.

    The reduction of a substance into a powder, either by grinding, pulverising, or forcing it through a sieve.

    Common salt
    Sodium chloride.

    The joining together of two different substances.

    The marriage or union of the male and female aspects of substances.

    The cooking or heating of a mixture of substances at a moderate heat for an extended period.

    The conversion of a thin flowing liquid into a congealed thick substance, often by heating.

    The conversion of a substance into a gluey mass, often by a putrefaction.

    The joining of two opposite components, often seen as the union of the male and female, the subtle and gross, or even the elements.

    The reduction of a substance into powder only by means of fire.

    Copper glance
    Cuprous sulphide ore.

    A conjunction, or joining of two opposite components, seen through the metaphor of the union of the male and female, or the union of the fixed and the volatile.

    The eating up of a substance by an acid, alkali or corrosive material.

    Corrosive sublimate
    Mercuric chloride. First mentioned by Geber, who prepared it by subliming mercury, calcined green vitriol, common salt and nitre.

    The reduction of a substance to a powder by forcing through a sieve or mesh.

    The formation of crystals out of a solution of the substance usually in water, either by their gradual formation from the liquid, or by evaporation of the liquid.

    Red cuprous oxide ore.

    The making of the black substance of the alchemical process become brilliant white.

    The digestion of a substance in the flask without the addition of any other material.

    The crackling and spliting apart of substances, for example common salt, on heating.

    The reduction of a solid placed in a damp place to a liquid by its absorbing water from the air.

    When the subtle or active part of a substance is made to go down to the bottom of a flask, rather than ascend as a vapour.

    The drying or removal of all the moisture in a substance.

    The explosive burning of substances on heating, for example substances mixed with nitre.

    The slow modification of a substance by means of a gentle heat.

    The breaking down or dissociation of a substance into different parts.

    The dissolving or transforming of a dead substance into a liquid.

    The breaking down or disintegration of a substance into different parts.

    The dissolving or transforming of a substance into a liquid.

    The separation of a volatile component from a substance by heating so as to drive off the component as a vapour which is condensed and collected in a cooler part of the apparatus.

    An exhalation of dry vapours from a substance, which can occur at different degrees of heat.

    The separation of a substance into its elements.

    Dutch White
    Mixture of one part of white lead to three of barium sulphate.

    Cold, wet and phlegmatic

    An effervescence produced through fermentation.

    The washing of a salty substance till all the salts are removed.

    The general term for the process of separating the pure from the impure, and leading a sustance towards perfection, which can be done through a variety of means and processes.

    The raising of the subtle parts of a substance upwards, away from the bodily residues, into the upper parts of the vessel.

    The conversion of a substance into an elixir.

    The removal of the watery part of a substance by gentle heating, or being left a long time in a dry place.

    An operation by which a substance is raised into a purer and more perfect nature.

    The release of a gas or air from a substance.

    Extraction of juices by means of a press.

    The preparation of the subtler and purer parts of a substance, usually by macerating it in alcohol. The extract can then be separated from the residue.

    The rotting of a substance, usually of an organic nature, often accompanied by the release of gas bubbles.

    The process or removing the grosser parts of a substance by passing through a strainer, filter or cloth.

    Hot, wet and sanguine.

    The make a volatile subject fixed or solid, so that it remains permanently unaffected by fire.

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

    The making some substances puff up in layers, like leaves lying on top of one another, usually undertaken by heating.

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

    Fulminating silver
    Silver nitride, very explosive when dry. Made by dissolving silver oxide in ammonia.

    The preparation of a fulminate or explosively unstable form of a metal. Sometimes applied to any process in which a sudden eruptive event occurs.

    The alteration of a substance by exposing it to a corroding smoke.

    The joining of powdered substances together, or the conversion of a substance into a new form, by means of an extremely high degree of heat, sometimes using a flux.

    Plumbic sulphide. Chief ore of lead.

    Glass of Antimony
    Impure antimony tetroxide, obtained by roasting stibnite. Used as a yellow pigment for glass and porcelain.

    Glauber's Salt
    Sodium sulphate.

    Turning a substance into a gluey, glutinous mass.

    The gradual purification of a substance, often through a series of stages.

    The reduction of a substance to grains or powder. There are various means of doing this such as pounding, grinding, using thermal shock by heating and rapid cooling, and many others.

    Green Vitriol
    Ferrous sulphate.

    The reduction of substances to a powder, usually through the use of a mortar and pestle.

    Calcium sulphate.

    Horn silver
    A glass like ore of silver chloride. Also called Argentum cornu.

    A process by which humidity is given to the substance, usually not by the direct additon of liquid, but by a gradual process of absorbing moisture.

    The self-calcination of a substance by it burning itself in a crucible.

    The feeding of a process by the gradual and continuing addition of some substance.

    When the matter undergoing putrefaction thickens or congeals into the consistency of molten black pitch.

    The alchemical process is sometimes paralleled with the gestation of a child. Thus impregnation follows from the union or copulation of the male and female, and leads to the generation of a new substance.

    The making of a substance into a soft waxy consistency, usually by combining it with water.

    The conversion of a substance to ashes by means of a powerful fire.

    The mingling of mixed bodies into a conglomerate mass.

    This occurs when substances combine in such a manner that they cannot afterwards be separated.

    To bury under the earth, sometimes used to mean any process that buries the active substance in a dark earthy material. Also applied to placing a flask in the warm heat of a dung bath.

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

    Lac sulphuris
    White colloidal sulphur. Geber made this by adding an acid to thion hudor. Also called Milk of sulphur.

    Lapis infernalis
    Silver nitrate. Also known as Lunar caustic.

    Lead fume
    Lead oxide obtained from the flues at lead smelters.

    Pale reddish-yellow crystalline form of lead monoxide, formed by fusing and powdering massicot.

    The turning of a solid material into a liquid, either by melting or dissolving.

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

    The oxidation of sulphide ores by exposing them to air and water. This forms vitriols.

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

    The sealing of a flask or other apparatus through the use of a lute, or resinous paste which once applied sets hard and produces an airtight seal.

    Mineral form of Iron disulphide. Oxidises in moist air to green vitriol. Iron Pyrites, or Iron disulphide. A hard yellow substance resembling brass. The term Marchasite is also sometimes applied to Bismuth

    Yellow powder form of lead monoxide.

    A general term applied to identify the appearance of a degree of perfection in the work.

    The reduction of a metal or substance to a liquid through heating.

    Mercurius praecipitatus
    Red mercuric oxide. Described by Geber.

    Hot, dry and choleric.

    Milk of sulphur
    White colloidal sulphur. Geber made this by adding an acid to thion hudor. Also called Lac sulphuris.

    Minium or Red Lead
    Triplumbic tetroxide. Formed by roasting litharge in air. Scarlet crystalline powder. Red Lead is an oxide of Lead

    Here the substance undergoes a kind of death, usually through a putrefaction, and seems to have been destroyed and its active power lost, but eventually is revived.

    Mosaic gold
    Golden-yellow glistening scales of crystalline stannic sulphide, made by heating a mixture of tin filings, sulphur and salammoniac.

    The operation by which the powder of projection has its power multiplied.

    Naples yellow
    An oxychloride of lead, made by heating litharge with sal ammoniac. Also known as Cassel yellow.

    Native sodium carbonate.

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

    Saltpetre. Potassium Nitrate. Made by lixiviation. A pile of soil rich in animal
    dung was exposed to the air (protected from rain) and a crust of nitre formed on the windward side of the pile. When purified by re-crystallisation this formed a white crystalline powder. It is a powerful oxidising agent. When heated with Vitriol (sulphuric acid) it produces the strong water Aqua Fortis (nitric acid).

    Nitric Acid
    Aqua Fortis or Strong Water.

    Nitrum flammans
    Ammonium nitrate made by Glauber.

    Nix Alba (white snow)
    Also known as Philosophers' Wool. Zinc oxide made by burning zinc in air. Called Zinc White and used as a pigment.

    Oil of Vitriol
    Sulphuric acid made by distilling green vitriol. Made by distilling Green Vitriol (Iron Sulphate). This is now known as Sulphuric acid and is one of the strongest of mineral acids.

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

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

    Philosophers' Wool
    Also known as Nix Alba (white snow). Zinc oxide made by burning zinc in air. Called Zinc White and used as a pigment.

    Potassium carbonate made from the ashes of burnt wood. Also called Wood-ash.

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

    The descent of a substance out of a solution. The precipitate descends to the bottom of the flask.

    The process by which superfluous substances are removed from the matter and that which is wanting is added to it.

    The throwing of a ferment or tincture onto a substance in order to effect a transformation of the substance.

    The separation of a substance into a subtle and more coarse part by the thinning or rarefaction of the subtler parts of the substance, rather than the coarsening of the earthy part.

    The breaking down of a substance to smaller fragments through being repeatedly struck with a blunt instrument, such as a hammer, or mallet.

    The purging or purifying of a sustance by it casting forth a gross part.

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

    The rotting of a substance, often under a prolonged gentle moist heat. Usually the matter becomes black.

    Mineral form of iron disulphide. Stable in air.

    Calcium oxide. Produced by burning chalk or limestone. It is a powerful desiccating agent as it reacts strongly with water to produce slaked lime, that is lime whose thirst has been squashed. Calcium Oxide. Pure white powder. Very reactive when heated with most substances.

    Quinta Essentia
    The making of a quintessence, or highly elevated form of a substance.

    The making of a substance extremely subtle or thin and airy.

    Red ore of arsenic. Arsenic disulphide. Mineral ore of Arsenic. Red brittle vitreous or crystalline solid, which sublimes like Sal Ammoniac.

    The purification of the matter by means of repeated distillations, the distillate being again distilled.

    The repetition of a process, particularly applied to circular distillation, in which the distillate is returned to the vessel, and the process continued for many cycles.

    Resin of copper
    Cuprous chloride. Made by Robert Boyle in 1664 by heating copper with corrosive sublimate.

    This occurs when substances which are mixed together become violently separated by being placed into a solution. Thus milk is in this sense resolved by vinegar. This process is similar to coagulation.

    Here a substance at white heat is brought to perfection by being quenched in an exalting liquid.

    An ignition or calcination at a high temperature, in a reverberating furnace.

    The bringing of a mortified matter back to life, or reactivating it.

    Red varieties of ferric oxide are formed by burning green vitriol in air. Also known as Crocus and Colcothar.

    The making of the matter in the alchemical process from white to red.

    Sal Ammoniac
    Ammonium Chloride. Described by Geber. Ammoniumin Chloride. Probably originally made from ammonia rich urine and salt. A white granular and fibrous solid, which has the property that it will sublimate at a relatively low temperature. That is if heated in a flask it will not melt, but turn into a white vapour which will rise in the flask and condense in the cooler neck back to the characteristic fibrous crystals of Sal Ammoniac.

    The contractive force in Nature. Crystallisation. Condensation.

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

    The separation of a composite substance into its parts.

    The making of two opposite components separate from each other. Often alternated with the conjunction process.

    Slaked lime
    Calcium hydroxide.

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

    Spirit of Salt
    Made by distilling common salt and Green vitriol. This is the strong acid now known as Hydrochloric acid, and is very reactive with most substances.

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

    Antimony trisulphide. Grey mineral ore of antimony.

    An operation which produces layers in the substance in the flask.

    The separation of abstraction downward of the subtle part, as in filtration.

    This occurs when a solid is heated and gives off a vapour which condenses on the cool upper parts of the vessel as a solid, not going through a liquid phase. An example is sal ammoniac.

    The separation of the subtle part of a substance from the gross.

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

    The expansive force in Nature. Dissolution. Evaporation.

    Found in the lees of wine. Often scraped from the insides of wine barrels. Now
    known as Potassium Hydrogen Tartrate. When reacted with calcined antimony this formed Tartar Emetic, a powerful emetic used in medicine, though with significant danger, for it is a poisonous substance.

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

    Tin salt
    Hydrated stannous chloride.

    This occurs if the essence appears to sweat out in drops during a descending distillation.

    The reduction of a substance to a powder, not necessarily by the use of grinding, but by the application of heat.

    Turpeth mineral
    A hydrolysed form of mercuric sulphate. Yellow crystalline powder, described by Basil Valentine.

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

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

    Mercuric sulphide. See Cinnabar for more information.

    Made by distilling wine that has been allowed to go sour. A medium strong acid which reacts with most organic substances, and forms salts with some metals (for example Lead acetate, or sweet lead).

    The making of a substance into a glass but strong heating and sometimes the addition of lime.

    The making of a vitriol. Most often from a metal by the direct action of oil of vitriol, but sometimes by a more indirect route.

    The integrative force, interweaving and balancing that of the Salt and Sulphur. Circulation. Dynamic equilibrium.

    White arsenic
    Arsenious oxide. Made from arsenical soot from the roasting ovens, purified by sublimation.

    White lead
    Basic carbonate of lead. Used as a pigment.

    White vitriol
    Zinc Sulphate. Described by Basil Valentine. Made by lixiviating roasted zinc blende (zinc sulphide).


    Potassium carbonate made from the ashes of burnt wood. Also called Potash.

    Impure cobalt arsenate, left after roasting cobalt
    Last edited by Awani; 01-06-2009 at 01:21 AM.
    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

+ Reply to Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts