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Penotus - Alchymist’s Enchiridion

Transcribed by Gleb Butuzov from Penotus Palimbios: or the Alchymists Enchiridion. In Two Parts. The First, Containing excellent experienced Chymical Receipts and Balsoms for healing and curing most Diseases incident to the Body of Man, &c. The Second Part, Containing the Practica Mirabilis for the accomplishing and obtaining [from the Beginning to the End] the White and Red Elixir, which whosoever understands, need not read any other Book. As also several Chymical Axioms. Together with a small Treatise by way of Dialogue, written by that very ancient Philosopher Arislaus, concerning the Philosophers Stone. To which Second Part is prefix'd an Apologetick Introduction, written in Answer to a Scurrilous Libel, published in Latin in Germany by D. Nicholaus Guibertus, in which Answer is maintain'd both by Reason and Authority against the said Libel, the possibility of making an Elixir for Transmutation of Lead, and all other imperfect Mettals into pure Gold and Silver. The whole written in Latin long since by that Famous Helvetian Bernardus Penotus a Portu Sanctae Mariae Aquitani, and now faithfully Englished and Claused By B.P. Philalethes. London, Printed for John Wyatt at the Rose in St Paul's Church-yard, 1692. [Wing P1430.]

Alchymist’s Enchidrion

The Second Part, Containing the Practica Mirabilis for the accomplishing and obtaining (from the Beginning to the End) the White and Red Elixir, which whosoever understands, need not read any other Book.


Of the First Preparation.

1. Take in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the vendible prepared Mercury, the Water of Philosophers, the Primum Hyle of the wise Men, put it into its clean, bright, lucid and round Vessel.

2. Close its Mouth very well with Hermes’ Seal, and let it suffocate in its temperate and warm little Bed for a Philosophers Month.

3. Never in that Month’s time permitting it to cool, (for then all’s undone).

4. Till you have sublimed so long, that it will sweat no longer, (i.e. till there’s nothing remaining either to ascend or descend.)

5. And till that matter within begins to putrify, be choked, coagulated and fixed by virtue of the continual maintenance of its due Heat, that nothing will ascend (any longer) in any Airy fumous Substance, but remain fixed on the bottom.

6. Its Moistness being all drawn up, putrified and coagulated, and turned into a Black Earth, which is called the Crow’s Head, the Black and Dry Element, e.t.c. Then is the true Sublimation of the Philosophers expedited.

7. In which Sublimation all the forementioned manners of Doings exist, viz. Solution, Distillation, Coagulation, Putrefaction, Calcination and Fixation in one only Vessel, and on only one Furnace, as was spoken of before.

8. For when our Stone is in its Vessel, and when it shall ascend by Fumes to the top of the flame, it is then called Sublimation and Ascention.

9. But when it precipitates from the top of the Vessel to the bottom and its neither ends, then it is called Distillation and Descention.

10. And when by its very much Ascention it begins to putrefy, then it begins to be coagulated also, and is called Putrefaction and Coagulation.

11. But when at length {the Humidity of its radical Moisture being exhaused} it begins to be calcined and fixed; It is called Calcination and Fixation.

12. And all this uno Actu, by decocting them at one time altogether in one Vessel, and on one Furnace, (as has been often said before).

13. And thus Sublimation being made a true Separation of the Elements is made also.

14. For, as the Philosophers say, the Operation of the Stone is nothing else than the Separation of the Elements and their Conjuction.

15. Whereas in our Sublimation the aqueous, frigid and humid Elements are transmuted into earthly, dry and warm Elements.

16. From which may be observed that the Separation of the Four Elements in the Stone, is not vulgar but Physical.

17. Because our Sublimation being finished, the Elements (as was told you before) are perfectly separated.

18. Yet in our Stone there are only two formal Elements, viz. Earth and Water.

19. Earth, which virtually contains Fire in itself by reason of its dryness, as Water contains in like manner Air in itself, by reason of its Humidity or Moistness.

20. It may further be observed then, that in our Stone there but two formal Elements, though there be four virtually.

21. Therefore there is not a Separation of Four Elements, as Fools and Idiots conceive.

22. There is a certain hidden Secret in our matter, whose Work and Virtue is perceived, viz. Earth and Water. But the other two, viz. Air and Fire, are not perceived; {nec quicquam largiuntur} nor can their residing place be seen no more than their Virtue, as in the other two Elements of Earth and Water.

23. Because in their Decoction the Fire changes the Colours. Lo! By the Grace of God thou hast the second Element in the Philosophers’ Stone, which is Black Earth, the Crow’s Head, the Mother, Heart and Root of them, upon which Earth, as upon the Ground, all other are poured.

24. Which earthly and dry Element, though in the Books of the Philosophers going by many Names, {as being by some called Laton, the Bull, Faex nigra, our Brass or Aes, our Mony, Black Sulphur, Masculine, Man, and infinite many others} yet is one and the same thing, having its Original from one and the same thing.

25. By such a Privation therefore of Humidity, which is caused by Sublimation, the Volatile is made Fixed, the Soft Hard, and the Water Earth.

26. And as Geber says, The Mutation of Nature into Natture, also a change of Complexions is made; for the cold and moist Complexion is converted into Cholerick and dry, becoming also Spiritual, Corporeal and Liquid, Thick, and so on the contrary.

27. Therefore the Philosophers say wisely, when they say, the Operation of our Stone is nothing else but the permutation of Nature and Revolution of Elements.

28. For by such an Incorporation we change the moist and volatile into fixed, the spiritual into corporeal, and the liquid into thick, the watery into fiery, and the airy into earthly.


Of the Second Preparation.

1. Now therefore by the Blessing of God, we having finished the First Preparation, I will plainly declare the manner to bring the Black into Whiteness.

2. Rp therefore that fixed Black Earth which is called the Crow’s Head, and grind it in small (in porphyrio mundissimo), into Two parts.

3. To which add part of the Reserved Philosophick Water which you know.

4. Conjoin these Three into One Matrimonially, upon the clean Stone, by stirring them very well together, that they may be perfectly conjoined; so that all may return into one confused Chaos, as into One Body inseparably.

5. Then put it wisely into its adopted Viol, and lay it up in its Bed, that it may be coagulated and fixed, and become one entire white Boby.

6. Which being done, take the white Stone out again, and bring it into a small Powder, and again with a Third part of its Water, imbibe often, that its Drought may be taken away.

7. And again put it in its clear and clean Vessel, in its warm and temperate Bed, that it may begin again to Sweat.

8. Its Water being again dried up, put more to it, and reiterate, so doing many times, until this white Stone becomes by Reiteration after this manner, most excellent, fixed, standing and piercing through the most simple Body.

9. Most swiftly flowing, and perfectly tingeing all imperfect Bodies into purer Gold and Silver than is naturally made.

10. And observe, that the oftener you repeat this Solutions, Coagulations, Contritions and Assations, of the greater virtue and force will the Medicine be.

11. For by how much the oftener you apply its reserved proper excellency upon the Stone, by so much the Richer you make it, for Projecting on all Imperfect Bodies.

12. For at the first going over of this Medicine, One part of it will convert a Hundred parts of any imperfect Body into pure Silver.

13. At the Second Reiteration, it will transmute a 1000, at the Third, 10 000, at the fourth a Thousand Thousand, and so usque ad infinitum.

14. Therefore Wise Men do not Foolishly in commending Reiteration.


Of the White King.

1. Therefore thus order this glorious Stone, this white King, (who transforms and transmutes, [mercury] and other imperfect Metals into Silver); if of it you would make the Red Elixir, which transmutes [mercury] and [luna] and every Body into most Pure Gold.

2. Rp that White Stone, and divide it into Two Parts, one part you shall augment for the Elixir White, as was said before, with its reserved White Water, which will never lose its tincture and virtue.

3. The other part put in another Philosophick, Clean, Bright and shining Bed, in a Digesting Furnace, and it will be converted into a Red Powder, which the Philosophers call their Blood-colour, Powder, their Purple Gold, their Red Coral, and their Red Sulphur, with which you may project on [saturn], and any other Metal, as the Praxis will teach you.




Alchymy is one of the Sublimest Sciences which imitates Universal Nature; nay, which in some things excels Nature. Nature indeed furnishes with Matter, but Art operates in such a manner on that Matter, as is impossible for Nature. 


Nature has disposed a certain Matter, containing in itself whatsoever is necessary for the converting all imperfect Metals into pure Gold and Silver. If that said Matter be Decocted and Fermented according to Art, which s impossible for Nature to do; Nature therefore has brought forth nothing impossible to be equaled. 


But there is in that Matter a Masculine and Feminine, viz. Gold and Silver, a light and easy work to whom the Almighty God is pleased to reveal it. Transmutation is possible and easy; for all things that are and increase, can be Multiplied, as Men, Trees, Grain, and such like. 


For as from one Grain, a Thousand are generated, so from Adam the First Man on Earth, is the World increased to what it is, e.t.c. Therefore it is possible to increase Matter to infinity. 


The Philosophers affirm, that the Stone consists of a Body, Soul and Spirit; they comparing an imperfect Body to a Body perfect, and call its Water a Spirit, and that rightly, because, by that Water is the Dead Body vivified and made alive, which before it was not, and brought into a far better form.

For first by our Magistery, we make Gross Slender, (i.e. the Body a Spirit), Humid we make Dry; Water, Earth. And thus we change Nature, and make Superior Inferior; which is effected when the Spirit is made a Body, and vice versa


Our Stone is made from only one thing, in one only Vessel, for our whole Magistery is made with, from and by our Water, which Water is so powerful, as to bring Bodies into (cineres), Ashes, Coals or Cinders, and then Whitens them. 


Azot and Fire (says Morienus), purge Laton, for Laton is a very pure Body, but Azot is Argent-vive, that is our Secret Water, our Water is our Fire, and Quintessence, or the form of our Matter. Now Matter is the principum of Perpession, but Form of Action; therefore by now much the more formal any thing is, by so much the more efficacious it is; and by now much the more material any thing is, by so much the more unfit to be worked upon.

But Incorporeal Forms are not like Spiritual ones; it is no wonder then that a Spirit, a little Moles should be so strong and efficacious. Thus Angels by how much the more immaterial, by so much the more efficacious. As a great Vegetable amongst other things, abounds with that Spirit or Quintessence, so our Mineral Chaos abounds with the Form of all Minerals and Metals. 


Which Form thus drawn forth from the Chymical Chaos, in endowed with so great strength and virtue, that it presently dissolves like Ice in Hot Water, Gold, Silver, Coral and Jewels. Nay, of such great virtue is it, preserving the Radical moisture of the Body so wonderfully, that Raymund Lully by the use thereof, when he was Slain by the Saracens, (being full One Hundred and Fifty Years of Age) was as Nimble and able to perform any thing as a Young Man; it being taken inwardly every Day without intermission.  


Aros the Philosopher says, that the Water or Spirit of the Stone is all in all, and is the only thing sought after, and requisite for this Work; for in it is the flying and fixed, the tingeing and tinged, the white and red, Masculine and Feminine composed together by an iseparable Composition. Lully says, the Spirit is the first principal Secret, the Water the next, from which Two things every thing receives its Nutriment, and every Tree, Srpout and Herb its Vegetation, and every Light its Illumination. 


This Water carries Life, Light and Spirit with it; but why does Lully call the Water the Second principal Secret, and whom the other Philosophers call the Oil? The reason is, because it is drawn in the Second place after the Spirit; the Oil is nothing else than the Radical, Pure and incombustible humidity of Metals, in which does most especially consist the Metallick Essence and Form, (and nisi totum compositum aqua fiat, pulvis non erit fusibilis, nec ingressum habebit), to which Water the whole is reduced, by a moderate and continual Humid Heat. 


Know then, that the Elements are not divided in our Stone in Substance, but well in Virtue; for no pure and simple Element is conspicuous but in its own Sphere: Know then, that unless you sublime the Body, until it becomes Water, it cannot be congealed, unless by Fire; for Fire congeals the commixion of our Stone. 


We Dissolve the Bodies, that Heat may cleave to the depth of them, and so fire alone changes Water and Earth from their Nature and Colour. I knew a Man who could with Three Simples, make an equal Fire to last for Seven Years, without once going out, and this without any Addition of Fuel. This is very necessary for you in this Art.


We want therefore such a Fire for our work, for by that we might fully perfect the work; our Water is our Vessel, and our Fire it's our Mercury-vive, and Argentum-vive of the Philosophers: But the principal Matter of all Metals in their Mines from which they themselves are generated and caused, is Aqua sicca, Dry Water, which we call Aqua-vive, or* Argent-vive; yet they are not procreated in their Nature, as in their Minerals: For in their Places where they are generated, no Metal is to be found. But that Matter is a certain substance produced form Nature naturally, having in itself the substance of them both; and from such a substance is produced or generated a certain Subtle substance, smoky, in the Bowels of the Earth, and Veins of Minerals, where it is congregated and detained. Now that first Matter from which that aforesaid fumous or smoky Matter is generated and proceeds, is a certain Body, and those Fumes generated from it, is a certain Spirit; and thus Nature makes a Spirit of a Body, and causes to ascend from Earth to Heaven; i.e. it makes a Corporeal thing, a Spiritual substance. There is a certain proper substance or matter of Argent-vive and Sulphur, very subtle and fumous from the nature of the aforesaid things, of a very bright and and clear substance, generated by our ingenuity like Tears, in which lurks our Quintessence. Some say our Stone is made of Argent-vive alone, without the admixion of Sulphur; they say right, and understand Art, for in Distillation the Sulphur ascends and mingles itself with Argent-vive, and in Putrefaction the Water becomes red and tingent, and is condensed by a little heat, and the Earth again becomes Oil, from which Oil, Alcohol, e.t.c.


It is to be noted, that the Philosophers call that Argent-vive and Sulphur, on which Nature pours out its action and operation. The Stone is one thing, one Medicine, in which consists the whole Magistery. Heat is the Agent and Mover to Corruption, and there is no other Agent in the World; the Radical Fundaments or Principiums of this Famous Science, upon which they themselves are founded, are these that follow, viz. a certain proper Matter or Substance of Argent-vive and Sulphur, generated by our Magistery, very pure and bright, in which lies hidden the Quintessential Spirit.


Every Individual multiplies the form of its own Species, and not of another; and therefore the first form of its Body being Dissolved, it is converted into Argent-vive; by Elementation, in Colour Blackish, in Smell Faetid, and Touch Subtle and Discontinuing.


In such a Matter then are contained Four Compounded, Separable and Resoluble Elements, in Water of Argent-vive after Putrefaction; therefore Mercurial Water is the first Matter of all Metals; and with it we Dissolve all Metals which cannot be Dissolved into other things. Now if so be the Metals were not Dissolved into their first Matter, you would not gain what you expect by that Mercurial Water.


By Heat all the Elements in the Work are discerned; for whereas there are (as it was said before), but two formal Elements, perceived in the Art, yet there are virtually four; for in the Water is contained Air, and in the Earth Fire.


The Qualities of the Sulphur are commixed by Digression with this Argent-vive, and therefore it is to be altered as Nature requires; it is converted and congealed into Sulphur, and by virtue of its own Heat, and by the conversion of its own nature.


Whatsoever truth is consistent of in the Chymical Art, is to join and conjoin the Moist with the Dry, and this is approved by all the Philosophers: But understand by the Moist, the Spirit well cleansed from all Dross; by the Dry, understand the perfect, pure, calcined Body; and believe me, the Operation consists in the Dissolution and Coagulation of these Two Parts. Now to Dissolve, is to convert the Body into the Nature of a Spirit. But to Coagulate, is so to operate on the Corporeal Spirit, as to make the Fixed Volatile, and the Volatile Fixed; by doing of which, you will obtain the Magistery; but diligently take care, lest you mingle the Impure Mercurial Water with the pure Body. Azot, that is, the Mercurial Water, together with the Fire wash clean; and Mundify the Laton, that is the Black Earth, for the preparation of the Earth is always with the Water. Therefore let not your often repeated Contritions and Assations weary you, for it is a natural action which has its motioned and determined time; for sometimes it is finished in a lesser time, sometimes it requires more time, because in Putrefaction there can be no certain determined time, being according to as the Arificer labours thereon. A Philosopher says, that in Decoction a Fourth part of the Body is Diminished, and we have experienced it to be true. Note, that you ought to have a great care, lest in the imposition of the Imbibition of Black Earth with the Mercury, the Vessel break or crack not; from which Caution you may observe, that the Water ought to be warm, and so ought the matter, i.e. the Earth, which when put together in the Vessel, should be well shaken together in your Hand, for otherwise the Matter will stick to the Sides of the Vessel; therefore do as aforesaid, till the Matter being well mixed, becomes of the consistency of Mud, and then the Vessel ought to be well closed up, and put in warm Ashes, that the Water therein put, may be Dried up again into it; on which warm Ashes let it remain, till it become a Dry Powder, which will be in Twenty Five or Thirty Days Natural.


Now having this Dry Earth or Powder, put upon it Six or Seven parts of Mercury, that therein the Powder may be Dissolved; then close the Mouth of the Glass very well Hermetically; then Dry ad Congeal on Ashes with a gentle Heat; which Congelation and Solution reiterate Four times, and you will have this Earth fixed and Black; which being broken into Two, the Fractures will glitter. If you will take the Mineral Elements, take not of the First, nor Last, but Middle. To make the Stone, having the Matter by you, Dissolve it in its own proper Vessel, by a moist Heat; which being done, the Earth will be Converted into clear Water, and then into Earth gain; the Earth will be turned into Oil, and the Oil will become an incombustible, subtle Powder, and all this by one only Regimen; which is called Women's Work and Children's Play.



1. Nothing can be made from a perfect Body, because it is already perfect. As for instance, Fermented or Levened and Baked Bread is perfect in its state, being come to its full period of Perfection, nor can you any more Leven it.

2. Thus it is in Gold: The White and Red proceed from one only Radix, no other thing of a Diverse Genus intervening.

3. We take therefore that matter from whence Gold is produced; which by the help of an Artist, is brought into the true ferment of Philosophers.

4. Therefore mingle not the White Water with the Red, or vice versa.

5. Yet the White and Red both proceed from one and the same Radix, nothing of an other kind intervening.

6. Therefore the Stone is by the Philosophers deservedly called everything, because it has in itself, and by itself, every thing necessary for its own Perfection; and by whatsoever Name it is called, is always one and the same thing.

7. Put it in the Vessel, and firmly close, until you have completed the whole Magistery.

8. When you see the Water congeal in itself, then be satisfied that the Science is true.

9. If you can but hit at the right Degree of Heat, the Water and Fire will be sufficient for you.

10. For its White and Red Effects, consists in the Regimen of Fire.


Here ends the Chymical Axioms;

though we have omitted various things, to hinder Prolixity.