Roger Bacon instructs us in the third paragraph of the Root of the World:
"If you prudently desire to make our elixir, you must first extract it from a mineral root. For as Geber saith, you must obtain the perfection of the matter from the seeds thereof. Sulphur and Mercury are the mineral roots, and natural principles, upon which nature herself acts and works in the mines and caverns of the earth, which are viscous water, and subtil (sic) spirit running through the pores, veins and bowels of the mountains."1
Automatically when we hear ‘elixir’ we think it a potent drink affecting the instantaneous healing of all disease, or imagine a restorative toward physical immortality. In a very subtle sense this is exactly true of the genuine Alchemical Elixir, but alchemists had something else to convey by use of the term. French alchemist, Jean d'Espagnet, explains in paragraph 61 of The Hermetic Arcanum:
"The extremes of the Stone are natural Argent Vive and perfect Elixir: the middle parts which lie between by help whereof the work goes on, are of three sorts; for they either belong unto matter, or operations, or demonstrative signs: the whole work is perfected by these extremes and means."2
His next paragraphs continue to explain three sorts of operations, and I would refer the reader to them. The point being made here, however, is that the Elixir is once again the First Matter, Argent Vive, or any of the multitudes of names given it to describe its original state. In that primal state it is "an extremely course and vile thing." However, we are told frequently that nothing need be added to it, and nothing need be taken away. It merely needs refinement by Art. The Elixir is the same First Substance, but perfected by the Alchemical Process. The Primal Matter is unusable as it exists in Nature. The origins of the word elixir is from the Greek, ελιξήριο, xerion, and its root means ‘drying powder.’ The Latin derivative, Elixus, is defined as ‘wet through and through,’ giving us the sense of a liquid. Both are still accurately descriptive of the First Matter in that the mystical substance is frequently referred to as ‘a dry water’ and ‘water that will not wet the hands.’
From the Latin Cabala Simplex, Elixus totals 80. A Hebrew verb with the same value is כלל, kalel, meaning ‘to complete, to finish, to make whole,’ and is what is implied when the Elixir is formed of the original Argent Vive. יסוד, yesod, also totaling 80, is the ninth sphere 'Foundation' on the Tree of Life. The Elixir in its refined form is a Foundation that ‘completes, or makes whole’ a physical body, to receive more Light Substance. And since the ninth sphere is equated with the subconscious in Qabalistic Psychology, it can be deduced that the Elixir works throug the functions of the subconscious, 'woman's work'.
The early Hebrew for Elixir was simply, חיים, chaim, meaning Life, and totals 68 by gematria, which makes it equivalent to טכלט, takalet, 'perfection'. The First Substance brought to perfection is the life giving Elixir, which, when mixed in the ATHANOR (see same) with essences taken from the various glands and organs, manufactures AURUM POTABILE (see same). It truly comes ‘from a mineral root’ in the vegetables we eat, and ‘runs in the pores, veins and bowels of the mountain.’
When our physical body is ripe, the Spiritual Mineral Root, which Bacon says Geber calls, Mercury and Sulphur (see IDA and PINGALA), rises in the form of Kundalini to imbue the body with the 'completed' Elixir, the extremely refined Spiritual First Matter. In a sentence; "The extremes of the Stone are natural Argent Vive and the perfect Elixir," as d'Espagnet accurately declared. Everything between these two states is the internal Alchemical Process. After we attain a certain degree of adeptship, we may now go on to our tiny external laboratory and actually make, like Paracelsus and other arrived alchemists, various healing 'magical elixirs' of yore. As that prepared substance is taken internally by the sick, it perfects that body and all its organs to function optimally, and may renew and sustain the life of that vehicle for hundreds of years, if that is the objective. Preparation of such an Elixir, however, is utterly futile without the prime ingredient, prepared Prima Materia, which can only be made by one who has first become the LIVING STONE (see same). Powerful drinks there are, and currently offered over-the-counter. And we need not put together a basement laboratory since, thanks to the modern fields of Naturopathy and Homeopathy, wondrous potions are already concocted to enhance and/or restore the natural healing processes within us. Some may even be called 'elixirs' of various sorts. None, however, is The Elixir, The Universal Panacea of the Sages, or the Magical Elixir declared by True Alchemists.
1 Bacon, Friar Roger, The Root Of The World. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1985, pg. 3.
2 d'Espagnet, Jean, The Hermetic Arcanum. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1983, pg. 18.