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Alchemy Lesson

Alchemy Lesson

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Golden Dawn Correspondence Course Lesson 45 Herbal Alchemy

Purification (through Calcination). In this operation. is to select seven plants. first published in the United States in 1983. obtained through the processes of Separation (through Maceration). and study them in detail. This paperback book. "The Alchemical Tinctures of the Seven Planets". then.. and allows easy field identification of the herbs the individual wishes to work with that are available in his locale. Since crossreferencing and double checking is required in selecting the proper herbs to work with. each is ruled by one of the "Seven Planets" as described in old Astrology texts. The intelligent approach then. Venus 4. Frater Albertus taught that the entrance into these Mysteries lies in the preparation of what is called. a description. the medicinal parts. Sulphur. At first. or the "Seven Basics". It is very well written and illustrated. Sun 2. is for the student to acquire several good Herbals (books containing descriptions of medicinal herbs). These seven tinctures are prepared such that each of the seven falls under the influence of one the seven planetary rays. and Cohobation (through Digestion). Jupiter 7. as found In many others such works. The object.2 PRACTICAL LABORATORY ALCHEMY PRIMA SPAGYRICA The Alchemical Tinctures of the Seven Planets Our first point of consideration is to begin Alchemical experimentation slowly. preparing to enter into these sublime Mysteries. Grieve. This two volume set (available in paperback) gives a thorough description of at least hundreds of herbs as well. Basically. • "A Modern Herbal". each of which is ruled by one of the seven Planets given above. the colour artwork. which shows the natural appearance of each plant. properties and uses. Moon 5. is an updated version of the original which was used for several hundred years in European Occult and Medicinal circles. and additional minor information on a wide variety of herbs. is exceptional. and Mercury. this seems to be an extremely simple task: it is not. This invaluable text' also gives the astrological association . the experimenter must consider what plants he will be working with. Not only does It give thorough Information on hundreds of herbs.e. Mars 6. the Mineral. at least. This new version is very handsomely done.. as the beginning Student should start his practical Alchemical experimentation with the Vegetable (Herbal) Kingdom and master it before proceeding to the Animal. and finally the most exalted of all. by M. but it also lists the astrological rulership of some of them. is excellent. which has gone through 20 printings as of March 1987. a "Herbal" Is a book which gives the proper name (the Latin designation). The book is modern. and avoids the pretence of unnecessary extremes. Sulphur and Mercury). namely: 1. as he called them. very well written. • "Culpepper"s Color Herbal". the experimenter sets about preparing seven tinctures which incorporate the Three Essentials (Salt. the common names. by John Lust. i. Mercury 3. Saturn To begin with. preparation and dosages. this serves the purpose well. not if one wants to obtain a corresponding Alchemical Tincture that has fairly equal distributions of Salt. Some excellent Herbals are: • "The Herb Book". As in all seriousness the individual only stands at the threshold of this new field.

which allows further verification when rechecking one's choice of a herb to work with. The herbs the writer used in the preparations of his "Seven Basics" in 1975 were as follows: 1. whole. Whether using it for Alchemical purposes. "Ginseng". both are served and propagated. the type used for storing kitchen flower and sugar. If the individual should select and pick fresh herbs native to his vicinity. Never use glass or plastic vessels. Venus = Wild Daisy (Leaves: flowers) 4. Always place them tin containers. These toxic properties can be due to its chemical composition. The main concern here is in mastering the principles and processes involved. or to select a herb to treat some ailment (which the Herbals themselves purport the Herbs are used for) by preparing a tea or an infusion. III. not running up large bills for herbs. try to obtain herbs that are . the individual will find a very common thread running throughout many of those with the same governing planet.not of the "exotic" type. Jupiter = Cinquefoil (Herb) 7. In the latter case some beneficial herbs grow naturally in close physical proximity to highly poisonous plants in a type of "mutual survival scheme" by which the chances for survival of both plants are Increased. white paper or cloth in the partial (indirect) sunlight. IV. In this way. NEVER. such as "Solomon. V.' Seal". "Golden Seal". or dry them carefully in an oven at a very low temperature with the door of the oven cracked slightly to release the evaporated moisture. When storing dried herbs. Saturn = Barley (Grain) . Moon = Seaweed (Plant) 5.Always use dried herbs in experimentation. For the herb selected for a given Planetary Ruler. overuse. weight. these beneficial herbs attract desirable Insects which happen to pollinate them and their poisonous neighbours. Even by following this advice. use any herb which can have toxic effects. thus rendering the herbs useless. which will give him a better conversant understanding of the properties of the herbs in question. In this arrangement. note carefully the descriptions and uses of other herbs that have that same rulership. Sun = Sunflower (Seeds) 2. whether hand-picked or purchased. active ingredient. Using a Herbal wisely will prove to be a very necessary education in itself. II. as chances for burning the herb and its oil (Sulphur) is greatly reduced. Careful study of the Herbals will give the Student insight into this matter. At the same time. the student will be surprised at the cost of "ordinary herbs" in today's fluctuating market. Mars = Basil (Herb) 6. as the oil will tend to dissipate through the micropores of these containers.3 of each herb listed. Of the two methods. improper preparation. This is simply one of Nature’s defences provided for some of natures more vulnerable creations. one ounce of dry herb is equal to about four to eight ounces of fresh herb. In the beginning of experimentation at least. or course ground weight: not fresh. drying outdoors in the sunlight is the best however. powdered. This is a helpful rule of thumb to use in actual work. it pays to strictly adhere to the following advice and suggestions given below: I. or the symbiotic relationship it achieves in its natural habitat. Many times. In terms of potency. the beneficial herb (which serves as a very agreeable food source for different animals and insects) is protected in large measure by the very presence of its poisonous neighbours which tend to repel the foraging animals. BUT NEVER. or any of a host of others. Herbals list weights of herbs based chiefly on dry. dry them carefully by either placing them on clean. Mercury = Marjoram (Herb) 3.

it is that "cohesive force" which holds matter together. Watercress: relatively small quantities of both Salt and Sulphur (mineral and oil) are obtainable from this herb. So.000 millilitre (abbreviated. both water and alcohol soluble) after purification. 1. The condition changes with the Sulphur (oil) and Salt (mineral) of the herbs: there are measurable quantities. regardless of the extent of Purification through which It has passed for the purpose of removing its unessential material. (Seven.Cinquefoil: moderate quantities of both Salt (mineral) and Sulphur (oil) obtainable from larger quantities (12 oz. Camomile: contains extremely small quantities of a blue. Mercury is the term used synonymously for the Life of the substance under operation. IX. The knowledge of which herbs satisfy these conditions comes largely through personal experience derived through trial and error:. VI. since we do not strictly "measure" Mercury in a Quantitative sense. The question of choosing a herb which contains equal (or near equal) amounts of Salt (mineral). but the quart jars will suffice).3erjp (Wild): a rather large quantity of Salt (mineral) with an unusually meagre quantity of oil (Sulphur) is found in this herb.Jasmine: exceedingly small quantities of Sulphur (oil) and Salt (mineral) are found in this herb.HY. Seven clean. Hence. Some examples of these prevalent conditions found through the writer’s own experimentation however. i. Thus.e. the Student will have to educate himself here. III. V. The following Items must be In the ready for the experiments: I. Thus.Mint (Spearmint): liberal quantities of both the oil (Sulphur) and VIII. X. Ginger (Wild): modest quantities of Salt (mineral) along with liberal quantities of Sulphur (oil) are found here. the Life in the Vegetable Kingdom) can now be considered in detail. and Mercury (alcohol.the Salt (mineral) are readily found in this plant. while possessing a liberal quantity of Salt (mineral. and which has a different vehicle in each of the three Kingdoms of Nature As life. we do not have to concern ourselves with the Mercury of the herbs to be worked with.Rue (German): significant quantities of Salt (mineral.4 Analysis of the herbs in the above list when referenced to the Herbals given will illustrate the principles of herb selection discussed previously.. very small amounts of salt (mineral). glass quart jars with loose fitting snap-on-snap-off plastic lids. in the main.. we say that for our purposes. "ml") Erlenmeyer flasks with cork stoppers are preferred. In Alchemical theory. At this point. the Consciousness of the herb). Sulphur (oil). all plants in the vegetable kingdom are considered to have the same amount of Mercury within them. XI. it still possesses some amount of Mercury. Cayenne: moderate quantities of Sulphur (oil). Sage (Mountain): liberal quantities of both Salt and Sulphur (mineral and oil) are easily obtainable here. and up of the dried herb). will aid the experimenter's understanding of this matter in no small way: I. ethereal oil (Sulphur. the process for preparing the Tinctures of the Seven Planets is begun. II. the vehicle of the Mercury. the Body) and moderate quantities of Sulphur (the oil: the Consciousness) are found in this herb. if an object exists in material form. VII. . and we seek to find as close a balance of the two as is possible in order to obtain the most benefit from their Alchemical tinctures. IV.

Hence. VI. the operation for the herb ruled by the Sun will begin on a Sunday. one by Mercury. these will do the beginner nicely).. these are readily obtainable. there will be one herb ruled by the Sun. IV. This is 40 % alcohol by volume. The Experiment Proper The first step in the process is to begin the Separation through Maceration. is placed in its powdered or course ground form into one of the clean glass jars. fire-proof (not fire-retardant!) pair of gloves.. (The snap-on-snapoff plastic lid allows for expansion of the gases in the vessel: should it become too warm in the place chosen for the maceration. To this. The snap-on-snap-off plastic lid is attached and the assembly is placed in a gentle indoor source of neat. These are found at hobby stores that sell chemistry sets and their associated chemicals. the 4 ounce quantity being preferred. by volume). (Although crucible tongs are best. etc. XI. 4" x 411.Food-grade plastic funnels.000 m]. (The mortal has "an Inside rough surface. than In the mortar. (This procedure is repeated at least three times a day curing the maceration period). outdoor heat source. but 2 or 3 will do. another by Jupiter. let the student begin on the day which is rules by the Planetary Ruler that also governs his herb (this procedure is used for all of the seven herbs.A 275 ml. that for the herb ruled by the Moon. where instructed. another by Venus. one of each of which Is ruled by one of the planetary rulers. glazed outside". the serious Student should begin to build up his laboratory by purchasing equipment as he goes along. resulting in more herb on the experimenter and the floor. These are available in any houseware department of any department store.An indoor heat source of approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit. which subdivisions of those hours are governed by the ruling Archangelic or Angelic Beings: the matter is entirely up to the experimenter). Hence. IX. Two pair of metal kitchen tongs. Use sparingly. 2 or 3 In number. To do this. (At this point. 7 in number. and further. V. and is less expensive). on a Monday. A small. approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit to macerate. 350 to 400 ml of 80 Proof Vodka is added. Stay away from the so-called "modern glass mortars and pestles": the pestle continually slips during the grinding operation due to the smooth glass surfaces of the pestle and mortar. 3 litres (3. or as simple as he wishes. Pestle Is. VII. For instance.A good quality. Glazed porcelain mortar and pestle.Clean. except for grinding surface").. Again. one by the Moon..) of 80 Proof Vodka. Pyrex dishes (approximately 1 pint capacity) are recommended. III. besides starting the Separation for a herb ruled by the Sun an a Sunday. or some similar area where a fairly constant temperature is assured. the type used to turn meats while cooking. this serves the purpose well here. VIII.5 II. "glazed. This can be a corner near a stove or heating vent.Glass stirring rods.) of 190 Proof (95 % Ethyl Alcohol. X. XII. he can use the Grimoires to determine which hours that Planetary force is dominant on that day.Extra-fine porosity coffee filters that will fit the funnels above. XIII. (Although Ethyl Alcohol is generally used for experimentation as discussed.Asbestos covered screens. portable. when a line current is available even herbs selected. or a dependable electric hot~plate. not at this juncture). The herb governed by the ruler of the day in question. An enormous outlay for a well equipped laboratory is not necessary. This is quite expensive. one by Mars. thus relieving the pressure and avoiding shattering .. Hardware or Welder’s supply stores always have these in stock. The quantities of each should be between 2 to 4 ounces. the lid will snap open. at least. These are also available at hobby stores that sell chemistry sets.. This can be a gas-powered camping stove.. The Student should note. and one by Saturn. 1 Litres (1. and the solution stirred with a glass stirring rod.000 ml. that he can make this system of astrological timing as complex as he wishes. about three in number.

is Purifying the herb of Its unessentials through Calcination. Again. replace it in the Pyrex dish. This is not necessary however. After this period. the herb will turn black. the consciousness or the vehicle of the Life) of the herb. add it to the mortar. that of Cohobation through Digestion. Add approximately 50 ml. after a period of about 12 hours (or less. Place one of the asbestos-covered screens on the outdoor heat source. line one of the plastic funnels with the coffee filter papers. the "real" Calcination begins. less complete method of maceration used here). and allow it to burn out. the Tincture is filtered as before. Allow the powder to remain there. they are now capable of being further separated and entering Into the menstrum (the Tincture). stirring it every 15 minutes to 30 minutes. exposing it to the same temperature. and the Feces (the former grey-white powder) discarded. when the menstrum (the Tincture) already contains the alcohol and water soluble Salts (minerals: the Body). What you are doing of course. turn the heat on. and repeat the calcining procedure using the ethyl alcohol until the powder turns a grey colour. (In the nest lesson. Ignite it. along with the Sulphur and Mercury of the herb?" The answer is: "That In Purifying the herb from which was Separated the Sulphur. This should only take two or three repetitions of the procedure just described. and Mercury. When cool. and store at room temperature temporarily.. The result: an . as will the herb’s Mercury (its Life). Remove the cool grey-white powder and add it back to the tincture that was originally decanted from the herb. more efficient method of complete separation by the process of "Soxhlet Extraction". indicating that the first carbonaceous compounds (the "unessentials") are being burned away. and the dish and contents can now be left to cool on top of the heat source after it has been turned off. the process could and would most likely take weeks or months of continuous calcining. After the herb has ceased to burn and becomes cool. The clear Vodka will take on a tincture.e.e. i. and add it to the mortar. This process of Cohobation is one In which the Purified herbal body (containing the Salts (minerals) which are free from most of its unessentials) will now "cohabit" with the Tincture containing the extracted Sulphur (the oil: the vehicle of the Consciousness) and Mercury (Mercury. while wearing your fire proof gloves. ignite it carefully. The Student may ask: "Why do they have to be brought together again. and remove It to the outdoors so the process of Purification through Calcination can be started. and compare it to the less efficient.. the entire process produces an entirely new creation which did not exist in Nature before the application of the Alchemical Process. namely. As in the process of Separation. Pyrex dish. The final step in the process can now begin. Take the wet herb. carefully decant the tincture into a clean vessel. we’ll explore another. remove it. a colour change occurs. placed into a clean vessel. indicating all of the unessentials have been burned away. grind it with the pestle. stirring the mixture with a glass stirring rod at least three times a day. Next. powder-like state. indicating the separation is taking place. Leave the vessel with its contents to macerate for two to three weeks. Separation will take place: the water and alcohol soluble Salts (minerals) and the Sulphur (oil) will be removed (to a certain extent) from the herb.6 of the vessel). Thus . After the period of maceration ends. During . if either the herb or the operator requires) the constant heating will have lightened the grey powder considerably. If the grey powder is to turn a pure white. place it in a clean." The Cohobation through Digestion is allowed to take place in the closed vessel as was done during the process of Separation.this period. As it burns. of the 190 Proof Ethyl Alcohol to the herb. and pour the liquid off the herb and through the funnel and filter assembly slowly. approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of two to three weeks. Slowly grind it with the pestle until It reaches a fine. To do this. and re-add it to the Pyrex dish. additional alcohol and water soluble Salts present in the grey mass (termed the "Feces" in Alchemical parlance). i. and carefully add the Pyrex dish containing the grey powder to that heat source by using the kitchen tongs to hold the dish. the mass is stirred at least three times a day with a glass stirring rod. and. remove the powder. of the Ethyl Alcohol. Cap the liquid. add about 50 ml.

As these Tinctures have not been created by Nature. one teaspoon of Sunflower Tincture was taken after arising. and seeing that the student now has a grasp of the essential terminology of Alchemy. A great deal yet remains to be discussed. On Monday. Sunday. one teaspoon of Tincture of Seaweed was taken. of the practical laboratory work in Alchemy. every Sunday. mental functioning. functional Herbal Stone. and the day. the three Alchemical Essentials. and the three Alchemical processes. In the writer’s personal experiments. both the day and the herb of course being ruled by the Moon. However. he will become a more highly tuned organism. the Mineral Kingdom. since that cannot be done here. in the next and final lesson the writer will move quickly into the technique for creating a permanent. The Purpose and Use of the Tinctures of the Seven Planets According to the Alchemists. the Tinctures were taken by him over a year's period of time by taking approximately one teaspoon. the very necessary beginning. as the Sun rules both the plant Sunflower. highly responsive to the positive qualities of the planetary rays governing these new creations. In short. which would take volumes to be certain. . are used to purify the physical body. (about 5 ml) of each Tincture that was ruled by the Planetary Ruler that governed both the Herb on the day in question. knowledgeable intervention of the Operator working with Alchemical Processes that produce a new creation from the purified alchemical substance. For example. the "Tinctures of the Seven Planets" prepared in the way described. The same technique applied to the remaining days of the week and their herbal remedies. This is the very beginning.7 Alchemical Tincture that is embued with the properties of the Planet which rules the plant. and the day the operation began. and direct the spiritual aspirations of he who has prepared them. their ingestion will impart the refined planetary properties of those Planetary Rulers which rule the areas assigned to them. the precursor to working successfully in the highest Kingdom of Nature.. but rather through the conscious.

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