Practical alchemy archives - Various individual postings

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Subject: PRACTICAL - Alchemilla
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 1997 14:15:41 +0100
From: Nicolas R. Kropacek


From Mrs. Marcella Gillick,
>I wonder if anybody could tell me something about the historical (or any
>other) alchemical connections of the above plant from the Family Rosaceae
>(also called Lady's Mantle, Lion's Foot and Stellaria)?


I think that it is a very educated subject to be treated in an alchemic
forum.

I think that it is very beautifully 'symbolic' that this theme is gently
requested, and opened, by a lady. Alchemilla is traditionally
- for symbology and for practical applications - a very exquisite feminine
plant.

The etymology of the name of this plant is discussed, but I think it is
indubitably derived from our Great Matter: Alchemy!
Its other name, Stellaria, refers to the shape of the leaf, similar to a star,
with the sub-leaves like little vulvas that flow together in the center.
This image is extremely important for many reasons, that I will
explain in the following.

As you exactly write, alchemilla is very particular and has remarkable
efficiency in collecting dew drops, and this process is due to the form
of the leaf: many little drops, that arrive from the ground at the stalk,
stay at the borders of the sub-leaves, as in the lips of vulvas, and at
the minimum vibration fall down into the center, forming a great drop, very
similar to a pearl of dew.

For the form (similar to the feminine "yoni"), for the afore-mentioned pearl,
is an important 'signature', they remind us of the best and beautiful
part of the world, the feminine one, and particulary the Moon.
Lunar influence was specifically referred by the Renaissance belief
(verisimilar exoteric emanation of an esoteric symbol) that gave to the
alchemilla plant the ability of giving back the virginity to women.
If you note that virginity is an attribute of Goddess Artemis-Diana, the
Virgin that hunts by night with her dogs (dogs that we can see again,
symbolized in the tarot XVIII lamed named "The Moon").

Alchemists searched for alchemilla dewdrops, very important
as vibrations, plentiful with celestial 'Nitro' and the lunar influences,
absorbed through the symbolic analogy to the moon, i.e., "the mirror".
As for that, this dew may be used for specific alchemical purposes:
you can study, among others, the 'Mutus liber' and several alchemy books.
With S.V. [Spiritus vini], alchemilla dew is useful to be used for preparing the
Paracelsial "arcanum" of some plants, as Melissa.

It is peculiar also that alchemilla collects dew not only in the final winter
and first spring months, but continues for many months, up to the first
period of summer, when there is no more dew in the fields!
Remarkable, and interesting as an alchemic symbol, is the circulation that
is done by dew in the leaves, similar to a distillation or a cohobation,
for it goes up and subsequently falls into the center of the leaf.

The plant - but also the dew, for "energetic lunar impregnation" - may be
used in an external and internal way, and may be prepared as an incomparable
lunar elixir, useful for feminine and genital (internal and external) diseases,
for menstrual and ovaric diseases or methrorragy, for climatheric diseases.
Very good also for the external genitals, for the body, for the face and
cosmetic use. Traditional is the indication for the breasts, that are
younger-looking and hardened by alchemilla.

I think that to prepare elixir of alchemilla, the best thing would be to
use alchemilla dew with the plant, collected obviously on Monday in a lunar
hour (better the first hour, from midnight to 1 A.M., in an increasing moon near
to full moon). It is better if it is enlightened by moonlight when is collected.
A metal knife or scissors are not to be used, but only silver is allowed (lunar
metal) or only using hands. Iron is absolutely not to be used.
Dew may be collected in the morning (if possible, before sunrise, but it
can be critical only for special magical or alchemical use), with a glass
dropper, and collected in a dark glass bottle, and kept in the dark, out of
electromagnetical or human vibrations: it is very sensitive, as the moon
"captures" the light or the energies, changing its vibration and losing
lunar vibrations.

Nicolas R. Kropacek.


Subject: PRACTICAL - Symbolism in Practical Work
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 14:27:55 -0500
From: Gilbert Arnold

I was reading over Urbiger's works when the following items looked
good for discussion;

"Having in our Travels fortuned to meet with some Persons of true
Principles in Philosophy and Religion, we could not but embrace them and
instruct them towards its farther Perfection, which cannot be attained
without the true knowledge of our Celestial Art. by which comprehending
all the Mystery of Mysteries, we learn also how to serve God in Faith
and Truth." from http://www.levity.com/alchemy/urbigeri.html

and

"III. Out of Diana's undetermined Tears, when Appollo has appeared,
after the Separation of the three Elements, Determination, Digestion and
glorious Resurrection, we can, without the Addition of any other created
thing, prepare this our determined Elixir: Which is the first, noblest, and
secretest way of the Philosophers." from
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/circulat.html

Now it would appear to me that Urbiger's background would be strongly
Christian, so that perhaps some hindsight type wisdom could be
extracted from the Aphorisms. For this reason I am cross-posting this to
the inner to the Inner forum, whose members probably know quite a bit
about symbolism. I also intend to discus the actual making of the
Circulatum Minus.

I'll open by saying that in retrospect Diana=Mary (Sophia) aka "mother of
God". Apollo aka Logos aka Jesus Christ.

The term "Out of Diana's undetermined Tears" seems to correspond to
wine spits, ie alcool distilled off of wine. This alcool seems to work the
best. Legend has it that Mary cried tears of blood at the crucifixion, and
linking this to the Christian link of Blood and Wine results in a pointer to
alcool distilled off of wine.

Things get a little interesting when the subject of Apollo aka Logos aka
Jesus Christ comes along. IMO, this symbolises the materials derived
from the essential oil obtained from steam distillation of certain plants.
In order for this process to work, the oil is first "born" by a distillation
through a narrow neck. It then requires a purification by a humid
sublimation through a wide neck into a helmet type distilling head.

The resultant purified "body" is then put into the "prepared tomb" (purified
salts) and "annointed" with a resinous type substance. It is written in the
Bible that the body of Jesus was annointed with spices that included
resinous substances.

And then of course, everything rises to glory, after a suitable time "in the
earth".

Comments?

Blessings,

Gilbert


Subject: PRACTICAL - One method?

From: Erman Tas
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 16:33:46 +0200

Subject: Is there only one method in the alchemical lab. work towards
the Philosophers' Stone?

According to William Leo (who is cited as a contemporary alchemist by
Richard Grossinger in his book 'Alchemy: pre-Egyption Legacy, Millennial
Promise, 1979 page 219), there are "two basic ways: first you might try
extracting the Spirit of Sulphur from one metal, the Spirit of Mercury from
another, and the Spirit of Salt from a third ... The other method of
deriving the Three Spirits is to obtain them all from one substance" known
as the First Matter (prima materia). In short, you either extract the Three
Spirits from three different metals or from one substance. (See William Leo,
Alchemy, 1972, pages 134-135).

Another contemporary alchemist Lapidus (a code name like W. Leo) does
not mention these two ways. But he does something astonishing, apparently
breaking the alchemist's oath to keep silent. He mentions more than one
material, so we can say that his method is the first method. Lapidus
explains that the metal antimony purified by iron is the basic (prime) matter
to which gold or silver and copper (optional) are added. (Lapidus, in Pursuit of
Gold, 1976, pages 41, 65-67, 78-91, 133, 168).

W. Leo has something to say about antimony. "... antimony was nonetheless
a great favorite of the medieval alchemist, particularly Bacon, Hollandus
and Basil Valentine. These adepts, however, seemed to indicate in their
writings that antimony could be used a substitute for the First Matter,
but A. Cockren confirms this when he mentions having begun with antimony
(remember, he did say that antimony made his subsequent labors much
easier), but later abandoning it in favor of "another metal". (Page 137).

On this point, Fulcanelli comes to our help with his explanation in
"Mysteries of the Cathedrals": "Few alchemist will admit the possibility of
two ways, one short and easy, called the dry way, the other, longer and
less rewarding, called the moist way. This may be due to the fact that many
authers deal exclusively with the longer process, either because they do
not know of the other, or because they prefer to remain silent about it, rather
then to teach its principles. Pernety refuses to believe in those
altenative methods, while Huginus Barma, on the contrary, asserts that
the ancient masters, such as Geber, Lully and Paracelsus,each had his
own particular process. (English translation, page 109).

Fulcanelli supports his explanation by giving references from Medieval
Alchemist: "Philalethes, in chapter XIX of the Introitus [Open Entrance]
afer having spoken of the long way, which he describes as tiresome and good
only for rich people, says: 'But by our way no more than a week is
necessary; God has reserved this rare and easy way for despised poor
and for abject saints.' ... This shortened way, which is, however, covered
by a thick veil, has been called by the Wise the Regime of Saturn. ... This
could be the explanation of the basic maxim of our Science: 'One single
vessel, one single matter, one single furnace'. [This is another
important discussion] "(page 110).

Fulcanelli admits of a serious difficulty about the dry way: ".... And to
ask further whether there may not be a method, which consists only in
keeping the matters in the greatest degree of fluidity for a long time,
which could be achieved by a violent fire, maintained by the action of the
bellows. However, this method cannot be carried out in all laboratories
and perhaps not everyone would find it practicable..] (page 111).

Philalethes, in chapter XIX of his book 'Open Entrance' gives to different
periods for 'the preparation of the Stone', depending on what kind of gold
is used in the alchemical work. It takes eighteen months if common gold is
used, while the same work is completed in 7 months using philosophical
gold prepared by the alchemical art. Lapidus, however, gives a period of
282 days (about 10 months). (page 29).

From the above, it is obvious that there is a certain correlation between
the method and its length of time. This even affects the quality of the
end product. Philalethes in chapter XVIII of his above-mentioned book
explains this point: "... But whether you choose our gold, or common gold
you will in eather case need and even and continual fire. If you take our
gold you will finish the work a few months sooner, and the Elixir will
be ten times precious than that prepared from common gold."

In brief, the shorter the period the higher the quality. William Leo makes
the following comment about the short way using a single matter: "This
method more difficult in the beginning but it ultimately produces a much
purer product and is a great deal less expensive". (page 136).

Identifying the method in the alchemical recipes is very important.
Because it eliminates the confusion and privents experimental delays.
In support of this point, let me again quote Philalethes: "I know both
ways, and prefer the shorter one; but I have described the longer one
as well in order that I may not draw down upon myself the scathing wrath
of the 'Sages'. The great difficulty which discourages all beginners is not
of Nature's making: the Sages have created it by speaking of the longer
operation when they mean the shorter one, and vice versa. (chapter XIX).

I will end this enquiry suggesting you to read a piece from a work of
Jabir Ibn Hayyan translated by Seyyed Hossein Nasr in his book 'Science
and Civilisation' published in England in 1987. (second edition,page
259-61). Here Jabir gives an account of alchemy's development from
ancient times up to his day and in this context he says that the alchemical
treatment is improved and shortened through the efforts of successive
alchemists beginning from Arius.


Subject: PRACTICAL - One method?
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 97
From: Mike Dickman


On page 29 of Canseliet's 'Alchimie' (Jean-Jacques Pauvert, 1964/1978), there
is a rather interesting 17th. c. 'initiatic painting' of the dry way
(unfortunately only in black and white - at least in the second edition, I
don't know about the first).
I'll describe it first and give C's comments par la suite...

The most obvious thing in the painting is the foreground image where an
alchemist is pushing the head of a 'choleric youth' (who is lying on a
stretcher for the purposes of the operation) into the mouth of a
bee-hive-shaped brick furnace. From the aperture at the top - the chimney, as
it were - a great burst of flame and smoke (or flaming smoke) filled with
figures is streaming forth, obviously under great pressure... In it (starting
from the mouth of the aperture, and working upward) are the following: what
could be a cuirass (or a bell reversed, or a vase, but I think a cuirass); a
stone table, two long vases (or a pair of trousers), a man in motley
brandishing a sword and fencing dagger , and with what looks like a bird upon
the crest of his hood, and a house with an arched door, crenellated triangular
gable and three windows arranged in a triangle - apex towards the top - above
the arch and beneath these eaves; a lute, a rearing unicorn, what could be a
pendulum, a matron in a dark robe with puffed sleeves over a lighter one, a
T-shaped staff with cross pieces tied to it as follows: slanting upward to the
right, horizontal, crossed, slanting upward to the right, and slanting
downward to the right... (they look almost like a form of ogham), a mirror, a
bell, a scarf, a netted basket on a perch, and a musket; a black splodge with
a white dot in it and, next to it, the head of a moor, an open book, a
mounting bird who seems to be attached to the T-shaped staff afore-mentioned -
perhaps the whole thing shows a hawk attached to its perch by its jess (?), a
winged serpent; a man hastening to separate two fighting dogs, the one
attacking the other from the rear, mounting birds and lambent angels; and - at
the very top - a pilgrim of Saint James of Campostella.
On the furnace, too, to either side of its mouth are what looks like a sealed
leather bag on the left, and, on the right, a leather bag from which rise an
escutcheon with the figure of a pilgrim on it, above which is a whitish
flower, above which, again, an aureole of five white flowers of the same sort,
and, rising from the central one of these, a flying banner.
The young man's knees are gartered, his jerkin bi-coloured, his shoes adorned
with buckles in the shape of silver crosses, and his hands are so disposed
that the left one (towards the viewer) points to the floor, three fingers
closed and only the index outstretched, while the right, palm open, indicates
the laboratory - and particularly the distilling furnace - in operation -
behind. There is a scroll attached to the shelves beside the furnace, but, of
the six-odd words on it, I can make out only the second line (... ESSE
VELIS...) and the last (...MALIS). On the shelves are ranged jars and flasks
containing such rarities as "Doctrine", "Raison", "Patience" and "Justice",
according to the lables that are legible...
The alchemist, beardless, but wearing a mustache, seems to be wearing a
spiecies of black hood and cap, and is certainly wearing glasses. Behind him,
on the floor, is a tripod containing what looks like flaming feathers and a
dark flask giving off twin wings of dark coloured smoke...
In the middle ground between the shelves and the scene that first captures the
attention, there is another: a second alchemist, bearded and ruffed, with a
bag-shaped black hat on his head, and a black robe rather than the pantaloons
and jacket the other alchemist is wearing (I would guess these to be green),
is pouring what looks, from the results, like oil, out of a flask and into a
funnel that is placed in the mouth of a second young man in shirt sleeves with
his trousers down, who is sitting on a pierced chaire and shitting violently
into a shallow circular tub on a stand beneath...
Both alchemists are extremely rapt.
The floor is made up of rectangular earthen-wear tiles.

On the page facing, C says: "... Th(is) initiatic - and partcularly singular -
canvas (...) exposes what is to be rooted out and destroyed in man by virtue
of the 'furnacing' of the caput mortuum, the 'dead head', so that he might
thus become, properly speaking, a 'philosopher by the fire' - philosophus per
ignem."
The accompanying note continues: "... In a letter dated December 28th., 1961,
our friend clarifies: 'I should point out that it is a scratch beneath the
seat of the patient on the left that gives the impression of a small jet of
water shooting up out of the basin. I seem to recall that it is actually
nothing at all: what's more the scratch passes in front of the nearer bar of
the chair...'"
On the back of the plate (whose title is 'The Double Rinsing - by water and by
fire'), he says: " The brief and violent Work of the salt extracted,
metaphorically speaking, from the urine of "choleric youths" and then
sublimated, not without some small danger, in the heart of the 'caput
mortuum'."

Respectfully,
md


Subject: On Dew, GUR, Prima Materia, P. Mercury, Gold, etc...
Date:Thu, 28 Aug 1997
From: A.M.W. House

Dear Johann and Forum Members,

Prima Materia= "Our Water" = electrically charged rain water = source for
GUR. Note the search for the Holy Gur-ail...

1st work. Prime Matter yields Philosophers Mercury and Sulfur. These 2 then
yield Philosophic Mercury. A Salt.

The DEW changes and matures all salts because of its subtle nitre.

2nd work. Turn matter (salt) into a dual substance by its philosophic double
mercury and virgin's milk = white clear fluid.

2nd work. Separation of Rebis to fluid and calx. Rebis=Solvent &
substance=mercury unactuated, or mercury simplex.

Virgin's Milk= celestial water. Should not be able to separate any metal
from this. It is a metallic water and is the chaos of the Philosopher's that
contains all elements to form the microcosm= to the Heaven of the
Philosophers.

Philosopher's Mercury=a clear water. When mixed with metals it turns green
and is known as the Green Lion. Red Lion occurs when P. Mercury is mixed
with gold.

Philosophic Mercury cont..

Begin with lead sulfide, (Galena), or living lead. Roast it to turn to
oxide. Then using acetic acid made from red wine vinegar, produce an acetate
of clear pure crystals. Acetic acid if properly made will open up all
metals. By dry distillation any metal acetate can produce a philosophic
mercury.

This is not the same as THE Philosopher's Mercury described above.

Quote from H.P. Blavatsky: ISIS Unveiled,

"From the invisible dew falling from the higher "Head" Sephira creates
primeval water, or Chaos taking shape. It is the first step toward the
solidification of spirit, which through various modifications will produce
earth."

Prime Matter is "Our Gold" = undetermined Green Dragon (male) undetermined
mineral found everywhere, but only by our Art. This prime matter is a vapor
with metallic seed but undetermined. It must be separated out from the
original lump or chaos (natural). The chaos is free to all.

Very subtle nitre = GUR = Lightning charged snow or rainwater - if red brown
residue distills out, distill all the water. Use 500,000 volts charge for 12
hrs (Van De Graff generator or Tesla coil). Putrefy charged water at 75-80 F
for 90 days. GUR has reddish color and repeats structure. Note is like a
foliated earth.....crystalline matter.

3 Kinds of Gold

A. Universal fluid=universal spirit. Light from the sun contains gold. It
can fix volatile substances. B. Gold of the Wise= Elemental Gold. The fixed
grain of all things, calcined and sublimed to whiteness by Magistery this
draws Astral Gold and becomes the living Gold of the Philosophers=The
Magnet. C. Spiritual Nitre that meets an alkaline passive principle and
becomes native nitre. Spirit descends in Spring - etheric forces are highest
then, in Autumn saline substance is attracted by the Magnet=Secret Fire.

Anthony's excerpts.


Subject: PRACTICAL : Is alchemy pure chemistry?
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997
From: mike dickman


Having just written this for a sceptical goldsmith friend, it suddenly
occurred to me that the forum might be interested...

*About twelve years ago I made with a friend, Lama Tenzin, a torma - a sort
of dough sculpture of ritual shape - for a Tibetan Buddhist practice
entitled 'Heart-Essence of the the Lake-Born'... It was made of white
flour, maizina, and a quantity of butter, and painted a deep red with
vegetable dyes...

After the ritual was over, I placed it on the window sill where I generally
fed my local sparrows in the hope that they would eat it. They didn't.
Guessing it might be the colouring, I left it there... Over the months the
colouring washed off, wore off, flaked off, soaked in... The flour and
butter mixture turned black with some impressive blues and greens at
various stages... 'Hm!' I thought looking at the thing standing in its
flowerpot base all on its own and STILL untouched by the birds - (it was as
though they were giving it a wide berth), 'This is pretty alchemical...
I'll leave it and see what happens next...'

What I expected, of course, is that the torma would crumble and collapse.
It stayed there throughout the winter, under the rain, sleet, snow and smog
of Paris, all the time getting blacker and blacker. 'Won't be long now!' I
thought.

In the first days of spring it started to whiten - some sort of fungus or
mold had got hold of it, I thought. 'Won't be long now!' Spring drifted on
until one day I noticed that the white fungus - which was now pretty
generalised - had started, very delicately, to turn yellow... 'Wow!
Bi-zarre! It IS alchemical,' I thought.

The yellow colouring slowly deepened over a period of about three weeks
into a bright orangy red.

Being in a state of semi-retreat at the time, and since one doesn't move
much when one is meditating, I had by now created quite a relationship with
the sparrows who were coming in through the open French windows and eating
the crumbs on the floor in front of where I was sitting without the
slightest fear .

One morning, about five days after the redness had stabilised, they -
literally - fell upon the torma (which was about ten inches high and about
two and a half to three in diameter at the widest part) and had devoured
the entire thing without a trace within five or so minutes.
I was more than a little surprised by the whole thing.*

Respectfully,
m


Subject: PRACTICAL : Liquid-liquid extraction
Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997
From: Beat Krummenacher

Sheryl asked:
>Does anyone know if an extractor like the Kontes heavier-than-water
>liquid/liquid can be used in lieu of a Soxhlet? Can one extract essential
>oils with this apparatus?

A liquid-liquid extractor cannot replace a solid-liquid extractor like the
Soxhlet. The extraction of ethereal oil with a liquid-liquid extractor is
little meaningful - likewise the extraction of an ethereal oil with a
Soxhlet. According to definition an ethereal oil is a steam-volatile oil
from a plant or a balm immiscible with water. If one extracts a plant with
a suitable extractive solvent, so of course the ethereal oil can be
detached. However always non-volatile extractive substances are found in
the extract, which are missing in the pure ethereal oil. Thus with an
extraction no pure ethereal oil can be gained.

The question is now, whether the ethereal oil can be isolated from such an
extract by an additional liquid-liquid extraction. However this is
impossible for various reasons. One never will get an oil with the same
composition like the ethereal oil gained by means of steam distillation.

Indeed a liquid-liquid extraction can serve to separate certain components
of the ethereal oil. However it also is better to first isolate the
ethereal oil with a steam distillation in this case and to detach the
desired components after that.

But in all cases the problem continues to again remove the extractive
solvent. Because the components of the ethereal oil are more or less
volatile, the extractive solvent can hardly be distilled without also going
lost parts of the extracted substances with the solvent.

Conclusion: The production of an ethereal oil should result by means of
steam distillation for alchemical purposes. This method detaches the
ethereal oil not only from the plant, but purifies it in the same working
step. If the oil contains temperature sensitive substances, so the steam
distillation can be made under vacuum.

Lapis