Fama Fraternitatis - 1614

Wiewohl wir nun wohl wissen, daß es umb ein ziemliches noch nicht an dem, da wieder unserm Verlangen oder auch anderer Hoffnung mit allgemeiner Reformation divini et humani, solle genug geschehen, ist es doch nicht unbillich, daß, ehe die Sonne auffgehet, sie zuvor ein HELL oder dunkel liecht in den Himmel bringt und unter dessen etliche wenige, die sich werden angeben, zusammen tretten, unsere Fraternitet mit der Zahl und Ansehen des gewünschten und von Fr.R.C. fürgeschriebenen Philosophischen Canons, einen glücklichen Anfang machen oder ja in unserer Schätz (die uns nimmermehr aufgehen können) mit uns in Demut und Liebe genießen die Mühsamkeit dieser Welt überzuckern und in den Wunderwerken Gottes nicht also blind umbgehen.

Vi vet dock att det enligt vår åstundan och andras förväntningar efter någon tid kommer en allmän reformation av både gudomliga och mänskliga ting. Ty innan solen går upp, upplyses himlen av
MORGONRODNADENS ljus. I väntan på denna reformation församlas några få som med sitt antal skall utöka vårt brödraskap, höja dess anseende och stärka dess förhoppningar och ge de av Fr.R.C. föreskrivna Filosofiska Canons en lycklig begynnelse. I all ödmjukhet och kärlek skall dessa nytillkomna tillsammans med oss dela våra skatter, som aldrig skall förgås, och så lindra denna världens möda och inte längre vandra ovetande om kunskapen om Guds underbara verk.

Howbeit we know after a time there will now be a general reformation, both of divine and humane things, according to our desire, and the expectation of others: for it is fitting, that before the rising of the Sun, there should appear and break forth AURORA, or some clearness, or divine light in the sky; and so in the mean time some few, which shall give their names, may joyn together, thereby to increase the number and respect of our Fraternity, and make a happy and wished for beginning of our Philosophical Canons, prescribed to us by our brother R.C. and be partakers with us of our treasures (which never can fail or be wasted) in all humility, and love to be eased of this worlds labor, and not walk so blindly in the knowledge of the wonderful works of God.

Definition

Det brittiska ordenssällskapet Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn och den tyska Frimurarlogen L'Aurore Naissante, vilket grundades i London 1888 respektive Frankfurt-am-Main 1807, delade på samma hebreiska namn Chevrah Zerach Bequr Aur, förevisat i gyllene gult vid bloggens huvud, vilket ordagrannt kan översättas till “Stigande Gryningsljusets Sällskap”. Denna tyska Rosenkorsiska Frimurarloge i Frankfurt, vilket måste anses vara det ursprungliga modertemplet till GOLDEN DAWN, kallade sig på tyska även Loge sur Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, vilket kan översättas till “Gryende Morgonrodnadens Loge”. Detta skiljer sig åt från den engelska seden att översätta orden Bequr Aur till “Golden Dawn” eller “Gyllene Gryningen”. Med anledning av Rosenkorstraditionens tyska ursprung är en mer korrekt översättning av Bequr Aur, genom franskans L'Aurore Naissante och tyskans Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, inget annat än GRYENDE MORGONRODNADEN. Denna hänvisning till ett stigande gryningsljus, morgonrodnad eller aurora är en klar hänvisning till den allmäna reformationen omnämnt i det ovan citerade stycket från Fama Fraternitatis. Denna blogg har dock valt att behålla den försvenskade anglo-saxiska termen GYLLENE GRYNINGEN för att denna, invand som den är, lättare associeras med den Rosenkorsiska tradition som här ämnas att framställas.

Licht, Leben, Liebe

tisdag 7 oktober 2008

Spagyrics - The Alchemy of Plants


The art of Spagery is the science of separation and recombination - solve et couagula - often referred to alchemical processes with plants. The very word spagery actually means "to separate and recombine" in its Greek etymology. Although it has a long standing history, the form as we know it today may be considered to have been fathered by Paracelsus, so it can be regarded as a "Paracelsian Medicine". So the main purpose of Spagery is to create alchemical remedies, using medicinal plants.

Spagery has seen somewhat of a renaissance since the 1970's, thanks to authors like Frater Albertus, Jean Dubuis and Manfred Junius, which has done their share in popularizing the old art. Several modern authors, as for example Mark Stavish or John Reid, have been tutored as pupils by one of these contemporary masters of Alchemy.

Spagery may be considered as a lesser form of Alchemy, and is often referred to as the "Minor Work" (Opus Minor) or "Lesser Circulation" (Circulatum Minor; not to be confused with the process of Urbigerus, although it also belongs to the spagyrical realm). It uses the same principles though as its older and greater brother - Alchemy - and is considered as a prerequisite to the mastery of the Great Work (Opus Magnum) and Major Circulation (Circulatum Major). Understanding the Lesser Work you will be able to unravel the mysteries of the Greater.

My essay on spagyrics is actually inspired by a brother of mine, Frater A.I.T., which has set up a wonderful blog on his own which deals with the Lesser Work. I really recommend reading it; it is a sort of alchemical diary which can give lots of hints what to do with the art and science of spagergy. I have made some comments on it, which I will reproduce here, together with Fra. A.I.T.s description of the process itself (which he was taught in a spagyrics class of our Order, the Rosicrucian Order of the A.O.), but somewhat amended by me. So the main credit for the essay goes to Fra. A.I.T., not least for the inspirational nature of his blog.

Spagery, or Plant Alchemy, gives the recipies to create herbal elixirs and the formula of creating a herbal stone, the so called "plant stone". As I previously stated, these elixirs and the plant stone have great remedic qualities as they enhance the curing abilities of the plant as a consequence of the spagyric process. In it the three Alchemical Principles - the Mercury (Spirit), the Sulphur (Soul), and the Salt (Body) - are separated in a preliminary process, whereafter the Salt is purified and then recombined anew with the essence (Sulphur and Mercury). All this aims at raising the vibratory pitch of the Prime Matter - the Plant in its original and fallen state - into a restored and heavenly state; the art of transmutation. These processes can be beautifully integrated and enhanced with Ceremonial Magic, which Fra. A.I.T. impressively has shown us on his blog.


Preparation

To create spagryic elixirs, the following equipment is required:

1 Mason Jar
1 Mortar and Pestle
1 Knife
1 Long glass rod or metal spoon
1 Plant, chosen according to Planetary correspondence
1 One bottle of approximately 700 ml Alcohol distilled from wine (Spirits of Wine).*
1 Litre of distilled water
1 Flask with stopper
1 500 ml pyrex flask with neck and spherical base (see image above on right)
2 500 ml pyrex vessels or beakers (measuring cups)
1 Retort w/tripod (see image above on left)
1 Butane burner w/fuel
1 Heating apparatus: a gas stove, alternatively a electric hot plate
1 Balneum Arenae - a sand bath**
1 Glass funnel
1 set of Filtering Paper-lab grade, alternatively coffee filters
1 ceramic dish (resistant to very high temperatures) with lid (Crucible)
1 large cloth of linen

Note: *The Menstruum or Alkahest (i.e. the mercurial spirit) must consist of Spirits of Wine, not vodka (as Fra. A.I.T. suggests). Any brandy may suffice but if you can find a brand which is crystal clear (like Grappa) its even better. Best of course is to distil wine yourself into a spirit but the simple retort won't suffice for that. To distil spirits you must have a full distillation train. Distillation is also an art into itself. So brandy is the easiest option.
**To prepare a sand bath, acquire a fine grained sand (for example as used in a aquarium) and pour it into in a large metallic heat resistant vessel.

1. Distil one litre of water using a simple retort on a tripod and butane burner. Store the distilled water in an air sealed flask and in darkness.

2. Choose a plant - the First Matter (Materia Prima) - according to the desired effect according to Planet and/or accepted quality of the plant. Pluck the plant by its roots during its corresponding Planetary day and hour. (Fra. A.I.T. recommends to alternatively pick the plant during sunrise on the Day the Planet rules. Should you wish to work with a Plant's Elemental energies, simply pick the plant during the appropriate elemental tide. Astrological energies may be accessed by picking the plant when the Sun is in the house of the Sign you wish to work with. He further states that this plant is Isis, in it's Virginal State, i.e. before plucking. ) My personal recommendation is to cast a chart of the heavens (a horoscope) and select a time which is favourable according to the dignities of the planets, aspects, etc. Gather the plucked plant into a airtight jar and put it concealed from the sun.

3. Spread out the plant over a folded out newspaper. Let it dry in a moderate temperature and away from the rays of the sun. Let it dry for at least a week. Then put it into the air tight jar again as before.

4. Prepare your Oratory (your Temple space) as in the 0°=0° Grade on the Day of the Planet corresponding to the plant. Place the jar filled with the herb, together with the empty Mason Jar, mortar and pestle, and bottle with the Spirits of Wine on the Altar. Enter into the Oratory and work if possible by candle light from this point onward. Put on your robes and insignia. Perform banishings, purifications and consecrations of Hall and invocation of the Highest Divine Force. Do a preliminary invocation (i.e. the Opening by Watchtower) if an Adept. On the Planetary Hour, invoke the Planetary Force using the appropriate rites and implements. State the intention, i.e. the Goal of the Work. Perform a Middle Pillar Ritual.

5. Use a knife blessed ritually for this purpose, and chop the plant into parts as small as you can make them. Whilst doing this, have a prayerful state of mind, and envision the Goal of the work. Also be mindful of your Middle Pillar and draw L.V.X. down the Pillar to Malkuth when you inhale and up to Tiphareth and out through your hands while you exhale. (Fra. A.I.T. also recommends using your breath to inhale the L.V.X., and as you exhale, sending a cloud of the L.V.X. via visualisation and the will to surround the First Matter that you are working with (the plant). He further states that the work of Alchemy takes place on multiple levels at once - In the Soul (Sulphur), Spirit (Mercury), and the Salt (Body). It is important that you conduct the work with full awareness of this. Following recipes for herbal tinctures/plant Stones without utilizing the energy of L.V.X. or the concentrative powers of the mind is fruitless.)

6. Having chopped the First Matter as finely as possible you now place the matter into the Mortar and grind it in parts with the Pestle. Again remember to focus strongly on the goal, and project the L.V.X. into the First Matter as you exhale.


Maceration

7. When it is ground as fine as you can make it, take the matter and place it in the Mason Jar. Pour the Spirits of Wine over the matter, until the alcohol is twice as high in the jar as the top of the matter. It is important to leave some air in the Jar, as the process of Maceration requires Air to enable a continuous circulation within the flask (i.e. the vaporization and the following liquidization) - a process of sublimation of the essence (i.e. Sulphur and Mercury) and subsequent cohobation. In this process the Soul and Spirit of the plant (its Sulphur and Mercury) are separated from the body (its Salt) through the agency of the Solvent or transferative medium (the Spirits of Wine - which also is a Mercury), i.e. the Alkahest or Menstruum.

8. Do another invocation over the Mason Jar. Trace a circle round it and then the appropriate Hexagrams, Hebrew characters and sigils. Purify with Water and Consecrate with Fire as in the opening. Cover and wrap the Jar with a sheet of linen (Fra. A.I.T. recommends covering the mason jar with Aluminium foil, which he sees as severely diminishing the penetration of mental currents. He believes this is a good thing, as the matter and its Essence will be very sensitive and receptive to mental and astral currents during it's fermentation. Personally I believe this to be somewhat overkill. The linen will do fine.)

9. Set the wrapped Mason Jar in a moderately warm place (i.e. of normal room temperature), where it will not be disturbed. (Fra. A.I.T. prefer to set it high up, where the Light of the Sun will warm it, without people disturbing it. The warmth enables the expansion and contraction, which in turn allow the separation and concentration to take place. Personally I believe there is no need to expose the Mason Jar and its contents in temperatures beyond 20° C.) Leave the Tincture within the dark womb of the Mason Jar for as many weeks as the corresponding Planetary number (if you for example have chosen a Plant sacred to Jupiter, it should be in maceration for four weeks, if sacred to Venus, for seven weeks, etc.)

10. On each Planetary Day (with a weekly interval), and on its Planetary Hour, take out the Mason Jar and unwrap it. Shake it gently with large circulating (clockwise) movements. Put it again on the Altar and perform an additional Planetary invocation. Repeat the invocation over the Mason Jar, purify and consecrate, etc. Rewrap it and put it away again.


Separation

11. At the appropriate Planetary Day and Hour, take out the Mason Jar and unwrap it. Put it on the Altar and perform an additional Planetary invocation. Repeat the invocation over the Mason Jar, purify and consecrate, etc. Now open the Jar. The liquid will be Dark, as it has absorbed the Life of the plant.

12. Separate the Sulphur and Mercury away from the Salt. This is done by putting the funnel into a flask. Put a filtering paper in the funnel and pour the macerated solution over it; the essence (Sulphur & Mercury) will pour into the flask while the Salt will remain in the filter. Squeeze out all liquid from the filter. Put a stopper on the flask containing this part of the Elixir - the tincture. (Fra. A.I.T. recommends vibrating HARP-PAR-KRATES and using the Sign of Silence at this juncture, envisioning the flask surrounded in a blue mist, preventing the penetration of the flask (and thus the tincture) by unwanted thought forms. It seems like a good idea and a nice addition). Put away the flask into a cabinet sealed from light; let no sunlight enter into the tincture at this juncture.


Calcination

13. Take up the dead matter - caput mortum - of the plant, and having placed it within your ceramic container (Crucible), place it upon your heating apparatus. Incinerate the matter with a match, so that the Salt may be refined into it's purest and living state by burning off the dead matter. (Fra. A.I.T. comments: "Remember here the INRI of the Analysis of the Key Word ritual. Igne Natura Renovatur Integra...in Fire, Nature is perfectly renewed!") The alcohol of your Mercury should fuel this burn for some time. Take the glass rod or spoon and poke the dead matter with it so that it will burn thoroughly. When it has finished burning - i.e. when all the alcohol has been combusted - turn on the stove at full heat and let the matter burn into a black ash. This process is called Cineration. (Note: The process of Cineration will emit lots of smoke, so take care to provide with good ventilation while you perform it.) When it is finished turn off the heat and let everything cool down.

14. Place the ash it in the Mortar and grind it down to a fine powder with the Pestle. Then pour it again in the ceramic container, put on the lid and place it on the stove anew and at full heat. Let it now burn into a grey ash. This may take several hours before you turn of the heat. Remember to use the most intense heat that you can apply. This is the process of Calcination proper.

15. Place the grey ash in the Mortar and grind it down again to a fine powder with the Pestle. Then pour it in the ceramic container and place it again on the stove and at full heat. Let it calcinate into a white ash, for as many hours as is necessary. When you are satisfied with the colour, turn of the heat and grind the white ashes with Mortar and Pestle. Scrape this off into a container and save it. The goal is to create as much white ash - the perfectly refined Salt (i.e. purified from the caput mortum) - as possible. (Fra. A.I.T. comments: "The entire process above is Apophis, the separation, the Destroyer. When this is completed, once more say a prayer and enter a meditative state. Contemplate the refined and Seperated parts of the Plant. They are Osiris Slain.") But the refinement of the Salt doesn't end here. The purification of Salt must use both fire and water. After calcination (consecration with fire) of the Salts you must purify them with Water. This is done through filtering and "leaching".


Leaching

16. To do this critical process you must use your distilled water. Fill a measuring cup (the pyrex vessel called a beaker) with distilled water and mix the calcinated Salts in the water (stirring with a glass rod or spoon). Then take a funnel and put another filter on it. Then pour the water through it and into another pyrex measuring cup or beaker. Make sure to press all water from the filter. Repeat this process (with new filters each time) until there is no longer any residue in the filter. The resultant must now be in one of the two pyrex vessels and the Salt fully dissolved in the distilled water (stir with the glass rod or spoon to make sure).

17. Then leach the filtered water . This is done by putting the glass vessel on a moderated heat (on the radiator for example, or putting the vessel in the sandbath and everything on the stove, using the lovest possible heat) and let the water evaporate until nothing remains but white Salt crystals. If they are not remaining white (i.e. discoloured) you may calcinate again and purify with water and leach anew. This is important. The Salt must be crystallic and pure white. Now you are ready for the coagula phase, i.e. of mixing the Salts with the essence (Mercury and Sulphur).


Digestion

18. Repeat the invocation as before (on the Planetary Day and Hour) and now recombine the separated and refined parts (the three Alchemical Principles of Sulphur, Mercury and Salt) into the pyrex flask (spherical with neck - the philosophical egg); put the Salt crystals in the flask and pour over it the combined essence (Sulphur & Mercury, or to use Fra. A.I.T.s words: "The Mercury carries the Sulphur within it's Womb"). Seal it hermetically with a stopper and stir the mixture, not with the rod or spoon but with gentle circulating (deosil) movements.

19. Again repeat the invocation over the flask, purify and consecrate, etc. Now place the flask in the prepared sand bath, and put everything on the stove and on the lowest possible temperature; the ideal temperature for digestion is approximately the temperature of the human body, not over 40° and not below 35° Celsius. Let it now digest for as many weeks as the Planetary number. If you aspire to produce a Plant Stone, instead of a Elixir, you could instead multiply the number of weeks by the number of the Planet. (Fra. A.I.T. recommends letting it rest for at the very least one week, and preferably for one entire Moon Cycle, "so that the mixture may gestate, and the Mercury further absorb the qualities of both the Sulphur and of the refined Salt". He further recommends an altogether different method compared to mine (and I cite him): "After this time [of gestation] has passed, set up your retort, receiving flask (this can be any container, really. It needed be a lab flask [use the pyrex flask - S.R.]) and Butane burner. [See image above for the simple distillation train - S.R.] Enter once more into a meditative, and say a prayer of thanks-giving to the Deity. Pour the tincture into the retort, seal the top, and set the burner Alight. Now, the Mercury will rise from the tincture with the application of heat, and transfer to the receiving flask. Perform the Analysis of the Key Word ritual; during the final Vibration of L.V.X., visualize a pillar of white light descending into the receiving flask and joining the Mercury. This Mercury will contain the refined Essence of the Plant - we have separated, refined, and re-combined the parts of the plant, so that the finished product is of much higher vibration. This new Mercury is the true Tincture, and contains Osiris Risen-treat it as such!" In this instance it is important to recombine the essence (i.e. Sulphur and Mercury) with the Salt again, i.e. perform a cohobation. This process is then repeated several times, as many times as the Planetary number. This is therefore a continuous sublimation and cohobation. Personally I believe that the distillation with retort isn't necessary at all, even though it creates wonderful symbology. It can suffice with the pyrex flask (hermetically sealed) and a moderate source of heat (around the normal temperature of the body) in several weeks, which will create a continuous "circulation" (i.e. a continuous sublimation and cohobation - but within the flask) which probably will make the elixir more potent and the following digestion perhaps even create the much sought after "plant stone".

20. After the set time has elapsed, ending on the Planetary Day and Hour, turn of the stove and remove the pyrex flask from the sand bath. Remove the stopper and pour out the finished elixir or - by the grace of God - the Plant Stone. Place it within a specially marked bottle with stopper.
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21. Take up a glass filled with mineral water and pour some drops into it using a pipet (Fra. A.I.T. instead recommends distilled water and around 2ml of the completed Tincture, which I believe is overkill). Drink this Elixir, and then sit in meditation. Make careful record of the effects you feel in the physical and subtle bodies. You may experience visions as well, so take note of these. They will reveal much to you of the power invoked by the Elixir, and of the plant used in the Elixir it self. Afterwards take out the flask from the Oratory and store it in a dry and light sealed compartment
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22. Perform a banishing of the Planet in question, lesser banishings and a licence to depart.
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Note: Take a few drops of the Elixir in mineral water each morning prior to breakfast. If you have managed to produce a Plant Stone, you will have to make the test: put it in the Crucible on the stove and on full heat. The solid stone will now melt into a wax. Turn off the heat and the wax will solidify into a Stone again. To use it, scrape of a tiny bit (a few grams) and dissolve it into the mineral water before drinking.
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Further Reading and Study
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I recommend a thorough reading of the splendid web page of the Portuguese Alchemist Rubellus Petrinus. He covers the entire Ars Royale of outer Alchemy and Spagery, openly and explicitly in a authorative and initiated fashion you never will se the likes of anywhere else. He is a true master of the art.

There is also a spagyrical course by John Reid III on Adam MacLean's Alchemy Web Site which is supposed to be good.

Then there is the distinguished courses by Jean Dubuis (witten for the now defunct organization Philosophers of Nature) which can be purchased through Triad Publishing. The course pertaining to this discourse is called Spagyrics (A Practical Course in Plant Alchemy).

Of the published literature there is of course the two prime classics:

Alchemist's Handbook: Manual for practical laboratory alchemy (Weiser, ISBN 0-87728-655-8), by Frater Albertus.

Spagyrics: The Alchemical Preparation of Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs (
Healing Arts Press, ISBN 1-59477-179-0), by Manfred M. Junius. This book was use to be called Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy in an earlier edition by Inner Traditions (ISBN 0-89281-060-2).

But I have to mention another and quite a new book, which I warmly recommend, as it contains much of the useful information in the other two prior works, but in a condensated and much more easily accessible format:

Alchemy (Weiser, ISBN 1-57863-379-6), by Brian Cotnoir. It's a brilliant work which even surpasses the other two in bits and parts. But I wouldn't want to be without Frater Albertus' and Junius' works either. So buy them all. They all contain a detailed tabulation of all plants according to Planetary rulership, the necessary missing key in the instructions above. There's also detailed instructions in the art of distillation, and the Circulatum Minor of Urbigerus, the next steps to master after success in this spagyrical process.

Ora et Labora!

S.R.

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