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.


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

lördag 8 maj 2010

The importance of Fire in Alchemy: A case for alchemy and spagery in the vegetable kingdom


Recently certain strong voices in the occult community, and especially in the Golden Dawn community, has been raised against plant alchemy and spagery. These voices holds that ordinary herbal tinctures are far more effective than spagyrical ones, as the heat used in the latter destroys the healing virtues of the plants. One well known Golden Dawn Adept have for some time claimed that his wife did hundreds of alchemically prepared tinctures with absolutely no effect. He holds that alchemically prepared vegetable tinctures have no effect beyond the placebo. Recently others have followed his suit, both on the fora and in private correspondence.

The process of creation of herbal tinctures, as well as homeopathic ones, is identical with the creation of spagyrical or alchemical tinctures in its first phase of Solve, or separation. This is the so-called maceration process where the plant matter is placed in a vessel filled with alcohol. Well, almost identical, the big difference being that in alchemy one only uses alcohol that comes from wine grapes (having more noble virtues), the so-called “spirit of wine”. Herbal tinctures are often created from (more vulgar) grain alcohols, i.e. vodka.

But here the relative likeness ends, as the material residue is discarded with in the creation of the herbal extract – after the separation through filtering. Contrary to this, in spagery and alchemy this only marks the end of the first or beginning phase. In spagery and alchemy alike the material residue is not discarded with but instead purified through an arduous process of calcinations and leachings, after which it is re-united with the extract in the last phase or Coagula.

According to alchemical theory the extract, which is a compound made of alcohol and essential oils of the plant, constitutes the Mercury and Sulphur respectively. From the material base, which in herbalism and homeopathy is discarded with, is finally extracted the Salt, completing the family of the so-called “three alchemical principles”. Thus the maceration or Solve concerns the separation of the three alchemical principles of Mercury, Sulphur and Salt, or rather the former two from the last principle when it concerns creation of tinctures.

Now, to be honest, I cannot really follow the reasoning behind the critique against alchemy in favour of herbalism, at least not thus far. If the Salt is to be discarded with in the herbal tincture but calcinated, leached and rejoined with the essence in the spagyric, I cannot see how the “sulphur” is destroyed by the heat being used.

The Sulphur (essential oil) and Mercury (alcohol) is exactly the same in both herbal tinctures and in spagery. The only difference being that the Salt is calcinated and leached/evaporated, and finally rejoined with the essence (Mercury & Sulphur). But this process doesn’t affect the essence as it is contained in another flask while the Salt is getting purified by leaching and evaporation to crate salt crystals. These white crystals are later put back into the solution in the digestion phase of Coagula.

Thus nothing is taken away from the spagyrical operation in the way of sulphurous properties; instead something is added. The only thing being subjected to any real heat that could destroy anything from a plant is the Salt, not the Sulphur. But the body needs to be killed for it to be able to resurrect.

Granted, in the second part of Coagula the liquid actually is subjugated to “heat”. But the thing is that in spagyrical tinctures you only use moderate heat, not more than that of normal human body temperature. Thus modern alchemists still base their practices on the old masters, such as Paracelsus, who gave us the old tradition to use moderate heat in the coagula phase, i.e. body heat, or the proper temperature used to hatch chicken eggs, or even to place the flask in a heap of putrefying dung, etc.

Also you may use the rays of the sun to heat the compound during the latter digestion, but for other reasons than the mere heat created. Nevertheless, this moderate heat creates a species of gentle circulation of the matter in the sealed flask; it looks as if the liquid matter is “sweating”. Thus heat is extremely important in the digestion phase, the Coagula, after the three alchemical principles has been rejoined. The gentle heat used here “opens up” the matter and helps re-joining the principles into a new whole. The continuous gentle circulation inside the hermetically sealed flask also sublimates the matter, according to alchemical theory, even to a point where it may create a “stone”.

But what basically boils down to in this critique is the theory that heat supposedly destroys the active healing properties or ingredients in vegetable sulphur, or the essential oils, even at very low temperatures, if it is continued prolonged over a longer time period.

I won’t argue against that straightforward chemical analysis of the process. But in alchemy (and spagery as it uses alchemical theory) we are not talking about strict chemistry, even if there of course is the material aspect to consider as well. There are also etheric and astral components to alchemy. That is why there is such great emphasis laid on synchronicity with the astral currents and with astrology. And furthermore, the process of Solve et Coagula itself, I believe, has this manipulating effect of several levels parallel to the purely material.

Alchemy is basically about building the subtle bodies, at least in Internal Alchemy. I believe this also applies to all bodies, i.e. plants as well as minerals. Thus alchemy, as well as spagery, cannot be compared to herbalism, even if it may be some value in comparing these two disciplines, and a possible learning experience for both.

Cooking is sometimes used as a metaphor. We all know that overcooked food taste bad and that valuable nutrition are effectively killed with too much use of heat. Thus a chemist may know in theory how to apply optimal heat to create food of the finest quality. However, I prefer the food of a chef any time before the food coming from the kitchen of a chemist. Now, what am I saying with this? But isn’t it obvious?

Alchemy, as well as cooking, is an art besides being a science. Likewise the alchemist is an artist as well as an scientist; alchemy belongs to the realms of both Hod (Mercury) and Netzach (Venus). Thus it’s not about having the exact ingredients or following cookbooks to the letter. You will never be a proficient alchemist if you don’t develop fingertip sensitivity. It’s more about feeling and timing. It’s about becoming one with the subject matter. Thus in my opinion, alchemy more properly belongs to hermeneutical science rather than natural science, the latter being based upon distance and the dispassionate attitude towards the subject matter.

Alchemy is about what subjective effect is has on a particular individual (which will vary according to his spiritual stature or status), not whatever effect it will have on a population being given a universal panacea, objectively measuring the level of health or alleviation of sickness. Thus you cannot use the same measuring stick on alchemical tinctures and elixirs as you would with herbal tinctures, or classical medicine for that matter.

Furthermore this critique against the use of heat goes contrary to old alchemical philosophy backed up by millennia of teachings and operative laboratory practice. This long standing tradition states that heat actually is the actual agent behind the transmutation process.

This is aptly resumed in the alchemical interpretation of the letters I.N.R.I., or the Key-Word as it is called in the Golden Dawn tradition. According to the alchemical masters it is rendered as Ignis Natura Renovatur Integra, which translates into “Through fire nature is reborn whole” or “All of nature is renewed by fire”. All of nature, human, animal and mineral, as well as vegetable. Thus alchemy is the Path of Fire.

Alchemy in all forms, both dry and humid, both internal and external, lay great emphasis on Fire or Heat. So to properly transmute the matter it must be subjugated to heat. In spagery or plant alchemy this heat is relatively moderate, as has already been stated, compared to the mineral work as an example; the fire in the former is used sparingly. But it must nevertheless by necessity be applied also to the vegetable realm. As above, so below. Thus from an alchemical perspective Fire or Heat is crucial to the process.

The most common method in creating alchemical and spagyrical tinctures and elixirs is to use moderate heat, normally not exceeding 40° Celsius. When creating a “magistry” the heat is increased as the matter is subjugated to a distillation. But on the other hand, the process of distillation subliminates the matter even further. But even in these cases the temperature is kept relatively moderate, normally not up to a violent heat and intense boiling; the traditional way is to create steam without to much boiling of the liquid.

Only in calcinations of the Salt is “violent” heat to be applied, but even here it doesn’t take as high levels as in the dry way of Antimony, for example. In calcinations of the Salt fire is never taken to the fullest potential – but on the other hand it is prolonged for many hours, even days. It is also here that the herbal critique against alchemy may have some actual merit.

Furthermore, in herbalism the matter is discarded with as it is seen as useless as a healing ingredient after it being leached dry from its essence. Granted, it’s true when only considering just after separation and filtering. In this raw state it contains the Caput Mortum or “dead head”; the parts which is not soluble. Hence the Salt is subjugated to heat and calcinated to ash, and in this process taken through the three (or four) stages; nigredo, albedo, citrinas and rubedo. After which it is purified further with water and leaching, which is then evaporated.

In this last process again moderate heat is used, usually the flask being put upon a radiator, mantle piece, or something similar. Now it must become crystallized and optimally should transform into a white salt crystal. So there is no ash being used in the liquid but actually real Salt being produced. In this the Caput Mortum is separated, or the fine from the gross.

This latter process of purification of the Salt with leaching in water and evaporation to create Salt crystals has been a guarded secret of the Alchemists for very long. I was taught it orally from one of my earliest alchemical teachers. Even Frater Albertus refrained from revealing it in his modern classic Alchemist’s Handbook, even if he is very open with the rest of the process. Thus the purification of the Salt is perhaps the most crucial aspect of the work. But after Frater Albertus publication it has been openly laid out by later authors such as Manfred M. Junius in his Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy. Later also Jean Dubuis revealed this method in his Spagery correspondence course; even if it was limited for members of the Philosophers of Nature that course is now widely spread all over the internet.

Thus I decided a while ago to reveal it also on my blog in the essay Spagyrics – The Alchemy of Plants, as it is no longer a secret. Besides, I believe that the Salt is crucial to the alchemical property of the tincture or elixir. This directly translates to the body as being the primary subject of the Great Work. Salt is the material base which grounds the subtle forces in play. But to be able to do this the Salt or body must first be transmuted – the subtle must be separated from the gross (Caput Mortum).

Compared to herbal tinctures spagyrical and alchemically prepared tinctures attracts the subtle forces better. They become as “magnets”, so to speak. This is because of the universal principle of Solve et Coagula and of Fire. Thus alchemically prepared products affects the etherical and astral as well as the physical. This is contrary to herbal products. Although foods or nutrition internalised affects the subtle in a greater or lesser degree, this is supposed to be perfected in alchemically prepared products.

I hold that alchemy primarily works upon the subtle bodies through a material base, much like talismans do in thaumaturgy. Thus alchemy is primarily a spiritual science and art, more properly akin to thaumaturgy than to chemistry. Moreover, alchemical or spagyrical tinctures and elixirs are supposed to be taken primarily for initiatory purposes, not to simply heal an ailment of the physical body. The goal is to transmute the energetic or etheric body, and even more exalted bodies beyond that.

But my guess is that spagyrical and alchemical vegetable tinctures mostly reach the etherical in their effect and that the effect on the higher or subtler bodies is more limited as compared to mineral elixirs. The so-called “Plant Stone” certainly is limited in its effect compared to the Mineral Philosopher’s Stone. But it does clearly affect the etheric body, or energy body, or aura as well as the physical.

On the other hand I speculate that the etherical properties of ordinary herbal tinctures are much more limited because of the fact that the process of separation and reintegration (solve et coagula) and the use of heat is absent, as well as astrological considerations disregarded. The alchemical process on the other hand opens up the plant to these higher levels of existence because of this difference of perspective and the particular modus operandi. This is the actual essence of transmutation. Thus only a truly transmuted matter may affect a subtle body.

Now some state that alchemical and spagyrical products have no effect, other than placebo. But what some call placebo others call energetic manipulation. It is sad to see that such materialistic notions has crept in into the hermetic teachings, or rather a few modern hermetic teachers.

If we would only limit ourselves to the criteria of strict evidence, as it is normally defined in natural science, then we also can discard ordinary herbal tinctures as there is no conclusive evidence in today’s scientific research that it has any remedial effects at all other than that of placebo. This may also be said regarding homeopathics. But personally I don’t believe the word of this “scientifical” research.

Now, I’m not actually that driven to upholding conspiracy theories. But on the other hand I’m also not native. It is a well-known fact that the actual forces pulling the strings in all kinds of modern medicinal research are non other than the pharma companies. They hate herbalism and all other kinds of alternative healing methods, such as homeopathy, as it makes their steady income threatened. It’s that simple. So get rid of that notion once and for all that science is neutral or unbiased.

Thus you may prove anything with “research” if you have the money to fund the work of the scientists. But to be just, the question must be raised of how much comparative study that actually has been done in a controlled environment, between herbal tinctures on one hand and spagyrical or alchemical on the other? People simple base their judgement from what normally occurs in physical matter with essential oils if subjugated to heat, not at all considering what alchemical processes actually may do to the whole person.

I wonder what opinions these occult teachers criticising spagery and plant alchemy have regarding homeopathy? It is a well-known fact that many homeopathic medicines has been potencified to the level of taking away the last molecule of the original plant’s extract. Thus there is only water left and using strict natural scientific criteria, there shouldn’t be any remedial effects beyond that of placebo. Still, homeopathy is much more popular compared to herbalism, at least in Europe. People really feel helped by it where no other help can be found in classical medicine.

I wonder if the potencification of homeopathic extracts actually may gain etheric effects not previously known to alchemists? I know that some of them potencify their tinctures and elixirs using homeopathic principles, especially when using toxic matters. But using the same line of thinking as that against spagery there shouldn’t be any other effect other than that of placebo.

Again, it is sad to se how materialistic instead of holistic ideologies has crept in through the back door of occultism. Instead of looking at matter from the spiritual perspective, suddenly even occultists that I truly respect start to view spirit from the perspective of matter. This is the reversed pentagram formula and the principles behind the 15th Key of Tarot, the Devil.

© Tomas Stacewicz

Contrary to this attitude or onlook on life the occultist and aspiring alchemist should nurture the philosophy which is behind the principle of that Tarot Key which precedes the previous one, the Temperance Card. If one watches these two symbols together it will become obvious that they are closely related but at the same time express diametrically different ideologies.

In the 14th Key the angelic figure is also the alchemist performing an alchemical operation. He holds in his hands Water and Fire, representing the principles of the Lion (Sulphur) and Eagle (Mercury) respectively, which he unites together (Water is poured upon the Sulphurous Lion and Fire upon the Mercurial Eagle). This is symbolical of the principle of Solve et Coagula, the separation and unification of the contrary elements. In the background we see the true agent behind this uniting principle in the form of an erupting volcano, i.e. the Fire of the Athanor. However here the symbolism has been veiled and taken the form of a radiant Crown; in the esoteric version it should be depicted as a volcano.

© Tomas Stacewicz

Now these two versions of the Tarot Keys comes from the deck created by Paul Foster Case, once a Adept of the Golden Dawn, and I recommend reading any works by that author regarding these two cards. In the original version of the Golden Dawn, on which these two pictures are based, the symbolism goes even further in its alchemical contents. On the Temperence Card is depicted a cauldron under which burns a fire, representing sublimation or distillation and circulation. This is also the occult principle behind this card and the Hebrew Letter to which it is assigned; Samekh and the 25th Path attributed to Sagittarius the Archer.

On the Temple Floor of a Golden Dawn Temple, which occultly depicts the diagram of the Tree of Life, this is the point of the rendering of the Veil of Paroketh, the transiting principle which sublimates the Soul from the Outer world of the Elements to the Inner Realm of the Planets, or the Astral. This also represents the transition from the Outer Order into the Inner Order, or from being but an Initiate into being a Adept. In this work the interior Fire is essential and here we have to remember that Saggittarius is a Fiery Sign.

In the version as created by Aleister Crowley, another former Golden Dawn Adept, this symbology is even more true to the original Golden Dawn Card. Understanding the alchemical significance of this Key Crowley also renamed it as “Art”, as in the Royal Art, an original term used for alchemy. Thus in the central crowned figure of the Card we see a Royal Artist.

Looking at the card we see behind the Artist the famous alchemical axiom of Basilius Valentinus, “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem”, which translates into Visit the Interior Parts of the Earth; by Rectification Thou Shalt Find the Hidden Stone.” From this is made the word V.I.T.R.I.O.L. With Rectification is meant a repeated distillation, again alluding to fire and heat. In Crowley’s version the alchemist , in the form of a Hermaphrodite, unites the two Principles together over the cauldron to emphasise the last phase of the Work, the Coagula.

As can be seen, the evidence for the use of the modus operandi of separation and reunification – Solve et Coagula – and that of the transmuting agent of Fire is abundant in the symbolism of occultism and alchemy. The end result of both the Lesser Circulation, or Lesser Work of the plant kingdom, and that of the Greater Circulation (the Great Work) is the creation of the Universal Androgyne or Hermaphrodite. This symbol represents the sucessfull unification of the previously separated principles of the Sun and the Moon, or Sulphur and Mercury respectively, and its subsequent incarnation into the ressurected body or Salt.

Now, I have personal experience of taking alchemically elixirs for at least one decade. Both me and my wife (and Soror Mystica) have taken an alchemical elixir partly using vegetable matter. I know for a fact that the effect goes beyond that of placebo, as it has had a direct detrimental effect when taken in to much dosage (even if it was quite minuscule). After learning to use the proper dosage through experimentation I was instead relieved from sickness for a long period of time, not typical of me.

This is how alchemical and spagyrical tinctures and elixirs primarily should be used; by the alchemist him- or herself. Only seldom is it to be given to others, especially non-initiates. Traditionally in Rosicrucian circles the initiate were forbidden to administrate any alchemical remedies without the expressed permission of the Chiefs. As an typical example, in Sigismund Bacstrom’s Society of the Rosy Cross one swore not to:
encourage wickedness and debauchery, thereby offending God, administer the Medicine for the human body, nor the Aurum Potabile to a patient or patients infected with the venereal disease. [And also] …never [to] give the fermented metallic medicine for transmutation, to any Person living, no not a single grain, unless the person is an initiated and received Member and Brother of the Society of the Rosy Cross.
This may be compared to the Obligation of the Adeptus Minor who promises not to “make any symbol or Talisman in the Flashing Colours for any uninitiated person without a special permission from the Chiefs of the Order”.

Thus elixirs and tinctures are primarily to be used for self-healing and initiation, as stated above, to facilitate the purification, strengthening and development of the subtle bodies, using a outwardly material substance which is highly charged through a process of transmutations, using the principles of Solve et Coagula and that of Fire, to create virtues and healing properties on the levels of the ethereal and beyond.


13 kommentarer:

Unknown sa...

Care VH Fra SR,

Thank you, a wonderful post. I hadn't realized that Spagery was under attack; and by initiates as opposed to mundane chemists/materialists at that. Is the formula you used to create the elixir you and your wife take a traditional, under the Rose affair, or something developed during your personal researches?


Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care Frater A.I.T.,

Thank you for your kind words. The elixir in question is part of the Adeptus Minor curriculum and is sub rosa. It is a secret processing which crowns the alchemical work of that Grade.

Fraternally in L.V.X.,

Fr. A. sa...

Dear Frater S.R.,

If this refers to my recent criticism of Frater Albertus, the content of my words should be reviewed and accurately stated. I studied Spagyrics and Eletrohomeopathy in Mumbai. Thus, under academics with actual text books. One of my criticisms was the whole scale borrowing of material from Electrohomeopathy (also called Spagyric Medicine) in Frater Albertus' material. My bigger criticism is that Spagyrics is not Alchemy. Something I have heard the HOGD/RO et AO state repeatedly.

I practice Alchemy and I do not consider Spagyrics to be Alchemy. Although there are similarities.

At the same time, I am a Naturopathic Physician and have used, prepared, and compared literally thousands of remedies clinically. I am basing any practical criticism on whether Patients were healed or not healed, etc. And I understand the full medical dynamics of using the Polarity centers, dilutions, potencies, etc. There are still some Spagyrics I use, but I do not use the Albertus contemporary plagiarized techniques, and I actually give credit to the souces. Frater Albertus failed to provide much in the way of this, giving the mistaken idea that this was a vast recovery of ancient material. He simply redressed "Electrohomeopathy" which is often called "Spagyrics" these days.

I have found the original Mattei remedies far mor effective than the later derivations.

However, Herbal Tinctures and Homeopathy (which is based greatly on Paracelsus and has a long track record) to be practically more effective.

I did not state that "Alchemical Preparations" were ineffective, however, I did indeed criticize Frater Albertus.

I am amazed that my suggestion to follow a path more in line with the von Welling, GuRC, and Michael Maier has been ignored and not mentioned in your blog.

Warm Regards,
Olen Rush

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care Frater Olen,

Thank you for making clear your standpoint in this matter. But no, this was not a criticism against you personally. Most of the bulk of this text is the result of a discussion I have had with another Adept I highly respect, as I likewise do respect you and your erudite knowledge.

However I have noticed your critique against Frater Albertus before and also that you consider herbal remedies to be generally more effective than spagyrics. So I have seen your recent statements as part of this movement in the Golden Dawn against spagyrics and plant alchemy. If I have misread you, please accept my apologies.

I'm happy to hear that you are following the path of alchemy as presented by the old Masters. As we are both aware they seldom concerned themselves with processes involving the Plant Kingdom.

If it is true what you have stated, regaring Fra. Albertus plagiarizing Mattei's works, I understand your critique. I also recognize the limits of his works. However, we have to be aware that Albertus was consciously holding back on his information in his books, such as the true preparation of the Salt, etc. I also have never liked the idea of using modern techiques such as the use of Soxtlet extractors, etc. However, there is nothing actual false or wrong said in his works, only that it is not complete.

Also, I personally don't find the borderline between alchemy and spagery as clear cut as you do. As you also state, there are similarities between them two. I can also see several cross-overs. They both use the principle of Solve et Coagula, and they both use heat to facilitate a transmutation.

Thus, my biggest issue is the notion that heat and fire is detrimental to the process of creating healing remedies in the Plant Kingdom. In my opinion, this goes against alchemical philosophy as I have understood it. We also have to remember that many alchemical processes advocate the use of low and gentle heat, but heat nevertheless.

Concerning the attitude of the HOGD/A+O, it regards seeing external processes as “lunar” and analogical, in contrast to internal processes which are “solar” and direct. So, basically one could consider everything but the internal processings as “spagery”, in the same manner as alchemist of the external kind often refer to alchemy as “direct” and spagery as “analogical”. There are however IMO also perfectly valid external processes of alchemy, as well as there exist a spagery of the mineral world. Personally I try to nurture a humble approach to these matters, not always reflecting the official doctrine of the HOGD/A+O. I also practice both the internal and external paths, and this teaching is also reflected in my Temple.

”Electrohomeopathy” seems to be a highly interesting subject, that I havn’t heard anything about before you bringing it up but would like to learn more about. I find the idea of “electricity” particularly faschinating. Perhaps this is something similar of what I was referring to as etheric effects? Is there any litterature or web-sites that you could recommend?

I’m also happy to hear that you are a practicing Naturopathic Physician. Again, I find the idea of the vital energy in Naturopathy as a fascinating concept. This perhaps again corroborates my ideas of etheric and astral manipulations created by spagyric and alchemical preparations?

I would be thrilled to hear your opinions in these matters.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

An interesting comment was made by the famous Golden Dawn Adept and author of may books I was referring to who believs that spagyrics is all about placebo, as a response to my essay.

He questions the validity of my view that the use of alchemically and spagyrically prepared tinctures and elixirs should primarily be for personal use as a species of initiation. He holds that I have constructed a fantasy with this notions, and that historically many alchemist and spagyricists, such as Frater Albertus' students, regularily sell their products to pay their bills. He also mentions Manred M. Junius in this context. He also claims that Paracelus administred his spagyrical medicines to the sick.

Of course there has been "alchemists" who have sold their products, both in the past and now. But I'm referring to a traditional Hermetic and Rosicrucian context, and it is hard to ignore the fact that most of them within such a traditional context, as Bacstrom's Society of the Rosy Cross, or the Gold und Rosenkreutz, in fact only administred medicine under very controlled circumstances and primarily used it for personal transformation.

We have to remember that most so-called "alchemist", both in history and today, are not more than "puffers" or "souffleurs", trying to sell anything to the gullible for a fast buck. History is ripe with this. That's why alchemy has had such a bad reputation.

For the last century spagery has also come into the hands of non-initiates who often have somewhat lost the hermetic context in their work and tried to make it as close to "medicine", compared to homeopathy, etc. The creation of spagyrical factories who sells products through mail is a quite modern invention. This has made spagery divorce itself somewhat from alchemy. Manfred M. Junius belongs to this latter category, although I appreciate his works and acknoledge his erudite knowledge of the spiritual aspect of spagery.

Looking from the oriental perspective, this is the difference between the alchemy of the Nath and Rasa Siddhas, and that of Ayur-Veda. While the latter is based upon the former, it has been divorces somewhat and become more of a common medicine to treat ordinary sickness.

But true Masters of the Art, both in the orient and occident, knows better. Alchemy is for personal transformation. Compare this with Magic. Is Theurgy mainly about consecrating and selling Talismans throuh the internet? Or is it perhaps a path to internal transformation?

Strange that Adepts of such a high standing cannot grasp such basic Hermetic notions. In my Order I was taught otherwise, and this is also what I teach to my students.

Regarding Paracelsus, yes he did work as a physician using his spagery to heal the sick. The question is if he did this for his fame and fortune or if he did it out of compassion? Remember the admonition of the Fama, "to heal the sick and that for gratis".

A proficient alchemist, a Adept of high standing or Master, may of course use his knowledge to heal the sick, regardless of it being through alchemy or magic. But that is not for the ordinary initiate, especially not the Neophyte. Also it is never about commerce. Paracelus surely was not a Neophyte; he was a Alchemical Master of high standing. He was not only given the right to heal, it was his duty.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

Frater YShY sa...

Good to read your summary of opinions. Here are mine again, from my original emails.

Maceration is but an alternative method to Alchemy and Spagyry, which are both different traditions from herbal maceration. When done properly, distillation makes an excellent essential oil, that is a real treasure. However, the distillation process has a few drawbacks and difficulties for the would-be home-Alchemist.

1) Steam is actually hotter than boiling, and while for most purposes distillation is a fine method, but there is a growing concern in aromatherapy that some of the higher esters are destroyed in heat, so care must be taken. This possible concern is now being addressed in Spagyry by some.

2) Heat denatures plants in varying amounts.

3) Time denatures as well. This is both in the amounts of time that the product is in processing, and the shelf-life.

4) The optimal distillation method of time and temp will differ from plant to plant. This requires a firm control and understanding of temperature and time. This is problematic for home-made and professional labs alike.

5) Evaporation at 8 or so degrees over a long period of time is risking food-borne illness. A month of warm evaporation can make a sour, rotting mess of the plant if done incorrectly.

One alternate method being tried for several hundred years is to use the maceration method for the more fragile medicinal plants. Recently, some have coupled this cold tincture method with the corresponding ritual work from Alchemy or Z-2.

I don't think any of the Adepts we know who are not-mentioned by name in your post actually denigrate Spagyry or Alchemy on a spiritual level. Furthermore, I suspect that some unwittingly used overly vigorous steam distillation, which is tough on essential oils. In my opinion, the fusion of the spiritual and scientific; the magical and the methodical, is advantageous to both patient and Adept.

Thanks for stirring the pot again in a most interesting way, nice to hear about your work.


Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care et V.H. Fra. YShY,

Thank you for your valuabe contribution. About heat and time denaturating the plant. Well, yes. All processes of development, on different levels, "kills" components of the old, so to create something new.

The process of separating the fine from the gross is a very painful one and from one perspective may seem detrimental to the old structure.

Alchemical symbolism is filled with this imagery, decapitated and dismembered kings, etc. The black stage of nigredo is that of putrefaction, etc. The alchemical processes may seem quite "ugly" and violent.

As they say: "You have to break some eggs to make yourself a omelette".

But there is also the other component not recognized in natural science nor in herbalism, that of ressurection into a new life or state of being.

Thus I believe something is added in the process which perhaps is not even measuable on the purely physical level. What I'm trying to bring into the discussion is the level beyond the purely physical.

But on the other hand, I agree with you that both the spiritual and scientific can benefit mutually from cooperation. Hermeticism is about blending art and science in the first place.

As an example, Magic and Theurgy (and to some extent Alchemy) has benefited from the modern research of psychoanalysis and psychology, such as Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Carl Gustav Jung and Melanie Klein, etc.

But in this kind of fusion of modern concepts with the traditional, we have to take care not to reduce the experience and wisdom carried over through millenia. On the contrary it must enchance it.

To still use the example of the Magical Arts, even if we are benefied in believeing that demons and spirits are to bee seen as part of the microcosm - our own repressed complexes of the unconscious - we still must'n disregard the fact that there also are corresponding macrocosmic forces at play.

However it's even better if modern scientific findings may corroborate old concepts, but explained in a new and pragmatically adapted format. To continue with the analogy of Magic, there has always been a emphasis layed upon the relation between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Thus there must have been concepts of internal spiritual forces, both high and low, also in the minds of the ancients.

Thus we mustn't throw out the babe with the bath water. This is also important when we are addressing the topic of Alchemy and Spagery.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care et V.H. Fra. YShY

You wrote: "Evaporation at 8 or so degrees over a long period of time is risking food-borne illness. A month of warm evaporation can make a sour, rotting mess of the plant if done incorrectly."

Yes, if in water. But in the ordinary creation of a spagyric tincture or elixir everything is drained and soaked in alcohol (Mercury). Thus the matter is conserved in alcohol; it cannot rot. Mercury is both the solvent and the preserver. At least what I have been taught.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

Fr. A. sa...

Dear Frater S.R.,

Thank you for the understanding and insightful response. I tried to respond to some of the questions and provide some further information, but I believe my comment was too lengthy for the reply setting.

So, I published it via my blog here:


Warm Fraternal Regards,

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care Frater Olen,

Thank you for your valuable contribution. It is obvious from your blog and previous answer on this thread that you are the one amongst the debaters (including myself) who holds the most balanced and sober position. I would like to quote important parts of your blogpost for the benfit of my readers:

"...Herbal Medicine is actually as Rosicrucian as Spagyrics are. [...] Michael Maier in 'Themis Aurea'...discusses the value of simplicity when effecting cure. [...] he does stress...matching the remedy to the patient's Temperament. In Spagyric Medicine (as in Alchemy, Herbal Medicine, TCM, etc) remedies should be used according to Temperament or Constitution.

"The Constitutional Assessment will in itself determine remedy, mode of application, potency etc.

"The Vital Force of the Patient cries out for the correct remedy and cares... only that it 'match the Temperament of the Sufferer' which is a direct reflection of the tortures being undergone by the Vital Force.[...]

"This is why Maier advocates curative 'experience' above all else... and speaks quite highly of plain old folk remedies.

"I have repeatedly used the Mattei remedies, and single as well as combination spagyric remedies for a few decades. However, having a wide variety of herbal tinctures made from Native wildcrafted herbs is clinically more pragmatic... and if one reviews Maier it is completely Rosicrucian, and pragmatically and practically Alchemical in its own right. Culpeper often speaks of Alchemy in his Herbal, and points out where this is of greater benefit in some preparations. Hahnemann and Dr Clarke were keen students of Paracelsus, as were Dr's Scudder, Burnett, and Rademacher. [...] Our modern Western Vitalist paradigm is overtly Alchemical in many ways. [...]

"The advocates of the original Mattei remedies were the modern pioneers of Spagyrics, thus Albertus used the same terminology such as Spagyric Zimpel, etc...

"Homeopathy was based on Paracelsus, and Electrohomeopathy was an outgrowth of such studies as well. It is called 'Electro' because at the time, the sometimes rapid response was compared to Electricity. And there are specific 'Electricities' based on Colour as well. The original Mattei remedies are covered in texts by Count Mattei. However, I highly recommend the contemporary works of Dr K.T. Yevetkar ('Textbook of Pharmacy on Electrohomeopathy', 'Organon of Electro Homeopathy') and Dr Manas Rajan Das especially ('Electro-Homeo Pharmacopedics' and the small but outstanding 'Principles of Electro-Homeopathic Treatment and Organon of Medicine') Dr Debasish Kundu is good as well('Pharmacodynamics in Electropathy'), these are small but interesting textbooks for Electro-homeopathic and Spagyric (there is/was no distinction made between the 2 in India) Medical students in India. [...]

"All remedies no matter how they are prepared have limitations. To recognize this is not overly critical, but quite necessarily pragmatic.

"On a practical level, knowing how to apply Herbal Medicine can be taught in a short time period with obvious curative benefit. It can take years to learn to apply dilutions, let alone proper preparation where the remedy has received the Solar or Lunar/Stellar imprint, where the Polarity Points are, how to properly assess Constitution, and the basic examination skills that are conducive to the use of such complex mechanisms.

"However, after we start talking exposure to the 'Dew of the Stars' and the 'Heavenly Fire-Water/Water-Fire' and such, then we have left Spagyrics and begin to enter actual Alchemy... which in Knowledgeable hands can be done totally with the devices of Nature, if one chooses to work outside the small laboratory and opt for the more grand one."

Here ends my quotation of Fra. Olen.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

I just answered a query on my Orders yahoo-forum about if it teaches alchemy and what kind of training he could expect from his membership. I believe my answer relates to the subject matter of this thread, so I will share it with my readers:

"Congratulations for joining the HOGD/A+O, one of few Orders today who sits on the true Arcana of the Royal Art. I believe you will find your training there enlightning, as we both are a Magical and a Alchemical Order, as well as a Qabalistic and Hermetic. We teach the so-called 'Trivium Hermeticum', i.e. the three hermetical disciplines of Magic, Alchemy and Astrology. In this we regard Magic and Alchemy constituting the two Pillars of Solomo (Magic) and Hermes (Alchemy), while the middle Pillar uniting them both being that of Astrology.

"However, you have to understand that you first must prepare yourself for the alchemical training in our Order through the formulae of Theurgy (Ceremonial Magic). This not only in respect of the Internal Alchemical path that we teach on the highest levels of our initiatory system, but also as regards the simplest of spagyrical and alchemical preparations of tinctures and elixirs of the Plant Kingdom. In our Order you will learn to integrate our Magical formulae with that of alchemical laboratory practice.

"You also have to understand that Spagery and Plant Alchemy is properly learnt at the level of Adeptus Minor in our Order, and that we only in the Outer Order teach some very basic alchemical preparations of the plant matter. We regularily have lectures on the members section of our web site, on this subject. We also have several knowledgeble Adepts and Senior members who can answer any questions you may have regarding Spagery and Alchemy on our Tutorials Forum."

Here I referred the querent to my essay called 'Spagyrics - the Alchemy of Plants', which gives a example of how a Golden Dawn initiate integrates Magic with Alchemy, with the aid of Astrology:


Then I continued:

"You have to understand however that we primarily regard Spagery and Alchemy as a way to transmute ourselves, and to heal our own bodies, physical and suble alike, instead of healing others or dabbling with medicine. Healing of your neigbour also becomes an important part of Adeptship in our Order, but not until one has reached a high level of proficiency in the Royal Art and the spiritual attainment which follows with that."

Then I referred him to this present essay so that he could grasp the the Philosphy on these subjects that is common amongst our Adepts.

I hope by this quote I will get my reader on the right track on his or her work.

Ora et Labora!

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

1141 sa...

I think what may be confusing some people is a certain school of thought where the three elements are completely separated before being recombined. In this case, the Sulfur is usually obtained through steam-distillation, in which case I could see some validity to the heat-theory.

Of course, this ignores the "proper" way of separating the Sulfur from raw plant-matter, being the use of the Alkahest, very concentrated red-wine wine vinegar in the plant kingdom. Watching the Sulfur rise to the surface of the flask after addition of the Alkahest is amazing, and certainly uses no heat that might "kill" our Sulfur.

There is also the matter of the technique of fermenting one's own wine along with the body of our herb before steam-distilling it to a high concentration to yield the Mercury. In the opinion of some, the heat here drives the Mercury from the alcohol. There are techniques, of course, of very low-temperature distillations, never rising above body temperature or so.

Alkahest-extracted Sulfur and living, high-proof, unheated Mercury added to the calcined Salt of our herb yields a truly magical product.

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care 1141,

Thank you for your valuable contribution to this thread. Obviously I agree with you.

Interesting not regarding the alkahest. So you use red wine vinegar? Not ordinary "spirit of wine"?

In Licht, Leben und Liebe