We now speak also in like manner concerning the magisteries of herbs, which indeed are so efficacious that half an ounce of them operates more than a hundred ounces of their body because scarcely the hundredth part is quintessence.” The Sixth Book of the Archidoxies, Concerning Magisteries
Our plant magisteries are considered to be more powerful than elxirs and have been used both topically and internally. The secret is in the volatisation of the plant salts, which once unlocked, will open the energy centres of the body.
Place any herb in a boiling flask and cover with distilled rainwater. Allow to soak for at least 24 hours. Then fasten an alembic to the boiling flask and gently distil the essential oil or volatile sulphur which will come over the recipe. Collect in a separator funnel, keeping the water, known as the phlegm, aside.
Once you have completed the extraction, gather the dead body or mark, grind and place in a iron pot or crucible. Place this on a fire outside and burn the plant body to ash. Gather the ashes and place in a beaker and then wash the ashes with the phlegm which we reserved earlier. Filter the solution and then evaporate the liquid leaving the mineral soluble salts of the herb.
As in the previous lesson we will have a dark soup remaining as well as the plant body. Squeeze the plant body dry and evaporate the soup, which contains the fixed salt of sulphur.
Once we have purified both salts, washing them in distilled rainwater and calcinating them to a whiteness no less than seven times; grind them to a powder. When ready pour our volatile sulphur in a retort add the salts a tea spoon at a time. As the salts hit the oil there will be a fierce reaction and herein lies the missing key. What would make these salts react so fiercely with the sulphur? Meditate on the problem and you will discover the solution.
Once the salts have been spooned onto the sulphur seal the retort and gently distil the oil, we do not want too much heat as this will splatter the helm of the retort. As we near the end of our first distillation or first flight of the eagles as it was known by the ancients, the sulphur in the retort will darken and there will appear along the neck and sometimes at the upper part at the top of the retort a frosted clear salt. Return the distillate back over the Caput Mortuum, seal the retort and repeat the process making sure you allow the retort to cool before recohabiting the oil over the body. This time you may notice less volatised salt in the neck of the retort; this is because the second flight of the eagles has washed the neck of the retort carrying the volatised salts with it. During the third distillation you will notice the salts reappear and on the fourth distillation they will once again be washed into the receiver by the oil. By the sixth and final distillation once again you will notice a frosting on the glass, distil the residue almost to the dry and keep aside the distillate. We now have an essential oil saturated with the volatised salts, but much of the plant salts remain in the neck of the retort. To wash these out we carefully add 150ml rectified spirit of wine and add a clean receiving flask to the retort; distil gently and the mercury will wash the remaining volatised salt, into the receiver.
We now have a mercury, carrying the volatised salts and oil which has repeatedly saturated with plant salts. We now combine them in equal measure into a pelican or circulatory vessel and allow them to circulate in a closed heat for a philosophical month, as we have stated this constant circulation will allow the product to ‘breathe’ and mature and elevate its nature. Indeed the longer we leave our majesty in circulation, the stronger it will be.
If you have managed to succeed in volatising your plant salts, you have achieved what others have not achieved and you will have created a highly potent alchemical product as well as learning some valuable lessons that will allow us to approach the Great Work.