The following provides a narrative outlining Alchemical theory and practice on how to produce oil of antimony (via humida) for the specific purpose of achieving much easier evocation to visible manifestation of various Angels, Genii spirits etc. Read an interview with the author of this post.
What is Alchemy?
There are various online descriptions of Alchemy which usually mention that Alchemy may have originated in ancient Egypt, the land of Khem with its rich black Nile delta soil. Most descriptions I found when I decided to start practicing Alchemy seemed inadequate and failed to characterize the essence of the discipline. The only actual useful thing I found out was that Alchemy is identified as a precursor to the modern-day science of chemistry. Therefore, I will now do my absolute best to provide a description of Alchemy as it exists in the modern day ….as I understand it
Alchemy has the following theoretical structure and practical approach by which it describes, examines and manipulates existence.
1. The Alchemical theory is that many things in existence are alive not just biological organisms, also Alchemy posits a form of emergent monism.
2. The Alchemical position is that all things, all materials are kept within physical existence only because they have caput mortem (dead head) contained within them. If any object, substance or material loses its caput mortem by some means the rest of the substance will naturally tend to disappear from the physical world and return back to the more spiritual non-material realms of God’s creation.
3. Based on this world view the art and science of Alchemy involves removing the caput mortem or dead head from a material and finding a way to keep this pure materia from disappearing from the physical. This purified materia can then be integrated with other materia. By co-joining these materia the Alchemist is mixing two forms of life e.g. vegetable life and mineral life or animal life and mineral life, for the purpose of spiritual evolution of both
Here is an one example of the late Jean Dubuis very valuable Alchemical observations.
“1. The energy liberated from the mineral realm by the alchemical operations is one which has never known the fall (from grace); consequently, it can regenerate human beings.”
Mineral Alchemy by Jean Dubuis. Vol 2 lesson 38 page 2, 2nd para Some people might immediately consider the physical regeneration primarily, however there is also an essential and necessary spiritual regeneration that must occur alongside any physical change. The human activity of Alchemy is distinctive compared to attributes and behaviors exhibited by other animal species. Alchemy also expresses features of human behavior and activity that are only partially expressed by modern science. Alchemy involves the use of fire to for example heat a distilling flask or burn/calcinate the subject materia. No other animal species on our planet is able to deliberately make fire or seeks to put out fires. As mentioned previously Alchemy has a spiritual or religious component, no other species shows religious or spiritual behaviors and activities as far as we can observe. The Alchemy paradigm has a spiritual as well as empirical component. Therefore, methods and procedures are always predicated and implemented from a spiritual as well as empirical standpoint unlike chemistry and other modern sciences which are entirely empirical. In this respect Alchemy totally ignores Occam’s razor
Alchemy has a spiritual/religious as well as a practical framework, it uses fire. No other animal species has been found that express behaviors in a clearly spiritual/religious manner or uses fire. No modern science incorporates religious or spiritual ideas into its research and methodology whereas Alchemy does. Alchemy and by this I mean Laboratory Alchemy is only performed by human beings, it is a spiritual undertaking the results of which can be measured by physical results. The specific practical Alchemy I am going to describe is for the direct purpose of helping with visible manifestation of non-physical beings. In ritual magic achieving this type of manifestation is sometimes called evocation.
What is Evocation?
Evocation in ritual magick commonly involves a magician in a circle evoking to visible manifestation some kind of non-physical being which usually presents itself in humanoid form or as an animal in the triangle of art. Sometimes the entity appears in a fantastical or chimeric form, Angel wings, sometimes an amalgam of human and animal etc. The challenge for me when I was starting this work was to get the being to actually show itself visibly, I could see it at the astral but it was not present at the physical. One solution sometimes employed by magicians is to burn some kind of incense whose ingredients are strongly related or attributed to the characteristics of the entity evoked. One very excellent general use herb to burn for the ‘smoke body’ of the genii you are evoking is Dittany of Crete. In Alchemical terms Dittany of Crete specifically relates to the planet earth. I found that mixing some herbs relating to the genii to be evoked with a load of Dittany of Crete was a good approach. My early successes with Evocation to visible manifestation required a great deal of this incense. The whole workroom would be thick with incense smoke to the point that the walls with whatever magical emblems I had fixed on them were completely obscured and no longer visible. Even that was not sufficient a feather fan was employed by my wife to gently waft more concentrated smoke across the circle into the triangle whilst also ensuring hot coals and fresh incense were always generating even more thick smoke. This obviously raised the possibility of hallucination and phantasm and it was only when for example the task assigned to the spirit was completed that we could be certain we had not just been seeing stuff due to excessive smoke inhalation. There was unsurprisingly always a splitting headache the next day. Here in the U.K. smoke alarms are fitted in most houses including mine and if I wish to perform evocation using incense I need to use a stepladder to pull the various detectors around the house out of the ceiling which I find tiresome. These days I employ more Franz Bardon methodology and can load electromagnetic fluid into the triangle of art to help with visible manifestation and also use a magic mirror. Yet I find without at least a little incense smoke the physical manifestation is faint and insufficient. A shewstone for the genii to appear in visibly is an effective solution, no smoke required. Evaporating an essential oil attributed to the sphere of the genii serves as a good replacement for the incense. There are however some scenarios where full physical manifestation is needed. For example the swearing of an oath by the genii where the magician extends the wand across the circle into the triangle of art and the genii places its hand on the other end of the wand to take the oath. The question for me arose: What kind of Alchemical oil would serve well as a basis, an accumulator if you will, for physical manifestation of genii?….and not set off the smoke detectors.
In Alchemy the ‘Sulphur’ of a metal is kind of like an essential oil from a plant that is instead extracted from the metal. Very importantly this oil in it’s final confected form contains absolutely none of the original metal from which it was derived. As I mentioned earlier the plant Dittany of Crete is attributed to the planet earth, Antimony is a metal that is also attributed to earth and has been the subject of Alchemical research for over a thousand years. Therefore, I started research and later on Lab work to obtain the oil or ‘Sulphur’ of antimony in the safest possible manner. This oil of antimony I planned to then use like an essential oil evaporating it during evocation to see if it facilitated good physical manifestation of the evoked genii. The menstruum Previously in my Alchemical work I had researched and developed a reasonably easy method of making what in the modern day is called the radical vegetable menstruum. I had used this to extract oil of copper and also oil of iron. My hope was that this radical vegetable menstruum would similarly extract from antimony. So the first step was to make some more radical vegetable menstruum (I had run out). Mix of acetic acid and alcohol in a ‘roomy’ flask.
Method for radical vegetable menstruum
1. Mix in equal parts alcohol and acetic acid by volume. Put this mixture in a large glass container for example a carboy/demijohn filled to about one third, seal airtight and leave at room temperature for 6 months. This liquid will auto-esterise and slowly and become ethyl acetate with water. You will know the reaction is complete because the liquid will smell strongly like those ‘pear drops’ boiled sweets. (If alcohol sits on potassium carbonate for an extended length of time it goes yellow as shown in photo.)
2. Using a fractionating column distill off the ethyl acetate from the water and other residue. Repeat if needed a high concentration of ethyl acetate is required.
3. Heat plant potash to around 550 centigrade until it becomes a light grey colour. Once the potash has cooled put half aside, store airtight to keep dry. Add acetic acid to the rest. This will produce an amalgam of mainly potassium acetate with a lesser amount of calcium acetate (usually about 25%-33%). Evaporate (not boil) this acetate liquid gently, do this outdoors in dry weather until only the white acetate salts remain.
4. Put the salts in a retort and add the ethyl acetate, gently distill the ethyl acetate off the salts, collect this liquid and put it aside in an airtight glass container. Then do this again for a total of at least 7 times.
A modern Claisen adapter and distillation train will help with bumping but I prefer to use a retort. The first run should be fine, from the second distillation onwards with fresh ethyl acetate might start ‘bumping’ with semiliquid salts splashing about. At this point allow the retort to cool, take the stopper out of the retort and just evaporate all the liquid out slowly over a couple weeks, losing half of the ethyl acetate you have prepared. I recommend it be once again outdoors until the salts have completely dried out within the retort. Otherwise, the house will reek of pear drops. You will then have to continue with a modern distillation train with a Claisen adapter; distilling the ethyl acetate off the salts several times is an important part of the praxis.
Here there is a little oily liquid remaining discolouring the salts so just a little longer perhaps or even dry distil from this point.
Some ‘chuckleheads’ often found in online Alchemy groups suggest that spiritual progress and volatilisation of salts (levity) are directly linked. That salt volatilisation is a physical indicator of spiritual evolution; this is complete nonsense. Salts rising off and accreting higher up is actually unavoidable and nothing to do with how spiritual a person might or might not be. This rising up and accreting of salts generally occurs when distilling or boiling liquids which contain salts in solution. Rather it is that in Alchemy, changes found in the natural world are emulated where possible in the laboratory. So in this instance hopefully you can distill off 1 lot of ethyl acetate before you get bumping. Bumping is where the mixture suddenly erupts in the flask and the solids you wish to separate from the liquid via distillation can spit forth across the still head and end up in the receiving flask which obviates the purpose of the distillation. With the second quantity of ethyl acetate you may start to get bumping, if this occurs evaporate that liquid away gently over several weeks. Then transfer to a modern distillation train and use a Claisen adapter for the other distillations. Any water left in the boiling flask slowly evaporate away then put the liquid back (ethyl acetate) in and continue the distillations. Use as much of your ethyl acetate as you can.
5. Once evaporated, your salts are now ready for the pyrolytic distillation. The salts must fill no more than one third of the retort because potassium acetate will liquify then bubble and froth as the heat breaks it down. Strongly heat the dry salts, initially water will come out of the nose of the retort. Once this has finished submerge the nose of
the retort in your ethyl acetate liquid and continue to strongly heat the salts. As the salts start to foam a white mist will bubble through the ethyl acetate liquid giving off puffs of
white mist as the bubbles break the liquids surface. When the pyrolytic distillation of the salts has finished and no more white mist is being produced remove the nose of the retort from the liquid. Seal airtight the glass container with the ethyl acetate and put this aside whilst you wait for the equipment you have used to cool. Safety note: wear a protective visor, a motor cycle helmet for example because the borosilicate retort could fail during this work, it could potentially break and spray hot glass fragments. The burnt stuff left in the retort when cold you can add acetic acid to, when the reaction finishes filter until clean and evaporate, do this outdoors the same as before this will recycle some of the salts used. These salts can be incorporated into your next batch.
The photos are a mix of recent work and the same process from a few years ago. So we see the salts liquifying and breaking down also the helm of the retort shows salts forming as the pyrolysis progresses and towards the end of cooking off the salts we see the misty smoke in the retort.
6. The circulation. Take the unused half of the potash salts you had set aside and put in the bottom of a boiling flask, add the ethyl acetate liquid you have been working with. You are going to carefully warm this to effect a continuous refractory cycle. Put a balloon at the top of the column initially, keep letting the air out of the balloon and feel along the height of the column to ensure that the very top of the column remains completely cold as you gradually increase the heat. Once you have established the correct temperature and the balloon no longer inflates put another boiling flask on the top of the column to close and seal the system. Use vacuum grease at each joint to ensure the system is airtight. Leave the liquid to circulate rising up and dripping back down for at least a lunar month. After this time period you will know if a longer period of refractory circulation is needed. The clamps must not hold the column tightly, they must instead merely keep equipment loosely in place allowing a little movement, if the equipment is clamped too firmly what could happen is that as the glass warms and expands your equipment may break if held in place rigidly. If you have an alchemical pelican use this instead. However in the absence of a pelican modern lab glassware can serve in the way I have shown. When it is done carefully decant your vegetable menstruum, store in an airtight flask and keep away from daylight. The slush remaining in the flask smells a bit like engine sump oil, as a point of interest put this stinky stuff in another airtight flask and incubate, see what happens. One final observation on this method: If you only have a small amount of salts to dry distil or the cook off does not seem too dirty it may not be necessary to put the set aside potash in the flask for circulation. If the retort has only a little brown discolouration in the nose when you are finished adding the potash for the circulation may not be required. For my most recent batch I did divination, as well as observation and inspection of equipment/products and these inclined me to omit adding the additional potash to the flask for the circulation. As I mentioned earlier use vacuum grease at the joints and the top of the glass column should be stone cold. I salute your good fortune if you have a pelican which is better for this kind of circulation personally I do not recommend a Soxhlet extractor. For myself I view the vigreaux column as an analogue for Jacob’s ladder, I have found that a Kabbalah paradigm provides a useful subject for meditation whilst observing the circulation.
You now have a radical vegetable menstruum though there could be an excess of water present. A plant extraction with dried herb followed by distillation to recover the menstruum will remove much of the water as well as providing a good quality spagyric. Preliminary plant extraction with vegetable menstruum. Obtain dried Dittany of Crete herb, put it in a flask and add your vegetable menstruum. I suggest that there should be a width of at least 3cm of liquid with the plant matter initially floating at the top of the liquid. Leave at room temperature in darkness for a few days, no more than a week. Decant the coloured liquid into a boiling flask leaving behind the plant matter (in this instance Dittany of Crete). Carefully at the lowest heat setting as possible, distill your vegetable menstruum into the receiving flask, put ice around the receiving flask so that you will not lose your vegetable menstruum due to evaporation. When a moist gum is all that remains in your boiling flask turn off the heat. Decant and store airtight the distillate which is your precious and properly activated vegetable menstruum. When the boiling flask has cooled add alcohol to it, this will dissolve the gum and give you a spagyric solution of the specific plant used. Decant and store this airtight and away from direct light.
This is the point currently reached:
Using the vegetable menstruum to produce an oil of antimony. Antimony is a dangerous, toxic and sometimes explosive material. In the UK antimony oxide can be purchased online it is a somewhat more inert form compared to other antimony compounds. Using a face mask I carefully poured some antimony oxide powder into a jar. I poured some vegetable menstruum into the jar and at least 3cm of liquid above the antimony oxide. I’m leaving it at room temperature in darkness for 1 lunar month…. fingers crossed.
Disclaimer: The author of this article as well as Perseus Arcane Academy provide this blog post for information purposes only. If you decide to practice this technique you do so at your own risk.