Borderline Alchemy Spagyrics which usually involves working with different plants is in the current day often considered as a beginners introduction to laboratory Alchemy. The practical reason for this is that metals can be more toxic and often require higher performance equipment which presents a greater hazard to the beginner in lab Alchemy. Out of all the different Spagyric methods I have done there is one that is reasonably well publicised and only needs basic equipment. Yet it has in my view a more Alchemical rather than simple Spagyric character. There are various online descriptions of Spagyrics and Alchemy to give a brief oversimplified description of these: Spagyrics purifies the materia, Alchemy purifies and also spiritually evolves the materia. These changes that occur in the materia also happen usually in a subtle manner in the operator, the Spagyricist or Alchemist.
There is a fair amount of material on-line about how to do the Rosemary Magisterie my favourite outline of the method is in: The Green Book by Heliopolis – published by Scarlet Imprint. Other reasons I like the magisterie method is that it’s not too labour intensive and I have found it to be less stinky than other methods of dry distilling of plants because most of the smells are made outdoors away from the lab. Also much more importantly, basic equipment will do the job which increases accessibility of this work. The only shortcoming is you need high oil content plants like Rosemary or Lavender for example. Low oil content herbs/plants are not suitable for this approach.
Brew wine/beer and distil off the ethanol or if you are wealthy buy brandy and distil the alcohol out of it. Repeatedly distil (rectify) to increase alcohol %, use a spirit hydrometer to establish % alcohol(ethanol). Once the concentration is above 90% store in an airtight jar.
Purchase anhydrous potassium carbonate – Fill a jar to about one third full of potassium carbonate pour your alcohol on top when the jar is no longer warm immediately put on lid to make airtight. Leave for a month. If liquid forms into 2 layers decant top liquid layer into another jar filled to one third with potassium carbonate and seal airtight, throw out the already used jar. The alcohol needs to stand for about a month with no second liquid layer forming below the alcohol. You should now have 96% concentration of alcohol.
Buy or I suppose grow and prepare, 1KG of dried Rosemary. You can distil the oil out of this but I just burn it off in the back garden in the autumn when folks are generally burning plant material in their gardens as a seasonal thing.
To burn the Rosemary off: use a high temperature circular ceramic casserole dish and use an outdoor camping gas hob. The smaller cheap camping hobs cannot safely run continuously for hours use a higher quality one where the fuel cylinder is not close to the flame.
Very importantly the lid of the casserole dish must be almost covering the dish with just a small gap open for the fumes to escape. The plant matter needs to char not burst into flame. Indoors you can further burn the Rosemary ash until it is no longer black but grey, there may still be some smoke so open windows and back door. I use a steel wok for this. For those that use wok’s know it must not be oiled just bare carbon steel, so between uses keep it in airtight storage to reduce rusting. My method: I spoon a small amount of the black ash into the red hot wok and every now and then shake the wok. When the black ashes have gone grey I tip them into a heat resistant dish and repeat with more black ash This part I have to admit is labour intensive. Here is a photo of some calcinated herb. The ‘peacocks tail’ was very spectacular but only showed a little when photographed.
The grey ash you now have must be filtered with distilled water (the kind of water you use to replenish car coolant systems I get mine from the supermarket). I buy unbleached coffee filter papers put the filter paper in a funnel add the grey ash and wash through. It usually takes several new filter papers and fresh tablespoons of ash to do the filtration. The salts you want are present in the filtered water.
Evaporate (not boil) this salt filled water to obtain a white salt, store in an airtight jar. Buy 200ml of good quality Rosemary essential oil …or steam distil vast quantities (probably more than 1KG) of the herb to extract the oil yourself.
You have now prepared your materials, you must have:
200ml Rosemary essential oil White salts Say..about 250ml of high concentration ethanol.
- One 1000ml borosilicate glass retort
- Heating mantle or saucepan and sand
In spagyric terms we now have sulphur (Rosemary oil), earth (the white salts) and mercury (the alcohol).
Making the magisterie
Pour the rosemary oil into a glass retort.
Heat the salts so that all water of crystallisation is gone-e.g. on a heat resistant plate on a cooker.
Using a heat resistant funnel and oven gloves pour the hot salts into the retort. The rosemary oil will quench the salts and a mist should arise. Stopper the retort as soon as you can so the mist stays in the body of the retort.
Add the alcohol and very gently distil the alcohol off leaving the rest behind in the retort. When the retort has cooled add the alcohol back and distil it off again. This needs to be done repeatedly, personally I don’t think there are a set number of times you will know when it has been done enough. Sometimes you will see crystals coating the inside of the nose of the retort. Select as the final run when these crystals are absent.
To enhance the magisterie the Bardon sphere magician who has reached the Sun sphere can apply methods given by genii. Genii from other sphere’s, the zone girdling the earth for example can also provide useful information and methods. Also you can simply load the retort with solar planetary energy. Alternately a magic mirror loaded with solar planetary energy can be directed onto the retort.
The final run
As before gently distill off the alcohol and put it aside.
Slowly increase the heat a misty smoke will form in the retort.
The distillate will be a gloopy gelatinous liquid. If it starts to collect at the nose of the retort and not fall out I poke it with a wooden cocktail stick.
Collect this thick liquid in several separate jars because a point will be reached as you continue to gradually increase heat when it starts to be burnt. The burnt distillate is not useful and should not be added to the good stuff you have distilled over.
The two products alcohol and clear gloopy liquid are put together in 1 airtight jar equal by volume. For example 100 mil of thick liquid to 100 mil of the alcohol that you repeatedly distilled over.
If you don’t have an incubator you can use one of those low energy usage pet warming pads, wrap the jar in an old towel and stand it on the pad. Leave it for 6 months. If the jar is at room temperature only, than the traditional year and a day will be needed.
The final product tastes unpleasant and is absolutely loaded with salts. At the material level the purpose of the magisterie is to produce a herbal essence with a much higher proportion of the plant salts present in the liquid than can be achieved by other spagyric techniques.
The Bardon practitioner can employ electromagnetic volting to enhance the quality of the magisterie as it undergoes maturation. The magisterie alone is an excellent herbal confection and as I mentioned, various ‘oil bearing herbs’ can be made into a magisterie not just Rosemary. Looking on-line I see that dried rosemary herb and Rosemary essential oil is less expensive than others which is why I chose it for my initial experiments with the magisterie method. We know that Franz Bardon was able to effect powerful healing and employed various herbs in his healing work. I don’t know if he did anything like the magisterie however even without addition of any other hermetic techniques that Bardon might have used the magisterie method provides a high quality spagyric in itself. A perfected liquid body ready to receive the addition of other hermetic procedures.
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.