alchemy

One Mint Julep Please

Earlier this week I went to a lecture at the new Hermetic Arts Learning Center in Salem, MA. It was kind of a 101 level alchemy lecture, as such, I didn’t pick up a whole lot of new information, but it was nice to talk to other people interested in these topics. I was inspired to try a simple spagyric tincture based on the method described by the lecturer, David Newman.

I have some chronic digestive issues, nothing serious, just annoying. So I wanted to try something that might help with that. I chose mint. A trip to the local garden center supplied me with some sad looking mint plants, two of them, in case I want to do it again. I also bought some cilantro because it’s great and I plan to put it in everything I cook.

Supplies!

Supplies!

This is the entire plant, roots and all, washed, a jar, vodka (80 proof, 100 proof would have been better but they store didn’t carry any), and a copy of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. Not pictured: scissors, some plastic wrap and aluminium foil. After all of the items were prepared, I said some prayers and started cutting up the plant. It smelled lovely.

Where's the Vietnamese soup?

Where’s the Vietnamese soup?

At this point you put the plant into the jar and fill the jar with vodka and seal it with some plastic wrap. Shake it up a bit and wrap it in aluminium foil. Let it sit in a dark place for 2 or more weeks. I’ll document the next steps as I get to them.

Delicious mint julep

Delicious mint julep

If all I get out of this is some mint-infused vodka, I guess that’s not all that bad, even though I’m not a vodka fan.

I’m not doing this in the “traditional” way in one important respect. I’m not doing any planetary associations. Now, you might say that there’s no point to even trying this if you don’t pay attention to the planetary attributes. I’m not sure I agree. Gnostics aren’t historically big fans of the planets, or at least their astrological influences. I’m treating this as a spiritual-medicinal exercise only. I’ll keep you posted on the results, if any.

The Mysteries of the One Thing

I’ve been thinking a lot about alchemy this past week, specifically laboratory alchemy. I enjoyed a brief stint as a student of an alchemy teacher from the southern hemisphere, but I wasn’t really prepared for the work involved, so I didn’t make very much progress.

I’ve been considering taking it up again. I’m not sure how I feel about the focus on planetary attributes, since some Gnostics generally don’t have good opinion of the planetary powers. I’m envisioning an alchemy that doesn’t include any references to planetary attributions. I would be interested in experimenting along those lines.

In a theology of emanations, the Divine is present in all of creation. If we take that as a given, the symbolism of separating and purifying the component parts of a thing, such as a plant, and recombining them, one could think of that as a symbol for the process of Theosis. I’m still working on it.

This isn’t something I’m planning to do any time soon, since I’m already in the middle of another esoteric project, but I can start collecting the equipment. Last time I did alchemy I spent entirely too much money, and ended up giving the equipment away for nothing. Ebay calls!