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 When To Use The Whole Herb Vs. Its' Essence, Also what is essence useful for?
fatherjhon
post Dec 22 2012, 07:37 AM
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I have few dozen pounds of herbs and resins which are left overs from spells and incense I made or never got around to making. They take up room and are about to go bad so I was thinking of turning them in to finished artifacts. Oils and incenses and tinctures leap to mind but I was also thinking about essential oils. I never really got the use of essential oils in magick though. They seem to be only the fragrant oils of the plant and not necessarily from the part that has useful correspondence or qualities. Can someone give me a run down on what they are good for magickly speaking? Particularly helpful would be an explanation on if they are interchangeable with the whole herb or if they have distinct uses.

Thanks in advance.


--------------------
Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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Vagrant Dreamer
post Dec 22 2012, 10:38 AM
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QUOTE(fatherjhon @ Dec 22 2012, 08:37 AM) *

I have few dozen pounds of herbs and resins which are left overs from spells and incense I made or never got around to making. They take up room and are about to go bad so I was thinking of turning them in to finished artifacts. Oils and incenses and tinctures leap to mind but I was also thinking about essential oils. I never really got the use of essential oils in magick though. They seem to be only the fragrant oils of the plant and not necessarily from the part that has useful correspondence or qualities. Can someone give me a run down on what they are good for magickly speaking? Particularly helpful would be an explanation on if they are interchangeable with the whole herb or if they have distinct uses.

Thanks in advance.


The whole herb represents the natural state of the Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury of the herb. When broken apart, the Salt is purified through maceration and subsequent calcination of the plant matter. It's burned in a crucible and washed over and over again until only the insoluble salts remain.

The mercury is the alcohol extracted from the plant, and I forget off the top of my head how this is obtained.

The Sulphur is the essential oil, which can be obtained in a number of ways - a lot of people use maceration to get it although I think that steam extraction brings out a more purified oil.

Anyway, the salt represents the 'earth' element of the plant, its fixed nature; the Mercury represents its water, which is the mutable life essence; and the Sulphur or essential oil represents it's fire or inner virtue.

Magically speaking, you would consider the nature of the plant in question and discern how each of these parts play into it's overall quality. Often candles are annointed with essential oils because they are representative of the fire present in the ritual; hence the fire is then 'colored' or 'flavored' if you will, by the essential fire of the plant's oil.

It is worth noting that the salt and sulphur of every plant is considered to be unique, while the mercury is universal among plants. It is therefore not necessary to distill alcohol from a specific plant in order to utilize it either in alchemy or in magic - any kind of plant alcohol can be obtained, though I understand distilling the alcohol from red wine free of any sulfates is ideal.

Hope that helps a little.

peace


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fatherjhon
post Dec 22 2012, 12:54 PM
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QUOTE(Vagrant Dreamer @ Dec 22 2012, 11:38 AM) *

The whole herb represents the natural state of the Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury of the herb. When broken apart, the Salt is purified through maceration and subsequent calcination of the plant matter. It's burned in a crucible and washed over and over again until only the insoluble salts remain.

The mercury is the alcohol extracted from the plant, The Sulphur is the essential oil, the Salt represents the 'earth' element of the plant, its fixed nature; the Mercury represents its water, which is the mutable life essence; and the Sulphur or essential oil represents it's fire or inner virtue.

Magically speaking, you would consider the nature of the plant in question and discern how each of these parts play into it's overall quality. Often candles are annointed with essential oils because they are representative of the fire present in the ritual; hence the fire is then 'colored' or 'flavored' if you will, by the essential fire of the plant's oil.

It is worth noting that the salt and sulphur of every plant is considered to be unique, while the mercury is universal among plants.

Hope that helps a little.

peace



Thank you it does. I am going to not grumble about having two few elements to work with and ask if the calcination needs to be by real fire or will anything with a fire nature work. I am thinking of alcohol, which I am used to thinking of as the active fire-y part of water. I have read that alchemists used to add ash of a plant to things but I am not sure if that has been born out with time.


--------------------
Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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Vagrant Dreamer
post Dec 22 2012, 02:19 PM
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QUOTE(fatherjhon @ Dec 22 2012, 01:54 PM) *

Thank you it does. I am going to not grumble about having two few elements to work with and ask if the calcination needs to be by real fire or will anything with a fire nature work. I am thinking of alcohol, which I am used to thinking of as the active fire-y part of water. I have read that alchemists used to add ash of a plant to things but I am not sure if that has been born out with time.


Mmm, I'm not certain, but it seems unlikely the calcination process will be successful without a crucible and fire. Calcination isn't a metaphysical process - although, it is that as well - it's a physical alchemical process of reduction whereby the dross is burned away from the essential salt of the herb matter. In order to get both the salt and sulphur from the plant matter, typically the herb is left in distilled alcohol to macerate for some period - normally 40 days - and then the plant matter is strained from the alcohol.

After this, the alcohol is carefully evaporated, leaving behind the oil, and the plant matter is first set aflame to burn the alcohol off, and then roasted in a crucible. It can take several burns, but each time more of the dross is burned away until only a fine, white, insoluble substance is left. Burn and wash, burn and wash.

So, something with a fiery nature, including alcohol, will not calcinate the plant matter.

That's to the best of my understanding, though. You might be able to use, for instance, a ceramic dish and a pot of that burnable gel used for fondu. I forget what it's called. You can get it at the grocery store, and even something like a ceramic dipping sauce dish would probably suffice since the temperature does not, I think, have to be very high.

peace


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tiger
post Dec 29 2012, 02:51 PM
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QUOTE(fatherjhon @ Dec 23 2012, 12:37 AM) *

I have few dozen pounds of herbs and resins which are left overs from spells and incense I made or never got around to making. They take up room and are about to go bad so I was thinking of turning them in to finished artifacts. Oils and incenses and tinctures leap to mind but I was also thinking about essential oils. I never really got the use of essential oils in magick though. They seem to be only the fragrant oils of the plant and not necessarily from the part that has useful correspondence or qualities. Can someone give me a run down on what they are good for magickly speaking? Particularly helpful would be an explanation on if they are interchangeable with the whole herb or if they have distinct uses.

Thanks in advance.

Dont know what they are good for as far as magick goes but I just come across a recipe that used essential oils to make a version of abramelin oil. I dont know what good it done but its food for thought.

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fatherjhon
post Jan 30 2013, 08:13 AM
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QUOTE(Vagrant Dreamer @ Dec 22 2012, 03:19 PM) *

Mmm, I'm not certain, but it seems unlikely the calcination process will be successful without a crucible and fire.

After this, the alcohol is carefully evaporated, leaving behind the oil, and the plant matter is first set aflame to burn the alcohol off, and then roasted in a crucible. It can take several burns, but each time more of the dross is burned away until only a fine, white, insoluble substance is left.


I decided to try for making an alchemical elixir as well as essential oils as I have never tried either. But I seems I need a real crucible and substantial fire. I tied with a plumber's blowtorch and a deep pot. First burn went as expected, but nothing else happened after the next two burns. Got a mass of chunky gray "stuff" the consistency of brittle dish wool. It soaked up all the water I used to wash it with too. I think that is a good thing.

I found some ways online to evaporate off the alcohol in a kitchen but I kept ending up with orderless clear liquid not viscus enough to fit what I know as oil. I'm pretty sure its just water. Not going to taste it though, being as I use mistletoe.

I have another batch brewing now and will see if I can think of a more reliable way to do this without $500 in lab equipment. In the mean time, does anyone have a simple book on alchemy with herbs. The books I found read like they require a degree in chemistry.






--------------------
Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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Vagrant Dreamer
post Jan 31 2013, 11:45 AM
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QUOTE(fatherjhon @ Jan 30 2013, 09:13 AM) *

I decided to try for making an alchemical elixir as well as essential oils as I have never tried either. But I seems I need a real crucible and substantial fire. I tied with a plumber's blowtorch and a deep pot. First burn went as expected, but nothing else happened after the next two burns. Got a mass of chunky gray "stuff" the consistency of brittle dish wool. It soaked up all the water I used to wash it with too. I think that is a good thing.

I found some ways online to evaporate off the alcohol in a kitchen but I kept ending up with orderless clear liquid not viscus enough to fit what I know as oil. I'm pretty sure its just water. Not going to taste it though, being as I use mistletoe.

I have another batch brewing now and will see if I can think of a more reliable way to do this without $500 in lab equipment. In the mean time, does anyone have a simple book on alchemy with herbs. The books I found read like they require a degree in chemistry.


The oil is not as viscous as you would think, but a good test is that essential oils don't have the same surface tension as water. It will not 'bead up' on your skin, for instance, but will instead spread out a lot farther than the same volume of water will.

The calcined material sounds almost right, though, I would not recommend direct fire, part of the benefit of a crucible is that it is like 'baking' the material. However, the essentail salt is supposed to absorb both water and eventually - in the making of the plant stone - the essential oil as well. The plant stone when completed is kind of gummy, like a substance that, when almost dry, you can easily carve slivers off of with a fine knife.

Mmmm.... there's a book that goes over all of this in detail it's called........... Spagyrics: The Alchemical Preparation of Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs by Manfred Junius, I believe. Another good one is .... The Path of Alchemy: Energetic Healing & the World of Natural Magic, by Mark Stavish is also very good and very practical, although a lot of people don't like stavish - I found his explanations to be clear, his directions easy to follow, and the investment in equipment wasn't really that much although I very, very much want to put together a proper alchemy lab one day. *sigh*

But yeah, those two books are excellent and give a lot of insight into particular plants and the uses of their parts as well.

peace


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