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Phoenix
01-07-2009, 07:26 PM
This is a Phoenix-thread (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?t=7) from the old site (http://alchemy-forums.forumotion.com/forum.htm) created by WCH.

I'm a student of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and have been studying drug culture for the past three years. Over the course of the past year I also studied Jungian psychology, and this summer when it came time to decide on what I wanted to do my major research project for this coming year, it occurred to me that in Alchemy was the perfect marriage of the two different kinds of research I've been taking part in these last years -- the sociological analysis of drug users, and depth analysis, to be precise.

I will admit right now that I at present know very little about alchemy. However, I intend to, over the next few months, make myself an expert in the subject, and early in 2009 I will write a paper documenting my research.

There are to be three prongs to my research, as with such a subject it is important to come at it from different directions simultaneously:
1) I intend to read as many alchemical textbooks and books about alchemy as time allows for. Recommendations will be helpful.
2) I will be performing interviews with alchemists to determine what alchemy means in a 21st century context and how alchemists fit into a broader culture. If you would like to be interviewed, send me a message -- I live in Toronto, so if you're local we can meet for coffee somewhere, or if you'd just like to talk on MSN or by email, that'd be fine as well.
3) I will be doing personal experimentation and research, creating tinctures and the like so that I will know some of the subject matter first hand -- participant observation, we call it, which is another way of saying that I will not consider myself qualified to write about alchemy until I am comfortable calling myself an alchemist. Any advice you may have for where to start will be appreciated.

My focus within sociology, if we want to get technical, is the non-medically supervised use of psychoactive substances and the culture associated with such use. My most recent paper on the subject was a comprehensive discussion of Ketamine use in Toronto -- if you'd like to read it, I'll email it to you. For the purpose of this paper I will be focusing on entheogenic (or psychedelic) drugs, the transformative power of which parallels the Science of Transformation, but the drugs will not be the exclusive focus of the paper, merely as one part of alchemy, which is of course the topic.

Hopefully this forum will prove beneficial to my research, and I also hope that I may be able to contribute in some significant way. Now, though, I've got to go to work, so I'll start looking around next time I'm on the internet.
Hi WCH, please excuse me for not welcoming you sooner!


If you would like to be interviewed, send me a message -- I live in Toronto, so if you're local we can meet for coffee somewhere, or if you'd just like to talk on MSN or by email, that'd be fine as well.
I would be most happy to chat with you through MSN in a week or two.

Alchemy fits very well with the entheogen realm. In a sense, some would say the ultimate goal of an alchemist is spiritual transformation: active stimulation of the pineal gland, and in return the pineal gland produces native psychoactives (think indoles, particularly DMT). This is a personal belief, but my work with english gematria also backs up the claim.
Hi there.. a bit late but you know what they say...

WELCOME!


Welcome !


I will not consider myself qualified to write about alchemy until I am comfortable calling myself an alchemist.

Well ... good luck.

Before being an alchemist, you have to be an hermetist, knowing how to look at Nature, Life, understanding Her, Her purpose, approaching Her with respect an love. And then, imitating Her in microcosm.

Alchemy is not distillation, calcination etc -chemist do it very well-, alchemy is the realization that everything is ONE, by the means of techniques and of matters. But that is only a way, a material and physical way of transformation.

Alchemy is refining mater, and let it be so clear and pure, that the Nature's Life Fire can radiate through it. This is the Stone, this is the Union with Life.

Salazius
Thank you.

As I suppose should be expected, most of this forum is well above my head, dealing primarily with chrysopoeia whereas my interest lies primarily with the spagyric... but I'll try to follow along and hopefully understand a bit better in a few months.
Spagyria and plant alchemy is a really great place to start alchemy! You will learn the modus operandi while doing plant alchemy, and this will help you better grasp some of the advanced work in the other kingdoms.

However, I intend to, over the next few months, make myself an expert in the subject, and early in 2009 I will write a paper documenting my research.

You're asking alot of yourself in such a short time...considering it may take a lifetime to become expert. There are plenty of "papers" already written by "experts", and the lot of them are on par with tourist pamphlets. For the most part there is no beginning and the end is far from sight, yet plenty of middle ground to cover. If a thesis is all you're here for then there is much to see. But the depth you reach may be that of a wading pool, when in fact there is an ocean before you to find.
Yes. Perhaps my use of the word "expert" is unfortunate... I know that there is much to know and that it's a very esoteric practice; I don't expect to become an "expert alchemist," but rather an expert in the academic study of alchemy -- which is a much easier thing to do. I want to write about it from a sociological perspective, not from an alchemical one, and as such need to know as much as I can about it, but not be a master by any stretch.

Apologies if I sounded arrogant, that wasn't my intention.

Right now my plan is to make a couple tinctures until I've got the technique sorted, then seven ens (one for each planet/day) and then a spagyric stone. Is that a reasonable amount to accomplish by April with minimal experience? Where I go from there will depend on the success of this work.

Or should I not have a plan, and simply work on one thing at a time, move onto whatever seems "right" after each step is finished?
Ultimately you'll decide what's best, I'm sure you could accomplish those tinctures in the amount of time and have plenty to write about. I'd be curious to read the interviews you have planned, any idea who you intend on interviewing?
A number of friends of mine to start, as well as whoever they refer me to, and anybody else I come across who is willing and able to be interviewed (for instance, anybody on this forum who's willing). For a "formal" interview they need to be able to meet me in person and be legally competent to consent -- which in turn requires them to be at least 16, sober at the time of the interview and of sound mind.

For an informal interview, on the other hand, they simply need to be able to communicate in English, as my French is atrocious and I know no other languages.

So, really, whoever's willing. The "kind" of person I want in particular is those who've ever used alchemy to create or transform a psychoactive substance... which would include everything from tinctures of fly agaric to extractions of crystalline DMT to the production of hashish, and everything else. Even simple distillation of alcohol -- if for the purpose of consumption -- would qualify.

The above may however give the impression that I'm not interested in interviewing you if you *haven't* done any of the above. That isn't actually the case... if you haven't, I would very much like to hear any explanation you have of why not, or your opinion of those who have. I recognise one limitation I'm faced with is that I can't possibly determine what ratio of alchemists use alchemy to create drugs... for now I simply know that *some* do, and these are the topic of my paper (as I said, my specialty is drug culture), so those who do not are relevant insomuch as they have knowledge or opinions of those who do.
I would say : an "alchemist" using "alchemy" to create drugs ... is not an alchemist and do not practice alchemy. This is spagyria.

If the guy is looking only for a trip, so he is a "technician junkie".

A real spagyrist wants to heal with plants etc, maybe some times with psychoactive plants. Looking for the spiritual aspect of the initiation with the spirit of the plant, like shaman.

Salazius
If they were only making drugs, I'd agree with you, not alchemy. That isn't necessarily the case, though... often they are legitimately into alchemy, and also into entheogens, and naturally find that the two are quite easy to combine. Or they may have gotten into alchemy because of their interest in entheogens, or they may have gotten into entheogens because of their interest in alchemy. Many such things are possible. It's also possible for someone to use the word "alchemy" to describe what they do despite not being what you would call an alchemist. Trouble is that words do not have objective meaning... all we can conclude is that they and you are using the same word in a different sense, and any controversy on this point is entirely relevant to my research -- I'll certainly already be devoting a page or two to broad definitions, and will include anything that seems worth mentioning.

and, yes, it's spagyria I'll be focusing on in my paper, as that's the part of alchemy that can be used for drugs. Doesn't mean that's the only part I'm interested in, or the only part my research subjects practice.

Lastly, with entheogens we have substances which heal by virtue of their psychoactive properties -- ie, the two are not mutually exclusive. Certainly for my own spagyric work I plan to make non-psychoactive things... and maybe one or two that are (possibly fly agaric if I can find some that's positively identified).
Ok, I see.

Do you know "wild dagga" ?

Salazius.
I've heard of it, but know next to nothing. I remember one guy on another forum I'm on mentioning buying some online but not being all that impressed, and one of the people I interviewed for a past study listed it among the things he'd tried.

What can you tell me about it? Would you recommend it as something to make a tincture or ens of?
I suppose I'll bite, when I was much younger and relatively new to alchemy; the first thing I and many others who are interested in this field do is plant related spagyrics. I stayed in this field for a brief time as I really didn't see the benefits of "plant" stones made in the ways readily taught by the contemporaries of the time. For the most part I liken it to snake oil, and am skeptical of supposed experiences with these "stones", "tinctures" ,"elixirs" etc... Eventually I extracted DMT from mimosa hostilis and Salvinorin-A from salvia more or less to experiment with them and to better understand and refine my organic chemistry as a new student. Aside from their waxy crystalline structure(s) they bear no resemblance to alchemical creations (when not in chrysalis form) and even though it was my intention I never experienced their hallucinogenic properties. It never felt correct to do so...however (as I'm sure you're aware) it should be noted that dimethyltryptamine production within man is something of a curiosity. I would elaborate more but feel that is enough. I do not believe that the alchemist of olde, and the many doctrines written are in any way shape or form related to plant entheogens...not soma, not amrita, not nectar, and not ambrosia.
Thanks.

DMT and Salvia are tricky substances... even if you've extracted them correctly, they commonly still don't "work," likely due to smoking technique... but sometimes the person has followed all of the steps as indicated, for some reason it doesn't work, and there's no way to know why. I once smoked DMT (which had been extracted from mimosa hostilis by an alchemist, notably) and, though I'm sure I did everything correctly, I had no visual effects at all... but talked to other people who had some of the same batch and they apparently had amazing, ecstatic experiences on it (although they were also on LSD at the time, and it was during an eclipse... that's one invite I regret turning down... I already had plans! Bah). You just never know until after you've smoked it.

Anyway, what you're saying suggests to me that the interests in entheogens and alchemy intersect heavily, but that the two aren't intrinsically related... that means that while alchemy doesn't normally produce entheogens, alchemists are likely to be interested in entheogens, and people who enjoy entheogens are likely to think alchemy is "way cool." This is the camp I fall into (and, where before I was cheap and lazy, making the excuse of doing an academic study on the subject means that I'll be able to investigate for myself things I've long found interesting but largely stayed out of until now. The social sciences are great that way). We'll see where the research goes, though... maybe by April I'll have something more definitive to say on the subject.
Oh no...it's not that they didn't work, I chose not to do them. They worked fine for everyone I gave them too.


Anyway, what you're saying suggests to me that the interests in entheogens and alchemy intersect heavily, but that the two aren't intrinsically related...

Correct, in my opinion many wrongly assume the two are related...it's not to say that an alchemist does not, or rather has not used plant based entheogens at some time. Once you start delving deeper into alchemy, and read enough material from the old sages you'll see that the heights of ecstasy they reached were in confecting the philosophers stone, amrita, red lion, or whatever they choose to call it. This is akin to revelation, not hallucination...one's holy, the others more of a business trip.

Aleilius
01-07-2009, 07:40 PM
Once you start delving deeper into alchemy, and read enough material from the old sages you'll see that the heights of ecstasy they reached were in confecting the philosophers stone, amrita, red lion, or whatever they choose to call it. This is akin to revelation, not hallucination...one's holy, the others more of a business trip.
Yes, this is a good way to look at the situation.

What can you tell me about it? Would you recommend it as something to make a tincture or ens of?

Yes, I would, even if I didn't do an tincture of it, it's Leonitis leonorus or ocymifolia or Phlomis leonorus, also called "lion tail". This is an orange red flower, very solar and fiery, *very* relaxing. With a very powerful effect taken by the dry way (smoking), and a smooth and longer presence by the wet way (infused, chewed...). Must have a good stomach if you smoke it.

But, making an ens, or a tincture of it, even if it's not an dangerous plant, must be undertaken with cautions, the tincture will enhance the power of the flower.
Also remembering that these kind of plants have a very powerful spirit, shamanic rituals are important to relate the mind to the spirit and create a link, it's important to respect that when you prepare the tincture, and more importantly, when you take it.
The plant will give you, what you *really* expect. Not what you think you expect.

Salazius
Cool, sounds worthwhile. You say the tincture makes it more powerful... what kind of dosages are we talking about here? Like how much plant matter (once ground and extracted) for how many doses?
It's not a matter of quantities, but qualities.
As all the components of the plant will be elevated, it will have a quality effect more powerful, also different maybe, more spiritualized.

I guess that a normal (Dosage ... take the plant and immersed it with alcohol, plus 3 cm. That the dosage) concentration of the mercury will give you a strong effect with 10-20 drops (1 or 2 ml).
With a spagyric tincture, 3 drops are required for a treatment.

Salazius
Since this is my first my first post in many months let just say high to all the new faces here. This forum is growing well and I hope it continues to do so.

Anyway, Iím very interested in your research. Narcotics have always been a interest of mine in all there facets. Weather that be for healing, learning or just fun. Though I have never heard of the older alchemist taking mind expanding drug to further their Work I would be interested in knowing if they did. I would like to hear more about them making psychoactive drugs in a alchemical context. Also I want to hear peoples opinion on the use of drugs for the purpose of learning or expanding someoneís mind.

Though I have never heard of the older alchemist taking mind expanding drug to further their Work I would be interested in knowing if they did.
Ah, even back in the middle ages, a few of the more "important" psychoactive plants were considered illegal, and often death was the punishment for partaking of such things. If they did, they were have to hide it under many veils to escape the authority of the ruling bodies.

Even the word "narcotic" hints to something mysterious. Just the same as "arcane."
It's unlikely that any European alchemist before the 19th century used any mind-expanding drug. Arabian, Egyptian and Chinese alchemists may have, and any in the past 150 years or so would at least have had the potential to. Medieval Europe simply wasn't aware of just about any hallucinogenic drugs... whether or not they would've taken them, there were none to take.

Paracelsus used opium, certainly, and a lot of it. Actually he claimed it to be a panacea... "I possess a secret remedy which I call laudanum and which is superior to all other heroic remedies."

So there we have a famous alchemist making a drug extraction as part of the Great Work. At least according to ethnobotanist Terrance McKenna, whose interpretation of Paracelsus I read. That's opium, though, not psilocybin, lysergic acid, DMT or even harmine. It's very likely that Arabian alchemists experimented with Hashish operations, but I don't want to speculate too broadly.

"I possess a secret remedy which I call laudanum and which is superior to all other heroic remedies."

You shouldn't read words at face value within alchemy, lead is not lead, gold is not gold etc.... For instance laudanum, is derived from Latin: labdanum, which is resin from the plant genus Cistus that yields an fragrant oil. But applying the phonetic cabala- we find in the Greek λαδᾶς ladas (oil merchant), λαδερός laderos (oily, cooked with oil) and from these by phonetic association we get λαγαρός lagaros (limpid, clear, pure) and by Semitic origin- ladunu an aromatic.

John French(the art of Distillation): Distill it with a soft fire, and there will come forth an oil of a golden color, of a good taste and smell which is the true balsam of sulphur

It's very likely that Arabian alchemists experimented with Hashish operations, but I don't want to speculate too broadly.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I think the use of this particular matter was more widespread than we were lead to believe. I'm sure some of you have noticed this: http://www.alchemylab.com/cannabis_stone1.htm before.

The paper has a lot of interesting things, and I've explored this notion for a little while - it might hold SOME merit. Although, not everything in the article is entirely true. It's very difficult, and require countless hours of research (often many years, and even then possibly longer), to even gain a peak into the world of ye' old alchemist.


You shouldn't read words at face value within alchemy, lead is not lead, gold is not gold etc.... For instance laudanum, is derived from Latin: labdanum, which is resin from the plant genus Cistus that yields an fragrant oil. But applying the phonetic cabala- we find in the Greek λαδᾶς ladas (oil merchant), λαδερός laderos (oily, cooked with oil) and from these by phonetic association we get λαγαρός lagaros (limpid, clear, pure) and by Semitic origin- ladunu an aromatic.

John French(the art of Distillation): Distill it with a soft fire, and there will come forth an oil of a golden color, of a good taste and smell which is the true balsam of sulphurSo, you think that Terrance McKenna is mistaken when he assumes that Paracelsus was an advocate of opium use? I think that's what you're saying, just wanted to clarify. I don't know for sure, I've really only just started my research.
I forgot to mention, but I've come across the use of opium in my research also. I've even heard they might've used a distillation product from the dry distillation of a copper/silver acetate to make morphine.
Yes completely mistaken...I wouldn't trust a mechanic to stitch a wound. Same notion applies to McKenna, Jung, Blavatsky etc...But these are just my thoughts

Awani
01-07-2009, 07:42 PM
I forgot to mention, but I've come across the use of opium in my research also. I've even heard they might've used a distillation product from the dry distillation of a copper/silver acetate to make morphine.Well Paracelsus (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?t=10) invented liquid opium... so I am sure it is a valid substance in alchemy!

Liquid opium is also called Laudanum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudanum)

In the 16th century, Paracelsus experimented with the medical value of opium. He decided that its medical (analgesic) value was of such magnitude that he called it laudanum, from the Latin laudare, to praise, or from labdanum, the term for a plant extract. He did not know of its addictive properties. - source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudanum#History)

I'm sure some of you have noticed this: http://www.alchemylab.com/cannabis_stone1.htm before..

Interesting, I just sent this link to a friend a few days ago while discussing the use of cannabis with personal development. I have not had a chance to read all of this yet, though what I have read was interesting.

I don't know too much about the historical uses of psychoactive substances in relation to alchemy or mysticism, but from my own experiences with these plants and chemicals, I had learned the Seven Hermetic Principals outlined in the Kybalion, long before I even knew what alchemy was. It was just that I hadn't the words to express the ideas and experiences as well as was done in that book.

I have found that with the use of cannabis, when not having smoked any for several days and then smoking again, the first part of the buzz is very introspective.

Similar with the use of LSD. I have had many experiences where the entire experience was analytical of my behaviors and thoughts. Those were some of my favorite trips, though at times were very hard for me to deal with. I would come out of the experience extremely depressed, and even to this day I am still working things out. (this brings to mind some of the posts in the spiritual calcination (http://alchemy-forums.forumotion.com/spiritual-alchemy-f5/spiritual-calcination-t86.htm) thread) Not knowing what I was doing at the time, I feel I didn't benefit as well as I could have from the experiences.

In regards to psilocybin, the first four or five times I had eaten mushrooms I had not gotten any effect at all, even from batches that friends had gotten off good on. Then, for no reason I can find, I crossed some hidden threshold and was able to experience the worlds of psilocybin. My experiences were mostly hallucinatory rather than philosophical, which was fun, but I wanted something more, something deeper. I wish I had kept a journal of my visual experiences as maybe there was a deeper level to them which I was not aware of.
LSD ... look at Dr Stanislav Grof's book, very psycho spiritual.
DMT might be the real philosopher's stone. It certianly appears that way.
An alchemist I know refers to DMT as "philosopher's crack." Now, considering that crack comes in "rocks," and "rock" is another word for "stone," you may well be right.
Greetings!

I don't have any first-hand experience in alchemical preparations of drugs, but from what I understand
from the literature, an ens of a plant will remove any toxic and narcotic properties.

For example, Starkey's diaphoretic pill, aka Matthew's pill, had the poppy in it, but he said it's narcotic
properties were removed by volatile alkali, which creates entia of plants. It also had deadly plants, the hellebore,
and it's poisonous properties were removed and only the medicine is left.
This should be taken into account when considering Paracelsus' use of poppy.

I plan on doing an ens of A. muscaria soon. I'll let you know the results.

Yes, making tinctures won't qualify you as an alchemists, but after some ens and a plant stone, if you
are initiated by these, you may claim a little status. One author(ity) says that after accomplishing the
circulatum minus you may then call yourself an alchemist. ???
Careful with A muscaria -- make sure you expose it to sustained heat at some point in the process to convert the ibutonic acid into muscimol.

Why would you want to remove the psychoactive components? To my understanding, those are the medicine... so it's nonsensical to say that they're gone but the medicine remains. With the poppy, for instance, the medicinal property is as an analgesic/anaesthetic. It's used to dull pain, because it contains certain chemicals which happen to dull pain. Removing those chemicals, and then still using it to dull pain, is just strange.
It's not a wanting to. The ens just does that because of its perfect balance.
I'm just saying you might want to stick to tinctures or something that concentrates the property you want.
I don't think you want to make the ens. But try it, by all means. I just don't think it will concentrate the psychoactive property.
I'll find out with the Amanita. (They were well-dried in the oven.)

I don't think opium is a narcotic because of its analgesic properties. Do you?
Why else would it be narcotic aside from its analgesic properties? It functions as an analgesic by attaching at what we call opiod receptors (mainly we call them that because it's where it attaches. Circular much?), and it's the eventual building of tolerance to this action which leads to its addictiveness.

Paracelsus said that everything is toxic, it just depends on how much you take. I agree with him. The goal should be to purify the desired substance and then to administer the *exact right amount* for most benefit and least risk. Washing/burning away impurities and extracting undesired chemicals (such as toxins) is an important part of that, but only insofar as you preserve the part which has a medicinal value. Otherwise you might as well just drink water.

Maybe you're right then that I shouldn't be doing ens. Yet I feel that they're an operation basic enough that I should have done it at some point. Maybe as one stage of a longer operation? For instance, a possible formula...

Plant matter, ground in pestle, is made into an ens. The salt, having been strained off, is then added to aqua vitae and refluxed for two hours, after which it is strained again and the mercury is boiled off in a retort and gathered. We'd then have the ens, which would contain some of the chemicals in the plant (probably the polar ones in particular? Anyone more confident than I on the chemistry of an ens?), the remaining salt and all the sulphur that wasn't extracted in the process of making the ens.

Now what would you do then? Calcinate the salt and add half to each? Calcinate half the salt only and infuse into all of it (burnt and unburnt) the sulphur taken by the alcohol? Maybe mix all three in a numerologically significant ratio?