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Thread: Alchemy versus Spagyric

  1. #1
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    Alchemy versus Spagyric

    Hi folks,

    I've been thinking about contributing again for a while now, but I've always discarded it. Let's be realistic, there's obviously not that much interest in what I have to say (unless I do upset someone). It doesn't matter, but it is really demotivating. But well, I have now decided to do so, because even if sometimes something goes wrong, the forum is all in all quite okay.
    I think this time I'll do something useful and try to give a reasonably detailed overview of the differences between spagyric and the Great Work of the Alchemists. I don't think this has been done here before (in any case, there is a little confusion about this point) and could be quite helpful. It is not the final word, of course, and it is open to further discussion.

    Fulcanelli, for example, drew a strong line between alchemy and the particular work (spagyric). He said that none of their operations can really be associated with (true) alchemy, and that the one who devotes himself to spagyric research will never leave the tracks of official chemistry. Many really believe themselves to be resolutely distanced from chemical science because they explain their phenomena in a specific, extraordinary way (for example, they like to use alchemical metaphors such as philosophical or essential for their more or less ordinary results), without actually using any other technique. Ancient spagyric, he goes on to say, rather than the old humble alchemy, is the ancestress of today's chemistry.

    At first glance, the verdict sounds damning, but it is not as bad as it sounds. Spagyric has its justification and its charm. It is a fascinating subject, and a great field of activity for the interested researcher as well as for the beginner in alchemy. Its methods, at least in pharmacy and the healing arts, are far superior to regular chemistry. The common chemistry is based on a purely materialistic concept and is interested only in external factors - even if these reach the smallest parts of matter - therefore it isn't able to penetrate to the essentials and break the most ordinary seals of matter. Spagyric, on the other hand, is based on an ancient, venerable philosophical current, which belongs to that body of thought which we summarize under the term Hermeticism.
    This enables it to penetrate far deeper into things, thereby discovering the living and grasping the spiritual, which represent the actual origin of all matter, and thus of all phenomenal appearances. In contrast to the methods of chemistry, the action of true and good spagyric work therefore extends into the very essence of matter. Thus, spagyric can lead matter quite close to perfection and therefore achieve fantastic results, releasing extremely effective forces and even making possible the transformation of simple bodies (such as those represented by metals).

    However, it is so that they only seem to approach the effective forces of real alchemy, in fact they are very far from it. Their tinctures for transformation always limit their effect only to the substance or metal from which they were obtained, also their potency or degree of effectiveness is quite low compared to the alchemical stone.
    Well, alchemy is actually something quite different. While the spagyricist wants to improve our world and living conditions, the alchemist seeks to destroy this world so that it can arise anew like the phoenix from the ashes.
    Particular substances or specific works do not interest the alchemists, all their striving is directed from the featureless to the universal. They also do not work with ordinary materials, but take the unformed and primordial, the featureless origin substance of the cosmos, in order to prepare from it that pure, absolutely perfect, and imperishable substance, which is called the philosopher's stone. While the spagyricists disguise their substances only a little, the alchemists never call even one of their substances by its ordinary name. They even have only one, which at the beginning of the work, however, consists of a trinity, just from it they derive all their other substances. That allows them to choose the respective names quite freely and even mix them up if necessary (but this concerns only those substances, less the cosmic foundations).

    Also, the procedures of alchemy are fundamentally quite different from those in spagyric. While in spagyric there are innumerable possibilities and different works, but one must always be careful to follow the prescribed steps meticulously, in alchemy there is only one path, but it can develop in many ways, and one can hardly say that one work is like another in its course. It is always an interactive process between the work and the worker, between nature and man, which is why it always takes an individual course, and in the end, one gets this, the other that.
    But let’s take calcination for an example. Ordinary calcination, as derived from the process of obtaining living lime, is used in spagyric, especially plant spagyric (often called plant alchemy), but not so in the Great Work. To obtain the salt of a plant, the spagyric process involves ashing and finally calcination with strong fire. It may make sense there, but the remaining matter is closed in this way and its ability to transform is prevented.
    In the Great Work, on the other hand, matter is to be opened to activate natural calcination from within it. We, the ancients say, calcine through our water - which is our fire - through this the bodies are made volatile and spiritual. In fact, even here - as an intermediate product - an ash is obtained that is amazingly similar to plant ash, although our substance is mineral in nature, and the fire is a cold fire. This kind of calcination, they say, now increases the basic or root moisture of the bodies, while by calcination with the common fire all the moisture is chased away.
    To make it clearer: The first picture shows the calcination process (another look into my jar), the second one shows the same but dried substance.



    This natural calcination (= calcination by nature) is a process which is triggered in the matter itself. For this the body, as it is said, must be unlocked, which means that its material structure is to be changed. In any case, it is thus put into a state that activates its inner fire - let's just call it the active force of nature. This process serves to return matter to its original state in which it was initially.
    This state was of a liquid nature (a water, as the alchemists say) and is still present in matter in the form of a so-called root moisture. This is the quintessence, the primordial nature of matter and is not found outside of it or in a temporally past phase of development, but in the matter itself, and this matter is that earth whose interior we are to examine, as it is said in the vitriol formula. Because the alchemist knows: that, what something has been, is ever still contained in it, how could otherwise a tree bring forth the same seeds, from which he himself came forth?

    Spagyric does not really need secrecy, the only reason their works was at least partially veiled is because they often operated in a legal grey area. There were always monarchs who persecuted and criminalized the production of artificial gold, often exposing them as apparent gold forgers in a manipulated process. Other rulers, however, captured the gold makers and forced them to work for them. Moreover, the spagyricists themselves had no great interest in their secrets becoming known to every jackass. Ask yourself: what would you do if you discovered a cave filled with treasures? Would you run from house to house, tear open the doors and cheerfully proclaim the news?
    In alchemy it is quite different. Secrecy was and is obligatory, and whether it is true or not, at least the adepts always and to every disciple gave the impression that a betrayal would shake the whole fabric of being. But one thing is certain, it is as great a secret as that of ancient Eleusis, and neither the one nor the other has ever been betrayed or desecrated.

    You can see now that there are worlds that lie between spagyric and the one way of alchemy, and so we should not confuse it. Ask yourself what you want, maybe wealth, success, plus valuable remedies? Then you should become a spagyric Lab Technician, if you are good at it - really good - then you have a veritable chance for it. The alchemists' stone can offer much more of all that, but you don't get it for that, and especially not for yourself alone. The first one is worked for, and the success depends on one's own skill, the second one is a gift that comes from the highest grace, it requires humility and self-sacrifice to a certain extent, but it enables the adept to reach the perfect enlightenment and his complete liberation.

    It's become bloody long again, and I could have saved it, because everything can be summarised in one sentence: Alchemy works with a single substance, the Materia Prima; the spagyricists work with many substances, but not with the Materia Prima. But what the heck, I'll leave it there now - if you're going to be bored, at least be bored properly .

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merovee View Post
    Hi folks,

    I've been thinking about contributing again for a while now, but I've always discarded it. Let's be realistic, there's obviously not that much interest in what I have to say (unless I do upset someone). It doesn't matter, but it is really demotivating. But well, I have now decided to do so, because even if sometimes something goes wrong, the forum is all in all quite okay.
    Hello Merovee;

    Well, I do find your posts quite fascinating. So, you can count one interested person here!
    Thank you for your generosity and sharing.

    All the best!
    C.
    Ab Uno - XPhorus

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    Thank you for this thread Merovee, you can also count me interested.
    We might not always agree ... but that's OK because it gives the readers a broader perspective.

    I would be interested in hearing what your opinion is of the processes used in Spagyrics and how that differs from Alchemy.

  4. #4
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    I enjoyed reading the essay, and like your perspective
    Art is Nature in the flask; Nature is a vial thing.

  5. #5
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    Hi!

    Thank you all, it pleases me when this writing receives your appreciation.


    Quote Originally Posted by black View Post
    Thank you for this thread Merovee, you can also count me interested.
    We might not always agree ... but that's OK because it gives the readers a broader perspective.

    I would be interested in hearing what your opinion is of the processes used in Spagyrics and how that differs from Alchemy.
    Black, you're right, it's fine, but I'm sorry, I don't quite understand your request, because I covered the differences between alchemy and spagyric in my post, that was the topic, wasn't it? I suppose you might want to know where I myself stand in this whole scenario..? I thought I had already commented on it, but well, let's just say that I'm a lover of the alchemical art who has gained some deep insights. But to be more specific, I too have driven the three nails into the wood. I think that makes my point pretty clear.

    But if you want to ask what I think of them overall and what sense I see in each, I can only say that both have their justification. Everyone has to decide for themselves what is right for them; spagyric fights its battle in the world, alchemy performs its magic in the heart. Spagyric is useful, to do it successfully requires a lot of skill and a lot of effort, far more than I am prepared to expend on a transient thing. Alchemy, on the other hand, in my experience, is not just a method or a teaching, it is the wisdom itself behind it. She’s like a mistress to me, beautiful to look at and lovely in her growth, all my striving belongs to her, and no effort and no toil could keep me from following her.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merovee View Post
    She’s like a mistress to me, beautiful to look at and lovely in her growth, all my striving belongs to her, and no effort and no toil could keep me from following her.
    Yes Merovee, I totally agree ... when we have the calling there is no walking away.


    Black, you're right, it's fine, but I'm sorry, I don't quite understand your request, because I covered the differences between alchemy and spagyric in my post, that was the topic, wasn't it?
    For some time now I have been questioning the validity of the assumed process of Spagyrics :
    The extraction of an essential oil with Ethanol, the calcination of the plant and the recombining of the three parts to make a medicine.

    To my understanding the Ethanol cannot extract anything of true medicinal value and if we could extract a Living Quintessence why then would we add a dead earth to it ?

    The process seems to be lacking in logic and medical efficacy.

    Many believe that the term "Spagyrics" itself was coined by the 16th Century Austrian Physician Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus.

    Paracelsus an Adept Alchemist never used Ethanol to Extract a Quintessence, he used "The Mercury", and this is the reason so many that attempted to copy his Prima Ens Melissa have all failed.

    The "New Age concept" of what the process of Spagyrics is fails in a genuine validity.

    At the best it can give the students some laboratory experience with the handling of apparatus.

    The more I read of Paracelsus it becomes clearer that he uses the word Spagyric as a term to describe "the process" of Alchemy and not a separate science.

    This has only occurred to me over the past few years and I'm sure there will be many that will not agree with me on this point, but if found to be correct it may be of some assistance to a few.

  7. #7
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    Hi Black,
    Ok, it's much better to be so specific. I have already taken a general position in my contribution and have already described some things, but this way I can go into detail on your points. I see that you have already begun to critically examine these connections yourself. Let me have a few days, then I can clarify it from my point of view.
    sl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merovee View Post
    Hi Black,
    Ok, it's much better to be so specific. I have already taken a general position in my contribution and have already described some things, but this way I can go into detail on your points. I see that you have already begun to critically examine these connections yourself. Let me have a few days, then I can clarify it from my point of view.
    sl
    Thank you Merovee, greatly appreciated.

  9. #9
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    Hi Black,
    I'll try to respond to your thoughts then. But please remember that my experiences are not the same as yours:

    Ok, Spagyric is an artificial word possibly formed by Paracelsus, combining two Greek words (spao = to separate and ageiro = to bring together). Before that it was simply the gold maker's art and only connected with the art of healing insofar as it was practised by doctors or apothecaries (but that wasn't even rare). In any case, one can say that Paracelsus laid the foundation for today's chemistry with his spagyric. However, he was not the only one, at about the same time there was also an adept who called himself Basilius Valentinus and who developed and recorded some spagyric procedures, but he only became known later.

    His spagyric consisted of two parts, the essential part concerns alchemy, and so the majority of his instructions must be understood as analogies for alchemical or philosophical work, they should in no case be taken literally, but must be broken down philosophically before one set to work. The other part served to pass on minor or even ordinary but useful arcana which anyone can learn and usefully insert into a renewal of medicine which Paracelsus felt necessary.


    Your suspicions are well founded, because in fact, the spagyric processes are not alchemical works, and many things are wrong from an alchemical point of view. I have already shown what is wrong with their calcination, which is supposed to produce the fixed sulphur. The result is a salt, but not something like a philosophical sulphur. Nor is it true that the ethereal oils represent the volatile sulphur; they may contain much sulphur, but alchemically the volatile as well as the fixed sulphur are one and the same; from the volatile one makes the fixed, and from the fixed one makes the volatile sulphur; it is then quite like a golden oil floating on the mercurial water, but it can only be obtained from the fixed sulphur.

    Alcohol may be arising with the help of Mercury, but it is not therefore itself a Mercury. Consider: is alcohol then that special power of growth and greening or does it concentrate it in itself? Is alcohol the primordial source of those healing powers in plants which the spagyric methods are supposed to bring out and increase? The error in their view lies in the fact that they don’t understand the dissolving principle of mercury. It is not a chemical process but consists in opening the seals or bonds of matter and, acting on its inner, passive forces, activates them and from there purifies matter by its own secret fire. It's not about transfer something into a solution, but about transforming it into a special state. The spagyric process, then, with its "so-as-if-doing", is merely an analogy to the alchemical process.

    For a better understanding, let us contrast the analogy with the actual process: when asked to do so, the spagyricist actually puts his jars into horse manure (or into something like this). However, it is clear to the alchemist what is actually meant by this: he puts his matter into a state of putrefaction so that it soon shows the appearance of horse dung, for this is the horse dung which warms and nourishes the secret quintessence resting within itself. The spagyricist sees an analogy in the quintessence, not in horse dung. For the alchemist it is just the other way round.

    Spagyric corresponds probably to transubstantiation in the church, it is said that bread and wine undergo a transformation through consecration. Although the transformation does not really take place, this process definitely evokes positive experiences (which can be very far-reaching for the faithful). By this I mean that the matter which is treated spagyrically in this way can certainly be influenced positively.


    The actual philosophical Mercury is called Spiritus Vini for several reasons, firstly because of its appearance, then because of its analogy (a fiery water etc.) to the spirit of wine (ethanol), but secondly also because its secret is linked to that of wine. But I wouldn't rack my brains over that because it is a real secret, and no human being can fathom such a secret with the help of his intellect; they only reveal themselves out of themselves, on the level of true being. Furthermore, just as there is a red wine and a white wine, our Mercury also appears once red and once of a white, translucent clarity. Of course, it is also called a fire (a secret fire or a fiery water), but, and this is not an allegory, it resists fire like the salamander. Unlike the spirit of wine, which perishes completely in fire, our Mercury remains steadfast and cannot be distressed by fire. Another secret, which I must not go into, is that it conceals a living gold. Although of a different nature, it surpasses the brilliance of ordinary gold with its radiant brightness; Fulcanelli compared it to the star of Bethlehem. But this is not to be found in the least in the ordinary spirit of wine, and all spagyricists have no idea of it.
    There is another thing that the adepts like to keep hidden, not because it touches the real secrets, but so that no one can pretend that they are doing the true Work. There is something like an indicator, an unmistakable sign by which the practising alchemist can check whether he has prepared the right mercury and is on the right path. Through a small grip the Mercury shows the hermetic seal in the colours of the work. Therefore, the alchemist can easily check whether one has the true mercury, and believe me, neither the ethanol nor any other solvent of the spagyricists shows this sign.

    With the true Sulphur there is a very special relationship. Some call this our sulphur, others call that our sulphur, but what it really is remains a mystery. The adepts have said nothing but confusing things in their writings (those who disagree have not yet realised that they are being consciously and intentionally confused on this point, and this in a particularly sophisticated way), and it can take many years to realise that and arrive at least one concrete and well-founded assumption. Therefore, I leave it at that and do not interfere in the affairs of the masters. Just this: how should the spagyricists, who are far more confused than we are and not have the slightest chance of ever getting their hands on it, know what it is and how it is? In fact, they know even less about the Sulphur than they do about the Mercury.



    Not everything I have said is irrefutably true, but some of it is, and not just a little of it. However, I do not want to offend the spagyricists who are in this forum. I respect their work, and do not consider it superfluous, everyone should go their own way, and this way is always and for everyone the best.
    Apart from that, I was mainly talking about modern plant spagyric, from Basilius Valentinus to the Rosicrucians of the 18th century, many spagyric instructions have come into the public domain, which are more akin to alchemy, although there is often talk of transformations, there are usually no alleged "universals" there.
    Ok?
    Last edited by Merovee; 01-23-2022 at 02:32 PM.

  10. #10
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    What I forgot to say (it concerns the picture posted):
    Of course it is not the real Mercurius Philosophorum, I chose the picture because it makes a good comparison. I wanted to show how much the real Mercury can differ from the false one or a so-called Mercury.
    You can also see one way of making a hidden sign visible, you can make it cast a shadow, hold it against strong sunlight, make a drop flow on a glass plate or do something else like that, you just have to examine it carefully.

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