Lesson 00: Getting Started
Welcome To Spagyria 1010!
There are a few things I want to make you aware of as you start this course. First, since this is your first lesson, there will be a bit more about the instructions and flow of the lessons in this area than there usually is.
Since you are preparing to learn how to make Spagyric Tinctures, it is expected that you have a thorough understanding of the History, Background, and Theory. If you feel comfortable with your modern alchemical theory and spagyric history and cosmology, this and subsequent lessons will make perfect sense. If not, you might get very confused.
Each Page will look almost identical in structure and format to this page. Every video will be composed of the following parts from top to bottom:
- Lesson Instructions
- Video Lecture
- Video Demonstration
- Philosophically Speaking....
- Additional Resources
- Materials List
- End of Lesson Quiz
- Student Forum
Instructions To Complete This Lesson:
Please watch the Video Lesson[s] and then focus on reading through the Interactive PDF. Once you have gone through all the resources thoroughly, please take the quiz for this lesson and then move on to the next lesson as you feel ready.
Please be sure to download and Print any of the PDF's included in this lesson. The should ideally be printed and placed in a 3-ring notebook.
Please watch the Video Lesson[s] and then focus on reading any additional content and/or viewing the additional resources. Once you have gone through all the resources thoroughly, please take the quiz for this lesson and then move on to the next lesson as you feel ready.
Introductory Video Lessons:
Introducing Spagyria 1010 and the Fundamental Practices of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia
Many people in the modern day use the term 'Spagyric' to talk about a single item of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia, which are called Spagyric Tinctures. They use the phrase in ways such as the following: "Do you have a Spagyric of Ginger?" Though that usage is not completely incorrect, it's very important to understand that the term 'Spagyric' is actually equivalent to the terms 'Pharmaceutical' and 'Ayurvedic.' So that phrase would be like saying, "Do you have an Ayurvedic of Ginger?" You can clearly see how this doesn't really make sense or provide the proper context, and it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what the term 'Spagyric' means and how to use that term properly. Furthermore, there are many schools of thought that try to limit Spagyria to being 'Herbal Alchemy', which is also completely false from an historical perspective, and as you will see, that limitation is really only due to the lack of context and understanding of Paracelsian texts in their totality, which belong not only to Paracelsus, but also to Basil Valentine, The Paracelsian Physicians, and several other Alchemical Authors who followed Paracelsus' train of thought.
There is also a pervading school of thought that tries to distinguish Alchemical Medicines from Spagyric Medicines. According to Historical Context and the writings of Paracelsus, who founded the Pharmacopoeia and Cosmology of Spagyric Medicine, this is simply not correct at all. Anything made Alchemically with remedial virtue is included in the Pharmacopoeia of Spagyric Medicine; what causes Spagyria and Alchemy to differ is purely the attitude and approach of the Work: Spagyria produces substances purely for their Remedial or Medicinal values, whereas Alchemy is a practice of Stewardship and Mastery of Nature. In fact, Alchemy is one of the Pillars of Spagyric Medicine, meaning that it is a pre-requisite to become a Spagyrist, yet in the modern day, many people who lack historical context try to say that their Alchemical Medicines are an order of degree higher than Spagyric Medicines. But what they really mean to express is that Spagyria Minus produces substance of less healing virtue than those produced through Spagyria Major.
Spagyria Minor includes most of the items of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia that are bound to Potassium Ions through a digestion of Potassium-based Salts, notably Vegetable Salt of Salt and Salt of Sulfur. Spagyria Major includes the items of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia that are produced through more elaborate processes including Sublimation of Mineral and Metallic substances, which can be derived from the Vegetable Kingdom, but are not in any way restricted to the Vegetable Kingdom.
Historically speaking, Spagyria contains an entire Pharmacopoeia complete with its own Cosmology, methods of Diagnosis, and Methodology for Producing items of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia. To wit, there are at least 15 items of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia that I produce regularly in my own Spagyric Laboratory, and another 30-40 that I can name off the top of my head. Some of these include:
- Spagyric Tinctures which include: Standard Spagyric Tincture; Philosophic Spagyric Tincture; Rarified Spagyric Tincture; Spagyric Ens Tincture; Spagyric Tincture cum Sal Volatilis; and several others
- Spagyric Elixirs which include: Powdered Spagyric Elixirs; Liquid Spagyric Elixirs; and no fewer than 5 Degrees of each that can be produced
- Spagyric Essences which include: Spagyric Essence per Circumscindo; Spagyric Essence per Destillatio; Spagyric Essence cum Oleum Volatilis; Philosophic Spagyric Essence; Reconstructed Spagyric Essence; etc;
- Spagyric Primum Entia which include: Spagyric Primum Ens Vulgaris; Spagyric Primum Ens Paracelsii;
- Spagyric Clyssi which include: Spagyric Clyssus Paracelsii Totalis, Spagyric Clyssus de Radix Feburis, Tinctured Spagyric Clyssus; etc;
- Spagyric Magistery Paracelsii
- Spagyric Stones which include: Spagyric Stone per Oleum Volatilis; Spagyric Stone per Tincturae; Spagyric Stone per Calor Directa; etc;
- Spagyric Quintessences which Include: Spagyric Quintessence per Circulatum Minus Urbigerii; Spagyric Quintessence per Pyrolysis Hollandii, Spagyric Quintessence per Alkahestus Tartarorum Vegetabili; Spagyric Quintessence cum Spiritu Flammifera Valentinii, etc;
- Spagyric Oils of the Noble Metals which include: Oleum Metallicum per Pyrolysis; Oleum Metallicum per Alkahestus Metalli; Oleum Metallicum per Alkahestus Universal; etc
- Spagyric Oil of Antimony which Include: Oleum Fixarum Antimonii; Oleum Volatilis Antimonii;
- And every other item of Medicine produced through Alchemical Processes which may have remedial value.
So if you are one of those people who picked up commercially available books or attended lectures, workshops, or courses from individuals that provided you with another definition of Spagyria, then please just know that while the information that has been passed on to you may still be relevant in certain ways, that you have definitely learned about Spagyria in a very incomplete and non-comprehensive manner void of proper historical context. It will be, however, quite easy for you to remedy the incomplete definitions and lack of proper context by completing the coursework involved in the various Modules of the Phoenix Aurelius Research Academy which are designed to help a person fully understand the Cosmology, Techniques, Methodologies, and Pharmacopoeia of Spagyria. In this way, you will be trained with adequate education to be able to perform peer review on the various items of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia within our Research Academy so as to restore and re-legitimize Spagyric Medicine in the face of the modern world.
It is very important for those new to Spagyria to understand that Spagyric Medicine was exceptionally popular for over 150 years after Paracelsus' death in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, France, and England. Furthermore, Spagyria was the first Western Pharmacopoeia we know of that used iatrochemistry, which is the basis of modern Pharmaceutical Medicine today. Though it was very controversial during the days of the Paracelsus due to the longstanding tradition of Galenic Medicine advocated by the Catholic Church, Paracelsus and subsequent Paracelsian Physicians, as they are now known historically, had immense success in healing a large number of diseases, many of which still pester humanity to this day.
For instance, Paracelsus himself was cited as having cured people infected with Plague, healing an entire colony of Lepers, and effortlessly curing Syphilis using Mercury Sulfides produced through Alchemical Sublimation and Purification methods. Spagyric Medicine didn't survive the Scientific Revolution, though, for a number of historical reasons mainly pertaining to its Archetypal Theories. Because Spagyria was Pre-Scientific [at least in the modern sense of that word] and it has always worked using 'Big Picture' philosophies that include Archetypal Reasoning, its philosophies did not include more than 4 [arguably 5] Elements and Three Philosophic Essentials which did not adequately provide people of the newly emerging Scientific Revolution with language with which they could reconcile some of their new findings. So as Alchemy changed into Chymy and later Chymistry, and people such as Von Helmont, Lavoisier, Boyle, et al. began to prove that there were more than one type of each Element, people proverbially 'threw the baby out with the bath water' because they didn't know how to reconcile the pre-scientific understanding of Alchemical Terminology with their emerging Chymical Practices. And for the large part, they wanted to feel that they were doing something new. Alchemy was old and had some nefarious connotations with it, whereas Chymistry was more precise and demonstrable and used clear terms and methodologies.
This resulted in Chymists, such as Vol Helmont, Boyle, and others ultimately rejecting the Terminology and Philosophies of Alchemy, even though they had strong backgrounds in Alchemical Practices. To them, and others of the emerging Scientific Revolution at that time, they viewed the Theological explanations that Paracelsus used to draw his conclusions as un-scientific despite the merits of his works and the merits of contemporaneous Paracelsian Physicians at the the time. Unless they could understand things scientifically, using objective methodologies that were quite distinguished from Alchemical Terminology and Practice, they discredited the works altogether and re-arranged the world of Scholastic Science.
Very similar things happened in China during the rule of Mao, where the Ancient Chinese tradition of Taoist Medicine and Practices were entirely discredited both in the face of Western Scientific Empirical Theory imposed upon them by British Imperialism as well as the intolerance for Religion that was maintained by the emerging Chinese Communism Party. Today, a reconstructed form of Taoist Medicine has been partially restored, though without any of the Psycho-Spiritual Practices of Taoism which are fundamental to its holistic practice. This somewhat empty reconstruction is what we now know as Traditional Chinese Medicine. The 'religious' portions of the Pharmacopoeia, Cosmology, and Methodologies are entirely ignored by MOST practitioners of TCM today because Western Science and Communism has placed such a strong emphasis on the separation of Spirit and Matter. In China, it was both the attitude and inculcation of Western Scientific Imperialism as well as the fundamentally intolerant policies of Maoist Communism that ultimately stripped Taoist medicine away and replaced it with Chinese Medicine, which is not necessarily as complete and holistic as it once was.
In that same way, just under slightly different circumstances, Paracelsianism and Spagyric Medicine were also discounted by the Scientists of the Scientific + Chemical Revolutions. Today, we know and can not readily deny that there are many different Elements in the Periodic Table which are all distinguished by their Atomic Mass and Atomic Number, as well as various other points of differentiation made available through Scientific Progress. But just as Conventional Modern Western Science is baffled at HOW Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda are able to elicit a healing affect using such 'unscientific' methods as are practiced in both styles of medicine, there are points of Spagyria that are not yet well understood by Western Science, nor ever have been. This isn't because Western Science is incapable of understanding it, but rather because it is largely UNWILLING to do so.
Fortunately, like Chinese Medicine, there were pockets of practitioners who more or less preserved many of the practices and cosmology of Spagyria by adopting Alchemy as an Underground Spiritualist Movement. In the case of Spagyria, Paracelsus' cosmologies and laboratory methods were adopted by the Rosicrucians and various other esoteric orders that have a Rose-Croix degree within their initiation system. They continued to pass on the knowledge of cosmology and even laboratory techniques into the late 20th Century and in such a way have I and others been able to 'get our hands on' the cosmology, techniques, and laboratory practices as adopted and adapted in the modern world. Individuals such as Orval Graves, Dr Albert Riedel, Jean Dubuis, Jack Glass, Russ + Sue House, and others in this line are largely responsible for teaching these methodologies throughout the 20th century, and it is because of them, both directly and indirectly, that I was able to take this knowledge, subject it to Scholastic and Historical Scrutiny, and recapitulate the teachings in a less Mystical and More Practical context for modern individuals today.
As we continue to progress in our Scientific, Psychological, and Spiritual understanding of the Holistic Human Experience in the 21st Century, the Modern World is quickly coming to a point where Spagyria, with its philosophies and practices, is prime to take Center Stage again. In fact, Paracelsus always knew that it would take about 500 years for his medicine to catch on and he made references to his students and told them with a great deal of certainty that in the end, he would be right and all others would be wrong because he could demonstrate what he was talking about where they could not.
As modern individuals, we are perfectly okay understanding Archetypal Language and Symbology largely due to the work of C.G. Jung and other Psychologists who followed in his wake, and we are also perfectly comfortable accepting modern Chemical Terminology and Theory, especially since it can be demonstrated and replicated. But Psychology and Psychiatry are largely ineffective for most people today, not to mention being completely elusive and insubstantial in its theories and practices, and Chemistry has adulterated and polluted the world by distancing itself from Nature in such vast ways. Furthermore, it has become appallingly obvious that Western Christian Spirituality has failed to provide any significant Spiritual Enrichment to Modern Culture. Within the past few years, it has become exceedingly clear to see how various Churches are simply using their Dogmas to imbue psychological abuse which has resulted in a Sociological Stockholm Syndrome which allows the Leaders of any Faith to attain great sums of money from their Parishioners as well as to find members within the Parish which they can abuse freely with a strong slant towards sexual misconduct and perverted sexual predation. All of these negative influences imposed upon the Modern Individual due to the shortcomings of modern Psychology, Chemistry, and Spirituality have opened up a vast interest in re-exploring traditions of the past. And in the West, no tradition is more rich or provides more context or answers for the modern individual than Spagyria does.
Furthermore, we can practice Spagyria without it conflicting with Modern Psychology or Chemistry. In fact, by learning Spagyria, we are able to Illuminate and provide a far better context for Psychology, Chemistry, and Spirituality. For instance, we know that Water-Soluble Salt of Salt [or Salt of Sulfur as well as Salt of Tartar] from the Vegetable Kingdom is Potassium Carbonate, and that Acetic Acid-Soluble Salt of Salt [or Salt of Sulfur and Salt of Tartar as well] from the Vegetable Kingdom is Potassium Acetate. The Philosophic Terminology just helps to correspond each Spagyric component back to the aspect of our own Transpersonal Anatomy [Soul, Spirit, Body] while the Chemical Terminology helps us clearly distinguish and communicate the names of substances that we are talking about without ambiguity. In such a way, we can use Philosophic Archetypal Terminology for our Transpersonal needs and Chemical Terminology for our Lab needs. These two seemingly separate sets of terminology actually go hand in hand and, if instructed properly, help a student to fully comprehend and Integrate the Psycho-Spiritual Ramifications of Labwork.
Today, we can use Spagyric Archetypal Terminology with the best aspects of Modern Chemical Science and develop a Unified Practice for our Age that is unparalleled in its Individual and Sociological relevance without being burdened by a predatious dogmatic approach. If something can't be demonstrated in the lab, in the psyche, and on a spiritual level, then that thing being observed isn't holographic and fractal, and therefore has no objective relevance in our modern lives. And this is the essence of how we can use Spagyria as a tool to heal our sociology and ourselves individually with extreme precision. Far beyond just a method of Pharmacopoeia, the Cosmology and Approach of Modern Spagyria, as we teach it at the Phoenix Aurelius Research Academy, offers a holistic system that unerringly unifies Psychological, Chemical, and Spiritual practices in a perfectly meaningful and applicable manner. This allows individuals to realign themselves with Nature and Natural Law in a way that promotes and encourages Holistic Health.
At a time in history where nearly every person is confused, distracted, and traumatized deeply by the facets of the modern world, Spagyria is perhaps more relevant now than it ever has been. Your education with the Phoenix Aurelius Research Academy will help you explore Spagyria in a uniquely meaningful context and thus provide an integrated approach to living in and interacting with the Natural World. It is our hope that with your education, you begin to realize, just as countless students have done before you, that Spagyria is THE ART AND SCIENCE which will help us move forward in the modern world by providing much needed solutions, both individually and sociologically. Chiefest among these solutions are alternatives to Health Crises and Pharmaceutical Recklessness, The Self Deprecation and Subservience of Western Spirituality, and the Ineffectiveness and Elusiveness of Psychology in our Modern World.
Introducing Spagyric Tinctures - The Foundation of Modern Spagyria
The first and most foundational skill of Spagyria is the process of making Spagyric Tinctures. Spagyric Tinctures are usually what most people are referring to when they say things like, "Do you have a Spagyric of such and such a plant?" and "I know how to make Spagyrics." Like we discussed in the Written Lecture above, this is an inaccurate understanding of Spagyria and 'Spagyrics', but people use this terminology because Spagyric Tinctures are the most common form of Spagyric Remedies made available in the modern day. And they're the most common because it's where most people begin the journey, and they're also the simplest to read about in a book and then to subsequently make. Other items of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia largely build upon the foundational skill-sets learned during this process, so it's very important that we begin here.
As you will come to learn in Lesson 09 of this module, a Spagyric Tincture itself leads to a couple different items of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia being made, and so when you learn this methodology, you are learning essentially how to make no fewer than three distinct items of Spagyric Pharmacopoeia as well as learning the critical skills necessary to make other items of more advanced Spagyric Pharmacopoeia, all of which abide by the same Archetypal Processes. There are only three or so Archetypal Processes included in the Emerald Tablet which are not included in this module. These are Fermentation, Distillation, and Coagulation, all of which are covered in future modules. It is my experience that it is VERY important when beginning to not overwhelm a practitioner with the necessity of practicing every process that can ULTIMATELY be practiced, otherwise the Perfect becomes the Enemy of the Good. Instead, I offer this curriculum, which will still be very challenging for most, in such a way that you learn the foundational theory and practices to produce Spagyric Tinctures, Spagyric Elixirs, and a Spagyric Essence per Circumscindo without making the curriculum and theory so difficult that few complete it.
In future modules, as you explore the methodologies and processes of Fermentation, Distillation, and Coagulation, you can cycle back around to what you have learned here and incorporate those skills back in. But to offer them all at once is very overwhelming and most people simply lose interest because the costs and time involved for these latter processes tend to make the work unavailable for the majority of people. That said, you will still learn about the Philosophy of these processes during this course, but the practical application is made available to you in the Module which follows this one, which is known as "Spagyria 1020."
This curriculum is quite dense and 'chewy' and will take at least 20+ hours in 'class time' for most students - and that's if you already have a background practicing Spagyrics or Alchemy. If you are entirely new to this work, the 'class time' you spend going through each lesson will likely take you about 3-4 hours per lesson which includes watching and reading through all the resources in the lesson, taking notes, and letting each lesson actually sink in before you move to the next one.
The Slower You Go, The Faster You Will Get Where You're Going. Take your time and really allow yourself to comprehend and integrate each lesson. I this way, your labwork and personal practice will go a lot more smoothly. In addition to the 'Class Time', students desirous of being Certified to become a Peer Review Specialist for this level of coursework will have to actually perform the methodologies in their own labs, which can take a few days of concentrated 8-hour a day work, or it could take a month or more if doing the work more on a more passive schedule. Either way, it's going to take time. But anything worth doing does take time and rushing through things will not provide the results you are hoping for either in this course or in your lab. Remember that as Spagyrists, we learn from Nature. So look to Nature and learn from Her and realize that "Nature does not rush, yet everything is accomplished," just as Lao Tzu said.
An Overview of The Entire Process to Make a Professional Spagyric Tincture
The PDF Above is a mini-course all of its own, really. It contains written instructions and photos denoting each phase of the process. Moreover, it includes important notes and information that you will want to refer back to in the future so you don't have to go through the entire lesson again. For this reason, the resource is downloadable.
The above resource is a quick sheet that you can print that goes over each of the processes in this module so you can easily refer back to it at any time. It is suggested you print it off and keep it in a Three Ring Binder along with any other notes you take throughout this course.
The video above outlines the process as I perform it for the production of most of the Spagyric Tinctures on our website and features Moringa oleifera as the plant being worked on. It explains every step of the process.
Even with these resources, unless you've seen it done and watched it demonstrated step by step, it can be a little overwhelming for a lot of people at first because the work is pretty foreign unless one possesses an organic chem background. If it was easy to deduce from the written texts, people would be doing it a lot more regularly with far greater expertise and quality. That's why I break it down step by step in each of the following lessons. There are no time-frames or expectations for how quickly you are "supposed to move to the next lesson" so be sure to move at your own pace and just stay present and focused with the experience to get the most out of this course.
Before you begin learning the actual techniques to create a tincture, there are some basic pre-requisites that all students of Spagyria should know. Chiefest among these pre-requisites is safety. We have provided some Field and Lab Safety as well as an herbal wildharvesting guide with with information on ethics and procedures to follow when starting this work.
Many practitioners will want this information to be present in their Alchemical Journals, so I have made the PDF below a downloadable resource. Feel free to download and print it as you need.
Lab Safety + Wildhavesting
No necessary Materials for this Lesson