And so why is that important? All of that will certainly effect the tincture I am about to create, something alchemists of old realized.
Today I have been practicing a little of what I call Masonic 'kitchen alchemy', cooking up a concoction that is surely influenced by the sun, moon, and on this day the constellation of Aries, that will hopefully aid me in harmonizing my body (mind and soul).
For those that enjoy the mystery lets enter the rabbit hole (Freemasonry), and my kitchen (my real kitchen).
First lets take a look at alchemy, a science understood by few who enter Freemasonry, but in fact a forgotten science that just may be the key to understanding its underlying secret (trust me, there is one).
As to why I call this 'Masonic Alchemy', read carefully and a couple secrets may present themselves (yes, I will provide a little help).
First things first, a little clarification, alchemy got a bad rap. Many believe that alchemy was all about the pursuit of gold through the transmutation of metals, and for many charlatans it was. But for many this precursor to chemistry was actually a spiritual science, hidden under the disguise of early chemistry? (not something the suppressive and dogmatic church wanted you to study).
"The purpose of alchemy was not to make something out of nothing but rather to fertilize and nurture that which was already present. Its processes did not actually create gold but rather make the ever-present seed of gold grow and flourish. Everything which exists has a spirit, the seed of Divinity within itself and regeneration is not the process of attempting to place something where it previously had not existed. Regeneration actually means the unfoldment of the omnipresent Divinity in man, that this Divinity may shine forth as a sun and illumine all with whom it comes in contact."...Brother Manly P. Hall (the purpose of Freemasonry in a nutshell)
Although Brother Hall is referring to alchemy as a spiritual process (which it is), a progression where the initiate travels from "ego to unity" by realizing our true divinity within (not up there), this is the same process at play when we practice plant alchemy (in my kitchen) known as spagyric, where we are going to tap into essence of the plant (my purpose being medicinal).
Above we see the herbs (and mushrooms) I will be using, and of the vodka (spiritus).
I personally prefer 100 proof, the stronger the spirit the more the gain.
I never said it was going to be easy, but please continue, it just may change your life! (If you get it)
The concept of the spagyric alchemy in turn relies upon the three cardinal principles of alchemy, termed as salt, sulphur and mercury, all familiar symbols to the students of Freemasonry (at least before WW2, after that Freemasonry sadly begins to forget its roots, but we esoterics are making a comeback).
"The basis of matter was the alchemical trinity of principles – salt, sulfur and mercury. Salt was the principle of fixity (non-action) and in-combustibility; mercury was the principle of fusibility (ability to melt and flow) and volatility; and sulfur was the principle of inflammability."...Paracelsus (water, air, fire)
The intuitive brother should be associating the three degrees with the three principles right about now. Salt, refers to the first degree, where the tide ebbs and flows, salt water, mercury, refers to the second degree, the beasts of the field and fouls in the air, Mercury was the god that could descend to the earth (the field) and as send to to the heavens (fowls of the air), and sulfur, symbolic the third degree, have my body burned to ash, fire (or spirit) and he would be right (except for English brothers who unknowly and wrongly have removed the penalties not knowing what they really meant).
So here's whats going on in my kitchen. I'm about to release the essence of a couple herbs for medicinal purposes, what the alchemist would call the sulphur element (within the human some would call this the divine, hoped for during the third degree of Freemasonry).
In the picture above you see three different plants, one is hawthorn, a medicinal herb known to decrease hypertension, turmeric root, a great antioxidant (to clean out the impurities in the body), and chaga mushroom, the king of shrooms, anti-viral, anti-cancer, known as the "Mushroom of Immortality", three I've randomly picked for there medicinal properties . All three of these represent salt, the earth element (they are all matter). This is the beginning of the process (the entered apprentice) matter (the rough ashlar).
In the Plant Kingdom, the physical body of the plant itself is the Salt, its essential oil is the Sulphur, and alcohol (and occasionally water), is the Mercury.
If we use the vernacular of today we have (simplified) body (salt or matter), mind (mercury or air), and spirit of soul (sulfur or fire).
For those that would like to make their own tincture fill a mason jar half full with your herb of choice. Next add equal amounts of 100 proof vodka, which will become the carrier (just like the god Mercury who had the ability to descend to the world of matter and ascend to the heavenly realm).
Now comes patience as we let the vodka extract the essence of the plant, in this case it's attributes (it's medicinal components).
Six or seven weeks (I prefer seven for occult reasons) later the the mixture will be ready to be transferred to smaller bottles. But first we have to remove the herb the has given up its essence. This is done with a funnel and coffee filter.
Without getting to technical in the alchemical department, next we can take the refuse (sound familiar brother) and boil it in water and create a double extraction. This is done by boiling the soaked herb (or mushroom) mash in water until you have reduced the liquid by half. Strain the reduced liquid and add it to your single extraction. This yields a stronger, more robust medicinal tincture (all from the refuse of the temple, the plant).
Myself, personally, prefer to bottle my tinctures in a 4oz. eye dropper bottle, taking the medical tincture subliminally where it enters the bloodstream directly avoiding the gastric juices (more bang for the buck).
Plant alchemy (just like Freemasonry) is all about getting in touch with the divine within.