LJ Redux – Alchemy Advice, March 16th, 2009

* Hello again. As the title indicates I wrote this over a decade ago. As I have more alchemical writing forthcoming, it seemed appropriate to produce some Oil of VITRIOL to get us started.

To begin with, one must posses an alembic.


Any hollow space will do, but it must be hermetically isolated in space and time. The specifics will depend on your needs, but don’t think you can go without. You can’t. Once you have the alembic, you must start using it right away. Many people think the alembic must be a spotless, perfect egg before it can be used. This will never happen. Even if the alembic is normally used for making tea, isolate it and apply heat now. Our work is to refine metal. The heat will actually make the process of cleaning easier. Also, the alembic will refine itself in the fire and take a more pleasing shape as the work progresses. If you fail to use it, the hermetic seal will vanish and your alembic will be useless. Take up the closest material at hand and put it to work.

Now you must apply heat. This is harder to do than it seems. Fire requires fuel. You must have this daily. See my post on Mass of the Phoenix for ideas on where fuel can be obtained. Also, you must get a pair of bellows to provide the fire with oxygen. Start with the chapter in Magick in Theory and Practice on the Oath and proceed from there. Constantly ask yourself, “How can I use this to heat the alembic?”

First, a number of diverse gases will burn off. Do not mistake these ephemera for substance, but enjoy their subtle perfume. If this stage is not passed, you likely do not have enough fuel.

Next, the remaining mass will become heavy and black. Continue to pump the bellows and do not lose hope. The material may become calcinated or putrefy. Calcination means an absence of air. If you have not done so already, this is a good stage at which to refine your alembic, but remember to continue the process. Putrefaction is actually a good sign. It shows that the matter is becoming mobile. Persist in your course and do not waver.

Lastly, the metal will be revealed in its pure state. Now you have made a real beginning and can further refine this metal to reveal the red or white tincture. Even this is not the end, but an even greater beginning. The path lies before you.


Solvitur ambulando.

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