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Wednesday, 23 January 2019 09:47

How Spagyric and Alchemical products work

I want to clarify something from the last article. I mentioned that Kether / Mercury equates to energy / information. In the standard paradigm of the Three Essentials as taught by Frater Albertus Kether / Mercury is assigned solely energy, and Chokmah / Sulphur is assigned consciousness.

It was Rubaphilos Salfluere[1] who first suggested a change when he assigned simply the attribute of information to the alchemical Essential of Mercury . His main point being that since the god Mercury (Thoth) was known to be the carrier of information of the gods, alchemical Mercury should be designated as a container of information. While initially this did not sit well with me, I eventually warmed up to the idea, not in replacing the designation of energy with information, but rather adding it to energy. I saw no sense in carrying information to a place and then dropping it off for something else to carry out the instructions contained in the information. In a very real sense, this energy/information paring is like a cell which contains all the information about its life process, and independent replication processes. In the case of Kether / Mercury the information it contains is evolutionary information. It contains all information about what a thing is, has been, as well as the various conditions it can evolve into.

The other two Essentials also have their information quotients. In the standard paradigm Chokmah / Sulphur is associated with consciousness. The question is consciousness of what? In this case, it is the wisdom born out of the complete understanding the One has of itself. How much of this wisdom is accessible to any individual varies because no one person knows all. Frater Albertus was said to hold conversations on Physics, chemistry, medicine etc., with PhD’s though he had never studied those subjects, but he did have access to a universal wisdom. Even with that access his grammar was less than desirable[2]. The information contained in Essential of Sulphur is the range of feelings, thoughts and emotions capable of being expressed in that cycle of manifestation.

Of course the Body / Salt also has information within it, because it is a compilation of the other two Essentials. The information of the Body pertains to the functioning and laws of form and use within any particular cycle of manifestation. While understanding is based on knowledge gathered from experience, it does seem that there are limits to what is known and understood from experience at any given time, hence we have ages such as stone, bronze, and iron. In each of those ages there seemed to be a generalized hard cap as to how far people could push their experience and use the knowledge and understanding gleaned from it. Yet the precepts of the technology that would be used in the bronze and iron ages existed in the stone age. Simply put, 2000 years ago all the natural resources needed to make vacuum tubes or transistors were present and available to us, but it was not their time for physical emanation, even though the precepts about them existed in the greater consciousness wisdom of the time and was available to certain high level adepts.

OK, so what does all of this have to do with how and why spagyric and alchemical products work? By work I am not speaking only of the physical efficacy of the products in question. If we look at herbal preparations, their physical efficacy has been known for millennium and there is rigorous modern research being conducted today to back up those claims.

By the term work, I am also referring to the changes wrought to the interior person that is in their habitual thought patterns and the unencumbered way in which the life force flows through them for accomplishing any specific task.

The starting premise for all of this is that everything originates from a singular source, which in my last article as well as in this article I have termed the alchemical Essential of Mercury. This Essential of Mercury always was and is, (The Big Bang, or The Word)….take your pick…even when it is considered a no-thing preceding first emanation.

As an alchemist, my cosmological view is that energy = life, and where there is life there is consciousness. Modern physics teaches us that all matter is nothing more than energy, and thus from the alchemical point of view, and I suspect a growing consensus among theoretical physicist that all matter has some inherent consciousness (awareness).

When it comes to plants the question is not if life is inherent in the plant, but if there is a consciousness inherent in the plant. Is there an intelligent, semi-intelligent, or at least conscious entity inherent in the herb that we are processing that is capable of affecting our consciousness positively or negatively? If there is a consciousness inherent in the plant is it capable of assisting or resisting our working with it?

The experience of many indigenous people around the world points to a plant having consciousness as being a very true reality. Today universities and pharmacological houses are taking a second look at many text from the era of “classical chemistry” and realizing that the material in it should not be dismissed out of hand. Ethnopharmacologist have come to realize that the Shamans of indigenous peoples around the world have access to a specific knowledge, and a way of obtaining that knowledge from nature, based on a specific training that literally enables an alternate mode of communication between the Shaman and the natural matter (plant, animal, mineral) being worked on. Or as the Shamans would say, “the plants spoke to us”. Probably the best example today of this communication concerns Ayahuasca[3], ethnopharmacologist are unclear as to how the indigenous people learned of the hallucinogenic effects of the plant containing dimethyltryptamine because without a MAO inhibitor the psychoactive properties of the plant remain inert when consumed in liquid form. Yet these so-called primitive people were able to expertly produce what many say they should not have been able to do without the use of expensive modern day laboratory. Their explanation for how they achieved this was that the spirit of the plant spoke to them.

spagyric work John H Reid III

The question is how can such communication takes place? How can the plants, animals, and minerals speak to the shamans to impart that special knowledge about how to go about preparing those substances? Often, the preparation sequence is rather exacting from the manner and sequence of combining different substances, along with heating and cooling requirements that are intricate and time sensitive.

Mystics have been telling us for millennia that all life is one. They insist that this is not some pie-inthe-sky point of view, but a very true reality that forms the bedrock of existence. Until recently, we had taken them at their word unless one had advanced esoteric training and initiation. Today science is proving the old mystics right through a branch of study known as “Comparative Genomics”.

Comparative genomics is a field of biological research in which the genome sequences of different species — human, mouse, and a wide variety of other organisms from bacteria to chimpanzees — are compared.

“Although we like to think we are special, our genes bring us down to Earth. DNA is what ties the entire living world together. It may well account for the extraordinary diversity among organisms but it also serves to underline their common origins - we all evolved from the same soup of chemicals... By studying non-human genomes, we gain insight into our own.” Monise Durrani, BBC Science[4].

“This again reminds us of the unity of life - the fact that genes are not purpose-made for each organism, but rather evolution keeps on re-using its inventions over time.” Sir John Sulston, Director, Sanger Institute, UK[5].

The chart below is just a small sampling of the genome that we share with things. Doing a Google search on the phrase “how much DNA do humans share with other things” will yield some interesting information.









Zebra Fish






Fruit Fly


Honey Bee


Round Worm


Wine Grape


Bakers Yeast



There are of course many more examples of the DNA that is shared across living organisms, and I think it is that shared DNA that allows for a non-verbal communication to take place across species lines, through this shared DNA. Indeed, this communication is all around us, but life in the modern world has a way of drowning out this silent, yet ever-present communication.

We all evolved from the “same soup of chemicals” as Monise Durrani said. I think that evolution was symbiotic in nature. The essential macro and micro mineral elements necessary for plant life are the same as those for sustaining human life. Today over 70% of the medicines we use to cure ourselves have their origin from plants, as either direct isolation of molecules found in plants, or by synthetically producing a molecule or parts of a molecule found in plants[6].

spagyric work 2 John H Reid III

The plants did not just evolve alongside of us to act as food or medicine, but also to act as teachers to help aid in our evolution. This is the “speaking to us” the indigenous Shamans have pointed to. In alchemy and spagyrics we term this a plant or minerals arcanum or secret intelligence. And it is the arcanum that permits the user of spagyric products to have the inner experiences derived from using said products within the proper hermetic paradigm. These experiences are not mere flights of fancy, nor the result of a placebo effect. The fact that such inner-experiences can be elicited from persons with no knowledge about alchemy or the effects of such preparations shows that they are a naturally occurring phenomena. Although, I openly admit that using the products with intent allows for better results. I think those that experience the effects without being aware of the paradigm are just naturally inclined to that sort of inter-species communication.

In alchemy the effect is carried out by what is termed the quintessence of the matter. While the plants arcanum operates within the sphere of the Soul and Body of the Three Essential information/energy paradigm detailed above, the Quintessence is solely of the Essential of Mercury and I believe centered around the mineral kingdom and gases. I am not going to try and prove that there is life in the mineral kingdom. There is however, growing evidence that minerals do possess a form of memory, which of course means there is a form of life. Today’s electronic memory is based upon silicon[7]. It has also been shown that soil contains a form of memory[8] that preserve products of past abiotic and biotic soil processes and are thus able to record environmental changes on the nanoscale. A new mineral composite made up of Graphene a form of carbon, and Molybdenite creates a type of flash memory that not only stores data but maintains it in the absence of electricity[9]. One of the main arguments about

silicon data storage not evincing life (awareness), is that it must be manipulated by outside electric current. Of course this is how our brains work (electrical charges interacting with neurons), but the Graphene/ Molybdenite combination puts this argument to rest. Perhaps out there in the cosmos, there is a form of life whose memory is built upon this Graphene/ Molybdenite model. The arrogance of many minds is that because we have come up with something in our labs, it precludes the possibility of it having existed and having been utilized naturally somewhere else in the universe.

In the wider natural world, is there an exchange of information between particles, similar to the memory functions on the nanoscale possessed by soil? Has this basic memory exchange been happening in interstellar space since the first hydrogen atoms were transmuted to helium in stars, and did it continue with the production of the heavier elements formed by supernova? Is this memory exchange propagated via energetic particles like photons and electrons, and even quantum entanglement as atoms combine to form molecules and compounds, and assist in organic and inorganic functions?

Alchemy says yes there is, and it is in the form of the quintessence, the non-corporeal substance that might be thought as an energetic DNA. From our perspective our entire universe is built up on the gases and eventual solid elements that make up the periodic table, but since time is an illusion[10], might it not be argued that the entire potentiality of what a thing evolves into is indeed already present in the memory or awareness of those elements? Is it indeed the case, that alchemical quintessence simply catalyzes that which is already present in the minerals that make up our body causing seeming changes to be wrought that are in the end just the natural expression of something which already exist?


[1] www.rubaphilos.com

[2] “The Alchemist Handbook” forward by Israel Regardie pg 7 1974 Revised Edition

[3] en.wikipedia.org/?title=Ayahuasca

[4] thehumangenome.co.uk/the_human_genome/Primer.html

[5] thehumangenome.co.uk/the_human_genome/Primer.html

[6] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3560124/

[7] historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?id=2953

[8] geology.gsapubs.org/content/43/5/415.abstract

[9] eetasia.com/ART_8800683096_499486_nt_c5df09d2

[10] Time is relative, and flexible and, according to Einstein, “the divi ing line between past, present, and future is an illusion”

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John H Reid III

John H. Reid III is recognized as a living authority in practical and spiritual alchemy. He has been studying and practicing alchemy for nearly thirty years and has developed an approach to teaching the often obtuse subject matter of the Royal Art in a way that is easy to understand, engaging, informative, and life transforming.

In the mid 90's the publication of John's first book the "Minor Opus a.k.a John Reid's Course on Practical Alchemy" aroused considerable interest. It has been hailed as an outstanding work on plant alchemy. Thousands of people from around the world have cut their alchemical teeth on this seminal text, and hundreds of websites have based a large part of their alchemical content around it. It is in fact cited on Wikipedia as a detailed online course in Plant Alchemy.


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    The twenties, Nice, France... Gold! This article comes from a French review that dates from 1927, written by Andre Ibels for the Nouveau Journal de Nice At the end of the five chapters of the article you will find the protestation by a Professor of Engineering at the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers in Paris, that accused the scientists of her time of being cowardly.

    We took the article from the Adam Mc Lean website1, probably the best site of alchemy ever. The article was written by Mark House, an American researcher in alchemy, who in the next issue of NitroGeno will write a commentary about this text and the experiments that took place.

    How i succeeded in making gold according to the process of mr. Jollivet Castelot - December 1925
    By A. Ballandras

    Dosage of Gold obtained by the second method.

    The residue, which had been obtained by a mixture of:

    • Silver 10 grams
    • Tin 3 grams
    • Arsenic sulphide 3 grams
    • Antimony sulphide 3 grams

    was crushed as much as possible and subdued (read: subjected) to a treatment of pure chloric acid like in the first method. [Here is a reference to a first method - not presented here - the above being the second method presented by Ballandras from a text, the name and size of which is unknown to me.] However, to completely eliminate the silver and the tin employer, I scrupled to begin the indicated treatments, that is to say that the powder which was obtained having been subdued first to the action of azotic acid then washed with distillated water, then subdued to the action of chloric acid, then once more washed with distillated water, and these different operations were begun once more with another portion of pure azotic acid, and another portion of pure chloric acid after having carefully washed the insoluble residue was subdued to the prolonged action of aqua regalis following:

    Chloric acid - 15 parts/ Azotic acid - 4-5 parts.

    It must be noted that this thing happened during the ebullition (bubbling; boiling) The washed residue contained the slighter part of gold, this thing would be found dissolved in the last liquor, which I obtained. After 18 hours of digestion at the temperature of about 25 degrees, I subdued the mixture to ebullition during 3 hours. After refrigeration, I filtered this on wool of glass and I looked to see if parts were not drawn along in suspense. Finding nothing I proceeded with an analysis of the liquor which I obtained. For that month I made two parts strictly equal of the liquor, the first being destined to qualitative analysis, the other quantitative.

    A) Qualitative Analysis: Assay of usual reagents:

    • Chloride of Tin - Rose colored precipitate
    • Pure Soda in solution - Voluminous yellow reddish precipitate
    • Sulfate of Iron - During ebullition, metallic precipitate, greenish black very dense spangles.

    B) Quantitative Analysis:

    The second part of the liquor destined to undergo quantitative analysis was treated by H2S when the most important part of chloric and azotic acids were driven out by a prolonged ebullition.

    This time the liquor was slightly acid and had a weak smell of chlorine. I called H2S into action; about 20 minutes long. The black precipitate which I obtained was received by a filter paper carefully washed first with well distillated water, then with hot water and at last with chloric acid. After drying in the vapor-bath, the precipitate was put in a capsule of porcelain and heated in a mould at about 850 degrees, so as to destroy the sulphides precipitated with gold i.e., the arsenic and the antimony. These were naturally decomposed by the temperature of 850 degrees to which it had been subdued during two hours. The quantity of gold obtained was 0.238 grains. The half of the liquor having served for the dissolution having been turned to good use for the qualitative analysis it followed that the whole quantity of gold contained in the original liquor should be equal to double the quantity obtained. i.e., 0.476 grains of gold per 10 grams of silver employed, yield then was 0.476 grains of gold per gram silver. {I must point out that the obtaining of gold is not a mathematical regularity, that is to say, the purport (proportion) of residue changes according to the conditions of heating.}

    old drugstore

    2) Dry method

    I acted on 22 grains of chemically pure silver supplied by Messrs. Poulenc of Paris and on 3.5 grains of chemically pure orpiment supplied by the Pharmacie Central of Paris. The mixture was heated to about 1600 C in a metal smelting furnace for about ¾ hour. The residue obtained was again melted for an hour with the addition of orpiment, after having been hammered for half an hour and re-melted with the addition of small quantities of orpiment every 10 minutes, it was withdrawn. After cooling and the addition of chemically pure antimony sulphide, it was again put back into the furnace, small quantities of orpiment being thrown in every 5 minutes. The residue obtained had a dark metallic tint, after hammering it became slightly golden.

    Analysis of the Residue

    The residue dissolved in chemically pure 36 degree HNO3 first cold and then hot, gave an abundant pulverulent deposit. This deposit after being washed and treated with HN3 to dissolve the arsenic and antimony salts was completely dissolved in aqua regia. The liquor after being chlorinated and filtered was subjected to the reagents of Platinum and gold.

    Mr. Andre Vandenberghe who was acting as preparator for this experiment, had thought that in accordance with the law of evolution of matter, the transmutation of bodies into gold should be preceded or accompanied by their transmutation into platinum. According to Mendeleiev’s progression, we have Pt - 195.2 and Au - 197.2

    The reactions of gold were quite characteristic; the reactions of platinum also seemed to reveal its presence. The quantity of gold obtained in this experiment was estimated at about one gram. I emit the hypothesis that the arsenic acts as a catalyzer and the sulphur as a ferment in this transmutation.

    Jollivet Castelot, Douai, December 1925

    A recent experiment in transmutation

    By M. Jollivet Castelot

    All my research work on transmutation since 1908 has started from the fact that gold is found in nature associated with antimony and arsenic sulphides as well as with Tellurium which is considered as the mineralizer of gold. I therefore considered it logical to introduce Tellurium into the artificial combination of silver and arsenic and antimony sulphides that I make. The following is an account of one of my recent experiments:bI prepared a mixture composed of 6 grams of chemically pure silver, 1 gram of native orpiment (Arsenic trisulphide A52S3) free from gold, 1 gram of chemically pure antimony sulphide, and 2 grams of chemically pure Tellurium. I added pure silica to the usual fluxes. This mixture was heated in the furnace in the usual way for one hour at a temperature of 1100 C (approximately) [note: parenthesis are not mine AMWH].

    The residue obtained was of a blackish grey color with violet reflections. It weighed 6.420 grains. When subjected to the action of nitric acid, the residue was attacked with difficulty and greenish metallic particles became detached. The solution was then decanted and a greenish-yellow residue remained which was kept at the boiling point in nitric acid for several hours, after decanting off the liquor once again, the residue, which had not changed, was washed, treated with ammonia and then subjected to the action of aqua regia in which it was entirely dissolved after boiling for several hours.

    The solution after being chlorinated and then subjected to the reagents of gold, gave the following:

    • Potassium Ferrocyanide - greenish brown coloration.
    • Tin Protochloride + Tin Bichloride - a yellow bronze coloration and then a metallic deposit of the same shade.
    • Ammonia - coloration and precipitate identical with the preceding one and which became transformed into a yellow deposit of fulminating gold at the end of a few hours.
    • Formol - light yellowish black metallic precipitate.
    • Peroxide of Hydrogen - light very finely divided brownish black precipitate.
    • Oxalic acid - yellowish black precipitate.
    • Ferrous Sulphate - golden yellow metallic precipitate.
    • Caustic Potash - a fairly abundant golden yellow metallic precipitate at the end of a few hours.

    The presence of gold was therefore very distinctly shown and a remarkable feature was that the metal obtained possessed the yellow bronze color of gold telluride and of native silver. I had therefore produced a bronze colored gold in my laboratory by artificial means thanks to the intervention of the Tellurium.

    “A certain amount of gold was certainly lost in this test as in all my previous tests, for it is known that arsenic, antimony and Tellurium entrain gold in their fusion and their volatilization. In order to obviate this disadvantage, I had thought of making the vapors of arsenic and antimony sulphides and of Tellurium act on the silver in fusion in a closed vessel by means of a special device, but I have been forced to give up this scheme for the time being on account of the difficulties met with for the construction of this apparatus, the cost of which would be very high. I consider it certain that if the vapors were allowed to bubble through the melted silver, a much higher yield of gold would be obtained than that I have obtained hitherto by an imperfect and too rapid contact of the bodies in presence; while it is undoubtedly necessary to make them react on one another in the state of vapor in a closed vessel.” Jollivet Castelot, Douai, April 24th, 1926

    The chemical manufacture of gold account of one of my last experiments in the transmutation of silver into gold

    As a sequel to my previous work on the artificial synthesis of gold, I have introduced Tin into these new tests as it is also often associated with gold in nature. The following is a description of this new process, thanks to which the percentage of gold obtained destroys all the objections that are raised with regard to impurities.

    I made an intimate mixture of 6 grams of chemically pure silver of which the purity was tested by a professional chemist, the Head of the laboratory of one of the most important Works of the region. 2 Grams of antimony sulphide, 1 gram of orpiment, and 1 gram of Tin; all these bodies were obtained from the Establishment Poulenc of Paris and were chemically pure. I added the usual fluxes and then heated the whole in a crucible in the furnace to about 1100 C fort2 about 1 hour, twice adding a small quantity of antimony sulphide.

    The residue obtained was treated for a long period in pure 36 degree nitric acid, first cold and then at the boiling point.

    The insoluble residue was next washed with distilled water, treated with ammonia, washed again and finally treated for a long period with boiling aqua regia. The liquor when filtered and subjected to the reagents of gold showed the presence of this metal in the form of deposits3 which maybe estimated at 0.05 grains in all, which is very high considering the 6 grams of silver employed.

    With Oxalic acid, the solution turned violet and gave an abundant black pulverulent precipitate.

    With Hydrogen Peroxide, a very finely divided precipitate of gold.

    With Formic Aldehyde, a brown precipitate of gold.

    With Tin Protochloride, an intense violet pink coloration.

    The addition of Tin to the other bodies has certainly facilitated the reactions of the gold and increased the yield of this metal which can be manufactured artificially by my process.

    It would be easy to show that, given the respective prices of gold and of the other substances that are used in my process to produce it, a profit could be obtained if the process were worked industrially; all the more so as the greater part of the silver employed can be recovered at each test.

    I believe I now hold the key to the regular and even industrial manufacture of gold. But the industrial question is voluntarily put aside from my thoughts, for my only object is the search for pure scientific truth.
    Jolivet Castelot, Douai, April 15th, 1927

    Table of reactions


    • C2H2O4 - Abundant deposit of metallic gold.
    • H2O2 (basic) - Brown precipitate.
    • K4 Fe Cy6 . 3H2O - Green coloration.
    • Na2CO3 (in ebullition) - Brownish precipitate.
    • NH3 - Reddish yellow precipitate (Au); topped by a yellow precipitate (Pt).
    • KOH - Reddish yellow precipitate (Au); topped by a yellow precipitate (Pt).
    • SnCL2.2H2O - Solution colored brown with reactions of platinum salts and deposit of black powder.
    • KI - Solution becomes reddish followed by a discharge of iodine and a brown precipitate (Platinum iodide).

    Extracts from the press

    “It must be admitted that it is extraordinary and incomprehensible that France for the past ten years has refused to take an interest in the experiments of a rich and universally respected scientist who has given proofs of his worth, even after the conclusive experiments carried out by an official chemist, Mr Ballandras of Lyons.”
    Andre Ibels, La Razon, June 8, 1927

    It is unjust, gentlemen, that a scientist of the value of Mr. Jollivet Castelot should be held in suspicion at the very moment when he is losing his sight through overwork. To continue his work, however embarrassing it may be to yours, is a sacred duty.”
    Declaration by Mademoiselle M.L. of Paris. Professor of Engineering at the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, Paris, at the Chemical Congress in Paris. October 1927

    “Oh! it is not that Mr. Jollivet Castelot has not attempted to make his invention known in France, on the contrary, he has written leaflets and books and has founded reviews for this purpose... Not only was he not taken seriously, but he was also a butt to the sarcasm and even to the insults of the official scientists in general and of the Nobelist Perrin in particular. The Acedemie des Sciences itself - as usual - refused to record his communication.”
    Andre Ibels, Nouveau Journal de Nice, October 16, 1927

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