Alchemy Part VI
Plant Stones

The Art of Alchemy is the work of Nature, for the Artist picks up with the Art, where Nature has left off. It is through the Art that the work of Nature is completed, what would have taken eons of adaptation end evolution are accomplished in a much shorter time. It is much the same as a farmer who has learned to mimic the seasons and growing needs of his crops inside a hothouse, so that in the depths of winter fresh produce is available to him, his family, neighbors and wider community.

The laws of alchemy are transcendent, indeed for them to have any validity they must be. What good would it be to say that all is One and issues from One source, and yet, have separate procedures to bring about the inherent perfection hidden within the varied things produced from the One by adaptation.

Many feel that the culmination of the alchemical work is the confection of the Philosophers Stone. In fact the old Alchemist say that completing such a work is only equivalent to the passing of an entrance exam into University. But before such lofty goals can even be hoped for there are stones that must be created in the small work within the sphere of the plant kingdom. Generally the use of these alchemical products follows a set course in which the body and spiritual senses are gradually introduced to the higher energy types produced in each kingdom. In the plant work this would follow the progression of extract, tincture, essence / magistery, and finally the Plant Stone or Resurrection Tincture*.

Do not be fooled into thinking that just a regular herbal extract or tincture is used. Remember in Alchemy Part III the spagyric process was described as one, which encompassed the threefold procedure of separation, purification and recombination. For the Alchemist this literally involves separating specific fractions from the plant, one of which are the crystalline mineral salts. The procedure involved in just getting this one fraction from the plant is very detailed, it entails the incineration of the plant matter into an ash, which is followed up by a long, calcination of the matter to a pure white calx from which the crystalline salts are latter removed.

The recombination of the desperate parts is not as simple as some modern writers on alchemy have intimated, at least not when ones aim is the creation of an alchemical product rather than strictly speaking say a spagyric one. While spagyrics may be satisfied with simply adding the crystalline salts to the solution of the herbal extract or tincture, this will not do alchemically. The Alchemist seeks to create an indissoluble union of the elements he has separated from the plant. Therefore the Alchemist employs special procedures to do things that even today modern chemistry says can not be done, such as the volatilization of said plant salts so that they join with the spirit and soul, or alcohol and oils of the plant.

While a plant stone will not transmute physical lead into gold, it sure will go a long way to helping transform the inner person into the divine being they truly are. Like its fabled older brother the Philosophers Stone, a Plant Stone is highly prized in the alchemical community, esoteric organizations, and families with centuries old esoteric lineage's, all over the world. The main reason for this is that Plant Stones may be programmed with the desire of a person during the crystallization process of the salts. The Alchemist uses these gem like dynamos to make a plant stone. These products have the uncanny ability to elicit what I call "nocturnal astral erudition" via contact with the God-of-Your-Heart, Inner Master, Holy Guardian Angel, or whatever appellation you may chose to use. It is through these contacts which most experience as dreams, which by the way are something much more intense than creative visualization or lucid dreaming, that the Universal Mind imparts the information desired. People have used Plant Stones to increase their aptitude in their chosen profession, artistic ability, or spiritual evolution.

What makes a plant stone so special is the way that it is made. First the Alchemist makes his own wine, and uses classically shaped glassware to bring about its evolution. A main pre-requisite to the work of wine is circulating the wine prior to distillation using a device called a pelican. In the womb of this glassware, nurtured by gentle heat the disparate essences and volatile components of the wine are married together. Once this is done another piece of classically shaped glassware is used to distill the wine spirits, at body temperature thus ensuring the vital quality of the wine spirits are retained.

As the work on wine commences the alchemist obtains a tincture and essential oil from the herb he will work with. The resulting herb body is then placed through a incineration and calcination operations to obtain a pure white ash.

Everyone has their own methods of working but in the end when done with the separatory and purification parts of the alchemical work one should have at the very least 3 of the alchemical elements in front of them. At minimum these would be the crystalline salts of the herb, its volatile essential oil -if the plant has any-, and of course the alcohol obtained from the herb or wine via distillation.

The job of the alchemist is then to combine these three in such a way that a union begins to take place, and the salts which outwardly seem hard and impervious begin to drink up the liquid fractions introduced to them. Drop by drop these liquid fractions are added, until the salts begin to change their nature and appearance. Slowly they become darker in color ranging from pale amber, to a deep rusty red. The salts become sticky and adhere to one another.

The above takes time and patience a minimum we have found of 3 months to bring about this state, and yet it is not done. For Nature left to her devises has a surprise, for the artist a marriage much spoken of but seldom seen, the union of opposites, in to a singular new divine child. It is only through art, assisting Nature that her subject can be brought to such an exalted state. In the dark warmth of the incubator the many become one, what was solid, now flows, what was obstructive to light, is now translucent.

The work is now though just truly beginning for the nascent stone must be feed and tempered by the artist. Finally the red powder of projection is added and the final casting of the stone is made. Where before the gentle heat of one own hand would have been enough to cause the stone to melt like wax, it now resist fluxing for it like the salamander has learned to love the flame. Do not think though that your stone can not flow for it can, as placing it in the oven at 200 F will bring about its fluxing but with no smoke. Too, if left out and exposed to the air, the stone will begin to run in time. We have heard people say that this should not be so, we refer them to "Collectanea Chemica" in which the Adept writes "You have, by carefully following our directions above, procured the tinctures, white or yellow, in the Vegetable Kingdom. The yellow is more efficacious if the work is well performed; either of them, by being exposed in the air, will soon run into a thick, essential oil, smelling very strong of the plantů"

In our last segment in this series we will discuss the use of alchemical products in the practice of magic, and the sort of inner initiations one can expect to receive when following the Hermetic Science's paradigm of initiation.

  • Top: Picture of a completed Rosemary Stone Citrine in color
  • Second row from left to right: Fermenting Grape Juice, Circulation of Wine Spirits, Distillation of Wine Spirits.
  • Third Row from left to right: Rosemary just prior to incineration, Rosemary incineration, Rosemary ash, and Rosemary white calx.
  • Fourth Row from left to right: Crystalline Salts of Plant, Hyssop Essential Oil, and Distilled Wine Spirits.
  • Fifth Row from left to right: Hyssop Stone Pre-congeal, Hyssop Stone Pre-congeal close-up.
  • Sixth Row from left to right: Hyssop Stone Dissolution, Alchemical Red Stone -as shown in the Minor Opus- used as mordant.
* Resurrection Tincture is a trademark or registered trademark of Spagyria, Inc. All images and text copyright 2006 John H. Reid III