Alchemical Processes




A. The Curcurbite or The Alembic.

B. The Alchemist.

C. The processes and forces employed.

D. The matter to be transmuted.

E. The selection of the Matter to be transmuted, and the Formation, cleansing and disposing of all the necessary vessels, materials, &c., for the working of the process.

F. General Invocation of the Higher Forces to Action. Placing of the Matter within the curcurbite or philosophic egg, and invocation of a blind force to action therein, in darkness and in silence.

G. The beginning of the actual process: the regulation and restriction of the proper degree of Heat and Moisture to be employed in the working. First evocation followed by first distillation.

H. The taking up of the residuum which remaineth after the distillation from the curcurbite or alembic: the grinding thereof to form a powder in a mortar. This powder is then to be placed again in the curcurbite. The fluid already distilled is to be poured again upon it. The curcurbite or philosophic egg is to be closed.

I. The curcurbite or Egg Philosophic being hermetically sealed, the Alchemist announces aloud that all is prepared for the invocation of the forces necessary to accomplish the work. The Matter is then to be placed upon an Altar with the elements and four weapons thereon: upon the white triangle, and upon a flashing Tablet of a General Nature, in harmony with the matter selected for the working. Standing now in {165} the place of the Hierophant at the East of the Altar, the Alchemist should place his left hand upon the top of the curcurbite, raise his right hand holding the Lotus Wand by the Aries band (for that in Aries is the Beginning of the Life of the Year): ready to commence the general Invocation of the Forces of the Divine Light to operate in the work.

J. The pronouncing aloud of the Invocation of the requisite General Forces, answering to the class of alchemical work to be performed. The conjuring of the necessary Forces to act in the curcurbite for the work required. The tracing in the air above it with appropriate magical weapon the necessary lineal figures, signs, sigils and the like. Then let the Alchemist say: “So help me the Lord of the Universe and my own Higher soul.” Then let him raise the curcurbite in the air with both hands, saying: “Arise herein to action, Ye Forces of Light Divine.”

K. Now let the Matter putrefy in Balneum Mariae in a very gentle heat, until darkness beginneth to supervene: and even until it becometh entirely black. If from its nature the Mixture will not admit of entire blackness, examine it astrally till there is the astral appearance of the thickest possible blackness, and thou mayest also evoke an elemental Form to tell thee if the blackness be sufficient: but be thou sure that in this latter thou art not deceived, seeing that the nature of such an elemental will be deceptive from the nature of the symbol of Darkness, wherefore ask thou of him nothing “further” concerning the working at this stage, but only concerning the blackness, and this can be further tested by the elemental itself, which should be either black or clad in an intensely black robe. (Note: for the evocation of this spirit use the names, forces, and correspondences of Saturn.)

When the mixture be sufficiently black, then take the curcurbite out of the Balneum Mariae and place it to the north of the Altar and perform over it a solemn invocation of the forces of Saturn to act therein: holding the wand by the black band, then say: “The voice of the Alchemist,” &c. The curcurbite is then to be unstopped and the Alembic Head fitted on for purposes of distillation. (Note. — In all such invocations a flashing tablet should be used whereon to stand the curcurbite. Also certain of the processes may take weeks, or even months to obtain the necessary force, and this will depend on the Alchemist rather than on the matter.)

L. Then let the Alchemist distil with a gentle heat until nothing remaineth to come over. Let him then take out the residuum and grind it into a powder: replace this powder in the curcurbite, and pour again upon it the fluid previously distilled.

The curcurbite is then to be placed again in Balneum Mariæ in a gentle heat. When it seems fairly re-dissolved (irrespective of colour) let it be taken out of the bath. It is now to undergo another magical ceremony.

M. Now place the curcurbite to the West of the Altar, holding the Lotus Wand by the black end, perform a magical invocation of the Moon in her decrease and of Cauda Draconis. The curcurbite is then to be exposed to the moonlight (she being in her {166} decrease) for nine consecutive nights, commencing at full moon. The Alembic Head is then to be fitted on.

N. Repeat process set forth in section L.

O. The curcurbite is to be placed to the East of the Altar, and the Alchemist performs an invocation of the Moon in her increase, and of Caput Draconis (holding Lotus Wand by white end) to act upon the matter. The curcurbite is now to be exposed for nine consecutive nights (ending with the Full Moon) to the Moon's Rays.

(In this, as in all similar exposures, it matters not if such nights be overclouded, so long as the vessel be placed in such a position that it “would” receive the direct rays, did the cloud withdraw.)

P. The curcurbite is again to be placed on the white triangle upon the Altar. The Alchemist performs an invocation of the forces of the sun to act in the curcurbite. It is then to be exposed to the rays of the sun for twelve hours each day: from 8.30 A.M. to 8.30 P.M. (This should be done preferably when the sun is strongly posited in the Zodiac, but it can be done at some other times, though never when he is in Scorpio, Libra, Capricornus or Aquarius.)

Q. The curcurbite is again placed upon the white triangle upon the Altar. The Alchemist repeats the words: “Child of Earth, long hast thou dwelt,” &c., then holding above it the Lotus Wand by the white end, he says: “I formulate in thee the invoked forces of Light,” and repeats the mystic words. At this point keen and bright flashes of light should appear in the curcurbite, and the mixture itself (as far as its nature will permit) should be clear. Now invoke an Elemental from the curcurbite consonant to the Nature of the Mixture, and judge by the nature of the colour of its robes and their brilliancy whether the matter has attained to the right condition. But if the Flashes do not appear, and if the robes of the elemental be not Brilliant and Flashing, then let the curcurbite stand within the white triangle for seven days: having on the right hand of the Apex of the triangle a flashing tablet of the Sun, and in the left hand one of the Moon. Let it not be moved or disturbed all those seven days; but not in the dark, save at night. Then let the operation as aforementioned be repeated over the curcurbite, and this process may be repeated altogether three times if the flashing light cometh not. For without this latter the work would be useless. But if after three repetitions it still appear not, it is a sign that there hath been an error in one working; such being either in the disposition of the Alchemist, or in the management of the curcurbite. Wherefore let the lunar and the solar invocations and exposures be replaced, when without doubt — if these be done with care (and more especially those of Caput Draconis and Cauda Draconis with those of the Moon as taught, for these have great force materially) — then without doubt shall that flashing light manifest itself in the curcurbite.

R. Holding the Lotus Wand by the white end, the Alchemist now draws over the curcurbite the symbol of the Flaming Sword as if descending into the mixture. Then let him place the curcurbite to the East of the Altar. The Alchemist stands between {167} the pillars, and performs a solemn invocation of the forces of Mars to act therein. The curcurbite is then to be placed between the Pillars (or the drawn symbols of these same) for seven days, upon a Flashing Tablet of Mars.

After this period, fit on the Alembic Head, and distil first in Balneum Mariæ, then in Balneum Arenæ till what time the mixture be clean distilled over.

S. Now let the Alchemist take the fluid of the distillate and let him perform over it an invocation of the forces of Mercury to act in the clear fluid; so as to formulate therein the Alchemic Mercury: even the Mercury of the philosophers. (The residuum of the Dead Head is not to be worked with at present, but is to be set apart for future use.) After the invocation of the Alchemic Mercury a certain Brilliance should manifest itself in the whole fluid (that is to say, that it should not only be clear, but also brilliant and flashing). Now expose it in an hermetic receiver for seven days to the light of the Sun: at the end of which time there should be distinct flashes of light therein. (Or an egg philosophic may be used; but the receiver of the Alembic, if closed stopped, will answer this purpose.)

T. Now the residuum or Dead Head is to be taken out of the curcurbite, ground small, and replaced. An invocation of the forces of Jupiter is then to be performed over that powder. It is then to be kept in the dark standing upon a Flashing Tablet of Jupiter for seven days. At the end of this time there should be a slight Flashing about it, but if this come not yet, repeat the operation, up to three times, when a faint flashing Light is certain to come.

Diagram 58. The Altar.

U. A Flashing Tablet of each of the four Elements is now to be placed upon the altar as shown in the figure, and thereon are also to be placed the magical elemental weapons, as is also clearly indicated. The receiver containing the distillate is now to be placed between the Air and Water Tablets, and the curcurbite with the Dead Head between the Fire and Earth. Now let the Alchemist form an invocation, using especially the Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram,1) and the lesser magical implement appropriate. First, of the Forces of the Fire to act in the curcurbite on the Dead Head. Second, of those of Water to act on the distillate. Third, of the forces of the Spirit to act in both (using the white end of the Lotus Wand). Fourth, of those of the air to act on the distillate; and lastly, those of the earth to act on the Dead Head. Let the curcurbite and the receiver stand thus for five consecutive days, at the end of which time there should be flashes manifest in both mixtures. And these flashes should be lightly coloured. {168}

V. The Alchemist, still keeping the vessels in the same relative positions, but removing the Tablets of the elements from the Altar, then substitutes one of Kether. This must be white with Golden Charges, and is to be placed on or within the white triangle between the vessels. He then addresses a most solemn invocation to the forces of Kether; to render the result of the working that which he shall desire, and making over each vessel the symbol of the Flaming Sword.

This is the most important of all the Invocations; and it will only succeed if the Alchemist keepeth himself closely allied unto his Higher Self during the working of the invocation and of making the Tablet. And at the end of it, if it have been successful, a Keen and Translucent Flash will take the place of the slightly coloured Flashes in the receiver of the curcurbite; so that the fluid should sparkle as a diamond; whilst the powder in the curcurbite shall slightly gleam.

W. The distilled liquid is now to be poured from the receiver upon the residuum of Dead Head in the curcurbite, and the mixture at first will appear cloudy. It is now to be exposed to the sun for ten days consecutively (10 = Tiphereth translating the influence of Kether). It is then again to be placed upon the white triangle upon the altar, upon a flashing Tablet of Venus: with a solemn invocation of Venus to act therein. Let it remain thus for seven days: at the end of that time see what forms and colour and appearance the Liquor hath taken: for there should now arise a certain softer flash in the liquid, and an elemental may be evoked to test the condition. When this softer flash is manifest, place the curcurbite into the Balneum Mariae to digest with a “very” gentle heat for seven days. Place it then in Balneum Arenae to distil, beginning with a gentile, and ending with a strong, heat. Distil thus till nothing more will come over, even with a most violent heat. Preserve the fluid in a closely stoppered vial: it is an Elixir for use according to the substance from which it was prepared. If from a thing medicinal, a medicine; if from a metal, for the purifying of metals; and herein shalt thou use thy judgment. The residuum thou shalt place without powdering into a crucible, well sealed and luted. And thou shalt place the same in thine Athanor, bringing it first to a red, and then to a white, heat, and this thou shalt do seven times on seven consecutive days, taking out the crucible each day as soon as thou hast brought it to the highest possible heat, and allowing it to cool gradually.

And the preferable time for this working should be in the heat of the day. On the seventh day of this operation thou shalt open the crucible, and thou shalt behold what Form and Colour thy Caput Mortuum hath taken.

It will be like either a precious stone or a glittering powder.

And this stone or powder shall be of magical Virtue in accordance with his nature.

Finished is that which is written concerning the Formulae of the Magic of Light.

: הוא‎ הקדש וברוך


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See “Liber O,” THE EQUINOX, vol. i. No. 2.


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