Continuing my experiment with Melissa officinalis or Lemon Balm.
I begin with separating the liquid which contains the Sulfur and Mercury principles of the plant from the Salt, or Body. I used a coffee filter for this and a funnel. Cheese cloth and muslin would also work.
The left over body was then calcinated. Calicination is one of the seven operations of alchemy, and comes to us from the word “Calx”, which is an old term for lime (calcium oxide), a white powder. The process of calcination is apply fire to our dead plant matter. This is done until the ash is quite white, or even sometimes red or yellow, depending on the plant material.
For this initial experiment, I tried to get the Salt as white as possible, but I ended up with a very light grey, which is also acceptable. I do not have a proper crucible for burning the material, and when I do the Basil next week, I will have a proper vessel then. There is also a second method of calcination that I will explore next week that introduces the use of water and the process of deliquescence. We will look into that next week.
The Salt is further calcined. Ideally, this would be done in a suitable vessel in an open flame, but I only had some heat resistant aluminum and an cast iron skillet. Next week, I will be using a broil-safe ceramic dish to bring the salt towards whiteness, and a more alkaline state.
Finally, the Salt is pounded once more in the mortar and pestle, and then reintroduced back into the Tincture. I noticed that the Salt vanished almost completely when added back into the mixture. This is a very good sign concerning the purity of my calcination.
This is left to circulate for a week, and then filtered again for any impurities. The finished spagyric is then ready to be used.