Swinger of Swings

There is a trail of sanguine rust on my hands
from the metallic lustre-chains–
but nothing was the blood. The scent–
the scent was sulfuric, a deadly aerial acid
that inflamed the Soul with one whiff. Though
one whiff of the ailing wind was enough to cure it
for the fleeting second, the same fleeting second
that contains the sinking heart and the Delusion.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico is a wonderful place to explore the world below. The unique caverns were formed over 4 million years ago by sulfuric acid dissolving limestone – creating long tunnels and amazing rock formations. Take a self guided tour of the Big Room or embrace adventure and follow a ranger into the deep, dark, tight recesses of this fascinating park. Photo courtesy of Aaron Bates.


Visit to the active sulfur mines inside Kawah Ijen crater, Indonesia - this is the site of the lava that glows blue after dark. During the day, miners in protective gear descend into this crater to mine the sulfur.

Methylation of a phenolic compound with dimethyl sulfate and sodium-hydroxide.

RO Na+ + (CH3O)2SO2 → ROCH3 + Na(CH3)SO4

Dimethyl sulfate is a chemical compound with formula (CH3O)2SO2. As the diester of methanol and sulfuric acid, its formula is often written as (CH3)2SO4 or even Me2SO4, where CH3 or Me is methyl. Me2SO4 is mainly used as a methylating agent in organic synthesis. Like all strong alkylating agents, dimethyl sulfate is extremely toxic.

The reaction goes quite easily, one addition funnel is loaded with a concentrated lye solution and the other one is loaded with dimethyl sulfate. They are added to the reaction mixture simultaneously, so both reactants are at a low concentration in the flask. 

cosmic witchcraft 101: venusian magick ♀

Venus is the second planet from the Sun. Most likely the planet formed through disk accretion - gravitational forces drawing dust and particles together to form a rocky core, which gets big enough to capture the lighter elements that form the planet’s atmosphere. Astronomer Giovanni Cassini reported a moon on venus in the 1600′s, and many people claimed to see it over the next 200 years. Most of these sightings were proven to be nearby stars, but scientists believe Venus had a moon in our solar system’s earlier years. They hypothesize a huge impact on Venus created a moon billions of years ago, but 10 million years after its formation another huge impact reversed the planet’s spin direction and caused the moon to spiral inward until it collided with Venus.


  • Venus is the 3rd brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon.
  • Incredibly thick, reflective clouds of sulfuric acid cause the planet to shine so brightly.
  • Due to its runaway greenhouse effect, Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system.
  • A Venusian day is 243 Earth days, 18 days longer than a Venusian year.
  • Venus spins backward compared to the other planets. From its surface, the Sun would appear to rise in the west and set in the east.
  • Venus is the most spherical of all the planets.

Magickal Correspondences*

Colors: red, pink, white, green, yellow, purple

Intents: love, self-love, glamors, balance, peace, creativity, attraction, beauty, justice, material comfort, finances, reversal of fortune

Herbs: vanilla, rose, poppy, peppermint, daffodil, juniper, hibiscus, heather, tansy, lilac, violet, myrrh, eucalyptus

Crystals: emerald, rose quartz, blue calcite, jade, green jasper, lapis lazuli, sodalite, turquoise, rhodonite, serpentine, celestite

*some of these correspondences are based on traditional associations and some are based on my personal associations

Manganese(II) sulfate tetrahydrate, MnSO4·4 H2O. I synthesized it by reducing a suspension of crude, battery manganese(IV) oxide in sulfuric acid with hydrogen peroxide. Although hydrogen peroxide is usually thought of as an oxidizing agent, in warm, acidic solution, it actually can work as a reducing agent. 

MnO2(s) + H2O2(aq) + H2SO4(aq) → MnSO4(aq) + 2 H2O(I) + O2(g)

Normally, this should give you a brownish solution due to the iron impurity going into solution as Fe3+ ions, and possibly some dark-red Mn3+ (although that ion is rather unstable). This happened to me at first. However, I found that if you add just the right amount of H2O2 - you have to add it very slowly anyway, due to the vigorous bubbling that results - you can get it to form a pale pink solution indicative of the Mn2+ ion. This was totally by accident and not intentional, but I’ve been able to perform it twice now, so it’s not totally a fluke.

Cleanup of a contaminated solution is possible using a selective precipitation method, but given the choice between this and that, I strongly prefer doing it a little more slowly. Nurdrage has previously released a video discussing how to use oxalic acid or sulfur dioxide as reducing agents, with the cleanup method included, but hydrogen peroxide is much more easily accessible and cheaper.


Chlorosulfonation of an imidazole derivative with chlorosulfonic acid.

Why is this a special thing? Chlorosulfonic acid reacts with water explosively forming sulfuric acid and hydrogen chloride. So when I added 200 g of a compound to 500 cm3 of chlorosulfonic acid, a highly exothermic reaction happened and immediately and a highly acidic fog formed in the flask as the reactants contacted each other.

Important note when working with chlorosulfonic acid: NEVER WASH ANYTHING WITH WATER WHAT CONTAINS A RANDOM LIQUID, since if its chlorosulfonic acid, it could blow a highly acidic solution on your labcoat/hands/face. And always pour chlorosulfonic acid and reaction mixtures that contain this chemical on large excess of cracked ice to avoid serious problems.

P.S.: always wear proper PPE.


          watched in 2016:   CONTACT (1997) dir. Robert Zemeckis

          When I was about 8 years old, I was watching the sunset and I asked my dad: “What’s that bright star over there?”
          And he said that it wasn’t really a star at all. It was actually a whole planet called Venus. He said, "You know why they called it Venus? Because they thought it was so beautiful and glowing. But what they didn’t know is that it’s filled with deadly gases and sulfuric acid rain.”
          “Wow,” I thought, “This is it! I’m hooked.” 
          You know, there are four hundred billion stars out there just in our galaxy alone. If only one out of a million of those had planets, all right, and if just one out of a million of those had life and if just one out of a million of those had intelligent life there would be literally millions of civilizations out there.

You wanna know why Solgaleo is Psychic/Steel?

Okay, so a lot of people have been complaining that Solgaleo, the new mascot Legendary Pokemon for Pokemon Sun, isn’t Fire type. “How can the Sunne Pokemon be weak to Fire type?”

Let me break it down for you.

First, Solgaleo is referred to as the “Sunne Pokemon.” The word Sunne is the Old English word for the giant gas ball at the center of our solar system. But why would GameFreak/The Pokemon Company use the language that dated back to the early 11th century?

Here is a screenshot of the official website’s description of Solgaleo

I highlighted something interesting listed here: “the beast that devours the sun.” Obviously I had to look this up, because I’m super interested in what that means. My research led me to this drawing in an alchemy text

This is referred to by alchemists as “the Green Lion.” The Green Lion is a metaphor for the most important catalyst in all of alchemy: vitriol, commonly known as sulfuric acid. Vitriol had the amazing property to devour any metal, except gold. Another crazy thing is that alchemy started flourishing in Europe around the early 12th century, during the time that Old English was the native dialect.

Solgaleo could also have drawn a little bit of inspiration from the mythological Nemean Lion. In the story of Heracles, one of his tasks was to kill the Nemean Lion. Heracles soon found that the Nemean Lion’s hide was impenetrable, and Heracles used the Lion’s hide as armor after defeating it.

So maybe Solgaleo has an alchemic reference to it. But maybe there’s more to it.

The four main elements of alchemy are Water, Air, Fire, and Earth. This can be kind of a stretch, but the Alola Region seems to be focusing heavily on those four attributes

Now here is my little bit of speculation: in alchemy, most of the reactions are centered around an all powerful stone, called the Philosopher’s Stone. Combining the four elements into the Philosopher’s Stone (a process called “Magnum Opus”) is said to bring “perfection to the human body and soul.” And then we have these things:

Pokemon are usually seen as innocent beings in nature throughout the games, anime, and manga. So maybe that mysterious stone is able to “perfect the human body and soul” by connecting to a Pokemon in a similar fashion as Ash and Greninja.

Also, something ironic about Solgaleo’s Ability “Full Metal Body” which could be taken as a direct reference to none other than