Starkey alkaline salts volatilization method, retaken by Le Pellettier, reminds of an ancient Alchemy, when Mercurius could be achieved in a fragrant way.
This post is a continuation of Starkey Pyrotechnie & Volatilization of Alkalis 1, which serves as an introduction. Salts volatilization is the key and axiom to achieve Mercurius/Secret Fire/Spirit of Life. Very hardly one can think to accept the challenge avoiding salts volatilization. This was the main reason why many have tried to undertake dry ways. Among all salts, alkaline ones have a very interesting property: a metallic part. Since alchemical Secret Fire is strongly in the opinion to be mainly contained in metals electronic clouds.
Le Pellettier main purpose is to get medicinal pills encountering stomach and digestive needs. That’s to say obtaining a very easy and fast assimilating compound. His idea of plant properties conservation as indispensable for healing, is a feature of medieval and renaissance periods medicine. Thus I will omit all mere medical parts to get to our topic: alkaline salts volatilization by means of essential oils.
Sometimes spagyria seems a kind of a childish alchemical parody. Wherein proceedings seem imitated by someone who has not fully understand alchemical goals. I will quote here John Reid III, perhaps one the most prominent expert in alchemical Spagyria today, to perfectly depict the issue: “The work is indeed about separation and re-unification (not necessarily purification as nature needs her bridges). But for the Spagyricist (especially the modern ones) the three essentials are things that are already contained within the matter, whereas as I see it alchemicaly the three essentials are brought about by a combination of the four elements (whose vehicles are the substances derived from the matter)”. These words could have been written in the beginning of eighteenth century, when Le Pellettier worked as a physician. Back then some forbidden alchemical remembrances were still the only fields in which finding and operating in medicine art and science.
But before getting on our main topic, it is interesting to know Le Pellettier opinion on combustibility and Secret Fire preservation: “ Je connais plusieurs Chimistes qui tiennent avec Quercetan, que les principes séminaux sont incorruptibles au feu. Mais j’aime mieux suivre le sentiment de Van Helmont qui croit le contraire & que l’expérience m’a fait reconnaître véritable plusieurs fois”. Or I know many chemists thinking, like Quercetanus, that seminal principles are imperishable to fire. But I prefer following Van Helmont opinion who believes the contrary, as from my experience. I, Iulia, agree with Quercetanus, in the sense that often dry ways reach very high degrees, and with Van Helmont as far as wet ways are concerned. But this statement reveals the deep spagyrical environment in which Le Pellettier used to operate.
After this long introduction we can start. Translation from original french is verbatim performed by myself. Since practical teachings are in last and third part of the book, I summarized some theory omitting medical observations, which can be useful only from a medical spagyrical point of view: “ these oils boiled on their alcaline lixiviations cannot be made in a soap since they contain very little volatile salts, as one can perceive from a distillation where the Caput Mortuum contains a lot of Salt Fixum. But there is a most secret way wherein essential oils and Tartar Salt are reduced not in a soap but in a volatile salt. Salts made in this way are totally volatile and do not leave any Salt Fixum inside Caput Mortuum”.
“Among Salts Fixum no one has most virtue than Tartar Salt (1), this is why we called it Alcalium Republica or Republic of Alkalis, and among essential oils no one has more properties than Turpentine Oil, and the required heat has not to exceed that of Spring Sun”.
“In his Occulta et Secreta Circulatione, or in secret and occult circulation (2), Van Helmont states that when trying to mix Tartar Salt and ethanol (rectificated Spirit of wine) the first one sinks to the bottom like sand in water”. In fact Ethanol is often involved in moving salts up to top of the vessel.
“But when dealing with alkaline salts and essential oils, the way of one turns in the way of the other. Coal stirrers have to understand their means of coction and union imitating nature. The fameus Van Helmont Adroph derives from that”
Pages from 157 to 177 have been fully translated: “Alkalis & Essential oils, exactly prepared, kissing each other by bonds of love. Which seems a kind of urine smell in the form of a mixture of soap, whiteness & the consistency of cream. Keep up your decoction until mixture comes to a union, and oil and salt can both dissolve in the Spirit of wine, without grease appearing on the surface of the Spirit. This solution made in the spirit of wine, this spirit certainly will mingle with oil and salt, so these two things will be radically & inseparably united.
Correct this solution to a suitable heat, and you’ll have first a volatile burning Spirit smells & tastes of essential oil, then there will come a bland phlegma, and it will remain an excellent dyed Balsamic Elixir at the bottom of the vessel.
When the volatile spirit is exactly dephlegmated, you will unite with Balsamic Elixir, digesting them together until Spirit become one & the same thing with Elixir which is the most fixed, yet you are sure that both are volatile.
But to give even more nobility to this elixir according to the qualities of the essential oil which has been made from, you will dry it & crystallize, without any addition of foreign substance, and without any dividing cooking heat. For in this crystalline salt, like a hungry child eating & turning in a short time in his own nature, this essential oil that you will give him. If you do not better give him the same from it was made.
Thus feed it till it will eat three times in essential oil, and the salt alkali of the starting time. And made this feeding as a series of moisturizing and drying, cold and warm. Air will give you cold and dry, pay close and philosophical attention to that , and fire, not vulgar one, will give you moisturizing and warm (3). These are the powerlful whells by which nature circulate all things, even the most hard to transmute. Pay close attention to that and you will understand the secret of Alkahest, the mystery of sun and Mercurius.
You saw Alkali & essential oil, their mixing, digestion, nutrition & union, to such a proportion that the volatile is united with fixed and that the two become volatile & spiritual one by the other.
Therefore as a true philosopher give them fire and make them fly by a suitable heat: but if it happens it does not come as easily as you want, then you have to soak them suitable with a suitable liquor or with a good wine or spirit, and you will then dry out to a slow digestion, as you did before so that by every movement they eat, and become increasingly volatile & spiritual, until they sublime at a gentle sand heat in the form of a glorious Salt. The vegetable kingdom possesses no more excellence of Medicine than that.
To make the Samech, made, that the pure Spirit of Wine, pure Salt of Tartar are digested together, without mixing of anything else that’s is not true spiritual love which is the ethereal fire, the secret fire, real & only ferment cause, and in a few days, most of the Spirit will be retained in the salt, carefully separate phlegma, and pour again new spirit over the salt so much as it is lost. You can each time pour four times of both Spirit of Salt. Thus four or five reiterations, or six if you like, and you’ll have a dyed balm Ruby color flavoring & smelling wonderful. It’s the excellent Medicine which Van Helmont called Balm or Arcane Samech.
You can make its greatest exaltation in this way: make this Balm, without any foreign addition to its substance, dried, with no misty Vulcan heat: for it is like a hungry child who asks for food, you would give in several moderate Imbibitions until the wheel has turned seven times on it. After that let the fly at a moderate heat of sand, and you’ll have a very good Salt Essential, balsamic, which is the height of alkalis in the use of medicine, and who deserves to be regarded as the crown Doctor.
As for the conjunction of these two ways, there is no need to talk more, after teaching how to dissolve the salt & oil united in the Spirit of Wine, and distill them together; & desiccation after feeding with the same Spirit five, six, or seven times or more as you decide.
To refine minerals by these preparations, we can receive this sincere instruction, we can read in Van Helmont, and we will find it confirmed, that is, that one can derive a Sulphur out of Antimony, Metallus Masculus (Zinc) Lead & Tin. But there is a natural sulfur known as living Sulphur, which Hypocrates called his Θειον πυξ. it is a totally flammable excellent Sulphur, which leaves no faeces, and which therefore one can guess as common one and arsenic, which is the most dangerous.
I state this sulphur being an excellent subject endowed with rare virtues. Now if we cohobate with turpentine oil at sand fire, until oil has removed all the sulphur in the form of a dyed and smelly oil, we will have a clean oil to volatilize the Salt of Tartar. The water which will not separate itself from the distillation, and which is not in great quantity must be rejected as unnecessary. With this oil you can make elixirs with the Salt of Tartar, in the same way as you did with the other oils distilled or essential until the union of this oil with the salt of Tartar is complete. You can: digesting the mixture with the pure spirit of wine distilled with the seed of Cardamonum, and after digestion, you will distill the Spirit & phlegma until the balm will be very red. Rectify this Spirit & re unified with its balm.
Alkali therefore reduces the Elixir with two or three times of turpentine oil, until the salt & oil can be dissolved in the Spirit of Wine without separating. To dissolve this elixir in the flavored Spirit of Wine with cinnamon. Separate the Spirit of balm or Samech by distill and dephlegmate one another & join them together.
And not to remain idle but to adorn (4) my Sparta, as they say, (exornare spartam meam), I contented myself waiting for something better to do some tests, in small quantities, only to see them.
How to volatilize the alkali with turpentine oil, given by Starkey to Richard Matthew; to made the Diaphoretic & Diuretics Pill, which took so much reputation in England.
Equal parts of good Indian Saltpeter & White German Tartar: sieve them & mix them together exactly; and then detonate the mixture into a large new earthen vessel, the pouring by spoonfuls, and by light on with a burning coal. And after the detonation, it will remain a white salt you will take at any heat, and roughly pile in a earthen vessel of wide opening and which has a lid, and you will pour over a good very pure Turpentine oil till the height of two fingers above the salt, taking great care this salt does not take any moisture when you will pour salt above, since in this case oil will not mix with salt. For this reason salt must be still warm when you will pour oil on it and we pile & imbibe the oil. We must agitate the matter two or three times a day with a wooden spatula and keep the vessel covered with its lid, and pour again new oil when the one put in the beginning will decrease, continuing this work for six months, or until the salt is open, and has drunk three times its weight of oil, and that he has taken the form of soap or grease. And then it is the corrective for all the vegetables.
Of this correctives two lbs, of good Opium a lb, of white powder Hellebore a pound; of good powder Licorice one pound. Stir everything well together on various intervals inside an iron mortar, and beat by force of arms until it is mixed exactly and reduced in consistency of pill”.
Now we can fully understand the aforementioned John Reid sentence. In fact, as you can see, there is a substantial difference between Le Pellettier work and a mere spagyrical final addition of essential oils, ethanol and salts, pretending to have a body (salts), a Spirit of Life/Mercurius (Ethanol) and a Soul/Sulphur (Essential Oils). As presented in many modern spagyrical handbooks.
Back to Alchemy, but I should say to very ancient Alchemy, be aware that the making of legendary Kyphi or Kiphy or Kuphu, or Kephi is not far from our Sacred Art and from all aforementioned Alkalis volatilization.
In the last three pages in pictures there are other Starkey’s recipes.
- See also Manfred Junius and the Volatilization of Tartar;
- See also Baro Urbigerus & the Circulatum Tree;
- See Dorneus Third Level;
- Exornare Spartam meam. To adorn my Sparta or our sky. “Orner notre ciel” as Rupescissa says, means to add gold. Metallic one or Philosophers, see also Augurello and the Art of Making Gold. First Book , A Trouble-Free Sigismund Bacstrom’s Compendium ;