I began this project by deciding that I would like a do a spagyric of a moon herb. I did some searching around for moon herbs and chose Irish Moss because I have used it as an ingredient in brewing before, simply for the fact that I could buy a lot of it and I knew it would still be used. After purchasing the dried herb, I found that there were a lot of health benefits to Irish Moss that I wasn’t aware of. Since the purpose of this is to mainly document the procedure and results I will just link to some of this information (http://spiritfoods.net/health-benefits-of-irish-moss/ | http://www.wholesomesoul.com/2012/03/12/irish-moss-another-amazing-wonder-herb/)
The next thing I did was look for an auspicious time to start the work. After taking a while to look at what would be an auspicious time to do something I realized there was nothing particularly great so I chose to start on the full moon on July 31st which was also a blue moon. I don’t think there is any astrological significance to blue moons but since it was full, and I needed to start it at an appropriate time in the near future, this would do.
So, at around 4:52, which was the start of the hour of the moon (according to the tool used at http://www.lunarium.co.uk/planets/hours.jsp?selectedDate=31%2F07%2F15) on 2015-07-31 I started my tincture. I also then realized by looking at my jHora software that I had passed the time of the full moon since it was around 4 AM and I waited until PM since it would be the hour of the moon. I heard that it is worse to do it after the moon has been full, so perhaps the preference should go to doing it before the full moon time rather than going to the hour of the moon on that day.
To prepare I made a small offering with some incense and sat in a brief meditation to set my intention and raise bodhicitta. I recited the prayer “The Verses of the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones” from our Chenrezig Sadhana, followed by doing the sadhana for the Medicine Buddha and a short meditation while chanting the mantra for the moon “Om Soyama Namah”. I poured the grape alcohol into a mason jar and then filled it with the Irish Moss until there was about a half inch or so alcohol above the level of herb. The herb swells up quite a bit so I wanted to leave that room. I put a plastic top on the jar and placed it beneath a pyramid to start its work.
The calcination of the plant phase of the work was my next step, and I did some research to find the best way to get a good calcination of the plant and found that a very effective method would be to use a kiln. I found a kiln for sale on Craigslist for a great deal and purchased it. Following that there were several ordeals which included ordering the things I needed to fire the kiln, learning to use it, and also running a new electrical line out to the garage so that I could plug it in and fire it! After this whole process which happened over a couple of weeks I test fired, and was successful.
I decided to do the calcination on 2015-11-25 day because the moon is full at 5:44 pm and it hits its degree of exaltation at 3 degrees Taurus at 7:26:34 pm. At 17:05 I entered a meditative state and recited “The Verses of the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones followed by reciting the Moon mantra 108 times to anchor those energies. I then began the work by filtering the alcohol using a buchner filter and filter flask with a filter paper. Once I was done I weighed the herb. I have approx 157 mL of alcohol portion of the tincture and 76.5g of herb.
At 17:35 I incinerated the alcohol soaked herb in a glass dish.
The alcohol burned off but it barely even made a dent in the herb itself. I tried to grind it up but wasn’t able to do much. I put it into two separate crucibles in the kiln.
At 18:20 I start kiln at a low temp.
At 20:45 I come out and check and the kiln has gone off. I remove the herb, grind it in the mortar and pestle and put it back in at full heat.
I come out at 22:04 and lower the heat so it stays warm longer.
At 23:10 I checked again and the kiln had gone off,. I removed the crucibles with tongs. I stir it up with a glass rod and noticed that the is red hot in there. At 23:25 I grind it return it to the kiln.
At 01:15 the next morning I come out and the kiln had shut off. I leave it alone, go to sleep and, wait till next day
I took note of the times that I did this for a few days, but I had to continue to do it until 2015-12-09 so I will not add the details of each. This should suffice for the general idea.
I have purchased some items so that in the future I can safely handle the crucibles and kiln so that I may stir the ash and do one long firing rather than multiple little ones.
My last day of kilning was 2015-12-09. I weighed out the bit remaining in the crucible to 22.99g. Over time the ashes had taken on a reddish color. I assume this is due to oxidation of the iron content of the herb due to condensation from temperature shifts where the kiln was being kept. After a 4+ hour period of firing the herb in the kiln I decide it is done, turn it off and let it cool for the night.
On 2015-12-10 I remove the crucible from the kiln, grind up the herb and weight it in at 21.99g. I ground it up one last time and put the ash in a jar and fill the jar with distilled water.
On 2015-12-20 I filtered the salt solution from the ash. I put the salt solution into a beaker and into a sand bath at 100 deg to evaporate. I re-filled the jar with the ash and distilled water to perform a second lixiviation.
On 2015-12-23 I filtered the second salt solution in the jar from the ash. I took that solution as well as the solution from the first lixiviation and put them into trays for better surface area.
On 2015-12-14 I removed the trays with the salt solution from the sand bath and gently heated them to evaporate any remaining water. I scraped the white, purified salt from the trays and weighed it out to 13.46g. I attempted to mortar and pestle it but the white salt mushed underneath the pestle and surrounded it like snow, so I could not grind it up. I put the purified salt into its own jar.
The next part of the work I decided to do on 2015-12-25 since there was a full moon at 06:11 and it was Christmas. That day I woke up got into a meditative state. I raised bodhicitta and chanted the mantra for the moon 108 times. Around the time of the full moon, I took the purified salt and put it back into the alcohol portion of the tincture. I put it under a pyramid back into the sand bath.
On 2015-12-31 I decide that I’m going to split this tincture into separate works. I separate the alcohol with some of the dissolved salt from the salt on the bottom of the container. I get about the same amount of 157mL of alcohol.
I put 2.14g of the salt into a container with about 65mL of the tincture that had absorbed the salt. I add distilled water to that jar until they’re at an about 3:2 tincture:water ratio. I weight out the remaining salt and it is 11.24g. Keep in mind that both of these salts are a little moist from the tincture. I put it in a jar for drying. I place the tincture with distilled water, salt in the jar and the remaining about 90mL of alcohol tincture in the sand bath.