Although this list of processing techniques is not exhaustive, as Spagyric methodology can be complex and ever-changing, the following is a brief outline of primary modi operandi:
Often a first step of extraction processes, the herb being worked upon is digested by an all natural and plant based solvent. Fresh or dried plant materials are mixed with an appropriate solvent for the work, and then enter into a warm incubation period of 2-6 weeks on average. Solvents used include ethyl alcohol, vinegar/acetic acid and saturated solutions of Potassium Carbonate. These three menstruums as they are traditionally called, cover the full spectrum of Ph; neutral, acid and alkali.
After the desired Mercurial and Sulfurous principles have been extracted, any remaining plant matter is incinerated first and then subjected to steady heat in order to liberate the Salt for extraction with distilled water, hydrosols, vinegar etc. An arduous but essential step of Spagyrics.
Distillation has a variety of uses in Spagyric preparations including essential oil extraction, sublimation of salts, distillation of alcohol/vinegar and general potentiating/concentrating of extracts. The basics include a heated vessel containing the substances being worked with, condensers to cool vapors/gasses back into a liquid state, and a receiving vessel to catch the distillate.
Known as refluxing in modern chemistry, this is a form of distillation where a flask containing the substance being worked with is heated and distilled vertically into a condenser, and then the distillate is returned repeatedly back into the original flask instead of a second receiving flask as with regular distillations. In modern chemistry reflux distillations are most often performed with high heat for short periods of time, in comparison to the Spagyric method where gentle heating for days, weeks or even months is preferred. This technique acts as a catalyst for many different reactions and the general maturation of extracts.
Fermentation is a metabolic processing technique where sugars are converted to alcohol, acids and gasses when deprived of oxygen. This process is used to produce ethyl alcohol from any plant, but generally plants with a high sugar content such as Grapes or Cane are used, Grape being the preference of ancient and often modern Alchemists/Spagyrists as well.
Although a subject of much skepticism and debate, multiple Astrological systems can be used to guide every move, from planting and harvesting to all steps of processing extracts. Using the multi-layered, ever changing and undulating calendar of the macrocosmic movements of the Sun, Moon, Planets, Stars, Planetary Hours, Astrological Houses, and more allows for an intimate connection to the micro-cosmic rhythms and patterns of Nature down here on Earth. Astrology as applied in Spagyric work acts as a form of “celestial agriculture”, harvesting the energetic values of the macrocosm. “As above, so below”.