Putting The Spirit Back Into Herbal Medicine

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by Ishtar Dingir

Hippocrates has a lot answer for, in my opinion. It was the 5th century Greek so-called Father of Medicine that separated out the physical from the spiritual in medicine. So after that, pills, potions and elixirs were created solely to cure a physical ailment with no recognition of the more holistic aspect to the person.

It was also the beginning of the habit of physicians to only treat the disease instead of treating the whole person.

Paracelsus, the medieval alchemist, did his best to put Humpty Dumpty together again with his invention of spagyrics (the ‘g’ is hard, like in ‘gel’). And spagyrics are now making a bit of a come back ~ well, in my house anyway!

Spagyrics are basically herbal medicine, but herbal medicine with a twist.

Most of us are familiar with tinctures of plants, such as Bach’s flower remedies, and salts derived from plants, such as homeopathic remedies. But in spagyrics, the tincture and the salt are used in a combined form and ~ here’s where the magic comes in ~ the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Let me explain this by sharing a basic principle of alchemy, which is that matter can be broken down into three components: salt, sulphur and mercury. So when you combine salt (homeopathic remedies) with sulphur (flower remedy tinctures) you create a third thing, known to alchemists as mercury. And as any Tarot reader will tell you, Mercury is the Magician.

The diagram above explains the concept.

OK, I won’t play up the magical aspect too much because it’s not witchcraft, although witches may make spagyrics. But when I use the term ‘magic’, I’m referring to natural processes which work with the spirit of the substance, the doorway to which modern science has bolted shut and thrown away the key. By insisting, as Hippocrates did, that we only deal with what we can experience through our five senses, the Sixth Sense is banished to the Wasteland and with it, some incredibly useful therapeutic remedies which could benefit us today.

With spagyrics, the alchemist contacts and works with the spirit of the plant in creating an elixir that carries the power of his or her intention not only to quicken their own spiritual evolution, but also that of the plant.

So how do you make spagyrics?

Well, it’s very easy. You just need some basic kitchen equipment, like kilner jars, a pestle and mortar, some coffee filters, a baking tray … and a planetary chart (there’s one here) and of course, the basic ingredients ~ the herb and a good quantity of pure grain alcohol.

On a Saturday a few weekends ago, which is the day ruled by Saturn, a friend and I made Horsetail spagyric. Horsetail is one of the oldest herbs on the planet. These days, it grows to about six feet high but back then, when it was eaten by dinosaurs, it would grow as tall as trees.

Horsetail is very good for strengthening and for stability (not surprising for a plant governed by the leaden Saturn). And with its high component of silica, it strengthens hair, teeth, nails, bones and in fact, all the connective tissues, such as tendons and ligaments, which run through the body.

So on the day of Saturn, and on the hour of Saturn, we made a prayer that the mysteries of Saturn would be revealed to us through the auspices of Horsetail, and then we began to grind small quantities of the herb in pestle and mortar, the whole time using our power of intention to send a message to the spirit of the plant as to our aims.

After an hour of grinding and pummelling, we poured the herb into a clean jar and then covered it in pure grain alcohol. Once the herb was covered, we added the same amount of pure grain alcohol again. Then we sealed the jar.

The jar with the herb and alcohol mix stood on a shelf for two weeks, and on each morning and evening, I would give it a good shaking.

Then at the end of the second week, on the day of Saturn (Saturday) and the hour of Saturn, we decanted the mixture and strained it through the coffee filters into a bowl, taking care to extract all the moisture from it.

Then, putting the resulting tincture to one side (which, by now, was smelling like pure heaven!), we took the remains and spread them on a baking tray and put them into an oven set up at the highest possible heat.

I won’t lie to you. My gas bill is going to be horrendous because it took about five hours of cooking at least, possibly six. At each hour or so, we would open the oven door (carefully!) and inspect the mass on the baking tray. Eventually, some of the outer mass appeared to blacken, leaving the inner substance as white ash. And so it was an ongoing process of scraping away the blackened part (alchemists call this stage ‘calcination’) until we were left with a mainly white substance.

Once the mass had whitened to form the salts, we added them to the tincture ~ and hey presto! We had a horsetail spagyric.

So what’s it like?

Well, firstly, it tastes delicious. I’ve been having a teaspoon in a glass of spring water every day for nearly a week now, and I’m really feeling the benefit of it. In some respects, it is like a normal tonic, in that you feel physically strengthened by it. I also find that I’m much more relaxed and go to sleep more easily at night. But unlike a normal tonic, I also feel incredibly strengthened on the mental and spiritual level too. It’s very difficult to describe how it makes me feel … but let’s just say, I wouldn’t be without it.
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