Distillation and Circulation

Distillation and CirculationPrinter-friendly versionSend to friend

The most important laboratory practices in alchemy involve distillation, which separates the constituents of the First Matter, and circulation, which both separates and conjoins those constituents. We will perform several experiments using distillation techniques:

  1. Separation of the soluble salts
    The tincture prepared earlier in the course will involve the calcination of the plant solids to purify the Salt. Here we will separate the soluble salts from the insoluble (called the "caput mortuum" or dead head).
  2. Distillation of the Sulfur
    We will distill the essential oil from a plant, which carries its Sulfur principle. Later on we will learn how to recombine this ("coagulate") with the rest of the constituents of the plant to create a higher order alchemical preparation.
  3. Cohobation of an alchemical tincture
    Here we will explore the process that makes a tincture "alchemical": the circulation of the Mercury and Sulfur over the Salt, to volatilize the Salt and fix the Sulfur.