elixir: Melissa officinalis

On Monday June 18th I resumed the spagyric work. Such great benefit was derived from the making of the Rose elixir that the desire to proceed came easy. A period of rest has elapsed since that work, and with the near-coincidence of Summer Solstice to the first Thursday of a very new waxing moon the timing seems just right.

This time I have restrained myself and will make every effort to produce the elixir in strict accordance with the given instructions. While adaptations and inspirations were explored in the Rose with only positive effect, this time around taking extra care to follow the given directions will allow me to practice “just looking” all the better and create more mental and emotional open space for the operation to expand into.

Unlike the experiments with making a rose elixir, there are no photographs accompanying this exercise. My camera broke, and it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to afford to buy a new on before fall.

The only extra-instructional elements are a pair of Jupiter seals (one celestial, one infernal) which I made to gaze upon in meditation.

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PREPARATION

8.15 oz of dried organic, regionally grown Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) obtained. Dried leaves and small stems/fine twigs included in the mix.

1.5 oz ground to fine powder in mortar and pestle over Tues. 6/19 and Wed. 6/20. Powder put into glass circulation vessel (“Fido” 1 liter mason-jar type jar with rubber seal), wrapped with turquoise silk cloth and stored in the dark. Took about 2 1/2 hours to grind that amount of plant material.

Brief usual opening. Lots of mental chatter to start, but the repetitive rhythmic grinding action and redirecting myself to breathe deeply and “just look” at the rose, the candle flame, and the seals quieted it down fairly well. Expansive mood grew out of the actions on both days.

 

FECUNDATION/IMBIBITION

Dies Jovis, Hora Jovis

Sol 0* Cancer

Luna wx 10%v at 21*Cancer

5:15 (sunrise) -6:20am

 

Awoke and went outdoors to watch the pre-dawn glow, beautiful turquoise, silver, and pink sky; almost marine in a mother of pearl kind of way. Singing birds, otherwise all quiet.

In the studio opening as usual. Unwrapped the vessel and with a small glass dropper slowly dripped around 300ml of French cognac onto the ground herb. Concentrated on watching the menstruum being absorbed by the lemon balm powder tiny bit by tiny bit. When the urge to look away came, I looked out the window for a moment, counted my breaths, rechecked posture, or gazed on the candle and the seals. Avoided wordy prayer and god-names. Just look. Though the phrase “rise up within me” came up again and again.

When the plant material was fully saturated, I added more cognac to the depth of about 1/4 inch above the plant mass. This made the container about 1/3 of the way full.

Re-wrapped the vessel, put it away, and closed.

Now to leave it for 2 weeks undisturbed in the warm dark.

 

Observations for the week (6/18-6/22) so far:

– (remembered) dream activity increased, will need to make a 7-day journal to note them in.

-the stock of Jupiter/Chesed associations in my mind are flooding forward into consciousness. Mostly questions in the form of key-words to be offered up: wealth, generosity, luck, king, judgement, God, greatness, mercy.

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MACERATION

Dies Jovis, 6/28/12

Sol 7* Cancer

Luna wx 68%v at 29* Libra (M2)

 

The Melissa continues to digest in its sealed jar in the dark. I haven’t peeked. I don’t think it’s quite warm enough to circulate, but the temperature has remained above the minimum recommended 68*F. I have not begun the grinding of the remaining plant material, but I intend to begin to grind some every day for the next week to get it at least ground down small enough to fit in a crucible with the macerating material.

Have begun a dream journal, though I have not actually been able to get myself to write anything down until yesterday morning. It’s not a habit yet so remembering to do it is tricky. I am remembering a lot more of my dream-content, though and have done so from the beginning of the work last week. I count that as progress, so I don’t feel too bad about not getting on the recording wagon until a few days in. It feels like a bit of a flood compared to my previous normal retention rate (nearly nothing except for maybe once a month, just before my period). Actually this time period has been that pre-menstrual period, so we will see if the flood remains later on through the cycle.

 

Another flood of results that is one of those “too good to be true, so am I making it up?” situations is the great radiant sense of well-being, even in the midst of daily obstacles (both emotional and day-to-day functional). This along with the following:

– experiencing a greater capacity for compassion- when my buttons get pushed, I’m able to feel those angry/jealous/resentful/scornful/etc. emotions and peel them away from my image of the person they are directed towards. The feelings may be legitimate, but I find myself better able to see the fear that perhaps caused the offending  behavior, and the fear that fuels my own. Something not quite forgiveness but akin to it can happen, action can be taken (if warranted), and I move on.

-more insights into energetic and material economies, more insight into refining my own impulses towards generosity (testing the root of the impulse).  Experiencing the material and temporal wealth that I already possess with a new sharpness. Frequently high on “happiness”, and enjoying it, also observing it with cautious mindfulness. I realize that I am quite suspicious of feelings of  “happiness” when they linger more than a short time.

– a leap in understanding of the concept of God (with a capital G – IHVH, Jove, etc.- the “big guys” that I have spent years harboring resentments toward, some more conscious than others). Addressing prayer to God the Father is now a part of  the daily ritual that goes with this particular work. It feels EXTREMELY strange and more than a little uncomfortable, but at core completely the right thing.

– Some cloudier insights into luck and responsibility. Perhaps these will develop and become clearer.

 

Yes, all that in one week. Reads like a textbook definition for “results, Jovial”. Exactly specific to the hooks thrown into the waters last week. Nice.

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Daily Ritual for the Melissa Elixir:

Preliminary Rite for Work of a Jovial Nature

6/26/12

Light candle for the Eudaimon/Angel on eastern altar.

Form circle and consecrate space to the Work and self.

“I conjure Thee O Circle of Power, I consecrate Thee to the great Work”

Perform First Gesture from Reguli with candle.

bell X – allow this and following bell strikes to ring out and overlap

Hail the Mousai:

turning sunwise to face the west say Khaire Mneme, Khairete!

bell X

turning sunwise to face the south say Khaire Melete, Khairete!

bell X

turning sunwise to face the north say Khaire Aoide, Khairete!

bell X

returning sunwise to face the east say Khaire Arete, Khairete!

bell X

IAO

Say : “The Sun is risen in my heart.”

For the opening of the Spagyric work on the Melissa officinalis elixir (Jupiter/Chesed), light the blue candle from the Eudaimon candle and recite the prayer:

Almighty, eternal Father of Light, from Whom all good things and perfect gifts come to us, I humbly ask You, for the sake of Your infinite mercy, let me recognize Your eternal wisdom, that which surrounds Your throne, which has created and made everything, and which guides and maintains everything.

Send it to me from Heaven, Your sanctuary, and from that throne, Your glory, that it may enter me and work within me. For It is the mistress of all heavenly and secret arts, which opens up the knowledge of and insight into all things. Grant that it may accompany me in all my works, so that, strengthened by its spirit, I may receive the true insight and advance without error in the noble Art to which I have dedicated my life.

Most wise and divine King of Kings, rise within me and cleanse me of all that which hinders the broadening of my point of view, my tolerance, and my generosity of heart. Grant that I may happily begin, continue, and perfect this great work which I am called to accomplish on this Earth, and that I may ever rejoice in it.

For this I entreat You, through the Unnamed Star of my own being, Whom for the present I call by the name of A___, known and unknown, the celestial Stone, pillar of the marvelous, founded for eternity, who determines and rules with You.

AUMGN AUMGN AUMGN

 

Kiss/bless the blue candle and Jupiter talismans or stones, if any.

bell X – ring out for some time, then still it against the heart.

Close.

 

Unless otherwise noted, this opening is performed prior to any working session, along with a simple thanks and closing at the conclusion of the session. If there is no working session on a day, it is still performed on its own.

The Jupiter prayer included above is based on an alchemical prayer by Nicholas Flamel, the writings of Jean Dubuis, and on the inspiration of my own practice (06/26/12).

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Dies Mars, 07/03/12

Luna Full in Capricorn

Continuing to grind the remaining Melissa herb to a medium-to-fine powder, a bit every day. It’s a lot of work, and the bag of remaining unpulverized herb doesn’t seem to shrink much despite the time spent grinding.

Yesterday evening I spent an hour grinding and began to hum a little tune. Suddenly the work seemed much less monotonous and went more quickly. I let my mind wander and found myself humming the tune of “Good King Wenceslas”. It was nice and cheery, and suited to the planetary energies being worked with. I cycled through “The Ballad of John Barleycorn” (for the grinding) and “Hoof and Horn”, but eventually came back to Wenceslas and settled on that song for a good long while.

Later I read that the Wenceslas referred to in the song lived in the early tenth century and was a Bohemian duke. He was legendary for his nobility, piety, and generosity. Quoting the wikipedia page on Good King Wenceslas, he embodied “…the high Middle Ages’ conceptualization of the rex justus, or “righteous king”—that is, a monarch whose power stems mainly from his great piety, as well as from his princely vigor.” The title of king was conferred upon him posthumously by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I.

The carol “Good King Wenceslas” was first published by John Mason Neale in 1853. The new wintry lyrics were set to the tune of “Tempus Adest Floridum” (“Now is the Time of Flowering”), a 13th-century spring carol first published in the Finnish song book Piae Cantiones in 1582.

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CALCINATION 1 (INCINERATION)

7/05/12, Dies Jovis

Horae Jovis to Venus, 5:30am – 10:35am

Sol in Cancer 14*

Luna wn in Aquarius 9*, 94%v

 

Rose just before sunrise and finished preparations for the first incineration of the macerated lemon balm. Sipped a cup full of filtered water with half a dropper of the rose tincture and opened the space as usual.

Decanted and filtered the maceration liquor into a brown glass stoppered bottle through an unbleached coffee filter. I would have used sterile absorbent cotton, which I could have sworn I had, but was unable to find it come morning. Removed the first filter and after squeezing it out into the funnel, set it aside. Lined the glass funnel with a second filter and spooned in about 1/4 of the wet plant material. I let it drip, then squeezed more liquid out. Scraped the plant material off the filter into a waiting wide mouthed glass jar. To avoid the bottom of the filter breaking and spilling the coarse plant material into the filtered liquid, I used a fresh filter for each re-load of the funnel. Used a total of five filters, all scraped clean into the jar and set aside.

The liquid was cloudy and browny-green and had a sweet earthy odor, like prune juice.

Then I took the liquor soaked herb and mixed it with the rest of the (un-macerated) ground dried balm (about 7.6 oz). I added a little more straight alcohol to help moisten the entire batch more thoroughly, since just what was in the soaked herb didn’t dampen the entire amount very well.  In future I may add a little more liquor to the maceration, or just plan on having some extra alcohol handy to wet the remainder of the dry herb.

I put about half of the whole amount into a steel Turkish coffee pot and lit the alcohol soaked herb on fire.  The entire amount of plant material would have filled the pot up completely, giving me no room to stir it and so I decided to add more plant material as the contents of the pot burned down. Once the flames on the plant material had died down and it was smouldering, I put it on the rack of a small charcoal grill filled with lit coals. This was a very cheap little square grill with a top that closes and opens on hinges (handy), a little larger than a foot square and cost about $14 a couple of years ago. The rack was very close to the top of the pile of coals, where the heat would be the most intense.

Lit the charcoals with the celestial and infernal Jupiter seals mentioned earlier.

This worked very well! Once most of the first batch of plant was charred, I spooned in more of the rest of the herb and stirred it in with a glass stirring rod. As the herb got blacker and the volume decreased, more uncharred herb went in until all was in the vessel.

At first the herb darkened very slowly and very little smoke came out. Once all the green and brown was gone, there was a short period where it didn’t look like it was doing anything at all. I worried that the flame might have died out but I refrained from doing anything but stir.

Then all at once a large volume of gray smoke came pouring out, and continued coming out for about an hour. The more I stirred, the more smoke belched out. I could not see the contents of the pot at all. Was very glad I followed instructions and did this OUTDOORS. It’s also fortunate that this being the fifth of July, none of the neighbors was distressed by all the smoke coming from my yard. I had no idea that a relatively small amount of plant material could produce that much smoke. It smelled sour but not entirely unpleasant.

Once the smoke cleared it was a deep velvety matte black, with pulsing red veins of fire running through it just under the surface when caressed by the wind. The salamanders burrow, the dragon penetrates deep into the earth.

I kept stirring it until little smoke came off it. Now the surface began to grow white with pale ash, like snow spreading on hills or ice crystals forming. The gentle west wind fanned the bright red coals snaking their way underneath the hills. Once the whole surface was snowy, I would stir it up and watch the salamanders sink into the darkened  ash again, leaving whiteness behind them. This was repeated until the ash mix was getting a steel gray tinge. The stirring seems to help prevent the fly-away of  very light white ash formed on the surface and re-aerates the burning mass, re-energizing the internal fire. Once it looked mostly gray I let it alone to continue working “underground”.

The ash was about 2/3 white, 1/3 dark charcoal when the red coals disappeared. When stirred together it was dove gray, light and fluffy with no hard bits. I warmed a glass jar (with a rubber seal) over the now-cooling grill and once the ash was cool enough and the glass warm, put the gray ash into the glass jar and immediately sealed it.

I said my thanks, closed up, and cleaned up.

 

Around 11am– burst into weeping in the shower. Little emotion (or thought for that matter) accompanied the outburst, but a sense of relief and serenity pervading.

2:30-4:30pm (Horae Jovis-Mars II) Brief opening, refiltered the liquor through four layers of cotton surgical bandage material (that I went out and got in the interim between incinerations). Found some dried ground balm in a plastic bag that I’d set aside that I must have missed this morning. Wet it with alcohol, made a new charcoal bed in the grill and incinerated it to grayness as earlier. Put it in with the other ash. Said my thanks and closed.

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07/06/12, Dies Venus

Luna wn in Aquarius

Last night just before going to sleep and this morning not long after waking, strong well-fixed hypnogogic image of dark smoke rolling, being blown and lifted off my body in that same way that I observed  smoke pouring out of the incineration pot yetserday. This had nothing to do with actual dreams from this morning or earlier, it was a separate and distinct image/state of mind.

A solution for how best to set up the next calcination surfaced upon waking as well.

8:15-8:55pm  (Hora Jovis) : Ground the gray ash to a fine medium dove gray powder in the small glass mortar. Clumsy opening, the grinding didn’t take long, was accomplished.

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07/7/12

It’s probably a good thing that these processes can be so long and drawn out, and only somewhat beholden to a tight schedule. Gaps of days or weeks between the right times to perform particular actions allow for the experience of these things to penetrate deeply and digest in the unconscious, to have time –the time they take–  to really work on the operator. Delays can be good things. It’s not something you can just push along, collecting the passing of mileposts as achievements one after the other in rapid succession. It’s not something you can collect, period.

In a more micro-view, repetitive actions that take hours and hours can bring about a nice watchful-trance state not unlike that experienced during zazen. Since it does no good at all to keep wondering “how long is this gonna take?” the best thing is to simply not worry about it and sink the self into just doing, just looking, just listening. Maybe sing a tune while you do it, and enjoy the company of the herb and any extraphysical presences invited. It can turn into something like a tea party in no time at all.

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CALCINATION II

07/08/12, Dies Solis

Luna wn 72%v in Pisces

12:05-8pm, Horae Jovis-Saturnus

 

Placed the ground gray ash into the larger of the two crucibles and placed it in sand inside a fairly close-fitting steel cup for stability and insulation during the firing. The lip of the crucible cleared the upper edge of the cup by about 1/4″, enough to allow the crucible lid to rest on the crucible and close the way it should. There was a gap of about 1/8″ between the top edge of the steel cup and the wall of the crucible.

A mound of charcoal briquets was made in the grill as before and the cup was placed on the upper rack immediately above the briquets. Additional briquets were placed around the steel cup on the upper level, surrounding and leaning on the outside of the cup

A little alcohol was mixed into the ash and lit. When the flame died down, the charcoals were lit and the lid placed on the crucible with just a little gap of an opening to prevent any light white ash from blowing away, but to allow for a little air to enter. After about an hour it was time to close it up, and so the lid was nudged all the way over the crucible until it seated down.

The west wind was still a friend, breathing life into the fire.

There was not much to watch but the fire since the container with the ash body was closed. It was hard not to peek. I had no temperature gauge, but the rack wires just under the container glowed red, and for a time the bottom of the cup had a faint ruddy glow, the upper edges of the steel taking the straw-and-blue coloration familiar in the tempering of steel. It had to be hotter inside the container.

Charcoals burned actively for about 3 1/2 hours. The cover was brought down most of the way over the grill (a brick propped the lid open about 3 inches) and the fire left to burn itself out. It was left to slow-cool over the next few hours.

 

Insights into the cloudier aspects of personal relationships and the parts of the work that actually do the transforming continue to come. Separation without scorn, gratitude, understanding, gentle attentiveness come easier. The only things I’ve had some trouble with are motivating to get to the gym as often as I should and eating a little too much these last couple of weeks. Have been napping a lot more than usual as well, but I’m not sure that isn’t actually a helpful part of the process. Maintaining dream journal practice still slippery, but proceeding.

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07/10/11 Nox Mars

8:40-9pm, Hora Luna

Reground gray ash from the second calcination in the glass mortar. There were some glassy bodies towards the bottom of the crucible. I think the temperature may have gotten too high in the center of the charcoal fire during the previous calcination and fused some of the ash. The color of the ash was a little lighter, but still solidly gray. I ground the dark glassy bodies in with the lighter gray powder and resealed it in its glass container.

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07/10-11/12, Nox Mars, Dies Mercurius

I was notified this morning (7/11) that someone tried to charge $1300 to my credit card, twice, in order to donate to the March of Dimes. This is the first time this has happened to me (credit card # theft), and it’s strange that someone would commit credit card fraud to donate to a charity.  It’s odd enough I thought to include it here, as Jupiter’s domain includes both wealth and charity, abundance and mercy.

On an unrelated note, a visual illusion causing the center of the page on which the Jupiter prayer is written to appear to be raising up into a mound has occurred the past couple of times the opening ritual has been performed.

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CALCINATION III

07/11/12, Dies Mercurius

Luna wn 43%v in Taurus

6:30pm- , Hora Jupiter-

Spread the finely ground gray ash on a pyrex plate and placed it in the kitchen oven for further roasting in hopes of continued calcination.

6:30-7:30pm 400*

7:30- 9pm 500*

9-11:30pm broiler

Oven turned off at 11:30, left to cool overnight.

In the morning, the ash was noticeably lighter in color than before the calcination. Still more gray than white, but lighter and less bluish.

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07/13/2012, Dies Venus

Luna wn in Taurus, 25%v

8-8:30pm, Hora Jovis

Ground the ash in the glass mortar. There were some gently clumped pieces of ash that broke apart easily and ground to a fine powder well.

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CALCINATION IV

07/15/2012, Dies Solis

Luna wn in Gemini 11%v

12:05-5:15pm, Horae Jovis-Mercurius

The optical illusion of the rise in the center of the prayer paper has ceased.

Spread the powdered ash on the pyrex dish and roasted in the oven as before- an hour at 400* and 500*, then under the broiler for the remainder. Heat turned off at 5:15 and allowed to cool down slowly.

– Am feeling out the fine line of attempting to push the work where it will do no good, and feeling out proper timing for these operations. I have so little experience that I must be vigilant to listen to that inner voice about what to do when, rather than construct in my imagination and then follow a blueprint (and schedule) of how I think it ought to go. Imaginary constructs that have less to do with the interface of my unconscious, my waking mind, and the greater world than with a fantasy picture of how it “ought” to go based on mental shuffling of all my previous occult studies.

I do not control these forces of nature, nor do I have an intimate enough relationship with them to make assumptions about the proper way to proceed very far out in time. I must listen to them, consider my responses in a thoughtful and thorough manner, and move within the operation accordingly. It’s harder than it sounds. But this way any patterns that may eventually turn into prescriptives will be proved out by experience, and not just accepted as received.

– Experiencing a resurgence of insights into value and object, and why I feel compelled to create three dimensional artworks. What do I hope to gain by investing such a large part of my life energy into pursuit of this end to the exclusion of many other things. What do I actually gain that might be different than I expected? As a result, how are my driving desires in this changing? Without a doubt, they are. It’s not a sign that I should stop and do something else, though the thought has crossed my mind. Again back to the question “What is wealth, whence comes value?”

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IMMERSION

7/20/12, Dies Venus

Sol in Cancer 28*

Luna wx in Leo, 3%v

12:15pm, Hora Mars

Have waited a few days to contemplate whether after four calcination cycles the ash is light and open enough to proceed. I have no pictures to go by, or specific instructions besides “calcine until the ash is light gray or grayish white”, and so must rely on my own judgment and the indications of the material. I want to avoid, as much as possible, creating an artificial schedule of procedure. I got no strong feelings from the ash about it not being time, and it is quite fluffy in texture, very light gray so I proceed.

The final burning has left about 6 teaspoons of material. This was put into a 250ml sealable jar which was then nearly filled with pure distilled water, well over the 20 times ash-volume recommended in the instructions. With the introduction of the water, the mixture went steel gray. The ash in the water suspends into rolling clouds, quite beautiful to watch swirl and settle. It was vigor0usly shaken and placed in a warm spot on top of the refrigerator, to be re-shaken often.

Solve, Aqua!

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EXTRACTION / FILTRATION I, II

7/23/12, Dies Luna

Sol in Leo 1*

Luna wx in Virgo, 23%v

8:25-9:30am, Hora Jovis

After three days of sitting in a mildly warm location the first round of extraction with distilled water has hopefully dissolved and drawn out the pure plant salt in the ash. This is a slight deviation from instructions, which advised shaking the mixture for at least an hour, then filtering immediately. I had an impulse to let the mix sit for three days, so I did that. Had some slight hesitation about what might grow int here over three days. Even in the distilled water and purified ash, I am sure there are a few beasties in there that might have landed in the mix from the air when they were exposed during the immersion. All this material will be recalcined several times before consumption, though, so I think the risk is minimal. The next extractions with fresh water in order to get as much salt out of the ash as possible (which will be done two or three more times today) will not have such a long  incubation time.

As the ash-water was poured through the gauze filter, it exuded a faint but distinct aroma of sulphur. I sniffed the area and determined the source was indeed the fine claylike ash mud. this was a surprise- the odor was definitely not that of decay or that “scummy water” smell, but distinctly sulphur. This reminded me of Manfed Junius’ term for the feces/caput mortuum left after all extractable salt and essential oils have been separated from the plant material- terra damnata.

The filtered water was quite clear, with only a faint bluish white cast to it, doubtless from the minute particles that got through the layers of gauze. The ash was returned to the 250ml container and re-covered with fresh distilled water. I tried my best to rinse the residual ash and moisture out of the filters and into the next extraction batch with fresh water. The gauze with the the traces of ash will  be dried out in the oven and saved for burning later.

 

5:15-6:30pm, Horae Jovis-Mars

The ash and water mixture was shaken and filtered again, the ash recovered and immersed in more distilled water. There is now about 750ml of cloudy pale bluish liquid in the jar. I may need to use 2 one liter jars to simplify handling of the final volume of water, which I am guessing will be just a little more than 1 liter. No odor of sulphur.

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EXTRACTION / FILTRATION III, IV

7/25/12, Dies Mercurius

Luna wx 43%v in Libra (M1)

10:20-11:45am, Horae Jovis-Mars

Opening ritual performed as usual, with the addition of holding a brown bald eagle feather (Haliaeetus leucocephalus  Greek hali = salt, aeetus = eagle, leuco = white, cephalis = head !) in the right hand during the prayer, along with holding the Jupiter talisman in my left hand (as usual). This feather has been in my resins box for a couple of years, the gift of a very new friend and coworker on one of the Broadway touring shows.

Like the bear bones that were given to me this year, I feel no special affinity for the eagle and honestly did not know what I would do with the feather, maybe pass it on to someone who could make better use of it at some later date.  At the time, I recognized the significant power of this gift and was actually a bit shocked to receive it from a near stranger. I was and still am wary about holding on to an object that I have no right to have- there is some danger in doing so. There is another kind of danger in accepting the gift as technically it’s a fineable offense for me to possess an eagle feather. But it would have been extremely rude to turn it down and like I said, I thought I’d simply be fostering it until it passed on to another. I may still be fostering it. Honestly I had mostly forgotten that I still had it. But on Monday it dawned on me that it should be used in THIS operation- and at THIS point, that it would be perfectly fine. The eagle is an avatar/mount of Jove/Zeus/Jupiter. Of course.

In renewed gratitude I looked up the person who gave me the feather and sent them a reciprocal gift of one of my carvings. I hesitated because it’s one of my favorites, but it was the right price to pay so off into the mail it went.

Filtered the ashy water and refilled the ash holding vessel one more time with distilled water.  Shook it, allowed it to settle, and filtered it. Total yield of pale bluish water about 1.25-1.35 liters.

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FILTRATION V, EVAPORATION

7/27/12, Dies Venus

Luna wx in Scorpio,66%v (M3)

2:20-3:20pm, Horae Solis-Venus

Filtered liquid material twice. Then poured it into a large pyrex bowl and set this into a cake pan (containing about an inch of dry sand) resting on a stove burner on low to evaporate. It steamed (noboiling) until around 11pm, when I turned the heat off and covered it. It is still about half-full of cloudy water.

Somewhat extended opening ritual today. I received the news that my biological mother has brain cancer earlier in the day, and that she has experienced a rapid deterioration in health over the last 3 months. This affected me a lot more than I expected it to. After all, I have only met her in person twice in my life, though we have carried on a warm e-mail correspondence for a couple of years now. Why should I be crying and needing calm space for the rest of the day?

In the opening I asked for guidance and blessing for her, and for her family during this time. I set out photos of her parents and lit a candle at Mneme’s station in the west, asking for what comforting and guidance our ancestors could give her. None of this felt in the least bit discordant with the filtration and evaporation, though they were two distinct and separate works.

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7/29/12

Nox Sol

Luna wx 86%v (M5/end)

Have continued evaporation sessions over the last couple of days without the preliminary ritual or even being able to think on it much. Am experiencing a troubling distancing of myself from the salty water. It’s not boredom with the process, but just a “nothing”. Easy to forget. Easier to get distracted. Difficulty directing any energy at all towards it when I do manage to remember it. I’m drifting.

Tonight I did the opening ritual and attempted to connect with/charge the cloudy orangey-brownish material by circulating a vibration of AUMGN through it, utilizing the stone and both hands. I don’t know if it did much good beyond me knowing I at least tried to do something.  It’s uncomfortable, murky. I worry that it’ll evaporate and there will be nothing, no salt at all in the bowl (even though I can see it, and know better). I worry that it’s contaminated in some fundamental and invisible way. I worry most that I just don’t know what’s going on with it.

There is still a bit of liquid in the bowl. After the ritual I covered the whole thing with the turquoise silk cloth that I stored the circulation jar in earlier. I will do another evaporation cycle this evening and sit with it in the hour of Jove tomorrow.

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7/30/12

Nox Luna

Luna wx in Capricorn, 93%v

5pm, Hora Jovis: Bath, internal and external cleansing, then opening ritual with covered bowl. Meditation, breathing with the bowl, then recitation of pertinent chorus of Swinburne’s Atalanta in Calydon, genesis statement, then unveiling of the cloudy salt-in-formation before the light. Invocation.

Placed bowl on low heat, much lower temp than before, left it to its own devices there.

11:40pm, Hora Jovis : The water has completely evaporated off of the salts. it was removed from the heat and taken into the studio. Opening ritual as usual then simply looking, sitting with it.

The salts form a thin crust on the bottom, light yellowish-tan in color. There is a band of very thin salt formation that has the “garden” pattern, about an inch wide on the walls of the bowl. Then a break, then the more solid crust.

Still-warm bowl lightly draped with turquoise cloth, resting.

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8/3/12 (best guess)

Dies Venus, Hora Venus

Luna wn 97%v

Usual opening with additional petition for aid for an ailing friend. I have been feeling so “well-formed” and full lately that I sent a good portion of my own energetic substance out, felt it move and successfully go. Was exhausted afterwards. Not sure that was wise, but it felt good to do. Then moved on to working with the salt.

Scraped the salts from the pyrex container- they were white with a tan-yellow tinge and soft and “fleshy” due to the absorption of atmosheric water, even in the closed (but not sealed) container. they stuck to the spoon and stirrer. Placed them in a small sand bath on a stove burner for a couple of hours to drive off some of the moisture, then sealed them in a small glass bottle.

Rinsed the pyrex bowl with distilled water to get every bit of salt the spoon missed, put the liquid into a jar with paper cover to allow to evaporate. Put the gray mud residual ash (caput mortuum) aside to allow it to evaporate dry. I may later calcine this material once more and try to extract any remaining salt.

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Difficulty in connecting with the work in this interim. The working table, I am ashamed to say, has been cluttered and ill-attended to. The flowers wilt in the vase, unreplaced. Dust gathers. It becomes repellant. The clean salts sit in their sealed vessel under the blue silk drape.

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08/14/12

Dies Mars

Luna wn  9%v

2:15- pm, Hora Jovis

A return- cleaning, clearing. Fresh flowers. Attempting to end a gap in the work.

Opening ritual and prayer, reconnection with the operation.

During the previous week, I was made a gift of a small box of gold and gems (both real and artificial, about half and half) by a kind and generous coworker. She just wanted me to have the chance to “play” with some gold since I had remarked that I’d like to, but couldn’t really afford to buy gold to just play with it and see how it works. Very generous gesture, very kind. I am grateful.

Following, during the afternoon, a reexamination of the instructions in preparation for a circulation .

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03/20/13

The above attempt to close a gap in the work failed- unable to do indoor circulation due to wrong equipment and increasing demands elsewhere. It all just STOPPED despite a couple of attempts made to continue. There will be a rest period before the circulation. A natural Solar circulation will be attempted in the summer of 2013 when temperatures are high enough, probably following the conclusion of the Mars work on June 22.

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