Damiana :Tutorial 3 : Year 2.

The Solvents employed in Herbal Apothecary work, and the underlying Paracelsian Philosophy.

Text Book .. �The Pharmageddon Herbal� .. Module/Chapter 9.

Tutor : Ivor Hughes.

In this tutorial I use the words �Man� and �Mankind� in the correct sense of the scientific meaning, it is so much easier. and avoids treading on delicate toes.

The beautiful symbolic imagery of the sculpture shown was manifested by Marshall Fredericks and is to be viewed at :

Oakland University Library Mall
Rochester, Michigan.

The sculpture is entitled �Saints and Sinners�. Image if you will the �Annual herbs� .. all done in one short season .. Childhood .. Youth .. Flower .. Seed .. then Die .. that is also the rhythm of a human life. It is only the time scales that differ. Earlier manifestations of group mind would have instinctively led to the Intellectualized Greek Legend of the Earth Goddess Gaia and the later scientific work by Doctor James Lovelock.

These earlier groupings of peoples .. from extended families right through to whole civilizations .. saw things through a much less cluttered minds eye .. the social waters were not so murky .. and cooperation and not domination was the norm. The Anima or Soul was of a different kind of consciousness .. one that was more in tune with the rhythms of Nature .. as she danced to a Cosmic Symphony. .. Rodney Collin .. a follower of Ouspensky .. wrote in his tour de force of a book .. �The Theory of Celestial Influence� .. the following .. �Only one creature that we know, eats whole vertebrates, the complete carcasses of horses, elephants and donkeys with spines and bones � and that is the earth�. In the words of a South African based Indian Spiritual Teacher .. �In the end She opens one small pore to receive you� and from the Upanishads .. �from food comes all creatures and to food all creatures go�.

Pantheism as a Religion is quite simply the recognition and ordering of the complex multifaceted nature of our common mother by appointing them to lesser gods ruled over by a chief God .. in the same way that Christians believe in a hierarchy of Angels who by definition are minor gods. The Hindu Pantheon .. holds the Great Goddess Kali .. in both her forms as bringer of Life and Death as a personification of Gaia (Persephone). 

These are Universal Symbols .. The Greeks and the Romans with their minds shaped by a different type of civilisation .. attributed all of the natural phenomena to lesser Gods .. Ruled over .. by �The Ruling God� .. I cannot see that this conceptual cosmology is incompatible with any of the other conceptual cosmologies of the major religions. This Pyramid or hierarchy of power is mirrored and reflected in all of our social structures. When the Rulers are good then Society prospers .. When the Rulers are bad the whole world is reduced to ruins. True Universal Spirituality .. is Spirituality without Borders, this is accepted as self evident fact by Mystics of whatever �Path� they may follow. For it is strongly asserted that the goal of all religions is the same goal. Any dichotomy is a personal barrier to be overcome.

That �Clarity� of the Pantheistic view cannot be invalidated by religion, time or technology .. There was a time when the understanding or �Zeit Geist� (Spirit of the time) was .. that mankind was part of Nature and not above her .. Wise rulers therefore trod lightly .. whether from reverence or respect, it was as natural as breathing to them. Today we have carried over the seeds of that type of consciousness .. with the yearly enactments of fertility rites and display of symbols, for example the �Easter Bunny� .. �Dancing around the Maypole� .. Harvest Home� .. �The celebration of Yule Tide .. Father Sun in annual terms would retreat no more and would begin his eternal triumphal Sisyphus climb to his Zenith once again .. That cosmic seasonal rhythm is also mirrored in our kind .. we may fool ourselves a while longer .. with false visions of domination by technology or belief systems.

If we take stock of the current situation .. it may be plainly seen that we as a specie have overstepped the mark .. a change in attitude is needed .. because one thing is very clear .. in the greater planetary cycles .. we are not essential .. we are no more than a cluster of cells on the skin of an orange. So far, the early reports from the Cosmic Pathology Lab are not good .. the prognosis is poor .. there is a malignancy growing within our group Soul .. I believe that has occurred because we have transgressed some eternal, fundamental, physical, and moral laws of living .. laws which are the common heritage of all mankind .. irrespective of belief or culture .. if the Cosmic ferment goes wrong .. it is discarded .. and a new broth is prepared. The seeds of the continuance of the species is already commencing to fail in many parts of the Western World and the men and women are flocking to fertility clinics. This while the abortion rate rises.

In stark contrast the birth rate still exceeds .. the mortality rate of the global poor whilst the malnourished continues to rise .. I recall an old Country custom .. that involved beating the trunk with a stick .. of low yielding nut trees in the Spring .. sure enough in the Autumn of the year, the trees would bear fruitful with the future seed of their kind. The trees were put under stress with the threat of danger .. how much more so is that mirrored by our kind? Perhaps the meek will indeed inherit the Earth?.

Paracelsus presents us with an overarching vision of man and his place .. as a �microcosm of the macrocosm� in the great hierarchy of order. One writer has remarked .. � The utter conviction of Paracelsus, in the Divinity that resided in man� .. For his role model he chose The Christian Deity Jesus .. He did not ask for admittance for to make his peace with the Christian Church until a few days before he died .. yet I believe that he was a Christian of a higher kind .. he refused to be fettered with dogma and did as his conscience bade him .. And like many that were in pain .. the universal scapegoats .. drank to the excess on occasions. We are informed that in his last will and testament .. he bequeathed his meager worldly possessions and a small stipend to the Parish Poor. Thus he finally found rest in amongst those treasures of the immortal soul. The goal of all spiritual beliefs is union with God. Take your choice of belief systems and maintain a sense of the sacred in your life.

Earth as Organism :
Dr James Lovelock has painted a picture by scientific demonstration of what can only be called a great sentient being. On the Cosmic scale Earth is miniscule .. In the same way that a Single cell which mirrors the whole human body is miniscule. In the same way that a Human entity is miniscule on a Global scale. As a Cosmic organism Nature displays some remarkable powers by which she ensures the continuance of her mission .. which is to maintain an environment suitable to biological life based on Carbon. Man has already determined the limits of his life in Space .. Air .. Earth and Sea. The Sea is rather like the lymphatic and immune system in mankind and performs the self same functions on global scale as that of our own lymphatic and blood system. This is strongly mirrored in the tidal systems of Sea .. Lymph and Blood stream on different time scales of order.

Water as Universal Solvent :
The Alchemist considers that water is the universal solvent and the Mother of Life. This is a self evident truth to those who enquire .. The Hermetic aphorism � Ever follow and illuminate the footsteps of Nature�. There are many desolate parts of the world that cannot rely upon a regular rain cycle .. so that the miracle birth and fast blooming of flowers and grasses in the desert after rain occured .. because of rain .. as is the sprouting, as if by magic, of whole fields of food crops in areas that have predictable rain. At any given time vast amounts of water are retained and recycled by the green plants. The excess ground water drains away by means of natural land forms to mingle with that which commenced as a spring .. which in turn becomes a great river, fed by tributaries and rills .. which are mirrored in our capillaries, veins and arteries .. on its journey to the sea.

The Saline Sea System eats .. almost anything .. wooden ship .. steel ship .. and with time .. plastic and biological�s of every kind .. not to forget the tidal surges of other toxic nastiness .. from factories run by numbers in an accountants book .. This whilst at Her deep sea vents she pours out .. by means of heat, pressure, magnetism .. like a salmon spawning .. the precursors of new life. The Alchemists of old did not have sophisticated instruments and technology to see such things as deep sea vents pouring out the precursors of new life .. but the Hermetic Alchemist .. could see how Nature did it with the green plants. Thus it was with conviction that they believed that water was the Mother of Life .. and the Universal Solvent.

The problem now of course .. is the amount of noxious waste that we produce .. It is outstripping Natures ability to cope with it .. this is causing pathological changes in the organism .. this pathological change is also mirrored in the ill health and Pharmaceutical tablet addicted behavior .. of large numbers of our kind. �Cleansing for Health� is our Motto.

Spirits of Wine as Solvent :
True Sprits of wine when correctly prepared is also the Universal Solvent of Plant material when it is combined with water .. therefore an infusion or decoction is considered to be the equivalent in strength of 1:20. This ratio is not to be taken as in constituents because Alcohol (95%) .. Hydro-Alcoholic .. Water**  when used as Menstruum have greatly different solvent powers .. As you may understand this is Compounding by art .. The most serviceable of those Menstruum�s have been standardised scientifically as percentage of alcohol to water .. Table 8.50a (solvents) .. Chapter/Module 8b refers.  **Alcohol + Water = Hydro-Alcoholic

Spirits of Wine .. as it is universally agreed .. is the distilled spirit of the noble grape with its mind altering effects .. In general it may be seen that it depresses the faculty of discretion and relaxes the inhibitions .. not always with a happy ending. The Grape is essentially water that the grape vine had bio-chelated .. the cellular structure is gorged on it and in that structure are all sorts soluble molecules of varying complexity .. including the easily and naturally digested fruit sugars .. the yeast tribe quickly set forth to multiply by feeding on these natural sugars .. the combined combustion yeast product .. is alcohol .. which by definition is yeast excreta .. by which process the yeast cells seal their own demise .. the body performs its functions by the use of natural reactions such as fermentation .. distillation .. congelation or coagulation whilst we perform a shadow play of that reality with the herb .. and by art bring it to what Paracelsus calls .. �What it was meant to be�. A single harmonic ripple on a disordered pond .. Or an arrow to its target.

The Spirit or Soul of the Grape Vine is the distilled volatile ethereal alcohol. This procedure may be repeated by fermenting with yeast any starchy vegetable matter to produce its �Spirit� or signature. The alcohol prepared from different vegetable structures produces a spirit which differs markedly in its physiological effects upon the consciousness .. depending on whether the base material was root, leaf, or fruit. To the Chemist .. alcohol is alcohol with the same chemical formulae .. however experience will teach us that the chemical explanation is inadequate to explain the differing physiological effects .. say for example .. the rectified spirit of Whiskey (grain) Brandy (fruit) Vodka (tuber) .. In that respect �Spirits of Wine� is to be considered the best all purpose solvent for plant material .. its efficiency as a solvent may only be exceeded by the spirits produced by the body of a herb which is to be extracted by the solvent. For example the Magistery of any herb may be obtained by first fermenting its starchy material and using the molecular related alcohol to extract its virtues.

The prosaic scientific explanations fall far short of explaining the mysteries and subtleties inherent in the phenomenon that we call life .. in fact it may be considered to be a denial of the Sacred view of Nature and the doctrine of the Unicity of life. As Dr Rudolph Steiner once said .. �The laboratory table must once again become an altar�.

There are many mysteries and unanswered questions that surround the substances of alcohol and water for they are spirits in the true sense of the word. If we are mindful when we produce them then we may be assured that we have instruments of the highest order with which to carry out our Apothecary work.

This mindfulness consists of concentration upon the task in hand .. the concentration or one pointedness is directed at the purpose .. the reason of the task .. The purpose of the remedy is to alleviate suffering .. The constant contemplation (concentration) of that purpose is a form of mental/spiritual alchemy in which subject and object merge and by spiritual homeopathy transfers to the object (the herb) a certain spirituality or in other terms a certain magnetism or field of force.

When you first commence such spiritual alchemy it will be found exceedingly difficult to harness the mind to your will .. the mind may be likened to a wild unbroken horse and unmindful of its owners will .. The horse can only be tamed exercise and training .. that is to say by constant repetition .. this constant repetition of the purpose .. trains the mind to concentrate and enables it shine a bright concentrated spiritual energy or magnetism if you prefer .. into the object.

Mystics the world around .. learn to concentrate the mind by Mantra, Yantra or Chanting. Perhaps of those three techniques .. chanting is the one that comes easiest to the Western Mind. This involves the implanting of what will be recognised as those ageless Symbols of the mind .. to which Carl Jung drew our attention. In that respect the Chant may be likened to a desire to obtain a given end. The end of course depends entirely on the purpose or desire upon which the purpose rests. If it is rooted in the desire to do good in ones daily round .. then how can that be wrong?

A link is provided ..  Here  .. to a Catechism attributed to Paracelsus.   Study it well .. then tell me what you think .. if it pleases you  ..   A quatrain could form the chant of concentration, which in turn improves the power of retention of information by not just our brains but also that of the organ systems. The way to proceed is to find 30 minutes quiet time for yourself .. repeat the words out loud as if it were a dialogue .. then experiment with your singing voice until you can work it into a steady rhythmic chant. Just select 4 questions and answers as a Verse in a quatrain.  Once you have verbalised it to your satisfaction .. you can repeat it mentally at any time .. Its inner repetition stabilises the mind in times of stress

In this way you have put your indelible signature into the chant .. you have made it your own .. that paves the way to the goal of all spiritual religious techniques, throughout our known history .. Service to Mankind and Nature is also the message from the emissary of �Tane .. Kotuku the White Heron on the glide

Ivor Hughes
Auckland. New Zealand.
14th May 2006.

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