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12th December 2011, 20:50
Wanneer hierdie fase betree word, is gereedskap die in'ding....

20. Apparatus

Having now covered the theory, we can start with the practical operations for actually making the Philosophers' Stone. You first need to obtain the necessary apparatus.

For the First Part you will need two 500ml retorts for distilling the urine. It is important that this be a retort, and not some modern distillation apparatus. The reason for this is that you are only distilling on low-heat, so as not to destroy the life-energy. If you try to use modern distillation apparatus then the water vapor will not rise high enough to escape before it condenses. The reason for the second retort is because you may have to break the first one in order to extract the white salt, and also because the distilled urine will need to be further distilled in a clean retort before moving on to the Second Part.

Update: it has been discovered by members of The Book of Aquarius forum that an alembic will distill the urine up to 4x faster than a retort, though I do not have personal experience with an alembic. An alembic is a dome-shaped vessel with a long downwards-pointing next which sits on top of a large round-bottom flask. To use an alembic instead of a retort you will need two 500ml round-bottom flasks and one alembic. Make sure that the size of the connections between the alembic and flasks are compatible. The instructions are exactly the same whether you use a retort or an alembic, but for the calcinations you can remove the alembic and only calcine the 500ml flask containing what is left of the urine after distillation.

You will need a 500ml glass bottle for collecting and storing the distilled urine.

For the Second Part, you will need a round-bottom flask in either Kjeldahl, Florence or boiling flask style. The size you will need will likely be 50ml, depending on how much of the body you will be using. Try to find one with a long neck. You can use one with a shorter neck, but for this you will have to make sure the ambient (room) temperature is low enough for the water vapor to condense closer to the heat source. The Kjeldahl flask has an egg-shaped bottom and a long neck, which is perfect for our purpose of imitating the water cycle through evaporation and condensation, but even a normal boiling flask will do the job as long as it has a round bottom. Do not use a flat-bottom flask. You will need a pipette for accurately transferring the distilled urine into the flask. You will need stoppers for sealing the flask.

For both parts you will need a water bath, with digital temperature control. A water bath is the best heat source, since the water is all at an even temperature, the lower part of the flask can be immersed in the water, and the temperature can be adjusted very precisely. Get the smallest one you can, it needs only be large enough for the 500ml retort.

You will also need a dry heat source for calcining the retort between distillations. You could do this on a portable gas stove or electric hot plate. Or you could purchase a lab-grade heating mantle, which is more expensive but much easier to use. The calcining will need to be done outside, so you will not be able to use your kitchen stove.

You will need a support stand (I recommend a triangle stand), with the clamp attachments for holding the retort or flask in place over the water bath. If you can afford it, get 2 (or more) of everything, just in case. It's also a good idea to get a collection of various bottles, spatulas, stoppers, dishes, mortar and pestle, and other fun things like that, which are not absolutely necessary, but will certainly be very useful. Otherwise you'll have to improvise with what you can find in the kitchen.

The glassware (retort and flask) should be made of borosilicate glass, which is pretty much standard these days, so it should not be much trouble to find. Borosilicate glass can stand very high heat without cracking.

If you buy the water bath or other electrical items from abroad, be sure to check it works on the same voltage as in your country. If not you will need to buy a voltage converter as well. If you plug a 110V appliance into a 220V supply you could end up burning down your house, so do pay attention to this.

The water bath will need to be running 24/7, so if you live in an area with frequent power cuts I recommend getting a backup generator.

Checklist (minimum):

1. 2x retort, 500ml (or 1x alembic + 2x round-bottom flask, 500ml)
2. Glass bottle, 500ml
3. Round-bottom flask, 50ml
4. Pipette
5. Stoppers
6. Water bath
7. Portable stove or heating mantle
8. Support stand

The following quote is a description of the vessel to be used for the Second Part of the Work.
The vessel for our stone is but one, in which the whole magistery or elixir is performed and perfected; this is a cucurbit, hose bottom is round like an egg, or an urinal, smooth within, that it may ascend and descend the more easily, covered with a limbeck round and smooth every where, and not very high, and whose bottom is round also like an egg. Its largeness ought to be such, that the medicine or matter may not fill above a fourth part of it, made of strong durable glass, clear and transparent, that you may see through it, all the colours appertaining to, and appearing in the work; in which the spirit moving continually, cannot pass or fly away. Let it also be so closed, that as nothing can go out of it, so nothing can enter into it;
[...] And though the philosophers often times say, that the matter is to be put into the vessel, and closed up fast, yet it is sufficient for the operator, once to put the said matter in, once to close it up, and so to keep it even to the very perfection and finishing of the work.
The Root of the World, by Roger Bacon, 13th Cen.

12th December 2011, 21:00
21. First Part

Collect 500ml of urine, the darker the better, so it's best to collect it from the first time you urinate in the morning. If you don't get enough then you can top it up during the day, or wait until the next morning. Don't leave the urine in an open container.

it [the urine] must be purged of its watery and earthy nature (for at first it appears an earthy, heavy, thick, slimy, and misty body), and all that is thick, nebulous, opaque, and dark in it must be removed, that thus, by a final sublimation, the heart and inner soul contained in it may be separated and reduced to a precious essence.
The Sophic Hydrolith, Or, Water Stone of the Wise, by Anonymous, 17th Cen.

Distil the urine at no more than 175F/80C in the water bath with the retort. It should take 1-2 weeks to distil the urine once. Obviously the distillation will be faster if the ambient (room) temperature is lower (though not below freezing). The top opening of the retort should be hermetically sealed.

It is best for the retort to be connected to the bottle in which the distillate (distilled urine) is to be collected, but it is not absolutely necessary for it to be hermetically sealed at this stage. If the two are not connected (which is likely going to be the case) then you can wrap cling film around where they connect, to stop the distilled urine from evaporating again - though a hermetic seal is safer. The bottle should not be in direct sunlight for the same reason.

The distillation will be much faster if the bottle is lower than the heat source, which means it might need to be leaned over to one side in order for the neck of the retort to be pointing downwards as much as possible.
When the urine is distilled there will be a nasty black mass in the bottom of the retort (though it may not look black the first time), which needs to be calcined. Take the retort out of the water bath, unplug the top opening, and put it onto high-heat (such as on a gas stove). At first make sure the heat is not too high, so that you can evaporate off any liquid still in the retort. If the heat is too high while there is still liquid in the retort you risk it bubbling up and spilling. When the black mass is completely dry then increase the heat. Leave it this way for a few hours, until the mass is burnt and cracked, around 6-12 hours.

The purpose of the calcination is to burn and destroy the solid part of the urine, in order to extract the salt, which is incombustible. You need to really burn the solid matter in the urine with a heat up to 500F/260C. You must increase the heat slowly at first, as the glass will crack if heated or cooled rapidly. It is best to use either a heating mantle or a sand bath for performing the calcinations. A sand bath can be used to heat the retort gradually and evenly with a portable stove, burner flame or a hot plate - the sand also keeps the retort in place. To make your own sand bath, fill a saucepan about halfway full of dry sand, and place the retort in the sand so that the bottom part of the retort is covered by sand. Put the saucepan on top of the flame from your portable stove, burner flame or hot plate.

The first few times you perform the calcination, a nasty smoke will come off it, which will stain everything black and smell really foul, so the calcinations must be done outside. Do not breathe in the smoke, it's poisonous! Do not perform the first few calcinations inside your house or it will become unlivable.

When this spirit is drawn off from them they remain as dead earth behind, because they have lost their spirit by distillation.
The Chemists Key, by Henry Nollius, 1617 AD
First, by a light fire equally temperated and continued, water is to be gotten. Then the fire is to be made a little more vigorous and stronger, until the fire be received mixed with the fire. That which remains burned in the bottom is the dry earth where the crystalline Salt of the Stone lieth hid.
The Crowning of Nature, by Anonymous, 16th - 17th Cen. (?)
it exists under two forms; the moisture which was extracted, and the residuum, being our Philosophical Earth. The water contains its seminal virtue, and the earth is a proper receptacle, wherein it may fructify. Let the water, then, be separated and kept for use; calcine the earth, for an impurity adheres to it which can only be taken away by fire, and that, too, of the strongest degree; for here there is no danger of destroying the seminal quality, and our earth must be highly purified before it can ripen the seed.
On the Philosophers' Stone, by Anonymous, 12th - 17th Cen. (?)

On your first distillation, only distil half of the urine, and then calcine the remaining half, allowing the lower half of the urine to just evaporate away in the high-heat. Calcine the remaining urine until it is dry and cracked. Now you will have 250ml of urine distilled once.

For your second distillation collect another 500ml of fresh urine from the first time you urinate in the morning. Pour this onto the calcined urine at the bottom of the same retort. Again, distil only half of the urine, and calcine the remaining. You will now have 500ml of urine distilled once.

The reason for the first two distillations to be done in this way is so that you can obtain 1 liter worth of the body of the urine in order to get more white salt. The reason you distill only the first half from both batches of urine is so that the distilled urine contains the lightest particles; this is not entirely necessary but will make your distillate purer and therefore accelerate the process.

In an older version of this book I recommended using a 1 liter retort for the distillation (as I used.) I have changed the instructions as the distillation will be more efficient using a 500ml retort, and also because 500ml retorts are cheaper and easier to find. But if you already have a 1 liter retort you can use this, it'll just take a little longer.

For all further distillations, pour the distilled urine back onto the calcined body in the retort, distill the distilled urine again, then calcine again. You should distill the first 90% of the distilled urine each time, and just evaporate away the remaining 10% before the calcination, so after every distillation you will have slightly less than the time before. Pour the same distilled urine back on again, distill again, calcine again. Repeat the distillation/calcination again and again. At the end you should have 100 - 150ml of distilled urine, which is around 10% of the original volume of urine.

Know, my brother, that the exact preparation of the Eagles of the Sages, is the highest effort of our Art. In this first section of our work, nothing is to be done without hard and persevering toil; though it is quite true that afterwards the substance develops under the influence of gentle heat without any imposition of hands. The Sages tell us that their Eagles must be taken to devour the Lion, and that they gain the victory all the sooner if they are very numerous; also that the number of the work varies between 7 and 9. The Mercury of the Sages is the Bird of Hermes (now called a goose, now a pheasant). But the Eagles are always mentioned in the plural, and number from 3 to 10. Yet this is not to be understood as if there should be so many weights or parts of the water to one of the earth, but the water must be taken so oftentimes acuated or sharpened as there are Eagles numbered. This acuation is made by sublimation [distillation]. There is, then, one sublimation [distillation] of the Mercury of the Sages, when one Eagle is mentioned, and the seventh sublimation will so strengthen your Mercury, that the Bath of your King will be ready.
An Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King, by An Anonymous Sage and Lover of Truth, 1645 AD
This compositum then has its mundification or cleaning, by our moist fire, which by dissolving and subliming that which is pure and white, it cast forth its feces or filth like a voluntary vomit, for in such a dissolution and natural sublimation or lifting up, there is a loosening or untying of the elements, and a cleansing and separating of the pure from the impure. So that the pure and white substance ascends upwards and the impure and earthy remains fixed in the bottom of the water and the vessel. This must be taken away and removed, because it is of no value, taking only the middle white substance, flowing and melted or dissolved, rejecting the feculent earth, which remains below in the bottom. These feces were separated partly by the water, and are the dross and terra damnata, which is of no value, nor can do any such service as the clear, white, pure and clear matter, which is wholly and only to be taken and made use of.
The Secret Book of Artephius, by Artephius, 12th Cen. (?)
Nine parts of ten, or thereabouts, distilled from fresh urine are to be rejected, the tenth part (as much as can be extracted in form of liquor) is to be kept; from that dried urine which remains in the bottom by a gentle fire (which will not cause sublimation), let the salt be extracted with water

The Secret of the Immortal Liquor Called Alkahest, by Eirenaeus Philalethes, 17th Cen.

After a few distillations you will see a white salt forming on top of the black mass, when calcining this there will be a sweet flowery chemical smell given off. Keep repeating the distillations and calcinations until the whole surface is white and it has formed into large enough crystals to for you to separate it from the black mass. This may take up to 10 distillations, or it could be much less.

when its impurity is purged away, it emits a most sweet fragrance
The Glory of the World, Or, Table of Paradise, by Anonymous, 1526 AD
as this mercury hath been by some one sublimed, it hath appeared cloathed with so great Whiteness as the Snow on the highest mountains, under a most subtile, crystalline splendour, from whence proceeds at the opening of the Vessel, so great, so sweet, so excellent an odour
Verbum Dismissum, by Count Bernard Trevisan, 15th Cen.

If you have already distilled the urine 10 times and you don't think you have enough of the white salt, then you can stop the distillations and just continue the calcinations, pouring distilled water on top of the mass instead of the distilled urine.

When you see enough of the white salt has formed on top (which are the lightest of the particles), you need to extract them, which may require breaking the retort. If you do need to break the retort then wrap tape around the bottom half of the retort, and try to just break the glass at the top, keeping the bottom half intact.

Remove the white salt and separate any impurities from it. Try not to touch it with your fingers, or it will sting them.

You should further distil the distilled urine 3 times in the clean retort.

Congratulations! You now have the mercury (distilled urine) and sulphur (white salt) of the Sages.

I really recommend spending extra time on the First Part to ensure that the white salt and distilled urine are extremely well purified. If you skip a couple of distillations at this stage, you won't have saved time, you'll have made the Second Part take months longer.

12th December 2011, 21:08
22. Second Part

Now that you have the mercury (distilled urine) and sulphur (white salt) of the Sages, you need to combine the two so they can putrefy and turn black.

Crush the white salt into powder and place it into the 50ml round-bottom flask. Add a few drops of distilled urine, just enough to cover the salt, not too much.

Hermetically seal the flask, making sure the stopper is airtight by putting wax, vaseline or silicone sealant around it. Place the flask into the water bath. Only the bottom half of the round part of the flask should be in the water, the rest of the flask should be in the air. You might need to cut a hole in the lid of the water bath, or make your own lid. The temperature should be equal or slightly greater than body heat, around 100-105F/37-40C. At this stage the heat should be of the degree that causes evaporation and condensation to imitate rain, but the salt should always be moist and never dry.

If the ambient (room) temperature is too high you will need to reduce it by putting the water bath in an air conditioned room, or putting ice against the neck of the flask. The process will be faster if the ambient temperature is lower. If you can see that there are drops of water condensed at the top of the vessel which never fall, then you need to reduce the ambient temperature.

The salt will slowly absorb the moisture. The whole process can take longer than a year, so don't give up. As long as you know you have not used too much heat both now, and in the distilling of the First Part, then it will work.

When the salt has absorbed the moisture and starts to become dry, add another couple of drops of distilled urine. Then wait again until the salt again starts to dry, and add another couple of drops. Continue doing this until the salt is entirely saturated, at which point it will be of the consistency of melted wax.

If you read the alchemical books, they warn against doing anything to disturb the Stone while it's being made. They warn against: too much heat, too little heat, too much water, not enough water, and knocking or moving the vessel in any way. In my experience none of this is as bad as they make it sound. It's not a big deal if you knock or move the vessel, and it's not a big deal if the degree of heat is wrong, as long as it's not hot enough to burn. If there is too much water you can remove some or increase the heat. While there is a problem the Stone will not develop any further, but it will continue once you've corrected your mistake.

it is very proper that the purified earth be reduced by manual operation to an impalpable fineness, and then its corrected mercury must be added, incorporating both together till the earth will imbibe no more. This operation will require time, with some degree of the artist's patience; for however the humidity may seem disproportionate, on letting it rest awhile, a dryness on the surface of your matter will show that it is capable of imbibing more, so that the operation is to be repeated till it is fully saturated
On the Philosophers' Stone, by Anonymous, 12th - 17th Cen. (?)
That must again be dissolved into water, which before was water, and the body, which before was mercury, must again become mercury.
[...] The two must be united by a gentle and continuous fire, affording the same degree of warmth as that with which a hen hatches her eggs.
[...] the body must receive its spirit to drink gradually, and little by little, until it recovers its life, and health, and strength, which takes place by means of the same gentle heat which digests food in the stomach, and matures fruit in its place.
The Glory of the World, Or, Table of Paradise, by Anonymous, 1526 AD
it is necessary at the beginning to give the earth little water, just as an infant has to be given at first little nutriment, and then gradually more. This should be repeated over and over again, with great patience, more and more water being poured over the earth each time, but not more than the earth can conveniently drink up;
The Epistle of Bonus of Ferrara, by Peter Bonus, 14th Century
A spirit that is at liberty will easily and quickly free another spirit of the same nature that is bound up and restrained. This is done first by reason of that activity and generability which the free spirit is imbued with, secondly by reason of the harmony, likeness and love betwixt them: This correlation is the cause that the exterior free spirit makes way into and joins with that spirit of salt included in the seed, and so does with more ease work upon him and excite him, for, as the proverb has it, like will easily go to like, and their unity is most intimate. Now you must know that very spirit, when loose and floating in liquid bodies or liquors, is at liberty in this state, by the mediation of heat, it does (like a lodestone) attract to it the spirit that is under restraint, opening and dissolving the body which holds it in; and the restrained spirit itself (like a sensible prisoner) labours for life by conspiring and striving to be in action and a full communion with the other. The free spirit by his sudden and subtile accession still exciting and strengthening him, and by this means so provokes him to action, as fire, does enkindle fire so that the body holding it must necessarily suffer a change and calcification, and comes to be putrefied by its own included spirit, whose operation before was obstructed and kept under; for the included spirit having acquired liberty and a power to be in action from the other, strives to get out and enlarge itself, and to that end breaks and destroys its first body and procures another new one. So the spirit of salt of the earth, when it is dissolved in the unmixed humour of that element (since every salt melts in its own liquor) is then at liberty; for every salt when it is once dissolved in its own liquor becomes active. Hence it is that a corn of wheat (in whose body, as if under lock and key, the spirit of vegetable salt is bound up and fettered) as soon as it is cast into the ground, is by the free spirit of the salt of the earth penetrated and opened, that the salt which lies dissolved or loose in that liquor or inmixed humour may excite the vegetable spirit in the corn of wheat to action and vegetation, which spirit being thus set at liberty does presently, by putrefaction of the corn or grain, produce in the wheat's proper matrix the substance of the root (which is a new body) by whose mediation and deference the earth must afterwards (the spirit attracting it)communicate nutriment to the blade and the rest of this vegetable as it grows up and increases.
[...] When this spirit by due coction is once united with its body they can never be separated again.
[...] Much water dissolves quickly, but then the coagulation which follows takes the longer; on which the ignorant, not knowing the nature of this work, fall into desperation when they perceive that the work does not coagulate in due time.
The Chemists Key, by Henry Nollius, 1617 AD
let it be incerated with White Oil of Philosophers by little and little till it suddenly flow like wax
Verbum Dismissum, by Count Bernard Trevisan, 15th Cen.
If, then, you would attain the longed-for goal, observe just measure in mixing the liquid substance of the Sages, lest that which is too much overpower that which is too little, and the generation be hindered. For too much rain spoils the fruit, and too much drought stunts its growth. Therefore, when Neptune has prepared his bath, measure out-carefully the exact quantity of permanent water needed, and let there be neither too little nor too much.
The Twelve Keys, by Basilius Valentinus, 15th Cen.
digest with a gentle fire, as it were for the hatching of chickens, so long till the bodies are dissolved, and their perfectly conjoined tincture is extracted
[...] And then the one will be mixed with the other, and so embrace one another that it shall not be possible any more to separate them, but the spirit, with a real agreement, will be unified with the body, and make one permanent or fixed substance.
The Secret Book of Artephius, by Artephius, 12th Cen. (?)