This is a brief video of pyrolytic (destructive) distillation in plant alchemy work as taught by the adept Isaac Hollandus.
This alternate method of working in the plant kingdom was initially brought to my attention by the New Zealand alchemist Rubaphilos.
I created a local working group in 2014 (dubbed CORE group) and we did this process so that everyone in the group could see the ‘white fume’ and ‘red fume’ for themselves, instead of just listening to me rant about it excitedly in discussions and classes. Though the segments were filmed in the fall, workload as well as moving and reconfiguring my life (yet again) delayed me by a few months from getting this short video compiled.
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This was nearly an 18-hour process with setup and breakdown, and about 15 hours of process itself. The results seen at the end are what Hollandus called the White Fume and Red Fume. Raymond Lully called these same materials the White Wine and Red Wine, and yet other alchemists called them Mercury and Sulphur, or sometimes White Mercury and Red Mercury. When watching the process, you can see how Hollandus’ terms represent how the materials appear before condensing and how Lully’s terms point to what the materials look like after condensing, thus an example of how alchemists referred to the same things but by differing names based on how things appear during different parts of a process.
This process has to be done multiple times to begin to get enough total working materials to progress further in this particular work. Since each working of this first process takes 15 to 18 hours every time (not considering actual cleaning of the equipment which adds more time), and needing really good ventilation or ability to work outside in a protected way (which I don’t have here at the moment), it will be some time before I can resume this particular process. I have plenty of Ens work and other alchemy work to make my time productive, but I just felt very strongly that this process should be seen at least once by those in my small working group while we are also focused on other processes. Additionally, when I give talks on alchemy, I discuss this process as a deeper aspect to what is traditionally taught in (Prima) plant work. Because it has become such a focal point in clarifying distinctions in differing versions of how prima work is currently taught, I think it is beneficial to be able to see it rather than just hear about it… so I’ve posted it live for anyone that wants to view it.
Ending Credits: Special thanks are given to Darren at Blue Conduit Films for recording the segments used to make this video, and acknowledgement to Rubaphilos for sharing his Understanding of the Hollandus process in plant work so openly with the alchemy community.