No fragrant logs in the fireplace, no roasting chestnuts, I know, I just had to be different. :-)
In reality, this was the ashing stage of my spagyric project that I've been unintentionally coy about. I started the project at sunrise on Thanksgiving, which was also the morning of the New Moon in Sagittarius. Sun, in Sag, Moon in Sag, hour of Jupiter-not bad for the starting of a Jupiter tincture, I think. The lemon balm was homegrown (at last, a use for an herb that was making my pantry smell like furniture polish!) and organic, and when I added the Everclear, the liquid turned the most fantastic gemstone green. I sealed it, and wrapped it carefully, and everyday, I shook it gently. Christmas day was the 4 week anniversary. It was also the last day of Jupiter before the New Moon. I've no idea how important that is to traditional alchemy, but the moon has been my calendar for long enough that I can't not take it into account.
Since DH had to work on Christmas evening, we "did" our Christmas the night before and in the morning, leaving me the night of Christmas for this work. It was surprising to me how "dry" the lemon balm felt, even as I could see the liquid dripping through the coffee filters. I didn't bother to dry it in the oven. One, it looked and felt pretty dry. Two, I have a gas oven, and having blown the door open when baking fruitcake, I was convinced that putting Everclear in the oven was a sure method for a large explosion.
So, lemon balm in stainless steel bowl, boots on my feet (we still had about 4 to 5 inches of snow on the ground), I went out into the yard. Not surprisingly, all I needed to do was place the (looooong nozzled) lighter near the herb and it lit up. It was a beautiful and very large bright blue flame. It was a long lasting, large bright blue flame. Long lived enough for me to take pictures (fumbling with gloves and the flash control) and really really hope that my neighbors didn't decide to call the police. And then, the flames died down and it began to smolder and smoke. At which point, I actively began to pray that my neighbors wouldn't call the police-burning herbs smell like burning herbs, if you know what I mean.
All in all, I was out there, in the snow, in 20 degree weather, for an hour, before the last of the embers died. But at least, when I brought the bowl in, I could see that the ashes were white, white white, so no further heating was necessary. There wasn't even any real need for grinding the ashes at this point. I mixed them with distilled water, and filtered it through yet more coffee filters. What truly astounded me at this point was the brown mud that was left in the coffee filters afterwards-where did that come from?
At this point, I have a glass pie pan with these amazingly beautiful crystallized salts in it. I am going to try to get a couple of pictures of that, before I add them back to the menstruum. And, Thursday, I will get to sample my work.
NB: I am very glad that sunrise is so late at this time of year. This past Saturday morning, I got up at dawn (Sun in Cap, New Moon in Cap, day of Saturn), and started the process with comfrey...
Monday at the Movies
19 hours ago