Monday, August 3, 2009


Saturday, August 1, 2009
Waxing Moon

The time is RIGHT as I settle outside under the arms of my beloved trees and begin to grind the dried horsetail. When all of the desiccated horsetail is transformed into green powder and enclosed in the glass jar, I let it rest in the dark place until the first Saturday of the Waxing Moon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Where the Horsetail dwells

Saturday, July 4, 2009
waxing Moon
Round Lake, Adirondack Park Preserve, NY

Thursday, June 11, 2009

...inanimate energy has no awareness. 
Carlos Castaneda

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Purification leaves me contaminated with unfinished work

I haven't tooted this blog yet because I knew from the start that my first tincture wouldn’t be a success worthy of much attention. I am also challenging myself into devising a design that would reflect the beautiful and arcane nature of plants. That said my entries have been sporadic.

At last then here comes the final entry about my incomplete tincture. As I mentioned before, the instructions called for 250g of powdered horsetail while my harvest rendered mere 61g. My main concern however rested with the “metal” pot that I was using. One could only guess what sort of impurities went into the production of this pot. Using it for the final Purification of the salts seemed like an oxymoron. So it was that my horsetail tincture, if I could call it that, lacked the third ingredient: the salts or the essence of the horsetail’s body. Nonetheless, I drank the tincture for the whole month, from mid November till mid December (taking one table spoon a day). My knee has not given me any troubles since then and of course I would like to attribute that blissful relief to my incomplete tincture ;)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Solution and Separation

October 4, 2008
Say good bye to Corpus Mortuum - the dead remnants that get thrown away.

Calcination left me with black cinders that I ground into powder and burnt further until one would think that there was nothing left to burn. Alchemists see differently. In ashes lies the body of the plant (which alchemists refer to as salt).
To "separate the Earth from Fire, the subtle from the gross, gently and with great ingenuity," as the writing from the emerald tablet advises I pour 300ml of distilled water over the cool ashes and place it over the fire. Soon the mixture of ashes and water starts to boil. I am working outside again although there are no fumes and it would probably be safe to work inside as well. After 20 minutes I take the pot from the fire and let it cool. Once cold, I filter the mixture into a glass jar. What's left are the solution of salts desolved in the water and the insoluble ashes aka corpus mortuum which gets discarded into my compost pile.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


"To release the remedy from the dross is the task of Vulcan [fire]"
As soon as the rest of the tincture trickles through the filter into the jar I dump the remaining plant residue and the stems that weren't pulverized into the pot and light up the stove fire in our kitchen. (Don't make the same mistake as I have made and calcinate your plant residue outside over an open fire.) Soon our kitchen is swimming in a heavy smoke and I decide to hell with the neighbors and take my work outside. Building fire and making sure that it continues to burn is very engaging. I am using oak branches that have been falling on our yard and soon I have a good fire burning. The smoke continues to spew from the pot and dissipates in the air.

In about an hour, the plant residue burns to black cinders and the smoke subsides. This I transfer into a mortar and grind into a fine black powder. My mortar is rather small and I will need to acquire a larger mortar if I am to work with greater quantities in the future. Once again I return the powdered cinder back into the pot and continue burning until the black ash turns gray white. It's dark outside by then and time to silence vulcan.


Sunday, September 21, 2008
It should be Saturday but at this point it doesn't matter. I am in good spirits and ready to filter the macerated horsetail. My flasks are too small so instead I grab a 26oz clean glass jar from pasta sauce place a steal funnel (glass funnel is preferable) on the top, a paper filter in the funnel and slowly bit by bit start pouring the macerated horsetail. When the tincture drips into the jar and the filter gets filled with the solid horsetail remains I drop them in the pot, take another filter and continue filtering until the solid and liquid parts are separated. I have drawn measurements on the jar. When all liquid is filtered, I end up with 330ml of filtered horsetail tincture.
This I immediately wrap in the black towel and store in the cool dark place (in our attic). (I haven't seen brown glass jars but they do sell beverages in brown glass bottles which would be a more desirable vessel for storing tincture).