But the removal of the essence from a matter also is the main operation for the Preparatory or Spagyric Work of alchemy. "Spagyric" derives from the Greek, spâow, to drain; agathôs, good and êiray, assembly. The idea is to drain from a matter its essence (all six essences) in usually several steps and then to assemble, to pour these the good, the useful or essential parts together into one vessel while the drained out physical body will be left behind.
Here is the source of great confusion, because the present mystic societies have confounded this issue by mistaking the essential body - which we introduced in Section II as the principle of spatial order (the salt that preserves) of the essence - for the gross physical body. Whereas we shall view the essential body (or salt) as the interface of the essence with the physical body, from which the physical body will derive its support and its strength.
And it is in this context that the physical body - after having its essence extracted - is known in the spagyric work as Caput Mortuum or the Dead Head, and also as the Feces while the essence is its Virtue. And whereas the essence, the virtue of a substance is obtained for its medicinal qualities, the feces without virtue are what our enlightened age with its pursuit of pleasures (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Pleasures) all has come to be about.
The main concern now of the Preparatory Work is to obtain the virtue of the mineral-metal Antimony. And as lead with its planet Saturn occupy the sphere of Binah (Understanding), so will antimony with its planet Uranus occupy the sphere of Chakhmah (Wisdom), its symbol being the Orb - the letter Taaw (a cross) above a circle: The salvation (the fourth phase Asiyah!) of the world. Thus antimony is the great purifier and shall cleanse and renew our blood to eternal vigor and youthfulness. This purification of the blood is necessary before the artist (or apprentice alchemist) will have the clarity and strength of mind to successfully begin with the Great Work: The production of the Philosophers' Stone.
The Spagyric Work or the LAW OF POLARITY therefore, is also called, Mental Alchemy - and above it and a godly life, knowing good from evil and persistently CHOOSING GOOD AND REJECTING EVIL with charity for the sick and poor, there's no need for hocus-pocus like qabalistic or magical or theurgical rituals, or spiritual and mental exercises, or prayers in an oratory.
And Basil Valentine who lived about a hundred years before Paracelsus, writes in THE TRIUMPHAL CHARIOT OF ANTIMONY on the Preparatory Work:
"We apprehend the essential properties of a thing, the circumstances by which it is conditioned, its matter, its form, its operation and their source, whence it is infused and implanted, how it is generated by the Stars, formed by the elements, produced and perfected by the three principles (or three essentials).
Again, it enables us to understand how the body of anything can be dissolved, i.e., resolved into its first matter or essence: To this change I have referred in my other writings as the transmutation of the last substance into the first, and of the first substance into the last."
The last paragraph here again defines the Preparatory Work: How to resolve anything into its FIRST MATTER or essence. While the paragraph before describes how it had come into being through the FOUR WORLDS: Infused, generated, formed, and finally perfected by the three essentials via the Earth Element, which fixes the FIRST MATTER or essence and its three essentials into the SECOND MATTER of a (continued on next page)