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Introduction

Joseph Weber was a student of Frater Albertus and the former PRS (Paracelsus Research Society). This article struck a familiar chord with me and I think this type of practical writing may help to understand more about Albertus and his work with antimony in alchemy, and perhaps some methods that will lead to more than is said in this article regarding the methods used. Glass of antimony, fascinating in itself as a work has many approaches and this article identifies ways to experiment with the subject. The Kerkring-Menstrum is a subject that came up a lot at the PRS and it has a history that should be explored more fully. Regarding the tincture or sulphur of antimony purifying the blood. I have no stories of anecdotal repute to offer. If others do have some tale to tell or case studies with samples of purifying the blood I'd like to hear from you!


A.M.W. House



THE SULPHUR OF ANTIMONY AND THE ART OF ITS PREPARATION

by Joseph Weber

THEORIES OF PRODUCTION METHODS

    In outlining my experiences in extracting the sulphur from antimony
preference has been given to the fact that with the exception of the Stone
of the Wise no better blood cleansing remedy exists than the extracted
sulphur or soul of antimony.

    Since blood represents the carrier of life in any warm blooded
individual, no emphasis is needed to point out that it should be kept clean
in accordance with the alchemistic precept: clean body, pure soul, and pure,
spirit.

    The essential factor contained in antimony and pertaining to its healing
potential is its sulphur content or soul.

    Besides its excellent action as a blood cleanser the sulphur is also a
base ingredient for various additional highly effective alchemistical
medications and remedies.

    First I wish to draw attention to the fact that there exists a dualism
in antimony as in all other manifestations. There is an unfixed and a fixed
sulphur of antimony, and both types are applicable remedies for diseases
where the blood is either too thick or too thin. The principle is: for thick
blood - unfixed, for thin blood - fixed sulphur of antimony respectively.
Both types are often used in the form of antimony tinctures.

    To separate or extract the sulphur out of antimony we require a menstrum
analogous to that used in the herbal kingdom. Before we deal with the
various methods of extracting the sulphur of antimony, we will proceed with
the preparation of this menstrum.

MAKING THE MENSTRUM

    Separation of the three essentials - body, soul, and spirit - from
minerals present more difficulties than in the herbal kingdom. Since the
three essentials are more accessible in the herbal kingdom, the production
of this menstrum should be based on the spirit from the herbal kingdom,
i.e., alcohol. In order to work with this herbal spirit in the mineral
kingdom, the two kingdoms must be bridged, i.e., the alcohol has to be
magnetized with vibrations from the mineral kingdom. For this reason we use
four parts thrice sublimated ammonium chloride grinding to a fine powder
between sublimations, adding ten parts of absolute alcohol then macerating
the same. After the alcohol has been distilled from the extract its
vibrations are no longer the same. It has become saturated with mineral
influences and can, therefore, be used as a menstrum in the mineral kingdom.

    This procedure was described by Basilius Valentinus in his book "The
Triumphal Chariot of Antimony," and 250 years later Dr. Kirkring, a Dutchman
annotated a reprint of the book. It is for this reason that our honorable
teacher Frater Albertus, named this menstruum: Kerkring-Menstruum,
abbreviated KM.

    Now after we have become familiar with a menstrum with which we can work
in the mineral kingdom, we would like to point out some of the possible
methods whereby the sulphur of antimony may be separated.

    One of the best known methods is that utilizing the glass of antimony.
Here too several variations are possible, one of which we shall describe:

THE GLASS OF ANTIMONY

    Take one part ground antimony ore (Sb2S3) and mix in a mortar with eight
parts of antimony trioxide (Sb2O3). The very finely ground mixture should be
heated to about 1000 - 1050 degrees C. in an unglazed crucible. If after
about half an hour this mixture is poured out on a copper plate, it turns
into a red glass. A longer heating period will change the glass first into
yellow and finally into white. In order to obtain glasses of other shades,
the mixtures of Sb2S3 and three parts Sb2O3, which results in a green glass.
After cooling the glass must be ground in a mortar or ball mill to a fine
flour-like powder which is then placed in an extractor (soxhlet) with six
normal acetic acid for the extraction of a golden-yellow tincture. After
pouring off this extract, additional six normal acetic acid should be used
and the glass again extracted. This procedure should be repeated until the
vinegar (acetic acid) no longer becomes tincted (colored).

    All the extractions are then combined, filtered and distilled in a water
bath. A red powder will remain behind over which pour thrice distilled
rainwater and distill again. Pour absolute alcohol over the remaining powder
and allow to digest for a time. Thereby we obtain a deep red tincture of
antimony.

ANOTHER METHOD

    A second, more rational possibility of separation can be carried out by
chemical means. For this purpose a saturate solution of sodium-hydroxide (Na
OH) and water (rain water) should be prepared. At normal room temperature
you can dissolve 1/3 Na OH in 2/3 water resulting in a 33% solution. We can
utilize the interior warmth that develops to more quickly dissolve the
antimony and so immediately add ground antimony ore (Sb2S3) as much as will
dissolve. (About 1/7 part by weight of the solution). Then a 60% acetic acid
solution is added to the sodium-antimony mixture, approximately 9/10. This
forms a mildly acid reacting solution which should be left for some time.
Thereafter this is washed with water and filtered until litmus paper no
longer shows a reaction. After filtering and drying a red-brown powder
remains which can immediately be extracted with KM, or first with six normal
acetic acid, thus securing either an unfixed or fixed antimonial tincture.
This tincture still contains sulphur of the sulphur. If, however, a pure
antimony tincture is desired, the red powder should be calcined to a white
before extraction; thus burning off the common sulphur.

THIRD METHOD

    Another technique of chemical separation is the antimony chloride
method. In this procedure one part Sb2S3 is poured into five parts
hydrochloric acid, and boiled for thirty minutes, during which time it has
to be stirred continuously until no more sulphureous fumes escape. The
remaining greyish-black fluid is a antimony chloride, which if filtered
twice through glasswool, results in an amber-colored fluid from the
hydrochloric acid has to be distilled. Should a yellowish mass develop on
the sides of the flask, change receivers and raise the temperature: a
reddish, butter-like mass will come over. The distillation has to be
continued until the remainder forms a crust in the flask. The distilled
antimony chloride is then dissolved in water, neutralized, and dried under
heat. Thereafter grind in a mortar and extract the sulphur of antimony with
KM.

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