Spagyric Medicine: healing through planetary archetypes

Every creature has its own food, and an appropriate alchemist with the task of dividing it ... The alchemist takes the food and changes it into a tincture which he sends through the body to become blood and flesh. This alchemist dwells in the stomach where he cooks and works. The man eats a piece of meat, in which is both bad and good. When the meat reaches the stomach, there is the alchemist who divides it. What does not belong to health he casts away to a special place, and sends the good wherever it is needed. That is the Creator's decree... That is the virtue and power of the alchemist in man. — Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus

Volumen Medicinae Paramirum (c. 1520), in Paracelsus: Essential Readings, edited by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (1990), 50-1.


It is very easy to find Naturopaths or Alternative Health practitioners who focus on nutrition, herbal supplements, and lifestyle changes.  However, I have personally found it rare to locate a natural medicine practitioner who is specialized in the use of Spagyric diagnosis and remedies.  Yet the Spagyric method is not only rooted in alchemy and holism, but it also has a profound emotional and spiritual component making it an absolute perfect approach for holistic diagnosis and healing.  This simple and brief account wants to be an introduction to the complex alchemical method, which hopefully will trigger enough of your curiosity to seek out and try the remedies pertinent to your archetype/s.


“The word Spagyric refers to the separation, purification and recombination process during which an essence is produced.  The roots of the word refer first to the extraction or separation process and then to the recombining process.  These herbal tinctures have superior medicinal properties to simple alcohol tinctures.  In theory Spagyric remedies can also optionally include material from fermentation of the plant material and also any aromatic component such as might be obtained through distillation.  The final Spagyric medicine should be a re-blending of all such extracts into one essence.”  An alternative – more esoteric – explanation of the Spagyric method describes it as the extraction of what is Divine within the plant thereby exalting the energetic vibrations of the plant and its archetypical components.


In order to properly introduce the Spagyric method and philosophy, the most important founding principles must be mentioned.  The art and science of alchemy is rooted in the dual principle of Male / Female, or Light / Dark, upon which all healing traditions rest, and from which fecundation and life come from. 


Much like other ancient western traditions, the Four Elements – Fire, Air, Water and Earth – also are intrinsic in each procedure.


The most known principle of Spagyric Medicine rests within the holistic view that each plant is a multidimensional living being inherently full of spiritual as well as physical energies.  The plant contains an essential oil, an alcoholic component, and ashes, each have a corresponding spiritual meaning.  As mentioned earlier, the Spagyric method is about separation, purification and recombination of these spiritual energies in order to maximize the healing potential of the plant’s true essence.  In practice, though this may vary from alchemist to alchemist, the extraction of the essential oils triggers the production of vapors, or Sulphur, representing the highest spiritual energy, that of the soul, equivalent to the concept of Shen in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  Thereafter the remainder of the plant is fermented and the alcohol acquired is distilled, Mercurius is born, representing the vital energy that diffuses and distributes Sulphur energies pervading all, comparable to Qi in TCM.  Finally, mineral components are extracted from the remaining ashes, hence the Sal, representing the information that activates the body, or Jing in TCM.  By diluting the essential oils in the alcohol and therein solving the mineral salts one obtains the final remedy.


The Spagyric method looks at the Cosmo as one entity that reflects itself in each living being.  The individual’s internal sky is a mirror of the external sky thriving with dynamic and contrasting forces, called by Paracelsus Planetary Spirits.  This is where the fun truly begins for practitioners whose objective is to guide a person towards their inner harmony, the seven archetypes help the observant practitioner recognize which archetype is in excess, in deficit, or repressed.  The objective will be to allow for one’s natural constitution to blossom as a spring flower without causing imbalances amongst the other archetypes.

-       Sun: higher consciousness, vitality, centeredness, love.

-       Moon: reflectiveness, fertility, profoundness.

-       Mars: decisiveness, force, and dynamicity.

-       Venus: attractiveness, harmony, polarity.

-       Jupiter: expansion, balanced force.

-       Saturn: concentration, structure, regulation.

-       Mercury: exchange, relationships, communication.


Each archetype has numerous personality characteristics, has jurisdiction over certain plants, bodily organs and endocrinal glands.  For example, the kidneys and surrenal glands are under the planetary jurisdiction of Venus, which is the archetype of femininity and sensitivity, corresponding to Silver Birch (Betula Verrucosa), Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) and Valerian (Valeriana Officinalis).  A person with a weakened Venus archetype would represent tensions or difficulties in certain bodily functions and could be helped with the spagyric remedies under the pertinent marking.  It is obvious that – to honor their multidimensional nature – each archetype deserves an individual account.  For the moment, it is relevant to know that each archetype has a group of corresponding organs and plants – that processed spagyrically – modulate / enhance / tone it to its natural equilibrium. 


It is very important to keep in mind, as a practitioner or a user, that Spagyric Medicine – much like Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and Sciamanism – is profoundly interlinked with the individual’s emotional dimension.  A physiological symptom is never just that, it is an expression of an emotional imbalance which – failing to find resolve through the work of the Heart – anchors itself in the body sending the person a message, albeit in code.  Therefore, a recurring allergy is about possible tensions of communication with the outside world (involving the Mercury archetype) and a persistent digestive problem is about the difficulties to metabolize and assimilate certain aspects of your life (commonly involving the Moon and Jupiter archetypes).  Your body is a Holy messenger who should be listened to, rather than buried with allopathic medicines that stifle its voice leaving you wondering blindly through life.


”There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies”  (Friedrich Nietzche), all we have to do is listen, accept and heal.

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