Distillation method of Abramelin Oil – Part 1

Abramelin Oil has become very popular, indeed the entire Abramelin rite has become a fairly hot topic among ceremonial magicians as of late. The more recent “Dehn Translation” of the book from a German copy (as opposed to the “Mathers Translation” from a French copy, which has been around for a while) is considered by many to be a more complete and accurate version of the rite. Within the Abramelin instructions, is a recipe for an oil, that is to be used to consecrate the tools, vestments and the magician himself during the procedure of the rite (typically between 6 and 18 months in duration).

The recipe for the oil from the Dehn Translation is:

  • 1 part Myrrh
  • 1 part Calamus
  • 1 part Cassia
  • ½ part Cinnamon
  • ¼ of the total weight of the above in Olive Oil

The recipe for the oil from the Mathers Translation is:

  • 1 part Myrrh
  • 1 part Calamus
  • 2 part Cinnamon
  • ½ of the total weight of the above in Olive Oil

I have, in my personal practice, made oils from both of these recipes. There are also numerous ways of producing the Holy Oil itself. Each of these ways has both advantages and disadvantages, some making use of more ‘modern’ conveniences (which likely were not available during the time the rite was written), and some being a bit more archaic and traditional in their creation.  Some of the methods in which you can make Abramelin Holy Oil are:

  • Using Essential Oils
  • Oil Extration
  • Alcohol Extraction
  • Steam Distillation Extraction

It is this last method which is the subject of this blog post. I have created Abramelin Oil using all but this last method, but now I can say that I have created Abramelin Oil using all of the above methods (and even multiple variations of some of them). Over the past few days leading up to the last blood moon of the year, I have been working on a Steam Distillation/Extraction of the Oils. As I used my Alchemy Distillation Apparatus, as well as utilizing the Alchemical Process of Distillation, it seemed like a great topic to cover in my Alchemy blog. You can view a video of this distillation process on my Youtube channel if you’d like.

The first step I took, was to obtain the proper herbs. Not too difficult, as I work at Ye Olde Magic Shoppe, home of the Herbalist and the Abramelin Oil IngredientsAlchemist Apothecary (yes, online sales of herbs are available!). In this case, I opted for the recipe from the Dehn translation, in part to allow for an additional ingredient in the mixture. It takes a large amount of herbs to extract just a small amount of essential oils, and an additional ingredient could only help. You may notice that I did not use a large amount of the materials, I kept the ‘parts’ relatively small. As this was the first time working with this particular method for Abramelin Oil, I didn’t want to waste a large amount of material if the process didn’t work out very well. If I like the outcome, and after learning a few things from this first batch, I will do another batch with larger quantities.

After obtaining the herbs, I placed them in the upper vessel of my steam distillation apparatus. The distillation apparatus I used for this process consists of: a ceramic burner; 2-necked bottom flask, in which to put the water; a double ended flask for the material; a Graham Condenser; a Separatory Funnel; as well as all of the connecting pieces.

Distillation Apparatus for the Distillation of Abramelin Oil.

Distillation Apparatus for the Distillation of Abramelin Oil.

After placing the herbs in the top flask, filling the bottom flask with water, and connecting the condenser tubes to a water and drain source, I was ready to go! To set the atmosphere, I burned a Temple incense blend and lit a white candle.  I fired up the burner and waited for the boiling to commence.

Heating Up…

Starting to Boil!

Starting to Boil!

Rolling Boil Achieved!

Rolling Boil Achieved!

Once I got started, I was actually glad that I had only done a small amount of the herbs for this extraction. Turned out I had two small drips at two different glass fittings. They likely just needed cleaned and re-sealed (I think I had an odd angle on one of them from the stand), but as it allows for the pressure to escape, not all of the steam flows directly upward through the herbs, and some of the pressure flows out and back. This allows more of the ‘drippings’ from the herb to drip down into the bottom flask, which is why this one discolored so much. It’s not harmful in any way, but it certainly doesn’t allow for the most efficient extraction.

The combination of the red burner, the colors of these particular herbs coloring the water, and the white candle actually made for a really cool photo in the darkness!Extraction in the Darkness

I started off with about 1200 ml of water. After about 20 minutes, I had yielded some amount of distillate, a mixture of the essential oils and hydrosols (you can read more about hydrosols here). This had yielded about 100-150 ml of hydrosols/oils.

Combination of Distilled Oils and Hydrosol of Abramelin Oil

Distillate of Distilled Oils and Hydrosol of Abramelin Oil

As the distillation continued, the bottom flask containing the water got more and more red from the backwash of the herbs into the flask.

Distillation FlaskAfter about an hour, I noticed that the amount of distillate flowing into the separatory funnel was becoming less and less, even though there was plenty of water in the flask. My small ‘drips’ were allowing far too much pressure and steam to escape, and so I decided to call it good for now. At the end, I was left with about 300-350 ml of distillate of essential oils and hydrosols, which isn’t a lot, but should be enough to at least complete one small batch of Abramelin Oil, and decide how much I like this particular method. Also, take note of the coloration of the water with the burner turned off.

Oils and Hydrosols of Abramelin Oil The leftover distillation water

The smell during this distillation, as when doing any pleasant aromatic herbs, was amazing. The entire basement alchemy kitchen and ritual room had a strong smell of Cinnamon and Myrrh. As the water would drip from the two small drips that developed, I would often catch it on a finger, rub it into my hands and inhale the amazing scent. After the hydrosol/oil mixture remained overnight, the oil and water had separated into a fine layer of oil on top (about 1/8″ or less), while the hydrosol remained very cloudy.

Stay tuned for my next post, when I will detail the process of integrating the Distilled Oils with the Olive Oil, and make a comparison between the various types of Abramelin Oils that I have made! As always, feel free to comment or ask questions, and thanks for reading!

Mutatio per Solve et Coagula!

Sean-Frater MTO

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