Rubaphilos Salfluere and Hermetic Laboratory Alchemy

Alchemist, teacher, and author Rubaphilos Salfluere is our guest in podcast episode 130. He recently authored another wonderful book entitled The Hermes Paradigm, Book Two: The First Work, published by Salamander and Sons.

“Rubaphilos Salfluere began his nine year alchemical apprenticeship in 1988, under the private instruction of Frater Albertus Spagyricus’ last active New Zealand graduate. By 1990, he had founded a small alchemical study group whose aim is the preservation and further development of the knowledge that he inherited from his teacher. Today that group continues to serve as a vehicle for private tuition and collaborative research.”

Rubaphilos previously appeared in podcast episode 88 to discuss his first book, The Hermes Paradigm, Book One: The First Principles.

The Hermes Paradigm Book Two The First Work

“This second volume in Rubaphilos Salfluere’s groundbreaking The Hermes Paradigm series builds upon the foundation laid in Book One: First Principles – with its detailed consideration of the history of Hermetism, exposition upon the core concepts and first principles of Hermetic science and initiation, and discussion of how natural law provides the blueprint for both the alchemical laboratory tradition and the inner alchemical journey of initiation – to examine the Western tradition of Hermetic laboratory alchemy. Motives for entering into the alchemical work are proffered as a starting point for consideration: if it is quality knowledge regarding the truth about the nature of reality that one genuinely seeks, and if one is prepared to relentlessly pursue such knowledge over days, months or more likely years towards its eventual attainment, then the Royal Road of alchemy – the Hermetic science – may indeed lead one to the desired destination, the illumination that is wisdom. Along the way, the importance of a rigorous and disciplined experimental methodology is emphasised, as is the guidance of a reliable and generous tutor; the creation of matter and its nature as per Hermetic philosophy – including the three Principals of Salt-structure, Sulphur-energy and Mercury-intelligence, which form the foundation of matter – is elaborated, as is the relationship between these Principals and the essential binary system inherent in all departments of Nature (that is, the Universal Spirit and the Watery Chaos), and the Elements. The mechanism by which matter evolves – known as spagyria – is then discussed, and the application of spagyric method to the First Work or Plant Prima detailed. Venturing further than to merely iterate recommended alchemical laboratory equipment and simple and practical astrological considerations, The Hermes Paradigm, Book Two: The First Work describes at length the processes of separation and putrefaction (by maceration, fermentation and pelicanisation), purification and cohobation, along with specific confections ranging from the herbal simple to the Plant Stone, the Circulatum Minor and even rejuvenatives such as the Primum Ens Melissae.”

Rubaphilos begins the interview by explaining that the first practical work that would be taught to a student is plant alchemy, or plant spagyrics. The reason this is the first work is because it is safer and a good way for students to learn about Hermetic alchemical philosophy, terminology, laboratory equipment, and the lengths of time required. He then expounds upon the reasons one requires a teacher in order to make serious progress in alchemy. One of these reasons is that a gnostic state of illumination into the operation of nature is required in order to properly understand and thereby convey a higher level of comprehension. He then explains a model of of human consciousness and the mechanics of its function using Qabalistic terminology.

mind machine

Rubaphilos discusses the concept of Anima Mundi and natural function of the development of life. He notes that this is not dissimilar to Rupert Sheldrake’s concept of morphogenesis. Next, we consider how the mystics and priests of the ancient world were able to train their minds in such a way as to understand nature to a degree that is difficult for modern people to grasp. The end result of this mental exploration was magick and alchemy.

The Three Principals

Rubaphilos spends some time more precisely defining the concepts of Spagyria, the First Matter, or Prima Materia, and the Quintessence. I highly recommend both of Rubaphilos’ The Hermes Paradigm books – The First Principles and The First Work. In my opinion, these relatively slim volumes are packed with wisdom and required reading for those interested in laboratory alchemy. While I’m still digesting these two, I’m already looking forward the the next books in the series. Kudos to Rubaphilos and Salamander and Sons!

In the Occult of Personality Membership Section, Rubaphilos talks more about the Royal Art of Alchemy and reveals some of the most amazing details of alchemical rejuvenation that I’ve ever heard. This is a fascinating interview and you won’t want to miss it!

Rubaphilos Salfluere

Rubaphilos on Facebook

The Hermes Paradigm, Book Two: The First Work by Rubaphilos Salfluere

The Hermes Paradigm, Book One: The First Principles by Rubaphilos Salfluere

Occult of Personality podcast episode 88 – Rubaphilos Salfluere

Salamander and Sons

intro music by HipGnosis and Paul Avgerinos

outro music – “Alchemy” by Ray Montford

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Terrence May 29, 2013, 8:38 PM

    Excellent interview. Rupaphilos offers a fresh take on the Great Art. His emphasis on understanding what’s going on with Nature, both inner and outer will help those on the path. I can’t wait to read the book. Thanks!

    • gkaminsky May 30, 2013, 3:29 PM

      You’re welcome … and thank you, Terrence! I appreciate you listening, supporting the podcast, and taking the time to comment.

  • Viragoss July 11, 2013, 11:02 AM

    Thank you so much for all of this information. I have been catapulted so far in my study of alchemy because of the podcasts you have done with Rubaphilos. Thank you for bringing on one of the most knowledgeable and accessible people in the alchemical world.

    • gkaminsky July 11, 2013, 12:03 PM

      You’re most welcome, Viragoss. It was truly a privilege and honor to be able to speak with Rubaphilos again and record such an amazing interview. I feel the same as you, Rubaphilos’ work has advanced my own understanding of the western alchemical tradition more than I imagined possible.

  • Mercurius December 3, 2013, 12:30 AM


    I’ve been a student of Hermeticism and Alchemy for many years and have to agree that Rubaphilos is the real thing, of a real tradition, and is certainly making a real contribution to the world’s understanding in these areas.

    Now if only Salamander and Sons would get those books in the mail to me!

    Ahh, we do get to learn lots of PATIENCE on this path, don’t we?

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