You have probably heard of vintages in the context of wine, on a label or in wine guides. Grapes, like any other crop, are subject to the changes of Nature and her processes, from rainfall fluctuations to soil life to the heat and cold of a given year.

As they grow, grapes take in the story of that year and embody it in their fruit, which is then made into wine. A careful and connected winemaker will allow those expressions to shine forth and differentiate one year’s wine from the next, and this difference may come out in taste, colour, aroma, alcohol level, and more.

Wine collectors often spend the growing season learning about that year’s conditions, and the buying season looking for wines whose best characteristics were brought out by those conditions. The 2006 Pinot Noir of Oregon’s Willamette Valley was one much sought-after example, with that year bringing out everything that is lovely in this complex and difficult grape.

Modern winemaking has somewhat lessened the impact and importance of vintages, as uniform product is sought through the use of irrigation, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and additions to the vintning process to even out the levels of yeasts, sugars, and tannins. Vintage differences are an expression of a living being within a living system, and life is unpredictable and sometimes messy. Knowing exactly what you’re going to get from a bottle of wine has its appeal, in much the same way as being sure of what you’ll pull out of that bag of fast food each time.

Spagyrics are living, also, in much the same way as wines. Both are products of place and climate, and both can be changed in quality and direction by the intent of the person making them. Like a talented vintner, we work to bring the best out of every batch of Spagyric we make, and many of those parameters are under our control, such as the source of the plant, the herb to alcohol ratio, the time spent in extraction, and so on.

But, Nature also has her say, and even when everything we do is the same, two batches of a Spagyric can be remarkably different when made at two different times. We’ve talked about the dark side of this, related to the quality of herb that is coming to us these days, and that is an issue we are working hard to ameliorate.

A more neutral factor relates to timing and astrological events, and we feel this is what makes the most difference in subtle energies from one run to another. We always work on the micro cycles of day and time to support the planetary energy of a Spagyric, so all Venus herbs are processed on Friday, for example. But, there are also macro cycles that affect the work, from Moon phases to transits and alignments, all of which become encoded in anything born on a given day, Spagyrics included.

The Mars cycle of Summer, 2003 was a dramatic year for this effect, and as the red planet moved closer and closer to earth, each batch of Spagyric we made increasingly carried a fiery and passionate energy. This happened even with Spagyrics ruled by planets other than Mars, and the most dramatic example was our Abra-Melin Somalixir of that vintage, even though it is created under Solar rulership.

Intense and directed, it was the most aggressive expression of this higher self and guardian angel connecting formula that we’ve made. Some customers found it to be too much, while others said it was perfect for the changes they were working to energize during that time. Smart customers who appreciated it bought extra to keep for later!

Every plant is a complex living system of chemicals, energies, intelligence, and healing gifts, and just as different extraction methods can bring out different aspects of a single plant, so different timing in the work can shade the final medicine’s qualities.

Our Rose Magistery is another example of the differences possible, and since it is so popular and gets re-made so often, we have been able to see many subtle and dramatic changes in what Rose is about. Some of our batches have been sweet, light, and girly, while others have been deep, womanly, and intense. These are all qualities of Venus, and all qualities of Rose, but the lists of possibilities can align to create a new whole each time these factors come together.

This changeability can make shopping with us frustrating, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to attune yourself to what the plants and planets have chosen to express about a moment, rather than just your own perspective and wishes. It’s the other side of the collaboration we have with Nature and her plants, in which we bring them to a more refined state, while still allowing them to exist as individuals with their own Will and wisdom to impart.

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