After the visionary turmoil and excitement of fermentation comes the sixth phase of alchemy, known as Distillation.
In this process, the inspired material left over from the fifth phase of alchemy is refined through a process of repeated separation and recombination.
In laboratory alchemy, this often takes place through a process known as rectification. This usually involves the use of two different vessels, a lower one known as the curcubit in which the material is heated, and an upper vessel known as an alembic in which the rising vapors are then collected to be further refined.
The alchemical process of personal distillation is quite similar. It is reminiscent of the earlier process of separation, in which the higher or more authentic elements of the self are separated from the dross of the ego.
The difference here is that distillation is a longer, ongoing process in which the matter, in this case the soul, is raised to a higher level and, just as in laboratory alchemy, goes on to later receive the influx of purified essence again.
It is as if we receive the visionary inspiration characteristic of fermentation again and again, which gives us guidance as to how to proceed in this work of purification. When we have taken action and purified ourselves, this purified essence is then brought back down again to influence the original matter and be purified yet again.