`Lately there is a revival of interest in Alchemy. Whereas a few years ago, the very word was hardly mentioned in polite conversation, we are now seeing an occasional article or book being devoted to the subject. We even find Alchemy being taught as a subject in some Universities. Accordingly, it seems well to set down some basic ideas to explain what Alchemy is, its roots, and perhaps, what it is not. This Holy Science is of such great importance, even more so today than it was yesterday, that a great many readers may profit by some additional ideas on this seemingly recondite subject. We can start with the universal idea that alchemists are those who turn lead into gold. While there is the seed of truth in this notion, there is much more to it than that. And what can be more valuable than gold? In fact. if you asked this question, you are really in need of Alchemy.
First of all, the alchemists, modern and medieval, followed a certain credo. Their goal was to alleviate the suffering of their fellow man. Physically and spiritually. One such means was to produce medicines that could aid man’s progress in both realms. That is, a medicine or `Elixir’ could be made that produced a dichotomous effect in that physical problems could be alleviated from the usage of an alchemically produced medicine.
Moreover, this elixir could act as the agent to purge the body of those dross matters that inhibited the finer vibrations from being received. While Alchemy was definitely an attempt to demonstrate, from the physical viewpoint, experimentally and on the material plane, the validity of certain philosophical views of the Universe, its end goal was the exaltation of its subjects. That subject, in addition to others, was man himself. A one word definition of Alchemy would be `evolution.’ This in turn can be thought of as being synonomous with `transmutation,’ although this latter term has a connotation of instantaneous action. By evolution we mean the (usually) gradual change of something from a base or coarse existence into something finer, more noble. In the mineral kingdom, the age-old analogy quickly comes to mind, that is: lead becomes gold. However, this
concept is also extended to the animal kingdom and man. That is, man in his crude, selfcentred, ignoble state can be transmuted into a fine, loving, God-centred person. A more spiritual person. Everyone, I am sure, can relate to this idea and, in fact, many of us, deep down, yearn for this evolution, this transmutation. We may not think of it in terms of Alchemy, but who has never felt that call to rid themselves of the coarse outer garments and become more spiritual, closer to the Creator? This is the goal of Alchemy, this transmutation, this evolution. However, the alchemist takes these ideas a few steps further and declares that ALL things are evolving. Not only man, but all creatures in all kingdoms.
Plants and herbs are evolving, cats and dogs are evolving, rocks and metals are evolving, in fact, this entire planet is in a state of upward evolution. The earth aspires to become enlightened, like the Sun. This perhaps startling concept is fundamental to Alchemy. It says, among other things, that all base creatures are gradually becoming finer creatures. Man is evolving from his base, brute-like beginnings to a beautiful, saintly creature. Metals are evolving from their base beginnings, as lead, to a more noble existence as gold. Nor does anything have to be done to insure this transmutation or evolution. Slowly, but surely, ALL things will arrive at their zenith on the evolutionary scale. It is as if we were on a huge upwinding spiral. This spiral slowly winds its way `heavenward. ‘ If nothing was done to hasten this evolutionary action, or to impede it, one day all would arrive at the goal: full spiritual evolution.
However, by alchemical processes, this evolution in all creatures can be hastened. That is, man can volitionally speed up the cycle of evolution for himself or for other creatures, creatures unable to have any effect on their own spiritual growth.
By the same token, God has given man free will and with this, man can impede his own progress. At given times, as we look about us, we suspect that the evolutionary process has turned into a devolution. This is NOT the case, although individuals can elect to sink back into the material mire from which others struggle to escape. Another way of looking at this is to state that the purpose of Alchemy is to raise the rate of vibrations of both the practitioner (man) and his subjects. These subjects may be medicaments or mineral compositions. Just how one can use Alchemy to more rapidly approach Divinity will be touched on, but let us look briefly at the history of alchemy first.
Some ideas about the roots of Alchemy may provide a stronger foundation upon which other ideas and understanding can be built. Looking to the past, we find that Egyptian goldsmiths existed about 3000 B.C. and around 3500 B.C., Sumerian metalworkers practised their trade in Mesopotamia. In China and India, in remote times, (as well as today, of course), gold was looked upon as a magical medicine. Alchemical ideas arose in China as early as the fifth century B.C. Chinese Alchemy is closely allied with Taoism, a system containing philosophy and religion. They believed in the curative, and even life extending properties of jade, pearl and cinnabar. These ideas were picked up by subsequent practitioners of the art, moving to Greece, through Europe and finally, through other parts of the western world – ideas that are as strong today as they were then.
Alchemy was also as indicated above, in Greece. It is known that during the Alexandrian period, 4th to 7th century A.D., Alchemy flourished. As did other cultures, the Greeks added to the body of Alchemy, various ideas and practices peculiar to themselves. Just precisely where Alchemy originated is not really known. The most likely theory holds that the ancient Egyptians, who were known to be skilled in chemical knowledge, including metallurgy, glass-tinting and dyeing, were perhaps the founders of the art as we know it today. Egypt was known as K HEM, the “dark land.” Thus, Al-Khem was the Islamic term for the father of the dark earth and this phrase was westernised into Al-Chemy.
Futher, there is a body of literature referring to Hermes Trismegistos as being the father of Alchemy. Hermes, whilst essentially a Greek god, is the analog of Thoth, the Egyptian Ibis-headed god. Doberman, in his book, The Goldmakers, suggests that Alchemy commenced with the inhabitants of Atlantis. That when this continent submerged during cataclysms of the earth, there were those who escaped and tenanted the deltas of the Euphrates and Indus, on the north shore of the Arabian sea, and further inland at the head of the Persian gulf. The people, tall and black-haired, eventually mixed with the tribes of the Near East. The Hebrews referred to them as Sumerians. They knew how to work with tin, gold, silver, copper, lead, antimony, and iron. Copper and tin produced the bronze so common to the Sumerians and the Indus civilisations. Artifacts were discovered here such as leaden goblets, iron daggers and a vase made of pure antimony. The Sumerians then set out to that land now known as Egypt , bringing with them their arts. It is from the Sumerians then, that the inhabitants of Egypt learned their crafts, the arcane arts of Alchemy.
Whatever its origin, certain basic ideas are found to be common to all the cultures in which Alchemy flourished. One such idea is the principle of the four elements as being the basic foundation of all Alchemy. In China, we find five elements, but the notion is the same. The philosophy of the four elements is classically attributed to Aristotle who postulated the existence of four fundamental `qualit ies’ imbued in all bodies. These were the hot and moist, along with their opposites, the cold and dry. To these `qualities’ were assigned the symbolism of the four material elements, fire, air, water, and earth. They were seen as having their origin via conjuctions of these four properties. It might be noted that the symbol for fire is opposite to the symbol of water and water is the inversion or opposite of fire. The symbol for air is the fire symbol with a line through it. If we combine the polar opposites, with their dual aspects, we obtain a familiar symbol of the Shield of Solomon, the Hexagram. It is the symbol of the unity of the opposites.
These quali ties, as symbolised by the four elements are also associated with certain physical aspects. That is, the element of Fire reflects heat or thermal emissions. Air is associated with gases. Water with all liquids, and Earth with all solids. Bodies, then, were thought of as being constituted of the four elements in varying proportions. This gave rise to the idea that one body could be transformed into another simply by altering the proportion of one or more of these elements. Associated with this idea was the concept of a “Prima Materia,” a primordial matter or basic building stuff. This was the fundamental essence from which all other substances were made. Also, all substances or matter could be reduced to this lowest common denominator, this prima materia. It was now a mere extrapolation to consider reducing a base metal, such as lead, to its prima materia, then adding to it the proper amounts of elemental matter to change it to a different substance, i.e. gold. The idea of a prima materia is a basic concept extant in Indian literature under the name of ‘Mulaprakriti.’ In Chinese alchemy, we find this idea expressed as `T’ai Chi.’ These very basic Alchemical theories were further refined and expanded in the course of time, and they gave rise to certain ideas that are with us today. That is, the principle that all things are composed of three
essential constituents or bases. These three, known in Indian literature as the `three Gunas,’ are called by alchemists, `Sulphur,”Salt,’ and `Mercury.’ The ancient alchemists were prone to veil their writings in obscure symbolism, mythology and various blinds. In this case, the principle of Sulphur is not common sulphur or brimstone. Salt did not indicate common table salt (sodium chloride), nor did Mercury reflect the matter found in thermometers, quicksilver. There was an analog between these, but definitely not a one-to-one relationship. This blind hindered many a budding alchemist. It is interesting to note that one of these, Mercury, was referred back to the four elements and known as the `Quintessence,’ a fifth principle, as found in Chinese Alchemy where there are five elements: water, fire, wood, metal and earth. Now, the quintessence is also the prima materia, the T’ai Chi. It is from this UNITY, this ONE, that the law of Polarity is derived. The `ONE’ is God, the Divinity, the All.
The duality of the law of Polarity is exemplified in Chinese alchemy as the `Yin’ and the `Yang.’ The female and the male, negativity and positivity, passivity or receptivity and dynamism or action. Yin and Yang were also associated with the moon and sun, respectively, while the five elements were associated with certain planets: Water with Mercury, Fire with Mars, Wood with Jupiter, Metals with Venus, and Earth with Saturn. Yin and Yang, the pair of opposites, are embodied in many religious and alchemical philosophies. They are the Isis and Osiris of Egyptian mythology, the Mercury and Sulphur of Alchemy, the concepts of hot and cold, good and evil, love and hate, etc, etc. In today’s `alchemical circle’ there is a maxim that combines all of these ideas. This maxim is stated as: “The One became two by the law of Polarity which is revealed within the three essentials that will be found within the four elements, wherein is to be found the Quintessence which is not of the four but one of the three.”
The principle of Sulphur is the principle of combustion. It is the colour of subjects, in plants it gives the odour. The Arabic alchemist, Geber, said sulphur is the “fatness.” Alchemists attributed to sulphur the principle of the soul, the consciousness. In a `tincture’ it is what tincts. It is the vitality in animals and has the role of coagulation, to concentrate the life-force. It is red, hot, masculine, active and is symbolised by the Sun. It is associated with Gold. The vital life-force or `prana’ is the Mercury. The Yin or feminine aspect, Mercury, endows gold with its lustre, even as Sulphur endows it with its colour. Mercury is the basis for gold’s malleability and fusibility. Mercury is the Spirit, the `Water of the Wise,’ the Prima Materia, Luna, the seed or sperm of all things. Where Sulphur exhibits itself as an oily substance, Mercury is a volatile liquid in its corporeal forms. In the plant world, alcohol is the vehicle for the life-force, for Mercury. Sulphur, in the plant world, is the essential oils contained therein. Finally, Salt is the body of all matter. It is the basic principle of fixity and solidification. It confers resistance to the fire. In the plant world, the salt is the ash of the burned or calcined plant, usually a grey-to-white `salty’ substance. It is the medium in which Sulphur and Mercury can combine. This `chemical marriage’ is brought about by the catalytic action of the Salt to bring Sulphur and Mercury to their earthly state. This union of the opposites, this marriage of the Sun and Moon, is the state sought after by alchemists. Such a state can be arrived at in all the kingdoms. Now, since all things already consist of these three principles, it is logical to say that one thing can be changed to another by varying the proportion of these principles.
That is, as Basil Valentine wrote: “Iron is found to have the least portion of Mercury but more of Sulphur and Sal t . . . Copper is generated of much Sulphur but its Mercury and Salt are in equality. . .Saturn (Lead) is generated of little Sulphur, little Salt and much gross, unripe Mercury while Gold hath digested and refined the Mercury to a perfect ripeness.” What Valentine is saying is that the metals are different due to the different proportions of the three essentials. In more modern parlance, consider the fact that if one brought together one proton and one electron and one neutron, an atom of `heavy hydrogen’ would be produced. Now, if we changed the proportions of these three `essentials’ by adding, for example, one additional proton and one additional electron, we would have an atom other than hydrogen. These subject matters are both gases but have very different characteristicts. So, by changing the ratio of the essentials, we have wound up with different matters. A transformation has taken place. It is conceded that making hydrogen into helium is no small task. However, in 1941 the physicists, Sherr, Bainbridge, and Anderson, succeeded in transmuting a radioactive isotope of mercury (quicksilver) into pure gold. To be sure, the cost of doing this was prohibitive, and a linear accelerator had to be employed. But the point is, it was done. A transmutation had taken place. We can put a cap on these ideas with a statement by an ancient alchemist, Eirenaeus Philalethes, who encapsulated a very fundamental idea of Alchemy with these words in his book, The Metamorphosis of Metals, “All metallic seed is the seed of gold, for gold is the intention of nature in regard to all metals. . .all metals are potentially gold.”
At this point we have made a case that all things, consist of three essentials, Sulphur, Salt and Mercury. This Trinity is also found in religion, mythology and symbolism. We have the physical properties of solids, liquids and gases, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the three Graces, the three Furies, the three Fates, Fire, Water and Earth, Osiris, Horus and Isis, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, the Law of the Triangle, protons, neutrons and electrons, and so forth. Some of these analogies are a little less than direct, but the general idea underlying them holds true. But how can this be used in our daily lives? What good can come from this?
What are the practicalities? To fully answer these questions would require a book, but we can give at least one set of ideas on how Alchemy can enrich our lives. Moreover, we can get some inkling as to how it will affect not only our physical well-being, but exert a parallel salutary effect on our `spiritual lives.’
First, we must state that Alchemy as a discipline, has as its foundations, certain other disciplines. These are Astrology, Magic and Qabalah. One cannot be a good Alchemist without being a good Qabalist. One cannot be a good Qabalist without being adept at Magic and one cannot be adept at Magic not having a background in Astrology. We will give some ideas of how the fundamentals of Magic, Qabalah and Astrology play a vital role in Alchemical work. But before that, let us briefly consider one of the ancient writers on Alchemy, Gerhard Dorn. Dorn was a disciple of the great Paracelsus and wrote some very cogent observations on Alchemy. It has to be recognised that Dorn did not have the psychological insights we have today, nor even the extensive vocabulary to fully express his ideas. However, his fundamental beliefs can be easily understood as evidenced by his writings translated by Louise-Marie von Franz in her book: Alchemist Active Imagination, she indicates that Dorn wrote: “Through study (of alchemical literature) one acquires knowledge, through knowledge, love; which creates in oneself experience, virtue and power, through which the miraculous work is done and the work in nature is of this quality.” Von Franz explains that what Dorn means is that by simple alchemical literature, one attains “love.” This “love” is a kind of unconscious fascination, where one now begins to understand, becomes passionate, about finding the ” t ruth.”
The import of this is very dramatic even though Dorn’s material did not come across as explosive. The gist of it is that the very process of DOING something, actual laboratory work, medi tation on Alchemy or even the innocuous activity of reading alchemical literature, causes something to happen in the practitioner. Let ‘s suppose one is working with physical Alchemy such that he is “cooking” something up in the laboratory, or even in his kitchen. He is making some sort of transmutation take place in his retort or pans. Actually, Dorn is saying that TWO transmutations are taking place. One that is visible, in the retort, and one not visible, in the practitioner. Moreover, that as the work continues, this transmutation accelerates such that there is a feedback loop generated. That is, the more one does the work, of any kind, the greater will be the success. This may sound like a simple case of practice makes perfect. This is not what Dorn means. What he is saying is best shown by an example.
Consider two people. One, a chap who has been doing some kind of alchemical activity, reading or simple experiments of some sort . The other man has not done anything in Alchemy whatsoever. The first man then decides to try a different experiment. He wants to take a substance A and add it to a substance B to make substance C. He pours A into B and behold. He has C. Not all that impressive except, the second man comes along and, using the same substances, the same equipment, he fails to come up with C. Why? Because, the inner transmutation has not been going on in him as i t has in the first person. A subtle change has occurred in the first person that allows his experiment to be a success. This change is VERY subtle, possibly not even discernible to the individual. But it takes place nonetheless, and to the degree that the practitioner has conditioned or prepared himself.
If he has been making elixirs to purge his physical being of dross in order to be more receptive to higher vibrations, the changes wi ll be proportionately more pronounced.
Further, von Franz also cites the Arab alchemist, Ibn Sina, who wrote that through ECSTACY, man could acquire some of the capacity of God. That is, through such practices as meditation, alchemy, ritual, etc, one can achieve a state of mind Ibn Sina calls “ecstacy.” In this state one can, even for a brief moment, have powers analagous to those ov God. Sufis also obtained this state through physical practices such as dancing or whirling, (i.e. the `whirling dervishes’). Today, we know that this exalted state, wherein things `happen’ can be achieved through techniques such as Magic as exemplified by Qabalah.
Dom Pernety’s book, The Great Art, contains a reference to indicate that the ancient Rosicrucians blended Alchemy and Qabalah into a cohesive system. Further, their mysticism was based on truths that they were able to demonstrate in the laboratory. We can see some strong evidence then, that there IS a connection between Magic, Qabalah and Astrology It was stated that in Alchemy one can make various medicaments; that these elixirs have a salutary effect both physically and spiritually. The base matters used for such medicines can be plants or herbs or various metals. But where does one start? What herb, for example, can one use for some specific ailment? Or what metal? Our answers come from a knowledge of Qabalah-Magic, specifically knowledge of that mighty glyph known as the Tree of Life, and from the laws of Astrology. For example, Astrology tells us that those people born under the same `sign’ will exhibit the same characteristics. That is, an individual born in early April is under the sign of Aries. Others born under this sign will tend to have similar traits, such as being dynamic, head-strong, jumping from one interest to another without finishing the first, etc. Aries is a zodiacal `picture’ that has in it the planet Mars. This picture composed of stars, sends rays or influences to the earth. The sun acts as a step-down transformer and absorbs some of these rays, dispersing the rest to earth. It is these stellar influences that `imprint’ a person at the moment of birth, and what other positions were maintained by the other planets, these are the influences which make him who he (or she) is.
By careful study of these planetary configurations, one can determine why they are who they are.
What is perhaps new to the reader is the idea that not only are there Arian and Libran people, there are also Arian and Libran plants and minerals. The other kingdoms also come under the dominion of the astral influences. And this is where the key to making medicines alchemically comes in. For instance, we know that the planet Mercury `rules’ the nervous system. We can determine that Mercury also rules the herbs valerian and marjoram. Further, the planet Mercury rules over the condition known as insomnia. So then, if we had a nervous condition or had insomnia, what herb would possibly make a good medicine for these problems? Valerian or marjoram, because they are `correspondences’ in that they have the same ruler. We can take this a step further, the planet Mercury rules over Wednesday. It is a simple matter to reach the conclusion that the best day to pick valerian
would be on a. . .Wednesday. By the same token, the best time to make a medicine, or to take that medicine would also be a Wednesday. An additional refinement is that the day is divided into several parts. Each part, both the day and the night, have periods of time when the influence of one planet is stronger than any other. That is to say, twice during Thursday, the influence of Mars is stronger than at any other time. Thus, one might find out what this time period is and not only make and take the medicine on the `correct’ day, but do it during the `correct’ times.
In the mineral kingdom, the same sort of logic prevails. If we had a problem with the head or with hemorrhaging, we could use an herb such as garlic, anise or cayenne. A tincture could be made of one of these herbs or, if the practitioner had the knowledge, he
could exalt the herb to its highest level and confect what is known in alchemy as a `plant stone.’ This is the highest level of efficacy any herb potent in medicine could have. It requires man to bring the plant to this advanced state of evolution. On the other hand, a medicine could also be found in the mineral kingdom, in iron. Mars rules iron just as it rules the head and garlic, etc. But how can one make medicine from iron? This is where practical laboratory Alchemy comes in. It would require an astute reader of alchemical literature to arrive at the proper procedure, or more aptly, one could learn from a teacher of Alchemy.
The process is, to separate the iron (ore) into its three essentials. Just as was done for the plant. To make the herbal medicine, one had to make a tincture of the herb which would extract the sulphur principle. The sulphur would ‘tinet’ or colour the extraction media or `menstruum’ as it is called. This colouring is caused by the Sulphur which the menstruum has leached out of the herb. The sulphur could more readily be obtained by a steam distillation as well. The mercury of the plant is in the alcohol. One could putrify the plant and generate alcohol or one could distill alcohol from wine (if this is legal in the reader’s area) or purchase grain alcohol; the mercury being uniform in all types of alcohol obtained from vegetable matter. Finally, the body of the herb will be burned or calcined to obtain the Salt. By the same principle, and by following the same procedure, one could separate any body, including mineral, into its three essentials.
Therefore, one could take iron ore, or some other form of iron, and make a tincture using a suitable menstruum. The tincture would be driven off (i.e. evaporated) and the sulphur would be left behind. The oil of iron, then, would in itself be a potent medicine. It would be more potent than that derived from a plant. The reason being that the minerals have `been around’ much longer than any plant and thus have abosorbed greater astral influences and thus are more potent. They have a higher level of vibration. In any event, the soul of the iron, once it has been separated, must also be purified. All these processes involve heat. The mastery of the heat is a technique learned from a teacher, or by (often painful) trial and error. Once purified, it can be taken as is or it can be combined with the mercury of the mineral kingdom which is called `alkahest.’ The mercury of the mineral kingdom is not so easily come by; but with it one can make the fabled `Philosopher’s Stone.’ This stone can cure all illnesses and cause instant upward evolutions or transmutations. Does this sound as if it could change a base matter into a noble one? Yes, it can.
To return to just the sulphur or oil of iron, consider what you have, once you know how to make it. Not only is it a medicine for the head, but it is a medicine for all other ailments governed by Mars. To find out just what Mars, and all other planets, govern, one could check with such reference works as The Alchemist’s Handbook, or Bill’s Rulership Book, etc. Consider just one aspect: anaemia. People with poor blood or “tired blood” take products such as Geritol. This fine product is derived from iron, sure enough. However, it is made from something like iron oxide, a non-organic matter. Or, we can absorb some nonorganic material, as the built-in, inner alchemist we all have, can effect such transmutations. In this case it is a `biological transmutation.’ The tolerance here is about 3% of what the body has taken in of non-organic material. Would it not be marvelous if we could find a substance that is non-toxic, can be absorbed 100% by the body, AND has no side effects like some products do. Did you think of oil of iron? Correct. This substance CAN be totally utilised by the body and NOT have side effects that are unwanted. More germane, it overcomes the anaemic condition. The uses of minerals in Alchemy, just in the field of medication, are endless. Basil Valentine wrote an entire book on one mineral alone, its various uses in medicine. This book is called the Triumphal Chariot of Antimony. It is a `recipe’ book, explaining the various preparations of that metal known as antimony. Antimony is poisonous? Yes, but when it is prepared by alchemical processes, `spagyrically,’ it is not only rendered non-toxic, but it could be a panacea.
To give the reader a flavour of this incredible book by Valentine and to perhaps “turn them on” to Alchemy, the following is quote of a process by Valentine using antimony. This was extracted from Triumphal Chariot of Antimony published by Dorman Newman in 1678 in England, and was translated by Dr. Theo Kirkringius:
“The dose of it before coagulation is eight grains taken in wine. It makes a man very young again, delivers him from all melancholy and whatsoever in the body of man grows and increaseth, as the hairs and nails fall off and the whole man is renewed as a Phoenix (if such a feigned bird, which is only here for example’s sake named by me, can anywhere be found on this earth) is renewed by fire. And this medicine can no more be burned by the Fire, than the feathers of that unknown salamander; for it consumes all symptoms in the body, like consuming fire, to which it is deservedly likened; it drives away every evil and expels all that which Aurum-Potabile is capable to expel”.
Does not that description sound like something you would like to see happen? It could, you know. Valentine reveals in his book various techniques on how to be “successful” in alchemicaL work. He spoke from the viewpoint of one who KNEW, not one who guessed or who thought it might be this way. And Valentine wasn’t the only good writer of alchemical treatises. The writings of Paracelsus, Geber, Glauber, Vaughn, Sendivogius, and Flamel are amongst those of the older writers that are particularly noteworthy. But there are even modern day writers such as Frater Albertus, Phillip Hurley and Archibald Cockren. In Cockren’s book, Alchemy Re-discoverd and Restored he describes various alchemists and their writings. He was particularly impressed with Johannes Isaaci Hollander, who, he said, wrote so clearly and plainly, his writings have been totally discounted. Ah, none are so blind as they who will not see. Cockren also presents a diary of his own alchemical experimentation. Hurley in his book, Herbal Alchemy, integrates magical practices with laboratory work, for example, making talismans for a particular laboratory experiment.
In discussing the literature, we would be amiss in not mentioning the work of Dr. Carl Jung. While Dr. Jung did not appear to have much regard for physical Alchemy and wrote nothing thereon, he had enormous insight and grasp of the psychological aspects of Alchemy. In this respect, he has done mankind a tremendous service in his fine books on this subject. Dr. Jung and various of his associates have delved into the old texts, translated some of them, and given us insight into the thinking of the old alchemist . This data combined with personal research provides a sure grasp of Alchemy. While it is clear that Alchemy will not become as popular as home computers, it is quite possible that as more people, especially those trained in the sciences `discover’ Alchemy and contribute to the vast body of knowledge that is accumulating, we may one day have a `breakthrough. ‘
Thinking people seeking answers to cosmic questions, greater insight into themselves and cures for incurable ailments, must sooner or later come across alchemical knowledge. As they read the literature and experiment in the lab in an effort to unlock the mysteries, the LV X they shed will not only illumine the path but, hopefully, attract countless others to this Holy Science.”
“We stood upon a dark and rocky cliff that overhung the restless seas. In the sky above us was a certain glorious sun, encircled by that brilliant rainbow, which they of the Path of the Chamelion know.
“I beheld, until the heavens opened, and a form like unto the Mercury of the Greeks (1) descended, flashing like the lightning; and he hovered between the sky and the sea. In his hand was the staff (2) wherewith the eyes of mortals are closed in sleep, and wherewith he also, at will, re-awakeneth the sleeper; and terribly did the globe at its summit dart forth rays. And he bare a scroll whereon was written:
Lumen est in Deo,
Lux in homine factum,
Sive Stelloc errantes,
Omnia in Lux,
Lux in Lumine
Lumen in Centrum,
Centrum in Circulo,
Circulum ex Nihilo,
Quid scis, id ens. (3)
In fidelitate et veritate universas ab aeternitate. (8)
Omnia sunt Unum,
et Omnia in Omnibus.
Then Hermes cried aloud, and said:
“I am Hermes Mercurius, the Son of God, the messenger uniting Superiors and Inferiors.
I exist not without them, and their union is in me. I bathe in the Ocean. I fill the expanse of Air. I
penetrate the depths beneath.”
And the Frater who was with me, said unto me:
“Thus is the Balance of Nature maintained, for this Mercury is the beginning of all movement. This He, (10) this She, this IT, is in all things, but hath wings which thou canst not constrain. For when thou sayest ‘He is here’ he is not here, for by that time he is already away, for he is Eternal Motion and Vibration.”
Nevertheless in Mercury must thou seek all things. Therefore not without reason did our Ancient Fratres say that the Great Work was to “Fix the Volatile.” There is but one place where he can be fixed, and that is the Centre, a centre exact. “Centrum in trigono centri.” (11) The Centre in the triangle of the Centre.
If thine own soul be baseless how wilt thou find a standing point whence to fix the soul of the Universe?
“Christus de Christi,
Mercury de Mercurio,
Per viam crucis,
Per vitam Lucis
Deus te Adjutabitur!” (12)