Category Archives: alchemy

A Jewel in the Crown…

2Stone of the Wise

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PROJECTION-OF-GOLD
In truth, it is certain and without doubt that whatever is above tends toward that which is below and whatever is below tends toward that which is above for the accomplishment of the One Perfected Thing.
As all things are discovered by one, alone through contemplation so all things are born from this one, alone by permutation: its Father is the Sun, its Mother is the Moon, the Wind bears it in its Belly, the Earth nurtures it in its Heart; Power of all powers it contains the subtle and penetrates the solid and is the progenitor of all wonder in the world yet its efficacy is only perfected through embodiment.
In order that the little world may be re-created in the image of the great world the Spirit must be separated from the Body gradually by the regulated heat of a gentle flame: it rises to heaven from earth and falls back to earth from heaven and thus it acquires the inferior and superior powers for the glory of the whole world and the dissipation of all darkness…
This is the Way of Perfection…
I alone transmit this threefold wisdom which is why I am called The Thrice Raised Hermes.

– The Emerald Tablet

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1All-is-One

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All – Ex – Andros…

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  One is All…

In Alchemy there are no short cuts.
Many are those who have spent a life-time seeking its treasure in vain.
On the other hand, everything it promises to reveal is freely given at the outset.
One need only attend properly to its stories and dictates to succeed in the quest…
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THE TREASURE OF ALEXANDER
In my native land where I was an orphan there stood a stone statue upon a golden column on which was written:
‘Behold! I am Hermes, he who is three-fold in Wisdom. I once placed marvelous signs openly before all eyes; but now I have veiled them by my wisdom so that none should attain them unless he be a sage like my good self…’
On the breast of the statue one could read:
‘Let him who would learn and know the secrets of creation and of nature look beneath my foot.’
I reflected on what this might mean and started to dig beneath the plinth…
Before long I came to a dark underground chamber in which winds arose and blew without ceasing.
I could go no further.
Exhausted by my toil and full of chagrin at my failure I sat down to rest and immediately fell asleep.
It was then that an old man appeared, resembling myself in build and appearance.
‘Arise and enter into this chamber so as to obtain a representation of nature!’ He said.
‘I cannot,’ I replied, ‘for I can see nothing in the darkness, and the winds that blow there will put out every torch flame.’
‘Then why don’t you put your light into a glass vessel…’ He said.
I immediately awoke, set a light inside a glass, as instructed, and entered the chamber.
There before me sat an Ancient Man on a Golden Throne, holding in his hand an Emerald Tablet on which was written:
‘This is the secret of the world and nature… the knowledge of creation and the cause of all things’…
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All…Ex…Andros…
Could anything be clearer or simultaneously more obscure?
How many Fairy Tales commence with a ‘Native Orphan’ who ends by first recognising and finally realising their ‘High Estate’?
And what should be made of our immobile Stone Figure which stands upon Gold?
He is a God, no less, yet he points not at heaven above but below to the earth.
Or of the Old One who appears in dream as our ‘bodily’ twin?
A simulacrum…
Nature’s representative advises we still the flickering, buffeted flame of our minds eye in order to see…
Deep in the Dark of our Earth the enthroned kin who holds…
A Jewel in the Crown…
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Image result for lemniscate

‘Aye’ of the Unicorn…

Image result for Alchemical unicorn

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With almost prescient clarity

we commenced our summer workshop in a graveyard!

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Except, not quite, for before we entered the graveyard,

we stood by the swiftly flowing waters of the river Spey

and entered into a guided meditation.

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The Unicorn of Spirit

sailed down the Spey

disembarked from its boat,

and invited us all astride its back

for a tour of the elements…

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Somewhat unsurprisingly then,

our first pentagram was that of Spirit,

which could be called the ‘parent’ of the elements.

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Have the bodies buried in the earth,

hereabouts, had their constituent parts

returned to spirit?

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One might well hope so!

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In Macbeth, the Bard uses the three witches

to represent the spiritual realm.

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As with a lot of things he wrote

this is simultaneously;

a joke,

a reflection of characterised psychology,

and can also allude to something far deeper…

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We all enjoyed ‘hamming up’ the witches as we are meant to.

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Does the feminine aspect of the spirit appear

‘bearded’ to those with purely political ambition?

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Whatever our perceptions,

this realm moves and motivates all…

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Dance of Fire and Water: Relations…

‘…As all things are discovered by one,

alone through contemplation,

so all things are born from this one,

alone by permutation…

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… Its father is the Sun,

its mother is the Moon,

the Wind bears it in its belly,

the Earth nurtures it in its heart…’

The Emerald Tablet

Dance of Fire and Water: Tablet…

 

‘In truth, it is certain and without doubt,

that whatever is above tends toward that which is below…

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… And whatever is below tends toward that which is above,

for the accomplishment of the One Perfected Thing…’

The Emerald Tablet

 

Dance of Fire and Water: Planets…

Image result for moon symbol

White represents the Crescent of the Soul:

a vision of the tides of life, their ebb and flow…

Image result for Mars symbol

Red represents Matter over Spirit:

when to act in peace and war, we all must know…

Image result for Mercury symbol

Grey represents Spirit which mediates between Soul and Body:

a communion of truth and wisdom…

Image result for Jupiter symbol - orange

Orange represents Expansion through Wisdom:

and tempers justice with compassion, to protect and to serve…

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Green represents Spirit over Matter:

acting from love with a generous heart…

Image result for Saturn symbol

Black represents Contraction through Matter:

as the bread of life is sown and reaped…

Image result for Astrological sun symbol - yellow

Yellow represents the Circle of the Spirit:

an outer light and the greater light within…

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Dance of Fire and Water…

Circle – Sun – Spirit

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… After satisfactorily explaining

the nature of the Earthly Realm,

The Alchemists turned their attentions to the stars…

Crescent – Moon – Soul

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To those heavenly bodies

which seemingly ‘wandered’ across the fixed backdrop of the constellations,

they gave the generic name planets,

and held them in especial reverence.

Cross – Earth – Body-Matter

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The symbolic system they developed

to designate the planetary beings

also linked them to the human psyche.

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Magical Elements: Unfurling…

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… Not content with speculations

on the nature of the physical world,

their deductions led the Alchemists to contemplations

of a metaphysical nature…

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If Magical Elements could be transmuted

each into the other

then they must ultimately be equivalent.

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They posited a fifth element

which possessed all the properties of the other four,

and called it the ‘Quintessence’…

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Magical Elements: ‘Alchemy’…

 

 

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To lessen the confusion between Fire and Water

and to accentuate the difference between

Earth and Air,  the Alchemists coloured their symbols…

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… Alchemy is one of the oldest techniques known to mankind.

The Ancient who first cast a weather eye at the heavens,

licked a finger and held it aloft in the sky,

in order to ascertain which way the wind did blow… was an ‘Alchemist’.

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One of the first things the Alchemists noticed about the elements was their mutability…

They seemed to be caught up in an endless round of transmutation,

and were forever striving to become each other.

That apart, they were incredibly stable in themselves, and also incredibly dynamic!

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Small wonder then that the equilateral triangle,

with its base-line and its point,

presented itself as such a fitting symbol of their being.

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These and other observations led the Alchemists to conceive a set of qualities

for the Magical Elements which would  explain their transmutation from one to the other.

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Earth is Cold and Dry… Water is Cold and Moist…

Air is Moist and Hot… Fire is Hot and Dry…

Make Earth Hot to get Fire. Make Earth Moist to get Water.

Earth cannot become Air without first becoming Fire or Water and vice versa.

Similarly, Fire cannot become Water without first becoming Earth or Air and vice versa.

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All of which, upon consideration, is an extremely subtle conception

to be entertained by mere ‘primitives’.