A few days before I went to the Brockwood gathering in 1974, I read and copied out in précis, this chapter about Alchemy in Jacques Pauwels and Louis Bergier’s book The Dawn of Magic. It influenced me profoundly, in combination with the Krishnamurti awakening. It describes in essence, a Sadhana, or way of truth in life – whatever form this takes:
“The Philosophers’ Stone thus represents the first rung on the ladder that helps man to ascend towards the Absolute. Beyond, the mystery begins. On this side, there is no mystery, no esotericism, no other shadows than those projected by our desires and, above all, by our pride.
“But just as it is easier to content oneself with ideas and words than to do something with one’s hands in suffering and weariness, in silence and solitude, so is it also more convenient to seek refuge in what is called ‘pure’ thought, than to struggle single handed against the dead weight and darkness of the world of matter.
“Alchemy forbids her disciples to indulge in any escapism of this kind, and leaves them face to face with the great Enigma … She guarantees nothing except that, if we fight to the end to deliver ourselves from ignorance, truth itself will fight for us, and in the end will conquer everything. This perhaps will be the beginning of true metaphysics.
Ribbed sands of the sea: Eigg
“The alchemist, working over many, many years, maybe a lifetime, and endlessly repeating each stage of his experiments so that it be open to cosmic combinations of rays and magnetism (sacred patience and the slow condensation of the universal spirit) mixes in a mortar three ingredients, an ore, a metal and an acid. He then heats in a crucible this mixture for ten days or so, slowly, and then dissolves it in an acid under reflected (polarized) light (sun or moon) – then evaporates, then re-calcines the mixture.
“After the first phase, perhaps several years, an oxidizing agent is added, maybe potassium nitrate, and continues the endlessly repeated operation of dissolving and re-heating, waiting for a sign. Which appears at the moment of melting, and may appear in the form of star shaped crystals on the surface, or in a layer of surface oxide which forms and breaks up, revealing the luminous metal in which can be seen a reflection in miniature of the Milky Way perhaps, or some of the constellations.
“He removes the mixture from the crucible, allows it to ripen, protected from air and damp until Spring, when he resumes what is now ‘the preparation of darkness’. He puts it in a receptacle of rock crystal hermetically sealed, and heats, regulating temperature and conditions minutely to bring the mixture of sulphur, carbon and nitrates to a certain degree of incandescence, but without exploding. The mixture contains enormous energy.
Sky in October
“He continues heating and cooling for many years to procure thereby, an essence, the Raven’s Wing, the darkness. The liquid is fluorescent. Then he opens it in the dark, and the liquid solidifies and breaks up, forming new elements.
“He washes the dregs in the receptacle with triple-distilled water – the water of Life – for several months. The water of Life, the Elixir, is thought to eliminate ‘heavy water’ in the organism which ages it.
View of Rhum, from Eigg
“He next starts to combine the new unknown elements that have formed, grinding them and melting them at low temperatures with catalysers. He can thus produce alchemic silver, copper and gold, and at length the philosophers’ Stone, a substance which dropped into melted glass, turns it ruby red, and gives off a mauve or pale violet fluorescence. This Stone or ‘projection powder’ of itself can bring about transmutations in base metals to precious stones.
“The most important aspect of the Alchemist’s pilgrimage is his own transmutation, within his soul. His endlessly repeated small operations engender what is perhaps partly a state of profound meditation, and partly the imprint upon his psyche of the transmuting matter itself.
“He establishes a new relationship between his own mind which from now on is illuminated, and the universal Mind, eternally deepening its concentration.”
Precis on Alchemy from “The Dawn of Magic” by Pauwels & Bergier.
See also my earlier post in this blog – Alchemy & Self Enquiry.
Flora 1956 – copied from Botticelli’s Primavera
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