Alchemy is a world of hidden treasures and although most of what others have heard or believed about Alchemist and science, much of it is irrelevant to the soul and the soul or the ‘thing’ that makes life better is the essence of alchemy; the aether of life, the fire of redemption, the purification of the soul, how to understand the world…
These epiphanies were and are almost always a product of work. That when we work our magic, it’s much more than the result, it’s the philosophical gold, it’s the lapis. (note that there is more than ONE significant meaning behind the lapis)
In the witches world as I have come to learn from others, the lapis is just a magical stone with metaphysical properties that can heal you and associated with everything under the Sun, a mineral and not just one mineral but a mixture of many minerals. Some which are common and others a little more unique but they come together to form a blue body that can be realized by fire or water etc., in which case the lapis IS the philosophers stone. Or to be more precise, it’s the Alchemist’s Stone. I say that simply because it doesn’t just belong to Alchemist but our view of minerals, metals, the world are usually different from other practices of which I respect by the way.
I love this because it emphasizes the dualities that exist in the world and how incompatible they will forever be YET we can also find harmony within the confines of duality and I think that is a very beautiful thought. You can reference Pythagoras and Music of the Spheres if you want to learn more about that.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are many different philosophers stones. To me, the true philosophers stone is a seed. To others especially in our past, it’s gold and it was gold because it was believed that if they could recreate gold, make gold, then they could make the whole world better with magic and all they had to do was crack the code and with word, with deed and with the best intentions, all the “sins” would be reformed and we wouldn’t suffer any more. OH, and of course they could have all the gold they want. hehehehehe.
So alchemist are more than just people who dilly dally with fire, surfer, salt and mercury (quicksilver) with labs always distilling and refining and creating.
An alchemist is someone who reflects deeply into their work and correlates what they learn from Nature as a process of understanding the soul and the Nature of God (God being a general term that does NOT define male or female or any other “god” with a name or a face or a distinct function) and when we can translate what we learn into something that alters the way I/we see the world, then it’s like a treasure worth more than gold.
If I could explain it in words, it would end up being a picture and that picture would contain symbols and those symbols would be hidden because these special antidotes need to be attained on your own so I could give you clues but ultimately, it is through your own workings that you really understand. It’s like the saying that nothing compares to experience and this is the truth for me. Or like Lao tau said about the Moon, to paraphrase, if you spend your time looking at my finger pointing to the moon, then you’ll miss the moon altogether -Tao Te Ching.
There are certain traits or gifts or characteristics that seem to be in all alchemist: they are constantly looking for something because they seek perfection EVEN when there is no such thing save for the “undefined god”, the idea that anything can be made better. All you have to do is first strip it down to it’s bare essence and THEN refine it and put all the parts back so that the result is something new but not necessarily something different.
They are usually some sort of merchant. They usually have some sort of trade skill and they are extremely passionate about their work. They are artist, they are deeply spiritual, analytical and philosophical as well as believers in Magic with OR without the K and musicians.
In history, the Alchemist were also heavily influenced by the Kabbala but that doesn’t mean they are followers or devotees to the Kabbala. Alchemy became very important to the future of humanity during the same transition between Paganism and Christianity so a lot of the time you would also see an Alchemist that’s also depicted as a Gnostic during the age of Gnosis.
In art you see a lot of Kabbalist symbols mixed in with a lot of Zodiac symbols AND FYI, this is NOT a full representation of Alchemist in history. Alchemy was also very well respected in China and so you do see a LOT of the same symbols adapted to each culture (refined by culture I suppose you would say) and still used today under different new age influences aka Chakras, mandalas, the Wheel… look for the roots and you’ll find a common denominator.
Essentially, the picture above is how they believed the world was ordered. That life was a formation of scales/octaves (literally like music) and that the world could be understood by vibrations and music was to know the order of things aka Theory of Music.
Hermes Trismegistus- associated with the Greek God Hermes, the messenger and father of Hermeticism and also associated with the Egyptian God Thoth is said to be the Father of Alchemy HOWEVER I have also read and do believe that it is derived from the philosophies of Plato also known as Platonism during the Hellenistic period BECAUSE his work is often cited but is referenced as NeoPlatonism from when it resurfaced during the middle/dark ages.
NOW before I go I just want to say that I am not one to deny real science and I do believe that sciences often changes the more we learn so my references (when they come up in the future) are not to say real science is wrong. It’s only to say that philosophy does still have a place in the world of science even when my most favorite astrophysicist doesn’t agree.
I remember about 10 years or so back now when Neil’ DeGrass Tyson said that philosophy no longer has a place in science and it was about the only time I really disagreed with him on a personal level. To me, philosophy is our window (at least mine) into deep thoughts and new ways to approach the WAY we think NOT just what we think or the regurgitation of information.
Without the Alchemist, science wouldn’t be what it is today. IT WAS in the very search for the truth of our souls/god that inspired people to look into the Natural world so to forget that their thoughts, blood, sweat, humiliation, tears AND jubilation are what took us from the world they used to live in, into the one we have now is to send humanity back into the dark ages.
I still hold on to the belief that imperfection is perfection. We don’t need to make things perfect but we can always make things better.
Thank you for reading.
Agrippa of Nettesheim, De occult philosophia, 1510.
The Moon Dragon is very similar to the Asian depiction of the Blue Dragon eating its tail in which life is constantly destroyed and renewed. In other words, a representation of the Life cycle or Infinity, at least that is how I see it.
This one is called Jerusalem by W. Blake 1804-1820. According to my resource book, it’s said to be a possible representation of the Moon Dragon but I think it looks like a chicken head.
The pics are taken from the book, The Hermetic Museum of Alchemy and Mysticism by Alexander Roob.