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VII. ALCHEMYPART I








Source: Light of Egypt


What a weird yet strangely pleasing name the term Alchemy is. It
is simple, yet so infilled and intermixed with the possible
verities of exact science and the philosophical speculations on
the infinite and the unknown, as to elude our mental grasp, as it
were, by its own subtle essence, and defy the keenest analysis of
our profoundest generalizers in science. And yet, in spite of
this self-evident truth, how fascinating the sound of the word
becomes to the mystic student's ear, and bow pregnant with awful
and mysterious possibilities it becomes, to the immortal powers
embodied within the complex human organism termed man.

Words, if we but knew it, have the same innate, magnetic
influence, and possess the same power of affinity and antipathy,
that the human family possesses; as well as all organic and
inorganic forms and substances; and how sad, to a developed soul,
to witness the inharmony existing in our midst, caused by the
misapplication of names.

Most human beings are very conscious of personal, or human
magnetism, and its effects. But they stop right there, and do not
dream of the subtle, silent influences emanating from a name, a
word, and the power existing in words, when properly used. The
human mind is so absorbed in Nature's manifestations, which are
only the husks, that they fail to see the true, hidden meaning
and realities, concealed beneath the material shell.

We will first notice the meaning of the words which constitute
our subject, viz., Alchemy, then give a brief review of its
physical correspondence, chemistry, and its true relation to its
spiritual counterpart, Alchemy.

"Al" and "Chemy" are Arabic-Egyptian words which have much more
in them than appears upon the surface, and possess a far
different meaning from the one which the terms usually convey to
the average mind. Terms, and the ideas we associate with them,
vary according to the age in which we live. So with those, from
which the word Alchemy is derived.

Let us penetrate beneath the mere verbal husk with which
linguistic usage and convenience have clothed them, and which, in
the course of ages, has become nothing but the dross of
decomposed verbiage, and see if we can excavate the living germ,
that has become buried within. If we can do so, we shall, at the
commencement of our study, have attained unto a realization of
the ancient meaning and real significance of the terms employed.
And this will be no small gain, and will form no unimportant part
of the equipment in our present research.

The Arabians, who derived the whole of their Occult arcana from
the Egyptians, are the most likely to render us the most truthful
and direct significance of the word, and so we find them. Thus,
"Al," meaning "the," and Kimia," which means the hidden, or
secret, ergo THE OCCULT, from which are derived our modern term
Alchemy, more properly Al Kimia. This is very different from the
popular conception to-day, which supposes that the word relates
to the art of artificially making gold by some chemical process,
and viewing it only as some sort of magical chemistry, forgetting
that, the science of chemistry itself is also derived from the
Kimia of Arabian mystics, and was considered as one and the same
thing by every writer of the Middle Ages.

At this time, the physical man was not so dense and grasping for
husks; hence the soul and spiritual part had greater control, and
could impart the real, the alchemical side, of Nature to him;
hence the Law of Correspondences was understood, and guided the
educated in their considerations, researches, and conclusions.

Do you ask why, if they were so enlightened, they have veiled
their knowledge from the world at large?

The power of mind over matter was as potent in those days as now,
and the masses were as correspondingly corrupt as they are today.
Therefore, to put this knowledge into the hands of the multitude
would have been generally disastrous. So they wrote it in
mystical language, knowing that all educated students in Nature's
laws, at that time, would understand; yet they little dreamed how
much their language would be misunderstood in the centuries to
follow, by those who look to their ancient ancestry for aid on
subjects that have become at the present day so lost in mystery.

Having ascertained, beyond question, that Alchemy was, and
consequently is, the secret science of Occultism--not the
philosophy, mind you, but the science; let us proceed, for, we
shall find that these two aspects may often differ, or appear to
differ, widely from each other, though they can never do so in
reality, for the latter produces and establishes the facts, while
the former occupies itself in their tabulation and deductions.
The science constitutes the foundation, and the philosophy, the
metaphysical speculations, which rest thereon. If these important
distinctions are borne in mind, all the apparent confusion,
contradiction, and other intellectual debris, will either
disappear or resolve themselves into their own proper groups, so
that we may easily classify them.

It is at this very point, that, so many students go astray amid
the labyrinths of science and philosophy. They, unconsciously, so
mix and intermingle the two terms, that nine-tenths of the
students present only one side of the question--philosophy, which
soon runs into theory, if not supported by the science, which
they have lost in their volumes of philosophy.

You may say, one subject at a time. Yes, this may be true, if its
twin brother is not absorbed and forgotten.

In this chapter, we shall deal especially with organic Alchemy.

Organic Alchemy deals exclusively with living, organic things,
and in this connection differs from the Alchemy of inorganic
matter. These two aspects may, in this one respect, be compared
to organic and inorganic chemistry, to which originally they
belonged; as astrology did to astronomy. Alchemy and
astrology--twin sisters--were the parents of the modern
offspring, known in chemistry and astronomy as exact science.
These latter, however, deal with shadows and phenomenal
illusions, while the former concern the living realities, which
produce them. Therefore, there can be "no new thing under the
sun," saith Solomon.

First, let us deal with the most lovely form of our art, that
which pertains to the floral and vegetable kingdoms. Every flower
or blade of grass, every tree of the forest and stagnant weed of
the swamp, is the outcome of, and ever surrounded by, its
corresponding degree of spiritual life. There is not a single
atom but what is the external expression of some separate, living
force, within the spaces of Aeth, acting in unison with the
dominant power corresponding with the type of life.

If science could only behold this wonderful laboratory within the
vital storehouse of Nature, she would no longer vainly seek for
THE ORIGIN OF LIFE, nor wonder, what may have become of the
missing link in scientific evolution, because, she would quickly
realize that, biogenesis is the one grand truth of both animate
and inanimate Nature, the central, living source of which is God.
Science would also, further realize that, this biune life is ever
in motion throughout the manifested universe; circulating around
the focii of creative activities, which we term suns, stars, and
planets, awaiting the conditions which are ever present for
material incarnation; and under all possible combinations of
circumstances and conditions, conceivable and inconceivable,
adapting itself to continuous phenomenal expression. Links, so
called, in this mighty chain of evolution, may appear to be
missing here and there, and, for that matter, whole types may
seem to be wanting, but, this is only because of our imperfect
perception, and, in any case, can make no real difference with
the facts, because, if such be a reality, if there be what we may
term MISSING LINKS in the scheme of evolution, it only shows that
spirit, although associated with, is ever independent of matter.

But matter--what is to become of it? Is it independent of spirit?
The kindness of the Divine spirit heeds not the unconscious mind
of matter and its boasted independence, and works silently on,
and at last, accomplishes its mission--the evolution of matter,
the uplifting of the soul of man, as well as the universe. The
blindness of man is dense, and the saddest part to admit is that,
they will so stubbornly remain so.

If, for one instant, the penetrating eye of the soul could shine
forth through the physical orbs of vision, and imprint the
scenes, beheld behind the veil, upon the tablets of the brain of
the physical organism, a fire would be kindled that, could never
be quenched by the fascinating allurements of the material,
perishable things, of matter.

That development of the real atom of biune life can, and does, go
forward, irrespective of the gradation of physical types, needs
no convincing proof, other than visible Nature.

MAN IS NOT THE OUTCOME OF PHYSICAL EVOLUTION, and produced by a
series of blind laws, that lead him upward from protozoa to man,
as a child climbs up stairs, advancing regularly, ONE STEP AS A
TIME. This latter conception, we know, is the theory of exact
science, but not of Alchemy, not of the science of Occultism.
Man, according to Wallace, Darwin, Huxley, and Tyndall, is what
progressive stages of physical evolution have made him. But the
very reverse is true. The fauna and flora of past geological
periods are what the human soul has produced, by virtue of its
gradual advancement to higher states and conditions of life, so
that, so far from man being the outcome of the planet's
development, such material progress is the outgrowth of man's
advancement, proving again that, matter is not independent of
spirit, neither can spirit be independent of matter for its
expressions. They so interblend that, the dividing line cannot be
detected by the untrained eye of the exact scientist. But, that
time is not far distant, when the scientists will prepare and
evolve their interior being to take up the spiritual thread,
exactly where the visible thread ends, and carry forth the work,
as far as the mortal mind of man can penetrate, while embodied in
the physical form.

God hasten this day is my prayer, for then man will become more
spiritual and aspiring for advancement and knowledge, thus,
setting up vibrations that will create higher and loftier
conditions for the physical man. Aye! then they will know that,
even the birth of the world itself, owes its primal genesis to
the desire of the human atom for earthly embodiment.

Here is where exact science, or the counterpart of Alchemy,
becomes both profitable and helpful. Says Paracelsus: "The true
use of chemistry is not to make gold, but to prepare medicines."
He admits four elements--the STAR, the ROOT, the ELEMENT and the
SPERM. These elements were composed of the three principles,
SIDERIC SALT, SULPHUR, and MERCURY. Mercury, or spirit, sulphur,
or oil, and salt, and the passive principles, water and earth.
Herein we see the harmony of the two words, Alchemy and
Chemistry. One is but the continuation of the other, and they
blend so into each other that, they are not complete, apart.

The chemist, in his analysis of the various component parts of
any form of matter, knows also the proportional combinations; and
thus, by the Law of Correspondence, could, by the same use of the
spiritual laws of Alchemy, analyze and combine the same elements
from the atmosphere, to produce the corresponding expression of
crystallized form. By the same laws, are affinities and
antipathies discovered and applied, in every department of
Nature's wonderful laboratory.

Chemistry is the physical expression of Alchemy, and any true
knowledge of chemistry is:--not the knowing of the names of the
extracts and essences, and the plants themselves, and that
certain combinations produce certain results, obtained from blind
experiments, yet, prompted by the Divine spirit within; but,
knowledge born from knowing the why and wherefore of such
effects. What is called the oil of olives is not a single, simple
substance, but it is more or less combined with other essential
elements, and will fuse and coalesce with other oils and essences
of similar nature. The true chemist will not confine his
researches for knowledge to the mere examination, analysis, and
experiments, in organic life; but will inform himself equally, in
physical astrology; and learn the nature, attributes, and
manifested influences of the planets, that constitute our
universe; and, under which, every form of organic matter is
subject, and especially, controlled by. Then, by learning the
influence of the planets upon the human family; and that special
planetary vibration that influences the individual; he can
intelligently and unerringly administer medicines to remove
disease in man.

A familiarity with the mere chemical relations of the planet to
man, makes still more apparent, the mutual affinity of both to
the soil, from which they appear to spring, and to which, they
ultimately return; so much so that, we have become conscious,
that, the food we eat is valuable or otherwise as a life
sustainer, in proportion to the amount of life it contains. We
are so complex in our organization that, we require a great
variety of the different elements to sustain all the active
functions and powers within us. Man, being a microcosm, or a
miniature universe, must sustain that universe, by taking into
the system the various elements, which combine to make up the
Infinite Universe of God. Animal flesh is necessary to certain
organized forms, both animal and man. When I say necessary, I do
not mean an acquired taste and habit of consuming just so much
flesh a day; but a constitution, which would not be complete in
its requirements, without animal flesh. I am thankful such do not
constitute the masses.

Science would say, you only require certain combinations of
oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon, to sustain all the
activities of the physical body. Apparently, this is true. Upon
the surface it is, but in reality it is not; because if it were
really true there could be no famines. Science could make bread
out of stones, as was suggested at the temptation of Christ in
the wilderness. And yet, no one knows better than the academies
of Science, themselves, that their learned professors would
quickly starve to death, if they were compelled to produce their
food from the chemical properties of the rocks. They can make a
grain of wheat chemically perfect, but they cannot make the
invisible germ by which it will grow, become fruitful, and
reproduce itself. They can reproduce from the stones in the
street the same chemical equivalents that go to compose gluten,
albumen, and starch--the trinity which must always be present to
sustain life; but they cannot, by any known process, make such
chemical equivalents of these substances, do the same thing. Now,
if not, why not? Science cannot answer this. A very mysterious
shake of the head and profound silence is the only answer. Ask
Science HOW THE PLANT GROWS, what causes the atoms of matter to
build up root, stem, leaf, bud and flower, true to the parent
species from which the germinal atom came. What is there behind
the plant that stamps it with such striking individuality? And
why, from the same soil, the deadly aconite and nutritious
vegetable can grow, each producing qualities in harmony with its
own nature, so widely different in their effects upon the human
organism, YET, SO COMPLETELY IDENTICAL AS REGARDS THE SOURCE FROM
WHICH THEY APPEAR TO SPRING. There must be a something to account
for this, and this something, ancient Alchemy alone can
scientifically reveal and expound; and, this knowledge lies just
beyond that line which calls a halt to material scientists, and
says: "You can go no farther; this is beyond your purview. The
end of the material thread has been reached, and unless you can
connect it with the thread of the next plane, your researches
must stop."

Before entering upon and answering these vital questions, we must
digress a little, and make ourselves perfectly familiar with the
ideas and revelations of advanced physical science upon the
subject, and for this purpose no more trustworthy guide can be
consulted than the new edition of "The Chemistry of Common Life,"
by the late James F. W. Johnson, M. A., England, and revised by
Arthur Herbert Church, M. A. In chapter IV on page 56 of this
work, upon the anatomy of plant life, we read:

"How interesting it is to reflect on the minuteness of the organs
by which the largest plants are fed and sustained. Microscopic
apertures in the leaf suck in gaseous food from the air; the
surfaces of microscopic hairs suck a liquid food from the soil.
We are accustomed to admire, with natural and just astonishment,
how huge, rocky reefs, hundreds of miles in length, can be built
up by the conjoined labors of myriads of minute zoophytes,
laboring together on the surface of a coral rock; but it is not
less wonderful that, by the ceaseless working of similar
microscopic agencies in leaf and root, the substance of vast
forests should be built up and made to grow before our eyes. It
is more wonderful, in fact; for whereas, in the one case, the
chief result is that, dead matter extracted from the sea is
transformed into a dead rock; in the other, the lifeless matter
of the earth and air are converted by these minute plant-builders
into living forms, lifting their heads aloft to the sky, waving
with every wind that blows, and beautifying whole continents with
the varying verdure of their ever-changing leaves."

Further on in the same chapter, on pages 62-3, the same eloquent
writer continues:

"But the special chemical changes that go on within the plant,
could we follow them, would appear not less wonderful than the
rapid production of entire microscopic vegetables from the raw
food contained in the juice of the grape. It is as yet altogether
incomprehensible, even to the most refined physiological
chemistry, how, from the same food taken in from the air, and
from generally similar food drawn up from the soil, different
plants, and different parts of plants, should be able to extract
or produce substances so very different from each other in
composition and in all of their properties. From the seed-vessels
of one (the poppy) we collect a juice which dries up into our
commercial opium; from the bark of another (cinchona) we extract
the quinine with which we assuage the raging fever; from the
leaves of others, like those of hemlock and tobacco, we distil
deadly poisons, often of rare value for their medicinal uses. The
flowers and leaves of some yield volatile oils, which we delight
in for their odors and their aromatic qualities; the seeds of
others give fixed oils, which are prized for the table or use in
the arts * * * These, and a thousand other similar facts, tell us
how wonderfully varied are the changes which the same original
forms of matter undergo in the interior of living plants. Indeed,
whether we regard the vegetable as a whole, or examine its
minutest part, we find equal evidence of the same diversity of
changes and of the same production, in comparatively minute
quantities, of very different, yet often characteristic forms of
matter."

From the whole of the foregoing, we observe the exact position to
be the one we have previously stated. If such wondrous things can
be revealed to us through the physical science of chemistry, what
think you must be hidden from our physical sight and knowledge by
the veil which hangs between matter and spirit? Think you not, it
is worth the effort to penetrate beyond that point where the atom
disappears from the view of the scientist?

If plants produce such wonderful phenomena in their life and
influence, what must the Divine organism of man have concealed
within his microscopic universe, to study and comprehend? Plant
life is merely the alphabet of the complex, intricate, and
multitudinous processes, going on in the human body.

And, as the mechanical microscope of physical science cannot
reveal the why and the wherefore, let us, for a brief moment,
disclose some of the wonders that declare their existence, when
subjected to the penetrating alchemical lens, of the inward
spirit. The first thing that intrudes itself upon our notice, by
virtue of its primary importance, is the grand fact of
biogenesis--life emanating from life. We perceive every external
form to be the physical symbol of a corresponding degree of
spiritual life; that each complete plant represents a complete
cycle, state, or degree of interior existence; that it is made up
and consists of countless millions of separate atoms of life;
that these atoms of spiritual activity are the real instigators
of the life and motion of corresponding material atoms; that they
ever obey the Divine impulse of co-operative unity, in their
chemical, as well as their spiritual affinity. Consequently,
everything in the form of material substance must be, and is, but
the means for the phenomenal expression of incarnating spirit;
the organism of man, a tree, a plant, or an animal, being no
exception to this Divine, omnipresent law of creative life.

To the true Alchemist there can be no mystery surrounding the
wonderful phenomena mentioned in the work we have quoted, in
plants extracting from the same rocks, soil, and air, qualities
so manifestly different--deadly poisons, healing balsams, and
pleasant aromas, or the reverse, from the same identical plant
foods. Nothing is more wonderful or mysterious, than, the same
alchemical processes, which, are hourly being enacted within our
own bodies. From the same breath of air and the same crust of
bread do we concoct the blood, the bile, the gastric juice, and
various other secretions; and distil the finer nervous fluids,
that go to build up and sustain the whole of our mental and
dynamic machinery. It is the same ancient story of the atoms;
each part and each function endowing the same inorganic chemicals
with their own spiritual, magnetic, and physical life-qualities,
by what appears, to the uninitiated observer, a miraculous
transmutation of matter, but which is, in reality, the evolution
of organic form from inorganic materials, in obedience to the
Divine law of spiritual progression. Who could stop with exact
science? For, when we come to consider the apparent mysteries of
life and growth by the aid of this alchemical light, the shadows
flee, and all the illusions of Nature's phenomenal kaleidoscope
vanish before the revelation of the underlying spiritual
realities. We know that the plant, being the physical expression
upon the material plane of a more interior life, endows its
outward atoms with their peculiar qualities. THESE QUALITIES ARE
NOT DRAWN DIRECTLY FROM THE SOIL; the soil only becoming the
medium for their complete or incomplete expression, as the case
may be; i.e., supplying the necessary inorganic atoms. Hence, the
deadly qualities of aconite, and the generous life-sustaining
qualities of the nutritious vegetable, BEING SPIRITUAL LIFE
ENDOWMENTS, conveyed to the material substance, abstracted from
the soil and withdrawn from the atmosphere, are no mystery; their
effect upon the human organism being exactly that, which is
produced by their spiritual affinity or antipathy, as the case
may be. And this also shows and explains, why purely inorganic
chemical atoms, though they be exactly the same as the organic
substances, from a strictly scientific standpoint, YET FAIL TO
SUPPORT LIFE, because such chemical equivalents lack the organic
spirituality of the interior life, which alone, gives them the
power and function to support the same. They fail to fulfill the
requirements of the alchemical law of life for the support of
life--in other words, biogenesis.

And, too, this inorganic life may be parted from the plant or
vegetable, if it be too long severed from the medium which
transmits the spiritual life, from the inorganic world to that of
organic matter. Vegetables, fresh from the ground, or parent
stem, retain this life if at once prepared for food, if not
overcooked, which is so often ignorantly done. This is the secret
of sustenance from foods. Nature's perfected fruits and
vegetables are overflowing with the life-giving essences, and, if
eaten direct from the tree or parent stem, that life is not lost,
but transmitted to our organisms, and replenishes the wasting
system with a living life. Much less of such food is required to
completely satisfy and nourish the body than if the life had
partly departed or been destroyed.

Briefly stated, then, everything within organic Nature is the
expressional symbolic manifestation of spirit; every form being a
congregation of innumerable atoms of life, revealing their
presence in material states; each organic form, or, rather,
organism, evolving under the central control of some dominating
Deific atom or soul, which, by virtue of past incarnations and
labors in its cycle of evolution, from the mineral up to man, has
achieved the royal prerogative to rule within its own state. Man
being the highest representative form--the grand finale in the
earthly drama--sums up and contains within himself everything
below, and THE GERMS OF EVERYTHING BEYOND, THIS STATE. He is
truly a microcosm, and represents in miniature the grand Cosmic
Man of the Heavens. Every living force beneath him corresponds to
some state, part, or function, which he has graduated through and
conquered, and which, in him, has now become embodied, as a part
of his universal kingdom. Consequently, all things are directly
related to him, in the grand universal unity of spiritual life.

This cannot be realized and comprehended by the physical man, nor
conveyed to his outer senses by the physical sciences. He must
bring into active use the inner man, the real being, which
inhabits and controls the outer organism, and through its
instrumentality, understand the interior source and workings
behind the phenomena of manifested being. So we see that, exact
science cannot take us far, yet, it is a mighty factor, in the
evolution of the microcosm Man, and in consciously relating him
to the Infinite Macrocosm--God, Spirit, All.





Next: VIII. ALCHEMYPART II

Previous: VI. SYMBOLISM



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