site logo


Books: 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 fascinatin
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.


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


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


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


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.