Cryptic Alchemy Laboratory
Iona Miller's SPIRITUAL ALCHEMY SERIES --
Bohemian Rhapsody: Alchemical Laboratory & Oratory
For Iona Miller's writings on alchemy, also see
Alchemy LABORATORY & ORATORY
The alchemist went about his/her business using simple instruments: an oven for heating, retorts for distilling, and materials such as ores and minerals to make acids. The essentially down-to-earth apparatus and the phases in the process in the course of time generated a repertory of symbols and metaphors. Fire stands for both destruction and life force, the retorts are a reflection of the cosmos, because in these the creation is re-enacted, during distillation vapours rise, - 'spirits' - which precipitated as a result of condensation. The descend as it were into matter: the body becomes a spirit. In the retorts a process of death and resurrection/rebirth takes place. The studies of Carl Gustav Jung show it is possible to detect correspondences between alchemy and mysticism: the alchemist himself, too, was to live through the process of transmutation, and become transformed as a result.
Throughout the Ages, our experiences with the ‘elements of nature’ have deeply fascinated us, and for some, hold the secrets of transformation and Universal meaning. Alchemy is chiefly concerned with transmutation of metals into gold and the finding of a universal remedy for diseases...a pouring together...of all the known science and mythology of each age.
There are many interpretations of this field of endeavor available today, each depicting slightly different stages, signs, and words describing them. It is a vast mythological system of symbols and metaphors, beings and stories, geometries and diagrams, elements and heavenly bodies, designed to represent aspects of the human psyche and spirit, as well as provide guidance towards the nature of the Universe.
In H.P Blavatsky’s book The Voice of the Silence, the secret fire of the Alchemists is described as kundalini, the “serpentine” or annular working power in the body of those trained in these arts. “It is an electric fiery occult or fahatic power, the great pristine force which underlies all organic and inorganic matter”.
Let’s start with the clue about gold. “…I am a soul… I am a star of gold…” Osiris, the Pharaoh announces in the Pyramid Texts, Line 886-9
The soul “sa”, has a precise meaning. It is the wave nature, the flow of the breath, of the spirit, the khu. The Hebrew word Ruach, breath or spirit, preserves this meaning. In Genesis, we are told that God’s breath, “His Ruach” moved across the waters of chaos to begin the process of creation.
The state of being called “soul,” a state where the flow of spirit is self-sustaining, self-referencing and self-aware. To be such a soul is to have the possibility of immortality. He reinforces this by declaring that he has become “a star of gold.”
This also has a very precise meaning. One of the deepest held secrets of the Egyptian mysteries was how to rearrange the Nuit Star, (painted on Egyptian coffins - her outstretched arms are to embrace the deceased) which has five lines pointing out from a common center, into a interlocked pentagram, the same five lines crossing around the common center to create an infinite nest of Phi ratios.
To the Egyptian sages, this symbolized the Light of the Horus’s “current”, which is a biological charge flame (the famous Blue Flame experienced and measurable in Bliss and peak experiences), which is released from the pineal gland.
The fundamental events or qualities/states of being or becoming in Western Alchemy are: blackening, whitening, yellowing and reddening. This corresponds to the four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. This also corresponds to the four qualities: cold, hot, moist, and dry. Through the process of using mercury, sulphur, water, and fire, all in a ritualized fashion, the artifex - the student can achieve transmutation of the elements; through dissolution, coagulation, distillation, condensation, disintegration and bonding. Alchemy was the forerunner of chemistry.
Working with gold in Egypt was assigned to a priestly class centered in the temple of the god Ptah at Memphis. Ptah was the patron of smelters and goldsmiths, his temple was "goldsmithy," and his priests were distinguished by such titles as "Great Wielder of the Hammer," and "He who knows the Secret of the Goldsmiths."
Pythagoras stated that quadernity defines the spectrum of possibilities in the physical world. Aristotle posed the fifth element, the quintessence. The alchemists seek to bring this fifth element down to Earth, through the repeated transmutations of matter. The Gold sought however is not always the material gold. To observe the alchemical process is to observe the process of creation itself, and to thus learn the secrets of divine genesis. Alchemy is a process reveling a way of giving enlightenment to the soul.
©2009 Iona Miller is a nonfiction writer for the academic and popular press, hypnotherapist (ACHE) and multimedia artist. She is a participant, not just commentator. Her conspirituality work is an omni-sensory fusion of intelligence, science-art, new physics and emergent paradigm shift, melding many social issues into a new view of society. She is interested in the effects of doctrines from religion, science, psychology, and the arts. Website: http://ionamiller.iwarp.com