“The Alchemical process is a method for self knowledge that the soul undergoes far outside its realm of existence.”
~ Marry Anne Atwood
Today we hear it everywhere … it’s the mantra of the New Age – “You’re Already Perfect!”, “All is One!”, “Just BE!”… but if this simple truth really holds the answers to life’s suffering why do our experiences tell us otherwise? Even after the countless lectures, guru’s, talk show hosts, motivational tapes and slogans we still feel the struggle here in this world? After applying these ‘quick fix’ mantras we quickly learn that saying something is one thing, experiencing it within ourselves is something else entirely.
So what’s going on here? Why are the masses running around constantly seeking something more, demanding answers, struggling over issues and problems, fighting among themselves? Why can’t we ‘just be’ and settle down like the New Age life coach tell us? ”Don’t worry be happy” is a great slogan unless we’re faced with an oncoming train, then you can throw that out the window – experience beats positive attitude every-time. So in the meanwhile we just accept it, we just continue to act like little animals chasing pleasures that search for fleeting pleasures in an endless cycle until our death … is this really the aimless point of our lives?
Everyone has felt the slow fall into suffering that emerges after the receiving of some temporal pleasure, this is universally understood. If we’re smart we’ll realize that there’s nothing in this world that will ever adequately satiate the need of the unfulfilled desire. We delude ourselves into thinking that we’ll be the one to finally discover the ultimate pleasure that the billions of souls before us have been unable to find in this world – because it doesn’t exists.
So we should thoroughly understand this temporal pleasure process since it is the very core of our suffering and fear.
“I was not afraid to die, but to die without having been enlightened” ~ Comte de Saint-Germain
It’s clear that if we receive some temporal worldly pleasure it’s only a matter of time before we need to find some other pleasure to help overcome the waning sensation of the first in the same way a drug addict must find his next fix before the first wears off. We seek the newest car, a better job, sexier partner, more money, additional power and influence, etc. We can buy all kinds of physical ‘toys’, feel the sensations of love, learn vast amounts of information, gain influence over others, reach new levels of control but in the end it’s still not enough because this pleasure wanes and now the lack it’s created has to be filled by an even bigger pleasure then before – it’s an endless cycle of ‘running and returning’ with the only outcome total misery.
This cyclically longing causes depression, anxiety and fear, we see this throughout our world today. We are on the brink of world war III, we have economic failures across the globe, we see ecological disasters in exponentially growing number and as this world crumbles around us our options of finding peace are getting more restricted with each new day.
But the Creating Force has made this system precisely to work this way so that eventually we learn to find a new method of attainment, something outside of the realm of our current limited perceptions. So where is this new thing? Where is this great solution to our suffering, how can we attain this and save the world from all kinds of future misery and suffering?
“The stilling of the heart is the true alchemy
which turns mercury into silver.”
~ Inayat Khan
There is only one cure that will heal the souls in this world, one thing that will give us the true experience within of lasting peace and bliss. This process involves a whole new system of perceiving and reveals a greater, expanded reality to us. It grants us the revelation and the knowing that we truly seek deep within.
But in order to reach into this new awareness we have to literally throw out our old beliefs, laws, judgement’s, and identity that were based on the false limited perceptions of our previous state, we have to totally wipe the slate clean! We have to literally ‘Exodus’ from this current perception of reality and remove the ego identity that chains us within this temporal illusory space. This is known as a ‘spiritual rebirth’ and nothing short of this will ever satisfy what we really seek within. This ego identity has us trapped in a looping game of cat and mouse with temporal pleasures and it will never stop unless we shut down the game – we have this power and it’s been with us the whole time. Once we break free from this game and rise into a new truth we will reveal something that has been concealed from us by the ego.
So where is the process, how can we start this evolution? Know that this is by no means an easy Path and it’s not for those who have yet to reach the a point of ‘no turning back’; meaning a Path seeker must know there is nothing for him in the temporal world, this must be clear to the practitioner above all else. We must understand that this breaking away requires much effort, kicking, pushing and screaming like a child in the womb alerting its Mother that it is ready to be born. We have to demand this release, we have to make this Path our every waking desire which is the process of co-creating this new reality we will be born into.
“What hinders men from seeing and hearing God, is their own hearing, seeing and willing; by their own wills they separate themselves from the will of God. They see and hear within their own desires, which obstructs them from seeing and hearing God. Terrestrial and material things overshadow them, and they cannot see beyond their own human nature. If they would be still, desist from thinking and feeling with their own self-hood, subdue the self-will, enter into a state of resignation, into a divine union with Christ, who sees God, and hears God, and speaks with him, who knows the word and will of God; then would the eternal hearing seeing and speaking become revealed to them.” ~ Jacob Boehme (1575-1624 C.E.)
An important point to remember: It’s never the Mother that dictates the time of birth, it’s always the child. And when the child has outgrown its womb (the ego reality – this temporal ‘womb’) it signals to the Mother to prepare, but before this signal from below the Mother can only wait patiently and eagerly for the arrival. Then through their combined efforts they both work together to break the veil that separates themselves finally uniting in this new place together. In this analogy, the Great Mother is the Creating Force waiting for you, it’s only child.
Alchemy and Kabbalah speak exclusively about this spiritual birth and the process by which ones achieves it.
In Alchemy we see the various stages or steps toward liberation. The alchemists often repeat that the entire alchemical work is only one process, requiring only one simple action. This action is named with different terms depending on the point of view one takes. It is called purification, washing, cleaning, warming, cooking, distilling and so on. Some alchemists put all those terms in a seemingly chronological order but they needn’t be. Very generally speaking here is an example of the alchemical stages as they relate with liberation process witin:
- Calcination which is the identification of the ego process by recognizing and watching the egoistic mental, emotional and physical attributes that bind us.
- Dissolution is the process by which we burn our egoistic pains and fears in fire creating ash, washing away those long held beliefs that joined us with the ego mind.
- Separation is the stage whereby we see ourselves in two parts, the upper conscious higher mind and the lower temporal worldly body. Here we see truth from falsehood because of our new expanded view.
- Conjunction is the point at which we reveal the limitless and infinite greatest of the entire reality. It’s where we find our Path of illumination in the All and see that the gift of growing never ends. Here we begin to climb the ‘Ladder’ of the spiritual ascent and start entering new realms of conscious awareness.
- Putrefaction is the stage at which the anchor of the temporal bodies decays and we’re faced with its shadow. Here we clearly see the attributes that limit our attainment and we face them finally healing and accepting the ‘who we are’ here in this world – joining the upper and lower together.
- Distillation is about embracing a new form of existence connection and revelation that was not available before. This stage is very advanced, it creates within us a sense of true love and All. Here we become embedded into the structure of everything and we see ourselves in others. We ‘Love our Neighbor as Ourselves’ because we truly don’t see a separation any longer, also called the Philosophers Stone.
- Coagulation is the Phoenix rising, the enlightened state of Buddha-hood. This state of Oneness transcends anything that can be explained by words and is the true merging with the Creator Force as One – the Elixir of Immortality.
“He who wants to enter the divine realm, first must enter his mother’s body, and die herein.” ~Paracelsus
The common Alchemical term V.I.T.R.I.O.L.U.M. is formed by the Latin expression “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem Veram Medicinam” meaning “Visit the interior of the earth, and by rectifying you will find the hidden stone which is the true medicine”. So let’s take a look at the actual process a little bit here.
In the beginning, the work is often labeled dissolution because the use of ‘fire’ which is transforming the earth into water. The dissolution is the reduction of the fixed and dry into the essence of water. This ‘water’ is a substance that is contained within each individual, it is the nature of the lower waters (represented by Yesod in Kabbalah and Swadhisthana in Yoga) that rise from the Earth (called Malchut in Kabbalah or Muladhara in Yoga)
When the fixed has been made fluid it can be called quicksilver and ‘prima materia’ or first matter. The origin of this dissolution is the volatile spirit which is enclosed in the first water. The purpose of the inner work of Alchemy is to become more aware of what happens inside you, especially your feelings and subtle life giving energies both of which are often compared with sacred waters.
By this continuous warming or cooking, distillation happens. The water evaporates and become more subtle with each cycle of distillation. The vapors cool and condense. The condensed water descends and penetrates the earth. The process is repeated again and again. “Bake, Bake and Re-Bake and never grow tired!” – Alchemical Axiom
After distillation fixation or coagulation happens. Fixation is the inseparable union of the fixed and the volatile, or sulfur and quicksilver, into a matter that is so durable that it is unassailable to the fire so in the meanwhile one continues the warming of the matter while storing. One can say that the entire process is nothing but warming. The fire needs to be maintained (that is one ‘s attention needs to be kept focused) because Alchemical ‘fire’ refers to our intention, focus, attention, etc.
The distillation or purification is actually the continuously improving of the manner is which we utilize energy, for the sake of egoistic momentary pleasures or for the sake of evoling toward birth, called ‘Bestowing’ in Kabbalah.
In future articles we will delve into this process with more practicality and detail.
Until next time! Baruch Hashem <3