The Word Foundation



Vol. 23 JULY, 1916. No. 4

Copyright, 1916, by H. W. PERCIVAL.


The Alchemist’s “Great Work.”

THE work of the alchemists was with elementals in the alchemist’s own bodies and in nature, with the object of gaining conscious immortality for himself and of showing the “Great Work” to others for whom it was possible to do it, or at least to understand and value it. The alchemists knew how the elements of fire, air, water and earth are mingled in precipitation as metals; how the metals, stones, plants, sounds and colors act by sympathy and antipathy on human bodies and throughout nature; how elementals are bound into metals, and how loosed and bound again. They knew the neutral states through which metals pass from one state into another in precipitations, transmutations, and sublimations. They created elementals which assisted them in their alchemical works and were known as familiars.

The alchemists, in speaking about the processes in the human body, made use of many terms applicable to their work with the metals. This is one reason for the strange vocabulary found in alchemical writings. Other reasons were that they could not communicate information, as the Church was powerful and opposed them, and as kings and nobles would put them to death, either after their secret of making gold had been obtained or because they had failed to perform what was demanded of them by such despots whom stories of the magic gold had attracted.

The terminology used by the alchemists was, in part, taken from some of the processes of their work. They extracted from the Mysterium Magnum; discovered the Alcahest and the Organum; used Salt, Sulphur and Mercury with the four elements, Fire, Air, Water and Earth; mingled the Gluten of the White Eagle with the Blood of the Red Lion; performed the Mystical Marriage of Christos with Sophia. When they had done their work they became possessed of the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life. Then they could turn all base metals into pure gold, literally as well as in the figurative sense, and could live forever in their Body Immortal, made so by their Elixir of Life.

What the Work Was and Is.

The work of the true alchemist was to control the elementals in his own body, subdue and harness his animal desires, and direct and transmute his energies so as to create new life and new powers within himself. By this work he gained in his life-time Conscious Immortality. He was able to instruct others in the Art and had a beneficial influence upon those about him, in ever-widening circles.

The Cause of Failure of Alchemists.

The alchemist who attempted to turn his interior powers to the transmutation of physical metals and the production of gold, before he had attained the philosopher’s stone, might succeed in the transmuting of metals and in the making of gold, but he would fail in his true work. The elementals with which he had worked, would eventually react upon him and overthrow him, because he had failed to overcome the ghosts in himself. One of the sayings of the alchemists was that in order to make gold one must first have gold to begin the work. If he had not created the gold first in himself, he could not, according to the law, make gold outside. To make gold within he must have controlled his elementals in him and have brought them to that pure state called “gold.” That done, he could with safety perform his work with mere metals.

Transmutations of Metals, Colors and Sounds.

The alchemist knew of the peculiar relation of all metals to color and sound. Color and sound are elementals in the sphere of water. These elementals may manifest as metals, metals being the first concrete expression of elementals in physical forms. Color and sound are convertible one into the other, in the psychic world. The metals are transmutations of color elementals and sound elementals. For what is a color in the psychic world may become ore in the earth. So, what is a certain violet astral matter, turns, if it is physically precipitated, into silver. Again, a certain astral sound may be precipitated as earthly silver. When the baser metals have attained their full growth they become pure gold. The alchemists knew that metallic gold may be made by transmutation or growth from a baser metal. Gold is the blending in right proportion of silver, copper, tin, iron, lead and mercury.

Sympathy or Antipathy Between Ghosts and Objects.

Metals have a singular effect on elementals, to which they are so closely related. The wide field of “Sympathy and Antipathy” is here opened. The elemental in the metal is the pure element (occult element) in the metal. It emanates or vibrates an influence, which acts not only on its kindred elementals, but has a peculiar influence upon sensitive persons by reaching the elementals in them directly. This fact can be used for various purposes, among them sympathetic healing. The alchemists knew of the elemental power of antipathy and sympathy in metals and plants, and used it in curing diseases. They knew of the special times when herbs had to be gathered to produce a sympathetic result, or the contrary. They knew of the principles active in distillations, congelations, purifications of simples, and so they produced the results they wanted through sympathy and antipathy.

(To be continued.)