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«***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HIDDEN SYMBOLISM OF ALCHEMY AND THE OCCULT ARTS*** Hidden Symbolism of ALCHEMY and the OCCULT ARTS (Formerly ...»

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The basis of the opposites is formed by the primal opposition Section II. The Goal Of The Work. 263 Rajas-Tamas. To escape from it in recognizing the true ego as superior to it and not participating in it, is the foremost purpose of the effort toward salvation. So whoever has raised himself above the qualities of substances is described as having escaped from opposites.

–  –  –

“Swords cut him not, fire burns him not, Water wets him not nor does the wind wither him.

Not to be cut, not to burn, not to get wet, not to be withered, He is constant, above everything, continuous, eternal immovable.” [II 23 ff.] This characterization sounds almost like the description of the mercury of the philosophers, which is indestructible, a water that does not wet, a fire that does not consume.

Hermes on the human soul: “The accidents residing in the material substances have never sympathized with each other, but on the contrary have always been in opposition and in mutual conflict. Guard thyself O soul from them and turn away from them.... Thou O soul art of one nature, but they are manifold;

thou art but one with thyself; they are, however, in conflict with each other. [Psychoanalytically regarded, to the soul is here assigned the property which is desired but is not present, while that which is undesired but actually present in the soul 264 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts (inclination and disinclination) is projected into the external world.]... How long O soul wilt thou yet be needy, and flee from every sensation to its opposite, now from warmth to cold, now from cold to warmth, now from hunger to satiety, now from satiety to hunger?” (Fleischer Herm. a. d. Seele, pp. 14 ff.) “Be thou O soul regardful of the behavior in this world, yet [347] not as a child without understanding who when one gives him to eat and acts leniently towards him is satisfied and cheerful, but when one treats him severely cries and is bad, indeed begins to weep while laughing and when he is satisfied begins again to be bad. This is not worthy of approbation but rather a mongrel and blameworthy behavior. The world O soul, is so organized as to unify exactly these opposites; good and evil, weal and woe, distress and comfort, and contains types of ideas that have the effect of waking the soul and making it aware of itself, so that as a result it gains reason that illumines and consummates knowledge, i.e., wisdom and knowledge of the true nature of things. For this purpose alone has the soul come into the world, to learn and experience; but it is like a man that comes to a place to become acquainted with it and know its conditions, but then gives up the learning, inquiring and collecting of information, and diverts his spirit by reaching after luxury and the enjoyment of other things, and in so doing forgets to acquire that which he was to strive for.” (L. c., pp. 8 ff.) I return to the psychological point of view of our friend Hitchcock: “Desire and love are almost synonymous terms, for we love and seek what we desire, and so also we desire and seek what we love; yet neither love nor desire is by any necessary connection directed to one thing rather than another, but either under conditions suitable to it may be directed to anything. From which it follows that it is possible to make God as the Eternal, [348] its object, or call it truth and we may see that its enjoyment must partake of its own nature. Now we read that it is not common for man to love and pursue the good and the true because it is the Section II. The Goal Of The Work. 265 good and true; but we call that good which we desire and there lies the great mistake of life. From all which we may see that vast consequences follow from the choice of an object of desire, which as we have said, may as easily be an eternal as a transient one. We should be on guard against a too mechanical conception of these things. By so doing we should depart too greatly from the point of view of the true alchemists. One author tells of the significant advance that he made from the time when he discovered that nature works ‘magically.’ ” (H. A., Hitchcock's Remarks upon Alchemy, pp. 294 ff.) Aversion and hate, the opposites of desire and love, are not independent affections but depend upon the latter. There is only the one impulsion of demand that strives for what satisfies it and repulses what conflicts with it. “If then desire is turned to one only eternal thing, then, since the nature of man takes its character from his leading or chief desire, the whole man is gradually converted to, or, as some think, transmuted into that one thing.” (H. A., pp. 295 ff.) The doctrine naturally presupposes the possibility, already mentioned, of a schooling of the will, yet it will still be necessary to fix it upon a definite object. The love of the transitory finds itself deceived because the objects vanish, while the desire itself, [349] the conation (or in psychoanalytic language the libido), continues forever. For this everlasting desire only an everlasting object is suitable. An object of that kind is not to be found in the external world. We can only withdraw the outer object and offer ideals in exchange. The moment that this withdrawal of external objects takes place the libido begins, as it were, to eject itself as an object; in the ideal we give it a nucleus for this process, in order that it may form the new object around it and water it with its own life. So in a “magic” way a new world is formed whose laws are those of the ideal. The formation of the new world (new earth and new heaven, new Jerusalem, etc.) occurs frequently in the symbolic language of mysticism.





266 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts The laws of the ideal and consequently of the new world are determined by the nature of the ideal. Not every one is proved everlastingly suitable.

–  –  –

says the Highest Being to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita (IX, 25). The mystic is in the position from the moment of regeneration, to create in himself a new world with laws that he may, to a certain extent, himself select. Fortunate is he who makes a good selection. Every one is the architect of his own fortune. This is most true when after introversion the power of [350] self determining one's own destiny is directed toward the most intensive living. The formation and cultivation of the new earth is a beginning that is rich with significant consequences. The alchemists speak of a maidenly earth or a flaky white earth (i.e., crystalline) as a certain stage in the work. This is probably the stage that we are examining now, the stage of the new, still undeveloped earth that is now to be organized (according to the conceived ideal). The soil is crystalline because the old earth was dissolved and has been freshly formed from the solution. The crystallization corresponds to regeneration. The “white earth” probably corresponds to the “white stone,” which is the first stage of completion after the blacks (first mystical death, putrefaction, trituration, or contrition). In the white earth a seed is sown. We shall hear of it later.

If the work is not to make men unserviceable and is not again to bring them into conflict with the demands of life, so that all the effort would have been fruitless, the new world must be organized in such a way that it is compatible with the demands of real life. In other words, the ideal that regulates the new Section II. The Goal Of The Work. 267 world must be an ethical one. The mystic who wishes to be freed from contradictions will have to follow his conscience as a guide, and not the unexplored but the explored conscience. He cannot escape it in the long run (the magicians that defy it are, as the legend informs us, finally torn to pieces by the devil); it is better for him to get upon its side and so turn the conflict in his [351] favor. It appears that this manly attitude would have a marvelous inner concord as a result and outwardly, a remarkable firmness of character. It is not my object to decide what metaphysical significance the strengthening through mysticism of the ideal (God in me) may have.

“Take, O soul, not the unworthy and common as a model, for such use and word will adhere to thee finally as a nature opposed to thine own. By this means, however, the strong impulse itself towards union with thy nature and to the return into thy home goes astray. Know that the exalted and majestic Originator of things, is himself the noblest of all things. Take then the noble things as a model, in order by that means to get nearer thy Creator on the path of elective affinity. And know that the noble attaches itself to the noble and the vulgar to the common.” (Fleischer, Herm. a. d. Seele, p. 18.) What is to be sown in the new earth is generally called love. A crop of love is to arise; with love will the new world be saturated;

its laws will be the laws of love. By love a transmutation of the subject is to take place. One alchemist (quoted in H. A., pp. 133

ff.) writes as follows:

“I find the nature of Divine Love to be a perfect unity and simplicity. There is nothing more one, undivided, simple, pure, unmixed and uncompounded than Love....

“In the second place I find Love to be the most perfect and [352] absolute liberty. Nothing can move Love, but Love; nothing touch Love, but Love; nor nothing constrain Love, but Love. It is free from all things; itself only gives laws to itself, and those laws are the laws of Liberty; for nothing acts more freely than 268 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts Love, because it always acts from itself, and is moved by itself, by which prerogatives Love shows itself to be allied to the Divine Nature, yea, to be God himself.

“Thirdly, Love is all strength and power. Make a diligent search through Heaven and Earth, and you will find nothing so powerful as Love. What is stronger than Hell and Death? Yet Love is the triumphant conqueror of both. What more formidable than the wrath of God? Yet Love overcomes it, and dissolves and changes it into itself. In a word, nothing can withstand the prevailing strength of Love: it is the strength of Mount Zion, which can never be moved.

“In the fourth place: Love is of a transmuting and transforming nature. The great effect of Love is to turn all things into its own nature, which is all goodness, sweetness, and perfection.

This is that Divine power which turns water into wine; sorrow and anguish into exulting and triumphant joy; and curses into blessings. Where it meets with a barren and heathy desert, it transmutes it into a paradise of delights; yea, it changeth evil into good, and all imperfection into perfection. It restores that which is fallen and degenerated to its primary beauty, excellence and perfection. It is the Divine Stone, the White Stone with the name [353] written upon it, which no one knows but he that hath it. [Cf. Rev.

II, 17. ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat [nutritio] of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.’ Also III, 12: ‘Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.’ Cf. also XIX, 12, and XXI, 2. The White Stone with the new name is also joined with the new earth. Because of this it is important that the new Jerusalem is ‘prepared as a bride adorned Section II. The Goal Of The Work. 269 for her husband.’] In a word, it is the Divine Nature, it is God himself, whose essential property it is to assimilate all things with himself; or [if you will have it in the scripture phrase] to reconcile all things to himself, whether they be in Heaven or in Earth; and all by means of this Divine Elixir, whose transforming power and efficacy nothing can withstand....” (H. A., pp. 133 ff.) At the end of the work there ensues the union of sun and moon, typifying God and man. As in the Vedanta the teaching of the holy books of India, the Upanishads, so in alchemy, the difference between the one soul and the All Soul is of no importance. For every one who succeeds in overcoming the [354] fundamental error, in which we are all implicated, the difference vanishes, and the two things previously separated coalesce. In reality there is only the one thing: God.

Irenæus writes: “... The fire of nature assimilates all that it nourishes to its own likeness, and then our mercury or menstruum vanishes, that is, it is swallowed by the solar nature [The soul of man dissolves and is taken up by the divine or All Soul] and all together make but one universal mercury [All Soul] by intimate union. And this mercury is the material principle of the Stone; for formerly, when it was compounded of three mercuries, [namely, when they thought they had to distinguish spirit, soul and body, or some other division in it] then Soul, world and God were, for example, to be thought of, or as they are called in Soeta-svatara-Upanishad V, Enjoyer, Object of Enjoyment, and Inciter.

As eternal cause contains that trinity.



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