Oct 162017
 

Although the alchemists were more or less aware that their insights and truths were of divine origin, they knew they were not sacred revelations but were vouchsafed by individual inspiration or by the lumen naturae, sapientia Dei hidden in nature. The autonomy of their insights showed itself in the emancipation of science from the domination of faith. Human intolerance and shortsightedness are to blame for the open conflict that ultimately broke out between faith and knowledge. Conflict or comparison between incommensurables is impossible. The only possible attitude is one of mutual toleration, for neither can deprive the other of its validity. Existing religious beliefs have, besides their supernatural foundation, a basis in psychological facts whose existence is as valid as those of the empirical sciences. If this is not understood on one side or the other it makes no difference to the facts, for these exist whether man understands them or not, and whoever does not have the facts on his side will sooner or later have to pay the price.

With this I would like to conclude my remarks on sulphur. This arcane substance has provided occasion for some general reflections, which are not altogether fortuitous in that sulphur represents the active substance of the sun or, in psychological language, the motive factor in consciousness: on the one hand the will, which can best be regarded as a dynamism subordinated to consciousness, and on the other hand compulsion, an involuntary motivation or impulse ranging from mere interest to possession proper. The unconscious dynamism would correspond to sulphur, for compulsion is the great mystery of human life. It is the thwarting of our conscious will and of our reason by an inflammable element within us, appearing now as a consuming fire and now as life-giving warmth.

Carl Jung, Personification of the Opposites (Sulphur), Mysterium Conjunctionis

Aug 062015
 

solomonThe scientific method is very good a knowing some things, but it can be an impediment to knowing other things. Suppose, for instance, a gentleman is attracted to a certain lady and wishes to become better acquainted with her. Can he achieve this by measuring her, taking her temperature and subjecting her to a CAT scan? Not only will these operations fail to tell him what he really wants to know, but they are likely to so annoy the object of his inquiry that she stops returning his calls.

What he really wishes to know – the intimate secrets of her body and soul – can only be learned if he ceases to be objective. She will entrust her secrets to him only if he displays a clear bias in her favour. And the more exclusive his knowledge of her – that is, the less it can be confirmed by any observer besides himself – the more precious it is to him. The alchemist would argue that all natural phenomena have something in common with the lady.

They unfold some of their secrets to objective, scientific inquiry while bestowing others only on the subjective observer. The soul of a thing – whether animal, vegetable, or mineral – reveals itself only in active relationship to another soul.

Catherine MacCoun, On Becoming an Alchemist

 

Mar 202011
 

I had always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, and in these realms of fancy there is no extra charge for anything, it amused me to think that in a past incarnation I had been an Egyptian.

That left rather a long gap between now and then, during which I slept with the worms, a boring occupation, so I decided that I had also been an alchemist who, needless to say, discovered the Philosopher’s Stone.

*

I also read about Moses being trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and Daniel in the wisdom of the Babylonians. We hear a lot about Daniel in the lion’s den, but we hear nothing at all about Daniel in his official capacity as Belteshazzar, head magician to the king of Babylon and satrap of Chaldea.

Another thing that interested me was that curious business of the battle of the kings in the valley, four against five – Amraphel, king of Shinar; Arioch, king of Ellasar; Chedlorlaomer, king of Elam, and Tidal, king of nations. I knew nothing whatever about them, but their names were magnificent and sang in my head.

Then there was the even odder incident of Melchisedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who went out to meet Abraham, bearing bread and wine after the fight was over and the kings were all sunk in the slime-pits. Who was this priest of a forgotten worship whom Abraham honoured?

I admit candidly that there is a great deal about the Old Testament worthies that I do not find admirable, but I found these fascinating. So I added a Chaldean incarnation in the days of Abraham to my collection.

Then my efforts met with a setback. I saw a lecture on reincarnation advertised at the local lodge of the Theosophical Society, so I went to hear it, and it sounded good to me. But i the question-time at the end a lady got up and said that she was the reincarnation of Hypatia, and the chairman got up and said she couldn’t be, as that was Mrs Besant; then the lady started to argue, and they played a tune on the piano to drown her voice, and I went home with my tail between my legs.

I was a bit shy of reincarnation fantasies for some time after that, and took up my old interest of communing with the Moon..

Dion Fortune, The Sea Priestess

Dec 022010
 

For my reckoning I have, together with some compaions, done the rounds of esotericisms and explored all the crypts with the most fervent sincerity, with the most vivid hope of success. But none of the certainties that I eventually grasped appeared to me to be the Certainty.

Rabbis have communicated unknown manuscripts to me; alchemists have admitted me to their laboratories; Sufis, Buddhists and Taoists have lead me, during long late-night sessions, to the abodes of their gods; a Brahmin let me copy his tables of mantrams; a yogi gave the secrets of contemplation. But, one evening, after a certain meeting, all that these admirable men had taught me became for me like the soft haze which rises at dusk after an over-warm day.

Dr Philippe Encausse, Le Maitre Philippe de Lyon

Apr 212010
 

Matt Wingfield

Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light!

This counsel, or command, or even warning, however you wish to take it, is most serious; this is attested by its original source, namely the words of the Master Himself:

“My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew xi, 30)

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter I, The Magician