Excerpt About Alchemy

Alchemy Refers to Processes Involving Actual Substances on the Subtle or Essential Dimension and Not on the Corporeal Level

We see here the real meaning of alchemy. Alchemy is usually considered a mysterious science, full of symbols, secret processes, and esoteric terms. Many believe that the alchemical terminology is a symbolic representation of inner events and processes. This is partially true. It is true that the terminology refers to inner processes, but it is not true that the language is symbolic. It appears symbolic only to one who does not know that essence is a subtle substance with physical characteristics. Alchemy refers to processes involving actual substances on the subtle or essential dimension and not on the corporeal level. Most of the terminology is really descriptive. The alchemists try to describe their work in terms that are most direct and literal. For outsiders, the terms can be understood only as symbolic of something else. Outsiders think that when alchemists use the term sun, they must be “referring to some kind of mental or spiritual process or perception.” This is both true and untrue. It is true in that they are referring to essential perception. It is not true in that the alchemists actually mean sun—the physical sun in the sky—but a distinct essential reality that the word sun describes better than any other word. For the true alchemists, everything that exists in the physical universe has its inner counterpart, and the physical object is not necessarily taken to be more real than the inner one. This is expressed in the Emerald Tablet, ascribed to Hermes, the Father of Western alchemy, which says, “What is above is like what is below. What is below is like what is above.”

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