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Alchemy and the Mystical Experience

Does practical Alchemy include the Mystical Experience?


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Andro

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We all have the truths already buried inside of us. In my experience [...] 'Epiphanies' are more like removing the veils that exist because of our social indoctrinations and physical extravagances.

Couldn't agree more.

BTW, what do you mean by 'physical extravagances'?
 

ArcherSage

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It is self revealed, not revealed by any other. A personal revelation.
 

Illen A. Cluf

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Couldn't agree more.

BTW, what do you mean by 'physical extravagances'?

I'm not sure - I said that by instinct. I do know that monks that spend years practicing meditation procedures insist that such things as pleasure derived from sex, food and other physical attractions that result in physical "pleasure" detract big time from the meditative state.

I'm no monk and enjoy these pleasures as much as, or far more than anybody. Perhaps that's why I can't willingly go into these meditative states. I do know that when, for example, I have not had sex (or release) for some time (luckily that doesn't happen often :), I get all sorts of creative ideas and insights. I was actually a "virgin" until my early twenties, although I likely had (and still do) much more drive than the average. During that time, I had some incredible mystical experiences, some of the most intense in my life.
 
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Kiorionis

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I do know that monks that spend years practicing meditation procedures insist that such things as pleasure derived from sex, food and other physical attractions that result in physical "pleasure" detract big time from the meditative state.

I agree with those monks ;)
Mysticism is one of my favorite pastimes. If you figure out the little tricks to quite the mind, it's actually pretty easy to "tune in" to various frequencies. Other frequencies are more difficult and require more effort, and a fair bit of chance. Maybe even help from the other side sometimes.

My own experience is similar to the monks' -- I've found that if the "creative fire" is kept in circulation inside the body, then the light of the mind has more fuel to work with. I also find it awakens a unique sort of creative intellect. Understanding abstract concepts, inspiration, and the like.
 

Kiorionis

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It is self revealed, not revealed by any other. A personal revelation.

Curious. I've found in my work that gnosis is always generated from an outside source, a sort of 'imbibition' so to say. I may have had the self-desire to pursue it, and I may understand it in my own way, but there has always been an external catalyst which prompted my "revelations" -- either from a book I read or a conversation with a friend.

I think it was Plato who wrote that all learning is just a remembering of something we were taught in the past (or something along those lines). Perhaps revelation and epiphanies and the mystical are just us remembering what we already know?
 

zoas23

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I think it was Plato who wrote that all learning is just a remembering of something we were taught in the past (or something along those lines). Perhaps revelation and epiphanies and the mystical are just us remembering what we already know?

Yes, Plato considered that the Truth is something stable and independent of time (it never changes)... and that our souls have been in touch with such absolute truth, but the process of birth involves forgetting everything.... but what we see in in the world (or conversations or books or whatever) can lead us to remember such truth that we already knew and have forgotten.
So he did not believe in "inventions", but rather in remembering something we knew before we were born.

(His theory is mostly that if we had not known something in the past -before birth-, then it would be impossible to know it in the future -i.e, whilst we are alive).

If you like classical gnoseology, I strongly suggest to read the part of the Enneads (Plotinus) that he dedicated to the Christian Gnostics... and compare the differences between the classical Christian Gnostic idea and the ideas of Plato (I suggest that source because it makes a very clear comparison, though, of course, biased against the Christian Gnostics).
 

Illen A. Cluf

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I agree with those monks ;)
Mysticism is one of my favorite pastimes. If you figure out the little tricks to quite the mind, it's actually pretty easy to "tune in" to various frequencies. Other frequencies are more difficult and require more effort, and a fair bit of chance. Maybe even help from the other side sometimes.

My own experience is similar to the monks' -- I've found that if the "creative fire" is kept in circulation inside the body, then the light of the mind has more fuel to work with. I also find it awakens a unique sort of creative intellect. Understanding abstract concepts, inspiration, and the like.

Totally agree. I could say much more, but whenever I do, I'm always met with total silence - or rejection. I've come to accept that the genuine "mystical experience" is only recognized by a very small minority, and that it's totally and completely personal in nature. Even this is saying too much, as it sounds like some type of exclusiveness - which it absolutely is not, but rather since it seems to infringe on some type of innate common psychological "uncomfortable zone", sometimes resulting in intense discomfort, anger, and rejection... I think it's FAR more common than people realize, but that there's some type of inner barrier that blocks these experiences shortly after they occur, resulting in subsequent denial and hostility to any mention of it. I've seen this first-hand. Why these common occurrences seem to be so intensely "blocked" and then "denied" by most, yet unblocked and accepted by so few is one of the deepest mysteries that I have not yet been able to fully unravel. I think it has a lot to do with our cultural upbringing, and also the degree to which we are truly independent of thought or influence by others. In other words, there seems to be a huge discrepancy in the level to which people are susceptible to a form of "brain washing" of willingness to 'belong" to a comnon way of perception. There's a huge fear in any initiative that explores thoughts and ideas that go contrary to common acceptance. The need for 'belonging" is an overly intense drive for most, which seems to block these otherwise unusual or "eccentric" perspectives from developing or being accepted. I'll stop here because I've likely already totally lost about 99% of the readers by now...
 
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ArcherSage

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I was an atheist for a long time and doubted anything could be mystical in any way. It was not until I started astral projecting that I believed the spirit exists. Meditation is not merely sitting quietly for a while, it one can get in a deep enough state you can separate from the body. There is more than one way to do this, for some it is simply the mind detaching and going elsewhere, for others the spirit actually completely separates and is accompanied by what is called "the vibrational state", that all who astral projection experience. It is the feeling that the entire body is vibrating as if sitting on a motorcycle, but of course you aren't moving at all. This is the detachment process that you are feeling and once you experience it, you will know what it is..it is unlike anything you have ever felt. Once the separation is complete you will find yourself in what the sefirot refers to as Yesod, the mental plane of creation. It is this plane that all things are thought of before manifesting, so if one can actively exists in this plane, you would be able to manifest much easier than everybody else. Yesod is also the plane that Adam and Eve existed in before falling into the physical plane, and none can return to the garden unless they are able to separate from this plane. I believe this was the symbolism of the crucifixion of Christ, on the sefirot/trees of life/knowledge. With the crown of thorns representing the crown chakra, and the crown at the top of the sefirot. Of course the realm of yesod is put directly over the genital area, as this is the physical center of creation, but it is also the foundation stone for the spiritual temple, Yesod literally meaning foundation (note the person who made the image put foundation higher than it actually is) And Christ is standing on the lowest realm, the physical world, showing the path to the higher planes. The two thieves crucified on both sides are the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge, however the middle path is the only one that will result in enlightenment, with the mysterious "da-at" near the top middle. As he said, narrow/straight is the path and few find it. This is what I have gathered from my studies.
 

Kiorionis

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Why these common occurrences seem to be so intensely "blocked" and then "denied" by most, yet unblocked and accepted by so few is one of the deepest mysteries that I have not yet been able to fully unravel. I think it has a lot to do with our cultural upbringing, and also the degree to which we are truly independent of thought or influence by others.

I would add that it also has a great deal to do with how much of our percieved-Self we're willing to sacrifice to know our "true" Self. And given the fact that a "complete" self is the unity of the Good and the Bad. Not many people are willing to accept their faults and their past.

On the more mystical side of things, IMO, if the duality of Self isn't taken into account, the Unity a monk or a mystic is searching for will never come to fruition


The need for 'belonging" is an overly intense drive for most, which seems to block these otherwise unusual or "eccentric" perspectives from developing or being accepted. I'll stop here because I've likely already totally lost about 99% of the readers by now...

Haha I studied social psychology for awhile, and I agree with what you've said.
 

Kiorionis

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Bumpity
 

Tannur

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Alchemy certainly does not have as its goal mystical experience/gnosis. It is literally just the science of producing the Philosopher's Stone, including all of the necessary prerequisites to that goal such as a sufficient understanding of nature. The fact that Khunrath places Alchemy only after medicine and before natural magic in his path towards Hermetic gnosis should serve to convince you of this point, but even just in the classical Hermetic path of Alchemy, Astrology and Magic we see that Alchemy was only the first science to be studied.

What Alchemy does, as Khunrath excellently puts it, is produce a longing for the Divine, and increase the longing of he who already has such a longing (arguably everyone who pursues the art). However, Khunrath phrased it in religious terms, saying it makes pious whoever it doesn't already find pious.

The point about piety is important to this discussion because we must remember that Alchemy cannot be discovered without piety of some sort. Prayer, meditation and other acts of religious devotion are indispensable in the Hermetic path (as well as any other spiritual path). So rather than leading to the end of the goal, Alchemy can be seen as an initiation, nothing more. It initiates the neophyte into piety. It shows him (granted, only if he succeeds) that only by being pious did he succeed. This is why the true alchemists cry the praises of hallowed piety in their books: they know that without piety, they would not have succeeded.

Consider how the sciences which Khunrath mentions before Alchemy - natural philosophy and medicine, respectively - do not require any form of piety to learn and practice well. Consider how the sciences he places after Alchemy - magic, kabbala and theosophy - all require spiritual knowledge. Alchemy falls somewhere in between, neither requiring spiritual knowledge (it is entirely rational) nor being possible entirely without any kind of spirituality - the latter being the case since in order to discover this art, one needs to think along the lines that nature works; and this is only possible if one's mind is in harmony with nature. This in turn can only be possible if one's mind is illuminated by true wisdom, which, again, is only possible through some form of spiritual practice.

It is true that if Alchemy were written about openly, anyone would be able to learn it. It would not require any kind of spiritual ability. An adept could probably teach it to an atheist Aristotelian natural philosopher through plant morphogenesis - a process which is visible, contains all of the required materials, and doesn't require a belief in the heavenly realms (although admittedly, he would probably have a hard time explaining the "dot" of the philosopher's, contained in the matter, without which the art is impossible). What distinguishes Alchemy is that it has to be discovered independently by the student. Nothing works for this other than sitting at the feet of nature through practical experiment - the books are only a guide to this. And nothing can make learning from nature successful - especially when nature speaks in its own kind of code language, not openly revealing its secrets (although as every alchemist claims, its method of teaching is still much clearer than their books!) - except if there is some kind of harmony between student and teacher. Which of course brings us back to what was mentioned above.
 

Florius Frammel

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You are right and wrong.

What if the reason that alchemy wasn't taught openly was not because they didn't want to, but because they could not teach it openly?
 

Tannur

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You are right and wrong.

What if the reason that alchemy wasn't taught openly was not because they didn't want to, but because they could not teach it openly?
To me, it's just gardening with minerals. Anyone can learn gardening!
 

Florius Frammel

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To me, it's just gardening with minerals. Anyone can learn gardening!

In this case I recommend to learn the difference between spagyrics, (or chymie) and alchemy. The book Dwellings of the Philosopher's by Fulcanelli would be a good start, as the author makes a good distinction there.

But imo it's even better to start with the mystery of the cathedrales.
 

Tannur

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In this case I recommend to learn the difference between spagyrics, (or chymie) and alchemy. The book Dwellings of the Philosopher's by Fulcanelli would be a good start, as the author makes a good distinction there.

But imo it's even better to start with the mystery of the cathedrales.
Spagyrics adopts alchemical processes on plants; alchemy does so on minerals. The only reason spagyrics is written about openly and alchemy is not is because of gold-making. As I said, anyone would be able to learn it if it were spoken about openly - there is no mystery other than knowing the matter and knowing the practical steps of operating on it. When I read about modern authors who claim that psychic abilities are required, or "being the stone yourself before you can produce the stone", all I can do is laugh.
 
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Florius Frammel

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Spagyrics adopts alchemical processes on plants; alchemy does so on minerals. The only reason spagyrics is written about openly and alchemy is not is because of gold-making. As I said, anyone would be able to learn it if it were spoken about openly - there is no mystery other than knowing the matter and knowing the practical steps of operating on it. When I read about modern authors who claim that psychic abilities are required, or "being the stone yourself before you can produce the stone", all I can do is laugh.

I agree and I don't agree.
Therefore I don't recommend any modem author but Fulcanelli who certainly knew the most important authors of all ages since the invention of text and symbols.

I remember Goethe who said: "You can't tell your pupil the most important thing".

It depends on you how you interpret that sentence.
 

Tannur

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I agree and I don't agree.
Therefore I don't recommend any modem author but Fulcanelli who certainly knew the most important authors of all ages since the invention of text and symbols.

I remember Goethe who said: "You can't tell your pupil the most important thing".

It depends on you how you interpret that sentence.
If it could not be openly taught, how did Norton's master call him from miles away to come and learn it from him. Norton immediately travelled to his master and was instructed in the science in 40 days. This much he claims in his Ordinal. Please explain what you mean in the context of this story and maybe we can reach some kind of conclusion.
 

Kiorionis

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Interesting take, Tannur.

Khunrath is one author I have yet to read, but I enjoy his idea which you presented above on how Alchemy is some sort of middle science—or a link between natural philosophy and medicine, and theosophy and magic. I bet he was thinking of the “As above, so below” concept when writing. A middle science would take from each I imagine.
 

Tannur

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Interesting take, Tannur.

Khunrath is one author I have yet to read, but I enjoy his idea which you presented above on how Alchemy is some sort of middle science—or a link between natural philosophy and medicine, and theosophy and magic. I bet he was thinking of the “As above, so below” concept when writing. A middle science would take from each I imagine.
I haven't read Khunrath either, just snippets of his Ampitheatre in articles by Peter Foreshaw and others. Apparently the true place of Alchemy within the spiritual path was a big stumbling block for me to leaving the art. Knowledge is definitely power and it gave me the ability to carry out a final analysis of the art in relation to my needs and I eventually came to the conclusion that it wasn't for me:


Somehow, the existence of spiritual Alchemy just wasn't enough to entice my stubborn ego away from Alchemy. It just kept coming back and coming back until it was proven wrong.

I remember Goethe who said: "You can't tell your pupil the most important thing".

It depends on you how you interpret that sentence.
All I would say is that the master isn't good enough in that case. Even spiritual matters can be initiated into by a sufficiently skilled master:

[link broken]


If the student has some intellectual deficiencies, fine. But as far as I know, alchemy is just knowing the matter and the steps of operating on it. Anyone who can learn spagyrics can learn alchemy if openly taught.

Note: the above Sufi path is a living tradition by the way, not something of the past. Disciples are still initiated in this manner on a yearly basis (after some spiritual groundwork of course).

Edit: Lest it be thought that I am saying everyone *should* be taught Alchemy - far from it. There are definitely spiritual prerequisites, such as being good, being able to keep a secret and so on. Most men lacking these, it is understandable why the sages took so much pains in hiding their words.
 

Florius Frammel

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The opposite is the case: Any master who makes you dependant on him or her is a very bad master. Certain things you have to do all by yourself and can't be taught.

For example you can read a lot of books on how to fish and additionally watch instructions on YouTube. But that won't make you a good fisher unless you do it yourself.

I don't know neither Norton, nor his master nor their story. Sorry, can't explain it to you.
 

Argento Vivo

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Alchemy is one way to aid spiritual pratica...

See Thesaurum Thesaurorum, Magia Divina, abraham etc all give very precise techniques. In 1400-1700 the R+C (and proto R+C groups , like the celtic order) gave a well defined set of practices.... for example Arbatel/Theosophia Pneumatica is a renaissance book of hermetic esoterico spirituality, base upon the "Nosce te ipsum" and Arcana consumption.

The same Agrippa has ben iniziate by such groups, eg the celtic order, and he say VERY well, that to be' able to practice what he write in his book of occult philosophy, "one thing is needed, which is found in all reigns of Nature", book II, chap 4. But this is only one of the occasione in which he speak of this.
 

Kiorionis

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Lot of new faces around, and it's been a couple years. So....

*Bumpity*

:cool:
 

Blacksmith

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One thing that really puts me off is that I see other alchemists having dreams, guiding visions and stuff like that, and I can't even do a 2 second astral travel, but I don't seem to be good enough for it. :(
 

Kiorionis

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What's your method? If you don't mind my asking.
 

Blacksmith

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I try to meditate several times but there comes a time when it seems that I get out of the "trance" and in the end nothing happens