Alchemy has been studied by many of the greater minds in history and has an extensive field of knowledge with many practical applications and strong traditions of knowledge transfer. Practical alchemy is one of the root traditions in Western Chemistry and Industrial technology and has its roots in the Medieval world.
Alchemy was developed in early philosophical and religious traditions such as mysticism, spiritualism, and semiotics. This article discusses the history and significance of physical and spiritual alchemy, its connection to hermeticism, and its role in the development of modern chemistry.
What is Alchemy?
There are many theories about where alchemy may have originated but we can trace this esoteric discipline back to ancient Egypt where the Egyptian god Thoth is depicted as the father of Alchemy, the connector between the divine and human worlds. Thoth was seen by the Greeks as Hermes and to the Romans he was Mercury. The word Alchemy comes from the Greek khemia, which was the name the Greeks gave to Ancient Egypt, and it means “the land of black earth”. It was believed that alchemy was taken from Egypt to Greece and only later the Arabic prefix Al (the) was added forming the word Alkimiya, meaning the teachings of ancient Egypt.
Alchemy is an ancient art and science concerned with the transformation of properties within matter. Alchemy is also the medieval forerunner of chemistry, concerned with the transmutation of matter, in particular with attempts to convert base metals into gold or find a universal elixir.
The main objective of Alchemists was threefold:
- To find the Philosopher’s Stone also called the Stone of Knowledge.
- To discover the medium of Eternal Youth and Health.
- To discover the Transmutation of Metals.
Spiritual Alchemy – Opus Magnum
The Latin for Opus magnum means “The Great Work” and is an alchemical term for the process of working with the prima material or physical matter to create the Philosopher’s Stone. The Philosopher’s stone is a mythic alchemical substance capable of turning base metals such as mercury into gold or silver. At the same time, it is also called the elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and for achieving mortality, and for many centuries, it was the most sought-after goal in alchemy.
The Alchemical Opus Magnus is an in-depth journey through the stages of transformation, represented by different colors. The great work of Alchemy is often described as a series of four stages which are all represented by different colors:
- Nigredo, a blackening or melanosis
- Albedo, a whitening, or leucosis
- Citrinitas, a yellowing or xanthosis
- Rubedo, a reddening, purpling or Iosis.
In easier terms, the ultimate goal of alchemy is a process known as the magnificent work or the Magnum Opus in Latin. It also involves spiritual transformation, the shedding of impurities, the joining of the opposites, and the refinement of materials which includes self-realization, communion with Divinity, fulfillment of purpose, etc.
Interesting that the Alchemists’ view of the Opus Magnum parallels what Kabbalah describes as “the process of becoming one with God”. The pursuit of the goal is every bit as important as the goal itself.
Purification, Maturity, Perfection
In Alchemy the focus is to purify, mature, and perfect certain materials, and the common aims were chrysopoeia which is the transmutation of a base metal like lead or copper into noble metals like gold; the creation of an elixir of immortality: and the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease.
This process is referred to as spiritual alchemy, which is a way to elevate ourselves and material processes through the transformation of our unconscious thoughts into conscious awareness. Spiritual alchemy can be experienced in conjunction with the physical process of alchemy in order to create a flourishing and lighter state of being for the individual. The principles behind this way of thinking are to sever any connections that are blocking our sense of creation, allowing us to approach it from a purer state. Focusing on the heart of alchemy allows us to experience human transformation by focusing on our sense of creation and understanding both spiritual and material principles.
Alchemy Symbols and Meanings
Alchemists rely on symbols to represent ideas and processes that cannot be described using words alone. Each Alchemy symbol or process corresponds to a specific element or component. There is a misconception that Alchemy deals primarily with physical matter, but it is also concerned with spirituality.
The three fundamental components in alchemy that forms the Alchemical Trinity are:
1. Sulfur (also represents the principle of the Infinite God Consciousness)
2. Mercury (the God Force of Creative Power)
3. Salt (represents the Ego or the Self).
Mercury (Mind) is the dynamic energy and acts as a medium between Sulfur (Spirit/Consciousness) and Salt (Body/Ego). Mercury in Roman mythology is the messenger between Gods (Sulfur) and mortals (Salt). The Alchemical Trinity is very powerful as is the ultimate Creative power and it is also the primordial Force.
The Five Elements
The five elements are each needed for alchemical transformation. The ancient Greeks believed that everything was made up of these five elements and it is the cornerstone of Alchemy, Philosophy, Science, and Medicine.
Also included and part of the elements.
- Circle (Soul)
- Square (Body)
- Triangle (Spirit)
The Seven Planetary Metals
There are seven metals in alchemy that connect with the seven traditional planets and seven deities. All are recognized in alchemical symbolism. The planet’s alchemical symbols are for those metals even though each has an elemental symbol that represents it. The signs are:
- Lead (Represents the Planet Saturn)
- Iron (Symbolizes the Planet Mars)
- Tin (Symbolizes the Planet Jupiter)
- Gold (represents the Sun)
- Mercury (One of the seven metals)
- Silver (Associated with the Moon)
- Copper (Symbolizes the planet Venus)
Other Alchemical Elements, Symbols and Meanings
- Antimony (The metal Antimony stands for the wild spirit of man and animal nature like the wolf)
- Arsenic (Early Alchemist used it and it was represented by the image of a swan)
- Bismuth (Uncertain what role it played)
- Magnesium (Also called Magnesia alba or White Magnesium or Mild Magnesium Earth)
- Phosphorus (Alchemists used light to present the spirit & the light fascinated them)
- Alchemists (Alchemists refer to platinum as a combination of silver and gold)
- Potash (Alchemists used Potash in many alchemical processes)
- Zinc (Called Philosopher’s wool or nix alba) derives from burning zinc in the air.
- Quintessence (The hermetic seal of light)
The Seven Stages of Transformation
It is an in-depth journey through the various stages of transformation and is always represented by different colors. There are 7 stages also called operations and each is associated with a spiritual state of being.
- The first stage is called Calcination, which represents a form of purification. Before we can transform ourselves, it is important to purify ourselves.
- The second stage is called Dissolution, where we transform solid substances into a liquid form and is focused in Alchemy on mental and physical transformation, rising above the body’s ego limitations.
- The third stage is called Separation separating concealed and hidden substances from any impurities.
- The fourth stage is called Conjunction, which symbolizes the process of us transforming ourselves into a new being.
- The fifth stage is called Fermentation; the chemical breakdown like the bread and wine that became a spiritual miracle during a holy gathering.
- The sixth stage is called Distillation, where all impurities are removed from the substance and transformed into a purer form.
- The seventh stage is called Coagulation and represents Spiritual transformation as it can take on several forms and can also transform and enhance matter.
The Alchemical process can also be seen within our bodies; where blood circulates to purify and transform various substances and during the purification process, impurities are removed from the organs which makes us healthier and purer inside.
Alchemy and Spiritual Enlightenment
Spiritual alchemy is an ancient occult practice that uses occult science to attain Spiritual Enlightenment through a process of Spiritual renewal, liberating one's essence and soul from attachment to one's acquired personality. It is believed that by transforming metals, such as gold, into harmonious awareness the individual can attain spiritual transformation. Alchemy also uses metaphor, philosophy, and stages to achieve this transformation. The ultimate goal is to gain a higher level of harmony and awareness in order to liberate the soul and move toward renewal and transformation.
Spiritual Alchemy Exercises Using the Violet Flame
You can also light a Violet or Purple Candle as it will speed up the process to connect with your Spiritual side. You can also add Crystals as they will greatly support you not just in grounding your energy, but it will also amplify your manifestation power. Adding incense or essential oils like lavender will also activate your feeling senses and playing some soft relaxing music in the background will add to the magical mix of it all.
Now carefully go through the list of the Seven Stages of Transformation and see what it is that you want or need to apply in your meditation to create a Spiritual Alchemical transformation for yourself.
Grounding, Balancing, Centering and Setting of Intentions
Before starting any magical rituals, it is always wise to ground and center your 7 Chakras and your Auric or Electromagnetic field to facilitate optimum energy flow through the body. Only when the lower three chakras are fully grounded then the body can manage the full force of the Spiritual and Cosmic Consciousness energies that flow through the Auric Field into the Crown Chakra (Center of Spirituality).
Meditative State and Present Moment
Going into a meditative state is one of the easiest ways to prepare your body for any magical work. Before grounding or balancing your physical body and Charkas it is important to bring yourself into the present moment and right state of mind.
Invitation to the God Forces and Guardian Angels
Set the intention to come from your heart, a place, and a space of unconditional love, and to create for the higher good of everyone involved. Now call on your God and Universal Forces as well as your Guardian Angels and invite them to guide and protect you.
Spiritual Alchemy using the Violet Flame for Transformation
Visualize a Sphere of Violet light. The Violet Sphere will create a Violet flame to protect you. You can also send out the Violet Flame to transmute any stuck or negative energies might that be your own or that of other people or circumstances.
In a sitting position see and visualize how strong Violet Cords are flowing from the base of your spine into Mother Earth and from Mother Earth flowing back to your spine. See this as your Violet flame grounding cord and send through this cord any concerns or worries. See now how this Violet cord connects with nature, plants, flowers, and trees and see how you become one with Mother Earth and Father Sky and experience the Violet transformative powers cleansing and recharging your Chakras and Auric field.
Bring in the 8 Elements and their forms and their creative qualities to amplify the manifestation process. Start to work through the 7 Stages of Transformation and create the Alchemical outcome you want, need, and desire.
Allow the Violet flame to merge and flow together with the 8 Elemental powers like the Spirit of Aether, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth as each one has its own creative powers. Last but not least call on the 4 Direction Elementals which are North, South, East, and West as they cover the 4 corners of the Cosmos. Expect a powerful and magical mix of co-creative powers merging together to give you spiritual wings to transcend yourself above and beyond space and time.
Spiritual Alchemy's power can also be used to help let go of the past, possessions and people in your life and begin the healing. If you are ready to begin transforming your life using spiritual alchemy to help you to release and let go of negative emotions like fear, regret, past mistakes, or betrayals, then check out another great resource: How to Let Go of Someone Using Spiritual Alchemy by Psychic Spring.
Take all the time you need and at all times enjoy the process of transformation and elevate yourself to a higher level of consciousness. When you are ready, open your eyes and have water to ground your energies. Repeat this meditation regularly as it will support you through the Alchemical Process to trigger the magic bullet that will allow you to create your own Philosopher’s stone.