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Various Quotes on Alchemy

To: alt.magick
From: Bob Farrior
Subj: Various Quotes on Alchemy (0000.alchemy.var)
Date: unknown

In _Science of Alchymy_, William Wynn Wescott states:

  "If we look upon the subject from the point which affords the widest
view, it may be said that Alchymy has two aspects: the simply material,
and the religious.  The dogma that Alchymy was only a form of chemistry,
is untenable by any one who has read the works of its chief professors.
The doctrine that Alchymy was religion only, and that its chemical 
references were all blinds, is equally untenable in the face of history,
which shows that many of its most noted professors were men who had
made important discoveries in the domain of common chemistry, and
were in no way notable as teacher either of ethics or religion."


  "In its most material form, the science of Alchymy taught that all
substances were essentially and primordially derived from one basic
"hyle" or foundation.  From this basis differentiation arose, and by
the myriad steps, the immense variety of material substances - such
as we now see around us - originated by progression.  From the common
minerals were developed metals, also in gradation of purity and excellence,
until an acme was reached in the two so-called Perfect Metals - Silver
and Gold.  From this theory arose teh Art of Alchymy, the Art of
Transmutation, by which it was sought to produce Silver and Gold from
other metals the next below them in the series, notably from Mercury,
Antimony, and Lead. Many indeed were the processes devised, but there
was a general consensus of opinion that the last three stages of the
chemical process were notable by a series of colour changes, from 
Black, through White to Red; this red matter was the Philosopher's
Stone, or Red Elixir, which could not only transmute Silver into
Gold, but could also procure health and prolong life."


  quoting notable past Alchemists...

  Flamel - 

  "God reseves to himself to reveal to a select few of such as fear and
   love him certain things of knowledge, which therefore ought not to
   be written."

  from _The Water Stone of the Wise_ - Anon.:

  "In the first place the practice of Alchymy enables us to understand,
   not merely the marvels of nature, but the nature of the Great Divine
   One himself in his unspeakable glory.  It shadows forth in a 
   wonderful manner how Man is an Image of the Divine Trinity; he 
   represents the Union of Substances, as well as the difference of 
   Persons.  It illustrates our purification from sin, and in brief all
   the Christian faith, and the reasons why man must pass through much 
   tribulation and anguish and fall a prey to death before he can rise
   again to a new and higher life.  All this we see in our Art as in a

   and referring to the works of such people as Edward Maitland and
   Anna Kingsford, of the Hermetic Society, he says:

   "Anna Kingsford succeeded in many cases in drawing very real 
   explanations of Alchymic language by means of Hermetic allegory, and
   she succeeded also in demonstrating an Alchymic mode of thought and
   allusions to transmutation on the ethical and higher planes from some
   of the possible but improbable narratives found in the early books
   of the Bible.."

   "...The keynote of Alchymy upon this basis is of course the implied
   possibility of the material once again taking on the spiritual aspect
   by successive purifications, which may be suitably described by terms
   allied to the art of chemistry."

   "Similar terms of art were, she pointed out, eminently suitable to 
   describe the processes of purification by means of external forces
   and the influence of others, which are observable in the moral sphere
   of personality, and which are the essential aims of moral, ethical,
   and spiritual purification which we call Religion.  For Religion 
   should mean the processes whiche relegate us or re-unite us fallible
   and erring creatures to our Higher Genius or, as some phrase it, to
   our God, or God-part."

   and finally...

   "...The Higher Alchymy then is almost identical with Religion, as 
   distinct from Theology.  The function of Religion and the Great Work
   of the Alchymist is Spiritualization.  The separation of the subtle
   from the gross; the redemtion of spirit, while still SEATED in 
   matter, from the taint inevitable to the lowest planes of manifestation.
   Or again, the transmutation of the low forms of the human forces which
   are in man, in excess of the bodily needs of sheer subsistence, into 
   the more refined emotions, the more delicate shades of feeling, the
   purer and higher manifestations of spirit which even the human entity
   is plainly susceptible of."

That last paragraph is what I have been trying, in my own pathetic style,
to say.  To me this form of the Great Work, is far superior to any 
material manipulation in a greed-based desire to create actual, spendable
gold.  If your definition of Alchemy is based upon the physical aspects
alone, then I, by no short measure, prefer my definition.  Though, I leave
you free to your flasks, retorts, and (warning pun approaching) flames.


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