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This picture, plain and insignificant
"This picture", is the diagram above. It is very far from plain and insignificant as we have seen from the previous article on the Emerald Tablet. It conceals and contains a great and important secret because mere words cannot describe or explain it. Only disciplined meditation on the diagram, will reveal it. When discovered, it will indeed be a great treasure more valuable than gold, because it is the Elixir that gives us life until our predestined time. What is the relationship between the Elixir and VITRIOL? This is the answer.
All this, as I have stated, clearly
These are the three alchemical principles of Mercury, Sulfur and Salt. Note that they are linked by a chain, that is they are a differentiated unity. Meditate upon this.
And painted in their very midst
The imperial globe is the alchemical symbol for VITRIOL. Heaven and Earth are identified with it, because they are the great polarity of the Above and the Below and this polarity is part of the secret. It is highly significant that we are told they are placed here intentionally. And have you noticed the word "artfully"? Alchemy is called the "Art". Therefore the imperial globe of VITRIOL is placed here by "art", that is by deliberate alchemical means. We are being told the obvious. That means there is something we have completely failed to understand. It is part of the secret. Another subject for meditation.
And between the hands outstretched
towards each other
The hands are another symbol of duality. So now we have: (Above + Below) + (hand + hand). Remember the 4 downward steps of the first process described in the Emerald Tablet? Also significant is the fact that the symbols of the 7 metals are between the polarity of the hands. That is because polarity is the driving mechanism of the whole scheme.
And in the circle surrounding
We already know that the 7 words are the anagram of VITRIOL. They are a formula for a guided visualization that takes us to a precise location in the inner landscape, for a specific purpose. Reading about it will not do it. We must live it.
Therefore I shall now tell
This is a promise to tell us how to transform the Stone of the Philosophers, into the Philosophers' Stone. They are at opposite ends of a spectrum. But this implies a unity between them and a continuity. So why are they different although connected? What is there to prepare?
The three shields together indicate
Here are our 3 vehicles of consciousness: Salt is the body; Sulfur is the soul; Mercury is the spirit. The qualities of Salt are multiplicity and action; the qualities of Sulfur are unity and will; the qualities of Mercury are duality and wisdom. We must combine all these qualities for effective and successful living. Our 3 vehicles are a differentiated unity. All the parts must function together. Have you noticed the difference in spelling between Mercurium and Mercurius? Like the Stone, they are related but not the same. They point to something that has to be experienced, not read.
This is the meaning of the Art:
The secret of the Art is the combined effect of all 3 vehicles of consciousness. But where is the "I" that drives them? Where is the divine spark? What is the "fourth"?
And now what is the fourth,
We are directed to the 3 and the 7. There are the three vehicles and the seven pointed star. The star is Salt, which we understand to be the body. The seven points are the 7 chakras and they are the connection between body and soul. Thus 3 (principles) + 7 (chakras) = 10 = 1 + 0 = 1. The text is telling us that the "fourth" is the ONE, that is, the divine spark. The separate reference to the eagle and the lion, is pointing to the polarity of the Above and the Below. This polarity is the driving force of the entire scheme.
Mark my words well, for there
is need of care:
We already know that the imperial orb is the alchemical symbol for VITRIOL. From its inherent nature are derived the 7 metals. These are our 7 chakras. Truly, in VITRIOL is the answer.
Now there remain only the seven
Let us recall the 7 words: Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem. Each word is a city with one gate. What is a city? It is an organic whole comprising of physical buildings (like a body), animated by living beings such as people, animals and plants (like a soul) and directed by abstract principles such as laws and government (like a spirit). And what is the one gate? There is only one way to enter this city, that is, to understand each of the 7 words. Here is the clue:
There is only one gate for each city because there is one way to understand what we are being told. This is the order in which we are to stimulate the chakras:
Heart Þ brow Þ crown Þ navel Þ sacral Þ throat Þ base
Gold silver mercury tin iron copper lead
There is something wrong here. We are told to go from gold to lead, when the whole point of the Art is to transmute lead into gold. Has the author of the text made a mistake? Why has he reversed the order? Could it be that this is a deliberate reversal, to alert us to the fact that the true order (the "one gate" mentioned in the text) is different from that given? Has the truth been jumbled so that "only those with eyes" will see?
Mark what I mean, understand me
This is a clear warning that a correct understanding of the doctrine is essential for the Art to be performed successfully.
For no one city alone can effect
No one city/word/metal/chakra alone can achieve anything. All must work together. However if understanding fails, then all gates are closed and the chakras cannot function.
And if they had no gates
If we had no chakras, then we would not even be alive, let alone engaged in the Great Work.
But if these gates are close together
When the 7 chakras function correctly, the ray of light that comes from them in a unified way, is very bright and intense. Surely its power is incomparable.
Thou canst not find such wonders
The repetition of the number 7 serves to emphazise the subtle doctrine of analogy. The Above is like the Below but is not the Below. Seven letters are like seven words; seven times are like seven metals; but the times are not the metals; the ciphers are not the days. Only meditation will lead to true understanding. The point is this. As we progress into higher levels of reality, we are moving into unfamiliar territory. We literally do not know what to expect. However we have a map like the diagram and we navigate by it. A map is not the terrain, it is like the terrain. A map is a symbolic representation, an analogy, of the actual terrain. By following the map we can chart a course in unknown places. By meditation we gain understanding, by imagination we make the journey.
Therein stands every lasting art.
If thou wouldst oft figure out
We are told bluntly that to figure all this out, we must understand rightly. The right way is kabalistic and the clue is in the numbers 7 & 50. Simple isn't it? If we look at this literally, we are being told that 57 is key. What does that mean? Let us try this kabalistically:
7 + (5 x 10) = 57
Quite clearly, this is not ordinary mathematics. This requires a different form of logic and a radical change of perspective. That is precisely what is expected of us. If the diagram is the map, the numbers are the compass: 5 elements (aether, air, fire, water, earth); 7 chakras; 10 sefirot on the Tree of Life; 12 signs of the zodiac.
Besides that, note this fully,
What is this water that does not wet, from which the metals (chakras) are produced? It is the Dew of the Philosophers. It contains the Salt that acts upon the Sulfur and the Mercury of the Prima Materia. It is the contents of the cup in the diagram. Note that the Sun and the Moon are pouring a liquid into a cup supported by Mercury. This is the Elixir. This is all clear enough isn't it? Bad luck if it isn't, because the author of the text will "not name" it for us.
Now I will instruct thee
This "water" is prepared in 7 steps. If we ignore any one of them, we shall fail. We must purify first. The secret of purification is in the alchemical koan, solve et coagula, that is;
Something is taken, separated, purified and put back into the "one alone" that we need. This is the "One Only Thing" mentioned in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. Note well, this is the relationship between the Stone of the Philosophers and the Philosophers' Stone. But what of the "water"? When our 7 chakras are functioning properly, the flow of energy through them looks like water; but it is water that "does not wet". First we must purify, then we must take the 7 steps. Clear enough isn't it?
The first work is freely done
The process is "putrefication". It is the separation of the vehicles of consciousness, body and soul. Normally, we regard this as physical death. However if we consider it to be a projection of consciousness arising from deep meditation and guided visualization, we get closer to the mark.
This first way hath two paths,
The "first way" of purification has two paths because the One Only Thing must be separated into two parts. One way is by "fire" and the other way is by "dissolving and saturating". We must choose the right path. Only meditation will show us the way.
After the whole purification hath
Remember, we are dealing with the Dew of the Philosophers. After purification, it is prepared either by boiling in the sun, or in warm dung. Dung? Yes, this is the continual slow heat that comes from organic substances when they putrefy. It takes time and patience and is unpleasant. This is an analogy for a particular kind of meditation requiring patient self-examination. Note the doctrine of analogy again and also note that to examine ourselves requires us to delve into that part of our being that is filthy and stinks. Do you still want to proceed? The treasure of the Wise is in the dung heap.
The other ways are very subtle
Distillation is the evaporation and subsequent condensation of the Dew. This purifies and concentrates its volatile essence. Remember that the Emerald Tablet tells us to "separate the subtle from the gross". Sublimation is the analogous (that word again) process as applied to solids. In this case it is a reference to the Prima Materia. The Tablet also tells us to "separate the earth from the fire". Hence the special mention above of "rectified fire" and the "earth .deemed worthless ..although all the power lies in it". The distilled Dew is the sublimated Prima Materia.
Some know not how to separate
What is the Dew purified "snow-white and clear"? The energy flows from the 7 purified chakras combine into one white and clear light.
Therefore thou must also have
Alchemical vinegar is the "water that kills and vivifies". It transmutes the vehicle of consciousness the body, into the vehicle of consciousness the spirit. This involves the separation of body and soul, as vehicles of consciousness. Note that purification is associated with separation. Remember also that the Emerald Tablet associates the process of separation (Earth from Fire/ subtle from gross) "with great judgement and skill", with the three ascending steps from the Below to the Above.
The three pointing hands are showing us something crucial. What was separated, is now mixed and strong. Right control of the fire is the analogy (yes, that word again) for disciplined meditation. There are 12 months in a year, but if we do this right, it will take "much less time than a year". If we use numbers as an analogy for a compass, we are being pointed in a significant direction. There are 12 signs of the zodiac. What is numerically less than 12 but still alchemically significant? How about the 7 planets? They are the 7 chakras Above, analogous to our 7 chakras Below.
Now thou hast the entire way in
Now everything is "clear and plain". Of the two paths, one is the water of the Wise, the Dew, and the other is the vinegar. The Dew is linked to the principle of Mercury, which is the analogy for the vehicle of consciousness, the spirit. Vinegar is the water that kills and vivifies and is said to move away from the philosophical iron. This metal is the analogy for the sacral chakra and is therefore linked to sexual fluids. We can understand why such fluids "vivify", but why do they "kill"?
It is Lord Aes whom it maketh
The preparation is set free by Art. All of this implies that we are responsible to perform the Great Work. No one else will do it for us. Note well, the Great Work is analogous to what Christians call Salvation.
The preparation alone
The preparation which up to now has been concerned with the water of the Wise and the vinegar of the Philosophers, is suddenly related to a "stone great and glorious". Is this the Stone of the Philosophers or the Philosophers' Stone? Since it lacks nothing and has been clarified, we can infer that it is the Philosophers' Stone. It is called many things but we must not be misled by them.
In their scriptures the Elders
Now the Stone is called a "great poison" and a "snake or monster". All of us have it for little cost and through it, the metals (7 chakras) "conquer victoriously". The poison of the snake leads to victory. That is perfectly clear isn't it? Is this the kundalini serpent coiled in the base chakra that can poison us if wrongly released, or lead to victory if rightly prepared?
The same is a perfection
The "golden crown" is a good description of the Crown chakra in its proper functioning. When that occurs, we have true understanding and knowledge because we then function at a much higher level of consciousness through our rectified vehicles of consciousness.
Only two things more are to be
If you know the composition, remain silent.
The nature of the fire also hath
If you know the nature of the fire, remain silent.
As the hen hatcheth out the chick
We must act with the patience and care of a mother hen, to regulate the fire, so as to produce the treasure. All clear now? By the way, our own efforts are not enough. Ask God for help and remember those in need.
Solve et Coagula
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