Probably the easiest way to dive into our understanding of spiritual alchemy is to look at some of the terms we’ve all at least heard of. From there, it’s a simple matter of deciphering what this medieval work means to you.
In it’s original latin the term VITRIOL stood for ‘Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificado Invenies Occultum Lapidem.’ What this translates to in English is ‘visit the interior of the earth and rectify the secret stone.’ This is in reference to the philosophers stone. However, in this instance, the interior Earth is within us. Putting it in completely modern terms we are meant to look within and meditate.
Yes. The philosophers stone is within you!! In fact, one of the most common axioms of spiritual alchemy is one we’ve all heard before:
“As within. So without.”-Hermes Trismegistus
See, the body houses the Divine and alchemy actually had very little to do with transmuting lesser metals into gold and much more to do with transforming our spiritual selves and awakening to the Divine presence within.
Mystics throughout the ages have left us several blueprints on how to go about achieving this golden body where we are fully aware of our conscious contact with God. In the East we see a long running tradition of the third eye opening and spiritual awareness being born, but what of its western counterpart? Almost nothing in our mainstream popular culture touches on the subject leading many to believe we don’t have a long standing tradition of mysticism. This simply isn’t true. In fact, we have quite a bit of mystical knowledge shrouded in our legends and epochs.
For instance, the German legend of Parzifal tells of a green emerald falling from Lucifers forehead. This is directly associated with us losing vision in our third eye, which as anyone who has studied eastern philosophy can tell you has always been associated with our self awareness. This is also where the legend of Parzifals Stone began.
The mind reorganizes the cosmos. Every culture has a variation of Parcifal. In the near east we have Eve being tempted in the Garden of Eden. Roman mythology tells of Paris handing Venus an apple. The Greek version of Aphrodite is also associated with the apple. Kama Mara is associated with the creation of the world of illusion in eastern traditions.
What all these stories have in common is the fruit of enlightenment. The snake is almost always meant to represent the minister of the goddess. The goddess being a represenative of the vegetable dimesion whereas the snake represents the animal dimension. (more on that in a moment)
See, the ancients had a very different take on how we came to be and believed that our consciousness spawned from the Cosmic mind of God and evolved through all the elements associated with existence itself. Many believed that the very fabric of the cosmos itself was comprised of the same life force that we are.
In many ways the ancient world viewed our consciousness, that sense of being, as God within us.
While this information in all these old tales seems incredibly cryptic to our modern minds the ancients would recognize the lessons in these legends instantly. Anyone initiated into the ancient mysteries sees the basic principles of alchemy and inner transformation hidden within these creation stories.
Every mystery school that ever existed in the Greco-Roman world was birthed in the desire to understand our existence. This isn’t such a far fetched idea even by todays standards. From science to religion humankind is continually striving towards understanding the how behind being.
What about all of those really confusing symbols they used?
Alchemy is vastly more complicated than it could ever capture in a single article but I can give you insight into a few basic concepts. Trust and believe these are enough to start our journey into the world of inner transformation.
SNAKE=SULFUR=ANIMAL GODDESS=MERCURY=VEGETABLE, THOUGHT=SALT=MATERIAL
Mercury is seen as the mediator between sulfur and salt. the goddess represents our ‘ability’ to create. What I really mean is the goddess transforms our selfish sexual energy into physical reality. The vegetable element works to achieve, or create the mystical experience. I know this sounds incredibly esoteric but all that means to you is there is a Divine being within you. Ancient alchemists would construct temples within their hearts and ask for Wisdom to guide them.
The Ancient Greek word for Wisdom being Sophia and by many accounts She is the Divine Mother of all being.
This is Temple construction is done through meditation. From there it’s merely a matter of doing like King Solomon suggested:
“Seek Her like silver, like hidden treasures search Her out.”-Proverbs 2:4
Why all the cryptic symbolism? Well, you and I can be as quirky as we like in the modern era but it hasn’t always been so.
Old world initiates used alchemy as an analogy because the practice was seen as witchcraft. Witchcraft meant certain death no matter how Biblical the practice may have been. So what we ended up with was vague terminology:
Soft female mercury(vegetable)makes love to hard, rigid sulfur(animal). The seed plants a burning desire that salt(mind) materializes.
The third eye opens allowing one to create the conditions one wants by seeing spiritual truths with clarity. Once we are aware of our connection to the Divine we awaken to being filled with the same creative force of the cosmos. We become aware of the truth of it:
“O God, you have shown me eternal love by bestowing on me the golden body. By merging with my heart you have alchemized my body.’-Indian Mystic
Awakening the goddess within is true spiritual alchemy. Transmuting selfish sexual desire into living spiritual practice is easy to intellectualize but difficult to achieve. Without any understanding of energy centers in the body these are very vague ideas. If i were to say “construct a Temple in the heart of the rose and the goddess will arise from within” it probably wouldn’t mean much, but this is exactly how western alchemy was passed down.
King Solomon ASKED God for the Wisdom to guide his people and the gift of Wisdom was given. Ask God for Wisdom. Vocalize the desire,believing with all your heart and you will receive her. The heart of the rose, or the heart chakra is the key to unlocking this mystery.
Through your minds eye, visualize a temple being built where your heart is. Construct it however you like. I chose the mathematical precision of the Star of David because it resonates with my soul but it’s really subjective and up to you on how you want it to look. Once you’ve visualized the Temple in detail start meditating there regularly and really grounding yourself in spirit. Once you’re ready ask Wisdom to come. Say it out loud and repeat as often as necessary.
This is alchemy 101.Try it our for yourself. Please feel free to pass this knowledge on to anyone you think may benefit from it. May Gods grace and mercy shine upon you.