Becoming rich has always been a great motivator for humans. The desire for gold has been the sole reason for turning to alchemy for a long time. But in the past, alchemy didn’t just remain limited to attaining gold. It encompassed the spiritual and psychological realm. Alchemy in its truest sense includes spiritual alchemy. Again, spiritual alchemy deals with inner transformation.
What is Spiritual Alchemy?
Spiritual alchemy deals with inner transformation. Its goal is to attract abundance in life. Realizing one’s highest self is the gold in spiritual alchemy.
Many people have come into alchemy for different reasons. Some wanted gold and others were curious about alchemy.
Spiritual alchemy works in the same lines of chemical alchemy. But, it has more to do with the inner transformation. The goal of spiritual alchemy is to attract spiritual and physical abundance in one’s life.
In the past, alchemy attracted people from all walks of lives:
- Spiritual gurus
- Chemistry enthusiasts
While the aim might have been different for each one. The process of alchemy and spiritual alchemy remains the same.
The core of alchemy is spiritual. Even Saint Germain who was triumphant in turning base metals into gold said this. The process requires one to practice spiritual alchemy as well.
While now, we see spiritual and chemical alchemy as different. In ancient times, the two were the same. As the years went by, the two became exclusive of each other. Chemical scientists chose to focus only on the physical one.
Spiritual alchemy is all about discovering oneself. It delves in the path of uncovering the truth. The truth about the soul, cosmos, and nature. Spiritual alchemy is about letting go of one’s redundant qualities. It is about embracing one’s highest self.
Thus, at its core, spiritual alchemy is about self-development. It is about transforming oneself by undergoing the painful processes of life. Yes, it is about finding gold. But, here the gold is realizing one’s full potential.
The Essence of Alchemy
In the past, there wasn’t any clear demarcation between religion and science. Both chemical and spiritual alchemy used the same symbols. Purification is the core aspect of alchemy. It is about refining oneself to perfection by undergoing painful transformation.
The essence of alchemy is purification. The glimmering gold has to undergo several extensive steps to let go off its impurities. In the same way, spiritual alchemy entails facing challenges to refine one’s character.
If you want to know if the lead can really be converted into gold then know that it is possible. In the modern-day, the dreams of the ancient alchemist have come true. Lead converts to gold in a process called nuclear transmutation.
While nuclear transmutation couldn’t be achieved in the past. The experiments of the alchemists were not all in vain. It is worthy to note that, in the past, science and religion used to have blurred lines. This means many times alchemists used the same symbols that were used in science.
These universal symbols found there place in the discussion of religion and science. This practice was encouraged in ancient times as the alchemists feared hostility from the Catholic Church. The church in those times didn’t tolerate any teachings that didn’t come from them.
The spirit and matter in the subject of alchemy are one. They are part of a single entity. Both matter and spirit work with each other to bring the divine energy from the heavens. Thus, in essence, alchemy tries to marry the ordinary with the divine.
Alchemy tries to raise our spirits through many transformative processes. The aim of alchemy is to merge oneself with higher energies. Only then it is possible to create the philosopher’s stone. This stone has transmutative powers. It turns everything to gold.
Are All People Destined To Be Alchemists?
Yes, all people will become alchemists in one way or the other. People might not have any interest in spiritual alchemy. But it doesn’t change the fact that all of us have to undergo the step by step alchemical transformation.
Saint Germain was a popular alchemist of his time in Europe. Influential people gave him their flawed and tarnished gems. But he returned them as sparkling new ones. Thus, Saint Germain was a person whom people considered as a chemical alchemist.
Besides advocating alchemy, Saint Germain urged the masses to focus on their thoughts. According to him, this was necessary to attain a higher conscious awareness. He suggested that the process of turning base metals to gold had a lot to do with spiritual development.
According to ancient beliefs, who we are as a person is an accumulation of our actions. These actions entail our past lives and our present. All our strengths and weaknesses, the physical appearance and our emotional state is the result of creating ourselves since the origin of the world.
Where To Start The Process of Alchemy?
“What we think, we become”—Buddha
The process of alchemy begins with your thoughts. Our thoughts and feelings shape who we are. It also shapes what we will receive. The universe is very receptive to what we think. Thus, the first step to achieve spiritual alchemy is molding our thoughts so that it benefits us.
More often than not, the negative aspects of life attract us rather than the positive ones. This often leads us toward a path of misfortunes. To attract positive energy we must focus on our thoughts.
It is definitely easy to say, but the outcome of gaining spiritual alchemy is a worthwhile endeavor.
5 Ways To Practice Spiritual Alchemy
1. Having Gratitude
A positive mindset begins with being grateful for what we already have. Practicing gratitude will slowly change the way you look at life. It will enable you to see the positive side of things. One of the great benefits of having gratitude is being happy.
How can you practice gratitude? Below are some ways:
- You can play a game with your friends and family where you discuss the positive things in your life
- Or every day you can write the 10 things that you are thankful to have in your life
These are simple activities but they have a profound effect when done for long.
2. Having Faith
“Faith is unseen but felt, faith is strength when we feel we have none, faith is hope when all seems lost.”—Catherine Pulsifer
Anxiousness, fear, and anger, these are your hurdles in practicing spiritual alchemy. Therefore, you need to get rid of them. One great way of doing just that is having faith.
Believe that everything will be alright and that God has a plan for you. These beliefs can pull you out from the darkest places and let you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
3. Practicing self-forgiveness
If you want to attract abundance in life, you will need to practice self-forgiveness. Forgiving yourself is integral to self-acceptance and raising oneself to the higher state of consciousness.
It’s only when we forgive ourselves for the shortcomings that we accept who we truly are. Knowing who we truly are, accepting our true selves, and seeing ourselves in a good light will enable us to become great spiritual alchemists.
4. Getting rid of mental blocks
Mental blocks that can slow down your progress in spiritual alchemy are:
- Tunnel vision
Spiritual alchemy is about opening up yourself to welcome the abundance in life. Mental blocks can prevent the entry of good energies. Getting rid of these can help you reap the rewards of alchemy.
5. Visualize a good life
“Create the highest grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”—Oprah Winfrey
It all begins when you visualize your life as you want it to be. Visualize what you want to wear, where you want to live, and what car you want to drive. To aid the process of visualization, it’s good to start meditating.
Visualization enables you to believe in your dream. Over time, it allows you to put your effort towards the realization of that dream.
Paracelsus and Hermes in the History of Alchemy
The role played by Paracelsus and Hermes in the history of alchemy
Paracelsus was born as Theophrastus von Hohenheim. He was the son of a chemist and physician. He acquired his knowledge of medicine partly from his father and partly from his observations. The work of Paracelsus can be cited as an example of the amalgamation of science and alchemy in ancient times.
Paracelsus from his practice of alchemy had concluded that man needs to attain a balance within himself as well as with his environment. He noted the importance of metals in the human body and the universe.
For his great work in the field of medicine, he is regarded as the father of toxicology. Paracelsus’s ideologies were quite ahead of his time and for this, he was often faced with opposition from his fellow doctors.
His interest in divinity and theology often landed him in trouble. However, he was a thorough alchemist and has introduced the use of metals in the treatment of diseases. For example, he was the first one to propose the use of mercury in the treatment of syphilis.
Hermes is the most prominent figure in alchemy. He is the Greek counterpart of the Egyptian god Thot (the God of wisdom). He is popularly known as Hermes Trismegistus. The word ‘Trismegistus’ means thrice great. It stands for the three aspects of the universe’s truth. These three parts are alchemy, theurgy, and astrology.
The emerald tablet contains the secrets of the universe. Further, it is also thought to be the origin of western alchemy. It is said that the emerald tablet was hidden by god. Additionally, only he can find it when he returns to the other dimension.
The emerald tablet has always been the subject of legends. Many stories have been created around it. It is difficult to know which legend is true. But, Hermes or Thot is considered to be the author of the emerald tablet. Additionally, because of the role played by Hermes in alchemy, the art of alchemy is also called the ‘Hermetic Art.’
Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist was well known for his promotion of alchemy. He considered spiritualism, religion, and psychology to be closely intertwined.
The Swiss psychiatrist saw alchemy as a powerful tool for attaining psychological insight. He also disclosed that the alchemic symbols somehow mysteriously appeared in his patient’s dreams. However, these patients had no knowledge of alchemy.
The alchemists of ancient times hid their knowledge under various disguises. The result is a series of symbols that can denote an entire phrase. Some of the alchemical symbols are universal. However, many alchemists used different symbolism. Among them, gold, the philosopher’s stone, and Materia Prima (or the first matter) are some of the universal symbols.
Some common elements and their meanings:
- Mercury: Symbolized the mind
- Labyrinth: the mind
- Ying and Yang symbol: Duality
- Salt: the body
- Sulfur: the soul
Mercury and sulfur have great importance in alchemy. Mercury is linked to the moon. It is the planet that symbolizes the internal energies of humans i.e. mental, instinctive, and emotional. These are the energies through which the Holy Spirit can be attained. Additionally, mercury represents the ‘messenger of the Gods’ in Greek Mythology. Mercury is considered to be the link between humans and divinity.
In alchemy, sulfur is regarded as the secret fire or soul. It is said that when sulfur is mixed with water it can create the philosopher’s stone. Again, in Egypt, it is thought that a mixture of mercury with sulfur can lead to self-realization. It can result in the attainment of the highest level of consciousness.
Characteristics of An Alchemist
An alchemist is an embodiment of power. He is in control of himself and his surroundings. The alchemist isn’t a slave to anyone. He is his own master. To become an alchemist a person must first live the alchemy. This means one needs to accept both success and failure in life. One needs to embrace the hardships.
Some vital characteristics of an alchemist are:
- He must know how to balance his emotions
- An alchemist does his work with dedication
- An alchemist knows when to speak and when to remain silent
- He must embrace simplicity
- Pride doesn’t reside in the mind of an alchemist
- An alchemist has faith
- Perseverance is an integral part of the alchemist’s personality
- He embraces his internal values
- An alchemist is a balanced individual. He isn’t influenced by others.
Only when one cultivates these, he will attain the philosopher’s stone (or perfection).
7 Stages of Spiritual Alchemy
Solve et coagula is the core of alchemy. Solve et coagula means to dissolve and coagulate. This phrase means that one needs to disintegrate themselves to build their spirits. Another interpretation means to destroy one’s ego for self-realization. There are several interpretations of this phrase. But the alchemical processes to practice spiritual alchemy are the same.
There are 7 basic steps in alchemy:
The fire element rules the calcination stage. This is what everyone desires. But when one is faced with this process they feel frightened. Calcination represents the process of heating raw material. It is the step in which the unwanted and the unnecessary are burnt to ashes.
This is a difficult stage where the ego and self-limiting beliefs are destroyed. When one is free of these inhibiting beliefs they open themselves to a new journey. It is the journey of self-exploration.
The pretense and the superficial are peeled away during this step.
The water element rules the dissolution stage. When the falsehood washes away temporarily, one is able to see the truth. One is able to see the whole picture. They are able to identify their faults and limiting beliefs.
In this stage, one experiences intense emotions and it brings forth intense crying. Without the protection of the ego now, the person will feel directionless. But being lost brings that person close to discovering who they really are.
The dissolution step first allows the repressed feelings and past trauma to resurface. When these repressed negative emotions are addressed one is able to permanently let go of them. Now, they will finally be healed of painful events.
The air element rules the separation stage. The element air signifies intellectual exploration. Therefore, the separation stage involves deep thinking and understanding. However, it doesn’t mean that one will hide away in their thoughts to avoid their emotions.
Here the person will be able to align their emotions with their logical mind. Emotion is the expression of the soul. Therefore, it is necessary to listen to and express one’s emotions. Even though our society condemns self-expression it is a necessary measure to know one’s soul’s purpose.
In this way, a person will be able to make the correct decision in life. The process of separation will empower the person to separate the right from wrong. He will be able to distinguish between his limiting and empowering qualities.
The earth element governs the conjunction stage. Here the heart assumes prevalence over others. The world tree is a popular symbol of both alchemy and kabbalah. The trunk of the tree signifies human life. Further, the branches and roots, heaven and earth respectively.
Alchemy teaches that to be whole, one needs to integrate themselves with heaven. In this way, the power of the heavens (leaves) will flow through a person (the trunk). Personal transformation can only occur when there is a marriage between the physical and the spiritual.
If separation allows one to get rid of inhibitions, conjunction allows one to begin their desired path.
In the stage of fermentation, the old begins to die. Additionally, one starts to receive a glimpse of new. While the previous 4 stages deal with letting go of the old self, the fermentation stage involves welcoming the new self.
All the non-serving aspects of one’s conscious and unconscious state get destroyed.
The fermentation stage involves two parts:
In putrefaction the death of the old self takes place. This marks the rebuilding of a new refined you. In this part, a person might feel depressed and lost as the old beliefs break down.
Spiritization is where the death of the old self is complete. Now it is time to find new guidance. Here a person receives a new perception of the world and self. Peace and stillness are hallmarks of this stage.
Distillation means purification. Hence, in this stage, the person will undergo further purification after facing a series of hardships. In the distillation stage, a person will become a purified soul. He will turn into someone who thinks beyond his selfish interests.
With the ego washed away, the person will now listen to his soul. He will be able to understand both his conscious and unconscious self. Whatever, he has learned so far, he will be able to apply them in his daily life.
In the final stage of alchemy, it is time to become whole again. All the stages till now were disintegrating the self and refining it. But now, it is time to make the ‘self’ whole again.
Making the ‘self’ whole again means to align the physical body with the spiritual. Whatever the body and the soul has learned until now, it can now work together to achieve their true purpose.
Again, coagulation is the meeting point of the soul with the spirit. This stage is the meeting point of life and death. It is the meeting point of light (conscious) and darkness (unconscious).
Here the physical universe becomes interconnected with the spiritual world.
The spiritual alchemical gold is different from chemical gold. But, this gold is a thousand times more valuable than the material one.
In spiritual alchemy, the person gets transformed into the philosopher’s stone. Whatever he touches, in other words, whatever he does indeed turns into gold.
Sujata is someone who believes in the power of the written word. She regards life as a constant pursuit of knowledge and self-discovery. As a freelance writer, she has written extensively on health, psychology, self-improvement, travel, and digital marketing. Blogging and digital marketing are her other passions. Sujata is a strong believer in maintaining balance in life and wants people to focus more on their mental wellbeing. When she is not busy checking out the latest fashion trends she can be found binge-watching a thriller web series.