Back to South
France Retreat and Tour
Throughout the Ages, humanities experience with
the ‘elements of nature’ have
deeply fascinated us, and for some, hold the secrets of transformation
and Universal meaning. Alchemy was chiefly concerned with transmutation
of metals into gold and the finding of a universal remedy for diseases...a
pouring together...of all the known science and mythology of each age.
There are many interpretations of this field of endeavor available
today, each depicting slightly different stages, signs, and words describing
them. It is a vast mythological system of symbols and metaphors, beings
and stories, geometries and diagrams, elements and heavenly bodies,
designed to represent aspects of the human psyche and spirit, as well
as provide guidance towards the nature of the Universe.
The fundamental events or qualities/states of
being or becoming in
Western Alchemy are: blackening, whitening, yellowing and reddening.
This corresponds to the four elements: earth, air, water, and fire.
This also corresponds to the four qualities: cold, hot, moist, and
dry. Through the process of using mercury, sulphur, water, and fire,
all in a ritualized fashion, the artifex - the student can achieve
transmutation of the elements; through dissolution, coagulation, distillation,
condensation, disintegration and bonding. Alchemy was the forerunner
of chemistry. That’s why some of the most beautiful glass artworks
are made in the Czech Republic and the Catherals of France!
The working with gold in Egypt was assigned to
a priestly class centered
in the temple of the god Ptah at Memphis. Ptah was the patron of smelters
and goldsmiths, his temple was "goldsmithy," and his priests
were distinguished by such titles as "Great Wielder of the Hammer," and "He
who knows the Secret of the Goldsmiths."
Pythagoras stated that quadernity defines the
spectrum of possibilities in the physical world. Aristotle posed the fifth element, the quintessence.
The alchemists were seeking to bring this fifth element down to Earth,
through the repeated transmutations of matter. The Gold that was sought
however was not always the material gold. To observe the alchemical
process is to observe the process of creation itself, and to thus learn
the secrets of divine genesis. Alchemy was a process reveling a way
of giving enlightenment to the soul.