Why Alchemy

Why Alchemy Cover We have been taught that Alchemy is about the transmutation of energy. What does this mean though and what is the use of such an exercise? I searched for many years for the answers. Some of them I found in Chinese philosophy/alchemy and some of them in Western alchemy. But the whole purpose and idea of it all came clearest when I started to read about the works of Gurdjieff. A magician and philosopher, and a Sufi master who was very prominent in the Western world between the two World Wars. In short he greatly questioned the purpose of human life on earth. Normally we tend to see ourselves as the summit of creation. We take it for granted that the whole earth, indeed the solar system was created to finally produce us and for us to make use of. If we start to question this and we start to sense that something is not quite right in the belief that the purpose of life on earth is man-made, then we come up against a new way of looking at the world and life. And it is this way of looking that makes Gurdjieff's contribution so distinctive. If there is a sense and purpose in human life that can be understood, then we have to play a part in the fulfilment of it. All life depends on other life. Or as Trismegistus says in the Emerald Tablet: as all things were produced from One by the mediation of the One, so all things are produced from this One thing by adaption. This meens we have to adapt to the prevailing energies of the time and consciously nourish and maintain them. In a way we have adapted to the prevailing energy of the element of Air of the Aquarian age. We have built aeroplanes and have built sky scrapers. So we have moved up into the Air. But do we consciously nourish and maintain this energy? So far we have only taken from this energy and not given anything back. According to Gurdjieff, something is required of the human race, a finer subtle energy that is needed for the maintenance of our solar system. It is an idea or principle that was prominent in older times. Zoroaster spoke about it 2,500 years ago and it was implicit in the older Jewish scriptures. I do suspect that old structures like the Pyramids and Stonehenge were built for just such a purpose. Gurdjieff calls it the doctrine of Reciprocal Maintenance. The doctrine of Reciprocal Maintenance is everything that exists in the universe depends on other things for its maintenance and must in turn maintain the existence of others. At the same time a great process of sensitization or spiritualization is proceeding on this earth and throughout the solar system and we have to make our contribution to it. We know that we take a great deal from this earth. We are beginning to see that we are taking more than we are entitled to, that we are running heavily into debt to the earth and to life. This makes it even more important for us to know how to repay, how to square our account with the earth and with life. We can interpret this as exhaustion of resources and pollution of the environment, etc. but deep down we feel intensely uneasy about the significance of it all. Gurdjieff assures us that certain subtle energies to be consciously produced by mankind are needed to maintain a proper balance in the solar system. It is only when the human race realises these responsibilities and falls into line with the prevalent cosmic energies (Archetypes) that we see the heights and flowering of civilizations. When this is not the case, great catastrophes and sudden changes in the solar system can be expected. The maintenance of our solar system is in part dependent on human understanding. It is here that the study of alchemy comes in. It teaches us about the transmutation of energies and increases our understanding of the how and why of the universe. By the study of the different cycles, astrology and above all the study of that ancient glyph "The Tree of Life" we increase our cosmic awareness. But that by itself is not enough. According to Gurdjieff we should also increase our sense of responsibility on a cosmic scale. By doing that we then also strengthen our souls, our "sulphur" becomes more fixed. It is only then that our human potential starts to become more fulfilled. To break through our conditioned mind and reflexes he suggested a series of unusual exercises, which we nowadays try to do with Tai Chi and other martial arts. For further help in this process he mentioned the use of what he so beautifully called an "enabling substance". This no doubt would have been an alchemical substance of a very high order. In the olden days it was believed that any situation in life may be represented as a dynamic pattern for which there exists a precedent in nature. Cosmology was therefore the reigning science, for by knowledge of the laws of growth and celestial motion it was found possible to divine the appropriate response to any circumstances, to harmonise the conflicting interests, to predict and thus to influence the course of events.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Marian Green - A Witch Alone
Roger Bacon - The Mirror Of Alchemy
Arthur Edward Waite - What Is Alchemy