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Friday, July 5, 2013

Alchemy - living with the inner tension of a Hermetically sealed jar

The Ancient Wisdom is imparted to those who have ears to hear
and eyes to see.  Keeping an open mind and a willingness to
see beyond the veil of the ego-mind, bent on its own ideas
being right and on its own knowledge,
will reveal that all structured religion, as well as
its esoteric, hidden side, contain the same message
and has done so for much longer than the past four
thousand years of better known history,

The Alchemist is such an ancient symbol, as is Alchemy.
Alchemy is a symbolic representation of the unfolding
and transformation of the
spiritual and invisible inner life as well as
the reflection thereof in the physical life - as above, so below.

Alchemy seems almost magical :  without any outside interference, other than
providing the container and the initial material.
And actually, the Divine Alchemist, provides both and
you are caught up in the process without even realising it.

Processes of discolouration, chemical and substantial changes
and elemental  transformation takes place, with the
grand opus being the manifestation of the most valuable metal,

When you witness the spiritual unfolding of the Self in your
own self, the image and symbol of Alchemy arises spontaneously in your inner seeing,
and without any prior knowledge of these symbols,
And even more importantly, these symbols are not bound to
any culture, tradition or religion.
They arise from the collective unconscious and are
then integrated into the culture and tradition under various names
and into the cultural myths and stories.
However, when you look deeper and beyond the name,
you will recognize the same qualities and attributes.

This shows us that our own spiritual unfolding
and enlightenment (the process of revelation)
is not a process limited to the individual self, but
that these Great Beings and Powers, work
in and through us;
that these aspects of the One lies dormant
in the psyche until the Wheel of Time stops
at a crucial point and the necessary mix of
feeling, thought and events meet on the cross
of the physical and spiritual.
Unless your hand turns the Wheel of Time (Kala),
you cannot possible regard these events
as personal.

At that crucial junction where above crosses with below,
it is as though these Powers move onto the stage
of your inner world, playing out the script which is required.
At these times you are aware of extreme pressure,
discomfort, intense feelings and emotions and often
you feel 'put upon' by life and its injustices.

It would seem that without any help or real input
from you, amazing (not always pleasant or easy)
changes take place in the
inner laboratory :
at times you feel as though you are dissolving
and disintegrating;
at other times you turn black with depression
and red with the anger of injustice.
It seems that life is grinding down your very bones
so that only white chalk remains
and when you remember to step back, into the role of the observing
alchemist, you eventually will
witness and realise that the contents of the jar
has blossomed and that old habits and thought forms
are a dim memory in the past.
But obviously this does not happen overnight,
and it requires great patience and no attention
to be paid to Time.

At the centre of the alchemist's laboratory is the
hermetically sealed container.
The word hermetically comes from Hermes, the
messenger of the Gods and the Bringer of Alchemy,
an Egyptian god. 
Hermetically means that the jar is air-tight,
a vacuum jar really.

When it is hermetically sealed, it implies that it is isolated
from its surroundings and everything outside of itself :
that it is completely dependent on and focused on the inner process 
between the prima materia (the first matter or material
that was placed in the jar) and the pressure
from being contained in a sealed container.
Sealed off also implies that the matter undergoing
the process, is contained.

The alchemical container represents the central nervous system,
which runs up the spine and looks like a living tree,
the Tree of Life. Serpents of Fire and Light
live in this Tree, the one gold and the other black
or seen as red and white - they bring darkness
and light; negative and positive, joy and sorrow.

The sealed container is one of the most important parts
of the process.  In practical terms, the inner container
is sealed through mental focus and Awareness.
During this time you are aware of great inner tension and

As the Divine Life, the Prima Materia, dances
and moves, marry and blossom
into new life, the tension of the opposites
can seem unbearable at times.
As the Light and Darkness snake up and down
the Tree, your inner self is confronted with
a collective unconscious which seems almost
too fantastical or frightening to witness and absorb.

You can imagine a pressure cooker as a modern
symbol of alchemy.  It can only cook
while the steam is kept within and the pressure is maintained.
When you take the lid off and let the steam out,
the pressure cooker can no longer cook the food
inside and the raw ingredients will not become
the nutrient and hearty soup that is meant to feed and nourish
 your body.

Through Awareness, you can contain the inner process
of transformation.  When you react emotionally,
get entangled mentally in trying to understand the
process, picking at reasons for why the matter
is turning into these various substances,
you are unsealing the container - you
are literally letting off steam and the process
is spoiled which means that you will have to start
all over again - eventually you will run
out of Time and you will have to spend
another lifetime trying to allow the same process
to alchemize.

The ancient alchemists and philosophers called the human psyche
the Prima Materia, or the Microcosmos - a small world, wherein heaven,
earth, fire, water, and air exist as well as sickness, death, birth, the creation,
the resurrection, and also the Philosopher's Stone, as it was made of one thing.

The key to Wisdom lies within the hermetically sealed jar, within the
Prima Materia, that secret ingredient which cannot be
dissected or analysed.
The Prima Materia, or the Psyche, is connected by a thread,
a breath of Prana, to the Divine.
This connection is symbolised by the Ankh, given to Isis by Hermes.

In the esoteric western mystical traditions, the goal or final
object of the spiritual quest is the Holy Grail, the cup of fulfillment
and eternal life.

The Holy Grail is the process of Alchemy - it is living with the
tension of the opposites, through Awareness and with
the Divine Knowledge that you hold the Ankh in your hand.

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