Alchemy is one of the most well-known but also the least understood occult science in history. Throughout the centuries, the art of alchemy has been practiced not only in the West, but also in India, in China and in Arabic countries. Alchemists worked in secrecy, and used secret codes, allegories and symbols in their books to hide their findings from the uninitiated. But in this episode, my goal is just the opposite: to discuss it as clearly as possible, to reveal its secrets and to explain its true meaning and purpose.
The goal of alchemy is twofold: to turn base metals into gold, and to find the elixir of life, the key to immortality. Ambitious individuals spent their fortunes and their lifetimes in the pursuit of material wealth and eternal life but all in vain. Although alchemy was the predecessor of modern chemistry and medicine, the legendary philosopher’s stone has never been found.
That’s because even most alchemists themselves misunderstood the essence of alchemy. You see, the alchemical process is a metaphor for reaching spiritual enlightenment, and shouldn’t be taken literally as referring to physical phenomena. There’s a clear distinction between exoteric and esoteric alchemy, and only the latter should be taken seriously, because the former is just a waste of time.
The base metal that alchemy refers to is actually your ego that has to be transmuted into gold, into pure light. When you become enlightened, everything you touch becomes gold, because you’ll perceive even the most mundane things as sacred, you’ll turn your miserable existence into a Heaven on Earth.
Immortality, the second goal of alchemy, can also be reached by enlightenment, although not physically but spiritually. On why and how this happens, please see my related video titled “How to become immortal for real”. The main agent of transformation is the philosopher’s stone, which is nothing else than pure consciousness.
So alchemy is a long and arduous process of inner transformation and awakening. It has four main stages, and as they build on each other, you can’t skip any of them. The motto of alchemy is: dissolve and solidify, or solve et coagula in latin. Subsequently, each stage contains a procedure of death and rebirth, of destruction and renewal, of decomposition and synthesis.
In spiritual terms, this means that the old self has to die before the new can be reborn. In each stage of the alchemical process, you reach a more encompassing sense of self, until finally you become one with the universe itself. This experience of oneness, this embodied state of consciousness is the real philosopher’s stone; indescribably beautiful and inherently indestructable.
All through the stages, the alchemical fire has to be kept alive to fuel the process of transmutation. This is, on the one hand, the burning desire for truth embedded in the heart of the seeker, and on the other, the light of consciousness that illuminates the way in the darkness. With this in mind, let me explain now the four distinct stages in detail.
The first stage is called nigredo or blackening, and not surprisingly, its color is black. This represents our earthly nature, along with our bodies and our attachment to it. From a psychological standpoint, this stage is experienced as entering a dark and chaotic unconscious inner world. Like Jung said, the process of individuation is about making the unconscious conscious.
This means that we need to face and discover our repressed and denied aspects of ourselves, which he referred to as the shadow. By uncovering our false beliefs, working through our childhood traumas and processing our painful emotions, we can recover this hidden self and integrate it into our conscious personalities.
With this, we are creating a healthy and pure ego, but at the same time, we have to get rid of our attachments: our attachment to our bodies, emotions and thoughts. So in this stage, the goal is to integrate the shadow into the ego, and then dissolve the ego altogether. Some scholars speak about this as the first dark night of the soul, as a spiritual death of the self.
The second stage is called albedo or whitening, represented by the color white. The sense of self in this stage is the individuality, our true human nature we were originally born with, before the conditioning by our parents and society affected us psychologically. This is a return to our pure and innocent selves, a spiritual rebirth of our individual Higher Selves.
Alchemists sometimes refer to this stage as sublimation, as a process of separating the true from the false, the essential from the non-essential, the true will from the conditioning. This is a subtler and more refined purification process, where we also have to find our purpose in life, our natural gifts and abilities, and our innermost desires.
Although we are now much more true to ourselves than before, this sense of self is still of a separate individual. This individual self has to then completely dissolve and die to give place to the universal self. And this is exactly the goal of stage three referred to as citrinitas or yellowing. The color yellow symbolizes the Sun, or the direct source of light, instead of the whitish light in the previous stage reflected back from the Moon.
We have to realize that we’re not just a reflection of consciousness, we are consciousness itself. We are not just part of creation, we are the creators. We are not just one individual in the world, we are the world itself.
The third stage then symbolizes spiritual enlightenment along with the death of all identifications, of all illusions and of all separations. This solar light also brings about revelatory knowledge and allows the adept to rely on his own intuition alone. This is the time to throw away all your books, because you’ve become a Master on your own right.
The culmination of stage three leaves the alchemist completely free in a state of Pure Spirit, Pure Intelligence, beyond space, time and form but without a consciousness of body or mind. The goal in stage four, which is called rubedo or reddening, is to embody this enlightened consciousness and bring it down to the realm of the Earth.
Although you reached the highest possible state of consciousness, it now has to become rooted in everyday life. If not, you can easily fall back to your previous egoistic state, just like it happens when you try to reach enlightenment through drugs. No matter how incredible the state of oneness is, if you don’t solidify it, it will seem just like a fleeting dream you may easily forget.
The pure yellow light takes up a reddish color as you integrate pure consciousness back to a new and enhanced, enlightened version of your personality. This is the ultimate culmination, the last alchemical marriage, the synthesis of the material and the spiritual. Heaven and Earth in the alchemist are now united, and the Great Work is completed.
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