Alchemical Gnosis Introduction (Part 1)
John H. Reid III © 2003
I would like to share with you a practice that I have been actively engaged in for over two decades now. In its present form known as Alchemical Gnosis, it is unique to the West, but in truth its philosophy and methods have been handed down from teacher to student or through direct revelation for thousands of years. While the exact beginnings of alchemy have been shrouded by the mist of time, it is known that the Chinese have practiced it continuously for over 10,000 years. It was also practiced by the early Egyptians and the adepts of Islam and Judaism before being passed to the Europeans.
The science of Alchemy as a whole is chiefly concerned with the raising of vibrations. From the outer perspective of a person working on a substance this raising of vibrations is said to bring about the elevation or spiritualization of the matter being worked on. From the inner perspective what is actually happening is that the operator is realizing the inherent spiritual perfection of all creation. Alchemy is a dual science and the outer and inner go hand in hand. As the matter being worked on evolves, the alchemists' eyes are also opened and the realization sets in that what they seek has always been within the matter. This dual process is the same irrespective if one is working on transmuting lead into gold, purifying the spiritual gold hidden within us all, or making potent medicines from plant, animal, or mineral sources.
For the alchemist all of Natures subjects, irrespective of them being organic or inorganic, are alive and composed of the Three Essentials of Being: Body, Soul, and Spirit. Depending on which of the three kingdoms of Nature (mineral, plant, or animal) the subject matter belongs to, the Three Essentials may also be referred to respectively as:
Salt representing the essential of Body is generally a crystalline substance obtained from the calcined white ashes of the subject matter's coarse body. The use of the mineral salts natively found in the herb from which a tincture, essence etc., is made is one of the things that sets the spagyric and alchemical process apart from other methods of making herbal health supplements and phytoceuticals (plant medicines). Properly prepared mineral salts from plants are more bio-available to our bodies than minerals from other sources. Today more and more scientific and medical evidence points to the crucial role minerals play in maintaining our health and aiding in the reversal of disease. Yet as of the writing of this document only those practicing the ancient art of plant alchemy (spagyricist and alchemist) use the potent minerals found so abundantly in plants. Other herbal manufacturers are beginning to introduce minerals into their preparations but they are introduced into the preparation from sources outside of the vegetable kingdom.
Sulphur representing the essential of Soul represents the true essence of a substance with all of the complexities of character that make it unique. When prepared properly according to the alchemical art, the Sulphur is the healing and spiritual balm. In a plant this essential is represented by the plantís tincture, essential oils, resins etc. In minerals this essential is an oily substance, which can be extracted from any mineral, crystal, or metal. This extracted oily essence represents the true curative essence of the crystal, gem, or other mineral. It was from such oils that alchemists prepared their exceptional medicines that worked wonders. It must be noted here that we are not speaking of the so-called gem elixirs that are made by simply placing a crystal into water and exposing it to the rays of the sun. Rather a true extraction of the healing virtues of crystal is meant, a process, which is similar to that of extracting a tincture from an herb.
Mercury representing the essential of Spirit is denoted by a specially prepared volatile spirit made from the matter being worked on. In the plant kingdom this is the alcohol produced via fermentation of the plant substance; to produce it an herbal wine or grape wine is used. The alchemical work of wine is a gentle and delicate operation that can be used to make a number of rare products with exceptional characteristics and capabilities. Chief among these is a fiery spirit named Aqua Vitae or Water of Life that is so volatile a drop of it will not reach the floor, it is used in advanced plant and mineral work to make medicines whoís virtue and efficacy border on the miraculous. Another work on wine produces what is known as a circulata. This is not just mere alcohol, but rather wine that has been put through a unique spagyric process. The wine in a sense is transfigured and becomes so elevated that it has the ability to cause the separation of the Three Essentials of any fresh herb immersed into it. This is not the mere pulling of a tincture as is seen by using water and/or regular alcohol but rather a true separation, where the volatile oils, resins, etc., of the herb floats on top of the liquid and the consumed body sinks below. This separation is done at room temperature without the use of any heat or foreign substance. All that is used is the alchemist's circulata.
The manual method used by the alchemist to work on the Three Essentials is known as Spagyrics. Spagyric is a Greek word meaning to separate and recombine. The Spagyric process itself is a three-fold process of separation, purification, and cohobation (reuniting the purified parts). The end result of the alchemical work is to produce a product that is said to be reborn and alive. This product is then not only able to operate on the physical body but just as importantly it is able to operate on the spirit and the soul levels of a personís being as well. The triune operating theatres of such products afford the alchemist the ability not only to alleviate physical suffering but also to realign and even eradicate the metaphysical cause of disease, in himself, family, friends and neighbors.
Each time the subject matter is placed through the spagyric process its tingeing quality is augmented 10 fold. Tingeing quality in this case refers to the spiritual and healing virtue of the herb, and the inner experiences it elicits. A preparation that has had the wheel turned three times would have a tingeing ability of 1:1,000. Similarly one that had been put through 7 cycles would have a tingeing ability of 1:1,000,000. Mind you I am not talking about the potentization (dilution) that homeopathic preparations are placed through, but rather a true elevation of the matter, achieved by extracting and refining the quintessence of the material being worked on.
The ultimate reason for the alchemist to go through all of the trouble to make such exquisite preparations was to enhance their spiritual evolution and bring about gnosis or Knowledge and Conversation with oneís Holy Guardian Angel. Iíll go a little into the method and practice in the next article but for now what can be said about the whole thing is this. The process is a simple and natural one. A ray of spiritual light enters the heart and stimulates the higher elements of the soul into activity and life. It establishes - so to say - a center of polarity in the soul, causing the spiritual germ to expand and engender a higher life than that of which the physical man had been conscious of. Just as the powers of the terrestrial sun enter the heart of a tree and cause the growth of branches and twigs, the development of fruit and flowers. The power of the celestial sun of grace enters the heart of man and causes the development of a soul whose activity extends far beyond the limits of the physical body. Excerpt from Alchemical Gnosis Yoga of the West.
John H. Reid III has been studying spiritual and practical alchemy for over 20 years. He is the author of two books on alchemy. "The Minor Opus," a widely acclaimed book on the methods of making alchemical products from plants is available online free of charge at: http://www.spagyria.com/MinorOpus/minor.asp.
His second book titled "Alchemical Gnosis Yoga of the West" is also available online free of charge at http://www.spagyria.com/AlchemicalGnosis/agnosis.asp
"Minor Opus" has been translated into the German and Czech languages.
Currently John is head of production of alchemical products at Spagyria, Inc and also teaches classes on practical laboratory alchemy and alchemical gnosis via email.