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Alchemy is best known for its belief that lead can be transmuted into gold. However, the transmutation of non-precious metals into gold is simply a metaphor for the soul being freed from a "dead, leaden state of mind," to that of realizing its own light nature and that is derived from pure spirit.
The alchemists believed that the basis of the material world was a Prima Materia, or prime chaotic matter, which might be actuated into existence if impressed by "form." The "forms" arose in the shape of the elements, earth, water, fire, and air.

Materia Prima (or “first matter”), is an Alchemic symbol that reflects the notion that all the universe originated from a primitive, formless base. The idea of a “Materia Prima” can be traced back to Aristotle who understood that there is a force that holds all other forms in existence together but is itself invisible – these days, we call it “Spirit.” This invisible womb or unseen force is a field of pure potential that can only come into existence when it is embodied into a “form.”
The Alchemists deduced that the limitless varieties of life were created out of the blending of the elements in particular proportions. Aristotle distinguished the four elements from one another by the four qualities of fluidity, dryness, heat and cold. Each element possesses two of these primary qualities.
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Transmutation is thus possible. Any element may be transformed into another through the quality that they have in common. Thus fire can become air through the medium of heat, just as air can become water through the medium of fluidity. Also two elements may become a third element by removing one quality from each. By parting with the dry and cold qualities, fire and water can become air; by parting with the hot and fluid qualities, the same elements can give rise to earth. Consider the simple example of the transmutation process a piece of green wood undergoes when heated. Drops of water form at the cut end of the wood, therefore wood contains water; steam and vapors are then given off, therefore wood contains air; the wood then burns, demonstrating the fire element; and when we see that only ash is left we realize that the wood contains earth. Alchemists viewed other materials, particularly metals, in much the same way, i.e. that a metal owes its specific form of nature to its specific proportioning of the four elements. A modern day review of the psychological states and problems that clients present with also shows the presence of the elements, but in distorted proportions; e.g. an over-stressed mind could be described alchemically as excess fire (hot + dry). Nature tries to intervene by releasing water (tears), thereby relieving the overheated mind which could then "cool off." However, more often than not our will interferes and we block the tears, thereby increasing the stress.

In Alchemy, we have a very sacred science for bringing the lead of an undeveloped consciousness, up to the level of a fully developed consciousness of Gold, magnificent and incorruptible. In this one can see past the allegory of symbols and cryptic artwork, commonly associated with Alchemy. The Great Work is filled with some of the most spectacular symbolism ever created and seen in our time, deciphering them and applying them to ourselves displays one of the greatest secret’s ever to be revealed.
The list of alchemists is known to originate with, Thoth, who is widely credited with being the author of science, religion, mathematics, geometry, philosophy, medicine, and magic. Thoth is said to bring to civilization, the calculations for the establishment of the heavens, stars, Earth, and everything in them. In other words, matter. Compare this to how his feminine counterpart, Maatt was the force which maintained the Universe, otherwise, spirit. The unification of matter and spirit became a centerpiece in alchemical thought.
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The philosopher's stone is a legendary substance, allegedly capable of turning inexpensive metals into gold. It was sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality. For a long time, it was the most sought-after goal in Western alchemy. In the view of spiritual alchemy, making the philosopher's stone would bring enlightenment upon the maker and conclude the Great Work. It is also known by several other names, such as 'Materia Prima.'
The Philosopher's Stone, the White Stone by the River, The Sword in the Stone, all the same, meaning that which contains the knowledge of creation, a symbol that represents the final outcome of man's inner transformation, of the conversion of the base metal of his outer character to the golden properties of his higher self. It is all about the evolution of consciousness in the alchemy of time.
Alchemy has always made extensive use of analogy, symbolism, and so forth to relate chemical and physical concepts to esoteric and mystic ones. In some epochs and contexts, these metaphysical aspects came to predominate, and the chemical processes were then viewed as mere symbols of spiritual processes.
In this hermetic side of alchemy, the "philosopher's stone", supposed to to be the most tangible and dense crystallization or condensation of a subtle substance, became a metaphor for an inner potential of the spirit and reason to evolve from a lower state of imperfection and vice (symbolized by the base metals) to a higher state of enlightenment and perfection (symbolized by gold). In this view, spiritual elevation, the transmutation of metals, and the purification and rejuvenation of the body were seen to be manifestations of the same concept.
The mystical revival in the late 20th century renovated the public interest on alchemy, and particularly on this metaphysical and philosophical conception of the philosopher's stone - which is now subscribed by many people, especially within several New Age movements.
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Paracelsus identified three primes (Tria Prima) of alchemy. The Primes are related to the Law of the Triangle, in which two components come together to produce the third.
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Sulfur – male, Soul
Mercury – female, Spirit [Mind]
Salt – Material Body
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In alchemy everything is connected & everything has a correspondence. There are SEVEN stages of alchemical transformation. Everything in nature goes through these stages. The seven stages correspond to the seven closest planets and even the seven Chakras.
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The Seven Planetary Metals:

Of the nature of Gold.
Gold is a perfect body, engendered of Argent-vive pure, fixed, clear, red, and of Sulphur clean, fixed, red, not burning, and it wants nothing.
Of the nature of silver.
Silver is a body, clean, pure, and almost perfect, begotten of Argent-vive, pure, almost fixed, clear, and white, and of such a like Sulphur: It wants nothing, save a little fixation, color, and weight.
Of the nature of Tin.
Steel is a body clean, imperfect, engendered of Argent-vive pure, fixed & not fixed clear, white outwardly, but red inwardly, and of the like Sulphur. It wants only decoction or digestion.
Of the nature of Lead.
Lead is an unclean and imperfect body, engendered of Argent-vive impure, not fixed, earthy, dressy, somewhat white outwardly, and red inwardly, and of such a Sulphur in part burning, It wants purity, fixation, color, and firing.
Of the nature of Copper.
Copper is an unclean and imperfect body, engendered of Argent-vive, impure, not fixed, earthy, burning, red not clear, and of the like Sulphur. It wants purity, fixation, and weight: and has too much of an impure color, and earthiness not burning.
Of the nature Iron.
Iron is an unclean and imperfect body, engendered of Argent-vive impure, too much fixed, earthy, burning, white and red not clear, and of the like Sulphur: It wants fusion, purity, and weight: It has too much fixed unclean Sulphur, and burning earthiness. That which has been spoken, every Alchemist must diligently observe.
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The Seven Stages of Transformation:


Calcination is the process of heating and decomposing raw matter – or in other words, breaking down parts of ourselves that are in the way of our own happiness. Often we'd rather be right or fulfill an idea of "perfection" than be truly happy, so we continue neglecting the exploration of ourselves.

The stage of Calcination represents the stage in our lives where we begin breaking down our egos, self-doubt, stubbornness, self-sabotaging behavior, pride and arrogance, and put it aside so we can find out what is underneath.

Once we have broken down all of our personality characteristics that were in the way, we are left with the process of dissolution which is the beginning of feeling less identification with our false sense of self. Once we are free from our pride or self-doubt, we can take one step back and truly observe our positive and negative qualities.

Suddenly, our inability to take responsibility for our many faults, avoidance of traumatizing memories, and other inner tensions rise to the surface, causing us to become aware of how our behavior might be affecting others. This is the beginning of spiritual maturity. Sometimes this stage of transformation is brought about accidentally by illnesses and misfortunes in our lives that cause us to really pay attention to what we're doing, shocking us out of our avoidance patterns (such as workaholism, drugs and TV watching).

Separation is the stage where we make our thoughts and emotions more defined by isolating them from other thoughts and emotions. A simple example is our attempt to free our heart from resentment while trying to forgive someone.

The process of separation involves truly becoming aware of our authenticfeelings for a person, or for ourselves. In this stage we honestly experience our anger, frustration or disappointment towards another or ourselves, rather than reverting back to the old habit of dutifully trying to "forgive" or "forget" because it is the "right" or comfortable thing to do. Separation is closely entwined with shadow work in that we must allow all feelings and thoughts within us to surface side by side. This helps us to isolate particular elements of our character in order to honestly see and assess them.

After the purification and clarification of the first three stages, we must properly combine the remaining elements within us through the process of "Conjunction."

While in the previous step we separated and learned to distinguish all the separate feelings and thoughts within us, Conjunction provides the inner space – the simmering – that is required for us to truly and honestly accept all the parts of our authentic self. When we experience this stage of spiritual alchemy, all of our unconscious thoughts and feelings bubble up to the surface and into the light of conscious awareness.

Fermentation is the beginning of our process of rebirth. This stage can be compared to the death of a grape, which then becomes the birth of wine. While the first four stages involved working with aspects of our old personality, in the stage of Fermentation we begin to experience moments of our more "refined" self.

Fermentation occurs in two parts: Putrefaction and Spiritization. Putrefaction is the decomposition of our former selves; the process of inner death by which the old elements of our conscious and unconscious minds are allowed to rot and decompose. (Some call this stage the dark night of the soul, as it can be followed by troublesome mental states such as depression.)

On the other hand, Spiritization is the stage by which we begin to look at the world in a new light. With the right guidance and with enough inner work, Spiritization involves letting go of all the aspects of ourselves and our lives that don't serve or contribute to our involution. This is when we taste moments of great inner peace and stillness.

Once we begin our Spiritization we must find a way to continue to integrate all of these spiritual realizations into our lives in order to allow them to become permanent. Distillation is the level of further purification.

One example of Distillation is finding ways to live from a daily place of inner peace – even in the most mundane circumstances. With enough repeated practice of constantly dying and being reborn in the present moment without entering again into the habits, identifications and cycles of the mind, we experience a strong and profound inner transformation. In the East, this is what is mostly defined as "enlightenment."

Similar to the blood's ability to form clots and stop bleeding, Coagulation is the moment when we've "broken open the head," or in other words, we have become free from the mind and have allowed our consciousness or Soul, to connect with the Materia Prima: the Spirit.

The meeting point between two opposites such as the spiritual self and raw matter, heaven and hell, and life and death, is the point where existence become self-aware. This is the moment when our lives are without duality; when matter becomes spirit, or the spirit is manifested in material form.

In the stage of Coagulation, the physical universe is not separate from the mind or spiritual reality; it is a reflection of it.
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