Alchemy is an old forgotten art. A lot of the works we have are not understood by the modern readers, nor is it clear exactly what the writer of antiquity was relaying to their readers. Many people believed the art to be a way to transmute base metals into gold, thereby making the person rich. And although a lot of people tried to make gold, there is no real solid, evidence that anyone has had any success in turning lead, or other base-metals, into gold.
Alchemy, the dark obscure art that could potentially make gold, did not sit well with some of the ruling parties. Kings weren’t too happy about the idea that a common man could make gold out of everyday metals, and religions weren’t happy to have their philosophy second-guessed by a charlatan or a magician. Needless to say, alchemy became an art that was outlawed and punishable by death in most nations. Books were burnt, libraries were destroyed and, yes, lots of people were tortured and killed by people who, because of their religion, felt they were pure and had the right to eradicate impurities from their nation.
However, despite the bad publicity given to alchemy in the old days, it did not seem that the people only saw it as an art to make physical gold. It seems as if a lot of the people understood it was an internal art. Teachers of the Craft traveled frequently and taught lessons, often disguised as science, math or philosophy to the hungry, eager minds that wanted to eat of the alchemical bread of knowledge.
The passionate, committed teachers of the ages risked their lives in order to teach the truth and to give knowledge to the inquiring minds of their time.
What exactly did the teachers teach, or how they taught it, will always be a mystery that we can only speculate about. Although there are “schools” that teach the ancient mysteries in our modern time, we can cast a shadow of doubt as into whether or not they are using the same method as the ancient masters, or if the modern teacher is even transmitting the same knowledge at all.
To me, alchemy is about the transformation of attitude’s & perspective’s – from basic, biased ones into ones that are more useful for the mind’s vitalization. The individual who is seeking change does so through a series of contemplation’s and practices. Instead of a master or teacher telling the individual what to think or do, the person’s instructing comes from within his own temple.
The Great Theater of Mystery
A lot of sacred, ancient work – especially those dealing with alchemy – are written in symbols. The works are allegorical, showing how principals (personified as gods & characters) interact with each other in open space under certain conditions. The world is likened to a stage where we can feel, smell and observe the universal principals play out in solid form. We participate in this great play everyday – but those who try to look behind the curtains are the ones who might get a chance to see the hands setting up the stage and working the mechanisms.
We see the world around us and inside we form a thought concerning it, and before we even think of the energies within that created this mental image, we react to this shadow figure created in our minds. Whipped, scalded and beaten by our habit in thinking, we move on with our day, never stopping to think about the root cause of our problem.
I think that the contemplation and practices prescribed by ancient masters were done so to help those who they were training to become better self-disciplined thinkers who, by virtue of their unfoldment, became better men with excellence in character and intelligence.
Students with Superpowers
My thought on the idea that practitioners or student of the art possessed “superpowers”; well, lets call it more of a doubt that an thought. Since most of the written works about alchemy or the past students & masters tend to be non-literal and highly allegorical, I do have strong doubts about the claims that suggest the individual had the power to manipulate natural forces outside of him. I prefer to see it as they had exceptional will-power and control over the world and forces within them, and they displayed it everyday in their graceful acts.
Let me know what you think. I would really like to hear and consider other opinions of this subject.