Why did the ancient alchemists say that the supreme goal of Alchemy was to reproduce a small-scale Genesis? And why is it called an ancestral rite?
We must go beyond laboratory alchemy and look into classical mythology to answer this question and introduce the topic.
Paracelsus spoke of the creation of Homunculus, while in the Testamentum Fraternitatis Roseae et Aureae Crucis, we read of the union of Lapis Medicinalis Microcosmi and Lapis Medicinalis Macrocosmi and other treatises, ancient and modern, refer to this union between man and cosmos, between microcosm and macrocosm. Henri Coton-Alvart alluded to a cosmic resonator. You will find in these faqs that the cosmic adjective in alchemy is not synonymous with astronomical but has more to do with macrocosm and microcosm. After all, what is Genesis, if not a proliferation of microcosms from a macrocosm?
Classical mythology, on the other hand, speaks to us of archetypes. And how a man should reunite with his archetype, or prototype, through an operation called the “application of the cosmos to earth”. It is, therefore, evident that the cosmos, for the ancients, was not the one observed by astronomers but something more vague and hidden beyond our ordinary senses. I would never allow myself to say it; the historians of mythologies affirm it.
But what is Genesis, the world’s creation, that could arouse a sense of delusional omnipotence in some of us? Could it not, instead, represent the fabrication of a private channel? The sapiential literature had always seen Genesis’s tale as “the embodiment of a soul”. At the same time, the lab Alchemy path would seem instead to deal with a possible “disembodiment of a soul” or the extraction of a Soul/Sulfur from a body through Spirit of Life/Mercurius. However, alchemists speak of coitus, pregnancies, embryos, egg hatches, and children’s births, while the ancient philosophers spoke of numbers, geometries, and series.
We also hear that Alchemy can produce a reverse Genesis. Is it the same thing as a small Genesis?
It is also said that Alchemy is Genesis in reverse. In the sense that we can go back to the first cause. So, according to those, the philosopher’s stone is the return to the first day of Genesis. In a certain sense, the philosopher’s egg is reduced to a word because it emits a whole, even if simple, musical scale.
Among the verbs used for small-scale Genesis, there is also “to rewind” Genesis…
In the sixth book of Aeneid, Aeneas visits his father Anchises in the afterlife’s world, and he can do that owing to a golden branch and a Sibyl that accompanies him. Aeneas and Anchises are two different people. The son collects his father’s inheritance under specific circumstances: the seer Sibyl’s divination and the golden twig, rewinding Genesis.
But why do Alchemists use minerals?
Too trivial to answer because they are only practitioners of the matter. Let us always remember that chemistry and biology are moved by physics; in certain states of matter, only physics exists. And, in those stages, the chemistry is gone.
Even a voice command must follow the rules of physics.
Is there any mineral that shows characteristics of “little Genesis?
Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize 2004, reports on a collision of two high-energy ions of gold. Fireball results and the subsequent expansion recreate the physical conditions of the Big Bang on a small scale and for a short time.
You can see the image on this site under the tag Gold Properties.
Can we define Alchemy as a mineral theurgy?
Although never using this term, the alchemists of the Baroque age, and down to the early Middle Ages, not only dedicated their work to the world of the divine but also defined the final stages and the attainment of fulfillment as even sacred. Not for nothing is Alchemy known as Science or Sacred Art. And their Sulfur and Mercurius became synonymous with the mineral’s soul and spirit of life.
Theurgy is defined as an art that uses ineffable actions akin to magical ones to bring about a union with the archetypal divinity and to work by this contact. We know that some Greek Neoplatonic age theurges, including Iamblichus, still theorized the importance of animal sacrifices to avoid making the devotional phase in vain. In light of this, can’t we alchemists observe that perhaps killing a mineral, with the consequent extraction of its vital principles, is a sacrifice?
What could be the role of time in alchemical operations?
Liquids and solid means that molecules retreat from one another. The contraction of solids, liquids, and gases means that molecules approach one another. The distance between them diminishes. There is space here, and there are distances… Every motion within the limits of three-dimensional space is simultaneously a motion in time. There is more ‘time’ in a liquid than in a solid; there is more ‘time’ in a gas than in a liquid”.
Should we think that every mass has its time? What if time is causing and is not being caused? As Pherekydes of Syros did suspect. But we know that the philosophical egg has an abnormal concentration of mass. Let me speculate: is the philosophical egg the return to an archetypal time?
Ultimately, Zeus-the-universe-before-universe, had to escape his father Chronos-the-time-before-time to exist. But, according to classical mythology, there was a series of Zeus, a procession.
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