AN INTRODUCTION to the ALCHEMICAL PROCESS
Gill Schwartz, M.A., B. Div.
Choose something in your own life
you would like to see transformed.
This is an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the ancient transformative work of Alchemy and experience its wondrous nature for yourself.
A great deal of study and reflection went into this presentation that focuses on the deep self as the goal. If this resonates with you, please invite into your awareness of your deep self to become your guide through the issues, challenges and goals in our lives, which call on your hopes, fears, concerns.
Your inner self can be a well spring resource enabling fulfillments in your outer life.
Alchemical transformative connections to the deep self can often be an excellent guide through this Mytho-Poetic Journey.
As you work through the process, please choose or create an image, emblem or phrase that holds deep meanings for you. Take your personal symbol with you through the fazes of this Journey, Adventure and Transformation.
I wish you a bountiful journey,
Click Here to View Cosmograms
Cosmograms are pictorial expressions of various modes and stages of Cosmosis.
This is a form of Alchemy concerned with materializing spirit and spiritualizing matter,
of transforming individual consciousness into Cosmic Mind.
AN INTRODUCTION to the ALCHEMY of the SOUL
I am a Wizard and my Art is Alchemy,
the science of transformation.
By skillful use of schemes
and happenstance, I create a Mytho-poetic ritual
that parallels and guides soul change.
It aligns personal process with
corresponding outer events.
Inner and outer, individual and universal
come to resonate, to reflect each other.
As Wizard, I can then bring cosmic powers
into the innermost mystery unfolding.
In this, my Magnum Opus, I seek to convert
a common, even despised substance
into a wondrous, precious one:
Lead into gold, torment into revelation.
What had seemed worthless affliction
becomes an altar and sublime sacrament.
First, the substance is found as focus for this Opus,
-often revealed by what one loves or fears the most.
I prayerfully guide this substance through a
progression of Mytho-poetic Procedures that activate
its powers of growth and transformation.
I personify these Mytho-poetic Procedures
through symbols and images that mirror them,
explore their diverse facets,
and give entry into their mysteries.
Not a series of formulas, but a soul-science,
Alchemy calls for intuitive creativity and skill
in using its implements, formulas and treatments.
I move with high intention, yet am
humbly open to guidance in the moment.
The quest of my Opus is to deliver
this seeker's soul from its captivity
in a dark and hidden place,
to enlighten its confused mind,
to ennoble its lowly state.
The Work's culmination is the sublimation
of this substance into its transmuting state:
The Pearl of Great Price, the Elixir of Life,
The Jewel of Paradox.
When the Prima Materia is first found or identified,
it is often fragmented, a welter of accumulated,
ill-matching Elements, isolated, alienated.
This first Procedure of the Opus brings all the relevant
Elements of the Prima Materia together.
They are placed in an appropriate vessel
and moistened with the prescribed solvents,
mixed, blended, and brought to the desired consistency
for the Procedures that follow.
My understanding of the needs of the Opus,
determines the extent of this moistening,
from a slight dampening to drenching
the compound into a fluid state.
Emotional concern moistens the
Prima Materia's aridness to nurture
and enhance its soul qualities.
This Procedure quenches deep thirsts and
dissolves parched, rigid boundaries.
It softens and allows the various Elements
to be permeable to each other,
open to reaction and interaction.
They are activated to blend and recombine in new ways,
to explore the possibilities of unique configurations.
The Alchemical term for this moistening Procedure is:
SOLUTIO or SOAKING
SOLUTIO has done its work to soften and liquefy.
Now I need to stir and shake the Prima Materia
to blend its various components, to enliven and
catalyze further interactions and evolutions.
Repeated motions of winnowing, shaking and kneading
will mix the Solution, promote a sorting
and a release of toxins, dross and impurities.
Such agitating can break up blocks and create
readiness for change and the energy to bring it about.
Whether I knead the Prima Materia like clay, swirl
it like a potion or melt and mix in a furnace,
it thus becomes more vital and workable.
Traits, qualities, memories that had always
clustered, can now break apart.
My Wizardly term for this sacred quaking is:
AGITATIO or SHAKING
This is a turning point in the Alchemical Work.
The Prima Materia, the substance I am
called on to transform, has already been
identified and extracted from the morass of
day-to-day life. Then it was brought into Solutio,
to dissolve and meld its various components.
In Agitato I stirred and spun the Prima Materia
to blend and activate it.
Now it is readied to receive a new energy that
will empower this to become a transformative
Work, not merely a change of appearance.
Now I use my Philosopher's Stone
to catalyze the Work's ultimate gifts. .
The introduction of this germinating force is called:
SEMINATO or IMPREGNATION
The process of Seminato impregnates the Prima Materia
with Seeds of the transcendent.
These will dominant in the Work's unfolding.
It will be shaped by their particular energies, functions and
needs. My Work now, as Wizard,
is to nourish the Prima Materia
so that the relevant aspects thrive and develop
and the inconsequential ones starve and perish.
To accomplish this, it is as important for me to create
the appropriate hunger and thirst as to supply timely
and suitable nourishment. This will shape the Work's
final product, much as a plant or crystal's qualities
reveal the nature of their sustenance.
This Procedure of wise and appropriate feeding is called:
CIBATION or NURTURING
As the Prima Materia evolves, certain elements
are attracted to others, some repelled.
Now comes the time for me to discern and separate,
to divide out that which will serve the Goal,
and that which will not. I draw these
concerns, and compounds from the primal broth.
This Process is the polar complement
of CONJUNCTUM, now dancing together.
As Wizard, I can shape this Process with
various influences -temperature, light, etheric energy.
Or, perhaps, I may be led to simply allow
the solution of the Prima Materia to just sit.
This allows the Elements to follow their own natures to
settle out of themselves. Some will solidify and sink,
Others will float on the broth. Some will release as
vapor and fumes , others crystallize.
Discernment and discrimination are the edge of my
mind's blade, the means for me to pry apart and develop
individuated compounds. Each is recognized as unique
and treated according to its role in the Work.
Special vessels, implements, procedures, visualizations
and prayers can be used to minister to this sometimes agonizing Process.
In the Work, we call this taking apart:
SEPERATUM or ISOLATION
In our Alchemical quest, the Prima Materia was drawn
out of the welter of day to day chaos. I soaked this
with tears, sweat and semen into solution. This I shook
and stirred and twirled around till all the
Elements in the Prima Materia into active interaction.
Into this rich and readied medium I placed the Seed of transcendent
meaning, of transformative purpose. Through fostering appropriate
hungers and discerning care with their nurturing,
those Elements called for in this transformation thrive.
The others perish. The broth of Prima Materia
was now readied for a purification, the separating out
of the selected and nurtured Elements and disposal of the others.
This elixir of the Prima Materia enables me to
open the Work to a higher vibration, a fuller context.
This needs a new context, a universal consciousness,
both personal and transpersonal, self and non-self.
In this, I gather these Elements into encompassing
relationship between the Immanent -the horizontal realm
of space-time, and the worldly life
and the Transcendent -the vertical, infinite ascending
levels of being-consciousness.
Now this is the context for all Procedures.
It thus holds the potential so that each aspect
of the Work may act as a link and merge these two
otherwise irreconcilables. As in the Cross of Christ.
This gives the Work a cosmic environment in
which to evolve, the context in which to fulfill its
highest calling. For me, there is the ongoing
experience of being an individual expression
of the Divine Impulse.
The Realms of Innermost and Universal come as close
as inhalation and exhalation.
We call this relating the Work to the universal:
The Prima Materia has been dissolved, blended,
inseminated with the Seed of transformation,
wisely nurtured and the essential
Elements selected out and placed in Cosmosis.
These Elements are now prepared to be activated
by my Wizard empowered shock.
My gesture to transmit this may vary from a gentle
nudge to a traumatizing jolt to the body or mind.
This is done with appropriate force, timing and
intention, as the I intuit is needed.
I create uncertain, unsettling circumstances to activate
excitation or fear, even to disorder and insanity
if called for in the Work.
I am skilled at unsettling and confusing,
Others and myself.
Bedevilment is a supreme art of mine.
I need not punish as the range of my powers
let me use a glance to bring discomfort,
even pain and turbulence.
This Procedure shakes loose old forms and stances.
It can startle and alert attention and interest
in the seeker. It calls for new footing and direction.
It carries the forceful message and energy to
initiate a new beginning. It can provoke that step off
the end of one's world. This completes the preparatory
Procedures and activates the Prima Materia
into its next level of unfoldment.
We call this activating jolt in the Work:
PERTURBIO or SHOCK
The elixir of Elements, refined from the Prima Materia
has been shock-activated. The internal cohesion
between Elements now brings a denser, more solid form,
to unify and integrate them and enables the new
compound to isolate out of the flux of things.
Certain Elements draw and cohere to each other into new
combinations, products of the Work's special
conditions and intentions.
Now is a moment for me to help these gather and set,
to congeal and become concrete, a means of holding
particular concerns and qualities together in unique patterns.
This form giving process in the Alchemical Work we call:
COAGULA and CONCRETIZE
This is the culmination of the first phase of the Opus
that began when I drew the Prima Materia out of the
welter of raw experience. Through my use of the appropriate
Alchemical Procedures, the Prima Materia has been purified
from its crude, undifferentiated state and its selected Elements
coaxed to its full uniqueness.
The Element becoming fully itself was also preparation
for it joining to what it is not, to crave merging with its Other,
its compliment. In this conjoining,
opposites are drawn together.
This merging of two that had been separate and distinct
in mystical, synergetic marriage is to bring about
their mutual fullness of being through that union.
This interweaving of realities can create a
wondrous new vision of self and other.
As in all Procedures in this Opus, through higher
guidance and transcending love, I, as Wizard,
use my wisdom and deft trickery to bring this stage
My term for this merging is:
CONJUNCTUM or JOINING
This is an awing and special time in the Process.
It is a passage, a crossing over.
From the known to the mysterious.
The Work is transferred from the seen
to the unseen vessel where I can fulfill
the complementary Procedures.
It is the moment for me to place the awoken
Prima Materia into this special vessel
in which it can meet and merge
with its Other, the hidden aspects of its wholeness.
Our means of opening the Work to higher realms of being is called:
INITIO or to INITIATE
To activate this new series of Procedures, I must again uses the
moistening of SOLUTIO or SOAKING. But now it is part of a larger
Process and is used to different purpose. While the Prima Materia was in
its raw and crude form, I used to solvents dissolve it into a
state of flux, so that its Elements were freed and prepared to connect in
new ways. Now this Procedure is used as one pole in an oscillation
between opposites. At the other pole is form giving COAGULA
This takes the Prima Materia through repeated cycles of between
complementary, mutually exclusive forms -such as liquid and solid,
vapor and condensate, flux and gel, physical and spiritual. Through this
it becomes more malleable, more open to being drawn back
and forth in all the needful ways without harm. This will enhance its
stability regardless of form. It opens the Prima Materia to deeper,
I call this pair of interacting, complimentary Procedures:
SOLUTIO and COAGULA
(DISSOLVE and CONCRETIZE)
The solvents have been vitally useful till now
-tears, passion, sweat, drink and semen.
From the initial dissolving, through to transporting the Prima
Materia into the new vessel of the Valley, solvents have been essential.
But they are no longer needed for the Work and so are in excess.
I utilize the heat in emotions and circumstances are to drive off
the unneeded volatile elements, evaporating into steam. My
driving off the moisture will extract its essentials, condense, stabilize
and intensify the essence.
This Process of expelling the solvents from the Prima Materia is called:
Through the previous Procedures I extracted and purified the
essence of the Prima Materia.
In form, this is still vague and amorphous.
I now need to dry it, bake it, utterly dry it out into a more solid
form. Only in this way will it survive and serve.
I use various intensities of heat to drive out the remaining
solvents, both the remaining
fluidity in the physical and the soggy emotions. This defines
and stabilizes the resulting shape. This Process changes the Materia's
thickening if it is a liquid, baking it if a paste.
If the heat is intense enough, I can turn solids to powder.
The implements I use for this are the furnace,
various fuels, bellows and dampers.
Abstract critical thinking can create a drying out
from over-reactions and feelings and reveal the de-
My driving off the last of the solvents used in the original Prima
Materia broth brings each individual substance and aspect to develop
its own proper thirst for resolution later.
My mystical use of heat is called:
CALCINATION or BAKING
The Prima Materia's Essence has been extracted and taken a
form as its expression and containment. To prepare for and activate its
I must now activate the ultimate purification and renewal.
Every aspect still attached to Essence that is nonessential, circumstantial
or merely habit must die. It must suffer, decompose, perish to all its old
self. What is left is free of contaminates and is ultimately refined,
suitable to be brought through rebirth
into the transcendent state.
This Procedure fosters the breakdown of the substance within the
form, much as the caterpillar must perish and turn to nutrient in its
cocoon for the butterfly to come into being. It creates a healing
fermentation to destroy antiquated rigid physical and mental structures
through trials, humiliation, some "dark night of the soul." It is a
deathing that activates the powers of deep change and renewal, healing and life.
It can activate the curative, creative powers
that rise in survival's response.
"As in healing, when all else fails, let it rot. This can
precipitate a healing crisis,"
advised Abertus Magnus, the great Alchemist.
"That a seed must die if it is to born again,"
advised another great Teacher.
There may be pain, illness, or other challenges to patience and
trust. If the Materia is rigid, unyielding, it may be bent and
snapped to pieces. Organics once emptied of life, will putrefy and rot.
Throughout the progress of this long and arduous Work, I have
been called on to be most attentive and diligent, to intuitively
support it from stage to stage. I've been patiently caring for it, to
"make haste slowly". But this is perhaps the most difficult
Procedure to maintain detachment in, to humbly know that I cannot
control this suffering, in spite of my caring. To awaken deep change,
to allow new healing and balance, I must watch this most anguishing of
the Processes with humble, helpless detachment. Yet the
Alchemist knows that, "Everything that dies is not
the immortal true Self."
This descent into darkness and suffering as a means to bring a
renewal of substance and aliveness is called:
MORTIFICATION and PUTREFACTION; DEATH and ROTTING
All that was unessential in the Prima Materia has died and what is
precious has risen, reborn from that festering. The form its essence
took in the proceeding Processes held and contained it as it went
through this deathing. With this next Procedure
I will set this form and solidify its constellation.
I will crystallize to this unique and individual creation of the
Alchemical Art from regressing to a less evolved state, or
even dissolving back into the Primal Broth. It preserves and removes it
from accidental outside influences. This wondrous new form of the
Prima Materia becomes a stable, separate entity and substance. In
accord to its own particular needs, I may devise and use unique vessels
and influences to substantiate its form. This will help
activate and release the Prima Materia's essence. As a psychic event, this
Process stabilizes the subject's transformed awareness to its new level
The diamond cannot return to being coal. The painting can't be
reduced to its constituent colors. The Prima Materia's new
fundamental nature is made immutable through this process of:
Freed from the bonds of time and matter,
the Prima Materia is now brought to rebirth.
It is awakened beyond all form
to shift its center of self-knowing
from the transitory to its Truth,
from its circumstantial self to its Essence,
from the realms of many "me"s
to the one Realm of "I Am".
As Wizard, I have prepared for this with all my skills,
but rebirth can come through Grace alone.
The Prima Materia is thus absorbed in its Essence.
That becomes its source reality. Its every aspect and action
become expression and outworking of its spirit.
This is soul and body merging.
The human achieves the wings of Awakening,
thus able to fly between heaven and earth.
The Prima Materia becomes an infinity multifaceted crystal,
radiating rainbows of Light: The Gem of Transmutation.
This Procedure materializes spirit.
It gives ethereal revelation the stability of outer form.
My role in this Procedure is to dwell in attentive prayer.
In the Opus, it is called:
SUBLIMATION and GLORIFICATION
The inner, secret Opus is complete.
My Alchemy has transformed
the despised substance into gold,
the affliction into sacrament.
"Our gold is not the common gold," the Wizard reminds.
The exalted Prima Materia is now removed from the
hidden vessel in which I carried out the subjective portion.
Now I can proclaim its glorified body
into the outer, day-to-day world.
There it is revealed as the Philosopher's Stone,
the Pearl of Great Price, the Jewel of Paradox.
It is now also real in the objective Realm.
As both an inner and outer reality,
it binds the two Realms, the seen and the unseen.
It brings them into resonance.
Through the marriage of these estranged natures
-the lower and the higher,
the body and the soul,
the self and the shadow-
the sacred Self comes into being.
The ordinary, half-known life becomes
elevated into the treasured eternal Truth.
This is the consummation of my wizardly way with
skills and happenstance. The Opus is complete.
No longer needed as Guide,
I am released for other Callings.
As my last act and offering, I bring the Prima Materia
to embody its sublime state in:
The CULMINATION of the Opus and The MANIFESTATION of the Jewel of Paradox
The Jewel is so bursting with the boundlessness of its
Source, it yearns and is impelled to propagate.
it is readied to become manifold and abundant,
to reflect the One into the many.
Consciousness separates from its contents and is
absorbed in the "I Am" Presence. It is awakened to
recognize Oness in every being and awareness. With the
Jewel as center of its Heart, it is freed from the
confines of personal history and circumstance and is
empowered to express universal and spiritual qualities.
It uses the Jewel of Paradox as a means to
transcend the material realm and consciousness,
the limited and ephemeral. It lives out of its
awakened wholeness. As an integral part of its psyche,
the Jewel of Paradox can be used to
catalyze others' transformation in the self-same way.
PROJECTION and DISPERSION
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Copyright Nathaniel Schwartz 2003