The Spiritual Side of Alchemy

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 10.00.52 AMAhhh synchronicity. So while digging for collage footage for a new Occult movie I’m making last week (first one will come out at the end of February), I stumbled on this video about the spiritual component to Alchemy and ended up watching the whole thing when I was supposed to be culling neato video clips.

I’m not going to lie, it’s not the greatest movie in the universe. I mean really, they should have just hired another narrator and it would have been fine. Not everyone is great at voice acting but it does get better as the thing moves on. Despite the lackluster narration though, it is in fact good enough that I still recommend it. What’s funny is that I wasn’t actually going to post this, but then in the next week Disinfo ran two separate stories regarding alchemy, neither one of which mentioned the spiritual component of the practice. Then someone else messaged me on Facebook (friend me) telling me about the magical properties of alchemical super gold and how it has the potential to save the world or something. I’m not an expert, but with the little I know about alchemy: spirituality was the whole fucking point. The chemical side was meant to be metaphorical and moreover, WHEN ALCHEMISTS TALK ABOUT TURNING LEAD INTO GOLD, IT IS A METAPHOR FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE HUMAN SOUL. Not meant to be taken literally. Lord, how can we be this dense and spiritually ignorant as a culture? How has the entire rich history of human visionary experience been completely edited out of Suzie Stripmall’s vernacular? That’s really what I was thinking while watching this. I mean, I was literally taught that alchemy was foolish pseudoscience in school. Idiots trying to literally change lead into gold. Except, that’s just what alchemists wanted people to think because they were afraid of religious persecution. Which begs the question, is the fact that people still ignore this aspect of the practice to this day a colossal practical joke played by the alchemists of antiquity, or the calculated repression of an advanced spiritual science by creepily intolerant religious weirdos? Either way, it worked like a charm. Watch and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

@Thad_McKraken

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  • Simon Valentine

    because whom who could turn lead into gold would use the ability to do that.

  • BuzzCoastin

    Psychology and Alchemy is Volume 12 in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung
    good work on Western alchemy
    Understanding Reality
    great Chinese alchemy text from 1000ad
    and commentary by 18th century Taoist

  • http://impagliazzo.500px.com/ Pietro Impagliazzo

    I fucking love McKenna!

  • codedp

    When you think of it in these terms… It gives a whole new meaning to what the conspiracy of the annunaki creating us to mine for gold really means–

  • drokhole

    “Woe to the gold makers.” – Basilius Valentine (German monk)

    Great lecture on the topic here from Manly P. Hall:

    Alchemy
    http://youtu.be/mcnSw8baq7U

    And here’s one where he covers Mary Ann Atwood and her work on the subject:

    Mary Ann Atwood – A Suggestive Inquiry Into the Hermetic Mystery
    http://youtu.be/ygC0JI165TA

    On a related note, great long-read from Alan Watts:

    The New Alchemy
    http://www.psychedelic-library.org/alchemy.htm

  • csmithwr

    “The chemical side was meant to be metaphorical and moreover, WHEN ALCHEMISTS TALK ABOUT TURNING LEAD INTO GOLD, IT IS A METAPHOR FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE HUMAN SOUL. Not meant to be taken literally. Lord, how can we be this dense and spiritually ignorant as a culture?”

    I sincerely believe consensus reality and Occult knowledge have a health/disease relationship. I couldn’t make it all the way through Rudolf Steiner, but the way he describes solar/lunar energies working against each other inside us but working toward growth in the long run–I think that’s the reason what’s obvious to a good deal of us baffles the rest. It’s reductive, but it seems like earth grows her solar-oriented people to advance technology and the economic/control systems, but sprinkles in some of us “lunar” folk to individuality and abstract ideas. Innovation needs constancy and interruption.

    Alchemy is, like Wicca, a self-empowering system of knowledge that flies in the face of organized religion. Organized religions are heirarchical–the subject needs an intermediary, like a priest, in order to achieve salvation. (Which is, y’know, bonkers.) Alchemy and the like are spiritually anarchistic, and freedom like that scares as many as it charms. More, actually–it makes sense that there’d be more of us solar than lunar.

    Good for progress, bad for those of us for whom this stuff makes more sense than process improvement methodologies and meeting minutes.

  • sambrown299

    Ahhh it’s a metaphor, well that makes more sense now.

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