The Alchemist Archetype

    When in ancient times the spirit of the science called alchemy embarked on the adventurous journey through the Mediterranean and Arabia, many savants found the wisdom of their predecessors and tried to get to the end of their human journey.  Many of them fell on the arduous path to the highest destinations, since they did not realize the threat that alchemy holds for desirous and instinctual people. Once the desire for material gain outweighed the longing for spiritual awakening, though momentary material benefit did occur, it was followed by unstoppable spiritual decline in which all profits turned to dust. The chemical test thus became a test of human character. I am also indicating here the essence of alchemy, which is spiritual! Material gains lying along the alchemist's path should protect the purity of the spiritual heights at the end of the journey, the purity of divine realization. If the alchemist does not resist the desire for gain, he will go astray from the proper path and no longer get to the destination of his alchemistic endeavors. Legitimate intellectual knowledge means nothing to him, since dependencies prevent the worldly person from beholding the divine, from knowing the divine and using the divine. Today's world, full of difficult to understand madness fueled by human greed or lust for mammon, views alchemy disdainfully and does not at all perceive the spiritual essence. In the documents of its age, alchemy was called a science and an art, though this view died out in the 17th century when there definitively arose from alchemy a new science dealing with purely natural technological methods – chemistry. In modern times, the universe was no longer understood as a living being, but properties of a machine have been increasingly attributed to it. Humanity's deviation away from the spiritual approach to life was definitively completed. Only a few people at this time recognized the spiritual dimension of alchemy and people tried in various forms of their work to save the legacy of their wise ancestors for future generations.

    Alchemy was always a science of the conscience, for the alchemist brought together in his work production methods with moral and religious interests. This is why alchemy never produced anything over the years or centuries that would have threatened the very existence of humanity. What a difference this is from today's conscience-less science that, although yielding many beneficial things, also brings to humanity danger, death, and destruction in the interest of the god named "Money." Science without a moral corrective inevitably disregards the consequences of its inventions, thus steadily deteriorating the environment.

    In viewing alchemy as an art that can free man from the yoke of the material world and that can provide him with infinite power over himself and over nature, we can understand the hatred of religious circles. Papal bulls and monastic ordinances prohibited alchemy under the threat of harsh punishment, even though it was actually in the monasteries that it spread during the previous period. What could have caused the fundamental change in the Vatican's view of alchemy? Indeed, the true alchemists were full of piety and could have served as a model for any of the church dignitaries.

    If through internalization we encouraged the potential of the Alchemist archetype to awake within and if the essential preparedness of the novice for discovery through this very archetype is added to this, the rich symbolism of the archetype inevitably appears:

  • Homunculus or the Golem, Arche, Primordial Matter, Prayer, Mantra, Transmutation, Sun and Moon, Planets, Gold Preparation, the Hieros Gamos Mystical Marriage, Coniunctio, Symbolism of Colors, 7 Alchemical Operations, Tear Up the Books, Salt, 100% Quality of Alchemical Gold, Hermaphrodite,
  • Solitude Within and Without, Elixir, Philosopher's Stone, Trinity, Emerald Tablet, Eagle and Swan, Green Lion, Red Lion, Animal Symbols, Ouroboros Dragon, Phoenix, Alchemical Sky, Philosophical Eggs, Ovum philosophorum, Knight, Mandragora, Quintessence, Mercurius, Chemicals and Compounds, Caduceus, Maiden in Black, Devil, Pomegranate, Labyrinth, Geometric Shapes
  • Jesus Christ – the Savior and Redeemer, Madonna – Mother of God, Lucifer and other representatives of the negative formes of the world, the mystical rose, myrrh, the infant, virginal milk, dew, vitriol, the Golden Fleece and others.

    On the journey through the Alchemist archetype the seeker gets to know the causes of material nature and gradually in improving the Work, including himself, gains power over many phenomena and their causes. Power is intoxicating and without piety and devotion to higher regards it lowers man and he misuses it to acquire knowledge for his own benefit. Then he no longer sees the end of the path in the realization of the divine nature and also blocks the path to redemption for many other incarnations. Only the loss of ego at the end of the path guarantees that the ideas of the Work will not be misused for vain egotistical purposes of the individual or group. This also explains why many alchemists called their science the only science and art with a conscience. Glory does not await the alchemist at the end of the path, but real power based on the mastery of his lower nature, a power, that he will also utilize for the benefit of other beings. So those vainglorious people dreaming of fame, money, beautiful women, high status, of intoxication from power, should quickly turn their back to the way of the alchemist, for this path is only for the strong. The weak, unable to surrender themselves, will get stuck their first few steps down this arduous path.

    Czech mystic Květoslav Minařík, who understood the mystical processes in man, later confirmed that alchemy is the application of mystical processes. He believed that the result of the alchemist's endeavors depends on the level of mystical self-improvement and on the art of applying mystical-psychological processes to the alchemical Work.

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