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About FraterUFA

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  1. Practical alchemy apology

    That's conjecture. You can sit in a cave for 100 years and not acquire the same understanding that a practical alchemist develops through his work in the lab. The Chinese alchemists weren't known for their success in alchemy. As I recall, the vast majority of them ended up poisoning themselves and the ones that didn't are mere legends (ie: invented). In contrast, we have genuine proof of successful transmutations in the western historical records and even physical proof sitting in a European museum. I'm not aware of a single shred of evidence which supports this. UFA
  2. Practical alchemy apology

    I'm not sure what you're asking. Can you elaborate?
  3. Practical alchemy apology

    I do not share that opinion. Far from it, in fact. But we've drifted a long way from the original subject of the thread.
  4. Practical alchemy apology

    I'd just like to point out that this thread is about practical alchemy and the conversation has steered far from it. What's being discussed here is theoretical. Having been a practitioner of both Daoist inner alchemy as well as authentic western alchemy, I believe that they have nothing in common. I would be open to whatever insights you have that support such a connection however. As for alchemy being merely a set of principles, I again disagree. Certainly there are principles regarding the proper handling of living materials. This handling can result in increasingly heightened appreciation of principles of the process of creation as well. But to define alchemy as being merely a set of principles is to suppose it to be merely theoretical, when in fact the opposite is true: alchemy requires and is largely concerned with intensive, hands-on lab work. Best, UFA
  5. Practical alchemy apology

    I think if you pursue the work for long enough, you will find out... if you have the wisdom to respect the tradition of secrecy and the anonymity of those who know more about this subject. UFA
  6. Practical alchemy apology

    If you believe alchemy is a metaphor for meditation, mysticism or some other inner practice, then secrecy doesn't make much sense. If on the other hand, you take the old masters at their words, then secrecy is indeed very much called for.
  7. Practical alchemy apology

    I don't know how to judge if an organizational model is defunct or not. It is whatever he chooses it to be and there are merits in tiered systems that some are quick to dismiss. One should give credit to Rubaphilos for avoiding the most common errors of explaining away alchemy in terms of some completely unrelated system (Taoism, Yoga, meditation, etc). He rightly champions a physical interpretation of alchemy. Yet he does so in parallel with a psychological model. The Heredom system is deeply rooted in Jungian psychology and Jung's interpretation of alchemy was his own creation, uninformed by the alchemical tradition. So the fundamental error is still there, once removed. In other words, if Jung was wrong about alchemy (and he was), then a system based on Jungian psychology necessarily incorporates mistaken assumptions about alchemy. If we wish to understand alchemy, we must meet it on its own terms. Not with preconceptions that we wish to be true. Pre-Enlightenment alchemists did not conceive the world in a purely material manner as we are taught. Nor did they - as far as I can tell - always seek out God or external intelligences to grant them secret knowledge. It appears to me that those who came across their knowledge did so either by the generosity of a teacher or by their own hard work. Yes, many prayed. But as the Dali Lama wrote, the effects of prayer are invisible - if indeed, prayer works at all. And even if they had sought out intelligences to teach them, what would they find? I do not deny that there are entities that can be contacted (either in our own personal sphere or beyond). But they are just as ignorant as anyone else. And most delight in deception. Why bother? Hopefully I did not come across as discrediting him. There would be far fewer people exploring alchemy without Albertus. To me, his achievements in that regard surpass any accomplishment he may or may not have had with the actual work itself. He was an inspiring and tireless worker. Still there are some (myself included) who discovered alchemy long before ever having heard of him. I was introduced to it by Paul Foster Case, who may have reached even more people than Albertus himself. That said, PFC's views on alchemy were amazingly off base so I have no doubt that Albertus pointed more people in the proper direction than anyone else in the 20th century. That is really the critical insight. Ethanol does not possess the requisite properties of a philosophical mentruum. The idea of defending alchemy is a little weird to me. Defend it from who? From what? It is what it is and we can simply point most people towards the writings of modern day academics such as Jennifer Rampling and Adam McLean and be done with it. Anyone who has studied a decent sampling of old texts cannot avoid the inescapable conclusion that they were speaking of physical processes. Practicing alchemists and academics are at a consensus here. I should probably say "physico-spiritual" processes to distinguish alchemy from mere chemistry, but my point stands either way. What I know as alchemy is not based on the human mind (how egocentric), nor on intelligences. We can try to be clever and co-opt alchemical symbolism for other purposes, but what is the point other than to further degrade an already muddled symbolism and hopelessly mislead countless others who will come after us? I believe that the alchemical world view was agnostic when it came to a transcendent vs imminent spiritual reality. Many alchemical authors did speak of God or Jesus and I'm sure many of them believed in that, though some surely didn't. What some find hard to reconcile when challenged with what alchemy actually is, is that the alchemists may not have been seeking some meditational or devotional goal. Similarly, they may not have been seeking the common base goal of material wealth for its own sake. In my years of practice, I have slowly begun to relinquish the chains of modern thinking and have sought alchemy for what it can teach me, rather than how it can justify what I already believe. One thing I have learned throughout this process is that alchemy does not require modern "crutches"... Not Qabalah, Tarot, astrology, magic, meditation, yoga, and especially not Jungian psychology. For me, alchemy has provided a direct insight into the nature of Nature and pushed back some of the limitations which modern education has imposed on my mind. True, alchemy offers some things which gold cannot buy but those things are not generally advertised. UFA
  8. Practical alchemy apology

    There is no evidence that I am aware of to indicate that Frater Albertus had done anything more than to popularize alchemy. I have yet to come across anything which suggests he had succeeded in achieving a mineral stone and much to indicate that he had badly erred in some fundamental ways. No others who have publicly come forth from his "lineage" have offered any public evidence (or private, though of course I may not be privy to it) that they have succeeded in any significant respect either. There is no evidence that the student mentioned had succeeded either, though she was certainly a serious student. There is no evidence that she had taught Rubaphilos much of anything other than his own statements that she had mentored him. From personal experience, I can tell you that much of what Rubaphilos claims publicly is intentionally false, and much of what he appears to believe he is mistaken about. As a case in point, Dubuis is reported (by Rubaphilos) to have performed transmutations to silver in private. However, few know that his method was written about by Boerhaave, who reported that the substance resulting from this process could not stand up to metallurgical scrutiny. Dubuis (and the PoN) may have believed their transmutation to silver to be genuine, but both have stated that it could not be used to transmute lesser metals to gold. One can research the historical facts in the Heredom Group origin story and decide for themselves how probable it is to be truthful. The so-called "acetate path" described by Rubaphilos (and others) is similarly founded on errors. Those pursuing it risk self-poisoning. As for the claim that having written a book about alchemy lends one some credibility, I simply note that most alchemical authors were frauds or simply copied their receipts from other books, having never tried them. UFA
  9. Hermetic Alchemy Thread

    Well, this is a bit all over of the place if you don't mind my saying, so I think a productive thing to do would be to clarify some major misconceptions about alchemy you've alluded to above. First, there is no known historical connection between western alchemy and eastern yoga (be it Taoist or any other flavor). So mentioning Alchemy and Neidan in the same paragraph is somewhat random. These are two separate things and entirely unconnected. Any similarities are based in terminology and are purely coincidental. This is fairly well understood, at least by those in the academic community and others who have studied the subject in depth. But surprisingly, alchemy is actually somewhat disconnected from Qabalah and mainstream western esotericism as well. It is true that some alchemists were interested in Qabalah, but there is nothing of the latter which is inherent in the former (Paul Case and other authors be damned - they were wrong). The popular western esoteric tradition itself is an amalgamation of various traditions - depending on the predilections of whatever author you happen to be reading - with a major contribution arising out of the occult Masonic lodges of the 18th century. It is certain that these "speculative" lodges (as opposed to the "operative" lodges of the prior century, which had no known esoteric connection) were founded by interesting individuals, including a few alchemists. But then, as now, occultism was quite popular and these lodges fed on that popularity, promising alchemical secrets in exchange for membership. It is doubtful that they ever possessed such secrets, at least institutionally. I do suspect that there is a true alchemical tradition in India which may have a connection, though this should be distinguished from yoga. Just as in western alchemy, it is a tradition which stands on its own. There are some people who are eager to point to Jacob Boehme as an example of so-called "spiritual alchemy". I suspect that few of those individuals have actually read his works, as Boehme was simply a christian mystic who stole alchemical symbolism and did not understand it. In doing so, he has perpetuated a grand myth which has snowballed into the state of affairs we see today: centuries of ignorance compounded with gullible and uninformed opinions about poorly interpreted texts.
  10. Holy Grail

    Perceval is the spiritual seeker, the lower self. The Fisher King is the soul imprisoned by matter. In these myths, he is variously wounded, ill or sleeping. The lance is a symbol of the intellectual/rational personality. The grail is the symbol of the unconscious. Who does the grail serve? The King, of course. Speaking as plainly as possible, it is the unborn spiritual potential which lies dormant in each individual, waiting to be woken and developed. This is achieved through a process of separation and purification of the two halves of the lower personality. Best, UFA
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