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Kongming

Hermetic Alchemy Thread

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Perhaps we can get a thread going discussing various aspects of Western/Hermetic alchemy or post anything insightful in relation to the topic you are aware of. Perhaps we can touch on its relation to Daoist neidan or Indian Siddha alchemical traditions or its own interrelation with Kabbalah, the Hermetic philosophy, and Western esotericism in general?

 

There's a pinned thread on practical alchemy books, but it may be interesting to explore general thoughts on Western alchemy and Hermeticism here.

 

To start, here's a fascinating and illuminating section from the beginning of Julius Evola's book on Hermeticism:

 

7kMXlUy.png

 

 

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My alchemical perspectives have recently focused on cultural anthropology and the historical progression and developments ( and dissolution ) of cultures.

 

Paring away the ornate curlicues  that surround the subject in archaic language there is a central and natural alchemical process . This is based on 'circulation'  ; a cycle of mixing and inter relating  ( and a new form coming from that ) and periods of 'isolation' where things 'as they have become' are allowed to 'play out their potentials ... then a re mixing and another separation ... and so on.   

 

On the nature of the fall of Man ... getting away from Christian based hermeticism ....  IMO it seems a 'fall' of the 'sphere of Mars. that is , when constructing  ' psychological tree ' from the 'cosmic tree'   Mars movs to a lower position  ( and causes other rearrangements due to that shift. 

 

On the nature of good and evil, it all seems a reflection and projection from the inner state of the potential of 'good mind' and bad mind'  . For the westerner, this is best explained via the principles of 'mainyu' in Zoroastrianism , again realising the bolded bit above  ie,  a clarity is perceived if one is not restricted in terms of  gods, angels, spenta or yazata , the Zoroastrians utilise these, but they also focus on the import of 'qualities if mind' .   And that can be developed by changing habits, customs, mores and taboos , etc . 

 

A 'bad mind' is more controlled by the forces of 'the Id'  and lacks development of the cultural , societal human instinct .

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kongming said:

Perhaps we can get a thread going discussing various aspects of Western/Hermetic alchemy or post anything insightful in relation to the topic you are aware of. Perhaps we can touch on its relation to Daoist neidan or Indian Siddha alchemical traditions or its own interrelation with Kabbalah, the Hermetic philosophy, and Western esotericism in general?

 

There's a pinned thread on practical alchemy books, but it may be interesting to explore general thoughts on Western alchemy and Hermeticism here.

 

To start, here's a fascinating and illuminating section from the beginning of Julius Evola's book on Hermeticism:

 

7kMXlUy.png

 

 

 

 

Related image

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13 hours ago, Nungali said:

 

 

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For me that is reminiscent of Hermetic practitioner Rawn Clark's Center of Stillness meditation.   A free somewhat challenging guided meditation where you separate out your 5 senses plus emotion and thought into an orbit around you.  Thus a Hermetic version of 'sealing the senses'.

 

It has you look down upon your 'web of life'- the tangle of elements and patterns your life has created.  And hang there for a bit seeing yourself as the center of the vast universe.  Not an exact picture but reminds me of it.

 

Rawn has many great hermetic programs.  His website abardoncompanion.com  .  I enjoy his Archaeous and YHVH practices too.   Plus great insights in his writings and audios on Bardon's Initiation into Hermetics.

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So does anyone here engage in a mutual study and practice of Western alchemy/Hermeticism and Neidan/Daoism? Would such a dual study or cultivation be useful or merely confusing? Are they complementary and working toward the same goal or are they essentially different?

 

This article tends to see some strong similarities:

 

Quote

 

 The Five Agents are a product of the deeper Yin-Yang dynamics which originated as a relationship between Yang (light, breath, movement, male heaven) and Yin (darkness, bodily stillness, female earth) in the midst of which emerged the Human (jen) realm of mediation and synthesis. This tripart division of Heaven, Humanity, and Earth each have their correspondent rulers, spirits, and powers. The interactive dynamics of Yin-Yang integration emerges from the Primordial Breath (yuanqi or taiji), the creative energy of Being, which is itself is born of wuqi (Highest Non-Energy). These correlations, which are many and highly diverse within various Daoist systems, were further correlated with the eight trigrams and the sixty four hexagrams of the Yijing, accompanied by multiple Daoist commentaries, associated with many diverse deities, and strong emphasis on astral influences of the Big Dipper constellation (Thunder Magic). All of these associations were tied to ritual and magical practices carried out by trained Daoist masters who were experts in the esoteric lore and visualization techniques of Daoist alchemy and ceremonial invocation. [32]This correlative approach is highly congruent with the western Hermetic tradition rooted in a similar correlative cosmology based in early Greco-Roman alchemy, based on five elements (earth, water, air, fire and aether) transmitted through Islamic alchemical traditions in the form of alchemical and Hermetic cosmological texts which were translated into European languages during the Italian Renaissance. The Hermetic texts were primary sources for western esoteric theories of the prisca theologia and the philosophia perennis and were clearly an early, comparative resource for the esoteric reading of translated Daoist texts. [33]

 

Renaissance correlative cosmology was highly visual (graphic arts) and imagistic in mapping the body, for example Robert Fludd‚Äôs microcosmic ‚Äúatmospheric‚ÄĚ depiction of the body or various Kabbalistic theories of the body, in ways more detailed and elaborate but similar to Daoist theories of the ‚Äúlandscape of the body‚ÄĚ which contains a multitude of sacred beings, astrological energies, and a tripart division of upper, middle and lower chambers, each with its ruling spirits and cosmological correlations.¬†[34]¬†Renaissance esotericists also used number schemas to elaborate their cosmological symbolism encoded in archetypal patterns of three, seven, nine and twelve, as do many of the Daoist masters, particularly using schemas of three, five, nine, and twelve. Western esotericism has many hierarchical systems in organizing its cosmology as do the many Daoist schools where various planes correspond to specific orders or powers or deities, linked through correlative relationships forming a ‚Äúchain of being‚ÄĚ between the different orders, as illustrated in¬†~Cornelius Agrippa‚Äôs¬†De Occulta Philosophia¬†(1533) and similar to many Yuan dynasty Daoist texts.[35]¬†¬†¬†However, Daoists have tended toward a less rigidly structured hierarchy and have been tolerant of diversity among the various Daoist esoteric schools.¬†[36]

 

Many texts on Daoist alchemy share resonances with Western esoteric, hermetic practices including the refinement of material substances through various stages of transformation, a search for an immortal elixir or ‚Äúcinnabar pill‚ÄĚ, use of an hermetic vessel or cauldron, occult animal and talismanic (fu) symbolism including special magical scripts, the use of mineral, vegetable and pharmacological substances, secret or orally transmitted instructions (later written down), the use of esoteric visualization (tsun), breath and movement techniques,¬†¬†reclusive withdrawal from the world, fasting and asceticism, the significance of dreams and a general visionary epistemology, as well as the elusive search for varying degrees of immortality, a particular goal of Daoist practice. Magical practices, with invocations, sacred circles, geomantic inscriptions, carried out with magical implements like the staff or sword, with incense, bells, and chanting are also common aspects of both Daoist and Western esoteric techniques.¬†[37]¬†It was the religious and magical techniques of Daoism that strongly attracted the interests of certain western esotericists, much more than the strictly philosophical texts of early classical Daoism. Mythical stories and imagery, dragon bones and water fairies, the golden peaches of immortality from the gardens of Hsi Wang Mu (Queen of Heaven), as well as the reputed occult powers and abilities of the Daoist masters or ‚Äúimmortals‚ÄĚ (xien), both embodied and disembodied, resonate well with the imaginative worlds of western esoteric, magical thought. The Daoist emphasis on ‚Äúinternal‚ÄĚ (neidan) alchemy or the distillation of the "Golden Elixir" (jindan) based on ritual, meditation and breath techniques for personal spiritual transformation, as compared to the more ‚Äúexternal‚ÄĚ (waidan) laboratory practices, also resonated well with late 19th century magical society practices that emphasized personal transformation while the mingling of both alchemical aspects was common in western esoteric traditions.¬†[38]¬†

 

 

 

Source: http://www.esoteric.msu.edu/VolumeVI/Dao.htm

Edited by Kongming
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17 hours ago, Nungali said:

 

Quote

IMO it seems a 'fall' of the 'sphere of Mars. that is , when constructing  ' psychological tree ' from the 'cosmic tree'   Mars movs to a lower position  ( and causes other rearrangements due to that shift.

 

 

Could you elaborate on this please? Any connection to Tree of Life and the qliphoth, respectively?

Edited by Michael Sternbach

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48 minutes ago, Kongming said:

So does anyone here engage in a mutual study and practice of Western alchemy/Hermeticism and Neidan/Daoism? Would such a dual study or cultivation be useful or merely confusing? Are they complementary and working toward the same goal or are they essentially different?

 

This article tends to see some strong similarities:

 

 

 

Source: http://www.esoteric.msu.edu/VolumeVI/Dao.htm

 

Yes, there are definitely many parallels. Probably you know the short treatise Evola wrote on the The Secret of the Golden Flower in comparison to Western spiritual Alchemy?

 

While even in the West, the internal aspect of Alchemy has been the emphasis of many traditional texts (although by no means of all of them, as Jung and, arguably, Evola believed), and the Alchemical symbolism readily lends itself to psychospiritual interpretation, we don't find the detailed explanations, much less practical applications, of subtle anatomy that we see in Chinese texts.

 

Comparisons of the commonalities that we do find are interesting, but not too easy a topic.

 

Personally, I work with both approaches, but I keep them separate from each other for the most part, while remaining open to acknowledging equivalents as they present themselves.

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1 hour ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

Yes, there are definitely many parallels. Probably you know the short treatise Evola wrote on the The Secret of the Golden Flower in comparison to Western spiritual Alchemy?

 

While even in the West, the internal aspect of Alchemy has been the emphasis of many traditional texts (although by no means of all of them, as Jung and, arguably, Evola believed), and the Alchemical symbolism readily lends itself to psychospiritual interpretation, we don't find the detailed explanations, much less practical applications, of subtle anatomy that we see in Chinese texts.

 

Comparisons of the commonalities that we do find are interesting, but not too easy a topic.

 

Personally, I work with both approaches, but I keep them separate from each other for the most part, while remaining open to acknowledging equivalents as they present themselves.

 

 

I had not read that treatise by Evola you mentioned, I will have to seek it out so I thank you for sharing.

 

As to subtle anatomy, it seems it wasn't as prominent or detailed in the Western tradition, though perhaps this is due to the different religious conditions in the West where dogmatic orthodoxy and suspicion of non-Christian material were prevalent. In such a case perhaps the knowledge was truly esoteric, as in secret and hidden. Gichtel is interesting in this regard:

 

6VDFdHT.jpg

Rq1tAGu.jpg

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5 hours ago, Kongming said:

So does anyone here engage in a mutual study and practice of Western alchemy/Hermeticism and Neidan/Daoism? Would such a dual study or cultivation be useful or merely confusing? Are they complementary and working toward the same goal or are they essentially different?

 

This article tends to see some strong similarities:

 

 

 

Source: http://www.esoteric.msu.edu/VolumeVI/Dao.htm

 

The same but different :)   

 

For daoists  the 'complexities' of hermeticism  can be penetrated and the core perceived in TTC Ch 42 . 

 

However -  Daoism has 'its own approach'  while hermeticism or western magic can have a variety of approaches and can include the daoist approach . But this is from an hermetic perspective - not a Daoist one . 

 

https://hermetic.com/crowley/magick-without-tears/mwt_06

 

and . specifically ;

 

https://hermetic.com/crowley/magick-without-tears/mwt_08      ...    the 'yellow school '  . 

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9 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

Could you elaborate on this please? Any connection to Tree of Life and the qliphoth, respectively?

 

In the ToL Mars  ? Geburah ; 'severity' and 'force'  generates a restriction and focus of energies ( being under Saturn / BInah )  that come from Jupiter  /  Chesed  ; 'mercy / expansion  and 'feed' it to the 'Solar principle'  which is the apex of the Sol Venus Mercury , next 'lower down' triad . 

 

Modern applications of old astrological theory , and some new theories ( qualified by more research since the 'modern scientific revolution' , especially in astronomy and psychology ) led me to understand that the ToL is not a good fit for the 'Psyche '  of Man ,  so I developed my own 'tree' / astro psychological model ... which you are familiar with .  

 

Mars sits down with the other inner planets  Venus ( forming a polarised baseline ), apexed by Mercury  ( in a triangular relationship ) - the tree inner 'personal' planets and representing the 3 base drives of psychology. The Moon ( as the 'unconscious' sits in the middle of this, like the 'eye in the triangle'  and above it all, linked through Mercury as  'Psychopomp'  to the Sun  / Ego  ( sun Moon conjoined )  ....   below the 'tree' is rooted or manifests in 'environment ' (all external influences ) - this lower part and manifestation of my tree represents 'personna' 

 

Above this is the outer planets and ;transpersonal energies ,  creating a 'Superego' feedback system of local mores and taboos, and depending on many things ; customs or 'God' and religions   ;)  .

 

The gateway between the two is the , now  Saturn and Jupiter 'polarity' .   etc  blah blah  ... its qualified by many more processes and demonstrations , this was a brief summary . 

 

The G.D. tried to express it through  Christian (and non anthropological ;) )  metaphors ; 

 

 

before fall 

Image result for golden dawn serpent on tree of life

 

after fall 

 

Related image

 

 

But their take on the ' seven empyreans' is rather gnostical black school .   But the 'qlippothic side' is evident in each sphere ( as we realise how each 'quality' can go wrong or not be 'worked in the right way ' ... this goes specifically for the 'male / mars ' energy .  

 

In a nutshell, the aim is to move to and through  a 'qualified response' mode  ( Moon and Sun linked through Mercury), rather than an emotive reactive one  ( from either solely Mars or Venus )  .....  Mars and Venus are 'drives' which can help and save you even ( as represented by 'flight / flight ' reactions ) but Mercury can develop that flash of intuition that can make 'qualified decisions' using these drives or override them, depending on circumstances and learned and incorporated experience . 

 

Research has shown that 'intuition'   operates best in those areas of greater expertise. IMO that indicates stored lessons and experience in the unconscious (Moon )  can be released,  without 'meditation or mentation'  / consciousness  ... into   consciousness  ( The Sun .....  via  Mercury - as also 'The Messenger '  )   like    ..... that . 

 

< snaps fingers in a flurry of multicoloured mercurial sparks > 

 

 

Alex_Grey-Praying.jpg

 

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7 hours ago, Kongming said:

 

 

I had not read that treatise by Evola you mentioned, I will have to seek it out so I thank you for sharing.

 

As to subtle anatomy, it seems it wasn't as prominent or detailed in the Western tradition, though perhaps this is due to the different religious conditions in the West where dogmatic orthodoxy and suspicion of non-Christian material were prevalent. In such a case perhaps the knowledge was truly esoteric, as in secret and hidden. Gichtel is interesting in this regard:

 

6VDFdHT.jpg

Rq1tAGu.jpg

 

That depends if one counts Egypt within the field of 'west' 

 

certainly it played its part in the Alexandrian Synthesis from which hermetics were formed .  One other imut there were the Zurvanites ... or as some might know them by their 'priests' ; Magi . They were descendants of a much older tradition and culture in prehistory, from the 'Pishdadian Era'  , which could have been the origin of ' Mesopotamian type' astrology and other 'hermetic sciences' . Their early cultures had contact well into China ( remember the 'Chinese / Caucasian mummies' ? )  as a northern branch of the '17 Empire'  Aryan  collective -probably before the separation of peoples that went into Greece , and pre    Vedic  and Iranian Separation  ( which resulted in one branch 'Devati' ) becoming strongly established in the Indus Valley and the other , to the western areas of the 'Empire' to , present day, Iran . ....  after the  'Great War or Religion' 

 

 

Image result for Zoroastrian great war of religion

 

 

( a recent linguistic study has just shown that the language of the MItanni is not Mesopotamian , or based on other  previously supposed  localised peoples but related to peoples in eastern Afghanistan ..... the two  extreme  eastern and western extents of old Aryan Empire. ) 

 

The more anthropologists and archaeologists  research and find, the more we realise how far ancient man could network, travel and exchange ideas and goods , over land and large sea distances .    The issue with 'Central Asia' is the west focused primarily in 'the Fertile Crescent area' with little interest in Central Asia / Western   (now )  China  up till 1970 - since then war and difficult terrain and collapse of old infrastructure have made ingress difficult .   Most of my study has been possible due to Russian research , particularly  Viktor Sarianidi    and  more recent  research and publications from UNESCO https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Sarianidi

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I forgot to mention ... if one does  include Egypt and considering the question of     it seems it wasn't as prominent or detailed in the Western tradition, 

see;  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._A._Schwaller_de_Lubicz

 

(also consider how much was lost in destruction and degradation of records  from thee ancient traditions ;   in the Libraries at Alexandria   and the old Zoroastrian knowledge ( estimated 90% lost !  - due to invasions and destruction , wilfully, of these records by Alexander and Islamic conquest ) , which may have been  the larger part of the source of all this .

Edited by Nungali

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