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Those who have studied the writings of the ancient alchemists have always been much mystified by what is said concerning the philosopher's stone and the process of transmuting the base metals into gold. These claims have naturally given rise to a great deal of vague speculation. From time to time, students have asked for a direct statement from the writer concerning this subject of paramount importance, and as we are standing upon the threshold of a new age where this precious jewel with all its power will be evolved and possessed by a considerable number of people, we feel that it is important to divest the subject of all the mystery that surrounds it and speak in plain terms concerning the matter. Then all who really wish to take the trouble involved, for it involves arduous labor, nothing worth having being ever gained without cost, may know how to make for themselves this great gem.

We are taught that in the beginning God created Heaven and Earth--the whole universe in fact, and we understand that this great creative force expresses itself either as WILL or IMAGINATION. By imagination the Great Architect of the Universe must first have visualized everything as it now is, or as it was first created, and then by His will the physical atoms were marshaled into this matrix of thought, thus gradually bringing the universe into manifestation as designed by its creator. Nor is this process complete, but will continue until the whole has become perfect as originally designed.

The divine Hierarchies who have carried out the plan of the great Creator also use the same dual creative force when fashioning the crystal in the mineral, the leaf of the plant, or the shape of the animal. Their powerful imagination pictures in the archetypal region of the earth that which they desire to create, and their concentrated will moulds the coarser matter into this matrix until it assumes a definite physical form as desired.

Man, the spirit, has a like creative power, and has through the ages, under the guidance of the Gods, learned to build bodies of increasing value as instruments for his expression. But his pilgrimage through matter was undertaken for the purpose of making him an independent creative intelligence, and to attain that end it was necessary that he should at the proper time, be emancipated from the guardianship of the Gods, so that he might learn to create, not only for himself, but also to aid and to teach others in the great School of Life.

During the course of his evolution, Man has become more and more enlightened concerning the mystery of Life; but nevertheless, it is only a few hundred years ago when life and liberty were endangered by the expression of opinions in advance of the commonly accepted views. It was for this reason that the alchemists who had studied more deeply that the majority, were forced to embody their teachings in highly allegorical and symbolical language. Their teaching concerning the spiritual evolution of man, and their use of the terms SALT, SULPHUR, MERCURY, and AZOTH, so mystifying to the masses, were nevertheless rooted in cosmic truths, highly illuminating to the Initiate. The students of the Rosicrucian teachings who have learned how the world came into being and the process of gradual creation should have no difficulty in properly understanding every part of the alchemist's language.

We know in the first place, that there was a time when Man-in-the-making was a hermaphrodite, male-female, and able to create from himself, and we remember also that at that time he was like the plant in other respects. His consciousness was like that which we possess in dreamless sleep and which is possessed by the plant. The vital energy which he absorbed into his body was used solely for the purpose of growing, until the time of propagation came, when a new budding body was cast off to grow also. There was no incentive to action, but if there had been, Man would have had no mind or will to direct it.

For the emancipation of humanity from this negative condition, one-half of the creative force was turned upward under the direction of the angels for the purpose of building a larynx and a brain, that man might learn to create by thought as do the divine Hierarchies, and express the creative thought in words. Thus man ceased to be physically hermaphrodite and became uni-sexual. He can no longer create from himself PHYSICALLY as do the hermaphrodite plants, nor PSYCHICALLY as do the Elohim, the male-female Hierarchs, in whose image he was originally made, and thus he occupies at the present time, an unenviable intermediate position between the plant and the God.

At the time when one half of the human sex force was diverted for the purpose of building a brain, men were helpless and lacking in knowledge of how to overcome conditions. They did not even have the consciousness to know that there was a difficulty, and had no outside help been given the race must have died out. Therefore the Angels from the Moon, who were the guardians of mankind, herded the sexes together in great temples at times when the interplanetary lines of force were propitious to propagation and thus they perpetuated the race. It was also proposed that when the brain had been completed, the Lords of Mercury, Elder Brothers of our present humanity who excelled in intelligence, should teach us how to use the mind and make it truly creative so that we would no longer be dependent upon the separate sexual process of generation now in vogue. Thus by the work of these two great Hierarchies, we were raised from unconsciousness to the first stage of creative intelligence, FROM PLANT TO GOD.

We have also learned that this plan was frustrated by the Lucifer Spirits, stragglers from the humanity of the Moon Period, who lived upon the planet Mars. They needed a physical field of action, but were unable to create one for themselves, hence for selfish reasons they taught humanity how by cooperation of the sexes a new body may be created at any time; and in order to give an incentive they instilled into mankind the animalistic passionate nature which we now possess.

Thus to the ancient alchemists, the Angels from the Moon which rules the saline tides of the sea were designated by the term "SALT." They had found that a certain amount of salt in the blood is necessary to the mental processes, also that excess salt in the blood produces insanity, as best proven by the experiences of shipwrecked sailors who become LUNATICS when they drink water containing the lunar element SALT. Thus also they established a connection between the Moon and mind.

The fiery Lucifer Spirits who have taken such a baneful part in man's evolution became associated with the fiery element "SULPHUR." The alchemists said that man is rendered unconscious and dies by continuous inhalation of this element; so man, the spirit, was rendered unconscious of and dead to the spiritual realms by the teachings which were instilled into him by the Lucifer Spirits.

The metal MERCURY, they contended, is the most elusive of all metals. It will penetrate and evaporate through most substances with which it is brought in contact; and therefore they likened it to the Lords of Mercury who are past masters in penetrating the secrets of nature by the mind. Mercury is also capable of freeing the spirit from its physical prison house.

By the process of GENERATION carried on at a propitious time under the guidance of the Angels, man was treading the path from plant to God, following the highway of evolution as originally planned.

From this path he strayed into the byways of DEGENERATION, led by the Lucifer Spirits, and is therefore now as it were in a slough from which he cannot extricate himself save with the help of others further advanced than he.

When this becomes apparent to him and he starts to search for light, he stands at the pathway of REGENERATION guarded by the Lords of Mercury who with their wisdom will guide him toward the desired goal. The method as outlined by the ancient alchemists we shall discuss when we have summed up in a few words the points made. These must be firmly fixed in mind to appreciate the full value of what follows.

The creative force used by God to bring a solar system into manifestation, and the force used by the divine Hierarchies to form the physical vehicle of the lower kingdoms over which they rule as group spirits, expresses itself in a dual manner as WILL and IMAGINATION, and is the same as the UNITED creative force of the male and the female which results in the creation of a human body. At one time man was bi-sexual, male-female, and therefore each was able to propagate his species without assistance from anyone else. But one-half of the creative force has been temporarily diverted upwards to build a brain and larynx in order to enable him sometime to create by his own mind, to form thoughts and speak the word of power that shall make his thoughts flesh. Three great creative Hierarchies were particularly concerned in bringing about this change: the ANGELS from the Moon, the MERCURIANS, and the LUCIFER SPIRITS from Mars. The Alchemists connected the Angels from the Moon, which rules the saline tides, with the element SALT, the Lucifer Spirits from Mars with the element SULPHUR, and the Mercurians with the metal MERCURY. They used this symbolic presentation partly because of the religious intolerance which made it unsafe to promulgate any other teaching than that sanctioned by the orthodox church of that day, and partly because humanity as a whole was not yet ready to accept the truths which were embodied in their philosophy. They also spoke of a fourth element, AZOTH, a name composed of the first and last letters of our classical languages and intended to convey the same idea as "alpha and omega"--that of all-inclusiveness. This referred to what we now know as the spiritual ray of Neptune, which is the octave of Mercury and which is the sublimated essence of spiritual power.

The alchemists knew that the moral and physical nature of man had become gross and coarse on account of the passions inculcated by the Lucifer Spirits, and that, therefore, a process of distillation and refinement was necessary to eliminate these characteristics and elevate man to the sublime heights where the splendor of the spirit is no longer obscured by the coarse coating which now hides it from view. They therefore regarded the body as a laboratory and spoke of the spiritual processes in chemical terms. They noted that these processes have their inception and their particular field of activity in the spinal cord that forms the link between the two creative organs, THE BRAIN, which is the field of operation for the intellectual Mercurians, and THE GENITALS, which are the vantage ground of the sensuous and passionate Lucifer Spirits.

This tripartite spinal cord was to the alchemists the crucible of consciousness; they knew that in the sympathetic section of the cord which governs the functions that have to do particularly with the upkeep and welfare of the body, the Lunar Angels were specially active and this segment was therefore designated as the element SALT. The segment governing the motor nerves which expend the dynamic energy stored in the body by our food they saw clearly to be under the dominance of the Martial Lucifer Spirits, and they, therefore, named that segment SULPHUR. The remaining segment, which marks and registers the sensations carried by the nerves, was named MERCURY, because it was said to be under the dominance of spiritual beings from Mercury. THE SPINAL CANAL, contrary to the ideas of anatomists, is NOT filled with fluid, but with a gas that is like steam in that it may be condensed when exposed to the outside atmosphere, but may also be super- heated by the vibratory activity of the spirit to such an extent that it becomes a brilliant and luminous fire, the fire of purification and regeneration. This is the field of action of the great spiritual Hierarchy from Neptune and is designated AZOTH by the alchemists. This spiritual fire is not alike in every man nor is it as luminous in one as in another. The state thereof depends upon the spiritual advancement of the person in question.

When the aspirant to the higher life had been instructed in these mysteries of symbolism and the time had come to speak to him plainly, the following teachings were communicated to him, not necessarily in these words nor in this manner. But at any rate he was given to understand and it was made clear to him that--"anatomically man belongs to the animals, and that below that kingdom in the scale of evolution are the plants. They are pure and INNOCENT, their propagative practices are untainted by passion, and their WHOLE creative force is turned UPWARDS toward the light, where it manifests as the flower, a thing of joy and beauty for all to behold. Yet the plants are unable to do otherwise, for they have no intelligence, no consciousness of the outside world and no free-will in action. They can only create in the physical world, however.

"Above man in the scale of evolution are the gods, creators upon the spiritual and physical planes. They also are pure as the plants, for their WHOLE creative force is also turned UPWARDS and is expended in whatever manner their intelligence directs; and knowing good and evil, they always do good by choice.

"Between the gods and the plant kingdom stands man, a being endowed with intelligence, creative power and free-will to use it for good or ill. At present, however, he is dominated by the passion instilled by the Lucifer Spirits and sends one-half of his creative force DOWNWARD from the light to gratify his senses. In his innermost soul he realizes that this is wrong, and hence he hides his creative instinct in shame and is outraged when it is dragged into the light. This condition must be altered ere spiritual progress can be made, and, therefore, you must carefully consider the similarity between the chaste plant and the pure spiritual gods who BOTH TURN THEIR WHOLE CREATIVE POWER UPWARDS TOWARDS THE LIGHT. In the course of evolution you have risen above the plant, which has creative power only in the physical world, and have become like the gods possessing creative power, on both the mental and the physical planes of being, besides intelligence and free-will to direct it. This was accomplished by the diversion of one-half of your sex-force UPWARDS for building a brain and larynx, organs which are still fed and nourished by this uplifting half of the sex-force. But while the gods direct their WHOLE creative force to ALTRUISTIC PURPOSES by the power of mind, you still squander one-half of your divine heritage upon desire and sense-gratification. If, therefore, you would become as they, YOU MUST LEARN TO TURN YOUR WHOLE CREATIVE ENERGY UPWARD TO BE USED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF YOUR INTELLIGENCE ENTIRELY. Thus only can you become as the gods and create from yourself by the power of your mind and the GREAT WORD whereby you may speak the creative fiat. Remember that PHYSICALLY you were once hermaphrodite like the plant and able to create from yourself. Look into the future now through the perspective of the past and realize that your present uni-sexual condition is only a temporary phase of evolution and that in the future your WHOLE creative force must be turned UPWARDS SO THAT YOU SHALL BECOME A HERMAPHRODITE SPIRITUALLY, and thus able to objectify your ideas and speak THE LIVING WORD which shall endue them with life and make them vibrant with vital energy. This DUAL creative force thus expressed through the brain and larynx is the 'ELIXIR-VITAE' which springs from THE LIVING STONE of the spiritually hermaphrodite philosopher. The alchemical process of kindling and elevating it is accomplished in the spinal cord where the SALT, SULPHUR, MERCURY and AZOTH are found. It is raised to incandescence by high and noble thought, by meditation upon spiritual subjects, and by altruism expressed in the daily life. The second half of the creative energy thus drawn upward through the spinal canal is a SPINAL SPIRIT-FIRE, the serpent of wisdom. Gradually it is raised higher and higher and when it reaches the pituitary body and the pineal gland in the brain, it sets them to vibrating, opening up the spiritual worlds and enabling man to commune with the gods. Then this fire radiates in all directions and permeates the whole body and its auric atmosphere, and man has become a LIVING STONE, whose luster surpasses that of the diamond or the ruby. HE IS THEN THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE."

There are many other symbols and similes taken from the world of chemistry and applied to the processes of spiritual growth which eventually makes men living stones in the temple of God. But enough has been said in the foregoing to show what was meant by the ancient alchemists by such terms and the reason why they clothed their teachings in symbolical language. The way of initiation is, however, and has always bee open to anyone who really an truly seeks for enlightenment and is willing to pay the price in the coin of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Therefore, seek the temple door and you shall find it; knock and it shall be opened unto you. If you SEEK prayerfully, if you KNOCK persistently and if you LABOR manfully you will in time reach the goal and you will BECOME The Philosopher's Stone.


In order to avoid misunderstanding, it should be said that this lesson was only given to the aspirant to discipleship to show him the reason why it is necessary for him to live a pure and chaste life. It does not apply to the masses who have no spiritual aspirations and are as yet unable to restrain their passions. The Rosicrucians do not even advocate an entirely celibate life for their pupils; indeed they regard it as a religious duty for the enlightened mystic, man or woman, to wed a kindred spirit if such can be found, and thus furnish incoming souls a particularly advantageous opportunity for rebirth. When such a devoted couple perform the generative act in a spirit of aspiration to serve a waiting ego, when the prenatal conditions are pure mentally, morally and physically, when the early childhood days of the ego thus born are spent in a home atmosphere of high and noble thought, both parents and children are making wonderful progress. And as great souls cannot be born to ignoble parents any more than water can sink below its level, it would, indeed, be very wrong for aspirants to discipleship to live an entirely celibate life for the sake of self- advancement when conditions permit them to wed; furthermore, the expenditure of the creative force at the few times in a life when it is LEGITIMATELY REQUIRED for propagation would not seriously interfere with the spiritual development undertaken to BECOME The Philosopher's Stone, and the soul- growth gained by assuming the duties of parenthood would far outweigh any possible loss.

What the Rosicrucians teach then is that marriage between people who will limit their use of the creative function to the purpose of propagation is eminently good, noble and productive of great soul-growth, but that unmarried aspirant should live an absolutely celibate life if they wish to attain the highest.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014