The Philosophers Stone
The Sorcerors Stone
Today, the quest for the Philosopher’s Stone (or the Sorcerer’s Stone, as it is known today) is merely thought of as a work of fiction from the pages of a Harry Potter novel. However, in the Middle Ages, the very real search for the Philosopher’s Stone was second only to that of the Holy Grail. It was believed that this mysterious stone –which one had to concoct from secret ingredients – could turn base metals into gold, and reveal the secrets of immortality. This fascinating documentary unearths the astonishing events surrounding this legendary stone, and the alchemists and adventurers who stopped at nothing in their search for this tantalising quarry. The programme also takes a wider look at medieval alchemy, and how this now-obsolete science paved the way for modern scientists.
The search for the Philosopher’s Stone presented a different challenge to that of the Holy Grail: while the latter was a geographical riddle, the Philosopher’s Stone was made of a variety of secret elements that an alchemist had to combine. Alchemists believed that gold was the most superior metal in the world, as it did not tarnish, rust or corrode. It was thought that the Philosopher’s Stone was made of something purer than gold itself, and that its presence next to something of a lesser metal could turn the inferior object into gold. Similarly, as gold was seen as perfection, human beings could draw from its elixir too, and turn from mortal (imperfect) to immortal (perfect).
These ingredients were hidden in bizarrely coded manuscripts that baffle scholars to this day, written by alchemists who lived in their own secret society. The creation of the stone was rumoured to be a hazardous and possibly fatal pursuit, yet this did not dissuade the finest scientific minds of the era – not to mention the most powerful European rulers – from chasing the stone’s secrets.
The programme follows the stories of alchemists such as Nicholas Flamel – brought to life in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ –who really existed and was rumoured to be hotly on the trail. The programme also looks at two noted alchemists – Edward Kelly and John Dee –whose obsessive search for the stone resulted in stories of madness, conversations with angels and even wife-swapping.
Some of today’s most prominent chemistry scholars, such as Harold Goldwhite and Lawrence Principe, explain why these men only sound crazy in today’s era. In the Middle Ages, alchemy and the experiments devised to create the stone represented a huge stride forward in science. Today we owe most of our modern lab equipment and experimental techniques to the efforts of these alchemists. The programme examines their work and asks if their search for immortality and the secrets of transmutation were really on sound scientific ground. It also poses the question: did any of these alchemists – as rumoured – succeed in cracking the secrets of the stone?
The Hermetic Seal and Philosophers Stone
"Make of man and women a circle; thence a square, thence a triangle. Form a circle (around the three) and you will have the Philosopher's Stone."
The seals have been around for thousands of years and there are many examples. This concept of using geometric symbols to represent Man's transformation from the physical to spiritual worlds, is not a recent concept, but dates back to the ancient Greek Pythagorean Philosophy of using geometric symbols to illustrate Man's physical and spiritual transformation. The Hermetic Seal became important with early alchemists as well, when these early scientists sought ways to create more 'abundance' for Mankind by creating gold from certain base metals. It was believed that by combining base metals such as lead with the three elements of alchemical transformation: Mercury, salt, and sulfur, it would be possible to make gold, and therefore bring more physical wealth to Mankind.
One important ingredient was found to be missing, however, and that was the magical properties of an ancient and unknown substance referred to as the Philosophers Stone. This substance, always searched for and never found, was believed to be the final ingredient or 'elixir' needed to make to actual transformation.
Along with physical alchemy, was the belief of Man's ultimate destiny and spiritual transformation as also attributed to the Hermetic Seal, representing the transformations of the human spirit. The final circle represented the universality of the spirit. Alchemists believed that by combining the magical properties of the Philosophers Stone with the physical body and spirit, it would be possible to bring the dead back to life. These ideas have become so intriguing that fiction writer J.K. Rowling used the Philosophers Stone as the theme for one of her Harry Potter Novels.
Astoria Brown Psychic Readings
While Hermetic Alchemy still remains as one of the most misunderstood occult sciences, it warrants more intense studies into it's well kept secrets. The carefully guarded secrets surrounding Hermetic Alchemy continue to captivate multitudes in the Western esoteric tradition.
There are many aspects of this study and it's various belief systems that must be seriously contemplated before a student proceeds into it's depths.
First let's consider the literal and materialistic misinterpretation of the goals of alchemy. It was the very beginnings of modern science, and was masked with fear of the unknown and labeled "Magick" by the church and common folk. Therefore the early leaders in this field were threatened with their very lives if they chose to pursue in their studies of alchemy. Pseudo-alchemists, for example, that were interested only in cooking gold inadvertently led to the beginnings of modern chemistry and pharmacology. All of these advances, however, as valuable as they are in their own right, reveal nothing about the true nature of Hermetic alchemy.
Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychologist in the 20th century, used alchemical images as a base for his psychological theories' He called them 'archetypes of the collective unconscious.' Despite the fact that Jung never truly grasped the hidden nature of Hermetic alchemy, his misunderstanding nonetheless led to yet another contribution of alchemy to modern science, this time in the field of depth psychology.
There have been many great individuals throughout history that have dabbled in alchemy and it's basic belief systems just enough to enable offshoots of various fundamental modern scientific fruits.
Since continuing secrecy surrounds the very nature of Hermetic alchemy, many con men have deliberately set out to deceive an unsuspecting public. Many 'Schools of alchemy" based on useless facts have sprung up all over the world. Wherever there is a 'secret' to be revealed, the public gets mesmerized and jumps to the buy buttons. Be wary of such institutions.
Hermetic alchemy remains an occult science that can only properly be understood by initiates. To the uninitiated, alchemical truth forever remains a book sealed with seven seals.
HERMETIC ALCHEMY BASICS CLARIFIED
Hermetic alchemy revealed at it's basic level is a system that uses the subtle fires of the human body to archive transformation. Developed in the very distant past as the 'Royal Art', alchemy was reserved in Ancient Egypt for the Pharoah and the ruling class. As time passed, Hermetic alchemy spread throughout the Mediterranean to Europe through the Greek and the Roman Empires. In Greece, alchemy became known as Pythagoreanism, whereas in Rome it became the foundation for the Hermetic tradition.
When Christianity rose up, it threatened the very existence of alchemy. To protect the 'Royal Art' from complete destruction from the emergence of Christianity, many of it's practices were encoded in the rites and stories of the new religion. It's true meanings were secretly and very carefully preserved by initiates for centuries. Things really changed and became very dangerous when The Inquisition became more and more repressive. The myth of a materialistic pseudo-science was created whose aim it was to 'manufacture gold.' Hermetic symbolism and allegory were used to conceal alchemical truth from the profane, yet nonetheless preserve and communicate it within the initiate's circles.
Certain plant elixirs prepared commonly known as 'plant alchemy' do have medicinal value in themselves. The processes of so-called, 'laboratory' alchemy are by and large merely analogous for the actual processes of Hermetic inner alchemy. One must look beyond the content, beyond the obvious, and attempt to understand as in poetry what is intended by analogy and metaphor.
In Hermetic and Alchemical Traditions the 'soul' does not exist equally in all human beings, it is to be actively cultivated and developed. Each one of us possess the seed of the soul. It's up to each of us to cultivate this seed or not. Thus changing Lead into Gold refers to the analogy to the cultivation of the soul, the refinement of matter into purer forms of energy, and ultimately giving birth to a 'body of light' or 'solar body.' At the moment of death, the alchemist projects his or her consciousness into this 'solar body,' achieving liberation from further incarnation and becoming consciously immortal.
The nature of the Philosopher's Stone is a transmutation which occurs using the properties it possesses. The true nature of the Stone is one of the greatest secrets of Hermetic alchemy. Although Hermetic rules prohibit the direct revelation of the true nature of the Philosopher's Stone, much has been said about it, including that "it is a most potent elixir of life, having both the power to prolong youth, to confer immortality, and above all...Ultimate Transformation