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Knowing and Being

December 22, 2012

Alchemy is not a science that is learned by piling fact upon fact until one is compelled by reason to accept some conceptual proposition. It is not dependent upon belief or knowledge (at least not as contemporary pedagogy conceives of knowledge). The difference between the traditional alchemist and most contemporary students of alchemy is that the alchemist has mended the wound caused by the severing of epistemology and ontology, knowing and being. Information accumulation may change your mind (or pattern of ideation) but it will not transform your desire, imagination or will and so cannot prevent or even ameliorate or mitigate against the development of faulty belief systems, cognitive dissonance, depression, obsession, prejudice, selfishness, magical thinking, fear or despair. In short, such ‘knowledge’ will not transform you alchemystically.

Alchemy is not to be believed and alchemists have no desire to teach. For the most part, contemporary students want to learn or to be taught alchemy when, in fact, it can only be imbibed or caught. Alchemy is a ‘gradual’ method of transformation in the sense that it uses expedient means to prepare (or shorten) the way to true self-knowledge. But, though alchemystical transformation does not happen without effort (or rather, perseverance), all such effort is preparatory rather than causative. The nigredo merely prepares one to be able to respond to the transformative moment during the final stages of the albedo when knowledge of one’s self transforms into knowledge of one’s Lord. Alchemy is a ‘sudden’ method of transformation in the sense that it recognizes that the actual transformation is wholly a matter of grace/baraka. One cannot know truth without being truth. One cannot know alchemy without being an alchemist. One cannot know god, without knowing self; for to know one’s self is to know limitation, emptiness and dependence. To acknowledge limitation, emptiness and dependence is the necessary prerequisite for restoring the unity of knowing and being, removing the veil between one’s self and one’s Lord. It is only selfless love and complete devotion that removes the final veil and permits the whole and the part to become intimately reacquainted.

…[alchemists] want to force those who seek this wisdom to feel their dependence upon God (in whose hand are all things), to obtain it through instant prayer, and when it has been revealed to them, to give all the glory to Him. – Sophic Hydrolith

Categories: Knowing and Being
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