FOOTNOTES TO “THE ALCHEMISTS”
[Lucifer, Vol. No. 28, December, 1889 pp. 288-297]
[John Ransom Bridge, F.T.S., contributes an essay in defence of the Alchemists of the Middle Ages. He quotes from several alchemical writings, and certain symbolical expressions occurring in them call forth various comments from H.P.B.]
[Quoting from Secrets Revealed: or an open entrance to the Shut Palace of the King, etc., by Eirenaeus Philaletha, London, 1669, the following sentence is brought forward: “But if thou do proceed warily in this Regimen, thou shalt meet with these notable things: first thou shalt observe a certain citrine sweat to stand upon thy Body; and after that citrine vapour, then shall thy Body below be tinctured of a violet colour, with an obscure purple intermixed. . .”]
Would not “thy Body below be tinctured of a violet colour” rather refer to the Linga-Sarira which corresponds to the violet colour as a compound of red (Kama-rupa)
and indigo dark blue of the upper Manas—the “purple” becoming obscure, meaning simply the beginning of the purification of the lower Quaternary?
[“. . . thy matter shall convert itself into grains, as fine as the atoms of Sol, and the colour will be the highest red imaginable which for its transcendent redness will show Blackish . . .”]
The transcendent red or golden orange of the Sun. This must not be confused with the scarlet Kama-rupan redness. Have in mind the colour of the Yogi-robes, the colour of which is symbolical of the sun of life and of human lifeblood.
[Referring to the Soul and Body of man, the following words are quoted from the Clavis Alchymiae of Artephius: “. . . when they arise or ascend, they are born or brought forth in the Air or Spirit, and in the same they are changed, and made Life with Life, so that they can never be separated, but are as water mixed with water. And therefore it is wisely said, that the Stone is born of the Spirit, because it is altogether spiritual.”]
That is to say, the “Soul [Manas] and Body of Man” (Body standing for the astral man) assimilate Spirit (Buddhi); are made “Life with Life” (or merge into the ONE LIFE). In other words the mysterious process of the transformation of lead (personality) into gold (pure, homogeneous Spirit) is here meant. Verily the Stone is born of the Spirit.
[Later a number of passages are quoted from Eirenaeus Philalethes’ a Commentary on Sir George Ripley’s The Compound of Alhymy.*]
[praises of the Lord] By “Lord” the HIGHER SELF is here meant—“that SELF which is the Redeemer of man” whether it be called Christos or Krishna.
[the Quadrangle is reduced to a Circle] the four elements of nature are seen running into each other, so that they constitute a circle.
* [This is Eirenaeus Philalethes’ work entitled A Breviary of Alchemy: or a Commentary upon Ser G. Ripley’s Recapitulation, 1678, 8vo.—Compiler.]
[this Philosophical Vine (thyself still) doth seem to flower, and to bring forth green clusters] This “philosophical Vine” is the lower Manas merged at last and reunited to its higher Alter Ego, when it begins to bring forth the green clusters of the “true Vine” for the Husbandman, the “Father” or Higher Self (Atma-Buddhi); vide John, xv.
[Thy Stone (thyself) hath already passed through many hazards, and yet the danger is not quite over] This “danger” comes from the Antaskarana, the bridge of communication between the Personality and the individuality not being yet destroyed. Vide Vâkya Sudhâ, the Philosophy of Subject and Object, page 3, 1st note, in Raja Yoga, Practical Metaphysics of the Vedanta.
[this green will be overcome with azure; and that by the pale wan colour, which will at length come to a Citrine; which . . . will endure for the space of forty-six days] The green of the lower Manas, the Animal Soul, will be “overcome with azure” or the reflection of the Higher (which is Indigo), into their aura which is blue, when pure.
The cycle of the 46 Fires, the period between death and new rebirth, in Devachan. The cycle of the 49 Fires is the period between two manvantaras. The members of the E.S. will understand it better than the F.T.S.
[Then shall the Heavenly Fire descend . . . . . our Sol shall sit in the South, shining with redness incomparable] The HIGHER SELF will shed its radiance on the heart (the chamber of Brahma) of even the still living Man.
[our King . . . hath passed from death to Life, and possesseth the keys of both death and hell] From the death in matter into the Life in Spirit.
Man becomes a CHRISTOS, the Master and custodian of “death and hell,” i.e., of Earth, Matter and of the physical body of Senses.
[then are the elements joined] All the “Principles” in Man merge into one “Principle”—Atma-Buddhi, the grosser terrestrial elements of the lower body being of course destroyed.
[This is a notable step, from Hell to Heaven] It is hardly necessary to render this more clearly. With the ancient Mystics and even the modern Occultists, the physical body was ever called, “the grave” and the “Hell,” while the Spiritual man was referred to as the Heavenly Power, etc.
[the necessity of alternate action upon natural Bodies . . . . they must be . . . prospered and saddened, in order to be made pliable and yielding . . . . . . all of which must be done with one Fire . . .] Man rises to glory through suffering in order to be made “pliable and yielding,” or impervious to the emotions and feelings of his physical senses.
This “Fire” is that of Alaya, the “World-Soul,” the essence of which is LOVE, i.e., homogeneous Sympathy, which is Harmony, or the “Music of the Spheres.” Vide The Voice of the Silence, IIIrd Treatise, page 69.