Copyright (C) 2000 by William Mistele. All rights reserved.
The Philosopher’s Stone
The idea of physical and astral immortality have been around a long time, for ages stretching back before written history. Many bishops and popes in the Christian church were obsessed with the idea of the philosopher’s stone. It was said to be able to prolong life and transform lead into gold. When it comes to greed, such an idea easily lends itself to fraud in the hands of a good con man.
Many magicians also in the Middle Ages and after spent their life times searching for the philosopher’s stone. Their experiments with various elixirs contributed to the formation of modern chemistry. There are many books recently written about alchemy and the philosopher’s stone both as something to be sought and obtained as a physical substance and also as a spiritual attainment within oneself.
Those committed to producing something physical and those committed to producing something spiritual have sometimes been very critical of each other’s goals. The one is criticized as being a gross materialist and the other is criticized as completely spiritualizing something that actually belongs to the sphere of nature and the real world.
Science I am sure will eventually produce the philosopher’s stone or its scientific equivalent in its own good time for that is the nature of science--to discover everything that can be known about the physical universe. My goals are more humble. I am interesting in learning to be aware of, to explore, and to transform to whatever extent I can the vital energies within my physical and astral bodies.
The idea of astral immortality, although saved for a heavenly afterlife in Christianity, is definitely a part of various sects in Buddhism and Taoism. High Tibetan lamas, such as a the “golden child” or Karmpa in the Kagu order of Tibetan Buddhism, are said to have the ability to consciously pick their next incarnation after they die. The Karmapa is so precise he gives the names of his next parents and describes their location in his instructions to his disciples as to where to come and find him after he is reborn.
This action of magical incarnation carries with it a continuity of consciousness, that is, the same spiritual qualities, abilities, and often the same memories are present in the incarnating individual. You are simply sending your consciousness into the body of a child which requires that you relearn to speak and gain control again over your nervous system. But it is the same old you who is living on.
Taoists tend to emphasize, in addition to the Chinese ideal of long life, the concept of astral immortality. In other words, here in this life you begin working on designing and building the astral body you will inhabit when you die and live on the astral plane. You want to be strong, radiant, and feel fully alive when you die and not be a ghost or slowly have your personality fade away over the centuries subject to the disintegrating influences of the astral plane. Though unfamiliar to Western consciousness, this ideal results from being concerned with the worship of ancestors and with prolonging and refining life, life force, and health.
Since Franz Bardon describes many spirits who specialize in alchemy and also various cosmic letters which he says lead to astral and physical immortality, it is natural for me to pursue this topic in my own way--that is, in a personal and psychic way through my own experimentation and experience.
The Philosopher’s Stone in the Aura
In chapter 3, physical level, of his book, Initiation into Hermetics, Franz Bardon has the student practice concentrating and also accumulating vital energy in one’s body through the use of breath. (Also see my commentary under Basic Practices on my web site, Chapter 3, Physical Level, Pour Breathing). If you breathe air in and out of every part of your body, for example, you can begin to sense the vitalization of each part of your body. If you practice accumulating this vital energy in each part of your body, you begin to strengthen and learn to heal the various parts of your own and other’s bodies.
This kind of accumulation of vital energy, however, heavily favors the fire element. Bardon points out that the body becomes hot and radiates waves of heat like a hot radiator when the life force is concentrated in the body when you follow his instructions. This form of accumulation of vital energy is great for healing since the fire element is often used in healing.
In chapter 3 on the psychic level, Bardon has the student practice accumulating each of the four elements. The fire element in this case, however, is not in particular an aspect of vital energy. The fire element in nature, when gathered through breathing, produces an energy that is hot and fiery. It has a burning quality. The accumulated life force, by contrast, results in a kind of white light accumulation that is more organic, more a part of the natural energy of the body. It is also hot and expansive but definitely a healing energy as opposed to a fiery burning energy.
Some individuals are addicted to white light. They love it to the exclusion of the other aspects of life force. They adore gurus with bright shiny auras. Some of these individuals get very upset or outright paranoid when they encounter someone who is exploring light in the non-visible spectrum of vibration.
But in the actual physical universe white light is very small part of the total amount of energy being emitted throughout the universe. Besides star and solar light, there are many other forms of light in the invisible spectrum which are far more present with us and throughout the universe. These are ultraviolet, infrared, X-rays, gamma rays, and other forms of cosmic radiation. These too are light and our consciousness moves in these spectrums of light vibration as well.
The air we breathe in has the four elements in it and not just the bright fiery element. In every breath, we are drawing in a combination of the four elements. In part, we can learn to become conscious of these four elements and direct them at will by working with each separately.
You can, for example, do breath accumulation of life force emphasizing the other elements. Earth, air, and water are not so bright like white light and certainly not hot and fiery. Some individuals, in fact, may find that the intense accumulation of life force within one’s body through breathing is not particularly harmonious or health producing. A one-sided vitality accumulation may produce disharmonies depending on the individual’s psychic makeup.
The water life force accumulation, as opposed to the fiery or white light kind of accumulation, is magnetic, cool, and soothing. You can imagine for example sitting in a pool of water in front of a falls and practice breathing in and out air as your body is surrounded by a fine mist of vapor from the falls. In this case, you can learn to sense more of the watery energy that is present in the same breath that you breathe in. You are just altering your mental imagery slightly to produce a different result in terms of your elemental accumulation.
But again, the accumulation of the water element in nature is different from the accumulation of the water aspect of vital life force in the body. If you use breath to accumulate the water element, you get in your body a cold, wet sensation of water. If you breath in air utilizing the imagery for example of sitting in front of a water fall, you are getting more of the watery energy that is a part of your own life force.
This energy is not wet and cold. It is soothing and cleansing, even nurturing and sustaining. It is these health-producing, elemental energies within breath and the organic vitality of the body which I am interested in pursuing in this essay.
The element of air vital accumulation results in a balancing and harmonizing energy. The earth element vital accumulation is peaceful, calming, and stabilizing. The akasha element concentration produces a sense of inner stillness and profound faith.
If you gather and then blend these together, combining the opposite pairs carefully and then adding the akasha, you get a feeling of strong health and rejuvenation or the combination of all the qualities of each of the five elements. But this is still a dim reflection of what is it is possible to incorporate in the human body.
The magician will naturally seek to explore and master the four elements in nature. The elements in nature are not necessarily friendly or harmonious with the vital energies in the human body. If you project into the undine’s realm or the oceans, you may learn a lot about the vibration of the ocean or the incredibly states of bliss and ecstasy belonging to undines.
But you may return from these mental or astral explorations exhausted or in some cases haunted and disturbed by what you have encountered. There is no such imbalance or strain as an effect if you are working with the four elements which are a part of and present in your own vital energy.
Below are some of my preliminary thoughts and comments of what I am currently exploring, mostly in the last four days while meditating on the philosopher’s stone. My interest is in the philosopher’s stone which you produce in your aura. The goal here is to sense, explore, become familiar with, universalize, strengthen, and harmonize personal health.
My procedure is basically to focus within my body and then ask the spiritual world various questions and then record my thoughts and responses to the impressions I receive. I am not exactly new to this topic. I have spend many months during different years working on producing chemical based elixirs. But though I could produce very potent energies these were not particularly useful to me. The problem is I am under a powerful karmic limitation (which I did not understand at the time) to avoid using any physical implements or aids to my magical work in life.
That means no wands, no magick mirrors, no elixirs, no robes, no incense, etc. etc. I apparently overindulged and did too much of that sort of ritualized and externalized magical activity in other life times. In this life time my work is intended to be more simple and direct, more artistic and personal, than what was the norm for this kind of activity as practiced in other civilizations.
Question: What is the difference between a physical philosopher’s stone and producing this energy in your aura?
Answer: The material philosopher’s stone is a powdery substance which is incredibly expansive in producing healing and balancing life force. It can be used to heal others.
It is not just material, however. It combines in its vibration an ability to restore the elements and health of the astral body as well.
If you ingested some of the philosopher’s stone, you would be producing a harmonious and universal level of health beginning with the physical elements in your body and working toward the inner planes of the astral, mental, etc. If you have the philosopher’s stone vibration in your aura, you are producing the same universal level of health but through having the mental, astral, and etheric vibration influence and sustain the health of the physical body.
One is external and works quicker and more easily on the physical body. The other is internal and works quicker and more easily on the etheric and astral bodies.
How do the physical and auric philosopher’s stone relate to physical and astral immortality?
Answer: Theoretically, both can produce physical immortality, that is, continuous physical health without deteoriation. The physical philospoher’s stone, however, does not produce astral immortality. That is, if the individual were to die, the astral body would be subject to the usual gradual process of deterioration. In other words, if you lose the physical support of ingesting the philosopher’s stone as a medicinal elixir, you lose contact with its rejuvenating power.
The auric philosopher’s stone, by contrast, does produce astral immorality, that is, a continuous sustaining of health and a resilience of the elements and form of the astral body. Again, this is because the physical stone has the advantage of influence more easily the physical body but has limited influence on the astral body’s health and maintenance. The physical stone neither contains nor produces an autonomous and independent astral influence.
If you are sustaining your health through a physical elixir, you have to make more using the materials of the physical world when you use up your supply. If you are producing an internal philosopher’s stone by using your own powers of concentration, then you can continue doing this when you are on the astral plane. One form of rejuvenation is external to yourself and the other is internal.
What is the appropriate philosopher’s stone for me to work within my aura?
Answer: The elixir suitable for you to work with incorporates cosmic qualities or specific aspects of Divine Providence within it since your goal involves spiritualizing both the physical and the astral bodies.
What and how are the elements present in this stone?
The air element is similar to the akashic level of the cosmic letter A. This is the quality within air which is absolute and total enlightenment without limit. This is an enlightenment and wisdom that are cosmic and not just human in scope. It is a wisdom that belongs to Divine Providence and is equally effective anywhere in the universe. It is not a part of any human tradition.
Anyone who works with the cosmic letter A on the akashic level can begin to sense this energy and consciousness. You practice the concentration, you work with the energy, and you gain the experience. It is direct, personal, and it is the realm of nature in its cosmic dimension.
In this state of awareness, there is nothing you can not understand or comprehend. There is nothing that can bind, restrict, or limit your consciousness. You combine perfect and absolute freedom with a full appreciation of the laws and greater harmony that govern the universe. The goal is to become the embodiment, agent, and representative of this harmony on earth.
The earth element is an awareness of immortality, of physical matter being indestructible, that is, enduring without aging or suffering deterioration of any kind. Your consciousness becomes one with physical matter and you are fully aware of the power behind and within it and that sustains it. The power within matter that maintains and sustains its form and nature becomes part of your consciousness.
The water element is purifying (that is, cleansing), healing, and nurturing. Through the flowing, receptive, and magnetic qualities of water, oneness becomes complete. The water element in both its natural and divine aspects renews, restores, and fills with life because its love is so deep.
The fire element is perfect, complete, and absolute will and power. It can bring about change suddenly like lightning striking. It is massive and overpowering like the fusion of the sun exploding. It is silent, often hidden, and yet controlling like the magma that shapes and moves the continents. It is the force of will, that when assigned a mission or a purpose, accomplishes that mission and fulfills that purpose because there is no obstacle it can not overcome--it has that kind of determination and dynamic built into it.
Akasha, as the fifth element, has many aspects and qualities. Since we are focusing on the quintessence of life force in the body, akasha in this case involves a perfect penetration of all aspects of the body with conscious awareness. This means that your awareness comes to understand not only the anatomy and all physiological and neurological processes within the body. You also comprehend the way in which the body is the temple of Divine Providence. It is the vehicle that enables the highest spirit and God consciousness to be physically present on earth.
There have been great kings who have built elaborate temples and priests of great power, purity, and religious intent who have entered those temples and spoken the sacred names of God. But a more fitting temple has already designed and anointed by God for this purpose--it is within each of our bodies should we but become conscious of it.
These five elements which I have described are perfectly joined and one. United, they produce a version of the philosopher’s stone that can manifest within the human aura.
How or what is the process by which this energy is obtained, trained, practiced, and developed?
Answer: You meditate on each of the divine elements and then combine the pairs of opposites and then the akasha also into one.
Why do the pairs in particular need to be combined rather than work through each element one after another?
Answer: You combine the opposites of earth and air, and fire and water, and then these two sets together in order to bring more consciousness into the process so that the joining is perfected. You want the elements to interpenetrate rather than just being present at the same time.
What additional energy needs to be present?
Answer: You also need to add the natural elixir which exists within nature to this fusion so that it is not just a magical production but is accomplished in association and union with nature also.
What is the highest elixir like this in nature?
Answer: The image for it is the unicorn which is the closest animal embodying this energy. When you have the energy of the philosopher’s stone you notice that it is solid like a mountain, open and clear like the sky, hot like a fiery conflagration, watery like the ocean, and akashic in that it penetrates through all ages of the world.
Besides these elemental components which are within it, the natural philosopher’s stone in the aura can be described as a highly condensed vital energy that is wildly exuberant, that is, it increases the amount of energy you have so you feel incredibly enthusiastic. At the same time, it is passionately ecstatic, that is, you feel an inner union, rapport, and oneness between your body with the entire realm of nature.
In addition, every form of life, every desire and instinct, finds satisfaction in the peace and equilibrium that is within you. There is great depth and silent power that is simultaneously riotous in its celebration of the beauty and the life that reveals itself in a new way in each moment. It is a state of body and mind that is timeless, encompassing all ages of the world in its immortality, but also is thrilled, taking delight in the joy that blossoms in and through each sensory impression.
Franz Bardon warns that using an elixir with this degree of potency can give youthful energy and outlook but there is a cost. You lose the wisdom you have gained from experience as well as your magical powers. It is not that you forget the knowledge you have acquired. Rather, you return to a time of youthful vitality in which your physical and astral bodies are enthralled and overpowered with riotous instincts. You no longer care about wisdom because you are carried away as you surf the waves of desire and gratification.
There is a remedy for this tradeoff in which you exchange your wisdom for youthful energy. Right from the beginning of your practice you impregnate your life force and your astral body with divine qualities. You make it a life long practice to join the qualities of your inner spirit and this quintessence of nature’s life force. In this way, you learn to combine in your awareness the purity and universality of your spirit with the potency of primal life force so that you learn to see clearly the origin and fulfillment of every desire and need.
The body is a temple. You can find within it the Presence of God as well as mother nature, the goddess kundalini, and every force and spirit that represent the powers of creation. Working with the philosopher’s stone requires a special commitment and a spirit of celebration most profound.
How is the energy elixir in nature obtained in the human body?
Answer: For the air element, you have to imagine the atmosphere of the earth, become familiar with it, and then turn some of that vibration of air into a vital energy which can reside in your body in a harmonious manner. The same with a mountain, the sea, fire, and akasha.
How do you turn the vibration of the atmosphere, etc. into a vital energy organic to the human body?
Answer: You remain conscious of the vital energy in your body while you place your consciousness into the atmosphere and identify with it. Slowly, the vital energy in your body is raised and expanded in its vibration so that it becomes transformed and universalized in harmony with nature.
If you just project your consciousness into the atmosphere you get the air element on a universal level but this energy vibration is not harmonious and supportive of the vital energy in your body. You have to move more slowly and allow the imagery and your consciousness of the atmosphere to take effect in transforming the vital energy within your body.
In other words, you first sense the vitality in your body. And then very gradually you introduce into this vitality an awareness of being within the sky. Slowly, you become acquainted with the weightlessness, openness, and airy expanse of the sky. The imagery you use of the sky has to be so gentle and relaxed that it does not produce any tension, only an increasing sense of harmony--like an exhalation of breath through which you feel released, satisfied, and at peace.
You pursue a similar course with the other elements. With earth, you bring into your consciousness the solidity of a mountain. With water, you contain in your awareness the magnetism and fluidity of the seas. With fire, you hold in your awareness a great, fiery cataclysm.
And with akasha, the fifth element, you have the time frame and the awareness that comprehends the process through which the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms are developed as well the four elements of earth, sea, air, and fire and the vital energies in both male and female human beings. The akashic element is an awareness both of what is in nature and of the fusion of these energies.
This akashic element is itself a vital or natural energy and as such it is a part of nature. It oversees the refining and transforming of natural energies but it requires the condensed essence of male and female and the four elements before it attains its full power to rejuvenate.
What is the state of mind in which to practice these meditations?
Answer: You practice in an extremely relaxed state of mind. You are so relaxed that your mind is in a dream like state, free of any concerns or worries and there is no intensification of your mental vibration as you concentrate or focus your awareness. In other words, you remain so much in harmony with the vital energy of your body that you at no point disturb the natural flow of currents in your body. It is like entering the stream of life force in your body and then adding to its richness and depth without blocking the natural flow.
What is the equivalent of the concentrated life force of this order in the body of a male and female?
Answer: The concentrated life force is found primarily in the male seed and the female eggs. The male seed or semen is electrical, penetrating, expansive, and potent. The female eggs are magnetic, attracting, and contain great depths--they contain a reflection of the universe within them.
Can these energies of the genders be combined to produced an elixir?
Answer: No. The gender energies produce an electromagnetic bond and not the elixir though you can psychically and through akasha join the genitals of the opposite genders and get a high state of equilibrium and balance between their primal energies. This of course results in a high level of empathy and attraction between the partners.
Can the male and female sexual energies be joined and fused after they have been refined?
Answer: Yes. The hot, expansive, and electrical energy of male sexuality can be refined so that it is free of desire, that is, of the compelling need to produce a result in the material world. Similarly, the cool, magnetic, and containing female sexual energy can be refined so that it is free of the compelling desire to produce a material result. These two refined energies can be joined so that there is one fused and new form of vitality.
This joined essence of the male and female is itself like an elixir in that it is highly potent. It produces faith, conviction, endurance, equilibrium, health, and strength. But it would need to fuse within it the energies of nature before it becomes a universal healing elixir.
How are these energies of the male and female refined?
Answer: You first extract from the masculine sexual energy the will and power found within it. This is a matter of finding the appropriate image or divine symbol that can gather this fiery energy into itself without imposing upon, repressing, or destroying the fiery energy. You have to find a symbol that resonates with your gut emotions, your personality, and also with your spirit at the same time.
The process is the same for the female sexual energy. You have to gather the feminine essence that is cool, magnetic, and containing around and within a symbol that embodies nurturing love and compassion. If you try to impose a symbol or image upon the sexual life force that is not fully organic and resonate with that life force, then you lose most of the life force in which case you lose your power and natural enthusiasm.
If you use a symbol which is not harmonious with your personality, the power of the life force you refine will be at war with you. If you use a symbol that is not harmonious with and a reflection of your inner spirit, then it may give you power and health, but this new energy will not aid you in the fulfillment of your destiny.
In addition, to the male sexual energy you add the enlightenment within the air element so that the masculine drive gains detachment and clarity, that is, freedom from compulsion. To the female sexual energy you add the earth element so that the feminine drive loses its need to contain. In each case, the sexual energy becomes free of the need to produce a material result. In both cases, they become free to be used in pure forms of creativity without being driven by unconscious desires.
In the earlier section describing the four elements corresponding to Divine Providence, I give examples of the kind of qualities that might be used to refine the energies in nature. The sexual energies are so malleable and adaptable that they can easily attach themselves to any kind of imagery that an individual finds personally compelling. The task is to find imagery that is resonate and harmonious with all sides of your self so that you are both empowered and transformed. This means you have to do a lot of thinking and contemplating about who you are personally, about what drives you from within, and what your spiritual goals are in this life.
Note: I am writing a book called Mystical Fables which explores s number of masculine and feminine images of magicians and poets, lovers and warriors, who represent for me images that gather the energies of my subconscious, my personality, and my spirit.
Why do gnomes such as Erami and Mentifil suggest human beings can use the polarities of their opposite genders to develop a philosopher’s stone in their auras?
Answer: Erami’s procedure utilizing partners for producing the vibration of the philosopher’s stone in one’s aura still relies on the combining of opposite energies in nature and the refining of these energies by focusing the awareness of akasha on them. The electric and magnetic fluids and masculine and feminine sexual polarities are used as a means to amplify, accelerate, and deepen the results. The polar masculine and feminine energies themselves are not the essential catalyst for the transformation of diverse nature energies into the elixir. But again, the opposite attraction of male and female can quicken and enrich the alchemical process as they can in any form of magick.
The difference is that the electrical fluid concentrated in the male and the magnetic fluid concentrated in the female are primordial kinds of power. With a well-designed electro-magnetic volt (that is, surrounding an accumulation of the electrical fluid with magnetic fluid), you can initiate a powerful process of alchemical transformation.
The philosopher’s stone, however, requires that you fully enter each of the elements of nature with your consciousness, transform them, and then fuse them. It is a natural process of refining and expanding awareness and fusing energy and it is free of personal ego. The dynamic attraction of masculine and feminine polarities tends to move too quickly toward union and is often beset with emotional highs and lows which undermine a genuine alchemical process.
(See also my 16 page essay, Erami, in my book, Sylphs, Undines, Gnomes, and Salamanders, for an example of how to work step by step either solo or with a partner in producing the vibration of the philosopher’s stone in your aura.)
What do Taoists get in their auras when the try to develop this elixir?
Answer: From time to time there have been individuals who have produced very high grade philosopher’s stones in their auras. This is sometimes called the immortality pearl. The immortality pearl in one well-known Taoist, for example, is very bright, radiant, and impressive. But it lacks the divine qualities and it lacks the natural elements of earth, water, and especially air. These missing ingredients severely limit the healing power of this individual.
It is a mistake to not incorporate more fully the power of the elements in nature and bring them into the body where they are transformed. The body is unable by itself to produce the philosopher’s stone without referring to nature or to divine quality meditations. That is, you can not just take and refine and recombine the natural vital energies in the body to produce the elixir without utilizing a great deal of imagery which transforms this vitality to a very high degree.
What do the various spirits teach or produce when working with them relating to the philosopher’s stone or elixirs?
Answer: For example, Kirek, 9 degrees Virgo in the earthzone, teaches about the philosopher’s stone. This spirit is extremely intense in its vibration. The difference between Kirek and what I am describing is that from Kirek’s point of view it is not necessary to be concerned so much with universalizing the astral body or the four elements in order to produce astral or physical immortality.
With astral immortality, you only need to engage in prolonged and very intense concentrations on each of the elements. The goal is to produce a high quality vibration in each of the elements to the point where they no longer deteriorate. The elements then resist all outside influence.
Also, being a high level spirit of the earthzone who resides in a formless state of awareness in akasha, Kirek naturally has the ability to manifest physically and produce purely through concentration whatever effect he wishes within his sphere of competency. Kirek could direct you in the use of alchemical methods utilizing chemical and herbs and so forth. But a high level contact with Kirek enables you to draw upon his power of concentration to also transform your physical body directly so that it acts as if you have been influenced by a physical philosopher’s stone. He also teaches much more in regard to resisting the negative influence of the elements in our world.
Spirits from the different planetary spheres also teach alchemy and the perfection of life force in accordance with the themes and interests of their spheres. Cambiel, who presides over the sign of Aquarius in the sphere of Jupiter, teaches about alchemy and the philosopher’s stone. His approach, by contrast to Kirek’s, is much more universal and cosmic in dimension.
The elixir or vibration Cambiel’s produces is much more expansive and more readily influences others and the world around yourself in accordance with the expansiveness and great spiritual wealth of the sphere of Jupiter. Cambiel, however, is far more difficult to work with as compared to Kirek’s who is closer to home and much more direct and “down to earth.”
How does this practice relate to the cosmic letter OE which focuses specifically on alchemical transformation?
Answer: The cosmic letter OE emphasizes the kind of concentrations that lead to transformation on all levels and planes of existence. The auric philosopher’s stone I am emphasizing in this essay is primarily focused on your own body and the upgrading and universalizing of your health and astral body to reflect within it some of the qualities of Divine Providence.
The OE is not specifically for embodying in yourself the four fundamental qualities of Divine Providence as they pertain to expanding and harmonizing your vitality and health. You are using part of the OE vibration as far as working with the akashic element in seeking to become completely conscious of your physical body. You are not working with the OE in so far as the OE is concerned with every other kind of transformation in the universe such as changing matter from one form into another.
On the astral plane, however, the OE is similar to what we are working on here. It is a penetrating awareness which is able to overcome any distinction created from opposites. Masculine and feminine, fire and water, air and earth, light and dark, etc.--all opposites are understand as what they are and also on another level in which they are transformed by being joined to a greater whole.
OE on the astral plane captures the entire process of producing the philosopher's stone, that is, the highest elixir of refined natural healing energy. It condenses this process into one feeling--the ability to draw forth the highest light and purest essence within anything that exists.
In this sense, the OE is concerned with the universal and cosmic aspects of transformation. It is nice to work with this letter as a form of quality control since it develops your intuition. Cosmic letters are, however, not in themselves energies which are organic and supportive of health. They are states of awareness and energies oriented toward a cosmic perspective on how to create. They are not always suitable for those who are new to magical practice.
What side effects, imbalances, or dangers might arise as this kind of life force or philosopher’s stone develops within our auras?
Answer: Any sudden increase of the amount or quality of vitality within your body may cause difficulties for some individuals. Old habits may become stimulated. New emotions may rise to the surface. There may be a feeling of becoming overpowered or out of control. Some individuals have already observed this and learned about this problem from experience. Let us look at this from another point of view.
When you love and commit to another, you have the opportunity to learn about desire and need, responsibility and freedom. Whatever happens in the relationship--win or lose, rise to heights or fall to depths, sustain loyalty or suffer betrayal--you gain a lot of personal experience. When someone becomes a medical doctor or studies herbology, acupuncture, or a healing art, you are again involved directly in learning through personal experience and what you learn has many immediate applications and benefits.
The philosopher’s stone, by contrast, has very little bearing on your personality. You can become a shaman, a natural healer, or study nature for many lifetimes and you still may not receive a hint that nature has a quintessence or a condensed essence that embodies the perfection of its multitude of energies. You can spend many lifetimes as a priest in every major religion or a magician who evokes many beings and still not discover the vibration of Divine Providence within yourself.
The requisite for this practice is that you appreciate the beauty of the universe. If you rise to that level of inspiration, then this practice will always be personal and you will enjoy every minute you give to it. It will be fun and exciting and full of love.
But without this inner union with Divine Providence at the outset, your practice may be haunted by doubt. You may feel you are walking in the dark or sailing at sea on a cloudy night without a compass. And if you begin to succeed so that the life force gathers in strength and intensity, then again, you may be given every opportunity to abuse or to waste this energy or to hoard it the way a dragon hoards its gold because its heart is cold.
We could pose a similar question regarding the Great Work to the sun, a magnificent image and symbol, that is both so powerful and yet impersonal: “How have you learned to be so radiant and bright, so giving of heat and light, so that after billions of years life finally appears and matures on earth?”
And the sun might reply, “Even when I was dark matter, swirling dust amid a cosmic void, even then I could feel in my heart the presence of an infinite joy. Even then I could feel amid that void a love that is everywhere and that has no limitation on its creativity or expression. The sun you see above you is but a small token and outer manifestation of what I am yet to become. But all that I do and that I have done are out of inspiration from love.”
In all cases involving the practice of magick as with the other great professions in life, it helps above all else to love what you are doing with all of your heart. In this way, you already embody all that you are becoming and every new thing that occurs or that arises to challenge you you automatically accept it and make it part of your art.
Summary. The thing I like about the idea of working with refining, harmonizing, universalizing the life force within the body through breathing is that it is so natural and direct. You do not have to go to some other plane to receive instructions. Evocation and spirit contact require a lot of energy and often produce great strain on one’s mental, astral, and physical body.
When you are working with your own body, mental imagery, and consciousness of vital life force, you can proceed gradually working from the familiar to the unfamiliar. You always stay within the vibration of harmony and health and do not at any point strain or tax yourself.
In terms of the Bardon practices involving the accumulation of elements, you are focusing here on getting to know and produce in yourself the qualities of the five elements in terms of their vitality and their power of restoring, nourishing, and rejuvenating the human body.
At the same
time, you do not put off until the later chapters in Initiation into
Hermetics the practice with the four fundamental divine qualities. God and Divine Providence should be worked
with and held close to one’s consciousness during all phases and aspects of the
practice of high magick. (See my
forthcoming essay which adds to my discussion of
The Hermetic Tradition and God Presence.) Therefore, right here as we begin to work with and expand our health, we seek to find and produce in ourselves the divine aspects of the four elements specifically as they relate to generating health, harmony, and balance in our bodies.
Some individuals obviously will have a natural gift or a great flair for accumulating vitality through breathing and using this power to heal themselves and others. Other individuals, such as myself, are more inclined to study the cosmic harmony first before pursuing the applications of magick. The progress is slower, less dramatic, but the skills acquired are a part of your personality--they serve to express your self and your ideals. The consequence is that in proceeding step by step in expanding our awareness of nature and divinity, we are able to find and know God and Divine Providence, as I suggest, during each phase and aspect of the practice.