The Transformative Processes
There are seven steps in the transformative processes, both for physical Alchemy as well as spiritual Alchemy. Here is a brief list of the 7 Steps of the Emerald formula.
1. Calcination - Calcination is the first of the seven major operations in the Alchemy of Transformation.
Chemically, the Calcination process involves heating a substance in a crucible or over an open flame until it is reduced to ashes. In the Arcanum Experiment, Calcination is represented by Sulfuric Acid, which the alchemist made from a naturally occurring substance called Vitriol. Sulfuric Acid is a powerful corrosive that eats away flesh and reacts with all metals except Gold.
Psychologically, this is a destruction of ego and our attachment to material possessions. Calcination is usually a natural humbling process as we are gradually assaulted and overcome by the trials and tribulations of life, though it can be a deliberate surrender of our inherent hubris gained through a variety of spiritual disciplines that ignite the fire of introspection and self-evaluation.
Psychologically, the Fire of Calcination can be experienced as the metabolic discipline or aerobic activity that tunes the body, burning off excess from overindulgence and producing a lean, mean, fighting machine. Calcination begins in the Base or Lead Chakra at the Sacrel Cup at the Base of the Spine.
On the Planetary level, it is the Fire of Creation, the formation of a liveable environment from molten matter and volcanic ashes.
2. Dissolution - is the second major operation in the Alchemy of Transformation.
Chemical, it is the dissolving the ashes from Calcination in water. In the Arcanum Experiment, Dissolution is represented by iron oxide or rust, which illustrated the potentially corrosive powers of water on even the hardest of metals. When Processed, Vitriol breaks down into sulfuric acid and iron oxide, which are the first two arcana or secret ingredients. The Egyptians smelted Iron as far back as 1500 BCE and used iron compounds in tonics as disinfectants.
Psychologically, this represents a further breaking down of the artificial structures of the Psyche by total immersion in the unconscious, non-rational, feminine or rejected part of our minds. It is for the most part, an unconscious process in which our conscious minds let go of control to allow the surfacing of buried material. It is opening the floodgates and generating new energy from the waters held back. Dissolution can be experienced as "flow," the bliss of being well-used and actively engaged in creative acts without traditional prejudices, personal hang-ups, or established hierarchy getting in the way.
Inwardly this represents a further breaking down of the artificial structures of the psyche and a unifying of the different aspects. Traditionally the approach was such that the initiates conscious minds must let go of control, opening the "floodgates" and generating new energy from the waters held back; again potentially a painful process. If the approach involves deeper integration and alliance of the subconscious and even the unconscious to a certain degree then Dissolution can be experienced as a flow of bliss. We are not speaking of traditional psychological therapy but rather a conscious spiritual process available now. through Dissolution one becomes more integrated and able to actively engage in creative acts with less personal or cultural prejudice or limited conditioning entering in to the creative process.
3. Separation - is the third of the operations of transformation in alchemy.
Chemically, it is the isolation of the components of Dissolution by filtration and then discarding any ungenuine or unworthy material. In the Arcanum Experiment, Separation is represented by the compound sodium carbonate, which separates out of water and appears as white soda ash on dry lakebeds. The oldest known deposits are in Egypt. The alchemists sometimes referred to this compound as Natron, which meant the common tendency in all salts to form solid bodies or precipitates.
Psychologically, this process is the rediscovery of our essence and the reclaiming of dream and visionary "gold" previously rejected by the masculine, rational part of our minds. It is for the most part, a conscious process (that has become conscious through the process of Dissolution), in which we review formerly hidden material and decide what to discard and what to reintegrate into our refined personality. Much of this shadowy material is things we are ashamed of or were taught to hide away from our parents, churches, and schooling. Separation is letting go of the self-inflicted restraints to our true nature, so our true personality can shine through.
4. Conjunction - is the fourth of the seven operations of alchemy.
Chemically, it is the recombination of the saved elements from Separation into a new substance. In the Arcanum Experiment, Conjunction is symbolized by a Nitrate compound known as cubic-saltpeter or potassium nitrate, which the alchemist called Natron or simply salt. Blue-colored Natron acid (aqua fortis) was made by mixing potassium nitrate with sulfuric acid and was used to separate silver from gold. The inert residue precipitated from the acid during the reaction like a child being born.
Psychologically, It is empowerment of our true selves, the union of both the feminine and masculine sides of our personalities into a new belief system or an intuitive state of consciousness. The Union of opposites can also be seen as the integration of the Conscious and Unconscious aspects of the Psyche, when combined and in cooperation bring about a wholeness that generates the Child of the Union, which, can be seen as the Hermaphroditic Essence of the True Self which is freed from the restraints of preconditioned and preconceived moral and social beliefs, that have restricted the True Inner Self from being freed. The alchemist referred to it as the Lesser Stone, and after it is achieved, the adept is able to clearly discern what needs to be done to achieve lasting enlightenment, which is union with the Overself. Often, synchronicities begin to occur that confirm the alchemist is on the right track.
Inwardly this corresponds to the union of both the masculine and feminine sides of our nature into a unified state of consciousness. With this unification comes the potential for direct nonlinear knowing that is more than intuition; but rather a direct knowing by being able to become "part of" that which would be known; a "grokking".
5. Fermentation - The chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, especially that which is involved in the making of beers, wines, and spirits in which sugar is converted to ethyl alcohol. 2. Archaic- Agitation and Social Unrest.
Fermentation is a two-stepped process that begins with the putrefaction of the Hermaphroditic "Child" from the Conjunction resulting in the death and resurrection to a new level of being. The Fermentation phase then begins with the introduction of new life into the product of Conjunction to strengthen it and inure its survival.
Chemically, Fermentation is the growth of a Ferment (bacteria) in organic solutions, such as occurs in the fermenting of milk to produce curds and cheese or in the fermenting of grapes to produce wine. In the Arcanum Experiment, the process of Fermentation is represented by a compound called Liquor Hepatis, which is an oily, reddish-brown mixture of ammonia and the rotten-egg-smelling compound hydrogen sulfide. Egyptian alchemists made ammonia by heating camel dung in sealed containers and thought of it as a kind of refined Mercury that embodied the life force. Liquor Hepatis means "Liquor of the Liver," which they believed was the seat of the Soul, and the colour they associated with the compound was green, the colour of bile. Surprisingly, Liquor Hepatis exudes a wonderful fragrance, and the alchemists made a perfume of it called "Balsam of the Soul."
Psychologically, The Fermentation Process starts with the inspiration of spiritual power from Above that reanimates, energizes, and enlightens the alchemist. Out of the blackness of his Putrefaction comes the yellow Ferment, which appears like a golden wax flowing out of the fowl matter of the Soul. Its arrival is announced by a brilliant display of colours and meaningful visions called the "Peacock's Tail." Fermentation can be achieved through various activities that include intense prayer, desire for mystical union, breakdown of the personality, transpersonal therapy, psychedelic drugs, and deep meditation. Fermentation is living inspiration from something totally beyond us.
Fermentation is the rousing or lifting of the "River of Life" through the Crucible of the Heart and into the Throat Chakra. It is expressed as vibratory tones and spoken truths emerging from the Throat or Mercury Chakra.
6. Distillation - Chemically, it is the boiling and condensation of the fermented solution to increase its purity, such as takes place in the distilling of wine to make brandy. In the Arcanum Experiment, distillation is represented by a compound known as Black Pulvis Solaris, which is made by mixing black antimony with purified sulfur. The two immediately clump together to make what the alchemists called a "bezoar," a kind of sublimated solid that forms in the intestines and brain.
Chemically, distillation is the boiling and condensation of the fermented solution to increase it's purity, which is why this is known as the white stage of alchemy. Psychologically, the agitation and sublimation of psychic forces is necessary to ensure that no impurities from the ego or id are incorporated into the next and final process. "It Rises From The Earth to Heaven and Descends Again to Earth" is how the tablet describes the operation, which represents the second or higher application of the Water element in the tablet. The alchemist thought of this phase as working with the heavenly element Mercury to extract and refashion the metals. The ferment, the soft amalgam or balsam resulting from this operation, must be hardened into a Stone before it can be made permanent, and the final phase of Distillation is a Sublimation in which the vapor turns solid, or the Spirit is made Corporeal.
Psychologically, Distillation is the agitation and sublimation of psychic forces is necessary to ensure that no impurities from the inflated ego or deeply submerged id are incorporated into the next and final stage. Personal Distillation consists of a variety of introspection techniques that raise the content of the Psyche to the highest level possible. Free from sentimentality and emotions, cut off even from one's personal identity. Distillation is the purification of the unborn Self - all that we truly are and can be.
7. Coagulation- Change to a solid or semi-solid state. From: Latin: Coagulare 'Curdle'.
Coagulation is the Seventh and Final Operation in Alchemy.
Chemically, Coagulation is the precipitation or sublimation of the purified Ferment from Distillation. In the Arcanum Experiment, Coagulation is represented by a compound called Red Pulvis Solaris, which is a Reddish-Orange Powder of pure Sulfur mixed with the Terapeutic Mercury compound, Red Mercuric Oxide. The name Pulvis Solaris means "Powder of The Sun" and the alchemists believed it could instantly perfect any substance to which it was added.
Psychologically, Coagulation is first sensed as a new confidence that is beyond all things, though many experience it as a Second Body of Golden Coalesced Light, a permanent vehicle of Consciousness that embodies the highest aspirations and evolutions of the Mind. Coagulation incarnates and releases the Ultima Materia of the Soul, the Astral Body, which the alchemists also referred to as the Greater or Philospher's Stone. Using the magical Stone, the alchemists believed they could exist on all levels of reality. CLICK HERE to read more about the physiologically aspects of the operations, etc.
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