Secrets from the Fire: A Note on the Noble Art of Alchemy

It has become common place that many people today use the words alchemy and alchemical incorrectly. There is glamour to the Art that all desire, but empty words are empty words. New Age spirituality has all but bankrupted the common mind through confusion spawned by idealist notions that “if I name it thus it is.”

Alchemy is a science with ancient lineage and is at its core concerned with material things. After all we cannot transmute what is immaterial. The work of alchemy is the assisting of Natura in her perfection of all things. We are taking the material and spiritualizing it, not the other way around, by the freeing of the core principles of its being: Sulfur, Mercury, and Salt.

The three essentials, hidden within all things, are ever present, the very epicenter of our being resides in the eternal cycles of these three. But through the labors summed up in the alchemist’s motto, solve et coagua*, we elevate a material being by separating and purifying each of these principles before recombining them. The recombining of the Three Essentials constitutes the “resurrection” of the matter we began with, now elevated by philosophical means.

Each step of the way is an initiation that can only truly be grasped by doing it. The mysteries of this Art will never be revealed by the pages of books alone. There are secrets that fire alone can reveal. Fire after all is the most spiritual of the elements, it’s sparks ever rising higher. It is a medium of transmutation as we continue to elevate the herb with which we began into a philosophical medicine. But there are primary and secondary to fire in our work.

Pyromancy, or flame scrying is a divinatory technique that can be employed whenever we are using fire in our magic. The hypnotic dance of a candle or from our crucibles can reveal hidden influences and the outcome of our workings. This is the secondary use of fire in calcination. As we free the salt from the physical being of the prima materia we also free its spiritual virtues to be seen in the flames of its pyre. Only the alchemist can understand these secrets by way of daring to do the work. The salamanders, or fire elementals, believed to lie in the heart of ever flame, are the ones who complete our work alongside us in the crucible. Remember the old motto: Igne natura renovatur integra “Through Fire, nature is reborn whole.”