Knights of the Sun, or Prince Adept
February 10, 2011 § 6 Comments
A brief outline of the Alchemical Art and an exposition on Prima Materia from the Morals and dogma of the Ancient and accepted Scottish rite of freemasonry, in the chapter, Knights of the Sun, or Prince Adept.
“The prima materia of the Great Work, in the Superior World, is enthusiasm and activity; in the intermediate world, intelligence and industry; in the lower world, labor: and, in Science, it is the Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt, which by turns volatilized and fixed, compose the Azoth of the Sages.
The Sulphur corresponds with the elementary form of the Fire; Mercury with the Air and Water; and Salt with the Earth.
The Great Work is, above all things, the creation of man by himself; that is to say, the full and entire conquest which he effects of his faculties and his future. It is, above all, the perfect emancipation of his will, which assures him the universal empire of Azoth, and the domain of magnetism, that is, complete power over the universal Magical agent.
This Magical agent, which the Ancient Hermetic philosophers disguised under the name of “Prima Materia,” determines the forms of the modifiable Substance; and the Alchemists said that by means of it they could attain the transmutation of metals and the universal medicine.
There are two Hermetic operations, one spiritual, the other material, dependent the one on the other.
The whole Hermetic Science is contained in the dogma of Hermes, engraven originally, it is said, on a tablet of emerald. Its sentences that relate to operating the Great Work are as follows:
“Thou shalt separate the earth from the fire, the subtile from the gross, gently, with much industry.
“It ascends from earth to Heaven, and again descends to earth, and receives the force of things above and below.
“Thou shalt by this means possess the glory of the whole world, and therefor all obscurity shall flee away from thee.
“This is the potent force of all force, for it will overcome everything subtile, and penetrate everything solid.
“So the world was created.” .
All the Masters in Alchemy who have written of the Great Work, have employed symbolic and figurative expressions; being constrained to do so, as well to repel the profane from a work that would be dangerous for them, as to be well understood by Adepts, in revealing to them the whole world of analogies governed by the single and sovereign dogma of Hermes.
So, in their language, gold and silver are the King and Queen, or the Sun and Moon; Sulphur, the flying Eagle; Mercury, the Man-woman, winged, bearded, mounted on a cube, and crowned with flames; Matter or Salt, the winged Dragon; the Metals in ebullition, Lions of different colors; and, finally, the entire work has for its symbols the Pelican and the Phoenix.
The Hermetic Art is, therefore, at the same time a religion, a philosophy, and a natural science. As a religion, it is that of the Ancient Magi and the Initiates of all ages; as a philosophy, we may find its principles in the school of Alexandria and the theories of Pythagoras; as a science, we must inquire for its processes of Paracelsus, Nicholas Flamel, and Raymond Lulle.
The Science is a real one only for those who admit and understand the philosophy and the religion; and its process will succeed only for the Adept who has attained the sovereignty of will, and so become the King of the elementary world: for the grand agent of the operation of the Sun, is that force described in the Symbol of Hermes, of the table of emerald; it is the universal magical power; the spiritual, fiery, motive power; it is the Od, according to the Hebrews, and the Astral light, according to others.
Therein is the secret fire, living and philosophical, of which all the Hermetic philosophers speak with the most mysterious reserve : the Universal Seed, the secret whereof they kept, and which they represented only under the figure of the Caduceus of Hermes.
This is the grand Hermetic arcanum. What the Adepts call dead matter are bodies as found in nature; living matters are substances assimilated and magnetized by the science and will of the operator.
So that the Great Work is more than a chemical operation; it is a real creation of the human word initiated into the power of the Word of God.”