Knights of the Sun, or Prince Adept

February 10, 2011 § 7 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.”


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§ 7 Responses to Knights of the Sun, or Prince Adept

  • Willi Paul says:

    “The Hermetic Art is, therefore, at the same time a religion, a philosophy, and a natural science.”

    This transmutes & supports my vision for new permaculture + alchemy + myths = sacred.

    [ See my first lecture PR: ]


  • Captain NEMO says:

    Dear David,

    The XXVIII° Degree on the Ancient Scottish Rite is quite a peculiar one; Albert Pike’s re-invention of it, as from the passage you’ve mentioned, was the result of mixing a lot of Hermetic teachings, from different sources and traditions.
    I don’t think is useful, now, to go too long into this particular story; one point is anyway clear, even among Freemasons: this Degree is the last Philosophical Degree and has its roots in Alchemy. You may consider consulting the Instructions given in the Francken Manuscript (XXIII Degree), which dates around 1700.

    The Ritual of the Knight of the Sun is one of the most complex and rich of Symbolic meanings, to be understood only by those who can separate Light from Darkness.

    Not surprisingly, it is one of the last Degrees along the 33 steps to Perfection of the Ancient Scottish Rite. My personal opinion, for what it may matters, is that – well below the classical Masonic symbols embedded in the Ritual – some hints of operative alchemy can be traced, perhaps pertaining to the ancient Brotherhood of the Rosae Crucis (probably coming from German alchemical tradition).

    The Initiated was asked about the meaning of the three ‘S’, which were set on top of three Candlesticks, without flames (!); the answers was this:

    “The three S (Sanctitas, Scientia et Sapientia) show that Wisdom united to Science, creates a Saint.”

    Q = “What do the words ‘Lux ex Tenebris’ mean?”
    A = “That we must escape from the depth of the darkness to reach true Light”

    Q = “What do the three Candlesticks represent?”
    A = “The three degrees of the Fire that the artist arouses in order to obtain the matter from which they come from.”

    Now, this is too plainly operative (for an alchemist) to be pure casualty: the mystery and the true Key of the Secret Fire is here plainly set in front of our eyes; and that’s why no one will never get it, or even understand it, unless you practice in a Laboratory. Quite a lot of people, even today, do repeat these words when they are eventually Initiated to this Degree: but I doubt they might be aware that they’re talking of the greatest Arcanum in Alchemy. The wording look like an oxymoron, but it sounds in perfect accord with what every Master has taught through centuries: to get the Secret Fire…you need the Secret Fire!

    Sed de hoc satis…

    Because of this curious but pertinent mention of yours about this strange Degree, I wish to offer some conclusive words by Charles T. Mc Clenachan, a 33° GMoC, from a work of 1914:

    “The word teems everywhere with life, and is peopled with innumerable myriads of beings sensitive to pain. It was not created for man alone; and it is not only precisely what the divine and perfect wisdom intended, but it is all that a material world, peopled by being with material bodies, could by possibility be. The millennium on this earth is the real Utopia, fabulous and impossible, of visionary dreamers. Man is what Deity meant he should be – imperfect, feeble, fallible, liable to err, and sensitive to pain, but capable of improvement and progression, and of a heroism that can smile at agony, be content with destitution, preserve an equal mind under the lash of injustice, and without unmanly fear await the approach of death and count the pulses of his life. The man who can do this has attained the equilibrium of faith and reason, and may claim to be called Magus, Prince, Adept, and Knight of the Sun.”

    It is, in my humble opinion, a Goal of a whole lifespan…!

    Sempre di buon cuore

    Captain NEMO

    • David says:

      Yet again you’ve provided much food for thought on the Art. I’ve been meditating on what you’ve expanded regarding this section and was struck by the depth this adds to Igne Nalura Renovatur Integra.

      It also shows how far afield our contemporary concept of “science” is.

      “Man is what Deity meant he should be – imperfect, feeble, fallible, liable to err, and sensitive to pain, but capable of improvement and progression, and of a heroism that can smile at agony, be content with destitution, preserve an equal mind under the lash of injustice, and without unmanly fear await the approach of death and count the pulses of his life. The man who can do this has attained the equilibrium of faith and reason, and may claim to be called Magus, Prince, Adept, and Knight of the Sun.”

      I’m reminded of the Greek concept of ησυχία which they saw as a Divine attribute only available to the ἥρως and to Giordano Bruno’s exploration of this in De gl’ heroici furori

      Many thanks,


    • Cavaliere di Scozia says:

      Sempre grande il Capitano !

  • arcanacoelestia says:

    Thank you, David!

  • MichaEl Prince of the Mountain says:

    The real “Philosopher’s Stone” you can read about at the following links:

    That second site has a lot of typos in the texts, but they’re good alchemical texts from the middle ages which I have personally verified as legit.

    I would especially recommend “The Hermetic Museum” as a collection of true and accurate works on the subject. The Stone is far more than a simple means of perfecting metal and stones. As it does for metal, it can also do for living things. In its black putrefied stage, it is called Saturn and equated with the source of sin and death, ie. the Serpent in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This black stage at first begins to smell like fennel seed or black licorice, and ultimately smells of dead flesh at the apex of the putrefaction.
    In its white stage, it smells like fresh-baked bread, and was called “Thummim” by Moses and Aaron, the word means “Light”, and that should be very carefully noted in Genesis when “God said ‘Let there be Light’ and there was Light”.
    In its Red stage, it was called “Urim” by Moses (Hermes Trismegistus) and Aaron, and that word means “Grown” or “Matured”. It is the ripened fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and can become the Elixir Vitae. This knowledge was lost in the Great Flood, and therefore men could no longer live the fullness of their natural 1,000 year lifespans, but were now like the animals who cannot extend their lives by their own natural activities.

    The Stone is said to transmute metallic mercury at room temperature, and has very interesting properties, being the refined root substance of all metals and stones, and indeed of living things as well. For this reason Christ said “man is the salt of the earth”, and Peter said “man is a living, lively stone”. This stone is a Trinity, and an earthly image of God, even as man is. The stone is the same stone rejected by the builders of Solomon’s temple. Its magnificence is unspeakable, its full knowledge unfathomable,
    it is the Spirit which hovered over the Waters in the beginning, and therefore should be respected and admired with utmost profundity and fearfulness.
    This is the White Robes dipped in Blood which the dead in Christ receive, being told to wait a while longer until all their brethren have joined them at the Last Trumpet.

    Christ told us someday all secrets would be revealed, gold would be as common as sand, and mortal man would put off the corruptible flesh and put on immortality. I urge you all to await this soon-coming day, called “Apocalypse” or the revealing of all mysteries, with faith, patience, and hope.

    Music with alchemical themes:
    Pink Floyd – Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
    King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
    Amorphis – (many of their songs and album art reflects alchemical themes)
    Angel of Fire – Stone Flower (watch the video)

    The movie “The Dark Crystal” has a deep alchemical theme, as does the old cartoon “He-Man”, and several others.
    Modern shows with alchemical themes are not at all subtle, the words “alchemy” and “Philosopher’s Stone” are flung about
    with little regard or respect for their true meaning and significance. This saddens me, as a person gifted to know these things from dreams and daydreams of my youth,
    rather than learned from men who have in turn learned halheartedly from other wicked men.

    With alchemy there is no middle ground, there is either complete success or the near-endless search. With the revelation of comprehending the alchemical process,
    especially in its deep role as the original substance of all things, and Tree of Paradise, comes an endless sea of knowledge, as well as perfect health and endless wealth,
    and the protection of God’s Presence if you are wise enough to allow it. But to those who abuse the secret for worldly gain or to oppress others, they will reap the punishment
    of having committed the unforgivable sin of grieving the Holy Spirit. Therefore it has always remained hidden from the wicked and worldly for their own good, to spare them guaranteed damnation.

    In the Wisdom of Solomon, King Solomon refers to the Stone as “Wisdom”. Christ referred to it as “Faith” or “Heaven” in His parables, which were all veiled alchemical references.
    Christ directly mentioned the Stone in Revelation 2:17. He also mentions it throughout the Gospel of Thomas.
    It is mentioned in nearly every book of the Holy Bible. I recommend KJV / NKJV, as the NIV has translated many words in such a way as to lose the alchemical meaning.

    The Taoists call this Stone “Tao” but most all of them have forgotten this connection, and think of the Tao as only a spiritual thing to be pondered,
    totally missing the meaning of the following quote from the Tao Te Ching:
    “The Tao which can be trodden is not the Eternal Tao”.
    This verse shows the Prime Matter is not the actual material used, but is like a covering for it, while the Stone itself is a covering for its Red Quintessence, which in turn is a covering for the Spirit of Life itself.
    I could go so far as to liken this substance to the “quantum foam” at the “edge of the universe”.

    This is the singular gift of God, who gives it to whom He will and takes it from whom He will. God is not mocked, and His secret is reserved for His Elect, who will inherit the universe.

    For this and other important reasons, alchemists have kept this secret hidden for centuries. The first secrecy came when Adam handed this knowledge to Seth, but not to his other sons. Moses obtained knowledge which Egypt had only partly uncovered and not fully understood. The prophet Esdras was also commanded to secrecy, when God told him “publish the twenty-four books that you wrote first, for the worthy and the unworthy to read, but keep the seventy books that were written last, to hand down to the wise men among your people, for in them is the source of understanding, and the spring of wisdom, and the stream of knowledge.” (2 Esdras 14:45-48)

    From these and other hidden books, the secrets of hidden science, chemistry, magnetics, astronomy, and other things have been handed down in secret.
    I did not learn alchemy from others, but by Divine Revelation, dreams & daydreams,
    and experimentation over 25+ years, combined with a deep study of alchemical works, the Holy Bible, the Apocrypha, and Tao Te Ching, all of which are alchemical works when understood in their hidden context.
    I have known how to make the Stone since 1994, although I lack necessary equipment and certain useful (but not essential) chemicals. I would love to have a laboratory and be able to spend all day involved in experimentation, but alas I am an impoverished goyim and must bear my cross until such time as God either lifts it from my shoulders, or allows the world to nail me to it.

    Gold is not the goal. Christ and His Kingdom are the goal. Never forget that if you plan to study these things.
    He is the head, and we are the body. The head can plan, but it falls to the arms and legs and other parts to carry out the work.

    Even so, Maranatha, Lord! We await your wedding feast, and the glory of those who will see God’s face.

    (Written from the future: October 3, 2016)

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