THE MEANING BEHIND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE

May 02, 2019

The philosopher's stone (lapis philosophorum) was considered to be the highest goal of alchemy. According to this doctrine, with its help man could transform mercury into gold or silver. The term "mercury" is analogical to the life within every being, while gold and silver, as being the most perfect metals, are symbolic of the most pure and beautiful form of life.

For example, to transform the mercury of a stone means to manifest its potential to be a dimaond (its most perfect form of existence) into a reality. Transforming human mercury into gold is defined as transforming man into his highest form of existence, or in other words - to turn him into a God compared to the beings of the physical world. This process of working with the mercury within every being, so it turns into its most perfect form, is called "transmutation". According to alchemy mercury is the creator of all living worlds, which, in the physical Universe are mineral, vegetable, animal and humanly, as well as the creator of the celestial living world where angels reside.



WHAT IS MERCURY?

Mercury is considered to be the product of that which the alchemists call "Shamayim", translated in the bible as "Heaven", known in hermeticism as "The Fiery Waters", in hinduism as "Chit", and in the jewish Kabbalah as the sephira "Keter". Hermeticism, according to us, uses the easiest to understand analogy for the source of mercury. Called "The Fiery Waters", they represent the initial energy in which all opposites are merged into a whole, meaning that light and darkness - the relationship of which creates everything that is, were united in this energy, thus it is called "The Fiery Waters". In alchemy this energy is also known as "prima materia", translated as "the first substance" from which Creation itself was made and is considered as the embodiment of God's nature. Prima materia, or Shamayim, is known to be the highest place which mercury (life) could reach. Creation, according to the doctrine, began when prima materia was divided and the first opposites created (light and darkness). Fire, being the highest element, represents the highest world of existence, also known as "Atziluth" in Kabbalah. Water (alongside Earth) represent the physical world, which is opposite to Atziluth. Since both the physical and the heavenly world are manifestation of prima materia, or in other words - they come from one and the same source, those opposite worlds represent the two sides of the same coin, thus the physical world is considered to be a reflection of the heavenly world for the reflection shows the same image, but reversed (opposite).



THE GREAT WORK

The interaction between the Fire (heavenly world) and Water (physical world) begets "mercury", or the life within the Universe, thus in the bible man is considered to be created after Earth. Mercury is an intellect, which contains within itself the potential to be everything. Alchemy illustrates the transmuting of mercury (intellect) into gold (god) as the intellect standing before 7 steps symbolic of the 7 stages through which it has to pass before being transformed into gold. The first step is mineral, after that are the plant, animal, human, angel and so on to "God". This illustration represents as a whole how the intelligence which creates every being is the same, but manifests itself into different stages of evolution, the final destination being Shimayim - the prima materia. The last 2 stages of evolution, after "homo sapiens" continue within the celestial world. Transmuting mercury into gold, analogical to life returning in Heaven, is accomplished through the "Philosopher's Stone". The creation of this stone, known as "magnum opus", translated as "The Great Work", is made through the first substance (prima materia). Therefore the philosopher's stone represents, in a sense, the art of transmutation which is acquired through the different humanly faculties such as knowledge, imagination, reason, contemplation and sensory perception. Through those faculties man transforms himself, into that which the mystics call "Yogi", coming from "Yoga", translated as "Union" (to be one with all), thus the philosopher's stone is also analogical to key for enlightenment through which one gains the elixir of immortality.

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