In spiritual alchemy Base Metal may hold two implications depending on context. Metals within the body of an alchemist are the CHAKRAS (see same). These force centers begin on the surface of the Glass Vessel, but terminate as five points within the spinal column and two glandular points within the brain. In the western tradition, they are labeled the seven closest planetary orbs about our sun which is self inclusive. All the centers correspond indirectly to the physical planets in the heavens above, and to certain nerve ganglia and vital organs of the physical body in the ‘Earth’ below. Glands and organs receive their spiritual energy from the Vital Body that receives its force from the centers on the surface of the Vessel. It is from the surface of the Vessel that the chakras take the shape of their namesake since Chakra means Wheel. When these centers are ‘base’ they exude raw energy. Alchemists consider a metal to be 'base' because the center is steeped in Salt, or salt-ish tendencies. Salt tendencies are those misconceptions and ignorant habit patterns lurking in our deep subconscious mind. They are considered imperfect, impure or immature for alchemical work. It is when these centers are unripe that they are given the names of metals that correspond to the planetary names; hence Lead for Saturn, Iron for Mars, etc.
Under "Articles" in the menu bar above, Roger Bacon's Mirror of Alchymy contains detailed explanations of the seven metals (Chakras of the Yogis). In the alchemists' typical cryptic styles each of the metals exude energies described as Mercurial, Sulfuric, or Salt-ish, that is, energies expressed super-consciously, self-consciously, or sub-consciously respectively.
The energies flowing through the centers require transmutation and sublimation. Afterwards, the centers influence glands and organs to secrete the more subtle spiritual essences required for completing the Great Work. Base Metals emit raw energy due to their saturation of Salt-ish tendencies. Salt energies are not necessarily evil, bad, or even unwanted. They are young. They are involuting energies used for exploring and developing life in the physical plane, Assiah, the Qabalisitc fourth world. They carry the negative side effect of heightened sensations, which can never be appeased, hence the concern for their over stimulation. The Art of Alchemy calls for evolved energies. Therefore Salt in the metals must be suppressed by turning the action of Sulphur toward the Mercury Principle within these same centers. All authors in classical alchemy therefore agree with Friar Roger Bacon when he states most emphatically: "THAT ALL METALS ARE ENGENDERED BY ARGENT-VIVE AND SULPHUR." Base Metals are washed of their Salt with Sulphur, alchemically speaking. Through the action of Sulphur acting upon Mercury base energies are suppressed. Mercury is then eventually made of all the Base Metals. Purified, they are then referred to by their planetary names. Cross reference with MERCURY, SULPHUR, SALT, SATTVA GUNA, RAJAS GUNA, and TAMAS GUNA.
The second reference to Base Metal is outside the body of the alchemist. This is a reference to other people not occupied in conscious cooperation with the alchemical transmutation process. A Base Metal is anyone not yet suited to take up the Great Work by reason of one's moral and/or physical fiber, being unaware of the Inner Life, or simply because it is not their choice to do so. Such persons are not evil, but the intent of that person, called a Base Metal by the classical writers, is still one of involution. Energies through their interior metals are used to gather people, places, circumstances and things with which to appease ambitions, wills and desires of an Ego still in the nightmare of separation from the ALL CENTER. They are still young of soul experience. Yet all True Alchemists who have completed the Great Work by transmuting their own base natures remember their beginnings as Base Metals themselves. Adepts are made of themselves with help from the Grace of God. Yet they caution those of us still behind in the awkward stages of multiple transitions. A recent reprint of Solomon Trismosin’s Splendor Solis came out of London:
"Above all things ALPHIDIUS warns us: Dear Son, beware of spirits, bodies and stones (and metals) which are dead, as mentioned, for in them is no way, nor would you find guidance for your purpose with them, for their force does not multiply, but comes to nothing instead."1
It seems obvious that the 'spirits' of the quotation is referring to human personalities still preoccupied with the three-dimensional physical world. The sincere student of alchemy or yoga must go a solitary way for a peroid to avoid too much contact with base stones or metals. A life in The Art calls for more meditation and contemplation inward. Early monasteries were devoted to this eventual outcome. Subconscious projections from base metals can induce doubt into a neophyte in early stages of The Way. It may be better not to share spiritual pursuits with unsympathetic stones and metals until we gain sufficient inner strength. Even then we may not wish to do so except through indirect and subconscious means. If one feels to be slipping away from the plans, desires and aspirations of the once peer group because of this calling, such a person should be at ease to know that s/he is right on course with that call. Perhaps it is best to adhere to the sagely advice: "To Will, To Know, To Keep Silent and To Dare."
1 Trismosin, Solomon, Splendor Solis. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., LTD. Reprinted by Yogi Publication Society, no date, pg. 77.