Jean d'Espagnet wrote in the ninth paragraph of The Hermetic Arcanum:
"Let a Lover of truth make use of few Authors, but of the best note and experienced truth; let him suspect things that are quickly understood, especially in Mystical Names and Secret Operations; for truth lies hid in obscurity; for Philosophers never write more deceitfully—than when plainly, nor ever more truly—than when obscurely."1
One word d'Espagnet and other authors use to make points obscurely plain is in the use of ‘common,’ as in ‘common metals,’ ‘common stones,’ ‘common fire’ and the like. Readers unfamiliar with this Art take this to mean all sorts of objects and conditions, usually outside themselves, in earnest zeal for true understanding. The sages are not describing metals of inert materials, rocks from the earth or a laboratory flame from a Bunsen burner or oven. They mean common in the sense that these things are common to all persons—we all have these materials within ourselves. The same author in the same opus declared in paragraph 57:
"Philosophers extract their stone out of seven stones."2
The seven stones here must be understood as the seven chakras, metals or force centers in the finer bodies, and physical points in the human brain and spine. When these centers are brought into a balanced alignment through proper diet, meditation and prayer, their combined sublimated, super-conscious energies slowly transmute the whole physical vehicle. The body becomes a vessel with cellular structure healthy enough to hold the intense spiritual energy of the Congealed Mercury of the Sages. Reread the writings of the Masters several times. Meditate upon their intent so as to grasp their inner import. Never are they to be understood as events or conditions that occur outside the human spirit or body. Sages inform us of this fact point blank. Over-zealous fanatics have even believed these blunt clarifications to be blinds, deliberately planted. Blunderers take these frank admonitions as cues to perform these bizarre experiments while others would hesitate due to the warnings. They would then achieve the Philosophers’ Stone over others too timid to see through the cautions. There seems no convincing such individuals otherwise. Best to let them be. Before any readers of these pages conclude that laboratory alchemy will lead to union with the Most High or concealed wealth, please read The Testament of Cremer, who was once the Abbot of Westminster and a friar in the Benedictine Order. If we cannot see what he has written between those lines, it is perhaps best we take big, double doses of his Rabusenum elixir, and put all this alchemical stuff away for a lifetime or two.
1 d'Espagnet, Jean, The Hermetic Arcanum. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1983, pg. 5.
2 Ibid., pg. 17.