Steps Toward the Stone
The Grand Alchemical Process is actually the history of creation. It is the micro-step by step evolution of One Consciousness, ever learning, ever creating more perfect vehicles toward the absolute freedom of Spirit through the expression of physical forms. It (we) has evolved presently into what anthropological science classifies Homo Sapiens-Sapiens (man aware of being aware).
Through Alchemical Art we may consciously participate to evolve even further into genus Homo Divinitatis, or Spiritualis. By subtle manipulations of an ethereal substance all the wise know to be Light-Substance, we may perfect God’s human organism. Ultimately we shall be able to alter our bodies at the cellular level to disintegrate and re-integrate instantaneously into any environment we choose. Bodies are dissolved and again coagulated through the Will and Imagination exercised by the perfected faculties within the Divine Human. Philosophers and sages wrote allegories and parables about an Alchemical Process by which human personality could achieve this, our Divine Heritage. Accounts varied concerning Steps Toward the Stone due to languages, locales, customs, and times. To one receiving the inner Master’s instructions, however, the prepared mind, heart and spirit never is or was confused by the deliberate blinds and cryptic obscurities. So we read from Masters of fourteen distinct steps. Then we read of twelve or sixteen. Yet another swears by twenty-one, and so forth. Alchemist Roger Bacon, with many others, clearly stated that there is no set number of steps. All knew these operations to be “in One Vessel from One Beginning to One End.” Unripe metals, rutting through cryptic manuscripts searching for temporal wealth and power, went morally and financially bankrupt in their feverish quest. But the teachings remained clear and sound for those with the inner vision to perceive and the inner hearing to intuit.
Twelve basic, symbolic steps serve to balance all the important elements in One Vessel. Some of these develop simultaneously while other steps overlap each other, but twelve is a number key for our conscious minds to dwell and meditate upon. There are twelve permutations of Tetragrammaton (IHVH). Twelve were the labors of Hercules. Twelve were the Apostles and Tribes of Israel. Twelve zodiacal signs complete the cosmic circle, and twelve edges erect the Cubic Stone of the Wise. There are twelve basic cell groups in the human body (the Living Stone), and the twelfth key of Tarot illustrates the completion of the Great Work. The New Jerusalem in Revelation measures twelve thousand furlongs, of which length, breadth and height are equal. The City is surrounded by twelve gates over twelve foundations. Twelve then, hints completion of the circle, the cube, the Great Work and New Jerusalem. Twelve steps will suffice to complete the One Vessel to its One End.
So what of Bacon's quotation above? By employing what many esoteric writers referred to as 'a trick of the Spirit', the tactic of Meditation was the operation in question "from One beginning to One end." With the 'hook' of multiple steps toward the manufacture of the Stone the teachers coerced would-be alchemists to think about all those processes through mental gyrations that stretch the boundaries of reason. Sub-consciously, however, the tyros are meditating. Ultimately, it is hoped, that the true and ardent aspirants come to the self-conscious conclusion around the confusion concerning these so-called steps. With that, it is finally realized that one and only one operation is required - Meditation. The hard-core material fanatics continue with ridiculous physical operations in various laboratory set-ups. Coming ultimately to no avail, they abandon the quest and the real secrets are preserved.
Human personality, the subjectum of this Art, is a product of twelve basic modes of conscious and subconscious mental processes. Accurately represented by the zodiacal signs, the Alchemical Process has as its objective the complete equilibration of each, since “equilibrium is the basis of the Great Work.” All is staged within the Human Glass Vessel, כלי, kli, 'the vessel.' Note its gematria. This is the human aura, that One Vessel. When we focus meditation and conscious attention on the Aries element within our nature, for example, we are altering toward balance those primitive Aries habits that keep us from knowing the Godhead. Changes are affected through subconsciousness from the super-conscious level. By meditations on archetypal symbolism handed down to us, we may effectively reverse negative tendencies entrenched deep within consciousness. We may aid the Universal Process seasonally with this suggestion.
The Sun’s arc for thirty days and degrees through Aries offers contemplative material from the Tree of Life, the fire element, Hebrew letter Resh, Cube of Space, Tarot Key, the astrological sign, the Sun’s signs of rulership, exaltation, detriment and fall, the color and sound attributions of Aries. We could do all that over again with Mars, the ruler of Aries. We might even consider the transiting Sun and Mars through our Natal Chart at this time. Spanning the month we have ample meditation material with all these Aries symbols. This transit through Aries might even be metaphorically called Calcination. However, what we are actually doing is that One Step, meditation, “in One Vessel from One Beginning to One End.”
So it might be with all Twelve Signs and Steps of the Process. It is not necessary to invest the whole month in meditations with the above. Try smaller bits in one session. Nor is it necessary to begin in the Aries season specifically. Start any time of the year with the corresponding step. Start now. It takes about seven years, with concerted effort, to purge our gross personalities of negative habit patterns. Meditation is the recommendation hinted by Roger Bacon. Meditation unlocks certain energies within glands and organs that charge our blood, creating Aurum Potabile. This, in turn, allows us to perfect our organs to function optimally toward complete health. Steady mediation practice invokes super-conscious influence. Regular meditations cleanse, balance, transmute and sublimate our gross metals. Meditation allows us to receive and perceive the higher and more subtle universal thought emanations that give us deeper insight into this Art than could otherwise be discovered in others' books of words. Learn to breathe and meditate as soon as you can. This is a great part of the Work in the physical body laboratory. Refer to PREPARATION