Revised: March 2021
Proverbs 1:2-3 advises us: “To know Wisdom and instruction...to receive the discipline of Wisdom.” Again, in Proverbs 4:7, we read: “The beginning of Wisdom is: Get Wisdom.” Solomon's highest aspiration was to: “Above all, get Wisdom.” But Paracelsus instructs us that first, and chiefly, the principal subject of this Art is Fire. Then Sendivogius tells us:
"Among the three principles the Sages have justly assigned the first place to Sulphur, as the whole Art is concerned with the manner of its preparation."1
Confusing as this may seem to a beginning Artist, all these instructions are but one. In Aesch Mezareph (Purifying Fire), translated by a Lover of Philalethes around 1714, the author assigns the Root of Fire to the second sphere, Chokmah, translated Wisdom. Chokmah is also equated with the Universal Alchemical Sulphur. Although it is the second sphere, it is primary in the order of operations. Chokmah is described elsewhere in this work as VIRGIN SULPHUR (see same). This is the Original Fire, AIN SUPh AUR, and the ‘original’ everything, coalesced as the stars and suns of our physical universe. So Qabalists also allocate the second sphere to מסלות, Masloth, representative of the fixed “Highway of the Stars.” Literally Masloth translates as 'way, course, road or orbit.' The 'course' of fixed stars from earth's viewpoint is the zodiacal ellipse. Qabalists teach that understanding the esoteric effects of the fiery influences which radiate as Prana from the sun and stars constitutes Wisdom. The evolution of this virgin, fiery essence within its own matter-substance is the history of creation. The original Virgin Sulphur within humanity lay in the Secret Vessels, to be extracted by the alchemist through Art. The ‘Secret Vessels’ are the Chakras. All the Chakras have three modes of expression, also known as the 'Three Principles': Super-conscious (Sattva Guna), Self-conscious (Rajas Guna) and Subconscious (Tamas Guna). Through self-conscious direction of Our Sulphur (Rajas Guna) in all Our Metals (Chakras), we prepare our spirits, minds and bodies for the raising of the Spiritual Fire, Kundalini, the Serpent Power.
Through our meditations we attempt to combine our self-conscious mind (Sulfur, or Rajas Guna) with the Super-conscious Life within us (Sattva Guna). If we are to any degree successful with meditation, the self-conscious is thereby more influenced by the super-conscious level. Such ‘influence’ is called the ‘Secret Fire’. Our desirous Sulphur lures out the Secret Fire from each Metal (Chakra).
Through the combined action of all seven metallic fires, the Secret Fire is aroused and sublimated, which, in turn, arouses Kundalini, the Spiritual Fire. . Psychologically speaking there are just three modes of one, all-consciousness. To the three Supernals, self-consciousness (both, the universal and personal levels) is rightly assigned to the second sphere, Chokmah. It is self-consciousness in humankind that is developing even today in this age. So when Sendivogius suggests “the whole Art is concerned with the manner of its preparation,” that which is being prepared is our self-conscious unfoldment. Our Sulphur is our self-consciousness mind, but a ‘mind’ that is now more desirous of something greater than our petty selves. We seek something Greater, and that Greatness is within us. It is our Destiny to become aware of who and what we are, to become fully self-conscious of it. At its fullest expression we ultimately become aware of the Super-Self within us. We evolve the full spiral, back to the original Virgin Sulphur from whence we involuted. We are now aware that we are an aspect of Jehovah, incarnate. This is our Divine Heritage, and we reign supreme, returning the King to His Throne within us, to bring Heaven on Earth. I would end this examination with a sizable quotation from the Secret Book of Artephius, who says it most colorfully:
"Now let us speak of the fire. Our fire then is mineral, equal, continuous; it fumes not, unless it be too much stirred up, participates of sulphur, and is taken from other things than from the matter; it overturns all things, dissolves, congeals, and calcines, and is to be found out by art, or after an artificial manner. It is a compendious thing, got without cost or charge, or at least without any great purchase; it is humid, vaporous, digestive, altering, penetrating, subtle, spirituous, not violent, incombustible, circumspective, continent, and one only thing. It is also a fountain of living water, which circumvolveth and contains the place in which the king and queen bathe themselves; thru the whole work this moist fire is sufficient; in the beginning, middle, and end, because in it, the whole art does consist. This is the natural fire, which is yet against nature, not natural, and which burns not; and lastly, this fire is hot, cold, dry and moist; meditate on these things, and proceed directly, without anything of a foreign nature. If you understand not these fires, give ear to what I have yet to say, never as yet written in any book, but drawn from the more abstruse and occult riddles of the ancients."2
Artephius then continues his exposition on fire. I would urge all students of this Art to obtain this work and other classical authors in Alchemy to compare their descriptions of this ONE THING.
Refer to RAJAS GUNA, SULPHUR and FIRE and Splendor Solis in the Articles Section.
1 Sendivogius, Michael, Concerning Sulphur. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1987, pg. 3.
2 Artephius, The Secret Book Of Artephius. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1984, pg. 16.