Alchemy - The Philospher's Stone
Alchemy - The Philospher's Stone Alchemy is a philosophical and proto-scientific tradition practised throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. It aims to purify, mature, and perfect certain objects. Common aims are chrysopoeia, the transmutation of "base metals" (e.g., lead) into "noble metals" (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent. The perfection of the human body and soul was thought to permit or result from the alchemical magnum opus and, in the Hellenistic and western tradition, the achievement of gnosis.In Europe, the creation of a philosopher's stone was variously connected with all of these projects. Chrysopoeia In alchemy, the term chrysopoeia (Ancient Greek: χρυσοποιία, khrusopoiia) means transmutation into gold (from the Greek χρυσός, khrusos, "gold", and ποιεῖν, poiein, "to make"). It symbolically indicates the creation of the philosopher's stone and the completion of the Great Work. The word was used in the title of an alchemical papyrus, the Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, which was written in the first centuries of the Christian era. The papyrus features the idea of "one the all" (ἕν τὸ πᾶν, hen to pān), a concept that is related to ouroboros and to hermetic wisdom. Stephen of Alexandria wrote a De Chrysopoeia. Chrysopoeia is also a 1515 poem by Giovanni Augurello. The Philosopher's Stone The philosopher's stone, or stone of the philosophers (Latin: lapis philosophorum) is a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals such as mercury into gold (chrysopoeia, from the Greek χρυσός khrusos, "gold", and ποιεῖν poiēin, "to make") or silver. It is also called the elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and for achieving immortality; for many centuries, it was the most sought goal in alchemy. The philosopher's stone was the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolizing perfection at its finest, enlightenment, and heavenly bliss. Efforts to discover the philosopher's stone were known as the Magnum Opus ("Great Work"). Ancient Greece Mention of the philosopher's stone in writing can be found as far back as Cheirokmeta by Zosimos of Panopolis (c. 300 AD) Alchemical writers assign a longer history. Elias Ashmole and the anonymous author of Gloria Mundi(1620) claim that its history goes back to Adam who acquired the knowledge of the stone directly from God. This knowledge was said to be passed down through biblical patriarchs, giving them their longevity. The legend of the stone was also compared to the biblical history of the Temple of Solomon and the rejected cornerstone described in Psalm 118 The theoretical roots outlining the stone’s creation can be traced to Greek philosophy. Alchemists later used the classical elements, the concept of anima mundi, and Creation stories presented in texts like Plato's Timaeus as analogies for their process.] According to Plato, the four elements are derived from a common source or prima materia (first matter), associated with chaos. Prima materia is also the name alchemists assign to the starting ingredient for the creation of the philosopher's stone. The importance of this philosophical first matter persisted throughout the history of alchemy. In the seventeenth century, Thomas Vaughan writes, "the first matter of the stone is the very same with the first matter of all things" Middle Ages The 8th-century Muslim alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan (Latinized as Geber) analyzed each classical element in terms of the four basic qualities. Fire was both hot and dry, earth cold and dry, water cold and moist, and air hot and moist. He theorized that every metal was a combination of these four principles, two of them interior and two exterior. From this premise, it was reasoned that the transmutation of one metal into another could be affected by the rearrangement of its basic qualities. This change would presumably be mediated by a substance, which came to be called al-iksir in Arabic (from which the Western term elixir is derived). It is often considered to exist as a dry red powder (also known as al-Kibrit al-Ahmar الكبريت الأحمر—red sulphur) made from a legendary stone—the philosopher's stone. Jabir's theory was based on the concept that metals like gold and silver could be hidden in alloys and ores, from which they could be recovered by the appropriate chemical treatment. Jabir himself is believed to be the inventor of aqua regia, a mixture of muriatic (hydrochloric) and nitric acids, one of the few substances that can dissolve gold (and which is still often used for gold recovery and purification). In the 11th century, there was a debate among Muslim world chemists on whether the transmutation of substances was possible. A leading opponent was the Persian polymath Avicenna (Ibn Sina), who discredited the theory of transmutation of substances, stating, "Those of the chemical craft know well that no change can be effected in the different species of substances, though they can produce the appearance of such change." According to legend, the 13th-century scientist and philosopher Albertus Magnus is said to have discovered the philosopher's stone and passed it to his pupil, Thomas Aquinas, shortly before his death circa 1280. Magnus does not confirm he discovered the stone in his writings, but he did record that he witnessed the creation of gold by "transmutation" Renaissance The Squared Circle:an alchemical symbol (17th century) illustrating the interplay of the four elements of matter symbolising the philosopher's stone The 16th-century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) believed in the existence of alkahest, which he thought to be an undiscovered element from which all other elements (earth, fire, water, air) were simply derivative forms. Paracelsus believed that this element was, in fact, the philosopher's stone. The English philosopher Sir Thomas Browne in his spiritual testament Religio Medici (1643) identified the religious aspect of the quest for the philosopher's Stone when declaring: The smattering I have of the Philosophers stone, (which is something more than the perfect exaltation of gold) hath taught me a great deal of Divinity. A mystical text published in the 17th century called the Mutus Liber appears to be a symbolic instruction manual for concocting a philosopher's stone. Called the "wordless book", it was a collection of 15 illustrations. In Buddhism And Hinduism The equivalent of the philosopher's stone in Buddhism and Hinduism is the Cintamani.] It is also referred to as Paras/Parasmani (Hindi: पारस/पारसमणि) or Paris (Marathi: परिस). In Mahayana Buddhism, Chintamani is held by the bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshvara and Ksitigarbha. It is also seen carried upon the back of the Lung ta (wind horse) which is depicted on Tibetan prayer flags. By reciting the Dharani of Chintamani, Buddhist tradition maintains that one attains the Wisdom of Buddhas, is able to understand the truth of the Buddhas, and turns afflictions into Bodhi. It is said to allow one to see the Holy Retinue of Amitabha and his assembly upon one's deathbed. In Tibetan Buddhist tradition the Chintamani is sometimes depicted as a luminous pearl and is in the possession of several of different forms of the Buddha Within Hinduism it is connected with the gods Vishnu and Ganesha. In Hindu tradition it is often depicted as a fabulous jewel in the possession of the Nāga king or as on the forehead of the Makara. The Yoga Vasistha, originally written in the 10th century AD, contains a story about the philosopher's stone. A great Hindu sage wrote about the spiritual accomplishment of Gnosis using the metaphor of the philosopher's stone. Saint Jnaneshwar (1275–1296) wrote a commentary with 17 references to the philosopher's stone that explicitly transmutes base metal into gold. The seventh century Siddhar Thirumoolar in his classic Tirumandhiram explains man's path to immortal divinity. In verse 2709 he declares that the name of God, Shiva is an alchemical vehicle that turns the body into immortal gold.
Appearance Descriptions of the Philosopher's Stone are numerous and various. According to alchemical texts, the stone of the philosophers comes in two varieties, prepared by an almost identical method: white (for the purpose of making silver), and red (for the purpose of making gold), the white stone being a less matured version of the red stone. Some ancient and medieval alchemical texts leave clues to the physical appearance of the stone of the philosophers, specifically the red stone. It is often said to be orange (saffron colored) or red when ground to powder. Or in a solid form, an intermediate between red and purple, transparent and glass-like.. The weight is spoken of as being heavier than gold, and it is soluble in any liquid, yet incombustible in fire. Alchemical authors sometimes suggest that the stone's descriptors are metaphorical. The appearance is expressed geometrically in Michael Maier's Atalanta Fugiens. "Make of a man and woman a circle; then a quadrangle; out of this a triangle; make again a circle, and you will have the Stone of the Wise. Thus is made the stone, which thou canst not discover, unless you, through diligence, learn to understand this geometrical teaching." Rupescissa uses the imagery of the Christian passion, telling us it ascends "from the sepulcher of the Most Excellent King, shining and glorious, resuscitated from the dead and wearing a red diadem.
Creation The philosopher's stone is created by the alchemical method known as The Magnum Opus or The Great Work. Often expressed as a series of colour changes or chemical processes, the instructions for creating the philosopher's stone are varied. When expressed in colours, the work may pass through phases of nigredo, albedo, citrinitas, and rubedo. When expressed as a series of chemical processes it often includes seven or twelve stages concluding in multiplication, and projection.
Michael J Robey
Psychic Medium | Psychic Investigator