You float down the River of Dreams. Your boat glides downstream with the gentle currents. Behind
you the boatman sits at the stern, rowing for you, though you can not see his face in the darkness
and mist. Trees line the banks, wintry willows, aspen and oaks with roots and branches stretching
out into air and water, closing you in with the fog and darkness. The air is cool and moonlight
beams dance and flicker upon the wispy tendrils of watery vapour. The only sound is the rowing of
A sudden roar grips your heart with terror! Ahead of you a dark shape looms forth from the water,
towering some eight feet into the air, with terrible eyes glowing like coals, its fiery mane crackles
and smoke bellows from its nostrils. It is the dreaded Kelpie - horse demon of legend that brings
peril to all who travel across its river or loch! The boat sails on, you stare at the beast, frozen with
terror as it flexes its muscular body and tenses its mighty claws, ready to tip or smash your flimsy
boat to smithereens.
The boat passes through the demon which dissolves in a wisp of smoke like a harmless phantasm.
You look back at the boatman in disbelief, but he is still rowing calmly and unperturbed,
"Nothing more than a nightmare, a phantom of your own inner fears," he tells you is what you saw.
The fog seems to clear as the boat nears the estuary. The oarsman stops the boat and pulls it in
near a gap in the trees and sits there as if waiting for you to alight. Who is this man? He looks up
as a beam of moonlight illuminates his face and now you recognise him. He is the wizard whom you
helped to slay the Beast, but you saw him die and you buried him, how can it be? Nothing ever
really dies, it simply changes. This means the Beast too, for it cannot be destroyed and, though
slain by craft, the Beast is transformed, but in truth all is One, 'for One is our Stone, appearing at
first in a garb defiled! To deal plainly, it is Saturn's child', for Saturn is Chronos, Father Time, also
known as the Grim Reaper!
So it is that the water ripples and the reflection shifts and changes, but the light continues. Now the
Wizard has returned a favour by bringing you to this place. You disembark and follow a path
through the trees that ascends a gentle slope, to the Temple of the Sacred Flame.
Away from the misty river the air is crisp and a gentle wind blows. A lilac flame in the midst of the
temple sends out its light through the four arches in the temple walls and to the heavens above
through the skylight. Beyond its light, only the Moon illuminates the dark land all around you, as
its light waxes and wanes behind a shifting veil of cloud. Ascending the temple steps you hear the
crackling of the flame and a calmness descends upon you. You are alone.
Look into the flame and see yourself. See who you really are. See beyond the flesh that clothes
the spirit. See beyond the wounds of past misdeeds - misdeeds you have dealt and misdeeds
you have received, in truth all are wounds alike. All are wounds that have made you scarred and
sore. They say that suffering strengthens the soul. In any case your fire still burns and a
flickering flame shall never be abandoned.
The Primal Matter you have seen, for it comes entirely from within. To pass the First Gate heat
this matter to calcine it and then proceed to putrefaction, but know that first the heat that you
apply must not be dry. A need for water, there is a must, or else your stone will turn to dust, or
sublime to poison vapours and be blown away. What water then shall you use? Why the clearest
and purest water that you can find, water of the heavenly kind. So heat with fire of purgation and
wash with water of purification. Heat gently at first, to make body and soul unite, or else from the
body the soul may take flight! Then make a solution with Royal Water, until the raven who sat
upon the skull so bold does watch his own reflection dissolve. Such introspection you see, will
pass you safely to gate number three. Remember then to keep Fire and Water balanced in
harmony. Grim though the Reaper be, keep faith in the Truth you see, for from this work so black,
a Phoenix will arise at last!
How many gates? Some say seven, some say twelve and yet some have as many as sixty-seven,
but in truth the path it is the same, differing only in its use of name. Do not make reckless haste,
for each gate you shall not pass, not until you complete each task.
So, like the Alchemists of ages dead, take Vermilion, the stone that is red. Following is the
process that once was told, by these Alchemists of old. Purge this stone with heat and cleanse in
sweet rain, or else impurities shall be your gain. Next dissolve our Cinnabar in Aqua Regis, distil
then putrefy, so the dead ashes you may purify. From this dead black earth shall you see born,
with clear sight, an earth that is white. Add some fire and salt to this white earth and a fiery
tincture you shall obtain after digestation. Take this Red Lion and through trituration, Aurum
Potabile you shall have after purification. With the right spirit and when another step be done,
you will then have the Oil of the Sun. Reflux and elevate and then cool to coagulate, when twice
more this be done, you shall have the Tincture of the Sun. This Gold Lion, you will behold, is said
to spew forth liquid gold.
Not convinced by what you see? Perhaps this is because you know another recipe that involves
Antimony. To be sure when calcined a white stone shall it give you, a transparent yellow glass
when molten too. A black ash can be made, which will yield a salt so white and clear, so which
recipe will yield the Stone so dear?
Despair ye not, for the Stone you see, is truly found by the right Philosophy. So be sure that
before you proceed, you understand these matters well indeed! For many an Alchemist, alas, has
been poisoned by the tincture in his glass!
Of lions red and gold it has been told, but what of the Green Lion made from Vitriol? Add Water
and Air from Vermilion distillate, resolve and putrefy so as to separate, the red tincture from the
white. Heat in a retort until blackness issues forth and heat again and again in your retort until a
whitish hue your eyes report. Repeat and rectify and the clear Green Lion shall you descry, a
tincture of transparent gold, sought by Sages of old. This Balsam of the Heavenly Stars, to mix
with our Earth of Red Sol and fermented with Sulphur of the Sun, and this work is almost done.
Congelate then dissolve times thrice, and obtain the Tincture of the Alchemists, that shall suffice.
So many riddles, how to begin? In truth you must with spiritual eyes behold, the secret of our
elementate Gold. What of the Salt, so white and clear? What of the Gold Lion so green, he will
swallow the Dragon and the Sun, the latter you have already seen. How many alembics, pelicans
and retorts of necessity must be bought? In truth one vessel is all you need, and that vessel is
very close indeed!
So then, make not haste, for recklessness your time will waste. Be sure that before you begin, the
Primal Matter you must see, for it is the Spirit of Truth within, 'found potentially everywhere and in
every thing, but in fullness and perfection only in One thing'!
Peering again into the flame, you see a vision...