The Beast has tightened his hold upon the World even further. Its tentacles drain the very sap of the Earth,
worming their way into every nook and cranny of human life. They are the unjust organs of State, the
organs of corruption, exploitation and serfdom. They are the spells of delusion that bind the masses into
sacrificing themselves for the benefit of the few, the chosen few who are unwitting disciples of the Beast.
They are spells of division that drive one brother against another, for need of want. They are driven by the
seven blasphemous heads who breath forth war, famine, inequity and all manner of noxious vapours. They
are governed by one law - selfish greed unrestrained, a desire that burns the mind of the Beast like an
insatiable hunger, craving more and more and more ... , bringing forth destruction to all that is necessary to
feed the Beast, who is the Devourer of Worlds. It threatens to annihilate the very Spirit, the soul of
humanity, threatening to slay the Son and banish the light, plunging the World into a pointless existence of
misery which will end only with the World's destruction!
You cannot slay the Beast, it is too strong. Many have tried, tried to free themselves from its sucking
tendrils, only to find even greater misery. The Magician, whom you helped, managed to drive the Beast
back into the depths of space, for a time, but from there it can still feed upon us! Many have denied its
existence, vanishing to a point, reaching the singularity of inflexion, but this has not freed the World, and is
at best a temporary place of rest for the few. Travel to this point deep within yourself and you will find that
you are outside. I was once between worlds, observing the whole, and truly beautiful it did seem; for all is as
it should be, but not yet in full fruition. Still, I could not stand and stare from beyond the gates, so back I
came, plunging into the dark depths. The darkness surrounded me, smothering my little light, almost
There is one, who is trapped in a certain stone. This wizard, this wise man of old, he may be able to help
you. Some say that you may find him sleeping in a glass tower on yonder isle. Others say, that he lies
behind a hidden door that leads to great caverns far beneath this castle. Many say that he guards these
isles greatest treasures, others that he is bound in an unbreakable hex, trapped in a great stone, caught in
a spell which cannot be broken and which will endure until the end of the World.
Let us enter the secret caverns of this western isle, beneath the great castle, and see what secrets are
Deep within the caverns are speleothems of wondrous forms! All manner of curious crystals and growths
that formed over countless aeons. You find a pool of clearest, purest water, a calm mirror. Calm until a drop
of water falls in from the cavern roof, creating gentle, transient ripples. Who knows the number and depth
of these caverns? They were forged by rivers of water and fire and of sulphuric acid. Deep down you may
find the vapours of the Dragon's breath.
There is a crystal column over yonder, shaped like a human figure. Some say it was a witch turned to
stone, yet others say it was an old sorcerer, a necromancer, hexed by an unbreakable spell. After his
entrapment, tales tell of how he was able to move through the air as vapour, through great effort, and
convey the message of his enchantment and doom. In his last call he cried, "Never shall no man speak to
me after you, therefore it is for nothing that any man should try to seek me out." Some, however, say that
he can still speak to us in our dreams. Listen carefully, can you sense the gentle flow of air coming from far
above and faintly echoing through these chambers? Can you hear it? Perhaps, if you rest here and dream,
you can here the voice of the wizard still...
"Through many names and forms have I walked through time. A messenger from beyond. That which is
above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles
of the one. As all things were from the one. Its father is the Sun and its mother the Moon. The Earth carried
it in her belly, as Earth which shall become Fire. So says the Emerald Tablet. 'Although I am cold, earthly
and heavy, ... I am nevertheless spiritual, celestial and an ever-burning living fire. ... I am used as a most
upright arbitrator between the highest and the lowest, between the heavenly and the earthly. I take part
with the uppermost and give assistance to the nethermost, and tie them both together with a most
indissoluble bond of love. I as a double nature am familiarly acquainted with both of them, and no fawning
dissembler, but a peace maker.' [Quote from Monte Snyder: Metamorphosis of the Planets]. So speaks the
Water of the Sun, the Mercury of the Wise. The Grey Wolf removes impurities from gold, that great wolf
which chases the Sun across the sky at the end of days. I was about to leave the World, there are many
others, but I could not leave completely out of love, and so I became trapped between worlds, trapped
within this World, trapped in the Stone."
The spirit grieves because he is eclipsed and overcast with darkness. Do you believe that darkness will
have an end? Mercury amalgamates silver and gold, becoming fixed as it does so, trapped within the
resulting 'stone'. Mercury too has been used to purify both silver and gold, for it dissolves these metals,
leaving behind the impure materials of the ore. Aqua Regia, mercury and the grey wolf, all can be used to
purify gold. All then, may symbolise the same thing, for our gold is elementate.
A mighty king once tried to build the greatest of towers within his kingdom, upon land reckoned worthy to
provide the strongest foundations. Thrice he tried and thrice the walls collapsed when no more than twenty
feet in height. The reason being that two dragons, one white and one red, were entombed within hollow
chambers beneath the tower. Whenever they felt the weight of the tower upon them, they writhed, shaking
the ground and collapsing the walls. Only when the chambers were opened and the dragons released to
fight one-another could the tower be built. The white dragon destroyed the red, but then died itself.
Mercury amalgamates gold and silver, losing its freedom as it does so, fixing into a solid alloy. Mercury was
thus likened to the bond that joins Earth to Heaven, for it is part-way between the fixed and the volatile.
Our Stone is made the same way the Cosmos came into being. First a great fire burst through the pure
dark waters of chaos, driving through the darkness, and the light and darkness merged as two in one. The
darkness has never put out this light, nor can it comprehend it. A solution, the alcahest, formed when the
waters of life poured across the cosmos. The seeds of life were within this solution. The four elements
separated out as the symmetry broke. As the fire cooled, the four elements were conjoined in balance,
giving rise to dead bodies of matter, atoms and stars, this was the conjunction. The ouroborus is the
self-sustaining cycles of Nature, as the end and beginning join. The blackened Earth, smouldering with the
fires of its creation, stood for many aeons whilst a primordial slime, a primordial soup, formed over it. This
was the putrefaction. Coagulation or congelation followed, as the unification of opposites brought about
the birth of the Virgin Earth, which was pure and beautiful to behold. For a long period of time this Earth
was nourished and life upon it became richer and more diverse, and ever more wondrous. This was the
cibation. These are the first seven gates, but here the work is not complete. After many cycles of
sublimation, rapid heating and cooling, many rotations of the wheels of Nature, the spirit of life repeatedly
ascending and descending, human civilisations have begun to crawl forth from the darkness. This is the
Now, here is the key - what Nature cannot perfect through evolution, humankind can further work upon by
application of science and philosophy, by reason balanced by compassion. The question is, how to
proceed? There are four more gates through which you must pass, making twelve gates in total.
The first four gates constitute the Black Work, which is the work of purification. When gold is purified from
its ore, first it can be heated to drive off certain unwanted volatiles - the process of calcination, which is
often done by heating in rain water. Then it is treated with Royal Water, which is Aqua Regia, the Red
Lion, which dissolves gold to form chloroauric acid. Any silver present will precipitate out as white silver
chloride, which blackens on exposure to light. Following this is a separation phase, evaporating or distilling
away the solvent leaves behind golden-yellow crystals of chloroauric acid. Upon heating, these crystals
liberate noxious vapours of hydrogen chloride gas, leaving behind gold(III) chloride, which further
decomposes on heating to give gold and chlorine gas. However, if instead you take the golden-yellow
crystals of chloroauric acid and dissolve them in purified water, to give a yellow solution and reduce this
solution, then a red or yellow liquid results, which is a colloid of precipitated gold nanoparticles; the size of
the particles determines the colour of the solution, smaller particles give a red colour.
Cinnabar, or vermillion or congealed dragon's blood, is a bright red glassy stone, mercury(II) sulphide.
Comprised of mercury and sulphur, the two elements which certain of the ancients believed gave rise to all
the metals. Hence, some believed that all metals could be made from cinnabar. First it is heated in rain
water, to remove certain impurities (purgation or calcination). The cinnabar is then dissolved in Aqua
Regia. The Aqua Regia is distilled away, leaving a black earth. These ashes are conjoined with the
distillate and left to ferment on a gentle heat for several days, after which a white earth is said to deposit
(probably mercury chlorides); this is congelation. This white earth is nourished with heat and salt and
refluxed, forming a red solid above the water, which can be purified by trituration, and which is also known
as the Red Lion and is the true potable gold. Alcohol of wine is added and distilled until no acidity remains.
This is the Oil of the Sun and marks the end of the red work. Thus we have the black, red and white works,
but there is still the yellow work to come.
'As above, so below' was a maxim of the ancient alchemists. This really means 'as within, so without' for it
means that the spiritual world operates according to analogous laws as those that govern the physical
world, and heaven is 'within and without, for it clothes the surface of the Earth, but few can see it.' For, the
'Kingdom of Heaven is not a place, ... , for it is within you.' Now do you see, that the true Art of Alchemy is
not about making mundane gold, but rather spiritual gold, the rising of the spiritual sun. May the Golden
Dawn shine within you!
So now, where has your Quest taken you? You have seen the fire of purgation, which is no supernatural
thing, but is simply the purifying fire of truth. You have seen the dissolving power of the purifying water,
and you have seen separated the pure from the impure. This is all part of the Black Work and the Dark
Night of the Soul! You have seen a promise of what is to come, as the guiding light will never leave you
completely. Now, the Beast is concerned only with mundane gold and worldly glory. He does not perceive
the works of the Divine as the true philosophers do, but rather as sheep and cattle from which it may profit!
It is the most primitive of animal instincts, and as such is only concerned with physical survival and
nourishment. However, humankind cannot live by bread alone! Try with all your might to kill the Beast and
you shall fail, so what shall we do?
To begin the Great Work, you first need the Prima Materia. Our Mercury is the First Matter, the universal
minera. 'It is very weak and yet most strong. It is excessively soft and yet there is nothing so hard. It is one
and all, spirit and body, fixed and volatile, male and female, visible and invisible, burns and burns not. It is
water and wets not; it is earth that runs and air that stands still. ... Neither earth nor water, neither solid nor
fluid, but a substance without all form but what is universal. He is visible but of no certain colour, for
chameleon-like puts on all colours.' [Aula lucis, Thomas Vaughan, 1651].
Matter is the House of Light, and 'when he first enters it, it is a glorious, transparent room, a crystal castle,
and he lives like a familiar in diamonds. He has then the liberty to look out at the windows; his love is all inj
his sight: I mean that liquid Venus which lures him in, but this continues not very long? He is busy - as all
lovers are - and labours for a closer union, insinuates and conveys himself into the very substance of his
love, so that his heat and action stir up her moist essences, by whose means he becomes an absolute
prisoner. For at last the earth grows over him out of the water, so that he is quite shut up in darkness.'
[Aula lucis, Thomas Vaughan, 1651].