The Return of the Alchemists Part Five: The Great Work
By Raoul Tollmann, founder of AlchemiaNova                         
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Inquisitive minds may ask what this elixir may have contained and what it may have been made of. This is, quite literally, the million dollar question, but old alchemy books of the West are shrouded in mystery. Terminology such as “Our Mercury” as well "Old Saturn, black, heavier than lead" give hints, but no clear indications. We can, however, look at Ayurveda and Taoist alchemy for cross-reference. In India, there is no secret about the starting material: it is cinnabar, the sulfide ore of mercury. If we were to process it into the Indian-style philosopher’s stone, however, we would have to let it undergo eighteen stages of processing, of which some would require years to finish. There may be some shortcuts, but source books such as the Rasa-Jala-Nidhi sure do not mention them, which would leave us with a gargantuan task that may take longer than a lifetime to complete. Taoist books speak of "fixed cinnabar" as a vehicle to immortality, but give only incomplete processes. (I have referenced these sources in article number one of this series).

Which leads us back to taking a closer look at Western alchemy. Once again, we need to remember the underlying philosophy of alchemy that we’ve discussed in the last article: The human is seen as a microcosm, reflecting the stars and planetary energies of the macrocosm in the human energy body. The earthly representatives of these stellar energies are metals and minerals. In alchemy, the understanding is that planets and stars undergo an evolution and that in conjunction with this evolutionary procession, their representative metals undergo a metamorphosis from base metals to noble metals, which is considered to be a process that takes eons in nature but can be sped up in the lab. The goal of the Great Work in alchemy thus is the creation of an agent that can capture and then induce the needed energy to speed up the metamorphosis of either molten metals in the crucible or of the living human being.

The agent that is capable of taking up and transmitting this energy is Mercury, also known as the Messenger of the Gods. Regular mercury, however, does very little for our purpose. It needs to be processed or ‘charged’ or ‘impregnated’ as they say in Ayurveda and, if it is supposed to be turned into a medicine, its toxicity needs to be eliminated.

The above mentioned incalescent mercury is such a rare creature. Here is how it is made: Antimony as the giver of surplus energy gets alloyed with silver, and this compound can then be amalgamated with mercury. The mercury gets distilled off, is cleansed of its toxic components with ammonium chloride, gets re-amalgamated with the alloy and distilled again. This repeated distillation and amalgamation is called cohobation in alchemy. After nine cohobations, my incalescent mercury was ready for transmutation – it transforms itself into pure gold when poured into a red-hot crucible. When amalgamated with sulfur in mild heat, we get an artificial cinnabar that is edible, but this substance does not induce a miraculous transformation such as the one of Maitre Arnaud. Clearly, antimony is not the right starting material for the philosopher’s stone, Western style. But this process is very valuable for introducing us to a technique how to charge up or impregnate regular mercury! Based upon this understanding, we need to search further for a starting material that provides enough surplus energy to be transmitted into our mercury.

The story of Walter Lusic, a Czech immigrant who came to Washington State shortly after WWII, will lead us further. Walter Lusic was an alchemist who knew how to make gold, and he eventually teamed up with several professors of the department of inorganic chemistry at a local university. Together, they built a gold-manufacturing plant on the property of an associate in Seattle. Records show that they sold hundreds of pounds of precious metals to a well-known smelter. I had the pleasure of meeting one of Walter’s former associates who showed me a pretty large-scale transmutation, but who never took this matter as big as Walter and his university chemist friends did. They all eventually paid a very high price. I have been told they died of leukemia.

Even the man I met had developed leukemia, but one alternative clinic in Mexico provided him with a treatment that allowed him to stay alive. The gold-makers had apparently no inclination to explore the medicinal side of the Great Work, and so their story is, in my viewpoint, one of a tragic irony. They tried to keep things very low-key and of course no-one was ready to divulge anything of the process. Over the years, however, some information seeped out and it became clear that they were working with radio-nuclides as the real starting material. Their collective death by leukemia is an indication supporting this conclusion, too.

My further investigation of the matter has revealed that today, as a secondary spin-off, there is a company in Canada that attempts to market a process to deactivate radioactive waste. They transfer the surplus energy of the radioactive material and ‘pump’ it into mercury, which takes it up, but does not become radioactive itself. Rather, this mercury can then transmute metals into gold, but it could also transform humans into super-humans, a feat that the contemporary gold-makers do either not understand or dare to consider.

Ultimate irony: the tons of DU or depleted uranium that the US military has dumped onto Iraq would suffice to produce more gold than needed to purchase every single square mile of Iraq, plus then pay for everyone’s lunch for the rest of their lives.

The prevailing state of affairs on our planet, however, does generally not support the sublime; and so, depleted uranium will possibly have to stay an agent of death and destruction for some time instead of becoming the centerpiece of a resurrected technology: alchemy, a technology that could lift up our entire culture towards unknown heights. But as long as even the neo-alchemists themselves die of leukemia instead of enjoying eternal life, there seems to be little hope.

I also understand that it is not in everybody’s stars to now run out and put a lab together and start experimenting with mercury and uranium. I hope, however, that my words will inspire those few colleagues who have been on the wrong track so far and who have the capability and the equipment to work with these materials.

For everyone else, we will take a closer look at inner alchemy in the next article. Yes, tantric sex is on the menu, as well as medicinal chi gung and other surprises!

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