Whenever I think of the Sun, good old APTB Paracelsus comes to mind. He was the first alchemist of the European tradition who recommended using a 'portion' of the sun to stimulate virility and cure impotence. Let us use his beautiful and long ago spoken words to speak the mind of the Philosophers. "Our mercury, therefore, is the same which contains in itself all the perfections, force, and virtues of the Sun, which also runs through all the streets and houses of all the planets, and in its own rebirth has acquired the force of things above and things below; to the marriage of which it is to be compared, as is clear from the whiteness and the redness combined in it."
Elsewhere from Paracelsus 'Concerning the Secret Fire of the Philosophers" we read; "Almadir says that the invisible rays of our fire of themselves suffice." In Hermetic Astronomy he goes on to say; "There is one star which governs all things " and; " The star is the one supreme thing created from destruction or dissolution and it is that in Olympus which has all these things under itself. Its office is to operate in man, to operate in the elements, to operate in animals, to turn and to change their senses and their mind. This same medium is and must be a star situated in those things where the supreme operates."
He goes on to say that a sect arose during the time of Christ which cut itself off from the science of noble astronomy, thereby obliterating it, portraying itself as having eternal wisdom, and by so doing corrupted and obscured the light of nature.He goes on to say that it is better to heal from God than by means of herbs, to use the power of God rather than nature, and that pagans of various cults, sciences both mundane and arcane, did give up their worship of nature for worship of God through Christ. He next makes the statement; " Yet we cannot but lament that they did not penetrate to that school which spoke with the tongues of fire, though they had almost lost the light of Nature, Hence it is that they thoroughly detest both kinds of wisdom." That is they detest the Light of God and the Light of nature, that you can heal by both means and should, and that one should not be devoid of the other.
Without the light Divine, many of the therapies are lacking, and even dangerous. Minerals can be used to heal, but are also poisonous, either in their natural states or in their processed mediums, wherein they build up in the body with corrosive action. The Light of God which is in nature, focuses the medium into its most balance state of healing. This spirit needs a medium. As Paracelsus states, the Superior star must have a star in the earthly body, in order to act upon it. Whether it be man or creature, the Superior star acts upon the microcosmic star, that which rests in the created.
He states that stars confer all intelligence."As the body is conferred by the globe, in the same way is the intellect conferred by the star. One cannot exist without the other." He goes on to say; " I am forced to admit that it repented the Father that He had made man, whom the Son regenerates. It is therefore wiser to be in communion with the Son than with the Father, though the light of the Father must not be abandoned."
I would add to this that for the initiate there is a greater truth; there is eternal redemption, what I should rather call renewal. This eternal renewal is also brought about by the supreme star. As the universe is pelted with numerous rays and particles, some visible and many not, so the force of this Supreme star courses through the universe. Old traditions hold that it emanates from the Dog star where from, the wealth of God courses through our Galaxy, drawn to us by our own Sun. This does not mean that it is the Dog star itself, just that our Galaxy receives its emanations from there, and that life in this Galaxy may have begun there. Who can say with absolute proof. We understand that the Sun emanates this force.
This Sun is the medium for the Supreme star, and we as all other life can draw its power. We need this more than the plants, for we are above the vegetable world, that is; there are three levels of life which exude from the Primum Mobile, the first movement, or the beginning force which brought matter out of nothing.
The first level is mineral, an intelligent life form, born from the Supreme star, and cultivated by our Sun in its state of constant evolution. It has an intellect too dull for our perception, or even to be considered intelligent by us. So it is held that lead is the lowest of the metals which is elevated to silver in its evolutionary culmination. Iron is at the bottom of the evolutionary process which culminates with gold and its superior derivatives. Mercury is the crossover substance, that which can be elevated to gold or silver by art, but considered as part of the evolutionary process of the silver chain of metals.
It is the Sun which causes this evolution, not just its heat, though heat has a definite transmutative effect upon minerals as in the case of Amethyst which is transformed into Citrine by the heat of the Sun. It is the light of the Sun which nourishes the plant or Vegetable realm, the next level of life in the threefold process of creating an environ for man the microcosm.
It is common knowledge that photosynthesis is behind the existence of the vegetable realm. What Paracelsus was getting at is that the type of life we see growing upon the Earth is caused by the Stars influence. There are forms of life which grow in complete darkness like plants, but are animal, and others which are a seeming cross between the three, some entirely vegetable. It is the star which shapes life as we know it.
To quote Paracelsus; "Hence man is now a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements; and so he is their quintessence. The four elements are the universal world, and from these man is constituted. In number, therefore, he is fifth, that is, the fifth or quint-essence, beyond the four elements out of which he has been extracted as a nucleus. But between the macrocosm and the microcosm this difference occurs, that the form, image, species, and substance of man are diverse therefrom. So, man is man, not a world, yet made from the world, made in the likeness, not of the world, but of God. Yet man comprises in himself all the qualities of the world."
Paracelsus builds upon these concepts saying that mans intellect comes from the stars. He states that man has a special faculty to sustain his body, so it is with his intellect. "He then attracts by the spirit of his star, in whom that spirit is conceived and born. For the spirit in man is nourished just as much as the body."
He is stating that man is nourished by the elements and by the spirit. Hence the fire of the alchemists comes from the Solar fire, emanating from our Sun which is nourished by the Supreme star, which is beyond mundane sciences conception at the present. As is the case with man who receives his nourishment from the elements and the spirit, so the fruits of science do the same. Who could measure radiation three hundred years ago, or know that x-rays are constantly bombarding the solar system. Science has a great deal of progress to make and look forward to in future.
Paracelsus then attempts to further clarify; " The father and mother are made from the universe, and the universe is constantly contributing to the generation of man. In this way, there is constituted a single body, but a double nature, a single spirit, but a twofold sense.
The alchemist is stating that we have a physical body, and a spirit body which rules over the physical, and that the energy of the spirit can influence the body. He has in his writings proscribed a dose of the Sun to cure impotence, and that the fire is an occult fire, as is the water which does not wet the hands. There is the wet process of alchemy, which is working with the elements, and there is the dry, or that which is occult, that is, of the spirit.
The Sun is quite evidently a star. From it we draw the stock of that which makes the alchemical fire, that fire with which we greet a bruder, that fire where with the universal agent is made, that fire which does not burn the hands and is as different as each soul who wields it. You will see it spoken of in other parts of the world, but the alchemical fire of the western traditions is the purest and most sublime. Every school is influenced by mitigating factors, some less harsh or tainted than others.
So it is from direct experience that the bruderschaft can say, there are essentially three schools, from which an understanding of the holy fire has been used. The western school, taking its roots in the traditions coming from the cradle of civilization, the middle east and Europe, are of the Fire or animal school, the Hindu/India; of the vegetable/water, and the oriental cultures coming from China, of the mineral/earth. Thus the school emanating from the west is the purest, and their fire the most sublime. It feels the cleanest and most pure. Yet in each of these traditions, we are easily known to each other. Those who use the fire know a brother.
The raw stock of the sacred fire is the energy of the Sun. This Solar force can be drawn into the body, and therein transformed. You start in a kind of meditative state which requires only that you are calm and comfortable, so that you will not concentrate on the normal sensations of the body, or any mental interruptions. You then must meditate upon the Sun. Without staring directly into the Sun, sitting before it, imagine a piece of the Sun breaking off, and descending into your eyes and up into your forehead. Draw this into you brain and the roof of your mouth. Hence, you have the beginnings of the practice.
"The life then of all men is none other than a certain astral balsam, a balsamic impression, a celestial and invisible fire, an included air, and a spirit of salt which tinges." Paracelsus, from 'The nature of things'.
What he states here is quite succinctly that life is a spirit. That the fire is a spirit, that the earth is a spirit.
As Fulcanelli fills us in; "In the symbolism of the planetary metals, she (Mary) is the Moon, who receives the rays of the Sun and keeps them secretly in her breast. She is the dispenser of the passive substance, which the solar spirit comes to animate. Mary, Virgin and Mother, then represents form; Elias, the Sun, God the Father, is the emblem of the vital spirit. From the union of these two principles living matter results, subject to the vicissitudes of the laws of the mutation and progression. Thus is Jesus the incarnate spirit, fire, incorporated in things here below:
AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, AND DWELT AMONG US
On the other hand, the Bible tells us that Mary, mother of Jesus, was of the stem of Jesse. Now, the Hebrew word Jes means fire (actually Aesh or Aish, sometimes spelled Aleph Shin or Aleph Yod Shin.), the Sun Divinity. To be of the stem of Jesse is thus to be of the race of the sun, of fire. Since matter derives from the solar fire, as we have just seen, the very name of Jesus appears to us in its original and celestial splendour; fire, sun, God."
Later in the text we read; " However , our masters in the Art have been careful to draw the reader's attention to the fundamental difference which exists between ordinary calcination, such as is carried out in chemical laboratories, and the one which the Initiate operates in the philosophers closet. The latter kind of calcination is not achieved by any ordinary fire and does not need the assistance of any reflector, but requires the help of an occult agent, of a secret fire, which, to give a hint about its form, is more like water than flame. This fire or burning water is the vital spark communicated by the Creator to inert matter, it is the spirit enclosed within things, the imperishable fiery ray imprisoned at the bottom of the dark, formless and frigid substance."
Of course this Solar force must be circulated throughout the body. The traditional way to take the sun is by the hands as is the method for projecting the stone. The Chinese go so far as to develop a series of exercises whereby you draw the sun into the phallus, then will it up the spine, and in a spiral fashion circulate it through the brain into the roof of the mouth. From there you draw it into the tongue and down the esophageal region into the solar plexus. From there you allow it to settle into the Dan Tien, a point between the navel and the groin. It is in this region that the Athanor is found, very simular to the Taoist description of the Dan Tien.
The ancient Yogis in the Rishis describe the use of this solar heat/warmth. They spend the year collecting the sun, and when the body is saturated they go to the snow covered mountains while it is still safe to travel. Herein they find a cave where they practice raising the heat from within. It is said they know the Agni is strong within them when all the snow around them melts. They draw the sun into the roof of their mouth, wherein they store it. They also draw Pranic fluid through the air into this same chamber above the roof of the mouth, to promote well being and longevity.
Where we of the Bruderschaft differ, is that we turn that Solar force into fire. If you comprehend, we draw the russet black earth into us, as we would draw the sun. Into the Athanor does it go. Next we call upon the milk of the virgin, which is everywhere found in natural moisture in the atmosphere, but does not wet the hands. In the Athanor, as is tradition, the earth and water mingle, with a low fire around the Athanor. Thus in the closet of the philosopher is the fire born, of its Father the Sun, with its Mother the Moon, in the gentle earth, but it is not yet rebus until the Fire is made, and kept to cook the matter.
This fire creates the feeling of boiling around and within the Athanor, it is then that you know you have the fire, after the flames turn the Sol into Ignus, and you can feel the fire and then the boiling of the Athanor.
Henri di Lintaut also gives a favourable testimonial to the dry way when he writes:"This secret surpasses all the secrets in the world, for by it you can in a short time, without great trouble or labour, arrive at a great transmutation. " From Henckel we read; " When I consider that the artist Elias, quoted by Helvetius finished in the space of four days, and that he has actually shown us this stone..." and goes on to his own speculations.
For those of you inspired enough to try, consume the sun, seal it as if it is enclosed within two barrels and create the stone. This is the universal agent in its dry form, and can be used for healing and in the making of the red from gold or the white stone from silver. The substance of choice throughout the ages for convenience in the wet work has always been mercury. the seeds of gold can be sown in the warmed matrix, or so they say.
The best and simplest use of the fruit of the dry work, is healing. Take the time to ripen the stone to its royal blood red, and apply it with will to return any part of the body which has left its natural state. We all live as long as the Lord Wills. When it is time to die, the stone will lose its potency, take longer to make, and be less effective. Sometimes the will of the alchemist loses its drive to carry on. It appears that he has trouble in the stones formulation, but it is just an issue of will.
After numerous decades and the circumstances surrounding them, sometimes the tender grace towards life is lost, the drive to carry on diminishes. The curse of circumstance, the parting of friends and loved ones, the disdain for the evil of the world. The Lord is the Lord of life, of the living, not the God of death. Unless cornered like a scorpion, it is better to persist in the light of life.
Mayest thou draw upon the eternal spirit of God, and know that the soul carries on, with no fear of dearth, immortality transcends the body and rests within the soul.
More will follow upon this subject in the future.