Saturday, November 26News Written in the Stars

Frater Albertus Magnus’ Rules for the Alchemist. (With commentaries) : alchemy

Rule #1:
“The alchemist must be silent, discreet, and reveal to no one the results of his research and operations.”

Commentary: Persecutions has always existed in all ages, regardless of the dominant religion. They are fruit of ignorance and fear of the unknown. Master Albertus, a priest, was aware that the Sacred Art is not opposed to the Holy Scriptures. Contrary to what many people assume, even today, Alchemy is very close to the Christian faith and to most religions. However, some sectors of alchemical study, notably the “magical ones”, border on occult paths that flirt with the darkness. We should not ignore the existence of such strands or paths. Since non-Initiates are unaware of these limits, many end up generalizing all our Art as evil. So, according to the Master, it is safer to proceed with discretion and silence about everything one studies and practices. In order to avoid interpretations that could put one’s freedom and life at risk. Even today, with due regard for physical integrity, it is advisable to follow the rule of silence. Thus, do not comment indiscriminately on all your interests in relation to hermetic activities. Even within family, be cautious. The less interference and social judgments, the better it is for your tranquility and inner peace. May you be recognized by the fruits, by enlightened attitudes, and not by speech and promotion of yourself.

Rule #2:
“To live away from men, in a private house, where two or three rooms are set aside for sublimations, solutions and distillations.”

Commentary: This rule is a consequence of the first. Extremely necessary when the student is dedicated to the laboratory aspects of Alchemy, spagyria. No matter how discreet and silent the operator may be, he will not be able to avoid the gaseous releases that certain operations produce – Especially the calcination. Those who practice alchemical spagyria know what I am talking about. Many Alchemists, when experimenting with the mineral sulfur, were mistaken for demon summoners. For this and other reasons, Albertus recommends that the Alchemist live far enough away to ensure that his activities do not come to the attention of others. And that this place should be his own and spacious. When the property is rented, the landlord has the right to carry out inspections to check if it is being used as agreed. This is a very old practice. Nowadays, this inspection must be scheduled, so that the current tenant has time to make minor adjustments. If in the past, the Alchemist could be mistaken for a dark operator, today he can easily be associated with the production of illicit substances. So the place must be spacious in order to make the procedures safer and better organize the tasks, according to Master Albertus. This is true for almost all crafts, be they hermetic or not. Many brothers in the Art start living in rented houses and do not have a specific room for laboratory or even spiritual practices. I believe that this is the reality of most people today. But with a few adaptations it is perfectly possible to perform the practices without drawing attention.

Rule #3:
“Choose well the time and hours convenient to your work.”

Commentary: This rule has both an astrological and a practical application. Every student of Alchemy knows that plants have their planetary regency, and that each of the seven planets is in close relationship with its respective metal. In order to take better advantage of the astral impregnation, the Operator performs his operations with a certain plant or metal on the day and time that are under the regency of its corresponding planet. The care for the most favorable astrological moment can also be extended to the spiritual side of Alchemy. The question of practical order is related to the possibility of performing a laboratory or ritualistic task without interruptions. Therefore the Alchemist must be organized and learn to plan everything that will be done. This ensures that he will be able to complete his work without the need to be interrupted by other obligations, such as professional, family, or personal ones.

Rule #4:
“Be patient, persevering and assiduous to the end.”

Commentary: Currently this is the point that I believe is the most critical. A real stumbling block for any candidate to the hermetic mysteries, because impatience is definitely one of the evils of this 21st century. For the impatient person, waiting is torture. As far as spiritual evolution is concerned, it is practically impossible to objectively perceive one’s achievements, so the impatient person, supposing that he is not reaping any results, gives up his efforts. The student of Alchemy, like any mystic or religious person, must focus on study, practice, and prayer without concern for immediate results. A very effective way to check your real progress is to observe how you react in the various situations that life has in store for you. The candidate for Adeptship, therefore, must persevere and be assiduous in his efforts until the end of his earthly life. He must be a faithful fighter, for numerous opposing forces will try to persuade him to give up.

Rule #5:
“To perform, according to the rules of the Art, the trituration, sublimation, fixation, calcination, dissolution, distillation, and solidification (coagulation).”

Commentary: This fifth rule has a purely technical character. “To perform according to the rules of Art” is to proceed according to the Alchemical Tradition. Nowadays, it is common for chemists, biologists, pharmacists, and all those who remain restricted to scientific methodology as taught in the academic environment, to encounter difficulties in carrying out Alchemical Laboratory work. Alchemy is not a purely material art. Although we work with matter and subject it to processes similar to those produced in a scientific laboratory, an Alchemist does not reject the spiritual reality and sacredness of all Creation. This vibratory component often leads us to proceed in a way that contradicts the scientific method. And this is where the “academics” stumble when they decide to walk the Alchemical path. It is not that the Alchemist rejects scientific methodology, it is not that it is invalid, on the contrary. It just isn’t fully applicable in all Alchemical procedures, so the Alchemist must work as the Art dictates.

Rule #6:
“To have glass or varnished ceramic vessels, as acidic liquors (aquae acutae) attack copper, iron, and lead vessels.”

Commentary: Here is another rule of a technical nature. In the early days of Alchemy, in Sumer, the vessels used in the operations were constructed of clay and hyper-waterproofed inside with natural substances. With some variations, this type of material remained in use for a long time until the discovery of glass (probably by the Egyptians). But the replacement of clay by glass was not immediate, but gradual. Initially, glass was manufactured in bulk form. It was only around the year 2000 B.C. that it began to be used to make vessels and vases, using a pan of clay. As it was a new and expensive technology, few had access to it. With the improvement of techniques and the expansion of use, it has become more and more accessible and is now within everyone’s reach.

Rule #7:
“Having enough means to buy all the necessary for operations.”

Commentary: It is an obvious and yet neglected rule both in the past and in the present. It is therefore well deserved that it should figure among the Master’s exhortations and that we should comment on it. Albertus is referring to metal operations. These do require a high investment, including gold, which has always been very valuable because of its scarcity. For this reason, many apprentices began their studies in the laboratory of the master himself, if they found one charitable enough to do so, until they obtained the necessary knowledge and resources to tread their own path in their own space. Many neglect material achievement under the allegations that this or that enlightened one was poor, hiding their lack of interest in prosperity to the point of being negligent. The Alchemist should not neglect material attainment, for then he will be able to provide himself and his family with all the necessities for healthy and comfortable living. The consequence of this material achievement is tranquility so that he can dedicate themselves to the Royal Art, Alchemy, setting up their Library, their Laboratory and their Oratory.

Rule #8:
“Avoid all relationship with princes and great ones.”

Commentary: This eighth rule is related to the previous one. When the Alchemist employed all of his financial resources in the laboratory to the point of incurring several debts, three options were considered:

  1. Quit
    For without the means to provide what is necessary and at the same time honor their personal commitments, it was common for Adept candidates to give up their research. They often claimed that this was a deceptive or impossible path, instead of recognizing their own incompetence and lack of merit

  2. Recruit students
    This was a very frequent and the most noble option. Thus the Alchemist is able to continue his studies and at the same time transmit the alchemical precepts to those who are at the beginning of the path.

  3. Work for a nobleman
    This was the most dangerous option according to Frater Albertus. For by placing himself in the service of a noble, who were usually eager to increase their material riches, believing that the Alchemist could turn everything into gold, the Alchemist ran the risk of being made a reclusive slave in a castle until he was able to deliver the vile metal. And most of these Alchemists ended up in misery or dead.

These are my notes regarding Frater Albertus’ eight rules or advices to all those interested in Alchemy. I hope I have contributed in some way to your alchemical studies.