“All-powerful Being, you know that which my soul longs for. Grant me the secret of the stone! I would give my heart, I would give my blood — so fervently do I desire the metamorphosis from a human animal into a King, into one that has risen from the dead both here and beyond” – The Angel of the West Window, Gustav Meyrink, 1927.
The human animal is a pitiful beast. It is one that claims to be informed of the world yet sleepwalks through a lifetime of confusion, labour and toil. It is one who settles for controlled rewards at periodic intervals believing this is the ideal result in its world. The human animal is continually herded from one holding pen to another. Sometimes this occurs through fear but most regularly at someone else’s demand.
Back in the fifteenth and sixteenth century the European alchemists believed they had developed a solution to evolve the human animal. The alchemists, curious characters, who combined aspects of proto-scientist, psychologist, student of the mysteries, and downright charlatan. Their goal was to transform the body and mind into something incorruptible and magnificent. The true gold of alchemical legend was personal illumination and transformation.
To escape the clutches of a tyrannical church who found heresy in their beliefs, the alchemists coded their teachings in metaphor and surreal, psychedelic illustration. These engravings were magical items in themselves. To a student who meditated upon the images they offered a doorway to the numinous and from that point, they were granted the access keys to both the psyche and the world at large.
The diagram above is a modern interpretation of the mystical process called the Azoth.
The word “Azoth” is derived from a unity of letters representing a complete solution. ‘A’ meaning Alpha, (the first letter in Greek, Hebrew and Latin) ‘Z’ the final letter in Latin, ‘O’ from Omega (the final letter in Greek), and ‘Th’ as Tau (the final character in Hebrew).
The Azoth pushes the earnest seeker toward self reflection and personal advancement, transmuting the human animal, a kind of troglodyte ape with powerful toys, from its exhausted chrysalis into a magnificent specimen of conscious evolution.
Before beginning, it is vital to comprehend the wide gulf between religion and spirituality, and materialism from imagination. If certain words are encumbered by negative association, replace them with something personally acceptable. The key is to find a way past self limiting mechanisms in every form.
Following the sequential study of the seven sectors of the Azoth, the development of the alchemist will be marked by shifts in the perception of the self and the relationship to the world at large. These phases manifest in subtle and strange ways that lead toward an ancient Big Idea. Namely, that the manifested world is a phantasmagorical dream in the mind of some vast intelligence. This also permits the secondary realisation that much like lucid dreaming, this vast intelligence can be commanded in accordance with the will of the alchemist.
A further conundrum then arises – with the knowledge that free choice is possible, what does one do with it? And to what ends?
To use this illustration in the manner it was intended, begin a period of study with quiet meditation. This will still the mind and allow the gentle poetry of the Azoth to be heard. Slowly reflect upon each sector, and follow this with a final period of meditation and note-taking on any thoughts or feelings from the experiment. Study related books and resources. Apply the practical directions that emerge from this process in day-to-day life. Results will begin quickly and develop over time.
A few words about the states:
1. Destruction of Ego
The breakdown of all beliefs that have been installed by outside sources. Every piece of ‘friendly advice’ from loved ones carries a psychic weight. So too, do all subliminal commands of advertising and social media. Write thorough lists of remorses, regrets, and defects. The soul will feel vulnerable, raw, and exposed, yet let no fear arise!
2. Visions of Artificial Structures
Modes of control and distraction will become visible to the minds eye like grotesque gargoyles.
3. Occupy Dream & Shadow
With new priorities, more subtle aspects of the psyche take precedence. Dreams become loaded with significance and offer a glimpse of the place from where all ideas arise, and all time is made into a crystalline whole. This environment can be explored for further secrets, but primarily the alchemist is concerned with acceptance of all facets of the soul.
4. Synchronicity as Holy Technology
After deep exploration, a curious phenomena begins to take place in the real world. Meaningful encounters, strange coincidences and direct reflections of the dream world seep over into everyday existence. These events must be documented and assessed individually. There are still wrong turnings and discretion is a must.
5. From Despair to the Peacock’s Tail
This phase is marked by the realisation that all the previous hard work has been worthwhile. Where once there was concern, worry and mediocrity, life takes on a new meaning and colour. Rapture is felt in quiet moments. As vibrant as life can now seem, there is still a further destination to reach.
6. Introspection of an Unborn Self
A deeper more refined residence in the baroque temple of the soul, illuminated by love and empathy reveals the last cobwebs of self-deceit and eradicates any new fungi that have formed in the moist, darkness of unconsciousness.
7. Shining Gold of Oceanic Consciousness
In this cleansed mindscape, one is able to grasp all things, from the furthest to the nearest. The newest to the oldest and from the unborn to the unfathomable. All becomes equal and yet somehow elevated. Borders are removed and the universe becomes One Thing experiencing itself through a kaleidoscope of All. Whilst the footnotes of existence may not be recitable, the belief that it exists and can be discovered is resolute.
The human animal is extinct, and evolution has moved fast enough for the divine to manifest. ◥