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Alchemy Guild




Philosophy of the Guild

The basic philosophy of the Alchemy Guild is based on three hermetic principles. The first is that The Universe Is Striving towards Perfection. According to this viewpoint, the whole universe is becoming aware. The levels of awareness comprise a gradient of reality from lower frequency to higher, from lead to gold, from utter darkness to whitest light, from dead matter to purest light of mind. This evolution of matter is driven by primal forces from two opposing sides of reality that ultimately come from just One Thing and just One Mind, which are themselves aspects of the one Source.  The inherent duality of creation originates from the universal dichotomies of Above and Below, Spirit and Soul, Heaven and Hell, Conscious and Unconscious, Mind and Matter, Aggressive and Yielding, Positive and Negative, Male and Female, Yang and Yin, etc. The idea that the universe is striving and has an inherent passion or intention, is an expression of an archetypal alchemical substance called Sulfur.

The second principle of Guild philosophy is that Consciousness Is a Force in Nature. Consciousness (mind and imagination) is a primordial force, and if one can purify and concentrate one’s own consciousness, one can project that power into the world around us – just as the One Mind fashioned the cosmos from the chaos of the One Thing. This primordial pattern is embedded in the universe on all levels of reality and is the basis for the alchemical Doctrine of Correspondences (“As Above, so Below”). Furthermore, when mind acts on matter, it imposes its essence or truest nature on it, and thus everything everywhere carries the archetypal signature of its original creator. By learning to read the signature of a person, substance, event, or situation, one is able to relate to its true nature or essence. Consciousness and imagination are expressions of the universal alchemical substance known as Mercury.

The third principle of Guild philosophy is that All Is One. The levels of creation in the universe are determined by the interplay of the One Mind and the One Thing (or the combined forces of Mind and Matter, Spirit and Soul). Although this pattern manifests on a myriad of different levels, ultimately the One Thing and the One Mind are One. This is the message of such alchemical symbols as the Ouroboros (the serpent eating its own tail) or the eternally flowing Fountain of Fountains. The deepest truth is that All is One, and we experience that oneness as the purest consciousness and highest love. The idea that all manifested things are crystallizations or expressions of this higher light is associated with the mystical alchemical substance of Salt.



What Is Alchemy?


What is alchemy? Why are the  obscure symbols and arcane principles of this ancient craft getting so much attention in modern times? How can the knowledge alchemists discovered and shared have such a strong influence in so many diverse contemporary areas as psychology, spirituality, the arts, literature, business, filmmaking, gaming, and sciences like medicine and quantum physics? 

      The answer to these questions lies in the universal nature of alchemical practices and operations. Alchemy can be defined most simply as the "art of transformation." It is concerned with the underlying principles of how things change and the basic process of transforming one thing into another.
     The Great Work of alchemy has always been to speed up this natural process of perfection -- to resurrect the ideal of spiritual development and activate the hidden energies that are trapped in matter. Gold in alchemy is a symbol of this hastened perfection from the inner ideal to the outer manifestation. From its origins more than 5,000 years ago in Egypt, alchemy has had a singular focus on the most fundamental principles of change in Nature. Since time immemorial, alchemists have sought to isolate the most basic essences of matter to create higher forms. 
     Always on the edge between science and religion, alchemy has applied methods from both cultures to work with deeper realities that transcend the words and descriptions people have given them over time. In trying to penetrate the mysteries of matter and energy, the alchemists discovered the very foundations of creation and being that is the common ground of all religions, sciences, philosophies, and psychologies.
     The golden thread of alchemy weaves in and out of the tapestry of history, and it is resurfacing today in a wide variety of modern applications:
The most popular reason for studying alchemy today is to reconnect with the fundamental spiritual realities in the universe. In this approach to alchemy, the gold of the alchemist is not the common gold but an inner spiritual gold, and the operations of alchemy are performed in the inner laboratory of the spirit and soul.
Personal Transformation
The ancient art of alchemy offers viable, powerful methods of changing oneself and living life fully. This use of alchemical priniciples focuses on the application of simple alchemical techniques and operations on the personal levels of body and mind to perfect one’s character and personality. The alchemists called this working with the inner metals or changing one's temperament.
Alchemy gave birth to not only chemistry but also modern psychology, and the alchemists were the first to treat psychological problems as chemical imbalances in the body. Alchemical psychology also deals with the clinical treatment of character disorders in the tradition of Dr. Carl Gustav Jung.
Arts & Literature
No matter in which medium an artist works, he or she is trying to transform raw, “dead” matter into something living that speaks to those who experience it. Whether it is the sculptor's block of stone, the painter's canvas, the writer's or musician's empty page, the magic of alchemy is what's behind the artist's impulse to create.
Films & Gaming
Films like “2001,” "The Fifth Element,” “The Matrix,” "Harry Potter," are just a few examples where producers made conscious use of alchemy in the plotline. Many young people are being introduced to alchemical principles in films and software games and want to learn more.
A surprising number of business leaders are applying the principles of alchemy in the fields of finance, human resources, marketing, and research and development. These innovative leaders realize the power of the universal paradigm of alchemy to streamline and energize their company and products as well as grow their business in new ways.
Change is the new theme in government and alchemy offers tested, effective methods of dissolving outmoded structures and building new paradigms. Modern practitioners are working to dissolve bureaucracy and show government workers how to come alive at work to everyone's benefit.
Traditional Medicine
The physicians' logo (the caduceus) is an ancient symbol of Hermes, the father of alchemy, and alchemists have always provided natural remedies for a wide variety of ailments. They possessed a powerful arsenal of herbs and mineral compounds with detailed knowledge of how they acted in the body, and alchemists were the first to prescribe drugs to cure disease. There is more for modern medicine to learn from alchemy.

Alternative Healing
Most alchemical bodywork modalities like chiropractics, Rolfing, Feldenkrais, bioenergetics, and polarity therapy have their origin in the work of nineteenth century alchemists seeking to isolate the life force. More ancient Oriental alchemical arts like yoga, aikido, tai chi, chi kung, tantra, acupuncture, and reiki have seen a profound increase in Western culture. Most modern holistic disciplines like homeopathy, naturopathy, ayurveda, Chinese medicine, aromatherapy, and reflexology also trace their origin in ancient alchemical teachings
Practical Alchemy
Practical alchemy is concerned with producing tinctures, tonics, oils, compounds, and elixirs that capture healing energy. Unique laboratory work is being undertaken by more and more practitioners around the world.
According to quantum physicist Dr. Fred Wolf, Quantum Physics is the "New Alchemy," and the two disciplines share many fundamental principles including the idea that consciousness is a force in nature. But alchemy has also had a tremendous influence in other sciences such as geology, botany, biology, and of course, chemistry.
No religious zealot ever tried harder to get closer to God than the medieval alchemists, and a very spiritual form of Christian Alchemy evolved at that time. The most basic task of the alchemist is to center himself within the consciousness of the divine creative presence so that he or she can leap beyond themselves and humbly assist in the work of God, which is the Great Work of the universe.
Fraternal Organizations
Students and initiates of alchemy and the Hermetic Arts, as well as other practices related to it such the Kabballah and Tarot, share a long and secret tradition that is still continued in contemporary organizations such as the Freemasons, Golden Dawn, Rosicrucians, Gnostics, mystery schools and many other groups.
Social Alchemy
Alchemy has become a rallying point for a variety of movements driven by the human desire to change adverse conditions and change slavery into freedom, poverty into wealth, fear into courage, war into peace, and totalitarianism into democracy.
Everyday Life
Every one of us participates in alchemy, whether in a conscious manner (through the intentional transformation and manifesting of one's higher nature) or through the tumult and suffering of worldly experiences that finally lead to increased awareness of the alchemical principles at work in the world.




The Guild Cipher: The Monad

The Alchemy Guild’s cipher is used by members to recognize each other. It is also carried by members as a magical talisman, as well as a guide to the mysteries of alchemy. Some members tattoo the cipher to their left wrist (or other places on the left side of their bodies), while other members wear jewelry of the cipher, put it on their business cards or bookplates, hang drawings of it, or simply draw it on their folders and papers. Please note that as a member, it is not necessary to do anything with the cipher. But you are expected to know the meaning of the cipher and draw it if challenged while providing the secret phrase. Members can receive the secret phrase by clicking on the spinning cipher below:


Members OnlyThis symbol was invented by master cryptographer Dr. John Dee, who stayed at the Guild conclave for many years. His cipher is known as the Hieroglyphic Monad, and is considered one of the most powerful symbols in all of alchemy. It is so unique and powerful that the cipher itself is thought to carry its own spirit, which is evoked every time it is written down or constructed. The construction is a Conjunction of Spirit and Soul – the union of the rational line with the irrational circle.

The spiritual presence carried by the symbol is said to have its own life force and intelligence and act like a guide to alchemists pursuing the Great Work. In many ways, the symbol embodies all the teachings and spirit of Thoth (Hermes) himself. The secret cipher is a treasure map to something wonderful hidden within us. There is no better reminder of hermetic principles in daily life than a quick meditation on this easy-to-remember insignia. Once you open up a relationship with this symbol, it will be with you always to lead you to the higher reality of any situation you encounter in the everyday world.

This idea is evident in the Latin caption In Hoc Signo Vinces (“In this sign you will conquer”) that the alchemists gave to this symbol. Among Guild members, it is believed that if you can change the structure of this cipher without loosing its integrity, you can change reality just by meditating and visualizing it. But, as always, be careful what you wish for. Structural manipulations of the Monad are best left to advanced Adepts.

The Monad is seen as a primordial symbol that pre-existed the creation of the universe. All the coded ciphers of the alchemists were thought to be “pieces” of this greater symbol, and as we shall see later in this lesson, this is quite literally true. The Monad represents the most basic unifying principle of reality. We might look at it as a kind of microchip that contains all the software of the universe. In Jungian terms, it is the first archetype that contains all the other archetypes. In fact, the cipher is made up of all the ciphers for the seven metals of alchemy.

In his book The Gnostics, Tobias Churton wrote: “If one can imagine a great ocean of First Matter (prima materia) which we may call in this context pure spirit – a pure unformed, undirected, unmoving, unmoved homogenous world, then we see the beginning of the universe. If a hand were to, as it were, drop the Monas Hieroglyphica into that ocean of infinite potentials, the First Matter would immediately start forming itself into the universe we imagine we know." For complete information on the Monad and its workings, please visit the John Dee section in the "Original Alchemy Texts" folder of the Guild Archives.



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