From Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery by Mary Anne Atwood:
1. The Magic of the self-will is that which the Egyptians practised in the days of Moses; this is to be found in the release or setting free of the third or lowest life. Of this power we know nothing in this present life, the ordinary life of man; we may imagine into it, and theoretically see it, but that is all; nor do we know it in the common entranced life, i.e. the life of the sleep-wakers; but this present life may be led through the clairvoyant life into it (that is the wonderful part of it) by the fermentation of itself.
2. As this life being fermented by this life, its similar, leads into the common trance, or is entranced, so that consequent life being fermented subsequently by its similar, leads into that third life which moves in and with the creative Essence, so that the mind becomes in that case related to the Universal Vitalising Power, and so can act Its will.
Power thus gained is only legitimate, just and righteous when the will subserves the commandment and law of God; taken into the self-will and used accordingly it becomes diabolical; hence the distinction between the “might in word and deed” of Moses and the “enchantments” of the Egyptians.
3. The Universal Spirit is in one form the Principle of all growth, and it is their power of collecting a quantity of this, bringing it to bear on any germ at once, that furnishes the Eastern jugglers with their power of perfecting suddenly those plants and trees which in the ordinary course of the action of this Life-principle in Nature would have taken years.
4. Magicians, like the Egyptians of that day, drew only from their own strength; that was the way in which the kingdom of Egypt fell;; probably they did not originally act in self-will, but drew their power from the Divine Source, as Asclepius says (see the Dialogue, so called, the 2nd Book of Hermes, ch.9) alluding to their falling off into debasement and idolatry.
5. Alchemy is an universal art of vital chemistry, which by fermenting the human spirit, purifies, and, finally dissolving it, opens the elementary germ into new life and consciousness; and the Philosopher’s Stone is the efflux of such a life, drawn to a focus and made manifest as a concrete Essence of Light, which Essence is the true Form or Idea of Gold. The process takes place in and through the human body in the blood, changing the relation of its component parts or principles, and reversing the circulatory order, so that, the sensible medium becoming occult, the inner source of its vitality is awakened, and the consciousness at the same time being drawn centrally, comes to know and feel itself in its own true Source, which is the Universal Centre and source of all things.
6. And since every being has in himself the cause of his own existence, if, by these alleged means the consciousness can be brought into contact with its First Cause, he will, in knowing It know the cause of all, since Existence is everywhere one and universal, and in fact the one ultimate essential mystery under God.
This Mystery is, as the Hermeticists teach, to be discovered by an artificial dissolution of the natural bond of life, resulting in a regeneration of the dissolved seperate elements, under a reversed law; the will holding and drawing from its proper efficients operates, and mind becomes creative and immortalised in it.
7. The law of Will in these higher states of being is to have motion from its own centre. It has motion in itself, this motivity when in act evolves an effervescence of the Will-being or substance; for Will has substance, nay , is the only substance; it is the Universal Loadstone of Existence.
This effervescent efflux is in itself chaotic, and requires to be taken up by an external mind or intelligence, and this mind, when thus related to it, and under its law, becomes creative and immortalised.
8. As long as we in our life go on in a line we are not immortal, but when our life is returned in faith (for it is faith which re-unites) to its beginning, it forms the circle and is in Eternity.
It must also be observed that there is a law of Light, which must move through Love in the will, and so act on the will-moved mind, and to which it must be subservient, else it breaks and becomes demoniacal.
The wonderful part of the process is that the spirit becoming freed from the body, carries on the perfection and purification of her own vehicle- the soul.
There is a time when the power, the vital or willing power, is seated in the lumbar region and is sent back.
I think there is a time, when the mind comes into relation with the macrocosmic Spirit, and discerns it, and is taught by it. (c.f., Vaughan’s Writings on the Chymical Wedding, p.4.)
9. The perpendicular line is the Divine line in all things; the transverse line is the contrary; the two united form a cross +. In mesmerising and de-mesmerising we form a +. It is curious that by this peculiar action the perpendicular line should withdraw you from sense while the transverse restores you to it.
10. The fire of life in us is capable of burning erect, it becomes a magnet! Wonderful!
If, in us, the Divine line were stronger than the transverse, we should be no longer in sense. The Divine or rather celestial life would be established over it in us, and we should be conscious in it, and placed in a transcendental relation.
And as the sky appears to us concave and, when cloudless, blue in colour, so the Upper Ether, where the Ideas are, appears to the exalted spirit, i.e., the spirit in the medial life, as its azure sky.
N.B.—The brain is to this outward life what the spiritual head is to the spirit. There is,a s the Swedenborgians would say, a correspondence between them.
11. The limbs in the microcosm play a most important part in this mystery for the evolution and perfecting of the Divine within; it is thus that the body is regarded by St. Paul as a temple of the Holy Ghost, and it is for this, that in their highest and ultimate use, its different members have their being; they are a laboratory that is of and for the spirit to work in.
12. The order adopted by the Hermetic writers may seem to be most disorderly, but it is not so much as it appears; the fact is, they often describe different repetitions of the process; see for example the “Golden Treatise.” The fermentative process has to be gone over again and again, and thus the author of that Treatise seems purposely to confuse and intermix the several steps taken in the work, when in reality he is describing the stages taken and the results reached, as the Artist begins, ends, and repeats the mysterious experiment.
13. The macrocosmic image of the microcosm is the downward-born nature of which Hermes speaks very finely in the Pimander. It is the Eve which Adam brought forth, and in which he beheld as an image his own soul, the Absolute Idea of the Beautiful, the Divine Image; the reason why it is macrocosmic, passive and ephemeral is its want of consubstantiality; it is an image, thrown forth, which image of perfect beauty attracts the soul, and united to it brings forth the ideal into an actual offspring.
14. The Hermetic sepulchre is the vehicle of the dead Divine life within us, and at the same time it is the death of itself—“idem est sepulchrem ac cadaver.”
15. The Gold Alchemical is the first conceived Paternal Light—it is the seed metaphysical of mineral gold, which Aeneas was told by the Sybil he must find and gather.
16. The “orient animal” means the animal (that is, the opposite) will which is clothed in Light; the third which rises in opposition to the first.
17. The Golden Fleece is the outward appearance presented by the light of Life diffused over the body of the seeker in the third life; it is of a purplish lustre.
The seeker, however, in this point of relation, is the adept, the discoverer, the finder.
18. In the lower development of the Hermetic life, the quintessences successively form themselves, having each of them a spherical capacity and wholeness, but these world forms are unstable and, uninformed with the Light Essential, resolve and die.
19. In the vital changes which are intimately connected with the spirit changes occurrent in the process, the vital force in the blood undergoes alchemical changes in its relation to the body. There are three principles in this force, Attraction, Circulation, Repulsion–the Alchemical Salt, Mercury, Sulphur. What is really changed is the magnetic attraction; the medial spirit is changed; life is attracted in, instead of out.
20. We must remember that Alchemy is Divine Chemistry, and the transmutation of Life; and therefore that which is the medium between soul and body is changed, and the soul freed from the chains of corporeity, and the body is left as a mere husk. These people put on their bodies as mere coats.