Table Talk 21-40

From Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery by Mary Anne Atwood:
21. The principle of body is preserved in what they call the ashes or caput mortuum, and that one principle being saved the whole life is restored from it; Khunrath calls it “our pigmy,” also “the diadem of the body,” and I think he refers to it under the term “Duanach.”
22. It is a curious thing that the Third Principle, i.e., the siderial and elementary birth, to use Bohme’s language, is the medium of perceiving the First, which is hidden in its mineral life; that life is full of defilements and temptations; it is therefore necessary, before going into it consciously, that the will and purpose be perfectly pure and simple in this return of the reason into its First Cause; the motive is segregated from the whole life as a pure Light allied to that which it seeks.

23. The word fermentation conveys an idea of the perfecting principle and of the possibility of transmutation beyond any other word, and also of the fixation or everlasting preservation of which they speak; and so of immortality, it is the best image of the Divine Art which earthly processes give.

Alchemy is a process of fermenting the vital Spirit in and by its own Light.

The Vital Spirit is in the Universal as well as in the individual.

In the Art the individual draws the Universal. The best illustration of the Art as a fermentative process is given by Basil Valentine in his “Keys.” It is through this Art that man is brought into relationship with God, hence it is called by the Adepts Holy Alchemy; thus Norton says–“It is most profound philosophy, this subtle science of Holy Alchemy.”

The moment men begin to reduce the ontological ground taken by the adepts to physical science they begin to twaddle.

24. Lorenz Oken is a man who will be appreciated some day, I suspect. He is a man who deals with nature in that higher way, never in that lower; it strikes me that of all writers Oken best evolves Causal Truth into the outward forms of life.

25. There are three Lives to be represented. The Terrestrial, the Celestial, the Infernal. The Terrestrial is the sensuous and represents the Animal Kingdom. In man it is dominant in the head.

The Celestial is the emotional, receptive, instinctive life, and represents the Vegetable Kingdom. In man it resides in the epigastric region and heart; the plexus solaris, the Archaeus of Paracelsus, is its workshop.

The Infernal is the voluntary agent in life, and represents the Mineral Kingdom. In man it resides in the lumbar region.

Each of these lives is dominant in the Kingdom of Nature to which it is especially attached; in fact, it is its essential quality, its substance.

We must remember that man, being a microcosm, comprehends and represents the whole and each.

26. The aim in the Work is to reverse the whole action of these lives in their natural order. Man is fallen; he is in the third or lowest life, and this third life has to be raised up and born through the medial or celestial life, and becomes receptive of the Divine. Man must not dare to aspire to that highest life which is over this birth and which is typified by the terrestrial or head life, since if he was there he would become Creative–he would be taking to himself the Divine Will.

27. That which in the hands of fools is nothing in that of the philosopher becomes to be all in all–says one; all depends on the willing and intention–“ex fine cujusvis intentionis resultat principium ejus,” and so, too, it is true and less paradoxical that “finis ab origine pendet.” The difficulty is to find this principium, the intention; for the rational ferment, the pure aurific seed of Light, is hidden in this life of ours.

28. Will creates an image, not a being. The will passing into desire for the image creates it by union with itself into a being; it begets itself out of itself, as it were out of its own image (c.f., Behmen’s “Three-fold Life,” chap. 10 and 12.)

All the Creation until man was an image; man was made permanent by the breathing into him of the breath of Lives, and so became the image of God and from that a son of God; as the Almighty had done for him so he did for the creatures; his “naming” them specificated and vitalized the whole archetypal world; he developed into actuality that which before was potential.

The revelation of the Mystery is nothing without its use, for it is a vital change.

29. The powers developed, of which the Adepts speak, are produced from emotional sources in the heart, which emotional influences qualitate those powers; contrition, love, purity, mercy, humility, are such emotions and are producible not so much materially as essentially. Emotion brings forth essence, and essence is qualitated, i.e., specificated, and recieves form from Ideas or the universal forms of Nature; thus, in lower degree and unlawfully, man may specificate and qualitate from his own mind; in this consists the true idolatry against which the Bible so strongly protests, and that Magic which originated Talismans, Palladia, etc.; it is a taking the First Matter which is humanly producible, and forming it finitely and for any particular object or individual end.

30. The fire of the natural life entering into and fermenting the natural fire–the same life in another–opens the last, and develops and excites and sets free the celestial Life and Light–that is one main principle.

The third principle is developed in like manner. The fourth contrariwise; it is a pro-creation of the third through the second–a retrogression. The mystery is a wonderful one, the phenomena are constant throughout. It can be talked about in such a commonplace way and yet it is so far above the apprehension of the common life.

31. The spirit teaches its own art, and according as it is obeyed the artist goes on developing the way for him to advance itself to perfection.

Ut ventus qui flat, est ille qui dat is one of the old Alchemical sayings and it is full of meaning. No doubt this is analogous to our Lord’s words, “The wind bloweth where it listeth.” He who imparts the spirit to another is as the wind that blows, moved by an influence external to itself. Qui capit, ille sapit, is another, and refers to the wisdom imparted by the reception of the Afflatus, since it awakens in him a consciousness related to the universal.

32. When one life being fermented throws its life to another equally fermented, a greater perfection is produced in the patient than was before in the agent who imparts it. That is the law of progression of the Vital force;–sic itur ad astra!

33. There is no such thing as truth absolute in nature, because she has no true conceptive nature; al her conceptive life is deformed and falsified, so that, as Raymond Lully says, “the pure matter of the philosophers is not to be found on earth.” In the application of universal principles you must have a pure conceptive medium; that is true which is conceived simple, without any heterogeneous element; Light in its ether is truly manifested. Given a perfectly true mirror, the reflection of objects in it would be true. Thuis everything depends on the purity of the receiving power. You may find out in Plotinus how the pure matter is generated.

34. The Hermetic Art is a perfectioning of the third or lowest or the mineral life in man; and typifies throughout the celestial and Divine; see Khunrath who teaches this essentially.

We live in but one life, the head life, but there are three possible lives; i.e., there is a power of entering into three modes of consciousness: either in the sensible, the perceptive, or the power life; this last conjoined to the other two makes them efficient. We have no right to be efficient in the present head life, our business is to be efficient in the medial life–in faith; then we are efficient for the life immediately over us–the divine. Our present state is one of inversion.

35. The analogy insisted on by Khunrath and Grassaeus in his Aquarium between the Philosopher’s Stone and Christ the Head Corner Stone is more than pardonable: it is a verisimilitude, and is founded on the fact that our Lord is the embodiment and representation and perfection of the highest moral and spiritual life of man, and the Stone of the Wise is the perfected lowest life, its true consummation, which is mineral in its origin.

Our Lord had the threefold perfection, the perfection of each life, that of the mineral, vegetable, and animal life, to use Alchemical language. The common Philosopher’s Stone is only the perfection of the mineral life in us.

36. Hermetism is the magnetism of Light according to its own Law, which Law is its emanating spirit called wisdom, for it is the Wisdom.

37. Nature taken from the primal source into a will is the history of the Fall. The Art is a question put to Nature respecting the first cause, and it is an extortion from the Protean and Sphynxlike forms of the true answer. To whom, where, in what form is the question addressed? To the stronghold of the Sphynx herself in the spirit in man. This spirit being reason-gifted can answer if rationally interrogated.

38. Our life goes forth into a line at present, it has to be taken up into a circle; in other words life has to be taken back into its first source; the serpent with his tail in his mouth is the chosen illustration of this reduction of the linear into the circular life.

39. The Walls of Troy are a figure (and were meant by the poets and traditionists to be so) of the insphering of the lower life; it is done in a great resonance. Those walls were said to be built by the music of Apollo. Apollo is that life, and it is coruscant, and in the setting free of that centre, of that coruscation, there is a harmony; what Behmen calls the Mercurius, or spirit of the Sound is evolved; the ether round the sun is comapcted and solidified.

The throwing down of the Walls of this by harmony-ensphered life is the Alchemical solution; and this also is accompanied with noise, as Haly says; in another figure the roots of the mineral Tree are in the air, its summit in the earth, and when they are torn from their places a terrible sound is heard and a great fear is felt. Compare also the Chaldaic Oracles (Article Hecate, etc.).

However, when this nature is born in us it asserts itself (or rather, I should say, He asserts Himself, for it is more than It) through us. (c.f., Hermes Golden Treatise, cap. 4.)

40. The body of Brass is the impure natural-born vital spirit.

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