“Where, then, lies the true, real secret so much talked about by the Hermetists? That there was and there is a secret, no candid student of esoteric literature will ever doubt.
Men of genius – as many of the Hermetic philosophers undeniably were – would not have made fools of themselves by trying to fool others for several thousand consecutive years. That this great secret, commonly termed “the philosopher’s stone”, had a spiritual as well as a physical meaning attached to it, was suspected in all ages.
The author of Remarks on Alchemy and the Alchemists very truly observes that the subject of the Hermetic art is MAN, and the object of the art is the perfection of man.
But we cannot agree with him that only those whom he terms “money-loving sots”, ever attempted to carry a purely moral design (of the alchemists) into the field of physical science. The fact alone that man, in their eyes, is a trinity, which they divide into Sol, water of mercury, and sulphur, which is the secret fire, or, to speak plain, into body, soul, and spirit, shows that there is a physical side to the question.
Man is the philosopher’s stone spiritually – “a triune or trinity in unity”, as Philalethes expresses it. But he is also that stone physically. The latter is but the effect of the cause, and the cause is the universal solvent of everything – divine spirit.
Man is a correlation of chemical forces, as well as a correlation of spiritual powers. The latter react on the physical powers of man in proportion to the development of the earthly man.
“The work is carried to perfection according to the virtue of a body, soul, and spirit”, says an alchemist; “for the body would never be penetrable were it not for the spirit, nor would the spirit be permanent in its supra-perfect tincture, were it not for the body; nor could these two act one upon another without the soul, for the spirit is an invisible thing, nor doth it ever appear without another GARMENT, which garment is the SOUL.””
H. P. Blavatsky