isis unveiled: xiii (alchemy)

“For our part, when we realize that a pentacle is a synthetic figure which expresses in concrete form a profound truth of nature, we can see nothing more ridiculous in it than the figures of Euclid, and nothing half so comical as the symbols in a modern work on chemistry.

Isis Unveiled diagramWhat to the uninitiated reader can appear more absurd than that the symbol NA[2]CO[2] – means soda! And that C[2]H[6]O is but another way of writing alcohol! How very amusing that the alchemists should express their Azoth, or creative principle of nature (astral light), by the symbol which embraces three things: 1st, The divine hypothesis; 2nd, The philosophical synthesis – that is to say, a belief, an idea, and a force.

But how perfectly natural that a modern chemist who wishes to indicate to the students in his laboratory the reaction of a sodic-carbonate with cream-of-tarter in solution, should employ the following symbol: (Na[2]CO[3]+2HKC[4]H[4]O[6]+Aq)=(2NaKC[4]H[4]O[6],+H[2]O+Aq)+CO[2]

If the uninspired reader may be pardoned for looking aghast at this abracadabra of chemical science, why not its teachers restrain their mirth until they have learned the philosophical value of the symbolism of the ancients? At least they might spare themselves from being as ridiculous as Monsieur de Mirville, who, confounding the Azoth of the Hermetic philosophers with the azote of the chemists, asserted that the former worshipped nitrogen gas!

Apply a piece of iron to a magnet, and it becomes imbued with its subtile principle and capable of imparting it to other iron in its turn. It neither weighs more nor appears different from what it was before. And yet, one of the most subtile potencies of nature has entered into its substance.

A talisman, in itself perhaps a worthless bit of metal, a scrap of paper, or a shred of any fabric, has nevertheless been imbued by the influence of that greatest of all magnets, the human will, with a potency for good or ill just as recognizable and as real in its effects as the subtile property which the iron acquired by contact with the physical magnet.

Let the bloodhound snuff an article of clothing that has been worn by the fugitive, and he will track him through swamp and forest to his hiding-place. Give one of Professor Buchanan’s “psychometers” a manuscript, no matter how old, and he will describe to you the character of the writer, and perhaps even his personal appearance. Hand a clairvoyant a lock of hair or some article that has been in contact with the person of whom it is desired to know something, and she will come into sympathy with him so intimate that she may trace him through his whole life.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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