isis unveiled: xiii (alchemy)

“Such an exhibition as this of the potency of the will to effect even objective physical results, will prepare the student to comprehend its efficacy in the cure of disease by imparting the desired virtue to inanimate objects which are placed in contact with the patient.

When we see such psychologists as Maudsley quoting, without contradiction, the stories of some miraculous cures effected by Swedenborg’s father – stories which do not differ from hundreds of other cures by other “fanatics” – as he calls them – magicians, and natural healers, and, without attempting to explain their facts, stooping to laugh at the intensity of their faith, without asking himself whether the secret of that healing a potency were not in the control given by that faith over occult forces – we grieve that there should be so much learning and so little philosophy, in our time.

Upon our word, we cannot see that the modern chemist is any less a magician than the ancient theurgist or Hermetic philosopher, except in this: that the latter, recognizing the duality of nature, had twice as wide a field for experimental research as the chemist.

The ancients animated statues, and the Hermetists called into being, out of the elements, the shapes of salamanders, gnomes, undines, and sylphs, which they did not pretend to create, but simply to make visible by holding open the door of nature, so that, under favoring conditions, they might step into view. The chemist brings into contact two elements contained in the atmosphere, and by developing a latent force of affinity, creates a new body – water.

In the spheroidal and diaphanous pearls which are born of this union of gases, come the germs of organic life, and in their molecular interstices lurk heat, electricity, and light, just as they do in the human body. Whence comes this life into the drop of water just born of the union of two gases? And what is the water itself? Have the oxygen and hydrogen undergone some transformation which obliterates their qualities simultaneously with the obliteration of their form.

Here is the answer of modern science: “Whether the oxygen and hydrogen exist as such, in the water, or whether they are produced by some unknown and unconceived transformation of its substance, is a question about which we may speculate, but in regard to which we have no knowledge.”

Knowing nothing about so simple a matter as the molecular constitution of water, or the deeper problem of the appearance of life within it, would not be well for Mr. Maudsley to exemplify his own principle, and “maintain a calm acquiescence in ignorance until light comes”?”

H. P. Blavatsky

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