This is a transcription of a lecture originally given live and unscripted on Gnostic Radio. You can download the audio here: Alchemy 02 Transmutation AUDIO . There is also a reference PDF: Alchemy 02 Transmutation PDF
Continuing with the theme that we established in the previous lecture about the elements in our spiritual growth, we will advance our understanding of those elements, and see how they apply to practical use.
In every spiritual tradition, we talk about basic elements that are material and energetic, but since we know that every manifested thing is a trinity of matter, energy, and consciousness, then we have to understand that the basic elements are also elements of consciousness, not just matter and energy. The four primary elements—air, fire, water, earth—make up everything that we are, on every level.
The important question we need to answer practically in our lives is how the four elements relate to the fifth element. How are we working with the fifth element? That is what we talked about in the previous lecture. The fifth element, literally “the quintessence,” relates to the Akash, the ether. In Sanskrit terms, we can also say that it is Kundalini. It is the Prakriti, the root energy that in some religions is symbolized as the Divine Mother.
The Divine Mother is that creative force or intelligence in nature that gives life to everything. If we want spiritual life, we need to know our Divine Mother. Her active agent is the quintessence, which is an energy in us. We need that energy to be active, and right now it is not. In us, it is passive, latent, what in science we could call "static, non-kinetic energy."
The method to awaken that energy, to activate it, has been hidden in every religion and mystical tradition. In the West, it is most famously known in the tradition we call Alchemy.
The entire tradition of Alchemy is a symbolic presentation of a practical science. Alchemy hides the knowledge of how to elaborate the full potential of the human being, which is hidden in all of our atoms and cells. To do that, we need to know about transmutation.
This word transmutation gets utilized a lot in esoteric traditions, but it appears as if it utilized without much knowledge of what the word really means. So it is important that we analyze this word and understand what it means, where it comes from, and what it implies. The word transmutation came into use because of the tradition of Alchemy, and is derived from Latin roots. The implications of the word transmutation are far beyond what most esoteric traditions attribute to it. Trans means “thoroughly,” and mutare means “change.” To transmute means to completely change something. In the modern Gnostic movement, for example, most students use this word transmutation exclusively in relation to sexual energy, which is a valid use of the word, but it is not its full meaning and not its original use.
The word transmutation originally applied to our entire being, to everything about us. Really, to transmute comes from that famous phrase from alchemy, "to transmute lead into gold." It means to purge the lead, which is a dense, heavy, and impure metal, and reduce it into its quintessence—in other words, to reduce it to the most basic components that originally made it, and from that, to perfect it.
Everything that exists is constructed out of the basic elements that we explained in the previous lecture. First is the Akash or ether, and that becomes particularized into air, fire, water, and earth. Those four basic elements, which are physical, energetic, and conscious, become everything that exists. Everything that we are is made of four elements arranged and particularized into particular sequences. Physically, we call this encoding DNA, which is not merely physical chemicals, but also encodes energetic and spiritual data, as combinations of elements. Those elements are physically sequenced in series combinations of molecules that are arranged in infinite combinations to create everything that we are. Those sequences of four are reflections of the four elements.
Similarly, the four subtle elements are reflected in the four basic components of physical matter:
“For the most comprehensive and lucid exposition of occult pneumatology (the branch of philosophy dealing with spiritual substances) extant, mankind is indebted to Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus (Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim), prince of alchemists and Hermetic philosophers and true possessor of the Royal Secret (the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Life). Paracelsus believed that each of the four primary elements known to the ancients (earth, fire, air, and water) consisted of a subtle, vaporous principle and a gross corporeal substance.
“Air is, therefore, twofold in nature-tangible atmosphere and an intangible, volatile substratum which may be termed spiritual air. Fire is visible and invisible, discernible and indiscernible--a spiritual, ethereal flame manifesting through a material, substantial flame. Carrying the analogy further, water consists of a dense fluid and a potential essence of a fluidic nature. Earth has likewise two essential parts--the lower being fixed, terreous, immobile; the higher, rarefied, mobile, and virtual. The general term elements has been applied to the lower, or physical, phases of these four primary principles, and the name elemental essences to their corresponding invisible, spiritual constitutions. Minerals, plants, animals, and men live in a world composed of the gross side of these four elements, and from various combinations of them construct their living organisms.
“Henry Drummond, in Natural Law in the Spiritual World, describes this process as follows: "If we analyse this material point at which all life starts, we shall find it to consist of a clear structureless, jelly-like substance resembling albumen or white of egg. It is made of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen. Its name is protoplasm. And it is not only the structural unit with which all living bodies start in life, but with which they are subsequently built up. 'Protoplasm,' says Huxley, 'simple or nucleated, is the formal basis of all life. It is the clay of the Potter.'"
“The water element of the ancient philosophers has been metamorphosed into the hydrogen of modern science; the air has become oxygen; the fire, nitrogen; the earth, carbon.” - Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
For us to become something new, we need to unzip the sequence that makes who we are, and reconnect it in a superior way. But how are you going to disarrange everything about yourself, and rearrange it? Especially when you are the one trying to do it. Not easy! But this is what to "transmute" really means. It means “to thoroughly change.” Gnosis is a science of transmutation. Yes, it begins with sexual energy, that is the root energy that makes the full and complete transmutation possible, but we do not seek to only transmute sexual energy. We want to transmute all of our matter, all of our consciousness, our psyche, our soul: everything. We want to thoroughly change: to transmute.
Interestingly, the result of that transmutation is a mutant. A mutant is someone who is different, who is changed. This word “mutant” has a negative connotation nowadays, but in reality every existing creature is a mutation, a mutant. What we want is a conscious mutation, a change for the better. We want a change towards something beneficial and positive, something useful, something that will bring harmony and peace, not discord and violence. We want a change that will bring about goodness, equality, harmony, love. For that type of change, we need to thoroughly change the causes of discord, the causes of suffering, and those causes are within us, in our matter, our energy, and our consciousness.
A genuine transmutation requires that the causes or the origins of problems and pain, suffering, are changed thoroughly, so that new effects can emerge. That change is not easy. If you consider how anything in nature changes, fundamentally changes, its a process of birth, growth, decline, death, rebirth, growth, decline and death. This is how evolution advances, through small mutations over time. If you have ever studied biology or evolution, you can see that this is how species grow. They grow because of the pressures put on them by their environment. They change, and adapt, and hopefully improve. We need the same thing. Unfortunately, we are not responding properly to the pressures that are upon us. In response to the psychological, material, social, and physical pressures that are on us now, we are not mutating ourselves properly. If we were, we would be transcending the problems. We would be adapting and overcoming them so that they would not be problems anymore. Instead, we see that the problems are deepening, that we are not changing fast enough, and in the right way. We need to know how to do it, how to transmute.
Samael Aun Weor said:
“No one can Self-realize without transmutation.” - Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
In this context, he was not talking about sexual transmutation, he was talking about transmutation of the psyche, the mind, the heart, and the body: to change thoroughly.
Stated in another way, you can transmute your sexual energy, but if you do not transmute your mind, you will not self-realize.
When we study the Tree of Life, our primary interest is how it applies to us here and now. The Tree of Life maps all of the levels of existence. But those levels of existence are meaningless if we cannot access them. Studying and memorizing scriptures and teachings mean nothing if we cannot experience what they point towards. We need to examine this Tree of Life in relation with ourselves, and understand that these ten sephiroth relate to levels of being within us. Here on this graphic we see not only our physical state but our psychological state, so on this image while we see a physical body to remind us that this relates to us here and now, really all these spheres or levels show our levels of psychology. Symbolized here are two divisions, two sides. The superior part is related to the heavens or superior aspects of being. The inferior part that hangs below is called Klipoth or hell, and this aspect relates to the inferior or inverted aspect of our psyche. Everything on this map is composed of elements: air, fire, water and earth. All of this is suspended in or supported by the Akash.
So in this context, if we use our imagination and we look at how this applies to us here and now, everything about us is encoded, in elements. Here physically, we can sense those physical aspects: our physical body is an encoded series of elements, which is reflected in our DNA. But as well, our entire psychological make up is encoded in us. Sadly, we only hazily perceive it. We hazily perceive it as thoughts and feelings, and certain types of sensations physically. But we do not perceive or comprehend that all of the thoughts, feelings, and impulses are driven by matter and energy that is not physical. This is a real problem that we have.
Really, open up your imagination, and analyze yourself: look at how you have a physical body here and now. This body is composed of a trinity of elements: matter, energy, and consciousness. The consciousness here is not awake, it is very asleep, but there is some degree of consciousness or perception. Thoughts, feelings, and other impulses are more subtle that physical matter, but still we can perceive that they have some level of manifestation. We can verify that they are there, somehow. They also have matter, energy, and consciousness, but not in the physical dimension. Those thoughts that you sense, and the feelings that you sense, are modifications of consciousness that have matter and energy associated with them, but not physically. What we experience physically is their reflection, like light being bounced through a mirror. We have the mirror of our mind, which reflects the contents of our thoughts and feelings, but where are the thoughts? Where are the feelings? They are not in the brain, because you can experience thoughts and feelings when you are out of your body. So where are they? This is the problem we have: we do not know.
The problem is compounded because we need to change. Rapidly. Otherwise, we are threatened with grave problems, even worse problems then we have now. We need to transmute all of these psychological elements, very quickly. How, if we cannot see them? If we cannot sense them, how can we change them? How can you work in the dark? How can a blind person create a piece of art if he cannot even see what he is doing? This is our fundamental challenge. Psychologically, spiritually, we are blind. How then can we create a perfect soul, if we cannot see what we are doing? How can we transmute ourselves into something better, if we cannot even see who we really are?
For this, we need help. We need to understand how these elements work, in all of the levels of nature. So to remind you, these are the five elements.
All things are composed by these elements; understanding that, we need to look at how those elements manifest in us. We need to analyze our psychology, to see it for what it is.
Let me remind you of the previous lecture: these elements do not refer to the literal physical aspects, they are psychological.
In order to transmute yourself, you need to know what you are working with, you need to see yourself, you need to see how your mind and heart functions, how all of the sensations you experience flow. You need to see what parts of your psyche are expansive, what is the relative mobility of your thinking and feeling, what about its temperature? Its fluidity and solidity? In this way, you can analyze the elements that are involved. You can understand how to manage the elements in your experiences, psychologically.
As we explained in the previous lecture, we get help with that process through what we call ordeals, psychological challenges that are given by our own Innermost, through our psychological trainer, who presents us with scenarios designed to bring out those parts of ourselves that we need to work on. If we are not prepared to see it, we will respond poorly, the way that we have been doing previously, and we will make our situation worse. If we are not psychologically trained to watch ourselves and look for the patterns in our psychology, we will not see what is really happening to us, and we will make mistakes.
When you enter into this type of work and the process of starting to transmute yourself, you are given challenges, opportunities to see yourself as you are, and those opportunities will come every day. If you are really attentive, you will find that those opportunities are continually arising, all the time. We do not call them opportunities physically, we call them adversities, problems, suffering. We have all of our complaints.
We have an old psychological habit that is a very serious obstacle in this type of study, this type of work. That is the habit of self-esteem. Its an old habit that thinks we deserve things that we do not deserve, and that wants things to be ideal, the way that we want it, and we get very frustrated and upset when things do not go the way that we want or expect. I am curious: what percentage of people listening to the lecture today are very disappointed they did not win the lottery last night? I would like to find that out, but I do not think anyone would tell me.
We all have this self-esteem, and it is in direct conflict with the Innermost, with the Being, because this “self” of self-esteem is the ego. The Being wants the ego dead. Dead. Dissolved. Transmuted...
But we do not want to transmute it. We want things the way we want them, and when we do not get things the way we want them, what do we do? We complain. We complain in our mind, and we complain with our mouth. Many of us complain all the time. That is a sign, a very significant sign, that we are not transmuting. Another word for transmutation is transformation. We use that in a very important phrase in this teaching: the transformation of impressions. Someone who is transforming impressions has serenity, acceptance. In other words, they have no complaints.
So if we have a lot of complaints, we need to analyze the desires that are complaining: the complaining pride, the lust, the envy, the greed, the gluttony, the fear, the avarice, the laziness, all of those egos. And we need to analyze them in relation with the elements: space, air, fire, water and earth, to understand how they are made, how they work, how they function. In this work, we need to learn to not just go with the flow of our psychological river, but to fight it. The psychological river of our mind is flowing into hell. It is not taking us to God. To reach God, divinity, purity, you have to fight against everything that comes up in yourself that is impure, that is selfish. That fight is not easy.
The four elements are the basic tools that our psychological trainer uses in order to show us ourselves, to show us what we're made of—literally, what we (as a psyche) are made of. Not physically, psychologically. The physical part is impermanent and irrelevant. Spiritually speaking, we have had so many physical bodies in the past and may have more in the future, thus in the long term perspective the physical part is not as important as the psychological part, because the psychological part lasts, and is the determining factor as to whether we get more physical bodies, and what kind, and in what circumstances. Focusing on physicality is foolish. Focusing on psychology is wise.
In the psychological point of view, what are we made of? We are made of these elements in different combinations, but unfortunately corrupted with desire. In order to transmute these elements, we have to break them down. Imagine if you were a weaver and you got really drunk and wove something, using up all your good cloth, your good fibers and materials; then you sobered up and realized that what you wove was a complete disaster and wouldn't do anybody any good, in fact it was a waste of all that material, but it was the only material that you had, and you need clothes... What do you do? You have to take it apart. You have to go back to zero. You have to be naked, and start again. We need to do that psychologically; we need to strip our identity completely: this self-esteem has to die. We have to renounce everything except God. To only hold fast to divinity. Nothing else. This is the only way that you can fully and completely transmute. Remember: transmute means to throughly change—thoroughly, not partially. Thoroughly, from the ground up, from zero. It is the only way to build something properly.
This is why that Jesus told us that we need a new wineskin.
“No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was [taken] out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.” - Jesus, in Luke 5
We need a new garment. A new mind. A new heart. A new body. That transmutation comes through these elements, so we are tested, every day, constantly, by our trainer, through these elements, to pull things out psychologically so we will see them for what they are. This is not for fun or games or just to punish us and humiliate us, it is not to make us suffer, just because we deserve it. It is to help us. It is the medicine we need; we are sick.
To be healed, we need a very profound surgery, very deep, very painful. It is not easy. It is not easy to die psychologically. It is not pleasant. It is not something that you will enjoy. You will be in pain. You will cry. You will have regret. You will have remorse. You will be ashamed of yourself. And you should be. Don't avoid it. Embrace it, yet do not attach to it. Look squarely at the facts, accept them, and change. This is how you become spiritually mature. You do not avoid the facts. You look them in the face, you see them for what they are, and you change them. Thoroughly.
When you are getting your psychological challenges every day, look them square in the face, accept them, accept responsibility for yourself, do not blame others, do not blame God, accept it, look at it and say, "I deserve this, I created this, now I'm going to change it". This is what a Master comes from. Everybody wonders, "How do the Masters become so beautiful? How do they become so humble, so pure?"... because they are honest. That is how. Because they are honest. They do not avoid the facts. They work hard to change, to become worthy of reflecting God.
The way that this is done is through this fifth element. Everything that we are is constructed of these basic elements. So our pride for example is constructed of the four elements. The humility of an angel is constructed from the same elements that your pride is made from. Isn't that odd? Its constructed of the same light, but arranged differently. The “pride” of an angel—that element, that light, that has to do with virtue of esteem or self nature—is not corrupted by desire, whereas ours is corrupted. What we call “pride” is a modified light that comes from the sun. It is the same light that shines in an angel, but in an angel it shines as humility. Its the same light, but in us, it is modified, corrupted. What shines in that psychological component is the quintessence. But in us, it is impure. In an angel, in a master, it is pure. The word quintessence comes from a root word which means: "To be":
esse "to be." Sanskrit asmi, Hittite eimi, O.C.S. jesmi, Lith. esmi, Goth. imi, O.E. eom "I am"
The quintessence hidden in each element within us is the Being, the light of the Being, that shines through any psychological element. Everything that we are as a psyche is the light of the Being, but in us that light is trapped in corruption. If you want that light to shine pure, you need to break apart the lens and reform it to make it perfect, clean. This is the basic science of alchemy: to purge the metals and make them pure. We could remove the word metals and instead use crystals or lenses, and it would mean the same thing.
The quintessence is that light, what in Hebrew is called Shekinah, the light of the Divine Mother. That light shines through everything that we are, psychologically and physically. It shines as all of those elements arranged in all of those different patterns that make up all of the different people and things and plants and animals and minerals and everything that exist; everything is that light, but modified. What we are as a person is a huge complication of all those lights.
“And אלהים Elohim said, Let there be מארת ma'owroth [lights] in the firmament of שמים shamayim to divide the day from ליל layil [night]. And let them be מאורת ma'owroth in the firmament of שמים shamayim to give איר owr [light] upon ארץ erets [the earth]...” - Genesis 1:15
We do not see the lights for what they are. We need to analyze ourselves physically, energetically, emotionally, intellectually, and consciously.
This graphic shows the basic psyche that we can perceive here and now, if we look. All of the psychological elements that we can perceive here and now are related to other forms of matter. Physically, we perceive our physical body. If you pay attention, you will recognize that this physical body has energy that allows it to be active and move, the energy of digestion and the circulation of blood, and the energy that flows through the muscles, in the senses and nerves.
We also have energy that flows through the psyche, that let us us have imagination and memory and thought, feeling. All of those energies are related with the vital body, what in the Tree of Life is called Yesod (“foundation”). The vital body reflects the contents of thought, emotion, and will into the physical body. Everything we perceive physically is reflected, either through the five physical senses, or through the internal senses that we perceive inside. The vital body reflects those contents into our brain, into our heart. This is important to understand so that we have a clear perspective on how to analyze ourselves. When we are feeling emotions, those emotions do not originate in the physical body. They are not just imaginary. They are reflected forms of light. They are light that we feel and sense emotionally in the physical body, but is being reflected to the physical body from our astral body, through the vital body. The light of emotion originates in the astral body. That means that if we are feeling a negative emotion, full comprehension and elimination of that defect is only possible by working on it at that level, with the astral body in the fifth dimension, where its originating. But how many of us have clairvoyance? How many of us are awake in the astral plane, in the fifth dimension, to work on that discursive negative emotion? None of us, we are asleep! Moreover, when we sleep at night and we are dreaming with those emotions, we do not remember them when we come back to our body. So our trainer has no choice but to give us ordeals in the physical world so that we can see and experience what is happening in that astral body, so that it is reflected here physically, so that it can come up and we will work on it. Internally, consciously, we are asleep and enslaved, so to help us, our trainer gives us ordeals. Our trainer puts us in circumstances where we feel those emotions, so that our consciousness, our willpower, can see it, and can respond consciously, not mechanically, but can comprehend and free itself. This is why we have ordeals. We need them. Do not complain about your problems. Learn from them. They are your path to liberation.
In several places of the Bible it states very clearly:
“For whom יהוה loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son [in whom] he delighteth.” - Proverbs 3:12
The chastisement or ordeals are given as help to help us and aid us, otherwise we will not see who we are, and what is stopping us from reaching God. So this applies to all of our emotions, all of our thoughts, all of our problems, all of our situations, all of our circumstances, everything thats bothering us or that we think is limiting us, or is a problem for us, is actually something that we need to take advantage of. That is why Samael Aun Weor said:
“We must learn how to take advantage of the worst adversities. The worst adversities bring us the best opportunities. We must learn to smile before all adversities.”
“People protest because of the difficulties that interaction offers them. They do not want to realize that those difficulties are precisely providing them with the necessary opportunities for the dissolution of their “I.”
So why are all the spiritual students, including the so-called Gnostics, looking for easy lives? Students are trying to win the lottery, longing to retire in the countryside and grow sunflowers, longing to retreat from their problems. Listen: if you have an easy, laid back life, you will stagnate spiritually. You will rot. If you want to grow spiritually, you need to die psychologically. The only way you will do that is by seeing the garbage in your mind and in your heart. That is why we are given ordeals.
“During times of rigorous temptations [ordeals], discouragement and desolation, one must appeal to the intimate Remembering of the Self.
“Deep within each one of us is the Aztec Tonantzin, Stella Maris, the Egyptian Isis, God the Mother, waiting for us in order to heal our painful heart.
“When one gives to oneself the shock of “Self-remembering,” then indeed, a miraculous change [transmutation] in the entire work of the body is produced, so that the cells receive a different nourishment.” - Samael Aun Weor
That is why Samael said:
“We can disintegrate our defects and dissolve the psychological “I” only by means of this science of transmutations. We can modify our errors, transmute the vile metals into pure gold and command only by means of the science of transmutations.” - Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
In The Gnostic Bible, The Pistis Sophia Unveiled, he said:
“We need to dissolve the undesirable psychological elements in order to crystallize the Soul within ourselves.
“This is possible based on conscious work and voluntary sufferings.
“The Souls of the people reside in a superior level of the Being.
“Each time that a psychological defect is dissolved, a virtue, a power, etc., crystallizes within our interior.
“The complete dissolution of all the defects implies the integral crystallization of the Soul within ourselves.
“If the water does not boil at one hundred degrees, that which must be crystallized does not crystallize, and that which must be dissolved is not dissolved.
“In similar form, we say that it is necessary to pass through great emotional crisis in order to dissolve psychological defects and crystallize the Soul.”
Firstly, this is accomplished based on conscious work and voluntary suffering. Voluntary suffering means that we accept our suffering, we do not fight it, in the sense of resisting it or denying it or trying to change our physical circumstances all of the time. Instead we accept it, we do what we need to do in order to survive, and care for our responsibilities, and that's enough. The rest of our effort should be focused on changing ourselves.
The soul is the conjunction of all the powers, virtues, etc., and they crystalize within us when the animal ego has been dissolved: that is transmutation. Each construction in the psyche is made of the elements. We dissolve each ego in order to liberate the light in each of the elements that are there, then automatically, spontaneously, the light emerges as the soul. In other words, the quintessence is freed. From there is a great range of potential. What happens with that energy next depends on the nature of our path. But whatever the nature of that path, it will be positive, since the light has been liberated.
The other important point here is “if the water does not boil at one hundred degrees, that which must be crystalized does not crystalize, and that which must dissolve does not dissolve.” What is that water? Water is one of the elements. Where is the water in us? What water is it that must boil? Anybody know? Well, this is a sort of trick question, because everything about us is based on water. There is no exception.
In the Hebrew letters are the three mother letters that we mentioned previously.
The element of water is represented by the letter Mem. The element water and the letter Mem are related with the vital body. That is the lower Eden or Mayim in the book of Genesis.
“And אלהים Elohiym said, Let the מים mayim (waters) under שמים shamayim be gathered together unto one place…” - Genesis 1:9
The sephirah Yesod, the ninth sphere, is our creative waters, from which we create everything, physically, spiritually, psychologically. Those are our creative waters, the waters of Genesis within us.
From Yesod, the sexual organs, was made our earth, our physical body.
“And אלהים Elohiym said, Let the מים mayim (waters) under שמים shamayim be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so. And אלהים Elohiym called the dry [land] ארץ 'erets [earth, our body]; and the gathering together of the waters called he ים yam [seas]…” - Genesis 1:9-10
The physical body is mostly water. Without it we cannot live.
The emotional body (astral body) is very strongly influenced by water. Our emotions are a sea.
The mental body also is constructed with the element of water. The causal body is made from the waters.
Water is in everything. Everything that exists depends on water. Physically, energetically and consciously. So when the water must boil, that means that our entire psyche must boil. What is the boiling? The problems, difficulties.
When you study how physics works, when you study how nature works, you find that crystallization and dissolution are very closely related. The entire science of alchemy is based upon this understanding. This is why if you study any of the old alchemical texts, they always talk about the need to dissolve and coagulate or crystalize. The entire science of alchemy is based upon that. One short example is from the Bosom Book of George Ripley (circa 1476):
“Then mingle with this white calx [dusty residue remaining after a mineral or metal has been calcined or roasted] the fiery water [שמים shamayim], and distil it with a strong fire all off as before, and calcine the earth [ארץ 'erets] again that remaineth in the bottom of the still, and then distil it again with a strong fire as before, and again calcine it, and thus distil and calcine it seven times, until all the substance of the calx be lifted up by the limbec: and then thou hast the water [מים mayim] of life rectified and made indeed spiritual; and so hast thou the four elements exalted in the virtue of their quintessence. This water will dissolve all bodies, and putrefy them, and purge them: and this is our Mercury and our Lunary; and whosoever thinketh there is any other water than this is an ignorant and a fool, and shall never be able to come to the effect.”
This is only one example of hundreds of writings like it. This excerpt explains that the process of purification and the elaboration of the quintessence is a process of dissolution and crystallization.
For centuries, foolish people lacking initiation into the actual science read these things literally and thought they were talking about literal water, literal physical mercury, literal physical elements. That is wrong. These scriptures are about the psyche, the mind. The dissolution is psychological, and it is accomplished through ordeals, through analyzing and dissolving impurities in the mind.
Symbolically, we analyze the elements of the mind as having seven fundamental qualities, related to the seven lights that organize all things.
The Light of the Moon
In relation with the moon (which The Bosom Book of George Ripley calls our Lunary), we have a light in our psyche, a psychological element, that unfortunately we have corrupted. That light that the moon or Gabriel gives us freely, we have converted to avarice. We have converted it into selfishness, attachment. That light should be altruism or generosity.
In Western esotericism, we study seven basic components of the psyche, seven symbolic components, and it is interesting to me that these seven begin with altruism, because in Eastern traditions, if you study the Parimitas, which are conscious attributes of Bodhisattvas, they also begin with generosity. Generosity is the first parimita. So, both traditions agree: without altruism, you cannot advance spiritually, you cannot create the soul. That is why Samael Aun Weor repeated many times:
"Give and you shall be given. The more you give, the more you shall be given, but whosoever gives nothing, even that which he has shall be taken away from him.” - Samael Aun Weor, The Gnostic Bible, The Pistis Sophia Unveiled
Altruism, generosity, is the very basis of the psyche of a Master. A true Master does not ask, they only give. If we aspire to become a Master, that is where we must begin: working with altruism, and to do that, we have to find our avarice, our greed, our attachment, and dissolve it, and rebuild it into generosity.
How do we do it? Well, our trainer will help us. Our trainer will help us every day. Our psychological trainer, not a physical teacher. Our trainer is part of our Being, who will present us with circumstances in which our attachments will be tested... all the time. This type of generosity applies to everything! We always immediately associate generosity with money. It is related with money, but it is also related with time, with energy, with attention. We are very attached to our time, to our attention, to our energy. Not just the physical things, but psychological things.
Avarice does not apply only to material things. It also applies to knowledge, to the teachings. There are many people who have been given great teachings, like Gnosis, but they are very greedy and only give it to others with a little spoon because they want to retain their power. They are greedy with knowledge, and they want power. They are greedy with attention: they want attention from others and they know the only way they can keep that attention is if they only give a little bit of the knowledge, just enough to keep people coming. That is greed. We all have this kind of tendency, in different ways.
To become truly generous we have to transmute our avarice into altruism. That means that we have to see our avarice first; only then can we destroy it.
The Light of Mercury
Related with Mercury, we find that the light of Christ reflects through mercury as diligence: great conscious activity. Mercury is a very active planet, and so is its influence. Mercury is the messenger of the Gods. It is stated in esotericism that without mercury there cannot be any self-realization, and this is true. It is true in relation to mercury as a psycho-sexual component, and it is also true as a psychological-spiritual component because the light of mercury reflects in our psychology as the diligence of consciousness, diligence of soul. It is the diligence of the Being working through the human soul, and a Master has that: great diligence of consciousness. A Master works diligently on behalf of their Innermost doing the work of their Innermost for others, through generosity.
So, there are these two elements that are very active in Masters: they diligently act through the will of their God, on behalf of others, through generosity towards others...
But we have laziness instead. The light of Mercury in us is conditioned by egotistical desires, thus spiritually, we are very lazy. Consciously, we are VERY lazy. Even those who call themselves "serious Gnostics" are VERY lazy. Just having the thought that “we are serious” is a sign of laziness. That itself proves laziness, because the one who is really serious knows that they are not. If the ego is alive, we are not serious. If any shred of ego is alive, its enough to take us to hell. That shred, that atom, is enough to cause the ego to reemerge in completion, completely, totally. Its a seed.
So, the only ones who are truly serious are Resurrected Masters. Even great Buddhas, Nirvanis, Shravakayanas, Pratyekas, Devas, Jinns, at higher levels of consciousness than ours, still have ego; they are not fully realized. Thus, they are not serious, because the ego is alive in them, at their level.
So, we cannot call ourselves serious about spirituality or God. We have to realize that we are very lazy, until the ego is completely transmuted. One hundred percent. When the ego is completely dead—that is, when only God shines in us—then we have proven that we are diligent, serious.
The Light of Venus
Related with Venus, the light of Christ, the light of the Being, reflects through Venus as chastity. Obviously, we do not have the light of chastity shining in us. We have converted the light of Venus (Aphrodite) into lust.
Venus is the Latin name of the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, who has two primary symbolic forms:
- Aphrodite Urania: “heavenly Aphrodite,” the pure, unadulterated light of Aphrodite / Venus
- Aphrodite Pandemos: “Aphrodite of the people,” how the light of Aphrodite / Venus has been converted into lust
Mythologically, Venus / Aphrodite has this duality. If you study the myths of Venus or Aphrodite, in some cases Venus is represented as a great virgin, very pure, and in other cases is represented as a prostitute. This duality is reflected in our psyche. We have converted the Venusian light in our consciousness into a prostitute.
I make you this solemn promise: the day you see that in yourself, you will weep bitter tears. When you see your own inner Venus / Aphrodite and what you have done to her, and how her purity has been smeared with filth, you will weep.
The Light of the Sun
The spiritual light of the Sun provides to our Being the dignity of the Gods. The dignity of the Gods is a kind of humility that we do not understand. That light should be shining in us as a profound humility, but we converted it into pride.
As I mentioned in the beginning, that pride is self-esteem. Because we are ignorant of what virtue really is, we do not see our pride for what it is; to our eyes, it is very subtle.
Pride is not only visible in the person who boasts about himself. Pride weeps over its misfortunes. Pride complains about life, about everything. When we complain about anything, it is because of our pride, self-esteem. Pride is the one who feels abandoned, mistreated, misjudged. In our sorry state, pride accompanies us in every moment. When we walked away from divinity, we embraced pride. Now we depend upon it, mistakenly believing it is what protects us, when in fact, it is leading us into the abyss.
Pride orchestrates the rest of the ego. It is our pride that prevents us from being honest with ourselves.
The Light of Mars
The light of Mars is the light of the Being that reflects as love, but unfortunately we have converted that love into hate, which is anger.
Anger is hate. Hate is anger. We do not like to think of anger as hate, because we like to protect our anger and use it as a shield in our defense, but anger is hate; it is a crime. Anger is not a virtue. Anger is demonic.
The Gods have ferocity, but we mistake that for anger. The ferocity of the Gods is represented in many myths, for example when Jesus threw the merchants out of the temple—this is an example of Christ purging our mind of attachment. But people always interpret that scripture as Jesus being angry like us, which is a wrong interpretation. In reality, he was displaying the wrathful aspect of God, which we see beautifully displayed in Buddhist and Hindu mysticism. That is not anger, it is ferocity.
Anger serves pride. Anger serves fear. Christ does not have anger, neither pride nor fear. The ferocity of the Gods is the protective impulse of the parent towards the child.
Mars has ferocity. Mars can be very ferocious, but it is a sign of love, not pride or fear. It is the love of the mother protecting her child, it is very ferocious, not angry. Its ferocious. Virtuous. We need the ferocity of Mars in order to protect the innocent, reject the impurity of our mind, and restore the presence of the divine in ourselves. This is love: the love of the Divine for the innocent child. This is the virtue of Mars.
The Light of Jupiter
The light of Christ that reflects through Jupiter radiates as the virtue of happiness for others. We have converted that in ourselves into envy. Instead of being happy for the successes, health, and benefits that others enjoy, we want them for ourselves. When someone wins the lottery, we envy them, even resent them. When a co-worker gets a raise or a promotion, it is not a cause of happiness for us, instead, we burn with envy, feeling we should have received the benefit. We might even act against that person or our employer, by speaking negatively of them, or sabotaging things.
Its very rare for us to feel happiness for others, unless we are benefitting from their gain. In such a case, we are only happy because we are getting something.
Nowadays in this contemporary era, envy is very active. We do not even realize it, but the entirety of our modern social structure is based on envy. In fact, one hundred percent of our media is based upon stimulating our envy. The movies, commercials, magazines, books, are all using our envy to manipulate us, to use us, to get our money, and to get power over us.
Oftentimes, we only want what we want because we want to be envied by others.
The virtue of being happy for others is a sign of conscious love for others. If we truly loved others, we would want them to have the best of everything, even giving them what we have. Sadly, our case is the opposite. We want to take from others so they will envy us, fear us, etc.
The Light of Saturn
The light of Christ that reflects through Saturn should be temperance, but instead we turned it into gluttony. We often think of gluttony just as related with food. It is not just with food. We are gluttonous with tension (yes, many people are addicted to being tense). We are gluttonous with our intellect, stuffing ourselves with the internet, TV, theories, books, music, etc. We are gluttonous with soap operas, shopping, reading, talking, gossiping, with getting attention from others. We are gluttonous with anything that feeds our inner emptiness. Some of us are gluttonous with profit.
Temperance is the virtue of using only what we need, not more. Temperance is a sense of balance. Temperance is the virtue of sensing when to stop, when to restrain and when to expend.
Some people think gluttony refers only to consuming, eating, but it also applies to those who spend, who distribute money, energy, etc. Someone who is addicted to spending money is very gluttonous, indulging in the sensations of spending. The money is flowing out, but they are stuffing themselves as gluttons with the sensations of spending money.
Anytime we overdo anything, we are being “gluttonous,” in the sense that we are wasting energy.
Anything that we use to try to put a bandaid over our lack of fulfillment, lack of belonging, lack of security—anything we use to fill that that inner psychological hunger is gluttony. Even lust. Many people are very gluttonous with their lust, or gluttonous with their pride, or gluttonous with their hyperactivity (which is a sign of laziness).
How We Experience the Seven Lights
The ordeals that we face pull these seven elements, but not one at a time. We are not in kindergarden, psychologically. We are in a very complex state, psychologically. When we get ordeals, all of these forces will be active in us.
Observe an audio meter that displays the different wavelengths of sound, from the bass to the treble; as the music plays, all the levels constantly change: our psychological state is like that.
When you have a problem at work and someone is gossiping about you, clearly it is going to affect your pride, but it is also going to affect your envy, because you are going to wish that you were like “that other guy” that nobody talks about or criticizes, who everyone loves. So you are pride is engaged, your envy engaged, but also your laziness is engaged because you are not observing yourself, you are not remembering yourself or God, you are not transforming that adversity into benefit, so you are asleep. That is laziness. And, your gluttony could be active, because you want the attention that you were getting before when people were praising you. And you are doing everything you can to get that attention back, to feed that hunger psychologically. And what if the gossip is about you and a co-worker that you were flirting with? So, lust is involved, too.
You see, it is complicated. In your self-analysis, you cannot just relax back in your chair and say to yourself, "yeah, that situation is just my pride." It is not that simple. The mind is very complex.
Moreover, all seven of these defects we discussed are just symbolic. There is not just one ego of lust, one kind of lust, we have many lustful egos: some of them are very proud, some of them are very shameful, some of them are envious, some of them are gluttonous, some are lazy, some are very arrogant, even hateful, angry.
Moreover, all defects are made of the four elements, so some are grounded, earthy, fixed, they want things a specific way. Some are airy and capable of great changes and diversity. Some are watery, and some are fiery. This is true of any of these defects. We tend to think of lust as just being fiery. It is fiery, and so is anger, but no ego is made of one element, just like the body is not made of one element. It is a combination of elements. The egos are the same way. Some lust is airy, some is fluid, mobile, some is rigid and earthy.
Our egos are not vague. They only appear vague to us because we do not see them where they are, where they originate. They originate in the psyche, in Klipoth, in the soul that has been corrupted. They are corrupting the protoplasmic body (mind/heart), what we call lunar bodies.
Each ego is not something vague. It is an entity that has a face and a body. It has matter, it has energy, and trapped inside of it is consciousness, and all of that is in the fifth dimension, inside of you. You made it. You need to see it to kill it. A blind person cannot aim a gun, cannot wield a sword, cannot craft a painting. You have to see it. So it will come up, in your life; your trainer will bring it up. If you do not see it in your dreams, in your meditation experiences, he will bring it up in the physical world for you to see it in your heart and mind and body. Our obligation then is to see it. Not avoid it, not justify it. And in fact, not condemn it. See it. See it for what it is.
The problem is that we tend to jump between craving and aversion. We like to blame things, and judge things, without seeing them for what they are. The ego is bad, of course, yet you do not need to judge it; your judgment changes nothing. You need to analyze it, study it, understand it, how it behaves, what stimulated it. What it is pushing you to do, what are its thoughts, what are its feelings, what are its tastes. Then, in the evening, you meditate and visualize all of that, and you relax and you get drowsy, and you meditate, visualize, relax and pray. With patience, you will start to comprehend, that the pain, desire, longing, does not come from God, will not produce benefit, will not solve your suffering, will not give you health or spiritual insight, and so it must be destroyed. Little by little, gradually, you will start to see it for what it is. Not only physically, but internally. Through dreams, through visions, through comprehension.
In other words, when you start to see these things that are in your heart, mind, and body for what they are, they start to lose power. You stop feeding them, thus they get weaker. When they weaken, they can be destroyed. They can be dissolved. This is what it means “to boil the water.” That boiling is caused by the tension of the energy.
How do you boil something? You apply fire. So we have a mixture here of fire and water. And what happens in the boiling? When you apply fire to water, what happens? Firstly the water changes its constitution, its temperature. Remember the elements? They all have these qualities, right? Fire affects temperature. When you apply the fire to the water, you affect its fluidity, it boils, it moves, and what happens in that boiling? The water begins to mix with the air. Steam: the water is escaping, the water is being freed. What else is happening? The water is separating from the solids (earth). You see how all the elements are engaged here? This is psychological. This is why we need ordeals.
The ordeals help us dissolve, to take apart the psyche, to see its components, and to rearrange them in the good way, but you can only do that if you are working with space, Akash, the fifth element, which is what allows these things to be reorganized, and that is God. The quintessence, the kundalini, the prakiti, is the Innermost, the Divine Mother. In other words, you need to be consciousness, cognizant, present, utilizing your energy to awaken, observe, comprehend: to learn about yourself. This is the process of dissolving and coagulating, and dissolving, and coagulating, and dissolving, and coagulating, continually, again and again, every day. It is not fast, it is slow, but that is how anything immortal is made: slowly, with great care.
“By the omnipotent God, and on the salvation of my soul, I here declare to you earnest seekers, in pity to your earnest searching, the whole Philosophical Work, which is only taken from one subject and perfected in one thing. For we take this copper, and destroy its crude and gross body; we draw out its pure spirit, and after we have purified the earthy parts, we join them together, thus making a Medicine of a Poison.” - The Stone of the Philosophers
People read texts like this and think they were talking about physical copper, physical water, physical fire. It is not about physical elements, but psychological, spiritual elements.
What is copper, psychologically and spiritually? In Alchemy, copper is not referring to the physical element. The symbol of copper looks like this:
This is the sign of Venus, Aphrodite. Its also the sign of Isis, from the Egyptians. It is a very ancient symbol. It is the secret of alchemy. It has many levels of meaning.
Firstly, you should know that this sign is feminine. Its related with the womb (the circle). Hanging below the circle is a cross. A cross represents the four elements. The circle is the fifth element. The circle is the Divine Mother, Kundalini, the serpent biting its tail. The cross is the four elements: air, fire, water, and earth. All together, this is Venus / Aphrodite, the Divine Mother, the Kundalini itself, the Akash, the prakitri, which makes possible all creation. The four elements (the cross) hang from the Akash (the circle); they depend on it. They are born from the womb of the Divine Mother. Moreover, that cross is sex: the union of the vertical phallus with the horizontal vagina. So we see here a very sexual, psychological, spiritual symbol with levels and levels and levels of importance. But that quote said:
“For we take this copper, and destroy its crude and gross body…”
The copper is feminine, and represents the two potential states of Aphrodite:
- Aphrodite Urania: divine, pure sexual energy
- Aphrodite Pandemos: sexual energy corrupted by lust
When we destroy the corrupted sexual matter, we liberate the pure energy.
This symbol also represents our entire psyche.
If you superimpose this symbol over the Tree of Life, you see that the circle, the Divine Mother, envelops the soul, the spirit (the monad), and the trinity above. It encircles all that is pure. A circle is a shape of wholeness, something perfect.
Below that you see the four bodies of sin—the terrestrial person—who hangs in dependance upon the circle above.
But what is the part of this that no one sees? That we ignore, even if you know this much, what is the part that we ignore? What do we not see? The emptiness inside the circle. It is the Ain Soph. The Absolute. What is in the center of that circle? Daath. Knowledge. The knowledge of how to transmute. To transform. So when that scripture says "destroy its crude and gross body", it is saying "we need to destroy the tree of death" and to make it a Tree of Life. That is, we, Malkuth, the feminine sephirah, needs to be destroyed, and purified. That is why we get the four ordeals, related to the four elements. We need that in order to be dissolved.
So, success in that effort is not complicated. Success in that effort comes from applying the science daily. Working with it. Consistently. Purifying ourselves of impurities. Working with ordeals. Using our energy wisely. No longer providing energy to our egos, to our defects, to our vices, but redirecting those forces, through willpower.
Now, I know this is all pretty heavy, and maybe discouraging, but I want to read you a beautiful poem that shows you that it is worth it. This is from Rumi, the great sufi poet, and this poem is about what happens to the faithful ones who retain their faith in God and perform the work they were born to perform and this is on the last day when they are approaching their divinity, what happens to them.
The faithful will say on the last day, "O King!
Was not Hell on the route all of us travelled?
Did not faithful as well as infidels pass through it?
Yet on our way we perceived not the smoke of the fire;
Nay, it seemed Paradise and the mansion of the blessed."
Then the King will answer, "That green garden,
As it appeared to you on your passage through it,
Was indeed Hell and the place of dread torment;
Yet for you it became a garden green with trees.
Since you have laboured to make hellish lusts,
And the fire of pride that courts destruction,-
To make these, I say, pure and clean,-
And, to please God, have quenched those fires,
So that the fire of lust, that erst breathed flame,
Has become a holy garden and a guiding light,-
Since you have turned the fire of wrath to meekness,
And the darkness of ignorance to shining knowledge,
Since you have turned the fire of greed into bounty,
And the vile thorns of malice into a rose-garden;
Since you have quenched all these fires of your own
For my sake, so that those poisons are now pure sweets;-
Since you have made fiery lust as a verdant garden,
And have sowed therein the seed of fidelity,
So that nightingales of prayer and praise
Ever warble sweetly around this garden;-
Since you have responded to the call of God,
And drawn water out of the hell of lust,-
For this cause my hell also, for your behoof,
Becomes a verdant garden and yields leaves and fruit."
Questions and Answers
Instructor: Yes, the lion has many important meanings in esotericism. The lion is related with the astrological sign Leo, which is a fire sign. Lions have a long history in the esoteric traditions. In ancient times, the lions were quite peaceful and served human beings as attendants and protectors. But because we became so corrupted, the lions became enraged against us. Symbolically, the lion can symbolize Christ, specifically as the law of karma. So that is why in traditional Christian symbolism, Christ is represented as a lion or as calming the lion. In some of the more ancient traditions, we see how Christ “causes the lion to lie with the lamb.” The lamb is a symbol of Christ / Mercury, showing how Christ can calm the forces of karma on our behalf, in order to aid us. That is further symbolized in the Arcanum Eleven in which we see the Divine Mother gently restraining the forces of the lion, which is our karma. Yes, the lion is an important symbol. In alchemy the lion is symbolized in a number of ways, primarily as a green or red lion, and these are primarily states of consciousness related to the level of being. In alchemy there is many symbols related to lions.
Audience: Is there an ordeal related specifically with the fifth element?
Instructor: All of the ordeals are related with the fifth element. Every ordeal tests our state of conscious awareness, which is a measurement of the quintessence. To be awake, we need the quintessence active. The fifth element fuels the awakened state. Without the quintessence, we cannot awaken. Therefore, every ordeal tests our awakened state, thereby testing the fifth element in us. Stated another way, if you retain constant watchfulness, you can overcome every ordeal, because you are harnessing the element that is superior to the other four.
Instructor: If you are asking about “morning dew” in relation with alchemy, in certain alchemical texts the symbolism of dew is related in many ways and has levels of meaning. The beginning-level meaning is related with the sexual energy that settles into the vital body every day and is delivered into the physical body. That “morning dew” is related to fresh, psycho-spiritual-sexual energies that need to be harnessed and transformed daily. That is the most superficial level of meaning, but there are many other levels, such as in relation with manna, but that is too deep for us to discuss today.
Audience: How do we work in the astral body in order to progress as a soul?
Instructor: If you have the capability to awaken consciousness in the astral plane, then you can work with these ordeals more directly. Originally, these ordeals are applied to us internally in the astral plane. So, the ones who awaken in that level and consciously transform those ordeals move more rapidly through them, because they are able to comprehend things more directly, faster. But most of us do not have that capability. If you do, if you can awaken in the astral plane, take advantage of that: pray to your Innermost and say, "What do I need? Show me what I need and help me work on it." Do not waste your time investigating other peoples lives, and going around and being curious. If you can awaken in the astral plane, then use those moments to transmute yourself. Your Innermost will guide you in that process.
Instructor: The planets also correspond to the elements.
Instructor: The entirety of our experience of life is driven by karma, because we are so trapped in our karma. Whether we are working on ourselves or not, everything is karmic. Our karma is managed by our Innermost. Sadly, although we think our life is hard right now, the truth is that we are not facing all of our karma right now. Our Innermost is managing our karma, to keep us in a physical body, with hope that we will work on ourselves. If all of our karma was applied to us right now, we would not be physically alive, because our debts are too great. We would be in hell, recycling. All of the circumstances that we are within right now are managed by the limitations and forces being pushed through that karmic influence. What that means is that whether we are working on ourselves or not, everything that is happening to us is made by our own hands, guided by our own Inner God. So if we complain we are making a big mistake.
“Karma is a medicine that is applied unto us for our own good. Disgracefully, instead of bowing with reverence before the internal living God, people protest, blaspheme, they justify themselves, they stubbornly excuse themselves and wash their hands like Pilate. Karma is not modified with such protests; on the contrary, it becomes harder and more severe.” - Samael Aun Weor, Tarot & Kabbalah
Furthermore, if we are working on ourselves, that karmic scenerio that we face from day to day is further manipulated by our Innermost, in order to more directly bring up the things we need to work on. He manages our karma, to help us. Sometimes it is by giving us more problems, and usually its like that, because we need that in order to grow.
There is a very interesting quote that I just saw from the book "Dayspring of Youth" that says:
“The Innermost will not reply to an ordinary question, for It does not interest Itself in the personality’s world of illusion.”
Most of the things that we pray about and we are so worried about and so upset about are—spiritually speaking—completely meaningless and inconsequential. Their value spiritually is that we think they are important and we are so hypnotized and confused by stupid things. That is why we are put in those situations. God does not care about the situation itself, only that it can provide us with a way to see ourselves as we are. If God wanted us to have a million dollars, we would have it. If we deserved it, we would have it. If God wanted us to have a different physical body, we would have it. If we earned it, if our karma determined it, we would have it; if we wanted it or not, we would have it. So, from that point of view, we can see that the one who is really working on themselves realizes that everything that is happening in life is guided by God. That is pretty humbling. It is pretty amazing.
This is a point of view that is expressed in tantra, in which the student is taught how to “transform all poisons into medicine." That is symbolized in asian traditions by a peacock. Tantric traditions state that the peacock eats poison and turns it into medicine. That poison is the poison of our own mind. It is the poison of lust, pride, envy, hate. Those comes up in our daily lives, in the circumstances we face. We need to take those situations and “eat them.” Meaning: transform them. Transmute them. Turn them into medicine for ourselves and others.
We have to realize that God, the Innermost, is orchestrating everything around us to give us that food, so that we can transform it into medicine, not only for ourselves but for others. This is a really beautiful thing to see in your life. It is really humbling when you become conscious of that, when you start to see every tiny detail of your life is being managed without exception.But we are so forgetful of the presence of God, that we think we are abandoned, and that we are lost, and that everything is happening by circumstance and randomly, and that we are on our own. We only feel and see that because we are so asleep. But when we start to really pay attention and awaken, you realize that you are never alone, and every single instant, God is there, trying to slap you and wake you up. We just need to realize it.
Instructor: When you perform pranayamas through the day, pranayama should be performed physically. The purpose of the pranayama is to harness the vital energies that are in the physical body and vital body. So, that practice should be done physically, not mentally. You can do it very quietly, you do not have to do it in an aggressive way. You can do a pranayama silently, but be attentive to what you are doing.
Furthermore, it is not necessary to feel physical sensations with pranayama. You might feel something, and you might not. Do not use physical sensations as a measure for success. Your measure should be your state of consciousness. The qualities you observe in your consciousness should be your measure.
If you are doing pranayamas properly and effectively, you will find that it calms your mind, calms your heart, and strengthens your ability to retain mindfulness of yourself. That is the measurement. If it is helping you to remember yourself, to retain presence, here and now, then you are doing it right. If you are doing pranayamas and you are becoming more sexually agitated, you are doing it wrong. You need to manage your mind.
Pranayama takes the steam off the boiling water. The water is boiling because of the fire of lust, and we do the pranayama to harness the wind, to take the energy out, and to let the water settle. That is the purpose of pranayama. It is not to stir up a big fire, it is to take the energy and use it for benefit, so that we are not burned by the fire.
Have you ever seen what happens if there is a fire burning and raging and you take all the air away? What happens? It goes out. Pranayama does that. Pranayama literally means “harness the wind.” With pranayama, you “take the air from the fire,” so the fire becomes calm. And then that energy becomes used by the consciousness, as it should be. That is how its supposed to work.
Audience: [inaudible] They have also heard the statement that when the student is ready then the teacher appears?
Instructor: Well, people interpret that saying physically, believing that when the student is prepared physically, that a physical teacher might appear. That might happen. But the real meaning is psychological and spiritual. The real meaning is that when your Innermost has prepared you through lifetimes of ordeals, there will come a moment when your soul is so sick of suffering that you are ready to die. Then your Master, your Innermost, will “appear,” and guide you to die psychologically, so that you can be reborn spiritually. That is the real meaning of that aphorism. The appearance of the Innermost is not before your physical eyes; physically, you might not be aware of it. Physically, it may come up just as you are finding the teachings and starting to practice, but that is the sign that the Master has “appeared,” because you have been given the door and the key. If you want to know if your Master has shown up, then notice: you have found the teachings. The Master has called you. So then, its up to you. Transmute yourself.
Instructor: In order to learn astral projection, there are several key factors that you need to learn.
The first is that you need to learn how to be here and now. To awaken in the astral world is not possible if you are asleep in the physical world. If you want to awaken in the astral plane, you have to awaken in the physical plain first, because your state of consciousness is continuous through these planes. If you are asleep here, you will be asleep there. So awaken here and now, make that your priority, and then naturally, spontaneously, you will awaken internally as well.
The second part is, once you are working to awaken here and now, then you need to start saving energy, especially emotional energy. The astral plane is an emotional world. If you are wasting all of your emotional energy through violence, lust, pride, envy, gluttony, greed, avarice—all of your old habits—then you will have no energy to awaken in the astral plane. You need to save energy. That means transforming impressions and dying in your desires, renouncing them, understanding them, comprehending them, and walking away from them, and saving that energy.
For example: you become tempted by your lust; you want to look, you want to engage, you want to feel the sensation of lust. If you do it, you expend energy. That energy is used to fortify that lust and deepen that karma. If instead, you do not expend energy there, you save energy, in fact you might be extracting energy out of that lust that was tempting. That is how the soul becomes crystalized in us, and that energy then becomes available to the consciousness, unless we waste it five minutes later. It is a tight rope. It takes a lot of balance, psychologically. It is very delicate. You have to be very attentive and cautious, especially with how you use energy psychologically. If you conserve psychological energy, you will awaken.
“We constantly hear complaints from many students who suffer because during the slumber of their physical bodies they live unconscious within the superior worlds. Many of them have performed esoteric practices in order to achieve Astral projection, yet they do not succeed. When we study the life of these whiners, we discover within them the Fool of the Tarot; these people are full of desires.
“We kill desire only by comprehending sensations. Only by annihilating desire can the mind that is normally bottled up within desire be liberated. The awakening of the consciousness is produced only by liberating the mind from desire.” - Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah
Instructor: If you awaken consciousness in the astral plane, the most important thing you can do is pray to God, your Divine Mother: pray. Speak your heart. You need to develop and cultivate that relationship, it is the most important thing you have. If you awaken consciousness anywhere, anytime, physically or internally, this is the most important thing you can do: remember God. Otherwise, you will awaken in the astral plane and only be thinking of yourself, which is pride, and you will go around feeding your pride, investigating other peoples lives, seeing “how cool it is” in other dimensions, having different kinds of experiences—for your pride. In other words, you are deepening your suffering.
If you remember God, if you remember your Buddha, your Innermost, then you can take advantage of that experience and transmute yourself. Learn. It won't always be easy, but it will be fruitful.
I have a friend who in the first few years of his practice in Gnosis was able to get out of his body easily, any time he wanted, and he became the “go-to-guy” when anyone wanted to know anything. They would go to him and ask, "Can you check out this and that for me in the astral plane," and, "Can you go find out such and such a thing," and he loved it; everyone relied on him, and thought he was a big shot, and he would go off in his astral body and investigate all these different kind of things. This went on for a little while, then one day the switch of his astral experiences was flipped to the "off" position, and his Innermost took that away from him, and it shattered him. I do not know if he ever recovered. There is a great danger in pride. So beware of it.
Instructor: The Ankh cross is the same as the sign of Venus. The ankh cross is the sign of Isis, who is Venus / Aphrodite. The ankh is the sign of life, the sign of how the light of Christ (Ra), reflects into the universe and creates all existing things. That is the role of Christ, with the Divine Mother Isis.