The Alchemy of the Rosicrucians

5. Destillatio

In alchemy, one also speaks of making volatile. That which is subtle, is raised from the liquid into a new state of matter, the vapor.

While the distillate flows back into the vessel, the steam is made „fix“ by cooling it. It returns into the liquid form again. The steam takes what it has received from above, and brings it back into the liquid form. This process enriches the substance with new information, enables a loosening of the microstructure of the material elements and thus creates a more gradual refinement in a sense of transmutation, i. e. in terms of a metamorphosis. The process of distillation in a closed system is often ritualized and repeated 33 times.

Inside man rises, what is subtle – the pure soul – to a higher level in order to connect with the spirit. This combination creates a new information, a new consciousness. The fruits of this new thinking must then be brought back to the natural level of personality, in order to go achieve attainment by acting. What was taken from “above” must be carried “down” and put into reality there.

The distillation process on the spiritual path is a very important stage of development, as there is a risk that the candidate runs into a split of his personality and attempts to raise his subtle parts into spiritual levels, without achieving the necessary grounding of his intuitions and inspirations. He might become addicted to this process of volatility. At the same time, he might easily forget to work on the earthly attributes. Those have to be penetrated by the light coming from fire of spirit. This occurs during the „fixing“ process, so that all dark and shadowed areas inside himself can be integrated into the process by self-knowledge. „Fixing“ on the emotional level means the concrete manifestation of knowledge by acting.

To fully achieve the psychological process that is a direct analogy of the distillation process, inner maturity is required, and the four previous stages have to be completed. After many recurring “distillations”, the highest possible purification is reached. Its fruit is a clear presence of mind, from which a totally new way of life occurs. In this regard, the Cathars talked of the “Parfaits”, the pure ones. It is known about the Brotherhood of the Cathars, who lived at the beginning of the second Millennium AD in southern France, that they accomplished the transformation process of the soul.

6. Coagulatio

This is a process of recreation. The Coagulatio represents, so to say, the countermovement to Destillatio: By complete evaporation of the solvent, the original form is again rendered in a new way. By repeated cycles of volatilization new information from “above” have been integrated into the solution and its residue. In the end, a renewed matter remains after the Coagulatio.

Transferred to the soul-work, Coagulatio means, that the spiritual idea flows into the purified and renewed form. Thus, supported by the renewed soul, a new creature will be brought to birth from the spiritual idea, i. e. from the archetype. The new consciousness is creating his own new body of light. The construction material is – as to the alchemists – the “dew of heaven”, meaning the pure, eternal etheric forces.

Wherever the newly acquired psychic and spiritual qualities do not lead to the creative act, they again fall victim to degeneration and crystallization.

7. Conjunctio

The Conjunctio is the fruit of the previous changing stages of conversion. In the vessel as well as in the inner psychic process, distinction is made between a small and a big Conjunctio.

The small Conjunctio leads to an association of the polar forces – in the language of the laboratory: Mercury and Sulfur. Symbolically speaking, this is the union of king and queen. This symbol is shown on many pictures of the Middle Ages. It is the „chemical wedding“ between the principle of intellectual Sulfur (Sulphur) – the groom – and the principle of mental Mercury (Mercury) – the bride. As a fruit from this unity, the “Philosopher’s Stone” emerges, which leads all things to perfection by “tinging“ them. “Tinge“ as an alchemical term means that the Philosopher’s Stone colors (dyes) the things and so initiates a process of transmutation. The term “tincture“ is also rooted in this association. It means the elixir of life that cures all diseases.

On a spiritual level, the small Conjunctio means the union of opposites, of nature’s twin forces, which merge into a state complementary unit at the higher level of spirit-soul.

The large Conjunctio – enforceable only in the upper alchemy – is the final union of the spirit-soul with the eternal creative source. This is reflected in the word of Christ “I and the Father are one”. In this state of being, man himself becomes a Philosopher’s Stone that can tinge each creature to its perfection.

So, the alchemical aspirations of the Rosicrucians tried to perform the lower and upper alchemy in a synchronicity, so that the process of perpetual “dying and becoming” – the ongoing conversion through to perfection – can take place in the entire creative universe.

Awakened to their own spiritual sonship, they stand in the river of eternal becoming at all times and let their healing and sanctifying powers flow into every thing and every being to stimulate the development of ever more complex and higher levels of consciousness.

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