Pike now discusses the philosophers of Hermeticism, which align well with the Kabalah. Here are but a few points to consider, “The Hermetic philosophers also drew their doctrines from the Kabalah… This philosophy was concealed by the Alchemists under their Symbols… Like all the Mysteries of Magism, the Secrets of “the Great Work” have a threefold signification: they are religious, philosophical, and natural... There are two Hermetic operations, one spiritual, the other material, dependent the one on the other… All the Masters in Alchemy who have written of the Great Work, have employed symbolic and figurative expressions; being constrained to do so, as well to repel the profane from a work that would be dangerous for them, as to be well understood by Adepts… So that the Great Work is more than a chemical operation; it is a real creation of the human word initiated into the power of the Word of God…” and my favorite, “the Man-woman.” In short, there are many similarities between the Kabalah and Hermeticism, Enjoy my friends:
The Hermetic philosophers also drew their doctrines from the Kabalah; and more particularly from the Treatise Beth Alohim or Domus Dei, known as the Pneumatica Kabalistica, of Rabbi Abraham Cohen Irira, and the Treatise De Revolutionibus Animarum of Rabbi Jitz-chak Lorja.
This philosophy was concealed by the Alchemists under their Symbols, and in the jargon of a rude Chemistry,–a jargon incomprehensible and absurd except to the Initiates; but the key to which is within your reach; and the philosophy, it may be, worth studying. The labors of the human intellect are always interesting and instructive.
To be always rich, always young, and never to die: such has been in all times the dream of the Alchemists.
To change into gold, lead, mercury, and all the other metals; to possess the universal medicine and elixir of life; such is the problem to be resolved, in order to accomplish this desire and realize this dream.
Like all the Mysteries of Magism, the Secrets of “the Great Work” have a threefold signification: they are religious, philosophical, and natural.
The philosophal gold, in religion, is the Absolute and Supreme Reason: in philosophy, it is the Truth; in visible nature, the Sun; in the subterranean and mineral world, the most perfect and pure gold.
It is for this that the pursuit of the Great Work is called the Search for the Absolute; and the work itself, the work of the Sun.
All the masters of the Science admit that it is impossible to attain the material results, unless there are found in the two higher Degrees all the analogies of the universal medicine and of the philosophal stone.
Then, they say, the work is simple, easy, and inexpensive; otherwise, it consumes fruitlessly the fortune and lives of the seekers.
The universal medicine for the Soul is the Supreme Reason and Absolute Justice; for the mind, mathematical and practical Truth; for the body, the Quintessence, a combination of light and gold.
The prima materia of the Great Work, in the Superior World, is enthusiasm and activity; in the intermediate world, intelligence and industry; in the lower world, labor: and, in Science, it is the Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt, which by turns volatilized and fixed, compose the AZOTH of the Sages.
The Sulphur corresponds with the elementary form of the Fire; Mercury with the Air and Water; and Salt with the Earth.
The Great Work is, above all things, the creation of man by himself; that is to say, the fall and entire conquest which he effects of his faculties and his future. It is, above all, the perfect emancipation of his will, which assures him the universal empire of Azoth, and the domain of magnetism, that is, complete power over the universal Magical agent.
This Magical agent, which the Ancient Hermetic philosophers disguised under the name of “Prima Materia,” determines the forms of the modifiable Substance; and the Alchemists said that by means of it they could attain the transmutation of metals and the universal medicine.
There are two Hermetic operations, one spiritual, the other material, dependent the one on the other.
The whole Hermetic Science is contained in the dogma of Hermes, engraven originally, it is said, on a tablet of emerald. Its sentences that relate to operating the Great Work are as follows:
“Thou shalt separate the earth from the fire, the subtile from the gross, gently, with much industry.
“It ascends from earth to Heaven, and again descends to earth, and receives the force of things above and below.
“Thou shalt by this means possess the glory of the whole world, and therefore all obscurity shall flee away from thee.
“This is the potent force of all force, for it will overcome everything subtile, and penetrate everything solid.
“So the world was created.”
All the Masters in Alchemy who have written of the Great Work, have employed symbolic and figurative expressions; being constrained to do so, as well to repel the profane from a work that would be dangerous for them, as to be well understood by Adepts, in revealing to them the whole world of analogies governed by the single and sovereign dogma of Hermes.
So, in their language, gold and silver are the King and Queen, or the Sun and Moon; Sulphur, the flying Eagle; Mercury, the Man-woman, winged, bearded, mounted on a cube, and crowned with flames; Matter or Salt, the winged Dragon; the Metals in ebullition, Lions of different colors; and, finally, the entire work has for its symbols the Pelican and the Phœnix.
The Hermetic Art is, therefore, at the same time a religion, a philosophy, and a natural science. As a religion, it is that of the Ancient Magi and the Initiates of all ages; as a philosophy, we may find its principles in the school of Alexandria and the theories of Pythagoras; as a science, we must inquire for its processes of Paracelsus, Nicholas Flamel, and Raymond Lulle.
The Science is a real one only for those who admit and understand the philosophy and the religion; and its process will succeed only for the Adept who has attained the sovereignty of will, and so become the King of the elementary world: for the grand agent of the operation of the Sun, is that force described in the Symbol of Hermes, of the table of emerald; it is the universal magical power; the spiritual, fiery, motive power; it is the Od, according to the Hebrews, and the Astral light, according to others.
Therein is the secret fire, living and philosophical, of which all the Hermetic philosophers speak with the most mysterious re-serve: the Universal Seed, the secret whereof they kept, and which they represented only under the figure of the Caduceus of Hermes.
This is the grand Hermetic arcanum. What the Adepts call dead matter are bodies as found in nature; living matters are substances assimilated and magnetized by the science and will of the operator.
So that the Great Work is more than a chemical operation; it is a real creation of the human word initiated into the power of the Word of God.
The creation of gold in the Great Work is effected by transmutation and multiplication.
Raymond Lulle says, that to make gold, one must have gold and mercury; and to make silver, silver and mercury. And he adds: “I mean by mercury, that mineral spirit so fine and pure that it gilds even the seed of gold, and silvers that of silver.” He meant by this, either electricity, or Od, the astral light.
The Salt and Sulphur serve in the work only to prepare the mercury, and it is to the mercury especially that we must assimilate, and, as it were, incorporate with it, the magnetic agent. Paracelsus, Lulle, and Flamel alone seem to have perfectly known this mystery.
The Great Work of Hermes is, therefore, an operation essentially magical, and the highest of all, for it supposes the Absolute in Science and in Will. There is light in gold, gold in light, and light in all things (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, 772-775).
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