Here we read Pike further breaking down an alchemist formula; however, there is a twist. He goes on to explain that the formula was not material, but rather spiritual, “you will no doubt suspect that some secret meaning was concealed in these words.” Further on he confirmed its significance when he wrote, “We must thoroughly cleanse and purify our hearts to their inmost recesses, before we can of right contemplate that Flaming Star, which is the emblem of the Divine and Glorious Shekinah, or presence of God; before we may dare approach the Throne of Supreme Wisdom.” Enjoy:
Let us listen for a few moments to the Alchemists themselves, and endeavor to learn the hidden meaning of their mysterious words.
The RITUAL of the Degree of Scottish Elder MASTER, and Knight of Saint Andrew, being the fourth Degree of Ramsay, it is said upon the title-page, or of the Reformed or Rectified Rite of Dresden, has these passages:
“O how great and glorious is the presence of the Almighty God which gloriously shines from between the Cherubim!
“How adorable and astonishing are the rays of that glorious Light, that sends forth its bright and brilliant beams from the Holy Ark of Alliance and Covenant!
“Let us with the deepest veneration and devotion adore the great Source of Life, that Glorious Spirit who is the Most Merciful and Beneficent Ruler of the Universe and of all the creatures it contains!
“The secret knowledge of the Grand Scottish Master relates to the combination and transmutation of different substances; where-of that you may obtain a clear idea and proper understanding, you are to know that all matter and all material substances are composed of combinations of three several substances, extracted from the four elements, which three substances in combination are, , Salt, , Sulphur, and , Spirit. The first of these produces Solidity, the second Softness, and the third the Spiritual, vaporous particles. These three compound substances work potently together; and therein consists the true process for the transmutation of metals.
“To these three substances allude the three golden basins, in the first of which was engraved the letter M∴, in the second, the letter G∴, and in the third nothing. The first, M∴, is the initial letter of the Hebrew word Malakh, which signifies Salt; and the second, G∴, of the Hebrew word Geparaith, which signifies Sulphur; and as there is no word in Hebrew to express the vaporous and intangible Spirit, there is no letter in the third basin.
“With these three principal substances you may effect the transmutation of metals, which must be done by means of the five points or rules of the Scottish Mastership.
“The first Master’s point shows us the Brazen Sea, wherein must always be rain-water; and out of this rain-water the Scottish Masters extract the first substance, which is Salt; which salt must afterward undergo a seven-fold manipulation and purification, before it will be properly prepared. This seven-fold purification is symbolized by the Seven Steps of Solomon’s Temple, which symbol is furnished us by the first point or rule of the Scottish Masters.
“After preparing the first substance, you are to extract the second, Sulphur, out of the purest gold, to which must then be added the purified or celestial Salt. They are to be mixed as the Art directs, and then placed in a vessel in the form of a SHIP, in which it is to remain, as the Ark of Noah was afloat, one hundred and fifty days, being brought to the first damp, warm degree of fire, that it may putrefy and produce the mineral fermentation. This is the second point or rule of the Scottish Masters.”
If you reflect, my Brother, that it was impossible for any one to imagine that either common salt or nitre could be extracted from rain-water, or sulphur from pure gold, you will no doubt suspect that some secret meaning was concealed in these words.
The Kabalah considers the immaterial part of man as threefold, consisting of NEPHESCH, RUACH, and NESCHAMAH, Psyche, Spiritus, and Mens, or Soul, Spirit, and Intellect. There are Seven Holy Palaces, Seven Heavens and Seven Thrones; and Souls are purified by ascending through Seven Spheres. A Ship, in Hebrew, is Ani; and the same word means I, Me, or Myself.
The RITUAL continues:
“Multiplying the substance thus obtained, is the third operation, which is done by adding to them the animate, volatile Spirit; which is done by means of the water of the Celestial Salt, as well as by the Salt, which must daily be added to it very carefully, and strictly observing to put neither too much nor too little; inasmuch as, if you add too much, you will destroy that growing and multiplying substance; and if too little, it will be self-consumed and destroyed, and shrink away, not having sufficient substantiality for its preservation. This third point or rule of the Scottish Masters gives us the emblem of the building of the Tower of Babel, used by our Scottish Masters, because by irregularity and want of due proportion and harmony that work was stopped; and the workmen could proceed no further.
“Next comes the fourth operation, represented by the Cubical Stone, whose faces and angles are all equal. As soon as the work is brought to the necessary point of multiplication, it is to be submitted to the third Degree of Fire, wherein it will receive the due proportion of the strength and substance of the metallic particles of the Cubical Stone; and this is the fourth point or rule of the Scottish Masters.
“Finally, we come to the fifth and last operation, indicated to us by the Flaming Star. After the work has become a duly-proportioned substance, it is to be subjected to the fourth and strongest Degree of fire, wherein it must remain three times twenty-seven hours; until it is thoroughly glowing, by which means it becomes a bright and shining tincture, wherewith the lighter metals may be changed, by the use of one part to a thousand of the metal. Wherefore this Flaming Star shows us the fifth and last point of the Scottish Masters.
“You should pass practically through the five points or rules of the Master, and by the use of one part to a thousand, trans-mute and ennoble metals. You may then in reality say that your age is a thousand years.”
In the oration of the Degree, the following hints are given as to its true meaning:
“The three divisions of the Temple, the Outer Court, Sanctuary, and Holy of Holies, signify the three Principles of our Holy Order, which direct to the knowledge of morality, and teach those most practical virtues that ought to be practised by mankind. Therefore the Seven Steps which lead up to the Outer Court of the Temple, are the emblem of the Seven-fold Light which we need to possess, before we can arrive at the height of knowledge, in which consist the ultimate limits of our order.
“In the Brazen Sea we are symbolically to purify ourselves from all pollutions, all faults and wrongful actions, as well those committed through error of judgment and mistaken opinion, as those intentionally done; inasmuch as they equally prevent us from arriving at the knowledge of True Wisdom. We must thoroughly cleanse and purify our hearts to their inmost recesses, before we can of right contemplate that Flaming Star, which is the emblem of the Divine and Glorious Shekinah, or presence of God; before we may dare approach the Throne of Supreme Wisdom” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 779-782).
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