In this room which looked more like a library than a laboratory, Master Jonathan explained the principles and processes of alchemy:
"Man's constitution, that invisible principle, is made up of what we call metals."
I recalled the colloquialism that a man's metal is tried in the crucible of the fire of life. And how true this is when one searches the bio-chemical make-up of the animal man! For it is the trace materials and trace metals of the body which the chemist has not been able to find -- such things as tin, gold and others, all so important and yet so indistinguishable in a strictly material chemical analysis because they are more lasting and enduring than the flesh cells and blood.
"The metals are formed by man's thoughts and desires and will continue to exist after the perishable elements constituting his physical body have been dissolved. Man's animal principles or attributes are the base metals which must be changed into more finely reactive metals by the transformation of his vices into virtues. Thus it is that all these elements pass through the various spectral colors until they have been transformed and united. The gold of the pure spirituality exists and man refined reflects the golden radiation from his being.
"It is through this process of change that, one by one, the elements of his form die, decay and are carried away. They are replaced by the Light of the Christos and the Spirit is able to penetrate through and permeate the animal body. The inner man, the Self, is awakened to life and activity.
"In the work of alchemy, there is no hard line separating the various kingdoms of Nature. Therefore, any exact prescription for this and that action of the law manifesting in one of the kingdoms finds the same analogies in another kingdom.
"Remember that a process taking place in the spiritual plane is also taking place in the psychic and material planes. This is subject, or course, to the forces of Nature and will be modified in accordance with those forces according to the conditions existing in the plane in which you are working.
"Nature is not an amalgamation of different objects and elements. Nature is a whole, and everything in the organism acts and is acted on by everything contained therein.
"The ancient alchemists knew this, and the modern chemist would do well to follow.
"Remember this rule: Everything that exists upon the earth has its electric counterpart above the earth. There is nothing so small that may appear in the world which is not dependent upon its counterpart in the higher realm. So if the lower part acts, its existing higher part will react upon it.
"If you'll think back to your earlier experiences as well as the teachings of many philosophers, you'll find an age-old saying: 'As above, so below.' For it is also true that man is the microcosm, a true counterpart and representation of Nature. Nature is the great macrocosm in which is contained all powers, principles and forces, derived from the supreme divine spiritual principle, in other words, from God the Father, down to the most solidified form of the Universal One-Life which we call matter.
"The principles may be active or latent in either of the two organisms or states. They may exist germinally in form or the form may be in a developed state.
"It is a universal truth that in each human being is contained germinally the essence which constitutes the mineral, vegetable, animal or human kingdom. Likewise, in each man is contained the principles that may be developed into a snake, a tiger, a dragon, into a villain or into a sage, into an Adept or god.
"The elements which are made to grow and develop will then become the man and constitute his own self."
With that the Master pointed up to the double triangle and said, "Look over your head. That which you see represents the macrocosm with all the forces contained therein. It represents the interpenetration and the union of matter and spirit within the never-ending circle of eternity -- God. And the one on the table represents the same elements within the constitution of man.
"The object is to bring the double triangle existing within the Self into harmony with those existing in the universe so that your powers will be the powers of Nature. You will guide and control reason and will, doing so through the processes unconsciously taking place in the realm of Nature.
"THE UNIVERSAL PROCESS BY WHICH THE VARIOUS MANIFESTATIONS OF LIFE TAKE PLACE IS THE PRINCIPLE OF LIFE ITSELF. FOR HE WHO CAN GUIDE AND CONTROL THE FORCES OF LIFE TO DO HIS WILL IS AN ALCHEMIST.
"The alchemist can create new forms provided they are the multiplicity or integration of the three basic symbols of all form of law -- the circle, the triangle, and the square -- and increase the substance thereof. The chemist, with his knowledge of chemistry, may merely form new combinations of the sub- stances in his possession, while the alchemist causes a substance to attract other elements from the invisible storehouse of Nature and increase it. The chemist creates nothing. The chemist deals entirely with matter in which the principle of life is inactive and in which it manifests itself merely as a mechanical energy.
"The alchemist deals in the principle of life and causes living symbols or forms to become alive and exist. The chemistry transfers sulphur into invisible air and causes the air to become sulphur again. Thus the sulphur is not changed, the quantity is the same, the elements are the same.
"As an example of true alchemy, let us take the farmer who puts his seeds in the ground in the Fall so that he may harvest them the next Spring. He first prepares the soil and sees that the ground has the elements which are needed for the proper nourishment of the seeds. If they are not there, he puts in specially prepared fertilizers. The seeds grow into the tiny wheat plants or corn or whatever he may have planted. This is a form of true alchemy because he has called things into existence which did not exist in the seed.
"And, out of one seed, when the fruit tree or grain or whatever he planted bears its own kind of fruit and turns again into seed, he then will obtain many seeds of the same kind. Thus it is that he knew Nature and her processes. He provided the soil and the elements and planted the seed so that Nature and the powers of God and the sun could grow the plants which produced the seeds, thus multiplying itself. He worked with Nature's laws and forces so that they would serve his purpose. He did not try to create his own laws."
I sat with my friend, the Master Teacher, for a few minutes, thinking of the many stories I had read and heard of the ancient mystics who had turned various elements into silver and gold and other precious metals. I did not want to offend Master Jonathan but I wanted the simple truth, not an allegory. As I pondered how to ask the question, I heard a voice and I fairly jumped, for I had not heard anyone approaching. It was Helen and she said:
"No my friend, you need not fear. You will never be given anything but truth in this valley. We have nothing to hide, and those of us who are here will not dabble in half-truths."
With that Helen stepped before Jonathan and said, "Master, you are needed in the Council Chamber as there is something urgent to be taken care of. I will be glad to attend our visitor until you return."
He laughed and said, "You folks are old friends; you need no introduction. I will go, but I will be back shortly, because I'm sure it will not take long to finish my errand."
Helen turned to me and said, "I know you are thinking about the transmutation of mercury, silver and iron into gold. As you know, there is no gold in these elements, but remember this: through your lips you speak of the learned ignorance of your modern civilization. It is very difficult for them to see the truth because they have created a mountain of misconceptions, scientific prejudices and preconceived ideas which stand between them and the truth."
My mind drifted again to the past, and I thought for just a moment of how wonderful life could be with a person such as this. And before I realized that I had thought this, Helen said to me:
"This is a compliment, but here it is idle chatter. Even if I shared your desire, it would be wholly impossible as I spend most of my time away from the earth plane."
My face must have reddened, even though I have traveled much in many places and have had many experiences.
"You need not feel ashamed," Helen said. "Love is a beautiful thing. The Love of God, or the pure love of a man and a woman on the earth plane, is real, for it, too, is of the Father on that level.
"But let us return to those things of greater importance. Let me tell you once more that Nature is a unity. Each particle of matter, even the smallest, is a part of Nature and in its cosmic pattern there are the possibilities of the whole of Nature hidden therein. For each speck of dust, under favorable conditions, may develop into a universe in which all the elements existing in Nature can be found. Your scientists are unable to comprehend this truth because their fundamental doctrines about the constitution of matter and energy are entirely wrong.
"In regard to religion, your dualism in theology has been the cause of untold misery because it created a continual quarrel between God and the Devil. Polytheism in science blinds the eyes and obstructs the judgment of the learned, keeping them in ignorance.
"Your conceptions of primordial matter are very questionable, as is your understanding of the differences between matter and force and the 'simple' substances. These originally grew out of primordial matter. For there is unity; primordial matter is of only one kind.
"Primordial matter is but one kind; consequently, each particle of this primordial matter must be able to grow under certain conditions into gold, under other conditions into iron, under others mercury, and so forth.
"This is what the ancient alchemists said: Each of the seven metals contains the seeds of seven others. They also thought that for the purpose of transmuting one metal into another the metal must be reduced first to its prime matter."
With this, Lady Helen looked at me and revealed her knowledge of my thoughts:
"I see that you are anxious to have this truth proven by experiment. But I shall leave that to the alchemist who will be back shortly. And then you will see that it is possible to make gold from its seed."
Awaiting Master Jonathan's return, we chatted about other things, many thousands of which were visible about us and of which I knew nothing -- many symbols of alchemy and other curiosities which needed explanation. Time passed rapidly and the Master returned to tell he would be pleased to explain and demonstrate the principles of alchemy.
Lady Helen excused herself, saying once more that she was glad to have been of service to me. Smiling, she departed with- out any spoken adieu.
Master Jonathan had seated himself in one of the large armchairs. He directed me to take one of the crucibles from the table, see that it was empty, and to place it upon a tripod over a flame on the altar. I did as he directed. Then he said, "Now take some of the silver pieces from your pocket and throw them into the crucible."
I took seven quarters and did as he instructed. After a few minutes they began to melt and, I told the Master that the silver was now fluid. He then pointed to a small bottle, or cruet, which contained red powder and directed me to put some of the powder in the crucible. Using a small silver spoon which had been lying nearby, I took about two grains of the red powder. As I went to throw it into the crucible, the Master stopped me, saying that it was too much powder and should not be wasted.
He directed me to put the powder back into the bottle, to wipe the spoon with a piece of paper and to throw the paper into the crucible. The quantity on the paper was so little as to be hardly visible. I threw the paper upon the molten silver. It burned immediately and the molten silver began to foam and rise. I thought at first it would run over the crucible, but each bubble burst as it reached the top. In each bubble there was a variety of most beautiful colors.
The action in the crucible lasted for about fifteen minutes. Then the boiling ceased and the foaming mass sank back to the bottom of the crucible. Master Jonathan directed me to take the molten mass from the crucible and pour it out upon a marble slab. The mass solidified within a few minutes and it appeared to be the finest gold.
"Take this gold with you when it is cooled," said Master Jonathan, "and let it be examined so that you'll be convinced you have not been the victim of a hallucination or mass mesmerism."
I looked at the gold and thought of the short space of time it had taken to create it, or should I say, for Nature to create it. And I thought how much our earthly people would give to know the secret of the red powder.
I asked Master Jonathan how this red powder could be prepared, asking quietly because I doubted very much that the Master would reveal such a secret. I also was afraid he would think that I was trying to enrich myself.
But he answered directly and without reproach:
"The red powder and its preparation cannot be explained to men until they attain more spirituality, because it is a secret which cannot be merely theoretically explained. In order to attain this knowledge, one must practically acquire it.
"My friend," said the Master, "how can we teach mankind to employ such powers which they do not even know exist? Nevertheless, the germs of these powers are contained in a latent condition within the organism of every human being."
"What you are saying Master," I said, "is that gold can be made out of any other substance than gold. And all other substances contain the germ and the nature of gold in its own primordial matter."
"That is it, that is it," he said. And he continued, "In the alchemical laboratory of Nature, iron pyrites and other sub- stances produce gold in the course of ages. The element of gold is contained in their primordial matter and grows by the action of the life-principle of Nature to become visible gold."
He hesitated for a moment, looked around and said, "Isn't it wondrous what the All-Intelligent has placed within the scope of man's consciousness. Within the scope of Nature, the growing of this gold would take millions of years to accomplish, but with our help it can be accomplished in a few minutes, if her power is guided by the spiritual consciousness and intelligence of the Master Alchemist.
"One cannot grow gold out of anything containing no gold. It is the same as trying to make an apple tree grow out of a cherry pit. Nor do we, if we wish to have an apple tree grow from a seed, insert the seed into a hole bored into a rock, but we select the soil in which the seed can grow with the proper aid of the moisture and temperature.
"Likewise, if we wish gold to grow out of the seed or principle of gold, we must add the proper soil. This required soil is furnished by the red powder which contains the life-principle for the production of gold.
"Remember that there is no dead substance in the universe and that even a stone or metal contains life in a latent form. If the life-principle within such a substance becomes active, the substance may then begin to form and produce various colors which you have seen in the crucible.
"If the mass were solid and cold, the element of life would be slow in penetrating below the surface of the metal. Then the transformation would gradually take place. But, in the molten mass, the life-giving substance becomes thoroughly mixed with the substance of the metal and the transmutation is quickly performed.
"The seed of the plant is in the plant; the seed of the animal is in the animal; and the seed for the production of metal rests in the metal. It is not sufficient merely to melt the gold into molten liquid, it must be reduced to what the alchemist calls water, or the primordial matter.
"A few atoms of the powder, barely visible, was enough to transmute the silver, as you will see if you examine the gold which has not absorbed all the red powder."
I examined the gold, now cold enough to handle, and indeed, upon its surface, there were small particles that looked like little red pearls or red rubies. Apparently they were part of the red powder which had not been absorbed by the molten mass.
"The red powder," said the Master, "is the celebrated Red Lion. Some call it sulphur, some mercury, and some call it salt. It is indeed each of these, for the three form a trinity in a unity which is inseparable."