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ALCHEMICAL CORRESPONDENCES

IN

THE SACRED TAROT


ARCANUM 1

Alchemy. In alchemy, Arcanum I represents the most important of all discoveries, the philosopher's stone. Tradition informs us that any object touched with this stone is converted into gold.

This touchstone of alchemy is Truth; for when truth is pressed against anything its eternal principles are revealed, and these all-enduring qualities thus obtained constitute the gold of their underlying nature. Truth is correct knowledge, and this correct knowledge, if comprehensive, embraces the proper relation of souls and things to all other entities and forces. Thus truth is a freeing and transmuting power, a feeling as well as an intellectual perception.

And when fully realised it results in deep aspiration, and in an unutterable longing and determination for a more perfect life.


ARCANUM 2

Alchemy.- Alchemically, Arcanum II is the universal solvent which, when properly used, can be made to reduce any metal to its first matter. Raymond Lully says in regard to this :

"Metals can not be transmuted . . . in the minerals, unless they be reduced into their first matter . . .Therefore I counsel you, O my friends, that you do not work but about Sol and Luna, reducing them into their first matter, our Sulphur and Argent Vive."

This means, in plain English, that in smelting ores the lowest melting point is obtained by mixing them so that the amount of acid is exactly equal to the amount of alkali; and that in fluxing experiences, when the polar opposites are exactly equal their vibratory rate is raised to a point in which transmutation is more readily accomplished.


ARCANUM 3

Alchemy.- Arcanum III represents the union of the various ingredients. Not only must all the proper ingredients be present before transmutation is possible, but they must enter into union. The reverberatory furnace imparts some energy to them, but not enough to complete the transmutation process. It is not, therefore, merely a matter of assembling suitable metals in proper proportions. But they must be joiined in such a manner as mutually to increase their vibratory rates; adding the energy they thus mutually generate to the process. Physical proximity is not sufficient fnr this purpose. They must be intimately joined in their essential qualities.

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ARCANUM 4

 

Alchemy.- When the ingredients are brought together their union generates a force, or heat. The energy, thus liberated through the fluxing of polar opposites, when properly controlled, is an essential factor in proper transmutation. The control of it, however, is not accomplished by suppressing, or confining it, but by directing it into proper channels. In fact, the directing of this energy into those channels which prevent it from causing an explosion, or burning the various ingredients, is one of the most important secrets of the alchemical art. Diverting it to the end desired corresponds to Arcanum IV.

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ARCANUM 5

 

Alchemy.- The various metals used in alchemy as they arc collected are commonly found to contain other ingredients which would prevent them from properly combining in transmutation. Therefore, no matter upon what plane the hermetic art is carried out, there must be a thorough purification of the metals used. In this process o purification the dross is removed and cast aside and the true metal retained.

In spiritual alchemy, for instance, the dross is the apparent effect, while the real metal is the effect upon the soul. 'The spiritual metals, therefore, are purified by considering them not in the light of events influencing the material fortune, but as events which each can be made to yield spiritual values by taking the proper attitude toward them. In mental alchemy, the metals are purified, not by considering their effect upon the soul, but by casting aside the dross of discord and retaining the elements of harmony. Likewise, in other branches of the art, purification of the metals, which corresponds to Arcanum V, is always an essential step.

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ARCANUM 6

 

Alchemy.- After the metals have been purified, before they are finally joined in transmutation they are first tested to be sure that no dross or impurities remain. This process of testing the purity of the metals, of applying the test of love, corresponds to Arcanum VI.

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ARCANUM 7

 

Alchemy. The various ores from which the metals to be used in the process of transmutation are obtained are not of equal richness, and are not of equal suitability as furnishing the required metals. And when the metals are extracted from these ores, or are otherwise obtained, they are not of equal purity, or of equal value. Thus it is that every ingredient used in the process should be assayed to determine its refinement, to determine its value, and to determine how best it may be treated to purify it to the extent required if it is to be used in the alchemical work.

In spiritual alchemy, for instance, each experience needs to be appraised as to its possibilities of providing spiritual values, and to determine exactly what attitude will recover the highest percentage of these spiritual values. In mental alchemy, a still diflerent appraisal is made to determine the value in terms of harmony, and the treatment necessary to gain these values in highest measure. Such determinations are secured through assaying, which corresponds to Arcanum VII.

 

ARCANUM 8

 

Alchemy. In all branches of alchemy different ingredients are brought together. And it is of utmost importance that they shall be present in just the right amounts. In order that they shall form the proper fluxes for each other, and in order that some essentials shall not be too small in quantity, the ingredients are weighed. If there is not sufficient of some substance, as indicated by such weighing, it must be sought out and added to the mixture. Both the weighing and the seeking of ingredients thus found lacking, correspond to Arcanum VIII.

 

ARCANUM 9

 

Alchemy.- In alchemical processes of any kind, danger is sure to be present if the conditions are forced. Transmutations, for instance, can not be made to take place instantly. They require time. To try to alter a condition too quickly is apt to result in an explosion, whatever energies are present must be taken care of through gradually diverting them into those channels which will promote the object sought. More failure in alchemical work results from undue haste and impatience for results than from any other cause. The prudence which alone enables the alchemist to be successful in his endeavors is depicted by Arcanum IX.

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ARCANUM 10

 

Alchemy. _ No matter what the plane of alchemical procedure, it is a decided aid to observe the astrological conditions which are operative at the time. The energies of the planets have an influence upon all processes, and it is easier to perform a given type of work when the astrological influences favour it. Of course, alchemical work of many kinds can not await favourable conditions. But the knowledge that astrological influences are hindering at certain times, both incites to more careful and energetic effort and prevents discouragement when it is observed that small progress is being made.

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ARCANUM 11

 

Alchemy.- Arcanum XI represents the energy liberated during the process of transmutation. When the metals join, and the heat of the reverberatory furnace is applied, they flux and reduce to the first matter before the alchemical transformation takes place. And in this process heat, electricity, magnetism, and still finer forces are set free. These forces, so generated, are not violent, and are so subtle that they would go entirely unnoticed by the careless.

Nevertheless, they are of great-importance in the alchemical process, and especially essential in the completion of the Great Work.

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ARCANUM 12

 

Alchemy. - Because life is short and the processes of the alchemical art take time, the variety of the ingredients which enter into transmutation becomes limited Some such ingredients, therefore, which, had we more time, might be used successfully must be Sacrificed to the need of other ingredients. Thus are we compelled to exercise choice in their selection. This choice should be made only after careful analysis has revealed the quality of each, the effort at all times being made to retain that which already is far advanced and truly useful. When such a choosing becomes imperative the grosser mental must be Sacrificed that we may retain the more refined.

 

ARCANUM 13

 

Alchemy.—Arcanum XIII represents that Transformation which occurs in the substance and form due to transmutation. The fluxing of polar opposites or natural antidotes produces not merely a blend of the substances, but the Death of the old properties in the production of a new and more highly refined substance with entirely different properties. There is thus a Transformation of both the substance and the form due to transmutation. The fluxing of polar opposites or natural antidotes produces not merely a blend of the substances, but the Death of the old properties in the production of new and more highly refined substance with entirely diflerent properties. There is thus a Transformation of both the substance and the form.

 

ARCANUM 14

 

Alchemy.—Arcanum XIV represents the fluxing of polar opposites, or mental antidotes. When the minerals are predominantly acid, or positive, just enough of the alkaline, or negative, minerals should be added to balance the mixture; and when the minerals are predominantly alkaline, just enough acid minerals should be added to balance the mixture. When positive and negative, acid and alkaline, male and female, energies are of like volume and intensity the ingredients readily fuse and untlergo transmutation into a different and far more valuable product But when either positive or negative elements are not thus balanced by their polar opposite, it takes more energy than can be generated to affect the transmutation.

 

ARCANUM 15

 

Alchemy.- Arcanum XV is the impure ingredients which must be eliminated in any type of alchemy.

In mental alchemy they are the discords which are annulled. In spiritual alchemy they are the material effects as distinct from the influence on the character.

And in general this Arcanum represents the dross which rises to the surface of the fluxed mixture as a skum, or excess slag, which must be skimmed off and cast aside.

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ARCANUM 16

 

Alchemy.- In Alchemy, Arcanum XVI represents the heat of the reverberatory furnace. This, on the mental plane, is supplied by feeling, the feeling of pleasure or pain. On the spiritual plane it is supplied by a still higher type of feeling, by aspiration and inspiration; and in its highest manifestation it arises from an insatiable longing to assist to the highest possible degree in the advancement of the universe and the happiness and joy of all forms of life.

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ARCANUM 17

 

Alchemy.—Arcanum XVII pictures the finding of the fountain of eternal youth. Gold and silver have been completely purified and the dross removed. Each, united to a proper flux, has been reduced to the first matter in the reverberatory furnace. And as a result of their transmuted union they are no longer merely gold and silver, but a delectable fluid, the coveted elixir of life.

 

Many have sought, but few have found, this precious draught. Some who have had it ready to their hand, have failed to recognize it. Others have discovered it accidentally, and while deeply awed by its wonderful properties have never perceived its real use and partaken of its life-giving properties. More have been poisoned by drinking that which they hoped would prove to be the elixir, a fluid somewhat resembling it, but in reality quite destructive. Yet Arcanum XVII pictures its preparation in unmistakable terms to those who do not discard the simple and plain in search for the intricate and cornplex.

 

ARCANUM 18

 

Alchemy.— The true elixir of life has the peculiar power of absorbing and transmitting the energies of the surrounding magnetic atmosphere. If the elixir is pure it absorbs and transmits only the finer, higher, life-giving energies But if impure, it attracts grosser energies. Arcanum XVIII may represent either the true elixir or the false elixir.

The majority who seek this fluid of eternal youth fail to recognize the need for purity, or are unable to discern whether or not the elixir is truly pure. They thus prepare the draught by dissolving in the Water of Pythia whatever metals may be at hand, without precaution as to their purity and proper proportions.They deceive themselves, and drinking the false elixir thus prepared, are drugged into a semi-conscious state in which they are unable to perceive even the approach of their own ruin.

 

ARCANUM 19

 

Alchemy.- In alchemy, Arcanum XIX represents the quafing of the true Elixir of Life. This does not bring instantaneous perpetual youth, for perpetual youth is the result of the gradual changes which the Elixir sets up in the finer forms.

This Elixir is really a love potion, and the result of quaffing it is a general and complete harmonizing of all the internal vibratory rates, so that they sound a sweet and powerful chord, the pitch of which gradually rises as the body and desires are refined, and in time thus results in youthful vigor added to perpetual life.

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ARCANUM 20

 

Alchemy.- In alchemy, Arcanum XX represents the Consciousness of the changes in himself, or the changes in other things, as the case may require, that take place as the transmutations proceed. It is the recognition of the new vibratory rates.

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ARCANUM 21

 

Alchemy.- In Alchemy, Arcanum XXI represents the final product, or successful transmutation, and more specifically it denotes the completion of The Great Work.

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ARCANUM 22

 

Alchemy.- In Alchemy, Arcanum XXII signifies failure in transmutation, and the regimes adopted in the hope of transmutation which lead only to repressions. Arcanum 0, on the other hand, represents the work in cosmic affairs which is undertaken after the Great Work has been accomplished.