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Phoenix
01-06-2009, 12:27 PM
This is a Phoenix-thread (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?t=7) from the old site (http://alchemy-forums.forumotion.com/forum.htm) created by WCH.

How exactly does sexual alchemy work? I mean, I understand the sexual metaphors in alchemical recipes and whatnot... but on a practical level, how does it actually relate to sex? Like what do you do differently when you're doing sexual alchemy versus when you're just fuckin'?

Wasn't sure what forum to put this in, could be seen as Practical, went with Spititual because it's not about transmuting chemicals. Unless you count hormones.
Think of exercises such as the Circulation of the Light applied to couples in copulation instead of individuals in meditation. Many Tantric and Taoist sacred sex techniques have correspondences with Western alchemy--in the case of the former, through correspondences between Hinduism and yoga and Western alchemy, and in the latter, through Taoist alchemy. Lots of material to Google on Tantra and Taoist sexual alchemy.

Here is another set of correspondences, these in the Western ceremonial magic tradition (in this case, Thelemic): "Basic Techniques for Performing Sexual Alchemy" (http://www.hermetic.com/casa_del_campo/techniques_sex_magick.pdf) by Gerald del Campo (.pdf). Cf. Donald Tyson's Sexual Alchemy: Magical Intercourse with Spirits.

Paschal Beverly Randolph's Magia Sexualis is based on a complementary (positive-negative) energy model that is not alchemical per se, but again has some more-or-less obvious alchemical correspondences.
I believe it is a bit of a quandry...there's another article here (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?t=314) that sort of petered out regarding Sexual Alchemy... I believe sexual alchemy is more of a modern interpretation that has somehow used alchemy more as a catchphrase for the Tantric arts...but that's just my opinion.

I believe sexual alchemy is more of a modern interpretation that has somehow used alchemy more as a catchphrase for the Tantric arts...but that's just my opinion.
In the case of Western alchemy, I suppose that is true. I do not know of any (Pseudo)Hermetic text before the 20th century that used sexual terminology in an obviously literal way, and actual sex in Western ceremonial magic seems to be a pretty recent development. However, literal and metaphorical sex may have been less clearly segregated in Taoism. Compare these Wikipedia articles on Chinese alchemy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_alchemy) and Taoist sexual practices (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoist_sexual_practices).

"... and actual sex in Western ceremonial magic seems to be a pretty recent development."
The hieros gamos (just one example)? I think sex magick in ceremonies & rituals is probably one of the oldest secrets, and it comes directly from ancient history. This is including Western style workings also.

The hieros gamos?
Is a good point, but was it practiced by Medieval and Renaissance ceremonial magicans--and more importantly, alchemists? I am under the impression that Hermetic practices of that time often prescribed pious abstinence from sex, and references to the "sacred marriage" were metaphorical, although I am sure they carried meaning into the magicians' physical and romantic relationships.

Is a good point, but was it practiced by Medieval and Renaissance ceremonial magicans--and more importantly, alchemists? I am under the impression that Hermetic practices of that time often prescribed pious abstinence from sex, and references to the "sacred marriage" were metaphorical, although I am sure they carried meaning into the magicians' physical and romantic relationships.
I'm not sure though, honestly I think alchemists and ceremonial magicians were well versed in the sexual arts. I don't think abstinence was as important as we now seem to think. Many were involved in Goddess worship - the divine feminine.

It's just a hunch of mine, and I don't have anything to back it up.

I'm not sure though, honestly I think alchemists and ceremonial magicians were well versed in the sexual arts. I don't think abstinence was as important as we now seem to think. Many were involved in Goddess worship - the divine feminine.

It's just a hunch of mine, and I don't have anything to back it up.
Well, I cannot think of a better complement to immortality than being a good lover.
And many of them certainly did respect and elevate the Feminine.
I can't imagine being an alchemist and having alchemy not apply to everything.
Sex is part of nature, so alchemists would have had/do have unique knowledge
based on their observations of nature.

The secret fire is internally associated with the kundalini which can be engaged in
sexual practices. The circulation of this energy in the body is no different than the
circulation in a flask. Through circulation, this energy can be exalted.
Frater Albertus called alchemy the raising of frequencies.

Even practical alchemy involves the alchemists internal chi.
To me, the most important ingredient in alchemy is the alchemist.

All good points, especially the last one (and wonderfully similar to an essay I was writing earlier today).

How exactly does sexual alchemy work? I mean, I understand the sexual metaphors in alchemical recipes and whatnot... but on a practical level, how does it actually relate to sex? Like what do you do differently when you're doing sexual alchemy versus when you're just fuckin'?

Wasn't sure what forum to put this in, could be seen as Practical, went with Spititual because it's not about transmuting chemicals. Unless you count hormones.


I realised I didn't respond directly to your question.

Part of what is different about taoist sexual alchemy is retention of the semen.
Obviously if we "spill" the contents of the "flask" you'll have to start over.

And then the atmosphere would be different also: intentional, present, equality...

The woman is water and the man is fire. The man doesn't want the fire to burn too quickly because the
water takes a while to heat up and bring to a boil. He shouldn't blow his load before the lady has a chance
to orgasm. So you could look at all the prep work of alchemy as the foreplay of love.
When talking of sexual alchemy it is our semen that is the crude matter of the great work. We need to remain hermetically sealed to avoid spilling of the crude matter. Aristotle states, “The Mercury must be baked in a triple receptacle of very hard glass.” This receptacle is the phallus, which is surrounded by the walls of the vagina and is submitted to heat equal on every side.

A great beginners DVD on the work is Sex, The Secret Gate to Eden - Alchemy, Tantra, and Kabbalah