View Full Version : What Is Alchemy To Me?

Loki Morningstar
07-26-2016, 11:11 PM
Sat at my computer looking at the forum, I decided to attempt to reply on a thread. There are many great threads on this finely woven tapestry that is Alchemy Forums. Although as a beginner in life, and in the field of Alchemy. I struggled to find somewhere I felt I could add value. So I decided to stick to my own threads, until I feel I can.

Two quotes then came to mind:

Plato - Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.

Shakespeare - A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.

Knowing myself a fool, I had to say something. But what to write? I thought to myself, “What is Alchemy?”. I realised that I had an idea of what I thought it was, but had never really attempted to put it into words.

The simplest definition I could come up with was:

Alchemy: To find/know a way to, using will, create beneficial change in some thing.

But what is it that an Alchemist looks to create change in?

In my opinion? … Everything! And as all things known to the individual begin and end in the mind, that is where I like to start. It is my opinion that an Alchemists first goal to closely study his self, to learn self control, and then to be able to consistently create change in his/her self. As a beginner this is the most interesting part for me. So as a starting point for memories sake I begin Internal Alchemy with the ‘I AM’ concept and build from there.

But the concept of self is so much more complex than that, our surroundings affect our self, therefore our surroundings must be part of our self, 'As Above, So Below'. This is where Physical Alchemy comes into play. So, yet again, for the sake of memory I must have a starting point. But to explain further I shall take a sideways step to talk about my opinions on Alchemy’s origins.

Definitions of Alchemy are many, and subjectively individual. I was inspired to write this post by Dev’s thread A Brief History of Alchemy (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?39-A-Brief-History-of-Alchemy). As I carefully read the diverse definitions of Alchemy from posts on Dev’s thread I was intrigued by people intent to trace Alchemy to an origin.

Personally, based on my above definition of Alchemy. I think we could say that Alchemy originates from the first person to make fire and teach the process to their fellows. So to me a cave man was the first Alchemist. He willed fire into existence, and whatever was burnt transmuted to ash. And so I personally feel the above leaves the human origin of Alchemy a bit of a moot point.

But what it we go even further back than this? What about the Stars? The original Alchemists! the great creators and maintainers of life! In my opinion this is a great place to start Physical Alchemy. Start with the Big Bang and attempt to learn all the Chemistry and Physics that happened since. A great way to study this kind of history is the Big History Project (http://www.bighistoryproject.com/home). I have personally viewed all their material once over, and I am hoping to do so again in the near future. Personally I feel they explain this timeline much more clearly than I ever could so I will not continue down this train of thought.

To conclude, I feel that Alchemy is the discipline* of learning the knowledge of all things, so as to be able to wilfully create change in any thing one wishes. The Alchemical discipline being broken down into two major disciplines of Internal; beginning with ‘I AM’, and External; beginning with the ‘Big Bang’.

Finally, I would like to explain what I would like this thread to be about. I wondered if it might be enjoyable if people posted an explanation of what Alchemy is to them, and their personal definition of Alchemy. In my opinion, as far as this thread goes, there are no wrong answers, as I am sure we all agree that Alchemy is closely linked to art and so in defining it we should have artistic licence.

*Anyone ever noticed how discipline really looks like disciple-line? :D

07-27-2016, 02:12 AM
The simplest definition I could come up with was:

Alchemy: Using will to create change in some thing, and finding/knowing a way to do so.

At this point, I would define Alchemy as 'creating a change in something towards this something's enlivenment'.

Creating solely for the sake of creating is more artistic to me, and a play in irrational fantasies. Alchemy is scientific, and tries to provoke a certain response following certain rules (Black, White and Red :cool:); it's the 'Royal Art'

07-27-2016, 02:46 AM
Self-transformation/transmutation... this thread might have some similar answers: What is your alchemical agenda? (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?4373-What-is-your-alchemical-agenda)


Loki Morningstar
07-27-2016, 10:13 AM
Kiorionis, Dev, thanks for replying to this thread. Your input is greatly appreciated.

If I am understanding you correctly, you are saying created change should be beneficial, either for the person willing the change, or for the thing being changed. Not change for changes sake?

If this is the case then I completely agree. I do fear this opens up the question "Does objective beneficiality exist?" but that is a whole other thread. In fact, one I would quite like to create. At the same time it is such an important point. I hope you don't mind but I will edit my post, while I still can, to reflect as much.

I look forward to reading through this thread. I hope it is not too close to this one.

As for 'transformation/transmutation', this is what I built my definition from. Great minds and all that. ;)

I took the word ‘transmutation’ and reduced it to its smallest parts. It is more concise the way you have put it. But I cannot seem to get away from my reductionist nature which tends towards simplest terms when defining things. Not the most efficient way to do things, but such is life. :)

07-27-2016, 10:24 AM
Cultivation and transmutation. The body the temple, the mind the lab and the heart the cauldron.
I invent the change I desire in my lab than create that change by cooking in my cauldron so that the change takes visible form in my temple which again ensures that my lab has all the materials it needs.
The path in (inner) alchemy I walk would be best descripted as cultivation seen in asian wuxia/xanxia lore or descripted as taoist inner alchemy with aspects of falun dafa/ qigong and other methods of energy/dantian breathing or inner cultivation

Just like you I am still a novice in many things but what my experience taught me is that it becomes less and less important how you yourself define alchemy but rather what you yourself have experienced. Everything else is no true knowledge just ideas and inspiration in my eyes.

Which is why someone like me, who exactly like you has interest in many different subjects and has read more sources than I could even estimate, was deeply shocked/inspired once I truely and not just mentally understood that I have not been collecting knowledge over these years but that I have been doing nothing. That I had been living a fantasy, a inspiring illusion.
Than I also understood that right and wrong true and false does not matter because everything I read/experience from others is always a fantasy for myself. I am not that other person and therefor all that he/she experienced is not reproduceable by myself. The only worth being seeing the principle or law which governs the experience of another.
If I see someone pouring hot water in a cup on a bag of tea than I do not know how to make tea or even if the other person even intends to make tea. All I know is the law/principle which governs the reaction between hot water and tea bag. As long as I never do it for myself I do not know how to make tea I just believe/imagine I would know.
These things seem like over the top explanations and cookie cutter mentality because obv. from observing someone making tea I wll be able to do the same but this is only on the outside. the more you look on the inside the more you will loose any observation,knowledge or guidance you believe you have gained.
So in short,
Doing not knowing
Experiencing not learning
introspection and not reflection

...But than again these are just my thoughts/beliefs and have no merrit for you other than in the best case scenario inspire you to become or teach you something about yourself in the way and degree to which you agree/disagree with my current understandings.

Loki Morningstar
07-27-2016, 12:03 PM
Nice post, I really appreciate your input. Your metaphor of Internal Alchemy is beautiful, and has really inspired me to write another post expanding on this metaphor (I'll be sure to reference you) which I will hopefully write before the end today, or perhaps tomorrow. Inspired to write two posts in one day. This should be an interesting challenge. :)

There is no true knowledge just ideas and inspiration

I agree, and your further statements expands on this idea nicely.
(Subjective/Objective discussion. I will keep this post short.
Although hope to create a new thread for that discussion.)

We live in a fantasy, an inspiring illusion. Right and wrong, true and false, does not matter because everything we experience is a fantasy filtered through, or created by, our self.

I am currently also of this mindset. As much as I also believe there is an objective universe, the subjective is reality to the individual.

Although I have read more sources than I could even estimate. I have not been collecting knowledge over these years but have been doing nothing. I have been living a fantasy, a inspiring illusion.

I have very recently realised this very same thing. Luckily:

It comes in ebbs and flows, and I wonder if we must live in the fantasy some of the time. Because when functioning in the moment, fully observant, at all times I eventually reach a point of sensory overload, or nervous exhaustion. I keep the faith that it’s possible, that one day I may manage it.

But lets not be too hard on ourselves eh?

Collecting knowledge/data is not completely useless. It is more than some will bother to do.

Awareness is the first step to correction.

These things seem like over the top explanations.

I do not personally think it is over the top. I completely agree. One may know how to pour water on a teabag, they still may never know how to make tea, as the other person did. The tea maker may have used a thermometer to gauge the temp of the water, left the teabag in for a specific amount of time, and unless one can attain their tea bag one may not know exactly what is in it.

These are just my thoughts/beliefs and have no merit for you.

Your thoughts certainly have had great merit for me. They have inspired me.

As a final note, I think as much as it is important not to overestimate the importance of ‘knowing’. If we class ‘knowing’ as just memory/data in the mind, or writing in our journals, then having well organised, experientially wealthy memory bank is always a good thing. But as we agreed, it is important to remember that these memory banks will have been passed through the filters of our mind twice, once on entry, once on review, they are not necessarily fact. And I suppose perhaps that is why you used the word ‘true knowledge’.

I suppose this again comes back to the idea of subjectivity and objectivity. I really must write that post! ;)