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View Poll Results: Does practical Alchemy include the Mystical Experience?

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  • Practical Alchemy does include the Mystical Experience.

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  • Practical Alchemy does not include the Mystical Experience.

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Thread: Alchemy and the Mystical Experience

  1. #1
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    Alchemy and the Mystical Experience

    After a recent conversation with someone, I've decided that one of the outcomes of practicing alchemy is the 'Mystical Experience'.

    I've made this into a poll just for gits and shiggles

    I define the mystical experience as: a subjective and momentary submission and 'Union with the Divine', in a determined or universal way, in dreams or waking consciousness, resulting in a new knowledge and understanding of the 'Divine'.

    Not only am I curious what others think about the mystical experience as a goal in alchemy, I'm also curious in any opinions, ideas and/or comments on the subject of mystical experiences in any way, shape or form.

    Such as an answer to the question, how would you define a 'mystical experience'?

    Last edited by Awani; 01-13-2015 at 04:17 AM. Reason: fix code
    Art is Nature in the flask; Nature is a vial thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiorionis View Post

    I define the mystical experience as: [i]a subjective and momentary submission and 'Union with the Divine', in a determined or universal way, in dreams or waking consciousness, resulting in a new knowledge and understanding of the 'Divine'.
    I've had an extremely deep mystical/spiritual 'state' (for complete lack of a better term) in the past, but I hesitate to try to define a "mystical/spiritual experience". One of the problems is the word "experience".

    "Experience" implies an "experiencer", or someone who is "experiencing" something. The word "experience" brings up all sorts of questions, such as: Does it involve recognition? Does it involve a sense of something 'happening' to me? Thus the "experience" implies a recognition of the event in terms of past memories, experiences, expectations, etc. You become a separate, biased "observer"of the event, rather than let the event become part of you. If the experience involves a form of remembrance or identification, , then there must have been a feeling that the experiencer already "knows" or "recognizes" it. Can there be an experience without an experiencer?

    As long as there is an "experiencer" experiencing something, then the event is something that is happening TO the experiencer, something that is not ordinary or habitual, and something that is separate. "Spiritual" implies something that could be religious, holy, profound, unexpected, or extraordinary. But why would we seek something that is totally different from our "ordinary" daily lives? Are we bored with our "normal" routines? Or are our "normal" routines really not what we should be pursuing?

    Seeking these experiences can become a form of ego, during which the experiencer or observer feels very important and above others who cannot achieve those states. So the real question is, can there be a period of time when the experiencer or observer is not important? At such a time, you do not want experiences, you just want nothing (i.e. no thoughts), and just a total state of "being". Only then can there be no "experiences" at all. In other words, at such a time, we are not experiencing the illusion of daily events based on observer prejudice, but the universe stark naked, as it really is.

    It is this time, during which there are no experiences at all, a time when there is no conscious, deliberate pursuit or desire to achieve something, no 'observer', a totally uninvited and unsought state, with a quality of something totally fresh and new, a sense of vast emptiness and fathomless energy, a sense of immeasurable joy and love, a sense of the absolute, a sense of total beauty and completeness, that I would call the mystical/spiritual 'state'. It's the ultimate - the whole universe is in it, you are not observing it, but ARE truly and completely it. You become everything and everything is you until there is no longer a separate "you". It becomes the real thing, completely separate from experience and ego.

    P.S. Practical alchemy is totally dependent on "experience". Thus, based on what i have said above, practical alchemy cannot possibly include the mystical experience (although it could conceivably trigger it).
    Last edited by Illen A. Cluf; 01-13-2015 at 08:27 PM.

  3. #3
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    This is a difficult question to answer as there are so many permutations of the meaning of "mystical experience"

    For example from Thersaurus.com it lists synonyms of "mystical" as...

    Esoteric, Magical, Anagogic, Arcane, Cryptic, Hermetical, Orphic

    and then goes on to list words related to "mystical" as...

    abstruse, anagogic, arcane, cabalistic, cryptic, enigmatical, hidden, imaginary, impenetrable, inscrutable, magic, magical, metaphysical, mysterial, mysterious, necromantic, nonrational, numinous, occult, otherworldly, paranormal, preternatural, quixotic, sorcerous, spiritual, supernatural, telestic , thaumaturgic, transcendental, unaccountable, unknowable, visionary, wizardly

    it continues with a list of sub-headings and their "mystical" related words...

    Cryptic adj. secret; obscure in meaning

    abstruse, ambiguous, apocryphal, arcane, cabalistic, dark, Delphian, Delphic, enigmatic, equivocal, esoteric, evasive, hidden, incomprehensible, inexplicable, murky, mysterious, mystic, mystical, mystifying, occult, opaque, oracular, perplexing, puzzling, recondite, secretive, strange, tenebrous, unclear, unfathomable, uninformative, vague, veiled



    Dark adj. hidden, secret

    abstruse, anagogic, arcane, cabalistic, complicated, concealed, cryptic, deep, Delphian, enigmatic, esoteric, intricate, knotty, mysterious, mystic, mystical, mystifying, not known, obscure, occult, puzzling, recondite


    this goes on with each entry listing a group of related words with slightly different connotations...

    Anagogic adj. occult
    ...
    ...
    Difficult adj. complicated; hard to comprehend
    Divine adj. godlike, perfect
    Esoteric adj. mysterious, obscure
    Hidden adj. unseen, secret
    Metaphysical adj. not physical; without physical presence
    Mysterious adj. secret, concealed
    Mystic adj. secret
    Occult adj. mysterious, secret; supernatural
    Oracular adj. prophetic
    Otherworldly adj. extraterrestrial; psychic
    Recondite adj. mysterious, obscure
    Secret adj. hidden, unrevealed
    Transcendental adj. surpassing


    and as yet we haven't even considered the word "experience", which similarly has many different connotations.

    From Wikipedia...

    "Experience is the knowledge or mastery of an event or subject gained through involvement in or exposure to it."
    I shall leave the reader to peruse the dictionary meaning of "experience" and the words related to it in the Thesaurus.

    As part of the alchemical lab one should have an alter at which to pray for guidance in the laboratory work...not a religious place of sacrifice, but a place of concentration/meditation to connect with what is.

    IMO Alchemy without "mystical experience" is Chemistry.

    Ghislain

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    Are we bored with our "normal" routines? Or are our "normal" routines really not what we should be pursuing?
    I can't speak for others, but I am bored with "normal" routines and I do believe that our "normal routines are really not what we should be pursuing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    Seeking these experiences can become a form of ego, during which the experiencer or observer feels very important and above others who cannot achieve those states.
    I cannot experience these states, but I have asked to see what is and through the medium of psychedelics I believe I have seen. There was a stage where I saw the Ego and laughed at it, and another stage where I realised that nothing at all matters. The final stage, for me, was seeing everything for what it is and the purpose of what we are. If I were to describe that then my words would corrupt it into yet another religious script. The answer lies in all of them, but how can you come to an understanding of something that has absolutely no meaning in the realm of this world...you need to seek the "mystical experience".

    I will just say that no one is above another in any way shape or form except in their own mentality.

    (check out my entry in the Ayahuasca Report).

    I feel like I cheated with the psychedelics and would love to be able to have the experience without them, but I'm too lazy .

    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    At such a time, you do not want experiences, you just want nothing (i.e. no thoughts), and just a total state of "being". Only then can there be no "experiences" at all. In other words, at such a time, we are not experiencing the illusion of daily events based on observer prejudice, but the universe stark naked, as it really is.
    Can you know if you have that state of being without thought?

    Is there actually a Universe?

    Look at the science's

    We believe something may be such a way, we go looking and we find it; convenient?

    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    It is this time, during which there are no experiences at all, a time when there is no conscious, deliberate pursuit or desire to achieve something, no 'observer', a totally uninvited and unsought state, with a quality of something totally fresh and new, a sense of vast emptiness and fathomless energy, a sense of immeasurable joy and love, a sense of the absolute, a sense of total beauty and completeness, that I would call the mystical/spiritual 'state'. It's the ultimate - the whole universe is in it, you are not observing it, but ARE truly and completely it. You become everything and everything is you until there is no longer a separate "you". It becomes the real thing, completely separate from experience and ego.
    Now imagine that you already have all of that and have had it since infinity...where would you go from there?

    Turn everything you said up-side-down and here you are!

    Think Human think Tamagotchi.

    Ghislain

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghislain View Post
    I can't speak for others, but I am bored with "normal" routines and I do believe that our "normal routines are really not what we should be pursuing.
    I agree. My question was meant to emphasize that, during our 'normal' routines, we feel bored and always seem to look for something that is novel, as though we feel that our normal routines aren't enough, or don't seem to lead us to what is 'real'. We need our normal routines in order to take care of our physical needs, as well as for 'entertainment'. But what we seem to be here for is not only to learn and experience all that is physical, but also to envelope all that is spiritual.

    I cannot experience these states, but I have asked to see what is and through the medium of psychedelics I believe I have seen. There was a stage where I saw the Ego and laughed at it, and another stage where I realized that nothing at all matters. The final stage, for me, was seeing everything for what it is and the purpose of what we are. If I were to describe that then my words would corrupt it into yet another religious script. The answer lies in all of them, but how can you come to an understanding of something that has absolutely no meaning in the realm of this world...you need to seek the "mystical experience".
    You admit that "you" (i.e. 'ego') want to "see" (i.e. 'observe') the state, and even that there was an Ego ("I") who "laughed at" Ego. All this still implies the existence of an "Ego". My point about "Ego" was about the existence of an "observer" who observes the "experience". By observing implies using memories, past experience, opinions, etc., etc. to evaluate the experience. Thus my point, that a spiritual state cannot possibly be an "experience". The spiritual state involves no Ego "observing" the state, no past memories, past experiences, opinions, etc., all of which are used by the Ego to judge the state. A spiritual state (at least as how it happened to me) happened spontaneously, without will, without me being an observer, without me having any opinions or judging the state. All that only happened AFTER the state, when my Ego kicked back in and my opinions, past experience, etc. began to judge it in retrospect. During the state, there was no "me" separate from that state. There was nothing in that state that I could relate to any past experience. It was totally novel. I have had many hallucinogenic experiences in the past, and they were nothing like this state. Through meditation, I have tried to get into a mystical state for many decades, but never succeeded. The mystical state that I did achieve happened spontaneously, without any intention, although there might have been preceding events that triggered it. During the state, it felt that my entire body was 'glowing'. It was also accompanied with a state of euphoria, hard to describe. It's almost like having goosebumps on every cell of your body, and a mind that has no limits or specific focus. The mystical experience does indeed bring you in contact with what I would consider the ultimate Reality and Understanding.

    I feel like I cheated with the psychedelics and would love to be able to have the experience without them, but I'm too lazy .
    From my 'experience' it is not something that can be specifically pursued, although I understand that there are those who can attain it through deep meditation. Otherwise, it just seems to come in its own time. Perhaps I may only have had that one state once while alive. Perhaps that's all that's needed to give our physical life meaning.

    Can you know if you have that state of being without thought?
    That's the whole irony of it. IMO, it's not something that you can "know" until after you have had it and your Ego kicks back in. The state itself is completely dependent on "not knowing" and having no preconceptions or judgement whatsoever. That's what I tried to say earlier, about it NOT being an "experience". I think a lot of people confuse this" spiritual state" with a pseudo "spiritual experience", which is more akin to a "meditative state" where observation and judgement by the "I" can still operate. Thus you can indeed associate the meditative state with alchemical operations, but definitely NOT the truly spiritual state where there is no sense of observing and judging of "an experience". This is very difficult for me to explain.

    Is there actually a Universe?
    That is entirely dependent on how you would define "Universe".

    Now imagine that you already have all of that and have had it since infinity...where would you go from there?

    Ghislain
    You go exactly where you are already going. For each it will be totally different.
    Last edited by Illen A. Cluf; 01-15-2015 at 10:52 PM.

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    Beautiful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    The mystical state that I did achieve happened spontaneously, without any intention, although there might have been preceding events that triggered it.
    What were these possible trigger events?
    I won't be offended if you prefer to keep it private.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dendritic Xylem View Post
    What were these possible trigger events?
    I won't be offended if you prefer to keep it private.
    Well, I believe that perhaps everyone has the potential to be triggered into such a state, as long as they don’t specifically seek it, but instead remain open to it when it does begin to occur. It’s so easy to become frightened or to try to judge it as it begins to happen, that I think many beautiful opportunities are lost as a result. I debated about whether to reveal the story or not, because whenever I have told close friends this story, it’s almost always met with disbelief. In a way, it’s indeed very personal, and the only way it can be appreciated and be “believed” is by being in such a state yourself.

    But, even though one risks ridicule, I think it’s the duty of those who have been in such a state to pass along whatever they can so that others will be prepared for it when it does begin to happen to them. A small inner voice might then be remembered, and say, “remember that weirdo who had that mystical state and what he said?” I’m sure there are as many “triggers” as examples of such states, but if enough people relate their stories, perhaps some common element or understanding can be gained. At the very least it might help in being more prepared. So, with those provisions, I will here relate a brief summary of what I remember happening.

    it was a very strange occurrence. It happened during the late 1990’s, when I was still very deeply involved in Grail research. An author who wrote several Grail/Hermetic-related books posted a picture in the back of his first book ("Bloodline of the Holy Grail") done by an artist (Peter Robson), showing a battle between Roman soldiers and early Gnostic British warriors (Celts). The battle is occurring on a chessboard surrounded by symbolic Grail, Holy Bloodline, esoteric and alchemical imagery: Mary Magdalene, the Sun and Moon, the table of the Last Supper, a Unicorn purifying the Underground Stream, a painting by Da Vinci, Arthur’s round table (from Winchester), a spear striking a dragon, etc. Much of it is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s book, but this was before his book. (The group I was involved with was discussing just about everything important that Dan Brown relates in his book – but we were doing that during the 1980’s at the time Baigent’s book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” came out. One of the participants I communicated with at that time was the first to come up with (and write a book about) the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were man and wife. Brown never acknowledged her theory in his book). Anyways, the Grail is obviously one of the pieces on the chessboard.

    The artist was selling numbered large framed prints of the painting at the time, and I purchased one (along with two other related prints of his paintings). I studied the painting very intensely, and was able to figure out which soldier or Celt or object represented which type of chess piece. I figured that there must be an underlying message behind the chess layout, since at the time, the author was undertaking a contest along with his books, related to the imagery behind the paintings.

    My son was interested in chess at the time, so I asked him to set up a chessboard with the pieces as I indicated. I had about 15 books on chess, many of which showed many dozens of famous or obscure chess layouts. I picked up a single book at random and opened the book at random. The book fell open the first time, to the one picture in all of my books of that particular chess layout in the Grail painting! What were the odds of that happening!! It was an obscure layout of a chess game that took place, I believe in the early 1900’s. I later calculated the odds of that configuration matching the illustration, and it was something like billions of times less likely than winning a Lottery!

    Not only that, but the chess layout was also, appropriately, an example of “chess blindness”. This means that one of the elite players was so involved in trying to determine the intricacies of the next move, that he missed the very most obvious step. It’s like what happens to us on a constant basis – we always tend to miss the most obvious. This is also said of Alchemy. We look for the most complicated solution, but miss the most obvious.

    The very incredible synchronistic nature of having that particular book open at the very and only illustration of the Grail chessboard layout (every single piece fit perfectly) in my entire collection of chess books, at the very time I also happened to be reading Carl Jung’s books on “Synchonicity” the evening before, so suddenly shocked and enthused me at the same time, that I had an intense “Ah Hah!” experience which not only jolted my body, like being struck with electrical energy, but seemed to bring me to the point where it seemed to trigger my whole body and soul into a most deep euphoric state. It felt like my entire body was very hot, almost feverish, and it felt like I had goosebumps everywhere, inside and out. The feeling intensified over the next hour or so until I and the mystical state was synonymous. I recalled later, that during that state, I was not only aware of everything, but I WAS that awareness. It was the moment that I realized for certain that ‘God’ (Awareness) is not just some separate entity towering over us, asking us to worship it, but that we and everything is all one seamless ‘part’ (not the correct word but am only using that word to make it a little more understandable) of ‘God’. I had numerous other insights (which seemed to happen instantly) which I won’t get into here. Only the tiniest fraction of the realization remained with me once my ego returned and began analyzing what happened.

    The glowing state lasted for a day or two afterwards, while I kept thinking of what happened, but it was nowhere as intense as the state itself. I have never before or since come anywhere close to that single state (although I had other very unusual psychic-like “experiences” in the past).

    There you have it. As far as I remember, in black and white, this is exactly what happened - and this is not an allegorical story.
    Last edited by Illen A. Cluf; 01-16-2015 at 05:17 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    Only the tiniest fraction of the realization remained with me once my ego returned and began analyzing what happened.
    I totally relate to your experience.

    This is how I explained returning...I realised my emotion had returned...things began to matter again and I knew it was over.

    As I have said before words cannot begin to explain it.

    My analysis, whether right or wrong, was that it is vitally important to take control of our emotions and related this to the seven deadly sins, seven cardinal sins or seven capital vices ... whichever name suits ....

    Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride.

    Perhaps these are the qualities of Ego.

    Ghislain



    Edit: Ego


    1. the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.


    2. Psychoanalysis. the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.


    3. egotism; conceit; self-importance.


    4. self-esteem or self-image; feelings.


    5. (often initial capital letter) Philosophy. a.the enduring and conscious element that knows experience. b. Scholasticism. the complete person comprising both body and soul.


    6. Ethnology. a person who serves as the central reference point in the study of organizational and kinship relationships.
    Last edited by Ghislain; 01-16-2015 at 09:26 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghislain View Post
    I totally relate to your experience.

    This is how I explained returning...I realised my emotion had returned...things began to matter again and I knew it was over.
    Exactly! Our egos (although necessary for physical survival) seem to get in the way of the true spiritual state.

    As I have said before words cannot begin to explain it.
    A true understatement. All we can do is try.


    Edit: Ego


    1. the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.


    2. Psychoanalysis. the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.


    3. egotism; conceit; self-importance.


    4. self-esteem or self-image; feelings.


    5. (often initial capital letter) Philosophy. a.the enduring and conscious element that knows experience. b. Scholasticism. the complete person comprising both body and soul.


    6. Ethnology. a person who serves as the central reference point in the study of organizational and kinship relationships.
    Excellent summary of "ego". Many think it generally only means #3 and #4, but it goes deeper, as I tried to explain above. I particularly relate to the philosophical definition in #5, regarding "experience".

    I strongly believe that one of the purposes of human life is to learn the difference between body, soul and spirit, and also how they relate to each other. Many religious as well as alchemical Philosophers have said the same.

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