Alchemy and Magic

The overt purpose of alchemy is said to be the transmutation of base metals into gold. But the higher or hidden purpose is actually the transformation of the ‘base’ consciousness into the spiritually aware or enlightened state.

The three primary elements used in alchemy are sulfur, salt and mercury. These correspond to the three nadis or subtle channels named Pingala, Ida, and Sushumna in the Indian tradition. Pingala and Ida (corresponding to sulfur and salt), are the hot and cold nadis on either side of the spine, and Sushumna is the central channel running through the middle of the spinal cord, leading to the brain.

Mercury (also referred to as quicksilver) is described as the snowy splendor drawn from the beams of the sun and moon. This corresponds to the lustrous flow of prana to the brain through the spine (Sushumna). Sun and moon are also referred to as ‘king and queen’, which correspond to Shiva and Shakti of the Indian tradition.

The roots of magic go back to the ancient cultures of Egypt and Greece. No doubt the paranormal abilities that are said to be attainable by one who awakens Kundalini (called siddhis in the Indian tradition) are the actual source of these beliefs.

In light of the super-intelligent aspect of prana-Shakti however, the notion that the power behind magic could ever be controlled or exploited for personal gain without consequence can only be regarded as futile. The detrimental effects that this often compulsive desire for power have on the mind are the main reason why magic has been condemned by virtually all the major spiritual traditions of the past.