The origins of all things is believed to be the Great One who first considered and so formed the eternal idea of all things. The Great One was the supernatural foundation of its creatures, the pattern in whose image they were made.
The Great One created the first matter; this first matter condensed into the Waters of the ABYSS. The Word that is Light emanated from the Great One, and it pierced physical matter and formed in it a pattern which contained potentially all that was to be in the world. The Great Spirit, working upon this Chaos, separated the subtle from the gross by a cosmic distillation: �terrible mysterious Radiation from the Great One upon the Chaos, and dark evaporations of the Chaos toward the Great One.�
In this way, by Divine heat and Light, there was first separated from the mass a spiritual substance containing three parts of Light to one of matter; this formed the bodies of the Empyrean Sphere and the Gods. Next was separated a less subtle substance, two parts of Light to three of matter, which formed the interstellar heavens; and the still less subtle, one part of Light to three of matter, which is air, breath, Spirit. This is the link between the celestial and terrestrial world. In this air are innumerable magickal forms of minerals, plants, animals and men; it is the receptacle of Spirits after the Dissolution.
It is the fuel of the vital sensual fire, and the fire that passes through all hands. It is the subject on which the Alchemist Works. The residue of the original mass consisted of the four elements, and there are in the elements a little sun and a little moon, which could marry and generate; these are the fire and the moisture, and they are influenced by the sun and the moon, respectively. The generation of new things depends on the marriage of the fire and the moisture in the womb of the earth. What new thing is to be generated depends on a portion of the original Light seeded in the substance in question.
The Philosophers� Stone is a condensed and subtle form of the Light. It is based upon the subtlization and subsequent fixation of the soul, and it can perfect any body. The Stone is perfect matter, made up of the Great One�s Light and a spiritual body, by which bodies can be redeemed and perfected.
The mysterious doctrine of Alchemy pertains to a hidden reality of the highest order which constitutes the underlying essence of all truths and all religions. The perfection of this essence is termed the Absolute; it can be perceived and realized only if consciousness is radically altered and transmuted from the ordinary (lead-like) level of perception to a subtle (gold-like) level of perception, so that every object is perceived in its archetypical form, which is contained within the Absolute. The realization of the eternal perfection of everything everywhere constitutes the Universal Redemption.
The sacred, secret, ancient and profound science of Alchemy, the royal or sacerdotal art, conceals the means of penetrating the very secrets of Nature, Life and Death, Unity, Eternity and Infinity. Among Alchemists, the knowledge of the attainment of spiritual transformation is called the �Great Secret,� and the method of attaining it, the �Great Work.�
All of the classical systems of transformation state the requirement of doing �good works� in addition to applying the methodology. Since �good works� are a requirement in the preparation for prosecuting the Work, they usually are accomplished first before application of the methodology. Without the resistance of the consensus world, the methodology succeeds rapidly; thus the preparation is most important. If the preparation is not sufficient (and this is the main cause of failure to attain the transformation), the Work will come to a bad end. It is possible, if one has not grown too old and weak, to destroy the �rotten fruit� and start the process over again. In the end the Babe of the ABYSS, the immortal soul, enters Eternity by Crossing the ABYSS.
�Any descent within oneself, any look within, is the same as an Ascent, and Assumption, a look towards the true reality without. The renunciation of oneself is the basis of any true ascent. The first step is a look within, a contemplation of our very self. The second step must be an efficacious look without, an active observation of the outside world. We shall understand the world when we understand ourselves; for it and we are inseparable halves of one whole. We are children of God, divine seeds. One day, we shall be what our Father is.� -- Novalis
The Alchemical Work is divided into different steps or stages, each represented by different symbols by each Alchemist, though the overall Work remains the same in every case. This is the Way of Alchemists, to fool the fools, but those whose Eye is single will see and understand. Another reason for the obscurity of alchemical texts is that they are a challenge to the heroic nature of the seeker who wishes to understand himself; the Labyrinth is a defiance of linear logic, which is this context is useless. The Minotaur of the absurd will quickly rout the hero who cannot overcome his logic to rely on intuition for understanding the matter at hand. For this reason, the language of alchemy relies heavily on pictures to teach the seeker secrets of the Path. http://merlinravensong2.tripod.com/aug11.jpg