[On the Philosopher’s Stone]
Theosophist, January, 1883
Selections from the Article “Gleanings from Eliphas Levi: Rituel de le Haute Magie, Chapter XIX: The Magisterium of the Sun” | Notes by H.P.B.
. . . To discover the Absolute in the Infinite, in the Indefinite and in the Finite, is the Magnum Opus of the wise, which Hermes designates the work of the Sun.
To discover the unshakeable foundations of the true religious faith, of Philosophic Truth, and of the transformation of metals, this is the whole search of Hermes, this is the Philosopher’s stone.
This stone is one and multiple; it may be decomposed by analysis, and recomposed by synthesis. Analysed it is a powder, the so-called powder of projection of the alchemists. Prior to analysis, and after synthesis, it is a stone.1 . . .
It is unique and multiple, for it can be dissolved like ordinary salt, and incorporate itself in other substances. Obtained by analysis, it might be called the sublimated universal; recovered by synthesis, it is the true panacea of the ancients, wherhter of the soul or the body, and it has been called the medicine par excellence of the whole Nature. When by complete initiation one commands the forces of the universal agent one always has this stone, at one’s command; for the extraction of the stone is then a simple and easy operation, very distinct from the metallic projection or realization . . . The sage prefers to keep it in its natural envelopes, assured that he can extract it by a single effort of his will and a single application of the universal agent to the envelopes, which the Cabalists call its shells.2
1. “Prior to analysis” or “after synthesis”—the STONE is no stone at all, but the “rock”—foundation of absolute knowledge—our seventh principle.
2. He who studies the septenary nature of man and reads “The Elixir of Life” knows what this means. The seventh principle, or rather the 7th and 6th or the Spiritual Monad in one, is too sacred to be projected or used by the adept for the satisfaction and curiosity of the vulgar. The sage (the adept) keeps it in its shells (the 5 other principles) and knowing he can always “extract it by a single effort of his will,” by the power of his knowledge, will never expose this “stone” to the evil magnetic influences of the crowd. The author uses the cautious phraseology of the Mediaeval Alchemists, and no one having ever explained to the uninitiated public that the “Word” is no word, and the “Stone” no stone, the occult sciences are suffering thereby under the opprobrium of mockery and ignorance.