Alchemy And The Most Well Known Alchemist In The World Revealed

Alchemy is an ancient medieval art to some, science to others, of transmuting base, unhelpful substances into pure substance of high value. Unbeknownst to the public at large, this process was designed to be utilized everywhere and on everything. The literature during the middle ages and the Renaissance, however, clung to a metals metaphor and the process of alchemy was never able to shake it. Thus, alchemy is always associated with the transmutation of base metals into finer metals, or led into gold.

While it is true that numerous people devoted their time to actually trying to convert simple metals into silver and gold, it is also true that other alchemists were interpreting the literature as metaphorical and applicable on multiple levels. Alchemy was closely associated with magic throughout history and people did not want to be perceived as a witch or a sorcerer, so they hid their written word in the story of metallic transmutation. As magical as converting metals is, even more magical is exporting the theory into human consciousness.

If you can change metals and their constitutions to become something else entirely, you have a powerful skill. With this skill, changing metals might be the FIRST thing you think of doing. But metals like silver and gold are only means to an end. They ultimately store value for you so when there is something you want, usually something tangible, you trade your metal for that. But the best things in life aren't things…it is much more difficult to trade gold or silver for intangible things like contentment or joy. As you accumulate precious metals, everyone knows there is a tug within your conscience to become more focused on the metals, the material substances, then the intangible things that can be more real to us. It is how a rich person can fall for the trap and become cold, unable to empathesize with his fellow, less wealthy men. The gold preoccupies his mind and heart, he cannot think of you and your well being as well!

The Real Secret

When you discover the secret of transmutation, changing metals is the LAST thing you want to be focusing on when there are more substantial things to change within your own consciousness. Have you been bothered by returning thoughts that you cannot get out of your mind? Are there certain habits ingrained into your being that cause discord for your relationships? Are you able to truly have a relationship with yourself, to get to know yourself? Transmuting the lead into gold within these areas cuts right to the chase. There is no middle man of metal to get to your perfect life state. The curious thing about alchemy is transmutating metals is the hardest to accomplish because there natural laws at work governing those metals. The laws governing your mind and your consciousness are so much more in your control…if you have the will and ethics to properly hold the reigns.

Harry Potter Is More Magical Than You Realize

The story of Harry Potter gripped the globe during the first decade of the new millenium, with over 400 million copies sold to date and it has been translated into a mind numbing 73 languages 1). Everyone and their foreign cousin was reading Harry Potter, the story of a boy who was wizard. Conservative Christian organizations campaigned against the book, to no avail, because of the book's tacit encouragement of the world of magic. Most moderate and liberal Christian groups recognized that their kids were going apeshit about reading books and so they didn't really mind. Indeed, upon close inspection J.K. Rowling did not draw her magical world from an existing magical doctrine; she created one herself entirely. (Although as we shall see, she did use alchemy as a foundation for the story, just not to create the spells). The kids in the book do speak a number of spells and incantations, all of which came from clever word creations of foreign languages. The one spell that almost relates to current magical thought is the charm “abracadabra”, which in a modified form “abrahadabra” was used by Aleister Crowley during his magical period 2). People most notably recognize the word as used by stage magicians performing known manipulations of perception. A stage magician makes a bunny appear out of his hat and everyone claps because they can't see how he did that, but they know he had a non magical means of hiding how he did it. This is a very different thing from what Crowley and people who practice magic as a phiosophy were doing. Rowling used the word “avada kedavra” for her most potent of all spells in her magical word; a death spell that was punishable by life imprisonment should one dare to speak it. But Rowling meant it as a ironic play on the fact that muggles such as ourselves use that term for phony magic and for jokes. If you use that word (roughly speaking) in her world, the most serious of consequences can occur. To someone reading her work and noticing that connection, it makes them chuckle at bit. That's as close as you get to Rowling using pagan magic in her works.

But pagan magic is not the only kind of magic. In the History Of Muggle Magic, we will see that the tradition of witchcraft and wizardry was brutally attacked during the middle ages. Because of a partriarchal society, waaay more women were identified as magical people than men. They were the herb gatherers and the tincture makers (i.e. potion masters) who stay connected to the earth and her secrets of wisdom and vitality. It wasn't so much that their actions were completely open about being magical. It was that their lifestyle was threatening to the close minded perspective at the time and there wasn't much they could do to avoid harassment.

Another kind of magic is alchemy, which quite organically filled the gaps during the witch burning crazes of the late middle ages and Renaissance (around 1300s to 1800s) 3). Alchemy officially was a process of experimenting with metallurgy to convert lesser quality metals into gold. That was something that attracted the monarchs of the world and so even if the church was concerned that alchemy was tied to magic, many kings and queens were privately taking care of alchemists in hopes of finding cheap sources of gold. John Dee and Edward Kelley are probably the most famous examples of people who travelled Europe working as court astrologers and alchemists for favorable monarchs 4) 5) Unofficially, alchemy had evolved well beyond just transmuting base metals into gold. As exciting as creating new material wealth was at the time, even more exciting was the prospect of transmuting negative aspects of their own human consciousness into something valueable and noble. They turned the alchemical process inward and began to become the philosopher's stone themselves. It was as magical as it gets, just as magical as the witches with their Earth magic, yet they maintained the same language about metal work to conceal their true intentions. This kept them alive and away from the most of the murderous hands of those in conservative power. In an irony of history that has successfully repeated itself, J.K. Rowling has passed on the knowledge of magical alchemy under the pretense of not passing on witchcraft. It worked in the middle ages and Renaissance and it is working today.

Don't believe us when we say Harry Potter is actually magical? Think we are lying when we say J.K. Rowlling is an alchemist who intentionally wrote her story with the intention of communicating alchemical truths? Let us then take a look at what we know and see if this position can stand on its own.

Harry Potter and Alchemy; A Simple Comparison

The original first title was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but J.K. Rowling's American publishers did not think this was sexy enough so they changed philosopher to “sorceror”. The entire first book deals with the philosopher's stone, which is what alchemists desire to make because it facilitates the creation of two things; lead into gold and the creation of the exilir of life.

Indeed, the entire book series expands on the first book's premise and explores what happens when someone creates the philosopher's stone of alchemy for the wrong reasons, as Voldemort does. No one can deny that the book revolves around alchemy. But once we know some of the basics about alchemy, no one will be able to deny that J.K. Rowling wrote the book with an actual alchemical message in mind; she didn't just use alchemy as a literary device.

Why only the basics? Alchemy is a complicated clusterfuck that very few claim to understand. Since all of their works were apparently metaphorical, they would be speaking about “Mercury” but not the planet or the metal. They would refer to it as “our mercury” and mean something different about it. They would do this with a lot of words that you think you know the meaning to but you don't actually know what they are referencing 6). There are, generally speaking, some basic concepts that all alchemists work from that doesn't have go into the nitrry gritty of alchemy and we will look at those nuts and bolts here.

The Main Characters Are The 3 Principle Elements Of Alchemy

Alchemy requires 3 “elements”, which are known as salt, sulfur, and mercury. True to the alchemical confusion, these words sort of mean the the items you associate with them; the abundant chemical preserver, the foul smelling green gas, and the liquid metal known as quicksilver. Yet the alchemist also met to internalize the qualities of these things and so they designated general understandings about each of them.

  • Salt repesented the physical body
  • Sulfur represented the soul (usually identifies with the heart)
  • Mercury represented the spirit (usually identified with the mind)

Notice that the term heart appeals more to the characteristics of “giving of the heart” and “having a strong heart”. Courage and bravery don't come from the actual heart. These apply less to the physical organ and something more (which they allude to the soul) when we say those things. This is what the alchemists were referring to. Likewise with mercury's symbolism of the mind; not the brain itself but the level of consciousness beyond the body and heart.

The correlations found between the basic elements needed for the grand alchemical experiment and the 3 main characters is beyond coincidence.

  • Harry is born in true love and true love is courageous. His mother and father died for him without hesitation. Love and courage are characteristics of the heart. Harry must show true courage to discover the prophecy about himself and the most dangerous man in the world, Lord Voldemort. Knowing he was destined to face off against this threat and yet still finding the ability to do it takes more courage than most people have. Also, one of Harry's most defining features include is beautiful green eyes, which is the same color as sulfur. Harry is the soul.
  • Hermione's name can be split into two names, Hermi-one, which alludes to “hermetic one”, alchemy being the hermetic science and art. Alchemy/hermeticism are closely related and the hermetic philosophy derives it's name from the Greek god Hermes, which is also the Roman god Mercury. Since the planet Mercury was the closest to the sun and subsequently moved the quickest in the sky, astronomers were quick to assign an important task to Hermes/Mercury; a messenger of the Gods. Hermione is always the quickest mentally speaking in the novels. She is frequently the one solving the mystery and delivering the message to the reader.
  • In an interview, J.K. Rowling said explicitly that Hermione was embodying herwelf, and since she is the writer of the whole series, this is an indication that she was delivering a (hermetic/alchemical) message.
  • Hermione's parents were muggles who worked as dentists. When someone has a cavity, dentists traditionally fill the hole with mercury amalgam. The element mercury has the elemental symbol Hg. Hermione's full name is Hermione Granger, which abbreviates to H.G.
  • Ron Weasley ………….because we are on the subject of spirituality with this kind of metaphorical alchemy, it is not unrelated that there are 7 chakras within the body, occupying the crown of the head, the eyebrow region, the throat, the heart, the solar plexus, the groin, and the “root” chakra. All seven have a definite color associated with it. The root chakra as about physical reality and being grounded to the Earth. It is red, like Weasley's hair.
  • Considering the root chakra as a center of grounding, it is also interesting to note that the entire Weasley household (all redheads) provide a very solid, grounding home for Harry.
  • Ron is the Salt of the alchemist elements, representing the body and physicality. He is not the brave one like Harry nor is he the brains like Hermoine. Ron's full name is Ronald Bilius Weasley. The name Bilius is remarkably close to “bilious”, a reference word for too much excretion of bile for digestion. What is bile? Gallbladder bile is 92% water, 6% salt, 1-2% fat, .3% bilirubin and a miniscult amount of other salts 7). One can see the correletion between bile —> bilious —> bilius.
  • It is interesting to note that in an all important alchemical text, The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, the conversation of chess comes up as an important piece of discussion 8). Ron plays a pivotal role in Hary's first vanquishing of evil (a grounding experience for a boy who had no power and nothing before that first year at Hogwarts) in book 1 by winning the life sized chess match. Ron is sacrificed and struck across the head by the other team's Queen. The aforementioned book mentions multiple kings and queens being sacrificed along the alchemical journey.

Clearly, the 3 main characters represented the 3 main elements.

The Four Houses As The Four Elements Of The Philosophers

Alchemy and the Hermetic tradition are steeped in magical understanding, astrology included. This includes the most basic princple of the four elements of the philosphers; air, water, fire, and earth. All of the elements together make a special fifth element called spirit. As with the internal message of alchemy, these elements are more than just the physical manifestions. It is the quality that mattered.

When practicing alchemy as an internal discipline, not metallurgy, you associate the qualities of air, water, fire, and earth to your operation.

  • Air was warm and wet, associated with thinking.
  • Fire was warm and dry, associated with action and not holding back.
  • Water was cold and wet, associated with the emotions.
  • Earth was cold and dry, associated with the fortitude of hard work.

Spirit was found within all the elements but its power came from the unification of all the elements. If one element is lacking, you don't have the real spirit.

In the novels, we see the setting yet again conforming exactly to the alchemical plan. Hogwarts is split into 7 grades and 4 houses, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Syltherin, and Hufflepuff. Take a look at their basic characteristics…

  • Ravenclaw was for the clever and smart (i.e. the quality of air). All of the students who hail from this house are given the quality of being mentally swift.
  • Gryffindor was for the brave and courageous (i.e. the quality of fire). Gryffindors, the bravest of the bunch, will act as fast as fire burns in the time of need. They will do the right thing even if it gets them into trouble. They don't think about the rammifications, just as even the smallest of fires blazes a trail without recourse.
  • Syltherin was for the cunning and emotively strong (i.e. the quality of water). All of the slytherin characters show signs of being emotionally intelligent, which goes hand in hand with the element water, the symbol of emotion. They just happen to be known to use their emotional power for their own purposes, which gives them a bad rap. Thus, the snake is the perfect symbol for slytherin because of its slippery manner of operating, people don't trust snakes. Snakes are also known throughout the world as symbols of wisdom, representing Slytherin's cunning aspect.
  • Hufflepuff was for the hard workers (i.e. the quality of Earth). Usually considered the boring House of the four, Hufflepuff's simple nature fits well with the basic toil needed on the Earth for living; gathering food and water and building shelter.

Clearly, the 4 Houses represented the 4 Elements of the Philosophers.

The 7 Stages Of Alchemy As Applied To Harry Potter

Alchemists throughout history have squabbled over how many stages, and just what exactly, is done during the Great Work to create the philosopher's stone. Ranging from 7 to 15 stages, generally speaking there is 7 stages all alchemists can recognize.

  • Calcination- Year 1- In the first stage of alchemy, calcination, is the burning of your base substance into ashes. The process uses sulfuric acid. Many see it as the removal of that which is unnecessary for your transformation towards enlightenment; Harry certainly had a lot to shed from his 11 terrible years in the Dursley house. True to the format that the book and its setting IS the alchemical experiment, Harry (and the reader) passes successfully through calcination when he places his hands on Professor Quirrell and burns him into submission.
  • Dissolution-Year 2-The second stage, dissolution, refers to taking the ashes from the calcination stage and dissovling them into a liquid. Harry vanquished the body that Voldemort harbored in Book 1, which was Professor Quirrell, and in book 2 he must face Voldemort in a more ethereal form, i.e. a cursed memory from Voldermort's childhood journal. This stage involves more than just material sloughing off in the process towards the philospher's stone, it represents emotions that hold you back that must be confronted for the process of alchemy to work. It's not surprising that the book is found in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom (moaning-emotions that need to be dealt with) and the chamber of secrets is really a pathway of running water. Myrtle represents someone haunted by their emotions. She haunts the girl's bathroom because she looked directly into the Basilisk, which is deadly, and thus she represents one who does not pass beyond the stage of dissolution.
  • Separation-Year 3- The 3rd stage, separation, involves the filtering of what is useful from your dissolution stage and discarding that which is not useful or not true to you. Harry enters year 3 by learning about his mother and father's history, meeting Lupin, Black, Pettigrew and the old crew. Lupin teaches him how to let go of his untruthful fears that become so strong in the presence of dementors and cast a powerful patronus. The meeting of his family's true friends, establishing a bond with them that will last into the future, and discarding the old fears allows Harry to pass through the process of separation successfully.
  • Conjunction-Year 4- The 4th stage, conjunction, involves the joining of all the previous parts of the alchemical process into one unified, new substance. The 4th book was the Triwizard tournament, where Harry had to walk three 3 stages that were very reminiscient of the stages he covered in books one, two, and three.The first stage, calcination, is revisited as the Triwizard participants had to face off against a dragon and take its egg from it. Dragons obiously represent fire, as the first stage also represents, but the dragon is also a symbol of materiality. They hoard and hold treasures to the point that their lives become dependent upon them. Defeating the dragon and it's prize possession helps walk through the process of calcination and let burn the things you don't need anymore. In the second challenge of the book, Harry must complete a task under the lake. This is an obvious symbol of the water element and hinting at Harry being the solid that is dissolved in the dissolution process. The final stage, the maze that leads to the graveyard, is symbolic of the separation stage. Separation involves moving things away and being aware of their material boundaries. The maze is a symbol of Earth and the graveyard couldn't be a better symbol of material boundary; the boundary between life and death.Harry gets a chance in book 4 to do steps 1-3 again and hone his alchemical process into one substance as he moves forward.
  • Fermentation-Year 5-The 5th stage, fermentation, involves the death of something, but true to the cyclical nature of alchemy, the death brought about by something being fermented is a cause for new life for that microorganism doing the work. The 5th book involves a number of visions and mental operations for Harry. He has to practice Occlumency with Snape as means of becoming in control of these visions. Sirius Black represents the blackening process, or nigredo process. Once this process is undertaken, the whitening process (or albedo process) can commence. Harry takes the death of Sirius hard, but it also hardens his resolve to take on Voldemort.
  • Distillation-Year 6-The 6th stage, distillation involves the purification of your alchemical substances by distilling. Purity is traditionally associated with white, and this stage is synonymous with the whitening process, or albedo process. Albus Dumbledore amply symbolizes this 6th stage of the process, and his death signifies our exit from the albedo process and our transition into the Rubedo process.
  • Coagulation-Year 7-The 7th stage, coagulation, represents the precipitating of the Puvlis Solaris, or the Powder of the Sun, from your distilled liquid stage. This powder would lead to the creation of the philosopher's stone. The powder is a red/orange color and this represents our final stage, the rubedo (or reddening) process. Harry faces Voldemort and initially dies. He enters a state of limbo and makes the conscious choice to come back and save the others, his loved ones. When he returns to his body, he is being carried by Rubeus Hagrid, which lets us know the final process has finished and the stone has been completed…quite obviously so, because Harry transcends death in that moment. Isn't that the goal of alchemy and the creation of the philosopher's stone?

This is only the barest of details on how the book's characters, set, and setting are structured by the rules of alchemy. Each character has a place in the alchemical experiment. Lupin, Snape, Draco, Ginny, all of them relate to elements of alchemy, but the details of which woud bog this down further.

The 3 Processes of alchemy

Alchemy has 3 big stages that must be undertaken before the philosopher's stone is created.

  • The nigredo process
  • The albedo process
  • The rubedo process

In the Harry potter novels, the negredo process culminates in book five. Harry's uncle is Sirius Black. It is not a coincidence that Sirius Black dies in the fifth book, as we the reader need to be walked through the novel's alchemical experiment. Black represents the nigredo process (the blackening).

Albus Dumbledore is the White Magician. The word “albedo” means white. Because the entire setting of this series is an alchemical experiment, Dumbledore represents the reader experiencing the albedo process when he dies in book six.

Rubeus Hagrid clearly represents the rubedo process. This is the last process in alchemy. When the rubedo process is complete, you should have your philosopher's stone and your immortal life. There is no more transformation to take place. To extend the logic of what we know happens, if the blackening process and the whitening process are transformed (killed in the books), the reddening process is the end and doesn't need to be transformed (killed). Interestingly, when Harry enters a state close to death, he is carried off into the Hogwarts castle (which denotes spirit, the unifcation of all elements) by Rubeus Hagrid. In a strong support of the alchemical belief of immortality, Hagrid does not have to die because Harry's mission becomes complete.

It appears J.K. Rowling created adult versions of the principle materials, salt, sulfur, and mercury in the form of Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore, and Rubeus Hagrid. Black is the salt and the representation of physical manifestation. That part must die at some point in our journey on this Earth. Dumbledore represents mercury or the mind. This also must depart from our true essence at some point. Rubeus represents the soul, and the soul is never vanquished and always lives on. The pattern of the death of Black, the death of Dumbledore, and the renewal of Hagrid seems to corroborate this line of thinking.

Why would she do this? If it was necessary to walk through the stages of alchemy and some characters who represent pieces that must die, it would be too much for Harry's two best friends to die. This allowed a slighty more palatable version of the process to occur without destroying the reader's will in the process.

Alchemy Is About the Unification Of Opposites

We discuss elsewhere 9) some basic principles of alchemy. At the core of alchemy is the principle “as above, so below”, which is to suggest that although the heavens and stars above are seemingly very different from the Earth below, there are some ways that these opposites are united. This is very clearly seen in our hero/villan pair of Harry and Voldemort.

Where They are the Same And Where They Are Completely Opposite

Both Harry and Voldemort have very difficult childhoods. They are both orphans magical children who hate their living situation with muggles. Voldemort experiences a childhood without love and support. While Harry has a “home”, he also experiences a childhood without love and support.

Harry grows up hating his muggle orphan family but he does not extend this hatred onto all muggles. He develops a very open philosophy regarding who people are (muggle, magical, or something in between) and doesn't hold it against anyone. Voldemort hates growing up within the orphanage and his muggle father. He eventually grows to dislike muggles so much, he only believes in respecting pure magical families. Anyone who mixes muggle with magic is hated. This is a very closed view.

Their weapons accurately reflect a piece of themselves, which shows how 180 degrees different they are. Harry's wand is made of holly and phoenix feather. The holly tree is rare in that it does not drop any leaves during a season. It stays green with needles all year round, effectively representing a kind of immortality. The phoenix is the obvious alchemical symbol, a bird who dies and combusts into flames, only to be reborn within its own ashes. Both of these symbols represent transcending death.

Lord Vordemort's wand is made of Yew and Phoenix. The Yew tree is a most fascinating specimen. They are trees whose branches tend to grow out and down towards the ground. The branches then can re-root into the ground and the tree sort of self perpetuates its growth in this manner. In comparison to the docile, passive actions of the holly tree with simply stay green all year round, the yew tree encapsulates the physical urgency that Voldemort has in acheiving life extension, literally reaching into the ground to do restart the life cycle. In addition, the yew is very toxic at low doses to a host of animals, humans included. Voldemort is quite toxic to a host of animals as well.

The wands alone are an incredible symbol of the alchemy between Harry and Voldemort. They share phoenix feathers from the same phoenix, Fawkes. While their woods both represent immortality, they do so in a way that are in complete juxtapositon of one another. Like the yin/yang symbol, they are at once the same (the shape of yin and yang are equal) and yet completely opposite (the colors are black and white).

Harry spends seven years at Hogwarts towards the integration of all magical beings. Voldemort spends those seven years towards their separation, from the separation of his soul into 7 bits and his attempt to segregate magical society by blood.

The Final Clue Seals The Deal

We could go into excruciating detail as to the number of hints and signifiers of alchemy in the Harry Potter novels. If you aren't at least compelled at this point to believe that the author intentionally placed all of these symbols within her novel, then we don't believe there is any amount of information that will make you believe it to be so.

There is one bit of evidence we leave that should be seen as conclusive proof the novels where an alchemical literary experiment where the entire setting was the laboratory. In an interview, J.K. Rowling responded to a question about whether or not she was an actual “witch”. Her response is extremely telling.

“I’ve never wanted to be a witch, but an alchemist, now that’s a different matter. To invent this wizard world, I’ve learned a ridiculous amount about alchemy. Perhaps much of it I’ll never use in the books, but I have to know in detail what magic can and cannot do in order to set the parameters and establish the stories’ internal logic.” 10)

This quote does not come out from J.K. Rowling and say, “I am an alchemist”, but doesn't it indirectly so? She never wanted to be a witch, but she basically says she wanted to be an alchemist. She goes on to say that she learned a “ridiculous amount” of alchemy, most of which she didn't use in the books. She also properly equates alchemy with magic and used alchemy as a basis for which magic should be assessed.

The proof is in the pudding.

There Is No Denying The Objective Truth, But What Will You Do Within?

The previously described evidence, in conjunction with the revelation that J.K. Rowling publicly admitted she was an alchemist (but not the metallic kind), leaves no room for doubt about the purpose of the novels. She created a setting of alchemical symbols, the end result being that the reader unknowingly experienced the processes of alchemy as they read the story. With Ron/Sirius as the salt, Harry/Hagrid as the sulfur, and Hermione/Dumbledore as the mercury, we were whisked onto a story track of seven alchemical stages. We felt the pain of passing through the negredo and albedo processes, and we felt the triumph of reaching the rubedo process. We experience the peak moment of alchemy when Harry, the orphan who hated his muggle family, trascends his hatred and accepts all people as worthy of dying for. He has no desire for eternal life and yet he does not die when he should multiple times. He is a unifier. And we have Voldemort, who hated his muggle upbringing and never transcended his hatred. He goes on to divide up the magical world between pure bloods and muggles. He even begins to divide up his soul in his quest for immortality, who unlike Harry, Voldemort desparately wants that claim to fame. He is the divider, and in the end, the unifier triumps over the divider.

How is this not seen in the light of the alchemical process? Of the symbol showing opposites with their mirror reflecting portions of each other? How can one not turn to alchemical meanings?

The only way is if you don't believe in magic. In which case, I hear there is a great house on Privet Drive for sale with a lovely boy named Dudley on the street…with none of that funny business, either!

esoteric and occult

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