I would like to try to compile some evidence for the need to come to alchemy with a different
mind than you would chemistry, because we are so often looking for things, concrete substances - an ore, a mineral, a salt... whatever. Allow me to repeat here a summation of the words of Sendivogius:
We require a Mercury that is Homogenous, having no opposite nature, undetermined to mineral, animal or vegetable kingdoms.
"... a certain Truth, that God the great architect of all things did create the whole material world (for this we are now only to speak of and not of your antetype or intellectual world) out of nothing and in Time, yet not so that all your parts of this world thus directly were created, but only your first Matter, and that she hath been produced out of meer nothing, out of which afterwards the most principle bodies and that they by way of separation were produced and out of them were made all kinds of mixed bodies and that by way of composition."
"But the Cabal which from God hath recieved your Light of undoubted Truth, and knows your genuine sense of your [placed] Genesis, and keeps with Her, its true interpretation, she, though she doth admit three divers acts of creation equal to the forsaid acts received in the common schools viz:
1. A Production of Matter out of Nothing which probably is Creation.
2. The Division of the same Matter into single Bodies.
3. The Fabrication of the mixture out of those divers simple Bodies."
Notice the words "our antetype and intellectual world!" This is the dualistic mind which is
not suitable for alchemy. We need a mind devoted to God - that is Oneness - not religion or dogma. Listen to the words of the great Qabalist Carlo Suares, and believe it when they say alchemy, kabbalah and the study of stars go hand in hand:
"I begin our study by saying that the Qabala is a science and that The Sepher Yetsira is a precise and accurate treatise on the structure of cosmic energy, written in hidden code...
The mystery of the Qabala is simply due to the fact that the cabalists are not aware of what its language is, and to their ignorance both of the analogical mode of thought characterising this language... In studying the Qabala, and The Sepher Yetsira in particular, one must be prepared to think in a new way, entirely different from one's usual, habitual manner, because its language is analogical and inclusive."
I had a teacher who used this very word - analogical - to teach of the two minds which we possess. It may be best understood in contrast to the rational, dual mind. The dual, or binary, mind perceives an object separate from itself, whereas with analogical mind subject and object are one - instead of seeing and thinking about a goat, for example, you are the goat, perceiving as it perceives.
VandenBroeck repeats the same themes which he observed under Schwaller:
"true knowledge is inaccessible to the rational mind."
"Thus he (Schwaller) actively believed in oral transmission of a kind of knowledge best called 'gnosis'."
In alignment with the hermetic axiom, "As above, so below" (and vice-versa), we must also think of solve-coagula as "the hidden and the revealed". And you must know that gnosis is acquired through experience/initiation.
Knowledge is to Gnosis as rational mind is to analogical mind; as head is to heart, etc.
The best way I've heard it put, and this may be bumping it up a level, that really helps me to see it is by my friend Androgynus - what is human want compared to the Void's need/thirst/vacuum...
We'll come back to that when we discuss Genesis, which, as Suares tells us, is the recounting of the Involution/Evolution of the infinite unmanifest into manifest, spirit into mass. I will tell you the secret to understanding these things. You have to realise that the Bible code, just as the alchemy code, just as the mythology code... is not talking about many characters/matters, but about the involution/evolution of the One Thing. So we are back to Sendivogius' something from nothing.
If there were a beginning and a creator, then it had to create from itself since there was nothing else and it was/is omnipresent.
So matter is "god". Substance/salt is congealed soul/sulphur, which is congealed spirit/mercury.
At the high/short/subtle/fast frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum, we call it spirit. At the low/long/dense/slow end we call it mass/matter.
But this is One Thing - Ouroboros; a Rainbow Serpent, a Tree of Life...
So when you contemplate Our Sea (R.C.), Al-khem - transcend the four qualities/elements and go to the black, infinite "Void" - Castaneda's "Dark Sea of Awareness". Recall Genesis:
"And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be Light."
Now we're talking real alchemy. This is Universal Mercury, Aqua Vitae, Chaos of the Wise...
Thus John Reid says, "For our immediate purposes then, we will consider the energy of the sun and stars as the power outlets of God."
And Moby says, "We are all made of Stars."