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John Michell Mysteries


Archive for Thursday 26th September 2002 - Astrology and alchemy

Is there a connection between astrology and alchemy? That was the question from a reader who says that alchemy has always fascinated her. The answer is, yes. They both belong to an ancient, esoteric code of science, which is sometimes forgotten but at different times reappears.

This world, according to the old science, is a living creature, complete with soul and spirit. We individuals are small-scale versions of that creature, and our minds are linked to the world-mind. That means we can know the universe and even, to some extent, influence it. The traditional path to that knowledge is through the esoteric sciences.

Astrology is to do with planets, while alchemists work with metals. Esoteric science brings the two together through ‘correspondences’. The sun, ruler of the planets, is reflected on earth by gold, the natural king of metals. The moon corresponds to silver, Saturn to lead and Mercury to quicksilver, the a lchemists’ symbol of spirit. These correspondences extend throughout nature, to plants, animals and our human types and temperaments.

The workings of the old alchemists are a complete mystery to me. Were they really trying to turn base metals into gold? Modern experts avoid that aspect and concentrate on the psychological processes of alchemy. Its real object, they say, is to transform one’s base elements into the ‘philosopher’s gold’, meaning pure understanding. But there is even more to it than that. Beh ind the operations of alchemy and all ancient science is the tradition of a lost golden age, which will one day, magically, become visible again. That is why I too am fascinated by alchemy.

John Michell

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