Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Discovering the Philosopher's Stone

Earlier this week as I was browsing through blogs, I came upon one that discussed whether a non-christian could become and feel comfortable as a Knight of the Commandery, or Knight Templar. I commented upon the entry and also upon something that Magus Masonica had said, he then clarified what he had meant and in doing so, it lead me upon a small path of discover. The points of the small discussion were upon the alchemical nature of Freemasonry. Before these comments, I knew that there was a school of thought that supposed that Masonry was an "outlet" for the Alchemist of the Renaissance.

After reading the comments, I decided to do a LITTLE research behind alchemy. As I read, I reconfirmed the little that I knew, mostly that the main goal/search of the Alchemist was to find the Philosopher's Stone. The Philosopher's Stone is a substance that was thought to be able to transmute base metals into gold, but more importanlty it was also capable of producing an elixir that would prolong life, even granting immortality.

But, there is a Spiritual Alchemy as well. And that is the alchemy that I would like to discuss here. At dictionary.com the entry for "Philosopher's Stone" from The American Heritage Dictionary of Cultural Literacy entry says ,

Philosopher's stone
The stone or material that practitioners of alchemy believed capable of changing other metals into gold.
Note: Figuratively, the “philosopher's stone” is a substance thought to be capable of regenerating man spiritually.
The purpose of the Philosopher's Stone is to regenerate man spiritually. When I think of regenerating, I think of a body builder. The body builder tears muscle tissue as he works out. He then allows time to pass for the muscle to regenerate itself, eventually there is more muscle and it is stronger. It is a better muscle than when the body builder began his workout. During that time of regeneration though, the muscle is damaged and it isn't even capable of performing tasks that were down with minimal effort before the damage was incurred.

The Philosopher's Stone is that which is capable of doing the same to our spirit. Is the recipe for the elusive Philosopher's Stone hidden in the symbol of Freemasonry? Through the degrees, we are presented with very moving items that have a symbolic significance. From the White-Leathern Apron to The Sprig of Acacia, all of these are intended to suggest to our mind "a purity of life and rectitude of conduct." Every single Working Tool is given that we might build a Temple, "...eternal in the heavens." The first thing we must do is "Subdue our passions," and then we can "improve [ourselves] in masonry." All of these suggest ways in which we can regenerate our spirit. By implementing them all, perhaps we have discovered the Philosopher's Stone!

1 comment:

Magus Masonica said...

Thank you for the mentioning of my point in your post. I feel that Freemasonry is essentialy made up of three components. The historical/philosophical, the fraternal and the alchemical/magical. Now, most know only the second, many are trying to regain a focus on the first. The T.O. movement would be the example. Most, either deny or ridicule the third. What a shame this is.

When we study and work Freemasonry from the mindset of a Magus (Magos) we can connect with the deep fact that Masonic ritual is and of itself working a Magira.

Beautiful stuff.

The philosophers stone is the rough ashlar.