One of the major dreams of mankind all along has been to transform iron into gold. The other is immortality. Throughout the centuries mankind has nurtured the ambition of living forever, lavishly, without the efforts of daily work. A piece of cheap metal in a cauldron would be enough to transform it into the oldest and most precious commodity known in the market. Luxurious castles, a bountiful table, pleasures for everyone, forever.
There is good medieval literature about these scientists that has survived explosions and the passing of time. All with their own cryptographs, like codes, so that only those who were initiated in esoteric matters could read. For some, the reasons for the secrecy was to safeguard the formula that would cause the transformation and ensure the fortune, as if that valuable metal were available for all, it would lose its value. Others are sure this is all nonsense.
Human beings have been living through the centuries in accordance with their level of awareness, so they have the core experiences to their learning. Different cultures are mixed on purpose so that one can learn from some and teach others. In an invisible chain, mankind makes links of freedom and unity.
Life has shown that evolution is begotten by transformation. The world renews itself and moves forward with the changes that occur in its own axis. A society or a tribe only improves their understanding about all things when each of their members truly changes the way they look at and act upon something. Any change that is imposed beyond the limits of consciousness is unsteady and transitory.
In short, we have always understood the importance of transformation of the essence of alchemy. Or we should.
The philosopher’s stone and the elixir of immortality are yet to be decoded.
Alchemists have always been known as being odd, but intelligent. Or mad. I think they remain like that, at least the true alchemists. Why would they call philosopher’s stone the secret that turns iron into gold? Why use the term “philosopher” in relation to a purely financial of scientific matter?
Since the beginning of time, gold is the most important symbol of wealth and power. It brings embedded in itself two important features: its value remains steady, regardless of political or mundane crises; it is imperishable, does not rust or spoil. In theory, it would be a safe harbor to moor at, and protect our fleet from concerns and uncertainties. However, in a broader sense, philosophy means the ability to think about reality in a critical and independent way, observing and analyzing all things from all angles and possibilities. But, weren’t we talking about gold? Yes. But what kind of gold those weird sorcerers of yester years were referring to? Was their reference to be taken literally or metaphorically? The answer depends on whether or not we can interpret sacred texts and parables in their literal sense.
No. The sacred is always hidden and at the service of the mundane until the revelation comes for both.
Our most valuable asset is our spirit, which, being absolute, is immaterial. We are all, no exceptions, in an infinite and wonderful trip from the station of darkness to the port of light, with many stopovers. The time of the journey is individual and relative, as it depends on the ability of each one of us to transform ourselves. Of understanding our own shadows and turning them into light. Shadow into light, iron into gold, this is the philosopher’s stone.
The spirit, free and strong, faces the tempests of this tridimensional world with serenity, as it is aware no one can take away its true wealth. Fires destroy homes, wars ruin assets and mighty empires, a thief can steal your wallet, but who can take away the love and wisdom rooted in your soul? No king or judge can condemn you to lose these assets, nor will time make them rotten or their value be depreciated by the market. You will always be beyond these feeble powers. This is the gold.
However, death is always lurking, with its sharpened sickle threatening and scaring us with the signs of diseases, disasters, murders, convictions or the clock of existence itself. What would all the gold serve for, if death ends life and all that was gained from love and wisdom? Hence the need of the elixir of immortality, so that one could peacefully enjoy gold forever.
Interestingly, this precious liquid that permeates your existence belongs to you, and you have been drinking from its source forever. Many are yet to understand, or have forgotten this as each new problem arises. We are, all, eternal. Not through our frail, transient body, temporary temple of the spirit, this is eternal. You are your infinite spirit, and not the physical character of today, crossing this stretch of the long journey, each with their particular beauty, with the opportunity of learning, sharing, transforming and evolving. Death is one of the most important and beautiful lessons in transformation. You are and you have only what you have experienced: your feelings, the joy you have sown wherever you passed by, the heartfelt hug, the sincere smile. This is your baggage. One dies many times, and each birth means a new opportunity to reach the next station until the final destination or enlightenment, to use the typical terminology of the millennial oriental philosophy. To understand this process means to free oneself from the suffering that minor issues and concerns brought by the transitoriness of the physical, and that prevents you from enjoying all the gold you have and hampers the transformation of even more iron into the shining metal. Shadows into light, and more, and more, and even more.
Thus, conscious or not, we carry the live alchemy, pulsating, every day in our souls. There is an incessant and essential search operating infinite transmutations capable of transforming iron into gold to follow on with the journey, as, in each port of call, a larger, and therefore lighter, alchemic baggage should be presented. Love and wisdom are the required visas to be stamped on the passport.
As simple as that? The most skeptical and suspicious would ask. Why haven’t the wise men of ancient times presented the formula in a straightforward, didactic way, instead of codifying it for just a few people? We must understand that everything, absolutely everything, is in accordance with its time. History is filled with cursed witches, who were murdered for talking about things with a different approach than the officially accepted versions. The Inquisition bonfires and intolerance have burned crystal-clear consciences with the illusion that fire could extinguish the truth. To date, there is still suspicion and disbelief of many who refuse to understand, enjoy and be enchanted with the alchemy of life. Of life itself. Man has always feared what he cannot understand or what he believes is a threat capable of taking away his poor possessions or illusory achievements. Time is relentless, and brings the necessary transformations so that we go on with our journey. Life is the road, we are walkers, light is destination.
Translated from the Portuguese by Carlos André Oighenstein