The term alchemy, commonly believe to attempts to change base
metals into gold, covers a wide range of topics - from the
discovery of a single cure for all diseases to the quest for
immortality, from the creation of artificial life to straightforward
descriptions of scientific techniques. Broadly, one could
describe alchemy as the art of converting that wish is base,
both in the material and spiritual world, into something more
prefect. Symbolically, alchemy is the mystical art for human
spiritual transformations into a higher form of being.
The spiritual teachings of alchemy were based on the idea
that humans have a spirit or soul as well as a physical body,
and it was thought that if the spirit could be compressed
or concentrated, the secret of changing one aspect of nature
into another could be discovered. The elusive catalyst that
allowed this change to take place is known as the philosophers
stone, which is not a stone but a powder or liquid that turned
base metal into gold and, when swallowed, gave everlasting
Alchemists are often pictured as stirring a bubbling concoction
of base metal on a fire, hoping it will turn into gold. However,
not all alchemists were like this, and some of the best minds
of the last twenty or so centuries have studied alchemy as
a way to unlock the secrets of nature.
Alchemy probably first emerged in ancient Egypt and China.
In China it was purported to transmute base metals into gold,
and the gold so produced was thought to have the ability to
cure disease and prolong life. In Egypt the methods of transmutation
were kept secret by temple priests. Western alchemy has its
basis in the skills of those Egyptian priests, Eastern mysticism
and the Aristotelian theory of the composition of matter.
Aristotle, following the theory of Empedocles, taught that
all matter was composed of four elements: water, fire, earth
and air. Different materials found in nature contained different
ratios of these four elements, and so by proper treatment
the base metal could be turned to gold.
In the eighth and ninth centuries, Chinese, Greek, and Alexandrian
alchemical lore entered the Arab world. Arabian alchemists
postulated that all metals were composed not of four elements
but of two: sulphur and mercury. They also adopted the Chinese
alchemists concept of a philosophers stone - a medicine that
could turn a sick [base] metal into gold and act as the E1
or elixir of life - and so begun a never ending quest for
this elusive catalyst.
Arab alchemical treatises were popular in the Middle Ages.
Indirectly, through Arabic, Greek manuscripts were translated
into Latin, and alchemical explanations of the nature of matter
can be found in the treatises of such scholars as Albertus
Magnus [c.1200-1280] ad Roger Bacon [c.1214-1292].
Before the scientific revolution, alchemists were respected
figures on the European scene, and Kings and nobles often
supported them in the hope of increasing their revenue but
among the sincere were charlatans and swindlers, and their
fraudulent activities led to alchemy getting a bad name. Even
as late as 1783 a chemist called John Price claimed he had
turned mercury into gold. When he was asked by the Royal Society
to perform the experiment in public, he reluctantly agreed.
On the appointed day, however, he drank some poison and died
in front of the invited audience.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many practical
alchemists, like Paracelsus, the first European to mention
zinc and the use the word 'alcohol', turned from trying to
make gold towards preparing medicine. The story is told of
a seventeenth century chemist who claimed he had the found
the elixir of life in the waters of a mineral spring. This
substance has since been identified as the laxative sodium
After the scientific revolution in the seventeenth century,
alchemy became marginalised, and interest in the transmutation
became limited to astrologers and numerologists. Nevertheless,
the scientific facts that had been accumulated by alchemists
in their search for gold because the basis for modern chemistry.
In the West, interest in the spiritual dimension of alchemy
was rekindles in the mid-twentieth century through the work
of psychiatrist Carl Jung on alchemical spirituality.
Today genuine alchemists see the universe as a unity and believe
that by exploring the infinite workings of its parts they
can better understand the whole. The symbolism of turning
base metal into gold represents exactly what they are trying
to do within themselves - refine themselves spiritually -
and it could be said that alchemists are simply taking a more
scientific approach to the age old quest of 'know thyself'.
STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS [ASC]
The term 'altered state of consciousness' was coined by parapsychologist
Charles Tart [b.1937], and it refers to a shift in the pattern
of consciousness or normal waking state, for example during
hypnosis, trance or dream state, when the conscious mind is
subdued and the unconscious takes over.
States of consciousness take place in four levels of brain
wave activity: beta, alpha, theta and delta.
Beta level is complete waking consciousness.
Alpha level is where material from the subconscious is available
to the mind, as in meditation or day dreaming.
The theta level is equivalent to light sleep, as state of
unconsciousness in which one is vaguely aware of what is going
on around one.
The delta level is deep sleep.
Many ASCs can be differentiated, ranging from dreaming to
trance to mystical states of consciousness, such as that experienced
during shamanic state. ASCs can occur spontaneously or can
be induced through disciplines such as Yoga, Zen and other
forms of meditation, prayer and magical techniques. They can
also be induced through chanting, dancing, fasting, sex, hypnosis,
trauma and sleep deprivation.
Orthodox science largely rejects the experiences and knowledge
gained from ASCs, many of which are intensely spiritual in
nature, but scientific research has been effective in the
areas of dreams, meditation, biofeedback and drug-induced
states. Laboratory tests since the early 1950s on ASC induced
techniques such as relaxation, hypnosis and meditation have
also been show to enhance psi function, especially extrasensory
perception [or ESP].
Medical or health practice based on unconventional principles,
methods, theory, practice, treatments and knowledge - unconventional
in that they are not in line with standard, traditional or
orthodox medical practice and scientific beliefs. If the alternative
therapy is offered alongside orthodox medicine it is called
Alternative medicine is often [but not always] based upon
metaphysical belief. Some of the most popular alternative
techniques that incorporate metaphysical beliefs include acupressure,
acupuncture, aromatherapy, body cleansing, bodywork, chelation
therapy, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, energy medicine,
electro - diagnosis, herbalism, holistic medicine, homeopathy,
iridology, macrobiotics, naturopathy, osteopathy, polarity
therapy, psychic healing, reflexology, Reiki, Rolfing, subliminal
tapes, therapeutic touch and traditional Chinese medicine.
- Elaboration and clarification of a dream image by means
of directedassociation and of parallels from the human
science (symbology, mythology, mysticism, folklore, hisotry
of religion, ethnology, etc.)
of the feminine nature of a man's unconscious and masculine
nature of a woman's. this psychological bisexuality is a reflection
of the biological fact that it is the larger number of male
(or female) geners which is the decisive factor in the determination
of sex. The smaller numbr of contrasexual genes seems to produce
a corresponding contrasexual character, which usually remains
unconscious. Anima and animus manifest themselves most typically
in personified form as figures in dreams and fantasies ("dream
girl" and "dream lover"), or in the irrationalities
of a man's feeling and a woman's thinking. As
regulators of behaviour they are two of the most influential
Jung: ""very man carries with him the eternal image
of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman,
but definitive feminine image. This image is findamentally
unconscious , an hereditary factor of primordial origin engraved
in the living organic system of the man, an imprint or 'archetype'
(q.v.) of all the ancestral expereinces of the female,
a deposit, as it were, of all the impressions ever made by
woman. . . . Since this image is uncosncnous, it is always
unconsciously projected upon the person of the beloved, and
is one of the chief reasons for passionate attraction or aversion."
(The Development of Personality, Coll. Works, Vol.
its primary 'unconscious' form the animus is a compound of
spontaneous, unpremeditated opinions which exercise a powerful
influence on the woman's emotional life, while the anima is
similarly compounded of feelings which thereafter influence
or distort the man's understanding ('she has turned his head.')
Consequently the animus likes to project itself upon 'intellectuals'
and all kinds of 'heroes,' including tenors, artists, sporting
celebrities etc. The anima has a predilection for everything
that is unconscious, dark, equivocal, and purposeless in woman,
and also for her vanity, frigidity, helplessness , and so
forth. . . " (The Practice of Psychotherapy, Coll.
Works, Vol. 16, p.301 ff.)
man can converse with an animus for five minutes without becoming
the victim of his own anima. Anyone who still had eneough
sense of humour to listen objectively to the ensuing dialogue
would be staggered by the vast number of commonplaces, soiled
platitudes of every description interspersed with vulgar abuse
and brain-splitting lack of logic. It is a dialogue which,
irrespective of its partcipants, is repeated millions and
millions of times in all languages of the world and always
remains essentially the same." (Anion, Coll. Works,
Vol. 9, Part 2, p.15.)
natural fucntion of the animus (as well as the anima) is to
remain in (their) place between individual cosnciousness and
the collective unconscious (q.v.); exactly as the persona
(q.v.) as sort of stratum between the ego consciousness
and the objects of the external world. The animus and the
anima should function as a bridge, or a door, leading to the
images of the collective unconscious, as the persona should
eb a sort of bridge into the world." (Unpublished Seminar
Notes. "Visions" 1. p. 116.)
The supernatural appearance of a person, animal or object
too far away to be seen felt or heard by normal senses. Contrary
to popular belief, most apparitions are of the living not
the dead, but apparitions of the dead are also called ghosts.
Only a small number of apparitions are visual; most apparition
experiences feature noises, unusual smells, extreme cold or
heat and the displacement of objects.
Every civilization and throughout history from around the
world has held beliefs about apparitions. Among Asian peoples
belief in ancestral ghosts is strong, and rituals exist to
hone and placate them, as the spirits of the loved ones are
thought to interfere regularly in the affairs of the living
and are credited for both good and bad fortune. The ancient
Hebrews, Greeks and Romans believed that spirits of the dead
could return to haunt the living.
During the Dark Ages people believed in all manner of apparitions:
daemons, vampires and devil dogs. Around this time the Christian
Church taught that ghosts were soul trapped in purgatory until
the expedited their sins, the only apparitions that were whole
and permitted by God were apparitions of religious figures,
such angels, saints and Jesus. All other apparitions, including
spirits of the dead, were delusions created by Satan to confuse
In seventeenth century Europe apparitions of the dead played
an important role as advisors to the living. Belief in ghosts
fell out of favour in the eighteenth century returning in
the nineteenth with spiritualism, which espouses survival
after death and mediumistic contact with the dead. Many motifs
of apparitions appear in the folklore of different cultures,
such as the Flying Dutchman or the Ankou.
According to a study of apparitions by American psychical
researcher Hornell Hart, published in 1956, there is no significant
difference between apparitions of the living and of the dead.
Apparitions can move through solid matter and appear and disappear
abruptly. They can cast shadows. Some are corporeal and lifelike
in their movement and speech while others are luminous or
limited in movement and speech. Apparitions are typically
dressed in clothing of their time.
The majority of apparitions are thought to manifest for a
reason, for instance, to communicate a crisis or death, give
a warning, offer comfort or convey important information.
Some haunting apparitions appear in places where emotional
traumas have taken place, such as murders or battles, but
other haunting seem to be aimless.
Systematic studies of apparitions began with the Society for
Psychical Research, London, in the late nineteenth century.
By the 1980s polls in the United States conducted by the University
of Chicago's National Opinion Research Council showed a dramatic
increase - around 78 per cent - in reported apparitions, perhaps
due in part to changing public attitudes towards acknowledging
Although many ghost investigators have their own categories,
the following are the most typical:
Crisis apparitions: usually images that appear in moments
of crisis to communicate death or danger.
They typically appear to a person who has
close emotional ties to the agent [the person who is the
source of the apparition].
Apparitions of the dead: manifestations of someone
who has died, usually within a short time of death, to comfort
a loved one or communicate important information.
Collective apparitions: manifestations of the living
or dead that occur to multiple witnesses.
Approximately one third of reported apparitions
are witnessed collectively.
Reciprocal apparitions: apparitions of the living
in which both agent and the recipient [the person who experiences
the apparition]. Separated by distance, experience
apparitions of each other simultaneously
Deathbed apparitions visual images of divine beings,
religious figures and dead loved ones that are reported
by the dying in the last moments of life
Apparitions in cases of suggestive of reincarnation
cases when the deceased appears in a dream to a member of
the family in to which it will be reborn. Such
dreams occur frequently among Native American tribes of
the Northwest and in Turkey, Burma and Thailand.
large number of theories have been put forward to explain
apparitions, but none explain all the different types. Society
for Psychical Research founders Edmund Gurney and Frederick
Myers at first believed apparitions were mental hallucinations
that had no physical reality, either produced by telepathy
from the dead to the living or projected out of the percipient
to others around him or her. However, telepathy among the
living does not explain why witnesses in collective sightings
notice different details.
Myers, who believed strongly in survival after death, began
to doubt the telepathic theory as early as 1885. In his landmark
book 'Human Personality and Its Survival after Death' (1903),
he suggested that the apparitions consisted of a 'phantasmogenic
centre', a locus of energies that could be perceived by the
most psychically sensitive people. He conceived of a 'subliminal
consciousness', as the basis from which the consciousness
springs and which survives the body after death. He theorized
that the subliminal consciousness was receptive to extrasensory
input and that apparitions appeared to psychically receptive
Other theories that have been advanced subsequently about
apparitions suggest they are:
Idea patterns or etheric images produced by the subconscious
mind of the living
Astral or etheric bodies of the agents
An amalgam of personality patterns, which in the
case of hauntings are trapped on a psychic or psi field
Projections of the human unconscious, a manifestation
of an unacknowledged need or guilt
Vehicles through which the 'I', the thinking consciousness,
takes on a personality as well as a visible form
Projections of will and concentration: see thought
True spirits of the dead
Localised physical phenomena directed by an intelligence
additional viewpoint put forward by others is that apparitions
are recordings or imprints of vibrations impressed upon some
sort of psychic either. In Eastern mystical philosophy, the
cosmos is permeated by a substance called the Akasha. Oxford
philosopher H.H Price called this substance 'psychic ether',
a term adopted by some psychical researchers to suggest that
if all events are recorded on some invisible substance, then
perhaps psychically tuned people can get glimpses of these
records and get a playback. For more details see Akashic Records.
is unlikely that any one theory can explain all apparitions,
and it is conceivable that some apparitions are created by
the living, that some have their own reality, that some are
hallucinations and that some are psychic recordings.
Twentieth century psychical researcher Andrew Mackenzie suggested
that the ability to have hallucinations could be a function
of personality. In his studies he found that one third of
cases occurred just before or after sleep, or when the percipient
was woken in the night. Other experiences took place when
the witness was in a state of relaxation or doing routine
works such as housework, or concentrating on some activity
such as reading a book. Only when the external world was shut
out was the unconscious able to release impressions, which
sometimes took the form of an apparition.
English psychical researcher G. Tyrrell also made this link
between dreamlike states and sightings of apparitions. Tyrell
theorised that there were two stages in a hallucinatory experience.
In stage one the witness unconsciously experiences the apparition,
and in stage two the information from stage one is processed
from the unconscious in dreams or hallucinations with the
required details added, such as clothing and objects.
Also known as applied parapsychology and psionics, applied
psi is a branch of parapsychology that assumes psychic ability
exits and seeks ways to apply it in everyday life.
Applied psi is used today when anyone acts on his or her intuition
to make a decision. Experimental studies of applied psi date
back to the eighteenth century, but it wasn't until the twentieth
century that the discipline was seriously explored. In 1963
the Newark College of Engineering in New Jersey became one
of the first engineering centres in the US to explore psi
ability in people. Researchers found that successful people
use psi and precognition daily in their jobs in the form of
intuition, hunches and gut feelings.
In the early 1980s American parapsychologist Jeffrey Mishlove
urged parapsychologists to assume that psi existed and to
focus on ways to use it in everyday life. By 1984 applied
psi did become an informal part of a number of fields, including
archaeology, agriculture, executive decision-making, scientific
discovery, military intelligence, criminal investigations
and weather predictions. However, over subsequent years the
erratic nature of psi made it an unreliable tool.
Some experiments raised interesting questions as to how effective
applied psi can be when it comes to making financial investments.
It is not uncommon for people to place a bet or buy and sell
stock on gut instinct. Experiments, such as one conducted
by the St Louis Business Journal in 1982, compared the results
of a group of experienced brokers with a psychic. The stocks
picked by the brokers fell in value, but the ones picked by
the psychic rose. Despite such successes, however, widespread
use of applied psi in the stock market has never materialised
- if it did it would probably spell the end of the stock market,
thriving as it does on unpredictability and chance.
Psychiatrist Carl Jung first used this term in 1919 to refer
to apparently universal images which are inherited from our
ancestors. Archetypes are unconscious instinctual patterns
of mental images that are passed down to us all but are modified
according to individual experience. Interpretations of archetype
images have been applied in many fields, such as past life
therapy, psychotherapy, tarot, women's studies, mythology,
astrology, the healing professions and even sales and marketing.
According to Jung, archetypes are unlimited in number and
created by the repetition of experiences that are imprinted
on the psychic mind. When a situation occurs that corresponds
to an archetype, the archetype is triggered and instinct takes
God, death, birth, power, magic, the sun, the moon, the wind,
animals and the elements are all archetypes, as are the figures
of the hero, the lover, the judge, the child, the mother and
the father. Archetypes develop and change as an individual
grows and encounters new situations, archetypes communicate
with the conscious mind, and it is possible to gain insight
into oneself by paying attention to the archetypal forces
at a particular time in ones life. Jung believed that archetypes
were psychic forces that demand to be taken seriously: if
neglected they could lead to compulsion, neurosis and illness.
Jung thought that the existence of archetypes could be proved
through dreams and through imagination, and by understanding
your dreams you learn what you need to move forward with your
Memories, Dreams and Reflections p. 411
C.G.Jung: The concept of the archtype. . . Is deried from
the repeated observation that, for instance, the myths and
fairy tales of world literature contain definite motifs which
crop up everywhere. We meet these same motifs in the fantasies,
dreams, deliria, and delusions of individuals living to-day.
These typical images and associations are what I call arteypal
ideas. The more vivid they are, the more they will be coloured
by particularly strong feeling-tones (q.v). . . They
impress, influence, and fascinate us. They have their origin
in the archetype, which in itself is an irrepresentable, unconscious,
pre-existent form that seems to be part of the inherited struchte
of the psyche and can therefore manifest itself spontaneously
anywhere, at any time. Because of its instinctual nature,
the archetype underlies the feeling-toned complexes (q.v.I)
and share their autonomy." (Civilisation in Transition,
Coll. Works, Vol. 10, par. 847.)
and again I encounter the mistaken nortion that an archetype
is determined in regard to its content, in other words, that
it is a kind of unconcious idea (if such an expression be
admissable). it is necessary to point out once more that archetypes
are not determined as regards to their content, but on as
regards their form and then only to a very limited degree.
A primordial image (q.v.) is determined as to its content
only when it has become conscious and is therefore filled
out with the material of conscious experience. Its for, however.
. . might perhaps be compared to the axial structure in the
mother liquid, although it has no material existence of its
This first appears according to the specific way in which
the ions and molecules aggregate. The archtype in itself is
empty and purely formal, nothing but a facultas pradformandi,
a possibility of representation wich is given a priori.
The representations themsevels are no inherited, only the
forms, and in that respect they correspond in every way to
the instincts, which are also determined in form only. The
existence of the instincts can no more be proved than the
existence of the archetypes, so long as they do not manifest
themselves concretely." (The Archetypes and the Collective
Unconscious, Coll. Works, Vol. 9, par. 1, pp 79 ff.)
The appearance of a person before their actual arrival. Frequently
the arriving phantom appears in the same clothing the individual
is wearing at the same time. The individual is usually not
aware of appearing in a distant location until told about
Arrival cases were collected and studied by the founders of
the Society for Psychical Research in the early twentieth
century. They collected their evidence in their exhaustive
survey 'Phantasms of the Living' .
Arrivals have claimed to eat, sleep and seem so real that
anyone could believe it was a double [doppelganger] of the
real person. The most likely explanation of arrival cases
is that the individual somehow projects a double, which is
perceived as real, perhaps as an out of body projection [bilocation]
or as a psychic projection of inherent desire to be in that
different place. Other researchers think that arrival cases
are a quirk of time duplicating itself.
Various esoteric traditions talk about the many bodies - the
different levels of consciousness and existence - that each
person has. Some people think of these different aspects as
'subtle bodies' or selves that exist in a parallel plane but
are all part of a larger consciousness. This theory suggests
that the body itself does not contain these aspects. Rather,
this larger consciousness contains the body, as well as other
levels of existence, and you can learn to create a closer
connection to any of these aspects within yourself.
A commonly recognised 'extra' self is the astral body. The
word 'astral' is derived from the Greek for 'star'. The astral
body can also be called a double or doppelganger, because
it is a duplicate of the physical body. Theosophists refer
to it as the 'etheric' or 'spiritual double' containing the
soul and made from the vibrations that make the up physical
The astral body is thought to exist on the astral plane, also
known as the astral realm, astral world or astral sphere,
and in metaphysical terminology the astral plane is contiguous
in space, if not in time, with the material world. The astral
realm is the one that the spiritual part or astral body enters
during periods of sleep, under the action of anaesthetics
or drugs, by accident when a person is unconscious, or immediately
after death. The astral realm is not normally visible to ordinary
sight, yet it is regarded as the proper dwelling of people's
higher spiritual bodies.
According to shamans and Theosophists the astral body or second
self resembles the physical body but is made up of a subtle
field of shining and flexible light that encases the body,
visible only by a psychically sensitive person. It is thought
that when you are sleeping the astral body can separate from
the physical body, which results on flying dreams and the
experience of disorientation experienced if you wake suddenly
and the astral body hasn't had time to line up with the physical
one. Driven by emotions, passions and desires, the astral
body is believed to be a bridge between the physical brain
and a higher level of mind.
The linking of idea, perceptions, etc, according to similarity,
coexistence, opposition, and causal dependence. Free association
in Freudian dream intepretation: spontaneous ideas occuring
to the dreamer, which need not necessairty refer to the dream
situation. Directed or controlled association in Jungian
dream intepretation: spontaneious ideas which proceed from
a given dream situation and constantly relate to it. - from
Memories, Dreams and Reflections.
Methods for discovering complexes (q.v.) by measuring
the reaction time and inerpreting the answers to given stimulus
According to occultists the astral plane is an alternate and
non-physical dimension of reality that can be visited during
astral projection or out of body experiences. The word 'astral',
from the Greek word meaning 'star, described the heavens of
the Greek gods, but as time passed the concept expanded to
refer to a spirit world inhabited by etheric entities, disembodied
spirits and higher beings.
The astral world is believed to be invisible to the ordinary
eye because it vibrates at a higher rate than the energy that
comprises the material world. However, occultists believe
that it can be perceived through astral projection and clairvoyance
and it is a world just as real as ours. It has scenery, inhabitants,
countries and seas and is subject to laws of nature and constant
change just as the physical world is.
Modern psychologists argue that accounts of trips to a strange
and alien dimension spring from the imagination, but according
to occult theory the astral plane is undeniably real. It is
an invisible level of reality between the physical plane and
the divine realms where communication with higher beings can
be established and where the individuals thought forms take
on a reality.
PROJECTION / ASTRAL TRAVEL
The astral body is believed to be capable of a very special
type of travel. While leaving the physical body at rest, it
can get up, walk around and look at its physical body, explore
its surroundings and journey to new places. What makes this
experience unique is that you are fully conscious and in control
throughout the experience.
This process of consciously leaving the body and travelling
free of physical constrains it often referred to as astral
projection or astral travel. Although the terms are often
used interchangeably, experts define astral projection as
becoming aware that your consciousness is separate from your
physical body. For instance, people describe floating above
themselves and viewing their bodies during astral projection.
With astral travel an individual uses this conscious awareness
to experience a sense of flying to new, non-physical or physical
How the mind disconnects from its everyday type of consciousness
and separates from the body remains a mystery. Experts agree
that having a relaxed focus, such as in meditation or when
you are just about to fall asleep, helps you to reach that
stage, as concentrating too hard on achieving the experience
may interfere with the process.