I've Started Doing Ritual Magick | Here's What Happening

After years of reading and wandering, I've finally found a way of thinking about ritual magick that seems both workable and useful to me. I've started practicing and things are already changing. So I decided to turn the camera on and record what's happening and what I think about it.

 

After years of reading and wandering, I've finally found a way of thinking about ritual magick that seems both workable and useful to me. I've started practicing and things are already changing. So I decided to turn the camera on and record what's happening and what I think about it. Please, please, pleeeease leave your thoughts in the comments. I'd really love for this to stimulate some conversation. Pamphlet: https://www.librarystack.org/magick-capital-identity-embodied-ritual-and-technologies-of-the-resistant-self/ Patreon: https://patreon.com/tosalem/ Strict Machine: https://youtu.be/8_exjjrVCws A bit of what you'll see in this video: 00:30 Esotericism isn't new to me. A bit of what I've been reading and thinking about. 01:33 What's led me from thinking about ritual magick to practicing it? 02:29 Shifting perceptions of magick. 03:02 Magick as a creative technology. 04:24 What kind of ritual magick I am practicing? 05:34 Identity constructs and magick. 10:38 What is the goal for me? 12:20 What does this have to do with ToSalem? 13:09 What this October taught me and what's next for ToSalem. 15:38 Personal changes this autumn that led me here. 20:00 How a banishing ritual is starting to change me. 22:40 How making conscious physical changes is shifting my perspective. Find way more about all things Salem at https://tosalem.com/ Facebook: facebook.com/tosalemsite Instagram: instagram.com/tosalemsite Twitter: twitter.com/tosalemsite Like the Salem Witch Podcast? Then check out the clips channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHCWfQiK25xT8v9-55e3PIA

 

Pamphlet: https://www.librarystack.org/magick-capital-identity-embodied-ritual-and-technologies-of-the-resistant-self/

Patreon: https://patreon.com/tosalem/

Strict Machine: https://youtu.be/8_exjjrVCws

 

Download Video Transcript: I've Started Doing Ritual Magick - Here's Whats Happening Transcript


What is Traditional Witchcraft: An Introduction

What is Traditional Witchcraft: An Introduction

 

 

If you're new to Witchcraft or merely curious about craft practices, you'll immediately find several craft traditions open for exploration. If you do a bit of comparing with such traditions, you'll eventually find defining a term like "Traditional Witchcraft" is a thorny process. Like craft practices, the answer seems shrouded in mystery, with the answer changing depending upon the sources you consult. Here's a breakdown of the different views on Traditional Witchcraft and what it means to be a practitioner of the arcane arts in a traditional sense. By the way, ToSalem posts a lot about witchcraft and related beliefs. Check out a sampling of all of our witchcraft articles below or continue reading to explore traditional Witchcraft in general.

 



 


 

Traditional Witchcraft Vs Wicca: What's the Difference?

Wicca is a system of belief based on much of the writings by Gerald Brousseau Gardner (craftname of Scire). Gardner was a well-traveled, well-read archaeologist and anthropologist who played a significant role in bringing the practice of Wicca into the public eye. He is considered the Forefather of Witchcraft since he started the Gardnerian movement. Much of his work comes from folklore, his experiences in the Order of Cortona: a Rosicrucian group, and the New Forest Coven, of which he claimed to be an initiate. He also drew his understandings about the magickal arts from his background in Freemasonry, his study of ceremonial magick, and the works of Aleister Crowley.

After the last laws in England against practicing Witchcraft were repealed in the early 1950s, Gardner authored the book "Witchcraft Today." A second book soon followed, entitled "The Meaning of Witchcraft." "The Gardnerian Book of Shadows" is another one of his writings that includes information he draws from his time in the New Forest Coven, and his experiences with Crowley, since Gardner found the initial Book of Shadows sorely lacking in accessible material.

 


 

Before delving further into the meaning of Traditional Witchcraft, at this point it's important to note that a Witch is a practitioner of magic and someone who may or may not practice the magickal arts within a religious framework. A Witch can be Wiccan but doesn't have to adhere to the principles of Wicca to be a Witch. There are many other traditions outside of Gardnerian Wicca, with some adherents of the latter considering Gardnerian practices as a form of Traditional Witchcraft.

 

Other Forms of British Traditional Wicca

Gardnerian Wicca is just one form of British Traditional Witchcraft, which describes practices originating in England and the New Forest area. When thinking about traditional witchcraft vs Wicca, it's important to keep in mind that traditional Wicca is said to have a lineage that's traceable back to its original British roots. Central Valley Wicca, Blue Star Wicca, Chthonioi Wicca, Algard Wicca, and Alexandrian Wicca are also forms of British Traditional Witchcraft.

Alexander Sanders, often called the "King of Witches," along with Maxine Sanders, his wife, are the founders of the Alexandrian Tradition of Witchcraft. Sander's established the tradition in the 1960s in the United Kingdom. His system is based on what he learned from his studies of Gardnerian practices. Alexandrian Witchcraft also mingles the teachings of the Qabalah and ceremonial magick with Gardnerian practices.

Raymond Buckland (craftname Robat) was a practitioner of Gardnerian Wicca and a writer on both the occult and Wicca. He also plays a large role in Wicca's history after he introduced Wicca to the United States in the early 1960s. He was a high priest in a Gardnerian coven who later created a new tradition, Seax Wica, which focused on Anglo-Saxon pagan practices and symbolism. Some of his writings include Buckland's "Complete Book of Witchcraft,""Wicca for One: The Path of Solitary Witchcraft," and Buckland'sBook of Gypsy Magic: Travelers' Stories, Spells & Healings," among many others.

 

Opposing Views of Traditional Witchcraft

According to Ethan Doyle White, an archeologist, and established pagan scholar, Traditional Witchcraft embodies any practicing group or individual who does not embrace Gardnerian Wicca. Instead, the group or practitioner has practices stemming from more ancient origins. Under this definition, "Traditional Witchcraft" defines those who adhere to a wide variety of pagan paths, providing the practices and traditions that have roots far older than Wicca.

Michael Howard, a Traditional Witch, suggests that the term "traditional" describes anyone who is not practicing Alexandrian or Gardnerian Witchcraft. Rather, "Traditional" references practices deeply rooted in folk magic, lore, and historical forms of the art. Per such a definition, Traditional Witchcraft references Cochranianism and the Feri Tradition, among others.

Cochranianism is a branch of traditional Witchcraft established in the early 1950s. The founder is Robert Cochrane, who drew his knowledge from family members who taught him the Craft.

 


 

Cochrane's approach is a lot like Gardnerian Wicca but focuses on attaining wisdom. Interestingly, Cochrane also argues Witchcraft has nothing to do with Paganism. Meanwhile, the founders of the Feri Tradition is Victor Henry Anderson and Cora Anderson, who established the tradition in the 1960s: The tradition mingles Gnosticism, Tantric practices, and Hoodoo beliefs Qabalah, Vodou, and Faery lore.

 

Traditional Witchcraft versus Techno Witches

Tiktok is an app some modern witches use to share video information about witchcraft practices, traditions, and real-world experiences working with the magickal arts. The online community is mostly eclectic, meaning they don't necessarily focus on a single tradition. Instead, they pull information and beliefs from a variety of magickal traditions and practices. The videos are sixty seconds in length, focusing on offering one another support, healing, and tips. The video method for sharing of information on the arcane arts may seem like the opposite extreme of Traditional Witchcraft. But the practice can indeed be merged into a modernized, syncretic type of practice. Here witches share information about the ancient arts and how to revive the old ways. In doing so, they attempt to work with the most unadulterated forms of the practice as possible.

 

How to Practice Traditional Wicca

If you're interested in learning more about Traditional Wiccan practices, consider checking out the work of Thorn Mooney. She's a priestess in the Raleigh-based, Foxfire Coven that consists of a traditional Gardnerian inner and outer court. Mooney's background is rich, influenced by extensive academic and religious studies focusing on evangelical Christianity, American religions, and contemporary Paganism. She is the author of "Traditional Wicca: A Seeker's Guide," published by Llewellyn Worldwide.


Introduction to Faery & Celtic Witchcraft

Introduction to Faery & Celtic Witchcraft

 



When you think of the word “fairy,” it’s no surprise images of tiny, dainty creatures with colorful gossamer wings come immediately to mind. We’re all familiar with the creatures of legend and lore, with some that are kind or benevolent, helping humankind, and other stories that tell of devious fairies who lure people into the fairy realm only to be lost to the world forever. But these are fictitious stories, the tales that captivated us as children, and the types of faeries associated with Celtic Witchcraft and Faery Wicca are far more than mere imaginings.

 

What is Faery Wicca & Witchcraft?

Faery Wicca is a polytheistic religion and way of life that is just one tradition that fits under the broader term “Celtic Witchcraft.” Other traditions that fall under the main category of Celtic Witchcraft include The Druidic Tradition, the Order of the Bards, Druidic Reconstructionism, Pecti-Wicca, and Caledoni, among others. The difference between the Druids and Druid Reconstructionism is in their focus, with the lattermost group focusing on modern magickal practices. At the same time, the Reconstructionisms seek to revive the ways of old Druidism in the most unadulterated way possible. Pecti-Wicca, with a focus on the practices of the Ancient Picts, is a solitary Wiccan path, while Caledoni has a greater focus on Scottish traditions.

Fae Wicca involves the worship of one or more patron deities from the Ancient Celtic pantheon; these deities are supernatural beings or Fae. Celtic or Faery witches integrate magickal practices with the celebration of Ancient Pagan holidays honoring the seasonal, solar, and lunar cycles, the rhythms of the earth, nature, and the Divine understood through various God/Goddess/Fae aspects. Someone practicing Faery Witchcraft might choose a solitary path or work with the full support of a coven.

Faery Wicca is not just a religion but a practice that shapes and enriches one’s day-to-day existence. The practice is a syncretic form of Witchcraft, weaving together Wiccan beliefs while focusing on working with magickal beings, elementals, and nature spirits. Practices often involve working in nature when possible, with rituals held in the woodlands, forest groves, or near lakes or large bodies of water ( but when this is not possible, the practitioner can bring elements of the natural world into ritual practices and spellwork). Earth-centered worship is central, as is respect for all creatures, big and small. With Wicca being a part of one’s practice and a way of life one aspires to, the practitioner typically adheres to the “Harm None” principle when working with magick performing rituals, or even in day-to-day encounters.

Within a coven framework, there are elder priestesses or priests (Ollamh), and initiates, but one can also achieve such levels of knowledge when pursuing the Fae Wicca Path alone. Please note: If adhering to the Thirteen Principles of Belief, as many Wiccans do, the practitioner acknowledges and understands that the spiritual journey is not about obtaining titles as much as it is about drawing closer to the Divine and growing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

 

‘Faery’ vs. ‘Fairy’: The Not So Subtle Differences

When reading about Faery Wicca and Celtic Witchcraft, the words “faery,” “fairies,” “fae,” and “fay” are in use interchangeably. But there are some important differences in meaning. Just as it is with “magic” versus “magick,” the latter term which Alister Crowley coined to denote the differences between sleight of hand magic and the arcane magickal arts, “faery” represents real spirit beings or deities.

When referencing Spiritual Beings or Celtic and Fae Wicca deities, the appropriate term is “Faery.” “Fairy,” references creatures found among the imaginative pages of fairy tales; yes, there is some crossover here, as the characters in fairy tales can be elves, fairies, goblins, and other beings of lore. The Tuath Dé Danann is one example, where there is much written about them in fairy tales and handed down through oral storytelling traditions. Still, practitioners see the Tuath Dé as otherworldly, immortal beings who interact with the world and humankind.

 


 

As children, many of us learn that supernatural beings aren’t real. Our parents teach us to think rationally and to consider the characters in literature as nothing more than a product of the imagination. When speaking of fairy tales, the word “fairy” refers to the otherworldly realm beings as unreal or fictitious. The use “Faery” does the opposite; it allows us to honor supernatural beings by acknowledging their existence and recognizing their influence on humans and the world as very real.

 

How to Enter the Faerie Realm: Roads to the Otherworld

Openings in the earth or bodies of water may serve as entries into the faery realm; deep, dark, caverns hidden in the belly of the Earth Mother, or darkened lakes and whirlpools amid oceanic waters are all said to be entryways into the faerie realm. Crossroads are also a doorway but, so too are the magickal faery circles made of mushrooms, stones, or a patch of earth in the middle of the woods. Those who are clairvoyant, clairsentient, and clairaudient; people who heighten their awareness and believe in supernatural beings have a far easier time accessing the practically inaccessible world of magickal beings.

According to lore and many magickal practices, it is easiest to access the otherworld, whether it’s called the Land of the Fae, the Astral Realm, the Inner Realm, Tir na Nog, or the Shadowlands, during “between times.” Such periods are where time is transitioning from one state to another, such as dawn, dusk, and midnight, which are among the most traditional. Equinoxes, solstices, the New Moon phase, and even Samhain where the old Pagan year transitions into the new, are also ideal times to access the world of Fae and the Spirits.

 

 

Celtic & Faery Witch Deities

Much about faeries stems from oral tradition and writings heavily influenced and changed by Christian writers, and the ancient Romans, so some of the stories about the magickal beings is muddled and ambiguous. Through the centuries, storytellers and historians often compare, and association faeries with other magickal creatures like shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, spirits of the dead, and angels. Some writers go as far as to demonize them. In other writings, the Fae are characterized as heroes, queens, and kings with mysterious powers.

The Tuath Dé or Tuath Dé Danann, meaning “tribe of the Gods” or “the folk of the Goddess Danu,” originates from Irish Mythology where they are the pre-Christian, primary deities of Gaelic Ireland. In Latin, the magickal race is known as the “Plebes Deorum” or “folk of the Gods.” Of this tribe, you’ll find the following Celtic Witchcraft and Faery Witch Deities (among others):

The Dadga: (alias "An Dagda") is a depicted as a Druid, King, and Father Archetype who corresponds with Strength, Valor, Virility, Fertility, and Agriculture. He holds sway over the living, the seasons, weather, and time. His appearance may remind one of The Hermit in the tarot or Father Time himself, as he wears a long cloak with a hood and has a long beard. He carries with him a mace, club, or staff, which can bring or take life as he wills it. Dadga is analogous to the Roman Underworld God, Dīs Pater, and Odin, the Norse God of Magic, Divination, Death, Poetry, and Wisdom.

The Morrigan: (aliases include Morrígu, Mórrígan, Mór-Ríoghain, and Morrígan). The Morrigan is the wife of The Dadga, with a name that means “Phantom Queen” or “Great Queen” and is one of the most well-known of the Celtic deities. She is a Goddess of Fate and Battle, one who foretells one’s destiny, and predicts who will be the victor in war. Sometimes The Morrigan is viewed as a triune, three sisters, called the Morrígna.

 


 

Lugh: (alias “Lú,”Lug,“Samildánach,” “meaning skilled in multiple arts,” and “Lámfada,” meaning “of the long arm”) is a savior deity and part of the race of the Tuatha Dé Danann; he is a king, craftsman, and warrior, and is the God of Truth, Oaths, and Kings. The first harvest festival of the year is Lughnasadh, which is named after Lugh. He is analogous to the Welsh hero Lleu Llaw Gyffes, Mercury: the Roman God of Communication, and the pan-Celtic deity Lugus.

Nuadha: (aliases include Nuadu, Nuada, Elcmar, Necht, Nechtan, Airgetlám, or Airgeadlámh, meaning “Silver Hand” or “Silver Arm”) is consort of Boann and the Tuatha Dé Danann’s first king; he earned his epithet after losing his arm in a battle which is replaced by a silver arm and healed via magick. Nuadha is analogous to Nodens, the Gaulish and British God of Fishing and Hunting.

Aengus: (aliases include Óengus or Mac ind Óic) is the son of Boann The Dagda, is the Irish God of Inspiration, Love, and Youth. He is analogous to the Welsh deity, Mabon, whose name means “Great Son.”

Note: The Celtic pantheon is quite diverse, and the Gods and Goddesses mentioned here are but a mere sampling of the various aspects of the Divine.

 

 

How to Practice Fae Wicca: Where to Start

Gaining familiarity with the oral traditions, lore, and mythology of the ancients is the best way to begin your exploration of Faery Wicca deities and preternatural beings. Picking up a Faerie’s book or two on the subject is like your mental doorway into the world of magickal beings; your familiarity with such spirits will make it easier for you to connect with them during visualizations, meditations, and achieved altered states of awareness. Later, you can use your knowledge to connect with otherworldly spirits via ritual and spellwork.

 

Morgan Daimler is a priestess of the Daoine Maithe, and a prolific author who writes about the Fae, magickal practices, and Irish myth; many of her books are perfect for the practitioner looking to gain an understanding of the faery witchcraft realm and the beings that reside there. Daimler is among the foremost experts on the subject, with Faery book titles including The Morrigan: Meeting the Great Queens,” “Fairycraft: Following the Path of Fairy Witchcraft,” Fairies: A Guide to Celtic Fair Folk,” and “A New Dictionary of Fairies: A 21st Century Exploration of Celtic and Related Western European Fairies,” among others.


Witchcraft in West Virginia

Witchcraft in West Virginia

 

One of the most intriguing aspects of the occult in America is that it truly has enjoyed a regional expression. New England witchcraft, for example, looks very different from West Coast witchcraft which looks very different from Midwest witchcraft. This trend also applies inter-regionally as well. Tennessean witchcraft looks different than Georgian witchcraft which looks different from West Virginia witchcraft and on and on it goes.

But a personal favorite of mine is Appalachian witchcraft. Perhaps that's due to the fact that I'm from the mid-south originally or maybe it's because this particular strain of the esoteric still lingers somewhat in obscurity, even to me.

 

 


 

 

So today I'd like to explore one of the more emblematic and representative states of Appalachian folk magic: West Virginia. First, some background.

The Early Days of West Virginia

West Virginia has always been a bit of an oddball in the cultural fabric of the United States. It's location alone seems to beg for paradoxes. It's not quite southern and not quite northern. But it's situated against some of the more representative states of these respective cultures (Kentucky and Maryland, for example). And this tension between opposing ideologies is actually a part of what led West Virginia to break way from Virginia in the first place. In the lead-up to the Civil War (1861 to be precise), West Virginia became the only state to form by breaking from the Confederacy and was also one of only two states admitted to the Union during the conflict (Nevada was the second).

So, from the early days of West Virginia being West Virginia there was a rugged individualism which will become very important to the rest of this story. And the tension between exactly where West Virginia's ideology falls extends even to the state's regional positioning (the Census Bureau designates it as being a southern state, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics places it in the mid-Atlantic region). But the story of witchcraft in West Virginia extends back even further in time than the state's official formation.

 

The First Stirrings of Witchcraft in West Virginia

The region's earliest settlers were just as concerned with the threat of witchcraft as their New England cousins. In the same era of the Salem Witch Trials, accusations also flung in the burgeoning Virginia hills. Crucially though, they never escalated to the same degree as those in Salem or elsewhere in New England. Actually, Virginia has those trials beat, in terms of chronological placement, by some decades. In 1626 (only 19 years after the founding of Jamestown, but 66 years before the outbreak of the Salem Witch Trials), a grand jury attempted to determine if a woman named Joan Wright was indeed a witch. While the outcome of the trial has been lost to the ages, one could relatively safely hazard a guess that the verdict was in Wright's favor.

 


 

Because, even though the threat of witchcraft was as ever-present in Virginia as it was on every other front of the early American settlements, there are actually a number of key differences that kept any Salem-esque, hysterical outbreaks from occurring in early Virginia.

 

 

 

Separation of Church and State

For starters, early Virginians maintained a much more distinct separation between ministers and the legal processing of accused witches than their New England counterparts. In Salem, for example, one could make the argument (and plenty have) that you can really lay the entirety of the Salem Witch Trials at the feet of over-zealous, ambitious ministers (Samuel Parris, and Cotton/Increase Mather spring to mind, but they're not alone). But in Virginia, congregation leaders rarely participated in witchcraft hearings. Perhaps this is due to the fact that one of the key differences between New England and early Virginian witchcraft is that while 1692's Salemites viewed witchcraft as inextricably linked with Christianity (the actual offense latent in witchcraft to the Puritans wasn't the practice of magic, it was being in league with the devil), Virginians viewed it as much more rooted in folklore and therefor essentially outside the realm of organizaed religion.

 

Distanced Ministers

So, with the possibility of salvation or damnation not on the table, the ministers rarely got involved. But it wasn't only this religious separation that kept the tide of hysteria at bay. The courts themselves were also hesitant to even hear cases of witchcraft. A perfect illustration of just how true this is can be found in the fact that only 19 known cases of witchcraft were brought to the Virginian courts in the 17th century and all but one ended in acquittal. The final case of witchcraft in Virginia took place in 1802 and was also dismissed.

But what accounts for this hesitation on the part of the courts and the religious leaders of Virginia? Well, the answer to that question leads us to a giant, looming, key player in this story that has yet to appear: The Appalachian Mountains.

 

Those Dark Hills

To the degree that West Virginia is, "southern," a whole lot of that cultural relation comes from the secluded mountain-dwellers. Some of these mountaineers have been in those dark hills since the very beginning. As someone who grew up in Tennessee, I'm intimately aware of the folklore that still comes from those Appalachian peaks. This is the land of moonshine and outhouses, completely secluded communities out of reach of the law or government. The early settlers in what became West Virginia were a rugged people. They farmed what they could around the mountains (the state is actually entirely mountainous). They fended for themselves outside of the emergent American government. And this spirit led to a state motto that perfectly captures the essence of the people it canonizes. It reads, "Montani Semper Liberi" (Mountaineers are always free).

 

 

The practitioners of witchcraft that emerged from this way of life were different than many others outside of Appalachia. West Virginian communities and religious leaders didn't despise these "Granny Witches.". In fact, it was the exact opposite.

 

Sole Practitioners

The mountain state's witches tended to be sole practitioners. These typically older women were sometimes alone themselves, sometimes not. But they maintained by in large a coveted spot in their communities. In regions where medical care was harder to come by (due to geographical isolation), West Virginia's witches were healers. They oversaw the physical, mental, and spiritual health of their communities. And they did it all with near total support from their churches and community members. In West Virginia, witches aren't a threat to Christianity.

 

 

While I can't find too much proof of this off-hand, I believe that the First Nations peoples of the region are a huge part of the reason why there was such a positive reaction to witchcraft in West Virginia. The state contains a large population of Shawnee descendants. And their ancestors were among the first people that Virginia's European settlers encountered. The Cherokee (who may have used southern Virginia largely as hunting ground) are also still quite present to this day.

 

While I can only offer anecdotal evidence to support this claim, I heard many tales growing up of peaceful interaction and sharing between the secluded mountain communities of European and First Nation descendants. Perhaps it's the case that a bit of the First Nation ethic in regards to what Europeans might deem, "satanic" rubbed off on the settlers. Maybe this is part of why witchcraft in West Virginia doesn't carry the religious or social baggage it does in other parts of the country.

 

 


 

Granny Witches and Pagan Integration

Regardless, West Virginia offers one of the most successful examples of the integration of witchcraft into the cultural fabric of a state. To this day the, "Granny Witches" are doing their good work in the mountain state. They offer the communities they serve a shoulder to cry on when times are tough. They offer a plethora of folk remedies to help community members avoid the crushing downward spiral of the pharmaceutical industry. And they offer and a through-line for the region's distinct cultural heritage.

 

The witches of West Virginia are vital members of their respective communities. And those interested in the craft could do far worse than to look to West Virginia's witches to learn how to provide occult value to their own communities.

 

Sources for this article:

 


What is Alchemy?

What is Alchemy?

 


 

Alchemy is a term that covers many philosophical traditions which span over four millennia across several continents.

 

Simply put, Alchemy is the art-form of liberating something from its fixed physical properties.

 

By fixed, we are referring to something with finite properties. In reality, in this physical dimension, there is nothing that is, by this definition, fixed. The physical laws we observe are recorded within a culturally agreed upon set of shifting perceptions.

 

Alchemy is actually a perfect illustration of the disparity between these designations and the deeper undercurrent running beneath them. Many of us who have heard of alchemy, are familiar with the concept of turning an ordinary metal, such as lead, or such as iron, into gold. Incredibly, that is really only the surface of Alchemy. The deeper truth beneath that very literal designation is that Alchemy actually has more to do with taking something with seemingly fixed properties and turning it into something entirely different. 

 

 


 

Early Alchemists used processes that would go on to be the foundations of scientific techniques, so in that way you could think of Alchemy in general as a sort of predecessor to Chemistry, Biology, and the like. But, unlike these later sciences, you absolutely cannot separate the scientific process of Alchemy from hermetic principles and spirituality.

 

Those principals and spiritual truths are the basis upon which Alchemy stands and understanding how they got there is a crucial component of the story of western Enlightenment thinking, witchcraft, and much more.

The Origins of Alchemy

The Alchemist Robert Boyle is credited as being the father of modern Chemistry. Iatrochemistry emphasizes the medical application of alchemy. It was also the study of alchemy that influenced Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity. But the story of Alchemy actually begins long before Newton and Boyle.

 

Alchemy most likely began in Roman Egypt, then spread throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. Now one could (and perhaps this site will at some point) dive way, way deeper into the history of Alchemy, Hermes, Egypt, and much more before advancing further. But we're mostly interested in what Alchemists actually believe and how alchemical thought is woven into the western esoteric. So, for now, just know that it's very old, it's origins are somewhat shadowy, and it was massively influential on Enlightenment thinkers. 

 

Modern Day Alchemy

Those thinkers (and the Hermetics and Alchemists who came before them) left a powerful mark on history. It’s very easy to make the claim that indirectly Alchemy is responsible for the tenor of western science, philosophy, religion, and much more. Without going that far though, one can easily see the contributions of the Alchemists in the products of the day: metal working, the production of gun powder, inks, dyes, paints, cosmetics, leather tanning, ceramics, glass manufacturing, the preparation of extracts, liquor distillation – each of these and more has its roots in Alchemy.

 

Fun Fact: In J.K Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series, Alchemy is on offer at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry if there are enough pupils who want to take it. Of those pupils, only sixth and seventh-years are allowed in! Watch the clip below for a bit of an introduction into Harry Potter alchemy.

 

Harry Potter excels in Potions class and chances upon a past-student's textbook... For more from the Wizarding World, subscribe to the YouTube channel: http://po.st/M1Zdwg Relive every moment of magic and take home the Harry Potter Complete Collection: http://po.st/Ys25Tq The official Wizarding World YouTube channel is where you can find official trailers, behind-the-scenes videos and more from the spellbinding world of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. Do you want to be on our channel? We are now showcasing videos made by fans, for fans of the Wizarding World. If you would like your video to be featured, we would love to hear from you. Go to http://po.st/yWSm0l for more information and upload your video.

The 4 Stages of Alchemy

Alright, we’ve had our fun. What we’re really interested in is how the Alchemists saw the world. What was their cosmology and what can we learn from it?

The great work of Alchemy is usually characterized by four stages. Each of these stages is represented by a color:

 

Negredo - Black Alchemy

 

Negredo is the first, which means a “blackening,” or “melanosis.” It is representative of putrefaction and decomposition. Where ingredients had to be cleansed and cooked extensively.

 

Internally, this represents a kind of spiritual death and the confronting of one’s own shadow aspect.

 

Albedo - White Alchemy

 

Albedo, which means a “whitening,” or “leukosis.” It represents the washing away of impurities, where the physical object, such as an ingredient in some kind of alchemical brew, is to be purified and divided into two opposing components or principles.

 

Metaphorically, this represents regaining some sense of the original purity of a thing and is also connected with the receptivity of the soul, the washing away of the ashes to find the pure aspect beneath.

 

Citrinitas - Yellow Alchemy

 


 

The third principle citrinitas, a “yellowing,” or “xanthosis.” This refers to transmutation, the actual turning of a subject, such as an ingredient, into its highest state – such as metal into gold.

 

This represents awakening, becoming a manifestation of the divine, a walking embodiment of the soul, rather than a muted reflection of it. This is a process of becoming.

 

Rubedo - Red Alchemy

 

The fourth and final principle, a “reddening,” or “iosis.” Rubedo refers to the end state of alchemical success – the achievement of the perfect state. This final state of perfection of any subject such as an ingredient into its exalted state is the ultimate aim of the alchemical process.

It can be interpreted as achieving an enlightened consciousness and the total fusion of spirit with matter. This stage is often represented by the symbol of the phoenix.

 

So...What Is Alchemy?

As you can see, based on these 4 principles, Alchemy goes much further than just the physical process of transforming base metals into higher metals – it very much has to do with human transformation and helping one elevate their spirit to a purer state.

 

This relates to you if you are trying to transform yourself from your ordinary fixed, physical self into your exalted state and enlightened being. You can see this one of thinking of the self at play in most of the world’s major religions. It’s Christ-consciousness, the quest for Nirvana, individuation, and so much more.

 

Now, since we of the esoteric mind are keenly aware that by changing one’s mind about one’s reality, one’s reality is also changed. Therefore, it’s certainly not the biggest leap in the world to make the following statement: Alchemy is actually the practice of creating your entire reality.

 

The Highest Esoteric Principle in Alchemy

Now let’s jump back in time to the earliest alchemical thinkers. These distant relatives may have been Egyptians during the Roman years, they have been way later than that too, we’re not totally sure. But what we are sure of is that the early alchemists were very hesitant to divulge the highest esoteric principle in Alchemy.

 

And basically, that principle is that thoughts create reality. Only the mind limits. And so, liberating the mind through spiritual practice means liberating all that the mind perceives.

 

Alchemy is the practical application of the truth that you create all of it, your entire reality and even the perception that your reality is on some level distinct from other realities, but no less real. 

 

 

Everyone is an alchemist by these definitions, most are just unaware that they are doing it. On some fundamental level, the Alchemists believe that your mind is constructing its own reality. Your sensual apparatuses are then perceiving that construct. And the rest of your body is responding to that data loop.

 

Alchemy is the process of understanding that your mind is doing all of this. If you change how you are thinking and what you are thinking about, your reality will and must follow suit.