Alchemy is both the most mysterious and most misunderstood of sciences, yet also the most clearly articulated. Alchemy is the science and technology of transformation—whether of matter or of psyche, of body or of spirit. It is the very essence of magick and of yoga, and of psychological and spiritual practices for personal development and growth. It is the ultimate meaning of Tantra and of the Craft.
It is the core nature of the human being to transform, and in so doing we become "co-creators," for it is the divine essence within each of us—combined with conscious awareness—that enables us to actively share in the evolutionary process. Alchemy has been presented in different cultures as many things: the transformation of base matter into gold, the transformation of the fragmented psyche into a whole, the transformation of sexual energy into radiant consciousness, the transformation of a mortal body into a long-lived or even an immortal one, and the transformation of ordinary man into a god-being as fulfillment of the promise of being created in God's image.
Simply stated, alchemy is the science and art of transformation, starting with such crafts as the potter transforming clay into useful pots, the blacksmith transforming raw metal into useful tools and weapons, the jeweler transforming precious metals and stones into fine ornaments, and the seamstress transforming cloth into beautiful clothing. And when we "divine," as with Tarot cards and astrology, we are bringing Time into awareness so that we can consciously transform (change) what is otherwise our fate.
Whenever we manipulate things with our hands and mind, we are engaging in the alchemical process. The manual crafts and arts are as divine as those of mind and spirit. Yoga transforms body and soul; Magick transforms the astral "stuff" behind the material world; meditation transforms mind into a channel for the Clear Light. When we act with consciousness, awareness, and intent, we are engaging in alchemy. All the arts and sciences, the technologies and disciplines, of our New Age curriculum are particular applications of the fundamental science of alchemy. Each is suited to the particular needs and aptitudes of the individual practitioner—none superior to another except as it is practiced in life. The Magician is as worthy as the yogi, the Tarot reader as worthy as the astrologer, the shaman as worthy as the mystic, and the Kabbalist as worthy as the Witch.
Of alchemy itself, we can say that we are experiencing the creative process in its essence. In its practice, we transmute the inner self into what we want to become. As it has been promised: knock and the doors will be opened, ask and the answers will come, seek and you will gain. All things are possible to the human being who is willing to grow, and growth is what we are here for.
—Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, Publisher
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke (Minnesota) was the owner and chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide, the world's oldest and largest metaphysical publisher. He played a seminal role in the rise of Wicca and Neo-Paganism in the 1960s and ...