The Principles of Alchemy

The Universal Principles of Alchemy

Key understandings of the universe & self

The Universal Laws of Alchemy

“Mind (as well as metals and elements) may be transmuted, from state to state; degree to degree; condition to condition; pole to pole; vibration to vibration. True Hermetic Transmutation is a Mental Art.” –The Kybalion.

The Alchemists work on all 3 levels of existence (Body – Mind/Soul – Spirit) for any lasting transformation to occur. Through the principle of correspondence – As Above, so Below – the alchemists reason form one level to the next.
As a result, what applies to the chemical lab work with the metals, simultaneously apply psychologically and spiritually when we work with mental and spiritual Alchemy. This is the true goal of The Great Work.
In addition, the alchemical process can be applied to pretty much anything: Laboratory work, spiritual development, personal development, relationship development, business development, society, culture, etc.

The Great Work

The Great Work in Alchemy is the purification of the essence of the substance and a reunion of The Three Primes in a perfected state. Therefore, mentally it is a purification of Self – finding our inner truths, and balancing the masculine and feminine principles into a synergistic whole.

The goal of the Great Work is a perfected state of consciousness that combines passion and feeling with thought and imagination. In conclusion, it is turning our soul into gold. 

Some of the key motivations in Alchemy is to gain further understanding of the universe, life, time, space, reality, the body/mind/spirit complex, the true self, the cycles of life, etc. As a base for this understanding the seven universal principles has been stated by the tradition of Alchemy.

The Principle of Mentalism

Principle of Mentalism

“The ALL is MIND; The Universe is Mental.”

This Principle embodies the truth that “All is Mind.” 

It explains that THE ALL (which is the Substantial Reality underlying all the outward manifestations and appearances which we know under the terms of “The Material Universe”; the “Phenomena of Life”; “Matter”; “Energy”; and in short, all that is apparent to our material senses) is SPIRIT, which in itself is UNKNOWABLE and UNDEFINABLE, but which may be considered and thought of as AN UNIVERSAL, INFINITE, LIVING MIND.

It also explains that all the phenomenal world or universe is simply a Mental Creation of THE ALL, subject to the Laws of Created Things, and that the universe, as a whole, and in its parts or units, has its existence in the Mind of THE ALL, in which Mind we “live and move and have our being.”

This Principle explains the true nature of “Energy,” “Power,” and “Matter,” and why and how all these are subordinate to the Mastery of Mind.

The Principle of Correspondence

Principle of Correspondence

“As is above, so is below. As is below, so is above.”

This Principle reveals the truth that there is always a Correspondence between the laws and phenomena of the various planes of Being and Life.

The old Hermetic axiom ran in these words: “As above, so below; as below, so above.” And the grasping of this Principle gives one the means of solving many a dark paradox, and hidden secret of Nature. There are planes beyond our knowing, but when we apply the Principle of Correspondence to them we are able to understand much that would otherwise be unknowable to us.

This Principle is of universal application and manifestation, on the various planes of the material, mental, and spiritual universe – it is an Universal Law.

Just as a knowledge of the Principles of Geometry enables us to measure distant suns and their movements, so does the Principle of Correspondence enables us to reason intelligently from the Known to the Unknown.

The Principle of Vibration

Principle of Vibration

“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”

This Principle embodies the truth that “everything is in motion”; “everything vibrates”; “nothing is at rest”; facts which Modern Science endorses, and which each new scientific discovery tends to verify.

This Principle explains that the differences between different manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, result largely from varying rates of Vibration. From THE ALL, which is Pure Spirit, down to the grossest form of Matter, all is in vibration – the higher the vibration, the higher the position in the scale.

The vibration of Spirit is at such an infinite rate of intensity and rapidity that it is practically at rest – just as a rapidly moving wheel seems to be motionless. And at the other end of the scale, there are gross forms of matter whose vibrations are so low as to seem at rest. Between these poles, there are millions upon millions of varying degrees of vibration. From corpuscle and electron, atom and molecule, to worlds and universes, everything is in vibratory motion.

The Principle of Polarity

Principle of Polarity

“Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites.”

Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.

It explains that in everything there are two poles, or opposite aspects, and that “opposites” are really only the two extremes of the same thing, with many varying degrees between them.

Heat and Cold, although “opposites,” are really the same thing, the differences consisting merely of degrees of the same thing. Look at your thermometer and see if you can discover where “heat” terminates and “cold” begins! There is no such thing as “absolute heat” or “absolute cold”– the two terms “heat” and “cold” simply indicate varying degrees of the same thing, and that “same thing” which manifests as “heat” and “cold” is merely a form, variety, and rate of Vibration.

The Principle of Rhythm

Principle of Rhythm

“Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall.”

Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates.

This Principle embodies the truth that in everything there is manifested a measured motion, to and fro; a flow and inflow; a swing backward and forward; a pendulum-like movement; a tide-like ebb and flow; a high-tide and low-tide; between the two poles which exist in accordance with the Principle of Polarity.

There is always an action and a reaction; an advance and a retreat; a rising and a sinking. This is in the affairs of the Universe, suns, worlds, men, animals, mind, energy, and matter. This law is manifest in the creation and destruction of worlds; in the rise and fall of nations; in the life of all things; and finally in the mental states of Humankind.

The Principle of Cause & Effect

Principle of Cause and Effect

“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law.”

Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.

This Principle explains the fact that there is a Cause for every Effect; an Effect from every Cause. It explains that: “Everything Happens according to Law”; that nothing ever “merely happens”; that there is no such thing as Chance; that while there are various planes of Cause and Effect, the higher dominating the lower planes, still nothing ever entirely escapes the Law.

The Hermetists understand the art and methods of rising above the ordinary plane of Cause and Effect, to a certain degree, and by mentally rising to a higher plane they become Causers instead of Effects.

The Masters obey the Causation of the higher planes, but they help to RULE on their own plane.

The Principle of Gender

Principle of Gender

“Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”

This Principle reveals the truth that there is GENDER manifested in everything – the Masculine and Feminine Principles ever at work.

This is true not only of the Physical Plane, but of the Mental and even the Spiritual Planes. On the Physical Plane, the Principle manifests as SEX, on the higher planes it takes higher forms, but the Principle is ever the same. No creation, physical, mental or spiritual, is possible without this Principle.

An understanding of its laws will throw light on many a subject that has perplexed the minds of humankind. The Principle of Gender works ever in the direction of generation, regeneration, and creation. Everything, and every person, contains these dual Principles of gender, within it, him or her.

Source: The Kybalion

Further Your Understanding

Learn more about Alchemy. The Three Primes are an important ingredient to understanding the philosophy of Alchemy. 

Alchemy & Creativity

Creativity is a big part of the alchemical journey of self-development. Whether it be visual art, symbolism, music, theater, dance, writing, architecture, gardening, herbalism, etc.
The art of creativity teaches us the importance of balancing out the polarity, so that we can let the creative inspiration flow freely. It is in this free flow of energy and vibration that we are able to recognize and identify with our true inner self – the Soul.

Here is my representation of the alchemical principle of correspondence – the credo of “As Above, So Below”. See more Alchemy inspired art by SheeArt.