Now, of course, there are always going to be people who want to experiment with [hallucinogenics] or who want to experiment with toxic plant substances which are dangerous. You can't stop them, but you just tell them that's not what it's about at all. if they want to go down that road, that's their choice. but it's a very dangerous road to go down.

When it's first taken, what happens? Is it similar in some cases to hallucinogenics?

If you take hallucinogenic stuff, it affects you immediately because your body is de-toxing. That's why you get the effect from drugs--because they're essentially poisonous and your body is flushing them out. Whereas the homeopathic, the spagyric product is a medicine which actually begins to purify you. It begins to purify the subtle energetic body so the effect that it had may occur at any time during the day. When you're most relaxed--either in meditation or prayer, or just kind of zoning out a little bit--that's when you'll notice the effect.

What is that effect?

It depends on the product you make. Some are designated according to astrology. So things that are done with Mars would have a very strong, energetic effect. Things done with Venus would have a very powerful, harmonizing effect, very magnetic in terms of relationships to others. If someone is working on a book or a particular project or problem, mercurial tinctures-not made of mercury, but tinctures related to Mercury on the plant line-would be very helpful in having those insights.

Which common plants do you use?

Very simple kitchen herbs. We jokingly say, "If people knew what you could do with basil and thyme." A very common plant used is lemonbalm. Very pleasant-smelling, very lemony. And that has a lot of Jupiterian effects, so someone who's trying to expand their heart, expand their awareness, be broader, more all encompassing--Jupiter would be a very good plant.

It seems people always start with plants. When you do move on to minerals, how does that work?

There are some people who would say that working with plants is technically not alchemy, that it's more tapping into the natural biorhythms of the planet. When we move into mineral work, this is when we actually do get into areas of transmutation. An alchemist says, "we can only transmute without that which we have first transmuted within." As we increase in integrating our consciousness, the barrier between our consciousness and matter breaks down.

You're saying our consciousness can affect what a substance is?

Yeah. The biggest example that you often hear of is transmuting a base metal into gold.

Have you seen such a thing or done such a thing?

The alchemist will never say if they've done it. In fact, if they say they've done it, you generally walk away. You watch and see what they do. And if what's going on the right line is working, then you stay with them.

What you're really looking for is the person's character. The ability to transmute a base metal is an experiment for them to verify for themselves personally what is going on within themselves. It's not something they do for public acknowledgment or recognition.

So if someone has reached a higher plane of consciousness, they theoretically have this skill to change a substance into something different?

That is correct.

Can you give an example?

One of the more significant experiences I've had was actually someone else's working on a transmutation. I write about this in the book I just completed, called "The Path of Alchemy." It was someone several years ago who was doing the work of Flamel. A lot of people now are familiar with Nicholas Flamel because of Harry Potter. Nicholas Flamel was a historical person, and there's an actual way of alchemy known as the Flamel Path. Some of us were at a conference many years ago and one person was working the furnace. Now, we have an aura, an energetic field that generally extends about three feet beyond us. When we get into a heightened state, like through prayer or meditation, our aura extends outwards. When you do group work, maybe group meditation, group ritual, it extends outwards even further--a lot of people say, in average ritual work, maybe 12 feet in diameter. When you're working with minerals and the intense energies that they give off, it expands even further.

A human being's aura would expand when they're doing spiritual work that involves minerals?

That is correct. At this event, many of us who were not physically next to the furnace had noticed that there was a tangible, palpable, energetic field about 50 yards in diameter.

You're sort of trained to see this now, this aura that other people can't see?

I wouldn't say trained. Think of it in terms of an attunement. I'm more sensitive to what's going on inside me, but also to what's going on outside me. That idea of inside-outside breaks down, heading from duality to unity. That's what this is all about--increasing your personal integration and realizing that there is no difference between what is in and out. If I become more unified within myself, I must become more unified with the rest of creation. And you begin to feel it, you begin to notice it. Now, on the other side along this process, there's very positive, tangible benefits particularly in terms of health and well-being. You simply don't get sick as often. When you do, you heal much more quickly. You have the advantage of having some very powerful spagyric or maybe mineral tinctures around that can help other people get well very quickly. I've seen near-miraculous healings with very simple spagyric products, and I do not use the word 'miraculous' loosely. People who just really were told, "You've got a few weeks left to live." This is something anyone with a good heart and a good mind can do.

Can you describe what the man at the furnace was doing?

He was working with some very toxic stuff: mercury, distilled mercury, he was working with antimony and was creating an amalgam along with iron and essentially making gunpowder in a small, red-hot crucible. He was doing this under certain astrological conditions-that is, the sky had to be clear, couldn't be cloudy.

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