[Notes on the “Philosopher’s Stone”]
Theosophist, January, 1883
Selections from HPB’s translation of Éliphas Lévi’s “Rituel de la Haute Magie” | Notes by H.P.B.
. . . This stone is one and multiple; it may be decomposed by analysis, and recomposed by synthesis. Analyzed it is a powder, the so-called powder of projection of the alchemists. Prior to analysis, and after synthesis, it is a stone.1 . . .
1. “Prior to analysis” or “after synthesis”—the stone is no stone at all, but the “rock”—foundation of absolute knowledge—our seventh principle.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
The Salt, the Sulphur and the Mercury are but the accessory elements, and the passive instruments of the Magnum Opus. All depends, as we have said, on the interior Magnes of Paracelsus. The work is entirely in the projection,2 and the projection is perfectly accomplished by the intelligence effective and realizable from a single word. . . .
2. In connection with the “projection,” we would advise our readers to turn to the “Elixir of Life” in the March and April (1882) numbers of The Theosophist. The “interior Magnes” of Paracelsus has a dual meaning.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
As we have already said, there exist in Nature two primary laws,3 two essential laws, which produce in counterbalancing each other the universal equilibrium of things: that is fixity and movement, analogous in Philosophy to the truth and invention, and in absolute conception to the Necessity and the Liberty which are the Essence of God himself.4 . . .
3. This is incorrectly stated, and apt to mislead the beginner. Éliphas Lévi ought, without risking to divulge more than permitted, to have said: “There exists in Nature one universal Law with two primary manifesting laws as its attributes—Motion and Duration.” There is but one eternal infinite uncreated Law—the “One Life” of the Buddhist Arhats, or the Parabrahm of the Vedantins—Advaitas.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
4. Which the vulgar hoi polloi call, “God,” and we—“Eternal Principle.”—Ed. [H.P.B.]
. . . When by complete initiation one commands the forces of the universal agent, one always has this stone, at one’s commands; for the extraction of the stone is then a simple and easy operation, very distinct from the metallic projection or realization. This stone, in its sublimed state, ought not to be left in contact with the atmospheric air, which might partly dissolve it or cause it to lose its virtue. Moreover, the breathing (?) its emanations might not be free from danger. The sage prefers to keep it in its natural envelopes, assured that he can extract it by a single effort of his will and a single application of the universal agent to the envelopes, which the Cabalists call its shells.5 . . .
5. He who studies the septenary nature of man and reads “The Elixir of Life” knows what this means. The seventh principle, or rather the 7th and 6th or the Spiritual Monad in one, is too sacred to be projected or used by the adept for the satisfaction and curiosity of the vulgar. The sage (the adept) keeps it in its shells (the 5 other principles) and knowing he can always “extract it by a single effort of his will,” by the power of his knowledge, will never expose this “stone” to the evil magnetic influences of the crowd. The author uses the cautious phraseology of the Mediæval Alchemists, and no one having ever explained to the uninitiated public that the “Word” is no word, and the “Stone” no stone, the occult sciences are suffering thereby under the opprobrium of mockery and ignorance.—Ed. [H.P.B.]