THEOSOPHY, Vol. 10, No. 7, May, 1922
(Pages 218-220; Size: 11K)
("The symbolical name adopted by the greatest Occultist of the middle ages.") H.P.B. [Part 4 of a 7-part series]
IT is well-known that the venerable kabalist, Rabbi Simeon Ben-Iochai never imparted the most important parts of his doctrine otherwise than orally, and to a very limited number of friends and disciples, including his only son. Therefore without the final initiation into the Mercaba the study of the Kabala will be ever incomplete, and the Mercaba can be taught only in "darkness, in a deserted place, and after many and terrific trials."
Since the death of Simeon Ben-Iochai this hidden doctrine has remained an inviolate secret for the outside world. Delivered only as a mystery, it was communicated to the candidate orally, "face to face and mouth to ear." This Masonic commandment, "mouth to ear, and the word at low breath," is an inheritance from the Tanaim and the old Pagan Mysteries. Its modern use must certainly be due to the indiscretion of some renegade kabalist, though the "word" itself is but a "substitute" for the "lost word," and is a comparatively modern invention.
The real sentence has remained forever in the sole possession of the adepts of various countries of the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Only a limited number among the chiefs of the Templars, and some Rosicrucians of the seventeenth century, always in close relations with Arabian alchemists and initiates, could really boast of its possession. From the seventh to the fifteenth centuries there was no one who could claim it in Europe; and although there had been alchemists before the days of Paracelsus, he was the first who had passed through the true initiation, that last ceremony which conferred on the adept the power of traveling toward the "burning bush" over the holy ground, and to "burn the golden calf in the fire, grind it to powder, and strew it upon the water." Verily, then, this magic water, and the "lost word," resuscitated more than one of the pre-Mosaic Adonirams, Gedaliahs, and Hiram Abiffs.
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One of the truest things ever said by a man of science is the remark made by Professor Cooke in his New Chemistry. "The history of Science shows that the age must be prepared before scientific truths can take root and grow. The barren premonitions of science have been barren because these seeds of truth fell upon unfruitful soil; and, as soon as the fulness of time has come, the seed has taken root and the fruit has ripened ... every student is surprised to find how very little is the share of new truth which even the greatest genius has added to the previous stock."
To bridge over the narrow gulf which now separates the new chemistry from old alchemy is little, if any, harder than what they have done in going from dualism to the law of Avogado. As Ampere served to introduce Avogado to our contemporary chemists, so Reichenbach will perhaps one day be found to have paved the way with his OD for the just appreciation of Paracelsus.
It was more than fifty years before molecules were accepted as units of chemical calculations; it may require less than half that time to cause the superlative merits of the Swiss mystic to be acknowledged. The warning paragraph about healing mediums, which will be found elsewhere, might have been written by one who had read his works. "You must understand," he says, "that the magnet is that spirit of life in man which the infected seeks, as both unite themselves with chaos from without. And thus the healthy are infected by the unhealthy through magnetic attraction."
The primal causes of the diseases afflicting mankind; the secret relations between physiology and psychology, vainly tortured by men of modern science for some clew to base their speculations upon; the specifics and remedies for every ailment of the human body -- all are accounted for in his voluminous works. Electro magnetism, the so-called discovery of Professor Oersted, had been used by Paracelsus three centuries before. This may be demonstrated by examining critically his mode of curing disease. Upon his achievements in chemistry there is no need to enlarge, for it is admitted by fair and unprejudiced writers that he was one of the greatest chemists of his time. (See Hemmann: "Medico-Surgical Essays," Berl. 1778.)
Brierre de Boismont terms him a "genius" and agrees with Deleuze that he created a new epoch in the history of medicine. "Paracelsus was the first," says Deleuze, "to give the name of gas to aerial fluids. Without him it is probable that steel would have given no new impulse to science."
The secret of his successful, and, as they were called, magic cures lies in his sovereign contempt for the so-called learned "authorities" of his age. "Seeking for truth," says Paracelsus, "I considered with myself that if there were no teachers of medicine in this world, how would I set to learn the art? Not otherwise than in the great open book of nature, written with the finger of God. ... I am accused and denounced for not having entered in at the right door of art. But which is the right one? Galen, Avicenna, Mesue, Rhasis, or honest nature? I believe the last. Through this door I entered, and no apothecary's lamp directed me on my way."
The utter scorn for established laws and scientific formulas, this aspiration of mortal clay to commingle with the spirit of nature, and look to it alone for health and help and the light of truth, was the cause of the inveterate hatred shown by the contemporary pygmies to the fire-philosopher and alchemist. No wonder that he was accused of charlatanry and even drunkenness. Of the later charge Hemmann boldly and fearlessly exonerates him, and proves that the foul accusations proceeded from "Oporinus, who lived with him some time in order to learn his secrets, but his object was defeated; hence the evil reports of his disciples and apothecaries."
"Burnier shows," says Col. Yule, "the Yogis very skillful in preparing mercury 'so admirably that one or two grains taken every morning restored the body to perfect health';" and adds that the mercurius vitae of Paracelsus was a compound in which entered antimony and quicksilver. This is a very careless statement, to say the least, and we will explain what we know of it.
The longevity of some lamas and Talapoins is proverbial, and it is generally known that they use some compound which "renews the old blood," as they call it. And it was equally a recognized fact with alchemists that a judicious administration "of aura of silver does restore health and prolongs life itself to a wonderful extent." But we are fully prepared to oppose the statements of both Burnier and Col. Yule who quotes him, that it is mercury or quicksilver which the Yogis and the alchemists used.
The Yogis, in the days of Marco Polo, as well as in our modern times, do use that which may appear to be quicksilver, but is not.
Paracelsus, the alchemists, and other mystics meant by mercurius vitae the living spirit of silver, the aura of silver, not the argent vive; and this aura is certainly not the mercury known to our physicians and druggists.
There can be no doubt that the imputation that Paracelsus introduced mercury into medical practice is utterly incorrect. No mercury, whether prepared by a mediaeval fire-philosopher or a modern self-styled physician can or ever did restore the body to perfect health. Only an unmitigated charlatan will ever use such a drug. And it is the opinion of many that it is just with the wicked intention of presenting Paracelsus in the eyes of posterity as a quack that his enemies have invented such a preposterous lie.
(To be continued)
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
EXTRACTS FROM THE PATH(2)
The disappearance of virtue and philosophy is only for a time; the souls possessing these will return again, bringing both with them.--Book of Items.
Disappearing through the eye, objects cease to exist as such and become ideas alone.--Book of Items, 88.
The man who finds matters for suspicion in others is one who is not true himself.--Book of Items, c. 8.
Though from gods, demons, and men your deeds are concealed, they remain as causes in your own nature.--Leaf V.
[Part 5 of a 7-part series]
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TWO (2) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
(1) Collated from Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine.
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(2) These Extracts were printed by William Q. Judge in The Path during the year 1893. The title used is our own.--EDITORS THEOSOPHY.
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