The Alchemist’s Beginnings

She had been locked up in her laboratory for weeks it seemed.  The Work was all consuming.  She didn’t even have the desire to eat anymore.  The Work was nourishing every part of her body—from her cells to her spirit.  The translation she had done of the Emerald Tablet positioned on the table beside her.  Her altar with offering dish and crystal skull before her…a mantra, like the hiss of a snake, rattling on her lips, “As above…so below…as below…so above…as above…so below…”

Alchemists Table

Alchemy:  the transmutation of one thing to another;  an ancient art form that has its origins in visitation by other dimensional beings, to the people of Egypt, over 10,000 years before Christ.  Thought to explain the creation of the Creation itself, and has been known to transform a person from the inside out—Alchemy has influenced ever Western religion since their inceptions.

This diverse and complex topic has been dancing in my brain since I heard about Alchemy as a child.  The symbols always fascinated me…so much so that I wore a lapis ring that had alchemy symbols emblazon around it from the ages of 13 to 23.  I was then drawn to a carved ebony Ouroboros necklace at a friend’s Renaissance Faire booth about ten years ago; after I bought it, it became a permanent part of my Being—representing my idea of “God”.  All of those alchemical symbols had power that I knew I’d understand someday.  I just simply wasn’t ready…until now.

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Thus far, the core focus at the center of my study has been Shamanism in its many incarnations from Australian Aborigines to contemporary Druids.  I am currently in the process of finishing a book on my findings that will enable the modern Practitioner to understand and utilize Shamanism’s inherent wisdom.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ve graduated to Super-Duper Expert on Shamanism…but knowing that my gift in this life is transformation…I knew it was time to make a change.

So, as I diligently finish my first book…I have begun research for my third book.  (Yeah, I said third.  There is a second one in there that is pretty much done…so I will probably complete that one next 😉  Anyway, I digress.)  It all started when I found a book on Alchemy at my favorite book shop in Berkeley the last time I was there.  Or, I should say, IT FOUND ME.  Sitting at the entryway to the Paganism and Shamanism section was this cute little hardcover standing up on a table.  “That’s it,” my intuition whispered and I picked it up and didn’t give it a second though.

During my travels I began to read that little hardcover, entitled The Book of Alchemy, by Francis Melville.  It includes a short concise history, beautiful illustrations, explanation of the Emerald Tablet, descriptions of the essential processes, and the directions on how to make the Seven Planetary Elixirs.  Although a little complicated, these spagyric tinctures called to me—asking me to take on my first try at “The Work.”  This concept, known as “The Work,” is the basis for all alchemical efforts, where the alchemist consciously becomes magically intertwined with the Holy through conducting the stages of an experiment.

The book also asked me to translate the Emerald Tablet into my own words before doing anything else; I have included it below.  This mythic green stone tablet was given to humanity by Thoth (that other-dimensional being I mentioned above), who was the father of Alchemy, a God to the Egyptians, and possibly a creature  from a different plane of existence who set out to help this planet evolve into its own perfection.  Lost to antiquity, the actual physical Emerald Tablet is nowhere to be found.  However, it was translated in ancient Egypt times, then the translation was smuggled out of Egypt and taken to the Mid-East, from there it made its way to Spain and then the rest of Europe in the Middle Ages.  Its contents may at first be considered gibberish…but to an Alchemist it explains where the Work actually comes from.


  1. This is the truth, without lying—and that is for certain.
  2. As Above, So Below and As Below, So Above—to create the All That Is.
  3. And all things have come from the All That Is (The One) by the meditation of The One: so all things have been birthed from The One by transmutation.
  4. The Sun is its Father and the Moon is its Mother, the wind carried it and the earth nursed it.
  5. If it is converted to earth, its power is whole.
  6. You must separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, carefully with great diligence.
  7. It rises from Earth and descends again—combining through the powers of Above and Below.
  8. By this process you shall have the glory of the All That Is
  9. And thereby all inferior things will be stripped from you.
  10. Its force is above all other forces. For it vanquishes every unnecessary thing and infuses everything you need.
  11. This was how the whole Universe was created.
  12. From this comes many worthy applications because these are the instructions.
  13. Therefore I am called Thrice Greatest Hermes, having the three parts of the wisdom of the All That Is.
  14. That which has been explained is the complete Operation of the Sun.

(Adapted from Isaac Newton’s translation from his alchemical papers housed in King’s College Library, Cambridge University.)

All of this must sound very confusing…and it is…well, it sort of is…it’s more just complex and many-layered.  Like an onion.  So, as I peel back those layers to reveal more of The Work, and more of myself…I thought I’d share my journey with you.  Please leave me feedback if you are actually INTERESTED in what I’m doing here, or if you are doing The Work yourself.  My intention here is to bring this knowledge forward again…it seems like a logical step for me to move from Shamanism to Alchemy, blending them together in my Being and constantly transforming myself with the equations of Universal Truth.

So in the next post I will share a little about the Planetary Elixirs as The Work begins…

-Alchemist P

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