If you yourself have ever spent a moment fascinated or amazed by the great ruins, mysterious Hieroglyphics and cultural advancements of ancient Egypt, you should be able to easily understand why Arabs of the first millenium A.D. considered 'Egyptology' (or 'Alchemy') to be a science worthy of great minds.
Even in modern Islamic Egypt you will find at least a grudging respect for the ancients who built the Pyramids, Sphinx and other great monuments of dynastic Egypt. There can be little doubt that Arabs of the early centuries A.D. were among the founders of that great revival of Egyptian Studies, which filtered into Europe under the Arabic name of "Alchemy."
But, even before the Arabs, others had long been involved in an attempt to restore the Sciences of Egypt; and none more diligently than the classical Greeks. By the time Arabic Alchemy reached Europe, it found there an already vast body of studies inspired by the contact between Greece and Egypt, long before 'the Egyptian Science' was forgotten by the Egyptians themselves.
Over the next millenium that fusion of Arabic and Greek memories of Egyptian Science would become the western world's first 'physical science' based upon the idea of Experimentation, Proofs and precise Measurements. Today we know that fusion as "chemistry;" which admits (somewhat sheepishly) that it was founded by Alchemists. Like their sister-science Astronomy (which grudgingly admits it's own origin from within Astrology,) Chemistry today truly 'owns' the field of elemental compounds.. Chemistry's claim that it diverged from ancient Alchemy over the issue of 'Spiritual forces' is both absolutely true and furthermore, casts true Alchemy in it's own proper light.
Alchemy is the Egyptian Science of SPIRITUAL FORCES and how they affect both Matter and Living entities.
According to the ancient Egyptians, 'Spirit' and 'Matter' are two "expressions" of the same Principle: pronounced 'Neteru' in Egyptian, and 'Natura' or 'Nature' in later tongues. According to Egyptian Alchemy, every 'thing' has a 'spirit' to it; and every 'spirit' has SOME FORM of 'body.' The profound attainments of the Egyptians were created by a people who knew the 'spirits' within Elemental Matter, and could 'talk' them into revealing their secrets to mankind.
This process of 'talking to matter' was symbolized to Egypt in THE PYRAMIDAL FORM, and was said to involve four 'stages' (the four triangular 'faces' of the Pyramid;) requiring the application of five great 'Spiritual Forces' emmenated by THE PRINCIPLE SHAPES OF GEOMETRY (symbolized by the five actual 'sides' of the Pyramid.) Those seeking to rediscover the truths of Alchemy are thus faced with two possible starting-places; THE FOUR PHASES OF THE GREAT WORK, and THE FIVE "SPIRITUAL" SOLIDS.
Before outlining those Forces and Geometries, however, it is well to remind the reader that Physical Alchemy DID in fact lead to the discovery of Chemistry; any attempt to re-apply the principles of The Great Work to "physical transmutation of the elements" will naturally result in either your personal 'discovery' of the Laws of Chemistry OR your rediscovery of the ORIGINAL form of Alchemy.. which operates on the PRE-chemical (or Energy-conversion) Level. While it is certainly true from our own experience that physical Chemicals CAN be 'improved-upon' by imbuing them with Spiritual Forces through Alchemical means, the primary study of the pre-chemical Alchemists was the study of HOW TO HARNESS THE SPIRIT WITHIN MATTER INTO THE SERVICE OF HUMANITY. It is our experienced view, that ONLY THAT is 'The Great Work' of the pre-chemical Alchemists. If you disagree, and insist that you will rediscover the Physical Transmutation Of Matter through Spiritual Forces, we advise you that (if you succeed at that) you will not have found your answers in these pages. But, if what you seek is the level of Creative Science known to Egypt (rather than the Chemical Alchemists of the late middle ages) then we can indeed share useful insight with you.
The first thing one must 'accept' (and there is no other way of dealing with it!,) is that EVERY "THING" IS A LIFE, and EVERY "LIFE" IS PART "THING."
There are a small number of "Original Creative Forces" each of which is a Unified Duality composed of LIFE and A SPECIFIC GEOMETRIC SHAPE. These were later identified as 'the Five Platonic Solids' of classical western science; but to Egyptians they were 'the Fathers of all other Natures.' The Five Causal Geometries are:
Meaning "a Four-sided Solid," the Tetrahedron is the 'appliance' by which direct communication can be established between oneself and any other 'self' whether spiritual or material in form. Plato identified the 'static' Tetrahedron as a 'pyramidal' form whose base and sides are each a triangle.. though that is not the only 'possible' Tetrahedral shape. Our Alchemy uses a CYLINDER composed of the four sides identified as 'outside, inside, top edge and bottom edge;' and this is used to "channel" substances or other dialogues into the 'alembic' or Vessel holding the symbolic or elementary "subject-matter."
This "Twelve-sided Solid" or Dodecahedral object is recognized by all of the ancient Master Alchemists as the most 'Causal' of Geometries; it equates with 'a direct Command from God' in it's effect on the subject-matter when the alembic containing it is placed within such a geometry. Again, there are several ways of arriving at a 12-sided Solid.. though only one of those was recognized as 'perfect' by Plato, we use a variant based upon two hexahedral 'pyramids' conjoined at their bases.. placed in conjunction with the alembic.
The CUBE or "Six-sided Solid" is used to cause a subject-matter to become "pliant" of form.. allowing the Alchemist to 'channel' into it instructions for a more desirable form it should take. Once that form has become 'idealized' or approximating the intended goal, this geometry is immediately replaced with the following..
Meaning "a Five-sided Solid" the PYRAMID is the most famous and visable of the Egyptian Alchemical Geometries, since it was used on a grand scale to induce Preservation Of Form for royalty. Placed around the alembic in which a subject-matter has attained desired form, this geometry causes that form to be PERFECTED and RETAINED ad infinitum.
The final essential in any 'new creation' is that it be able to 'relate' with the rest of Reality. This "Twenty-sided Solid" bestows that ability. While Plato identified this shape as 'angular' and precise as an ABSTRACT IDEAL, we recognize it as the ancestral form of THE SPHERE, which we place around the alembic, thus in effect 'Circling the Square' or causing Inter-relatedness to occur for the Product. Normally this triggers either the 'Fulminato' or 'Magnum Opus' Stage of it's completion.
Each 'Neteru' or Spiritual Force in the Universe (other than those original 'fathers of all other Natures') is described as a Composite 'Being' made up of some 'non-human' ("thing"-like) but living form, conjoined to a 'human' other half. While it may well be that this "Anthropomorphic" view of Nature is simply all we can SEE IT AS because we are ourselves human-shaped (and thus can only relate with something as 'intelligent' if it has human shape,) the end-result is the same as if these Anthropomorphic Nature-Forces actually ARE half-man/half-animal Lifeforms.
A basic list of the most important of these diety-forms is provided in our article on The Egyptian Mystical Rites. You may find it useful to contact them each (in the original Egyptian OR the more modern Hebraic Kaballist practices) as you progress through your studies in Alchemy.
The process of "talking" to 'the lesser gods' of the Egyptian pantheon involves learning the Anthropomorphic Form of the Nature they embody.. and then opening a dialogue with them by use of the Original Creative Geometries. This allows one to 'transmute' or 'alter' your relation to them, by "Spiritual Alchemy." Likewise, the same approach is used for "talking" to Matter; one must learn the true 'Nature' of it's element-form, and then use the "Causal Geometries" to open a dialogue with them. While it has become traditional to refer to this process of Neteru-contact as 'the old Egyptian religion,' that is a misnomer; it was in fact not 'religion' but A TOTEMIC SCIENCE, part of the larger science that we today inherit as Spiritual Alchemy.
Once ANY Nature has been contacted by use of Alchemical forces, there begins a Four-Stage "Evolutionary Process" that leads in fixed steps to whatever 'goal' one has set-out to attain. These Four Stages are represented as THE 'ASCENDING SCALE OF ALCHEMICAL COLORS.' While it may seem improbable to the inexperienced mind, each Alchemically-triggered Evolutionary Phase actually DOES produce some manifestation of the color of that Phase of Alchemy. The Four Color-Phases are (in sequential order:)
In this initial Stage, the 'subject' seems both confused and vague; disorder is the keynote, and one may wonder if any good could come of this! Patient observation soon reveals an emerging 'Product' though it is quite primitive and only slowly does it move toward your goal.
In this second Stage, the emerging product enters a rather extreme period of 'purging;' it sheds the confusion and vagueness of it's origins.. but may seem to have completely missed the intended direction of evolution! Further patience reveals that this Stage has further solidified the Product as a "workable nucleus" which can later be turned into a more desirable direction of growth.
Now in this third Stage the Alchemy becomes quite apparent; the formerly rather distorted Product now begins to show clear signs that it is moving in the desired direction of growth. Patience is less needed now than is CAUTION; the Alchemy here can be sometimes quite 'explosive' and fast-paced! At times, one may feel that it is all getting QUITE out of hand!, and then suddenly..
The Product solidifies into a FUNCTIONING or 'living' REALITY that fulfills the goal intended (and usually quite a bit MORE than ever expected!) One may be tempted to think the work 'done' when it attains this Stage; but it may still need to 'cool' or temper into final form over a brief period of functional use. Sudden 'proofs' of the final Product's desirability emerge, to inform the Alchemist that his Great Work has been attained.
Any deliberate use of this Four-Stage Color Symbolization (even as simple a use as dressing oneself in the four colors sequentially!,) can trigger Alchemical results, though (naturally) only on a minor level unless the Creative Forces of Causal Geometry are also employed. Many people find Color-Alchemy sufficient for their self-transformations. But, should you wish a more detailed description of the complex process of Spiritual Alchemy as performed in our tradition, we recommend you study The Shining Tree Self-Work-Book..