Book III: Chapter 1
A long while past, once I knew that Jesus had truly deserted me, I, John Salom, perhaps better known to the world as Saint John the Divine, decided to come up with my own mission…
I denied myself nothing.
I refused my heart no pleasure.
I took delight in all my work.
Yet Time wore on… and on… and on… endlessly.
Eventually, in spite of all my accomplishments (and they were many), when I surveyed all that my hands had done, just like King Solomon, I realized that everything was meaningless – a chasing after the wind.
Therefore listen to me when I say…
And so I turned to Alchemy.
Do you even know what alchemy is?
Like most people, you probably think is has something to do with transforming common metals into valuable gold. Or, like Miriam, you might have heard of the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. Or perhaps you know of its connection to the mysterious Elixir of Life. And yet, while all of those might be a part of this science, Alchemy is so much more.
Understand that Alchemy is both a philosophy and a practice. It is the art of transformation and transmutation by which you can create whatever you desire using substances that you already have.
I desired to create my own death and I believed alchemy could show me the way.
So how did alchemy become so cliché?
The answer is really quite practical. Historically alchemy was always a spiritual discipline, but during the Middle Ages (especially in Europe), my friends and I found ourselves suddenly at odds with the Christian Church – and although I survived more than a few sessions with The Inquisition’s rack, my mortal friends did not.
Since it takes a rather long time to train a new alchemy master, I knew we had to convince the church that we alchemists were NOT trespassing on their spiritual grounds, so my friends and I came up with a plan to mislead the world (and the church) into thinking that alchemy’s primary focus was about the transmutation of metals into gold – and once we promised the Catholic Church a cut of the gold, they happily left us alone.
As a result, my fellow alchemists and I played up the physical science nature of alchemy over its spiritual goals.
Yet to those in the know, molecular processes were really just metaphors for spiritual transformations and the literal meanings of the alchemical formulas we published were actually a way for us to hide our true spiritual philosophies.
(Pretty clever, neh?)
And so, for the public at large, the alchemical texts we put out were filled with cryptic symbols, unusual diagrams, and mystical viewpoints…
All these symbols, etc. contained multiple layers of references to other equally cryptic works – and all of which had to be laboriously decoded in order to discover their true meaning. (Since most people don’t like putting in the time to do real work, alchemy’s true goals quickly became lost in the mists of time – exactly like my friends and I had hoped).
As for myself – during my past 2,000 years on this planet, I’ve lived under many names — and quite a few of them have been alchemists.
During the late 1400’s to mid 1500’s I fancied myself as a fellow named “Paracelsus” and lived all over Europe. Under that pen name I published a work called an Alchemical Catechism, and one of my most famous quotes is rather applicable to our discussion today: “alterius non sit qui suus esse potest” which means “let no man that can belong to himself be of another.”
Do you see what I am trying to tell you?
If God was not willing to help me get control over my own life, then I was determined to wrest that control away from Him and do it myself!
In time, I realized that the most certain way to do that was via The Great Work.
And now, today – this very day! – at long last, I was about to accomplish a task that no other alchemist in history had ever completed…
I was about to complete The Magnum Opus!