Book III: Chapter 2
This is the Time!
I am about to finally do it — my terrible life is about to end!
“Let Fire and Azoc suffice.” <Power> was all around me as I spoke the words of the Greek master Aristeus while at last I neared the completion of the Magnus Opum. “The Golden Key rules all, it alone shall open what has been shut — the great Gift of the Divine.”
Alone in my workshop, I was not longer just John of Salome; instead I was Azoth – Penultimate Master of Alchemy!
Standing before a small altar in front of the furnace near the rear of my garage, I felt the heat biting at my back. With the oven door open, flames were licking forth, tasting the air – tongues of yellow and red continuously snaked out and more than a few flares came into contact with my body — yet to no effect.
After working for nearly two weeks without rest, I had (again) completed the first three steps of The Great Work – during the Negrido I had purified myself by using fire to burn my iniquity away from the inside out; later I had attained further enlightenment via the Albedo, and after that I’d quickly worked through the Citrinitas stage (opening my soul to the solar dawn of creation). Therefore as it stood now, at this stage of the rite, my physical body was beyond harm from anything in the natural world – for, as Azoth, I had again reached the beginning of Rubedo — wherein I endeavored to achieve….
The unification of the limited with the unlimited – in the hopes of breaking the bonds of Death and achieving a <oneness> with God himself!
This was not the first time, I had reached this stage of The Great Work.
Yet always before my experiments had ended in failure.
This time, however I vowed things would turn out differently.
Thankfully, for the past two weeks God had not forced any visions upon me, allowing me the freedom to continue my work. I was now more convinced than ever that my only hope in breaking the bonds that held me captive in this forsaken life was via the completion of the Magnus Opum. And so, I had once more transformed myself into Azoth and I had been busy working through the Rites of The Great Work ever since.
“By Life, the Beginnings of things are known. Air is the Life of things, therefore the Beginning of things.” I continued my chant, my voice growing deeper, richer, more alive. “To catch Air is to use the Golden Key of Nature, a window to Heaven’s Aeythr!” And here I raised my arms on high, drawing Air and Aethyr into myself – even as the flames nearly engulfed me!
A sudden stillness settled upon the room as I lowered my arms. After the incantation, I turned my attention back to the altar below and specifically to three large tomes open before me. Two were sacred texts of Alchemy – one from Aristeus, written centuries before Christ’s birth, while the other contained the scientific works of Apollonius of Tyana, a contemporary of mine (during what would have been my original lifetime). Although far from the only references that I used to conduct my experiments, these two authors held the most esteem in my eyes.
As for the third book, it was written in my own hand and nearly twice the size of the other two books combined – for it contained the sum of MY knowledge on the subject of Alchemy – every thought, every experiment, every inkling or idea which I ever had for the past millennia or more during which I had worked The Rites, all of it was written within this book.
I made cursory checks of Aristaeus and Apollonius – scanning through their instructions on the Rite; yet in truth, I cast but a hasty glance at each, for I had read their texts so many times I knew them by heart and I knew there was nothing more they could teach me.
Therefore, it was to the larger volume – to my own work — that I now turned; flipping through its pages, I searched for that one piece of knowledge that had always eluded me, seeking the <key> by which I could finally complete The Great Work.
For I now knew that the secret lay within MY own words – of this I was absolutely certain – and yet, I just didn’t know WHERE within the journal’s thousands of pages that key piece of knowledge might be.
Riffling through my notes, I muttered as I read…
Spirit of the Air comes out of the rays of the Sun and the Moon without which none can live…
“No. Not it.” And I turned ahead a couple hundred pages…
Consider that you must have a permanent Water, that which congeals in the Fire and is joined with the perfect bodies… After this, give in to the Spirit made from the Air…
“I’ve done this before too!” I was frustrated.
But then, as a new thought emerged, I quickly flipped back halfway through my book, turning over so many pages that I had to use both hands to move such a weight of paper.
After finding the place I sought, I pondered, “Is there more to Air than I have ever imagined?”
Suddenly I moved to the very end of the text, to a blank page, and scrawled…
Air. It is breathed by all living things, yet it is not the life of all – why? Unless… unless… you would go back to the First Chaos from which God formed all things!
“Ah, it is ONLY from the First Chaos that one can draw the Truth.” I spoke aloud. Then back to my book, I continued writing…
Aristeus was wrong! Verily, I do agree with him that every species of beings has its own species of Air, its own Lifeforce. Yet, he makes no mention as to the Principle of each being and I now say this is the real key! For regardless of the species, is not the <Essence> of each altogether ‘Aerial?’
Again, I began to flit backwards through my manual, searching… seeking… at last going back to very first few pages – to a time when I wrote well over a thousand years past!
…Air is truly Divine, it is the subject of the search of all philosophers — for therein resides Life!
“And so it goes – there IS a difference between the Air which we breathe, and the Aerial substance which is within the Soul.” I was flabbergasted. “Oh, the time I have wasted – to discover that which I had known all along!”
That’s when I realized that for centuries I had been making The Great Work so much harder than it had to be.
Now, as I stood there, I finally understood that it was the very essence of Simplicity.
Working hard to contain my enthusiasm, I looked down upon my altar, wherein sat a silver bowl filled with mercury — within the interior of the dish, the color of the elixir mixed so well with the metal of the bowl that it was impossible to tell where the viscous mineral ended and the vessel began. Yet hanging over the lip of the dish were twelve golden keys of various shapes and sizes, all of them piercing into the mercurial soup. Reaching down, now picked up the Second Key, now brimming with confidence.
Holding the key aloft, I admired it. Silver droplets cascaded down – yet not a single one reached the floor, for flames from the furnace flashed out and consumed them as they fell – surrounding me in a wreath of Fire.
“The Golden Key shall open the Door.” I chanted, <power> once more filling my words. “Air catches Aire. Matter from the Earth is the same as that which is in Heaven. This is the infallible Truth!”
Thunder rolled suddenly outside – yet rather than startle me, it only caused me to cackle in delight, for I was at last certain that I had discovered the <key> to completing the Rubedo.
In my very soul I could feel that <Oneness> was close.
Lightening continued to crack, yet I roared above the din, “I seek the Simple, an <essence> universal to all! I have been purified by The Fires of Corruption, I have been quenched by The Waters of Life, my body is of the detestable Earth, yet my Soul is from the Aire, and above all, I am The Quintessence!!!”
“Deliver me now!!”
And then, of a sudden, I was no more!