Jumpstart on the Spiritual Path: Astrology, Alchemy & Metaphysics
How do these three fields of study relate?
I have found that all three of these areas, astrology, alchemy and metaphysics give a major "jump start" to progress on the Spiritual Path. Although most people have a working knowledge of astrology, fewer know what alchemy and metaphysics are. Let's look at each one.
Tying it together
Astrology is an ancient art and science of viewing the macrocosm of our Universe and interpreting it's energies within the microcosm of our lives. If you subscribe to the Gaia theory, which is that all life is interconnected or the Hermetic philosophy of "As above, so is it below", you understand how our lives can mirror the activity of larger forces. Very few astrologers today are willing to claim that the planets actually cause events to occur, however there is a substantial correlation. The interaction of the planetary bodies in our solar system can make it possible to predict the activity of human affairs, and even define the very nature of our being. Notice I said, "define", not "create".
Planetary energies do reflect the goings on in human affairs. Through understanding their positions, movements and interaction, we can gain valuable insights. Similar to how genetic scientists can read the whole of the human body from a single strand of DNA, so can the astrologer read a birth chart. Patterns in the physical universe tend to repeat themselves in many different forms. Astrology is one method of deciphering these patterns.
The ancients looked on this as the Gods in action. With the planets representing the Gods, the corresponding energies of those gods, were mirrored here on earth. If the god Saturn, for instance, was feeling vile that day, you must be prepared for restrictions and limitations showing up in life. And this god's mood could be deciphered by how he/she was interacting with the other gods, like Mars.
A substantial number of astrologers (like myself), became interested in astrology from an effort to discredit it. In terms of modern science, astrology has insufficient "proof" to warrant it's existence. However, the fact remains that it works. Most astrologers are born skeptics, and must have empirical evidence of workability before they will commit to any system. The history of astrology contains tons of empirical evidence that it works.
Alchemy is the art and science of transformation. To change one substance into another is the goal. Even in medieval times, it was understood that the Alchemist had to do a great deal of work on him/herself in order to make the process work. They were frequently hermits, often ascetics, for whom the goal was all important. This dedication came from the viewpoint that man was far more than he'd previously believed himself to be, and that it was his duty to elevate himself to his full potential. Full potential including the ability to affect matter.
Today's human potential movement has strong similarities to this. The dissatisfaction evident in our world today is a form of "growing pain", of having reached a ceiling of achievement in the old paradigm of material reality. We understand that we're capable of more, but it requires stepping outside the boundaries of conventional existence.
The art of alchemy is in the combination of chemistry and ritual. Alchemists often rely heavily on astrology to determine the best times for certain procedures. You may find the fruits of their labors in many shops, where hand blended incenses, creams and tonics are sold. In these same shops, you may see beautiful ritual wands and amulets. These are all products that alchemists market (although all of these products aren't produced by alchemists).
Many modern alchemists focus on inner purification. This clarifies the mind and produces an objectivity which is invaluable in the process of manifestation. Subconscious conflicts and childhood conditioning can seriously affect the quality of our manifestations. Every conceivable technique for purification is used; fasting, yoga, and special concentration exercises are just a few.
Metaphysics defines the nature of cause and effect outside the realm of Newtonian physics. It's become more scientifically accepted with the advent of the particle accelerator. Scientists discovered that when broken down into it's components, atomic energy was measurable as either a wave or a particle depending on who was viewing it and what they expected to see. This proved that human causation in the behavior of matter was a far more important factor in the construction of the physical universe than had previously been considered.
This is the scientific perspective. As early as the Bible however, Jesus was quoted as saying, "It shall be done unto you as you believe". At the turn of this century, many new philosophies and religions came into being under the umbrella of "New Thought". The basic tenet of each of these was that the power of belief could move mountains. Thus came about concepts such as "The Power of Positive Thinking".
"Pure Metaphysics" is a debatable term. It's often been used to describe any New Age activity, but this wasn't the original definition. A metaphysician uses meditation, visualization and/or prayer to achieve their results. Through the activity of "embodying" their goal, they can produce it's equivilant on the material plane. Embodying is the act of placing yourself inside the image; you see, hear, and most importantly, feel the experience of having already achieved your goal.
It all ties together through the use of astrology to determine the barriers and opportunities to manifestation of physical reality, alchemical techniques for purification of the Soul to enable the transformation process, and metaphysics to bring it into reality. The goal is to causatively change our life, making it what we choose for it to be.
The exploration of human potential is a major new frontier. Although religion and later, psychology, have attempted to reconcile the difference between what man is and what he could be, they have not been adequate to the burden of need in today's world. These tools have proven workable for centuries, even when it wasn't the popular thing to do. Certain interpretations have changed to accomodate a more sophisticated population, but the principles have remained the same.
Through the combined use of astrology, alchemy and metaphysics, personal transformation can occur at a greatly accelerated pace. At my website, you will find many more articles on these subjects as well as interactive functions which can speed your progress.