Updated: Dec 22, 2022
Alchemy is the hidden art of transmutation and refinement of the spiritual-chemical constituents of physical, mental, and spiritual reality. This can relate to philosophical, mental, or physical form, but the constant refinement and reshaping is a necessary repetitive process to form the end result or desired end. As it relates to living in the physical world and life experience, this process of alchemy has an allegorical association used to describe refining and reshaping our character in the light of morality, right action, and growth to the living aligned with one’s Will and the Great Work. The sublimation of blood and death, serves as analogy for sublimation of the blood (life-force or Will) and death (base desires, lower spectrum of emotion, and life adversity). Sublimation is an alchemical process defined as the following in definition and etymological origins as follows:
late 14c., in alchemy, "process of purifying by vaporizing then allowing to cool," from Medieval Latin sublimationem (nominative sublimatio) "refinement," literally "a lifting up, deliverance," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin sublimare "to raise, elevate," from sublimis "lofty, high, exalted; eminent, distinguished"
Certainly, the pathways of alchemy and continuous refinement are a much more challenging process than the aimless sleepwalking of living through impulse and emotion. The latter takes no special practice or skill, and generally the consequence of this aimless vice is one of much suffering, not only being held by the grip of our lower nature, but also at the mercy of all forms of external adversity and unfortunate happenings.
The analogy of sublimation of the life-force or Will-power (blood) and disposal of what is no more, no longer necessary or healthy, or something unfortunate, destructive to one’s Will or being, and unexpected loss (death), to be acted upon in such a way, as to be able to fine-tune oneself to the inner universal energy or Will-power in times of great turmoil, trauma, or unprecedented tragedy or misfortune that has to be quickly acted upon to keep oneself on track and in the service of one’s true Will and purpose. This means having the Will-power and discipline even when it seems the rug has been quickly pulled out from under one’s feet. It means having practiced the art of self-mastery and doing the Great Work to the point that it becomes second nature or muscle memory, able to be done even when it feels like the occurrence has flipped one’s world upside down or blindsided by unexpected adverse events or conditions.
For example, it could mean the unexpected death of a loved one, someone who became an integral part of one’s life and journey, where they feel disoriented by it. It might mean the sudden ending of an important relationship, where unhealthy or deceitful behaviors of one’s partner was not apparent until it was staring them in the face. Difficult but important thoughts, decisions, and actions had to be calculated and made quickly, swiftly, and cold to their established world and inner emotion. It would mean one is able to dissociate from what was perhaps years of devotion and friendship, loyalty and love.
It would be that moment when one realizes they have been lied to, deceived, and played a fool, and likewise they would have to be able to come to the realization they have to detach from the relationship, not only detach from the person, but from all the feelings that were built around them, to the point where, again, it may feel like the rug is pulled out from beneath them. The sublimation is the decision or process of quickly evaporating the solid reality that had to be swiftly done away with to keep the individual in line with their Will and its service to the Great Work.
The initiate is able to dissociate from the blood and sweat, all the energy they put into something they now have to quickly abandon, this is the sublimation of the blood, and the sublimation of death is the evaporating the death energy that would bind them to continue in the direction of more suffering and destruction, death being the destructive associations they would have been at the mercy of if they continued associating with unhealthy people or became stuck in an unhealthy place in the event of a tragedy. This is that quick and swift process being comparable to sublimation. Having the ability to quickly act and transform what was solid, to dissolve it with swift action, knowing it is in the service of the best, the service of the Great Work, even though the world seems alien to them in the process. It means living with the ability to stay in tune with one’s Will, rather than the harsh elements of the world and external reality.
To live at the mercy of life’s external reality and outer disposition means one would struggle to the elements of external events, to find themselves beaten and bloodied by life’s terrain, scraping the cold jagged edges of sharp rock symbolic representation of the physical domain. Life is often brutal and painful in a world so thoroughly out of balance. We hurl ourselves off another figurative cliff with every bad, impulsive or emotionally-based decision made that is not preceded with active thinking and will-power. Without active thinking, that is, using logic, reason, discernment, and discipline over our lower faculties, we put ourselves back at the mercy of external influence, and this is akin to sleepwalking, or falling asleep at the wheel while driving and letting the car go where it may, arriving at its dangerous conclusion when the moment of impact initiates, and it is never a question of if, but when.
The panoramic view of 2021 is an atmosphere of isolation, strife, antagonism, chaos, and discord. The only realistic expectation and approach to life is to have goals, a sense of purpose, and seek out life’s truth and meaning. This means we also have to push back against the authoritarian overreach imposed by governments, or change our career to be something that serves not only our sense of purpose and what the heart intended for us to do, but also being able to have that affect change in the world around us, which is part in the Great Work.
The process of Self-alignment and accordance to the Will becomes like an art-form of refinement and reshaping the rough edges of stone to smooth them out to a more desirable form, like the rough ashlar of Freemasonry, to become a finely chiseled stone used to rebuild Solomon’s Temple. This should take place in all areas, but especially as it relates to mastery of Self. Self-mastery is the process of coming into one’s full potential, or the best one can be amidst any given level.
Some things in life we have no control over, and some things we only have so much influence to affect change. We will all have our limitations, some things that cannot be reversed, so in that sense it becomes how can we best maneuver around these limitations to carry out the same underlying purpose we would have had without such limitations. For instance, an Olympic runner who loses a limb from some kind of freak accident is not going to be able to regrow the leg, so it becomes a limitation to his original purpose. He may find a way to compete in events for the handicapped, or maybe he enters a field that gives him a similar kind of thrill, that core focus that drives him in the same way Olympic sports did.
Our mission and purpose must be able to survive the ups and downs of life and challenges that will come our way. This also holds relevance to relationships. One cannot expect to have a family with a significant other who cannot survives the hardships that every couple goes through. It takes work and effort, the same which has to be taking place within the individual. The couple then becomes a macrocosm of that individual microcosm, where two people joined together are equally shaping themselves as individuals and sharing their journey as a unit.
This unit may give way to children and their efforts of work on themselves will reflect and be observed by the child, who then shapes the mind of the child who is then able to learn right action through the individual efforts of the parents. Without their parents able to take care of themselves or exhibiting unhealthy behaviors or lifestyles, the child will suffer and learn negative and unhealthy patterns of behavior. When many couples and families work as a community, then again it reflects the work of each individual in that community to the collective sense.
Good times they come around, and we can appreciate them as long as they surface, but they are like resting periods in between the obstacles and hardships, like coming back up for air from deep underwater before being pulled back down again. It’s these hard times we face that really matter, when all is said and done these hard times, they are what count, our response to these challenges, these tell us where our Will is at, how strong we actually are, and it is in these moments that teach us where we need work. We craft and fine-tune our Will and Self-mastery accordingly.
Being able to use the process of sublimation in the refinement of life and our ability for lifting up, deliverance. The sublimation of blood (life-force) and death (destructive effects and influence, lower natures) is a technique for the experienced initiate, because it is a process that is not an easy thing to initiate and takes considerable practice from real-world experience. But the technique is necessary for the advancement and devotion to one’s true Will and this means everything to the service of the Great Work.