In my last article, The Practice of Alchemical Rosicrucianism in Freemasonry and Why It’s Relevant in Today’s World Part 1, I started to get into Rosicrucian alchemy and symbology. In this article, I’m going back in time to the early 16th century, to look at the ideas and practices of one of the greatest polymaths, alchemists, magicians, physicians and Rosicrucian’s of the past. An inspiration for the German Renaissance and someone who embodied the Italian Renaissance and great thinkers like, Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, Paracelsus. I will also compare these ideas to the eastern streams which I believe they flowed from. There is a lot we can learn from the past that is relevant today.
As many of you know, Paracelsus writings, especially his alchemical texts, are extremely difficult to read and decipher. Franz Hartmann, a German Doctor, Theosophist, Occultist, Geomancer, Astrologer, and Author, left behind a real precious gift of alchemical and occult gold. His book, “The Life and the Doctrines of Paracelsus”, is the best book, in my opinion, on, Paracelsus and his alchemical and magical views of life and the world. It’s very readable. The ideas that follow are from this amazing book.
“The vehicle through which the will acts for effectuating good or evil is the living Mumia. Mumia 1 is a vehicle that contains the essence of life. If we eat the flesh of animals, it is not their flesh itself that forms again blood and bones in our bodies, but the invisible vehicle of life derived from the flesh of these animals is taken up into our bodies, and forms new tissues and organs. If an animal dies in consequence of some internal disease, we do not eat its flesh, because it’s Mumia has been poisoned by its disease; neither do we eat the flesh of animals that died of old age, nor the flesh of a rotten carcass, because its healthy Mumia has departed on account of the decomposition, and what is left of the Mumia has been poisoned by the process of putrefaction. The Mumia of a living being partakes of the characteristics of the being from which it is taken. For this reason we do not eat the flesh of ferocious animals, such as tigers, lions, wild-cats, etc. They contain a fiery Mumia which stimulates the astral essences of man, and causes in him such tendencies as were the characteristics of the animals from which they are taken. 2 We eat the flesh of domestic animals, because their character is gentler and their Mumia less exciting, such as the stupid ox, the gentle sheep, but the healthiest animal food is the flesh, of birds, because they live in the air, and the air is the noblest of the four elements.”
1 The odio or “magnetic” body, containing the life-principle. 3 One reason why anyone who desires to develop his spirituality should, if his condition otherwise permits it, adopt a vegetarian diet, is that the flesh of animals that exercises a stimulating effect upon the lower and animal instincts, which ought to be overcome instead of being aroused. The scientific explanation of this action of flesh is, that each material thing is an expression of its soul, and that it contains some of the qualities of that soul or life, and communicates them to a certain extent to those in whom it is taken up.”(1)
Let’s look at this idea. The Mumia, odio or “magnetic” body, within an animal contains the life-principle of that animal and if it is poisoned, the life force or Mumia departs, meaning the animal has no ability to give the person who eats it, its life force, and it also poisons the body or temple eating it. Remember, from the last article that the body is a temple that contains the spirit of God.
What do you think Paracelsus would think of genetically modified animals and plants that have been grown in horrendous conditions and chemically treated with drugs like hormones, antibiotics, weed killers etc.? What would the Mumia, odio, or life-principle of that food be like? What kind of temple is built with these lifeless poisons? Can God even exist in this toxic cesspool?
If Mumia, odio or the “magnetic” body, life force is what controls the operating of the mind, then how strong is a temple and mind created with poison and without much life force? How much control does a person really have if there mind and emotions are poisoned and contaminated with impure temple building materials.
What about a temple built with 150-160 pounds of processed sugar per year (the amount the average person in the U.S. puts into their body)? Yet, most people think they can eat whatever they want and are healthy and their thinking is stable and they are in full control. Are we really in full control of ourselves and able to think and go beyond this world or are we living in some kind of self-imposed, egocentric, delusion?
In Freemasonry, we see all around us the effects of what happens to a sturdy old temple when it has been poisoned and polluted for many years. In our lodges and in our country, we see and experience, people that are emotionally reactive, unbalanced and out of control. Mass mind control propaganda and information overload have their place in this effect, but in this article I will concentrate on the material alchemical process within the human body. My point is, that we can use the alchemy of Rosicrucianism, of the past and understand what is happening today and why.
Now let’s look at an eastern view;
In Swami Vivekananda’s amazing book, Raja Yoga, he says;
“Certain regulations as to food are necessary; we must use that food which brings us the purest mind. If you go into a menagerie, you will find this demonstrated at once. You see the elephants, huge animals, but calm and gentle; and if you go towards the cages of the lions and tigers, you find them restless, showing how much difference has been made by food. All the forces that are working in this body have been produced out of food.”
Swami Vivekananda also says;
“There are certain kinds of food that produce a certain change in the mind; we see it every day. There are other sorts which produce a change in the body, and in the long run have a tremendous effect on the mind. It is a great thing to learn; a good deal of the misery we suffer is occasioned by the food we take. You find that after a heavy and indigestible meal it is very hard to control the mind; it is running, running all the time. There are certain foods which are exciting; if you eat such food, you find that you cannot control the mind. It is obvious that after drinking a large quantity of wine, or other alcoholic beverage, a man finds that his mind would not be controlled; it runs away from his control.”
The great Sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, has an excellent book devoted to the idea of food and prana (life force), in it he states.
“You must have noticed the strife amongst the five elements. That strife ultimately settles on the earth. Every grain of rice, wheat etc. is composed of the five elements. This strife goes into your food material. All living beings share this food and with it, the strife. Just as one is affected by consuming alcohol, one is also affected by the strife in one’s food.” ~ Nothing is Everything: The Quintessential Teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The word strife means, a vigorous or bitter conflict and discord. What he is saying, is that within the five elements and how some of them work together, there is unbalance, conflict and discord. The elements can work together but also work in opposition of each other. The elements combined a certain way in foods can bring a vigorous or bitter conflict and discord, not only within the body but with others and outside forces as well.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj goes on to say;
“The whole body is the food of the consciousness, which is the quality of food essence.”
“The lumia of the dead body is useless, and the Mumia that is prepared by embalming a corpse is good for nothing but to serve as food for worms.”
Wouldn’t food that is processed to sit on a shelf or in a can for years and still be considered eatable, be an embalming process?
Here Paracelsus talks of the great alchemy within the human body;
“The physical body of man is grown from a physical germ, and requires physical nutriment for its support. There is something like a fire (energy) within ourselves which continually consumes our form, and if we were to add nothing to our body to supply the waste caused by that combustion, our form would soon die. We continually eat our own selves; we eat our fingers, our heart, our brain, but in each morsel of food which we eat, there is contained the material required to replace that which has been consumed by that internal fire. Each part of our organism selects what it needs, and that which is superfluous or useless is rejected. The Master in man, who superintends the building up of the organism, supplies every organ with that which it needs. We need not eat bones to cause our bones to grow, nor veins, ligaments, and brain, to have those things formed within us. Bread will produce blood, although there is no blood in the bread “(Paramir).
Who or what is Paracelsus referring to when he says; “The Master in man, who superintends the building up of the organism, supplies every organ with that which it needs.” Who is this Master, this great alchemist and temple architect and builder?
Paracelsus, then states;
“Every living being requires that particular kind of food which is adapted to its species and to its individual organism, and Life, the great alchemist, transforms the food taken. In the alembic of the animal organism it extracts from it those substances which the various organs need. The lower class of animals are even better alchemists than man, because they can extract the essence of life out of things which he is forced to reject. Man extracts the more refined essences from food; but a hog, for instance, will extract nutriment out of substances that would act as poisons in the organism of man, but there is no animal known that will eat the excrements of a hog. Animals refuse to eat or drink things which are injurious to them, and they select by their natural instincts those things which they require; it is only given to intellectual man to disobey his natural instincts, and to eat or drink things which are injurious to him, but which may gratify some artificially acquired taste. Man is much more subject to diseases than animals in a state of liberty, because animals live in accordance with the laws of their nature, and man acts continually against the laws of his nature, especially in regard to his eating and drinking. As long as his body is strong it can, expel or overcome the injurious influences which are continually caused in it by intemperance, gluttony, and morbid tastes; but such a continuous effort at resistance will imply a serious loss of vitality, and a time will come when disease will be the result, because the organism requires a period of rest and a renewal of strength to expel the accumulated poisonous elements.”
Here Paracelsus talks of the great alchemist who extracts the life force from food and uses it to build the temple. Remember, the temple is the house of God. Paracelsus also talks about the organism requires a period of rest and a renewal of strength to expel the accumulated poisonous elements, fasting.
“Fasting is the greatest remedy– the physician within. Nature heals, the doctor helps!” ~ Paracelsus
“Fasting is a natural method of healing. When animals or savages are sick, they fast.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.”~ Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C
Paracelsus goes on to say,
“Separation is the cause of existence, the birth of things from the Mysterium Magnum. It is the greatest wonder known to practical philosophy; it is a divine art. He who can attract things out of the Mysterium Magnum (Akasa) is a true alchemist. “This power is possessed only by those who are spiritually developed. Nature continually exercises that art through the organizing power of the invisible astral body. “As the fowl produces a chicken with wings and legs out of the small microcosm contained in the shell of an egg, so the arcana of Nature are ripened by the processes of alchemy. Natural alchemy causes the pear to ripen, and produces grapes on a vine. Natural Alchemy separates the useful elements from the food that is put into the stomach, transforms it into chyle and blood, into muscles and bones, and rejects that which is useless. A physician who knows nothing of alchemy can only be a servant of Nature, however well he may be versed in the science of external things; but the alchemist is her lord. If the physician cannot infuse vitality into decaying parts, he cannot effect a cure, but must wait until Nature accomplishes the task; but he who can guide the power of life can guide and command Nature.”
Alchemy is described by Paracelsus as an art in which Vulcan (the fire of Nature) is the active artist. By this art the pure is separated from the impure, and things are made to grow out of primordial matter (Akasa). Alchemy renders perfect what Nature has left imperfect, and purifies all things by the power of the spirit or life force that is contained in them.
In Vedantic Hinduism, Akasha means the basis and essence of all things in the material world; the first material element created from the astral world. A Vedic mantra “pṛthivyāpastejovāyurākāśāt” indicates the sequence of initial appearance of the five basic gross elements. Thus, first appeared the space, from which appeared air, from that fire or energy, from which the water, and therefrom the earth. It is one of the Panchamahabhuta, or “five gross elements”; its main characteristic is Shabda (sound). The direct translation of Akasha is the word meaning “upper sky” or ‘space’ in Hinduism.
“Women have a greater power of imagination during their dreams and when they are alone; and they ought, therefore, not to be left alone a great deal, but ought to be amused, because if they are ill-disposed and harboring evil thoughts, they may, by the power of their imagination, poison the food which they cook, or make it impure, without being themselves aware of it.”
Swami Vivekananda says;
The Western cook scarcely bathes; moreover, he tastes with a spoon the cooking he is engaged in, and does not think much of redipping the spoon into the pot. Taking out his handkerchief he blows his nose vigorously, and again with the same hand he, perchance, kneads the dough. He never thinks of washing his hands when he comes from outside, and begins his cooking at once. But all the same, he has snow-white clothes and cap. Maybe, he is dancing on the dough—why, because he may knead it thoroughly well with the whole pressure of his body, no matter if the sweat of his brow gets mixed with it! (Fortunately, nowadays, machines are widely used for the task.) After all this sacrilege, the bread is finished.
All our different sects of Hinduism admit the truth of the celebrated saying of the Shruti,”आहारशुद्धौ सत्त्वशुद्धिः सत्त्वशुद्धौ ध्रुवा स्मृतिः—When the food is pure, then the inner-sense gets purified; on the purification of the inner sense, memory (of the soul’s perfection) becomes steady.” Only, according to Shankarâchârya, the word Ahâra means the sense-perceptions, and Râmânuja takes the word to mean food. But what is the solution? All sects agree that both are necessary, and both ought to be taken into account. Without pure food, how can the Indriyas (organs) perform their respective functions properly? Everyone knows by experience that impure food weakens the power of receptivity of the Indriyas or makes them act in opposition to the will. It is a well-known fact that indigestion distorts the vision of things and makes one thing appeal as another, and that want of food makes the eyesight and other powers of the senses dim and weak. Similarly, it is often seen that some particular kind of food brings on some particular state of the body and the mind.
All fried things are really poisonous. The sweets-vendor’s shop is Death’s door. In hot countries, the less oil and clarified butter (ghee) taken the better. Butter is more easily digested than ghee. There is very little substance in snow-white flour; whole-wheat flour is good as food. The poor die of starvation because they can get nothing to eat, and the rich die of starvation because what they take is not food. Any and every stuff eaten is not food; that is real food which, when eaten, is well assimilated. It is better to fast rather than stuff oneself with anything and everything. In the delicacies of the sweetmeat shops there is hardly anything nourishing; on the other hand, there is—poison!
Âshraya, the person from whom the food comes. This is rather a mysterious theory of the Hindus. The idea is that each man has a certain aura around him, and whatever thing he touches, a part of his character, as it were, his influence, is left on it. It is supposed that a man’s character emanates from him, as it were, like a physical force, and whatever he touches is affected by it. So we must take care who touches our food when it is cooked; a wicked or immoral person must not touch it. One who wants to be a Bhakta must not dine with people whom he knows to be very wicked, because their infection will come through the food.”
Keep in mind that this was written by Swami Vivekananda in 1894.
“When it comes to the foods we eat every day, the United States is arguably at the bottom of the pile in terms of food quality and safety. The modern American food supply truly is a minefield of toxic threats. We are routinely exposed to chemical additives and preservatives, many of which are banned in other countries. We face constant exposure to unlabeled genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), pesticide and herbicide residues, and perhaps the biggest threat of all that you’ve probably never even heard of − mycotoxins.”(2)
“… compared to other countries, there’s no other place on the planet that has cheaper food than the U.S. The 5.5% of disposable income that Americans spend on food at home is less than half the amount of income spent by Germans (11.4%), the French (13.6%), the Italians (14.4%), and less than one-third the amount of income spent by consumers in South Africa (20.1%), Mexico (24.1%), and Turkey (24.5%), which is about what Americans spent DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION, and far below what consumers spend in Kenya (45.9%) and Pakistan (45.6%).”
“Cheap food is an illusion. There is no such thing as cheap food. The real cost of the food is paid somewhere. And if it isn’t paid at the cash register, it’s charged to the environment or to the public purse in the form of subsidies. And it’s charged to your health.” (3)
I think you get the idea here of what I’m saying and what real alchemy is all about. This article explains a lot about the state of the U.S. right now and why so many people are emotionally reactive and getting more and more out of control. On a personal note, I cannot eat red meat because it spins me up and causes my mind to race. A lot of fast food does the same thing but also makes me feel lethargic at the same time. Once your body is clean and fed healthy whole real non GMO food, you can really feel the difference when you eat unclean fast food or red meat.
I hoped you picked up to the many Masonic references in this article and how they apply to Freemasonry. We can change our perception of the world around us and inside our lodges, by learning and understanding the importance alchemy, past and present, in our lives and in the lives of those around us. In my opinion, this is what Freemasonry is all about and something that our lodges should be teaching and practicing because nothing is more important than good health and the ability of the mind to work at its peak. A large part of ancient culture rituals were concerned with having a clean body and mind before entering the temple and performing ritual work. Today, it’s common for brothers to come straight from work and eat a GMO, drug, processed, sugar filled dinner at lodge before entering the lodge room. I belonged to a dinner lodge and know how excited brothers get over picnics, Rainbow Girls pancake breakfasts and DeMolay cheeseburger and hotdog events and we never think about what we are eating and drinking. The Grand Architect goes to sleep and the temple light fades.
I was with a group of magicians that were getting ready to do some intense ritual work but not before they all decided to get together and have dinner at Taco Bell and then grab a Starbucks Frappuccino first. I’ve been around and this is actually common.
I’m adding a video that goes well with this article to my Masonic Enlightenment Facebook Group tomorrow, so be sure to check it out. It goes with the article and acts as a nice introduction to the next article and last article in this series. In the next article, I’m going to explore modern alchemy and alchemical practices and how they are essential is today’s day and age. The science of the past and present will merge perfectly together in this article.
“The Life and the Doctrines of Paracelsus” by Franz Hartmann” is an amazing book packed with incredible information. Every Mason should read it. This book would also make a great lodge Masonic Study Group and lots of information for Masonic education in the lodge.
Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda
Nothing is Everything: The Quintessential Teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is available on Amazon. If you’re new to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s work, I would start with, “I Am That”, then after your mind is blown, read “Nothing is Everything”.
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