Writers on Alchemy are in the habit of making so many prefatory remarks on their own account, that their books stand in very little need of preface; unless indeed, the Editor undertakes to reveal the secrets which the Author is so careful to conceal. I must at once say I am not prepared to do this, but to one thing, I can with advantage call your attention, which is that the study of Alchemy, above all other branches of Occult science, demonstrates the value of Analogy in our search after the real meaning of the mysteries of man and his relation to the Universe. The process of transmutation, which displays a series of colours, recalls the Religion of the Egyptians, symbolising as it did, the blackness of night, the rainbow colours of dawn, the whiteness of noon, and the red glow of evening. The first stage of this symbolism alludes to the blackness of ignorance, the chaotic darkness of men who reject the keys to the secret of the Universe, which are to be found in the rainbow colours; to the vibrations of sound, to scents, tastes, feelings, and subtle psychical impressions. When a man’s mind begins to grasp the order and relation of such sense impressions as these, he bids fair to pass from the darkness of ignorance to the white light of wisdom, and perhaps eventually to attain to the imperial purple which clothes the elect.


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A Short Enquiry Concerning the Hermetic Art - W W Westcott 1894