“I being an adept anonymous, a lover of learning, and philosopher, decreed to write this little treatise of medicinal, chemical, and physical secrets in the year of the world’s redemption 1645, in the three and twentieth year of my life, that I may pay my duty to the sons of the Art, that I might appear to other adepts as their brother and equal. … In truth, many times I have laid aside my pen, deciding to forbear from writing, being rather willing to conceal the truth under a mask of envy. But God compelled me to write, and Him I could in no wise resist who alone knows the heart and unto the glory forever. I believe that many will be rejoiced with the Great Secret. … May God’s most holy will be done therein.” ~Thomas Vaughan, an Alchemist
We have been led to believe by the science community that alchemists were crazy people who believed they could literally turn lead into gold or tin into silver. The churches, on the other hand, taught that they were Satanists using demonology to perform their unnatural tricks. Both were wrong.
Thomas Vaughan was not an oddball who didn’t follow the rules of alchemy. He was an ordinary alchemist. Yet, as the quote shows, he believed very much in God. He not only believed, but he tried his best to serve God. And in studying and practicing real alchemy, he did serve God.
Another thing to note is that alchemists are usually depicted as old men, probably senile, working is a cluttered mad-science type lab. Vaughan tells us he was twenty-three when he wrote this quote.
Vaughan refers to himself as “an adept”. This doesn’t mean that he was a sorcerer’s apprentice. An adept is simply a person who is highly skilled at something. It doesn’t have to be black magic, or any other kind of magic. Vaughan was an adept of alchemy. But he was also a spiritual adept. We can see that in his references to learning, philosophy, and God.
The Great Secret
Vaughan says that he wants to share the Great Secret with many. The secret that only a real spiritual adept would know. But he also wants God’s Will to be done in doing so. What this means is that in revealing these secrets, he is not revealing all of it. Some things will be left out, other will be encrypted through the use of metaphor and allegory.
What he probably did reveal is that Alchemy is a spiritual science more than a physical one. The true alchemists were interested in awakening the spirit and soul in man and making ordinary men into supermen. They were making men of lead into men of gold, not literally transmuting lead. So he really was a spiritual adept.
What he kept hidden is the process for awakening those spiritual faculties to make the man of gold. Today, more can be said than in the time of Mr. Vaughan. We can now say that those spiritual faculties are awakened through the use of spiritual disciplines and the light of the Spiritual Sun. But even today, everything about this transmutation process cannot be publicly revealed. Those spiritual schools that claim they are doing so are lying. They may reveal all that they know, but those schools don’t know the true process. Hint: it’s a lot more involved than simply quieting the mind through meditation.