“There is a visible substance and an invisible one; a tangible water and one that is beyond the reach of perception by the physical senses; a visible fire and an invisible magic fire; neither can either of these accomplish anything without the other, for in the practice of Alchemy, as in the regeneration of man, that which is above must be made to penetrate that which is below, so that the lower may enter into a higher state of existence.
“If we wish to know nature we must learn to know God, and God cannot be known without a knowledge of one’s own divine self. The spiritual substance of which external visible nature is an imperfect expression and manifestation, has been called ‘Prima Materia‘; it is the material for the formation of a new heaven and a new earth. It is like ‘water,’ or a ‘crystaline ocean,’ if compared with our grossly material earth, it is at once fire, water, air, and earth, corporeal in its essence, and nevertheless, incorporeal relatively to our physical forms.” ~Franz Hartmann
Visible Substance, Tangible Water
What Hartmann is describing here is what we simply call matter. liquids, gas, and solids, they are all forms of matter. When the ancients said that everything was made of air, water, fire, and earth, they were saying the same thing. Air equates to gasses, fire to energy, earth to solids, and water to liquids. Fire or energy is different as it is not considered to be matter, yet it is closely related as we know that some forms of matter can be converted into energy, and some energy can be made into matter.
Visible Substance, Invisible Spirit
Hartmann says that there is an invisible substance as well as the visible, and the same for water, fire, and so on. What he is saying here is that for everything physical, there is a spiritual counterpart. For every rock, there is a spiritual rock, for every tree, there is a spiritual tree, for every star, there is a spiritual one. The simple fact that a thing exists in physical form means it has a spiritual counterpart, it cannot exist without it. You can think of the spirit as being the mold for the physical, the force that holds it all together. And the spirit is immortal, while the physical form is not. Matter may not be destructible, but the individual forms are.
Alchemy as Regeneration
I have written before about alchemy and the fact that the true Alchemists were not trying to change one metal into another. They were trying to change materialistic animal-man into spiritual supermen and women. Alchemy was the science of transformation; transformation of humanity and the entire world, the transformation of visible substance into invisible substance.
Know Nature, Know God
Hartmann says that if we are to truly know nature, we must know God. While that is true, it is also true that a study of nature is often a way to learn about God. Knowing God—truly knowing, not just speculating—is a huge step forward. We can, and must, get there by making many smaller steps. We start by learning about nature and about the world we live in. Then we are ready to start learning about the next higher dimension and the next higher level of consciousness. We continue in that way, one level at a time until we reach the highest level where God is. Only them, when we link directly with God, do we truly know God. And in knowing God, we do know and understand nature and everything else. God is the source of all wisdom and truth, the source of the ultimate Knowledge called Gnosis. We know visible substance and invisible substance. When we know want God knows, there is nothing left to learn.