Alternatively known as the tincture or the powder.
In Alchemy, the name given to a stone, powder, liquid, or substance which will transmute base metals into gold, believed to cure illnesses, prolong life, and bring about spiritual revitalization.
The Philosopher's Stone is the Holy Grail of alchemy, the ancient art of turning base metal into gold. Its magical and elemental power has fixated explorers, occultists and scientists for centuries. For the Philosopher's Stone, it is said, holds the key, not only to making gold but also to deciphering the riddle of existence and unlocking the secret of eternal life.
The Philosophers Stone is an ancient symbol of the perfected and regenerated man whose divine nature shines forth through a chain of purified and unfolded vehicles. As the rough diamond is dull and lifeless when first removed from the black carbon, so the spiritual nature of man in its "fallen" state reveals little, if any, of its inherent luminosity. Just as in the hand of the skillful lapidary the shapeless stone is transformed into a scintillating gem from whose facets pour streams of varicolored fire, so upon the lathe of the Divine Lapidary the soul of man is ground and polished until it reflects the glory of its creator from every atom.
The perfecting of the Diamond Soul through philosophical-alchemical art was the concealed object of Hermetic Rosicrucianism. Albert Mackey sees a correspondence between the Philosophers Stone and the Masonic Temple, for both represent the realization and accomplishment of the ideal. In philosophy the Stone of the Wise Man is "supreme and unalterable Reason. To find the Absolute in the Infinite, in the Indefinite, and in the Finite, this is the Magnum Opus, the Great Work of the Sages, which Hermes called the Work of the Sun." He who possesses the Philosophers Stone possesses Truth, the greatest of all treasures, and is therefore rich beyond the calculation of man; he is immortal because Reason takes no account of death and he is healed of Ignorance the most loathsome of all diseases.
The Hermetic Stone is Divine Power, which all men seek but which is found only by such as exchange for it that temporal power which must pass away. To the mystic, the Philosophers Stone is perfect love, which transmutes all that is base and "raises" all that is dead (from 'The Secret Teachings of All Ages').
An old Alexandrine text makes particular mention of the weight of the Philosopher's Stone, which it calls the Stone of Paradise. It states that:
"When placed in the scales can outweigh its quantity of gold; but when it is transposed to dust, even a feather will tip the scales against it."
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Sources: (1) Fernando, Diana, Alchemy: An Illustrated A to Z, Sterling Publications; (2) Hall, Manly P., The Secret Teachings of All Ages, CreateSpace Publishing.
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