by Jack Courtis
Let us end as we began, with the Emerald Tablet and its classic theme,
as above, so below. The book of the Chymical Marriage can be considered the above, while the tower in which the alchemical operations are performed, may be seen as the below. The book is the macrocosm and the tower is the microcosm. That is because the book has 7 Days and the tower has 7 levels.
The book is about the marriage of a king and queen, but it is also about the union of the inner and the outer in CRC's nature. It is about the initiation of CRC in the guise of a marriage and an alchemical process. It tells of his adventures over 7 days:
- First Day. He is summoned to the wedding.
- Second Day. He sets out on his journey by choosing the hard way of initiation and not the easy way of normal evolution. Even he cannot endure the fantastically difficult third way.
- Third Day. He is tested and weighed in the balance.
- Fourth Day. He meets the king and queen and watches a play in 7 acts, depicting the relationship between God, Christ, the Earth and the Bride, in effect the interplay of the 4 elements. The king and queen are beheaded.
- Fifth day. He sees the Lady Venus unveiled and passes a test of initiation. There is a mock burial for the king and queen, but their bodies are taken to the tower. CRC then also goes to the tower.
- Sixth Day. CRC takes part in the alchemical operation of each of the 7 levels of the tower. The king and queen are resurrected.
- Seventh Day. He returns with the king and queen to their castle and his status is acknowledged by a knighthood. CRC then becomes the gatekeeper of the mysteries.
Let us now look at the 7-fold alchemical process in the tower. We might consider the Tarot card of the Tower and note that it is attributed on the Tree of Life, to the path linking Netzach and Hod. In turn, Netzach is our desire aspect and Hod is our intellectual aspect; our feminine and masculine natures on the subjective level of our being. Here, the king symbolizes Hod and the queen symbolizes Netzach. On the Tree, the path that links them demonstrates a union but only at a low level. We should recall that there is a path that links the feminine mercy of Chesed to the masculine severity of Gevurah; and above them, there is a path that links the masculine force of Chakhmah with the feminine form of Binah. Three types of union. We should also recall that there are 7 levels on the Tree. Thus there are 7 steps and 3 stages. Consequently there are 3 levels of union (or marriage), achieved after 7 processes. Let us therefore look at the processes on each level of the tower:
- Level One (Malkhut). CRC extracts essences from plants and gems to be used in the resurrection process.
- Level Two (Yesod). The bodies of the king and queen are distilled into a liquid and poured into a globe.
- Level Three (Netzach-Hod). The globe is heated and is opened to reveal an egg.
- Level Four (Tiferet). The egg hatches and a bird emerges. First it is black and wild but on drinking some of the distilled liquid, it becomes tame and its feathers turn white.
- Level Five (Chesed-Gevurah). The bird is put into a bath and its feathers are boiled off. The bath turns blue, it is heated and then ground into a blue powder which is used to paint all the bird blue, except its head.
- Level Six (Chakhmah-Binah). The bird is placed on an altar and drinks the blood of a white serpent in a skull. The bird is then sacrificed and bleeds when its chest is opened up. The body is burned to ash.
- Level Seven (Keter). The ashes are mixed with water and are molded into a little man and woman. They are fed the blood of the bird and grow to normal size. Fire comes through a hole in the roof and ensouls them by entering their mouths. The king and queen are resurrected. The Hebrew letter peh means 'mouth' and is attributed to the path on the Tree of Life, linking Netzchah with Hod.
Levels Three, Five and Six, are the 3 stages of the marriage of the king and queen, whilst also being specific steps in the 7-fold process. By analogy, Day Three, Day Five and Day Six, should be equally significant:
- Day Three is the test; Level Three reveals the egg. The successful passing of the test reveals the potential symbolized by the egg.
- Day Five reveals the naked Venus as Isis 'unveiled', a test at a higher level; Level Five finds the bird boiled naked. The bird is the potential tested and actualized.
- Day Six is the transmutation of the dead bodies of the king and queen; Level Six is the willing sacrifice of the bird. The resurrection from death into life requires the blood of the bird, the actualized potential used with the deliberate intent of self-sacrifice.
Thus we have as above, so below. The outer marriage of the king and queen and the inner union of CRC, are one and the same. Their marriage is our marriage, his union is our union.