The fact that the ultimate goal of alchemy is the creation or manifestation of a stone is another key to alchemy’s link with our crystal and stone work. The Philosophers’ Stone can be viewed on multiple levels – from acting as a metaphor for one’s self-realisation or wholeness to literally being embodied by a physical stone to which one relates in order to achieve the transmutation and redemption of oneself and the world. The Philosophers’ Stone is both an inner and outer entity. Through our spiritual work, we can become as pure, solid and true as a stone. Our way of being can become so harmonised with our true nature that, once we achieve the union of our conscious individuality with our Deep Self and the Soul of the World, nothing external can dislodge that union. We become as strong as stones and this power, according to the alchemists, gives us the capacity to co-creatively bring perfection and self-realisation to the world. In the words of Paul Levy, the achievement of the Philosophers’ Stone “influences the field to such a degree that it was considered to be able to redeem the entire cosmos.”
The alchemists perceived that we can become partners with the Divine. Indeed, our participation is essential. Without us, the Divine cannot fully incarnate and the potential for worldwide awakening can never be realised.
Why is this? It is something of a mystery, but I believe I know one reason: From my experience and that of myriad others who have felt its presence, the essential nature of the Divine is love. If we think about love, we know that it will never impose itself, because in doing so, it would cease to be love. Love offers itself but never compels us. Our free will, which can accept or refuse love’s offer, is in itself clear evidence of the loving nature of reality. (In human terms, if we love someone, their happiness and fulfilment become our own goal and this must always include the loved one’s freedom.) It also means that the Divine must wait for us to turn in its direction and accept its offer of co-creative partnership. When we do this, we begin to participate in the marriage of Heaven and Earth.
So, where do the stones come into this picture?
Most of the people reading this book are likely to have felt crystal energy. The gentle buzzing of a stone in your hand, the warmth that can enter your body, the tingling, pulsing vibrations in the chakras that certain stones can engender – all of these are experiences of consciousness meeting consciousness. Think of the stone currents as vibrations, like notes of music or the words of a song. What we feel is the effect in ourselves of encountering a mineral being that is singing its song right into us. The songs of various stones can produce all sorts of physical, emotional and mental states, just as different music affects us differently. And like good music, the vibrations of the stones can captivate us with inner experiences of beauty – beauty that can help us, heal us and awaken us, beauty that can inspire us to make ourselves and the world more beautiful. And, like an unforgettable song, the stones’ energies can resonate within us until they become part of us and we become a locus where their music lives within the world.
Once I began thinking of stones as beings with their own sort of consciousness, I tried to imagine what type of beings they might be. One idea I like is to view the Stone Beings as angels of the Earth. From ancient times, angels have been viewed as messengers of the Divine. They are faithful servants who bring messages from divine beings to human beings. By their nature, they are trustworthy and true. They are emanations of Divine Will.
Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.
From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill –
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star-charts
On the inner walls.
A Poem by Chares Simic
The Alchemy of Stones by Robert Simmons, ©️ 2020 Destiny Books. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. www.InnerTraditions.com