Rosicrucian Writings Online
The Imperator's Monthly MessageTHE ALCHEMY OF MARRIAGE
[By H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Mystic Triangle July 1926]
Today there is considerable discussion throughout the civilized world regarding marriage and divorce and the many other problems that are associated with these two important affairs in the lives of men and women. The subject has been discussed from the moral, the ethical, the religious and the legal points of view and from each of these angles there is much to consider. But the Rosicrucians have always held a viewpoint regarding marriage that is not usually considered when the subject is discussed and is not covered by any of the arguments directed from any of the angles referred to above. This viewpoint may be considered as the fifth, or the metaphysical or Cosmic viewpoint. It is the viewpoint that has always been given prominence and first consideration by the mystics and the metaphysicians of remote times, and especially in the Middle Ages, and is today the real code by which the modern Rosicrucians view both marriage and divorce. This viewpoint enables us to understand marriage and its real relationships and problems in a way that makes the entire matter of greater importance to the individual and to society-at-large than any other viewpoint we may have regarding it.
In the Middle Ages, when the mystics were writing prolifically about the alchemical laws that govern all manifestations in the Universe, a book bearing the title of "An Alchemical Marriage" became very popular; in this treatise there was presented between the lines the very profound thought that it is through the unity or, in other words, through the marriage, of opposite polarities in all things that nature reproduces herself and makes the wonderful manifestations which we witness. It is my purpose, therefore, at this time to speak to you about the alchemical marriage.
We understand how everything manifesting to us throughout the material world is the result of the sympathetic uniting or bonding of the negative and positive, the like and the unlike, the male and the female elements. In fact, the mystic realizes that it is only through the coming together and the uniting into one harmonious unit of two separate, but sympathetic and dissimilar, elements that we have manifestations of life, of form, or existence in any sense. This is geometrized by the statement that the number one signifies but half of any manifestation, and the number two represents the two elements of unlike natures necessary for a unit of expression, and that the number three, symbolized by the triangle, is a representation of perfect creation because the third point is a product or a result of the unity of one and two, which, by their blending or association, produce a third manifestation or creation. This is further symbolized by the old mystical formula whereby the triangle bears a word at each of its three points, as follows: thesis, antithesis, synthesis; the first two, being opposite to each other, dissimilar but sympathetic, unite to produce the third. In fact, this very principle, through the demonstration of the alchemists, has become a modern chemical law or principle whereby we have what is known as synthetic chemistry, or the synthetic production by controlled processes of natural manifestations.
Man is dual in his elemental composition in every essential. The very cells that make up the composition of his material body consist of two polarities of dissimilar nature, united by an alchemical process to make a perfect manifestation. Man's body, as a sentient being, consists of the material body united with a segment of the soul of the universe, and the two manifest life. It is a fundamental law of nature, and a fundamental principle of the knowledge of the mystics, that either one of the two necessary elements which represent a unit cannot manifest properly, function adequately, or exist as an active principle of perfect creation while they are separated and ununited. In fact, the ancient mystics claimed that the stress found throughout nature, the activity manifested by the spirit essence throughout the world, was due to the inherent restlessness of each element in seeking its sympathetic partner or its affinity, and that, until it found its complementary part and united with it, it was not only an unmanifested and imperfect, or incomplete creation of nature, but a restless element in the universe.
Experimental science has found what is clearly indicated by passages in the sacred writings of the East--even in many of the passages of the Christian Bible--that all animal life, including the first human form, was originally bi-sexual and that not through some blind process of mechanical evolution, but by a decree of God the sexual natures were separated and in the case of human beings woman was made a separate being from man by taking away from man those elements, those functions, and that distinctive nature which composes woman. This left all such divided forms with distinct polarities of opposite natures, but established a third condition which may be understood as sympathetic attraction. In other words, the two separated complementary parts of the unit were subconsciously aware of their former relationship and sought to re-establish the union. We at once realize by this that there is, fundamentally and solely from a metaphysical or alchemical point of view, a true complementary half of every living being, and this, broadly understood and often greatly misunderstood, led to the popular idea of the existence of an affinity in the human world for every being as well as a chemical affinity in the chemical world for every one of nature's elements.
Therefore, if we view marriage as the coming together by a natural alchemical law or principle of two separated but sympathetic complementary parts of a pre-determined unit, we can understand that marriage under such conditions or of such a nature is an ideal state, and, in fact, the only state in which the two beings will find that phase or that degree of perfect manifestation and existence decreed by God and nature for them.
Thus we have the principles involved, but we find that, unlike the manifestations of these principles which occur automatically or naturally in the chemical or elemental world, among humans there is interference and arbitrary direction caused by man's willful insistence upon supplanting the Cosmic or spiritual mind with his own mind. In other words, it is only in the alchemist's laboratory, and then only under favorable conditions and by trying to cooperate with all of nature's laws, that man is capable of directing and controlling the natural processes of attraction which bring together the complementary elements of the units. What he does in his laboratory is considered miraculous because he is supplanting his mind, his intelligence, and his will for the divine intelligence and divine will, as it would seem to those who do not understand. But when it comes to that other and more important of all demonstrations of the law of attraction and sympathy, the marriage of two complementary beings, man does not hesitate to exercise his will, his discretion, and his selection to such a degree as would seem a sacrilege to the alchemist in his laboratory.
By this we mean that man has developed in his mind the idea that he is capable of interpreting the various emotions of his being and deciding which of these is a pure, true, alchemical and natural attraction toward and for a complementary part of man and which are but passing chemical attractions of the elements of his physical being as they relate to the elements of the other physical expressions around him or near him. He undertakes to interpret the illusions, impressions and transitory emotions of his mind as the permanent, the proper and the Cosmic cry of a separated being for its partner. Chemists are well aware of the fact that elements of nature which have not united with their complementary parts cannot be forced into an unnatural or unsympathetic or unattuned combination with other elements, and the biologist is aware of the fact that the unnatural unification of two unsympathetic or unattuned elements will produce an inharmonious, subnormal or abnormal product far from the perfect creation that is represented by the third point of the triangle; but this great fact, known to the chemist and the biologist and so definitely understood by the mystic and especially the Rosicrucian, is not appreciated or given consideration by the average man and woman today. We look in vain to the doctrines and principles of the various religions for the promulgation of this right idea in regard to marriage.
It is lightly said that marriages are made in Heaven, and from the alchemical point of view this is perfectly true. From the biologist's and the chemist's point of view it is a sound principle as well as a fact, but it does not apply in the case of those marriages or in the case of those combinations of individuals brought together by man's arbitrary decision and his willful and ignorant misapplication of natural laws.
The mystics have always claimed, and demonstrated throughout many years of organized direction of the affairs of their members and associates, that the true marriage of two human beings can result from a careful study of the characteristics and natural elements of the two persons involved, and that such a marriage can be truly an alchemical marriage and therefore a Cosmic and Heavenly one. To them the soul in the man and woman, or, in other words, the true chemical nature of the divine essence in each of them, must be united by natural attraction before the physical bodies may properly be united or bonded. In all of the ancient ceremonies conducted by the Rosicrucians and some of the other ancient schools, the physical marriage was never performed until after the soul marriage, whereby the two inner selves, the two natural selves, found perfect union, sublime attunement and natural unity. In such cases physical marriage was performed only to comply with the ethical, legal or religious customs of the land and the marriage ceremony thus performed for the physical union was looked upon as a formula invented and devised by man as an attempt to interpret and carry out the natural ceremony of which he had but a very faint idea and over which he had no control.
As time has passed, the soul ceremony, the alchemical process of marriage, has been entirely overlooked and the strength and power of the man-made formula has increased to the point where man believes that by his performance of the formula, or his direction of the ceremony he not only decrees the physical marriage to be proper, complete and in accordance with the natural law, but in some way works an additional miracle by forcing nature to sanction and synthesize the soul marriage that should have taken place.
In some cases such marriages are perfect, inasmuch as the couple did experience, long before the physical marriage, a natural marriage of soul essence and the physical marriage was but a result of that which they had experienced long before, inwardly and divinely; but in the majority of cases it is sad to see the physical marriage has been entered into or arranged and then hastily performed before there was any soul union, and even when alchemical marriage or soul marriage was impossible because of the lack of attunement between the two thus united. Such marriages are not of that essence represented by the third point of the triangle. No sympathetic blending of natures takes place; there is no alchemical or Cosmic attraction, but solely a chemical, physical and transitory one and these mortal things constantly change, bringing a realization sooner or later to the couple that they are not properly mated, along with misunderstandings and dissensions. For even in the most minute forms of the material chemical world wrongly united elements will always vibrate inharmoniously and by a most natural law seek to separate themselves from the union that has brought them together and to throw themselves away from the very environment in which they are being forced to co-exist. It is no wonder, then, that men and women wrongly united seek, not only through their outer objective minds and intellects, but through their very soul essence and inner natures, to separate one from the other and break the bonds that unite them and free themselves from the narrow limitations into which they have been forced.
Divorce, therefore, is inevitable so long as the present form of marriage is tolerated. So long as man assumes the responsibility and arbitrarily directs the coming together of his nature and that of another, so long will man have the right to express the impulses of his real self and his inner nature and seek to undo the error that is a sin against nature and a violation of Cosmic principles. As in the ethical and moral consideration of the problem so in the alchemical or mystical solution we come face to face with the question of the offspring. But here again man arbitrarily assumes the responsibility and must therefore assume the consequences and establish a means of meeting such consequences. To the mystic the unit of two improperly mated elements, or the non-alchemical marriage of two unattuned elements, is a sin and a violation and it would be discovered before such a condition could promulgate itself in the form of offspring or a further manifestation. In the world of human affairs the error is not discovered before such consequences occur, in most cases, and is not given the proper consideration when the error is discovered, and until man views these things properly and sees in the principles involved the great and wonderful intelligence of God working and God's decree of nature manifesting, he cannot claim that he is abiding by the decrees of the holy consciousness and that the marriages performed or tolerated by him are truly alchemical marriages or marriages made in Heaven.
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