In alchemism, the Elementary Masculine Perspective divides reality into four elements of increasing value: clay, iron, silver and gold. Previous articles looked at alchemical iron and alchemical silver, what they represent, and what sort of person embodies them. This article looks at the fourth of the four masculine elements: the radiant and enigmatic substance known as gold.
The primary masculine division is into precious and base. The secondary masculine division is the further division of the base, as well as the further division of the precious into silver (colourless precious) and gold (colourful precious), with the latter more precious than the former.
That gold is shiny and colourful means that it represents the highest frequency of all, namely that of God, that which makes all things possible. The chemical symbol ‘Au’ comes from the Roman word aurum, which shares a root with the modern word aura. It was believed that the substance possessed an aura such that it was holy, or from God.
Elementary alchemy has it that the division between yin and yang can be represented as the division between clay and iron, with the first passive and soft and the second active and unyielding. Silver relates to a balance of iron and clay that is more correct for the current situation than either extreme, and represents how according with the World of Forms is more valuable than simply being an animal.
Gold is a second order of balance, between and beyond all of silver and clay and iron. What this means is that gold is unafraid to act as pure iron or pure clay, should the situation demand it. This makes it different to silver, which attributes value to the middle ground between the feminine extreme of clay and the masculine extreme of iron, and which is reluctant to act as either.
Silver is prone to a particular form of the balance fallacy called the Conceit of Silver. Essentially this means that silver always believes that it’s of the highest value (i.e. that it is of gold). Gold is willing to place itself below silver – and that is precisely why it is more valuable than silver. Gold is without ego.
Gold represents a kindness that none of the other elements are capable of. Silver is too conceited, iron too harsh and clay too soft. This kindness is something extremely valuable, because without it this world is something of a hell. It is why Aleister Crowley was impelled to write “Love is the law, Love under Will.”
Kindness given of the free will of the giver, and not to secure some future advantage, is real gold, and invaluable. Without it, nothing else in this world can have any real value, for gold gives meaning to things.
Being the most malleable of all metals, gold is softer than both silver and iron. This relates to the fact that it is also the most expansive. One gram of physical gold can be beaten out into a sheet a square metre in size; by similar means, a tiny amount of alchemical gold is enough to make a tremendous number of things possible. Therefore, gold is pliable enough to achieve things that silver cannot (much less iron or clay).
Gold relates to the widest, broadest, most fundamental and most deeply hidden knowledge. It is the esoteric to the exoteric of silver. Knowledge of gold is knowledge of the metaphysical fundamentals, what Plato called the World of Forms. Silver is knowledge of the material world; gold is knowledge of the immaterial. Silver is knowledge of the current state of affairs; gold is knowledge of the eternal.
Metaphorically, gold refers to that of the greatest value. No element is more valuable than gold: therefore, gold is perfection. Gold also relates to God, which is to say that it cannot be described, on account of being more fundamental than language. It is consciousness to the intellect of silver, the muscles of iron and the viscera of clay.
Gold magic relates to a person’s frequency of consciousness. If a person can overcome suffering and come out the other side neither pacified nor cruel, then it can be said that they are in possession of spiritual gold. A human being that has never suffered will be something like the silver. One who has suffered and become cruel as a result is like the iron, and one that has suffered and become meek is like the clay. To remain kind even when one has suffered is like the gold.
Psychological and spiritual healing fall under the rubric of gold magic. Successful gold magic will induce a depressed person to be more happy, an anxious person to be calm, and a despairing person to find meaning. Silver cannot do any of those things because its nature is cold and austere. Silver cannot impress with warmth of kindness. Gold causes those suffering in its presence to feel that everything is going to be okay.
This an esoteric quality possessed by gold magicians. You could never trust a person who said that they were a gold magician, and any gold magician would know this, and therefore they would never say it. Anybody claiming to be a gold magician could be confidently said to actually be a silver magician, because a real gold magician wouldn’t go around bragging about how wonderful they were – they would be content that their behavioural example was such that they would be sufficiently rewarded.
The presence of alchemical gold is felt on such a fundamental level that it causes its possessor to radiate warmth. Unlike silver, which can be measured in IQ tests and university achievements, gold cannot be measured. This is a feature of its divine origin. It can only be sensed – and some people sense its presence where others do not, which is another reason why it defies description.
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