Alchemy is a term that encompasses a variety of practices and beliefs that aim to transform matter, energy, and consciousness. Alchemy has been practiced in various forms and cultures throughout history, from ancient Egypt and China to medieval Europe and the Islamic world. Alchemy is often associated with the quest for the philosopher’s stone, a mythical substance that can turn base metals into gold and grant immortality. However, alchemy is much more than that. It is also a spiritual discipline that seeks to purify the soul and achieve union with the divine.
One of the main principles of alchemy is the correspondence between the macrocosm (the universe) and the microcosm (the human being). Alchemists believe that everything in nature is composed of four elements: fire, water, air, and earth. These elements are also present in the human body and psyche, and can be manipulated by alchemical processes. Alchemists use symbols, diagrams, formulas, and experiments to represent and perform these processes, which involve three stages: nigredo (blackening), albedo (whitening), and rubedo (reddening). These stages correspond to the phases of death, rebirth, and perfection.
Another principle of alchemy is the concept of transmutation, which means changing the nature or quality of something. Alchemists seek to transmute not only metals, but also themselves. They believe that by refining their physical and mental substances, they can attain a higher state of being. Alchemists also aspire to transmute the world around them, by creating medicines, elixirs, and other wonders. Alchemy is thus a holistic art that encompasses science, philosophy, religion, and magic.
Alchemy is not a static or monolithic tradition. It has evolved and diversified over time and across cultures. Different alchemists have different goals, methods, and views on the nature of reality. Some alchemists are more interested in practical applications, while others are more focused on spiritual enlightenment. Some alchemists are secretive and esoteric, while others are open and public. Some alchemists are influenced by other disciplines, such as astrology, numerology, kabbalah, or hermeticism. Alchemy is therefore a rich and complex field of study that offers many insights into the human condition and the mysteries of existence.
But in every tradition, especially one as widespread as alchemy, there will always be differing opinions and practices. Some of these deviations in practice can be small while others can be huge, especially as these deviations in basic practice and assumption continue over time. One such subset within the practice of alchemy are practitioners that have become known as puffers by more traditional practitioners. The great importance of puffers within the tradition of alchemy and in the history of humanity cannot be overestimated.
What are puffers in alchemy?
Puffers is a term used to describe alchemists who are only interested in the material aspect of alchemy, namely the purely material and mechanical transmutation of base metals into gold and silver. They neglect the spiritual or philosophical dimension of alchemy, which aims at the purification of the soul and the attainment of wisdom. Puffers are so called because they use bellows and forges to heat up their substances, hoping to produce a physical version of the elusive philosopher’s stone.
Puffers are often considered pseudo-alchemists, impostors, or charlatans by the true adepts of alchemy, who regard them as sometimes ignorant, sometimes greedy, and often misguided. Puffers usually lack the proper knowledge, training, and initiation into the true secrets of alchemy, and rely on false or incomplete books and recipes. They also tend to waste their time and resources on futile experiments that often cause inconclusive results or accidents.
Puffers have existed throughout the history of alchemy, from ancient times to the Renaissance and beyond. Secretly and openly on occasion, they have been ridiculed, mocked, and criticized by many practitioners of alchemy. But no matter how well-known the folly of puffers is to more holistic alchemical practitioners, it is the puffers that in the end attained a kind of immortality being that it was their practices that eventually gave rise to the rational and extremely materialistic science of this modern era.
Perhaps it was because true alchemy has always been very secretive; perhaps it is their own insistence on secrecy, symbolism, and a form of elitism. Whatever the case, true alchemy has become completely forgotten by the mainstream world and true inner alchemists now exist in the handful. The only alchemy that people really know about now, is the kind of alchemy that puffers engage in with their bellows and cauldrons, their completely physical potions, and their insistence on believing that the only thing that is responsible for transmutation, is physical, mechanics, and chemical manipulation.
Even though the folly of the Puffer’s has been around for a very long time, it was not until the Renaissance that this subset of alchemy made a mark in society. The puffer’s alchemy can quite rightly be said to be responsible for helping to change the course of our human history.
Contrary to popular notions, we are still evolving as a species and this evolution is usually felt most potently on a consciousness level, meaning that our consciousness is changing, and the nature of this change has greatly altered our reality when this change happens.
Most imagine that this change is slow and steady, like supposedly all evolution happens, slow and steady over thousands or perhaps millions of years. But the reality is that transmutation is often quite quick and sudden, and it happens due to external forces that are invisible to the modern material world.
Alchemy existed as a holistic practice since before recorded history. During that time there have been many changes to these practices as different human cognitive structures have come and gone. Most of what was, the great and powerful houses and dark kingdoms of magic, have disappeared with very few offshoots still existing for the most part in relative secrecy. One of the final nails in the coffin of what once was a tradition that might have had the potential to change human history happened during the renaissance, and this change would mean that the species was now bound to a particular line of causal structure (a very specific and linear rational stance).
Could the world have been different?
Well, the destruction of the old knowledge that could have changed the world cannot fall completely upon external and unconscious forces. The elitism, the incessant need for material power in many of these secret orders, and the nonstop need to hide everything from the general public using selective symbolism and hidden cypher, meant that the days of these old theologies and their power were numbered.
But there were outside forces at work here as well, and change did happen, and it happen far quicker than linear order and general evolutionary principles would assume. Transmutation can happen quickly, and the quickness of this cognitive transmutation can actually be seen and studied within the framework of recorded history. We can in this case examine historical art, in particular how during the European renaissance art changed drastically in a matter of a few hundred years. The quickness of this change can be seen in Renaissance art, where in the matter of a few hundred years art and architectural representation went from fixed and static two dimensional images, to dynamic three dimensional imaginings. And in the case of art the depth and feeling of these images geometrically increased, turning flat things into what now might be considered living and stylized descriptions, more akin to artistic photography than a representation of a more holistic and equal reality between man and nature.
There was a change there, a transmutation of conscious essence in humanity and it happened relatively quickly. This change was an outward manifestation of an inner cognitive change that would greatly alter how the human species saw itself and its connection to the environment. Before this change in consciousness, and deeply embedded within the mental framework of medieval people, there was a sense of interconnection between the self and the other, and this could be seen in the flatness of the images of that time. The distinction between the self and the other was not so pronounced before this artistic change during the renaissance. Before this, humanity did not feel the separation between the self and the environment with such keen distinction, and the world for that earlier humanity was more holistic. Transmutation (the manipulation of essence) happened in accordance with a combination of things that involved not just outer material things, but subjective things as well. Quite simply, magic was a true source of change and power before this change in human awareness.
Although the beliefs, the feelings and the symbolism used in medieval Europe is now construed as being utter superstition, at the time this supposed superstition was in many ways a greater understanding of the complexity of intermingling things, both real and ethereal, in the creation of all reality. The dragon, the unicorn, and the gargoyle were not imaginary superstitious beliefs by inept uneducated people. These magical beings instead were quite real things for those people, perceived things. They were energies, potentials, forces of nature and change that were very real to a very different humanity that was far more connected to the world in ways that the modern ego consciousness could not understand.
During this time, magic was real and at that time even though it was indeed heavily accentuated by fear and superstition in the masses, there were also large conclaves of what now would be termed practicing sorcerer orders that did understand and helped to stabilize the nature of life and change both in a community and in entire nations.
But humanity as a collective chose a certain track, in the same way that it is now choosing yet another track to follow. And in accordance with that desired change and the powerful intervention of external forces that I have described in other articles, this continual evolution by the human species took us all down a particular line of thought…which effectively erased those old traditions from the human collective. This means a new cognitive structure and that new form of cognition allowed for the perception and the use of a very limited form of what was to be mostly external, physical, and material manipulation. This new form of manipulation focused much more heavily on purely physically quantifiable reality, and as this new norm became more established, the only true alchemists became the puffers.
This cognitive change as I have said becomes very prominent during the Renaissance. While it is the case that there was some attempt at three dimensional art before this time, especially in carved reliefs and statues (of course) from far earlier periods, the true epicenter of the three dimensional movement in art happened arguably during the Renaissance in between the 14th and the 17th century, as architects and engineers such as ‘Filipo Brunelleschi’ began to use a vanishing point to give depth and true detail to their creations.
From a purely material perspective it is hard to explain what happened here exactly that changed the technology of the times. Some could argue from a purely modern rational point of view that there was a slow evolution that suddenly just hits some kind of critical mass and a tumbler finally turned, but this is just a superficial attempt at describing an internal event from a purely external point of view. But from another point of view, one that takes into account subtle and unseen energies, such an individual with this particular cognitive ability could learn to directly perceive that the awareness of humanity shifted; a slightly different energetic configuration started to become the norm for humanity at this time.
And as this leap in technology happened, which as I have said is really a change in cognitive awareness, this new way of looking at the world predisposed the people of that era to look at the world in a different way. From that new perspective certain things became clearer while other things were no longer as visible. Certain things faded into nonexistence, while other things grew in prominence and seemed from that general time forward, more rational, more common sense.
The world of the holistic alchemist, the world of magical newts, unicorns, Aether, and quintessence disappeared, they were forgotten and ignored because they no longer seemed as rational from a certain perspective. But other things became more real, and it is at this time that the work of puffers turned into the future science of chemistry, metallurgy, and the flowering and the flourishing of the empirical process.
This new cognitive position that established a whole new kind of rationality could now identify a slightly different causal paradigm that primarily focused on material manipulation. From that new position, puffer alchemists had many failures, but they also had successes, and thanks to those successes a new science would emerge! Some of the successes were the discovery of phosphorus, acids and bases, the production of gunpowder, refining of ores, and several other important discoveries.
This was useful knowledge, it was not knowledge hidden by certain elitist groups, it was a discovery and a wisdom amongst the common people for the most part. It was a science that could be clearly perceived and fully grasped by an evolving human consciousness that was beginning to be able to perceive a far clearer distinction between the self and the other. A human consciousness that was beginning to be able to perceive a clear three dimensionality in everything, a consciousness that was beginning to separate completely from the other and become a far more individually distinct self-identity.
There is good and bad in all evolution and being that more holistic alchemists strive for spiritual evolution and freedom, there is no denying that this new development in consciousness has many positive traits. The separation of the individual from the environment and from other individuals, was an evolving gift that in many ways mirrored the kind of evolution that traditional alchemists sought. But since this evolution was reactionary and unconscious, caused by external forces and a sleeping mob minded humanity that reacted to things in the same way that a stumbling zombie shuffles across a graveyard, this new cognitive evolution was not something that was attained through personal work and sobriety…it was instead a reaction to greater forces that in the end led to different kinds of problems, as the race moved forward in time.
In the end all things must find balance, and unconscious evolution means that this kind of change for the majority of humanity was not really development, but just a change from one perspective to another where we lost as much, or more, than what we gained. In many ways humanity is no better off than it was before, it still plods on in an unconscious way. This kind of reactionary change (as opposed to conscious evolution) is slow, it may lead nowhere, and it has cut us off from powers and abilities that could have greatly benefited humanity as a whole had we had the foresight to understand the powers that we were giving up, by choosing such a drastic separation from the magic inherent in a slightly less separated ego. In this case it means that we have turned our backs on certain possibilities, we have given up the possibility of exploring a far more powerful transmutational causal order, one that does not just rely on rules and rulers of the material space, but one that could also incorporate aspects of the ethereal.
What could this more holistic science have accomplished?
Well, all transmutation could have gone down a different road, meaning that a different science, a different way to manipulate ourselves and our environment, could have evolved. This older but extremely powerful causal structure (something that might even be termed mind science) would have the possibility of incorporating substances and forces that are still considered fanciful superstition and bogus magic in this modern age. Currently, the rationality of the times and the new science that props up this new cognitive position like a true theology, is just barely beginning to understand some of these forces, but these new disciplines such as quantum mechanics and string theory are still distrusted by many. Theoretical physics is still in essence just that, theory. For the most part, modern science is still stuck in a very mechanistic view of reality. It will therefore be a very long time before we begin to seriously use the subtle forces and energies described by these more fringe disciplines in a major way…at least in the common world.
The puffers created the new sciences, they were the first to create the rule and measure that would be a constant in the sciences until this modern era. And even now the science of the puffers controls all scientific endeavor and transmutation. The manipulation of energy and matter are deemed to only be possible in accordance with those highly material and mechanistic codes of conduct and action referred to as the empirical system.
Had we gone down a different road, perhaps our entire reality might now be different. Our locomotion for example might be completely different. Instead of relying on purely physical and mechanical machines and machinery, instead of relying on combustion and explosion to propel mechanical contraptions forward, we could have created different forms of locomotion that relied on more subtle forms of energy.
There are many conspiracies around UFOs, their form of locomotion, and the possibility that we might now understand that propulsion to some degree. Some say that this kind of propulsion can combine things that are still highly etheric from the mechanical and the puffer’s point of view. Some say that recovered UFOs have been able to show humanity a new form of locomotion that uses gravity control and a kind of light tunneling to be able to propel these objects from one point in space to another.
Could a more holistic human consciousness have developed that kind of locomotion?
Was this mechanistic modern era the only possibility for us as our consciousness changed?
Whatever the case, this new world is the world of the puffers and from here we must decide how we will continue forward as a species. I see hope in the changing technologies of the time. In the same way that outer technology and art in the past reflected a far deeper inner transmutation in the cognitive perspective of humanity, new technologies are being incorporated now. Technology is changing, and it is changing very quickly at this time, this means that changes to the cognitive configuration of the race are happening right now as well!
We can only wonder what this new cognitive position will mean for us going forward.