The Vigil Of Nature

Alchemy is a dual science composed of outer laboratory work, where physical matter is manipulated and evolved, and also an inner-work, where we seek to recognize and cultivate our own inherent luminance

Many people start with, and stay with, only the physical side of Alchemy - much to the detriment of their efforts in the laboratory. For if there is one thing that is truly paramount in Alchemical practice, it is that the observer has an effect on the experiment.

Alchemy is not a journey in pre-chemistry, nor is it the practice of quantum mechanics. If these two items form the lower vertices of a triangle, then Alchemy sits at the vertex of the triangle. It is composed of the other two, and yet is something more. Undoubtedly, erstwhile Alchemists possessed a good deal of knowledge about natural substances and how they could be manipulated and mixed. Some of this knowledge was gained from the outcome of natural curiosity of what happens when A and B are combined. Some of it though, came from another source. One example that has always puzzled me is soap. Who on earth ever came up with the idea, that by mixing animal fat and the ash from last night's fire, a cleansing agent could be produced? The final product is absolutely counter intuitive, as either of the primary ingredients alone if smeared on the body left one dirty - not clean. I suppose it could have been just a serendipitous event where ash and fat got mixed together, and our ancient friend went to the stream to clean them off and had a eureka moment. But there are of course many other things, advances in our collective history that just can not be explained away so easily. In this regard, it goes past serendipity or blind luck, and speaks to an intimacy - an insight into nature - that thank goodness some of our collective forebears possessed.

Take the Greeks for an example. In ancient Greece, when one had this intimacy with Nature (this ability to see the inherent luminance in a natural object) and discern the encoded information (and thus its varied applications and uses), they were said to have been in contact with a Muse.

A Muse is the spirit of inspiration, and every great inventor, scientist, or artist has given homage to this omnipresent reality we all are immersed in and may share freely if we open ourselves up to it. In our modern age we have been taught to discount such natural communion with the inherent spirit (information and energy) residing in objects. Progress is made (we are told) through sheer will and the application of logic - an argument that is only partially true. For it is all too easy for a person to delude themselves into believing they have accomplished what they have not, or to imagine internal chatter as the voices of the gods. Fortunately, Alchemy has a built-in safeguard against such self-deceits: We can prove or disprove in the laboratory, that which we have internally postulated.

This is not to say we should eschew inner work. To the contrary - we need to cultivate it carefully, and then verify the information gleaned. But first of all we need to open ourselves up to the possibility of such a reality, and that takes a specific practice. It is not a difficult one. It requires only time and attention. For we seek to have congress with Nature, and like all true ladies, She will cohabit only with one who has shown Her they possess true fidelity. No person may lift the Veil of Isis, but She may of Her own accord invite you into Her inner chamber to share with you Her secrets, the revelation of which is an ecstasy that will leave you shivering with rapture.

Though we seek this rapture with a spiritual instinct akin to the physical instinct for intercourse, we must be careful not to follow the enticing but false voices of spiritual Sirens. There are voices - some which we create ourselves, and others that come from somewhere else. What we seek to take guidance from is that one Inner Voice, which is our inner star, our True Self. It is the voice through which Nature can speak to us.

The need for establishing this inner link becomes painfully evident if you spend just a fractional amount of time on any of the Internet forums concerning Alchemy. Almost like clockwork, every quarter or half-year some person appears speaking authoritatively about Alchemy and the work they are doing - that they have found the way, or a new way of producing The Stone. These same persons ultimately require silence from folk before they will share what they supposedly know and then create a private forum group. Many flock to these so called adepts, and if they are lucky only a few months will elapse before they realize the truth of the matter. Unfortunately, not many are so lucky, and much time is wasted by well-intentioned aspirants. What is even more boggling is that many will flock to these people even though the supposed adept admits they have never done any lab work and their insights come from reading alone. This is the abject state of desperation most find themselves in who practice Alchemy. They are enticed by every new alchemical formula making its rounds on the forums - solicited by a new sequined courtesan roaming those forums, and thus they are destined for a quick thrill, but not the lasting relationship which they seek from the True Lady. Like a hormone-crazed youth, they simply do not have the discernment to choose abstinence and courtship over the wiles of an easy time. And even if they have the discernment, they may not have the patience.

If though, one were to cultivate this inner courtship, and more importantly verify the information and insights gained from such communion, such storms could and would be avoided. Experience shows us that after the first few verifications, what was once an issue of faith becomes a matter of personally acquired knowledge - proof of the veracity of the communication. After we secure a lasting relationship with this Inner Voice, the destination of the work moves beyond the attainment of the Philosophers Stone. The Stone will be obtained, yes, but the greatest goal and most pleasant joy is to simply follow in and relish the revelations Nature presents to you. For there are many secrets that Our Lady keeps, and to no one person does She reveal them all. You will walk in the path that She has laid out for you, confident in the knowledge that what She has to show you will lead one day to what you seek, and so much more.

A Foreword to the Practice

Before outlining a simple practice, allow me to give you an anchor to ground yourself, and a star to navigate by.

If in your practice, you hear or get the impression that this information is only for you; if you are told that you are the only one worthy to receive it; if you are praised that because of your devotion you have been selected above all others; or if you should receive any other discourse that strokes your ego and enchants you in subtle ways, making you feel quite special about yourself - RUN, don't walk away, least you become transfixed by the image in the pool like Narcissus. That which Is, is not selfish or beguiling. It is available to all who seek and open themselves to It. Like the Sun, It gives without reservation, need for reciprocation, or setting one above another.

If in your practice, a voice demands something of you; if it requires some ascetic practice to move forward; or if it compels some vow of poverty, removal from the world or some other such exclusionary practice - RUN,don't walk away. Like the Sun, Its light is given to all, of every persuasion, belief, and mindset. Its light alone will be sufficient to act as a distiller separating the subtle from the gross. It will not demand that you do anything, it simply shares and shows truth without reservation. If adjustments to one's lifestyle or thought processes are necessary they will be instigated naturally, and one will find themselves evolving into a new way of living. That is not to say one will not have to put forward effort in practice, but rather that the necessary changes will not be born from imposition or subjugation. They will arise from a free and almost involuntary surrendering on your part, for you will subconsciously and naturally yearn for the change.

The Practice

The following practice is known as the "Vigil of Nature". This practice should be carried out for 12 months time so that you are exposed to a full year's variation in Nature. The practice should be carried out at the same time each day (I am flexible on this, but consistency gives the best results). The practice should be done in the same spot each day. The only allowance is for necessary travel on business trips and holidays. Let us operate under the presumption that no matter what daily occurrences happen in our lives, it is an interaction of the Divine with our Soul. And so during travel, finding another place in nature - perhaps a park - would be suitable. Who knows what it is that Our Lady Alchemy wants to show someone, or where it needs to be shown?

We must also remember that a large part of this work is in seeking to reconcile the original sin, which sin appears as a separation of the Divine from ourselves and the world at large. However, wherever you may be led within the fulfillment of your normal course of life, you are not separate from this Vigil, nor are you truly separate from the Divine. It might be that you need to see something in nature or trigger a set of circumstances crucial for your inner contemplation that can only be done in this new setting. In fact, if your normal course of life requires travel which brings you to a new place during this practice, we can safely assume that this is exactly what is needed at that time.

In any event the spot chosen needs to be outdoors, so that you are exposed to the elements. Using appropriate outerwear for the season or climatic conditions will not be cause for demerit.

At a minimum you should spend 5 minutes a day at your chosen spot. When you get there, say a small prayer asking that you be opened to nature. If you can not think of one, you may use this one:

Lord open my mind that I may perceive thee.
Open my sense of hearing that I may listen to the silence of your voice.
Open my sense of sight that I may see your singular divinity.
Open my sense of smell that I may partake of the perfume of your essence.
Open my sense of taste that I may speak and savor the sweetness of truth.
Open my sense of touch that I may experience the rapture of One.
For where does all Wisdom and Knowledge come from, but thee O Lord.
With Nature as Your Equal to show the way.
I seek Knowledge founded upon Wisdom.
With a kind and pure heart to use it.

While engaged in your short retreat, have the intention to observe Nature and learn from Her. You will see natural things such as the life or decay of a plant or animal, or perhaps the cycles of the planet, the sun, the moon, etc. that will give you insights into Alchemical processes.

The most important thing is to just be alone with yourself and to be in Nature. Allow your feelings, whatever they may be, to be present and accept them. So much of what we are taught in modern society is to suppress natural inclinations, that somehow they are wrong or should be eschewed. That is not to say every inclination should be acted upon, but in this space we allow ourselves to feel freely without judgment. One day you might be full of joy - do not question or suppress it. The next day you might be full of lust - do not question or suppress it. On yet another day you may be filled with rage - again do not suppress or judge it. Simply allow in this space for your feelings to be, for your mind to wander freely in Nature's abode, as it explores and reexamines all aspects of life. Be sure to write down the dates, times, and feelings you have along with any impressions, or sights that you see which trigger Alchemical connections.

It may not be readily apparent, but revelation will be happening to you during this entire time. This is the courtship of Nature, who speaks to you through your Inner Voice. The communion you subconsciously (and from time to time very consciously) obtain will prove itself later when you enter into physical Alchemical practice. Of course, some things will show themselves to be mere fancies of the mind because they can not be acted upon physically, and Alchemy truly does afford us the opportunity to prove physically that which we have discerned about Nature. I would also suggest that you obtain the Alchemical Laboratory Bulletins and other Alchemical literature and read it for about 30 minutes or more per day. Before each study period ask that you be granted admittance into the Alchemical Egregore. You may obtain the Alchemical Laboratory Bulletins by going to

Remember: Fidelity breeds results in this practice. You must show Her that you are a constant and gentle consort.