The Royal Art Society is simply the community educated by a specific curriculum of symbolic alchemy and meditation. The textbook is online, accessible by three grades, and called the “Journal” or Book of the Royal Art.
The Mission of the Royal Art Society is to organize a secular special interest group to study, teach and practice symbolic alchemy and meditation as a global community. We work to advance universal health, economic well-being, holistic education and human rights as fundamental to the success of the Royal Art.
Introduction to the Royal Art and Science
From the Book of the Royal Art, ‘Candidate’s Introduction’: The Royal Art, known technically as symbolic alchemy, is the eternal art of transformation. It is called royal because it is the supreme profession, encompassing the philosophy of nature, the art of life, and the science of government. In illumined circles it is the art of doing nothing.
By definition alchemy is the transmutation of the base metals lead and iron into the noble metals silver and gold. The alchemist’s quest is for the pill, powder or elixir that turns every metal it touches into gold – the mysterious Philosopher’s Stone. This quest is a fitting metaphor for the science of transmuting base matter, the dross of mundane existence, into health, empowerment and enlightenment, the alchemical Holy Grail.
In both Chinese alchemy and the Western Royal Art, two distinct interpretations of alchemy have developed over time: ‘external alchemy’ (Mandarin waidan) and ‘internal alchemy’ (neidan). ‘External alchemy’ is the literal interpretation, producing and consuming herbal recipes, pills, powders and elixirs with the intention of cultivating life and longevity or achieving physical immortality.
By contrast, ‘internal alchemy,’ also called inner alchemy or symbolic alchemy, is a path of meditative cultivation, a form of therapy, as exemplified by C. G. Jung’s analytical psychology. This includes some combination of strict moral discipline, a regimented or healthy diet, and specialized exercises to nourish and purify the spirit, called quintessence or life-force. Symbolic alchemy often includes breath control, meditation, visualization, moderation of carnal practices, and physical exercises. It also, therefore, aims to nurture and prolong life, but only incidentally.
Quite unfortunately, the science of chemistry mixed with mystical speculation has invited many superfluous, fantastic, superstitious and even fraudulent practices throughout history. Operative alchemy, or practical chemistry, led to the origins of modern science. Speculative, or symbolic alchemy, became a major influence on the magicians of the Renaissance and their spiritual heirs, the Rosicrucians, Freemasons and other branches of the Western Mystery Tradition. To be effective, symbolic alchemy must align with science; and to be useful, science must align with symbolic alchemy. This paradigm had a profound impact on the Enlightenment, known as the Age of Reason, which gave birth to our modern understanding of universal human rights.
Science, from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge,” was anciently known as natural philosophy. It is a rational worldview that tests ideas thru physical demonstration, makes predictions about events within the order of the cosmos, and systematically organizes its knowledge into a body of literature. Science without the Royal Art is simply a method of observation, a form of understanding and a source of wisdom, but because it fails to coordinate its vast stores of information into a comprehensive catalog (a holy scripture, if you will) and holistic lifestyle, it falls short of being a wisdom tradition, as such.
Meditation: Improve the Mind
The layman will not need to comprehend the following description of the alchemical tradition. He or she will not need to learn complicated definitions or procedures. Essentially, the Royal Art is meditation, a function of the mind, that separates natural quintessence from base matter, order from chaos, and joins them together again into a pure, harmonious and benevolent whole.
This is the essence of the Latin alchemical motto Solve et Coagula, which means to dissolve and coagulate, or separate and join. The profane material is transformed by an ancient and eternal operation. It is first destroyed and then it is reborn as something noble and worthy. The process can be assisted with ritual and props but it takes place entirely within the mind. The Royal Art is a method of improving the mind.
In meditation the alchemist goes beyond effort, bliss and self-awareness, to a state of no-mind. No-mind, Chinese Wu Nien, is stillness of mind – not absence of mind like inanimate objects – but true self in pure form. The alchemist practices the method of internal alchemy in his cultivation of no-mind; controlled and relaxed guided visualization that leads to the union of microcosm and macrocosm and return of everything to the void.
The meditation of symbolic alchemy can be learned within an hour. It allows for clarity and objectivity, stress relief and improved satisfaction in personal life and business. As a form of stress management, health benefits of the Royal Art can include: a stronger immune system, a healthier heart and improved blood pressure, enhanced memory, and weight loss. Meditation can help relieve anxiety and depression, improve relationships and contribute to a longer life.
Alchemical meditation also helps reduce mental and physical pain in healthy individuals as well as those struggling with disorders or rehabilitating after detoxification, chemotherapy or surgery. Of course, every intelligent alchemist is a skeptic, and will make his or her own investigations of a wide range of sources. The Royal Art Society functions as a resource for just this kind of inquiry.