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Hermetic/alchemical meditation

2. Separation and Conjunction

In this series of elementary meditative exercises, no special postures are required but that in which one is most comfortable, nor are any special breathing rhythms used. Meditation should be undertaken when one is not too tired, and the best situation is probably lying down in a quiet, nearly dark, room, and it is essential to have privacy and no possibility of being disturbed.
All these exercises begin with the Philosophic Egg or retort meditation, described in the first issue, which leads one into an inner meditative space. Within that space, we shall perform short exercises, and then close the meditation with the retort exercise reversed, that is leading one out of the inner space back to normal consciousness.
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Separation and Conjunction

Perform the Philosophic Egg until one is inwardly centred, and one feels one's being to be within the space of the retort. Now, become conscious of one's soul forces, begin to picture this as a kind of bubbling, seething, water at the bottom of the fask, full of life and ever changing raw energy. Allow this picture to form itself clearly, take on a definite structure, then quite deliberately separate oneself from it, feel one's inward being detaching from this seething water. It will help to picture one's being rising upwards in the flask away from the realm of the boiling living waters of the soul.

Let this separation continue until one stands quite apart, high above, focussed to a point, sharp and withdrawn, but still aware of the bubbling seething below. A point will come quite naturally in this exercise when one feels the need to return downwards. Let this descent happen, and with this feel one's being spreading, opening out to meet the bubbling energy of the waters. Picture one's being dissolve in the seething liquid soul substance at the bottom of the retort. Then again separate and ascend on high, looking down on the process below, then descend and dissolve once more in the waters.

Repeat this a few times following one's own inner judgment as to how often but always finishing on the coniunctio phase. Then close the meditation by following the Retort exercise backwards, leading from the inner space back into the outward consciousness.

This separatio and coniunctio meditation inwardly prepares the soul for later exercises, when it will be important to have conscious control over one's immersion in or separation from an inward process. Performing the retort meditation regularly builds up an ability to step into the inner space consciously and at will. One has control over the inner/outer dimension of the soul. This second exercise helps to develop the inner flexibility needed to work with alchemical symbols in meditation. These are fundamental exercises and though seemingly simplistic, mastery of these is important for later work.

Those who have worked with substances and physical alchemical apparatus performing physical alchemy, will find this an invaluable source for inner pictures to build these meditations of soul alchemy.