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Hermetic/alchemical meditation

4. The Ouroboros

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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The Ouroboros

Place oneself into one's own inner space by performing the retort exercise. Centre one's being to a point - one can visualise this either spatially in terrns of the centre of the retort, or emotionally as a place of calmness. One can only hold this for a short time, so allow the natural forces of the soul, to play into the experience.

Soon polarities will express themselves, and picture this inwardly as the point becoming a line. Try to keep one's consciousness as long as possible at the centre of this line of polarities. One will feel raying away from this centre on either side the polar forces of positive - negative, above - below, active - passive, etc. Let one's being run through as many possibilities as one feels comfortable with.

Then bring the picture into a definite focus, using the Solve et Coagula technique if necessary, and inwardly experience the line as a snake, with its head towards one's own head, tail at the base of the spine. Feel the polarities of this symbol, allow it's full form and forces to develop. This picture reflects the natural structure of one's inner being.

Now one must build the Ouroboros by uniting the two polarities. Picture the head and tail of the snake twisting around until the head grasps the tail forming the Ouroboros symbol, which one should centre around one's heart. Using Solve et Coagula one can allow this symbol to rise into the higher part of one's interior being. As the snake grasps its own tail, so on the higher level one's own soul takes hold of itself, and begins to work upon its own substance, uniting the polarities, uniting conscious with unconscious, positive and negative, spirit and body, etc.

One can use this exercise in a general way, or in order to work through particular polarities one has encountered in one's study, or through the experiences of life.

One must not reverse the process in the case of the Ouroboros exercise. Once one has formed the symbol inwardly, do not take it to pieces, but finish at this point, letting the unity renain in one's being.