Pandora’s Secret: Alchemy of the Sexes

January 21, 2020

Pandora’s Secret: Alchemy of the Sexes

The concept of alchemy has been understood from various perspectives throughout time; such as an esoteric pursuit of the Philosopher’s Stone through scientific experimentation, especially in regards to chemistry, as well as a spiritual philosophy of the transmutation of the soul and the liberation from the egoic self. In contemporary times, the word itself has been hijacked to deduce any craft that utilizes occult practices, New Age themes, or a fancy word for a creative trade.

As alchemy can be attributed to the more metaphysical side of religious practices, such as Kabbalah with Judaism and Gnosticism with Christianity, these occult fields of study were birthed in a larger sense from Egypt, as the word alchemy is derived from the word Khem, an ancient phrase for Egypt meaning black earth. Alchemy essentially means the black arts. Black in the sense that it is the feminine unconscious art form of our self-inquiry where conventional science follows the masculine conscious pathway of physical exploration. However, the corner stone in which all alchemical pursuits evolved into, from Greece to Arabia, has been Hermeticism, rooted strongly throughout the early Medieval ages into modern times with the physicist Issac Newton and the 19th century London mystery school of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

From a manuscript of the Golden Dawn

There is a simplicity with Hermetic Alchemy as born out of the teachings of Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing, the divine scribe, and adapted into the Greek god Hermes and the Roman god Mercury. The archetype of the magician is seen throughout all of human culture such as Quetzecoatl with the Maya and Merlin in the story of Camelot. There is an elusiveness to this character as reflective to the Black Arts denomination of alchemy. The word Hermaphrodite is in direct relation with the alchemical union of the masculine and the feminine. The word is from a story written by Ovid about Hermaphroditus, the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, who was loved by a nymph Salmacis, whom prayed to be in complete union with him, and so was granted so in bodily form, with both male and female characteristics as one.

In further exploration of Greek myth, we find Pandora, the story of the first woman, created by Hephaestus, the god of metalworking, under direct order of Zeus. The story has been considered by many theologians to be an attempt by Greek culture to describe the origins of evil, while modern day interpretations attribute it to man scapegoating the feminine. There is both truth within this as the deeper meanings of Pandora are way more significant in their implications, especially in regards to the current evolution of humanity.

Painting of Pandora lying upon her box

In the myth of Pandora, she is molded out of earth by Hephaestus, and adorned with many gifts from other gods: Athena taught her weaving and stitching as well as clothing her, Aphrodite grace and cruel longing, Hermes a shameful mind and deceitful nature, Persuasion and the Charities with necklaces, and the Horae with a crown. Hermes bestowed her name upon her, meaning "all-gifted" or "all giving", and relates to the hidden gift in which she brings forth masked under the guise of evil and suffering. For Pandora was brought before Epimentheus, a titan and brother to Prometheus, the god who had stolen fire from the gods and given it to man, enraging Zeus and bringing about Pandora's creation. Along with Pandora was a jar that is classically known as "Pandora's Box". Contained within it was “burdensome toil and sickness that brings death to men” as Hesiod the poet put it who first relayed the story over 2,700 years ago. Epimentheus accepted the jar thus opening it and releasing all the evils contained except for this as Hesoid wrote in Work and Days:

"Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house,
she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not
fly away. Before [she could], Pandora replaced the
lid of the jar. This was the will of aegis-bearing
Zeus the Cloudgatherer."

In terms of metaphysical context, there is an inclination of where Man, as attributed to the archaic convention of humanity, was potentially once androgynous; a hermaphroditic being. At the same time, there is also an inclination throughout mythology, and the logic of metaphysical biology itself (ie the evolutionary structure of our consciousness), that the ancient androgynous Man was neutral in its physical gender, but while more masculine in its non-physical characteristics due to the nature of the externalized world being experienced predominantly with a masculine perspective, and the internalized world through the feminine. This also elucidates that within the suffering is a gift as put forth by hope. That through the thick and thin of everything we've been through, especially in this current cycle of the fifth world [which began with the sinking of Atlantis 13,000 years ago otherwise known as the fall of Man], that there is a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel, and it does not necessarily have to end in an Armageddon of sorts.

By understanding the previously mentioned concept in the realms of metaphysical biology, this explores greater perspective on the imbalances seen with our present day society around this fundamental gender polarity. Pandora eludes in the most esoteric of metaphors, that woman was birthed to bring balance to this subtle imbalance within the androgynous physical vessel. To clarify this concept even more with the basis of archetypal constructs of our reality, the physical vessel, whether male or female, is inherently masculine, while the ethereal vessel (ie the soul) is inherently feminine. Thus the androgynous being as it journeyed more into the material consciousness, the masculine aspect of its consciousness took more hold of itself intrinsically.

There are two fundamental forms of biological reproduction, asexual and sexual. Asexual is a form of androgynous cloning, and predated any form of sexual reproduction as exists with the predominance of the animal kingdom. To connect this idea with metaphysical biology, a central tenant of alchemy has been The Emerald Tablet, supposedly written by Hermes himself. The second line of this fifteen line passage, is known commonly by the phrase, As Above, and So Below. A more complete translation of the line is: That which is above is as that which is below, and that which is below is as that which is above, to perform the miracles of the One Thing.

The Emerald Tablet

This type of fractal thinking allows for the greater cosmos to be understood by seeing the patterns in the smallest of details. As so, the evolution of our consciousness most certainly was birthed initially under asexual conditions, regardless of the physicality, even if it was before the birth of our own planet Earth. And just as sexual reproduction gives rise to greater genetic diversity, so must the spectrum of our archetypal diversity as well under the same context. This type of rationality may seem extremely abstract, but when met actually with  the most boundless of logical reasoning, the simplicity is self-evident.

The reason this is all being brought to the attention of the reader is to see something far greater within the realms of alchemy and its practical application in our daily lives. For the troubling notions of our existence are essentially rooted in the constructs of separation that further divide humanity, and that fundamental divide is rooted with the story of Pandora, and the birth of the engendered human. In the same mythological fashion, Adam took his rib to give birth to Eve, the first woman.

Adam using his rib to give birth to Eve

There is a significant amount of opinion, conjecture, and story in general on the topic, with such a wide range of perspectives with the extremes of patriarchal hierarchy and the feminist movement. What can be deduced from this type of metaphysical conjecture is that the engendered human with the polar sexes is the foundation to the construct of separation within our consciousness. From that, greater separation is experienced through age, culture, race, and so on that has led to a masculine superiority complex that has now effectively divided a significant portion of our active consciousness from that of its inherent Self, mother nature in its complete totality.

Now where this relates to alchemy, is that the foundation of the soul's transmutation involves unifying both the masculine and feminine within, the true secret to the twin flame, to reunite one's soul with the totality of our consciousness. It is this process that is the real essence within Hermetic Alchemy over any form of physical transmutation, such as with lead into gold. The metaphor even with that famous phrase is where lead corresponds to Saturn and the seat of our sexuality within the sacral chakra, and raising the energy (ie Kundalini rising), into that of the heart, where the Sun corresponds to gold. To bring our sexuality into harmonic union with unconditional Love for the Self, lower and higher, inner and outer, as one, is the greatest of freedom in which all of humanity seeks. It is only from this balanced state of being, upon the throne of our enlightened consciousness, can the peace emanate outward from our own intrinsic self into the rest of the world at large.

However, we are also journeying into the latter stage of this alchemical narrative, as the initial procedure mentioned is feminine in nature as it is an internal process. The masculine aspect is with the physical sexes coming together united as one human family in the external world, honoring the uniqueness and beauty of each sex, yet ever aligned to the same fundamental source of our divine consciousness, and most in particular as the mutual inhabitants of planet Earth. For the hidden beauty in this epic experiment within consciousness is to receive the joy of the experience of two sexes, the engendered human, existing in physical separation, yet unified in our awareness of being. This is Pandora's Secret.

Alchemical manuscript symbolizing the process of transmutation with the sun and moon

The gender alchemy of this transformation is what is going to liberate all of humanity from it's own self-destruction. We can continue to blame one or the other for the problems in the world, and demand solutions such as a matriarchy which only creates another polarity within our world. Men may have been calling the orders on behalf of nations, however, it is also the wife to the kings that have had sometimes the most powerful and unique form of influence upon their husbands over anyone else. For a single whisper into his ear could change thousands of lives. There are always many perspectives abound, yet there is a balance within all, for polarity gives rise to the story. When humanity accepts that we have all been out of integrity, and no longer suppress our responsibility to our own creations, then we can actually start to build a foundation that is sound and firm, and wholeheartedly reflective of the natural world of which we were so intrinsically birthed out of. For that is when the victim frees them self from their self-imposed cage into the union of their true Self, the essence of the infinitely so.

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