©1976 Rik Danenberg
Q: What is the value of alchemy in the world today?
F: Well its a difficult question to answer: In the first place, when you come to think of it, what the word alchemy means - and it hasn't really changed, it's still the same, - the first thing is making gold, the the elixir of life and all these things; this hasn't really changed, you take a dictionary, an encyclopaedia, you find the same answer. The only way where this notion or this opinion, that has been attached to it, could eventually be changed is by going back to its origin. All the things we have in the dictionary and encyclopaedia is a repetition that someone made up and that's it, but the origin, the original concept of alchemy is evolution and that too hasn't changed so any progress that is made; that's evolution and it has been said so many times, the entire process of nature is an evolutionary one or an alchemistical one. This is all that can actually be said.
Q: Could we then ask you something about the teachings that you bring?
F: Well we are trying to substantiate, to prove, the laws of nature and if we can do that, well then we are talking alchemy. Alchemy's but an Arabic word, just like evolution or evolutizione is a Latin word, spagyric is from the Greek, all of them refer to the same and that is what we are doing. We are trying to find out how nature works, and eventually when we find out how nature works, as the laws are being revealed, we are trying to delve even more into it and attempt to find the why of the how. So it is not an imitation of nature; it is a duplication of natural processes that we attempt to do.
Q: Could we say something about the classes, but before that, could I ask what does a potential student need, what requirements are needed for somebody who wishes to study alchemy?
F: Basically, it is this, one of the hardest things a student comes by is the honesty and sincerity that we find within ourselves. If they are full of prejudice, bias, then its very very difficult to enter into what we are trying to give to those who are really interested and sincere in finding out the working of the laws of nature. People that come and have already, as the saying goes, made their minds up and just want to see whether it coincides with it or not, if that is their way of thinking, then its fine, but if its contrary, then they are rebellious and then they say "well I don't believe it, I don't want to go any further". Etc, etc. So it's very difficult to find individuals, that out of their own free will and volition, will come and say; "Now I'm going to investigate this for the sake of what it will reveal". You know you may look at things and still not see anything, you may hear things and still not have absorbed what is being said. It is because of our bias, the prejudice, so the requirements for any student is - is such an individual really, honestly and sincerely prepared to investigate the laws of nature. So we're not interested in degrees or anything of this sort. It is again, the honesty and sincerity of the individual which makes it possible to examine what is to come, and then find the proof.
Q: If a student comes without their mind made up, and who can perhaps put any current beliefs on the shelf, as you would say, and open up for the classes, what might be some of the obstacles that the student faces?
F: Well with some of them, especially when they hear the word 'alchemy', they say, "Oh my word, I don't know anything about chemistry". This is a reaction we get quite often, then we say "why that's wonderful, then you don't have to unlearn things". Another one speaks up and says "but look, I have studied chemistry" and then we say again " well this is wonderful, you can even learn something in addition to it". This may sound like a hypocrite speaking, but it is not, you see if we enter into a field of knowledge where we don't know anything about it before, it takes some time until we find ourselves in a more comfortable position within it, whereas those who have already had some previous training, like take the word 'chemistry' and so on, well then, if they are open minded enough, and will examine what is being presented, in the light in which it is presented, well then, both of them eventually will work towards the same end.
Q: How best do we arrive at this crucial point of self-experience?
F: Well it is an everyday matter because to experience means to know because you can have no experience it, you cut yourself on the finger, well then you know what it is like and so there is no substitute for experience. In the classes, students do learn by experience. Then again, another question may come up. "Why am I so different from other people"?
Q: These classes are in three sections, would you say something about the alchemy, actual mental alchemy and practical alchemy?
F: Like we said, alchemy is evolution. Humans to begin with are dual beings. They consist of the physical, of the tangible, as the body indicates, and of course that which animates the body which is intangible and invisible is just as apparent, so these two, of course we have to consider. Humans are not just a thinking apparatus nor are they just a physically reacting apparatus. Just as in the law of dialectics you've got the thesis, you've got the anti - thesis, then you have the synthesis and that is the self knowledge, this is actually the experience we speak of. So if it is classified as you pointed out, well then we can say, some of the questions that will come up in the life of each individual at one time or another. Where do I come from? Why am I here? Where will I be hereafter and so on. Attempts will have to be made if we can answer such questions. Any and every of these attempts that are being made to find out about one's self will have to centre eventually by this very thing. We have to find out, by referring to each individual, why such an individual is who that individual is. If we do not have this foundation, then we haven't got anything to build upon and so that would be the theoretical aspect. But what good is a theory if it is not a working theory? So we have to go then by way of practicable demonstration and find out if such a theory is workable. Well that is where the practical aspect would enter into it. And so, since now it pertains to the bodily mechanism, if you want to call it that which makes us tick. Well we find illness and health and things like that. They too have a cause because every cause has it's effect and so we have to find out again what is going on. So in the end, after all is said and done, no matter in how many segments you were to separate it, we have to discover first these two most important aspects - how does the intangible react on the tangible and how does the tangible also react in return on the intangible and this can only be done by demonstrating the laws involved. Let me add here a law does not need any indication, a law does not need any explanation, a law speaks for itself and that is the main objective in all instructions that we give for the individual to find out for themselves.
Q: There are classes too in astrology and the QaBaLa, is there a renaissance in astrology today?
F: Here too we have to be sure what we are talking about. There are all kinds of systems prevailing within astrology. When we speak here of astrology, we refer to this constant pulsation that goes on in the universe, as above, so below, till we find it in the microorganism within humans, there's a relationship, whether when every eleven years or there about, the sun spots appear, we know there is a physical reaction. People dealing with electronics or waves, magnetic waves and so they know there is an effect. Say that any of these interstellar bodies we refer to planet and not to suns they certainly affect, and this is established fact, every living organism that is on this earth. Beginning with the moon, we know the tides and growth patterns so this is the astrology we refer to. We are not going into here mundane things, "whom should I marry"? "is it a good time to buy an automobile"? or anything like that. The astrology we refer to are actually astro - cyclic pulsation's. We have to find out then - oh I am reluctant to use this word 'vibrations", well in the frequencies that we come under and respond to. So any system evolving out of that again will show us clearly that we are an integral part of all of this which means we have to eventually relate ourselves to all that we find ourselves in and there are various systems available whereby this can be done. The Hindus have one, the Chinese have one, the Hebrews have one and there are many others in between. If one partakes of such a system, it doesn't matter which one, it is generally taken on in order to establish relationships. Well then, that would help us, again to find in the words of Carl Jung, to eventually learn how to integrate our personality within the existing and prevailing circumstances. In this case you mentioned the QaBaLa or Kabbala as it is called. If this system is being used in the western world it is because it has made more inroads into the mentality, the eastern system came later and made some inroads into the western way of thinking. There is the Chinese system of yin yang or there is the Hindu system and so in the end, each and everyone of them serves the same purpose and so in this case the QaBaLa is being used and it is used only for this purpose and for no other purpose than to help us and assist us in the establishment of relationships.
Finally, the third aspect - the laboratory - that is where we go into the workshop - that is all the word laboratory means - and then we find in the workshops of nature, just as much as in our own workshops, the manifestation of the laws within this whole thing of evolutional alchemy - and please, we have to duplicate, now to duplicate, means not to imitate. In other words, we have to find out how nature works, what the laws that are involved to bring forth what nature does bring forth what nature does bring forth through these repetitive cycles and as soon as we get acquainted with some of these laws, well then we apply them and we come up with the very same that nature does - so this is not imitation, we are duplicating the works of nature.
Q: There are four classes and in the first one or Prima, are the students working with herbs or a herb in the laboratory?
F: Well what we are trying to find out is what nature teaches us, if these laws as they made themselves manifest, already in antiquity- no matter under which synonyms or symbols, it boils down to what nature produces consists of three essentials. Now whether we take some archaic names like sulphur, salt and mercury or anything like that, this is only indicative, that would have to be proven. So if we go into the plant world, that is the easiest way, the least time consuming, one whereby this can be established. Later on we come to Secunda class well then if it is possible in the plant world, it would have to be possible in the mineral world because there is a real relationship. No plant can exist without a mineral, so if it is also possible to prove this in the mineral world then perhaps so there will also be a continuation in the Tertia class, since this is rather a large scope, it needs to be investigated there. In the fourth class or Quarta, it would be the animal realm where the same thing would have to show itself.
Q: How long have you been coming to Australia?
F: Well the first time we came to Australia to look this whole situation over was, if my memory doesn't fail me, fourteen years ago.
Q: What drew you to Australia at that time?
F: We were going to New Zealand to look the situation over - in fact we taught in New Zealand before we did come to Australia. Later on we received some communication from Australia asking would we please come here and conduct classes, this was some thirteen years ago in 1970.
Q: Where else do you teach?
F: We have our seat in the Rocky Mountains of the United States and then of course we teach in Europe, but then wherever the need is and where we are being called to help and assist. Primarily it is America, Australia and Europe. Although we have students from Africa and from Central and South America.... certainly there some other things connected also with India.
Q: It would be interesting to know something of your travels in India and what is the purpose of them?
F: Well these are of a personal nature and certain relationships that are involved here. It is just like saying we have also been to Central America but that is only on special occasions for special purposes but they are not definitely outlined as they are in America, Australia and Europe.
Q: Would it be right that there may be some work with ancient Sanskrit writings that need to be bought into the "light of today's alchemistical concepts"?
F: There is quite a bit of literature available and certainly in the oldest known Sanskrit, what is known as the Ayurveda. All these things actually have their origin, as far as written documents and so on are available, so whether we translate from there to the vernacular, for the present state or country, in essence, whatever is to be had, if it is what nature reveals, it will always be the same, no matter in what language it is found and if we find the first records in Sanskrit so to speak, well then this is only a diversification of what we find today.
Q: You would say it is your work that is important and not yourself but we cannot not ask the question about you yourself, how you came to this work where you come from.
F: Well this question has been asked quite often and some say I am evasive, actually there is nothing to be evasive about. It is just a matter of getting the meaning of what is here being tried to convey. As to the actual beginning, I couldn't give an actual date because all this started in early childhood. You see, these things come and there are two ways of receiving any knowledge, one is by being taught, that is having a tutor who will those things the tutor knows and there is another way that is known as the direct way. Now the first way is easier to explain and the second is one that one has to experience such direct teachings - the word teaching is not perhaps appropriate here but I don't know if a word exists for it- when such direct communication takes place. And then of course there can also be an outcome of a combination of the two where that which has been received in a direct way is often substantiated further on by ordinary methods if you want to call it that. It's pretty difficult to differentiate here as either the direct teaching that you get or the common teaching depends on the individual, what they do with it and the outcome thereof.
Q: Can I ask where that direct teaching comes from?
F: Where does life come from. There you go. This is what we are trying to say here. It is difficult to pinpoint that because it is a personal experience. You see and hear things and then you find out what you have seen and what you have heard. In other words it is but a verification. Like say you have a theory, whoever gave you the theory, and you see the theory demonstrated then all you have to do is repeat it. Well if you have never read anything about that and nobody ever taught you that well then where would you say it came from, where does the air come from you breathe?
Q: Is there a fee for the classes?
F: These classes are given, these teachings can never be paid for. Just as one receives them as a gift they can only be given to those who are receptive. They can never - I am very reluctant to use the word never - be paid for because there is no way worldly way or means to make payment. If the individuals approach this with honesty and sincerity and then the outcome of that as it is is applied in the personal life and as demonstrated for the benefit of all concerned if you want to consider this as a repayment for the benefit of all concerned, yes but there are no financial or physical remuneration's connected to the teachings.
Q: What is the percentage of students who continue? Presumably far more will begin than go on?
F: Well it's bound to be, when you look upon it from a very rational point of view. Anybody who enters into this investigation, investigates for the very purpose this investigation has been undertaken. So if they want to learn and apply that in their business or occupation or whatever it is and they get what they need then they are satisfied. So, others again, who can see more in it that the others have not seen, they require more time. It's just like going to school; after you have finished your college and university, it's very unlikely the majority would keep on studying but some would keep right on going for their Bachelor or Masters or Doctorates and eventually they would have to find some use for it, so it is here too.
Q: Would this come under the category of an occult school?
F: Well what do mean by occult? If you take the word occult it means hidden and if there are some things which are hidden from common knowledge and they are being exposed and made known well then they are not hidden anymore. So if there is some knowledge available which is not commonly known and is hidden well, as soon as it is revealed and made available then it is not hidden anymore. Yes, you can say there are some of these natural laws that are still hidden from us that will eventually be revealed then....well.
Q: Is there any secrecy here - are students sworn to secrecy?
F: No absolutely not, on the contrary. All this does not take place in dimly lit rooms with curtains drawn with all kinds of rites and rituals and so on. On the contrary, here the light will have to enter and light will have to emanate and light has to be thrown upon all these things so we can see them as they are and finally get out of this subdued haze and so on where everything would eventually have to be made up so it coincides with what we would like to see. It is not so much a matter of what we would like to see, we will have to learn to see things as they are and this can only be done in the pure light that surrounds it, which permeates it, but anything that is hazy and mysteriously dark and all kinds of things, I am sorry but it does not enter into it.
Q: The teachings are given within the Paracelsus College and the Paracelsus College in the States, Australia and Europe. How did the Paracelsus College come about?
F: The Paracelsus College is the outcome of what was formerly known as the Paracelsus Research Society. The P.R.S, in order to conform with the legal requirements was instituted in the state of Utah, recognized by the state as a non-profit educational institution, also recognized by the federal government as such. This kept on going for quite some time but it was announced at the very beginning that the P.R.S would exist only for a certain length of time until it had accomplished its purpose and that would be to help bring forth conscious assistants for what is yet to come and so several seven year cycles went by and the P.R.S. disappeared again just as it had appeared - practically unknown - so that with the help of a few of these conscious assistants that came out of it, then the Paracelsus College was formed. Actually it is a transfer so to speak. And now these things are being given so that individuals who would like to pursue these things on such a level that they are commensurate with others that can be accomplished.
Q: You took the name Paracelsus - he's also been called the Luther of medicine - can you say something about this?
F: Yes but he was more than just the Luther of medicine. In history we find a few blazing stars as we might call them, Leonardo de Vinci. Michaelangelo, Gurdjieff. Paracelsus was not just a medical doctor but he was in the true sense of the word, an evolutionist or an alchemist because he saw the whole evolutionary process of nature and he expounded and wrote about it and taught about it in such a way that it was a completely different concept from what was formerly being followed. He was a pioneer in his work and we honored this man and it was for this reason - like every child has to have a name - that's the name we required also when we came out into the open - that the name Paracelsus was selected.
Q: It is so, is it not, that today science is only now rediscovering the knowledge that Paracelsus already had?
F: Well in a way perhaps yes but what we are really trying to do - is you see due to the prevailing circumstances when this man lived - this is about half a thousand years ago - you have to realize the circumstances that were prevailing - the majority of the people could not read or write - there were ecclesiastical authorities, there were potentates who practically told the people what to think, what to do and how to do it. Now it took really, a genius like Paracelsus to survive such circumstances, to break with tradition. Because of that Paracelsus discovered things, wrote about things, taught about things that were strictly forbidden otherwise. Paracelsus covered it up in an archaic language and with symbolism and so on and coded it into words which even those who had authority over him could not decipher. In such a way he then transmitted to us what he had found out but could not openly proclaim. And so, excuse me for saying in my case, we make then such an attempt to translate these things or interpret them in such a way that they can be acceptable to present standards and not only that, but make an attempt now to prove them and that is of course the main work of the Paracelsus College. Not only to take what Paracelsus gave us but also those who were forced to disguise them and conceal them or kept them as you said "occult' for us to reveal.
Q: Would this then be part of a bridging process that could bring Science today and Alchemy back together again?
F: Well yes, our objective is to bridge this gap where there exists a lot of nonsense, a lot of things that simply don't make sense. So where such things can be unified, that which has been abruptly severed- we are trying to find again the loose ends and put them together, lets put it this way. There are quite a few things that are difficult sometimes to get together again because some pieces are missing. But when we take the laws of nature, its place and course, we can do that. This is now going on and has been for quite a few decades and will continue to be done.
Q: Have you some examples to give?
F: There are quite a few things - in any of the realms of science, there are established norms as we call them nowadays, that science says cannot be changed or are established. They were opposed - that is present day scientists - to any of the things that the alchemists taught such as transmutation but it is an established fact nowadays that it takes place. All you have to do is look at the atomic chart and you see that after the element uranium any of the others that follow are all manmade, that is a transmutation, in that respect it has already been proven. To take another example, an acid can be distilled but an alkaline substance cannot - this is still being taught today but the alchemists said 'no, you can even also distill over an alkaline substance'. Well science will come and say 'prove it, it can't be done'. It is being done but they refuse right from the beginning to accept it because it is not being taught and is not found in the textbook and if it's not being taught then it can't be done. Well with them it's a foregone conclusion which in fact is very unscientific.
Q: Talking of books and given the misconceptions that still abound, when we walk into a specialist bookshop, we see under the label of Alchemy a whole shelf full of books. What does somebody who wants to know something about alchemy and wants to get started do when confronted with all this. Are some books worthwhile?
F: I think any and every book is worth while that is worth the while to be writ even if it doesn't do anything else than to let us put it aside and say 'I don't understand it nor believe it or whatever. At least it gives us something to start with. Most of the books that have been published that you find on the shelves you mentioned - even in libraries is but a repetition, an interpretation of what formerly has been said or published. Actually very little has been added to the literature of alchemy that is based on personal experience. Most of it is, even in lectures and otherwise, verbal erudition.
Q: Of course the teachings are oral teachings?
F: That's right, no book will ever take the place of an oral teaching.
Q: It is said that when the pupil is ready the master will appear, can you say something about this.
F: Here you have one of those famous metaphysical and occult sayings and so on. But again there is something that can be said. Sometimes if we maybe articulate a word here or there we may get a totally different meaning. Usually when this is being used - I have found it at least from personal experience that when these quotations came to my ears, that it was when the pupil is ready THEN the master will appear; in other words somebody will come, maybe in the place of the lord and then what have you got? This is not what was originally meant thereby. What it means is when a student has met the preliminary requirements and hopefully even more than that and finds themselves in a state where they are ready to receive more instructions then the teacher MAY appear, and that is a special privilege, then, for such to give special instructions who are a master or adept in this particular aspect of it. So, yes, then the master will appear after the pupil has met these preliminary requirements and even beyond it. So the student is allowed into the presence of such a teacher or master, but the master in this case wouldn't come to the individual student here and there. No, they have to go and find such a place where such a master or teacher. Who is adept in what is being taught, and can be located. However there is no guarantee that any and every student that now would like to force entry in there is permitted into it. When they are ready for and have met the requirements, yes they will be allowed into the presence of it.
Q: Many people visit us here in Australia, gurus from India etc, as well as various groups that put on public lectures by so called wise people, why are there no public lectures about alchemy?
F: Well you answered the
question already. Those people who come and
have something to present for the masses as we could say. Some of them
come who go to the extremes and fill up whole stadiums with people and
they have a message, whatever that message is. Well the people absorb
this and they are contented with this; others expound it a little bit
more and each one has their own way of doing it. You have those who
about these things, and there's a lot of curiosity. Isn't it strange
how many people continuously attend these various gatherings and
and so on for a time, only to become a little bit disillusioned here
and there because well, they expected things a little different. So
they shift to something else again and so on.
The work we are engaged in is not to go and bring something to the people, in fact here we are giving to to individuals who ask for it. You see there is a difference of going out and proselytizing and trying to get a big number of followers and what have you got, these societies. But this is not the aim of the work here at all. This here is more or less, what shall we call it? Like the heart of a dynamo, which is a magnet, which will attract those, when the time in their life comes, to make such contacts where they can receive that which perhaps they did not get the direct way. They got it through emblematic, illustrative, symbolic means. Whereas here the laws will have to speak and then people find for themselves such a way. On very rare occasions have we given public lectures, and this by way of invitation only, and some we accepted reluctantly, but even then if it was for the benefit of all concerned we consented to it. We do not see any need to go and advertise here like other societies whom do it in order to gain membership. There is no membership available here, no dues are being paid or anything of this sort.
Q: It can look a very depressing planet at the moment,(1983), the world events can look very gloomy, can we finish by asking you what it could mean to us entering the Age of Aquarius from an alchemical point of view?
F: All right, here again, this can be the start of a speculative thing because even these so-called metaphysical and esoteric people, they don't even agree on it yet whether we are already in what is known as the sign of Aquarius. others say it will still take a few hundred years - okay now actually what it would mean. Those who say we are not yet in the sign of Aquarius, well, the sign of Aquarius could have no effect on them. Those who say we have entered the sign of Aquarius, well they would look upon events in that light, even so events have taken place, are taking place and continue to take place. At the time of Plato, he complained about the young people, how disobedient they were, in fact, if you ever read it, you could take the present generation there isn't any difference. There isn't any difference but in this ever upward spiraling evolution where we find ourselves in this process keeps on going and so changes leftwill come and take place. Now, whether people come and say we will blow this whole planet to bits with the atomic bombs and what not and so on, well if we again let the laws of nature reveal themselves, well similar things - maybe not atom bombs and things but devastations have taken place whether they've been earthquakes, typhoons, holocausts, epidemics, but they've gone over this earth for as long as we've had records. They're taking place right now. Why should we now attribute these things then to a special sign entry in this Platonic year that you referred to. People make it up and they interpret it like you say. If somebody comes and says 'we are not yet in the sign of Aquarius' others say 'yes.' Then the latter ones say ' this takes place because we are in the sign of Aquarius' and the others say 'no, we are not in it.' Well then it takes place anyhow. If we knew the cyclic, the pattern of the way nature works well then maybe we can find out, but again, the law will have to do that not just a mere speculation or somebody's opinion.
We just did blow a little dust off here in this discussion.