Thursday, December 1, 2011


A week has seven days, and folklore divides life in periods of seven years. Seven is the age of reason, 2x7 the end of childhood, 3x7 the end of adolescence, et cetera… Seven is the sum of 3 and 4, the spiritual and the material. In Alchemy, seven metals are associated with the seven classical planets, symbolizing the seven stages of transformation (calcination, dissolution, separation, conjunction, fermentation, distillation, coagulation). There are seven notes in the diatonic musical scale (Dominus - lord, REgina coeli - queen of heaven, MIcrokosmos - small universe, Fata - fate, SOL -sun, LActea - milky way, Sider - star). And seven directions (left, right, up, down, forward, back and center). The rainbow has seven colors, and Snow White has seven dwarfs (representing the temperaments inside us ). The Pleiades and the Big Dipper have both seven main stars.
The heptagon is the smallest regular polygon which can’t be constructed correctly with a compass and a ruler, only approximately, like the one above. Within the numbers 1 to 10, seven can only be divided by itself and one, that’s why the ancients called it the “virgin number”. The birth of the Greek goddess of wisdom Athena was explained by means of the heptagon. The sum of the letters of her temple, the Parthenon (meaning virgin) is 515. The angle of the regular heptagon is  51.412…°. Seven is the only number of the decade which can’t divide 360° without  a remainder. The “virgin” seven can’t be divided by a “lover” number of the decade.

The number seven was one of the most significant numbers in ancient times, and one of the most sacred number in religions. It means abundance and totality (seven heavens), the end of the first complete cycle, before starting a new one. Seven is also the number of the seven chakras (meaning wheel, vortex, whirlpool) of Kundalini Yoga and Tantric Buddhism. There is a resemblance between the seven chakras, the seven stages in alchemy, the Qabalistic tree, and the properties of the seven planets.

1. Root Chakra (Muladhara), the base of the spine (element earth, square, color gold-yellow, libido, lingam and yoni, plexus sacralis, mantra LAM). 
2. Sacral Chakra (Svadisthana), the lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel (element water, color white, crescent moon, inner sexual organs, plexus prevertebralis, mantra VAM).
3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura), the upper abdomen, in the stomach area (element fire, color red, triangle, nutritive system, plexus solaris, mantra RAM).
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata), the center of the chest just above the heart (element air, color blue-gray, six-pointed star, heart and blood vessels, cardiac plexus, mantra YAM).
5. Throat Chakra (Visuddha), the throat (element aether, color white, circle, respiratory system, plexus cervicus, mantra HAM).
6. Third Eye Chakra (Anja), the forehead between the eyes (autonomic nervous system, medulla oblongata, mantra A).
7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara), the top of the head (lotus, the brain, epiphysis cerebri, mantra OM).
Most authors describe the chakras as not physical, but as aspects of consciousness or as manifestations of psychic energy. But each of the chakras can be associated with one of the seven endocrine glands, and with different groups of nerves. There is certainly a link with the physical body, and with the hormones and their levels. Hormone levels are maintained in the body via feedback loops that tell the body when to make more of a specific hormone and when to make less of it. Blockages within this feedback system work to inhibit the proper flow of the endocrine system. It is interesting that “blockages and flow” can be used when describing the processes of the endocrine system, as well as when describing the work of chakra balancing. The frequency and sound vibration of the  Mantras could play a role here…

The seven stages in Alchemy offer us a similar system.
1. CALCINATION involves heating a substance in a crucible or over an open flame until it is reduced to ashes. Psychologically, this is the destruction of the attachments of the ego.
2. DISSOLUTION is (chemically) the dissolving of the ashes from Calcination in water. Psychologically, this represents a further breaking down of the artificial structures of the psyche by total immersion in the unconscious, non-rational, feminine or rejected part of our mind.
 3. SEPARATION is the isolation of the components of Dissolution by filtration and discarding any material. Psychologically, this process is the rediscovery of our essence and the reclaiming of what was previously rejected by the masculine, rational part of our mind.
4. CONJUNCTION is the recombination of the saved elements from Separation into a new substance. Psychologically, it is the union of both the masculine and feminine sides of our personalities into a new belief system or an intuitive state of consciousness.
5. FERMENTATION is a two-stepped process that begins with the Putrefaction of the hermaphroditic "child" from the Conjunction resulting in its death and resurrection to a new level of being. Psychologically, the Fermentation process is the inspiration of spiritual power from “the transpersonal” that energizes, and enlightens. Fermentation can be achieved through desire for mystical union, breakdown of the personality, transpersonal therapy and deep meditation.
 6. DISTILLATION is the boiling and condensation of the fermented solution to increase its purity. Psychologically, Distillation is the sublimation of psychic forces necessary to ensure that no impurities from the inflated ego are incorporated into the final stage.
7. COAGULATION is the sublimation of the purified ferment from Distillation. Psychologically, Coagulation is a new confidence that is beyond all things, a permanent vehicle of consciousness, the highest evolution of mind.
Systems and techniques like Tantra and spiritual Alchemy can be seen as maps showing the path of possible evolution of consciousness. Throughout history, man has always looked for transcendence to explain the mystery of life and his relation with the rest of the universe. Most of these teachings are “compatible”, the human brain is about the same everywhere, and ultimately, reaches the same conclusions everywhere.

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