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This one-of-a-kind mixed media piece contains the "Three Treasures of Heaven", which according to the ancient wisdom teachings of alchemy, represent the three primary constituents of the Universe: sulfur, mercury and salt, each encased safely in a glass vial, stoppered with beeswax.
Esoterically, these three treasures represent the Trinity of the human psyche: Spirit, Soul and Body.
The ancient wisdom teachings of alchemy are to be found in both the East and the West.
The word alchemy derives from the Arabic "al-kimia". "Kimia" comes from the Coptic "khem" referring to the fertile black soil of the Nile delta. Esoterically the word refers to the dark mystery of the primordial or First Matter (the Khem), the One Thing through which all creation manifests. Alchemy, then, is the Great Work of nature that perfects this chaotic matter, whether it be expressed as the creation and transformation of metallic compounds, chemical interactions, the transformations of earth, air, fire and water within the cosmos, or the transformation of the psychic substance of our souls in mystical rapture.
The oldest Indian writings, the Vedas (sacred Hindu hymns), contain hints of alchemy similar to those found in textual evidence from ancient China, namely vague references to a connection between gold and long life. Alchemy in India came to be associated with religious mysticism, with the rise of Tantric yoga, circa AD 1100-1300, as exemplified in the 12th-century Rasarnava, or "Treatise on Metallic Preparations".
The medieval European alchemists were the yogis of the West, spiritual adepts whose work was intended to perfect the human psyche, awaken the dormant kundalini energy at the base of the spine, and initiate a mystical state of Unity with the Divine.
The famous European alchemist Paracelsus considered mercury to be a watery element, one of the trinity of primary materials from which all other compounds were formed. Esoterically, mercury is identical with the Universal Life Force energy, or the Holy Spirit, the shakti energy that pervades all of creation.
Alchemical sulfur was considered fiery and represented "the stone that burns" to some alchemists, but Paracelsus associated sulfur with the element of air. Sulfur too was considered one of the three primary building blocks of the Universe. Esoterically, sulfur represented will forces, or passion, and therefore is an essential component of all mystical operations.
For Paracelsus, alchemical salt was associated with the element of earth and was the last of the three primary materials of creation. Esoterically, salt was considered by European alchemists to be associated with the One Mind, the astral body, and with the action of thought upon matter.
Alchemy Box is constructed from cardboard covered in beeswax, aluminum foil and has corrugated cardboard between the vials. The box has an overhang so the mercury vial cannot fall out of the box accidentally.
Beeswax is sensitive to light and does fade a bit from its original state of deep bright yellow to a more muted golden tone. That is why several of these pieces appear to be different shades of gold or yellow. The white pieces are made from bleached beeswax which is why they have no yellow tones. I never use any paraffin in these boxes, only the precious wax made by honeybees for their hives. Many of the boxes were made from wax gathered by a beekeeper friend of mine in the Catskill Mountains in New York.