Chapter 2 - The Chemistry of Alchemy
The Language of the Gods

Here I must give a warning: gathering false knowledge is worse than gathering no knowledge at all. Why is this? You see: it is the PROCESS of the Quest for the Holy Grail that is the FUNCTION of “distilling the Philosopher’s Stone”.


Fulcanelli writes:

…Puns, plays on words associated or not with the rebus, were used by the initiates as subterfuges for their verbal conversations. In achromatic works, anagrams were reserved, sometimes to mask the identity of the author, sometimes to disguise the title, removing from the layman the directing thought of the work. It is the case in particular of a small and very curious book so cleverly closed that it is impossible to know what the subject of it is. It is attributed to Tiphaigne de la Roche, and it bears the unusual title of “Amilec ou la graine d’hommes”. It is an assemblage of anagrams and puns.


One should read instead, Alcimie, ou la crème d’Aum (Alchemy, the Cream of Aum). Neophytes will learn that it is an authentic alchemical treatise, since in the 13th century alchemy was written alkimie, alkemie, or alkmie; that the point of [the] science … pertains to the extraction of the spirit enclosed in the material prima, a philosophical virgin, which bears the same sign as the celestial Virgin, the monogram AUM; and that finally this extraction must be accomplished using a process analogous to that which allows us to separate cream from milk. […]


By removing the veil from the title, one can see how suggestive this one is, since it announces the revelation of the secret means suitable to obtain this cream of the milk from the Virgin which few researchers have had the fortune of possessing. 35

35 Fulcanelli, op. cit., p. 68.

What this rather convoluted discussion reveals to us is the CRUCIAL necessity for discerning between what one “accepts” as a piece of the puzzle and what one does not accept, and that this determines whether or not the “separation of the cream from the milk” is being achieved. And if one accepts milk instead of cream, then the process is doomed from the start.

What is more, I am going to explain this in a way that can be easily understood by any modern person in terms of physiology.

The first thing that the seeker ought to consider is the nature of his being. He should understand from the beginning that the Hermetic Maxim, “As above, so below”, has a specific application in his direct physical/material life. Just as a person is born with certain characteristics, talents and advantages (or lack of same), which he may or may NOT actualize in the course of his existence, so is a person born with a general potential for spiritual/esoteric development. In other words, the consciousness naturally incarnates in a physical structure that not only suits its needs but also its potentials. Let me give a few examples that will clarify what I am saying here.

A few years ago I read an article about an Alzheimer’s disease study where a population of nuns volunteered for lifelong participation including giving their brains after death for study. Well, what did the researchers learn? They found that a number of these individuals who had brains that were literally “mush” from Alzheimer’s had never exhibited any symptoms of Alzheimer’s while living.


Why? Because they were educated, active in their work and mental life, watched very little television, and were constantly involved in educational pursuits that expanded their knowledge base well into old age!


In other words, they had never stopped thinking and learning and working with their minds!

Another Alzheimer’s study was interesting in that it demonstrated that persons with “low word use density” were more likely to manifest early symptoms. People who had used their minds very little and who, therefore, had no “deep thoughts” and were, in effect, shallow, who had lived their lives based solely on “faith”, were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

So, if learning, exercising the mind, working with difficult concepts, and continuously expanding the knowledge and awareness base can have such effects as this, what else might it do?

It has often been noted that only 2% of our DNA is involved in coding the proteins that make up our bodies; the rest is referred to as “junk”. There are theories about why this is so, including the “Selfish Gene” theory where it is postulated that human beings are merely constructs created by DNA for the purpose of propagating DNA!

Another thing noted is that we seem to utilize only 5 % of our brains - and there are many theories about why this is so as well. I would like to suggest that there is a connection.

In my 30 or more years of research into the paranormal, psi phenomena, “Forteana" and the workings of the human mind, I have often noted some odd connections. The one that occurred over and over again was a reference to psi and genetics. Time and time again a person who had “strange powers” would remark, “Oh, I inherited the sight from my aunt, or grandmother, or mother, or uncle”, or whoever.

Then, there was the peculiar connection of the endocrine system to psi phenomena. Many serious studies of “poltergeist” type phenomena note that it is most often, if not always, manifested in the presence of either a pubescent child or a sexually “fluctuating” or suppressed/frustrated woman, including those who are in one or another stage of menopause.

The next curious thing was the many notations of the onset of psi phenomena after a severe trauma to the head or a strong electrical shock.

Then, there are both yogis and saints and practitioners of various “nature” religions who, after certain ecstatic practices which have been shown to have an effect on both the electric current in the body as well as the chemicals, including hormones and neurotransmitters, can levitate, heal, bi-locate, manifest apparitions for others to see, increase body heat, decrease heart-rate, slow or stop autonomic functions and so on.

One thing is clear to me after all of these years of study: psi phenomena, whether it is healing, manifestation of matter, bi-location or whatever, has almost NO relation whatsoever to one’s state of spirituality. I encountered a family line that could “stop the flow of blood” with the touch of a hand, yet nearly every member was alcoholic, promiscuous, abusive to partners and children, and generally what one would consider to be ethically deficient. Yet, certain members of this line had this interesting “power” and were often called upon by neighbors and friends to save lives - even if they had to be hauled out of a bar dead drunk!

So, we have a curious series of factors to contend with that all seem to point in the direction of DNA being far more interesting and mysterious than we might have supposed. On the one hand we have such naturally transmitted “powers”, and on the other hand we have folks who can engage in some activity that either temporarily or permanently changes something in their physiology - and the apparent result is psi phenomena.

All of this, of course, indicates that our DNA is possibly the “interface” between the ethereal world and the physical, thus suggesting that discovering natural methods for the production of certain chemicals or energies in the body is the key to perception.


So, what are we to think?


It all points to the fact that we have this huge amount of DNA that nobody knows much about which can respond to these activities - in other words, we have potentials hiding inside us, and it is the process of the Quest that “unlocks” them by virtue of which approach we take - “faith”, or what Fulcanelli calls “thinking with a hammer”.


It is the process of separating the cream from the milk, the process of “liberating light from the darkness”.


And this is where it gets very tricky.


The Analogy with Brain Physiology

The best way to explain this problem is to understand the process of ligands binding to receptors. The human brain is probably the most complex structure in the universe; in a sense, it might be thought of as a universe in itself. At birth, the infant brain contains about 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons. This number is comparable to the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy, just to give you an idea of what we are dealing with here.

But it is not the number we want to think about just now, but what these neurons actually are doing in this microcosm of our head.

Unlike your average body cell, such as a cell in your stomach or pancreas or the fat in your “love handles”, the neurons constantly carry on complex conversations with one another. Each neuron has, on the average, several thousand contacts with other cells. Some neurons can have as many as 200,000 connections.

Now, it is at the terminal of the axon that the electrical impulse is converted into a chemical, the neurotransmitter, which sort of floods the area around the “receivers”, or dendrites, of the adjacent neuron. The thing that is important here is the fact that the receiver neuron has many little fibers for reception of neurotransmitter signals, BUT it can be in communication with literally thousands of other neurons. So, how does it decide which one to listen to? And why does it matter?

Well, here is where it gets interesting. Back in the early days of the 20th century, it was realized that a drug must work in the body because it can “attach” itself to something in the body. They decided to call this place of attachment a “receptor”. Nobody really knew how this “attaching” worked, or why it led to a whole cascade of changes in the body, but there it was.


You take a drug, and all kinds of things happened in the brain and/or other areas of the body. It is now known, after long years of research, that the receptor is actually a single molecule! Not only that, but it is singularly complicated. Keep in mind that a molecule, by definition, is the smallest possible piece of something that can still be identified as that specific substance.


In order to better understand this, we need to take a brief look at the background science of this effect.



A molecule is composed of atoms. Atoms seem to form bonds with one another in accordance with certain rules. These rules have to do with the number of electrons in the highest energy “shell” of the particular atom. An atom is what is IS by virtue of how many electrons it has, and these electrons are arranged in “shells” like the orbits of planets around the sun. The only thing is, they can’t be thought of as round planetary bodies, but as a sort of “cloud” of energy. Full “shells” are particularly stable so that atoms seem to “like” to arrange themselves so that they can get their outer shells filled.


Electrons also come in two “flavors”, which are referred to as “up” and “down”, and an “up” electron likes to pair with a “down” electron. This refers to the “spin” state of the atom. Depending upon the number of electrons in the outer shell of the atom, and how many electrons it would “like” to have in its outer shell, it can bond to one or more other atoms.

The most important atom in biology is carbon. When carbon bonds, the result has been shown by Linus Pauling to be completely symmetrical. That is, the four bonds align towards the corners of a regular tetrahedron. It was deduced that, in addition to the atom “liking” to have its outer shell filled, the electrons like to be as far apart from each other in the bonded state as possible. Carbon atoms are very “happy” to form bonds with other carbon atoms. That is the basis of the famous benzene ring structure. The benzene ring is a particularly stable molecular form because the natural angles made by the four bonding carbon orbitals comfortably fit a six-sided structure - a hexagon!

Carbohydrates, for example, are a group of substances based on the benzene ring structure. In carbohydrates, most of the carbon atoms are joined to two other carbon atoms but have each of their other two bonds used in combination with other atoms or groups; OH on one side and H on the other. Together, without the carbon in the middle, OH and H would make H2O, or water. So, the term carbohydrate means, literally, “watered carbon”.

The simpler carbohydrates, or “watered carbons”, are called sugars. If the sugar is a one-ring system, it is a monosaccharide. If it is a double ring structure, it is a disaccharide. More complex sugars are polysaccharides. Glucose is a monosaccharide. Maltose is a disaccharide. A chain of glucose units can be combined to make a polysaccharide called starch. A slightly different arrangement is another familiar biological substance, cellulose.

Now, there are six carbon atoms in your basic monosaccharide. But, some Monosaccharides contain only five carbon atoms, four of which are connected to one oxygen atom in the form of a 5-sided ring. The fifth carbon atom is part of a side group, CH2OH. These compounds are called pentose. One of them, exactly like glucose except for the missing carbon atom and its associated side groups, is called ribose. Another, similar to ribose except that one of its OH groups has lost the oxygen atom, leaving a simple CH bond behind, is called deoxy-ribose. This means that it is a “ribose” with one less oxygen atom.

In the discussion of bonding, please note the significance of these numbers and geometric shapes while keeping in mind all of the “mystical terms” in the world of metaphysics that somehow never manage to make much sense; and now we are beginning to look at these things and realize that such numbers may have a very deep meaning, though not in the ritual and magical sense.


We are getting an idea that, perhaps, all the myths and so-called “secrets” that are veiled so heavily in analogy and allegory, may just be real science. As Jessie Weston said, we may be dealing with the “disjecta membra of a vanished civilization”.


Even if it is not garbled information from some ancient peoples who were technically more advanced than we are, it could be information from legitimate “higher sources” that has been hidden in allusion and mystery. It may be that all the hoo-doo stuff that has been passed down to us is just the mythicization of significant scientific information.


If that is the case, we need to peel off all of the ritual, the religious nonsense, and the woo-woo stuff, and get down to business and discover this “science of the soul” in real terms.



The essential thing to know here is this: the resulting molecules that are brought together in these chemical bonding processes have a particular SHAPE. The carbon bonds have plenty of flexibility, allowing bending, and there can be tangling and doubling back and forth to form very complex and very specific shapes.


This bending and tangling brings different atoms of one side group into contact with others, providing all kinds of opportunities for complex bonding. The natural angle between the carbon bonds also makes the benzene ring shape particularly favored, and in a long carbon chain, the same natural angle can make the chain tend to loop round and round on itself. In such a case, however, the carbon atoms are not joined to close the ring, but can continue the polymer chain like the coils of a snake.

Getting back to the single molecule receptors on cells, we can understand from the bonding principles that these receptors have very particular shapes - as well as “shells wanting to be filled” that define precisely what other molecule will be attracted to them for bonding. We can understand that there are atomic forces which cause one molecule to be attracted to another.


Receptor molecules on the cell respond to these energies by, “wiggling, shimmying, vibrating and even humming as they shift back and forth from one favored shape to another”. Receptors are attached to a cell, “floating” on its surface, like a lotus flower on the surface of a pond, with roots extending into the interior of the cell.

There are many types of receptors on the surface of the cell, and if they were color coded, the cell surface would look like a wild mosaic made up of at least 70 different colors. The numbers of “tiles” in the mosaic are staggering - 50,000 of one kind, 10,000 of another, 100,000 of still another, and on and on. A typical neuron can have millions of receptors on its surface.

Another interesting analogy that scientists use to describe neurons and receptors is that they are like a “tree with buds”. In fact, the visual correspondence is so striking that the terms used by scientists for the growth of neurons include “branching” and “arborization”. Using this analogy, the bark of the tree is analogous to the neuronal cell membrane, the “skin” of the cell. However, unlike the bark of a tree, which is hard and static, the cell membrane is a fatty, flexible boundary that keeps the cell as an entity.

Tree of Life, anyone?



Now, what do these receptors do?


Well, we already know that they “attract” other molecules and respond to the atomic/chemical forces of various kinds of bonds, but what is important is that receptors function as sensing molecules - scanners - just as our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, fingers, and skin act as bodily sense organs, the receptors do this on a cellular level.


They cover the membranes of your cells waiting to pick up and convey information from their environment that consists of a reality flooded with other vibrating amino acids, which come cruising along, diffusing through the fluids surrounding each cell. Researchers describe receptors as “keyholes”, although these keyholes are constantly moving and dancing in a rhythmic, vibratory way. The keyholes are waiting for the right chemical keys, ligands, to swim up to them through the extra-cellular fluid and to mount them by fitting into their keyholes, a process known as binding.

When the ligand, the chemical key, binds to the receptor, entering it like a key in a keyhole, it creates a response that causes a rearrangement, a changing of shape, until INFORMATION enters the cell.

In a certain sense, a ligand is the cellular equivalent of a phallus! Ligand comes from the Latin “ligare”, or that which binds. The same word is also the root of “religion”. Curious, yes?

A more dynamic description of this very miniscule process would be that relating to “frequency”. The ligand and the receptor combine their identical frequencies - striking the same note, so to say - which produces a sufficiently strong vibration that more or less “rings the doorbell” to cause the doorway of the cell to open and there is some sort of exchange of atomic potentials that constitute the “information” that is “sent into the cell”.


What happens next is quite amazing. The receptor, having received a message, transmits it from the surface of the cell deep into the cell’s interior, where the message can change the state of the cell dramatically. A chain reaction of biochemical events is initiated as tiny cellular machines go into action and, depending on the message of the ligand, begin any number of activities - manufacturing new proteins, making decisions about cell division, opening or closing ion channels, adding or subtracting energetic chemical groups like the phosphates - to name just a few.


In short, whatever a given cell is up to at any moment, is determined by which receptors are on its surface, and whether those receptors are occupied by ligands or not. On a larger scale, these tiny physiological phenomena at the cell level can translate to major changes in behavior, physical activity, even mood - and ABILITY.

So, to review: as the ligands drift by in the stream of fluid surrounding every cell, only those ligands that have molecules in exactly the right shape can bind to a particular kind of receptor. The process of binding is very selective and specific! Researchers in the field say that, “binding occurs as a result of receptor specificity, meaning the receptor ignores all but the particular ligand that’s made to fit it”. In other words, the cell is the engine that drives all life, and the receptors are the buttons on the control panel of that engine.


The ligands or other neurotransmitters, known as peptides, are the fingers that push the buttons. The “musical hum of the receptors as they bind to their many ligands, often in the far-flung parts of the organism, creates an integration of structure and function that allows the organism to run smoothly and in “alignment” with the function of the specific ligands that are binding. Can we say AUM?

Referring to receptors and ligands, let’s apply our “as above, so below” principle to these ideas. The information that we receive into our organism as a whole - our interaction with our environment - seems to operate on exactly the same principle. Information that “enters” the “cell” of our mental-body acts on us in the same way as a ligand acts on the cell when it binds to the receptor.


The mind, our spirit receptor, having received information, transmits it deep into the interior of our consciousness, where the message can change the state of awareness dramatically. A chain reaction of psycho-spiritual events is initiated as the consciousness realigns itself based on the information received. This realignment then affects the entire self, the reality, and all support systems of the consciousness involved. In short, your BEing is determined by your state of awareness which is a function of your knowledge which depends on what “ligands” - or information units - are “bound” to your spirit, so to say.


And just as ligands can produce cascades of cellular events with far reaching effects, so can your state of Being change because increased awareness can initiate major changes in your reality - the larger “body” in which you “live” as a “cell” of All that is.


Spiritual Drugs

Remember what we started with here: chemists came up with the idea that drugs worked in the body by attaching themselves to something in the body. Now we know about receptors and that they are receptive to chemicals manufactured by the body itself. Ligands, peptides, neurotransmitters, hormones, etc, are produced in the body and BY the body in certain “steps” that involve very complex processes.

And here is where we come to the DANGER part.

You see, there are chemicals, both natural and synthetic, that are sufficiently similar to the body’s own ligands to bind with the receptors without producing all of the same results that are produced when the body secretes its own ligands in the natural steps. The opiate receptor, for instance, can “receive” not only the body’s endorphins, but can also bind to morphine, or heroin. The Valium receptor can attach not only to Valium-like peptides produced in the body, but also to Valium.

Remember, “no drug can act unless fixed”. This means that if a drug works, it is because there is a receptor for it in the body. This, then, suggests that the receptor is there because it binds to a ligand produced by the body itself, which suggests that the body can produce its own drugs, stimulating its own healing, under the proper circumstances.

Looking in another direction, when we consider drugs that change “behavior”, such as heroin, marijuana, Librium, “angel dust”, or PCP, and so on, which precipitate radical changes in emotional states, these must also be able to bind because there are receptors for similar substances produced by the body. LSD and other hallucinogens, which produce changes in cognition, must also do so because there are receptors specific to them; suggesting again that such chemicals may, under proper circumstances, be produced by the body itself.


This suggests to us that there may be natural steps to, or processes served by, such chemicals. And here we approach a very significant problem where, again, we may take the “as above, so below” approach to understanding our own natures.


Alcohol and Caffeine


Alcohol is everywhere. Tens of millions of human beings experience the consequences of alcohol addiction, from decreased job performance to liver damage, spouse and child abuse, to total breakdown of social concepts and constraints ending in the proverbial “skid-row bum” looking every day for his MD 20-20 - or even a can of Sterno.

That is just alcohol. We aren’t even going to list the details for other drugs as it would be tedious and pointless. You have the idea.

Alcohol and other drugs have the ability to do what they do in our systems because they are “fixed”; they are synthetic ligands; they bind to our receptors and, in various ways, produce their effects.

In order to get an idea of how these fake ligands actually work, let’s take a look at caffeine.


As our neurons process information, they produce cellular waste including a buildup of molecules of adenosine. Adenosine is a ligand that binds with the adenosine receptor sending a message deep into the cell that it is time to sleep. You could say that adenosine is a sort of “warning system” that helps keep the body balanced.


As the production of adenosine continues throughout the day, as a byproduct of cerebral activity, more and more adenosine is produced, binding with more and more receptors, sending more and more sleep messages into more cells. Little by little our brain cells become more and more sluggish until we just simply must go to sleep. We literally can’t remain conscious. We yawn; our eyes water and try to close, and we just want to curl up and let the lights go out.

Or, we have a cup of espresso.

The caffeine molecule just happens to be the right “shape” for the adenosine receptor. It hops on and binds. But, instead of doing what the adenosine does, it sends a different message or, at the very least, blocks the sleep message from being sent by the real adenosine. In short, it interrupts the natural sleep signal, allowing a lot more cellular waste to accumulate, putting the individual in a state of toxicity, which can eventually lead to a breakdown of health.

In general, this seems to be the worst thing that caffeine does - it simply blocks the action of the ligand adenosine which sends sleep messages. Many people have been scared by incomplete research suggesting that caffeine does other deadly things, but additional studies have suggested that any consequences result merely from the disruption of the sleep cycle and a consequent break-down in the serotonin-melatonin cycle.

The important thing about this is, however, the comparison to information that is or is not accepted by the seeker which we will address more directly at the end of this volume. What we see in the example of caffeine as an “imitator” of adenosine is that the natural ligand seems to have some very subtle property that is conveyed deep into the cell, and the caffeine either blocks this message by occupying the receptor, or perhaps sends a contradictory message. Because of the exactitude of the molecule, adenosine apparently does more than the “almost ligand”, caffeine.

Now, if we think of information as ligands, we can see that accepting as true something that is not, may not only block our ability to receive the proper messages of what IS true, it may even send contradictory messages. Spiritual experiences that are “induced” ritually, chemically or technically from “down here” in order to change the spiritual state “up there”, operate in exactly this way.


It seems that what we accept as true or not affects our spirit and state of awareness, not to mention our potentials for soul ascension. We could even compare certain “all is love and light” beliefs to the action of caffeine: they prevent the natural warning system from operating which tells the spirit when it needs to withdraw from certain things and allow a period of “cleansing” to take place. Over time, this can result in serious breakdown of the spirit, even - it seems - ultimate subsumation into Non-being.


There is, however, a more serious problem we have to deal with: addiction.


Pleasure Centers and Drugs

Probably everyone has heard about some experiments that were done on rats where they were implanted with electrodes for self-stimulation of the “pleasure center” of the brain. What was discovered was that the rats would push the button until they were exhausted.


Further experiments demonstrated that if the electric reward is doled out only when the rats learn a new trick - such as navigating a maze - the little critters will go to work like crazy to get the job done so that they can get their “buzz”. As long as the rewards keep coming, the rats will keep working - even mastering incredibly complex and seemingly impossible mazes that humans would find nearly impossible!

But, it’s not the learning they love.

The initial studies showed that, given the opportunity, the rats would forget everything - food, mates, and friends, whatever - to push that damn button until they collapse in mindless ecstasy!

In the human being, as in other creatures, the sensation that is experienced as orgasm is the same release of chemicals that stimulate the same part of the brain that makes the rats so happy. Some scientists refer to this in “technical jargon” as the “do-it-again” center.36 When this center is stimulated, whatever activity is associated with it will be sought again and again.


36 Burnham and Phelan, Mean Genes, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing 2000).

As we now know, drugs “short circuit” these centers because they “fix” to receptors. We also know that when we take certain drugs, our brain acts to a certain extent as if the “natural” neurotransmitter were flooding the system. In the case of the pleasure center, the chemistry is so similar to what the brain would produce naturally if we had done something really great such as finding food or warmth or making love with a soul mate, that even if the person is hunkered down in a filthy flophouse reeking of vomit and excreta, with a hypodermic of heroin in his or her arm, the pleasure centers know only that they are bathed in chemical bliss.

Here is an important thing to consider. Even if the first time a person is induced to “try” such a drug, they are disgusted or repelled by the setting, the process, all the external elements, once they have received that reward, their whole perception begins to shift. Because the physical body loves that feeling so much, because it is so overwhelmingly compelling, the mind begins to rationalize that the nasty setting, the whole process that is clearly damaging to the self, is not merely “okay”, but is actually “desirable”.


After all, how could it be bad if it feels so good? If part of the self argues that it can’t be good, another part of the self becomes literally frantic to achieve the state again. After all, what is going on in real life only produces “stress” and “bad feelings” which add the argument: you have suffered, now you deserve a reward!

The only problem with both drug addiction and spiritual addiction is that it is nearly always presented in a setting of pleasure and refinement. It is promoted as a “tool” to “enhance awareness”.

When cocaine is snorted up the nose, it heads straight for the dopamine re-uptake sites and blocks them. In this case, the “feel good sensation” is not from the drug, but from the fact that your own natural dopamine is flooding your cells, binding with the dopamine receptors like crazy, unable to be reabsorbed. The brain only knows one thing: this feels GREAT! Crack cocaine reportedly produces a more intense sensation of pleasure than any natural act, including orgasm!


And, take note that it is from the body’s own chemical that this pleasure is experienced by virtue of the blocking of the re-uptake site. Again, we note that this prevents the body’s own specific ligand from binding with the re-uptake sites which is very likely also blocking a message intended to go deep into the cell. As it happens, this produces dreadful consequences, as we will soon see.

Morphine and Heroin work in a slightly different way. They mimic endorphins which trigger the release of the body’s own dopamine. So, instead of the sensation occurring because the natural flow of dopamine is not reabsorbed, it occurs because there is too much dopamine to be reabsorbed! But again, the fake endorphin is undoubtedly not sending the proper signal deep into the cells it is binding, and again, the excess of dopamine has significant consequences.

What are these consequences?


With repeated use of cocaine, heroin or morphine unbalancing the body’s own dopamine processes, the body reacts by reducing the number of receptors! With fewer receptors, the effects of the drug - as well as the body’s normal ability to bind dopamine that is naturally present - plummets. Without the normal flow of dopamine into a normal number of receptors, the brain experiences “withdrawal” which is interpreted quite literally as “pain”. It is the agony of a mind that can feel no pleasure at all.

In strictly physical terms, one of the serious consequences of this process comes from the fact that dopamine plays an important role in controlling movement, emotion and cognition. Dopamine dysfunction has been implicated in schizophrenia, mood disorders, attention-deficit disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, substance dependency, tardive dyskinesia, Parkinson’s disease and so on. Of course, the situation is a lot more complex because at least seven types of dopamine receptors have been identified.

Now, the point of this diversion into brain chemistry as an exercise in understanding the principle “as above, so below”, is this: “accepting” what is not Truth is like taking a drug that binds to psychic receptors, so to say.


So, this brings us back to the beginning of this section where I said “gathering false knowledge is worse than gathering no knowledge at all”.


False knowledge, lies, are spiritual drugs and are not the “natural chemical” of the soul’s own “light”, so to say. The result is that it tends to create a condition of dependence by reducing the “psychic receptors” which then reduces the capacity to “bind truth”. In short, a person may be researching like crazy, but if he or she isn’t really, really utilizing perspicacity - that is, challenging and taking apart what is being studied in a diligent way - his or her acceptance based on “blind faith” amounts to getting your jollies with drugs.

The end result is analogous to the skid row bum in spiritual terms.

What is more, we notice from studying ligands and receptors, that the body’s own chemicals have qualities that the imitations - drugs - do not. Those qualities, based on shape and atomic structure, can activate processes that the synthetic ligand cannot. The body’s chemical can even turn on cascades of processes within the cells that are blocked by the “artificial” ligand.

Truth works in the same way. The accumulation of “high probability” information without prejudice amounts to the gathering of all the parts of a very complex neuropeptide. When all the right pieces are finally together, it produces a certain “shape” that “fits” the spiritual receptor like a key in a lock.


At that point - when the information block/unit is complete - it’s proximity causes the receptor to “hum” and the ligand/info “hums” back and they sort of “jump together” almost like the description of physical ligands and receptors. AUM.


And so we find that the principle is this: to gather, gather, gather information and observations without any “ingestion”, so to say. This most definitely means to avoid practices which may produce the “do it again” chemicals because it is all too easy to be seduced into doing it again and again which amounts to blind belief.

Here, of course, we come up against a very special problem: the programs of our “machine”, our “intellect”. The formation and training of our intellect is done under circumstances that are the worst possible for developing the ability to think. Now is neither the time nor the place to go into a lengthy examination about what is wrong with childhood education, theories of infant care, and the endless lies propagated by our society and culture.


Add to that an endless stream of considerations based on physical appearance, and by the time the ordinary person becomes an adult, he can neither think nor feel according to what is Truth. He has become a “false personality” that thinks it has a soul. “Like can only be understood and grasped by like”, so it is no wonder that the modern day seeker of ascension goes about it in the wrong way. Nearly all “paths” of ascension appeal to this false self and, as we might guess, produce physical sensations that are imitations of what occurs in the process of true ascension.

It is at this point that we begin to understand the idea of esotericism better.


Esotericism is the accessing of facts and actions that are accessible to the field of consciousness of the Soul. When we consider our state in the “real world”, we find that this is a very difficult path.

Knowledge is everywhere, but most of it is external to us. When we pour something into a cup, it can only contain an amount equal to its capacity. We are only able to understand according to the capacity of our Being. To be able to evolve esoterically, we must constantly seek to enlarge and enhance our Being, to develop the “vessel”.

Esotericism seeks to develop consciousness of the Divine. The problem is that our consciousness is, for the most part, simply a program that runs in our machine. The higher consciousness that is sought in terms of ascension is the real “I” or the soul; it is the theorized permanent point that exists within us throughout many incarnations. This real “I” is something like an impartial referee whose small voice is mostly obscured in the roar of external events and personality programs. Nevertheless, it is this tiny spark of the real self that is the seed of the possibility of esoteric development.

Most human beings rarely - if ever - experience contact with the real “I”. Yet, the personality pretends that it has achieved this level of consciousness. We should note that an individual who has actually reached such a level of firm contact and expansion of the real “I” will also possess attributes such as the ability to accurately judge the consequences of his or her actions, the constant exercise of his own will, an ability to do - to initiate acausal events - as well as a bearing or attitude that is consistent with itself in all situations and conditions. Most of all, such a person does not lie to himself.

An objective examination of many of those who claim such qualities is sufficient to demolish such pretensions. There is so vast a chasm between the qualities that people ascribe to themselves, and what they can really DO, that careful consideration of this point ought to be undertaken before one attaches belief to any such claims or any such teacher.

Nevertheless, to establish contact with the higher self, for lack of a better term, this very small seed of the soul connection that exists within us is the object of esoteric science. It seems that the only people who have a real hope of accomplishing this process are those who are “bankrupted”. In other words, all the beliefs, all the programs, all the lies that have been part of the self from childhood, must collapse or be stripped away.

We are all corrupted by the exterior world of matter - the domain of Non-being and its gravitational lures. Even when experience contradicts what a person believes about him or herself, they are seldom able to make the cause and effect connection because of the serious deficiencies that are programmed into us from birth.

We generally explain our failures as “lack of will”. What people do not realize is that failure is not generally due to a lack of will or desire, but to a lack of BEING. It is only with the development of BEING that we begin to understand the knowledge we have acquired. Only then, with understanding combined with BEING, do we have the ability to Do.

Our personality is the interface between our body and spirit. Because of the nature of our reality, the personality is mostly “programs” of the flesh, or genetic body so to say. The Machine runs on the “do it again principle”. Most contemporary human beings are far more concerned about “appearances” or “experiences” that give them a buzz than they are about their Being.

The intimate relationship of the personality to the physical body and its interactive programs is little understood, yet it is crucial to development of the “I” that is more than a “ghost in the machine”. We can note that when the average person experiences serious pain, all of their noble instincts fly out the window. Some people, of course, have the ability to master pain and to work on no matter what. They are considered to be heroic, and it is certainly a similar nature that succeeds in esoteric work. It is not a path for the weak.

The interdependence of the personality and the body - the machine which we have to operate with in this reality - leads us to the logical conclusion that it is this very machine and its programs that are most important for us to study in order to learn perspicacity, to learn to distinguish between the real and the false.

It is at this point that we begin to learn about the “tolerances” of our machine. We begin to discover that we spend most of our time swinging between action and reaction with no real input of the true “I”. We discover that we have an ideal image of ourselves that has very little foundation in actual fact or “results”. However, we cover all of this up by “faith” in our ideal image and our lies that we ARE that illusory self.

We come back to the fact that we attribute to ourselves qualities that we do not possess because if we possessed them, our lives would exactly mirror our image of ourselves. Our lies about what is really happening in our lives are what we use to “patch up” our egos with rationalizations and justifications, all of which conceal from us the fact that we cannot really DO anything because we have no Being.

Generally, to avoid facing the pain of this realization, people will take drugs of both the chemical and spiritual variety. It is only a matter of type and degree.

An individual who has undertaken the process of developing perspicacity in terms of the self, once he has learned to discern between his lies to himself and what is true about himself, can then begin to extend this ability to external knowledge. At that point, the information and observations he or she has been collecting without prejudice will make a “knowledge unit-ligand”. When that happens, when a “piece of the puzzle” finally jumps into the right slot of understanding, THEN a whole cascade of things begins to happen just as it happens in the body when a ligand binds receptors.

And at that point, the state changes. And this leads us to the most exciting information about this “separating the milk from the cream” process.

As it happens, sometimes the information communicated to the interior of the cell by the ligands involves instructions to turn specific genes in the cell on or off! The same gene in different environments can produce many variations on a given trait and influence the expression of other genes. What is more, it is a scientific fact that changes in thoughts and behavior are reflected in changes in the synapses.

It has been shown that Electric potentials release serotonin onto the synaptic terminals, and there is sufficient anecdotal evidence about electrical shocks producing changes in an individual that result in manifestation of “super-normal abilities” as we have already described, that we must stop and consider this question. As we have also noted, having had such abilities “turned on” by either the accident of genetics, an electrical shock, or a blow to the head, does not necessarily relate to the individual being spiritually advanced.


What we can surmise from this item of information is that the serotonin released as a result of electric shock must somehow “skip a step” in a potentially natural process of DNA activation, that is potential in all of us to one extent or another.

In other words, is there a natural process whereby serotonin is released in large quantities in concert with other ligands which can literally turn on DNA that activates a full range of “paranormal” abilities and that also are directly related to one’s spiritual maturity?

There are far more exciting considerations about DNA potentials, but, for the moment, we will leave the subject with the warning that failing to properly “separate” the cream from the milk means that the Seeker will not even get to the point where he can skim the cream off and utilize it. What is even worse, “binding” oneself to that which is false may produce temporary “feel good” results, but in the long run, it not only blocks the possibility of binding Truth, it perpetuates itself by reducing the ability to perceive/bind with truth at ALL.


Every single choice to accept something as Truth, to make a “leap of assumption”, is a psychic ligand binding to a spiritual receptor. If what is believed is a lie, it is equivalent, in the brain, to a “false” ligand, like heroin. After awhile, there is no longer anywhere for Truth to bind or seat, and the condition of the Seeker is worse than before he began his quest in the same way an individual who has become a skid-row bum by his use of alcohol and/or drugs was far better off before he began his descent into addiction.


The fact is: lies ARE addicting. They are made that way on purpose.

However, in terms of the Quest for the Holy Grail, as in the Alchemical pursuit of the Philosopher’s Stone, just as it is in the case of the body potentials, when certain natural (spiritual) ligands are produced by sending signals into the cell to activate “sleeping DNA”, abilities can be unlocked, including even psychic abilities and powers. And these psychic abilities then put the Seeker on an entirely different level. He has made, effectively, a Quantum Jump in terms of his State of Awareness.

We learn from one Initiate the following:

“The organs which carry and radiate the creative force can only manifest it in a perfect union - a perfect marriage - between the divine and material frequencies. This conductor of force charged with the divine frequency is the ‘Ark of the Covenant’.” 37

There is certainly more to it than that, but for the moment, it is sufficient to know that the principle, “As above, so below”, is manifested on all planes, and scientific knowledge can most definitely contribute to spiritual understanding.


As the Cassiopaeans have said:

“Science is most spiritual indeed!”

Regarding the gathering of knowledge, the Cassiopaeans have said:

“Subtle answers that require effort to dissect promote intensified learning. Learning is an exploration followed by the affirmation of knowing through discovery. Learning is necessary for progress of soul... this is how you are building your power center. Patience serves the questor of hidden knowledge. Search your ‘files’”.

Georges Gurdjieff discussed this matter of “ligands of the soul” in terms of “impressions”. He noted that Impressions are a kind of “food”.

With every external impression, whether it takes the form of sound, or vision, or smell, we receive from the outside a certain amount of energy, a certain number of vibrations. For its normal existence the organism must receive all three kinds of food, that is, physical food, air, and impressions… But the relation of these foods to one another and their significance for the organism is not the same. […] The flow of impressions coming to us from the outside is like a driving belt communicating motion to us. […] Nature transmits to us through our impressions the energy by which we live and move and have our being. 38

37 cf. Elisabeth Haich.
38 Gurdjieff, quoted by Ouspensky: In Search of the Miraculous, pp.181.


Gurdjieff then goes on to talk about “self-observation” as the means by which greater energy is extracted from “impressions”. This is where Mouravieff‘s work is most helpful in explicating exactly what needs to be done.


He discusses Impressions in terms of “A” and “B” influences and the Three Forces of Creation, writing as follows:

The three fundamental conditions of Creation manifest in the Universe in the form of three basic principles of life: the static, dynamic and neutralizing principles.

Anything in creation can be analyzed and studied in the light of these three principles, which appear in a way analogous to that described while talking about the conditions of creation of the World. They apply uniformly to all levels of the Cosmos. The classical example which the esoteric schools give to represent the play of the three forces is bread. To make bread we must have flour, fire and water. In this example, flour is the conductor of the passive force, fire of the active force, and water of the neutralizing force.

Here we must make it clear immediately that the substance which serves in one case as conductor for the passive force, may in other cases be the conductor.[…]

If the junction of the forces remains sterile, this means that in the esoteric sense their co-operation was not complete. The fault could arise from one of the three forces, from two of them, or even from all three. Analysis in the light of the law in question can greatly assist in determining the one or many causes of failure. For example, with the same good flour, the bread can be bad or inedible if we have added too much water - or not enough - or if the flame was weak or too high.[…]

This [analogy] allows us to grasp the sense and effect of a subsidiary law of the Law of Three. We see that with the same flour - the passive force in our example we can experience failure due to a defective sharing of the active force (Fire), of the neutralizing force (Water), or of the two together. […]


The passive force contains all the possibilities for creating the phenomenon, while the active force intervenes as the realizer, and the neutralizing force as the regulator, of the relations between the two other forces, determining the dosage for both in an optimal way. This explains and justifies the fact that pre-eminence in the phenomenal world is attributed to the passive force.

Let us note here that this pre-eminence is a direct result of conditions at the first Creation. To pass or cross from the non-manifested state - a mono polar one, concentrated on the unique consciousness of Self within which the Divinity remains before the Creation of the World - the first Idea which makes the Divinity come out of the state of non-manifestation to become manifest, is necessarily that of the You. This idea, conceived by the divine sacrifice of Self-limitation, has Love, a neutralizing force, for third force.[…]

Thus, from the beginning of Creation, the divine existence becomes bipolar, Love being the neutralizing force which sustains relations between the universal ‘I’ and the universal ‘You’ […]

When a substance serves as a conductor for the passive force, we call it Oxygen (O); when it serves as a conductor for the active force we call it Carbon (C) ; when it serves as a conductor for the neutralizing force we call it Nitrogen (Azot) (N). When considered independently from the forces of which it is the conductor, the substance is called Hydrogen (H). […]

We know that the structure of the lower intellectual centre is bipolar. This structure is perfectly adapted to that of what in the orthodox Tradition is called the ‘World’. This ‘World’ consists in ensemble of the ‘A’ influences […].


It is the world in which we live, which appears to the human Personality as the only reality, but is in fact relative or even illusory. […]as we have already stated, all the ‘A’ [influences] have counterparts which neutralize them - [‘B’ influences]. This symbolizes the creation of the world, starting from Zero, by division into two groups of forces, equal in power and diametrically opposed in direction.

The bipolar structure of the intelligence, an exact counterpart of the structure of the ‘World’, allows man to study and recognize all the ‘A’ influences, to orient himself in their immediate and furthest field of action, to apply his abilities to it in order to search, calculate, combine, intervene, act and even to create within the limits of the field of action of these influences.

We know, however, that this ‘World’ is, in fact, illusory; that the ‘B’ influences represent the only imperishable reality in life. Has not Jesus said: ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where rust and worms consume, and where thieves break through walls and steal. But lay up for your selves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume and where thieves do not break through walls nor steal.’

It is well understood that it is a question here of two worlds which interpenetrate each other: the world constituted by the ensemble of ‘A’ influences-‘earth’; and the esoteric world –‘heaven’, formed by the ‘B’ influences.

By studying the play of the three forces attentively, the searcher will train himself to recognize the action of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ influences, and distinguish between them. This is one of the essential elements of that re-education of which we spoke earlier. […]

It is by absorbing ‘B’ influences - divine influences from a higher level, which are consequently more powerful - and by putting full trust in them, as well as by giving proofs of capacity and devotion, that we shall be liberated from the dominion of these ‘A’ influences - which are ruled by the General Law, assisted by the Law of Accident.

He whose efforts are crowned with success - who attains higher levels of being-is immediately utilized to share in the management and growth of a given level of the lower forces of the Cosmos.

In general he will have to accomplish - as a mission - a task in the domain of the ‘A’ influences. Above all, this work will require study of the bipolar world. Intelligence is the only tool we possess with which to achieve this end. This is its real reason for being, as well as the reason why its structure exactly reflects the world of the ‘A’ influences. This instrument thus allows man, in accordance with Plato’s principle, to grasp and know the similar by the similar.

Knowing this, the student of esoteric science must guard against falling into the extremes expressed in some teachings; he must neither despise nor neglect his intellectual faculties. The intelligence must be developed and sharpened up to the limit of what is possible, and thought must become sharp as the point of a needle. But it must not be forgotten that the Personality, in spite of its complex structure and its many abilities, is nothing but an instrument, whose functioning remains purely mechanical.


It is for this reason that in esoteric matters it does not know, and will never know anything with certainty. By its nature agnostic, and concerned with phenomena, it is limited by form and function to three dimensions. It is incapable of exceeding these boundaries, but sincerely takes the world of influences as the only reality.39

39 Mouravieff, Boris, Gnosis, Vol. I, excerpts from chapter VI and IX

I would like to try to shed some light on the subject of the Three Forces and Impressions and ‘A’ and ‘B’ influences that so exercised Gurdjieff and Mouravieff, but this will require a little bit of background first.

We begin with the question: who were the Celts? We are taught almost nothing about them in school, though they seem to be considered as the ancestors of most Europeans, thus also Americans. Why is it that the religion and culture of the Mesopotamian region dominates our lives and our culture when it is, in effect, “foreign”?

Celtic vernacular literature, including myths, stories and poems, in its written form, dates mainly from the Middle Ages. It is based on oral transmission that goes far beyond the Christian Era. It is very difficult to get a clear picture of the pre-Christian Celts from the transmitted texts, not only because of the typical mixture of myth and reality, and the lapse of time, but also because the Roman empire sought to stamp it out starting with Caesar and continuing with the Roman church.

However, studying what is available closely, one gets the impression of a dynamic, somewhat undisciplined people. The Celts were proud, imaginative, artistic, lovers of freedom and adventure, eloquence, poetry, and the arts. You can always discern the Celtic influence by the great artistic talents of these peoples.

The Celts were VERY suspicious of any kind of centralized “authority”, and this is, in the end, what brought about their downfall. They could not stand against the hierarchical war machine of the Roman empire. In a sense, you could almost say that this is how Hitler nearly conquered Europe, most especially France. Gauls take the principles of liberty and equality VERY seriously - right down to the common man on the street who in no way considers himself inferior to the Prime Minister.

One of the principal historians of the Roman era, Julius Caesar, tells us that the Celts were ruled by the Druids. The druids “held all knowledge”. The Druids were charged with ALL intellectual activities, and were not restricted to religion, per se, which suggests to us that “religion” and “knowledge”, in a more or less scientific approach, were considered essential to one another - symbiotic.

It is later writers who began to vilify the Celts by accusing them of the usual things that people get accused of when someone wants to demonize them: human sacrifice, homosexuality, and so on. Most of that nonsense goes back to Posidonius, who has been quoted as an “authority” by every other “authority” on the Celts since. Unfortunately, when one checks Posidonius, one finds that he really didn’t have a clue and was probably making stuff up to fulfill an agenda.

The lack of written texts by the Celts has been the greatest problem for historians and students of the Celts. A lot of ideas are “supposed”, or ancient sources with agendas have been relied on, and some of them even propose that there was a “taboo” by the Celts on putting things into writing.

Well, I suppose that, if our civilization came to an end and all our records on magnetic media were destroyed, people might say that we didn’t put anything in writing either.

There has been a lot of nonsense written about WHY the Celts didn’t write things down, and the most nonsensical, considering what we do know about their culture, is that this was how the Druids “kept their power” or that they believed something silly like:

“if the sacred myths were revealed, they would become profaned and thus lose their mystic virtues”.

What Caesar said was that the reason for the ban on writing was that the Druids were concerned that their pupils should not neglect the training of their memories, i.e. the Frontal Cortex, by relying on written texts.


We have discussed the production of ligands and their potential for unlocking DNA . It seems to be very interesting that the very things that we have learned from the Cassiopaeans, from alchemical texts, from our own experiences, and from research - that “thinking with a hammeris the key to transformation - was noted as an integral part of the Druidic initiation.

It is worth noting that, in the nineteenth century, it was observed that the illiterate Yugoslav bards, who were able to recite interminable poems, actually lost their ability to memorize once they had learned to rely on reading and writing.

Although the Druids prohibited certain things from being written down, it’s clear that they DID write. Celtic writings in Ogamic script have been found on many ancient stones. Caesar tells us that the Celts were using the Greek alphabet when the Romans arrived in Gaul in the first century BC.

However, the knowledge of the initiates was transmitted entirely orally, and with the information about ligands and receptors, we are beginning to understand WHY.

The destruction of Celtic culture was so complete that we know very little about their religion. We do know that they celebrated their “rites” in forests and by lakes without erecting any covered temples or statues of divinities.


Tacitus tells us:

They do not think it in keeping with the divine majesty to confine Gods within walls, or to portray them in the likeness of any human countenance. Their holy places are woods and groves and they apply the names of deities to that hidden presence which is seen only by the eyes of reverence.

Plato had doubts about the Greek origins of Homer’s work because not only do the physical descriptions in his poems not correspond to the Greek world, but also the Homeric philosophy is very different from the mainstream Greek philosophy we know about today. The latter is based on the dualism of two opposing elements, thesis/antithesis, good/evil, life/death, body/soul, etc. omitting the idea of the Third Force.

Since Plato’s times, many have sought to derive “synthesis” from these opposing elements, with little success. The “third force” of Gurdjieff has been brought up many times with little satisfaction in the attempts to understand it, and perhaps it is in what we can derive from the Celtic teachings will help us here.

According to Homer, the philosophy of the ancient world was that there was a third element that linked the opposing elements. Between the body and the soul, there is the spirit. Between life and death there is the transformation that is possible to the individual, between father and mother there is the child who takes the characteristics of both father and mother, and between good and evil there is the SPECIFIC SITUATION that determines which is which and what ought to be done.

In other words, there are three simultaneous determinants in any situation that make it impossible to say that any list of things is “good” or “evil” intrinsically, and that the true determinant is the situation.

In any event, the symbol of this philosophy is the triskele, representing three waves joined together.

The simultaneous existence of the third element does not mean that the notion of “good” and “evil” did not exist or was not reflected in the Celtic law. What was clear was that it was understood that nothing could be “cut and dried” in terms of law, that each situation was unique and the circumstances had to be carefully weighed.

Aristotle considered Gaul to be the “teacher” of Greece and the Druids to be the “inventors of philosophy”. The Greeks also considered the Druids to be the world’s greatest scholars, and whose mathematical knowledge was the source of Pythagoras’ information.

And so, we see that there is another way to consider the “three forces”. This brings us back again to “perspicacity” which is a function of knowledge. The ability to “assimilate B influences” as Mouravieff describes it, depends upon the evaluation of the Impression in the specific context in which it is experienced. A very simple way of putting it is: is it Truth or is it a Lie and if either, which has more affinity to the world of the spirit, or Love?

There are those who think that truth or lies are always static, that a lie is a lie is a lie and that to be “good”, one must ALWAYS tell the “truth”. However, it is not always that easy. For example, consider France during the Nazi occupation. Undoubtedly, many of those involved in the resistance lied daily and regularly about their plans and activities. What was different about their lies was the INTENT and the SPECIFIC SITUATION.


In such a situation, speaking the truth to a Nazi soldier who would use that truth to destroy one’s fellow resistance fighters would be “evil”, so to say, and lying would be “good”. This simple example ought to give the reader much to think about in terms of the socialized belief in a “black and white” exposition of “good and evil”.

Going back to the example of baking bread: in some cases, the flour could be “truth” and the fire could be “lies” and the water could be the specific situation in which the two meet and interact.


If Impressions are “food”, then this principle ought to be carefully considered when “taking in Impressions” or “assimilating ‘B’ influences”, which we now know to be the process of applying the Law of Three to any given situation or dynamic in our lives and “Thinking with a Hammer”. We also begin to understand that Love has many faces in Creation as does God.


We realize also why such knowledge is reserved for initiates: how easy to twist and distort and misuse such an understanding.


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