Fermentation: Opening Up to the Divine Presence
FERMENTATION is the fifth operation in the alchemy of transformation.
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. The Fermentation phase then begins with the introduction of new life into the product of Conjunction to strengthen it and insure its survival.
Chemically, Fermentation is the growth of a ferment (bacteria) in organic solutions, such as occurs in the fermenting of milk to produce curds and cheese or in the fermenting of grapes to make wine. In the Arcanum Experiment, the process of Fermentation is represented by a compound called Liquor Hepatis, which is an oily, reddish-brown mixture of ammonia and the rotten-egg-smelling compound hydrogen sulfide. Egyptian alchemists made ammonia by heating camel dung in sealed containers and thought of it as a kind of refined Mercury that embodied the life force. Liquor Hepatis means “Liquor of the Liver,” which they believed was the seat of the Soul, and the color they associated with the compound was green, the color of bile. Surprisingly, Liquor Hepatis exudes a wonderful fragrance, and the alchemists made a perfume of it called “Balsam of the Soul.”
Psychologically, the Fermentation process starts with the inspiration of spiritual power from Above that reanimates, energizes, and enlightens the alchemist. Out of the blackness of his Putrefaction comes the yellow Ferment, which appears like a golden wax flowing out of the foul matter of the Soul. Its arrival is announced by a brilliant display of colors and meaningful visions called the “Peacock’s Tail.” Fermentation can be achieved through various activities that include intense prayer, desire for mystical union, breakdown of the personality, transpersonal therapy, psychedelic drugs, and deep meditation. Fermentation is living inspiration from something totally beyond us.
Physiologically, Fermentation is the rousing of living energy (chi or kundalini) in the body to heal and vivify. It is expressed as vibratory tones and spoken truths emerging from the Throat or Mercury Chakra.
In Society, the Fermentation experience is the basis of religion and mystical awareness.
On the Planetary level, it is the evolution of life to produce higher consciousness.
CORRESPONDENCES OF FERMENTATION
According to the Emerald Tablet, during Fermentation, we raise consciousness from the darkness of the animal body through personal meditation and planetary evolution. “Separate the Earth from Fire,” it tells us, “the subtle from the gross, gently and with great Ingenuity.”
Substance: Sulfur. Color: Turquoise (color of this page). Planet: Venus. Metal: Mercury. Play Fermentation Theme Music.