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What is the Nature of Egyptian High Alchemy,

And Why is it So Effective?

                              —Zacciah Blackburn



Egyptian High Alchemy is a path of personal transformation, and ultimately, one of personal illumination, or enlightenment.  It is a practice fueled by simple awareness and energy gathering exercises, which allows one to become more fully awake, and eventually sustain awakened or illuminated states of consciousness, to achieve a fully illumined state.  Exercises may range from simple to complex, taking into account some of the most ancient and advanced wisdom, and forms of consciousness raising exercises in existence.  The Egyptian understandings of consciousness and awareness are with us today, stretching into modern culture from their influence of ancient peoples of the Middle EastGreeceRomeIndia, The British Isles, NigeriaEthiopia, and other Asian, European, and African cultures. 

Many scholars are convinced the Indian system of Yoga and Kundalini are based upon the Egyptian principals of Sekhem (life force, chi, prana,) and the raising of energies, such as those known as the Alchemies of Horus. (This involves advanced practices, cultivating the serpentine energies of life force within the Djed, or pranic tube and spine, and associated masculine and feminine energy channels, to raise these energies for awakened states of being.) 

The Caduceus of modern medical professions did not originate with Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine.  Greek medicine far precedes Hippocrates, and it is well known the students of Greek disciplines of art, math, science, and health, brought their knowledge from the ancient Schools of Egypt.   The two serpents of the Caduceus, wrapped around the central staff, is representational of these Alchemical traditions, taught by the wise and ancient Thoth, Imhotep, and others.  It is said some of the oldest medical texts in the world are attributed to Imhotep, though probably written even before his time, with explicit instructions for surgery in brain trauma, and other advanced medical procedure.  The symbol of the Caduceus also originated by the time of this body of work.  Certainly, an understanding of the deep significance of the human energy form, and how to utilize it to heighten consciousness, was part of that understanding, often depicted by singular or plural serpentine pathways.

Alchemy, in general, is a form of transformation, of turning one form or matter into another.  Western culture has focused on the Alchemists of Medieval times, in which it is said the pursuit was material based in nature, of turning iron or lead into gold.  In Spiritual Alchemy, the pursuit is of spiritual attainment, to turn the dross, or lead, of one’s emotional and energetic states into refined golden light.  The lead is that which holds one back, weighs one down, or keeps one’s veil in place, from seeing into the pure forms of light and being, into the subtle realms of consciousness, and realizing, or attaining to, the Divine nature of oneself in living presence.  It is quite likely that the Medieval Alchemists understood this fundamental nature of consciousness, and pursued, at least in part, this aspect of existence in their work.  Knowing how Western culture has turned, in general, from spiritual to material focus in their lives and arts, and how historians have inaccurately portrayed most spiritual pursuits of that era, outside of standardized and accepted Christian doctrine, and how deeper mystical understandings were either suppressed or replaced, it would not surprise me that Spiritual Alchemy was primary to the task of even the Medieval Alchemists.

Alchemy requires three aspects in order to succeed:  a substance, a container, and a fuel.  It requires a substance to be transformed, a container for that substance to be transformed in, and a fuel to complete the transformation.  In simple alchemical terms, one of the easiest examples to understand this process is the transformation of water into gas, or steam.  One needs a material to transform, water; a container, in this case a pot; and a fuel to make the transformation, in this case, heat or fire.  One places the material to transform, water, into the container, a pot, and brings the fuel into play.  Without either one, it is easy to see that the transformation cannot take place.  Without the water, there is nothing to transform (though we might burn the pot.)  Without the container, the pot, the water will spill all over the fire, or heater.  Without the fuel, the fire or heat, nothing occurs.  The water remains as it is.

In Spiritual Alchemy, the container is one’s awareness.  The matter to transform is the dross, or encumbrances of one’s consciousness, the emotional, psychological, or spiritual beliefs, patterns, and energies which reside in our being which keep us from seeing the truth of whom we are, or our relationship to greater existence.  The fuel is a heightened state of consciousness, which can be invoked or attuned to with simple awareness exercises.  By placing, for instance, those aspects of our being which are no longer serving us, such as emotional wounds or beliefs of our unworthiness, into our awareness, and bringing the fires of transformational consciousness from within the subtle realms, to our assistance, we can transform those wounds and meet more fully our greater existence.

Awareness is a powerful tool.  One of the first laws of magic is an understanding that energy follows awareness.  This is the principal involved in intention, and the Law of Attraction (made popular these days through the movie, The Secret, but much earlier stated by the Egyptian Thoth in written traditions, in his oracles now viewed in The Kybalion and other texts.  Awareness is involved in everything we do, even when we are not focusing our awareness.  Whether lifting our finger to type, reading this article, or journeying into the inner realms of consciousness.  The reality is, we are most often fully aware of what we are doing and what is around us.  We simply choose to not focus our awareness, and thus, much of our energy escapes us or dissipates throughout the day, and through the choices of our lives, which are made without the fullness of awareness.   The teachings of most advanced esoteric schools of spiritual illumination and development, as well as the schools of high magic and ceremony,  involve immense practices for focusing awareness, drawing in immense forms of energy.  The Taoists are said to have lived off the life force of morning dew, so refined were their practices.  Hindu, Jainist, and others of India are known to develop practices of breatharianism, needing no more than a few ounces of water a day to keep the body fluid, otherwise living off the supple forces of Heaven and Earth.

In Egyptian High Alchemy, there is little dogmatic indoctrination, but immense focus on understanding basic principals of the energies of our human form, and upon awareness exercises, to gather energy and awareness in order to make transition into heightened, potent, awake states of being, which serve us in our everyday lives, and can carry us even through the passage of death, leaving us as illuminated beings on the other side, where we may continue our spiritual pursuits, and service to heightened consciousness.   Shamanic like journeys are often incorporated, to give the initiate direct perception of the other worlds, enhance their spiritual development, and broaden their relationships to the subtle realms of consciousness, and all that resides there.  Sound was an integral part of Egyptian practices, especially in some esoteric schools, and remains so today with many practitioners of the Egyptian wisdom schools.  Intentional utilization of Sacred Sound can enhance consciousness exercises, even as it is shown today in modern medical and scientific research, to develop wellness, relieve stress, and heal even debilitating illnesses such as cancer.  

In Egyptian Alchemy, there are two fundamental paths, the High path and the Low path.  The primary difference is one of service and intention.  In the Low path of Alchemy, there is not a complete understanding of the principals of cause and effect, and practitioners may utilize their awareness and powers developed for self gain, without concern for its effect upon others, much less for the wellness or benefit of others.  Practitioners may cause pain and suffering in others in order to gain what they seek, and not understand or care about the Karmic repercussions.  But, the truth is, we reap what we sow, and if we sow wheat, we shall, indeed, reap it when the fall harvest comes.  If we plant corn, it is corn that we shall gather in the fall.  In karmic patterns, ‘next fall’ may be this year or our next lifetime.  So, it is of benefit to understand the principals of spiritual development and passage, in order to set as one’s personal goals those aspects of evolution which benefit not just ourselves, but all of life, and creation.  A very simple ethical standard taught by ancient traditions, and brought to my attention by one of the most effective teachers I have experienced, Tom Kenyon, is known as the Niyama of Harmlessness.  It simply states, “For the sake of my own elevation, and the elevation of all life, I shall strive to be harmless to myself and others.”  This simple standard of ethics allows us to strive for the greatest good, without fault of judgment for the errors we may make in our pursuit of enlightened consciousness.  We simply strive for the highest good, and come back to that standard whenever we find we have made a miscalculation in our life practice.  It is understood in Spiritual Alchemy, that the intention of continually striving for the greatest good, in itself, can create the effect of burning off Karmic debt.  The Tibetan Buddhists call it “achieving merit.”

In Egyptian High Alchemy, the gathering of energy and awareness are of highest import.  There are a variety of exercises offered which are extremely beneficial, and assist the practitioner to develop the awareness and energy necessary to achieve and sustain heightened and illuminated states of consciousness.  This can bring one into a place of creating even greater service for the good of all beings.  One of the first steps is recognizing the “Ka” or “light body”, which co-exists with our physical form, and is known as the “etheric twin.”  It holds the consciousness of our heightened or illuminated soul, and the energy centers we call the Chakras (the Egyptians call them the Seals.)  One of the practices Tom brings forward, The Three Nestings Practice, is a simple and direct way to experience the Ka body.  The more we experience our etheric form, the easier it becomes to build energy and awareness in it, and transcend the more mundane physical form, in heightened spiritual practices, including passage through the portals in the etheric form fully awake, at death, in full realization of our Divine and Illuminated form.

In The Three Nestings Practice, one simply finds a quiet room in which to sit upright and rest for a few minutes.  Bring awareness into one’s breath, and the subtle forms of the in and out flow of breath, which brings one into a relaxed state, and enlivens the body with the Sekhem, or life force, within the breath. Once one find’s oneself relaxing, and moving into deeper relaxed states of breathing and consciousness, simply draw awareness from one’s physical body into one’s etheric body, maintaining some part of awareness in the physical body.  The etheric body is a complete duplicate of our physical form, which interpenetrates every cell of our being, and extends out, in it’s radiant light, slightly beyond the surface of our skin.  It is this form which is seen when luminous, as a glowing aura, or when saints, teachers, and in some cases, deceased friends or relatives appear to us to speak or commune with us (and others, throughout history,) in some way.  Sit quietly, moving awareness from the physical form into the etheric, or Ka form.  If one cannot actually sense it, imagine what it must feel like, this subtle aspect of our being, the etheric body.  Imagination is a powerful tool, opening our awareness to the possibility of something, quickening our beliefs in its possibility, and softening our beliefs that might not allow its existence.  Sit with your awareness in the Ka for several minutes, gently continuing to breathe.  Then, quietly, with attention in both the physical and subtle Ka forms, become aware simultaneously of the space around you, within the physical room.  Hold your awareness simultaneously in the physical, etheric and space around you, until you have developed enough energy and awareness to feel the exercise is complete, or the time you have set aside, has transpired.  Then simply state to yourself, the Niyama of Harmlessness:  “For the sake of my own elevation, and the elevation of all life, I shall strive to be harmless to myself and others.”  Do it two or three times, allowing it to sink in, and resonate into the cells of your being.  Then slowly, gradually, bring your awareness back into the physical room, your physical well being, and the next task in your life, with some aspect of yourself still acknowledging the etheric Ka part of you.

By practicing this, and numerous other Egyptian exercises, one develops deeper insight into the nature of existence, creates a greater sense of wellness and peace, and begins to bridge the gap into even greater experiences in the subtle realms.  We look forward to sharing more experiences with you in the future!

In our next article(s), we shall discuss the nature of the Ba, the illumined soul, Uraeus, the illumined serpentine form, the Djed, or pranic tube, and how to cultivate and raise energies in the serpentine channels, as well as the SahuKa, “the Grand Illuminated Light Body,” and how one may achieve realization of this full and awakened state.


Zacciah Blackburn is a gifted intuitive, teacher, and sound healer, trained in classical healing and shamanic traditions, and sacred sound cultures.  He teaches internationally, and practices in Vermont, at the Center of Light Institute of Sound Healing and Shamanic Studies (   Zacciah utilizes sound coupled with sacred intention as a therapeutic tool, in mystical settings, for personal healing and transformation.  He is Director of Education at the Sound Healing Network, & co-founder & Director of the World Sound Healing Organization, and the All One Now Network of organizations working for global peace & transformation. He also offers musical/sound healing instruments of sacred sound cultures at

Zacciah Blackburn