Pilgrimage is about the journey not the destination. Pilgrims embark on the Holy Grail in search for the archetypal images found on the path. Seekers wander in the world of imagination gathering the elemental symbols of transformation. The seven symbolic elements, the archetypal images, to be poured in the pilgrim’s vas are knowledge, courage, perseverance, patience, self-discipline, humility, and gentleness. From the alchemical vas, properly tended, will eventually emerge—Wisdom.
Wisdom, many traditions teach, is representative of the Tree of Life, a tree that has thirty-two different paths for discovering the inner divine within us all. Not every path is for every pilgrim. Yet, no one path is the only way. Pilgrims walk their path in order to ignite the tender fire needed for the alchemy of the seven symbolic elements, yielding the philosopher’s golden stone—Wisdom.
My experience has been that rarely are all archetypal elements found on one solitary pilgrimage—instead, hundreds of miles of walking across several journeys are necessary to gather all the elemental metals needed to produce Wisdom’s golden stone.
The correct amount of the seven elements, often are determined through experimentation.
The elements heated at a gentle temperature over the glow of an ember’s fire will deliver, in time, the aura of Wisdom within the soul of the pilgrim. The felt effect of the Wisdom emerges almost as a surprise. Too much attention to the vas causes either the application of too much heat, or the cooling effect of fear, that which halts the process of coagulation.
The gold stone resulting from the Pilgrimage of Wisdom has nine facets, a spirit of generosity, the ability of healing, a vision of insight, a heart that bears light, hands that are open, words that are gracious, feet that tread lightly, a life of efficacious prayers, a calming presence of peace. The pilgrim may need to spend an entire life learning the mythic symbolism etched in the nine faces of the stone. But the pilgrimage stone will yield a deep Wisdom that benefits the souls of other pilgrims as they travel their own journey. For Wisdom only exists for the sake of the other when they desire it. For Wisdom is never for the gratification of the old wise soul.
Walk slowly. Gather the seven elements. Let them age over a gentle heat. Tend the vas as needed. Let the golden stone emerge, as it will. Share the gold of Wisdom when asked.