Alchemists and other philosophers of the natural and esoteric sciences recited a mantra: Ora et Labora – Pray & Work. They believed that for the success of their work it was necessary to acknowledge and affirm their relatedness with the Soul of the Universe through special hermetic prayers.
This prayer written by a German adept whose name is not known was reprinted in Manly Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages:
O holy and hallowed Trinity, Thou undivided and triple Unity! Cause me to sink into the abyss of Thy limitless eternal Fire, for only in that Fire can the mortal nature of man be changed into humble dust, while the new body of the salt union lies in the light. Oh, melt me and transmute me in this Thy holy Fire, so that on the day at Thy command the fiery waters of the Holy Spirit draw me out from the dark dust, giving me new birth and making me alive with His breath. May I also be exalted through the humble humility of Thy Son, rising through His assistance out of the dust and ashes and changing into a pure spiritual body of rainbow colors like unto the transparent, crystal-like, paradisiacal gold, that my own nature may be redeemed and purified like the elements before me in these glasses and bottles. Diffuse me in the waters of life as though I were in the wine cellar of the eternal Solomon. Here the fire of Thy love will receive new fuel and will blaze forth so that no streams can extinguish it. Through the aid of this divine fire, may I in the end be found worthy to be called into the illumination of the righteous. May I then be sealed up with the light of the new world that I may also attain unto the immortality and glory where there shall be no more alternation of light and darkness. Amen.
The prayer still resonates today hundreds of years later as an affirmation of our connectedness with the Cosmos.
The image is a famous European alchemy woodcut of an esoteric mandala designed by Hienrich Khunrath, an alchemical adept. It includes elements of an alchemical laboratory. The alchemist kneels in prayer before beginning his work. In the smoke from the censor in Latin text are the words: “ascending smoke, sacrificial speech acceptable to God.”