Saturday, July 15, 2006

Quote of the week

'. . .our editorial policy not to publish articles
centred around 'prophecies' or 'revelations'. '

From editor of Pagan Dawn
upon being offered an article by David Conway

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Alchemy - a romance

'Ah my good friend,' says my correspondent, a researcher for a company currently making a documentary about the poet Shelley.

'I've spoken to my bosses and they want to ask you these specific
questions, you don't need to answer them fully now, but if we interview you
these are the exact themes of what we will be discussing: Can you talk about Alchemy at the time of Mary Shelley?'

I say 'I'm not sure if you are using alchemy as a metaphor for the renaissance of Georgian magic - seems like Shelley's main interest then was natural magic - which includes some alchemical topics - but yes I can do that although Adam Maclean is probably the expert on alchemy per se. BTW I would assume that Shelley might have at least known of Francis Barrett - whose book the 'The Magus: or Celestial Intelligencer' was published in 1801, (the poet Robert Southey wrote some v critical letters about Barrett - who was all over the news for his ballooning adventures.) Barrett wrote a very influential new synthesis of older grimoires such as Agrippa. There is a very interesting eye witness account in that of the old folk believe that a corpse bleeds in the presence of a murderer - and this reanimation could also be an influence on narratives such as Frankenstein - as well as the alchemical homunculus thing.'

OK he says 'Can you easily define European 17th/18th century Alchemy in a way which the viewer can grasp quickly?'

To which I reply: 'Alchemy is a very powerful myth of the 17th/18th century. A kind of spiritual chemistry. Humanity's religious quest reduced to the manipulation of the world's physical components on the assumption that this will unlock the secrets of life itself - which is occasionally does. Alchemical texts are written in code. Some alchemists took this code quite literally ie lead into gold. Others realised that they were dealing with religious metaphor - ie lead into gold - stupidity into inspiration by meditation. There is of course a third, middle way. . . '

Ah, he says 'Can you explain the search for the philosophers stone, can you tell us the history behind it, and explain why people want to find it so much
(especially during Shelley's time).'

'Yes, i think so but it would flow from my own theories concerning the Tantrik quest for immortality via the ingestion of transformed bodily 'medicines' .'

The he asks: 'Can you give us a demonstration of a philosophers stone type experiment?'

This last question needs multiple exclamation marks. Can I do something that eluded all known alchemists? but I give it a go:

'In my view this would involve the creation of a 'cake of light' which is made from sexual fluids - wouldn't have thought this could be demonstrated on TV but might be possible to get round this with some sort of hieros gamos - ie bbc scotland have film of a part of the 'gnostic mass' which could be brought to bear??'

Lunar 'standstill'

Last night the moon hardly rose at all, just skimming the horizon, which because of its very low declination is known as a lunar standstill. This phenomenon occurs evert 18.6 years which might well be connected with the Babylonian etc., lunar cycle of 19 years (12 years of 12 lunar months, 7 years of 13).

I went out abut 11pm to take a look - it took a while to find a good vantage point. Being so low in the sky - there were wispy clouds in an otherwise clear sky with moderate light pollution. The moon appeared bigger than usual, very cheesy with a horizontal band passing directly through its midpoint - a lunar omina?

Sunday I was in Bath for the Omphalos moot and met Storm Constantine for the first time ever. The topic was truth in magick - are all systems ultimately contrived or are some more 'authentic' than others?