Wayland: Silver-Smith of Souls…

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There are a number of intriguing aspects to the legend of Wayland Smithy…

The earliest written sources appear late and are decidedly piecemeal.

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Wayland is the son of a God, Giant, or King of the Otherworld.

He is schooled in metallurgy by Dwarves, whom, in skill, he quickly surpasses.

He lives, hunts, and works alone in a region associated with wolves and bears.

One day he comes upon a swan-maiden bathing skin-less.

He finds her skin, appropriates it, and she lives with him for nine years.

At the end of which time she discovers her hidden skin and flies away.

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Wayland is then taken captive by the King of Sweden,

maimed to prevent escape and set to work on an island…

Wayland surreptitiously kills the king’s sons, turns their skulls into goblets

and presents them to the king and queen.

Their teeth he turns into a brooch for the king’s daughter.

The king’s daughter has a ring of Wayland’s, stolen from him by her father,

and when it breaks she asks him to mend it.

Wayland inebriates the king’s daughter and fathers a son on her.

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At this point, in the tale, Wayland’s swan-wife returns,

with a swan-skin for him and they fly away,

to the Blessed-Isles of Britain, together…

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Newton: Wholesome Soul…

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To round off our brief but succinct survey of the Alchemists,

we shall give some examples from the works

of those savants that we have so far considered.

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Finally for now, Isaac Newton…

“… First of all know antimony to be a crude and immature mineral having in itself

what is uniquely metallic, even though otherwise it is indigested.

Two parts of antimony with iron give a regulus which in its fourth fusion

exhibits a star!

By this sign you may know that the soul of the iron

has been made totally volatile by virtue of the antimony.

If this stellate regulus is melted with gold or silver by an ash heat

in an earthen pot, the whole regulus is evaporated.

Which is a mystery!”

The Key

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The ‘star-regulus‘ or little-king,

a diminutive of latin, rex, King

was regarded by Newton as the bright-star

in the heart of the constellion Leo, the lion.

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Do not be misled by references to on high,

these are not pyrotechnics in the sky,

but fire-works of the ‘minds-eye’…

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Paracelsus: Conscious Mind…

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To round off our brief but succinct survey of the Alchemists,

we shall give some examples from the works

of those savants that we have so far considered.

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Next up, Paracelsus…

“… It is necessary to state clearly what this Art comprises, what is its subject, and what its peculiarities.

First and chiefly, the principal subject of this Art is fire, which always exists in one and the same property and mode of operation, nor can it receive its life from anything else.

It possesses, therefore, a state and power, common to all fires which lie hidden in secret, of vivifying…

Just as the sun heats all things in the world both occult and apparent, but receives light from no other source, the ‘fire in the furnace’ may be compared to the sun. It heats the furnace and the vessels just as the sun lights the visible planets.

As nothing can be produced in this world without the sun, so also in this Art nothing can be produced without this simple fire. No operation can be completed without it.

It is the Great Arcanum of the Art!

It embraces all things which are comprised therein, neither can it be comprehended in anything else.

It abides in itself and needs nothing, but all others which stand in need of this can get fruition of it and have life from it, which is why, first of all, we have undertaken that this shall be made clear…”

Concerning the Spirits of the Planets

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It leads also, presumably, this fire, away from the Tower of Babel!

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Fulcanelli: Mysteries…

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To round off our brief but succinct survey of the Alchemists,

we shall give some examples from the works

of those savants that we have so far considered.

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First up, Fulcanelli…

“…For us, gothic art (fr: art gotique) is only a spelling distortion of the word argotique (slang), whose assonance is perfect in accordance with the phonetic law that governs in all languages and without taking into account spelling, the traditional cabal.

The cathedral is a work of Gothic Art or argot, that is, slang.

However, dictionaries define argot as ‘a language particular to all individuals who have an interest in communicating their thoughts to each other without being understood by those around them’ in other words, a spoken cabala.

The argoters, those who use this language, are hermetic descendants of the argonauts, who climbed aboard the Argo, spoke the argot language, which is our green language (fr: langue verte) – and sailed towards the rich shores of Colchis to conquer the famous Golden Fleece.

They still say today of a very intelligent, but also a very cunning man; he knows everything, he understands the argot, both the vagrant of the Court of Miracles – the poet Villon at their head – and the Freemasons of the Middle Ages, ‘members of the Lodge of God’ who built the argotique masterpieces that we admire today. They themselves, these builders, knew the road to the Garden of the Hesperides…”

The Mystery of the Cathedrals

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They knew also, presumably, these savants, the way from the Tower of Babel!

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The Alchemist: Last Judgement…

File:Gargoyles, Notre-Dame, Paris (3584514985).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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Perhaps, taking his cue from what little was left of the Mediaeval originals,

Viollet-le-Duc incorporated and emphasised horns, and claws, and talons,

and tusks, and fangs, and beaks, and raised heckles, in his grotesques.

Even the feathers of the birds resembled scales, or chain-mail.

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Gargoyles of Notre Dame Cathedral - Album on Imgur

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Nature for the denizens of the two towers, which between them

encompassed the directions of West, North and South,

appeared to be red in tooth and claw,

with little or no desire to transcend that state.

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As monsters of the human mind, presumably,

this state also applied to the collective psyche,

and was, perhaps, forever exemplified by the

 inhabitants of Paris who moved through the streets below,

and over whom the grotesques so rapaciously brooded.

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Nevertheless, the monsters became objects

of deep and prolonged fascination for both Parisians

and those who came from much farther afield

to climb the spiral-stairwells, and gawp.

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File:Gargoyle, Notre Dame, Paris, France, about 1870.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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Many of the fantastical beasts had captured prey,

and feasted, ravenously, some of them fought,

others appeared to be in the process of hunting.

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This is quite deliberate and contrasts with the Angel of the East

which sounds its heavenly horn to announce the Last Judgement.

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Parution du second volume de la biographie de Fulcanelli | Toison d'Or

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Behind Gabriel, arrayed along the length of the base of the harmonious spire,

pointing the way of ascent, stand the apostles, upright, and serene.

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But wait, what of the Christ Spirit?

Should not it too have been there?

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Folded Victory: Gargoyles at Notre-Dame de Paris | Gargoyles, De paris, Lion sculpture

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Oh, but it was…

It was one of the grotesques!

The Alchemist…

L'Alchimie de Notre Dame de Paris – La Nuit / La Nuit

A drawing by Julien Champagne.

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Why would the Mediaeval Stonemasons sculpt figures

on the top of their buildings which no one can see from the ground?

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Like some church towers, it was possible to scale

the towers of Notre Dame, Paris, and acquire a closer view

of the sculpted forms which inhabited its roofscape.

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Should this endeavour be approached in a symbolic frame of mind,

it might be useful to regard the spiral staircase which led there,

as a series of right-angles arranged around a lineal ascent,

and to take note of how many steps were required to reach the top.

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Any work of alchemy

unfolds in a series of steps,

or processes…

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The steps themselves might be regarded

as achievements or ‘crowns’ upon the Royal Way.

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And when one reached the top?

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Of the figures on the square-sided towers

only one was nominally human.

There is no doubt, therefore, that we would

be meant to identify with him…

Julien Champagne’s illustration, above,

is a masterful representation.

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Our ‘inner’ alchemist for such as he been designated,

primarily because of his Phrygian Hat, or ‘liberty cap’,

his liberia, was nevertheless a curious figure.

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Did he stroke, tug at, or pull his beard?

All three of these actions have different connotations.

Did he strain forward to see, or call out to, or even warn,

someone below, who was ascending to reach his position?

From a different perspective his mouth can be seen to gape wide.

Was that person, if person there was, ascending to save or release him?

Or merely to question him about the strange company he kept?

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File:Chimera of Notre-Dame de Paris.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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All the other figures that peered from the parapets

of the towers alongside the Alchemist were what might be termed

grotesques, they were certainly not gargoyles,

for gargoyles are water-channels of which these figures have none.

Most of them also appeared

to be displaying a predatory or demonic nature.

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File:Gargoyles of Notre Dame.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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Ever vigilant over the movements of humanity,

in the busy metropolis beneath them, some of them fed…

The Alchemists: Fulcanelli…

Parution du second volume de la biographie de Fulcanelli | Toison d'Or

This skyscape no longer exists due to renovation and the recent fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

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‘There are deeper secrets in stone than in iron.’

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It is not to everyone’s taste.

Some respected proponents of the Western Mystery Tradition profess

to not caring very much for it all.

Although, I strongly suspect that their ‘not caring’ is a euphemism for non-understanding.

It is a mystery certainly.

But one all but impossible to ignore if you are engaged upon

a search for meaning in life.

What were they about, these savants?

At odds with the mainstream yet courted by kings.

Their published claims regarded by most as gibberish.

That term itself a reference to Geber, one of the most illustrious of their ilk.

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We have already briefly considered, Newton, today regarded as a ‘man of science’

but at heart a seeker after the secret fire,

and Paracelsus, nowadays regarded as a quack doctor

but in fact an early practitioner of both Homeopathy and Mesmerism,

and today, we shall take a look at Fulcanelli…

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But already we run into difficulties.

For one thing, we do not know what Fulcanelli looks like,

or indeed, if he exists, or even if he ever existed at all!

He is purported to be the author of two books:

The Mystery of the Cathedrals and Dwellings of the Philosophers.

Both are classics of esoteric science.

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‘…Cathedrals’ sets out to explain the ‘books written in stone’,

which are the Gothic Cathedrals of Europe,

and really, who could do such a thing without being involved in some way

in their construction or design?

For the most part, these art-works of stone were designed

and constructed during the Middle Ages.

The book was written in the nineteen twenties,

and is not the work of a young man.

As late as Nineteen-Seventy-Eight adepts were claiming

to have spoken with Fulcanelli in Florence!

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Perhaps the claims of the Alchemists are not entirely without foundation?

His name means, ‘Little Volcano’ or ‘Mini-Vulcan’.

Could we translate this as ‘The Gentle Flame’?

It would be nice to think that we could…

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Let us then take our flame and apply it to the following question:

Why would the Mediaeval Stonemasons sculpt figures

on the top of their buildings which no one can see from the ground?

The Alchemists: Paracelsus…

File:Paracelsus.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Phillipus Aureolus Theophratus Bombastus von Hohenheim 1493 -1541

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‘The sun comes out and many reptiles spawn.’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Many to whom the name of Paracelsus is familiar are wont to regard him as a singularly successful ‘quack’ who revived traditions of an earlier school of occultism in defiance of the more ‘scientific’ methods of his own time.

Nothing could be further than the truth.

In fact the ‘doctors’ of Paracelsus’ day were for the most part theorists with very little, if any, practical experience. Paracelsus, on the other hand, derived his medical knowledge from both experiment and experience and travelled the world practising his medical science in more countries than any other medical expert of his day.

The name Paracelsus was a self adopted nom de plume possibly connoting ‘the highest of the high’ a Greek/Latin hybrid play on his surname Hohenheim (‘High-Home’).

To understand the writings of Paracelsus it is advisable to possess the keys to his alchemical code.

He held that there were three principles necessary for the existence of all bodies, to wit: Inflammability which he called Sulphur, Fluidity which he called Mercury, and Soilidity which he called Salt.

‘Azoth’ was the creative principle in Nature.

‘Illech Primum’ was the causative force.

‘Cherio’ was the essence.

‘Evestrum’ was man’s astral body and the ‘Elementaries’ were astral corpses of the dead.

These latter should not be confused with ‘Elementals’ which are Nature Spirits.

‘Magic’ for Paracelsus was, ‘the conscious employment of spiritual powers to act on external nature.’

Much of Paracelsus’ medical thinking is what we would now designate homeopathic, ‘we teach that what wounds a man also heals him and the things that heal a wound in nature heal the same sort of wound in man.’

He must also be regarded as a pioneer in that branch of healing utilising magnetic forces. His animal magnetism he called ‘Mumia’ and held that, ‘as the lily spills forth an invisible perfume, so too does the invisible body send forth its healing influence.’

Finally he was also one of the first and greatest ‘Faith’ healers, holding that faith had a great deal more power than the physical body.

‘If imagination is the cause of many diseases,’ he said, ‘then faith is the cure for all.’

It is tempting to map his three aspects of healing onto the three principles we listed above.

Which would be which, I wonder?

‘Let him not belong to another who has the power to be his own.’

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The Alchemists: Isaac Newton…

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727).jpg

Portrait of Isaac Newton aged forty-six years by Godfrey Kneller.

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‘Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the Sumerians…

The last great mind which looked out on the visible world with the same eyes

as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance ten thousand years ago.’

‘Newton the Man’, J.M. Keynes.

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Isaac Newton was born on Christmas day, 1642. At first his genius seemed more mechanical than intellectual. He constructed water works, windmills, kites and sun dials, but nurtured by the King’s School at Grantham his intellectual prowess and prodigious powers of concentration gradually became apparent. A maternal uncle intervened and had him prepared for Cambridge, to which seat of learning, young Isaac went up in 1661.

Stimulated by the Cartesian ferment in physics, philosophy and mathematics, by Kepler’s optics and laws of planetary motion, and by Galileo’s mechanics, the young Newton soon tackled and solved many of the physical and mathematical questions of his contemporaries. In January 1665 Newton took his Bachelor of Arts Degree but in the summer of that year he was compelled to retire to his home at Woolsthorpe as the University was closed due to an outbreak of the plague. It did not reopen again until 1667 but rather than hinder Newton’s progress, this enforced confinement at his mother’s manor proved to be his making. During this time he invented calculus, discovered that white light comprised all the colours of the spectrum, and found out a mathematical law for gravity.

Rather than trumpet these discoveries in 1667 he returned to Cambridge, quietly proceeded to his Master of Arts, was elected to a College Fellowship and settled down. In 1672 Newton disclosed some of his optical discoveries to the Royal Society and was immediately elected a Fellow of that illustrious company but it was not until 1684 that the full extent of his gravitational studies came to light. At the insistence of Edmund Halley, Newton returned to his proofs for the planetary motions and worked them up into a volume which eventually became his masterwork, The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Now, commonly referred to as, The Principles, this work is, by some, still held to be the greatest work of science ever published.

Newton’s life of retiring scholarsip ended in 1696 with his appointment to Warden of the Mint. He had already been engaged in the re-organisation of the nation’s finances, establishing the Bank of England and founding the national debt to finance international wars. In 1699 he was promoted to Master of the Mint which post he held until his death.

Honours accumulated for the ageing Newton. In 1703 he became President of the Royal Society and he was knighted in 1705.

The Newtonian world-view, developed almost wholly on the basis of his success in mathematics and the physical sciences is apt to confuse and occlude. His studies in astronomy and optics occupied only a small portion of his time. Most of his great powers were poured out upon church history, theology, the chronology of ancient kingdoms, prophecy, and alchemy.

‘Why do I call him a magician? Because he looked on the universe as a riddle,

a secret that could be read, a cryptogram set by the Almighty…’

‘Newton the Man’, J.M.Keynes

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Hunting the Green Lion

All hail the Noble Company,

True students in Holy Alchemy,

Whose ardent practise does them teach,

To veil their secrets in ‘misty speech’.

It may please you dilecticians

To hear my protestations

For that practise which I have seen,

 A hunting of the Lion Green.

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Whose colour doubtless is not so,

And surely that, your wisdoms know,

For no man lives that has ever seen,

Upon four feet a lion the colour green.

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Green he is called for his unripeness,

And yet so quickly can he run,

To soon outstrip the sun…

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It brings to him more perfection,

Than ever he had by nature’s direction.

Vicar of Malden

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