April 30th, 2007
Three Johann Theodor de Bry engravings from Michael Maier‘s 1618 alchemical arrangement, Atalanta fugiens, as reprinted in Stanislas Klossowski de Rola’s essential anthology of alchemical engravings, The Golden Game. The Hermetic explanatory text below is also de Rola’s.
“Emblema VIII. Accipe ovum & igneo percute gladio. ‘Take the egg and strike it with a fiery sword.’ The egg is the Subject of the Art, which must be struck by the martial igneous agent wielding the ‘double-edged sword’ of the Secret Fire. Mars thus comes to the help of Vulcan, and from the ensuing darkness of Putrefaction (Nigredo) the hermetick chick will hatch. Raymund Lull, quoted here by Maier, stresses in several places that the fiery sword is a sharp lance, because Fire, like a lance, pierces bodies, rendering them porous and permeable, so that Water may penetrate them and turn their hardness into softness” (p98).
“Emblema XX. Naturam natura docet, debellet ut ignem. ‘Nature teaches Nature to vanquish fire.’ ‘The way of Nature when it seeks the perfection of any work,’ writes Maier, ‘consists in making one thing come out of another, the most perfect from the least perfect, and to activate its potential.’ This is exactly what we see in the gesture of the mercurial heroine speeding the Knight on his way to do battle against the tyranny of Fire. The Knight is the Fixed Sulpher that the flame can no longer vanquish” (p99-100).
“Emblema XLIX. Infans Philosophicus tres agnoscit patres, ut Orion. ‘Like Orion, the Philosophick Child acknowledges thee fathers.’ Mythographers relate that Orion had not one but three fathers. Most accounts tell how Jupiter, Mercury, and Neptune granted the wish of their host Hyrieus to give him a son. Accordingly, the gods urinated in the skin of a heifer which was then buried. Nine months later, Orion (the name is a pun on the Greek ouron, urine) was born. Here, Maier names Orion’s fathers as Apollo, Vulcan, and Mercury; but, as usual, circumstances contrary to nature must in alchemy be understood to be the cloak of hermetick allegory. The Stone’s first father is Apollo: a celestial occult virtue (of the Sun) which fecundates the Matter of the Philosophers and gives her a son who will, ultimately, grow even more splendid than his father. Vulcan, symbol of Fire, is its second father (or mentor). Its third is Mercury, who lends it his own volatile Matter (or Mercury). To those three must be added the figure on the left, who is the attentive Artist, and as it were the fourth father. Towering above the others is Mars, whose presence is indispensable: without his action, the Body would not be dissolved. He is the symbol of the metal which, joined to the mineral Matter, attracts the magnetic influence of Phanes: Light, Spirit, Fire, personified in Apollo” (p104).
April 26th, 2007
Five illustrations from Baron Eugene Fersen’s Science of Being, written in 1923, with additional text from his 1927 workbook of the same title (both recently reprinted by Health Research Books).
In Science of Being, Fersen defines a principled framework of reality (a Causeless Cause, the Statements of Being, the Definition of Matter, the Law of Attraction, Magnetic Chemicalization, and the Law of Polarity, to name just a few topics) and the function of man’s triune nature of Life, Mind, and Soul within that reality (health, wealth, truth, love, inspiration, intuition, poise, telepathy, subconsciousness, supercounsciousness, etc).
“Divinity working from the four-square of Humanity” (1923, p16).
Fundamentally, though, Fersen presents a course based on channeling a Universal Life Energy that produces Success (with a capital ess) in all of these areas. Fersen identifies this energy as a primal, vibrating force that constitutes manifest reality; at the three different levels of mans’ nature, this same ultimate energy manifests in different forms: magnetic energy, mental energy, and spiritual energy, respectively.
The Life level is embodied by the Star Exercise, a physical routine whose purpose is to make contact, circulate, and cultivate the Universal Life Energy. To perform the exercise, stand with the body in a five-pointed star-shaped configuration: legs somewhat more than shoulder width apart and arms straight out to the sides, left hand palm up and right hand palm down. “The whole body must remain erect, but not tense… straight, but relaxed” (1923, p65).
Fersen’s star exercise.
In this configuration, the Life Center, a point located at the base of the spine, acts as a magnet to attract the Universal Life Energy and to cast it into magnetic energy, or Life Energy, the physical manifestation of the universal. The pull of the Life Center draws energy through the fingertips of the upward facing left hand and down the spinal cord to the Life Center.
From the Life Center, the transformed energy is pushed to the Solar Plexus. This area, more commonly known as the “pit of the stomach”, is the central storage and distribution center of the magnetic energy throughout the body. Fersen also calls this area the abdominal brain. From the Solar Plexus, the magnetic energy is distributed to those parts of the body that require it, but, in particular, the magnetic energy is returned to the spinal cord, passes through the seventh cervical vertebra, and enters the back part of the brain.
This process of energy ingestion, transformation, storage, and distribution is the basis of all Success. “The strength of the individual is in direct proportion to the development of Solar Plexus” (1927, p41). “Each cell in the body will exhibit a greater constructive activity, each organ of the body will perform its duties with an ever increasing power and precision, this giving all members of the body the possibility of manifesting in a most perfect way the activities of the soul. (1927, p163).
Leaving the back part of the brain, the energy is further transformed in order to power the successive levels of human nature: the Pituitary Body casts energy into mental energy, and the Pineal Body casts energy into spiritual energy. Once the storage capacity of the Solar Plexus has been filled, excess energy is routed to the down-turned right hand and into the earth. As the energy flows through the fingertips, the thumb bears the strongest current, followed by the index finger, ring finger, pinky finger, and, at last, the middle finger.
This energetic process naturally functions as a result of the physical laws governing Universal Life Energy and the attraction exercised by the Life Center. However, to achieve any benefit from the process, one must become conscious of it. Fersen introduces the exercises of Silence and Relaxation to actualize this consciousness: Relaxation is the complete relaxation of body, mind, and emotions; Silence is the stilling of the willful mind. When one is relaxed and the Will is stilled, the mental conception separating Universal Life Energy from Magnetic Energy is deposed. Physical relaxation enables contact and awareness of Magnetic Energy; mental relaxation stills the Will, and “Soul Vibrations are the natural result of utter Poise” (1927, p567). As a formula of this process, during the Star Exercise, say to oneself, “I am one with the Universal Life Energy. It is flowing through me now. I feel it” (1927, p63).
“Remember, you are working now with a Power which functions only when relaxation provides It with adequate channels, and your purpose is to attract, not compel, the opportunity you desire. If you indulge the temptation to use your Will at this point you automatically close the channels within you and shift your reliance from the unlimited Energy of the Universe to the very limited and undependable powers of your own mind” (1927, p328).
Another aspect of relaxation is the requisite to conquer fear. “The reason [Power] does not [flow into your body all the time] is because your nerves and cells are contracted on account of the general tenseness of your body and are almost paralyzed and closed up by some latent fear. Naturally under these conditions the Life Force concentrated within your Life Center cannot attract the Universal Life Energy which surrounds your body on every side. That is why Relaxation and Silence are such important exercises for the harmonization of the body… Harmony means Equilibrium, and Equilibrium is Power. If you want to be powerful you must achieve the Balance which Power demands for its most efficient expression” (1927, p64-5). Controlling fear is particularly significant given that Success in life is a direct result of confronting Opposition, the progenitor of fear; and Opposition itself is necessary to develop the Life, Mind and Soul – by forcing their exertion.
Thus to make contact, attract, store, and distribute Life Energy via the body center and throughout the body, and to power the Mind and Soul levels that chase higher order accomplishments (Truth, Love, Poise, etc.), requires relaxation both physical and mental. Once one is aware of this circulation, the reservoir of Universal Life Energy can be tapped in lieu of man’s own limited internal stores; and this is the key that sparks true accomplishment: Success is necessarily limited without access to more Energy than insular man alone can provide. In all pursuits, therefore, it is imperative to first make contact with the Universal Life Energy in order to draw whatever Power may be required.
I am all power. With what power then art thou fighting me?
The process of relaxation, though, cannot be mastered overnight. In the 1927 workbook, each of twenty-seven distinct lessons presents a specific exercise that drills that lesson, yet all such exercises begin with the Star Exercise – as all exercises depend upon the awareness of the energetic center, it is necessary to practice this foundational exercise always. “Do not be discouraged if you fail to get results at once. Perfect relaxation is not an easy thing to achieve. In fact, it is the most difficult of any mental feats, because Mind is volatile, quick, full of aggressive activity. Contact with Universal Intelligence requires stillness, passivity, a rich sense of harmony within. Yet as in everything else, practice and training will develop the necessary poise in the most unruly intellect, and no price you can pay in patience and perseverance is too great if it brings you the power to contact at will the Eternal Source of All Knowledge” (1927, p427-8). “You cannot rush to your destination by your own willful strength; you can penetrate only gradually and steadily into that remote inner chamber of your Being” (1927, p468).
April 20th, 2007
Three depictions from The Nuclear Platypus Biscuit Bible by Pope Gus Rasputin Nishnabotna Sni-A-Bar Freak The First, 1990 A.D.
The God-Biscuit (p6).
“Just then a giant flaming tree sloth ran across the stage carrying a billboard that said ‘I have no eyelids and must lick my own eyeballs to keep them moist. Call for help.’ No one noticed” (Biscuitus 48).
“The Eight Primal Vibrations of the Biscuitist Reality Structure. The God-Biscuit is one of many and the First among Them; though S/He is now All Things, at first S/He was only One. In Hir are the four elements yet S/He is and is not an element. S/He is a spirit yet has a universal body…” (p21).
“This sentence has you under its control for the moment, because you will continue reading it until it has nothing left to say… This sentence refers to the fact that this sentence refers to itself… This sentence refers to every sentence that does not refer to itself… This sentence is the thought you are currently thinking. If you are not reading this sentence please ignore it, otherwise do not ignore it… This sentence misses the point it was supposed to make, so never mind” (Appendix V: How To Understand Appendix V).
April 14th, 2007
“Students of the occult are acquainted with the idea of the elemental essence, that strange half-intelligent life which surrounds us in all directions, vivifying the matter of the mental and astral planes. This matter thus animated responds very readily to the influence of human thought, and every impulse sent out, either from the mental body or the astral body of man, immediately clothes itself in a temporary vehicle of this vitalized matter. Such a thought or impulse becomes for the time a kind of living creature, the thought-force being the soul, and the vivified matter being the body… sometimes they speak of the thought-form as ‘an elemental'” (p15).
18. Vague intellectual pleasure.
“Yellow in any of man’s vehicles always indicates intellectual capacity, but its shades vary and it may be complicated by the admixture of other hues. Generally speaking, it has a deeper and duller tint if the intellect is directed chiefly into lower channels, more especially if the objects are selfish. In the astral or mental body of the average man it would show itself as yellow ochre, while pure intellect devoted to the study of philosophy or mathematics appears frequently to be golden, and this rises gradually to a beautiful clear or luminous lemon or primrose yellow when a powerful intellect is being employed absolutely unselfishly for the benefit of humanity. Most yellow thought-forms are clearly outlined, and a vague cloud of this color is comparatively rare. It indicates intellectual pleasure—appreciation of the result of ingenuity, or the delight felt in clever workmanship” (p40).
40. An intellectual conception of cosmic order.
“The thinker endeavors to think of the action of spirit upon matter. Here we have an upward-pointing triangle signifying the three-fold aspect of the spirit, interlaced with the downward-pointing triangle, which indicates matter with its three inherent qualities. It is noteworthy that in this case the thinker is so entirely occupied with the intellectual endeavor, that no color but yellow is exhibited within the form. There is no room as yet for emotions of devotion, of wonder, or of admiration; the idea which he wishes to realize fills his mind entirely, to the exclusion of all else. Still the definiteness of the outline as its stands out against its background of rays shows that he has achieved a high measure of success” (p60)… an “example of a beautiful thought-form created in definite meditation by one who, through long practice, has learnt how to think” (p28).
43. Intellectual aspiration.
“Here we have a great clear-cut spear or pencil of the pure pale violet which indicates devotion to the highest ideal, and it is outlined and strengthened by an exceedingly fine manifestation of the noblest development of intellect. It will be noted that in both the colors there is a strong admixture of the white light which always indicates unusual spiritual power” (p64).
April 4th, 2007
Three more illustrations from Fludd’s Utriusque Cosmi … Historia (see previous entry), these describing “man’s sciences as they relate to self-knowledge” (p88).
Man “is shown reaching from the Divine triangle down to the Ape, which represents his own efforts to imitate God’s work. His achievements towards self-understanding and self-discovery are prophecy, geomancy, the art of memory, the interpretation of natal horoscopes, physiognomy, palmistry, and the ‘science of pyramids’. The latter is Fludd’s own invention” (p89): these triangles are the microcosmic analog to the macrocosmic, which show “the interpenetration of material and spiritual qualities in the form of dark and light pyramids” (p43), the fundamental cosmic duality (again, see previous entry).
“The memory can be enormously enhanced by transmuting concepts into visual and spatial images: herein lies the secret of the Ars Memorativa of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance… Here the three ventricles are shown… but the things to be memorized are brought from the obscurity of the back of the head and exposed to the eye of imagination. The images are the Tower of Babel, Tobias and the Angel, an obelisk, a storm at sea and the Last Judgement” (p89).
“The gift of prophecy can come directly from God, or else indirectly, through the ministration of demons… Just as the Sun shines perpetually on all men, so God incessantly offers his pearls of wisdom, and those who receive them become prophets. But the evil demons can also give knowledge, inasmuch as they had it before their fall” (p90).