Tag Archives | Alchemy

Alchemical Alembics and Desert Wines – An Interview with James Maynard Keenan

From David Metcalfe, over at Modern Mythology:

Last year I had the opportunity to speak with James Maynard Keenan for a short Q & A that ran in Alarm Magazine. Keenan’s work with the bands Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer have penetrated deep into the cultural consciousness, but it was another passion of his that provided the impetus for the article. In the heart of the Verde Valley he is currently developing the Arizona Stronghold Wines partnership, which includes development of Merkin Vineyards, and creation of his own winery, Caduceus Cellars.

In researching for the interview I came to realize that there’s far more to what Keenan is doing with his wine craft than I’d first expected. A focus on community growth, desert permaculture, and sustainable, socially integrated business practices demonstrates a different side of Keenan’s genius, which in other applications has allowed him to become one of the most successful artists in the contemporary music industry.

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Pharmakia: Traditional Medicine and Black Magick

An excerpt from Riding the Fine Line, by Gabriel D. Roberts. Purchase it here.  

I was taught as a young person that the Bible spoke out against black magick, or witchcraft. To a Christian, these terms are interchangeable. In college I learned the Koine Greek word for witchcraft was ‘pharmakia’. As it happens, this word is where we get the term pharmacy from and as a blanket statement was a biblical assertion of the condemned use of alchemic means of mixing natural ingredients for one’s own gain. I find it very ironic that this term is used as a proof against recreational use of entheogenic substances and naturally occurring plants. It’s time I brought the truth to light. There’s something very insidious about this modern contextual viewpoint that western society has embraced. You see, while puritanical groups maintain this argument, they take pills from mega-pharmaceuticals for every ailment under the sun.… Read the rest

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Sightings Of The Ghost Of Occult Alchemist Cagliostro Reported In Italian Town

Mass fear that a notorious spirit has returned? Spookiness via Gazzetta del Sud:

Italian paranormal-phenomena experts have been called to the Tuscan hilltown of Arezzo to probe a dozen alleged sightings of the ghost of legendary 18th-century alchemist, adventurer, con-man and occult dabbler ‘Count’ Cagliostro.

We aren’t here to ‘bust’ any ghosts, we simply study phenomena which appear strange,” said Massimo Merendi of the National Ghost Uncover association. The sightings, “of a two-metre-tall cloaked figure” have occurred in the centre of the town, near its famous Duomo, between March 2011 and last month, Merendi said.

An alchemist, fake physician and necromancer, Cagliostro became extremely rich selling miraculous cures and elixirs of youth, also posing as the founder of an occult branch of freemasonry. Although he was an impostor, his daring and ingenuity briefly made him the darling of Europe. Arrested for heresy in Rome in 1789 he was condemned to death but the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and he died unsung in a prison in the hilltop town of San Leo near Urbino.

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America’s Alchemical Roots

Our rich cultural history is one of the unfortunate victims of the pathetic cultural battle between Creationist and Neo-Atheist cliques. Were the founders of the United States hardline Christians? Secular humanists? Just typing these questions, I’m bored already. Thankfully, there’s evidence they weren’t either, seems like a good number of them were Alchemists.

“Puritan alchemists founded America; sounds like bad fiction but it’s fact.  As befits a young republic, the history of the earliest origins of American Metaphysical Religion amounts to a long list of extraordinary characters, daring experiments, and unlikely friendships.  We’ll meet alchemists who persecuted witches, alchemists who were governors, and several alchemists who served as presidents of the first American colleges.  The community of alchemists at home and abroad was in constant touch with each other, eagerly exchanging techniques, results, and useful writing published and unpublished.  At the heart of this vital cosmopolitan movement for cultural evolution were the intelligencers, discerning men who were so respected they became gatekeepers.  By exchanging letters (sometimes in secret codes), samples, and books with fellow seekers of knowledge across continents and oceans they became the Internet hubs of their day.  If a valuable discovery was made in a far off land, news of it would soon be all over the world thanks to the intelligencers.

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Scientists Discover Bacteria That Turns Toxic Chemicals Into 24-Karat Gold

Alchemy by bacteria, via the Huffington Post:

Scientists have developed a bug which produces pure gold. The team at Michigan State University say that they found the bacteria Cupriavidus metallidurans is able to take gold chloride, a toxic chemical found in nature, and turn it into 24-karat gold.

“Microbial alchemy is what we’re doing – transforming gold from something that has no value into a solid, precious metal that’s valuable,” said Kazem Kashefi, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics.

Unfortunately however the process isn’t particularly cost-effective meaning that it is more expensive to enact the conversion than the actual value of the gold produced.

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Randall Carlson on The Meaning of Sacred Geometry

The Meaning of Sacred Geometry
by Randall Carlson

Most of us tend to think of geometry as a relatively dry, if not altogether boring, subject remembered from our Middle school years, consisting of endless axioms, definitions, postulates and proofs, hearkening back, in fact, to the methodology of Euclids Elements, in form and structure a masterly exposition of logical thinking and mental training but not the most thrilling read one might undertake in their leisure time. While the modern, academic approach to the study of geometry sees it as the very embodiment of rationalism and left brain, intellectual processes, which indeed it is, it has neglected the right brain, intuitive, artistic dimension of the subject. Sacred geometry seeks to unite and synthesize these two dynamic and complementary aspects of geometry into an integrated whole. Robert Lawlor addresses this fundamentally dualistic nature of geometry in his essential work: Sacred Geometry – Philosophy and Practice (1982), in reference to a medieval representation of geometry as a woman seated at a table, with compasses in hand, surrounded by the implements of the art:

 

“Geometry as a contemplative practice is personified by an elegant and refined woman, for geometry functions as an intuitive, synthesizing, creative yet exact activity of mind associated with the feminine principle.Read the rest

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Damon Albarn’s Dr Dee

DeeHieroglyphSixteenth Century mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I, English magus John Dee devoted his life to the study of alchemy, divination and Hermetic philosophy. He sought to contact angels through Edward Kelley, a “scryer” or crystal-gazer, who would act as an intermediary between Dee and the angels. Dee claimed that angels dictated several books to him this way, some in a special angelic or “Enochian” language, which has been the source of much fascination in more recent times.

One modern Englishman who has caught the Dee bug is musician Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz, etc.), who has just premiered a visionary new opera entitled simply, Dr Dee. Ben Wooley tells more about Dee in this interview, and below is a sample of Albarn’s album:

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The Occult, Alchemy and Black Swan

black-swan-dvd-2I received a strange knock on my afternoon door earlier this week, followed by the sound of something hitting the wood floor in the hallway and hurried footsteps fading down the stairs. Opening the door, a large white envelope stared up at me, the unblinking red postmark stamp as omniscient as the eye of Solomon.

I grabbed the package, closed the door and locked it. The new Black Swan DVD had arrived.

Darren Aronofsky’s tale-within-a-tale, Black Swan was one of last year’s best films. Many are familiar with the Oscar-nominated flick’s re-telling of the Swan Lake ballet to create a psychological horror flick that explores the perils of artistic perfection.

The movie has rightly earned it’s place among genre classics like Rosemary’s Baby and Carrie and — like the former — Black Swan is rife with occult symbolism and references that add weight to the scary-movie-cliches, making this bloody ballet one of those unique films that define a genre at the same time that it transcends the limits of that genre’s conventions.… Read the rest

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Isaac Newton, Alchemist

William Blake's 'Newton' (1795)

William Blake's 'Newton' (1795)

Natalie Angier has written an excellent introduction to the work of Sir Isaac Newton in the tradition of alchemy, which is generally downplayed in the history books but was a major part of Newton’s research, for the New York Times:

…Sir Isaac had a whole other full-time career, a parallel intellectual passion that he kept largely hidden from view but that rivaled and sometimes surpassed in intensity his devotion to celestial mechanics. Newton was a serious alchemist, who spent night upon dawn for three decades of his life slaving over a stygian furnace in search of the power to transmute one chemical element into another.

Newton’s interest in alchemy has long been known in broad outline, but the scope and details of that moonlighting enterprise are only now becoming clear, as science historians gradually analyze and publish Newton’s extensive writings on alchemy — a million-plus words from the Newtonian archives that had previously been largely ignored.

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Terence McKenna Channels John Dee

Good morn, good readers.

I woke early to a cloudy Sunday in the Old South, however, this dark little gem has polished my resolve. Wrap yourself in melancholy and join Terence McKenna for this trip through the history of The Great Work.

Terence McKenna’s The Alchemical Dream: Rebirth of the Great Work is a 2008 film produced by the good people at Sacred Mysteries.

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