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Date: Mon, 23 Dec 1996 21:23:26 -0800
From: Adam McLean
>> Often the homunculus could be seen as hermaphrodite.
Belle Hall wrote:
>But does a man who first contemplates the hermaphrodite
>see emasculation before he sees the uniqueness of the hermaphrodite?
>I saw confusion in the androgyny before I saw it as halfway to where I
>may be going?
I myself have never seen the hermaphrodite as an emasculated male figure, but rather as an entity having its own unique nature. It does not live in my mind, as an effeminate male figure or a virago, but as a unique type of being.
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 16:36:46 -0800
From: Belle Hall
> >But does a man who first contemplates the hermaphrodite
> >see emasculation before he sees the uniqueness of the hermaphrodite?
> I myself have never seen the hermaphrodite as an emasculated male figure,
> but rather as an entity having its own unique nature. It does not live in my
> mind, as an effeminate male figure or a virago, but as a unique type of being.
Dear Adam McLean,
Please forgive me. One of the first things I tell my students each year
is that my sense of time, space and order is generally not in sync with
the mainstream. I have been known to tell the punchline only to have a
student point out that I "forgot" to tell the story. Your insightful
response reminds me how much I have learned in 10 short months. It was
initially that I saw the hermaphroditic figure as perhaps "lacking."
Never having seen such a figure before, my childlike nature went "Oh
yuck!" As I study the figure now as symbolic for a higher understanding
I can see it (I don't like that word-how about personage?) as the unique
being the personage represents. Perhaps it also symbolizes to some
degree the unique qualities it takes to monitor a necessary (at least for
me) discussion group as well as the patience to gently "teach" a teacher.
I will work harder at tellings that are in the correct order. What would
Dr. Carl say about that in regards to alchemy?
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 1996 16:55:36 +0000
Is not the alchemic reference to the King and Queen conjoined
aka the Hermaphrodite an allusion to the Platonic concept of the
same principle. That is to say the Hermaphrodite represent the fulness
of the Man, Adam Qadman of the Kabballah, Wang, of the Far Eastern
tradition, or perhaps more useful to a alchemic discussion the
Universal Man of the Islamic esoteric tradition. ?? Thus the
hermaphrodite is in no way emaculated but represents symbolically
the fulness of Man's potentialities.
the servant of God,
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 16:09:53 -0500
From: Bernard Bovasso
Belle Hall writes:
>> Often the humunculus could be seen as hermaphrodite.
>I know very well what you are saying to me and understand
>your kindness in its intent. But does a man who first
>contemplates the hermaphrodite see emasculation before
>he sees the uniqueness of the hermaphrodite?
If a man or a woman are conditioned in Freudian localisms they
may be happy to see "emasculation" to account for and thus
justify however they may feel inadequate. But you will notice
that "emasculation" is in effect a sacrifice of power that has become
genderized in our own time and detailed as male (qua the phallus
and the male seminal function). That is an unfortunate localism since
power may be represented in a multitude of ways. For example, the
handless maiden and the lion who loses his paws was recently discussed.
In either case the sacrifice of power is required before the process
may commence. But if one's ego locates the sum of power located
in the genitals, then the term "emasculation" may be appropriate. It is only
one avenue to surrendering power and is fraught with dread for the simple
reason that it indicates a process involvement on the way
to a stupendous change.
> I saw confusion in the adrogyny before I saw it as halfway to
>where I may be going? If that even makes any sense. In a way I
>answered my own question in that it is what is in the
>composition of the base metal in the first place that determines
>how the alchemist sees the initial homoncula.
Yes, in the first place, as you say, and which is the original (*arche*)
place of the protohyle and prima materia represented as a
*massa confusa* or condition of undifferentiated natures, gender
difference is also con-fused. The hermaphrodite is a next step
in this fusion state but already indicating the elements of difference
as maleness/femaleness, animus/anima, Sol/Luna, etc., or as you
may prefer it, Humunculus/homuncula. The danger run here, of
course, is of literalizing or ontically fixing these states in becoming
so that the (in this case) gender fusion is allowed to prevail as the
entire trip and by which the personal identity is accommodated. This
would amount to an arresting of process, but worst of all, precluding it
working its way to the completion (of self-discovery).
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 97 06:45 PST
(I wanted to pitch in here to relieve Belle of the "only female" experience!)
My understanding of the Hermaphrodite is that it is not made from
us, but we of it. I have been taught that as entities we were neither
female or male and in the desire to experience the form of matter we
created bodies of both polarities to descend into. After that, we were
separated into gender and now the challenge is to pull ourselves back
together through levels of consciousness.
The homunculous, from how I understand it, is the test of an
alchemist, to burnish him/her into another level of understanding,
that of creation. As Richard pointed out, it ends up displaying and
acting out all the qualities of ourselves that we are unaware of and the
final part of the test is to understand that we created it and can uncreate
it, but that can only be accomplished once we recognize the homunculus
to be ourselves. A great fictional account of this burnishing is in The Red
Lion by Maria Orsi.
From: Vladimir Georgiev
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 23:48:40 +100
From Jean.MacIntyre@ualberta.ca (Jean MacIntyre)
The Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association
The Multicultural Middle Ages and Renaissance:
A Dialogue of the Disciplines
Sponsored by the University of Alberta
The Banff Centre for Conferences
May 15-18, 1997
3. Max Bell 156 History of Science
Chair : Robert Graybill, Central Missouri University
"Holy Hermaphrodites and Medical Facts" The Depiction of Hermaphrodites in
Alchemy and Medicine"
Date: Sun, 2 Mar 1997 16:51:40 GMT
From: Caroline Robertson
>The Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association
>The Banff Centre for Conferences
>May 15-18, 1997
>"Holy Hermaphrodites and Medical Facts" The Depiction of Hermaphrodites in
>Alchemy and Medicine"
If you go and if there is a transcript of the talk, I would be interested to
receive it. but if not, then no matter.