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The Alchemy Academic Forum 201-250From August 13th 1996, the Alchemy forum was restructured and the messages were sequentially numbered prefixed with the letter A. This is an unedited extract of messages 201-250.
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Subject: A0201 St. John's Crystal Gold?
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 16:26:28 -0400
From: Gilbert Arnold
An extract of St- John's Wort flower is blood red (with olive oil or SV), as
are certain "gold preparations".
Subject: A0202 Ulrich of Mainz
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 17:31:15 GMT
From: Rafael Cruz
Does somebody have reference about any books or information about Ulrich of
Mainz (Ulrrico de Maguncia)?
I ask your pardon because this is second time I ask for this, but last time
I used only author Spanish name.
Rafael Cruz Vittini
Cruz-Vittini & Asociados
Apartado Postal A - 30
Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.
Subject: A0203 Boehmes` Signature Rerum'
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 96 10:58 NZST
From: Pat Zalewski
I am after some information on what the seven spiritual properties are in
the 1682 edition of Boehmes `Signatura Rerum'. and its link to Revelation.
This appeared in Alchemical Mandala 17 in Adam`s` Hermetic Journal' no. 17.
Subject: A0204 Zosimos' commentaries (2)
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 19:13:42 -0400
Here then are a few last excerpts from Zosimos to give you a sense of how
this ancient text is composed.
After speaking about those who are forced to obey Heimarmene, Zosimos writes:
"Hermes, in his paper on the natures, called people of this kind senseless."
The Greek word is "anoi," that is, without Nous or ratio, without
understanding, or, in our modern idiom, unconscious; people who do not know
what they say or do. Zosimos says Hermes called people of this nature
senseless. The anima rationalis has signified human consciousness since
olden days, so to be senseless, unreasonable, was even then to be without the
consciousness of reasonable people, and therefore to be delivered over to
Heimarmene, the rule of the stars. Zosimos says that these people whom
Hermes called "senseless" were:
"incapable of understanding immaterial things and could only follow the
Heimarmene, and were not even in the position to understand fate as it led
They had no idea what they were doing because they could only think and see
the concrete things which lay directly in front of them. They were incapable
of interpreting anything.
"They mocked his [Hermes] teaching about corporeal things and gave themselves
to fantasies which went against their own happiness....
But Zoroaster, who rejoices in his knowledge of magic and all higher things,
declares that he turns away from the language of corporeal beings, and that
everything which comes from the Heimarmene is bad, in detail as also in the
The Persian founder of a religion, Zoroaster, lived centuries before Zosimos,
maybe a thousand years, his date is uncertain, and was already then a
legendary figure. He was known to the ancients as a sort of arch-magician,
astrologer and alchemist, who was credited with the knowledge of secrets.
Texts attributed to him probably existed in those days, and he is quoted
with authority here. Zoroaster says that he has turned away from the
language of men who were under the Heimarmene; as it was only concerned with
concrete things which were wholly bad. Such corporeal language would lead to
no divine freedom, in which a symbol could be evolved. Zosimos continues:
"Hermes, however, speaking of external things, condemns magic, and says that
the spiritual man, he who knows himself, does not attain things through
magic, and does not think it decent to force necessity [fate], but allows
things to happen as they would by nature and authority. He has only one
goal, to strive to know himself and God, and to rule the inexpressible Trias
Apparently Hermes entirely renounces magic, he says it is not right for
spiritual men. He defines the spiritual man as he who knows what he is doing
in that he knows himself. He is conscious of himself, and is endowed with
divine intelligence, he is not cursed with only being able to think
concretely, but can think beyond himself. He does not think it decent to
offer violence to fate, that is, he refuses to use magic to overthrow fate.
This latter device was naturally attempted a great deal at that time, magic
was used to avert unfavorable destiny. But Hermes rejects this procedure,
and says things should be allowed to happen as they would by nature and rule;
that is, one should let fate flow over one, without losing one's reason.
But beyond that, the spiritual man must rule the "inexpressible triad." The
word "triad" is usually taken as an allusion to God, f.i., to the Trinity.
The classical conception of the Greek Orthodox Church, "Hagia Trias," is not
used here. Zosimos simply says "Trias" and thus leaves it uncertain whether
he alludes to the former. But it is the task of the spiritual man to govern
this triad. No Christian could say that he must govern the Holy Trinity; for
that is God himself, but Zosimos says the spiritual man must learn to know
God and himself, and to govern the triad, so this triad cannot possibly be
the Holy Trinity, it must be something else. Alchemy did know of another
trinity, the trinity of the underworld, Hecate Tricephalos, and also the
three-headed hound of Hell. It would make sense to govern the demonic,
three-headed Hecate, or three-headed hound, so it is more probable that
Zosimos alluded to this, and that he means the spiritual man should learn to
rule the world of dark bodies, into which man is born and entangled by the
Heimarmene. Zosimos writes, speaking of the spiritual man:
"He allows fate to do as it pleases, in that he lets it fulfill itself in
earthly life, that is, through the body."
Spiritual man, according to Zosimos, allows whatever fate has decreed in the
eternal stars to fulfill itself, in that he gives his body to its purpose,
for it must be fulfilled in his personal destiny. He uses no magic to avert
his fate in any way. This means: he puts distance between himself and his
own body, his physical existence, in that he has discovered the existence of
his spiritual freedom. He goes on:
"He [Hermes] expresses himself in the following way: 'If thou understandest,
and if thou dost conduct thyself as is suitable, thou wilt behold the Son of
God, who has become All, for the benefit of devout souls. In order to free
thy soul from the bosom of the corporeal region, ruled by the Heimarmene, and
to lead it over into the incorporeal region, behold how He has become All,
namely God, angel, and man who is subject to suffering. He, who can do All,
becomes everything as he will; he obeys his father, in that he penetrates all
substances and enlightens the spirit of each one; he has soared up into the
happy region, where he was before he became flesh. Thou wilt follow him,
encouraged and led in that light."
This passage which one is inclined to connect to Christianity, but when
examined more closely, is discovered that the Christian analogy is doubtful.
The passage contains ideas which were unknown in Christianity, but which are
found in the Gnostic literature, f.i., the concept of the redeemer, and the
idea that the Son of God should become All for the benefit of the souls to be
saved. Other Gnostic ideas contained in this passage are: that the God
transforms himself into the elements, became every kind of creature and
thing, in order to redeem the whole cosmos, and that he, too, is subject to
This passage from a Hermetic writing, quoted by Zosimos, formulates the
teaching which is the basis of the alchemical philosophy of Zosimos. It
appears that it is Gnostic knowledge, and that this Son of God is closely
related to the Monogenes found in the Codex Brucianus. The idea of an
all-penetrating spirit that permeates all substances is a gnostic idea, and
it became the foundation of later alchemy. This idea came up in an earlier
passage in a previous post where Zosimos wrote that the task of the alchemist
was to free the divine soul and spirit bound in matter. That's the spirit
that permeates everything. In the quote from Hermes, it is a spirit which
penetrates all things with the purpose of redeeming them. This corresponds
to the divine water of alchemy, which is said to penetrate all things and
transform them, and also to free the spirit which is bound in them. Skipping
some, Zosimos writes:
"....Now I come to my subject, which concerns the apparatus. I have read the
letters that thou [Theosebeia] wrotest unto me, and have seen, that thou
askest me to give thee a description of the apparatus. I was astonished to
see that thou wouldst receive information from me, about things which may not
be known. Hast thou not heard of the philosopher who said: 'I have
intentionally kept silence about these things, for they are fully described
in my other writings.' And yet thou wouldst hear of them from me. But do
not believe, that what I write will be more worthy of credence, than that
which the ancients said, and know that I cannot surpass them. But that we
may hear all that they said, I will expose what I know unto thee. It is the
A vessel of glass, a tube of clay an ell long. A retort or vessel with
a narrow mouth, the neck of which should correspond to the size of the tube.
One should have a bowl of water and moisten the vessel with a sponge."
This was, of course, the old method of cooling the neck of a retort, so that
the distilled substance should settle at the bottom when it cooled.
"For sublimated vapors, as well as for mercury, it is the same vessel. One
can fix mercury in the vessel and in similar apparatus, which have a
receptacle twisted in the form of a snake."
This is a kind of apparatus used for distillation.
"The mercury is made yellow by the steam of the sulphur [theion], as the old
The treatise continues with certain chemical transformations which have
nothing to do with reality. The chemical instructions are absolutely
incorrect, one is not surprised that he says they are not worthy of credence;
and yet he writes about them for pages. This is not uncommon in such texts.
You fall from one hole into the next when you read these texts. You think
you know what the author means, and then in the next sentence it is
contradicted. Sometimes what the alchemists say about their ingredients,
such as lead or quicksilver, seems to be reasonable, but most of the time you
shake your head in despair. But I hope I have done justice to Zosimos. His
writings are extraordinarily interesting and have great historical importance
in the development of ideas in the Latin alchemical treatises.
Comments and further reflections are welcome. Please send them off-list, if
Subject: A0205 The Language of the Birds
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 17:02:18 -0500
From: George Leake
At first I thought this whole discussion was a bit silly, but apparently
there's more to it than meets the eye.
Just wondering, by sheer chance, if this technique might have anything at
all to do with the Ars Memoria
Subject: A0206 The Language of the birds
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 22:03:45 -0700
From: Michael Prescott
>From: Pablo Bermudez
>Fulcanelli clearly afirms that there must be no confusion on the meaning of
>the Language of the birds, explicitly describing it as a sacred "technic" used
>by old cultures to express certain knowledge.
>He makes a clear distinction between the Jewish Kabala, which means
>tradition and the term cabala, derived from the Latin caballus. He found the
>lost key of this language, known as Language of the Gods or Language of the
>birds. He even afirms that Jonathan Swift knew it deeply and practiced it
>in a particular way.
Caballus of one derivation meaning Horse, which may be confirmed by the
second part of his remark:
Jonathan Swift (clearly a play on birds) in Gulliver's Travels about Gulliver's
visit among Houyhnhnm. The Houyhnhnm were an intelligent race of Horse
who ruled over savage yahoo's represented by primitive human hunter-gatherers.
Gulliver considered the Houyhnhnm a 'perfected horse' and ironically the
Houyhnhnm regarded Gulliver as a 'perfected yahoo'.
Gulliver's guardian Houyhnhnm is thereafter refered to as his 'Master'.
So what does it all mean? I believe the 'language' not to be a human or
physical creation, but a gnosis or world view whereby knowledge is understood
not by the perception of contrast, but of a 'knowing' through the signs,
signiture and symbol: the whole.
Hense, Swift in his allusion to mastership and perfection he chose the symbol
of the latin caballus: horse. Perhaps a particular rank within that tradition.
Another horse story from the stream of history:
The Horse also plays a part in Alexander the Great, in which his father
Phillip of Macedon in trying to 'break-in' a horse, gave up declaring it
unruly. But the young Alexander, turned the horse by its reigns, into the
sunlight, that it might see its own shadow, whereupon the horse
immediately calmed. Thence he was sent to be schooled by Aristotle in
Greece, where he acquired a love for Homer and an infatuation wit
the heroic age.
Subject: A0207 The Language of the birds
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 14:02:02 +0100
From: Joel Tetard
Michael Prescott wrote:
>Jonathan Swift (clearly a play on birds) in Gulliver's Travels about
>Gulliver's visit among Houyhnhnm.
>So what does it all mean? I believe the 'language' not to be a human
>or physical creation, but a gnosis or world view whereby knowledge is
>understood not by the perception of contrast, but of a 'knowing' through the >signs,signiture and symbol: the whole.
For people who can read French, I do suggest they read a (rare) book written by
Eugene Canseliet which could be certainly helpful to clarify the debate
on the Language of Birds and Phonetic Cabala.
"L'Hermetisme dans la vie de Swift et dans ses voyages".
Editions Fata Morgana 1983
I am unable to translate these very interesting pages from this book but
I'll try to give you just a sample. "Pun" is a wonderful game for
children and I hope you have still your humour!
(Perhaps I'd better to write "steal" or "steel" even "stealth" rather
than "still". Actually, it's a little bit "alambiqué" game !!)
According to Canseliet, Gulliver would came from
As a result, Gulliver means in Old French "le Ver du Vaissel" (or in
Modern French "le printemps du vaisseau" or "le printemps du bateau"
which could be translated in "the Spring of the Vessel").
Let's play now :
"Le Ver du Vaissel" sounds like "le Verre du Vaissel" (the Glass of the
Vessel) or "le Vert du Vaissel" (The Green of the vessel) or "Le Verre
du Vrais Sel" or "le Vert du Vrais Sel" or "le Verre du Vrais Scel" or
le " Vert du Vrais Scel" (The green of the real seal).
An other interesting point (I hope !):
Gulliver sounds like Guriver. Gurh is the mercurial liquid which is the
origin of all minerals growing into the Earth. This name is very close
to the Greek word Guros which means "rock".
If you are looking to the meaning of VITRIOL I think you have now an
Subject: A0208 Language of the birds - Roy Norvill's books
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 23:39:17 +1000
From: Don Foster
For those who would like to read more on Hermetic allegories and
'language of the gods/ birds', then the 2 books by Roy Norvill, "Hermes
Unveiled" (Ashgrove Press/ UK.. $17:50/ £9:99) and "The Language of the
Gods" (Ashgrove Press/ UK) will provide a huge cross-section of examples
from Egyptian and Greek myth to the Old Testament; the Gospels of
Christ; the Mother Goose allegorical fairy stories; hermetic allegorical
writers such as da Vinci, Isaac Newton, John Dee, Daniel Defoe, Victor
Hugo and Mary Shelley are cited.
While Roy Norvill is no hermetic initiate, and the material is certainly
not in the class of Fulcanelli or Adiramled, it nevertheless gives a
good overview of the breadth and pervasiveness of hermetic allegory and
our hidden unconscious 'phonetic cabala', throughout all history and
across all cultures.
Subject: A0209 Re the Alchemy Academic Forum
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 96 15:28:35 EST
I have stumbled recently onto what I can only describe as a most unusual and
intriguing message board. I have read a large amount of the messages and
remain somewhat confused. What is it precisely that the people on this board
do, try to do, and have done? Is it a spiritual art, Christian art, Judeo-Christian
art, quabalistic art (such as tarot), or simply an art such as poetry or painting?
What is its relation to standard, scholastic science?
I am long on curiosity and short on knowledge, and I realize that answering
questions is tantamount to asking for the gift of another's time.
I thank you for your patience for an "un-initiate".
Subject: A0210 The language of the birds
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 22:57:25 +0100
>From: Alex Isidoro
>I think that the language of the birds also called the diplomatic
>language is slang. Fulcanelli refers mostly to French slang since French
>was the official diplomatic language in Europe up to the beginning of
>the XX century.
I think it is interesting that the word for 'slang' in French is 'Argo'
and although some relationships do not appear in the OED, it is possible
that there may be an etymological link to the Argonauts of Greek myth.
Jason not only steals the Fleece but also visits the garden, a subject
that has been widely use by the Philosophers. Some people have gone
further in suggesting a relationship to 'art-go-etic' from where they
derive Goetic and Gothic, the latter being of interest to Fulcanelli.
If Fulcanelli is to be believed, then a Gothic Cathedral would seem to
represent a Goetic building by design and while this type of word play
has been used as a secret device, there is no man-made system, it is rather
the secret voice of nature, referred to by Cyrano de Bergerac. By this he
means that nature or God preserves the secrets of the sophic art, not men;
it is perpetuated by nature not by men, it is by its own nature Hermetic.
The Horse of God (cabbalis) is not restricted to words but also includes
phrases such as 'To change horses mid-stream' this refers to the mid-point
of the work.
Louis St Maxent
Subject: A0211 Language of the birds - Grasset d'Orcet
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 20:52:45 +0100
From: Christian and Daniel Dumolard
Dear ORCIS, alias Calhh,
In reply to your message A0167:
>with access to excelent bibliographic records, in helping me obtain
>a copy of the publications by Grasset d'Orcet in Revue Britanique
>(at the end of last century) by the title of "Etude sur le Songe de
>Poliphile" and of the same author "Materiaux Criptographiques" (this
>last publication also apparently reprinted in 1983 (B. Allieu & A.
I have this information:
GRASSET D'ORCET was born in June 1828 in Aurillac (a town in the Department
of Cantal, in the centre of France). After studying in Paris, he travelled
around the Mediterranean. Needing money, he wrote some papers in the
French journal "La Nouvelle Revue Britannique". From 1873 to 1900, he wrote
160 articles, all published in this journal. He died the 2 December 1900 in
the Cusset's town (Department of Allier).
The keys of cryptography, shown in these articles, are used in the following
domains : philosophy, diplomacy, coat of arms. They allowed to express some
ideas which must not be understand by all people. Naturally, these keys are
also used in alchemy.
This is written in an excellent book of Bernard ALLIEU, who republished, in
September 1983, 16 of these articles, in a book in two parts, intitled "Grasset d'Orcet, Materiaux cryptographiques".
You can easily contact Bernard at the following address, near Paris :
He sells himself his - French - books.
(it's not a pub, I just say it for Adam, our dear moderator, ;-)
M. ALLIEU Bernard
4 allee du Bois d'Amour
78320 LE MESNIL SAINT DENIS
The titles of the 16 articles are :
- Un Saint national en Auvergne
- Le noble Savoir
- Rabelais et les 4 premiers livres
- Les dieux sur le pave (the gods out of a job - or on the streets)
- les gouliards (a secret association in the Middle Ages)
- John Gilpin, heros solaire
- le songe de Poliphile (the famous cabalistic book published in
1491 in Venice)
- la Cote-d'or (French Department) et ses monuments druidiques
- la preface de Poliphile
- les menestrels de Morvan (a French region) et de Murcie
- les collaborateurs de Jeanne d'Arc
- le 5° livre de Pantagruel
- le 1° livre de Rabelais
- la danse macabre
- le pacte de famine
The book "part 1" has 311 pages, the "part 2" has 323 pages. Size 15.5 cm *
Auto-published, - reprint ,- by Bernard.
Christian et Daniel DUMOLARD
6, rue de la Liberté
38000 Grenoble, France
Subject: A0212 The language of the birds - other sources
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 15:39:00 -0400
On Sept. 24th, Maurizio Nicosia, in his interesting post, wrote:
>In the mythical and religious world therefore, to speak the language of the
>birds is equivalent to know the mysteries of.. Nature, her profound
>arcana, her abysses. It is equivalent to find again the lost word, the
>Paradise lost ("Its antiquity would remount to Adam.."). That comports
>the consequent development of the divinatories and restores faculties.
>But on that (the language of the birds), Alchemy is silent.
We may have a hint of a reference to this motif in George Ripley ('Opera
omnia chemica', p.10). In speaking about the prima materia, alchemists often
refer to it as a kind of revelation which has been dropped or thrown in, as
you mentioned above - a great and marvellous mystery. This mystery, as you
pointed out, is somehow connected with nature (e.g., "materia lutosa") or
lies in nature, and it appears man's reason is absolutely helpless when
confronted with this mystery, he is unable to deal with it alone. It is
essential, therefore, that nature herself should help him, apart from God,
whose help is also essential. Ripley says that this mysterious "stone is
brought by the birds and the fishes" [The passage runs: "The philosophers
tell the inquirer that birds and fishes bring us the lapis, every man has it,
it is in every place, in you, in me, in everything, in time and space."]
And speaking of other sources, it is a curious fact that almost the same
words are to be found in a logion of Christ's which Ripley could not have
known. At least as far as I know, there is no evidence that the idea of the
kingdom of heaven being brought by the birds and fishes existed in the
tradition of the Church. But these words can be found in the Oxyrhynchus
papyrus discovered in 1903 by Grenfell and Hunt. The passage runs, as
reconstructed by Grenfell and Hunt:
"Jesus saith, [Ye ask? who are those] that draw us [to the kingdom, if] the
kingdom is in Heaven? .... the fowls of the air, and all beasts that are
under the earth or upon the earth, and the fishes of the sea, [these are they
which draw] you, and the kingdom of Heaven is within you; and whoever shall
know himself shall find it. [Strive therefore?] to know yourselves, and ye
shall be aware that ye are the sons of the [almighty?] Father; [and?] ye
shall know that ye are in [the city of God?], and ye are [the city?]."
Had this logion been included in the New Testament it would have brought in
the good pious animals which are missing from its pages, and would have been
an enrichment to the passage where Christ speaks of the growth of the lilies
in the field. In the Oxyrhynchus papyrus it is the birds of the air, and the
fishes of the sea; and in the Ripley excerpt from alchemical literature, it
is the birds and the fishes. It is curious that it should be an English
clergyman, George Ripley, who wrote this and how he came on it is beyond our
Subject: A0213 The Language of the Birds -Terma
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 20:32:33 -0400 (EDT)
From: Steve Feite
I have been quietly watching the conversation here on "The Language of
the Birds" and felt that it might be appropriate to comment on some
striking parallels in another place, in *living* traditions. The place
that comes to mind is the 'Terma' tradition of Tibetan Buddhism (and
Tibetan Bon as well). There is also a similar tradition in the Tantric
traditions of India. A 'terma', briefly defined, is a "treasure". A
physical treasure? yes sometimes. More oft and more appropriately it is
a treasure of Mind, of consciousness. Is this a treasure that you and I
could read? No, most likely not. It can only be read or comprehended by
those who had access to the 'dakini' (fairy or goddess energy) behind the
revelation itself. It should be clear that this is NOT a cipher or an
intellectually derived 'blind'; it is of the nature of the mind itself:
self revealing, yet self-hidden at the same time. Thus it is often
written in the "Dakini Script". I feel this is a language very much akin
to the "Language of the Birds". Indeed, in the Tibetan tradition, one of
the ways treasure is "unlocked" or "unsealed" is through the patterns of
Birds in the sky! It is that subtle. Yet it is also quite profound. A
terma may often be an incredibly profound insight from someone WAY in the
past about something--a teaching, a ritual, a process, a medicine--that
is only *appropriate* for a certain time and place. Thus a realised
individual can glimpse the future--and leave a teaching appropriate as a
'time capsule'--for a given time. Those who receive and can decode such a
teaching (called in Tibetan, a "Terton" or "treasure revealer") may often
remember it for not just a lifetime; the impression is SO deep, that they
may even recall it in succeeding lifetimes. One could even call this deep
enough to be genetic: wrapped within the spiral coil of that which we
call DNA, the code for this physical frame we call "body". Termas exant
in the present, even in the smaller 'organised' "Richen Terdzod" ( a
compilation of certain *Ter*) takes sevral months (3 months typically) to
transmit in oral/ritual form to new initiates. The real extent of terma
extends even further. It true extent is said to be unfathomable: beyond number.
Recent termas cover every concievable topic, from Alchemy to Geomancy to
AIDS and Cancer whatever. It is truly an amazing lineage. The existence
of such a lineage--alive and passed down and used--should be enough to
convince one that, yes, such a blessing could exist in the west, yea, anywhere.
Is the " Language of the Birds" of similar or the same current? It
certainly seems so, to me.
Subject: A0214 The language of the birds
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 09:11:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bermudez, Pablo
I think there is one key point missing in all this discussion about the
language of the birds. First of all, it does not seem to be a sort of
particular encrypting procedure taught from one alchemist to another. It is
more like a discovery found in different languages based on the idea of and
old mother language, and the way men understand nature, their self and their
Maybe in the beginnings, close to the origin of the languages it was taught
in temples in Egypt, India or Babylon, Israel and Syria.
The old wise men knew Latin, Greek and sometimes Arabic languages, all of
them, as the tradition affirms, derived from even older languages. When we
see Fulcanelli working with phonetic cabala, he applies etymology to the
words, looking forward to extract from them the deep original thought which
created that word as a way to help men understand the thing's properties.
Most of the time, combination of smaller words or sounds with a certain
meaning, creating a new one.
Some people, even in this forum, has worked with it by mentioning the
relationship between words an meanings, in different languages, using
etymology to work their ideas.
We can find in mostly all major languages, that they are based on this kind
of approach. They started the same way, maybe from an original root, and,
with the centuries forgot the way they started. That's way Fulcanelli, works
with "argot" or dialects and languages like the one the gypsies speak,
because they remain old, (or based in old rules), original, and still linked
to the basic thought that created them centuries ago.
We also must not forget, languages were created by men, roughly trying to
communicate ideas and describe the world, so, first we must understand men
in the way they think about something, specially in the origins, when it all
Of course, this is only my personal view, not a dogmatic approach to the
Subject: A0215 St. John's Crystal Gold?
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 09:27:45 +0000
From: Thomas Izaguirre
>From: Tom Willard
>Presumably a reference to Revelation 21:18.
Perhaps, but theoretically, transparent gold would have the appearance of
something like green Heisey glass.
>Nihil Sine Numine
Actually, the proper Latin is "Nil Sine Numine."
Subject: A0216 The secret
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 13:36:27 -0400
To follow up on Russ House's interesting post on the subject of "secrecy" of
Sept. 19th (entitled: "Dangers in alchemy"), I thought it might be
interesting to look at what the old medieval masters themselves had to say
about this subject, since "secrecy" is one of the leading ideas of alchemy.
The word for secret, or for that which is concealed, such as a substance,
that is often used by alchemists is the word "arcanum." The *Rosarium* says:
"Plato: This is our material and our secret."
"Noster" always means, in the alchemists' sense of the word, "our;" so "our
materia" must be the substance used by the alchemists in their work. "Our
secret" refers to this mysterious, concealed substance. What the materia of
the alchemists was is their secret. The *Allegoriae Sapientum* warns:
"Hide this work from men, as the word on thy tongue or the fire in thine eye.
Do not speak of it even to thyself, that the wind should not carry thy words
to another, and so bring injury upon thee."
Obviously the idea here is that the secret must be well guarded. It must not
lie on the alchemist's tongue, or be seen in his eye, for if he should betray
it, or another who is not chosen should guess it, it could hurt the
alchemist. So we must conclude that it is also a dangerous thing (as Russ
pointed out in his post). We read in the *Rosarium:*
"Therefore the solid should become volatile. And again the volatile solid,
and in this manner the most precious secret [arcanum] becomes fulfilled,
which higher than the secret of any science of this world, and is an
incomparable treasure [thesaurus]."
The formula here is that everything which is tangible, solid, coarse, and
material should become volatile and vice versa; which is apparently
characteristic of this arcanum. This changing over is a condition of the
opposites, one opposite turns into the other. Heraclitus called this process
enantiodromia. When the small becomes big, the big small, or when a damp
condition becomes dry and vice versa, the opposites become each other. This
is characteristic of this mysterious substance, which goes from cheap into a
precious condition, from a material into a spiritual, and vice versa. It is
evidently a substance which can change in a mysterious way, it lies on the
boundary of the things which we can perceive with the senses, and is
therefore half metaphysical.
The *Rosarium* says in a nice Latin verse:
"Est lapis occultus, in imo fonte sepultus
Vilis et ejectus fimo vel stercore tectus."
Less attractively translated as:
"A stone is concealed, buried below the fountain
cheap and rejected, covered in dung and muck."
Covered in excrement apparently. Such allusions play an important role in
alchemy, it is often assumed that the manure heap and cesspool belong somehow
to the mysterious process. Shaking one's head, one asks: what on earth has
the supreme secret to do with a cesspool? Yet the old masters write that the
arcanum is something impure, cheap and rejected, belonging to the lower half
of man, and which yet becomes, or contains the most important thing, which is
however very easily misunderstood. Note that the secret of alchemy, which
must be kept a secret, is characterized by its very great liability to
misunderstanding. Perhaps it is here that the danger lies. Another text
"If therefore the people knew what a great treasure they held in their hands,
they would not slander it as the cheapest and at the same time the most
precious thing. But God has hidden that from the people in order that the
world should not be devastated."
So if the secret were known, the world would be in danger of being
devastated! Of course, this is a typical example of medieval thinking!
Dorn writes this about the origin of the arcanum:
"Adam left two stone tablets behind, on which the arcanum was engraved. Noah
rediscovered one of these tablets on Mt. Ararat."
This strange statement is not from the Old Testament, but from an
extra-canonical source. Many Mss., concerned with secret tradition came to
light with the dawn of printing, some fakes and some very ancient. Among
these we find a tradition concerning Adam and can trace the existence of a
pre-Christian text, the Henoch or Enoch book, in which we find the idea of a
mystical Adam. This idea was revived by the Gnostics; the mystical Adam is
referred to by Zosimos in the form of a primal man, who was really a man of
light, and who knew the divine secret and the secret of the world, and who
had been enlightened by the Deity. There is also a Ssabian tradition of the
same kind. They were remnants of the Hellenistic Gnostics, who flourished in
Mesopotamia till the 10th century. They claimed that Adam wrote a book of a
1,000 pages, about the qualities of plants, climate, and all kinds of
scientific subjects. The Arab author Mas'udi reports a similar tradition,
and says that Adam received 31 leaves from heaven, covered with the secret
There are many analogous traditions, f.i., among Jews. Maimonides writes:
"Moreh Nebuchim" [teacher or guide of those who have gone astray], says that
the Ssabians declared that Adam wrote books and left them on earth, and that
they still possess such books. Adam had a golden tree from India, and one
made of stone, with incombustible leaves, which he also brought from that
country. This was the secret that Adam possessed, and which he set forth in
his writings. In the *Zohar* we see this idea again - here is a similar
legend about Adam:
"When Adam was in Paradise, God told the angel Raziel, the keeper of the
higher secrets, to give him a book, in which the superior, sacred wisdom was
described. Seventy-two kinds of wisdom were described in this book in six
hundred and seventy sections. By means of this book fifteen hundred keys of
wisdom were given to him, which were not known to the upper saints, and were
kept secret until this book came to Adam. So when Adam received this book,
the highest angels gathered round him, in order to hear wisdom from him, and
said: "Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all
the earth.' [Ps. 57:5] Then the holy angel Hadarniel appeared to him and
said: 'Adam, Adam, keep the treasures of thy Lord secret, for none of the
highest angels are allowed to know so much of the treasures of thy Lord as
thou.' From then on he kept this book hidden and secret, and, until he was
driven from Paradise, he used this treasure of the Lord daily, through which
he discovered the higher secrets, of which even the most excellent angels did
not know. But when he sinned, and broke the law of God, this book escaped
him. Then he smote his head, and descended into the River of Gichoe [Gichon,
one of the four rivers of Paradise; see Gen. 2:13] and remained up to his
neck in water, till his body was covered in rust, and his figure was entirely
changed. The God beckoned to the angel Raphael, who returned the book to
him, and he read in it diligently, and bequeathed it to his son Seth. From
Seth it came to Chanoch and from him, through the generations to Abraham, who
also learnt to know the greatness of his Lord from it."
This is the story of how Adam came to leave a book behind him. The strange
remark, that he went into the water of the river and stayed there till he was
"covered with rust," refers to the descent into the darkness of the world.
Adam was the man of light, he consisted entirely of light till he entered
the body which veiled his light from him. The book was taken from him when
he entered the body, though it was given back to him later. There is still
an earlier tradition, the so-called "Ethiopic Book of Adam," which was
preserved by the Ethiopians: God sent three angels to Adam on the third day
of his exile from Paradise, who brought him presents. The angel Michael
brought him seventy golden rods or branches, which should lighten the
darkness of his cave; the angel Gabriel brought him incense, in order that
its pleasant odor should give him pleasure. The angel Raphael brought him
myrrh to console him in the mourning of his exile and the eclipse of his
light. From all this we can see that Adam originally possessed the perfect
and divine gnosis, but lost it through his original sin. Some part of it,
however, was given back to him in order that he might pass it on, as secret
tradition, to his children and children's children.
The alchemist Hoghelande writes of the arcanum:
"The secret of every thing and life is in a water....the greatest secret is
We meet with the water motif very frequently in alchemical literature; the
secret lies hidden in the water. Khunrath says:
"God has, for certain reasons, strictly forbidden the betrayal of the secret
And Mylius writes:
"But in lead there is dead life, and this should be emphasized as the secret
This ought to be enough examples to give you a sense that the arcanum is
always a matter of the central secret. Hence the very serious injunction to
keep silent. This thing must be concealed, it is not only a secret but a
secret which must be guarded. If one knows, one must not betray, f.i., that
it is concealed in water or lead. Lead also contains the secret in Chinese
alchemy. In Greek alchemy, lead is linked to Saturn, whose peculiar
characteristic was in those days that it was related to the sun, in that it
was believed to circle around the earth. Gradually in the course of
centuries, it spun the lead into the earth as the sun in the course of its
revolutions spun gold into the earth. Saturn and lead were thought to be
cold outwardly and fiery inwardly. It was thought by the Greek alchemists
that a demon lived in lead which sent people mad - a very dangerous demon
[Olympiodorus]. Evidently lead is a symbol of heaviness, depth, darkness and
concealment. Set, in the Osiris myth, when he fastened Osiris into the
chest, covered the lid in lead, so that Osiris was buried in lead, so to
speak. This expresses the same idea, that the worthless substance of lead
contains the most precious substance within.
The alchemist Mylius writes in the above quoted passage, that the "dead life"
in the lead is the "secret of secrets" and Dorn says that the "arcanum
philosophorum" is the lapis. It was also Dorn who wrote of the opposites of
life and death in the image of the human mind. This image was neither alive
nor dead, so "dead life" is neither life nor death. It is something on the
boundary between life and death, a thoroughly mysterious thing, so that we
must really ask ourselves, can we imagine what it is? Did the old alchemists
know what they meant, or did they make a mystery of something which had no
firm foundation? When you consider all their industry, and the endless
number of books they wrote, and the fact that they were anything but fools,
we are bound to conclude that there must be something in it. If it had just
been an epidemic, and hundreds of books had appeared in the course of, say,
20 years, and then disappeared, we could say: that was just an epidemic, we
also have such things in our culture. But, as we know, alchemy lasted over
two thousand years, and great geniuses, such as Goethe, were caught by it.
Indeed, the second part of Faust, his greatest masterpiece, is an
alchemistic confession. So perhaps we may safely assume that it is no
mystery making, but a real secret.
My apologies for stating what may be obvious to some. Comments welcome.
Subject: A0217 St. John's Crystal Gold?
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 17:08:53 -0700
From: Tom Willard
>Nihil Sine Numine
Actually, the proper Latin is "Nil Sine Numine."
Then Nicholas Bernaud is not a proper Ciceronian. He's an interesting
Subject: A0218 The language of the birds
From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 96 11:26:05 +0300
>From: Alex Isidoro
<...it is possible that there may be an etymological link to the Argonauts
The Greek "Argo" is the feminine form of "argos" which means "swift"
("ship" was feminine in Greek); the etymology is so straightforward
that any speculations are out of question.
Subject: A0219 The language of the birds
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1996 08:24:35 -0500
From: George Leake
>Re: A0214 The language of the birds
>From: Bermudez, Pablo
>I think there is one key point missing in all this discussion about the
>language of the birds. First of all, it does not seem to be a sort of
>particular encrypting procedure taught from one alchemist to another. It is
>more like a discovery found in different languages based on the idea of and
>old mother language, and the way men understand nature, their self and their
>..........[rest of message cut]
*so, if your "phonetic cabala" theory is right, really there's much more a
connection here to linguistics than alchemy, right?
Subject: A0220 Meanings of the word alcohol
From: Adam McLean
Date: 27th Sep 1996
After all my struggles to understand the language of the birds in relation to alchemy, today when scanning through the Oxford English Dictionary, I came by serendipidy, upon the definition of alcohol. It made me realise how words and terms metamorphose over the centuries. Alcohol was originally applied to 'kohl' or powdered antimony sulphide, then by extension to any powdered substance, then to quintessences distilled from substances, and at last became specifically applied to spirits of wine, and today is applied to a whole class of organic compounds containing an -OH group. This complex evolution of a common word, perhaps demonstates how difficult it must be to play word games with the concepts and ideas of alchemy
Alcohol, also alcool, alcho(h)ol, alcohole.
[a. med.L. alcohol, ad. Arab. al-koh'l 'collyrium,' the fine powder used to stain the eyelids, f. kahala, Heb. kakhal to stain, paint: see Ezekiel xxiii. 40. It appeared in Eng., as in most of the mod. langs. in 16th c. Cf. Fr. alcohol, now alcool.]
1. orig. The fine metallic powder used in the East to stain the eyelids, etc.: powdered ore of antimony, stibnite, or antimony trisulphide (known to the Greeks); also, sometimes, powdered galena or lead ore. Obs.
[Minsheu Sp. Dict. (1623) Alcohól: a drug called Antimonium; it is a kinde of white stone found in siluer mynes. Johnson Lex. Chym. (1657) 12 Alcohol est antimonium sive stibium.]
1615 Sandys Trav. 67 They put betweene the eye-lids and the eye a certaine black powder made of a minerall brought from the kingdome of Fez, and called Alcohole.
1626 Bacon Sylva 739 The Turkes have a Black Powder, made of a Mineral called Alcohole; which with a fine long Pencil they lay under their Eye-lids.
1650 Bulwer Anthropomet. iv. 69 A Mineral called Alcohol, with which they colour the hair of their Eye-brows.
1819 Pantol. s.v., The ladies of Barbary tinge their hair, and the edges of their eyelids, with al-ka-hol, the powder of lead ore... That which is employed for ornament and is principally antimony, is called al-cohol or isphahany.
2. Hence, by extension (in early Chem.): Any fine impalpable powder produced by trituration, or especially by sublimation; as alcohol martis reduced iron, alcohol of sulphur flower of brimstone, etc. Obs.
1543 Traheron tr. Vigo's Chirurg., The barbarous auctours use alchohol, or (as I fynde it sometymes wryten) alcofoll, for moost fine poudre. [Alcofoll is Catalan.]
1605 Timme Quersit. i. xvi. 83 If this glasse be made most thinne in alchool.
1657 Phys. Dict., Alcolismus, is an operation... which reduceth a matter into allcool, the finest pouder that is.
1661 Lovell Anim. & Min. 3 The alcohol of an Asses spleen.
1751 Chambers Cycl., Alcohol is sometimes also used for a very fine impalpable powder.
1812 Sir H. Davy Chem. Philos. 310, I have already referred to the alcohol of sulphur.
3. a. By extension to fluids of the idea of sublimation: An essence, quintessence, or spirit,' obtained by distillation or 'rectification'; as alcohol of wine, essence or spirit of wine. Obs.
[Libavius Alchymia (1594) has vini alcohol vel vinum alcalisatum a mispr. or perhaps misconception for alcolizatum, see alcoholizated; Johnson Lex. Chym. (1657) 13, Alcohol vini, quando omnis superfluitas vini a vino separatur, ita ut accensum ardeat donec totum consumatur, nihilque fæcum aut phlegmatis in fundo remaneat.]
1672 Phil. Trans. VII. 5059 Assisted by the Alcool of Wine.
1706 Phillips, Alcahol or Alcool, the pure Substance of anything separated from the more Gross. It is more especially taken for a most subtil and highly refined Powder, and sometimes for a very pure Spirit: Thus the highest rectified Spirit of Wine is called Alcohol Vini.
1731 Arbuthnot Aliments (J.) Sal volatile oleosum... on account of the alcohol or rectified spirit which it contains.
1753 Chambers Cycl. Supp., Alcohol is used by modern chemists for any fine highly rectified spirit.
Ibid. Method of preparing Alcohol of Wine.
1794 Pearson in Phil. Trans. LXXXIV. 395 Alcohol of gall nut (tincture of gall nut).
b. fig. Quintessence, condensed spirit.
1830 Coleridge Lect. Shaks. II. 117 Intense selfishness, the alcohol of egotism.
4. (Short for alcohol of wine, this being the most familiar of 'rectified spirits.') The pure or rectified spirit of wine, the spirituous or intoxicating element in fermented liquors. Also, popularly, any liquor containing this spirit. absolute or anhydrous alcohol: alcohol entirely free from water.
1753 Chambers Cycl. Supp. s.v. Spirit, Water is a solvent to alcohol or spirit of wine.
1760 Phil. Trans. LI. 824 Alcohol, or spirit of wine, has been more generally used.
1806 Vince Hydrost. ii. 25 Pure spirits, called alcohol.
1814 Sir H. Davy Agric. Chem. 134 The intoxicating powers of fermented liquors depend on the alchohol that they contain.
1873 Cooke Chem. 14 Alcohol has never been frozen.
1875 Ure Dict. Arts I. 43 The separation of absolute alcohol would appear to have been first effected about 1300 by Arnauld de Villeneuve.
Ibid. 65 If wood-spirit be contained in alcohol, it may be detected... by the test of caustic potash.
Subject: A0221 The language of the birds
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 96 18:05:19 PDT
Are you suggesting that the French Argo is not used to mean slang?
If you check it you will find that is is taken from the Latin not the
Greek. Also one should remember that the Phonetic cabbala is not
governed by the rules of etymology. In any case it is all to easy to get
lost in Phonetics we should not let it detract us from the work. That is
not to say that there is not truth concealed in language but it alone
will lead us to the Stone, they are I think perhaps just signposts.
Subject: A0222 The language of the birds
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1996 16:10:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bermudez, Pablo
Dear George Leake,
Surely, it has to do with linguistics, but, of course, it also has a lot to
do with alchemy, as the alchemist seem to be the only group of people
knowing their rules (and some group of writers with some kind of relation
with hermetism). Also is not my "phonetic cabala theory ". If you read
Fulcanelli's work with patience and attention, you will realize it is his
theory, (or his teacher's) as he mentions in some passages of his books, how
it can be found even in the pre-Greek Doric, and eolian dialects.
It might be possible, as I have keep studying the matter (with help from
postings of this list !) that there might be some sort of procedures after
all. So I'm willing to study more on the matter, as it seems to be very
important for the understanding of certain allegoric and symbolic passages,
in alchemic texts.
Subject: A0223 Symbolic Thinking
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1996 21:19:08 -0400
As an adjunct to the interesting discussion about the "language of the
birds", I offer a (perhaps) similar technique for your consideration. I call
it "symbolic thinking". Most often I employ it in the reading of texts, so
perhaps "symbolic reading" would be a more appropriate term. However, it
also proves a handy tool when considering ideas presented in media other than
written words (meditation, conversation, music, etc.).
Quite simply, symbolic thinking is the creation of mental images that
correspond to each of the ideas/words one is considering/reading. As the
text progresses, the mental images reflect the changing relationships of
ideas discussed, and present one with an interior motion picture-like
There are no set rules for this technique, no foreign language of symbols to
learn. Each mental symbol one uses comes spontaneously from one's own
personal inner language. In this way, impersonal words and ideas, are
translated into completely personal symbols, reflecting one's personal
understanding at any given moment.
It is very easy to teach oneself this technique. Begin with a short passage
which interests you and experiment. When you can read your brief text and
simultaneously maintain a descriptive flow of mental images, then move on to
longer, more complex passages.
Simple mental-visual symbols are easier to wield than extremely complex ones.
I always begin very simply since each symbol is inevitably modified --
therefore complexified -- with the passing text.
Best to you,
Subject: A0224 The language of the Birds and 'Symbolic Thinking'
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996 14:06:30 +0200
From: Maurizio Nicosia
This is not an answer to the questions on Ars memoriae and Symbolic
Thinking, but only a short reflection on the themes.
The symbol faces on the scenery of human experience when the Nature
becomes READABLE, that is it transmutes the 'thing' to 'writing', to
'sign'. The Symbolic viaticum transmutes the universe in poem [or in
hermetic Ars memoriae's book, theatrum, circle (Camillo > Fludd,
The Language of the Birds begins where the 'Symbolic Thinking' ends, is
complete. The Language of the Birds does not read Nature as symbol;
it incarnates the symbol. It does not make books, but breaks them.
et rumpite, frangite libros
Subject: A0225 The language of the birds
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 96 13:50:07 PDT
I am sorry in my haste I forgot to remind you of the name of the ship
that carried Jason. Perhaps if we view this abstractly, or as Rawn
suggests symbolically, we could consider Slang as a ship that carrys what?
Who knows but it is an interesting line of inquiry.
Subject: A0226 The language of the birds
From: William J. Burgos
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 1996 00:17:12 +0900
The recent posts on language has sparked my interest. As an English
language teacher in Japan, I am constantly thinking of finding new
ways to teach this language. When I study Japanese I come across
very interesting associations of 'kanji' or Chinese characters. One
example is the construction of the word telephone. In English the
roots are from Greek meaning 'far away' (tele) and 'voice' or 'sound'
(phone). In Japanese, the word for telephone is 'denwa' meaning
'electric' (den) and 'speaking' (wa). In my experience with Japanese
English students, they were not aware of the origin of the parts of
the words. 'Telephone' is a simple example and I teach my students to
get an image of how English speakers think in their world by
researching for the root meanings.
On the Japanese side, I found an interesting example. The word for
understand is 'wakaru'. The kanji for that word is 'waka' or 'bun'
(there are many pronunciations for the same kanji in Japanese). The
same kanji is used in 'wakareru' which means to separate. How many
times we have separated from a relationship and then began to
understand the dynamics of that relationship?
What does this have to do with alchemy? Although I don't have much
access to alchemy books in Japan and my understanding of kanji is
limited, I could say that when one separates, one understands -
'wakarete wakaru'. Could this apply to any alchemical techniques?
I would suggest that the system of Chinese characters also have a
deeper meaning than is being used in modern Japanese or Chinese.
Being pictorial it is sometimes easier to understand. Does any one
else have any understanding of how Chinese characters might be
related to alchemy?
William J. Burgos email@example.com
Tokyo, JAPAN Phone/Fax: 81 422-34-6741
Subject: A0227 R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, Biographie-Bibliographie, Travaux.
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 1996 14:59:06 +0100
From Christian et Daniel Dumolard, Grenoble, France.
In reply to your message A0199. Sorry, our message is for the moment in
French. If somebody can translate it, thanks to do it !...
Rene Schwaller de Lubicz
BIOGRAPHIE - BIBLIOGRAPHIE :
Rene Adolphe Schwaller, dit de Lubicz-Schwaller, ou aussi Aor, nom initiatique.
Ne le 30/12/1887 a Asnieres (Seine), vecut sa jeunesse a Strasbourg, ou son
pere etait pharmacien.
A suivi des etudes de chimie. Frequenta pendant deux ans la Societe
1887 : Naissance de Jeanne Germain, qui deviendra, apres un premier mariage,
Jeanne Lamy, puis Isha Shwaller de Lubicz.
Elle aura trois enfants de son premier mariage : Jean (deces en 1982), Lucie
(nee en 1908 et decedee en 1984) et Jeanne.
1914 : Mobilise dans un laboratoire de l'armee pour effectuer des analyses
chimiques sur les ravitaillements.
1917 : Publication de " Etude sur les Nombres ", par Aor. 1914, Librairie de
l'Art Independant, Paris.
1918 : Cree le mouvement des " Veilleurs ", pour reveiller la conscience des
buts de l'existence humaine. Les organes de diffusion sont le journal "
L'Affranchi " et la revue " Le Veilleur ". On retrouve dans ce Mouvement des
Veilleurs des noms illustres, comme Fernand Leger, Paul Fort, Andre Spire,
Pierre Loti, Henri Barbusse, Fernand Divoire, Albert Gleizes, ...
Parution de " Necessite ", signe Ahor Mahomt Ahliah. Paris, edition privee.
Parution de nombreux articles dans le periodique mensuel " L'Affranchi ".
1919 : Le 10/01, le poete lithuanien Oscar Wladislas de Lubicz-Milosz (1877
- 1939) lui confère le droit de porter ses armoiries, avec la variante "
Bozawola " ou " La Volonte de Dieu ", en reconnaissance de son appui auprès
des Allies afin d'obtenir l'independance des Etats Baltes, les delivrant
ainsi du joug allemand et de la menace russe. Aor reçoit de plus le titre de
" Chevalier de Lubicz ".
Creation, en fevrier, d'un groupe d'activite nomme " Centre Apostolique "
pour convier a un apostolat toutes les bonnes volontes : "... Remonter aux
sources les plus pures de l'initiation pour repandre les bienfaisantes
clartes ; proclamer, au point de vue metaphysique, la suprematie de
l'esprit, et, au point de vue social, la necessite d'une hierarchie
fraternelle... " Notices et statuts, avec notamment O. W. Milosz, Gaston
Revel et Henri Alvart.
1920 : Journal " Le Veilleur ", revue de Philosophie, de Sociologie, des
Sciences, des Arts, des Lettres et du Theatre. Boulogne-sur-Seine.
1920 : R.A. Schwaller sauve de la démolition la maison de Balzac.
Aor et Isha se marient.
1922 à 1930 : Fondation d'une station scientifique " Suhalia ", avec un
groupe d'amis, a Saint-Moritz, en Suisse.
1925 : Aor realise le vitrail " lotus et flammes ", entierement avec du
sable et sans pigment chimique. D'autres vitraux seront encore effectues par
la suite selon le même procede.
1926 : Parution, par Suhalia, d'un Jeu de Tarot egyptien (25 cartes),
dessine par R. A. Schwaller.
Parution de " L'Appel de Feu " et de " Adam l'Homme rouge ", par Aor.
Saint-Moritz, Engadine, Suisse, Editions Montalia.
1927 : Parution, en octobre, de " La Doctrine ", ( trois conferences faites
a Suhalia par Aor a noel 1926 ) Edition privee, Officina Montalia, Saint-Moritz.
Parution, en novembre, de " Le Livre des Vivants " ( Essai de lois ), par
Aor. Edition privee, Saint-Moritz, Montalia.
1930 : Aor et Isha arrivent a Plan de Grasse (Alpes-Maritime), leur maison
s'appelle "Lou Mas de Coucagno" (Le Mas de Cocagne).
En fevrier, Aor fait un croquis de Champagne, au crayon. Au dos du dessin,
il ecrit : "Fulcanelli ".
1932 : Deces de Julien Champagne le 26/08.
1936 : Front Populaire(tres importants mouvements ouvriers en France),
depart des Schwaller de France vers les iles de Palma de Majorque, Espagne,
ou ils sont invites. Periode de retraite à l'ancien hospice de Raymond
Lulle, à Palma de Majorque, puis nombreux voyages, notamment en Afrique du
nord, avec un interet tres marque pour l'Egypte...
De meme, Isha etudie pendant six ans l'égyptologie classique. Elle recevra
ensuite la revelation de l'authentique alphabet egyptien et des clefs de
lecture secretes des hiéroglyphes. Ce qui lui permettra la decouverte du
sens sacre des textes.
1938 : Suite a la Guerre Civile espagnole, depart pour l'Egypte, a Louqsor,
où ils resteront 15 annees.
Ils seront aides dans leurs travaux et recherches par l'archéologue et
architecte Clément Robichon et l'egyptologue Alexandre Varille qui
travaillent tous deux pour l'Institut Français d'Archeologie Orientale. Ils
seront egalement aides par le dessinateur Alexandre Stoppelaere et Lucie Lamy.
Ils tendent à démontrer que la mentalité egyptienne, construite sur une
realité naturelle est à l'inverse de la notre. Cette position suscitera des
contreverses et menera à la fameuse ..." Querelle des egyptologues "
(Extraits du Mercure de France, Paris, octobre 1951).
1949 : Paution de "Le Temple dans l'Homme ", par Aor. Le Caire, Edition R.
1950 : " Notes sur les points de vue " extraits de " Contribution à
l'egyptologie ", par Isha, edition Schindler.
Parution de " Her-Back Pois Chiche ", par Isha. Premiere partie d'un roman
initiatique d'un jeune fellah dans l'Egypte pharaonique, edition Schindler,
Parution de " Her-Bak " I et " Her-Bak " II, par Isha. Deuxieme partie du
roman initiatique. Edition Schindler, Le Caire.
1951 : Parution de « Du Symbole et de la Symbolique », par Aor. Le Caire,
1952 : Retour en France, suite a la revolution de Nasser en Egypte, au "
Mas de Cocagne ", ou ils vivent maintenant chez Jean Lamy, medecin, fils d'Isha.
1956 : " La Symbolique, son caractere hieratique ", conference par Rene
Schwaller de Lubicz pour le Congres du Symbolisme a Paris, en mai.
1957 : Parution de " Le Temple de l'Homme, Apet du sud a Louqsor ", en trois
tomes, par Aor. Paris, edition Caracteres.
Parution de " L'Ouverture du Chemin ", par Isha Schwaller de Lubicz. Paris,
" Donner la maison a son maitre " conference par Aor, pour le Congres du
Symbolisme a Paris, en juin ; 8p., Atelier de la Rose, n.26.
1958 : Parution de " Le Roi de la Theocratie pharaonique ", par Aor. Paris,
1960 : Parution de " Propos sur Esoterisme et Symbole ", par Aor. Paris,
edition La Colombe.
Parution de " La Lumiere du Chemin ", (suite de "L'Ouverture du Chemein ")
par Isha. Paris, edition La Colombe.
1963 : Parution de " Aor, sa Vie, son Œuvre ", par Isha. Paris, edition La
Parution de " Le Miracle Egyptien ". Compilation des notes de Rene
Schwaller de Lubicz, faites par Isha. Paris, edition Flammarion.
1981 : Parution de « Egyptian Mysteries », par Lucie Lamy.
1982 : Parution de " Les Temples de Karnak , contribution a l'etude de la
pensee pharaonique ", en deux tomes, par Lucie Lamy. Paris, edition
07/12/1961 : Deces d'Aor a Plan de Grasse, enterre au cimetiere de la commune.
25/12/1961 : Deces d'Isha, enterree au meme cimetiere.
07/12/1982 : Deces de Jean Lamy.
07/12/1984 : Deces de Lucie Lamy, agee de 82 ans. Enterree au Thoronet (Var).
TRAVAUX, RECHERCHES :
Suite aux desastres causes par la premiere guerre mondiale, d'une part, et
la robotisation degradante et alienante des conditions de travail de
l'ouvrier, issue de la generalisation du taylorisme et du stakhanovisme dans
les chaines de production, d'autre part, R. A. Schwaller, avec un groupe
d'amis, decident vers les annees 1917-20 de reagir face a cette grave crise
du monde moderne.
Ils cherchent des solutions de rechange, sur un plan moral et philosophique,
a proposer a leurs contemporains.
Finalement, a travers leur mouvement des Veilleurs et les journaux associes
(" Veilleur " et " Affranchi "), ils essayent de promouvoir l'idee de la
realisation de soi-meme a travers le travail artisanal, le chef d'oeuvre de
Plenitude par le travail manuel associe a une demarche interieure d'eveil de
la conscience, c'est la recherche "du geste juste".
Poussant cette logique, ils fondent l'experience de la station scientifique
" Suhalia " a Saint-Moritz (Suisse), de 1926 a 1930, ou un petit nombre
d'elus, de disciples, s'entrainent sous la houlette de leur maitre et de
leur maitresse ( Isha prend en main l'education de jeunes filles selon cet
La bibliotheque alchimique de Suhalia est extremement bien et abondamment
pourvue, notamment de livres rares (ceci peut faire l'objet d'un autremessage).
L'astronomie, la spectroscopie, avec du materiel venu de Berlin,
l'ebenisterie et l'art du vitrail sont pratiques assidument. Il y a une
intense recherche medicale, par le biais de preparation de medicaments
homeopathiques, mais prepares selon une methode d'extraction secrete, sans
alcool. (Cela fera eventuellement un autre message sur le forum).
Puis, apres le sud de la France et Palma de Majorque aux iles Baleares,
c'est le depart pour l'Egypte jusqu'en 1952.
A travers les monuments pharaoniques et l'enseignement esoterique et de
sagesse des hieroglyphes, la recherche " du geste juste " devient la
recherche " du geste juste au moment juste ".
C'est a dire que les Schwaller integrent maintenant la vision cosmique et
universelle des choses, en replacant les faits materiels dans un contexte
spirituel beaucoup plus eleve et large. C'est une recherche intense des
grandes lois d'harmonie universelle, valables pour l'alchimie mais aussi
dans d'autres domaines. C'est la recherche du monde des causes,
parallelement aux releves architecturaux des Temples et des releves de
hieroglyphes effectues par Lucie Lamy, Clement Robichon, Alexandre Varille
et d'autres partageant la recherche des Schwaller.
Les publications d'apres 1950 revelent leur pleine maturite philosophique.
Certains ouvrages sont etonnants, notamment " le Roi de la Theocratie
Pharaonique " ou Schwaller ecrit, de la page 9 a 18, au sujet de la pierre
philosophale, du but du Grand Œuvre, du feu vital et du mystere du
commencement dans l'œuvre, p. 14 en particulier, " Faire comprendre la
realite de la Science sacree....est toute la raison d'etre de ce petit livre
Toute sa vie, l'hermetisme, l'alchimie, furent au centre des preoccupations
Mais ceci nous ramene directement a la raison d'etre de ce Forum !
Subject: A0228 The language of the birds
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996 16:14:34 -0500 (CDT)
From: John D. O'Brien
> I would suggest that the system of Chinese characters also have a
> deeper meaning than is being used in modern Japanese or Chinese.
> Being pictorial it is sometimes easier to understand. Does any one
> else have any understanding of how Chinese characters might be
> related to alchemy?
> William J. Burgos
I do know that the "ancient" Chinese Horary Characters bear a close
and in most cases, a direct relationship to the "ancient" Hebrew/Phonetican
Character set. There are twenty-two of each and the form and meaning
of each is quite strikingly similar.
In both cases, Hebrew & Chinese, the character sets being referred to
are not the ones in current usage.
The Hebrew Alphabet, as most of you know, has pictograph meanings as
well as literal.
"The Alphabet and The Ancient Calendar Signs" By Hugh A. Moran &
David H. Kelly BF1674.M67 1969. Interesting book and not very long.
John D. O'Brien firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: A0229 The Language of the Birds
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996 16:03:14 -0400
In light of Adam's fine posting on the metamorphosis of the word "alcohol"
over the course of centuries, I offer this piece of evidence from ancient
history as a further example of the evolution of the "language of the birds,"
what was once a form of symbolic apperception. To the modern mentality, the
"language of the birds" has been demythologized, its religious function has
lost its "con-vincing" principle, that is, its connection to the primordial
religious experience, which the ancients and the old alchemists still
retained. To the modern mentality, the approach to the numinous has largely
become a rational abstraction, a concretistic and statistical formula for the
reading of signs.
Here's the example: A major collective religious ritual of antiquity that
epitomized the nature of that kind of relation to a God which was based on
superstituous observances and omens, was the ceremony of "taking the
auspices" [Note: the classical etymological root of the word "religion,"
'religere', means approx., "to take into careful account"].
In ancient Rome, all the way up to the 5th century, there existed what was
called the "college of Augurs." They grew in size over time - to about 15 or
16 from a few - they had many similarities to the US Supreme Court. They
were appointed for life, and whenever any sizeable state enterprise was to be
initiated, the college of Augurs was requested to take reading of the
"auspices" to determine whether it was auspicious to proceed with the
undertaking or not; going to war, of course, was the biggest undertaking.
There was an elaborate procedure set up of quite formal proportions to take
the auspices. A certain top of a particular hill was marked out and a
specific area was set up. The Augurs took their place in a square tent with
the entrance looking South - then the Augurs sat down and asked the gods for
a sign, and they sat there and waited and watched the 'birds', and there were
complicated rules as to how to read the movements of the birds. Birds moving
in certain directions, at certain times, meant certain things, and just the
appearance of certain kinds of special numinous birds was an auspicious event
in itself. The Augurs took the reading of the birds, then they gave their
report to the government - and the report was the birds allow it and you may
proceed, or the report reads, "on another day" - which means the birds don't
allow it, the auspices are bad today. That measure of religious ritual in
ancient Rome of a collective nature illustrates the classical etymology of
Of course, we all do this on a more or less conscious level before embarking
on some uncertain enterprise, e.g., when we consult the *I Ching,* tarot,
astrology, prayer, numerology, certain obsessive behaviors and magical
thoughts, etc., we find ourselves taking the auspices all the time, being on
the alert for "what, if I take a certain course of action, what events
accompany it." There are many examples.
Subject: A0230 Language of birds
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 12:04:32 +1000 (EST)
From: Jorge Enrique Lopez-Canales
To those inrterested in pursuing the linguistic aspect of 'the language
of birds' I suggest Walter Benjamin's 1916 essay 'On Language Itself and
the Language of Man' (in "Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms,
Autobiographical Writings", by the same author).
In this essay Benjamin refers to the language of birds as the
non-mediated language of things themselves. Before the fall, the creative
word of God was immediately apprehensible through things themselves
communicating their being. After the fall, naming (the human word) steps
outside itself, as it were, to communicate something other than itself.
The creative word of God communicates things directly; the naming word
of man is a medium, a relative one (hence the plurality of languages) to
reach the things of the world. Once paradise is lost our only chance of
certainty rests in God's judgement (though we can still understand the
singing of birds).
Subject: A0231 A Need for Clarification
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 1996 22:20:29 -0600 (CST)
<.... Also, one should remember that the Phonetic cabbala is not
Would you please explain what the referent is to the word
*they* appearing (to the right of the semicolon) in the last sentence?
Subject: A0232 The language of the Birds and 'Symbolic Thinking'
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 1996 22:29:33 -0600 (CST)
We need to recall the etymology itself of the word *symbol*.
Saying that X is "a symbol of" Y does not mean that "X stands for" or
"stands in the place of" Y. *Symbol* means *Thrown Together*. Hence,è8¿ì
saying that X is a symbol of Y etymologically means that X is Y, that Y is
X: that a fusion or commingling has taken place.
Subject: A0233 The language of the birds
From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 96 12:26:27 +0300
>From: John D. O'Brien
>I do know that the "ancient" Chinese Horary Characters bear a close
>and in most cases, a direct relationship to the "ancient" Hebrew/Phonetican
>Character set. There are twenty-two of each and the form and meaning
>of each is quite strikingly similar.
As far as I know, the Phoenician and the Chinese characters can be rather
easily traced indeed to their respective original pictograms; however,
they are quite dissimilar in meaning. As I have understood, your source is
>"The Alphabet and The Ancient Calendar Signs" By Hugh A. Moran &
>David H. Kelly ... 1969....
So as to avoid the loss of time on seeking it, could I ask you to send a brief excerpt from it showing how they have grounded that assertion?
Subject: A0234 J. Dauge's web site on alchemy
May I bring your attention to J. Dauge's web site on alchemy. He now has a number of texts in French, and some pictures the title pages of important and rare alchemical books.
Subject: A0235 The language of the birds
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 09:34:36 -0500
From: George Leake
>From: Bermudez, Pablo
>Surely, it has to do with linguistics, but, of course, it also has a lot to
>do with alchemy, as the alchemist seem to be the only group of people
>knowing their rules (and some group of writers with some kind of relation
*I just fail to see the connection to alchemy or alchemists or hermeticism
or hermeticists. What in these relates to these rules?
Also is not my "phonetic cabala theory ".
>If you read
>Fulcanelli's work with patience and attention, you will realize it is his
>theory, (or his teacher's) as he mentions in some passages of his books, how
>it can be found even in the pre-Greek Doric, and Aeolian dialects.
*I understand this. I still though don't see this as anything more than a
sometime alchemical philosopher waxing poetic about linguistics.
Subject: A0236 Symbolic Thinking-Ars Memoria?
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 09:36:36 -0500
>From: Rawn Clark
>As an adjunct to the interesting discussion about the "language of the
>birds", I offer a (perhaps) similar technique for your consideration. I call
>it "symbolic thinking". [snip]
>Quite simply, symbolic thinking is the creation of mental images that
>correspond to each of the ideas/words one is considering/reading. As the
>text progresses, the mental images reflect the changing relationships of
>ideas discussed, and present one with an interior motion picture-like
* I say...doesn't this sound a lot like the process of Ars Memoria?
Subject: A0237 The language of the birds
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 13:37:24 -0500 (CDT)
From: John D. O'Brien
>From: Leonid M. Kokun
> >From: John D. O'Brien
> >I do know that the "ancient" Chinese Horary Characters bear a close
> >and in most cases, a direct relationship to the "ancient" Hebrew/Phonetican
> "The Alphabet and The Ancient Calendar Signs" By Hugh A. Moran &
> So as to avoid the loss of time on seeking it, could I ask you to send a
> brief excerpt from it showing how they have grounded that assertion?
> Leonid M. Kokun
Perhaps I was a bit hasty in my rememberance of the book and made
too strong of a claim but, from my partial copy of some pages let me
quote part of the recapitulation and conclusions chapter.
The paragraph titled " Successful comparison with Lunar signs ". page 120.
"We know that the Chinese had, and still have and use, a
system of 22 characters--the 10 stems or circumpolar constellations,
and the 10 branches or constellations of the ecliptic--which loom
large as radicals, classifiers, and phonetics in the Chinese written
system. These characters, without which Chinese ideographic writing
would have been impossible, form the basis of their 60-year cycle of
history and their calendar system. Some of the 22 horary characters
of the Chinese system show relationship with some of the individual
letters of the Semitic alphabet. But all attempts at systematic
indentification of the Chinese horary signs with the Semitic alphabet
On the other hand, correspondences in number, order, meaning, and form
HAVE appeared, sign by sign, in arrangements of the first 22 lunar signs
side by side with the 22 letters of the Semitic alphabet."
So, in reviewing the pages that I do have copies of, I still see a
lot of correspondences between the two and would encourage anyone who
is interested in this aspect to find a copy, probably at a university
or technical library. I found mine at "Linda Hall Science and
Technology Library" in Kansas City, MO. They have a web site.
John D. O'Brien email@example.com
Subject: A0238 The language of the Birds and 'Symbolic Thinking'
From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 96 23:28:29 +0300
>From: Mackie Blanton
>We need to recall the etymology itself of the word *symbol*.
>Saying that X is "a symbol of" Y does not mean that "X stands for" or
>"stands in the place of" Y. *Symbol* means *Thrown Together*.
The Greek "symbolon" has a dozen of certified meanings:
- "symbola" (pl.) means "the signs of mutual friendship"; they were the
halves of a broken thing (coin, etc.) to be shown to the relatives of
*xenos* so as to be recognized as his friend;
- "symbola" (pl.) in the meaning "identification markings";
- "counter" given to members of court sessions for posterior payment;
- "international agrement about exterritoriality";
- "entrance visa";
- "allegoric statement";
- 'regalia"; and some others in the same semantic key.
Its near relative "symbole" has several meanings varying from
"joint", "the place of contat", "coalescence" to "encounter" and
"battle" which also have a transparent common semantic pivot.
Subject: A0239 Symbolic Thinking-Ars Memoria?
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 22:36:44 -0400
From: Rawn Clark
>>Quite simply, symbolic thinking is the creation of mental images that
>>correspond to each of the ideas/words one is considering/reading. As the
>>text progresses, the mental images reflect the changing relationships of
>>ideas discussed, and present one with an interior motion picture-like
> I say...doesn't this sound a lot like the process of Ars Memoria?
Yes, Ars Memorativa (AM) and Symbolic Thinking (ST), *sound* a lot alike, but
differ in how they use and generate visual-mental images.
In ST, the images are produced spontaneously, but their focus is not the
retention and recall of information (as is the case with the AM); rather,
their focus is the *real-time* depiction of a particular flow of ideas -- a
revelation of relationship and meaning, rather than a storage of data. In
the AM, one carefully crafts one's symbolic images, with the intention of
holding the connection between information and image as a static thing. ST's
symbols however, are ephemeral and constantly changing, expressing the
meaning found within at that particular moment in time.
Though similar tools, AM and ST serve different functions -- AM, the
retention of data; ST, the revelation of meaning.
Best to you,
Subject: A0240 A Need for Clarification
Date: Tue, 01 Oct 96 12:12:00 PDT
>>.... Also, one should remember that the Phonetic cabbala is not
>>governed by the rules of etymology. In any case, it is all to easy to get
>>lost in Phonetics. We should not let it detract us from the work. That is
>>not to say that there is not truth concealed in language but it alone
>>will lead us to the Stone; they are I think perhaps just signposts.
>Would you please explain what the referent is to the word
>*they* appearing (to the right of the semicolon) in the last sentence?
I simply mean the connections that one can make with the different meanings of words. I think that they may just indicate when we are on the right track.
Subject: A0241 Oriental alchemy
From: Adam McLean
Date: 6th Oct 1996
Leo Kokun was kind enough to send me the following information so
I could update my bibliography of alchemy books on the web site. I thought it would
also be of interest to the subscribers to the forum.
Here is some short bibliographic references to Chinese
alchemical texts. Below I use the official Chinese transcription which
differs from that in use in the US.
1. There are nearly a hundred extant Chinese alchemical texts.
All of them are included in 'Dao Zang' (usually rendered as "The Taoist
Canon") edited in Shanghai in 1923-26 in 1120 volumes grouped in 112
2. This edition is a phototypic reproduction of the single
extant complete copy of 'Zhengtong dao zang' printed in about 1445
(with additions made in 1607) now in Beijing; I don't know on what
conditions it is accessible.
3. There is an almost complete copy (only 11 volumes lack
which do not pertain to alchemy) in the library of the St. Petersburg
branch of RAS Institute of Orientalistics; its code is B-249.
Microfilming is in principle possible, but fairly expensive.
4. The basic and chronologically first alchemical treatise
- 'Can tong qi' ("On triadic unity" or so; strict rendering in
English is difficult for me) by Wei Boyang was edited in Shanghai in
1937. The text is obscure and it was diffficult to understand even to
the medieval commentators.
5. The work of the most famous Ge Hong ('Ko Hong' in American
transcription) was published in Shanghai in 1954 in 'Zhuzi jicheng'
("The corpus of philosophic classics"),vol.8. Its English translation is
included in the bibliography on the alchemy web site, but one could add to it the translation of its most pragmatic fragment in 'Proc.Amer.Acad. of Arts
and Sciences' vol.70 (1935), No.6.
6. Another well-known treatise 'Yunji qi qian' ("Seven charters
from the nebulous depository") is contained in vv. 677 - 702 of the
abovementioned Shanghai edition of Dao zang.
7. Besides, there are some works in Russian with a number of
bibliographic references, namely:
- Torchinov E.A.: Daosizm i alhimiya v traditsionnom Kitaye ("Taoism
and alchemy in traditional China"), in: "Peterburgskoye vostokovedeniye",
issue 2, 1992, St.-Pb., pp.272 - 315;
- by the same author: Daosizm; St.-Pb., 1993; Chapter 4, Section 6 (pp.
48 - 81) treats the interrelation of taoism and alchemy;
- Stulova E.S.: Daosskaya praktika dostizheniya bessmertiya ("The
taoist practice of attaining immortality"), in: "Iz istorii traditsionnoy
kitayskoy ideologii", Moscow, 1984, pp. 230 - 270; she treats the sexual
practices of the so called inner alchemy.
8. There is a substantial investigation published in English:
- Sivin N.: Chinese alchemy: Preliminary studies; Cambridge (Mass.,),
1968. One could also add here Gruman's "A history of ideas about the
prolongation of life (to 1800) in 'Trans.Amer.Phil.Soc.' vol. 56 (1966), No.9;
his exposition of the Chinese alchemy is though very short and plain, but
9. Finally, I would mention a serious work in Russian dedicated to
the Western alchemy:
- Rabinovich V.L.: Alhimiya kak fenomen srednevekovoy kultury ("Alchemy
as a phenomenon of the medieval culture"), Moscow, 1979.
I hope that some of the above will be of use for you.
Subject: A0242 General questions on alchemy
Date: Sat, 5 Oct 1996 17:08:14 -0700
I have a friend who thinks that the activities of the alchemist are
used mainly to keep the mind busy and out of the way so that spiritual
development can occur.
Also some religious and spiritual segments consider material reality
to be entirely illusory.
With this in mind, I'm wondering how alchemists feel about the nature
of the material and the spiritual. Is the essence reality entirely
spiritual (if so, is material work desirable), partly, etc. And further, is
there any real material benefit from lab work or is it mainly symbolic of a
higher work and development within the individual?
This also leads me into another question. Why do people choose
alchemy as a path rather than strictly meditation perhaps, or maybe
Christianity. Is it simply a matter of personal preference, that this is
the way one fits, or do people feel that there are benefits available in
this system that do not exist in the others?
Obviously I'm interested in responses from those primarily into the
spiritual aspects of alchemy. Thanks for any help from one who is currently
on the outside looking in.
Subject: A0243 The language of the Birds and 'Symbolic Thinking'
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 1996 15:42:50 -0400
On 28 Sep 1996, Maurizio Nicosia, in a short, but provocative, reflection on
some of the themes of this thread, wrote:
>>The symbol faces on the scenery of human experience when the Nature
becomes READABLE, that is it transmutes the 'thing' to 'writing', to
'sign'. The Symbolic viaticum transmutes the universe...
The Language of the Birds begins where the 'Symbolic Thinking' ends, is
complete. The Language of the Birds does not read Nature as symbol;
it incarnates the symbol. It does not make books, but breaks them.<<
Although I do not fully understand these statements, this post and the
contributions of others to this thread on the "Language of Birds," got me
thinking about the nature of the mentality of the old alchemists. How could
they arrive at the meaning they did from their
observations of what was going on in their flasks? Some of the ideas they
impute to their perceptions are mind-boggling; others seem to have some
rational basis one can at least follow. But how did they arrive at their
understanding? Were their minds so different than ours that we will never be
able to understand them? Should we, like others have done, just condemn
their ideas or dismiss their perceptions as scientifically unfounded, and
therefore just attempt to understand them as strange curiosities in the
history of ideas; or should we resort to metaphysical hypostases to explain
what they said, indeed, as others who have tried to come to terms with this
material have done? What follows is a brief reflection on the general
problem of making meaning out of experience and a contemporary illustration
using the "language of the birds." I hope others who are interested in this
topic will contribute their comments and reflections.
When I think about how I find meaning out of my experience, I realize that
whatever I perceive from without or within is a representation or image, a
psychic entity, caused, as I rightly or wrongly assume by a corresponding
real object. We know from experience that all acts of apperception are
influenced by pre-existent patterns of perceiving objects, for instance, the
premise of causality is one such pre-existing pattern. This is particularly
obvious in pathological cases of human behavior, and in exaggerations or
distortions of so-called normal behavior (example follows). They are
presuppositions obtaining to the whole of humanity. The history of the human
mind offers no end of examples, for instance, folklore, fairytales, religious
symbols, and, of course, the literature of alchemy.
The philosopher, Immanuel Kant, demonstrated that causality was one of the
categories of understanding, but Kant didn't yet have a notion of the reality
of the human psyche. Causality is the principle that produces a sense of
orderly, meaningful sequence to a chain of circumstances. Skipping over the
Aristotelean forms of causality for the moment, causality seems to be a
pre-existent pattern in the psyche; that is, the human mind is so constructed
that all the events it encounters must be conceived of as meaningful.
Causality has at its root the supposition of meaning, in other words, that
events are not arbitrary, random or disconnected - every occurrence must have
a reason to exist - according to the pre-existent pattern of causality that's
built into the human psyche. A good example of this is the evolution of the
cause of the "bad air" disease, i.e., malaria. The sequence of the empirical
data on malaria illustrates that whatever stage of psychological development
humanity may be in, the innate pre-existent pattern of causality by necessity
manifests itself in the human attempt to understand our surroundings. I
wonder if this is what Maurizio Nicosia had in mind in his aforementioned
The premise of causality, of making meaning from empirical observation, is
particularly evident in certain pathological cases, such as in delusional
psychotic thinking. One example: A patient in hospital, one day watched
some sparrows fluttering around outside the ward window. He asked himself,
"what's causing them to be fluttering around like that?" He decided God was
trying to talk to him through the movements of those sparrows and as he
looked at them he thought he got what the message was. The message was: God
wanted to tell him that he's the new messiah. That's causality operating; he
looks at a phenomenon and he's not content with the idea that's its just
random and meaningless, but he assumes it has to have a meaning, so meaning
is imposed on it.
In a previous post, I described how in ancient Rome, that very procedure was
built into the collective operations of the state - the official augurs -
they were required to examine the movement of the birds and take the auspices
every time some major event would occur. War would not be declared, for
instance, without having the augurs take the auspices under formal, religious
circumstances. The movement of the birds would be observed, and it was
determined whether the omens were auspicious or inauspicious, and if they
were too ominous they put off the whole undertaking.
The basic idea is that the mind, by the necessity of its very structure, must
impute meaning to its experience. This hypothesis, if true, has important
implications in understanding how the alchemists imputed symbolic meaning to
their empirical observations and experience.
Subject: A0244 The language of the birds
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 1996 19:01:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: fred hatt
Perhaps this quote, from Bahya ben Asher's 14th Century Qabalistic
'Commentary on the Torah', Numbers 11:15, cited in 'The Essential Kabbalah',
by Daniel C. Matt, might be relevant to the recent discussion on this forum
of what Fulcanelli calls 'the language of the birds':
'The scroll of the Torah is written without vowels, so you can read it
variously. Without vowels, the consonants bear many meanings and splinter
into sparks. That is why the Torah scroll must not be vowelized, for the
meaning of each word accords with its vowels. Once vowelized, a word means
just one thing. Without vowels, you can understand it in countless,
Fred Hatt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: A0245 Upcoming Alchemical Seminar
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 1996 18:13:56 -0600 (MDT)
From: Paul Bartscher
Dear fellow alchemists,
As some of you may already know, we are a small company manufacturing herbal
remedies using alchemical methods, as well as being involved in the research
and teaching of all aspects of alchemy.
From the 26th-29th of October, we will be putting together a seminar about
alchemy in general, and our work in particular. The first portion of the
seminar will cover Theory of Alchemy- alchemical methods of working on
various matters, herbalism, with a focus on remedies of the southwest,
history of alchemy, Ayurvedic alchemical practice, and more. The second
segment of the seminar will be a hands-on laboratory experience, in which
participants will learn basic laboratory safety, and some important physical
practices from the plant work- distillation, various methods of oil
extraction, the making of alchemical remedies, etc. The theme and intent of
the seminar will be geared towards the healing arts, and the role of alchemy
in modern alternative/holistic healing practice. Most of the attendees
currently signed up for the seminar are physicians of one type or another.
The seminar will be held at our laboratory here in Santa Fe, NM.
If anyone is interested in attending, or would like further information,
they are invited to contact us via e-mail at: alkemi@Rt66.com
or via snail mail at
500 N. Guadalupe, #G510
Santa Fe, Nm 87501
Strength & Wisdom,
Paul & Micah
Subject: A0246 General questions on alchemy
From: Dennis William Hauck
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 1996 18:19:45 -0700
You pose some very interesting questions with regard to the spiritual
nature of alchemical practice. I think the main difference between alchemy
and religions is that alchemy does not deny physical reality. According to
the Emerald Tablet, which is said to contain the roots of all alchemy, "its
inherent strength is perfected when it is turned toward Earth," that is
when it is made material or manifested. Alchemists do not deny physical
reality but rather work with it. Like the natural maturation of lead into
gold in the bowels of the earth, they believed spirit evolved naturally
also. Evolution and perfection was at the heart of their discipline. I
really believe they felt material and spiritual perfection would go
hand-and-hand. They felt that they could hasten this natural process by
working with (meditating on) the One Thing (described in the Emerald
Tablet), which later came to be known as the First Matter. This
pre-existing archetypal matter could be "worked on" in the sense that human
will and consciousness changed it. The allegory of the stages of laboratory
work reflected these mental changes in the alchemist. Some believe the
laboratory experiments were actually affected by the state of mind of the
alchemist. In other words, the success of the experiment depended on the
corresponding perfection of the alchemist himself. It was a view of the
affect of consciousness on reality, of the observer on the experiment, that
is only recently being acknowledged by physicists.
Subject: A0247 General questions on alchemy
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 1996 08:56:32 -0500
From: George Leake
>From: skmackie/>Sheryl (no email I guess) wrote-->
> I have a friend who thinks that the activities of the alchemist are
>used mainly to keep the mind busy and out of the way so that spiritual
>development can occur.
*that's quite interesting. In alchemy and related arts, it seems that the
physical aspects of the work at times are meditative in nature. Then again,
I've heard some who advocate the opposite position, i.e., you want to keep
the mind clear and/or focussed on certain physical transformations. One
thing that's clear: its difficult to generalize. I wonder what Flamel
>Also some religious and spiritual segments consider material reality
>to be entirely illusory.
> With this in mind, I'm wondering how alchemists feel about the nature
>of the material and the spiritual.
*again, I'm not sure you're going to find consensus on that.
*doesn't it seem that this question has come up about once every 2 months?
Subject: A0248 The language of the birds
Date: Mon, 07 Oct 1996 12:46:57 -0600 (CST)
From: Mackie Blanton
We need to be careful that we do not misconstrue Matt's
translation of Bahya ben Asher's implication about vowels. Ben Asher
is correct that once vowelized, a Hebrew word, like an Arabic or Ethiopic
word, means "just one thing." But it is not correct to say that "[w]ithout
vowels, [we] can understand [a word] in countless, wondrous ways." Without
vowels, we can't understand a Semitic word at all. What ben Asher meant is
that without *fixed* vowels we can understand a Hebrew word in countless,
wondrous words by imagining any number of vowel/consonant permutations. The
word is never meaningful without vowels.
Moreover, medieval Semitic scholars of Semitic (religious) languages
also believed that the consonants were male, while the vowels, which
wrapped themselves around the consonants in harmonic embellishments, were
female. Female chordal embellishment added harmony to male melody.
Subject: A0249 Extract from Bohme's Works
Date: Mon, 07 Oct 1996 21:58:35 -0500
Extract from Bohme's Works vol i, p. 97, 41 fol.
I have myself seen this knowledge with those eyes wherein life
generates in me (for the new man speculates into the midst of the astral
birth or geniture). At last when, after much Christian seeking and desire,
and suffering of much repulse, I resolved, rather to PUT MY LIFE TO UTMOST
HAZARD than to give over and leave off; the gate was opened to me, so that
in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years
at the University; at which I did exceedingly admire, and knew not how it
happened to me; and, therefore, I turned my mind to praise God for it. For
I saw and knew the Being of beings, the Bysse, or ground or original
foundation; and the Abysse, that is without ground, or fathomless or void;
also the birth or eternal generation of the Holy Trinity, the descent and
original of this world and of all creatures through the Divine Wisdom, and I
knew and saw in myself all the Three Worlds; viz., first, the divine
angelical, or paradisical; and then the dark world, being the ORIGINAL OF
NATURE BY THE FIRE; and then thirdly, the external and visible world, being
a procreation or extern birth or, as it were, A SUBSTANCE EXPRESSED OR
SPOKEN FORTH FROM THE INTERNAL AND SPIRITUAL WORLDS.
And I saw and knew the whole Being, and WORKING ESSENCE in the evil
and in the good, and the mutual original and existence of each of them;
and likewise how the pregnant genetrix or fruitful bearing womb of eternity
brought forth, so that I did not only greatly wonder at it, but did also
exceedingly rejoice. Albeit, I could very hardly apprehend the same in
my external man, and express it with my pen. I saw as in a great deep
in the Internal; for I had a thorough view of the universe as in a chaos
wherein all things are couched and wrapped up, but it was impossible
then for me to explain the same. Yet it opened itself in me from time to
time, as a young plant, and came forth into the external principle of my
And thus I have written not from instruction or knowledge received from
men, nor from the study of books, but I have written out in my own book
which was opened in me, being the noble similitude, the book of the most
noble and precious image of God; and therein I have studied as a child in
the house of its mother, which beholdeth what the father doth.
I have no need of other books, my book hath only THREE LEAVES, the
same are the Principles of Eternity. Therein I can find all whatsoever
Moses and the Prophets, Christ and his Apostles have taught and
spoken. I can find therein the foundation of the world and mysteries;
and yet not I but the Spirit of God doeth it according to the measure
as he pleaseth.
email@example.com (Doxology : Logos)
Subject: A0250 The language of the Birds and 'Symbolic Thinking'
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 01:41:08 -0400
From: Rawn Clark
>The basic idea is that the mind, by the necessity of its very structure, must
>impute meaning to its experience. This hypothesis, if true, has important
>implications in understanding how the alchemists imputed symbolic meaning to
>their empirical observations and experience.
Some thoughts --
"Meaning" is the very essence of things. It is that which 'things'
symbolize. So perhaps "meaning" is the medium of Universal communication,
and is a consequence of the Universal structure, not limited wholly to human
imputation. Our imputing of meaning is our part, in our conversation, with a
Universe which speaks to us by imputing its own meaning through the things we
The more we know about ourselves and our individual processes of perception,
the easier it is to know when a flock of birds is just a flock of birds. Our
minds (and by this, I mean the broad spectrum of human consciousness, not
just that limited to the physical brain) are capable of self-knowledge,
giving us (after much labor) the power to discern between the meaning
communicated by 'other', and the response of 'self'. At this level, the
rules of perception are quite different: meaning is communicated more
directly as the instinctual imputation of meaning is set aside. These
barriers to direct communication of meaning can be greatly mitigated by the
intimate knowledge of their nature. This allows one to see through them, as
it were, to the meaning communicated by the essential Universe.
Conscious perception of the essential Universe, without the barrier of
interposed human-meaning, allows one the ability to form a *conscious*
response. This degree of self-consciousness seems an essential prerequisite
to a genuine exploration of our Universe. Perhaps it was with this basic
degree of adepthood that many of the Sages wrote? If so, it may color your
considerations of "how the alchemists imputed symbolic meaning to their
empirical observations and experience." Reversing the equation to read: "how
their empirical observations and experience imputed symbolic meaning to the
alchemists", proves amusing...and may actually be an equally productive
Thanks for making me think so much!
Best to you,