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From: David Duffy <davidD@qimr.edu.au>
Subject: (urth) Re: Magic, alchemy etc
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 15:53:32 +1000 (EST)

Briefly delurking, I couldn't help but bite at the mantic comments wrt
alchemy.  A brief search gives several images that *might*
inform UotNS (I don't have any primary references here but all this
rings a bell).

(from http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/3474/alchemy.html)

the process leading up to the alchemical marriage is blackening ->
whitening -> reddening (gold and purple).


  night journey below the sea in which the hero, often compared to
  Jonah, is swallowed by a monster. But the belly of Leviathan
  becomes a matrix: an egg forms around the imprisoned man; it is so
  extremely hot there that the hero loses all his hair; ejected by
  the monster he springs forth from the primordial sea, bald as a
  newborn babe.

* In the vegetal symbolism frequently employed by alchemy, the work of
  whitening corresponds to the bursting forth of spring: after black
  winter, all the colors are manifested in a profusion of flowers, but
  blend little by little into the white offering of a lily.

* In animal symbolism, while the work of blackening corresponds to the 
  "flight of the raven," the work of whitening begins with the unfolding of
  the "peacock's tail" (pavonis) and is completed in the paradisal vision
  of a white swan sailing on a silver sea.

* In Gichtel's symbolic representation, the albedo seems to
  correspond to the "marriage of Mars and Venus," that is, to the
  union of the masculine center...with the feminine center
  Here Venus is the goddess of Divine Love, not of the erotic; she is the
  "heavenly Venus," lovingly receptive to the spiritual presence.
  One begins to see the role which these concepts must have played
  in the medieval worship of the Lady, especially if we remember
  that alchemy often adopted the symbolism of the "Quest" which
  always culminates in a "feminine" image of the Soul of the World:
  the Golden Fleece or the Chalice of the Grail.


* Then "philosophical incest" and the great hierogamy of the nuptiae
  chymicae are celebrated: the Sun is united with the Moon, the
  Sulphur "fixes"Mercury; in man, the Spirit restores life and makes
  it fruitful.
* This is the ceremonial meeting of the Red King and the White
  Queen. The King is crowned in gold, clothed in purple; he holds a
  red lily in his hand. The Queen is crowned in silver and holds a
  white lily. 

 From now on the silent presence of the alchemist is a benediction
 on all beings. He is the secret king, the conciously central being
 who relates heaven and earth and ensures the good order of things.

That is the seeker after truth starts in the black, is bent, folded and
multilated several times, and ultimately comes to a sunny disposition
after coming to terms with his own feminine side, and then the feminine
side of the universe.  (Some of this seems to come from Dante or is it
vv).  There is supposed to be a marriage of some sort associated with
each transformation (Juturna? Thecla Dorcas [Valeria] Burgundofara Apheta
Burgundofara [Valeria] contra Dante).

Wrt good v evil science, I am reminded of Tolkein and others' dichotomy
of subtle, ecologically sound elvish magic ("not magic at all") [botany] 
versus the technological magic of Sauron and co [head transplants ;)].

I also had a po-mo v mo comment.  Which is it if you present multiple
internally consistent explanations for the same event?  I hasten to add
that many times, the materialistic explanation seems a bit feeble -- the
person involved explaining away what they don't want to believe (eg the
physician ?name and Latro).

David Duffy.

| David Duffy.                                                    ,-_|\
| email: davidD@qimr.edu.au  ph: INT+61+7+3362-0217 fax: -0101   /     *
| Epidemiology Unit, The Queensland Institute of Medical Research_,-._/
| 300 Herston Rd, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia                v 

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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