Monthly Archives: December 2018

Ars Geometrica: Great Work…

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…Not that we were going to let that stop us.

The next two leaves of the book can be taken together and it was these entries more than any others perhaps which gave us inkling that the book may be describing a ritual.

Leaves ‘Three’ and ‘Four’:

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Certainly one of the things the Alchemists could seemingly never agree upon was the number of actual operations leading to the successful culmination of their art… Three, Five or Seven were the usual candidates but here in this ‘little book’ we had a possible solution to the conundrum and what is more, by giving these operations a spatial direction in the round, as it were, they had also been reduced to a whole.

Where else could the Nigredo commence or the Rubedo finish?

Perfect… Crystalline…Complete.

Our admiration for our unsteady and elusive visitant grew immeasurably…

“…Great Work…” she had whispered before collapse.

Great Work indeed!

…and we had not even considered the ‘Fourth’ Leaf yet…

We recognised immediately the titles of the Atu from our studies yet it had never, and probably never would have, occurred to us that they could be the overseers of the Alchemical Operations.

As a test to the validity of this arrangement one need only consider the following:

The Black Phase is overseen by Atu XXI, the White Phase by Atu IXX!

No wonder she swooned.
It is almost too perfect to bear.

Dare we turn another leaf?
It would be foolish not too…

Leaf ‘Five’:

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But that is too much by far…
As a summary of the first four leaves it is exquisite.
It leaves us expressionless…

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Ars Geometrica: ABC’s…

hm15-1471*

‘…The secret of the magic of life consists in using action in order to attain non-action…’
– The Book of Heavenly Consciousness

For the next few hours we were as if transported.
We went nowhere, bodily, yet the vistas contained in that little book.
And yet it was little more and in some respects much less even than a book.
The twenty or so pages held within its gold plated covers were unnumbered and loose leafed and were exquisitely hand drawn, written and coloured on the finest parchment.
There was no way of telling the order in which they were supposed to be read.
Our studies helped with some of it if only to render us a foot-hold.
We recognised a number of the lists and had previously come across broadly similar ideas.
For example it had recently been posited in one of our meetings that some of the Christian Miracles related to geometrical constructs and that the land of Atlantis, as meticulously described by Plato, could also be similarly viewed but to what purpose or to what end?
What we had here, though, was more like an ‘ABC’ of such concepts.

It will be as much as we can do to reproduce as accurately as we may some of its contents.
The ‘First’ Leaf:

ee

Beneath this deceptively simplistic geometrical construction was the following Alchemical Maxim which appeared in the loose leaves of the book as given here below.

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Had we realised that ‘over’ is contained in govern? We had not.
You will notice that the maxim is contained in the final shape of the previous plate and also that in order to achieve this shape from their start points the two triangles have to, as it were, traverse the alternative realm, that is, ‘heaven’ must become ‘earth’ and vice versa.

We assume that as there are three statements and also three shapes, they are meant to be related to each other. We may of course be quite wrong in this assumption yet the immediately following leaf of the book appeared to confirm such a proposition giving as it did what can only be regarded as an Alchemical Key to the Work which was couched in broadly similar terms.

The ‘Second’ Leaf:
3. Gold: the result when Art perfects Nature…
2. Art: the state we seek to create…
1. Nature: the state we find ourselves in…

‘Three Sevens…’ We marvelled to ourselves, and then ‘Gold as a Hidden Third.’
But enough already…
Upon reaching this stage in our studies, we found to our surprise that the sun had already set and darkness had descended…

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Ars Geometrica: China my China…

hm15-1419*

‘In its essentials, Indian alchemy is the same as Western, and Chinese alchemy, although set in a completely different spiritual climate, can throw light on both…’
– Titus Burckhardt

… We took up the collapsed form in our arms and carried it up the stairs kicking back open the door to our flat with a precariously lifted foot.
The sofa bed along the far wall of the living room presented an ideal and welcome put down point and as we laid the form to rest, as it were, those delicate lips again parted and let out a soft moan.
Thinking that it would not be long before our unexpected visitant returned to full consciousness we retired to the kitchen in order to make coffee.
Upon our return to the living room some minutes later we found the girl gone!
Gone?
Nowhere to be found…
Were we dreaming?
In her stead, on our study desk in the corner of the room to one side of the sofa bed, there now lay what we took to be a gold plated cigarette case.
Upon closer inspection the cigarette case proved to be a book… of sorts.

Its title, engraved centrally upon the front leaf of the gold plate looked like this;

9
On its back leaf, again engraved centrally into the gold plate, was a symbol:

8We just had time to wonder to ourselves how far the vertical ray extended and whether it too eventually culminated in a chalice and if so which way up it was when we heard a loud banging on the front door.
Our immediate thought was that the girl had returned.
As the loud banging continued with more force we knew this not to be the case.
Inserting the ‘Golden Book’ into our top pocket we exited the living room and descended the stairs in a rather more circumspect fashion than some minutes before.
Two tall bulky forms could be discerned through the frosted glass.
We opened the door and were presented with an I.D. card proclaiming the door’s assailants to be Officers of Law.
“We know he’s in here!” said one…
“Been tracking him for days,” said the other.
And together they pushed passed us and swiftly traversed the stairs.
We followed behind them, slowly, thinking, ‘He?’
And then, ‘Him?’
We had barely reached the top of the stairs when one of the Officers charged back out of our flat, barged past us again and disappeared out of the front door at the foot of the stairs.
“…Given us the slip yet again,” he yelled as he went.
Regaining our feet and our composure we re-entered our flat to find the second Officer peering somewhat forlornly out of the now open living room window.
We stood alongside him and peered too; at the tarpaulin roof of the bay window of the flat below and at the drainpipe which ran alongside.
“He could of been out and down and off in two bounds,” said the Officer.
“Sprightly chap was he?” we enquired and then found ourselves pressed firmly against, and halfway up, the living room wall with a judicious arm held tightly over our windpipe.
“Didn’t leave anything did he?” said the Officer in a rather menacing tone and with a most unsavoury glint in his eye.
We shook our head and by the time we had regained our balance back on the ground the first Officer too was gone.
“We’ll be watching you,” he called from the stairs as we pushed the door to and with something approaching relief re-attached the door chain.
We walked back to the window pulled that shut too and then reached for our top pocket…

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Ars Geometrica: First Things First…

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‘…In the Golden Book of the Golden Game
a Golden Angel wrote my name…’

We wish to speak now of a curious incident in which we were involved and which is not wholly unlike some of the legends so often related in the Alchemical Journals…

In those days we were still in a Magical School and also active in a Magical Lodge, albeit a teaching one.

We were just preparing our report…

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‘Herewith the Divination:
Q: What symbol from the Old Year can we take forward into the New…?
Centre: The Hanged Man
Ascendant: The Empress – Sowing
Upper Mid-Heaven: The Lovers – Germination
Descendant: Death – Reaping
Lower Mid-Heaven: Wheel of Fortune – Winnowing
A: The Seed
Not quite as we formulated it at the meeting but I think this is what we were groping towards.
I came across a couple of quotations recently which seemed to be germane…
‘Man has no body distinct from his soul. That which we call ‘body’ is merely the portion of soul discerned by the five senses…’ (William Blake)
In Arabic alchemy, ‘the blackness’ or the ‘shadow of the sun’ is a code name for the impurities of common gold which must be washed away.
With regard to the latter I wondered if the ‘shadow’ might not be what we are seeing when we close our eyes.
I only say this because during meditation this darkness lightens somewhat, along with the colours which habitually shift across the vision. It is also possible to see through this darkness, although at this point I think ‘supra-sensory’ perception kicks in, just prior to this the blackness acquires depth or takes on three dimensionality and sometimes a definite rising sensation can also be discerned.
The ‘Hanged Man’ in this context then, as well as ‘willing sacrifice’ is also the ‘Man of Light’ and depicts the communion of the two seeds sown in both worlds as light on light, which is an awful lot of light…’

…When there was some sort of commotion at our front door.
We say commotion but it was more of a ‘thud’ and then a ‘slide’ really.
It was enough to raise us from our studies and significantly portentous in its timing to have us bouncing down the stairwell at a rate of knots and with no little concern.
From approximately half way down the stairs we could discern through the frosted glass panel of the door a slight yet precariously slumped form…
We bounded to the door, opened it and caught the collapsed body as it swooned into the hallway.
Before the deep grey eyes of our visitor closed to consciousness her delicately shaped mouth had uttered a questioning plea which we had by the merest flicker of a nod acknowledged…

“…Great Work?” She had whispered…

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Ars Geometrica: First Matters…

 

3

  One is All…

In Alchemy there are no short cuts.
Many are those who have spent a life-time seeking its treasure in vain.
On the other hand, everything it promises to reveal is freely given at the outset.
One need only attend properly to its stories and dictates to succeed in the quest…
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THE TREASURE OF ALEXANDER
In my native land where I was an orphan there stood a stone statue upon a golden column on which was written:
‘Behold! I am Hermes, he who is three-fold in Wisdom. I once placed marvelous signs openly before all eyes; but now I have veiled them by my wisdom so that none should attain them unless he be a sage like my good self…’
On the breast of the statue one could read:
‘Let him who would learn and know the secrets of creation and of nature look beneath my foot.’
I reflected on what this might mean and started to dig beneath the plinth…
Before long I came to a dark underground chamber in which winds arose and blew without ceasing.
I could go no further.
Exhausted by my toil and full of chagrin at my failure I sat down to rest and immediately fell asleep.
It was then that an old man appeared, resembling myself in build and appearance.
‘Arise and enter into this chamber so as to obtain a representation of nature!’ He said.
‘I cannot,’ I replied, ‘for I can see nothing in the darkness, and the winds that blow there will put out every torch flame.’
‘Then why don’t you put your light into a glass vessel…’ He said.
I immediately awoke, set a light inside a glass, as instructed, and entered the chamber.
There before me sat an Ancient Man on a Golden Throne, holding in his hand an Emerald Tablet on which was written:
‘This is the secret of the world and nature… the knowledge of creation and the cause of all things’…
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All…Ex…Andros…
Could anything be clearer or simultaneously more obscure?
How many Fairy Tales commence with a ‘Native Orphan’ who ends by first recognising and finally realising their ‘High Estate’?
And what should be made of our immobile Stone Figure which stands upon Gold?
He is a God, no less, yet he points not at heaven above but below to the earth.
Or of the Old One who appears in dream as our ‘bodily’ twin?
A simulacrum…
Nature’s representative advises we still the flickering, buffeted flame of our minds eye in order to see…
Deep in the Dark of Earth our enthroned kin who holds…
A Jewel in the Crown…
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2

 ‘Stone of the Wise’

PROJECTION OF GOLD
In truth, it is certain and without doubt that whatever is above tends toward that which is below and whatever is below tends toward that which is above for the accomplishment of the One Perfected Thing.
As all things are discovered by one, alone through contemplation so all things are born from this one, alone by permutation: its Father is the Sun, its Mother is the Moon, the Wind bears it in its Belly, the Earth nurtures it in its Heart; Power of all powers it contains the subtle and penetrates the solid and is the progenitor of all wonder in the world yet its efficacy is only perfected through embodiment.
In order that the little world may be re-created in the image of the great world the Spirit must be separated from the Body gradually by the regulated heat of a gentle flame: it rises to heaven from earth and falls back to earth from heaven and thus it acquires the inferior and superior powers for the glory of the whole world and the dissipation of all darkness…
This is the Way of Perfection…
I alone transmit this threefold wisdom which is why I am called The Thrice Raised Hermes.

– The Emerald Tablet

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…All is One

 

Ars Geometrica…

 

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‘The alchemists disagreed on just about every aspect of the Great Work, except one: that it is impossible to succeed without the secret.’
– Patrick Harpur.

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I am reminded of ‘The Riddle of the Elements.’
The Ancient Greek Philosophers would each in turn trumpet the virtues of a particular Element claiming that it alone was primary and the source of the others, all the time, knowing full well that the solution to the riddle lay in sourcing the Four from a Fifth Element of an entirely different and more spiritual realm known as the Quintessence.
The Alchemists appear to be engaged in a similar process, describing the First Matter in terms of three ‘Spirituous Essences’, though the solution this time may be of a different order –
One in Three rather than Four from One.
They also seem to be describing the various products of a process at each stage of its operation simultaneously, thus for e.g. they might have described the process of evaporating sea-water as… Water… and… Salt… as well as its catalyst…Heat or… Fire…
Why would they do this?
To widen the scope of a mind mired in linear time?
Possibly, certainly, when one realises that the Fruit is in the Seed and not vice versa, or that the Body is in the Mind… a perspective is instilled, which opens up wide vistas to the Imagination.
Indeed, this technique only seems strange to a mind which habitually regards its own reality as an actuality.

As magicians for e.g. we might ask, in Tarot,
How is the ‘High Priestess’ ‘The Empress’?
Or, how is ‘The Fool’ ‘The Magus’?
Or indeed, in the case of ‘The Fool’, how does this key equate with any of the other major keys?
But here the equivalencies seem at the very least, much easier to accept, if not actually natural, simply because we work with these energies in an ‘Imaginal Realm’.

What the Alchemists are really doing is describing the lower in terms of the higher and in some cases what we are reading is, as it were, a Fourth Dimensional description of a Three Dimensional event.

The event itself appears to be an internal unification or better; a re-unification of polarised energies or ‘opposites’, or even, as the Alchemists would have it, a marriage, or wedding but what is the product of that wedding?

THE STONE OF MERCURIOUS

Moon’s Flux
Sun’s Seed
Earth’s Crux
Fire in the Sea
Blood from a Tree…

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Sun, Moon and Stars…

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… “Before Ogma, I swear.
Before Sun and Moon and Stars,
before Sky, Land and Sea, I swear.
Before the Sidhe-Folk, I swear…

Defenders of the land,
victory and defeat are created in each of you.

What I ask of you in dealing with this foe
is not the work of cowards.

Our hosting in this conflict
will defeat those who have destroyed
the prosperity of the land.

Circling leftward I curse them!

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Rod of Aspen
End Measure
Sod of End
Fuagh!

May the foe-men be hindered.
May fear be heard among them.
The End-Time has taken form.

Ravens will come upon our foe with doom,
and be their shared torment.

Their end goes before us to the foe;
they are mournful and doomed.

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O, my Warrior Band;
my most warlike host,
in the burning fields of battle,
High-Folk will sustain your form in the clouds of the sky.

O you, my Glorious Ones,
a nine-fold brightness is upon us,
through the powerful skill of our men-of-art,
the battle fire will not falter until victory is won.

My Troops, greatest of sea-like hosts,
here in the beauty of the land,
a frenzy of battle invites you to embrace fate.

With mighty waves of golden, powerful, burning fires,
and battle lust may you seek out your foe upon the field,
embracing fate in a frenzy of battle.”

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Full Circle: Finding the way home?

The Silent Eye

In spite of the rainbow that had greeted our arrival in Cumbria, the skies looked none too promising as we gathered beneath the shelter of the park gate in Penrith. The chill winds of December had brought showers, but at least, for the first afternoon, there would be a little cover. We could only hope that the following day would bring better weather.  Not that rain would stop us. Since the downpour we had encountered in Scotland, we had accepted that rain was a natural benediction… a blessing and a cleansing beyond the gift of Man and, therefore, a perfect way to start a weekend of spiritual exploration.

We had chosen to begin at Penrith Castle, built between 1399 and 1470, probably on the site of a much earlier Roman encampment, as part of the defences against raiders from Scotland. Once thought to have been first built by William Strickland…

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Moons of Mountain: Never…

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“So when do I get that drink you owe me?”

“Soon…”

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The warmth of silence as she threads the eye of a needle.

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“I like your owl.”

“It’s Minoan.”

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It would have been a privilege

to spend

the rest of my days

here, forever.

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Never.

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It never was

so good,

again… ?