Tag Archives: symbolism

Magical Elements III…


… Alchemy is the oldest science known to Man.

The Ancient who first cast a weather eye at the heavens, licked a finger and held it aloft in the sky in order to ascertain which way the wind did blow… was an Alchemist.


One of the first things the Alchemists noticed about the elements was their mutability…

They seemed to be caught up in an endless round of transmutation and were forever striving to become each other.

That apart, they were incredibly stable in themselves, and also incredibly dynamic!


Small wonder, then, that the equilateral triangle presented itself as a fitting symbol of their being.

To lessen the confusion between Fire and Water and to accentuate the difference between Earth and Air, the Alchemists coloured their symbols…


Magical Elements II…


… Most people, if asked, would claim to be familiar with these elements largely because in the physical world they can recognise substances which, today, go by that name.

“I know what earth, air, fire and water are,” they might haughtily declare before moving on to something infinitely more befitting their lofty opinion of themselves.

But they would be wrong.

Nobody knows what they are.

We may be able to recognise them and in some instances we may also be able to predict what they will do, how they will operate, what results will follow from their mutual interactions, but we do not know what they are are, anymore than we can ever claim to know what electricity is, except, perhaps, in very vague terms…

Electricity is a force of nature which can be harnassed…

The Elements are forces of nature which can be harnassed…

So mysterious are these forces that some mystical schools refuse to call them elements at all, referring to them, instead, as principles.

For modern man this mystery is a failing, so it is not accepted and certainly not talked about…

For ancient man this mystery was a joy, embraced with open arms, and became something of a raison d’etre.

The ancients never tired of observing the kaliedoscopic interplay of these forces constantly taking place around them.

Consequently, they discovered some pretty amazing things about them.

They called this study, Alchemy…




A Day’s walk?…


…”The why, is always the same.”

“In order to connect, or to make whole?”

“And in order to then participate in that wholeness.”

“Which is connection.”

“They call Glastonbury England’s ‘holiest erthe’.”

“Perhaps that is why?”

“Today, we look up to the night sky, and wonder, and dream of perfection.”

“Or, at least, some of us do.”

“Perhaps, there was a time when, at certain junctures in the sacred year, to participate in that perfection was just a days walk away?”

Something fishy in Glastonbury…


‘It doesn’t feel like we’re in England. It feels like we’re in France or something.’

No idea why France in particular except, perhaps, that my memories of that country shimmer with light and heat, and the sun was beating down that day.

Such days, in an English summer, are still rare and may be that, to my mind, made the place suitably ‘other’?

How habitual it is to rationalise.

Almost second nature, as if one nature were not more than enough!

We were in Glastonbury for a symposium, a weekend of alternative lectures and radical thinking…

We ‘knew nothing’ of the vesica then even though we had read Michell’s ‘…View…’ some years before.

‘It’s like any book.

Some things stick.

Some things don’t.’

We knew, though, that we would be returning to Glastonbury and there was no rationalising that away.


‘In the landscape round Glastonbury Abbey can be found a clear exposition of the former practice of sacred geometry…

A circle with radius one furlong passes through the Old Market Cross, the Abbey fish pond and the town’s Catholic church and defines with its circumference the outer limits of St John’s church and the old Abbey house.

Another similar circle centred on the Catholic church encloses the church of St Benedict and also passes through the Market Cross and the fish pond.

The two parish churches, 1000 feet apart, are now placed symmetrically within the two circles. The centre of the vesica thus formed by these two circles falls on the Abbey Almonry, the centre of charity, and one of its sides can be seen to mark the building line of houses in Magdalene Street.

Thus, the town of Glastonbury lies below the interlinked circles of a vesica piscis, the basic figure of sacred geometry.’

John Michell – The View over Atlantis