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 Astrology, Alchemy, Symbolisms.

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Lyssa
Har Har Harr


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PostSubject: Re: Astrology, Alchemy, Symbolisms. Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:05 pm

Not for the gnosticism, but the symbolism.

Bruno wrote:
"The Egyptians have left us a particular statue in which three heads rose from the same bust; one of a wolf who looked behind him, the other of a lion who looked to one side, and the third of a dog who looked ahead, in order to indicate that things of the past afflict us by the memory of them, but not as much as things of the present torment us in fact, while the future always promises better things. Accordingly this emblem contains a wolf who howls, a lion who roars and a dog who laughs.

CES. What does the motto written above it express?

MAR. Notice that over the wolf is the word, I am; over the lion, Modo, and over the dog, Praeterea, words which represent the three parts of time.

CES. Now read what is written on the tablet.

MAR. I intend to do precisely that.

A wolf, a lion, and a dog -- at dawn, in the brightness
of day, and in the dark of evening -- represent the
things I have spent, the things I retain, and the things
I shall gain of all that has been given me, is given to
me, and can be given to me.

For the things I have done, do now, and must do, in
the past, present, and in the future, I repent, am tormented,
and am assured, in regret, in suffering, and in expectation
The harshness of my past experience, the bitterness of its
fruit, and the sweetness of hope are a menace, an affliction, and a solace to me.

The years I have lived, the time I live now, and shall
live, -- the past, present, and future -- make me
tremble, excite me, and sustain me.

What has gone by, what happens now, and what will
follow, holds me in much fear, in too much martyrdom, and
yields me sufficient hope.

CES. This is precisely the head of a frenzied lover; and very likely of all mortals who are afflicted, whatever may be the manner or mode of their affliction; for we cannot say, nor ought we to say that such a destiny corresponds to all in general, but only to those destinies which were or are laborious. For example, it behooves one who has sought a kingdom and now possesses it to feel the fear of losing it; it behooves one who has labored to acquire the fruits of love and to know the special favor of the beloved to feel the bite of jealousy and suspicion. And with respect to our condition in this world, if we find ourselves in darkness and misfortune, we can safely prophecy light and prosperity; if we live in an era of felicity and enlightenment, without doubt we can expect a succession of affliction and ignorance.

For example, Mercury Trismegistus saw Egypt in such a great splendor of science and of prophetic wisdom that he esteemed men to be the brothers of both demons and gods, and consequently to be most inspired; nevertheless to Asclepius he made that prophetic lamentation which announced that there must follow a dark age of new religions and cults, and that Egypt's present splendor would become only a fable and a matter for condemnation.

Similarly, when the Hebrews were slaves of Egypt and exiled in the desert, they were comforted by their prophets who assured them of liberty and the conquest of a fatherland, but when they enjoyed a state of power and tranquillity, they were menaced by captivity and dispersion. And today there is no evil or dishonor to which we may be subject, that we may not expect honor and goodness tomorrow.

The same befalls other generations and states.
If these states endure and are not ever annihilated, they must pass from evil to good, from good to evil, from baseness to splendor, from splendor to obscurity by a necessary force of the mutations of things. For this vicissitude occurs in accordance with the natural order. And if one should find another order which would alter or correct the present one, then I would consent to it, and would have no way in which to dispute it, for I judge only by the light of my natural reason.

MAR. We know that you are not a theologian but a philosopher, and that you treat of philosophy, not of theology.

CES. That is the case." [The Heroic Frenzies]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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Lyssa
Har Har Harr


Gender : Female Posts : 8680
Join date : 2012-03-01
Location : The Cockpit

PostSubject: Re: Astrology, Alchemy, Symbolisms. Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:08 am

Metallurgy and Shamanism

Eliade wrote:
"We shall do well to bear in mind the early religious significance attaching to aeroliths. They fall to earth charged with celestial sanctity; in a way, they represent heaven. This would suggest why so many meteorites were worshipped or identified with a deity. The faithful saw in them the 'first form', the immediate manifestation of the godhead. The Palladium of Troy was supposed to have dropped from heaven, and ancient writers saw it as the statue of the goddess Athena. A celestial origin was also accorded to the statue of Artemis at Ephesus and to the cone of Heliogabalus at Emesus (Herodian, v, 3, 5). The meteorite at Pessinus in Phrygia was venerated as the image of Cybele and, following an in­ junction by the Delphic Oracle, it was transported to Rome shortly after the Second Punic War. A block ofhard stone, the most ancient representation of Eros, stood side by side with Praxitele.s' sculptured image of the god (Pausanias, ix, 27, i). Other examples could easily be found, the most famous being the Ka'aha in Mecca. It is noteworthy that a certain number of meteorites are associated with goddesses, especially fertility goddesses such as Cybele. And here we come up against a transference of sanctity: the celestial origin is forgotten, to the advantage of the religious notion of the petra genitrix.

But the heavenly, and hence masculine, essence of the meteorites is none the less beyond dispute, for certain silex and neolithic tools were subsequently given names like 'thunderstones', 'thunderbolt teeth' or 'God's axes'. The sites where the)' were found were thought to have been struck by a thunderbolt, which is the weapon of the God of Heaven. When this God was ousted by the God of Storms, the thunderbolt became the sign of the sacred union between the God of the Hurricane and the Goddess Earth. Th is may account for the large number of double-axes dis­ covered in this period in the clefts and caves of Crete. These axes, like the thunderbolt and the meteorites, 'cleaved' the earth; they symbolized, in other words, the union between heaven and earth. Delphi, most famous of the clefts of ancient Greece, owed its name to this mythical image; 'delphi' signifies in fact the female generative organ. Many other symbols and appellations liken the earth to a woman. Put this analogy served as a kind of archetypal model in which priority was given to the cosmos. Plato re­ minds us (Menex., 2J8A), that in the matter of conception it is the woman who imitates the earth and not the earth woman.

The 'celestial' origin of iron is perhaps attested by the Greek sideros, which has been related to sidus,-eris, meaning 'star', and the Lithuanian svidu, 'to shine', and svideti, 'shining'. The use of meteorites was not, however, calculated to promote an Iron Age proper. While it lasted the metal remained rare (it was as precious as gold), and its use was more or less ritualistic. Before a new landmark in his evolution could be inaugurated with the Age of Metals, man had to await the discovery of smelting. This is especially true of iron. Unlike copper and bronze, the metallurgy of iron very soon became industrialized. Once the secret of smelting magnetite or hematite was learnt (or discovered) there was no difficulty in procuring large quantities of metal because deposits were rich and easy to exploit. But the handling of telluric ores differed from that of meteoric iron as it did also from the smelting of copper and bronze. It was not until after the dis­ covery of furnaces, and particularly after the perfecting of the technique of the hardening of metal brought to white heat, that iron achieved its dominant position.

The belated appearance of iron, followed by its industrial triumph, had a tremendous influence on the rites and symbols of metallurgy. A whole series of taboos and magical uses of iron are due to this victory and to the fact that it superseded bronze and copper, which were representative of other 'ages' and other mythologies. The smith is first and foremost a worker in iron, and his nomadic condition-for he is con­ stantly on the move in his quest for raw metal and for orders for work-puts him in touch with differing populations. The smith becomes the principal agent in this spread of myths, rites and metallurgical mysteries. This ensemble of facts introduces us to a vast new mental world.

The Kitara divided ores into male and female: the former, hard and black, are found on the surface; the latter, soft and red, are extracted from inside the mine. The mingling of the two 'sexes' is indispensable to fruitful fusion.3 This is of course an objectively arbitrary classification, for neither the colour nor the hardness of ores always corres­ ponds to their 'sexual' qualification. But it was the total union of reality which matttred, for it justified the rite, namely the 'marriage of the metals', and this last made possible a birth.

In Vedic India the sacrificial altar (vedt) was looked upon as female and the ritual fire (agni) as male and 'their union brought forth offspring'. We are in the presence of a very complex symbolism which cannot be reduced to a single plane of reference. For, on the one hand, the vedi was compared to the navel (nahht) of the Earth, the symbol par excellence of the 'centre'. But the nahhi was also established as being the womb of the Goddess (cf. Shatapatha­ Brahmana, I, 9, 2, 21). On the other hand, fire itselfwas looked upon as the result (the progeny) of a sexual union: it was born as a result of the to-and-fro motion (compared to copulation) of a stick (representing the male organ), in a notch made in a piece of wood (female organ; cf. Rig Veda, III, 29, 2 sq.; V, II , 6; VI, 48, 5). The same sexual symbolism of fire is found in a number of primitive societies.4 But all these sexual terms convey a cosmological conception with a hierogamous base. It is from a 'centre' (navel) that the
creation of the world starts and, in solemnly imitating this primary model, every 'construction', every 'fabrication', must operate from a starting 'centre'. The ritual production of fire reproduces the birth of the world. Which is why at the end of the year all fires are extinguished (a re-enactment of the Cosmic night), and rekindled on New Year's Day (this is an enactment of the Cosmogony, the rebirth of the world). For all this, fire does not lose its ambivalent character: it is either of divine origin or 'demoniac' (for, according to certain primitive beliefs, it is engendered magically in the genital organ of the sorceress).

An analogous symbolism was connected with the triangle. Pausanias (II, 21) speaks of a place in Argos called delta which was considered to be the sanctuary of Demeter. Fick
and Eisler have interpreted the triangle as meaning 'vulva', and this interpretation is valid if the term is allowed to retain its first sense of 'matrix' or source. It is known that for the Greeks delta was a symbol for woman. The Pythagoreans regarded the triangle as the archi geneseoas because of its perfect form and because it represented the archetype of universal fertility. A similar symbolism fur the triangle is to be found in India.

If streams, galleries of mines, and caves are compared to the vagina of the Earth-Mother, everything that lies in the belly of the earth is alive, albeit in the state of gestation. In other words, the ores extracted from the mines are in some way emhryos: they grow slowly as though in obedience to some temporal rhythm other than that of vegetable and animal organisms. They nevertheless do grow-they 'grow ripe' in their telluric darkness. Their extraction from the bowels of the earth is thus an operation executed before its due time. If they had been permitted the time to develop (i.e. the geological rhythm of time), the ores would have become ripe metals, having reached a state of 'perfection'.  

But we are in a position to appreciate even at this point the responsibility assumed by the miners and metallurgists by their intervention in the obscure processes of mineral growth. They had at all costs to justify their intervention, and to do this they had to claim that they were, by their metallurgical procedures, superseding the work of Nature. By accelerating the process of the growth of metals, the metallurgist was precipitating temporal growth: geological tempo was by him changed to living terr.po. This bold conception, whereby man defends his full responsibility vis-a-vis Nature, already gives us a glimpse of something of the work of the alchemist.

From the immense mass of lithic mythology, two kinds of belief concern our research: the myths concerning men born from stone and the beliefs regarding the generation and ripening of stones and ores in the bowels of the earth. Both beliefs have implicit in them the notion that stone is the source of life and fertility, that it lives and procreates human creatures just as it has itself been engendered by the earth.

Deucalion threw the 'bones of his mother' behind his back to repopulate the world. These 'bones' of the Earth-Mother were stones; they repre­ sented the Urgrund, indestructible reality, the matrix whence a new mankind was to emerge. That the stone is an archetypal image expressing ahsolute reality, life and holiness is proved by the fact that numerous myths recount the story of gods born from the petra genitrix analogous to the Great Goddess, the matrix mundi.

The second group of beliefs, those relating to the genera­ tion of ores and stones in the belly of the earth-deserve particular attention. Rock engenders precious stones. The Sanscrit name for Emerald is afmagarhhaja, 'born from rock', and the Indian mineralogical treatises describe its presence in the rock as being in its 'matrix'.2 The author of the Jawaher · nameh (The Book of Precious Stones) distinguishes diamond from crystal by a difference in age expressed in embryological terms: the diamond is pakka, i.e. 'ripe', while the crystal is kaccha, 'not ripe', 'green', insufficiently developed.3 A similar conception was preserved in Europe up to the seventeenth century. De Rosnel wrote in the Le Mercure lndien (1672, p. 12): 'The ruby, in particular, gradually takes birth in the ore-bearing earth; first of all it is white and gradually acquires its redness in the process of ripening. Thus it is that there are some which are completely white, others half white, half red. . . . Just as the infant is fed on blood in the belly of its mother so is the ruby formed and fed.'" Bernard Palissy himselfbelieved in the maturation of minerals. Like all fruits of the earth, he wrote, 'minerals have a different colour at maturity from that at their beginning'.

Mines were allowed to rest after a period of active exploitation. The mine, matrix of the earth, required time in order to generate the new. Pliny (Nat. Hist., XXXIV, 49) wrote that the galena mines of Spain 'were reborn' after a certain time. Similar indications are to be found in Strabo (Geography, V, 2), and Barba, the seventeenth-century Spanish writer, also refers to them: an exhausted mine is capable of re-creating its deposits if it is suitably blocked up and allowed to rest for fifteen years. For, adds Barba, those who think that metals were created at the beginning of the world are grossly mistaken: metals 'grow' in mines.

Ores 'grow' and 'ripen'; this picture of subterranean life is sometimes described in terms of life in the vegetable world. The chemist Glauber goes so far as to say 'that if the metal reaches its final perfection and is not extracted from the earth, which is no longer providing it with nourishment, it may well, at this stage, be compared to an old and decrepit man. . . . Nature maintains the same rhythm ofbirth and death in metals as in vegetables and animals.'

Indeed, metallurgy, like agriculture-which also pre­ supposes the fecundity of the Earth-Mother-ultimately gave to man a feeling of confidence and pride. Man feels himself able to collaborate in the work of Nature, able to assist the processes of growth taking place within the bowels of the earth. He jogs and accelerates the rhythm of these slow chtonian maturations. In a way he does the work of Time.
The alchemist takes up and perfects the work of Nature, while at the same time working to 'make' himself. It is indeed interesting to follow the symbiosis of metallurgical and alchemical traditions at the close of the Middle Ages.

In the preface to his Dere Metallica, 1530, Agricola attributes the Berghiichlein to Colbus Fribergius, a distinguished doctor - non ignobilis medicus - who lived in Freiburg among the miners whose beliefs and practices he expounds and interprets in the light of alchemy.

The author recalls the belief, widespread in the Middle Ages, that ores are generated by the union of two principles, sulphur and mercury.

"Furthermore, in the union of mercury and sulphur with the ore, the sulphur behaves like the male seed and the mercury like the female seed in the conception and birth of a child' (ihid., p. 388). The smooth birth of the ore demands the 'quality peculiar to a natural vessel, just as the lodes are natural in which the ore is produced' (ihid., p. :.88). ' Convenient ways or approaches are also required by means of which the metal or mineral power may have access to the natural vessel, such as animal hair' (ihid., p. 388). The orienta­ tion and inclination of the lodes are connected with the points of the compass. The Berghiichlein recalls the traditions accord­ ing to which the stars control the formation of metals. Silver grows under the influence ofthe moon. And the lodes are more or less argentiferous, according to their situation in relation to the 'perfect direction', marked by the position of the moon (ihid., p. 422). The ore of gold, as might be expected, grows under the influence of the sun. 'According to the opinions of the Sages, gold is engendered from a sulphur, the clearest possible, and properly rectified and purified in the earth, by the action of the sky, principally of the sun, so that it contains no further humour which might be destroyed or burnt by fire nor any liquid humidity which might be evaporated by fire . . .' (p. 443). The Berghiichlein likewise explains the birth ofcopper ore by the influence ofthe planet Venus, that ofiron by the influence of Mars and that of lead by the influence of Satum."

This text is important. It bears witness to a whole complex of mining traditions, deriving on the one hand from the primitive conception of mineral embryology and, on the other, from Babylonian astrological speculations. These latter are subsequent, obviously, to the belief in the generation of metals in the bosom of the Earth-Mother, as is, too, the alchemical notion taken up by the Berghiichlein, of the forma­ tion of ores resulting from the union between sulphur and mercury.

The 'nobility' of gold is thus the fruit at its most mature; the other metals are 'common' because they are crude; 'not ripe'. In other words, Nature's final goal is the completion of the mineral kingdom, its ultimate 'maturation'.
But since gold is the bearer of a highly spiritual symbolism ('Gold is im­ mortality', say the Indian texts repeatedly), it is obvious that a new idea is coming into being: the idea of the part assumed by the alchemist as the brotherly saviour of Nature. He assists Nature to fulfil her final goal, to attain her 'ideal', which is the perfection of its progeny-be it mineral, animal or human-to its supreme ripening, which is absolute im­ mortality and liberty (gold being the symbol of sovereignty and autonomy).
The earth is compared to the belly of the mother, the mines to her matrix and the ores to embryos. A whole series of mineral and metallurgical rites derives from it.  

A mine or an untapped vein is not easily discovered; it is for the gods and divine creatures to reveal where they lie and to teach human beings how to exploit their contents. These beliefs were held in European countries until quite recently.

- In Finistere a fairy (groac'k) is believed to have disclosed to man the existence of silver-bearing lead…

- 'The White Lady', whose appearance was followed by landslips…

It is sufficient to recall that the sinking of a mine or the construction of a furnace are ritual operations, often of an astonishing primitivism. Mining rites persisted in Europe up to the end of the Middle Ages: every sinking of a new mine was accompanied by religious ceremonies (Sebillot, op. cit., p. 421).

If the tempering of a sword was looked upon as a union of fire and water, if the action of alloying is a marriage-rite, the same symbolism was necessarily implicit in the smelting of the metal.

In the myth of the dismemberment of Indra, we are told that, intoxicated by an excess of soma, the body of the god began to 'flow out', giving birth to every kind of creature, plant and metal. 'From his navel, his life-breath flowed out and became lead, not iron, not silver; from his seed his form flowed out and became gold.' (Shatapatha Brahmana, xii, 7, 1, 7). A similar myth is found among the Iranians. When Gayomart, the Primordial Man, was assassinated by the corruptor, 'he allowed his seed to flow to earth. . . . As the body of Gayomart was made of metals , the seven kinds of metal appeared from his body .'

A similar myth was probably shared by the Greeks. P. Roussel had already drawn attention to a Greek proverb, handed down by Zenobius, which would point to the existence of a legend concerning the origin of iron. 'Two brothers put their third brother to death; they bury him beneath a mountain; his body changes to iron.'

That was the point of departure for the great discovery that roan can take upon himself the work of Time.

Fire turned out to be the means by which man could 'execute' faster, but it could also do something other than what already existed in Nature. It was therefore the manifesta­tion of a magico-religious power which could modify the world and which, consequently, did not belong to this world. This is why the most primitive cultures look upon the specialist in the sacred-the shaman, the medicine-man, the magician­ as a 'master of fire'. Primitive magic and shamanism both carry the notion of 'mastery over fire', whether it is a question of involving the power to touch live coals with impunity or of producing that 'inner heat' which permitted resistance to ex­treme cold.

We may note, how­ ever, that to produce fire in one's own body is a sign that one has transcended the human condition. According to the myths of certain primitive peoples, the aged women* of the tribe 'naturally' possessed fire in their genital organs and made use of it to do their cooking but kept it hidden from men, who were able to get possession of it only by trickery. These myths reflect the ideology of a matriarchal society and remind us, also, of the fact that fire, being produced by the friction of two pieces of wood (that is, by their 'sexual union'), was regarded as existing naturally in the piece which represented the female. In this sort of culture woman sym­ bolizes the natural sorceress. But men finally achieved 'mastery' over fire and in the end the sorcerers became more powerful and more numerous than their female counterparts.
As ' masters o f fire', shamans and sorcerers swallow burning coal, handle red-hot iron and walk on fire. On the other hand, they have great resistance to cold; shamans in the Arctic regions as well as the ascetics in the Himalayas, thanks to their magic heat, show an incredible resistance.
The mastery over fire and insensibility both to extreme cold and to the temperature of burning coals, translated into ordinary terms, signify that the shaman or yogi have gone beyond the human condition and have achieved the level of spirits.

Like the shamans, the smiths were reputed to be 'masters of fire'. And so in certain cultures, the smith is considered equal, if not superior, to the shaman. 'Smiths and shamans come from the same nest', says a Yakut proverb. 'The wife of a shaman is worthy of respect, the wife of a smith worthy of veneration', says another.2 And a third: 'The first smith, the first shaman and the first potter were blood brothers. The smith was the eldest and the shaman came in between. This explains wJ-.y the shaman cannot bring about the death of a smith.'3 According to the Dolganes, the shaman cannot 'swallow' the soul of a smith because the latter protects it with fire; but on the other hand, it is possible for the smith to get possession of the soul of a shaman and to burn it in fire.

The identification of shamanism with the art of the smith likewise appears in the ceremonial spectacles of certain shamanic initiations. In their dreams or initiatory hallucinations the future shamans watch themselves being torn to pieces by the 'demon'-masters of the initiation. Now these traditional spectacles entail, directly or otherwise, gestures, tools and symbols belonging to the sphere of the smith. During his initiatory sickness, a Yakut shaman has looked on as his own limbs have been detached and separated with an iron hook by demons; after all kinds of operations (cleansing of bones, scraping offlesh, etc.), the demons have reassembled the bones and joined them with iron. Another shaman has had his body cut into small pieces by the Mother Bird ofPrey who possessed an iron beak, hooked claws and iron feathers. Another, also during his initiatory hallucinations, has been rocked in an iron cradle. And finally, from a long autobiographical account by an Ava-Samoyede shaman, we extract this episode. The future shaman, during his initiation sickness, saw himself penetrate to the interior of a mountain where he beheld a naked man operating a bellows. On the fire was a cauldron. The naked man seized the shaman with an enormous pair of tongs, cut off his head, sliced his body into small fragments and threw the whole lot into the cauldron, where it was left to cook for three years. In the cave there were also three

anvils and the naked man forged his head on the third anvil, the one reserved for the best shamans. Finally he rescued his bones, reassembled them and covered them with flesh. Accord­ ing to another source, a Tungus shaman, during initiation, had his head cut off and forged with metal pieces. It is also worth remembering that the shamanic costume is loaded with iron objects, some of them being imitations of bones and tending to give him the appearance of a skeleton.

What is especially significant is the fact that the symbolism of the 'thunderstone', in which pro­ jectiles and stone missiles are compared with the thunderbolt, underwent a great development in the mythologies of metal­ lurgy. The weapons which the smith-gods or divine-smiths forge for the celestial gods are thunder and lightning. This was the case, for example, with the weapons presented by Tvashtri to lndra. The clubs or cudgels of Ninurta are called 'world-crusher' or 'world-grinder', and are compared with thunder and lightning. Just as thunder and lightning are the weapons of Zeus, so the hammer (mjolnir) of Thor is the thunderbolt. The clubs 'jump' from the hands of Baal, for Koshar has forged arms for him which can be hurled to very distant points (Gaster, op. cit., p. 1 5 8 ). Zeus hurls his thunder­ bolt afar.

This concatenation of images is very significant: thunder­ bolt, 'thunderstone' (mythological souvenir of the Stone Age), and the magical weapon with a long-distance strike (some­ times returning like a boomerang to its master's hand; cf. Thor's hammer). It is possible to detect here certain traces of the mythology of homo faber, to divine the magic aura of the manufactured tool, the exceptional prestige of the artisan and workman and, above all, in the Metal Age, of the smith. It is in any case significant that, in contrast to pre-agricultural and pre-metallurgical mythologies, where, as a natural pre­ rogative, God is the possessor of the thunderbolt and all the other meteorological epiphanies, in the myths of historic peoples, on the other hand (Egypt, the Near East and the Indo-Europeans), the God of the hurricane received these weapons - lightning and thunder - from a divine smith. It is difficult to avoid seeing in this the mythologized victory of homo foher, a victory which presages his supremacy in the industrial ages to come. What clearly emerges from all these myths concerning smiths who assist the gods to secure their supremacy is the extraordinary importance accorded to thefohrication of a tool. Naturally, such a creation retains for a long time a magical or divine character, for all 'creation' or 'construction' can only be the work of a superhuman being. One final aspect of this mythology concerning the maker of tools must be mentioned: the workman strives to imitate divine models. The smith of the gods forges weapons similar to lightning and the thunderbolt ('weapons', naturally possessed by the celestial gods of pre-metallurgical mythologies). In their turn, human smiths imitate the work of their super­ human patrons. On the mythological level, however, it has to be emphasized that the imitation of divine models is superseded by a new theme: the importance of the work of manufacture, the demiurgical capabilities of the workman; and finally the apotheosis of thefoher, he who 'creates' objects.

We are tempted to find in this category of primordial ex­ periences the source of all mythico-ritual complexes, in which the smith and divine or semi-divine artisan are at once archi­ tects, dancers, musicians and medicine-sorcerers. Each one of these highlights a different aspect of the great mythology of 'savoir faire', that is to say, the possession of the occult secret of 'fabrication', of 'construction'. The words of a song have considerable creative force; objects are created by 'singing' the requisite words. Vainamoinen 'sings' a boat, i.e. he builds it by modulating a chant composed of magic words; and when he lacks the three final words he goes to consult an illustrious magician, Amero Vipunen. 'To make' something means knowing the magic formula which will allow it to be invented or to 'make it appear' spontaneously. In virtue of this, the artisan is a connoisseur of secrets, a magician; thus all crafts include some kind of initiation and are handed down by an occult tradition. He who 'makes' real things is he who knows the secrets of making them. In the same way we may look for an explanation of the function of the mythical African smith in his capacity of civilizing hero. He has been enjoined by God to complete creation, to organize the world and to educate men, that is, to reveal to them the arts. It is especially important to underline the role of the African smith in the initiations at puberty and in the secret societies. In both cases we are dealing with a revelation of mysteries or the knowledge of ultimate realities. In this religious role of the smith there is a foreshadowing of the celestial smith's mission as civilizing hero; he collaborates in the spiritual 'formation' of young men; he is a sort of guide, the earthly counterpart of the First Counsellor who came down from heaven in illo tempore.

It has been noted that in early Greece, certain groups of mythical personages-Telchines, Cabiri, Kuretes, Dactyls­ were both secret guilds associated with mysteries and cor­ porations of metal-workers. According to various traditions, the Telchines were the first people to work in iron and bronze, the Idaean Dactyls discovered iron-smelting and the Kuretes bronze work. The latter, too, were reputed for their special dance which they performed with a clash of arms. The Cabiri, like the Kuretes, are given the title of 'masters of the furnace' and were called 'mighty in fire'; their worship spread all over the eastern Mediterranean. The Dactyls were the priests of Cybele, the goddess of mountains as well as of mines and caves and having her dwelling inside the mountains.  

The horse and its rider have held a considerable place in the ideologies and rituals of the 'male societies' (Mannerbiinde); it is in this connection that we shall meet the blacksmith. The phantom­ horse would come into his workshop, sometimes with Odin or the troop of the 'furious army' or 'savage hunt' (Wilde Heer), to be shod.1 In certain parts of Germany and Scandin­ avia the blacksmith until quite recently participated in initiatory scenarios of the Mannerbiinde type. In Styria he shoes the 'war-horse' or 'charger' (i.e. the Hobby-Horse) by 'killing' him in order to 'revive' him afterwards (Hofler, p. 54). In Scandinavia and north Germany, shoeing is an initiatory rite of entry into the secret society as well as a marriage rite (ihid., pp. 54-5). As Otto Hofler has shown (p. 54), the ritual of shoeing and that of the death and resurrection of the 'horse' (with or without rider) on the occasion of a marriage marks both the fiance's break with bachelordom and his entry into the class of married men.

Smith and blacksmith play a similar role in the rituals of Japanese 'male-societies'. The smith-god is called Ame no ma-hitotsu no kami, 'the one-eyed god of the sky'. Japanese
mythology presents a certain number of one-eyed and one­ legged divinities, inseparable from the Mannerbiinde; they are the gods of the thunderbolt and the mountains or of anthro­ pophagous demons (Slawik, p. 698). It is known that Odin was also represented as an old one-eyed man, short-sighted or even blind.1 The phantom-horse which came into the blacksmith's shop was one-eyed. Here we come up against an intricate mythico-ritual motif, a scenario of the Mannerbiinde in which the infirmities of the characters (one-eyed or one-legged, etc.) recall the initiatory

mutilations or describe the appearance of the masters of initiation (short, dwarfish, etc.). The divinities who bore some infirmity were put into contact with 'strangers', the 'men of the mountains', the 'underground dwarfs', that is to say, with mountain populations surrounded by mystery, generally dreaded metal-workers. In Nordic mythologies the dwarfs were renowned for their admirable smithcraft. Certain fairies enjoyed the same prestige. The tradition of a people of small build, dedicated wholly to metallurgy and living in the depths of the earth, is also found elsewhere. To the Dogons, the first mythic inhabitants of the region were the Negrillos, who have since disappeared underground: but, being indefatigable smiths, the resounding clang of their hammers is still to be heard. The warrior 'male-societies' both in Europe and in central Asia and in the Far East (Japan), performed initiatory rituals in which the smith and blacksmith had their place. It is known that after the conversion to Christianity of northern Europe, Odin and the 'Savage Hunt' were compared with the devil and the hordes of the damned.

The 'mastery of fire', common both to magician, shaman and smith, was, in Christian folklore, looked upon as the work of the devil: one of the most frequently recurring popular images shows the devil spitting flames. Perhaps we have here the final mythological transformation of the arche­ typal image of the 'master of fire'. Odin-Wotan was the master of the wut, the furor religiosus (Wotan, id est furor, wrote Adam von Bremen). Now the wut, like other terms in the Indo-European religious vocabulary (furor, ferg, menos), signifies the anger and extreme heat provoked by an excessive ingestion of sacred power. The warrior becomes heated during his initiation fight; he produces a 'heat' which is not un­ reminiscent of the 'magic heat' produced by the shamans and yogi. The divine smith works with fire while the warrior god, by his furor, magically produces fire in his own body. It is this intimacy, this sympathy with fire, which unites such differing magico­ religious experiences and identifies such disparate vocations as that of the shaman, the smith, the warrior and the mystic.

The principal representative of Taoist­ Zen alchemy is Ko Ch'ang Keng, also known as Po Yu Chuan. Here is how he describes the three methods of esoteric alchemy (Waley, Notes, p. 16 sq.). In the first, the body plays the part of the element lead, and the heart that of mer­ cury; 'meditation' (dhyana) provides the necessary fluid and the sparks of intelligence the necessary fire. Ko Ch'ang Keng adds: 'By this method a gestation which normally requires ten months can be achieved in the twinkling of an eye.' The detail is revealing; as Waley points out, Chinese alchemy estimates that the process by which a child is engendered is capable of producing the Philosopher's Stone. This analogy is implicit in the writings of Western alchemists (they say, for example, that the fire under the receptacle or container must burn continuously for forty weeks-the period necessary for the gestation of the human embryo).

Like so many other Chinese spiritual techniques, they derived from the proto-historic tradition to which we have referred (p. 1 ro) and which included, inter alia, recipes and exercises for the purpose of achieving perfect spontaneity and vital beatitude.

The aim of 'embryonic respiration' was to imitate the breathing of the foetus in the womb. 'By returning to the base, the origin, we drive away old age, we return to the condition of the foetus', says the preface to T'ai-hsi K'eou Kiue (Oral Formulae for Embryonic Respiration).

Side by side with the chemical significance of the 'fixation' (or 'death') of mercury, there is a purely alchemical (yogi­ tantric) meaning. To reduce the fluidity of mercury is equiva­ lent to the paradoxical transmutation of the psycho-mental flow in a 'static consciousness', without any modification and hence without 'becoming'. In alchemical terms, to 'fix' or to 'kill' mercury is tantamount to attaining to the citta­ V[ttinirodha (suppression of conscious states), which is the ultimate aim of yoga. Hence the limitless efficiency of 'fixed' mercury. The Survarna Tantra affirms that by eating 'killed mercury' (nasta-pista), man becomes immortal; a small quantity of this 'killed mercury' can change to gold a quantity of mercury 1oo,ooo times as large.

Trans­mutation, the magnum opus which culminated in the Philoso­ pher's Stone, is achieved by causing matter to pass through four phases, named, from the colours taken on by the in­ gredients: melansis (black), leukosis (white), xanthosis (yellow) and iosis (red). Black (the nigredo of medieval writers) sym­ bolizes death, and we shall return again to this alchemical mystery. But it is important to emphasize that the four phases of the opus are already mentioned in the pseudo-Democritean Physika kai Mystika (fragment preserved by Zosimos)­ that is, in the first alchemical writing proper (second to first century B.c.). With innumerable variations, the four (or five) phases of the work (nigredo, alhedo, citrinitas, ruhedo, sometimes viriditas, sometimes cauda pavonis) are retained throughout the whole history of Arabian Western alchemy.

[It] recalls not only the dismemberment of Dionysius and other 'dying Gods' of the Mysteries (whose passion is, on a certain plane, closely allied with the different moments of the vegetal cycle, especially with the tortures, death and resurrection of the Spirit of Corn), but that it presents striking analogies with the initiation visions of the shamans and, in general, with the fundamental pattern of all primitive initiations. It is known that every initiation comprises a series of ritual tests symbolizing the death and resurrection of the neophyte. In the shamanic initiations, these ordeals, although undergone 'in the second state', are of an extreme cruelty. The future shaman is present, in a dream, at his own dismemberment, decapitation and death.

Ruska considers that to the Greek alchemists, 'torture' did not yet correspond to an actual operation but was symbolic. It is only with the Arab writers that 'torture' has reference to chemical operations. In the

Testament of Ga'far Sadiq, we read that dead bodies must be tortured by fire and by all the Arts of Suffering in order that they may revive; for without suffering or death one cannot achieve eternal life. 'Torture' always brought 'death' with it -mortificatio, putrefactio, nigredo. There was no hope of 'resuscitating' to a transcendent mode of being (that is, no hope of attaining to transmutation), without prior 'death'. The alchemical symbolism of torture and death is sometimes equivocal; the operation can be taken to refer either to man or to a mineral substance. In the Allegoriae super Librum Turbae we read: 'Take a man, shave him and drag him on to the stone until his body dies' (accipe hominem, tonde eum, et trahe super lapidem . . . donee corpus eius moriatur). This ambivalent symbolism permeates the whole opus alchymicum.

At the operational level, 'death' corresponds usually to the black colour (the nigredo) taken on by the various ingredients. It was the reduction of substances to the materia prima, to the massa confusa, the fluid, shapeless mass corresponding­ on the cosmological plane-to chaos. Death represents regression to the amorphous, the reintegration of chaos. This is why aquatic symbolism plays such an important part. One of the alchemists' maxims was: 'Perform no operation till all be made water.' On the operational level, this corresponds to the solution of purified gold in aqua regia. Kirchweger, the supposed author of the Aurea Catena Homeri (1723) - a work which, incidentally, had a great influence on the young Goethe -writes: 'For this is certain, that all nature was in the begin­ ning water, and through water all things were born and again through water all things must be destroyed.' The alchemical regression to the fluid state of matter corresponds, in the cosmologies, to the primordial chaotic state, and in the initiation rituals, to the 'death' of the initiate.

The Western alchemist by endeavouring to 'kill' the ingredients, to reduce them to the materia prima, provokes a sympatheia between the 'pathetic situations' of the substance and his innermost being. In other words, he realizes, as it were, some initiatory experiences which, as the course of the npus proceeds, forge for him a new per­ sonality, comparable to the one which is achieved after successfully undergoing the ordeals ofinitiation. His participa­ tion in the phases of the opus is such that the nigredo, for example, procures for him experiences analogous to those of the neophyte in the mltlatton ceremonies when he feels 'swallowed up' in the belly of the monster, or 'buried', or symbolically 'slain by the masks and masters of initiation'.

Our aim was simply to show that the spiritual crisis of the modern world includes among its remote origins the demiurgic dreams of the metallurgists, smiths and alchemists." [Forge and the Crucible]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Astrology, Alchemy, Symbolisms. Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:21 pm

Metaphorical approach to Hercules' 12 labours and the Zodiac.

Quote :
"The labors of Hercules make the ascending path of initiation. It is a path that ‘spins' in the Zodiac. Therefore the zodiac is not the ‘wheel' but the path ‘spins' in it. The first trial to overcome is fear, getting rid of the dread that stops us at our lower nature. This is what Hercules fights against before entering the sign of the Capricorn; he has learnt that the animal (individualism of lower nature) must be sacrificed at the fire of intelligence.

The trials, then, are an initiatory journey that produces the definitive change in human nature, through many little inner changes.


Aries (21 st March-20 th April) by capturing the man-eating mares, Hercules reacts instinctively but he learns the control of the mind. The journey towards the change starts from an indistinct spiritual push expressed as a sense of justice that leads him to save the others.

Taurus (21 st April-20 th May) Hercules captures the Cretan bull ; in other words he learns that desire must become genuine aspiration by dominating sexual energy. This energy must not be repressed but addressed to the right goal. The sexual spur and the power of attraction are the fundaments of the big illusion but, eventually, energy itself causes illumination.

Gemini (21 st May-20 th June) Hercules, by picking the golden apples of knowledge , knows himself. He subdues the three aspects of the lower nature: the physical body, desire and reason. The progress was so far subjective and characterized by desire; it now starts turning into mental power.

Cancer (21 st June-20 th July) Hercules' capture of the running Diana, a sensitive hind difficult to find, symbolizes the participation of shifty intuition, which is a higher intellectual faculty. In the previous cycles experience has turned instinct into intellect; now the initiate must turn the intellect into intuitive faculty where all the lower powers must be developed and sublimed.

Leo (22 nd July- 21 st August) Hercules kills the Nemean Lion . Through this trial Hercules shows Eurystheus, the master observing him, that he's able to kill personality even when it is characterized by the courage of the sign. In a real sense, the initiate demonstrates he's able to subordinate to the superior will even the most courageous lower nature, such as the one symbolized by the lion. He gives the warranty of the strength of his proposition.

The first five labors of Hercules complete the so-called Probationary Path. The killing of the Nemean Lion represents its acme.

Virgo (22 nd August-21 st September) Hercules accomplishes his sixth labor by obtaining the girdle of Hippolyte, the Amazonian Queen. In Aries, at the beginning, Hercules started the probationary Path with a partial failure. The first labor of this new journey as well is ‘accomplished, but badly accomplished'. The morale for both is that it is easier to make mistakes at the beginning. Therefore the candidate must never lower his guard because there's always the danger of making mistakes. Sometimes virtues can become a problem and a high initiate can lose the Path as well. The failure, though, is only temporary. Although we have other chances, it is better to remember that there is always a consequence to a mistake. A delay in the cycles is always a great loss.

Libra (22 nd September-22 nd October) Hercules captures the boar , an impulsive animal that represents the mobility of emotional mind. The capture of emotiveness by the force of will balances the couple of opposites and proofs that the inner balance is reached and we are ready to enter the next sign.

Scorpio (23 rd October-22 nd November) Hercules enters the supreme trial, which is supreme for the present humankind as well. The problem is to emancipate from illusion, to free oneself from the fog and the mental miasmas that hide reality behind the theatres of appearances. In this sign Hercules successfully overcomes the biggest trial by slaying the Lernaean Hydra . After demonstrating he's able to manage desire by re-establishing the balance in his mind, the direction of his mind is univocal because it's not held by appearance.

Sagittarius (23 rd November-22 nd Dicember) Hercules improves his one-way direction. Like in Aries he captured the man-eating mares and subdues them to his purposes, he now kills the Stymphalian Birds ending once for all the tendencies to use the thought in a destructive manner.

In Capricornus (23 rd December-20 th January) Hercules, with the killing of Cerberus, becomes an initiate, a semi-god, man and Son of God able to work in the Infernal regions, on Earth and in the Sky. In the symbolism of the three-headed dog is described the definitive transfiguration of the earthly personality. Transfiguration is in fact the first of the major Initiations.

Acquario (21 st January-19 th February) Hercules reroutes the river and cleans the Augean Stables. He puts the purifying water at service of man. The water of understanding purifies the heart of the initiate. This is the meaning of the sign of Aquarius, which we entered a few years ago. It is symbolized by a Man who carries a jug of water on his shoulders. This is the symbol of the servants of humankind; for mystics it is also the symbol of the Savior of the world.

Pisces (20 th February-20 th March) Hercules captures the Red Cattle , put them in a golden bowl and skin them in the Temple. Such is the beauty of the sign in which man becomes the savior of the world by transcending and redeeming the animal essence in humankind.

On the path of self-conscience the character and the nature of Hercules are put to the test, until the qualities that characterize his materiality are transmuted and reveal the soul. This turns him into a semi-god, like any other initiate.

This consciousness is the realization of the Path that Hercules reaches with will power and intelligence, accepting that suffering is the biggest purifying force."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Astrology, Alchemy, Symbolisms. Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:15 pm

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Astrology, Alchemy, Symbolisms. Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:00 pm

Minus all the theosophy…

Quote :
"The four moments of royal ordination:

Coronatio or, more properly, enthronement: a divinizing operation taking place on the seat of a regent or archetypal human form, in a flame-ridden, quadrangular (sometimes cuboidal) space, often described as a mountain, to which subterranean, infernal features may be associated.

Copulatio: effectuation by a female initiatrix. This agent is presented as a luminous, divine hypostasis and is identified with the ceremonial space itself. Further, she is described as the cause and substance of the material universe through the recurring symbols of a tree (organic growth) and the act of weaving (fabrication).

Corporatio: As a consequence of the preceding, the incumbent initiate perceives cosmic corporeality (the universe as coherent, organic unit) and epiphanically identifies the universal ensemble with his own body (the two being anatomically analogous).

Oecumene: A political ethic of respect for boundaries derives from this ordeal, given that each social entity is experienced as an organ in a common body whose health would be adversely affected by tumorous aggression. In Western terms this ethic is properly denoted the principle of subsidiarity."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Astrology, Alchemy, Symbolisms. Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:37 am

Exalted Pisces.

Quote :
"Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters, its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart." [Mabel Collins, Light on the Path]

Venus ruling taste, etiquette, exalted in Pisces [aphrodite] - aphrodisiacs, hot chocolate, good for the heart, keeps the feet humour-ous…

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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