Alchemy Forum 1251-1300

From January 25th 1996, the Alchemy forum was restructured and the messages were sequentially numbered. This is an unedited extract of messages 1251-1300.
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Mon Jul 01 09:31:31 1996
Subject: 1251 Christians and mysticism

Date: Sun, 30 Jun 1996 09:13:13 +0300
From: Ros Bangham

>From: Matthew Gordon Phillips
>
>A useful translation for ALHIM for me is "Male-Female Gods"; is the
>multiplicity of ALHIM maybe a good place to look for the another puzzle,
>"Let Us make him in our image"--who is "Us" when you classically see God
>as One overbearing uptight male macho God, Mr. Monotheism himself? I
>haven't the slightest. But if "God" is a Male-Female
>(bisexual/hermaphrodite?) God, then a lot of "problems" are
>"miraculously" cleared away. The "justification" for using this
>translation is that the root ALVH is feminine. Is that right? Well, the
>feminine crops up somewhere along the line in the formation of this word
>as I remember. Please correct me where I am wrong. Also I'd like to hear
>a good reason not to see God as "Male-Female". I haven't heard any good
>reasons so far and I doubt I ever will.
>
>zingo, space age superhero

From Ros,
The notion of relating the capacity of 'God' to the limiting confines of
the inhabitants of this physical dimention or plane is ... well, Limiting!
That's like choosing to believe one religion or race is more correct than
another. But allow all things to be examples of what can be, and you are
released from those very limitations. Gender on this planet is the tool,
not the project.
R


Mon Jul 01 09:31:37 1996
Subject: 1252 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Sun, 30 Jun 1996 19:41:30 +0000
From: A'yin Da'ath

>I think the thread on recreational drugs is perhaps taking us a bit far from
>our subject of alchemy. There is perhaps a generational aspect to people's
>views on recreational drugs. Older people having tried these things out or
>known friends who have used drugs, are usually not very impressed by the
>romanticised view that drugs can be used to obtain spiritual perception. The
>recreational use of drugs has been popularised since the 1960's but I doubt
>whether any of us can honestly say these have led to an increase in
>spirituality among our contemporaries.

True, they haven't. However a large surge in the use of drugs as a possible
form of spiritual something-er-other did take place during the 60s, and I
know of at least two people who have used drugs as a part of his belief
system, not including me.

>I found it strange that 'Carlos Castaneda' being quoted as an authority on
>the use of natural drugs. Surely everyone knows that the books written under
>this name are works of fiction, romantic novels about shamanism, and not a
>clear account of native north american indian ritual practices. A good read
>perhaps, but not a practice that anyone can follow.

Alas, but 'twere so! You could say the same thing about the Bible, Torah,
Talmud, Qran, Kama Sutra, Upanishads, Principia Discordia, SubGenius Holy
Books, or a whole host of other books on spirituality. All these could very
well be (and without a doubt some are) works of fiction, and yet are used as
the basis for (sometimes) large and near lethally fanatical religions/cults.
I would also add, by the way, that undoubtedly someone in the 60s DID in
fact follow the methods described in his books, and it would be most
interesting to see what they thought of it.

>Let us gradually bring this thread to a close, unless anyone can provide any
>evidence for the use of mind-expanding drugs in alchemy.

Very well. Has anyone read the article written by Aleister Crowley entitled
'The Psychology of Hashish'? If I remember correctly, he tied that drug (and
others possibly?) in with alchemy. Or Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary
(late), Terence McKenna?

Better yet, the book Pharmokoepia (sp?) divides mind-alterants into 5 main
groupings, 4 of which correspond, at least vaguely, with the 4 alchemical
elements. The book reads very differently than one would expect, and is
almost a 'modern' version of some of the alchemical texts or grimoires.

Anyways, besides the legal clap-trap and the moral mush which accompanied
the original posts, I would be most interesting to hear anything anyone has
to say about drugs and mysticism and alchemy (provided no moral/legal views
are added, merely what they think of this). It IS valid, so long as alchemy
is involved, is it not?

X
ayindaath@worldnet.att.net


Mon Jul 01 09:31:51 1996
Subject: 1253 Is Alchemy unique?

Date: Sun, 30 Jun 1996 18:54:58 -0400
From: Jeffrey580

>"Seperating the gross from the subtle is transcending the gross. This is
> a matter of wordage/definition not necesarily different ideas."

True, but consider the Emerald Tablet-"Ascend with the greatest sagacity from
the earth to heaven, then again, descend to the earth, and unite together the
powers of things superior and things inferior. Thus you will obtain the glory
of the whole world" or again "Its (the stone's) Power is vigorous if it be
changed into earth."


Mon Jul 01 18:09:57 1996

From: Adam McLean
Subject: 1254 Plant mutations - drugs

>>Let us gradually bring this thread to a close, unless anyone can provide any
>>evidence for the use of mind-expanding drugs in alchemy.

>Very well. Has anyone read the article written by Aleister Crowley
>entitled 'The Psychology of Hashish'? If I remember correctly, he tied
>that drug (and others possibly?) in with alchemy. Or Robert Anton Wilson,
>Timothy Leary (late), Terence McKenna?

The alchemy forum is devoted to alchemy. If we wish to pursue the topic of
drugs in alchemy then we must show the link to known alchemists or
alchemical texts. Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary,
etc., were not alchemists, or recognised scholars of alchemy. The term
'alchemy' is used loosely, almost promiscuously, by many people, but that
does not mean we have to suppose their views give any insight into alchemy
itself.

The alchemy forum must be focussed on alchemy. We can explore various side
avenues, but must strive to keep the link to alchemy in our discussions.

Adam McLean


Mon Jul 01 22:27:33 1996
Subject: 1255 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 13:48:07 -0600 (MDT)
From: Robert F Campbell

> The alchemy forum is devoted to alchemy. If we wish to pursue the topic of
> drugs in alchemy then we must show the link to known alchemists or
> alchemical texts. Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary,
> etc., were not alchemists, or recognised scholars of alchemy. The term
> 'alchemy' is used loosely, almost promiscuously, by many people, but that
> does not mean we have to suppose their views give any insight into alchemy
> itself.

Following Terrence McKenna is what has brought me to study alchemy in the
first place, and entheogenic drugs are central in this pursuit.
Transmuting mind to matter is possible through a number of "archaic
techniques of ecstacy", but plant-based shamanism seems the most
acessible and direct, especially for the urbanite who has a 9 to 5 job
and so on.

rob---mantid@selway.umt.edu


Mon Jul 01 22:27:37 1996
Subject: 1256 Aquarian Arrow

Date: Mon, 1 Jul 96 13:36:29 CDT
From: dan hill

I was wondering if the "Aquarian Arrow" or any other periodicals are
actively publishing book reviews along the alchemical theme? I often see a
few titles at the local stores and would like to know how they are rated.

ave,


Mon Jul 01 22:27:39 1996
Subject: 1257 Plant mutations - drugs

From: Matthew Gordon Phillips
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 13:02:52 -0700

>If we wish to pursue the topic of drugs in alchemy then we must
>show the link to known alchemists or alchemical texts.
>Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary,
>etc., were not alchemists, or recognised scholars of alchemy."

Not recognized sholars of alchemy? Give me a short sharp break please.
Alchemy is not even a field recognized by scholars, not in the common
usage of the terms. So how can there ever be "recognized scholars of
alchemy"? There can't, it is unfortunately an oxymoron. Most
"recognized" universities will not offer alchemy as a major. If you are
going to pull the rug out from under us by not admitting that these
people had/have important alchemical contributions, fine, that is up to
you. But then you desire to go one step further and vault alchemy as
itself recognized by the larger scholarly community. Have you even read
these people's works? I am tempted to ask.

"Known alchemists"- give me a break. alchemy is practiced in secret as
it is almost universally condemned since the 18th century. And a good
time before this time alchemists were underground at least partially,
were not "recognized" often as alchemists unless they wanted trouble
like Bruno.

Crowley suggested that alchemy was a sub heading under magick, just one
type of magick. What do you think?

--
Yours in Thelema,
Matthew Gordon Phillips
zingo@sprynet.com
"Every man and every woman is a star."


Mon Jul 01 22:29:21 1996
Subject: 1258 Plant mutations - drugs

From: Adam McLean
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 21.58

I wrote:
> "If we wish to pursue the topic of
>drugs in alchemy then we must show the link to known alchemists or
>alchemical texts. Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary,
>etc., were not alchemists, or recognised scholars of alchemy."

>Matthew Gordon Phillips replies:
>Not recognized sholars of alchemy? Give me a short sharp break please.
>Alchemy is not even a field recognized by scholars, not in the common
>usage of the terms. So how can there ever be "recognized scholars of
>alchemy"?

In the twentieth century we might recognise as scholars of alchemy writers
such as -

Julius Kohn, John Read, Rene Alleau, Robert Amadou, Robert Ambelain, Titus
Burckhardt, Cottie Burland, Serge Hutin, J.B. Craven, Allen Debus, A.E.
Waite, Betty Dobbs, Dennis Duveen, Mircea Eliade, Antoine Faivre, John
Ferguson, Carl Jung, Marie Louise von Franz, Mino Gabriele, E. J. Holmyard,
Jolande Jacobi, Francois Jollivet-Castelot, Helen de Jong, Klossowski de
Rola, Jacques van Lennep, Jack Lindsay, S. Mahdihassan, Walter Pagel, Thomas
Willard, J.R. Partington, Albert Poisson, H. Stanley Redgrove, Julius
Ruska, F. Sherwood Taylor, Joachim Telle, Lynn Thorndike,....

this list off the top of my head, but if I worked systematically through a
bibliography this list of recognised alchemical scholars could probably be
extended to a hundred or more names, all of which would be recognised by
anyone aware of the scholarly contribution to alchemy in the twentieth
century. Timothy Leary, et al just would not appear in such a list.

>Matthew Gordon Phillips writes:
>"Known alchemists"- give me a break. alchemy is practiced in secret as
>it is almost universally condemned since the 18th century. And a good
>time before this time alchemists were underground at least partially,
>were not "recognized" often as alchemists unless they wanted trouble
>like Bruno.

One should resist the temptation to see alchemy as an underground pursuit -
that view is a 20th century fictional romanticisation. There is a
substantial body of alchemical literature - I myself have catalogued 4800
printed books on alchemy (pre-1800). The existence of this substantial body
of printed literature reveals that alchemy was accepted as a valid part of
man's intellectual, technological and spiritual pursuits from at least the
14th century through to the present day. There is little evidence of
alchemists being persecuted merely for studying or practicising alchemy -
they were persecuted when caught defrauding people with promises of making
gold from base metals. Regarding "known alchemists", a few months ago the
alchemy forum drew up quite a substantial list of alchemists practicising
in the twentieth century. Looking through the earlier literature, it is not
too difficult to draw up a substantial list of alchemists from previous
centuries. Alchemy is not a secret or impenetrable subject but a "known"
documented domain of human curiosity into the nature of matter and spirit.
It is entirely amenable to scholarly investigation, and I have always found
people with a genuine interest in alchemy to be extremely generous in
sharing information. There is more material available than any of us can
read and study in a lifetime.

With best wishes,

Adam McLean


Tue Jul 02 08:49:06 1996
Subject: 1259 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 16:58:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: R. Brzustowicz

> >>Let us gradually bring this thread to a close, unless anyone can provide any
> >>evidence for the use of mind-expanding drugs in alchemy.

The next-to-last plate of the _Mutus Liber_ *does* show the alchemical
partners pointing at paddles above their heads, and to their mouths, as
though to say "Take ye and eat;" on the paddles there seem to sprout
something like mushrooms.

I would not, however, dream of suggesting that the collection of dew from
fields where white cattle graze might have anuthing to do with the
collection of mushroom spores ...

R Brzustowicz (brz@u.washington.edu)


Tue Jul 02 08:49:09 1996
Subject: 1260 Christians and mysticism

Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 18:56:19 -0600
From: fisher

Check out Allegro's book, The Cipher of Genesis for a scholarly discussion
of ELOHIM-M/F including its gematria along with an in depth peak at the
"true" meaning of Genesis.


Tue Jul 02 08:49:11 1996
Subject: 1261 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Mon, 01 Jul 1996 20:33:05 +0000
From: A'yin Da'ath

>The alchemy forum is devoted to alchemy. If we wish to pursue the topic of
>drugs in alchemy then we must show the link to known alchemists or
>alchemical texts.

We can't show any links if we are not allowed to ponder aloud to others.
Very well- The symbols of the red lion and white eagle, or the black dragon-
could these not be related to drugs, and the alchemical process is a system
of producing the mystical/psychological clean slate using psychotropic
substances? As for what you define as alchemy, I must know, or how else are
we to continue discussion.

>Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary,
>etc., were not alchemists, or recognised scholars of alchemy.

Neither are half the world's scholars, chemists, mystics or psychologists,
yet THESE are not included as alchemists? Does one need to announce to the
world that one is an alchemist in order to BE an alchemist? Paracelsus may
never have said to anyone 'I am an alchemist,' yet he most certainly was.
Aleister Crowley left behind cryptic poems and odes and passages which could
very well be alchemical texts. Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary and others
never EXPLICITLY stated that they practiced alchemy, but they did. Does one
need to practice alchemy seperated from all other studies in order to be an
alchemist?

>The term
>'alchemy' is used loosely, almost promiscuously, by many people, but that
>does not mean we have to suppose their views give any insight into alchemy
>itself.

Firstly, you've left us up a metaphorical creek without a paddle. What then,
is alchemy? And exactly why are you the authority on what alchemy is? No
single person can define alchemy and say that it is the absolute, because he
very well could be wrong. In order to continue anywhere, I would suggest
that everyone state what they think alchemy is, and we debate the matter
until we have a clear understanding of what 'alchemy' and it's study could mean.

Secondly, your statement that many people 'think' they know what alchemy is
but do not really is not only egotistical, but unreasonable. The average man
on the street might think that alchemy is the transformation of lead into
gold. Is he not correct? Is this not an insight into what alchemy is and
means? The average psychologist off the street might think alchemy is a
process of defining and working with the psyche. Is he also not correct? Is
this not an insight into what alchemy is and means? The average chemist off
the street might think alchemy means that alchemy is the basis for
chemistry, and can help in the study of hard sciences. Is he not correct? Is
this also not an insight into what alchemy is and means?

You exclude all those you do not think are worthy, which is wrong. A Zen
master once said that in order to become illuminated you must be like a
child. Respect children, and the average joe, because they are as
illuminated if not more so than you. To do otherwise is egotistical, and
representative of the stupidity that I feel plagues those who study the
esoteric/occult sciences.

>The alchemy forum must be focussed on alchemy. We can explore various side
>avenues, but must strive to keep the link to alchemy in our discussions.

As I attempted to. However, by discontinuing a line of thought every time it
veers from the sacred path, you will learn nothing new. Let the topic roam a
little bit, gather speed, and then we shall see if anything is learned from it.

X
ayindaath@worldnet.att.net


Tue Jul 02 08:49:16 1996
Subject: 1262 Is alchemy unique?

Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 22:07:34 -0400
From: Jeffrey

>The Filius Philosophorum is the personality made God,
>and God made personal, the union of matter and spririt, not the
>transcendence of matter.

>You confuse me- exactly what do you mean by this? Would not transcendance of
>matter create divinity? Is God actually a real-life person, sitting on a bus
>somewhere, as the song goes? Are the gods really in hiding and living among
>us? I find this difficult in itself to believe, since a) I think they would
>make their presence known by some act of kindness or injustice, and
>b) it sounds too much like a made-for-TV-movie.

The gods are in hiding in the psyche of every human being. Perhaps riding a
bus somewhere if you are. You clearly know something of psychology-Jung's
method of active imagination is a means by which these gods may be brought
alive and into relationship with the ego. With enough work the self, which
may be viewed as apersonal god, emerges. The self shares the same
personality with the ego, which is how god becomes human, while the ego
shares the divinity of its partner which is how man becomes divine. There is
some evidence that active imagination was a central part of alcehmy, as the
alchemists worked with the spirits of the material they used. HOwever, you
made some very good points.


Tue Jul 02 12:43:46 1996
Subject: 1263 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 00:12:04 -0400 (EDT)
From: Dan Levy

Psychedelic experimentation is as pure an expression of the alchemical
impulse as anything has ever been. There--that's a bold statement, but I
stand by it.

Having said that, it strikes me that it is entirely appropriate for people
on this list to be able to discuss their own psychedelic experiences, as
they pertain to the alchemical quest.

In sixties San Francisco, and I suspect in New York and London, much
romanticism was made in the psychedelic community of the relationship
between their work and that of the alchemists. Owsley Stanley, the most
prolific and accomplished outlaw LSD chemist of the era, explicitly adopted
the nomenclature of alchemy to describe not only his work making acid, but
also his work as the patron and sonic architect of the Grateful Dead's
audio system. One of the first companies to spin off of the Dead's
organization was the custom guitar company called Alembic.

Of course, this is just one small example of the romantic power that the
alchemists held in the sixties, and the sixties are only one era among many
that harked back to the alchemists for inspiration and for confirmation
that it was noble to pursue such outre endeavors in the service of a
greater spiritual good.

It's interesting that Robert Campbell, in post 1255, mentions Terence
McKenna. I have worked closely with Terence for over seven years, and
edited three of his books, which only tangentially mention alchemy.
However, it is one of his great passions, and is the subject of his next
great work: we have been working with the film company Mystic Fire to make
a feature-length documentary about the political and spiritual movements
around Frederick V and Elizabeth of Heidelberg, and the influence of John
Dee and others before them. In short, a film narrated by McKenna based on
Yates' "The Rosicrucian Enlightenment."

In April, we spent eleven days in Heidelberg shooting at the Schloss there,
which houses the German Apothecary Museum. The most spectacular room there
is a reconstructed alchemical laboratory full of retorts, alembics and
other instruments of 15th through 18th c. alchemical labs. I encourage
anyone on this list to go to Heidelberg and visit this museum.

One thing I learned there which pertains to the appropriateness of
discussion of substances on this list: it was inevitable that alchemists
working with metals and other substances in poorly ventilated rooms inhaled
and ingested and took in through the skin all kinds of mind-altering stuff.
After a career of several years, these fellows' body chemistry must have
been quite a brew.

If you're interested, Terence McKenna's Hyperborea, an Alchemical Garden at
the Edge of Time, is at http://www.levity.com/eschaton/hyperborea.html

Perhaps if psychedelics are considered inappropriate subjects by some
participants, Adam could code such posts with a key word in the subject
line, which could be used by Eudora Pro and other good mailreader users to
filter undesirable messages straight to the trash.

Dan Levy
danlevy@levity.com


Tue Jul 02 13:08:42 1996
Subject: 1264 Scholars of alchemy

Following on from my recent response (message 1258) to the thread on drugs,
in which I drew up a list of scholars of alchemy, I would like to carry this
further and generate a list of such scholars which I could place onto the
Web site. We should restrict this to the late 19th century through to the
present day. Perhaps some of the forum members might make some suggestions
for this list. If you want to mention some really obscure scholar then
please give some reference to a published article or book.

With best wishes,

Adam McLean


Tue Jul 02 13:08:46 1996
Subject: 1265 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 19:50:06 +1200 (NZST)
From: Graeme Wilson

> The alchemy forum is devoted to alchemy. If we wish to pursue the topic of
> drugs in alchemy then we must show the link to known alchemists or
> alchemical texts. Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary,
> etc., were not alchemists, or recognised scholars of alchemy. The term
> 'alchemy' is used loosely, almost promiscuously, by many people, but that
> does not mean we have to suppose their views give any insight into alchemy
> itself.

Why only "known" alchemists or alchemical texts? What about "modern"
alchemical thought. I see others mentioning Terrance McKenna et. al. I
have "modern" magickal texts, which claim to be derived partly from
alchemical thought (and much alchemical jargon is used within the groups
magickal "system") which mention drugs as being applicable to ecstatic
magick and one of their rituals uses cookies which contain cannabis. In
fact their intire system is summed up in an MSS entitled 'The Forbidden
Alchemy' which I will eventually post here for peoples' enlightenment and
comment.

The Chaos magickians who also make use of some alchemical ideas, also
(sometimes) condone the use of drugs, for instance Pete Carroll discusses
his use of the Fly Agaric mushroom.

However, just because *some* people advocate the use of psychoactives
within alchemy/magick doesn't mean it's for everyone, and a good "system"
won't "force" people to experiment with things they don't wish.

From a personal point of view, I think the experimentation with
substances is a valid learning tool, as long as one uses and not abuses
the substance. The fact that people can become addicts is a beneficial
side effect of drugs, as someone with WILLPOWER will ALWAYS be capable of
overcoming an addiction - if in fact they become addicted. Yes, there may
be physical side effects, but if they quit at overcoming an addiction,
can they ever succeed at anything that takes courage and willpower?
If someone is purely using drugs for escapism, is it any worse
than someone who is using "magick" or "alchemy" (or the imagery of) for
escapism, to get away from their real worldly problems?
It is my belief that someone who is an alchemist will generally
always strive to *learn*. It is their choice as to whether they will
experiment with drugs, and anyone - alchemist or not - with any
intelligence will undoubtedly learn (at least a little) about the
substances they wish to experiment with.
I see some people trying to draw a distinction between
"recreational" drugs and "medicinal" drugs. Well, is there really any
difference? Most illegal drugs can be (and in the case of plant drugs,
have been) used for medicinal purposes by various cultures around the
world. A legal drug, such as tobacco, when used by the majority of people
is merely an addictive substance, but if the nicotine is extracted and
smoked (in sub-lethal doses of course!) it is apparently quite mind
blowing, and I have read that it was *the* preferred hallucinogen of some
Amer-Indian tribes.
People (often) also seem to forget that many foods not generally
considered drugs, are in fact drugs: tea, coffee, chocolate! I think
someone mentioned the link to alchemy that alcohol production has.
Plenty of legal medicinal drugs (some man made) can be taken to
excess to produce altered states, ie. some sea sickness pills, some cough
medicines, etc. Also some once-legal medicinal drugs are now outlawed
(LSD, MDMA - Ecstasy, Opium).

If an alchemist is primarily concerned with the transformation of
the mind, into higher states, then they may choose to experiment with
mind altering drugs, and substances, or they may choose not to experiment
with them. If he/she later finds out they made a mistake which has
destroyed their will, or whatever, tough! Just the same as if you mixed
the wrong two (or more) substances and killed/maimed yourself by causing
an explosion or producing a poisonous gas. You took the risk, and failed.
But if you don't take risks you'll never even begin to achieve anything,
alchemical or not.

Just my thoughts. I don't claim to be experienced or knowledgable
in alchemy (I'm learning - and always will be learning), nor do I know a
Hel of a lot about drugs. But from what little I do know (about both) I
do think there is a connection between the too.

- G


Tue Jul 02 13:08:53 1996
Subject: 1266 Theatre

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 11:20:19 +0100
From: William Hollister

I would like to see a discussion here about Theater (re) and
alchemy. Reading several texts including variations on the Chemical
Wedding, such as The Parabola, I can not figure out how to make such images
"live" on a modern stage in a manner that would neither look anachronistic
nor wooden. Allegorical theater is difficult.

At the same time drama and alchemical processes definitely work
together -- I am thinking, for example, about the intiguing functions of
humor.

Any thoughts?
william@ns.terminal.cz


Tue Jul 02 15:34:18 1996
Subject: 1267 Naive question about plant/chemical alchemy & drug abuse

Date: Tue, 02 Jul 1996 03:37:44 -0700
From: Greg

I hope you alchemy gurus don't mind a question from an alchemy dummy:

I became interested in alchemy due to my interest in Carl Jung. As you have
probably guessed, then, my interest is generally in psychological and
spiritual aspects of alchemy. In fact, before reading some of the archives
of this mailing list and lurking on it for a while, I was not aware that
many people today were practicing chemical alchemy, and I had never even
heard of plant alchemy.

My interest in Jung also led me to an interest in astrology, and today I use
basic astrology all the time. Alchemy, though, seems to be considerably more
difficult to understand, at least for me. But since astrology has enriched
my life so much, and since Jung obviously believed alchemy was very
important, I'm determined to learn alchemy, too; it seems to me that alchemy
may be even more psychologically and spiritually enriching than astrology.
The reason I say this here is because, after reading my questions below, you
may wonder why I am interested in alchemy -- and now you know.
:)

But the implied connection between plant & chemical alchemy and drug abuse
in some postings on this forum frankly gives me the willies. I've never
taken any drugs, other than prescription and over-the-counter; I'm not
generally judgemental about those who do, assuming they mind their own
business while doing so; but I do want to stay miles and miles away from
drug abuse myself. :)

Well, here are my questions, and I sincerely hope I can ask these without
offending anyone:

1) Does one get "high" with plant (or chemical) alchemy?
2) Is plant (or chemical) alchemy addictive?
3) If a person is "high" from drug abuse, they cannot "come down" by force
of their own willpower; they are at the mercy of the drug until the drug
wears off. If a plant (or chemical) alchemist is in the process of
experiencing psychological or spiritual transformation as a result of
whatever they do with the plants/chemicals, can they choose to, say,
suddenly abort that process and come back to mundane life and be their usual
selves? Or are they at the mercy of the process, until the effect of
the plants/chemicals wear off?
4a) I have known several people who habitually abused drugs who, if they
thought for an instant that they could legitimize their drug abuse by giving
it the lofty label "alchemy", would probably not hesitate to do so. And by
all accounts, some kinds of drug abuse provide a kind of mystical ecstacy or
nirvana. Would the plant alchemist consider that kind of nirvana to be a
subset of what happens with plant alchemy, or something different entirely?
4b) How would the plant alchemist compare coniunctio produced with the aid
of plant alchemy, with drug-induced nirvana? Is the drug abuser just
skipping steps along the way to coniunctio, or is the drug abuser's nirvana
something entirely different than coniunctio? Is the main difference the
issue of control, i.e., the drug abuser's life may careen out of control
while the plant alchemist's does not?

Thanks for any thoughts, and please accept my sincere apologies if there is
anything about any of these questions that seems offensive to anyone who
practices plant or chemical alchemy.

Greg


Tue Jul 02 17:47:46 1996
Subject: 1268 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 05:37:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: R. Brzustowicz

> From: Matthew Gordon Phillips
>
> >Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary,
> >etc., were not alchemists, or recognised scholars of alchemy."
>
> Not recognized sholars of alchemy? Give me a short sharp break please.
> Alchemy is not even a field recognized by scholars, not in the common
> usage of the terms.

Not at all true. There is quite a bit of scholarly interest in alchemy,
and has been for some time. That you don't know this undermines
everything else you say, because, among other things, it shows you don't
understand the difference between an alchemist and a scholar of alchemy.
None of the people listed above have contributed anything to the
scholarship of alchemy, whether or not they may in one interpretation or
another have practiced alchemy.

> "Known alchemists"- give me a break.

You don't know of any alchemists either?

> Crowley suggested that alchemy was a sub heading under magick, just one
> type of magick. What do you think?

I think you need to do some more studying.

R Brzustowicz (brz@u.washington.edu)


Tue Jul 02 19:00:19 1996
Subject: 1269 Christians and mysticism

Date: Tue, 02 Jul 1996 11:41:04 +0000
From: A'yin Da'ath

>From: John Chas Webb
>Please consider this: There is no "BEGINNING" until you acknowledge "God".

Perhaps I did not clarify as well as I should have.

When I said that I do not worship God nor Christ, I meant I do not WORSHIP
God or Christ. I never mentioned belief. In point of fact, I believe in all
gods, in all their forms and beings. The Supernal Sublime, YHVH, is
something above god-hood, above all comprehension at this level, just as the
Ipsissmus is in the A.'.A.'. teachings.

I believe that worshipping something gets you nowhere. 'Supplication is
tantamount to admission of guilt.' I do not think anything is a 'sin,'
merely a lesson. Pride, and how it brings about downfall, should happen to
everyone in some way, at least, so that they learn that that avenue will not
lead you very high. I learned that long ago, and the infighting among modern
mystics and alchemists, in their 'My illumination is holier and higher than
thou's' is sheer stupidity, part of the difficulty of pride.

To return back to alchemy, I think that the entire alchemical process is
part of the belief that you will not get it unless you work for it.
Illumination does not come to the innocent Church-goer who never ponders
beyond the doors of the building as he sits, listening to scriptures.
Alchemy, I think, teaches that if you want to achieve supreme status, to
learn more about your own faith as well as others, to feel more, taste more,
see more, hear more, smell more than you ever could from a homily, you must
endure hardships for it, and work for it. Also, we have the works of prior
alchemists, from which to study, and continue where they left off.

So, to sum up, I believe that Christianity, the religion, has nothing to do
with Christianity, part of the mystical process. One offers a dull life of
servitude, while the other offers possibilities unimaginable.

X
ayindaath@worldnet.att.net


Tue Jul 02 19:00:25 1996
Subject: 1270 Scholars of alchemy

Date: Tue, 02 Jul 1996 11:41:10 +0000
From: A'yin Da'ath

>Following on from my recent response (message 1258) to the thread on drugs,
>in which I drew up a list of scholars of alchemy, I would like to carry this
>further and generate a list of such scholars which I could place onto the
>Web site. We should restrict this to the late 19th century through to the
>present day. Perhaps some of the forum members might make some suggestions
>for this list. If you want to mention some really obscure scholar then
>please give some reference to a published article or book.

A few quick questions-

Why late 19th to 20th century? After all, most wonderful works of alchemy
were done far earlier.

Second, does the article or book have to be explicitly about alchemy, and
nothing else? For instance, could we include something such as Jung's
_Psychology and Alchemy_?

Cheers,
X
ayindaath@worldnet.att.net

========================================================

I will just respond here.

> Why late 19th to 20th century? After all, most wonderful works of alchemy
were done far earlier.

Modern exact scholarship did not really exist much before the end of the
19th century. Sure, there were many alchemical writings before this time,
but not works of scholarly analysis. This did not come into existence till
the modern period.

>Does the article or book have to be explicitly about alchemy.

The writers that we must recognise as scholars are those who have made some
substantial and recognised contribution to the understanding of some facet
of alchemy. Jung, of course, comes into this category, as does everyone else
I mentioned on my earlier list.

Adam McLean


Tue Jul 02 22:28:13 1996
Subject: 1271 Aquarian Arrow

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 10:34:42 -0500
From: George Randall Leake III

>From: dan hill
>>I was wondering if the "Aquarian Arrow" or any other periodicals are
>actively publishing book reviews along the alchemical theme? I often see a
>few titles at the local stores and would like to know how they are rated.

*I'm not sure about that (oh and Dan and everyone else leaving your
personal email address off your sig.line, please include it so personal
notes can be exchanged off-forum), but all alchemy forum members who are
unaware, should check THIS out: the current issue of GNOSIS is focussed on
Hermetic Arts. Perhaps it wouldn't be out of line to solicit a review from
a GNOSIS reader out there who has the time to go into it?

-G.Leake, 512-471-9117 taliesin@mail.utexas.edu


Wed Jul 03 08:53:14 1996
Subject: 1272 Scholarship and alchemy (was: Plant mutations - drugs)

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 12:49:44 -0700
From: Clay Holden

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Matthew Gordon Phillips wrote, (initially quoting Adam McLean):

>>If we wish to pursue the topic of drugs in alchemy then we must
>>show the link to known alchemists or alchemical texts.
>>Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary,
>>etc., were not alchemists, or recognised scholars of alchemy."

Personally, I think the more important distinction is whether or not any of
these or other writers outside the alchemical "mainstream" have
demonstrated or can demonstrate that there is an historical connection
between the use of psychoactive drugs and the alchemical tradition. I don't
think they have, though I personally believe that the connection is there
to be made.

Leary, Wilson and McKenna (I would add John Lilly, R. Gordon Wasson, Aldous
Huxley and Richard Evans Schultes to the list) have all produced valuable
contributions to the literature of personal "alchemical" transformation
using entheogenic substances (again, the trouble here is that of a
definition of "alchemy"), but have produced little actual work dealing with
their use within the historical tradition of alchemy.

Perhaps more interesting to some in this regard might be the work of
Stanislav Grof, who has done professional LSD psychotherapy work for over
two decades, and has documented the results in a number of books which bear
comparison to Jung's, and bear a closer relation to historically understood
alchemical work. They deal in a scientific manner with the connections
between psychedelic drugs and the inner landscape, and provide (perhaps)
some interesting insights into the emblem books of alchemy.

>Not recognized sholars of alchemy? Give me a short sharp break please.
>Alchemy is not even a field recognized by scholars, not in the common
>usage of the terms. So how can there ever be "recognized scholars of
>alchemy"? There can't, it is unfortunately an oxymoron. Most
>"recognized" universities will not offer alchemy as a major. <...>

No recognized scholars of alchemy? You obviously aren't very well read in
the subject, or you would know better. Try looking up the word "scholar" in
the OED if you've got one handy, since you seem utterly unaware of the
meaning of the word. Try doing a subject search on the word "alchemy" in
the catalog of any good university library. Expand your horizons a little
bit before you make such a laughable and demonstrably incorrect statement.
Look around Adam's website, where you will find online versions of many of
the important historical documents in the tradition, as well as pointers to
works by recognized scholars.

As to the lack of university courses in alchemy, this is a specious
argument, and one that hardly even merits a response. There are similarly
no courses in the Western Magical Tradition; that is what magickal orders
and mystery schools are for. Most instruction has always been done in
private, between student and teacher (or aspirant and adept). There
certainly have been and are high-level courses available in the Great Work
- alchemical and otherwise - available to the serious searcher.

> ...If you are
>going to pull the rug out from under us by not admitting that these
>people had/have important alchemical contributions, fine, that is up to
>you. But then you desire to go one step further and vault alchemy as
>itself recognized by the larger scholarly community.

It *is* recognized by the larger scholarly community as an area of study,
even if they don't necessarily recognize or understand it as a science. If
not, why do you think that major universities and national libraries would
go to such trouble to include and preserve alchemical books and manuscripts
in their special collections? Why do you think the majority of alchemical
works are to be found shelved along with works on the history of chemistry
and other sciences rather than with the books on witchcraft and magick
(e.g. QD rather than BF)?

> ...Have you even read
>these people's works? I am tempted to ask.

Have you read any of Adam's works? I am tempted to ask. Do you have any
sort of a clue what research Adam has done, or how many years of his life
he has devoted to it? Have you even visited the Alchemy web site? Are you
even vaguely familiar with the "Hermetic Journal" or the "Magnum Opus
Hermetic Sourceworks" series which he edited?

Instead of throwing insults, how about some pointers to book titles and
page references in Crowley, Leary, Wilson and McKenna which pertain
directly to connections between alchemy and the use of psychoactive drugs.
Particularly any which include references to alchemical works and
historical research, rather than merely statement of opinion. This would
make your point much better.

I have read most of the works by all of the above, and while I certainly
agree that they have contributed greatly in their time to my particular
path, their contribution to the literature of alchemy is miniscule.

I have been a Thelemite for nearly 20 years, and have read virtually
everything that has ever been published (and a good deal that hasn't) by
Crowley. Outside of a couple of chapters in "Magick" (most notably chapter
XX in Part III), chapters 54, 86, 89 and 167 of "Liber Aleph", and some
(largely) unpublished OTO degree papers, Crowley does not demonstrate that
he had all that much familiarity with the historic tradition of alchemy,
and shows no signs of ever having pursued any laboratory work. You may
argue that the VIII and IX degrees of OTO deal specifically with a form of
alchemy, but by the same token, you would have to agree that so does the
Catholic Mass.

>"Known alchemists"- give me a break. alchemy is practiced in secret as
>it is almost universally condemned since the 18th century. And a good
>time before this time alchemists were underground at least partially,
>were not "recognized" often as alchemists unless they wanted trouble
>like Bruno.

Again, your understanding of the subject is deeply flawed, and your
awareness of the history of the subject shallow. At any given time over the
past 500 years, one could almost always find alchemical works in print,
written by some of those "known alchemists". Alchemy has nearly always been
practiced in private, largely because it is a matter of personal
transformation, not because it was a burning matter. As Crowley himself
observes in his "Confessions":

"Even the theological requirements of alchemy had meaning in those days. An
Elizabethan who was not 'at peace with God' was likely to be agitated and
thereby unfitted for work demanding freedom from emotional distraction."

Had you been around this list for even a few months, you would have seen
discussion of who the "known alchemists" were (not to mention the
"scholars" you seem to have such a hard time believing exist).

>Crowley suggested that alchemy was a sub heading under magick, just one
>type of magick. What do you think?

Properly understood, according to Crowley's definition of the term ("Magick
is the is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with
Will"), virtually *everything* may be considered a subheading under magick.
That is a world view, not a doctrine. I personally find it an incredibly
useful tool, but I don't insist on it.

If you want to discuss magick, there are several good lists available which
are not as closely defined to the discussion of alchemy as this one, where
your opinions might be better received.

>Yours in Thelema,

Love is the law, love under will.

Clay

Clay Holden



Wed Jul 03 10:07:31 1996
Subject: 1273 Alchemy Lab-Work question

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 19:03:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rick Koobs

Darren Swanick wrote:

Be wary of being lured into
>the false security of the 'openess' of this age, for there have been
>other times in the past where society was open to new ideas, but then
>the fear of humanity took hold and many seekers were hunted and put
>to death for their beliefs, although many of us hope that this is the
>age of the great revelation, we must be wary that humanity can revert
>back to their darker past.

Looking at humanity's record, IMO it is a safe bet to say that we should
not so much be wary as we should count on it.


Wed Jul 03 10:07:33 1996
Subject: 1274 Plant mutations - drugs

From: Jon Marshall
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 09:15:22 -0700

Perhaps the best attempt to relate Western Alchemy to drugs is the chapter
"elixir: the secret Stone" in Clark Heinrich's *Strange Fruit: Alchemy and
religion the Hidden Truth*, Bloomsbury 1995, which is about fly agaric.
I personally don't find the book that convincing but at least in this
chapter he does try and relate quotations from recognised alchemical writers
(largely taken from Jung)- whereas with the possible exception of Terrance
McKenna whose *True Hallucinations* and *Food of the Gods* are interesting
books- I, at least, never get the impression that Leary or RA Wilson (again
both of whom have written valuable things on other subjects) have read much
in this field.

And I would suspect that Crowley's main interpretation of Alchemy has little
to do with drugs in specific.

Now, leaving aside Chinese elixir alchemy, it seems highly probable that
western alchemy did not focus on the *deliberate* taking of drugs (even
McKenna can really only talk about alcohol and opium) HOWEVER it also seems
probable that in
an environment filled with mercury fumes, where people used arsenic and
antimony, violent physical and mental alterations could occur quite
accidentally and frequently. We should also note that a number of alchemical
texts describe themselves as dreams.

The question then arises as to whether these 'altered states' actually *are*
being described in alchemical texts (as opposed to being a conventional use
of symbols), and whether they are of value in the pursuit of *our* aims.
Presumably everyone here would agree they are- though this raises questions
of why and how are they useful.

McKenna makes the point somewhere that societies tend to encourage the
taking of certain types of drugs which inculcate the mind set necessary for
functioning in that society. Our society uses primarily depressants and
moderate nerve exciters (tobacco, alcohol, coffee, sugar etc) and is highly
resistant to ecstatic or hallucinogenic drugs (tell me one that doesn't need
a prescription or isn't illegal). Therefore it could be argued that cutting
back on the social drugs and perhaps using some of the non social drugs
might induce some degree of freedom from social conditioning and be of use
in the work.

Final point of this overly long letter.
In Mathew Gordon Philips letter he asks about recognition of alchemists

And this strikes me as a really interesting problem- certain texts such as
the Lullian ones in the late 14th century and the Philalethes texts of the
mid 17th are accepted almost immediately as important texts in the tradition.
Given that they are not exactly clear- what is it about a text that makes it
appeal to readers? How do people know a good alchemical text when they find
it, granted that most readers will not achieve the stone by reading it?

jon


Wed Jul 03 10:07:38 1996
Subject: 1275 openess

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 21:24:21 -0500 (CDT)
From: John D. O'Brien

> From: DARREN M SWANICK
> the many seekers and end this letter. Be wary of being lured into
> the false security of the 'openess' of this age, for there have been
> other times in the past where society was open to new ideas, but then
> the fear of humanity took hold and many seekers were hunted and put
> to death for their beliefs, although many of us hope that this is the
> age of the great revelation, we must be wary that humanity can revert
> back to their darker past. > DMS

Excellent point; there are a lot of narrow-minded people out amongst
the masses. Even a few in our midst, I dare think.

But then, most Alchemists have been smart enough to recognize when the
going is getting tough, that it's time to get going.

John D. O'Brien obriens@sound.net


Wed Jul 03 10:07:41 1996
Subject: 1276 Theatre

Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 21:37:55 -0500
From: Christopher L. Chiappari

Dear William Hollister,
I'm very curious as to the connection between humor, alchemy and
drama. Pardon me if this is an ignorant question, but I would love to hear
about some of the intriguing functions of humor in this regard.

Thanks,
Chris


Wed Jul 03 12:50:29 1996
Subject: 1277 Response to end of Plant discussion

Date: Wed, 02 Jul 1980 07:18:46 -0700
From: Morgan Saletta

Adam McLean wrote:
>The alchemy forum must be focussed on alchemy. We can explore various
>side avenues, but must strive to keep the link to alchemy in our discussions.

----------
I agree completely. I feel a little responsible for this conversation and
would like to bring attention back to one of my early posts, which I have
commented upon in order to show the connections I was making with alchemy as
I feel that much of the discussion has been a validly "alchemical" one.

>The fact that animal life is dependant on the transformative powers of
>plants (transforming inorganic matter and photon energy into food energy)
>leads to a complex relationship between plants and animals. Insects are
>lured to plants which "disguise themselves" as the opposite sex: this seems
>to me to be a very simple synbolic system. Smells lure us to flowers. Fruit
>is aesthetically pleasing. All of this seems to be a sort of communication.
>What of medications derived from plants, or direct consumption of plants
>which lead to some altered state of mind or body. To what end have some
>plants evolved alchaloids so closely resembling neurotransmitters? Does the
>action of breaking down a plant (transforming it) in our bodies open
>ourselves to a fusion with the plant essence?

Perhaps I should have specified that here I was hinting at the role of the
life as alchemist. Life busily assembles molecular structures and propogates
the dynamic pattern which is organism.

>Wasson suggests that mind altering plants were perhaps the catalyst for the
>spiritual awakening of humankind: could this awakening be part of a larger
>directive towards increasing self-awareness in the world?....
>For those out their who think that "drugs" are not needed, I would suggest
>that they re-evaluate that position. Plant medicines are important in the
>furthering of the evolution of both body and mind, and in terms of raising
>the potential of the human mind, I can think of no better transformative
>agent, or key, than one which works at the molecular level. Of course, no
>medication is a substitute for thinking, meditation and spiritual
>exercise. However, our body is a laboratory, and we are seeking
> its transformation,and molecular agents must certainly be
>included in our tool chest.

The reference is to Wasson's book "The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret
of the Mysteries" which includes a section by Albert Hoffman. In my mind I
link [Hoffman] with [Swiss pharmaceutical expertise] with [Paracelsus].
According to J. Read, "The significance of Paracelsus in alchemy lies in his
vigorous insistence that its true object was to prepare healing drugs and
not to make gold....A new alchemy, allied with medicine, now arose."
Additionally, the link between mythology and alchemy is well established,
and the book has much of interest both from a mythological and spagyric
point of view. The connection between various deities and plants with
medical or drug effects is explored, as is the nature of Greek wine and its
herbal additives. That wine mixed with herbs and spices was used in Greek
rituals is detailed, and I find it interesting that the connection between
wine and herbs and deities in Greek religion is also present in Christian
symbolism. This is especially interesting with regard to the assertion
that Jesus was trained by the Essenes, who were purported to be masters in
the spagyric arts.

The tone of the drug comment now seems much too moralizing, but I was
referring to an earlier post, and wanted to remind people of the original
meaning of the word, which has unfortunately become most negatively
politicized. Certain people have alluded to the risk in having alchemy
connected with potentially illegal activity, and I think this is a very
valid concern. My comments were from a scholarly interest, and I did not
intend to start a discussion on such topics such as decriminilization, etc.

However, I do think that discussion of pharmacology and toxicology are
important in a forum dedicated to alchemy. Both the "lesser" and "Greater
Work" are intimately related to these subjects. It is interesting to note
that Alexander Shulgin, who was a world famous professor of toxicology at
Berkeley, and an expert witness on the subject, referred to himself several
times as an "alchemist", in his excellent book, PHIKHAL.

Morgan Saletta
droog@sfsu.edu


Wed Jul 03 19:18:03 1996
Subject: 1278 Is alchemy unique?

Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 10:24:46 +0100
From: Martin Berg

>From: Jeffrey
>.....The self shares the same personality with the ego, which is how god
>becomes human, while the ego shares the divinity of its partner which is
>how man becomes divine...

Could someone define or explain *self* and *ego*,
and who is meant by *partner* ? The self again ?

Thanks!
Martin


Wed Jul 03 19:18:06 1996
Subject: 1279 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 12:17:09 +0100 (BST)
From: D.R.Williams

With regard to Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, and Timothy Leary.
These were not scholars, they were deluded madmen, who contributed
knothing to the sum of human knowledge. They are only remembered for
puerile justifications of their own selfish egos.

David R. Williams
Dpt. Welsh History
UCNW
BANGOR
Arfon
Wales
hiu166@bangor.ac.uk


Wed Jul 03 20:39:38 1996
Subject: 1280 Johannes Fabricius

Date: Wed, 3 Jul 96 15:17:13 +0200
From: judyth

Hi,

Can anyone tell me anything about a book on Alchemy by Johannes Fabricius.
When was it written? What is his "angle"?

Any information appreciated.

Thanks,

Judi.


Wed Jul 03 20:39:45 1996
Subject: 1281 Congrats Rawn Clark- Magnificent

Subject: Congrats Rwan Clark- Magnificent
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 96 10:56:03 -0000
From: photopro

I know we are not supposed to say just "Amen". But Rawn Clarks explantion
of Super- Consciousness (Oneness) is so "on the mark" that I beg you to
allow me to tell all: If you have not read this post carefully and a
number of times , you are missing great opportunity toward understanding
the Mysteries.
Wisa

"All there is, is Love."
"Truth is the order of the Universe"
Photopro@mint.net
Wisa


Wed Jul 03 20:39:55 1996
Subject: 1282 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Wed, 03 Jul 1996 10:29:36 +0000
From: A'yin Da'ath

Responding to Clay Holden

>Not at all true. There is quite a bit of scholarly interest in alchemy,
>and has been for some time. That you don't know this undermines
>everything else you say, because, among other things, it shows you don't
>understand the difference between an alchemist and a scholar of alchemy.
>None of the people listed above have contributed anything to the
>scholarship of alchemy, whether or not they may in one interpretation or
>another have practiced alchemy.

This is a poor line of thought. Anyone who DOES practice alchemy, in one
form or another, adds to it their own personal insights. Just because they
didn't write cryptic meanings into yellowing old paper doesn't mean that
they are disqualified from the realm of 'scholar of alchemy' as well as
'alchemist.' And you are playing semantics games with my friend's words,
here, when you seperate the two. An alchemist is a scholar of alchemy, no
matter what, and a scholar of alchemy becomes an alchemist by virtue of the
fact that we have no clue what an alchemist was. Couldn't the alchemists we
know of merely been writing fiction, or observations of what they had seen
done by another person?

Stop playing semantics games. What he MEANT, I believe (please correct me if
I'm wrong), was that you can't walk into MIT, Harvard or any college or
University and take a major in Alchemy.

>> "Known alchemists"- give me a break.
>
>You don't know of any alchemists either?

He doesn't know of any KNOWN alchemists, i.e., people who have shown the
entire world they are an alchemist by getting in front of a TV camera and
literally practicing it.

>> Crowley suggested that alchemy was a sub heading under magick, just one
>> type of magick. What do you think?
>
>I think you need to do some more studying.

I think you ought to stop playing semantics games and start listening to
what people say.

X
Nechesh - NChSh - Nun Cheth Shin - 358 - The Serpent of Initiation
ayindaath@worldnet.att.net
Webmaster for http://users.aol.com/sophieweb/ -=The Sophie Marceau Shrine=-
Scored a 46.4% on his Nerdity Test and an 84% on the Purity! Congradulate him!


Wed Jul 03 20:40:16 1996
Subject: 1283 Plant mutations - drugs

From: Barry Carter
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 08:01:20 +0000

Dear Friends,

Is all the talk about alchemy being not just to change lead to gold
but to find the Philosopher's Stone in order to change conciousness
just window dressing? If one of the goals of alchemy is to find and
use a conciousness alterning substance, how does this differ from
taking other drugs for the same purpose? I think the dividing line
is addiction and addiction is as easily associated with television
as mind alterning drugs like alchohol or coffee in our society.

My wife claims I am addicted to the computer. I am in denial of
course. The question always is "do my preferences lead me to bring
others harm?" If they do, they are addictions.

"The purification of desire on the ground of our beseaching."

"Action, without attachment to the fruits of action."

With Kindest Regards,

Barry Carter



Wed Jul 03 20:40:27 1996
Subject: 1284 Johannes Fabricius

Alchemy: The Medieval Alchemists and their Royal Art, by Johannes
Fabricius, was first published in a large format hardback by Rosenkilde and
Bagger, at Copenhagen in 1976. A smaller format paperback, slightly revived
with the inclusion of an appendix surveying the series of pictures, was
published by the Aquarian Press in the UK in 1989.

Fabricius' thesis is, in my reading, primarily a Freudian response to the
popularity of Jungian alchemy. Fabricius tries to link key alchemical ideas
to familiar elements of Freudian psychology - the birth trauma, incest
taboo, Oedipus complex, latency period in child development, etc., etc. At
times, when reading the text, one feels that Fabricius is firing all the
Freudian guns at alchemy in a vain attempt to capture alchemical ideas to
the Freudian world view.

The book is distinguished, and entirely forgiven its clumsy intrusive
Freudian interpretation, for the high quality of the reproductions.
Alchemical engravings with their fine lines, are often badly reproduced
through being screened as half-tones by the printer (see Jung's Psychology
and alchemy for an example of this!), but here no expense was spared in
producing line reproduction of the engravings.

Incidentally the term "medieval alchemists" of the title is a bit
misleading. Most of the engravings reproduced here were done in the early
17th century. It does perhaps give the wrong impression that alchemy should
be seen as merely a medieval art, when in fact many key alchemical ideas
emanated from the renaissance period, and even through an ongoing dialogue
with the emerging natural science of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Adam McLean


Wed Jul 03 23:35:34 1996
Subject: 1285 Scholarship and alchemy

From A'yin Da'ath (posting 1282)

>An alchemist is a scholar of alchemy, no matter what,
>and a scholar of alchemy becomes an alchemist by virtue of the
>fact that we have no clue what an alchemist was.

I don't understand this statement. Can you please explain it further?

I thought scholarship was a particular way of researching and analysing a
particular subject matter. Scholarship (which can be applied to all domains
of human knowledge), uses some universally recognised tools for
investigating a chosen subject. For example, one of the most important tools
in scholarship is to identify and study the source material, and not to rely
upon secondary sources, but instead try to read the subtexts and implicit
interpretations of later commentators. Surely a scholar can only be someone
who adopts scholarship in their investigation of their subject matter?

Do we have no clue what an alchemist was?

Adam McLean


Thu Jul 04 08:40:32 1996
Subject: 1286 Dutch translations

Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 21:10:43 +0200 (MET DST)
From: douwe

If there are any Dutch people around on the forum, who would like to receive
Dutch translations of alchemical works for free in order to proofread them
with a pencil at hand then I would be very happy to hear about it.
The whole lot contains the following:

De 12 sleutels van Basilius valentinus, Atlanta vlucht van Michael Maier,
het boek van Lambspring, de Alwijze deurwachter, Het geheim van de
onsterfelijke vloeistof alcahest door Eiraneus Philaletes, De bereidingen
van de sofische mercurius door E. Philaletes, een eigen verhandeling over de
smaragden tafel, een aantal losse epigrammen en gedichten, en tot slotte de
Hieroglifische monade van John Dee.

If you are interested in any or all of these then I hope that you will
e-mail me, so that I can provide you a copy of the work you wish to proofread.
It is also o.k. with me if you are only interested in having one or all of
these works, in which case you wouldn't have to pay more then only the price
of copying and sending.

If anyone decides to proofread the whole lot for me then you will also
receive a complete copy of the book when it has been printed, plus that I
probably won't forget you with any other future publications.
I ask this because I don't seem to able to find the time to read everything
for corrections.

If you further would have a request for a certain translation then don't
hesitate to ask, maybe I will see a good reason for translating it from
either archaic/modern English, old Dutch, Latin (if it is not too long), or
Modern/archaic German, provided that I will have, or be able to find the
book of course.

I hope that someone will be able to help me out on this.

douwe.
darus@xs4all.nl
Sapientae apex, desperatio de rebus mundi.


Thu Jul 04 08:40:35 1996
Subject: 1287 Plant communication:evidence?

Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 12:48:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: Morgan Saletta

>Let us gradually bring this thread to a close, unless anyone can provide
>any evidence for the use of mind-expanding drugs in alchemy.

I have been trying to locate a reference which I read some time ago. It
was in a story (It may have been in Waite's The lives of Alchemists) in
which a gentleman is visited by a traveling alchemist who was quite
mysterious about his origins and I believe purported to know how to
transmute metals. In any case, mention is made of taking a "philosophic
elixir or potion", and I'm wondering just what that might be, if not some
psychotropically active agent.

Additionally, J. Read makes mention of an enchanted nutmeg being prepared
by a "Psuedo-Alchemist"---could this be an essential oil of nutmeg, the
qualities of which should be known to any spagyricist? If so,
then their is clearly reason to pursue this line of scholarly research.
That it is made mention of in relation to a psuedo-alchemist is due, I
believe, to fact that the gentleman (I'm at work and thus do not have the
reference in front of me) was engaged in the selling of his products for profit
with little interest in the spiritual elements of the work.

Morgan Saletta
droog@sfsu.edu


Thu Jul 04 08:40:38 1996
Subject: 1288 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Thu, 4 Jul 96 08:37 NZST
From: Pat Zalewski

We have been getting a lot of crap about drugs (drop a tab of LSD and see
god now) and their connection to common terminology of what we know as
alchemy. Now I really don't know how many alchemists had drug problems or
contemplated oranges at rock concerts, but this whole thing is ridiculous.
Trying to place Crowley as an alchemist along with Leary is also stretching
things a bit too far. I actually put it to Regardie about the lack of any
practical alchemical work in Crowley's papers. He told any work that Crowley
did on alchemy was symbolic and tied up with his sexual teachings. Now as
much as I like Crowley I think he was not an alchemist and I will take that
view until any of his secret alchemy papers turn up. Also trying to tie in
Paracelsus with magic mushrooms due to an obscure line or two in his
writings is also ridiculous. Trying to stretch things this far in connection
to alchemy is way beyond the norm. It looks to me as one or two people are
on some sort of high when they type up their posts. Having a crack at Adam
because he wanted to steer away from accepting Crowley and Leary as
alchemists places that person on a list for the funny farm, unless he is
there already, escaped a bed check, and is using an office computer link up.

Pat zalewski


Thu Jul 04 08:40:41 1996
Subject: 1289 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Wed, 03 Jul 1996 17:01:03 -0400
From: Rick Grimes

Alchemists, really?! Doctors PRACTICE medicine, while healers HEAL.
Likewise, those of us who seek the various means and methods of Alchemy are
still looking for our answers and the fulfillment of our quest. We are
STUDENTS of Alchemy; not yet Alchemists. Once we are graced with real and
true success, I dare say we won't need the books, but will rather be writing
them. We won't impatiently seek quick access through drugs, we will be
beyond them. The great Philosopher's Stone, to those who are graced with its
blessing, is not the end, but rather the beginning of the True Conscious
work of the Alchemists. Perhaps our forum could use a little humble flavoring?

About Drugs: Could not the drugs one ingests induce a TRIP by stimulating
the spiritual centers to inject a bit more essential oil than flows normally
into the bloodstream? ".. thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runeth
over." In other words; the endocrine system corresponds to the seven chakra
centers, which are sympathetic to planetary influences, which rule the
metals. Could it be that the seven glands of the endocrine system produce
the concentrated oils (hormones) of their corresponding metal? Could not
these oils, which, with certain glands (i.e., pituitary), are normally
consumed in mere drops per year, be induced by the drug to flow more
abundantly than normal thus producing the trip? Consider a match. Does it
consume the log or rather ignite the fire that resides within the log?

The experiences of deep meditation are reported to be similar and sometimes
far more profound than a drug induced experience. Acid, for instance, must
be endured until the chemical is diluted in the blood or reduced by the
enzymes that consume it. In meditation, the meditator is in control. In my
way of thinking experiences of meditation ever build on a formal process,
whereas drug induced experiences, though powerful and profound, are more
random and possess a more inexplicable meaning.

I seem to remember a story that Timothy Leary wrote that describes his
experience with an ascetic yogi in India. Apparently, Mr. Leary gave the
yogi five tabs of the best Acid to be had anywhere. It was a gift that Leary
thought the old yogi would savor over time. When the paper holding the tabs
was unfolded and handed to the yogi he abruptly popped all five tabs into
his mouth and swallowed them. Mr. Leary became concerned as he felt such a
dose would permanently impair or actually kill a normal adult. The yogi said
nothing and made no reference to the Acid at the time.

After several minutes, Mr. Leary noticed no change in the yogi. Nor did he
see him change in the next hour, or the next. Finally, the yogi looked at
Mr. Leary and explained to him that his chakras were so open, and their
secretions so refined and potent, that the Acid had no affect.

Whether one chooses to experiment with drugs, or meditation, or both is, I
believe, a personal choice. The true intent within the aspirant's heart will
prevail in either case. Perhaps those of you who know more about Mr. Leary
can verify my report, correct it, or add to it?

Peace to all,

Rick Grimes


Thu Jul 04 11:28:33 1996
Subject: 1290 Scholars of alchemy

From: Jon Marshall
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 09:10:36 -0700

> In the twentieth century we might recognise as scholars of alchemy writers
> such as -
>
> Julius Kohn, John Read, Rene Alleau, Robert Amadou, Robert Ambelain, Titus
> Burckhardt, Cottie Burland, Serge Hutin, J.B. Craven, Allen Debus, A.E.
> Waite, Betty Dobbs, Dennis Duveen, Mircea Eliade, Antoine Faivre, John
> Ferguson, Carl Jung, Marie Louise von Franz, Mino Gabriele, E. J. Holmyard,
> Jolande Jacobi, Francois Jollivet-Castelot, Helen de Jong, Klossowski de
> Rola, Jacques van Lennep, Jack Lindsay, S. Mahdihassan, Walter Pagel,
>Thomas Willard, J.R. Partington, Albert Poisson, H. Stanley Redgrove,
>Julius Ruska, F. Sherwood Taylor, Joachim Telle, Lynn Thorndike,....

CH Josten, Joseph Needham, Nathan Sivin, William Newman, John Stillman,
Walter Pagel, Stanton J Linden, Robert Schuler, John Appleby, Antonio
Clericuzio, Tenny L. Davis, Laurence Principe, Claude Gagnon, Maurice
Crossland, Anton Faivre, Owen Hannaway, George Kittredge, Bruce Moran, Karin
Figala, Pamela Smith, Wayne Shumaker, Robert Steele, Alison Coudert, Charles
Webster, [Helmut Birkham, Herwig Buntz, Herman Kopp, Barbara Obrist... this
last 4 I havn't actually read]

Obviously some of these people are more useful to the applied alchemist than
others, but there are also vast numbers of scholars who have written only a few
articles or a single book, or who touch alchemy in passing...

jon


Thu Jul 04 11:28:39 1996
Subject: 1291 Naive question about plant/chemical alchemy & drug abuse

Date: Wed, 03 Jul 1996 22:30:54 +0000
From: A'yin Da'ath

>From: Greg

>Well, here are my questions, and I sincerely hope I can ask these without
>offending anyone:
>
>1) Does one get "high" with plant (or chemical) alchemy?

Define 'high?' I don't think any high or state of altered conciousness is
worth it unless used for a goal. In other words, drugs as recreation is
wrong, IMHO. Drugs as a method of discovery, transcendance, and learning...
that is worth more than anything.

>2) Is plant (or chemical) alchemy addictive?

What plant or chemical? Cocaine- yes. Heroin- yes. Marijuana- No. LSD- no.

>3) If a person is "high" from drug abuse, they cannot "come down" by force
>of their own willpower; they are at the mercy of the drug until the drug
>wears off.

This is true in one sense. A person is 'high' from a drug and cannot control
it by willpower, no matter what. That''s not abuse- it's a part of the drug.
Leary (Dr. Tim, that is) once explained that you must remember that you are
a passenger. I would explain it as 'That thing is god, you are a human. The
god is giving you valuable knowledge, and trying to stear it in anyway is
disrespectful.'

I find it best when, if in a bad spot, to think of Douglas Adam's immortal
phrase- DON'T PANIC. Concentration on it, as a mantra, is a sure-fire way
(at least for me) to clam down a bit. You can't help but laugh uncontrollably.

Or, better yet, the literal minded person will have read and researched
before taking a drug, as I did. For LSD trips, always have someone NOT under
the influence of anything on standby red alert. They are there to guide and
help the person being influenced. If things ever get too hectic, then an
emergency dose of 4 medical grammes of B-4 can be injected to stop the trip
nearly instantaneously (with LSD. I'm not sure what it would be with others,
since I've only had experience with acid).

The threat of going insane and attempting to peel yourself like an orange or
throwing yourself off a building is more damaging than you'd think. A little
information, and a person who remains cool, calm and competant at all times
will assure success. The reason I studied Magick thoroughly before even
thinking about taking the drug in my cabinet was because I wanted to have
willpower that was strong, to be able to understand what was happening
better, and because you are always drilled 'Fear is failure and the
forerunner of failure' into you.

>If a plant (or chemical) alchemist is in the process of
>experiencing psychological or spiritual transformation as a result of
>whatever they do with the plants/chemicals, can they choose to, say,
>suddenly abort that process and come back to mundane life and be their usual
>selves? Or are they at the mercy of the process, until the effect of
>the plants/chemicals wear off?

Both. You can abort LSD with, as I said, B-4. However Leary et al.
recognised that you can't trip without a little wear-over and a little
racing mind. One- LSD CAN still remain in the system. Two- you've just
experienced something on par with minor satori. Your mind is racing REALLY
damn fast. You need sometime to sit, and think, and maybe talk about what
you've just experienced. It's like any ritual- first a period of
preparation, then the ritual, then a period of observation, notes, etc.

>4a) I have known several people who habitually abused drugs who, if they
>thought for an instant that they could legitimize their drug abuse by giving
>it the lofty label "alchemy", would probably not hesitate to do so. And by
>all accounts, some kinds of drug abuse provide a kind of mystical ecstacy or
>nirvana. Would the plant alchemist consider that kind of nirvana to be a
>subset of what happens with plant alchemy, or something different entirely?

I'm not sure what 'plant alchemy' is. However, what they have experienced
is, as I have said, only minor satori. You come down from it again, and
enter mammalian mind games again after a while. A true satori or samahdi, or
the final process of acclaiming gold via alchemy is, in my mind, when the
body itself transcends matter and becomes energy and information, like a god
is. Even then, the journey is not over. Illumination never really ends, and
it is foolish of the person to think that they are perfect at any point.

>4b) How would the plant alchemist compare coniunctio produced with the aid
>of plant alchemy, with drug-induced nirvana? Is the drug abuser just
>skipping steps along the way to coniunctio, or is the drug abuser's nirvana
>something entirely different than coniunctio? Is the main difference the
>issue of control, i.e., the drug abuser's life may careen out of control
>while the plant alchemist's does not?

I'm not sure what you mean by coniunctio (or conjunctio?). However, I agree
with the final statement about drug abusers.

Abusers do not CARE. They do not RESPECT. A drug abuser, in my mind, is the
idiot on the street who smokes pot for the image, or trips because their
friends tell them to. They lead a hollow life, and their experiences are hollow.

There is a difference between use and abuse, however. A 'plant alchemist,'
if I may borrow the term (I might also say Magickian, or Psychedelic Guru,
or whatever you wish to say) has knowledge first. They know what they are
doing. They have prepared for it. They did everything up to the point of
taking the drug. They know what they are getting into. They have read Jung,
and Crowley, and other alchemists, and all works that relate to what will
happen. They are able, through concious effort, to return from the abyss,
the 'bad trip' (which is possible- I have done it). They have searched their
souls to see if this is what they want, and have chosen to do it. They are
armed with knowledge, and prepared for anything. And they are better for it.
Because they are the ones who won't listen to what the governement and
society and everyone seems to say about the 'evil and lethal' thing they are
about to take. Sorry if I seem preachy, but I feel that these are the people
who are exploring new vistas and offering new insights that no one
acknowledges. Just as the alchemists were, and did.

X
Nechesh - NChSh - Nun Cheth Shin - 358 - The Serpent of Initiation
ayindaath@worldnet.att.net
http://users.aol.com/ayindaath/ -=The Abyss of A'yin Da'ath=-
Webmaster for http://users.aol.com/sophieweb/ -=The Sophie Marceau Shrine=-
Scored a 46.4% on his Nerdity Test and an 84% on the Purity! Congradulate him!


Thu Jul 04 11:28:50 1996
Subject: 1292 Plant mutations - drugs

From: Matthew Gordon Phillips
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 23:23:49 -0700

Greetings my fellows threaders!

I must thank Adam for responding to my "provocative" challenges. I will
allow that alchemy is a subject which does not need to be romanticized,
can be studied with some measure of "scholasticism" and such. The point
I was trying to make was that Alchemy is presently a subject which MANY
others take a dim view of such that it is not *well established* in the
university system. It is not wholly absent from the university system
either of course, but finding an accredited alchemy program which one
can *major* in would be about as easy as finding a *parapsychology* or
*magick* board at my local accredited university. BTW These last two
aren't entirely absent from the university system either! But generally
speaking all three subjects (and similar ones) are not exactly
popular/sanctioned inside or outside the university. Few parts of
postmodern society are receiving any of these *pseudo-sciences* with
open arms, at least not officially if you get my drift. This
assertion/premise is illustrated by checking your average college course
catalog and by realizing how much funding any such alchemy programs get
(by the government or the private sector). I haven't checked the data,
but I am taking an educated guess here; any funding which does exist and
which is received from the university system is probably considerably
less than the natural hard sciences. I will appreciate any corrections
on any of these points I assert in this post.

I am going to back down here a little tho (I apologize for my
hyperbolistic formulations), as I am new to this subject- but I am going
to simultaneously hold to the essential point I made (or was feebly
trying to make). Alchemy is a recognized field, sort of. Barely. Sure
there are plenty of great scholars doing work in this field. But I would
contend that this field is NOT *established* in the same way that
Einstein and Planck and their subjects/work are established. The former
(alchemy) is almost universally derided while the latter (the hard
sciences and other more well-known fields) are almost universally
respected and revered. Am I right or not? I am asking. If I am right, it
seems that all the criteria for judging and contributing to Alchemy
differ vastly from the same actions in regards more established, funded
and *respected* fields. The taxonomy and general world view of a Max
Planck is highly regimented and "non-mystical" while alchemists' and
alchemiy scholars' systems of chopping up (ie analyzing and classifying)
the world are significantly more *literary* and subjective. Such that if
I enter a physics program at Cal Poly my work is going to be highly
channeled by various authorities above me. There will be less such
"guidance" in the more fluid realm of alchemy. Sure alchemy has its own
rules and its own established canon, her own authorities. The fluidity I
speak of is not anarchy. But neither are multinational corporations'
bottom lines impinging directly on the alchemist's work like they often
will be in the case of a physicist. Do you see the differences I am
trying to unpack here?

I have read a little of Waite, one of the supposed scholars of alchemy
cited. This distinguished and often bright scholar obviously was dealing
with alchemy. Why do you think Waite can be *recognized* in this field of
alchemy while Crowley cannot be so recognized is beyond me. I have read
close to all of Crowley's works (numerous times, and then I have applied
my studies) and I can confidently assert that he was NOT first and
foremost an Alchemist. But then again he can't be altogether
disconnected from this alchemical tradition (either as practioner or
scholar of alchemy) either IMHO. Adam, would you like to give me a
definition of alchemy such that it will become clear to one and all that
Crowley was *at best* only remotely connected to our subject such that we
might not like to include this particular beastly scholar in our
alchemical discussions? You say Crowley and Leary and McKenna are not
recognized scholars in this field? Maybe not, but then again you don't
dissallow people from idly speculating about a certain non-historical
figure/popular deity of the New Testament in regards many various
threads on the forum- and often the connections made in these "mystical"
rants are about as tenuous and questionable as the Don Juan/Carlos
Casteneda connection. These three fine scholars who are being refered to
may well be outside of this field, strictly speaking, but their theories
and contributions are not wholly unconnected to the subject of alchemy
and drugs- and I would contend, such contributions could easily augment
our alchemical discussions. Disallowing them in these regards makes
about as much sense as disallowing english translations in regards
certain greek and hebraic scriptures. Comments anyone?

As one good example of Crowley's contribution to the field of alchemy
see chapter 20 in Book 4 part 3. I can think of a handful (not a truck
load) of additional alchemical comments/essays made by Crowley. It is a
given that Crowley did contribute to this area, though the quality and
the exact amount of these contributions are of course debatable. Albeit, few
take the time to read Crowley so I don't expect to win any such debates
considering
the blind and persuasive force of the mindless masses.

One definition/formula of alchemy which has been often cited in this
forum consists of the following simplification/summation: turning base
lead into pure living gold. This formula can be/has been significantly
and pointedly applied to many diverse areas by many on the forum without
having to refer to individuals who are specifically allied to and
recognized in the field of alchemy. This formula is totally metonymic of
alchemy and Crowley's work is often devised in such an alchemical spirit.
As such and accordingly I will please request an explanation as to
how/why it might be inappropriate to include any considerations of our
beastly Crowley (or the others who have been proscribed for that matter)
in these our alchemical discussions.

We don't want to bring up people who we know to have existed but we are
free to blather incoherently about non-historical fictional
characters???? Was Christ an alchemy scholar? Did He even have a
undergraduate degree? How inconsiderate of Him!

Once again I thank all threaders and our moderator for all of
contributions, past pesent and future. I have enjoyed the divergent and
varied pov's!

--
Yours in Thelema,
Matthew Gordon Phillips
zingo@sprynet.com
"Every man and every woman is a star."


Thu Jul 04 11:29:03 1996
Subject: 1293 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: 04 Jul 96 02:23:13 EDT
From: MARVIN LOWES

>Let us gradually bring this thread to a close, unless anyone can provide
>any evidence for the use of mind-expanding drugs in alchemy.

A tricky thread but sad all the same to dismiss it too quickly. What led to my
own interest in alchemy was intellectually questioning the supposition of
REALITY and SCIENCE. Perhaps cultural conditioning, I pondered, was deeper
than just the use of makeup by my sister to attract a man. In this sense we are
trying to imagine a world before science was absolute? When the concepts of
action and reaction were unknown and the behaviour of the universe was therefore
capricious - or religious - or magical? Mind altering drugs certainly give us
that understanding.


Thu Jul 04 11:29:08 1996
Subject: 1294 A.E. Waite's alchemical scholarship

>Why do you think Waite can be *recognized* in this field of
>alchemy while Crowley cannot be so recognized is beyond me.

The reason is simple.

Books written or edited by A.E. Waite on the subject of alchemy.

The Hermetic Musaeum
The Turba Philososophorum
The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelus
The Journal "Azoth"
The Alchemical Writings of Edward Kelly
A New Pearl of Great Price
Three Famous Alchemists
The Works of Thomas Vaughan
The Secret Tradition in Alchemy
Lumen de lumine
Alchemists through the ages
[with numerous articles in Journals]

Books written or edited by A. Crowley on the subject of alchemy

[I cannot find any.]

Adam McLean


Thu Jul 04 11:30:08 1996
Subject: 1295 Plant mutations - drugs

If I may respond to the general point that Matthew Gordon Phillips raises
about definitions etc., we really must ground our views of alchemy upon the
existing body of alchemical material in libraries and special collections.
We cannot merely re-invent alchemy or use the term to suite our own purposes
and prejudices. We have to be guided by the 500 years of written tradition.
Else there is intellectual chaos, and we might as well seek alchemical
insight in Rupert Bear.

I am sure the same applies to Crowley's own domain of Magick. You need
scholarship and strong definitions in order to investigate his ideas. There
have been many people who came along after Crowley died and tried to claim
their ideas as his. Numerous fabricated documents and spurious writings are
advanced to promote these new orders and recensions of Crowley's original
Magick. Anyone trying to find their way through this mass of confusing
material will need use scholarly tools if they are to find the true Crowley
in the midst of the mass of secondary and subsidiary material.

Surely in your own domain of interest you have seen people trying to attach
Crowley's name to their own ideas in order to give them a credence and
authority? I wonder if you do not often find yourself applying a strong
definition of what does and does not belong to Crowley's 'Magick'.

I am only asking that we be aware of the same thing in regard to alchemy. It
does not seem right to me that people should use the grand tradition of
alchemy to give credence to the questionable use of hallucinogenic drugs for
mind-expansion, unless this was a documented part of the alchemical
tradition. I see myself as a scholar of alchemy, I work with evidence. In my
extensive reading of alchemical literature I have not found any examples of
alchemists deliberately using substances to promote hallucinogenic
experiences in order to seek some kind of mind-expansion or enlightenment.
If anyone can find any reference in the existing body of alchemical
literature that shows the unequivocal use of hallucinogenic substances in
this way, then I will, of course, recognise this as a valid facet of alchemy.

I am afraid that Morgan Saletta's latest posting 1287 is really not
evidence that stands up to any kind of scrutiny -

>In any case, mention is made of taking a "philosophic
>elixir or potion", and I'm wondering just what that might be, if not some
>psychotropically active agent.

Of course, alchemists made elixirs, but it is a bit of a leap of faith to
make the statement "I'm wondering just what that might be, if not some
psychotropically active agent". Please read the literature, study what the
alchemists meant by the terms they used, such as "elixirs", before jumping
to conclusions. We must use our minds, our powers of intellectual
investigation and discrimination, to pursue alchemy, not merely emotionally
attach ourselves to some particular idea, such as hallucinogenics. There are
hundreds of alchemical books which describe in some detail the making of
these elixirs and their use. I don't find any mention in these texts of the
deliberate use to induce hallucinations.

Adam McLean


Thu Jul 04 11:30:14 1996
Subject: 1296 Christianity and alchemy

Matthew Gordon Phillips writes:

>We don't want to bring up people who we know to have existed but we
>are free to blather incoherently about non-historical fictional
>characters???? Was Christ an alchemy scholar? Did He even have a
>undergraduate degree? How inconsiderate of Him!

We must not allow our difficulties in accepting the historical reality of
Jesus Christ, to prejudice us against seeing the relevance of Christian
ideas to alchemy. We must be free to explore the use of Christian ideas in
alchemy, for the simple reason that many alchemists saw themselves as
Christians and used Christian imagery and ideas in their writings. For
example, one of the earliest manuscripts of European alchemy, the 'Buch der
heiligen Dreifaltigkeit', which dates from the early 15th century, draws
parallels between the alchemical transmutation and the death and
resurrection of Christ. The 16th century 'Rosarium Philosophorum',
likewise. How can we understand the alchemy of the Rosicrucian period -
Khunrath, Maier, Fludd, etc., without accepting that these authors drew upon
Christian ideas. Whether Christianity is historically true or not is
irrelevant - the point is that certain key Christian ideas permeate alchemy,
as is obvious from reading the source literature.

Adam McLean


Thu Jul 04 14:46:30 1996
Subject: 1297 Some posts on drugs again!!!!

I have received today a series of four posts from Graeme Wilson which
continues the theme of drugs. I am not inclined to post these onto the
alchemy forum. The first because it emanates from a modern satanic occult
group and I don't feel that the alchemy forum should be a means of
publicising or promoting such groups. If anyone wants to get information on
this group it has a web page at
http://www.earthlight.co.nz/users/spock/satan.html
We can, of course, discuss matters arising from recent interpretations of
alchemy by occult groups, but this is not the place upon which to post their
manifestos.

Graeme Wilson says:
>The first in the series will be 'The Forbidden Alchemy' by the British
>group, The Order of Nine Angles. It details there system (very briefly) and
>their views on alchemy... It may be relevant to mention that some of their
>material may be offensive to some people (although this particular MS
shouldn't >offend anyone).

The second and third items are merely essays on the preparation and use of
opium
poppy and mescaline cactus. These are not relevant to our alchemical
concerns and I will not have the alchemy forum diverted any further down the
hallucinogenic drug theme. There are plenty of sites on the web from which
people can get information on hallucinogenic drugs.

Graeme Wilson says:
>The second and third MSS will be articles by the "Temple of Fire" detailing
>the *use* of substances within the context of the Ordo Sinistra Vivendi's
>system. The first of these MSS is on the historic and esoteric use of
>opium. The second is on the historic and esoteric use of mecaline (San
>Pedro cactus).

If anyone cares to have any of these items, then I suggest they get in touch
directly with Graeme Wilson .

Now please, can we get back to some serious discussion of alchemical themes!

Adam McLean


Fri Jul 05 00:07:27 1996
Subject: 1298 Naive question about plant/chemical alchemy & drug abuse

Date: Thu, 04 Jul 1996 00:10:00 -0400
From: John Reid

> From: Greg

> I hope you alchemy gurus don't mind a question from an alchemy dummy:

First of all Greg there are no dumb questions in alchemy, we
all were tyros once.

>My interest in Jung also led me to an interest in astrology, and today
>I use basic astrology all the time.
>Alchemy, though, seems to be considerably more
>difficult to understand, at least for me. But since astrolog
>has enriched my life so much, and since Jung
>obviously believed alchemy was very important, I'm determined
>to learn alchemy, too; it seems to me that alchemy may be
>even more psychologically and spiritually enriching than
>astrology.

Alchemy is considered the mother of all sciences because it
teaches the oneness of all creation and how all things are
truly divine in nature. Too, alchemy is one of the triad of
the Hermetic science composed of alchemy, astrology and
quabalah.

> But the implied connection between plant & chemical alchemy and
>drug abuse in some postings on this forum frankly gives
>me the willies. I've never taken any drugs, other than
>prescription and over-the-counter; I'm not generally
>judgemental about those who do, assuming they mind their own
> business while doing so; but I do want to stay miles and miles
>away from drug abuse myself.

You do not have to use drugs to be an alchemist, on the same
hand used properly they do not hurt either. I too, have been
reading the postings concerning drugs and alchemy for some
time. I think what we all need to remember is that all things
are divine, all things are spirit and there is nothing
created by God that is inimical to mankind, mans ignorance
(or sleep in the dream we call life) is the problem.

Once one realizes (or begins to realize) the true reality of
there existence all things take on an aspect of spirituality
(even dung or drugs). As this happens you develop an
acceptance of all of Gods creations and realize that all
things were put here to be used, but not by all people. In
the end it is up to the alchemist to decide what he or she
will use. Questions or morality are really mute. We all know
that depending on what time period we happen to be incarnated
in something's are considered moral and other times they
are not. History is replete with examples of this vacillating
morality that ranges from murder (ritual sacrifice) to drug
abuse. You must my friend follow that which is in your heart
and you will never go wrong.

If we accept that all of our actions are truly reactions to
impulses we receive from the One source then the use of drugs
is not evil or wrong. It is simply that individual expressing
some sort of divine need. And that need may just be the need
for that individual to fill an empty place in their soul. The
fact that the person abuses the drug is evidence of a desire
that needs to be satisfied, something they are searching for
but have not found. Generally we do not seek for the higher
aspects of life until we become uncomfortable, until our
present situation make us so uncomfortable that we are
impelled to move, when this happens we change, it may happen
in this incarnation or another, but it will happen. So one
can say drugs are good or bad, it makes no difference, the
user of the substance will continue to do so until they are
ready to move on. And nothing you, I or anyone else says will
make a bit of difference. The individual must feel compelled
to seek fulfillment in another manner. In all you must be
confident that the divine plan will work itself out to its
glorious conclusion.

A friend once told me that when we reach enlightenment (full
consciousness) it will be the only reality that we have ever
known, all else will seem as a dream or not to have existed
at all. And why not? the ancients have all told us that what
we call life is but a dream, and that reaching full
consciousness of what we truly are is like waking up from
that dream.

> 1) Does one get "high" with plant (or chemical) alchemy?

Only if the substances from which the product is made
produces those effects. But it is not necessary to get high.
Substances made from plants such as rosemary, lemonbalm etc.
can be used to have mystical experiences if the alchemist
makes the product by art and uses it in the same manner.
Intent is probably one of the strongest substances that you
mix into any alchemical preparation.

> 2) Is plant (or chemical) alchemy addictive?

No, at least not in a physical sense, though when in the lab
I have spent many a night in the lab watching the contents of
a flask boil with wild eyed anticipation.

> 3) If a person is "high" from drug abuse, they cannot "come down" by force
> of their own willpower; they are at the mercy of the drug until the drug
> wears off. If a plant (or chemical) alchemist is in the process of
> experiencing psychological or spiritual transformation as a result of
> whatever they do with the plants/chemicals, can they choose to, say,
> suddenly abort that process and come back to mundane life and be their
> usual selves? Or are they at the mercy of the process, until the effect of
> the plants/chemicals wear off?

Drugs are drugs man you use them and their effects stay with
you until your body eliminates the chemical. Only the most
advanced adepts can control there body chemistry (at will)
in a manner the above suggest.

> 4a) I have known several people who habitually abused drugs who, if they
> thought for an instant that they could legitimize their drug abuse by giving
> it the lofty label "alchemy", would probably not hesitate to do so. And by
> all accounts, some kinds of drug abuse provide a kind of mystical ecstacy or
> nirvana. Would the plant alchemist consider that kind of nirvana to be a
> subset of what happens with plant alchemy, or something different entirely?

As a friend once told me, John if your smoking everyday, a few
times a day it aint a sacrament its a habit. That's not to
say that the habit was good or bad, but lets call a spade, a
spade please. There have been times when I was really stoned
and had some insight into an alchemical problem or whatever.
The experience would completely obliterate the high
immediately. This was not my doing by came from outside of my
self. In fact the glow produced by such an experience lasted
for weeks or months. One in particular was when I became
conscious that the sun was actually a living conscious being.
Everytime I walked out into the sunlight the rays falling on
my body would feel like the caress of an old friend.

> 4b) How would the plant alchemist compare coniunctio produced with the aid
> of plant alchemy, with drug-induced nirvana? Is the drug abuser just
> skipping steps along the way to coniunctio, or is the drug abuser's nirvana
> something entirely different than coniunctio? Is the main difference the
> issue of control, i.e., the drug abuser's life may careen out of control
> while the plant alchemist's does not?

Again God works the way It wants to. Communication with and
knowledge of the center of your being is not dependent on the
use of any drug. On the same hand nothing that you do can
prevent the Divine from moving when it decides to move. It
does not matter if you are stoned out of you mind or on an
ancient road going to kill some early Christians (only to find
your self blinded by the sight of God).

John H. Reid III


Fri Jul 05 00:07:45 1996
Subject: 1299 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 09:29:34 -0500 (CDT)
From: John D. O'Brien

> > The alchemy forum is devoted to alchemy. If we wish to pursue the topic
> >of drugs in alchemy then we must show the link to known alchemists or

> considered drugs, are in fact drugs: tea, coffee, chocolate! I think
> someone mentioned the link to alchemy that alcohol production has.

Which are linked to the "Elixir of Life" quest of Alchemy. I believe
"Benedictine" (which I used to be fond of) was one attempt at the "Elixir".
Modern pharmacopia is a result of the spagrific arts. (Hope I spelled
that right).

We do need to be careful though; remember, many a "puffer" lost their
health or lives because of careless experiments.

John D. O'Brien obriens@sound.net


Fri Jul 05 00:07:50 1996
Subject: 1300 Plant mutations - drugs

Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 11:35:57 -0600 (MDT)
From: Paul Bartscher

We were very interested to read the recent postings on hallucinogens and
alchemy, however tangential the connection may seem to some members.
And thank you, Dan Levy, for your excellent posting, and especially your
"bold statement". We stand by it also.
Anyone who claims Crowley was not an alchemist should read more of his work-
especially a little volume entitled "Amrita" which is his exploration into
the creation of, purification preparations for, and taking of an elixir of life.
We, too, greatly enjoyed reading Pharmako/Poeia, but were dismayed to read
in the appendix the following:
"by the seventeenth century, alchemy had lost its experimental edge, and
began its slide into a Pythagorean rationalism with no praxis, pretty much
where it stands today."
If that is the case, we wonder what we and so many of those around us are
doing- it certainly seems like praxis.
We wrote to Mr. Pendell about his comment, explaining that we thought
alchemy had as much of an experimental edge and as much praxis as ever (if
not more), and received a reply which was lukewarm at best, and actually
pretty testy. In our letter, we had also discussed our alchemical work with
hallucinogens, and our feelings on alchemy in general. His response to that
part of the letter proved to us that, though an excellent writer with
innovative ideas, Mr. Pendell is no alchemist.
In our own personal work, we work alchemically with many of the poisonous
and psychoactive plants traditionally used shamanistically, particularly the
nightshades. From reading alchemical texts and our meditations on the
subject, it is clear to us that the strongest poisons make the strongest
medicines. The alchemical process is one of refinement, and, when a
poisonous/hallucinogenic plant is operated on properly, the poisons are
refined so as to be no longer physically poisonous. The result is a
preparation which is a strong initiatic medicine. The mystical/spiritual
aspects of the plant are still in this refined preparation- they are part of
the intelligence of the plant. But what is removed and purified is the
"trip" part of the chemistry- since almost any hallucinogenic effect can be
traced to poisoning of the body and its reaction to that poisoning. A "trip"
of sorts is still present, but it is more of a spiritual journey and
magickal quest than the common "trip" experience, which has more place at
a Grateful Dead concert than a magickal laboratory. So far, using this
theoryand process, we have operated on Datura/Jimson weed and Amanita
mushrooms.
We have plans to work on many other related plants in the future, as we see
this approach to be a vital one to our personal, agressive path of magickal
development through alchemy.
Mind-Alterants (or as Ott and others call them, Entheogens) can be a tool,
as can any other path, religion, or method. These tools can be a map to
places of higher consciousness and greater wisdom- the problem lies in
confusing the map with the destination.
So here we are, two "known alchemists" with "evidence for the use of
mind-expanding drugs in alchemy".

Strength & Wisdom,
Paul & Micah