View Full Version : Old Guys in Heavy Robes....

01-04-2009, 12:20 AM
This is a Phoenix-thread (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?t=7) from the old site (http://alchemy-forums.forumotion.com/forum.htm) created by Lapis.

Well just diving in here to get things rollin'.

I remember when I was a kid and saw, for the first time, the stereotypical image of the "Old Achemist" on TV. It was of the old man with the long gray beard and the heavy robes making him look much like a "Wizard" in a labratory. To me they were pretty much the same thing and it was instant infatuation. "That's the guy I want to hang out with!" was my first thought! I just longed to be with people like that......again. People who knew that there were numerous layers to everything and weren't afraid to dig deeper both in the physical world AND within themselves. One without the other is useless and a dead end.

That was my first introduction in this life to the old Master Alchemist and it was probably through Disney way way back in the day. Anyway, the Spiritual side of Alchemy and the whole living Alchemical process has always been a sacred and very important thing to me personally. Little did I know 45+ years ago, that I and humanity would actually be living this Process ourselves now! So my heart is still fond of those old archetypal images of the old guys in heavy robes and pointy caps, brewing and mixing, gazing and contemplating off into someplace totally unthought of by others. What Alchemical image/images stirred your old soul Heart and drew you back into the quest to transmute your Lead into Gold?

What Alchemical image/images stirred your old soul Heart and drew you back into the quest to transmute your Lead into Gold?
It was actually Jospeph of Arimathea and my vision of him carrying the Holy Grail to England. I was 13 at the time and this image was really important. I didn't discover alchemy until a decade later, but this image stuck with me (as did the interest in the occult). Back then I perceived the Holy Grail as an object, I don't do that anymore.

http://www.nashfordpublishing.co.uk/saints/images/joseph_arimathea_window1.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_of_Arimathea)

This stained glass image of Joseph is in a church in glastonbury that I visited in the summer of 1999.

Doesn't he look like a true alchemical mage?
I think for many of us the Disney image still holds true. The guy in Fantasia was more of a Magician than anything, but the idea behind the tale still very valid for me. I can mention that as an early reference to my fascination to all things occult, and in a sense, there's a strong connection between Alchemy and Magic. I remember an illustrated book about the quest of humanity for gold. The images of gold through the ages, jewelery or otherwise, seemed fascinating to me, even if the book cautioned about greed and such in the quest for physical gold. They did mention Alchemists with the usual, how fool they were, but that didn't prevent me from finding them fascinating. Later, in my teens, I read Le Matin des Magiens (?) and it was the most pleasant discovery that these guys weren't stupid at all. After all, it's possible to turn lead into gold, even in the objective reality. Maybe even easier than in the subjective reality. Even so, as the Alchemists would say Quid quaero impossibile! Search for the Impossible!
Inspiration is a funny thing, especially when considering how many forms it may take, and from sometimes embarassing sources.

Much of what had first inspired my study of the occult and subjective sciences were Plot-based video games and comic book heroes. In fact, my avatar image is a sketch I'd found on the internet, browsing for a person who creates designs for such ( Here's a link http://styleos.nobody.jp, to those interested. Credit where it's due). I digress. While I'd dabbled here and there in magical texts, my own inspiration towards Alchemy came from the works of Mike Mignola, who drew and penned the pulp-occult comic book series Hellboy. Even though the sole alchemist in the story, shown in flashbacks in the story "Almost Colossus", was less-than-glowingly depicted, the imagery fascinated me.

Later inspirations came from the series called The Invisibles, a chaos magick hypersigil created by Grant Morrison, who managed to actually make the occult look hip, active, and vibrant. Although I do have a soft spot in my heart for The Sword in the Stone's Merlin, and the stoic Yen Sid from The Sorceror's Apprentice, their implacability and age felt alienating as identifications.

Oh, how the floodgates open with this thread! I could go on, yet to do so would be selfish. To think on what had inspired us...
For me I would also have to say that Indiania Jones did make knowledge cool, especially things related to history. I must have been around seven when I saw the first film and it struck a chord with me somehow. Then later, in number three, it didn't make it worse that he was looking for the Holy Grail!

Now the new film is called Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (http://www.indianajones.com/site/index.html) and even that has occult connections. Go HERE (http://www.crystalinks.com/crystalskulls.html)

I really don't remember the start of my own interest. It came that early. I was always fascinated by Jedi powers in Star Wars, the Wizard characters in Fantasia - Sorcerers Apprentice, Dragon Slayer and the like. Brought up Catholic I was also very much interested in characters with occult powers in the Bible stories. Joseph with his dreams. Moses with his serpent staff that eats the Egyptian wizards serpent staffs etc.

Later I played Fighting Fantasy game books, and after that Dungeons and Dragons. I also remember reading about Nostradamus at some young age.

One of the books that really opened my eyes was 'The Devil and all his Works' by Dennis Wheatley. Amusing because it is supposed to be an anti-occult book, but I've never seen a work so successfully glamorise it! I now have my parents copy, the one I often read as a boy.

Later as a teenager it was 2000AD, particularly Slaine, Nemesis and Deadlock, that inspired me. In one episode when they have travelled back in time to the Spanish Inquisition, Nemesis teaches a Spanish Alchemist to successfully turn lead into gold but says "...Though such party tricks have little to do with true alchemy which is... the rising to the higher states of existence."