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MarkostheGnostic
04-11-2014, 01:40 AM
It's not because I have a Soxhlet and an essential oil alembic set up in my study, or because I read many books on alchemy, or even because I studied the work of C.G. Jung at the graduate level and underwent almost a decade of Jungian analysis with three Zurich-trained analysts.

I do not think of myself as an alchemist because even at the age of 10, my father, having seen me exhaust the chemicals of two Gilbert® chemistry sets, procured for me my first flasks, beakers, ring stand, and alcohol lamp, and built a home lab for me which grew in complexity through high school. The greatest gifts for me was a Perfect® 250 ml retort, a thistle tube (then, only .75¢), or a distilling flask with a Liebig condenser.

I WILL concede that the emotion of AWE that I experienced in the course of conducting a certain experiment, was one of those pivotal points in my life where simple wonder grew to an intensity that attained a numinous quality. I was 12 years old when I distilled a bit of a photographic chemical, Potassium Bromide, that a friend of my father had brought me, in a few milliliters of 5% Sulphuric acid in my retort. The clear liquid began to boil, and like an epiphany, crimson vapors of Bromine were evolved, rose, and snaked down the retort's spout, condensing in the small boiling flask suspended in a beaker of ice water. The phenomena of chemistry was fascinating, but I remember something 'else,' a whole new order of awareness seemed to be born inside of me.

That same emotion occurred to me at age 4 or 4 when I was fascinated by the ruby-red 'Eternal Light' that I queried my father about during my earliest memory of a Jewish holiday service. I was quite young, and "the red thing" was not the glass of wine that the rabbi or cantor held aloft that my dad originally responded with. It was the "Eternal Light," which I had no understanding of, but the words elicited in me a state of Awe.

I was not to have that experience of Awe again until shortly before my 18th birthday when I imbibed with a good friend, 200 Fredonia® Heavenly Blue Morning Glory seeds, and saw a sky like those depicted in Joseph Parker's psychedelic posters from the late 1960s. In fact, we both saw the same or similar sky. My buddy said "Gears!," and I nodes yes. The sky had become for me a network of silvery, kaleidoscopic rotating forms. With LSD, and Psilocybin mushrooms, I found that I could evoke this state of Awe, more often than not. On occasion the experience could attain to what Rudolph Otto called The Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans (Tremendous and Fascinating Mystery) - the primal mystical experience.

But these are just the precursor experiences in my life. The reason I think of myself as an alchemist is because I learned how to make lemonade out of lemons. I have, successfully, transmuted two enormous disappointments - personal and professional - into valuable products. My first wife turned to to be to an exponent of the "Negative Feminine," a truly wicked woman as it turns out, whom I engaged myself to and married. The result was a lengthy Dark Night of the Soul, a Nigredo, which lasted 13 out of my then 39 years of age, a full 1/3 of my life at that point. Marriage to this person resulted in my inability to become licensed at the level I had trained for in another state, and because I placed the values of love, marriage and commitment over professional power and prestige, I spent my entire professional life working at a Masters degree level when I held a reputable Doctorate that would have been recognized elsewhere.

Moreover, after some eight years of analysis, I was rejected by the Inter-regional Society of Jungian Analysts for analytical training. This was most likely due to my admission about using psychedelics. Suffice to say, this was mother catastrophic blow. Yet, before I left the city of Memphis, TN where the interviews were conducted, I visited some antique shops where I found two items: a set of ceramic mushroom bookends (that look like Psilocybe cubensis), and a hand-cared figure of an alchemist. These symbolic objects that I took away from my apparent failure turned out to be two aspects which came to define the last 23 years of my spiritual life. (My new wife would become my Soror Mystica in both a psychedelic sense, as well as in spiritual alchemy - the Union of Sol and Luna - the Rebis we call RoseMark).

After much hardship in the emotional, professional and financial domains, I did find a professional niche for 27 years that afforded me more free time than most everyone I knew (working 212 days/year), and after I jettisoned the psychic vampire to whom I was wed, I was able to tax shelter a large percentage of my modest salary. Meanwhile, had I not moved to the Sunshine State in which I live, I never would have met my Soror Mystica with whom I have now been with longer than my former marriage. I found a house that had everything on my wish-list at the time, at a price I could afford due to a series of events. It has a verdigris Green Lion door-knocker on the entrance.

We married (after a 15 year engagement) on 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11 a.m. EST, in an Alchemical Wedding. I sought a 'sign,' and a perfect Synchronicity occurred. We married before a statue of Thoth. The day that statue arrived seven years earlier, another Synchronicity occurred. When I arrived home from work and went to retrieve a parcel at the front door, five ibis birds were perched in a tree in my front yard. I had never seen ibises in my yard in the eight years I had lived in the house. The parcel was the Thoth statue! On the morning of our wedding at home,seven years later, nine ibises gathered on my front lawn - the second time I had seen ibises since the day that the Thoth statue had arrived!

The best laid plans of my life were uprooted several times, but certain symbols, representing alchemical themes have appeared at some of the lowest and highest moments of my life. Three years after marrying, I had to retire, and the two of us at home together sometimes feels like a Vas Hermeticum, sometimes like a crucible, sometimes the most fearsome or the most sublime experiences result - the phlegm or the eagle when we are in the curcurbit or the receiver of our 'alembic.' These are some of the reasons I thin of myself as an alchemist, and I wanted to share with some folks who might be interested. I'd be interested in the comments of those of you who found my post interesting.

http://i60.tinypic.com/x1czg1.jpg

http://i60.tinypic.com/2pzw4jr.jpg

http://i59.tinypic.com/125nde9.jpg

Ghislain
04-11-2014, 05:54 AM
On the 11.11.11 @ 23:11:11 I partook in a ceremony in Amsterdam together with two good friends.

:)

Perhaps we were unknowingly taking part in your Alchemical Wedding?


Ghislain

Salazius
04-11-2014, 10:33 AM
Thank you for sharing this experience and path of life !

So, why then do you consider yourself as an Alchemist after all this ?

MarkostheGnostic
04-11-2014, 01:45 PM
On the 11.11.11 @ 23:11:11 I partook in a ceremony in Amsterdam together with two good friends.

:)

Perhaps we were unknowingly taking part in your Alchemical Wedding?




Ghislain

I was hoping for a wider Conjunctio such as that! :) Here we are reading our 'Marriage Vow,' The Emerald Tablet! :D

http://i58.tinypic.com/2zspt9s.jpg

MarkostheGnostic
04-11-2014, 01:47 PM
Thank you for sharing this experience and path of life !

So, why then do you consider yourself as an Alchemist after all this ?

"The reason I think of myself as an alchemist is because I learned how to make lemonade out of lemons." Transmutation of the stuff of life, the existential 'givens.'

MarkostheGnostic
04-11-2014, 02:10 PM
Last night after writing this, I had a long dream. It combined some of my alchemical glassware (the curcurbit balloon and the aludel of the essential oil still) with the theme that I had discovered or had created a life. The theme also involved that this apparatus had been 'in space,' and it was transferred to one of my grow boxes where mushroom cakes are 'birthed.' It was both liquid (in the glass) and solid in the box, and was growing larger, and greener. I was worried that it might become a monster. I imagined octopus-like tentacles with suckers, but I was hoping that the entity had some kind of 'symmetry,' because I identified that with balance of form and hence beauty.

The notions of alchemy, in the sense of a homunculus, and mushroom cultivation came together. Mushroom cultivation does use laboratory processes and I've long considered it to be a form of alchemy, though not spagyrics (although, at some point I'd like to see if the mushroom's Sulphur, that is not an essential oil - the Psilocybin, can be separated and recombined with Mercury and Salt to form a spagyric). Late last night I rejoiced that a new mycology project began to germinate in a petri dish, in a glove box. The notion that Terrance McKenna,[tongue-in-cheek methinks] put forth, that the mushroom spores are of extra-terrestrial origin must have found their way into the 'space' portion of the dream.

I disagree however with Terrance. After the 2014 Winter Solstice trip with my Soror and a friend, wherein we all had the same psychic experience and visions of being pulled into deep, dark places, with knarly roots and faces with glowing eyes peering at us from a subterranean world, I came to see the mushroom as having a profoundly earthly spirit, metaphysically earthly. A couple of days ago I happened on the image of a Green Man whom both my Soror and my friend flipped out upon seeing. We were doubled over with Naval Center pain, only it was not stomach upset, it was more like being pulled into the earth by our psychic umbilical cords. The 'greenness' of this Green Man may have entered into the dream. In our visions, the roots like those of the beard surrounded and partly covered the face - for all of us! Perhaps roots and tentacles became conflated. I think I was still processing the trip in the dream, it was the most profoundly earthy trip, and one of the scariest trips any of us had ever taken, and we're all "Experienced." Eventually, we left the bowels of the Earth and our Naval Centers, and began to soar to colorful (Peacock's Tail) transcendental spaces. I must say that a portion of the CD 'Greyfolded,' which is a collage of various 'Dark Star' versions by the Grateful Dead, precipitated us being pulled downward. I haven't played that since! Even a change of music to something that always brings us up ('Scarlet Begonias into 'Fire on the Mountain') did not work. We were 'released' from the Underworld by no machinations on our part. I now wonder if my unconscious also conflated the symbols of the Green Man with the Green Lion.

http://i57.tinypic.com/2wnmjgg.jpg

Awani
04-11-2014, 10:39 PM
...when I imbibed with a good friend, 200 Fredonia® Heavenly Blue Morning Glory seeds, and saw a sky like those depicted in Joseph Parker's psychedelic posters from the late 1960s...

Perhaps a topic for a new thread but I have heard about Morning Glory seeds. Is it as strong as psilocybin? Same kind of effect?

If you have lots to say about it feel free to create a new thread (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/forumdisplay.php?76-Spagyrics-amp-Entheogens). Edit: The Earthly Side of Heavenly Blue Morning Seeds (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3992-The-Earthly-Side-of-Heavenly-Blue-Morning-Seeds)


On the 11.11.11 @ 23:11:11 I partook in a ceremony in Amsterdam together with two good friends.

Well it was really at 11.11.11 @ 11:11:11 pm.

Also my god, four years ago!!! Time flies...

:cool:

Ghislain
04-12-2014, 04:05 AM
Dev...not being picky or anything but it was three years ago :)

But I agree with the time flying.

MTG, like that pic...its by an artist called Anne Stokes (http://www.annestokes.com/)
Check out her site there are some great pieces there. You can
find that pic in the gallery titled Fae, it's called The Oak King.

Ghislain

MarkostheGnostic
04-12-2014, 05:32 PM
Dev...not being picky or anything but it was three years ago :)

But I agree with the time flying.

MTG, like that pic...its by an artist called Anne Stokes (http://www.annestokes.com/)
Check out her site there are some great pieces there. You can
find that pic in the gallery titled Fae, it's called The Oak King.

Ghislain

Thanks! Unfortunately, so scary was the trip, my wife won't allow me to purchase a copy to hang up.

MarkostheGnostic
04-13-2014, 01:55 AM
Dev...not being picky or anything but it was three years ago :)

But I agree with the time flying.

MTG, like that pic...its by an artist called Anne Stokes (http://www.annestokes.com/)
Check out her site there are some great pieces there. You can
find that pic in the gallery titled Fae, it's called The Oak King.

Ghislain

Ghislain - I followed the link you provided and located the Oak King. I complimented the artist and told my little story about the harrowing experience 3 of us hd, and how she captured more than mere imagination with her artistic representation. Thanks for the information, I saw the piece at DesignToscano.com and saved it, but the info was not given.

Krisztian
04-14-2014, 12:39 AM
Why I connected with traditional alchemy, why it made sense, was because there's a clear demonstration of where one is [spiritually] by the mirror process of lab-work. Eastern practices lack that validity, so either inflation [of ego] or scepticism easily occurs. Meaning, one can easily delude oneself into believing whatever they want, without lab-work. At least that's what alchemy means to me.

The middle, balanced [state] path is somewhere between those two extremes.

For me, a [traditional] alchemist is one who has demonstrated in the company of handful of people, transmutation. All others are students of alchemy.

Axismundi000
04-17-2014, 02:40 PM
Why I connected with traditional alchemy, why it made sense, was because there's a clear demonstration of where one is [spiritually] by the mirror process of lab-work. Eastern practices lack that validity, so either inflation [of ego] or scepticism easily occurs. Meaning, one can easily delude oneself into believing whatever they want, without lab-work. At least that's what alchemy means to me.

The middle, balanced [state] path is somewhere between those two extremes.

For me, a [traditional] alchemist is one who has demonstrated in the company of handful of people, transmutation. All others are students of alchemy.

Transmutation is the essential point I agree. However it is fine to do this without anyone else knowing and still be an Alchemist. The approval or disapproval of peers is not a requisite. The successful work in the Laboratory is the essential point.

Krisztian
04-17-2014, 04:48 PM
However it is fine to do this without anyone else knowing and still be an Alchemist. The approval or disapproval of peers is not a requisite. The successful work in the Laboratory is the essential point.

True.

I am merely saying that in some traditions demonstration shows that other observers are also seeing what has taken place. If you belong in a tradition, it is a place of honour and humility to demonstrate the physical merits of the Work.

Axismundi000
04-18-2014, 11:15 AM
Thank you I take your point.

MarkostheGnostic
04-18-2014, 06:42 PM
III:
I can agree with the bulk of your profession, but I must beg to differ about breasts. Breast fetishes are among the most ancient and the most common today. Breast fetishists isolate the structures from the rest of the body, focus on the breasts to the exclusion of other bodily attributes. Even when the fetish does not dominate one's life, it still is a significant aspect of the Freudian phenomenology of 2nd chakra psychology. I am a 'breast man,' but that is an emphasis that still requires a certain type of body, legs, waist, hips, butt, and facial attributes. I've also had a blond fetish for as long as I can remember, but I can transcend these 'pulls' as I have in both of my wives. My first wife was a tall, leggy blond with small breasts (which she attempted to enhance on her own twice), and my current wife is a very voluptuous African-Nigerian, and clearly not blond).

It is interesting that the Hebrew Divine Name El Shaddai is sometimes translated as 'Breast of God,' and that the mandalic form of round structure, aereolar area with nipple serves as a visual 'bulls-eye' for the nursing neonate. A mandala symbolizes the Self, and Tibetan mandalas are visualized in 3-dimensions as habitations for Buddha-Mind. Many pagoda-forms of Buddhist stupas are in fact breast-shaped, with the cupola and honorific umbrella structures approximating the aereolus and nipple. Whether there is actual genital stimulation on the part of the nursing baby is not evident by penile/clitoral extension, but nursing mothers certainly can receive sexual stimulation from the act. This is the developmental stage where Margaret Mahler's Stages of Separation-Individuation occurs, which in turn, sets the stage for Individuation at a higher center such as what you refer to in your response to my post. But the breast, even before being fetishized during Freud's Phallic and Genital Stages of psychosexual development, is THE life-giving organ. This is where too many adults have become fixated in terms of conflating food with love, and who seek food out when upset in a regression towards the comfort of the 'primal breast.'

The breast is the locus of the Heart, ruled by the astrological Crab, whose pinchers symbolize the attachments of the Heart, and whose round shape, legs and pinchers approximate the Sun and its rays. I am born under the sign of the Crab, Cancer, and have had two forms of skin cancer, yet, I have survived these afflictions and have transcended the fetishistic attachments that rule my particular astrological type. According to Susan Zannos, in her amazing book Human Types: Essence and the Enneagram, which uses the colored suits of common playing cards, I am a "King of Hearts," which according to a Gurdjieffian center model states that I am centered in the 'Intellectual Part of the Emotional Center,' in the Magnetic Center of the Heart.

I didn't mean to derail the train here, but even a seemingly small part of the post opens into its deeper psychocosmic symbolism, just as an image of sexual congress (Yab-Yum) symbolizes the interpenetration of Compassion and Wisdom. This is all about inner alchemy wherein human transformation occurs, as opposed to projections upon externalized lab ware. Now, whether those projections into plant or mineral 'medicines' can be imbibed, and those projections assimilated with true psychophysical effects (besides poisoning!), remains to be seen. I still expect to dabble with spagyrics, but I do not expect my actions to be more than rituals by which the unconscious is activated to increase dream production of pertinent information. I have little faith in a Jupiterian elixir or stone inducing health and wealth to manifest in my life, but, I am not closed to the possibility of Synchronicity, which is to say Magick and Miracle. A simple open-ended assortment of symbolic items at our marriage was part of a constellated Synchronicity, and the ibises on 11/11/11 seemed connected to an appearance of ibises 7 years earlier. A decent memory is all that is needed to connect the dots and see a pattern.

http://i58.tinypic.com/jpxa3d.jpg

One can only artificially separate an "Eastern" practice from a Western practice. I think you are attempting to describe the difference between 'inner' and 'outer' here, if I am not mistaken, and by corollary, 'subjective' from 'objective.' Ultimately, there is no hard difference between inner and outer so long as human beings are part of the equation, because a tree falling in the forest without so much as an insect around does not make a sound even though it displaces air. Some tympanic organ must be in the vicinity for 'sound' to manifest.

In chemical laboratory processes, different chemists can analyze the product of a specific reaction and differ perhaps only in the quantification or purity of a sample, not in its essential quality as this or that compound. In alchemical processes, creating a 'star regulus' from antimony might not manifest every time, but it is a 'subjective' interpretation that it has manifested because of the spiritually harmonious nature of the alchemist, rather than poorly controlled physical conditions. Causing compounds to turn colors in crucible or retort is no proof of a person's inner condition unless it is a phenomenon that cannot be explained by chemistry under the most rigorous controlled conditions. The proverbial transmutation of lead into silver or gold under non-nuclear conditions would be such an inexplicable event (if it were indeed possible), and consciousness would have to be seriously considered as a variable in the phenomenon. Such a transformation of course would be equivalent to the transmutation of water into wine in John 2:1-11, i.e., miraculous. The 'projection of the Philosophers' Stone' that can not only cause metals to 'mature' according to an ancient (and scientifically untenable model), but which also has a transformative effect on the health and longevity of a person, is reminiscent of a miracle taken from the classics, namely the Golden Fleece of Jason and the Argonauts, already popular in the 8th century BCE at the time of Homer. The Golden Fleece responded to the desires of its possessor and could provide virtually anything that its owner wished for. But this myth has been variously interpreted by literary scholars.

So has the Philosophers' Stone, but Jesus' miracle at the wedding at Cana, the Golden Fleece, and the Philosophers' Stone all seem to be on an equal footing in the domain of mythology. The differences are in the life style of each of the respective 'believers.' Literary scholars in academia are probably the only people who ponder the deeper meanings of the Golden Fleece (if there are any in the domains of psychology or of physical processes [like bringing animal husbandry to Greece from the East as Wiki suggests]). Christians of all denominations live with a literal belief, or in the manner of Jewish hermeneutics, consider the allegorical, symbolic, and mystical levels as well. Some Christians want to question whether Jesus literally made grape juice instead of wine, but this a neurotic inquiry. Alchemists seem to be drawn to laboratory glassware (I have felt this since childhood), and these trappings seem to be religious fetishes of a sort, giving rise to exalted feelings (I remember the thrill of receiving my first retort at age 10, or my first thistle tube). These sentiments are reminiscent of Marlowe's Dr. Faust:

“These metaphysics of magicians,
And necromantic books are heavenly;
Lines, circles, letters, characters.
Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires.”
Christopher Marlowe, The Tragedie of Doctor Faustus (B text) Act 1.

In fact, the contemplation of professed alchemists seems to require the presence of certain forms of glass, often explained by 'subtle phenomena,' but the closer that modern chemistry glass can come to approximating the ancient alembics and pelicans, the better! I understand fetishistic power. The same hold true for me in the form of women's bodies. The more extreme and exotic the feminine curves, the more excited I become. It is the same with any fetishist, including gun lovers. The form, in fetishes, has magickal properties to alter consciousness. The magickal definition of fetish is the global definition, not the relatively recent sexual connotation. Alteration of consciousness is truly 'the crux of the matter.' A true fetishist merely has to behold the object which embodies 'mana,' to gain fulfillment whether it is a shoe fetish, a breast fetish, a punishment fetish (the instruments of punishment) a gun fetish or a laboratory fetish. The latter two usually sublimate sexual feelings for 3rd chakra and 6th chakra energizations respectively rather than 2nd chakra stimulations. I imagine alchemists getting excited over a hand-blown alembic head (NO puns intended) and curcurbit, but not an actual erection (penis or clitoris).

In laboratory alchemy, the various processes of Calcinatio, Solutio, Coagulatio, Distillatio, etc. can well be attributed to inner processes on the psyche. Read Edward Edinger's Anatomy of the Psyche:Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy for a brilliant Jungian interpretation complete with diagrams of associations in each alchemical stage. The physical tinkering and psychological pondering are more significant than whatever physical matter is being processed, because any notion of a material Philosophers' Stone remains an article of faith among believers in alchemy. It is as historically unsubstantiated as the miracle of transmuting water into wine at Cana, but as equally a matter of faith. Any claims to "demonstration" of a transcendental, inexplicable physical phenomenon is hubris, subjective, and delusional in a claim for possession of the Philosophers' Stone, in space-time.

No matter, never mind.
No mind, never matter.


Why I connected with traditional alchemy, why it made sense, was because there's a clear demonstration of where one is [spiritually] by the mirror process of lab-work. Eastern practices lack that validity, so either inflation [of ego] or scepticism easily occurs. Meaning, one can easily delude oneself into believing whatever they want, without lab-work. At least that's what alchemy means to me.

The middle, balanced [state] path is somewhere between those two extremes.

For me, a [traditional] alchemist is one who has demonstrated in the company of handful of people, transmutation. All others are students of alchemy.

III
04-18-2014, 07:26 PM
Why do I consider myself an alchemist? It certainly isn't because of glassware and lab work. I'm a mystic. I have purified and re-formed my being over and over again. I start others along this way and give them a helping hand as needed. I do this over and over, deepening the fractal and of course it changes each and every time by adding the fractal over and over. This is the construction of the soul. The transmutation of the unconscious persona into a conscious being is the work of Alchemy as I know it. All sorts of things can be layered upon this and still be Alchemy. How a person does this building of the soul can limit or un-limit what is done.


In various versions of Tantra, the adoration of the Yoni (vulva and vagina) and as the Yoni Tantra says that the Yoni Puja in various forms is the only practice needed. The Lingam puja is also used alchemically. Prolonged sanctified intercourse, the most advanced and "secret" of the yoni puja practices is an alchemical exercise producing the Elixir of life. Substituting glassware for the flesh could be called a fetish. The Yoni is the chalice, the reaction vessel. There is also the breast puja, a sacred prayerful adoration. Breasts are not a fetish. They are the real thing. On the other hand a bra can be a fetish item.