View Full Version : Dante's Inferno

02-14-2016, 10:42 PM
I recently did a podcast with Salazius (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/member.php?7-Salazius) about the colors of alchemy and ever since then these colors have appeared in many random things (the podcast in question goes live on the 21st of Feb 2016).

The colors of alchemy goes: Black - White - Red


The Bwiti initiation ceremony follows the same pattern. First you are dressed in black, then you are baptized and dressed in white and then when you do the actual iboga ceremony you are dressed in red.

Today I was reading up on Dante's Inferno (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_(Dante)):

In the very centre of Hell [the 9th circle], condemned for committing the ultimate sin (personal treachery against God), is Lucifer. Lucifer is described as a giant, terrifying beast with three faces, one red, one black, and one a pale yellow:

he had three faces: one in front bloodred;
and then another two that, just above
the midpoint of each shoulder, joined the first;
and at the crown, all three were reattached;
the right looked somewhat yellow, somewhat white;
the left in its appearance was like those
who come from where the Nile, descending, flows - source (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_(Dante)#Ninth_Circle_.28Treachery.29)

Nile = black I assume because alchemy etmytologically is the old Egyptian word for black and connected to the Nile.

I am sure the religious propagandha in the times of Dante was all over the place and it is no surprise that the true God is depicted as Lucifer (which is the bearer of the Light after all).

I looked a bit more and found this written about the 8th circle of hell:

In the final Bolgia [trench or ditch], various sorts of falsifiers (alchemists, counterfeiters, perjurers, and impostors) – who are a "disease" on society – are themselves afflicted with different types of diseases...

The alchemists Griffolino d'Arezzo (who was burned at the stake for telling the Bishop of Siena that he can teach his friend how to fly) and Capocchio (who was known for creating imitations to various metals) from Siena were propped up against each other... - source (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_(Dante)#Eighth_Circle_.28Fraud.29)

Recently Ghislain (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/member.php?186-Ghislain) and I came to the conclusion that truth can be found in the opposite. For instance if an alchemist is a "disease" on society then really it means they are the cure. ;)


Illen A. Cluf
02-15-2016, 12:00 AM
One of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard: Dante's Prayer:


Listen to it all the way through - it's worth it!

03-16-2016, 12:23 PM
Guenon has a nice book on Dante.
I dislike Guenon even more than I dislike diarreha... But this specific book is not terrible.

I disagree with your interpretation of how Dante perceived Lucifer. I don't think he perceived him as "God" at all. Though his views on Lucifer are incredibly interesting.
The Comedy was, among other things, a political text. We sometimes miss that part because it's very "dated" in that sense.

Dante lived in a time were politics were divided in three main factions:
-Ghibellines: they supported the Emperor and did not want the Pope to have any "temporal power" (or political power).
-""Conservative" Guelphs: They wanted the Pope to control the political power.
-"Progressive" Guelphs: The were a schism from the "conservative" Guelphs and didn't want to overthrow the Pope, that didn't want him to have any political power, they didn't like the Emperor either... they were, in modern terms, the "left-wing party. This one was Dante's party.***

One of the MAIN symbols of power that the Church and the Pope had was Lucifer... an evil creature that was "tempting" mankind into sin and a rival to God... almost like a "bad God" in a very machiavellic fashion. You probably remember George Bush saying: "you are either with us or against us"... Lucifer worked very much like that for the Church: you were either a supporter of the Church or you were under the influence of the evil Lucifer.

Dante was a humanist... he did not turn Lucier into a "God", but mostly dismissed him as the "cause" of the human sins. Instead of such thing, Dante made the humans responsible for their own mistakes and virtues... and changed the image of the "powerful" Lucifer into a powerless creature trapped in Hell, mostly as the epitome of idiocy and not the epitome of "evil". He also refused the theory that humans were "controlled" by Satan and embraced the idea of a free will.

Dante reduced the "powers" of Lucifer and made him look like a victim of his own idiocy. Doing such thing was very much like destroying the main tool of manipulation that the Church had.

*** After his forced exile and death sentence (proclaimed by the Pope), Dante became more enthusiast with the Roman Emperor as a way to promote a REAL separation between Church and State.

I LOVE Gnosticism, but I don't think that Dante had this specific Gnostic view on Lucifer... and mostly thought of Lucifer as the opposite of God (though not in Machiavellic terms): a powerless creature, a creature without knowledge, not the cause of the "human sins"... but he was far from seeing Lucifer as the Soter or the "true God".

Other than that, it is VERY interesting that Dante never speaks of priests or Popes as a way to God... for him the path is always very platonic: LOVE (Eros). This is true in the Divine Comedy and even more true in La Vita Nuova.

Your finding about the colors is very interesting and I think you are right, though I also think that maybe you got too enthusiast with reading Dante under a classical Gnostic cosmology... I think Dante's point of view about Lucifer is not the classical Gnostic point of view, but it is neither the point of view of the Roman Church (which he certainly disliked). I think of him as a Gnostic, but certainly not a "classical" Gnostic.

03-16-2016, 03:00 PM
The wisdom/truth of any art comes from the "user" not the "creator". That is why professional art critics are the most useless people that ever existed. LOL.


03-17-2016, 02:01 AM
The wisdom/truth of any art comes from the "user" not the "creator". That is why professional art critics are the most useless people that ever existed. LOL.


Marcel Duchamp had a nice habit. When someone gave an interpretation of the meaning of any of his works, he always said that the interpretation was correct... without caring what the other person had said.

Art Critics = Bastards....

BUT I love the great exegesists of art, who have nothing to do with "art criticism" (Truffaut explaining hitchcock).

I don't deny at all the Gnosticism of Dante... but I don't think that he perceived Lucifer as a transcendental God (my own interpretation is that Lucifer represented, for him, the Roman Church).

But I don't want to interfere with your own interpretations and I love Duchamp too much as to say that a point of view can be "wrong"... but I was giving my own opinion.

03-17-2016, 02:54 AM
but I don't think that he perceived Lucifer as a transcendental God (my own interpretation is that Lucifer represented, for him, the Roman Church).

I am sure you are correct in this. Dante was an Italian after all. ;)



03-17-2016, 04:25 AM
Well... even more than being Italian, just consider that the Pope gave Dante a Death Sentence (which he could avoid by paying a certain amount of money to the Church and making some public statements in support of the Church, but Dante refused to do such thing and had to live in exile, which is something that he truly hated).

It's not so surprising that he perceived the Church as the epitome of idiocy and an anti-Christian entity. They were both blackmailing him and giving him a death sentence... no need to explain why he didn't like the Church and shaped the ruler of Hell as a "homage" to the Church.