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Thread: Flick Of The Wrist

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    I'm not as radical as Eco as to state that a translation doesn't make sense, but without a good critical apparatus a lot of the sense is lost. The HUGE gap between a "flick of the wrist" and a "tour de main" is a perfect example of what I mean... if the critical apparatus doesn't amend the sense, then the "palimpsest" gets lost and you only get a single "layer" (and it's not because you are a bad reader, but because the translator didn't care to explain you ALL the possible interpretations). Sadly, it's unusual in Alchemy to have a good critical apparatus (Though there's always notable exceptions).
    Those are very good observations. Even the word "palimpsest" can be taken in at least two ways. One refers to a manuscript where the original has been erased and replaced by a revision. The second is more in the sense of what we have been discussing. You may have an excellent interpreter of two languages, say French and English. But if that interpreter does not understand alchemy, even though his translation is academically excellent, he may completely have missed some of the subtlety because of the various ways expressions can be interpreted.

    Unfortunately, almost all of the old texts come to us (English-speaking people) as translations, since most of the originals were written in Latin, and later German, Dutch and French. There have been many poor translations, and as a result some incorrect alchemical principles or practices have received a life of their own, continually being perpetuated again and again. This results in modern books based on incorrect understanding. The word "antimony" is one such mis-interpreted word that has left hundreds of alchemists over the years roasting tons of antimony with no results, and the proliferation of hundreds of books lending support to this notion.

    Dictionaries focus on words and the alternate meaning of those words. But few focus on the much more important meaning of groups of words or phrases, which can have completely different meaning from those of the individual words.

    I think it's great that, as a group of people speaking different languages, we can look at the more subtle aspects of some of these phrases, and come to a better understanding of what they may actually mean. There's already enough confusion about the hundreds of different terms used for various alchemical substances or practices, so a better understanding of the phrases may lead to more clarity.

  2. #12
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    Basil Valentine in his 12 keys and triumphant chariot (one with someone's notes annexed on it) is very explicit regarding this stuff. He speaks it outright, no veils, no obscurity but he never tells that this is the "Flick of the wrist". You have to make the connection. Read it together with zoas's excellent post and make prayers to God, you should get it.

    Fulcanelli is very explicit regarding Ars Brevis and "Flick of the Wrist", infact he has revealed the ingredients with such chutzpah yet hidden it in such a way that most people will miss it.
    Last edited by Dwellings; 09-30-2016 at 07:55 AM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwellings View Post
    Fulcanelli is very explicit regarding Ars Brevis and "Flick of the Wrist", in fact he has revealed the ingredients with such chutzpah yet hidden it in such a way that most people will miss it.
    Are you perhaps referring to this?

    Thus, for example, while leaving aside, after having cleansed them well, new crucibles which have only been used once, for the fusion of metallic glass, the production of hepar sulphuris, or diaphoretic antimony, they are found cracked after a few days without one being able to explain the obscure reason of this late phenomenon. The considerable spacing of their bulges shows that the fracture seems to occur by the push of an expansive force acting from the center towards the periphery at room temperature and long after the use of these vessels.
    Or perhaps to to THIS?

    Some excerpts:

    The second way demands, from beginning to end, only the help of a coarse clay abundantly available, of such a low cost that in our time ten francs are sufficient to acquire a quantity more than enough for our needs. It is the clay and the way of the poor, of the simple and the modest, of those whom nature fills with wonder even by her most humble manifestations. Extremely easy, it only requires the presence of the artist, for the mysterious labor perfects itself by itself and is achieved in seven to nine days at the most. This way, unknown to the majority of practicing alchemists, is elaborated from start to finish in one crucible made of fireproof clay. It is the way that the great masters called woman's work and child's play; it is to it that they apply the old hermetic axiom: una re, una via, una dispositione.

    A single matter, a single vessel, a single furnace. Such is our earthen vase, a despised, plain vase of common use, which everyone has before his eyes, which costs nothing, which can be found at everyone's house, yet which no one can recognize without a revelation.

    Panel 4 - Closed by its narrow lid, with a fat albeit split belly, a common clay pot fills with its plebeian and cracked majesty the surface of this panel. Its inscription states that the vase of which we see the image, must open by itself and manifest by its destruction the completion of that which it holds: INTVS SOLA FIENT MANIFESTA RUINA. (Only the inside makes the ruin manifest).

    Among so many diverse figures, so many emblems with which it fraternizes, our subject seems to be all the more original because its symbolism relates to the dry path, also called the Work of Saturn, as rarely translated into iconography as it is described in texts. Based on the use of solid and crystallized materials, the brief way (ars brevis) only requires the help of a crucible and the application of high temperatures. Nevertheless, contrary to the humid way, whose glass utensils allow for easy control and accurate observation, the dry way cannot enlighten the operator at any time in the process f the Work.

    So, although the time factor reduced to a minimum constitutes a serious advantage in the practice of the ars brevis, the necessity of high temperatures, on the other hand, presents the serious inconvenience of an absolute uncertainty as to the progress of the operation. Everything happens in the deepest mystery inside the crucible which is carefully sealed, buried at the core of the incandescent coals. It is therefore important to be very experienced and to know the fire's behavior and power well as one could not find in it, from the beginning to the end the least of indications.

    All the characteristic reactions of the humid way having been indicated among the classical authors, it is possible for the studious artist to acquire indications precise enough to allow him to undertake his long and difficult work. Here, on the contrary, it is without any guide that the traveler, brave to the point of rashness, enters this arid and burnt desert. No road laid out, no clue, no landmark; nothing save the apparent inertia of the earth, of the rock, of the sand. The shiny kaleidoscope of the colored stages does not brighten up his uncertain walk; it is as a blind man that he continues his path, without any other certainty save that of his faith, without any other hope but his confidence in divine mercy.

    Yet at the end of his path, the investigator will notice a sign, the only one whose appearance indicates success and confirms the perfection of the sulphur by the total fixation of mercury; this sign consists in the spontaneous bursting of the vessel. Once the time has elapsed, by laterally uncovering a part of its side, we notice, when the experiment has succeeded, one or more lines of dazzling clarity, clearly visible on the less brilliant background of the envelope. These are the cracks revealing the happy birth of the young king.

    Just like at the end of incubation the hens egg breaks under the effort of the chick, similarly the shell of our egg breaks as soon as the sulphur is produced. There is, among these results, an evident analogy in spite of the different causes, for in the mineral Work, the breaking of the crucible can logically be attributed to a chemical action, unfortunately impossible to conceive or to explain.
    Lying on the altar of sacrifice, a forearm is consumed by fire. The sign of this fiery emblem holds in two words: .FELIX.INFORTUNIUM. Happy unhappiness! Although the topic seems a priori quite obscure and without equivalent in the hermetic literature and iconography, yet it yields to analysis and perfectly agrees with the Great Work's technique. The human forearm, which the Greeks simply called the arm (brachion), is the hieroglyph for the short, abridged way (ars brevis). As a matter of fact, our Adept, toying with words as the learned cabalist he is, hides under the substantive brachion, arm, a comparative of brachus, written in the same fashion. The latter means short, brief, of short duration, and forms several compounds, including brachutes, brevity. Thus the comparative brachion, meaning brief, the homonym of brachion, arm, takes on the specific meaning of brief technique, ars brevis.

    But the Greeks used yet another expression to qualify the arm. When they evoked the hand (cheir), they applied by extension the idea to the entire upper limb and gave it the figurative value of a skilled artistic production of a special process, of a personal style of work, in short, of a tour de main, a flick of the wrist, whether acquired or revealed. All these acceptions of the word exactly characterize the fine points of the Great Work in its swift, simple and direct realization, for it requires the application of a very energetic fire to which the flick of the wrist boils down [pouring a crucible properly]. Now this fire on our bas-relief is represented not only by the flames, it is also represented by the limb itself which the hand indicates as being the right arm; and it is well known from the proverbial expression that "to be the right arm" always applies to the agent responsible for the executing of the will of a superior -- the fire in the present case.

    Apart from these reasons --- which are necessarily abstract because they are veiled in the form of a stone with a concise image --- there is another one, practical, which comes to uphold and confirm in the practical domain the esoteric affiliation of the first ones. We shall state it by saying that whosoever being ignorant of the flick of the wrist of the operation yet takes the risk to undertake it, must fear everything from the fire; that person is in real danger and can hardly escape the consequences of a thoughtless and reckless action. Why then, one could say to us, not to provide this means? We will answer this by saying that to reveal an experiment of this sort would be to give the secret of the short way and that we have not received from God nor from our brothers the authorization to uncover such a mystery. It is already much that, prompted by our solicitude and charity, we warned the beginner whose lucky star leads to the threshold of the cave, that he should be on his guard and redouble his prudence. A similar warning is rarely encountered in the books, and quite succint as to what concerns the Ars brevis, but which the Adept of Dampierre knew as perfectly as Ripley, Basil Valentine, Philalethes, Albertus Magnus, Huginus a Barma, Cyliani or Naxagoras.

    Nevertheless, and because we deem it useful to warn the neophyte, it would be wrong to conclude that we are trying to dishearten him. If he wants to risk the adventure, let it be for him the trial by fire to which the future initiates of Thebes and Hermopolis had to be put through before receiving the sublime teachings. Isn’t the inflamed arm on the altar the expressive symbol of the sacrifice, of the renunciation the science demands? Everything is paid for down here, not with gold, but with work, with suffering, often by leaving a part of oneself; and one could not pay too much for the possession of the least secret, of the tiniest truth. Therefore should the candidate feel endowed with faith and armed with the necessary courage, we fraternally wish him to come forth safe and sound from this difficult experience, which most often ends with the explosion of the crucible and the projection of the furnace. And then he could cry out, like our philosopher: Happy unhappiness! For the accident, forcing him to ponder the mistake he has committed, will undoubtedly lead him to discover the means to avoid it and the flick of the wrist for the proper operation.
    Interesting that Fulcanelli connects the 'flick of the wrist' with 'pouring the crucible properly':

    it requires the application of a very energetic fire to which the flick of the wrist boils down [pouring a crucible properly]
    The more I read these hints, the more it appears (to me) that this 'energetic fire' is somehow (also) connected with manual stirring/triturating.

    This shortened way, which is, however, covered by a thick veil, has been called by the Wise the Regime of Saturn. The boiling of the Work, instead of necessitating the use of a glass vase, requires only the help of a simple crucible. "I will stir up your body in an earthenware vase, in which I will inter it", writes a famous author, who says again further on: "Make a fire in your glass, that is to say in the earth which holds it enclosed. This seems to me to be the shorter way and the true philosophical sublimation, in order to arrive at the perfection of this difficult task." This could be the explanation of the basic maxim of our Science: "One single vessel, one single matter, one single furnace".
    This is furthermore subtly corroborating (for me) the concept that common fire is excluded from this path (see quote below), but an 'energetic fire' is to be used instead, the 'turning of the hand'.

    whosoever being ignorant of the flick of the wrist of the operation yet takes the risk to undertake it, must fear everything from the fire; that person is in real danger and can hardly escape the consequences of a thoughtless and reckless action
    What also seems to be implied, is that the Ph. Mercury is ALREADY in our possession when commencing this (so-called) 'Short Way'. Personally, I very much doubt that this 'spares' us from the preliminary 'Labors of Hercules' and from the 'first rotation'. Yet, this path is performed WITHOUT metallic gold, and Urbigerus even clearly states that the path with metallic gold is the longest one (Circulatum Majus). This 'Dry' path may apply to the second rotation at best (IMO ). It may even take only a few days, as opposed to the 'wet path' with metallic gold. I.C.H. is also a bit vague about this, but the clues are there.

    Now on to Cyliani, while he claims to only describe the path with metallic gold (long/wet), he may in fact also plant some clues about the 'dry way', accomplished with his 'pre-heated spear':

    Finally I made up my mind and made ready for the battle. Having collected branches of dry wood that were scattered on the spot where I found myself, I lit them with the help of a lens that I found to be on me and heated my spear almost white hot.
    -----------------------
    My eyes fell on a fierce dragon who was endowed with an enormous three pointed tongue with which he sought to throw his fatal breath on me. I hurled myself towards him crying out: "When one has lost everything, when one has no more hope, life becomes a disgrace and death a duty." He opened his huge jaws to devour me, at which I hurled my spear with all my strength so that it pierced through his throat, deep into his entrails. I tore out his heart and, so that he could not reach me, at the same time, I made crude efforts with the help of my spear to turn away the direction of his head. The monster curled up on himself several times, vomited waves of blood and ceased to exist.
    -----------------------
    In passing near to the monster I had conquered, I saw that nothing was left of him except his mortal form, which was of no value whatsoever.
    And similarly, Fulcanelli:

    One entrance, absolutely straight, leads directly to the median chamber --- where Theseus slayed the Minotaur --- without encountering the least obstacle; it conveys the short, simple, easy way of the Work of the poor. The second, which likewise leads to the center, only opens onto it after a series of detours, twists and turns, and convolutions; it is the hieroglyph for the long way and we have said that it refers to the preferred esotericism of our Adept.
    Last edited by Andro; 09-30-2016 at 12:17 PM.

  4. #14
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    Reading the quotations regarding the "flick of the wrist" (and read especialy pages 339-340 of Dwellings), it seems to me that he might be talking about the role of the 'philosophical tartar', and the means by which the violence of the reaction between the knight and the scaled dragon may be controlled (in the dry way).
    Last edited by Illen A. Cluf; 09-30-2016 at 02:20 PM.

  5. #15
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    @Andro

    I was talking about the highlighted components in the Fulcanelli's post in the post I made in Short Dry Path thread.

    http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showt...th-(Ars-Brevis)

    It seems like this "Flick of the Wrist" has highly confused you. Correct me if I am wrong.


    Labors of Hercules may be easily avoided if you water the earth with its own water (See Aurora of the Philosophers, Paracelsus).

    Dry Path/Regimen of Saturn is much different from Short Dry Path.

    In Regimen of Saturn, you using a secret artifice introduce fire into the subject and then allow the fire to operate in its own way but in Ars Brevis you thrust the fire into it and accelerate the whole thing as a result. Due to this, you need Flick of the Wrist.
    Last edited by Dwellings; 09-30-2016 at 05:08 PM.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwellings View Post
    Labors of Hercules may be easily avoided if you water the earth with its own water (See Aurora of the Philosophers, Paracelsus).
    Are you talking about the 'Dry Path' or the 'Short Path' here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwellings View Post
    In Regimen of Saturn, you using a secret artifice introduce fire into the subject and then allow the fire to operate in its own way but in Ars Brevis you forcefully introduce this fire and accelerate the whole thing as a result. Due to this, you need Flick of the Wrist.
    To me, the 'secret artifice' and the 'flick of the wrist' both refer to a 'trick' that isn't mentioned in the texts, and such a 'trick' is apparently needed in both paths (dry and short). I am personally working on my own variation of the 'dry path' (without gold), so I admit I am not very familiar with Ars Brevis particularities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwellings View Post
    It seems like this "Flick of the Wrist" has highly confused you. Correct me if I am wrong.
    I guess we'll know better about our 'states of confusion' after you have put in practice what is (for now) just theory.

    It can be easy to build castles in the air/mind, just as it can be very hard to see them crumble in actual practice. The Indian symbolism of the bride carrying a mirror and a lemon (sun?) is interesting and the practice is common in Alchemy, if this is how one interprets the symbolism.

    I really hope your current theoretical understanding will be proven correct in the test of fire.

    Best wishes.
    Last edited by Andro; 09-30-2016 at 05:55 PM.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    Are you talking about the 'Dry Path' or the 'Short Path' here?
    Dry Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    To me, the 'secret artifice' and the 'flick of the wrist' both refer to a 'trick' that isn't mentioned in the texts, and such a 'trick' is apparently needed in both paths (dry and short). I am personally working on my own variation of the 'dry path' (without gold), so I admit I am not very familiar with Ars Brevis particularities.
    Just ignore Secret Artifice and read my statement again. The meaning should be clear to you as to what both pertains it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    I guess we'll know better about our 'states of confusion' after you have put in practice what is (for now) just theory.

    It can be easy to build castles in the air/mind, just as it can be very hard to see them crumble in actual practice. The Indian symbolism of the bride carrying a mirror and a lemon (sun?) is interesting and the practice is common in Alchemy, if this is how one interprets the symbolism.

    I really hope your current theoretical understanding will be proven correct in the test of fire.

    Best wishes.
    [Phoenix + Eagle] OR [Mirror + Lemon]. Both convey the same meaning with respect to Ars Brevis. It is not Indian Bride but Indian widow and the ceremony is of her sacrifice at her husband's pyre.

    I am very well aware of the shortcoming you mentioned. Whenever I understand something or learn new concept, I go back and forth between many books then and there to see what adepts are saying regarding the same.

    Then I go to Fairy Tales (Indian and European) to see what I can find regarding the same. So I won't call it castle building.

    But anyway let's see what the future has in store for me.
    Last edited by Dwellings; 09-30-2016 at 06:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwellings View Post
    It is not Indian Bride but Indian widow
    Sorry, my mistake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwellings View Post
    I am very well aware of the shortcoming you mentioned. Whenever I understand something or learn new concept, I go back and forth between many books then and there to see what adepts are saying regarding the same.

    Then I go to Fairy Tales (Indian and European) to see what I can find regarding the same. So I won't call it castle building.
    As long as the fire hasn't been physically converted to earth, it's still 'in the air' for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwellings View Post
    But anyway let's see what the future has in store for me.
    Indeed! And I wish you success!

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    I don't see what's so "controversial" or "unclear" about this French expression. In this context it just means "dexterity", "know-how", "knack", "acquired skill", "empirical experience". Jacob B. Lewis explains this French expression, this time within the context of acquired skills in another discipline that also required acquired empirical experience, namely working with early photographic technology (page 217):

    https://books.google.com/books?id=jS...%22%20&f=false

    In its first decades, certain aspects of camera practice that are now standard escaped definition. To make a successful photograph in the 1850s required not only specialist knowledge of materials and measurements, but also a certain operative dexterity, as some technical writers stressed at the time. One telling conception of practice is encapsulated in the phrase tour de main, particularly in relation to the kind of experiential knowledge that escapes the discursive parameters of manuals and treatises. Meaning "hand-turn" or "flick-of-the-wrist", the phrase denotes a sense of knowledge accrued through repeated experiment and experience;

    Lewis continues explaining a couple of other meanings for the expression (viz. an operation performed quickly & "sleight-of-hand" for illusion or deception) , which are not fitting for the alchemy topic.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andro
    ...the infamous 'Flick of the Wrist'?
    Quote Originally Posted by Andro
    ...this 'energetic fire' is somehow (also) connected with manual stirring/triturating...


    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

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