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Thread: Flick Of The Wrist

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    Flick Of The Wrist

    Something interesting that I wanted to point out:

    Both Cyliani and 'Hermes Old Nature Path' are 'warning' against the use of 'vulgar/common' fire, even if they later mention to use it (the 'external' fire)...

    Cyliany is more generous in this regard and clarifies a few times that the 'common fire' (in addition to the fire-water) is in fact the heat of the sun/heaven, sometimes direct and sometimes indirect (mirror?)...

    What's even MORE interesting is that he mentions STIRRING and TRITURATION (introducing MOTION) as complementary to the 'common/external fire', which makes an interesting connection with True Initiate's insights about the piezoelectric effect... Iron stirring rod in a quartz vessel, perhaps? Cyliani does mention a 'heated spear' at some point, but this is open to interpretation...

    Could this be part of the infamous 'Flick of the Wrist'?

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    Interesting idea, Andro. I've long wondered what was meant by "flick of the wrist". But does that mean literally "flick of the wrist", or, in French, is it an expression with a slightly different meaning?

    Are there any people here who know French fluently? Is there a subtlety in the French expression not captured in English?

    Illen

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    Flick of the wrist, sleight of hand, artifice... a special 'trick' of sorts... The expression 'slight of hand' also appears earlier on this thread, in a letter from Gerber/Gerbant, if I'm not mistaken...

    You know the sleight of hand which allows for the dissolution.
    This 'flick of the wrist' expression is mentioned explicitly by Fulcanelli, but I think it is strongly implied by Cyliani, who almost goes out of his way to tell us all he can without revealing the 'Matter' & 'Fire' plainly (but he liberally plants clues basically everywhere ).

    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    Interesting idea, Andro. I've long wondered what was meant by "flick of the wrist". But does that mean literally "flick of the wrist", or, in French, is it an expression with a slightly different meaning?

    Are there any people here who know French fluently? Is there a subtlety in the French expression not captured in English?

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    I had wondered if the flick of the wrist, was a pun reference to Hollandus

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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    Interesting idea, Andro. I've long wondered what was meant by "flick of the wrist". But does that mean literally "flick of the wrist", or, in French, is it an expression with a slightly different meaning?

    Are there any people here who know French fluently? Is there a subtlety in the French expression not captured in English?
    I am not too sure of what an English speaker understands when he reads "flick of the wrist"... but it's a horrible translation of something which is hard to translate.

    The French expression is "tour the main"... and it LiTERALLY means the "spin of the hand" or the "turn* of the hand" or even being TOO literal "rotation of the hand".

    *turn in the sense of turning, like when you turn a pancake whilst you are cooking a pancake.

    AND it has several meanings in French:

    1) the literal one, which is turning the hand
    2) a very usual metaphor for something that happens VERY fast. Like the English expression "in the blink of an eye".
    3) A trick, in the sense of the trick of a stage magician (like "sleight of hand").
    4) Another sense is, I don't know an English synonym, but I can explain it. You go to a museum and you see a painting that you didn't know, but as soon as you see it becomes obvious for you that it has to be a painting by Van Gogh (let's assume that you are a fan of Van Gogh), because you recognise his "tour de main", which is the unique way in which he uses the brush to paint... it's a bit similar to the idea of "skill", but it's closer to the idea of his "personal touch", something that is unique in the way that Van Gogh "handled" and used the brush and it would be very hard to plagiarize. His "tour de main" when he paints is what makes his paintings unique and why you can't copy them perfectly even if you want to (or, as to explain it in a different way, you are an aspiring painter and you are searching for your "style", well... in French it can be said that you are looking for your unique "tour de main". This is not strictly restricted to painting, but it's often used for activities which require some skill and which are done with the hands and involve creating something.
    5) This is similar to what I described in the second sense (or maybe identical)... Clinton and Trump have chances to be the next president of the USA, but both of them have "dirty secrets" and both of them can lose all their chances to win if there's a "scandal"... i.e, you can say: "Clinton is going to win, unless the content of his e-mails is disclosed and the situation can change in a *tour de main*" (i.e, that something somehow unexpected can happen and change everything in a second)

    The idea of the WRIST is not explicit in the expression... even if you obviously turn your hand using the wrist, but the key word is "hand".

    Which is interesting because the HAND is a recurrent symbol in alchemy.
    i.e, the "Philosopher's hand" of Hollandus was mentioned.... but we also have the expression "water which wets not the hands" (which is a curious expression if you think about it... because it could have been "water which wets not the flask" or "water which wets not a paper" of "water which wets not X thing"... but for some reason we say "the hands")... in the Chemical Wedding, C.R. gains a special "power" or is "elected" when cupid throws an arrow that hurts his HAND (which is weird, because the traditional symbolism is that cupid aims his arrows at the heart, not the hands)... The "Recreations" state that a part of the operation that the text describes is "taking the first earth, which is simply a pure light surrounded by darkness and then reduce it to its principles by using the stone ripped/wrenched without using the hands from the top of the mountain" (which is quite enigmatic, because if you read it in a very literal way, you are meant to extract/take violently a stone from the top of a mountain, but you can't use your hands to do it... thus Andro's idea of a "device" makes sense.... because "the top of the mountain" is a metaphor, but "without using your hands" doesn't seem to be a metaphor).

    In short, the expression involves fastness, skill, a "personal touch", a "trick" and the whole symbolism that the idea of the "hand" involves.
    Last edited by zoas23; 09-28-2016 at 02:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    I am not too sure of what an English speaker understands when he reads "flick of the wrist"... but it's a horrible translation of something which is hard to translate.

    Curious. This came to mind while reading your post:

    Art is Nature in the flask; Nature is a vial thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    I am not too sure of what an English speaker understands when he reads "flick of the wrist"... but it's a horrible translation of something which is hard to translate.

    The French expression is "tour the main"... and it LiTERALLY means the "spin of the hand" or the "turn* of the hand" or even being TOO literal "rotation of the hand".

    *turn in the sense of turning, like when you turn a pancake whilst you are cooking a pancake.

    AND it has several meanings in French:

    1) the literal one, which is turning the hand
    2) a very usual metaphor for something that happens VERY fast. Like the English expression "in the blink of an eye".
    3) A trick, in the sense of the trick of a stage magician (like "sleight of hand").
    4) Another sense is, I don't know an English synonym, but I can explain it. You go to a museum and you see a painting that you didn't know, but as soon as you see it becomes obvious for you that it has to be a painting by Van Gogh (let's assume that you are a fan of Van Gogh), because you recognise his "tour de main", which is the unique way in which he uses the brush to paint... it's a bit similar to the idea of "skill", but it's closer to the idea of his "personal touch", something that is unique in the way that Van Gogh "handled" and used the brush and it would be very hard to plagiarize. His "tour de main" when he paints is what makes his paintings unique and why you can't copy them perfectly even if you want to (or, as to explain it in a different way, you are an aspiring painted and you are searching for your "style", well... in French it can be said that you are looking for your unique "tour de main". This is not strictly restricted to painting, but it's often used for activities which require some skill and which are done with the hands and involve creating something.
    5) This is similar to what I described in the second sense (or maybe identical)... Clinton and Trump have chances to be the next president of the USA, but both of them have "dirty secrets" and both of them can lose all their chances to win if there's a "scandal"... i.e, you can say: "Clinton is going to win, unless the content of his e-mails is disclosed and the situation can change in a *tour de main*" (i.e, that something somehow unexpected can happen and change everything in a second)

    The idea of the WRIST is not explicit in the expression... even if you obviously turn your hand using the wrist, but the key word is "hand".

    Which is interesting because the HAND is a recurrent symbol in alchemy.
    i.e, the "Philosopher's hand" of Hollandus was mentioned.... but we also have the expression "water which wets not the hands" (which is a curious expression if you think about it... because it could have been "water which wets not the flask" or "water which wets not a paper" of "water which wets not X thing"... but for some reason we say "the hands")... in the Chemical Wedding, C.R. gains a special "power" of is "elected" when cupid throws an arrow that hurts his HAND (which is weird, because the traditional symbolism is that cupid aims his arrows at the heart, not the hands)... The "Recreations" state that a part of the operation that the text describes is "taking the first earth, which is simply a pure light surrounded by darkness and then reduce it to its principles by using the stone ripped/wrenched without using the hands from the top of the mountain" (which is quite enigmatic, because if you read it in a very literal way, you are meant to extract/take violently a stone from the top of a mountain, but you can't use your hands to do it... thus Andro's idea of a "device" makes sense.... because "the top of the mountain" is a metaphor, but "without using your hands" doesn't seem to be a metaphor).

    In short, the expression involves fastness, skill, a "personal touch", a "trick" and the whole symbolism that the idea of the "hand" involves.
    Wow! Thanks, zoas23 - that is EXACTLY what I was hoping to hear! And even more instructive than I dared hope. It's incredible how an expression in one language can change it's meaning so much in another. I always wished that, instead of just plain dictionaries of words, there were comprehensive dictionaries of phrases. Words in a phrase often mean something totally different than if one were to examine each word separately. For example: "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". Anyone studying English, and attempting to translate this word by word wouldn't have a clue as to what this expression actually means. This is so common in Alchemy when someone translates a book from one language to another. A lot of the more subtle meaning is totally lost.

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    K()()L!

    My main point was that Cyliani clearly/explicitly associates the 'external fire' with stirring/triturating/introducing motion (in addition to the sun).

    The 'flick of the wrist' connection was my own speculation, but in light of what zoas wrote, it somehow even makes sense now

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    We can also say in french "en un tournemain". Which is a paronym of "Tour de main".

    (Side note : Tour, is also the word for "tower"...)

    Here the ideo of "turning" is more present, but, in the alchemical context, this saying is clearly linked to the idea of a knack, an ability, aquired here, only by the practice itself, and this special operation needs a special knowledge, or secret, in order to be realised properly.

    It is possible that this special operation is linked with the fixation of the volatile in the dry path methodoly, and requires to move, in a special way, the vessel of the wises, for a very precise reason...

    So, you need first to know the secret of this operation, and thus a skill, acquired by the practice of this operation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illen A. Cluf View Post
    Wow! Thanks, zoas23 - that is EXACTLY what I was hoping to hear! And even more instructive than I dared hope. It's incredible how an expression in one language can change it's meaning so much in another. I always wished that, instead of just plain dictionaries of words, there were comprehensive dictionaries of phrases. Words in a phrase often mean something totally different than if one were to examine each word separately. For example: "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". Anyone studying English, and attempting to translate this word by word wouldn't have a clue as to what this expression actually means. This is so common in Alchemy when someone translates a book from one language to another. A lot of the more subtle meaning is totally lost.
    My comment is slightly off topic, but you are right.
    A writer I like a lot, Umberto Eco, said: "Don't believe a single word that the translators use, they are all filthy liars" (this is my translation of what he said, he actually said such thing in Italian).

    A lot of alchemical texts have a palimpsest of meanings (this is even true for the *vulgar* reader... even if a skilled alchemist may go deeper into the palimpsest and read "more", but still an *amateur* reader will find a lot of meanings). Rather than the idea of "layers" of meanings, I like the idea of the palimpsest (I was talking about it with JDP a few days ago in a different thread, about how an engraving of the Atalanta Fugiens can be understood as a palimpsest).

    Saint-Didier did something quite interesting in his "Hermetic Triumph", which is simply "The Ancient War of the Knights" printed twice in the same book. First a "bad" translation that S.D. criticized and then his own translation... as to let the readers compare and see why the first one didn't make sense (but it was still a translation).

    None of us reads ALL the languages (well, maybe somebody does! but most of us read from 2 to 5 or 6 languages)... And Eco is right when he says that the translators are forced to be LIARS... but the "lie" CAN be amended with a good critical apparatus (same thing happens when you read classical philosophy in a book that doesn't have a critical apparatus and you find a sentence that says "And the spirit is everywhere"... and the sentence doesn't even make sense because it can be a translation of "Nous", "Psyche", "Pneuma", etc... so you end up asking yourself what the hell is "everywhere" according to the original author... and each one of these words has a very distinctive sense).

    Each language has its own "tour de main". Latin is extremely mathematical. but its internal logic allows to create sentences that can be understood in at least two very different ways in a very playful way. The languages which are closer to Latin, the romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc) have lost that mathematical structure and replaced it for a complex grammar, but they all have expressions which have lots of different meanings and it's easy to be "playful" with them. English is certainly very basic and simple when you compare it to the romance languages, but that simplicity allows some "tricks" which are quite impossible in romance languages (I can't imagine a Spanish James Joyce... it's the simplicity of English what allowed him to completely deconstruct it... same thing goes for the cut-ups of William Burroughs and Brion Gysin... you can't use their technique with the romance languages -well, you CAN do it, but the result will be VERY disappointing, but in English it works perfectly).

    Same thing happens when we read, say, the Old Testament and we find that "God" did this and that... and then you go to the source and you find that this "God" is YHVH, ALHYM, RVCH ALHYM, AHYH, ADNY, etc... and you end up wondering how the hell someone decided to translate ALL these expressions as "God".

    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).
    Last edited by zoas23; 09-28-2016 at 02:51 PM.

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