Alchemical Traditions, 14




Transsubstantiation of the World

Leon Marvell


p. 519 quaest to engendre Surreality

"The alchemical tradition's commitment to ... revealing the secret potentialities within the Real -- indeed, of transubstantiating the world itself, was in particular regarded by the Surrealists as a sister quest, the aim of which was to engender Surreality : an enlarged vision of the Real that ... resolved all antimonies and contradictions ... ."

p. 519 the founder of Surrealism

"between the two world wars of the twentieth century, Andre' Breton was probably the most important and influential intellectual in Europe. As the founder and chief ideologue of the international Surrealist movement ..., Breton was ... uniquely placed ... to affirm once and for all the determinative functioning of the marvellous for the Surrealists and their fellow-travellers. As the first theoretician of Surrealism, Breton had always maintained that the Surrealist conception of the marvellous had deep connections with the occult traditions."

pp. 519-20 the 1st Manifesto of Surrealism : 3 types of alchemists

p. 519

"In the first Manifesto of Surrealism (1924), Breton had noted,

p. 520

[quoted] Heraclitus is surrealist in dialectic.

{The significations of extant sayings by Herakleitos are notoriously obscure, having multiple differing interpretations even in antiquity.}

Lully is surrealist in definition. {"The Surrealists stressed the idea of the Revolution, ... freeing the realm of dreams ... imprisoned by conventions and rules." ("HTBS") [Said "conventions and rules" imprisoning dream-souls are, of course, those enforced by waking-world materialism.]}

{In Lully's opera Roland, "Roland plunges into madness. ... under the influence of the fairy Logistille the sleeping Roland is visited by dreams of ancient heroes" (W:"R(L)--S")} {In Lully's opera Atys, "Once asleep, Atys is first met by a chorus of Pleasant Dreams that sing of love followed by Bad Dreams" (W:"A (L)--P&MO")}

Flamel is surrealist in the night of gold. [MS"MS", p. 26]

The 'night of gold' is of course ... the alchemical tradition, and Nicolas Flamel is the well-known seventeenth century alchemist".

W:"R(L)--S" = Wikipedia article "Roland (Lully) -- Synopsis".

W:"A (L)--P&MO") = Wikipedia article "Atys (Lully) -- Plot and Music Outline".

"HTBS" = "How To Become A Surrealist - A Manual to Psychic Automatism".

MS"MS" = Andre' Breton : "Manifesto of Surrealism". In :- Breton (transl. by Richarrd Seaver & Helen R. Lane) : Manifestoes of Surrealism. Ann Arbor : Univ of MI Pr, 1974.

p. 520 the 2nd Surrealist Manifesto & its journal

"in the Second Surrealist Manifesto (1930) Andre' Breton acknowledged that the Surrealists were the 'tail-end' of Romanticism, but were an 'amazingly prehensile tail' -- the Surrealists continued and revitalised the Gothic fascination with all things occult and esoteric, including an interest in alchemy ... . The writings and revelations of Fulcanelli were avidly read by Surrealists, and ...

the movement's first journal, La Re'volution surre'aliste."

pp. 520-1 sexual magic in the Order of the Golden Arrow

p. 520

"in the early 1930s, many of the foremost European intellectuals and artists of the time were regularly attending the soire'es of occultist Maria da Naglowska, the self-styled 'satanic {s`at.anic} woman' and hierarchess of

the Order of the Golden Arrow. Today de Naglowska is principally remembered as the French translator of the 'affectional alchemist' Paschal Beverly {his mother's name} Randolph's Magia Sexualis.

{"Apollo had given Abaris the golden arrow as a token of divine sanction. He was described as an ambassador from the Hyperboreans, which is unsurprising when we learn that Mongol ambassadors were sent with a golden arrow as a token of trust from the Khan, often conferring spiritual authority on its recipient. These envoys fly like magical arrows to their destinations, penetrating all obstructions, finding their way unerringly. Ancient sources say explicitly that Abaris traveled in a circle around Greece, and the Mongols called their envoys “arrow circulators,” which is also how they were described by Chinese observers" ("ADD").}

However, her evenings of occult weirdness had lasting effect ... on Andre' Breton ... witnessing performances of Naglowska's ... ."

p. 521, fn. 4

"Naglowska describes this rite in her La Lumie`re du Sex, first published in Paris in 1932. See Maria de NAGLOWSKA, The Light of Sex : Initiation, Magic and Sacrament (trans. Donald Traxler, Rochester, Vermont : Inner Traditions International, 2011)."

"ADD" = "Apollo's Demon Dagger".

{"Abaris was a priest of the Greek god Apollo. Before Abaris fled from Greece to avoid a plague, Apollo gave him a golden arrow which cured diseases, told the future and made its possessor invisible and able to fly. Abaris flew throughout the world curing diseases and telling the future until he passed the arrow to Pythagoras." ("WhDAM")} {To cure diseases (with divine assistance), to know the future {when told about it by deities), and to fly through the air (in a dream) : these are all feats of shamanry. Cf. also the ritual "prayer-arrow" employed by various North-AmerIndian Pueblo tribes to speed their prayers to Heaven.}

"WhDAM" = "What Does Abaris Mean?"

p. 521 the cue

"Taking their cue from Arthur Rimbaud's 'Alchemy of the Word', Breton and the Surrealists reinvestigated the methods and aims of alchemy ... : ["2SM", pp. 178-9] "The philosopher's stone is nothing more or less than that which was to enable ...

'long, immense, reasoned derangement of the senses'."

{Arthur Rimbaud advocated sensory synaisthesia (including involvement of the alphabet's letters : AR:"V").}

p. 521, fn. 5 : "Arthur RIMBAUD, Une Saison en enfer, De'lires II -- Alchimie du verbe (1873). The classic bi-lingual edition, A Season in Hell (1945) translated by Louise Varese, has recently been republished (2011) by New Directions Press ... ."

"2SM" = Andre' Breton : "Second Surrealist Manifesto". In :- Breton (transl. by Richarrd Seaver &

Helen R. Lane) : Manifestoes of Surrealism. Ann Arbor : Univ of MI Pr, 1974..

AR:"V" = Arthur Rimbaud : "Vowels".

p. 522 otherworldly philosophy

"unless one realizes that one's senses and sensibility have been systematically eroded {by materialism}, and that there is another world behind the mask of {materialist} 'reality', then the continuation of miserablism is assured. All the tools the Surrealists championed, and of which they availed themselves --

psychic automatism,

{automatic writing and other results of becoming controlled by immaterial praeternatural entities.}

objective chance,

{synchronicity arranged, by otherwordly entities, for our benefit}

l'amour fou --

{the Pas`u-pata technique of behaving "as if ... a madman", as ordained in the "Vatulatantra which means the tantra of the lunatics" (ShATh, p. 226).}

had as their sole purpose the utter destruction of this deadening, insidious


{upheld by the deadening, insidious pseudo-philosophy of materialism}

ShATh = Thomas McEvilley : The Shape of Ancient Thought : Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies. Allworth Pr, NY, 2002.

pp. 522-3 "mad love" {of a man for a goddess, or of a woman for a god}

p. 522

"Surrealists ... [quoted from Mabille 1998, 12 : ] Renewed by emotion, ... so perceive their total reality. ...

This alchemical intensity was called by Breton l'amour fou 'mad love'. ...

p. 523

Elective love is thus the 'chemical marriage' through which the marvellous becomes manifest. ...

As has been noted by several scholars, the Surrealists ... were consequently inclined to ... the Renaissance shift in alchemical symbolism ... to that of the sexual union of the Red King and the White Queen as the ancient harbinger of a future world ... ."

Mabille 1998 = Pierre Mabille : Mirror of the Marvellous. Rochester (VT) : Inner Traditions.

p. 523 coincidentia oppositorum

"In the Second Surrealist Manifesto, Breton emphasised ... the contemporary equivalent of the medieval coincidentia oppositorum : 'According to all indications', he stated, 'a certain point exists {in transcendency} where life and death, ... the past and the future, the communicable {effable} and the incommunicable {ineffable} ... cease to be perceived as contradictions.'"

p. 524 transformative possibilism

[quoted from Mabille 1998, 13-14] "for the realists of the Middle Ages, ... the marvellous is everywhere. In things, it appears as soon as one succeeds in penetrating ... the result of transformations which have been going on since the world began. And it contains the germs of countless possibilities that will be realized in the future.

The 'germs of countless possibilities', the 'transformations which have been going on since the world began' that Mabille insists upon are locutions directly drawn from the fundamental worldview upon which alchemy is predicated, ... of ... future transmutation, of ... perfection ... ."

pp. 524-5 "a secret form of mysticism" : to wit, participation mystique

p. 524

"Mary Anne Atwood first proposed [1850] that the spagyric art was in fact a secret form of mysticism ... . Naturally ... Atwood's thesis -- evidenced for example by Silberer and Jung in the twentieth century -- is directly {attested} ... by the alchemical texts themselves. ...

p. 525

That is, there was ... an interpenetration of the spirit ... with ... transubstantiating materia during the spagyric operation; ... as one, after the manner of a participation mystique."

Atwood 1850 = Mary Anne Atwood : A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery. London : Trelawney Saunders.

pp. 525-6 making the real become the marvellous, by means of a psychic furor

p. 525

"I do ... think ... of swallowing the hearts of moles ... .

{The "heart" of the indicated plant would be the interior of its stalk (such as, "heart of palm" is that tree's soft interior) : in this case, perhaps, (sacred to titan Prometheus : GM 39.g) the pith of giant-fennel, commonly known as \asafoetida\, ingested to promote exorcism.}

Or rather, ... all I hail is the return of this furor, four kinds of which Agrippa perceived ... . [quoted from "2SM", p. 175]

Here Breton succinctly expresses the ... concordance between occultism (Agrippa), alchemy ... and the Surrealist project, and his awareness that ... the aims of alchemy and Surrealism are the same. The process of collapsing the distinction between reality and the mar-

p. 526

vellous, the known and the unknown ..., provokes a species of 'furor', a spiritual, psychic fury that is ignited in the face of ... contemporary western {viz., atheistic-materialistic} ... societies."

"2SM" = "Second Surrealist Manifesto". In :- Breton (transl. by Richarrd Seaver & Helen R. Lane) : Manifestoes of Surrealism. 1974.

pp. 526-7 "mysterious workings of objective chance" {i.e., praeternatural nature of synchronicity} : revealing the marvellous, so as to "make oneself a seer"

p. 526

"Andre' Breton was powerfully aware that ... the mysterious workings of objective chance ...

[quoted from Breton 1972, p. 275 :] involved the same kind of transcended contradiction which Lautre'amont and Rimbaud used ... as a means of ... revealing the marvellous ... ."

"In the Surrealist ... world ruled by objective chance, this resolution {of contradiction by praeternaturally transcending it} provided an exact parallel to the poetic dialectic methods of

the Comte de Lautre'amont in his Les Chants de Maldoror ...

[fn. 19 "Comte de LAUTRE'AMONT (Pseudonym of Isidore-Lucien Ducasse, 1846-1870), Les Chants de Maldoror. This work was ignored ..., only to be rediscovered and celebrated by the Surrealists. ... the ... translation is Maldoror and Poems, translated by Paul Knight (1988) in the Penguin Classic series."]

and Rimbaud's call to 'make oneself a seer' :

p. 527

[quoted from Rimbaud, "Letter of the Seer" to Paul Demeney of 1871, in Rimbaud 2004] Be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer ... rational ... of all the senses."

Breton 1972 = Andre' Breton : "Crisis of the Object". In :- Surrealism and Painting (transl. by Simon Watson Taylor). London : Macdonald and Co.

Rimbaud 2004 = Rimbaud (transl. by Wyatt Mason) : I Promise to Be Good. Modern Amer Classics.

p. 527 towards "one unique mystery"

[quoted from Mabille 1998, 11] "The idea that science is a lnaguage, a way of exploring, much like poetry and the arts, and that these different path lead to

one unique mystery

{Such "one unique mystery" would, quite naturally, be the fact that the universe is totally governed by a universal divine communist government which always arrangeth, by foreordainment, for all events to proceed uniquely for the maximum benefit of every living being.}

does't seem to occur to them {viz., to the scientists}."

{There is not much of a way for universal meaning-and-purpose to occur to fanatic materialists who are intent on denying (by way of rigid dogma) that the universe could possibly have any over-all meaning or purpose.}

pp. 527-8 Arcane 17

p. 527

"questioning was prompted as a result of Breton's publication of Arcane 17, a prose poem written in the months following D-Day in 1944,

p. 528

in which he meditates upon love ..., ... pacifism, occultism and alchemy."

{"During WWII, the French surrealist poet, Andre Breton, lived in America in self imposed exile. He spent three months in the far reaches of northeastern Canada ... .  During that time, he wrote his extended prose poem, Arcane 17, the title referring to tarot card 17, the Star card (Breton was using the Star card from the revised Wirth deck, published in 1926)." ("AB:A17")} {The "Star" card (as depicted in the Waite deck) must referr to goddess Hebe; for, [Nonnos : Dionusiaka 25.430 sq] "Ganymedes walked among the stars ..., and there he was handing out the cups which were the lot of virgin Hebe." Furthermore, the woman in the Waite deck is naked while spilling a container of drink onto the ground : most evidently referring to how, having been appointed cup-bearer, "poor Hebe, in the execution of her office, happening in a fall to discover her sex, Jupiter, shocked at the indecency, turned her out of office" (BNP, s.v. "Hebe". p. 370a). [By not directly labeling this card of his "Hebe", Waite was evidently setting it forth (and all the other cards of his deck likewise) as a sort of puzzle to be deciphered as to mythic identity of characters. Breton's special emphasis on this particular card may indicate that he considered that women while serving beverages (at least then! -- whether in a tavern or where-so-ever) ought to be allowed do so while nude.}

"AB:A17" = "Andre Breton’s Arcane 17".

Nonnos : Dionusiaka.

BNP = John Bell : Bell's New Pantheon : Or, Historical Dictionary of the Gods, Demi-gods, Heroes, and Fabulous Personages of Antiquity. London : J. Bell, 1790.

p. 528 influences of mystics on Hegel's dialectic

"Breton was acutely aware that the so-called Hegelian dialectic owed a great deal to the influence of mystics Jakob Bo:hme and Emmanuel Swedenborg on Hegel's thinking ... . Both Bo:hme and Emanuel Swedenborg were keen scholars of alchemy, making use of alchemical theories in support of their own spiritual explorations." [fn. 24 "On the influence of esoteric thought on Hegel's philosophy see : Glenn Alexander MAGEE, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition (Ithaca and London : Cornell University Press, 2001)."]

p. 528 "At the same time ..."

"At the same time as Breton was attending Maria de Naglowska's ritual soire'es, he along with many other Parisian thinkers and artists, was attending the Russian philosopher Alexandre Koje`ve's series of lectures

{implying that there is a resemblance in philosophical outlook between the writing by De Naglowska and that by Koje`ve}

on Hegel's Pha:nomenologie des Geiste ('Phenomenology of the Spirit', 1807). Koje`ve's Marxist and Heideggerian reading of Hegel was refreshingly idiosyncratic, and his elaboration of Hegel's notion of the 'End of History' -- that ideological history was quickly coming to an end -- had a profound effect on many who attended the lectures."

{"Alexandre Kojève was responsible for ... influencing many leading French intellectuals who attended his seminar on The Phenomenology of Spirit in Paris in the 30s. He focused on Hegel’s philosophy of history and is best known for his theory of ‘the end of history’ and for initiating ‘existential Marxism.’ Kojève arrives at what is generally considered a truly original interpretation by reading Hegel through the twin lenses of Marx’s materialism and Heidegger’s temporalised ontology. " (IEPh:"AK")}

IEPh:"AK" = Majid Yar : article "Alexandre Kojève (1902—1968)", in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

{"French philosopher (1902-1968), born Aleksandr Vladimirovich Kozhevnikov in Russia. Kojève studied in Heidelberg, Germany where, under the supervision of Karl Jaspers, he completed a thesis (Die religöse Philosophie Wladimir Solowjews, 1931) on Vladimir Solovyov, a Russian religious philosopher deeply influenced by Hegel. ... His lectures on Hegel were published in 1947 under the title Introduction à la lecture de Hegel, appearing in English as Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (1969)." (IEPh:"AK--ChL&W")}


pp. 528-9 intent toward decipherment of the praeternatural code (inhaerent in praeternaturally-inspired works of modern art) for the transformative sacralization of society, promoted in the Surrealist journal MINOTAUR

p. 528

"In an essay on the artist Max Ernst written in 1942, Breton asked : 'Why should one refuse to seek out from today's poets and artists what we have always been prepared to discover, at a distance {of some centuries in time}, in their predescessors?Why should not their evolution be able to translate into a

p. 529

decipherable code what ought to be, what will be? ...

A group of 'dissident' Surrealists that included Georges Bataille, Roger Caillois, Patrick Waldberg and Michel Leiris, formed the Colle`ge de Sociologie in 1936 with the express purpose of articulating and initiating a new, 'sacralised' society.

Hovering between these two camps were a number of artists and intellectuals who appear to have been loathe to choose between the two encampments ... .

Yet ultimately overriding ... was the unifying dream of {or hope for} finding a new myth through which society could be transformed. This dream {or hope} was to a large extent explored within the new journal Minotaur. The publication of this journal continued throughout the 1930s, and, under the editorship of Breton and Mabille, it would effectivelt prove to be the successor to La Re'volution surre'aliste.

Within the pages of Minotaur could be found many articles on Hermetic and alchemical themes. Mabille's essay, Notes sur le symbolism (Notes on Symbolism) concerned itself exclusively with Hermetic symbolism, and he illustrated his analyses with several alchemical engravings, including one originally reproduced and discussed by Silberer in his Probleme der Mystik und ihner Symbolik (Problems of Mysticism and its Symbolism, 1914). ... A surprising number of articles were devoted to

handwriting analysis (of Lautre'amont, for example), palm reading (interpreting the palm prints of Surrealists Max Ernst, Rene' Crevel, Man Ray and Antonin Artaud)

{Such analysis is always based on a realization that a spirit (the same as one who may perform automatic writing) controlleth both a person's handwriting and a person's character, habits, and likings.}

and the analysis of astrological natal charts."

{Genethliac astrology is always based on a realization that the spirits of the planets control the events in the lives of persons, each planetary spirit exercising control on the basis of the particular zodiac sign wherein that planet was stationed (as seen from Earth) at the time of such person's birth.}

{"the myth of the Minotaur ... became immensely popular in the 1930s ... . [M&MCM, p. 70] An avant-garde journal published in Paris in the 1930s bore the name of the creature, and the cover of each issue ... portrayed the imprisoned beast." [M&MCM, p. 72] (AJ:"I", p. viii)}

{"MINOTAURE, THE LAVISH ART, LITERATURE, and culture magazine published by Albert Skira with Tériade as its initial director, appeared in 1933 and produced its last issue, numbered 12–13, in 1939. While Minotaure did not start as a Surrealist publication, it was soon taken over by the Surrealist group. Precisely because it was not an exclusive Surrealist organ, the movement’s overt ... views and positions seemed to remain outside its pages, following the explicit desire of Skira." ("MROA&P", p. 58)} {"Minotaure ... supported ... surrealist art, and poems by Breton, ... Lautre'amont readings ... ." ("THSB", p. 39)}

M&MCM = Theodore Ziolkowski : Minos and the Moderns : Cretan Myth in Twentieth-Century Literature and Art. Oxford Univ Pr, 2008.

AJ:"I" = Anita Jarczok : "Introduction". In :- Anai:s Nin : Seduction of the Minotaur. Swallow Pr; Ohio Univ Pr, Athens (Ohio).

"MROA&P" = Effie Rentzou : "The Minotaur’s Revolution : On Animals and Politics". L'ESPRIT CRÉATEUR 51 (2011).4:58-72.

"THSB" = Mattias Forshage : "Towards The History Of Surrealism Boreal part 1".

{As for the clew of thread given by Ariadne to Theseus so that he could find his way out of the Labyrinth of the Mino-tauros (GM 98.k), there are South-AmerIndian parallels, e.g., "in this Tupi myth, The Origin of Night (Lévi-Strauss 1973, 416-7). When night is released from the sealed palm nut, darkness falls instantly. Realizing what has happened, the daughter of the Snake decides to separate night from day ... . In order to do this, she transforms a ball of thread ... into an inhambu bird (a natural creature whose song at dawn marks the discrete units of day and night), while another ball of thread is simultaneously transformed into a cujubim bird, whose calls at regular intervals throughout the night fragment it into discrete temporal units." ("B-NJ&F-Th", p. 23) The "daughter of the Snake" is similar to Ariadne in-so-far as Ariadne is "Minos's own daughter" (GM 98.k), and Minos is known for "his golden signet ring" (GM 98.i), which could be reminiscent of the ouro-boros snake of TL-MRJ mythology. The birds' songs/calls could be likened to "the nostalgic cry raised by the Bottiaean maidens" who were descendants of Minos's "Cretanized Athenian slaves." (GM 98.q -- citing [98, n. 20] Ploutarkhos : Theseus 16)}

Lévi-Strauss 1973 = Claude Le'vi-Strauss (transl. by John & Doreen Weightman) : From Honey to Ashes. Introduction to a Science of Mythology (Mythologiques) : 2. London: Jonathan Cape.

"B-NJ&F-Th" = "The Bird-Nester, the Jaguar and Fire-Theft". TIPITI` 14.1 (2016):15-29.

"DE--MO" = "The Doctrine of the Elixir -- Microcosmic Orbit".

pp. 529-30 Surrealism's rejection of the proposal by the Colle`ge de Sociologie, on the grounds of its too-close affinity with mainline Christianity

p. 529

"In contradistinction to Bataille and the members of the Colle`ge de Sociologie,

Breton's search for a new myth did not have a 'religious' slant or basis.

{Though it was occultly religious, it lacked a mainline-Christian basis.}

In his essay devoted to Max Ernst and the new myth he explicitly criticises [p. 162] the Colle`ge ... for 'assuming the heavy responsibility in attempting to codify the pure

p. 530

stupidity of the people'.

The 'pure stupidity of the people' is of course Christianity ...,

{Which "people"? -- Not actually derived from the prevailing sentiments of the general populace, Christianity is an artificial contraption forced upon them by the ruling-class ploutokrats.}

a religion for which Breton held the utmost contempt, rejecting 'the entire masochistic dogma based on the insane concept of 'original sin'', he qualifies his abhorrence by adding that, as far as Christianity is concerned, is 'preferences

go straight to the heretics'.

{such as, to the Pelagians, who deny the Augustinian doctrine of inherited "original sin"}

Accordingly, the Christian Hermeticists and the alchemy to which they devoted their labours are excluded Breton['s] and Surrealism's contempt."

{The European alchemists tend to be Gnostic Hermetists, instead of mainline Christians.}

pp. 530-3 Puck & other Kobold-s (miner-gnomes), for setting the divine egg free from its mundane shell

p. 530

"Pwca, a Welsh sprite, ... is illustrated in the book British Goblins, published in 1880. ... Pwca is a mine-haunting fairy ... . It was Midsummer's day when ... '... divining rods are chosen and cut, and named Jasper {Gaspar}, Belshazzar {Balthasar} or Melchior {Melchor}, according to whether their task will be to reveal gold or silver or to discover hidden springs'. ...

p. 531

[quoted from Breton 1972, p. 162 :] The bird's vertical flight ... down the mine-shaft ... determined ... a hitherto unsuspected meeting-place where ... there blended together the shapes of the sidereal bestiary ... . First Commandment : Everything should be freed from its shell ... . Never believe the interior of a cave ..., always in

the surface of an egg."

"the 'interior of a cave' ... is ... a reference to Plato's myth of the cave wherein Plato sought to demonstrate the falsity

of the phenomenal world,

{read "material", not "phainomenal"; for, immaterial praeternatural worlds are at least as "phainomenal" (a synonym for "apparitional") as are material worlds}

by describing as a mere play

of insubstantial shadows

{read "insignificant", not "insubstantial"; for, though composed of material substance (which the "shadows" are here intended to signify), the material world is not (in-and-of itself) meaningful nor purposeful : there are no shadows in dreams, but there are in the material world, so that term "shadow" can by metonymy refer to the material world}

before us, while the really-real {i.e., transcendent} world lies outside our experience, entirely inaccessible to our paltry senses.

{It may lie outside our waking-life experience, but not outside our hypnagogic, nor our dreaming, nor our hypnopompic experiences : for, it is well-accessed by our senses during those non-waking states-of-consciousness.}

The exhortation to believe in the 'surface of an egg' to alert us to ...

{The alchemical egg is intended to repraesent both the Cosmic Egg of Orphic cosmology, and the Brahman.d.a of Pauran.ik cosmology : within it are the mighty deities, whereof mortals cannot have any more than merely superficial ("surface") knowlege.}

p. 532

the alchemical egg ...

'freed from its shell', to reveal its secrets ... .

{i.e., set free from all mundane contaminations of ungodliness, so as to reveal the divine nature}

The famous exhortation of the Emerald Tablet (Tabula Smaragdina) : 'What is below is like what is above; and what is above is like that which is below : to accomplish the miracle of the one similar' is poetically reimagined in Breton's opening image of

the vertical flight of the bird ... sinking into the earth ... ."

{This is a version of the well-known Siberian shamans' ability to become a bird in the dream, so as to fly downward into the underground at a the location of a sinkhole, whereat a brook is falling into an aperture leading to a subterranean divine world.}

{Transcendentalists agree with materialists in their assessment of the material universe as lacking inhaerent meaning-and-purpose; however, transcendentalists do not concurr with materialists in deducing (from this agreed-on actuality) that "therefore meaning-and-purpose cannot exist in any way-manner-or-form what-so-ever" [the which specious deduction is neither necessary nor even in accord with commonplace experience]; for, transcendentalists instead, in their own defining "meaning-and-purpose" as "the basis of reality", deduce instead that because "the material world" is lacking any "basis in reality", therefore the material world must be regarded as "illusory" and, thus, as "essentially unreal". The term \surreal\" (French for Latin \superrealis\, the adjective corresponding to the grammatical substantive \superres\) is an alternative designation for "essentially real", which, in Transcendentalist terminology, is applied to feelings, to emotions, to sentiments, to the mind, all whereof are (in contradistinction to mere gross material substance) are understood to be qualified by (and thus to participate in) meaningfulness-and-purposiveness. Transcendentalists may (in order to account to the specious [seeming-but-illusory] existence of material substance) furthermore assert that the material universe is "continuously emergent from" the "collective superconsciousness" repraesented by [viz., expressed in] the principles ("laws") governing the universal (viz., of universe-wide distribution) totality of "the essentially real" (or, "the superreal"). [There are also certain Transcendentalists who, in order attemptingly to conciliate (perhaps, or if feasible) the materialists, may employ, as a substituted term (instead of "collective superconsciousness"), the expression "collective unconscious", relating this term (instead of to "a totality of universal principles") to "a totality of universal activities" ("the unconscious" being intended as the effective capacity for activity by "the unconsciousness"). But this terminology, if functional, would need to relate to a means of proceeding from universal principles to activities both universal and particular, and may need to be clarified to as to display a connection between the universal (common noun) of activity and the particular (propre noun) of activity.] [written 25 June 2018]}

p. 532 Loplop bird associated with sightlessless 100-headed goddess

"Ernst transformed into his alter-ego Loplop, a large bird that would appear in many of his paintings, sculptures and collages."

{"“The eye without eyes, the 100-headed woman and Loplop return to the wild state and cover the eyes of their faithful birds with fresh leaves,” reads its French caption." ("BEM")} {In Viet Nam : "My gaze often wanders to the one hundred eyed, one hundred headed goddess standing by my computer as I write. ... I find I am thankful she only has two eyes and the artist took the liberty of leaving the other 98 up to imagination." ("AHVN")}

"BEM" = "Birding with Max Ernst".

"AHVN" = "At Home in Vie.^t Nam".

p. 533 Boiotian Sphinx-goddess

"In 1937, a special issue of Cahiers d-Art was devoted to the work of Ernst. On the cover was a sphinx, ... '... combining ... the head and bust of a woman, the wings of bird, and the head of a lion'." (Warlick 2001, p. 134)."

{This is the Phig- / Sphing- goddess whose riddle Oidi-pod- successfully decoded. She may be a female kin of the Sphing- at Giza, who is sculptured as a wingless bearded male.}

Warlick 2001 = M. E. Warlick : Max Ernst and Alchemy. Austin : Univ of TX Pr.

p. 533 Surrealism ridicule of Freudism

"Notoriously, Marcel Duchamp, fellow traveller with Surrealism from its very inception, was often ... rebuking of, Freud's well-known adage , 'anatomy is destiny'. Certainly Surrealism's commitment to ... engaging in a little

black humour at Freud's expense ... came to ... something which jibed with Surrealism's manifest commitment to an emancipatory view of human nature."

{Sigmund Freud described human nature as utterly depraved, claiming that all human beings needed to be forcibly restrainted (by severest of criminal law -- the very opposite of emancipation) from outright murdering their own kinfolk.}

p. 534 erotic symbolism cleverly concealed in a "certain celebrated phrase" : reality of a sexualized cosmos with law of correspondences

"In writing about the Surrealist notion of ... the poe`me objet [fn. 36 "a poem-object which is the juxtaposition ... of various everyday objects ... such that the poetic intensity of the whole is greater than its parts"], Breton notes :

... Lautre'amont's celebrated phrase : 'Beautiful as the chance meeting of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table', can ... make use of the key of the simplest of sexual images, ...

the umbrella represents the man,

{Much as an umbrella is useful for shedding rain, a man is sometimes intent on shedding his sperm/semen.}

the sewing machine the woman ...

{A woman may wish to "sew up" (legalize) a marriage contract with a man before engaging in sexual intercourse with him.}

What makes Breton's gendering of the heterogenous objects juxtaposed ... considered that ...

something like the 'sexualized cosmos' of Jacob Bo:hme was perhaps the very condition of the marvellous, and

{This is likewise understood in the tantrik litterature of the Kaula religion, and likewise in the erotic variety of Taoism indigenous to Shan-tung province.}

that something like the Hermetic 'law of correspondences' must be in operation, at least on the plane of poetic thought and research."

{Metaphors (such as "umbrella" for 'a male' and "sewing" for 'female') make for refined poe:tic diction employable for composing occult litterature concerning engagement in erotic relationships.}

NGI = John O'Neill : The Night of the Gods : an Inquiry into Cosmic and Cosmogonic Mythology and Symbolism. London : Bernard Quaritch, 1893.

p. 535 Surrealist symbolic association of writing (specificly about destined fateful future events), with a quill-feather

"In 1944, towards the end of World War Two, Breton was inspire to write Arcane 17 while in Canada. The title refers to the seventeenth major Arcanum of the tarot, The Star, a card that is ... entirely appropriate in the year of the cessation of hostilities.

In this, one of his most opalescent texts,

{Similar to the opal's shifting its coloration in accord with the weather, so the nature of Surrealist litterature was shifting in accord with permutations in geopolitics.}

Breton clearly articulated this new myth, an articulation that constellated around the core mythologem ... . This new intensity, this love

that incandesces with a magnesium light is ... for Breton ... the morning star

{Magnesium-luminance is seen pertinent to the arcane Star which wendeth not away : thus, in the song "Magnesium Light", the lyric "I looked at the stars tonight and said
I said, “Don’t go away”" ("DML", "MLD").}

'born from a white feather shed by Lucifer during his fall'."

{"In Victor Hugo’s La Fin de Satan (The End of Satan, 1854–62; 1886), a feather from the archangel Lucifer’s wing falls from Heaven down to our world and becomes Liberty, Lucifer’s angelic daughter" ("LFL").}

"DML" = "Dreamend – Magnesium Light".

"MLD" = " Magnesium Light Dreamend". s

"LFL" = "Lucifer's Feather of Liberty: On French Romanticism's Satanic Symbol".


Aaron Cheak (ed.) : Alchemical Traditions from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde. Numen Bks MMXIII, Melbourne (Victoria), 2013.