The process of black alchemical initiation begins with a series of steps backwards on the evolutionary scale, up to the birth of the first child, the first opening bud, the first nuclear fusion in stars, the first embryon atoms fighting to survive in the eternal anarchy of chaos. Only when we see the gaping wound of the Unground burst open before our inner eye will we meet the Blind Dragon who rules a realm that cannot be ruled. It is It who writhes in the spaces between life and death, It whose sacred poison intitiates the fusion of opposites, It whose black flame ignites and fuels our sorcerous heart.
Breeding scorpions and vipers, and the cat of slime*.
Working with Crowley’s ideas only becomes interesting to me when I engage with what he warns against. Choronzon, the demon of dispersion who draws his transient identity from a heap of disordered matter, becomes in my eyes the true hero of his story of crossing the abyss. I can do little with his notion of a perfect universe that one must create within oneself, or with the ideal of nirvana that he borrows from Buddhism and that awaits those who successfully make the crossing. The prospect of a sorcerous descent into the creative multiplicity of Massa Confusa seems to me infinitely more exciting (and subversive) than crossing over to the safe shores of transcendent enlightenment.
*Crowley uses the term “cat of slime” in The Vision and the Voice to describe a slug or shell-less snail. He foretells that our blood will give birth to such monsters if it is not poured to the last drop into the cup of Babalon.
Autumn 2023. Nigredo sets in, works its chemistry of rot on the lump and owerpowers it with its blackness.
Note. Alchemy is a practical philosophy that must be experienced with brutal honesty (and a dash of gallows humour if possible) in order to live an authentic life. The black alchemical art to which I have devoted myself is in the sign of Saturn. As the ruler of time, he/she* brings change, even if it is usually not the kind of change one hopes for. Saturn is a ruthless beast, but if you dare to look into its single black eye, you will see a force so powerful that it even makes death die.
*I actually prefer the gender-neutral “it” that emphasises the alien aspect of Saturnian powers.
This is a time for exorcism.
I have to start differently. The personal is not meant to be at the forefront of the work I publish on this site, but without it, what follows is only theoretical abstraction that has no counterpart in real life. So I brought myself to write this down in the hope that it will resonate with those magical practitioners who are going through something similar or worse at the moment. After Nadine received a threatening cancer diagnosis in the spring and has been undergoing chemotherapy ever since, I have spent many hours reflecting on the fundamental ambivalence and dynamics of substances that act as both drugs and poisons on the body. The use of poisons has a long tradition. Since ancient times they have been used both medicinally and as materia magia, which is no more a contradiction today than it was then. Toxic minerals were used by Taoist exorcists to drive out demonic illness, and Chinese medicine has always stressed that there is no fundamental difference between toxic and medicinal substances. But the alchemy of poisons also flourished in Europe. Homer already emphasised the wound-healing effect of verdigris, a poisonous substance that is produced when oxygen comes into contact with copper. Since it exemplifies transmutation and constantly changes colour, I often use it in painting and in my sculptural work. It can also be used against bacteria and could even treat cancerous tumours due to its antiseptic properties. And then there’s Paracelsus who famously stated that poison is in every substance and that whether it makes us well or kills us depends on the dose taken. Less well known is that in alchemical thought, poison is inextricably linked to the dragon of dissolution that snakes through matter and confronts us with the terror of the abyss from which new life emerges, ascending for those seeking spiritual transformation, and descending deep into the body for those like us who long for a wisdom that remains true to the earth.
This summer I have often observed plants and insects in the forest and wondered how I can use their pharmakonic properties and defence strategies in my practice to ward off and destroy agents of affliction. Alchemical spells must undergo chemical alterations to be effective. These alterations can be brought about by burning the spells or by burying the materials on which they are drawn in the forest floor for example. However, alchemical activation is most effective when we additionally work with materials that trigger chemical reactions on their own, without human intervention. In one of my earlier essays I had already mentioned foxglove, which grows here en masse at the edge of the forest and which I collect every spring. In autumn I work with toadstools, which grow among the spruces and birches but do not emerge from the underworld of the forest with the same frequency every year. These flowers and mushrooms are known for their poisonous but also heart-strengthening properties in the case of foxglove, and for their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory, and of course psychedelic, effects in the case of Amanita muscaria. But many plants contain toxic chemical substances that have a healing and exorcising effect and, in the best case, can kill or at least temporarily expel demons of disease from the body. Perhaps it is worth pointing out here to those who have less to do with these things that it was originally mustard gas, a chemical warfare agent, that was used as the first agent in chemotherapy at the time of the Second World War. The substances used have evolved a lot since then, but knowing where they come from gives a basic idea of what we are dealing with when we fight cancer.
This is a time for exorcism, certainly for Nadine and me, but perhaps also for others. And art is the form of exorcism I have made my own to free the heart from despair. Life is a gift, yes, but it is a poisoned gift because we know of its finitude and the pain and grief that comes with it. By the way, Gift means poison in German and already carries within it the pharmakonic aspect of the ferocious power at stake here. Let’s not delude ourselves, poison cannot be robbed of its dangerousness. The best we can hope for is to work with it to kill what wants to kill us, thus giving our life force the chance to take power over the body again. These are processes in which the substances involved act of their own will and mostly beyond our agency. We have to accept uncertainty, let it flow into art and channel it in such a way that it frees us from the fear of what works behind the curtain. The alchemical sorcery I practise is certainly not without controversy. It embraces contaminated substances, exploits flaws and errors, and ultimately points to a profound anarchy that underlies existence. I’m constantly in danger of failing or, worse, of harming instead of healing. When you fight demons of disease, you have to enter their realm or summon them into your body. This is not a safe thing to do. Yet it is worth engaging in, for it enables us to interfere with what haunts our minds and bodies, rather than capitulating to the great beast with a thousand mouths without a fight. I’ll elaborate more on this later.
In the flood of veins the demon reproduces and multiplies into germs as numerous as the atoms of the sun.
From an alchemical point of view, the issue is not whether we can avert the catastrophe of Nigredo, but how we can transform physical and ecological decay into creative aliveness.
Forest Shrine (The gate of the earth is open. The access to the stream is open).
Does wisdom appear on earth as a fungus inspired by the smell of carrion?
The work with microorganisms and other agents of chemical change and necrosis does not aim at destruction but at bringing forth unpredictable life.
Sowing in the Womb of the Witch.
A dark sacred plan: not to resist the revolutionary power of nature, but to offer oneself to it as fuel.
Make no mistake, this means anything but resignation.
The question is how to deal with the ticking time bomb of ecological collapse without falling into denial or paralysing apathy. We sorcerers face a paradoxical challenge: to simultaneously develop visionary action plans on how to confront disruptive forces and to live with the knowledge that the wounds we inflict on the planet and thus on ourselves will drain us, feed the black earth and usher in a new world. No one can say whether this will be a world with or without us, but even if humanity survives the Holocene extinction one way or another, it is inconceivable what our lives will be like afterwards. The only certainty is that the self-evidence with which we have inhabited the planet until now is in the process of dissolving.
Note. These challenges are obviously very complex and the few thoughts I express here are worth revising and adding to. However, it is in the nature of this notebook to be fragmentary, so I leave them as they are, for now.
Developing strategies to ally with the Great Worm and plant the seeds of transmutation in the deep wounds it tears. This may sound dubious, but in times of chronic fear and helplessness, we should not scorn empowering alliances that lead to active participation in the future rather than passive surrender to it, however sinister it may be.
A mercurial poison penetrates the ground, causing an inflammatory response in the mycorrhizal system (i.e. the nervous system of the forest).
The photos that matter most are not those that ground us in this world of ours, but those that unground us.
Note. On rereading, I realise that this statement owes more to the invocation of an entropic dragon than to a desire to say anything substantive about photography. May it be forgiven!
She who murders thought. She who devours form.
There is certainly a longing for a photography that breaks away from the representational, but I have a hard time with abstraction for abstraction’s sake. Let’s put it this way: if it’s to be an abstraction, then a predatory abstraction.
Some thoughts on photographic matter.
We live in a time when digital photography is all over the internet, but never before has the photographic medium been so devalued as it is today. It has almost completely lost the aura of mystery that clung to it for two centuries, which certainly has something to do with the fact that chemical processes are no longer predominantly used to produce images and natural light is no longer captured on film or photographic plates but converted into electrical signals. I have spent about equal time in my life with analogue and digital photography and it would be going too far in such a short note to go into the strengths and weaknesses of one or the other way of working. I will therefore highlight what I think applies to both approaches. And since my art is based on a sorcerous and alchemical practice, I will illuminate the subject from this perspective.
The photographer’s task is to fix the volatile and to volatilise the fixed. Most theorists of photography will agree with me on the first part of this statement. Many have pointed out that photography freezes the world, which is in constant motion, into immobility. Roland Barthes even stated that the taking of a photograph is the taking of life, going so far as to write in his seminal work Camera Lucida that photographers are agents of death. So the fact that photography has an undead dimension that has to do with memory, grief and loss is common knowledge today. What appears far less in contemporary thinking about photography is the idea of the volatisation of the fixed. Barthes’ reflections are philosophically profound, and he was well aware of the magical function of photography, manifested among other things in its ability to resurrect the dead (Barthes tried to bring his mother’s essence back to life through the photographic image). However, I would like to try to shed some light on some lesser-known aspects of the photographic and shift the focus from memory and mourning to something else. In the approach I am taking, we cannot be satisfied with the stillness of the image because we must allow the latent demonic vitality of photography to reveal itself. Photographs only become magical for me when I sense the fundamental restlessness that underlies them. To access the demonic dimension that hides in the midst of the perceptual world, one has to give up total control over the image and not discard what appears unsuccessful at first glance, but work with it. Only in this way can we catch a glimpse of a dimension that otherwise eludes our gaze. From a more political angle, which is always inherent in a truly sorcerous practice, it is also worth noting that both the graininess of analogue film and the pixelation of digital photography can serve to undermine and contaminate the glossy aesthetic that is as prevalent in the art world as it is in the mass media or even alternative media channels.
However for photography to really get moving and become truly sorcerous, we need to relate individual images to each other. Associations and comparisons of image patterns reveal the visual kinship of the things of the world that has always underpinned magical thinking. Things that resemble each other are entangled and can possibly transform into each other. It is only when we examine the relationships between individual photographs that thinking with images begins. The idea of thinking with images goes back a long way. Aristotle already knew that “to think is to speculate with images”. He had inner images in mind, but at the latest since Giordano Bruno we know that practical magic consists of working with sequences that lead, as Frances Yates reports in her book about him, from the gods to the stars to the demons to the elements and finally to the senses. To participate in this magical chain, one must both work with an animated imagination and connect with demons through external images, much like the Egyptian priests did when they lured demons into their statues. But let me return to photography.
As a young artist I experimented a lot with photograms, whose deep shadows give an idea of the abyss hidden behind the two-dimensional image. You can see examples here but please bear in mind that the reproductions do not do justice to the three-dimensionality of the original prints. During the first Gulf War, when images of burning oil wells flickered across TV screens for ten months, I began pouring petrol on photographic paper and setting it on fire so that the burning flame exposed the light-sensitive paper and created abstract images (which also took on demonic faces thanks to the pareidolia effect) in which infinite natural patterns appeared, called fractals in chaos theory, as we all know today. I also left an aquarium with stale rainwater outside for a year and regularly recorded in photograms the natural processes of life and death that unfolded in it. What fascinated me about these works was that they allowed my art to take on a perspective that today would be called nonhuman in the philosophies of new materialisms that work to shift or abandon the anthropocentric gaze altogether. These questions received little attention in the late 1980s and early 1990s and were not yet part of academic thinking as they are today. What made my work different from most other artists who worked with photograms was not only that I processed the violence of the world in them, but also that I did not exhibit the images in isolation, but put them together in assemblages, that often became part of larger installations. And since images strung together always contaminate and influence each other, I created something that was more than the sum of its parts.
To be continued.
Rise, black flame, rise.
Rise through the wood and taste the blood.
This is the severed head exalted to the throne. And this is the devil’s congealed saliva which acts both as a corrosive poison and as the regenerating power of the black earth.
The notion that forest shrines are material condensations of ferocious freedom is essential to understanding the poetics and politics of ecosorcery. They are nodes where a dense network of physical and metaphysical paths intersect, and act as gateways through which to tap into the anarchic currents that underlie nature. What we are aiming at is the invocation of a counterforce to the western worldview that puts an end to the illusion of divine as well as so-called natural laws.
The Dragon’s Algorithm.
This flower resuscitates every dead.
The fermentation of the stone, the deception of the word.
I have already briefly mentioned in my essay Alchemical Futures that alchemy is heretical at its core, but it is worth going into more detail.
For all the piety that pervades their treatises, the European alchemists of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance cannot hide the fact that their art springs from a revolt against divine and natural laws. They defy ideological thinking and the illusion of ultimate truth, and protect the mystery of creation by deepening it rather than revealing it. At the heart of alchemy is a paradoxical dialectic that moves between the knowable and the unknowable. Its ambivalence dissolves static belief systems and approaches the wisdom of nature that always eludes us as soon as we try to pin it down.
A revised alchemical approach enables us to create a complex visual language for a world on the brink of catastrophe. The aim of this 21st century alchemy is to rewild materiality, that is, to break down the notion of matter as a definable substance and use it instead as a cipher for the unknown and unknowable. By channelling the insurrectional powers of radical otherness, the alchemical art seeks to transform the inner and outer world of the practitioner. The works that are created in the process are directed at the few and are not meant to be uncovered and deciphered by the many. It is not for nothing that alchemy is called The Secret Art. What we are up to is an occult micropolitics based on techniques and strategies of concealment that prevent it from being appropriated by cultural, political and economic forces.
No one knows what lies ahead or how we can prevent the ugly toxicity we are flooding the world with from producing something demonic that will fundamentally change our planetary existence. As alchemical sorcerers, we cannot attack head-on a system that is literally omnipresent. What we can do, however, is to go even deeper into the underground and breed riotous growth out of the poisoned earth. Perhaps the dark gods who live there will have mercy on us, or perhaps we are doomed to burn in their flaming breath. Who knows, but even if we perish, hell flowers will grow from the crimson embers of the earth.
The alchemical vision of George Ripley (which I quote in full further down this page) informs us that transmutation only occurs when the fusion with the poison is complete. Only when we fully internalise
Note. Failed poetic attempts, fragmentary writings and open-ended photo series seem to me lately to be the only works that are honest and truly alive.
Note Two on Cosmic Forest. Cosmos etymologically denotes order and the world, while forest has always stood for the wild, that which lies outside of system – The word forest probably comes from the Latin foris (“outside, in the open”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰwer- “door, gate, opening”. The combination of the two words in one term thus implies a constant tugging back and forth between inside and outside, and between domesticated and wild. So even though I distance myself from the idea of an ordered universe, the tension inherent in the term argues for using it from a sorcerous and alchemical perspective.
Failed drawing of cosmic patterns and connections.
What sorcerers wouldn’t like to cast their spells with silk threads instead of words?
Not the withered leaves on the ground express the dark sacred, but the lesions that afflict their dead veins like a leprous god, and the damp exhalations of the cosmic forest * beneath them.
* Note. Perhaps I should not use the term “cosmic forest”. Cosmic is misleading when it comes to describing the wilderness of the universe. What I have in mind is the absolute opposite of the order associated with kósmos. Bataille’s statement that the universe is something like a spider or spit is more in line with what I want to express, but our language is so dominated by the idea of the organisation of the universe that it is difficult to use a more appropriate word, and “universal” refers mainly to global features common to human societies. The chaotically wild is difficult to express with language, at least with those I know. All the more reason to rely on images to speak in sorcerous tongues.
A Dragon’s Eye View.
Some of you may have noticed that, especially in the last works I have published here, there are references to Taoism. I would therefore like to explain briefly how this connection came about and what motivates me to draw on this philosophy.
When I showed my video installation Unground in Taiwan in 2014, Amy Cheng, the director of TheCube Project Space in Taipei where I was exhibiting, pointed out to me that the way I approach philosophical chaos has a lot to do with the Dao and the way Taoism is practiced in Taiwan, where it is perhaps more closely connected to folk traditions and indigenous Shamanism than anywhere else. In such a culture, images play an essential role. They enable Taoist masters to gain access to the universe and use its powers to fight demons that threaten to take over the mind and body. Since they assume that everything is in flux, their approach to images is serial and processual, and the individual image is seen as a particle in a totality that can be grasped through contemplative and meditative practices. My art is indeed related to such an approach, but let’s move on to the philosophical chaos that should not be primarily equated with the notion of disorder that it has become synonymous with in the West.
It is not always perceived this way, but Taoism may well be considered a “demonic path” (guidao) because it turns the world upside down and reverses the natural course of life. Taoist inner alchemy aims to return the practitioner to the unfathomable darkness that precedes the creation of the cosmos. Or, to put it more scientifically, what was before the Big Bang. This path back to the original source is populated by a variety of chaos beings. This has little in common with minimalism as we know it, for example, from Japanese Zen Buddhism. The original darkness that constitutes the void is understood in these practices as fullness rather than emptiness. Ten thousand things fold into each other. Again, I see parallels with my art. Basically, it is about seeing oneself from the perspective of radical otherness, liberating the self from the merely human and gaining a «Dragon’s Eye View », as it is called in Taoism. It is a practice that expresses this view in cryptic images and words. In alchemical art, it is never enough to name things; it is always primarily a matter of showing. And, alchemical imagery is always encrypted.
I do not see the undiscriminated chaos of the primordial blackness as something that worked in the beginning and then was defeated by the forces of the cosmos, as it is depicted in the motif of the Chaoskampf that has shaped our culture, but I assume that it is still present in the universe and at any time affects the world and thus also us. It does this both on a large scale and on a quantum small scale. The purpose of sorcerous-alchemical practices I engage in is to tap into this current of power, identify with it and channel it to effect change.
Western thinking finds it difficult to absorb and process mystical images. They are ubiquitous in popular culture: fantasy novels sell very well and countless TV shows feature digital demons that will soon be indistinguishable from organic beings due to the rapid advancement of AI. What we have lost, however, is the ability to make these images our own and use them magically to connect us to the universe. Mythological motifs like the Chaoskampf seem fantastic to us, but we cannot reconcile them with our worldview. Perhaps that’s why focusing on the Big Bang can help us meditate on the Ur-state.
Whether Chaos is formless or whether a dragon mother or other dark gods live there is a matter of debate in the magical and religious communities that deal with such matters. Although from a mystical point of view there is much to be said for regarding it as emptiness, there are indeed many examples of some form of demonic presence being found in the pre-cosmic realm. Even in Taoism, which is careful not to define the origin and guiding principle of existence, exorcists resort to ritual meditation to identify with the pre-cosmic state in which they confront the demons believed to rise from the primordial source. Be that as it may, in a time marked by political and religious disillusionment and a general sense of endings, we would do well to take mythmaking seriously and look for ways to deal with decay and dissolution, whether they are personal in nature or affect us all.
Today’s science teaches us that the universe emerged from a singularity, a single point. The way our civilization acquires this knowledge is based on mathematics and computer-generated models. We let machines calculate and draw conclusions from them, thus gaining an abstract idea of the universe. What these models cannot do, however, is bring this vision to life. This requires an art that is based on an alchemical rather than a scientific perspective.
The alchemists of old understood their work as the restoration of the universe as a whole. If we do not immediately dismiss this vision as megalomaniacal, but allow it to penetrate deeply and work there, we come closer to what is meant by “our gold,” which for the alchemical masters was never the ordinary gold that the greedy chase after, but the occult gold that fills them to the core. One should not underestimate the wild nature of this inner gold. It will forever remain in a fluid state, transforming, changing, slithering like a snake. It is the raw chaos, the inner beast, on which the alchemical sorcerers ride to bring about the reverse transmutation. Their goal is to become part of that which lives naturally and out of itself. In doing so, they cease to be merely human and become part of the demonic multiplicity that is the alchemical dragon.
In my meditations and visualisations, I imagine the universe as this great beast made up of an infinite number of parts that are constantly destroying themselves and being reborn out of themselves. It’s a vision in which there is no beginning and no end. From the heat death towards which the universe is heading and which science predicts us, at some point something will emerge again, only to die and be reborn again, again and again. In contrast to today’s common interpretation of the Ouroboros dragon, which is influenced by Renaissance humanism, however, I do not see it as a symbol for the organization of chaotic energy, but as a personification of the wilderness of the universe, which can never be tamed by our rational drive for order.
From such a vision I draw the strength necessary to create countercultural art and develop guerrilla tactics to resist and counteract the forces at work in the art world and beyond. Furthermore, it allows me to darkly re-enchant my world and not fall into nihilism and apathy in the face of unpromising personal and global futures. Ultimately, however, it is about creating a myth that I can participate in at the moment of death and harness the power of the universe with which I identify to live on as a nonhuman being. We need the alchemical art because we have forgotten how to die in the West after the death of God that Nietzsche diagnosed. The alchemical art teaches us how to die in a meaningful way.
Black Pearl hiding in the cellular realm.
The return to the Great Clod.
( • ) Embraces me from within.
The reverse transmutation, knotted like a cipher in the forehead.
The dragon rises from the earth as a mountain forest.
Bleached tree bones sway to the rhythm of the spells.
Twilight chorus drones from unsounded depth.
The first spark of their breath ignites the night.
The near-complete eclipse, the eye of the needle, the narrow gateway into Dis, the otherworldly promise of the Grail.
And the cells. They look hollowed out, as if the exhalations of the stone had decomposed their core.
Two statements that spring from the same alchemical principle: Only through poison will there be healing. Only through ashes will there be rebirth.
[Self-Censored Photo] Cosmic Gold in a Shroud of Mourning.
Do you remember? The taste of lead and the feel of the muddy earth at the bottom of the grave.
Do you remember? How the dead dies and the living rises again.
Gather the tears and seal them in the House of the Deep so that they dry without forgetting.
Down there, where microbial war rages.
Down there, where bacterial souls burn.
Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, which is heading towards the Sun, grows horns after a volcanic eruption.
The fallen angel set alight in the grove.
The sinking torch in the liver.
An atom born of itself.
A seed begotten by no god.
Dirt on the back of a great beast.
A dark star that fuels the abyss.
I am the rising, the ocean within.
My blood flows through your veins.
I am the flood that drowns the sun.
The tidal bore that hells the earth.
Hole world disruption.
[Poem Erased] Memory.
On the far side of the sun is a spot so large that it alters the sun’s vibrations. It will turn towards the Earth at the beginning of next week.
The flickering lamp spreads out Saturn’s rings. An unchaste gaze pierces the blindness of the forest.
A crack has opened in the Earth’s magnetic field, weakening our planet’s defences against the dark malevolence of the sun.
Curse hurled at the earth by a severe geomagnetic storm (the strongest since the beginning of solar cycle 25 in 2019).
The cosmic forest is that gate.
The pierced stone is that gate.
The occult eye of the dragon is that gate.
The dark essence of the sun is that gate.
A negative photo of a campfire (not pictured here) dissolves into black light that consumes it from within.
The following photo (not pictured here) shows a clearing created by a forest fire. A smoke-darkened sun towers over the scorched earth, from which tree stumps protrude casting crippled shadows.
Black is the core of the sun.
Black is the fire it breathes.
Black is the light that ignites the heart.
Black is the whole world.
The photographic subject springs from abstraction, just as the stone springs from the occult source. This is a beginning, but let’s
Fully aroused, the cells of the kidneys fuse with the elemental powers of the earth.
Feeling uncomfortable doesn’t even begin to
What is this black mass? What leaden sea holds nature captive down here?
Demonic pixelation as a means of undermining the high-definition aesthetic that dominates the world (aesthetics is always political).
As soon as the image stabilises, I clench my hand into a fist. The edges of the stone are razor sharp and cut into my flesh.
The falling night envelops the shed in darkness. I hold the stone in my hand, along with the black earth on which it rests, as if in a nest.
The disease expelled from the womb. The access to the stream uncovered.
You who pierces the wound. You who crowns the blood.
A soul remains a soul even if it detaches itself from the trunk.
Its instability is what gives it prophetic meaning. This sentence will not stay as it is now.
Paintings as external organs (i.e. repositories of soul outside the body).
The dragon’s flaming tail hits the Earth’s magnetic field at 03:54.
The necessity to expand poetry from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional plane.
I pause the video and the room it is projected into becomes visible. The walls are slightly infested with mould, but probably not so much as to cause health problems. A hole in the floor reveals the cellar. Now that there is light, one can see with one’s own eyes what the video showed, but the alienation of the colours is missing and the cellar looks much less blurred to our eye than to that of the snake.
Fragmentary poems that are hopelessly overloaded despite their brevity, hacked-up sentences and words that alter brain chemistry…. But something essential is still missing. Perhaps it is incompleteness itself.
It will come loose!
Drapo-Sans (the green of spring crowns Sorg with hope).
Summoning the breath of red sulphur.
Red sulphur glows by emitting blackness (i.e. the more red light, the more darkness).
When busie at my Book I was upon a certain Night,
This Vision here exprest appear’d unto my dimmed sight:
A Toad full Ruddy I saw, did drink the juice of Grapes so fast,
Till over-charged with the broth, his Bowels all to brast:
And after that, from poyson’d Bulk he cast his Venom fell,
For Grief and Pain whereof his Members all began to swell;
With drops of Poysoned sweat approaching thus his secret Den,
His Cave with blasts of fumous Air he all bewhited then:
And from the which in space a Golden Humour did ensue,
Whose falling drops from high did stain the soyl with ruddy hue.
And when his Corps the force of vital breath began to lack,
This dying Toad became forthwith like Coal for colour Black:
Thus drowned in his proper veins of poysoned flood;
For term of Eighty days and Four he rotting stood
By Tryal then this Venom to expel I did desire;
For which I did commit his Carkass to a gentle Fire:
Which done, a Wonder to the sight, but more to be rehearst;
The Toad with Colours rare through every side was pierc’d;
And White appear’d when all the sundry hews were past:
Which after being tincted Ruddy, for evermore did last.
Then of the Venom handled thus a Medicine I did make;
Which Venom kills, and saveth such as Venom chance to take:
Glory be to him the granter of such secret ways,
Dominion, and Honour both, with Worship, and with Praise.
“Vision”. George Ripley, 1490.
Don’t even think of the ruby if you don’t feel the heat of the furnace in your own body.
When the sun sets, the stars rise for the damned of the earth.
Vulcan’s rage refers to the fever, while the furnace stands for the heart that ejects the lava into the veins.
An alchemical spell requires a chemical reaction to be effective.
Corroded light above
The depths of embryonic night.
This is the ashen meal. This is the salt from which the black mercury is extracted.
This is the stream that leads back to the source.
A drop absorbed in seas.
Above, the tower of Athanor. Below, the cosmic rings and the ashen mud shimmering in mercurial light.
The fire that brings the rain. The rain that dries the wetness.
Extract the blood from the worm nailed to the cross. From it you can make the red sulphur that kills the living and revives the dead.
Worms crawling out of the black heart of the sun. gangrenous marks, forbidden colours… The pestilential conspiracy is spreading.
The spirit banished, the body freed from the foul stench of thoughts.
Disciples of the eye, cast on the pyre of the Great Noon.
Oxygen molecules glow red, but this red light is above the green light we normally see in photos. Above the green there is red, but it is hidden.
Staring into the coronal hole. It has fallen deep, as deep as only a hole can fall.
A cryptography of elliptical curves filled with cells in which a black core pulsates, surrounded by halos of milky light.
The old worm writhes in pain down there in its prison cell. A circle of black blood holds it in place.
Chunks of wood explode in the ribs and hurl splinters into the bloodstream.
Secret Den bathed in Luciferian light.
The final cooking subjects us to a fiery torment in the infernal depths. One might think that the pain involved would diminish the imaginal power. Far from it, cooking is a trial by fire in which the alchemical soul is exalted. In this process, known as rubedo, the fires of the heart and blood fuse with the fires of the underworld to produce the red sulphur with which our dying world can be revived.