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Saturday, October 19, 2013

From the Preface to Dr. Tarrec’s Alchemical Commentary on the Apocalypse of St. John the Seer

Often, when to the various audiences to which I am called upon to speak I announce alchemy as the subject of my commentary upon the Apocalypse, a word of apology is necessary for selecting a subject so outgrown and alien to the spirit of this rational and scientific (at least so-called) age of technology. I do not seek to revive the wild theories and chimerical hopes of that alchemy that is so often portrayed in pulp horror novels and films.

Those early and wild dreams of ancient alchemist have been subsumed into the blindly self-confident facts of known chemical science. Contemporary chemists who focus solely upon the physical actions and interactions of the various elements have all but forgotten their esoteric roots.  Alchemy is often called the forerunner of chemistry, but it is much more than that. Contained within the forgotten secrets of alchemists like Simon Magus, St. Helveticus, Zosimus the Egyptian, St. Albedo, and Isaac Newton are the keys to understanding the realm of the spirit.  It is through their study of the elements that we can finally come to an understanding of even the most obtuse and obscure theological writings. And this is why I have written this Alchemical Commentary on the Apocalypse.

But no science comes to us like Minerva leaping from the brain of Jupiter, "adult and full armed," possibly because Jupiters are so rare, and the bold surgery of Vulcan so seldom invoked. The passage from alchemy to chemistry was replete with the expected missteps and failures of fallible humanity, but it proceeded logically, and linearly, step by step towards a more complete understanding.  One filled the world with vast hopes but unsatisfied longings; the other has crowned the race with benefactions. Yet with the results of the labors and discoveries of the chemists we have nearly forgotten those hopes and longings, and we, as a species, remain unsatisfied. We have been content with the sparkly baubles produced for us by chemical engineers; we ooh and ah over trivial concoctions like Rayon, Teflon, and Prozac.  We believe the lie that science can provide “better things for better living through chemistry.” 

And we have disparaged the wizardry of alchemy; we have neglected prophets of the chemystical realm. We, in our petulant ignorance, are prone to look back upon this nebulous science with disdain as the product of an age that had full confidence in magic and sorcery, that could accept without hesitation the elusive nature of matter and yet find no difficulty in the belief in the resistless power of occult forces. But it is we that are in error.  Let us repent of that attitude and learn see the hopes and aspirations of these hermits of science, those ancient dreamers, as the true pathway to God.

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