Posts Tagged ‘Alchemy’

The Yale Beinecke Library has put the entire Voynich online so that everyone can see this fascinating book.  It was written in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and was once owned by Elizabeth I’s magician John Dee.  The entire book is in code, and has yet to be deciphered, though many have tried over the years.

You can look at the book here.

If you go to the site you can get all the details and see each page.  I heard about this book while doing research for The Elysium Texts Trilogy, and used many of the ideas it generated as plot devices.  The Voynich is full of plant drawings like this one:

And I thought, how strange that a Herbal needed to be in code.  Then I realized that a Herbal did not.  There were many Herbals at the time.  They were very useful books as they were PDR’s before modern medicine.  If it were not a Herbal…why all the plants?  then I saw this image:

This drawing of many ladies in a cocoon of sorts with tubes leading out of their heads to…well…another place, made me think these plant parts were not being used to cure a cough.

I had learned from my research that before there was a language of science, there was no vocabulary to describe scientific principles.  The ladies in the drawing most likely represent elements or ingredients for the recipe and the drawing is a representation like this one (not from the Voynich, but from a 17th century alchemy book):

Describing how they are combined and distilled.  Even so, it is a rich area for the imagination that I mined for the plot of the novel.  The secrecy and cryptic aspects make it fascinating.  The plant mentioned above is obviously a lily or a lotus.  These plants have certain intriguing qualities (from Wikipedia) :

Recent studies have shown Nymphaea caerulea to have psychedelic properties, and may have been used as a sacrament in ancient Egypt and certain ancient South American cultures. Dosages of 5 to 10 grams of the flowers induces slight stimulation, a shift in thought processes, enhanced visual perception, and mild closed-eye visuals. Nymphaea caerulea is related to, and possesses similar activity as Nelumbo nucifera, the Sacred Lotus. Both Nymphaea caerulea and Nelumbo nucifera contain the alkaloids nuciferine and apomorphine, which have been recently isolated by independent labs.[citation needed]

These psychoactive effects make Nymphaea caerulea a likely candidate (among several) for the lotus plant eaten by the mythical Lotophagi in Homer‘s Odyssey.

Used in aromatherapy, Nymphaea caerulea is purported to have a “divine” essence, bringing euphoria, heightened awareness and tranquility.[citation needed]

Other sources cite anti-spasmodic and sedative, purifying and calming properties.

Some of the recognizable plants in the Voynich have similar attributes.  The alchemists made various elixirs for various purposes, we know that is true.  I have a copy of a book called The Elixirs of Nostradamus which is very interesting, though I noticed the text at the end of the book specifically mentioned that some of his more “dangerous” concoctions were not included.  Nostradamus travelled somewhere to gather his predictions.  His body was in the tower, but his mind was far far away.

The alchemists were very busy in their towers. How about that first image from the Voynich?  The blue circles?  I wonder what the alchemists were seeing…

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Isaac Newton is a man who should need no introduction.  He invented Calculus and discovered the Laws of Motion etc etc.  Kids remember the story of the apple falling from the tree…hopefully kids remember.

Anyway, Newton is the most esteemed scientist, up there in the pantheon with Einstein. (Kids remember him with the crazy white hair)  Does it bother the Materialists that he studied alchemy HARD for many years?  Nope.  They say he was just curious and abandoned the study after he realized it was all BS.  LOL.  I notice the same hard-core scientists say nothing critical about Newton’s fervent religious beliefs.  They can “forgive” him for that, but not for the alchemy.

Let us keep both the baby AND the bathwater.  We may find something valuable there in the muddy midst.

Newton was convinced that as much as he knew about the “nuts and bolts” mechanics of the world, the orchestration of all matter must be presided over by an intelligence.  His alchemy experiments only suggest that he was looking for the link between matter and god.

Modern physicists find themselves in a similar bind.  Most have rejected the idea that there is a god who set the clock ticking in the first place, but the mysteries of subatomic particles continue to plague them.  String Theory is an exciting development over the last 30 years or so that attempts to explain some of the weirdness that goes on at the nano-level of reality.

I read Brian Greene’s “The Elegant Universe” some years back, and delighted in how close physics and “magic” had become, especially if you use the definition that magic is science you don’t understand.  Does your iPhone work like magic?

I watched Greene’s beautiful Nova presentation “Fabric of the Cosmos” recently and waited for someone to say the word, “consciousness”.  Nope.

It is not Newton’s god, but consciousness that is lurking in the bathwater.

The ancient philospohers knew that consciousness plays a part in all manifestations of matter in the universe.  Some physicists did too:  David Bohm , who consulted with Indian guru J. Krishnamurti to see how much physics and mysticism had in common.  Dr. Fred Alan Wolf has quite a few things to say about this as well, and he will make you laugh.

Our new physicists are modern alchemists whether they want to believe it or not.

Read more about how mind and matter connect.

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