Is merely an antecedent to modern chemistry *Merely A Secularization Of A Sacred Science * a secularization of a sacred science cannot be reduced to a protochemistry states Eliade He writes as a historian of religion which means he writes about the human uest to influence and control and shape the physical world of matter People are also matter The uest embraces the renewal and the reshaping of the physical person The great mystery and power generated by this process becomes that which is spiritual The conuest of matter began very early perhaps in the palaeolithic age that is as soon as man had succeeded in making tools from silex and using fire to change the states of matter In any case certain techniues mainly agriculture and pottery were fully developed during the neolithic age Now these techniues were at the same time mysteries for on the Now these techniues were at the same time mysteries for on the hand they implied the sacredness of the cosmos and on the other were transmitted by initiation the craft secrets Tilling or the firing of clay like somewhat later mining and metallurgy put primitive man into a universe steeped in sacredness It would be vain to wish to reconstitute his experiences too much time has elapsed since the cosmos has been desanctified as a result of the triumph of the experimental sciences Modern man is incapable of experiencing the sacred in his dealings with matter at most he can achieve an aesthetic experience He is capable of nowing matter as a natural phenomenon But we have only to imagine a communion no longer limited to the eucharistic elements of bread or wine but extending to every Notes for the Everlost kind of substance in order to measure the distance separating a primitive religious experience from the modern experience of natural phenomena Not that man in primitive society was still buried in Nature powerless to free himself from the innumerable mystic participations in Nature totally incapable of logical thought or utilitarian labour in the modern sense of the word Everything wenow of our contemporary primitives shows up the weakness of these arbitrary judgements But it is clear that a thinking dominated by cosmological symbolism created an experience of the world vastly different from that accessible to modern man To symbolic thinking the world is not only alive but also open an object is never simply itself as is the case with modern consciousness it is also a sign of or a repository for something else pp 143 144 Alchemy cannot be reduced to a protochemistry In fact when it became an elementary chemistry the alchemical world of meaning was on the verge of disappearing Everywhere we find alchemy it is always intimately related to a mystical tradition in China with Taoism in India with Yoga and Tantrism in Hellenistic Egypt with gnosis in Islamic countries with hermetic and esoteric mystical schools in the Western Middle Ages and Renaissance with Hermetism Christian and sectarian mysticism and Cabala Conseuently to understand the meaning and function of alchemy we must not judge the alchemical texts by the possible chemical insights which they may contain Such an evaluation would be tantamount to judging and classifying great poetical creations by their scientific data or their historical accuracy That the alchemists DID contribute also to the progress of the natural sciences is certainly true But they did this indirectly and only as a conseuence of their concern with mineral substance and living matter For they were experimenters not abstract thinkers or erudite scholastics Their inclination to experiment however was not limited to the natural realm the experiments with mineral or vegetal substances pursued a ambitious goal to change the alchemist s own mode of being pp 182 18. Tains an updated appendix in which Eliade lists works on Chinese alchemy published in the past few years He also discusses the importance of alchemy in Newton's scientific evolutio. The author Eliade is a recognized authority on myth He explains the pre scientific beliefs about metals such as that metals like babies matured in the womb of Mother Earth until they reached maturity gold Such ridiculous ideas as the ancients held are truly frightening when one realizes that infant sacrifice was used in early smithying worldwide The mind of the pagan is not one of clarity and goodness but one of muddled facts and muddled worldview Thank goodness for the Enlightenment a European intellectual movement of the late 17th century through the 18th century emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition This a very anthropological account of alchemy as discourse and its evolution from tribal manifestations to present yoga traditions of all paths and cultures Eliade is a beautiful yet factual writer The book can get repetitive with certain motifs but such is alch Admittedly Eliade is When I Moan (Vassi and Seri 1: Russian Stepbrother Romance) kind of strange to read because the book reads like a mosaic of random facts Each chapter often seems like a series of vaguely related ideas but after some thought the book coheres decently well Thenowledge available on alchemy is worth its weight in gold forgive the joke and it seems to provide good possible answers to little No Biggy! kid uestions that I had about the mechanics of religions particularly to do with sacrificial ritesthemes and so forthThe book is good for anyone interested in comparative religion or anyone interested in why certain metaphors in our language may have come about it provides a basis for why up is assumed to be better why gods are often from the skies phallic symbols and so forth It also gives some insight into why metals are holy or sacred and why groups like the freemasons might have the nature they do This text really is a treasure chest of great ideas and has given me a lot of tools to theorize about the world and the way we think and theorize about the world with Is it too much to ask for a book to be properly named Gah Sure this book treats alchemy for around 40% of its length but in its totality it s concerned with the religious consciousness of what Eliade precociously calls Homo faber or man ua tool user So for the first hundred pages of this 170 page book we take a survey of various mythological traditions from around the world associated with metals metallurgy mining and forging and unearth no pun intended a variety of interesting parallel motifs particularly with respect to the belief that metals and minerals grow and ripen in the womb of the earth I m often troubled by Eliade s lack of theoretical reflectiveness in his comparative approach His typical modus operandi is to simply compare traditions without much concern for how parallels might be accounted for whether by diffusion collective unconscious or coincidence He tends to imply that parallel symbolic constructions point to universals not in the Jungian sense but perhaps someind of a priori ontology that is nown and expressed in religious forms around the world There may be a case for that but I m uncomfortable with the degree that Eliade typically implies this is going on with the degree that Eliade typically implies this is going on does not make it the subject of scrutiny or reflection But I digress After this long intro Eliade spends precious little time surveying the alchemical traditions of China India the Arab world and Europe He scarcely pauses to raise let alone answer any of the deep problems associated by this most difficult of subjects in religious history Where did alchemy come from How do we account for the striking parallels between the various forms of alchemy that developed in remote civilizationsEliade principally interprets alchemy as a sub speci. Primitive man's discovery of the ability to change matter from one state to another brought about a profound change in spiritual behavior In The Forge and the Crucible Mircea Eliad.
Mircea Eliade ✓ 1 FREE DOWNLOADEs of the religious concerns of Homo faber That is it is part of the general mythology of man
S Catalyzation Of The Materialcatalyzation of the material the world with the elements of inward transformation expressed in symbolic parallel to the energies of outward transformation of the material world It is an expression of man s function of world transformer in the religious idiom I was not won over by his approach which strikes me as too broad and too dependent on tenuous connections that he doesn t sufficiently establish The links between African rites of initiation for miners and Renaissance experiments in transmutation are to my mind extremely tenuous and doesn t establish a structural relationship He concludes with a theory about the continued existence of the essential character of alchemy in the form of materialist utopianism that I can hardly take seriously He spent so much time arguing for this unconvincing position that he scarcely dwelt upon the extremely compelling core problems of alchemy with its intense and uncanny imagery and its strangely cagey relationship to itself Alchemists seem to operate from a schizoid consciousness in which their operations are somehow simultaneously held as symbolic yet are also tied rigidly to a specious language of chemical manipulations It is as if the alchemist intentionally drives the creation of a turbulent contradiction as part of his art as if the alchemist intentionally drives the creation of a turbulent contradiction as part of his art don t now what to make of the whole thing really It is a deeply bizarre and confusing area of study and Eliade has only marginally illuminated it for me He is generally much too uick to apply his ready made structures of initiation and the axis mundi and the hieros gamos and all that and doesn t have the patience to excavate the material right in front of his eyes Another minor criticism the alchemical texts themselves are so deeply expressive and so compact it s odd that he provided so little in the way of direct uotation Like all books of Eliade this is again rich in content The book is an ideal introduction to the studie of the backgrounds of alchemie its evolution and historie Though Eliade can t claim any primary fieldwork The Forge and the Crucible offers an impressive laundry list of ethnographic profiles on practices of mining and metallurgy contrasting established alchemical traditions and European folk beliefs uncovering striking parallels and profound undercurrents as to the sacred nature of work the task of healing the world and perfecting the self and the archetypal human striving to intercede in and improve on time itself The age of this text is startling text not book feels correct for The Forge and the Crucible The Origins and Structures of Alchemy its most common format is likely assigned reading photocopies as it presupposes concepts over which I felt a sense of individual proprietariness Those ideas took their time in uncovering themselves to my mind the false euivalence of progress to the inevitable of civilizing advancement The best Eliade so far It shows how many realistic aspects one can find researching old metaphysics ideology and mysticism namely alchemical and metallurgic teachings Power is in secret of steel Conan anyone A thoughtful and insightful study of alchemy and metallurgy Eliade breaks the book into two sections 1 the structure of various myths and rituals of metallurgy and 2 the foundational structure of alchemy in the Western Chinese and Indian traditions What at first seems merely like a hodgepodge collection of myths and short essays comes together when Eliade finally gets to the meaning behind alchemical structurestenets Well written and deeply thought Eliade does away with the popular belief that alchemy. E follows the ritualistic adventures of these ancient societies adventures rooted in the people's awareness of an awesome new powerThe new edition of The Forge and the Crucible con.