Next to my bathtub I have three reading choices. A long outdated (Madonna and A-Rod) People magazine, a more recent issue of Yoga Journal, and The Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery by Lyndy Abraham. This third thing is the one I reach for. It's not a New Age thing at all. It's this woman's Doctoral Thesis at Cambridge University and to write she she ventured into the depths of the Vatican's secret libraries and cruised the coffers of ancient memory to dredge of these defitintions of things I never used to think about.
Things like: alembic/limbeck, the red dragon, albification.
I read this book with remarkable pleasure.
For me, it's like reading the poems of Shakespeare. . . only maybe even better.
I feel this is my own private world, a book few others venture to pay nearly $40.00 for on Amazon (used: $29.45). It's a language I share with these ancient minds. . . women and men who influenced great poets and composers. . . Goethe. . . Rilke. . . Jung. . . they challenge me, stretch my mind, and I marvel at their creativity. . . and expand my mind with every word I read.
What I like best about it, it never becomes something rational.
Reading this stuff, like reading great poems, keeps me always in that metaspace--like love, like dreaming, like doing a really good crossword puzzle and it all starts coming together as though you don't even have to read the clues anymore because your mind has become one with that of the puzzle designer--where my mind is cruising just under its own surface.
I laugh out loud when I read it. It's a laughter like: damn, you guys were good.
For all the darkness and spookiness clouding around alchemy all these years, reading it is pure joy. Joy in language. Joy in life. Joy in the mysteries of the human mind and the joy of getting deep into symbols and stirring stuff up from thousands of years ago.
Popular posts from this blog
In the two days that presented us with celebrity suicides, I have been quiet. I saw the posts and acknowledged the tragedies. The fame and fortune of both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain--and also the charm each possessed--nestled in with the personal notes from friends and relatives to script fragments of stories together that will never be whole. Like the poems of Sappho salvaged from ancient ruins, this is all we are left with. I had nothing to say, and I'm often one who can say something. My silence indicated to me that it wasn't a reflection of not feeling anything or not having anything to contribute to the communal grieving and raising of awareness. It indicated that there was a block in me. I was blocking the grief and even the witness. Back in the 1990s, I was engaged to Tom Andrews, the beautiful poet. The story I tell most often about this fait-incomplit of an engagement is that at his memorial service a friend of his turned around in his chair and asked me
When a friend asked me while we dined on salads what I thought of the busking situation in Asheville, I almost choked on my salad. "We have a busking situation?" He told me he'd seen the article in the New York Times . Again: almost choking, "New York Times is writing about buskers in Asheville?" I love this so much for so many reasons. The fact that we are in the 9th most food insecure city in America, the fact that people can walk around this town and not know we have a large African-American population scuttled away on the outskirts as a result of demolishing 2000 homes in the city center, the fact that we don't have affordable housing in town, all this aside: we make the Times for our "busking situation." This is why I love Asheville. This is why you really should move here: we have a busking situation. We have music everywhere. We have music outside t-shirt shops that print quotes by great songwriters on their organic cotton and
An aerial photo of immigrant children at a recently opened facility in Tornillo, Texas. (Reuters/Mike Blake) Courtyard of the Happy Way 樂道院 (le dao yuan) – picture and corresponding map – courtesy of Weihsien-Paintings From the job description to work for Southwest Key: Must be prepared and physically able to respond with appropriate protocol in a variety of dynamic supervision situations with clients of 0-17 years in age. In a sudden or emergency event. Several letters from the British Crown urged him to return to England from China. My grandfather had been living in Hong Kong, Swatow, and Tianjin since the early 1930s, working as a physician for the Kailan Mining Administration. News of Japan's seizure of Nanking and Shanghai in 1937 did not motivate him to leave. During the bombings of neighboring Swatow, he worked with locals to build makeshift hospitals in the streets to treat the wounded, and still he did not leave China. His colleagues had boarded th