"But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel."
– E.A. Poe
"The Masque of the Red Death"
– E.A. Poe
"The Masque of the Red Death"
Vincent Price as the Duke Prospero (doll)
Rubedo is a Latin word meaning "redness" that was adopted by fifteenth- and sixteenth-century alchemists to define the fourth major stage in the "alchemical opus" in achieving enlightened consciousness and the total fusion of spirit and matter. The three alchemical stages preceding rubedo were nigredo (blackness) which represented putrefication and spiritual death, albedo (whiteness) which represented purification, and thirdly citrinitas (yellowness); the solar dawn or awakening.
In the framework of psychological development (especially followers of Jungian psychology) these four alchemical steps are be taken as analogous to the process of attaining individuation: In an archetypal schema, rubedo would represent the Self archetype, and would be the culmination of the four stages. The Self manifests itself in "wholeness," a point in which a person discovers his or her true nature.~Wiki
Liber AL vel Legis contains three chapters, each of which was written down in one hour, beginning at noon, on 8 April, 9 April, and 10 April.
But more important ... was his growing conviction that the Egyptians had a radically different consciousness from ours. They viewed the world symbolically, seeing in nature a “writing” conveying truths about the metaphysical forces behind creation – “the Neters,” as Egyptian gods are called. It was a vision Schwaller believed we desperately need to regain.
At the center of this vision was Conscious Man, the King. For the ancient Egyptians, Conscious Man was the crown and aim of the universe, a perception many nature-centered mystics would dispute. But Conscious Man was not “man as we know him.” He was the individual in whom the “intelligence of the heart” has awakened, one who has had the experience of “functional consciousness.” ("Rene Schwaller de Lubicz")
|The return of the Thin White Duke|
Prospero's alchemy: The metaphor of psychological change in William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'
Abstract: The metaphor of spiritual alchemy informs the theme of psychological change in Shakespeare's The Tempest. Prospero, by subjecting his enemies to ordeals that cause emotional stress and motivate examination of self, implements a project that corresponds with alchemical process. Many critics continue to view Prospero's influence upon the human characters largely in terms of magic. The power of the magus in fact expresses a wider range of arts; holy magic is only one branch of natural philosophy; spiritual alchemy, another branch, also attempts to perfect man. In his lifelong researches into the history of alchemy, Carl Jung connected the formation of alchemical symbols with his hypothesis of the collective unconscious, and the alchemical process itself with the process of individuation. Alchemical symbols correspond with archetypal symbols appearing in dreams of individuals unacquainted with the opus alchymicum; the parallel symbols point to stages in an acitivity in the human psyche making for the spiritual development of the individual human being. The narrative of The Tempest is rich in the imagery of alchemical change; the plot displays steps of a metaphorical process of spiritual alchemy in which the moral condition of some characters shows marked development. Prospero's project in The Tempest corresponds in method and in result with the opus and its psychological implications; aided by Ariel, Prospero brings about redemptive change as he reveals to the human characters a clearer sense of self.
(But on a deeper level, Prospero is all of the characters in The Tempest, and Miranda and Ferdinand are the alchemical Queen and King.)
Igne Natura Renovator Integra:
("By fire, nature is perfectly renewed.")
For there a black shade or Darkness, which is called Night, remains so long till it is driven away by the Sun, and light is poured out and beheld in its stead. Shade therefore, or Night, is the Privation or absence of Solar Light, and Day on the contrary is the irradiation and Circumfusion of it. Shade is that which cannot endure the aspect of the Sun, and therefore absconds itself, and avoids it, sometimes in this, sometimes in another part of the Earth, according as the Sun is in opposition to it. The Sun and Shade never yet saw one another, although if Nature would admit it they might do it every moment. But the Sun considering her as an Enemy to himself, always pursues her whilst she flys so that he can never weary her so as to overtake her ... After the Image and example of that great Sun and his shade, the Philosophers have observed that their Sun likewise has a black cloudy flying shadow. Hence Hermes saith, " My son, extract its shadow from the Ray. " That is, see that you bring your Sun round about by the Primum Mobile over which Vulcan presides, that that part of the earth which is now covered with a shady night may enjoy the clear light of the Sun. (Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens)
In the greenest of our valleys,
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace -
Radiant palace - reared its head.
In the monarch Thought's dominion -
It stood there !
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair....
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate ;
(Ah, let us mourn, for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate !)
And, round about his home, the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.
And travellers now within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows, see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody ;
While, like a rapid ghastly river,
Through the pale door,
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh - but smile no more. (Edgar Allan Poe, "The Fall of the House of Usher")
The sentinels inform Horatio that they have seen a ghost that looks like the dead King Hamlet. After hearing from Horatio of the Ghost's appearance, Hamlet resolves to see the Ghost himself. That night, the Ghost appears again. It leads Hamlet to a secluded place, claims that it is the actual spirit of his father, and discloses that he—the elder Hamlet—was murdered by Claudius' pouring poison in his ear. The Ghost demands that Hamlet avenge him ... ("Hamlet")
One night there appeared to Horus in a dream a vision of his father Osiris. The ghost urged him to overthrow Set, by whom he had been so treacherously put to death, and Horus vowed to drive his wicked uncle and all his followers out of the land of Egypt. (Egyptian Myth and Legend)
Roderick Usher ... is ... the questing alchemist par excellence who is conducting an experiment in transmutation which risks the life of his mind as well as the state of his soul. When he exclaims to the narrator that "I shall perish . . . I must perish in this deplorable folly" (III, 280), the folly to which he refers can be considered as the "Great Folly" of alchemy, as viewed by its most skeptical critics, while unconsciously the words are prophetic, in that the old life of the alchemist had to die, the old material self had to perish, if the experiment was to be fully a spiritual success. Just as the Mystery rites of the ancient world involved a descent into the infernal regions and the symbolic death of the self, so did alchemy require a killing of the old and a putting on of the new....
|Heart of Ice|
Only now, announced by this characteristic noise, does the "lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher," with "blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame," make her appearance, almost immediately to fall "heavily inward upon the person of her brother" and bear him, like her, "to the floor, a corpse" (III, 296). This is the vision vouchsafed the narrator, a vision which is awesome and dreadful, horrible and sublime, all in one. As Richard Wilbur has noted, "When the House of Usher disintegrates or dematerializes at the close of the story, it does so because Roderick Usher has become all soul" (20). And, indeed, Roderick, locked in the liberating embrace of his sister-bride, according to the canons of Gnostic initiation, has become even more than pure soul--he has become one with the hidden god--he has achieved gnosis.
Roderick has also become "all soul" or "god" in ... the ancient way of the alchemists. Roderick Usher has climbed the seven-runged ladder of the planetary metals as surely as he has passed through all seven of the crystalline spheres and endured the trials of the four elements. His final, traumatic "love-death" is, for a believing alchemist, the hermaphroditic mysterium coniunctionis of "Rex" and "Regina" which frees him completely from the dwelling house of matter. Here the final paragraph of "The Fall of the House of Usher" gains a new relevance:
From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast. The storm was still abroad in all its wrath as I found myself crossing the old causeway. Suddenly there shot along the path a wild light, and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued; for the vast house and its shadows were alone behind me. The radiance was that of the full, setting and blood-red moon, which now shone vividly through that once barely-discernible fissure, of which I have before spoken as extending from the roof of the building, in a zigzag direction, to the base. While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened--there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind--the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight--my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder--there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters--and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "House of Usher." (III, 297)What we notice is the presence of the four elements --the dark and earthly "tenement" of the house, the [column 2:] "fierce breath of the whirlwind," the fiery radiance of the "wild light," and "unusual gleam" of the "blood-red" moon, and the "long, tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters"--all described in terms of an apocalypse. Yet these elements (earth, air, fire, and water) are now in conjunction; and the ghastly scarlet radiance heralds a final alchemical stage known as the "rubedo," for the appearance of Madeline Usher, "with blood upon her white robes," has already signaled the materialization of the "albedo," the penultimate moon/silver stage of the alchemical work.
Of this, Jung writes that the albedo "denotes the first stage of completion and is identified with Luna. Luna is herself spirit, and she at once joins her husband, Sol thus initiating the second and usually final stage, the rubedo. With this the work is completed, and the lapis, a living being endowed with soul and an incorruptible body, has taken shape" (Mysterium Coniunctionis, p. 314). Of the "blood-red" color of this degree, he observes, "Red and rose-red are the colour of blood, a synonym for the aqua permanens and the soul, which are extracted from the prima materia and bring 'dead' bodies to life" (Mysterium Coniunctionis, p. 306). In fact, Jung's full description of the conjunction, which he interprets in psycho-sexual terms as an allegory of the individuation process, can be compared to the elemental catastrophe of Poe's strange closing scene, which is another picture of the attainment of gnosis--Genesis and Apocalypse combined. Jung writes:
The situation is now gradually illuminated as is a dark night by the rising moon. The illumination comes to a certain extent from the unconscious, since it is mainly dreams that put us on the track of enlightenment. This dawning light corresponds to the albedo, the moonlight which in the opinion of some alchemists [page 7:] heralds the rising sun. The growing redness (rubedo) which now follows denotes an increase of warmth and light coming from the sun, consciousness. This corresponds to the increasing participation of consciousness, which now begins to react emotionally to the contents produced by the unconscious. At first the process of integration is a "fiery" conflict, but gradually it leads over to the "melting" or synthesis of the opposites. The alchemists termed this the rubedo, in which the marriage of the red man and the white woman, Sol and Luna, is consummated. Although the opposites flee from one another they nevertheless strive for balance, since a state of conflict is too inimical to life to be endured constantly. They do this by wearing each other out: the one ears the other like the two dragons or the other ravenous beasts of alchemical symbolism. (Mysterisum Coniunctionis, pp. 229-230)The brother, in fact, does eat up the sister who returns and eats up the brother. The poisonous dragon thus becomes transmuted into the prime Gnostic symbol of ultimate unity, the beneficent Ouroboros, or serpent who swallows his own tail. Moreover, the tarn "swallows" the House of Usher, while the House itself, like the Hermetic vessel of the successful alchemist, crumbles because a material shell is no longer necessary for the "incorruptible body" which Usher, the Great Initiate, has become. (Barton Levi St. Armand, "Usher Unveiled: Poe and the Metaphysic of Gnosticism")
God is a dyer. As the good dyes, which are called "true", dissolve with the things dyed in them, so it is with those whom God has dyed. Since his dyes are immortal, they become immortal by means of his colors. (The Gospel of Philip)
Ham. ... The rest is silence. O, o, o, o. Dyes
|Are you a bad enough dude to |
|Prospero's Sex Change: the Duke becomes the Queen|
|The Ring of Fire|
Prince William and Kate Middleton would like you to believe that the date of their wedding was chosen for practical purposes, pertaining to the social schedules of the participants, perhaps. According to Time Magazine, they “spent weeks deciding on a wedding date, repeatedly liaising with officials at Buckingham Palace, No. 10 Downing Street and Westminster Abbey.” But they had no idea that the date they had chosen, April 29th, was also the date that Adolf Hitler had married Eva Braun, before they both killed themselves in his bunker the following day....
There were also many traditions throughout the ancient world of temporary kings being wed to their “queen” just before the sacrifice, just as Hitler was married before his suicide. This is part of the alchemical process as well. The king and queen must unite into one hermaphroditic being (the “chemical wedding”) before being killed, burned, and then regenerated into something new: the royal heir. (Tracy Twyman)Thus ...
|And when he had opened the seventh seal ...|
As the ball is transformed into a danse macabre, the red-masked figure asks why Prospero keeps calling him "your Excellency", declaring "I have no title". Realizing his error, Prospero rips off the figure's red mask, revealing Prospero's own blood-spattered face.
The figure is not an emissary of Satan, but the Red Death himself, declaring that "There is no face of Death until the moment of your own death ... Each man creates his own God for himself — his own heaven, his own hell."
"and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world."