Another of the more striking feats of magick is the creation of a human life form by artificial or semi-artificial means, often refered to as a “homunculus”.
The refutable Alchemist, Paracelus, claimed to have both created a homunculus and kept it alive for a period of time, details of this accomplishment are to be found in his works, and those devoted to him, such as works by Franz Hartmann.
Lewis Spence provides in his "Encyclopaedia of Occultism":"“Homunculus: An artificial man supposed to have been make by the alchemists, andespecially by Paracelsus. To manufacture one, he states that the needful spagyric substances should be taken and shut up in a glass phial, and afterwards be placed to digest in horse-dung for the space of forty days. At the end of this time, there will be something which will begin to move and live in the bottle. This something is a man, but a man who has no body and is transparent. Nevertheless he exists, and nothing remains but to bring him up-which is not more difficult than to make him. You may accomplish it by daily feeding him-during forty weeks, and without extricating him from his dung-hill-- with the arcanum of human blood. At the end of this time you shall have a veritable living child, having every member as well-proportioned as any infant born of a woman. He will only be much smaller than an ordinary child, and his physical education will require more care and attention."
Likewise, accounts and allusions range from myth and folklore devoted to such “mannikins” to the involvement of later alchemists and High Magickians.
Some of the details of the homunculus and its creation brush close and blur into the details of Palingenics; if the seeker is hard-pressed to find clues to the process of creating the Homunculus, these are things to consider; conversely, the still-sketchy details of Palingenics might be supplimented by the details concerning the Homunculus.
Franz Hartmann's footnotes in his work on Paracelsus are generous and full. Beginning with page 174, we may read (exactly as written, without benefit of paragraphs):
"2. Paracelsus has been reproached for his belief in the possibility of generating homunculii; but a deeper insight into the processes of Nature will show that such a thing is not necessarily impossible. Modern authorities believe it to be not impossible. Moleschott thinks that we may perhaps yet succeed in establishing conditions by which organic forms may be generated; Liebig is of the opinion that chemistry will yet succeed in making inorganic substances by artificial means. Goethe says in his "Faust": "and such a brain, that has the power to think, May in the future by produced by such a thinker"- Faust, Pt. II act ii."
This is of course, according to the standards we desire, and the ancient standards we may witness, pedantic, even disparagingly bleak. Light, however, begins to shine as he continues:
"In a book called 'The Sphinx', edited by Dr. Emil Besetzny, and published in Vienna in 1873 by L. Rosner (Tuchlauben, No. 22), we find some interesting accounts in regard to a number of ;spirits' generated by a Joh. Ferd. Count of Kueffstein, in Tyrol, in the year 1775. The sources from which these accounts are taken consist in masonic manuscripts and prints but more especially in a diary kept by a certain Jas. Kammerer, who acted in the capacity of a butler and famulus to the said Count. There were ten homunculii-, or, as he calls them, 'prophesying spirits'- preserved in strong bottles, scuh as were used to preserve fruit, and which were filled with water; and these 'spirits' were the product of the labor of the Count J. F. of Kueffstein (Kufstein), and of an Italian Mystic and Rosicrucian, Abbe Geloni. They were made in the course of five weeks, and consisted of a king, a queen, a knight, a monk, a nun, an architect, a miner, a seraph, and finally of a blue and a red spirit. 'The bottles were closed with ox-bladders, and with a great magic seal (Solomon's seal?). The spirits swam about in those bottles, and were about one span long, and the Count was very anxious that they should grow, They were therefore buried under two cartloads of horse manure, and the pile daily sprinkled with a certain liquor, prepared with great trouble by the two adepts, and made out of some 'very disgusting materials'. The pile of manure began after such sprinklings to ferment and to steam as if heated by subterranean fire, and at least once every three days, when everything was quiet, at the approach of the night, the two gentlemen would leave the convent and go to pray and to fumigate at that pile of manure. After the bottles were removed, the "spirits' had grown to be each one about one and a half span long, so that the bottles were almost too small to contain them, and the male homunculii had come into possession of heavy beards, and the nails of their fingers and toes had grown a great deal. By some means the Abbe Schiloni provided them with the appropriate clothing, each one according to his rank and dignity. In the bottle of the red and in that of the blue spirit, however, there was nothing to be seen but "clear water'; but whenever the Abbe knocked three times at the seal upon the mouth of the bottles, speaking at the same time some Hebrew words, the water in the bottle began to turn blue (respectively red), and the blue and the red spirits would show their faces, first very small, but growing in proportions until they attained the size of an ordinary human face. The face of the blue sprits was beautiful, like an angel, but the face of the red one bore a horrible expression.
The beings were fed by the Count about once every three or four days with some rose-colored substance which he kept in a silver box, and of which he gave to each spirit a pill of about the size of a pea. Once every week the water had to be removed, and the bottles filled again with pure rainwater. This change had to be accomplished very rapidly because during the few moments that the spirits were exposed to the air they closer their eyes, seemed to become weak and unconscious, as if they were about to die. But the blue spirit was never fed, now was the water changed; while the red one received once a week a thimbleful of fresh blood of some animal (chicken), and this blood disappeared in the water as soon as it was poured into it, without colouring or troubling it. The water containing the red spirit had to be changed every two or three days. As soon as the bottle was opened it became dark and cloudy, and emitted an odour of rotten eggs.
In the course of time these spirits grew to be about two spans long, and their bottles were almost too small for them to stand erect; the count therefore provided them with appropriate seats. These bottles were carried to the place where the masonic lodge of which the count was the presiding master met, and after each meeting they were carried back again. During the meetings the spirits gave prophecies about future events that usually proved to be correct. They knew the most secret things, but each of them was only acquainted with such things as belonged to his station; for instance, the king could talk politics, the monk about religion, the miner about minerals & etc.; but the red and blue spirits seemed to know about everything. (Some facts proving their clairvoyant powers are given in the original).
By some accident the glass containing the monk fell one day upon the floor and was broken. The poor monk died after a few painful respirations, in spite of all the efforts of the Count to save his life, and his body was buried in the garden. An attempt to generate another one, made by the Count without the assistance of the Abbe, who had left, resulted in a failure, as it produced only a small thing like a leech, which had very little vitality and soon died.
One day the king had escaped from his bottle, which had not been properly sealed, and was found by Kammerer sitting on top of the bottle containing the queen, attempting to scratch with his nails the seal away, and to liberate her. In answer to the servant's call for help, the Count rushed in, and after a prolonged chase caught the kind, who, from his long exposure to the air and the want of his appropriate element, had become faint, and was replaced into his bottle- not however, without succeeding to scratch the nose of the Count'. It seems that the Count of Kufstein in later years became anxious for the salvation of his soul, and considered it incompatible with the requirements of his conscience to keep those spirits longer in possession, and that he get rid of them in some manner not mentioned by the scribe. We will not make an attempt at comment, but would advise those who are curious about this matter to read the book from which the above account is an extract. There can be hardly any doubt as to its veracity, because some historically well-known persons, such as the Count Max Lamberg, Count Franz Joseph v. Thun, and others, saw them, and they possessed undoubtedly visible and tangible bodies; and it seems that they were wither elemental spirits, or, what appears to be more probably, homunculi."
It seems easier to hear of Aleister Crowley concerning himself with the homunculus outright and without encoding than to hear of his concerns with Palingenics/ Palingenesy in such an undisguised fashion.
It is my personal opinion that at least some of Crowley’s sentiments and confessions regarding the “abnormalities” of his mating practice are little more than his stoically bearing the weight of the almost inevitable way that certain expressions might be created within the code of alchemists, as “weddings” or “consumations” between genderized, anthromorphicized (alchemic principles allegoricized as human beings for purposes of illustration) aspects of alchemic processes... this also lends some small aspersion that the idea of the “alchemic hermaphrodite”, which should prove objectionable to the ostensibly deific-driven creeds of many alchemists, may exist in part simply to avoid such stringent application of gender in alchemic allegory as to create tales of unions upon which certain traditions frown.
Among the instances of ancient allusions to the creation of the homunculus are the vignettes from ancient Egyptian murals which depict the creation of “Ptolemies” on a potter’s wheel, notably by the God Khem(nu), after the fashion of his having created the universe that way. Such a vignette can be found within the pages of “Osiris” by Egyptologist E.A.W. Budge, but there are other works from other cultures whose scenes are remarkably similar.
At left is a scene that is reproduced in Francis Hitching's "Earth Magic" (pg. 254), where it is captioned, "Spiral life-force still attatches to corpse of Natchez Indian (end seventeenth century) as he is carried to burial mound in background". Perhaps. At right is a segment of the vignette of Khemnu, (captioned "Khnemu" in Budge's "Dwellers on the Nile", where the vignette appears on page 152) which in it's entirety bears such astonishing resemblance to the vignettes from Churchward that appear below.
Thoth, whose umbilical cord-like neck may make him a birth icon (his presence at a birth is also seen in the scene of Osiris' birth, below on this page), but he also appears as a "Father Time" like figure, which may well indicate that the process in question alters the flow of time, or rate of equilibrium.
Mostly, however, note the astonishing similarity of the object just behind him and the object that appears in the Natchez drawing from Hitching! The the concurrence of spiral themes is even further compelling.
The implication of a "spiral life force" associates both life and death with vortex energy themes, and greatly recalls a fair slice of the science of radiesthesia luminary Christopher Hills, of "positive and negative green" and "the life force", whose lucid and clear excursions into the deeds of the ancient Egyptians seldom underestimates them.
The Natchez drawing also bears a bit of resemblance to certain Native American "shapeshifting" rituals, which involve jumping through magickal hoops and, amazingly, a spiral element in the form of a series of (four magickal hoops and/or) of four sommersalts, or both. This Natchez work may be relying on a knowledge of the shapeshifting practices to underscore that the magick involved can not only be seen as affecting the organization and rate of matter, as the Egyptians seem to imply, but can be understood as an act of transfiguration, or transmographication- that is, shapeshifting.
These two drawings from James Churchward, especially the first, is astonishingly like the vignette of Khemnu creating Ptolemy on the Potter's Wheel that appears above them here, that appears in Budge's "Osiris". Their message may very well be identical, especially including the symbols that are present. Nor are such vignettes limited to this set of incredible parallels; similar themes are found in Zapotec artwork (Scientific American magazine), and may easily shed even more light on the expressions used to immoralize this knowledge. To consider a number of cultures of the ancient universal culture, the "Jaws of the Sky" may very well have been used to represent the event of birth and magickal birth.
Likewise, an intriguing artifact of the Inca shows a carriage or litter with a child in it. Not only does it have the unlikely efficiency of having to be carried by two persons, as opposed to the sublime practical simplicity of how a child would be carried by one person without the use of hands, but the windows on the sides of the object are impossibly small, that a child could not realistically fit in not out of. For certain reasons, and by means of many common denominators, this artifact may depict in essence what the vignette of Khem(nu) displays- a contivance to assist in the creation of a magickal child.
The role of Khem(nu) and the potter’s wheel in the Egyptian style are intriguing, because they, by the turning of the potter’s wheel, imply the same circular motion as a creative or organizing force that is found in shells and flowers and many kinds of life, but moreso, it is the circular motion of David Bohm’s Inkdrop Experiment (see “Looking Glass Universe”and “Turbulent Mirror” by Briggs & Peat); likewise, it is that creative force implied by Nikola Tesla as he not only talked of planets spinning in and out of existance from “aether whirls” but he himself implied that this principle would make man master of life “in all its infinite forms”.
In other words, although the magickal or alchemic accounts may not contain these details or features, outside of documentation of the whirling motion preceeding the formation of the Palingenic phantom, such outlandish thought as people of the past having materialized living children quitely has the support of some of this century’s most brilliant scientific minds.
Herbs of Gemini may be, to guess from this, expedient to the process of the Homunculus, and what is more is that these herbs traditionally promote mental powers, they are often neurotransmitter analogues or precursors, which are in turn often promotors of human Growth Factor (hGF), which is found in higher amounts in a person the younger that person is. Hence, the same substances that may pertain to alchemic elixirs may in turn pertain to the homunculus and its growth.
Note the inherent adjacency of the signs of the twins and the sign of fertility and fecundity, Cancer.
Typical to the standard format of alchemic artworks, this work promises to be liberally peppered with clues as to the workings of the processes it alludes to.
Something I would like to note which may be helpful in considering this resource, is that the Doctorine of Signatures/ Correspondences tends to decree that what is provided in an enviroment is such that if it cannot or will not be used or recognized for a purpose in one fashion, it has other ways in which it can be used toward a similar goal (for example the defensive thistle might be used in a defensive spell, magickally, and yet failing this, it may serve in self-defense, in the same situation); therefore those medicines which have the possibility of altering fertility may be amongst the herbs that are sometimes effective choices for such processes, perhpas owing partly to common denominators in thefunctions of living tissue.
Likewise might the elixirs which are thought to bring about rapid biological change be by this virtue close or even at times synonymous with “homuncular” agents, and once again, conversely, what is of avail here may shed more light on the agents of “miraculous” rejuvenation (once again in tribute to the impeccable juxtapositional logic of the renowned scientist, Michael Faraday, and with awareness of the concepts of rapidly altering biological processes by means that work with time and anti-time, some developing from Thomas Bearden's theories, such as ones provided by KeelyNet).
Plate featured in George C. Vallaint, "The Aztecs of Mexico", that originally appeared in the Codex Florentino. What is the small child doing in a scene that's captioned, "Montezuma, upset by the disaster and by the failure of his sorcerers, does not know whether to flee or hide in a cave"?
The reason the child may appear at all in this work, very reminiscent of Egyptain works, may be to underscore to the discerning viewer that they consider that the processes involved with this "artificial" expedition of human growth are the same as involved in divination or prediction of the future- namely, the acceleration or deliberate regulation of time or the organization that exhibits the passage of time.
The conglomeration of contexts also suggests what is probably the inevitable question amongst so much magnetic oriented magic as we seem to see on this site- if the same force is responsible for both phenomena, then can magick mirrors and time cameras be used to create elixirs of rejuvenation?
This may be the third extract from a Middle American codex to appear on this site so far that shows a significant atomic number of elements, after the "moon rabbit" scene on the Star Way page, and the Tlazolteotl scene on the page with Witches' Brooms; the seven and a half circles shown implies that the effects in question may have some relevance to nitrogen and oxygen (atomic numbers seven and eight) or also the transition between one and another.
One phenomena which may be therefore very relevant here is ectoplasm, which indeed provokes other fabulously promising questions.
The works of "weird" or "borderline" science favorites like Charles Littlefeild and Andrew Crosse, the latter of whose works were purported to have been duplicated by the emminent Michael Faraday as a matter of scholarly record, may yet contribute greatly to our understaning and mastery of life.
Visitors since Nov 10, 1998