Feature Articles

Elihu Vedder, The Dead Alchemist, 1868.

The Alchemy of Desire: The Metaphysics of Eros in René Schwaller de Lubicz (A Study of Adam l'homme rouge).

This study explores one of Schwaller de Lubicz's most controversial texts, and elucidates their contexts and subtexts. I argue that the views on gender and sexuality articulated herein are precise correlates of Schwaller’s alchemical views, which are operative as well as speculative, and that they cannot be divorced from this double context. 

Desire is a string stretched between two complements, and the sound of this string is life. To produce a sound, you need a shock to make it vibrate, and this shock is Eroticism.

The Universe is nothing but consciousness, and through its appearances presents nothing but an evolution of consciousness, from its origin to its end, the end being a return to its cause.

The Call of Fire: The Hermetic Quest of René Schwaller de Lubicz (A Bio-Bibliographic Study)

René Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961) was an Alsatian artist, alchemist, Egyptologist, Neopythagorean, and philosopher. His life’s work encompassed a surprisingly diverse spectrum of activity, from the creation of alchemically stained glass to the archaeology, architectonics and symbolic analysis of Egyptian temples. Taken in its entirety, however, the esotericism of de Lubicz is nothing less than a science of consciousness. 

The emphasis on diaphany (transparency) arises for Gebser from the perception that the nature of origin (Ursprung) is neither a primordial light nor a primordial darkness but a Diaphainon—that which ‘renders darkness as well as brightness transparent or diaphanous’.

Rendering Darkness and Light Present: Jean Gebser and the Principle of Diaphany  

This study appears in the inaugural volume of Diaphany: A Journal and Nocturne (Rubedo Press, 2015). It seeks to elucidate not only the concept of diaphany, but the fundamental experiences that underpin the living experience of the phenomenon. Rather than a purely conceptual approach, which risks mere abstraction, I have chosen to explore the principle of diaphany through Gebser’s life experiences, focusing on his poetic relationship to the work of Rainer Maria Rilke, and his engagement with death and the dead. 

(Also available in PDF at academia.edu).

Poet, phenomenologist, philosopher—and yet something more —Gebser’s key insight was that as consciousness mutates toward its innate integrality, it drastically restructures human ontology and with it civilisation as a whole.

From Poetry to Kulturphilosophie: A Philosophical Biography of Jean Gebser with Critical Translations

A detailed biographical and bibliographic survey of Gebser's life and work as a whole, providing numerous translations from German texts hitherto unavailable to Anglophone readers. A lecture based on this material was presented at the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles at the 2013 Gebser conference. 

Alchemy may be described, in the words of Baudelaire, as a process of ‘distilling the eternal from the transient’. In seeking to turn ‘poison into wine’, alchemy, like tantra, engages material existence—often at its most dissolute or corruptible—in order to transform it into a vehicle of liberation.

Circumambulating the Alchemical Mysterium 

This introduction to part one of Alchemical Traditions attempts to examine alchemy from etymological, historiographic, and phenomenological perspectives in order to "circumambulate" the mystery of alchemy. It encompasses both Eastern and Western alchemies within its circuitous ambit. 

Deification by drowning follows the model of the eternally rejuvenated Osiris and is further assimilated to the Egyptian solar cosmology where to descend into the primordial waters (West, decline, death) is necessary to rejuvenation (East, incline, life). Apotheosis and drowning therefore cohere in the praxis of initiatory death, the « conditio sine qua non » of rebirth into immortal life.

Waters Animating and Annihilating: Apotheosis by Drowning in the Greek Magical Papyri 

This is a study of the symbolism of drowning and the dynamics of deification in the Greek Magical Papyri, the Egyptian underworld books, and Pythagorean and Orphic literature. It appeared in the anthology, Occult Traditions (ed. D. Z. Lycourinos, Numen Books, 2012). An earlier version was previously presented at the Amphora Classics and Ancient History Conference at the University of Queensland in 2008.

The alchemical salt functions as the fulcrum of death and revivification. The idea that the agent, instrument and patient of the alchemical process are not separate entities but aspects of one reality prefigures the significance accorded in this study to ‘the Hermetic problem of salt’. With Schwaller’s concept, one is dealing with a juncture of the metaphysical and proto-physical. This also inheres in the body as a fulcrum point of death and palingenesis.

René Schwaller de Lubicz and the Hermetic Problem of Salt 

This is a redaction of the first chapter from my 2011 PhD dissertation on the alchemy of René Schwaller de Lubicz. It attempts to provide a phenomenology of "salt" from linguistic, mythographic, chemical, philosophical, and alchemical perspectives. In doing this it seeks to introduce and explore the "juncture of transcendence and concretion" central to Schwaller de Lubicz's Hermeticism. 

At the heart of the chiasmic idea is a ‘metaphysics of perception’ in which human perception becomes an instrument of divine self-perception. ‘The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me’, Eckhart famously remarked.

The Alchemical Chiasmus: Creativity, Counter-Stretched Harmony, and Divine Self-Perception.

This is a collaborative piece between Sabrina Dalla Valle and myself, originally appearing in Alchemical Traditions (2013) and subsequently published in Diaphany: A Journal and Nocturne (2015).

Coming Soon

Primordial Trust: Jean Gebser and the Primordial Leap
Paper presented at the
2008 Gebser conference, Melbourne; revised 2014

Eros and Psyche: The Fideli D'Amore
From my 2003 Honours thesis; revised 2014

Immorality and Immortality: An Exploration of Libertine Gnosticism
Previously unpublished study of libertine gnosticism; 2003; revised 2014