Alchemy

Just read a series of articles on Sacred Mysteries which attempts to highlight the supposedly hidden alchemical implications in the major films in our era. The two that I read discussed the Tolkien series Lord of the Rings, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The central thesis is that both Lord of the Rings and 2001 detail the development of mankind as documented in alchemical traditions. In Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth goes through a series of Ages. With each Age, there is an increase in the prominence of Man, but at the same time, Man also becomes further removed from his natural and spiritual side. This accounts for the diminishing importance of magic and the Elves, hence the inexplicable ending (to some) of the movie.

In 2001, the film also walks the audience through a series of transformations of Mankind, from the vegetarian Ape man to highly sophisticated technological society, devoid of emotions and any spiritual linkages. This climaxes in the ultimate transformation at the end of the film, where we witness a re-birth.

Essentially, the body of knowledge known as alchemy seems to be about transformations. The basic gist, as far as I can see, is that there is a development in human psyche. Great turmoil seems to precede every major transformation – which incidentally is why so many people are boldly making predictions of future in our current times. In fact, an implication (at least in the case of 2001) is that an external force is involved. Thus, as the author asserted, the great Stanley Kubrick in 2001, has made the ultimate religious film, despite being a lifelong atheist.

However, there is a nagging feeling that once an idea has been formed, it may not be altogether difficult to find supporting evidence. Also, seems whatever ‘evidence’ available is only applicable to Western civilisation.

Nevertheless, this has probably sown the seeds for me to ponder, and future thoughts perhaps!? We shall see.

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